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Grants talk:PEG/WM IN/Program Grant April December 2013

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We would like INR 39,777.93 remaining from our previous grant to be repurposed towards this grant and would request fresh funds to cover the rest of this grant amount. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 10:17, 8 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

Project scope and activities[edit]

I would like to request you add a little more information on the project activities section. You might have prepared a timeline or set some milestones for the next 9months.

You have not reserved a budget for the GLAM events but did not mention anything in the project activities area. So what is your plan for the GLAM events?

In the first quarter you set your success milestone to support at least 2 events per month, and this time you reduced to 1 event. Is there any specific reason for this?--Nasir Khan Saikat (talk) 08:27, 13 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

At the moment, the chapter is focussed on our AGM scheduled for next month and our first FDC application thereafter, so we expect focus of the EC/PT Staff on other matters and not wholly on promoting activities (Not that we intend to neglect activities totally). There has also been a drastic drop in community enthusiasm that we hope to revive soon. Though we do not have a timeline since these things come to us from the community. At the moment, we are sitting on one request from Sanskrit Wikipedia for an event and distribution of manuals [1], was scheduled to happen but we have requested them to hold on for a bit. We also have WLM planned for September and the CC India launch for October-November (tentative). AroundTheGlobe (talk) 15:25, 16 July 2013 (UTC)Reply
Regarding GLAM, there have been several attempts to start something in India, mostly unsuccessful. We hope to give out community fellowships to undertake a Wikipedian in Residence program and related expenses, through which it can hopefully gain momentum which is what the GLAM budget is for. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 15:59, 16 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

I second this. Your application for first quarter of 2013 is a good example of the desired level of details. Polimerek (talk) 23:16, 13 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

Our apologies, will add some detail. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 15:25, 16 July 2013 (UTC)Reply
I'm afraid this level of detail is insufficient. What do the ~$5000 to be spent on "GLAM" actually pay for? What partnerships are realistically planned? Are there Wikipedians ready and trained to be WiRs? etc. for other items as well. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 19:46, 23 July 2013 (UTC)Reply
In terms of events, our previous grant request was made when a lot of events had already taken place. That is not the case with the present request and hence they are different. Events taken place so far are: Telegu Mahotsavam [2], Chennai Meetup 6 [3], Workshop in Mumbai [4], Hyderabad Meetup [5] and a WW Workshop in Mumbai [6].
In terms of GLAM, we put out a call on our members list and got responses from two Wikipedians. One Wikipedian has gone ahead and started a pilot project with Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) in Mumbai. She has a journalism background and has been involved in local Wikipedia activities for the last couple of years, though she has not received any formal training to be a WiR (I dont think any WiR outside of India has had that, correct me if I'm wrong please). Apart from that, we have restarted conversation with some other GLAMs and hope to have a full-fledged project start in the next couple of months, along the lines of BL, Smithsonian and NARA. We need to keep in mind that GLAMs in India operate differently from those in the west and we have had difficult experiences in the past. What we are doing is keeping in mind past learnings and trying to adapt to local requirements. The grant request would cover a fellowship to sustain the WiR, internet (yes, lacking in most Indian GLAMs), hiring of equipment (if required) and organising events at the GLAM such as workshops and editathons. Hope this answers your question. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 09:05, 25 July 2013 (UTC)Reply
It does, thanks. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 00:01, 31 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

Some questions[edit]

Thanks for the submission. My questions regarding your application are the following:

  1. What is the reason for the high amount of printing expenses you have in the budget?
  2. Can you tell us more about the lunch of CC India? I really didn't know that it doesn't exist in India.
  3. What type of events you refer to by saying outreach events? What are the cities that you plan to reach out to? I suppose that the volatility in the amounts mostly derives as result of their geographical location and the travel costs that should be borne for it.

Best regards.--Kiril Simeonovski (talk) 10:21, 14 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

Thanks for the queries Kiril,
  1. We would like to distribute manuals in various languages, this has been a request from atleast 3 indic communities. Apart from that, branding such as stickers etc. Until now we have only been distributing our Annual Report, which is more of a report rather than a project activity.
  2. CC India did exist many years back as part of IIT-Mumbai but hasn't been around a while. We are working on reviving it along with 2 other organisations. Currently, we have submitted a roadmap and are awaiting approval from CC for the same, so that we can launch.
  3. They could be as small as a meetup, funds for tea/snacks or workshops/academies or larger regional events. Its more of what communities propose. To be frank, problems with grant procedures is we are not sure what will come up and communities almost always come last minute and expect full support despite our requests to be notified earlier, especially with larger events. Most times you cant really blame volunteers, such things tend to happen suddenly when people are free. Yes, being such a large country, costs vary in different parts as well as scale.
Hope I was able to answer your query. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 15:33, 16 July 2013 (UTC)Reply
Thanks for the answers. It's clearer for me now.--Kiril Simeonovski (talk) 09:32, 17 July 2013 (UTC)Reply


There are some problems with the numbers:

  • Amount requested: 15,48,000 ??? What you mean?
  • Comma and point: in $ you use a different separator for decimal, may you standardize?
  • INR 60.26 = US$ 1 but I cannot compare in $ cause a different description of the numbers
  • Budget breakdown: may you use also dollars? For us it's difficult to compare with INR because it's an unusual currency

Thank you. --Ilario (talk) 13:57, 16 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

Changed the amount representation from Lakhs to Millions. A lakh is represented as 1,00,000 in India and is same as 100,000. 10 Lakhs make a million. To avoid confusion I have corrected the representation to millions all over. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 08:10, 17 July 2013 (UTC)Reply
Thanks for your query Ilario,
  • Total amount requested (in INR)
  • It is the same 25 (comma) 688 (point) 68 in USD.
  • I am sorry, I do not understand the issue.
  • Sure, will put down dollar values as well.

Cheers, AroundTheGlobe (talk) 16:04, 16 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

I can't support this[edit]

In the absence of the section categories for GAC members at the top (why?), I've created a new thread.

Fundamental details are missing. Many physical events are mentioned, but where will they be held, and what languages will they involve? How many participants are expected for each?

As I explained to Kiril above, in India things are not planned in much in advance and usually most events are community ones supported by the chapter, which we can by no means have details of in advance. Events planned by the chapter have been mentioned, we may conduct smaller workshops, meetups etc as well but those are not planned this much in advance. To give you an example, the Kolkata community put in a request for a micro-grant to us about 15 hours prior to the event taking place in January this year. Most of the time its not this bad, but the maximum notice we normally get is a few days. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 05:44, 29 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

Goal: I can't get a grip on it.

Measures of success: "We will extend our support to all relevant outreach events initiated by the community to the fullest possible extent."—vague.

There are over 40 language communities in India (including incubators) out of which 5-10 are most active. We aim to support outreach undertaken by all these communities. We cannot say which communities will approach us but if you see historic reports of such grant requests and their reports you will get what I am saying. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 05:44, 29 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

Staff salary: "part-time" means what? 0.4 FTE for nine months? How much per hour, including on-costs? What skill-base will you need in this person? Will they work predominantly online?

It is not per hour based, it is INR 42K a month. The person was hired last year, for further details on this you can look up our previous grant request talk page. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 05:44, 29 July 2013 (UTC)Reply
I'm not satisfied with references to previous grant requests. There's not even a link provided in your response. It's not our job to go hunting down information. Each new grant application is a stand-alone document, and if the hours and hourly rate are explained elsewhere, why not copy-paste them into this application? Tony (talk) 14:46, 17 August 2013 (UTC)Reply

Budget No. 2: 10–20 is a very large range. I'd prefer to have all (or most) named, with locations, who will organise among the volunteers, and how many? Roughly the dates or month for each?

This is not possible as explained above. We have just submitted an interim annual report containing a list of 53 events in the last financial year. Our estimates are based on conversations with community members and historic data. Since April, there have been 6 events as mentioned above. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 05:44, 29 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

What will the auditor audit?

Our accounts. It is mandatory as per law. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 05:44, 29 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

The application is premised on "give us the money and then we'll determine how we want to use it"; rather than "here are our detailed plans, goals, who, what, where, how long, expected outcomes. Tony (talk) 06:59, 28 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

We have provided all these details at macro level. It would be extremely difficult, almost impossible for us to provide this at micro level (and come back for approval every time there is a small change) for reasons mentioned above. All our previous grants have been based on the same premise and I am surprised that this is now an issue. If this is the way you would need it, we would need an office full of employees to manage things. As volunteers supported by one PT employee it would not be possible. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 05:50, 29 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

Summary of outstanding concerns[edit]

Thanks, everyone, for engaging in the discussion so far. I would like to concisely summarize the concerns I still have on behalf of WMF, that would need to be addressed before this grant is approved. If some of these issues prove contentious, while the non-contentious portions of the grant are urgently needed, I'd recommend splitting this request into two, so that we can approve one part immediately and continue to discuss the other part without undue stress. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 00:10, 31 July 2013 (UTC)Reply


I am surprised at the relatively expensive printing item, and in particular at the fact it is explained as mostly having to do with languages other than English. I thought WMIN decided to focus (not limit itself, but focus) on the English projects. Is all this printing at all coordinated with CIS's A2K program in the relevant language communities? Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 00:10, 31 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

I'm surprised you feel we are focused on English. We have played host/partnered/funded etc. several indic projects since our inception. We may be doing more on English Wikipedia, but that is because of the number of requests coming in from there and because a large section of our members count themselves English Wikipedians. One of our focus areas has and will be including more indic communities in the chapter. No, these printing have nothing to do with CIS. We received requests from atleast 3 indic communities, and are hoping to assist them with their requirements. Apart from that this also includes our annual report, branding such as stickers, certificates etc. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 05:41, 31 July 2013 (UTC)Reply
I am aware of the activities with Indic projects the chapter has done in the past. I did try to stress focus above, which was the impression I had received following some past discussions with the EC and CIS, but perhaps even that is incorrect. Very well. It's still a very significant amount of money for printing expenses. Please offer at least one level of further breakdown of those expenses -- i.e. types of printed product, cost per unit, estimated amount -- to justify this expense. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 04:39, 17 August 2013 (UTC)Reply
The Welcome to Wikipedia guidebook is about 22 page long including covers. The guidebook Evaluating Wikipedia article quality article is about 8 pages long. We were thinking of a combined guidebook. Our annual report of last year was of 24 pages. The annual report cost us INR 73 (USD 1.20 approx at the exchange rate referred in this report), per piece to print in 500 quantity last year. We were considering all these books would cost as much. Five language communities have asked for this. Bangla, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, and Sanskrit. Some asked for 2000 copies, and others sought 500. We worked for a conservative 500 numbers on 4 languages. Below this quantity, offset printing does not work out. Digital printing would cost twice. The scale economy would be better at 2000 numbers, but then it will be increasing total expenses without confirming the effectiveness.
Annual report + 4 language manuals - 5 books - 500 nos each; at INR 73 per unit = INR 182,500 = USD 3028
Certificates - 1000 nos at INR 8 per unit = INR 8000 = USD 132
Receipt books, membership forms, feedback forms, stickers etc - assorted - INR 9,500 = USD 158
TS-Sowmyan (talk) 18:14, 17 August 2013 (UTC)Reply
Could you explain something basic to me that I'm clearly not understanding: the printing of offline hard-copy items is for people who don't normally have online access, yes? Or if they do, it's hard to advertise the existence of WMF sites to them, and the roles they might play on them? A guidebook on evaluating WP article quality seems to be directed to people who are already online. Can't the information be conveyed online? I see below that the manager says: "Learning things exclusively through on-line sources is certainly possible for a skilled person. But additional aids are useful to the average person." Why is reading text, diagrams, images on paper an advantage over online displays, for people you're training to edit or upload online? Tony (talk) 12:31, 22 August 2013 (UTC)Reply

CC launch[edit]

While I understand the item for supporting outreach events is for passive funding support by WMIN rather than for activities WMIN would initiate itself, and thus no details are available in advance about these events, I don't see why more cannot be known about the CC launch event which WMIN is, presumably, planning itself. Please break down the budget for that event at least broadly, and describe what are some concrete goals and measures thereof, so that we know what we're funding, and whether we've succeeded once it is done.

Also, please make a clear statement about the global CC's involvement in the launch event, if any, including whether or not they are offering (or are approached to offer) financial or other support for it (such as sending/funding a speaker). Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 00:10, 31 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

This again is an estimated figure as we are still formalising our roadmap, shared with you privately as stated below. Once that is done, we will work on the launch. In this case, we will be working with two other organisations, Acharya Narendra Dev College and CIS and hence details would need to be confirmed by all associate organisations. CC did offer us funding but we have prior approval to receive foreign remittance only from WMF as of now, so we cannot accept any funding from anyone else. If you feel this could be a roadblock, we could withdraw this line item for now. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 06:11, 31 July 2013 (UTC)Reply
For what it's worth I'm with Asaf. There wasn't any great support to have this CC association when it was first brought up. I'm sure I can dig up that thread from a while ago, but I don't think anyone would contradict me in the mean time. I really don't want our donor funds going to their launch or helping their roadmap or anything of the sort. It's not about the tiny amount itself, but the point of it. It should be removed in my opinion. Theo10011 (talk) 14:23, 16 August 2013 (UTC)Reply
Actually, we are not averse to supporting CC alongside pure-Wikimedia activities, so long as there's substance in the proposed activities. So my concern here is not so much about the idea of supporting CC, but whether or not there is a substantial activity plan combining CC and Wikimedia interests (e.g. de-emphasizing the -NC- and -ND- license variety), and, crucially, whether there's community interest to fuel this activity plan, to justify the launch. Can you demonstrate this? Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 04:39, 17 August 2013 (UTC)Reply
Dear Asaf, we are already active here in this domain, and preferably, only aiming at CC-BY-SA. Please refer the link: India launches National Repository of Open Educational Resources -- ♪Karthik♫ ♪Nadar♫ 07:52, 21 August 2013 (UTC)Reply
Indeed, and the NROER is a wonderful development. I am surprised Wikimedia India's role in bringing this about is not actually mentioned in WMIN's own blog post about it. Could you explain?
Also, NROER, even assuming involvement from WMIN, does not demonstrate to me that there's even a handful of enthusiastic volunteers among the Indian community. Are you able to demonstrate that? If such energy exists, surely there are conversations or wiki pages where I could witness it. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 18:04, 22 August 2013 (UTC)Reply
Asaf, the post in WMIN blog was just a cross post from CC blog, and we mentioned that. Our volunteers were are are interested in the CC India, and we saw that way back in February. Pradeep has the list of people interested in building CC India, and he is in the process of reviving cc India mailing list. -- ♪Karthik♫ ♪Nadar♫ 10:35, 23 August 2013 (UTC)Reply

Asaf, we are very much interested in Creative Commons, but we don't want to hold up the rest of the grant due to this issue. Hence, we are withdrawing the CC entry for now. We will engage with you on this matter separately. Hope this clears it up. ----Rsrikanth05 (talk) 12:55, 23 August 2013 (UTC)Reply

Okay. Once you actually strike out the CC item (on the grant budget table, and updating the total requested), I'll approve. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 21:12, 23 August 2013 (UTC)Reply

CC roadmap[edit]

Since the Wikimedia Foundation is called upon to fund WMIN's CC work, we would like to see this "roadmap" document you mention. If it is not meant to be public, for some reason, you may share it with me privately (but of course, we would prefer it to be public). Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 00:10, 31 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

Iv shared it with you privately. It will be published once it is finalised. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 05:48, 31 July 2013 (UTC)Reply
Thanks. I am concerned about the mention in the roadmap of the intent to task Sowmyan -- WMIN's staff -- with executing the CC strategy, given the relatively limited involvement he's had with executing Wikimedia strategy so far, and the significant (according to you) administrative burden he's already coping with. Certainly, if we need to choose, we should focus limited resources (i.e. Sowmyan's time) on Wikimedia's goals, not CC's (different, and only partially intersecting) goals. Once again, it would be crucial to learn if there's community energy behind this, so we can learn whether volunteers can reasonably be relied on to carry out CC activities. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 04:39, 17 August 2013 (UTC)Reply
Asaf, through FDC funding, we can state our intention to make Sowmyan full time and relieve him of admin responsibilities. This would mean he has more time for WMIN and CC India program activities. -- ♪Karthik♫ ♪Nadar♫ 08:04, 21 August 2013 (UTC)Reply

Community outreach events criteria[edit]

Again, I understand the funding for outreach is primarily to be disbursed by WMIN as reimbursements for volunteers carrying out outreach, and that not much is known in advance about the particulars. What can be known (or decided) in advance, though, is how WMIN evaluates such requests by the community, and what guides it in approving or denying requests. Is there any activity you won't fund? Have you made any progress on the evaluation framework mentioned in the previous grant report? Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 00:10, 31 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

We normally take a broadbased approach to grant requests. As long as we feel there is reasonable output for the funding within movement scope, we accept. Formally, what happens is the community member puts an email to Sowmyan once the grant is requested. Sowmyan has a look at the proposal and informs the EC of the same as well as gives his opinion on it. Based on his opinion, the EC takes a call. IIRC, we have only declined one request until now, that was for a summer camp in Bangalore. A few community members wanted to hire a flat in a residential area and purchase netbooks/projectors etc to hold a summer camp when schools/colleges are closed. The EC felt we could not support that kind of expenditure on capital equipment, especially as we do not have our own office space or anything to store it thereafter as well as it could be done in a college computer room at significantly lower costs given the plan was for just a couple of months. We let the community members know how we felt and they did thereafter I believe conduct some workshops in colleges. We have also made a rule to cut down on EC travel as far as possible and encourage local Wikipedians/Wikipedians situated in nearby places to follow up on outreach leads instead. In one or two cases, we requested Sowmyan to represent the chapter at an event. We felt this would be better as he would get an opportunity to represent the chapter and interact with Wikipedians/Govt on behalf of the chapter. This was primarily because travel was burning out EC members and we felt we could involve local community better this way. This is in line with our long term commitment of decentralising the chapter. Apart from these two instances, I do not recollect any requests we have declined. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 06:03, 31 July 2013 (UTC)Reply
Understood, thanks. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 04:39, 17 August 2013 (UTC)Reply


I realize this proposal has suffered from a relative paucity of GAC attention, as well as delays caused by Wikimania. I repeat my statement above -- the more urgent parts of this proposal can be separated out into a separate proposal that can be approved sooner, if you don't want to wait until a decision is made about the entire proposal. That said, I'm trying to keep it very clear what are the topics that need to be resolved for approval, to help you make the right decision for WMIN. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 04:39, 17 August 2013 (UTC)Reply

Hi Asaf, can you please tell us how you want the grant divided? ----Rsrikanth05 (talk) 08:43, 21 August 2013 (UTC)Reply
Certainly: my only remaining objection is to the CC launch item, as I am not yet convinced the expectation of impact there is realistic. If you strike that off the request, I am ready to approve it. We can continue to discuss WMIN's plans for CC work separately, if you like. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 18:06, 22 August 2013 (UTC)Reply
Hi Asaf, I have removed the CC Launch, and have revised the total budget. We hope to discuss the Creative Commons Launch event separately. --~!--Rsrikanth05 (talk)

Disapprove of retrospective applications[edit]

Why is it that your application wasn't submitted well ahead of the April start? I believe money already spent should not be included: this sets a very bad precedent for spend-first-ask-later. It defies basic accountability.

We did not receive previous grant funds until end of April, hence the delay in putting in this application. It is extremely difficult to run such an organisation in India with so much red tape and so many rules to follow. Though we try our best to stick to timescales, inordinately delays happen quite often AroundTheGlobe (talk) 06:36, 5 August 2013 (UTC)Reply
I wonder whether the assumption here is that we have been spending money from April till now, without approval. The fact of the matter is spending has practically come to a halt as we strive to comply with the requirement that we should spend only after approval. This being a vacation time in educational institutions, we perhaps did not miss much. No new spend proposals are being approved or incurred based on this yet to be approved grant. A grant request for the Telugu Mahotsavam, talked of favourably elsewhere in this report, will be an exception, and is adequately covered by unspent funds from a previous grant that has been requested to be re-purposed. But we have not paid against this request too, till now. What was spent was about Rs 2500 (about USD 50) towards bus fare, for my one day travel to participate in this event. There is a monthly recurring tele communication bill that we have not stopped. Every other request has been put on hold. We need an early clearance of this grant request to initiate new activities. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 16:13, 7 August 2013 (UTC)Reply

There is way too little detail. What will the "executive" manager be doing ... part-time means what proportion (how many hours per week)?

As I mentioned earlier, please refer previous grant appliaction/report for details on the same. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 06:36, 5 August 2013 (UTC)Reply
This is becoming a standard question! Since I am the Executive Manager, let me elaborate a bit more. I am the only executive associated with the chapter. I do every thing from running an errand to suggesting strategy to the Executive Council. I am based in Bangalore, the city where the chapter is registered. The statutory compliances are to be met here. The bank account is with a bank here. Apparently I was engaged because the Executive Council in charge last year, found the amount of work they had to do as volunteers was just too much. I am a part timer, and considering the activity levels have been lower, continue to remain a part timer. I have committed 50% of my time to the Wikimedia Chapter. I do spend much more than that on many occasions. The fact of the matter is there is overhead work even when we operate with a relatively low level of project activity. There was a job description used at the time of my recruitment, which was posted as a response in our previous grant request. I think the discussions in that grant page would also be of some additional information. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 16:13, 7 August 2013 (UTC)Reply

Why is printing necessary for the goals, which are to support an essentially online enterprise?

We need to reach out to people. One of the modes would be distribution of printed material. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 06:36, 5 August 2013 (UTC)Reply
We have all the world's knowledge on Wikipedia. Still there are educational institutions, and books. We have operated for two years without such a guide manual. The bookshelf of the outreach program page in wikipedia website shows a few good manuals such as Welcome to Wikipedia and Evaluating Wikipedia article quality. These are handy references useful for a learner. We spend about 3 hours in a wiki academy training program. Thereafter we leave it to the trained persons to help themselves. Some of the language communities have expressed their need for this. A few people even think a lot of videos can make training programs unnecessary. However outreach involves exploring ways to make the effort of an enthusiastic newbie productive so that they do not drop out. In Indian languages the way data is to be entered using a standard keyboard is complex and there are 2 to 3 different methods. Learning things exclusively through on-line sources is certainly possible for a skilled person. But additional aids are useful to the average person. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 16:13, 7 August 2013 (UTC)Reply

Why does it cost nearly $1000 for auditing this budget? And what is the "consultancy" part of the auditing?

The accounts consultant is a qualified Charted Accountant. We also have another qualified Charted Accountant to do our Audits. All this is required as per law, and qualified people do charge decent amounts of money. Sure, we could do it cheaper but the quality of people would not be the same and should they make mistakes whiles making regulatory filings, we would be liable for the same. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 06:36, 5 August 2013 (UTC)Reply
The accounts consultant does 4 things. (i) He creates formal account books from the raw transaction data provided by us. Our organization comes under a statutory requirement to be audited. The books are required to be kept as per standard accounting practices. The books created by him are audited by the statutory auditor. (ii) We are a registered Society. The Society Registrar requires us to make a annual filing. We submit a report on our activities, and subject ourselves to their scrutiny. From time to time, their requirements and interpretations may go through some slight change. As a professional who deals with such a compliance requirement for many NGOs, our consultant is well versed with the regulatory requirements, and ensures we meet them. He advices us on what is permitted / not permitted in terms of procedural practices as and when we seek clarifications. We come under a regulation called Foreign Currency Regulation Act. This is governed by the Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi. This is more like Homeland Security in USA. They are essentially monitoring all foreign funding that happens in India, the purpose for which these funds are sent, and the manner in which these are spent. (iv) though we are a non profit organization, we have to file an income tax return, showing the expenditure and income. The accounts consultant does the filing of income tax return and also prepares to explain the report to the IT authorities when required to do so.
The audit related expense is likely to remain of the same order whether we have a USD 12,000 grant or USD 25,000 grant. Except account creation and auditing, the rest are overheads, as the report is to be filed to a regulatory agency irrespective of the scale of activity. Every one of these external regulatory control is also of interest to Wikimedia Foundation. Being monitored and governed by 4 agencies adds to our overheads, but provides WMF the comfort that the entity you are supporting is compliant. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 16:13, 7 August 2013 (UTC)Reply

Details please. Tony (talk) 15:07, 3 August 2013 (UTC)Reply

I'm wondering on what are the details you have been asking for?? There are certain things which we need to legally comply with as per Society act, and that insists us to have two sets of Charted Accountant, who are highly paid in India, because of their work and their qualification. Generally, they have to take much more time. If they end up, auditing quicker, and mistakes are found, their license will be at stake. That's the reason they are now available for a cheaper amount. Not only them, we would also be liable for the same. This might not be the same everywhere, but this is how it is in India. -- ♪Karthik♫ ♪Nadar♫ 09:42, 7 August 2013 (UTC)Reply
I have strived to provide more details than what has been provided by other members of the Chapter in this section. I hope my effort meets your needs. If there is any missing dimension, kindly let us know. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 16:13, 7 August 2013 (UTC)Reply
I accept the answers above. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 04:41, 17 August 2013 (UTC)Reply
TS-Sowmyan has provided impressive answers that suggest s/he will be a strong executive manager. I don't see that the responses by AroundTheGlobe are at all helpful.

However, with respect to one question—"Why is printing necessary for the goals, which are to support an essentially online enterprise?"—even the exchange with TS-Sowmyan makes me wonder whether there's something I just don't understand. I would expect to be told that many prospective functionaries don't have (much) online access, and therefore dead-tree publication of these manuals will help. But then, if they don't have easy online access, why are they involved in activities that are quintessentially to support websites? Tony (talk) 14:39, 17 August 2013 (UTC)Reply

Your suggestion is that training people to use online reference can save the cost of printing guidebooks. I guess the outreach team which published the original English guidebooks for the 26 character English language, from which we drew inspiration, may have a story on why they did it, and why they are continuing it. We were looking at improving the effectiveness of current training programs. Different teaching aids may have different levels of effectiveness to different set of people. Some can effectively learn on-line. Others learn using a hybrid method. If a yield of 2 editors from a training program can become 4 editors, we will have 100% improvement. If a book costs USD 1, fourty trainees in a academy session may cost us an additional USD 40 towards books. That is less than the cost incurred for a training program. We should discontinue this, if we do not find it effective. That would save the forests. There were suggestions from trainers to make these guidebooks available in the indic languages. We agreed with them because: (i) the Indian languages have many complex alphabets and (ii) there are multiple input methods.
Alphabets: The vowels are typically 12. The basic consonants are about 18 and vary somewhat with the language. In some languages these consonants have 4 variants. The combinations often run to a few hundred. You can see from the article on Devanagari how complex these are. The article List_of_typographic_features, lists more than 15 typographic features. Indic script complexity may also be appreciated if you can interact with some one developing the indic script input methods.
Input methods: Then there are many input methods that have evolved. One is transliteration. Another is the typewriter keyboard layout. A third is a variant that evolved with the advent of computers. Teaching how to enter data takes substantial time in WikiAcademy tutorial session. We considered publishing one manual each for each of the popular languages. Though there are 20 plusIndian languages, the consideration was given to 4-5 top languages. Each language requires a different book.
Often instead of moving back and forth between windows referring to the method, one finds it convenient to have a guide. Personally I learnt better using a guidebook in English. I am a laggard in my native language, primarily because the input methods add a barrier. We would certainly evaluate the effectiveness of the guidebooks, and not continue it beyond the first print run, if they made no difference. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 18:14, 17 August 2013 (UTC)Reply
One question: will you upload the printed publication online too? May I comment that if different modes of training are determined to be an advantage, online mentors would be worth exploring. Even if such people were contracted in future for temporary helpful exchanges with learners after a session ... the one-to-one interactions could give people a lot of confidence. Just something to consider for the future. Tony (talk) 12:38, 22 August 2013 (UTC)Reply
We will certainly have them uploaded. I have some other thoughts on online training too. Unfortunately in the bandwidth situation in India, things like google hangouts do not work out so well. Till a year ago, I used to get just 256 kbps as broad band, and google hangout was not at all possible. Six months ago, it increased to 512Kbps, but google hangout was still not good enough. 2-3 weeks ago, it increased to 1 Mbps. I am yet to try a google hangout at this level. I find that one training session alone is often not adequate, and follow ups are required. Only when people start practising what they learn, they get their doubts. Most of our training sessions are 3 hours long, and thus we leave a lot for the trainees to practice outside the training session. In these situations, as you have rightly pointed out, one on one interaction sessions should help. I hope by next year we will learn more on effectiveness in training methods and adopt a better set of practices. Thanks for your thoughts. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 16:52, 25 August 2013 (UTC)Reply
TS, my understanding of the bandwidth situation was corrected only months ago by an internet consultant I hired personally. Skype audio and google hangout audio might take just 60 kb/s when someone's talking, and gdrive and chatboxes probably less than 30 kb/s when you're typing. What does matter is ping, or more technically, latency. Both of these functions are degraded when the ping of one of the communicating parties is high. Easy way to radically decrease your ping: plug it in, don't use wi-fi. Tony (talk) 02:13, 27 August 2013 (UTC)Reply
Tony1. We will continue off line. Thanks.TS-Sowmyan (talk) 03:40, 27 August 2013 (UTC)Reply

Lots of Noise[edit]

Hi. I was trying to follow the questions and discussions above - things seem fairly confusing. I don't know who is making a question and who is replying. There are veterans here like Tony who you should follow in terms of style and formatting, but I'd ask the Indian chapter people to not edit in between other people's comment and get things all muddled up - consider going point by point after the comment.

As for what I read, I generally wanna say as an Indian community member that I really am disappointed that the maturity I was expecting from the organizational side isn't showing up in this grant. My opinions are below point-by-point, the committee members, asaf or anyone can use them as reference point from an experienced local contact who has seen a lot of chapter grants and finances over the years. -

  • I don't know what the actual responsibilities of the executive is. There isn't an office, no staff AFAIK. Aside from occasional comments on lists or information on this grant, I don't know anything about this gentleman. I also don't think the listed amount is justified for part-time. It might have been better to expand the other way round or hire a staff along or with an executive? Some chapter pay their own board members or a former board member to fill in part-time, until they have infrastructure in place.
  • WLM amount can be asked separately to preserve the difference between annual operations and a specific program that has a global footprint. But that might be more for Asaf to consider and direct than you guys.
  • Printing expenses seems a little bloated, considering what I've been seeing the last few years.
  • GLAM- there's actually no strong clamoring for projects like this aside from the a couple of chapter people themselves. I don't know anything about a in-residence program, maybe it hasn't come across yet, especially if it is based in India or not. Something related to the digitization project was announced recently but it was with CIS Y2K, I don't know how much of that is being bared by their already large grant and how much would go towards this. These two items definitely need to be separated.
  • CC India launch - I have a problem with this. I mentioned earlier that there is no need to devote extra attention to creative commons and use our donor funds to help them in any way. The board member still went ahead meeting them even after resistance from a few people, adding their launch expense to this grant even if its 0.00002 USD is annoying after no one displayed enthusiasm for the idea in the first place.
  • The rest of the figures about travel, agm expenses, auditor fees, administration expenses - all look OK to me. I have no objections to any of them.

BTW I saw one of the other quarterly grant. Is the staff seriously paying $1000 USD for "wm.in server"? Without an explanation, I'm curous what is that for exactly? hosting cost? actual server? Anyway, That's all. Theo10011 (talk) 14:20, 16 August 2013 (UTC)Reply


We are almost through our grant period and have made significant progress. A few things have not panned out as planned, one major item being the GLAM project which has been stuck in bureaucracy. We have the following updates to give:


INR 11,067 was spent on the BNHS pilot. We now have a new project:

  • National Museum where they have 160 musiology students and 50 volunteers. We will impart training and conduct a pilot collaboration with interested students/volunteers. We estimate the number of students/volunteers involved from their end to be 20-30.
  • The project will begin last week of December and go on until first week of January so we will need a small extension of a week in terms of time for this project since the validity of this grant is upto 31st December 2013.
  • The projected cost is INR 120,000 (6 volunteers would be involved from our side. Approx INR 70,000 towards travel, INR 14,000 towards accommodation, INR 15,400 per diem to cover local travel and meals and 20,600 towards equipment rental and other incidentals)

The total spend in this category is expected to be INR 131,067 or approx INR 169,000 lower than initially expected


There was INR 300,000 budgeted for this. Our spend is likely to be around INR 320,000. This would include INR 142,750 for [7] and INR 45,000 for [8]. Since our grant agreement allows us to go upto 20% over budget in a particular sub-head, we are taking the liberty to spend this amount. Kindly confirm that this would be fine with you.

We request a reallocation of INR 20,000 from GLAM to Outreach to fill the gap.


We have only printed some regular brochures so far, we have been waiting to collectively place an order with all the local languages taken into consideration. One more language request has been considered apart from brochures in some local languages as well. The breakup currently is:

  1. ML request for handbook [9] INR 60,000
  2. Sanskrit Request for handbook and manual [10] INR 70,000
  3. Telugu request INR 55,000 (by Rahimanuddin)
  4. Bangla request INR 55,000 (by Jayanta Nath)
  5. Kannada request INR 15,000 (by Om Shiv Prakash - this language guide would be a very brief one )
  6. Chapter Annual Report INR 52,000

Total would be INR 312,486 including English brochures printed. We request INR 113,000 to be re-purposed from GLAM to printing so that we can commit to all of the above.

Call Conferencing facility[edit]

The board instituted a call conferencing facility last year which was intended to be paid from WMIN local accruals. This is used for regular board interactions. Since there is an underspend in the budget, we request you to reallocate INR 25,000 from GLAM to Board Meeting expenses to cover the cost of the conferencing as well.


Reduction in GLAM expenditure = INR 169,000

Re-purposing requested:

  • Additional allocation to Printing = INR 113,000
  • Additional allocation to Outreach = INR 20,000
  • Additional allocation to Call conferencing = INR 25,000
  • Total additional allocation sought = INR 158,000

Net change = Reduction by INR 11,000 approx

TS-Sowmyan (talk) 15:46, 1 December 2013 (UTC)Reply


Thanks Asaf. We are reducing the annual report count from what we printed last year. It will be primarily used as a reference and introduction to institutions with whom we will partner. Your point on reduced utility of print is valid. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 05:27, 7 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
Glad to hear it. Good luck! Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 06:22, 7 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
As Sowmyan said, we're going Digital to cut on costs [and paper], but Print copies are necessary for legal reasons as well. So we will reduce the copies, but won't eliminate them. ----Rsrikanth05 (talk) 07:39, 7 December 2013 (UTC)Reply


Since we expect the FDC's recommendation to mean WMIN becomes an FDC grantee, we are required to terminate all existing Project and Event Grants before the FDC grant's effective date, which is Jan 1st 2014. Therefore, unless the FDC recommendation regarding WMIN is not approved by the WMF Board, the extension I have approved would be meaningless, because once the FDC allocation is given to WMIN, you'll need to stop spending against this grant anyway.

So, to be clear: The re-allocations are still approved. You can spend against this grant up until Dec 31st. From Jan 1st onwards, any spending should be against your FDC allocation, and the activities should be reported in FDC reports. Thanks. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 18:43, 9 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

Request for extending payment deadline for delayed payments[edit]

We were given time till Jan 15, 2013 for 2013 expenses to be paid. The following is the key status on 20th Feb 2014. Some payments have been delayed due to (i) delay in receiving bills (ii) clearing content for printing by the reviewing community,(iii) oversight of not creating payment by Sowmyan for his personal dues.

  1. We have been waiting for the Sangamotsavam event bills from the ml community to close the grant. These have been incurred in Dec 2013. The volunteer committee took some time to sort them and locally account them. Since we pay by way of reimbursement, this can follow only after they are physically received at our end.
  2. We had put on hold the printing of Telugu and Bangla guidebooks as they were still under community review as we approached the end of Dec 2013. These reviews are apparently over now and the respective communities are ready to go to print. The execution are expected to be completed a week after approval. Kindly extend the period to cover these guidebooks.
  3. For another project, (MediaWiki hackathon at Ghoomakkad, Rakker Village), executed in the last week of December 2013, we have received the invoices late. We will have to reimburse for these now.
  4. Due to a flurry of year end activities including travel to Alleppey, and Delhi, Sowmyan had inadvertently considered some reimbursements due as closed transactions, while the payment for these had not been created. Since these pertain to the grant period, these need to be closed too.

Since Jan 15 was the deadline for making our payments and these payments are still due, we request your approval before we carry out these payments. Kindly note that all these expenses were incurred / accrued before end Dec 2013. It is the delay in receipt of bills / missed transactions that has lead to this situation.

Considering that we have still not taken the FDC grant and the FDC allocation was much smaller than what we had applied for, we request that these payments belonging to 2013 may kindly be permitted to be paid from the 2013 grant fund itself. As of our assessment on 20th Feb 2014, WMIN should be well within the budget in the overall terms as well as line item wise. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 06:54, 28 February 2014 (UTC)Reply

Thank you for the clear request. This is approved. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 13:09, 28 February 2014 (UTC)Reply
Just to be clear, this approval is for extending the payment deadline for expenses incurred during the grant term (through 31 December 2013). We are not extending the actual grant term and no new expenses can be incurred. Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 00:30, 4 March 2014 (UTC)Reply

Report past due[edit]

Dear WMIN: We have changed the status of your grant request to show that this report is past due, and note that WMIN is not eligible to receive or apply for funding until this report is submitted. Remember to also send documentation of your expenses to grants at wikimedia dot org when you submit your report.