Narrowing Focus: Implications for other movement players

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This page is for discussion of the proposal, User talk:Sue Gardner/Narrowing focus, and its implications for other movement players.

Initial reactions?[edit]

Implications that impact your chapter?[edit]

The question of "on the ground" operations is an important one. Although knowledge is widely spread, information channels for open content are much more highly centralized in the US than many people realize. The open content held in DC/NYC is key for making Wikipedia a credible source. DC/NYC is a complicated place, having both major national repositories for open content and lawmaking authority for the US Internet. Without a full-time person on the ground in DC/NYC, who serves as a central point of communication with the Foundation, DC will continue to have a bunch of volunteers producing uneven results in our spare time ... Eventually we will be forced to deal with this situation, and adopt a more professional approach. To put it another way, would you really want to run this sort of operation in Germany without having somebody in Berlin? :) Djembayz (talk) 02:35, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

Implications for the overall movement?[edit]

A couple of things caught my eye here with this narrowing focus. One, it's absolutely necessary in my mind that a narrowing focus must happen. Two, it's a brave admission that the Foundation has gotten away from its roots -- one in that the "on-the-ground" focus was poorly handled both in of itself and in relation to the chapters; but also that the Foundation recognizes on some level that it hasn't been listening to the community, a complaint that has been growing louder and louder since before Movement roles. This document is at least a small admission of the above. The real question is, will it be enough? A narrowing focus has to be accompanied by a change in attitude away from "us vs. them" between the staff and the community. And the closure of the Fellows program I fear kills any chance of having that happen. SWATJester Son of the Defender 10:51, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Other things to say?[edit]

  • I thought that the question "what WMF is for" had been answered in 5 year plan: to support Wikimedia Movement in any form deemed promoting the goals and cost-efficient. This proposal outlines a completely different model: to maintain the databases, leaving the Movement to organise itself. If we put aside inevitable waste of resources and momentum, which accompanies any sudden change of direction, the question will be why technical personnel, which collects the money on behalf of the community will determine where and when to give the money back (grant making in management speak)?
  • If this proposal is approved - which I sincerely hope will not pass - there will be a question how to separate money required for technical maintenance and direction of the software projects (as messy as herding cats or wikimedians) from the rest, which should be given back to the Movement. We will have to invent yet another coordination mechanism, because the WMF feels stretched.
  • P.S. I have always wondered how highly successful Mozilla Foundation achieves its goals with fewer personnel.--Victoria (talk) 13:40, 19 October 2012 (UTC)
There are several misconceptions here and in your Wikimedia-l posting; to pick three:
  • The remark about the Mozilla Foundation would be an apples-to-oranges comparison anyway, and is extremely misinformed regarding "fewer personnel". In 2007/2008, the Mozilla Foundation had $70 million annual revenue and 150 staff, while WMF had less than 20 staff. In 2010 (their most recent annual report), Mozilla's budget was $123 million. In 2010-11, the Wikimedia Foundation's cash expenditures were around $20 million.
  • "We will have to invent yet another coordination mechanism" - the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) is prominently mentioned in Sue's proposal.
  • Of course the "technical personnel" at WMF is not the same as the employees tasked with grantmaking and supporting the FDC[1].
Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 15:58, 19 October 2012 (UTC)