This page in a nutshell: A fundraising banner is planned at the same time as the Wiki Loves Monuments banner: in the month September. Both banners have a large influence on the outcome of the other subject. How should this situation be solved?
Wiki Loves Monuments, first run in 2010, is the annual photo contest organised in September by many local Wikipedia communities and local chapters. For this contest a banner is shown on top of Wikipedia pages in the specific countries to attract attention from the public to participate in enriching Wikipedia with photos of the local cultural heritage.
Wiki Loves Monuments depends to at least 99% on the banner. When there is no banner for Wiki Loves Monuments, the number of uploaded photos drops dramatically. Possible participants are not informed that there is a contest going on and can't easily find the contest site. Also participants need time to go on location to take photos and see the banner above Wikipedia afterwards to find their way back. In the past years we have noticed a very large drop in visitors and uploaded photos when the CentralNotice banner for Wiki Loves Monuments was offline. It happened in both 2013 and 2014 that the Wiki Loves Monuments was partly blocked because a banner from WMF was shown instead. And in 2015 it is now planned to happen again.
In earlier years, there never was a problem with the fundraising banner, because it was always organised in December, as that was described as the best month for fundraising. This fundraising period was widely known and could be taken into account. In more recent years this was changed and now the fundraising banner is organised for various countries in another month in the course of the year, including the month of September when Wiki Loves Monuments is organised.
In 2015 a fundraising banner is planned to block the Wiki Loves Monuments banner again, this time in Italy. Wikimedia Italy had announced many months ago that Wiki Loves Monuments was going to be organised in September 2015, it was written so in the FDC application, and they have put a large amount of effort in organising Wiki Loves Monuments. Because of the difficult copyright situation in Italy, it requires a lot more work of them in comparison to most other countries. They need to ask for permission to make pictures of monuments. For EVERY single Monument.
Only two weeks ago the Italian Wiki Loves Monuments team was contacted by the WMF fundraising team about the situation that the fundraising team is planning a fundraising banner during September in Italy, even while Wiki Loves Monuments was announced in October 2014 and the Italian organisation had announced it many months ago. To quote an Italian organiser: "We have been surprised by that, since Wiki Loves Monuments is well-known to run in September, and it has been like that for years."
After multiple and exhaustive explanations from a large number of people why scheduling a fundraising banner for September in Italy is not a good idea, WMF Fundraising stickssticked to September, without giving any reason why they can't move it to a month later, other than that the fundraising team has a target to make in autumn 2015 and has planned it in September.
As international organiser of Wiki Loves Monuments, an unsatisfied feeling remains and the key question is not answered: is the loss of thousands of photos worth it for the movement?
We would now like to know what the Wikimedia community thinks of the situation and how it should be solved.
Update: While this request for comment was running, the fundraising team from the foundation announced their decision not to run the fundraising banner in Italy during September. (explanation) I am very happy for the Italian Wiki Loves Monuments team and Wikipedia that the photo contest to improve Wikipedia and Commons is not blocked by a fundraising banner. At the same time it is sad that it had to come this far. This RfC has been opened for two reasons: the current situation and the future situation. The current situation has been solved, what remains open are the future situations. That the Wiki Loves Monuments banner has been blocked by WMF banners in the past 2 years has never had the opportunity to be discussed by the community. It would be good to have the community speak about on this subject, so that if it would happen again in future situations, nobody does have to speculate about their view in this matter. Thank you.
No. Apart from the loss of participation in the contest, there is a secondary cost in perpetuating the impression that the Foundation consistently turns a deaf ear to volunteers' concerns, be it over Superprotect, the wording of the fundraising banners, or any other issue. The Foundation's revenue has tripled in the space of four years, from $25 million in 2010-2011 to $75 million in 2014-2015. It is coming across to many observers as seriously greedy and money-obsessed, as concerned about money as it is unconcerned about the quality of Wikimedia content and the unpaid volunteers creating it. --AndreasJN466 18:41, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
There is no necessity to have fundraising campaigns in September and no necessity to have them in Italy. If choosing another country produces a decrease in fundraising of a few dollars, nothing bad is going to happen. At any rate, don't trust anything the WMF says about fundraising in Italy: their predictions and interpretations proved wrong in the past and will prove wrong in the future as well. Finally, it's irresponsible for WMF to run fundraising without consulting the chapter, or in a period where the chapter is busy, because WMF fundraising always produces a lot of donor questions to the chapter, press coverage and other extra work with the chapter, which there will be even less bandwidth to sustain: we're giving the donors and the public a very bad experience. --Nemo 19:17, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
The contest has a clear, fixed date. Collecting money for Wikimedia is possible throughout the whole year. It's not necessary to do that in September. --MSchnitzler2000 (talk) 19:48, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
In my opinion, WLM is as important as fundraising, because every editor on every Wikimedia project needs good photos in the very same way as he or she needs stable servers and strong tech team, which are the primary directions where the raised money presumably goes. While the fundraising can be shifted from one month to another, WLM is running under certain constraints and should be given priority. --Alexander (talk) 20:13, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
There has clearly been a failure of the WMF to consult effectively with the volunteer community, and that needs to be addressed and rectified. Given that either WMF or WMIT has to give way here, the balance of convenience is clearly that WMF Fundraising should adjust their timing. It is worth recalling that the primary objective of the whole enterprise is to gather knowledge. Everything else is secondary. If Fundraising have to do a little extra work then they are clearly in a better position to do so that the volunteers from WMIT, and the marginal inconvenience may help them to remember to consult more effectively in future. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 20:52, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
Inviting readers to contribute to Wikipedia by donating photographs is much more important than money. Showing people how easy, worthwile and satisfying it is to contribute to our collection of free knowledge should be the number one priority.--Cirdan (talk) 21:09, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
I agree with the messages above. Astirmays (talk) 22:06, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
+1 Wikipedia/Commons is first and foremost a project to create free content. Fundraising is nothing more than an efford to support that. And therefore fundraising has to step back, when it threatens to obstruct an important project like WLM. @WMF: Get your prioritys straight! // Martin Kraft (talk) 23:05, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
The readers of Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects need a reason to donate their money. WLM is appreciated by the locals, because it makes visible to them, what Wikimedia is and can do. Without showing the benefits of Wikimedia projects to them, the fundraising will be less effective. When WLM started worldwide in September, the fundraising activities were mainly in December (at least in Europe). There are good reasons to present WLM during the "European heritage month" in September, at least for European countries, because there are many synergetic side-effects in outreach and cooperations with external partners and authorities. Therefore the WLM banner should have precedence in September. Of course there are many countries not participating in WLM every year or participating in Wiki Loves Earth in May, so the fundraising team can cooperate with them in September as well. --Regiomontanus (talk) 00:49, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
Definitely not, the begging spree could be easily shifted to any month, usually the nearer to the end of the year, the better. Especially with the vast amount of money in the coffers of the WMF there is absolutely no need to interfere with important content projects for begging. --Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden)superputsch must go 07:25, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
WMF has enough money. WMF is a Foundation and not a company. Volunteers & WLM first. I am highly disappointed by the fundraising team. --Steinsplitter (talk) 10:05, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
One way to solve this situation is to split the number of impressions in 50% for WLM and 50% fundrising campaign, or the first 15 days of September to display Wiki Loves Monuments and the last 15 days fokus on the fundraising campaign. This could be a compromise, but the best scenario for me would be to focus on WLM in September and fundraising campaign in October. --Leeturtle (talk) 11:55, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
It is sad to see the Foundation shadowing a such relevant event as WLM, which brings not just a bunch of low quality pictures but also a lot of high value photos for the projects. --Tino (talk) 20:39, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
WLM recruits new and different kind of people (photographers) into the Wikimedia movement. Yes, we know that september is the best month for gaining in fundraising worldwide (even not necessarily in Italy), but we also know that the donations to WMF are really large (larger every year), so we can survive with a little less money, if this hopefully brings new content contributions and volunteer contributors, expecially to local projects. --Marcok (talk) 07:39, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Show neither banner. Even better, kill all banners, always — they in the way of our work. It’s like ads, frankly. In the specific case of these two, they are both particularly deterimental: WLM results in a flurry of 99% garbage that needs to be sorted, channels contributions into a small timeframe (most monuments get photographed in september — is that good?), and has a shady prime motivator (win a prize?!); while funding means that the WMF will be even richer, which keeps attracting profit-driven elements whose priorities are further and further away from the actual goals of its projects and the needs of their editing communities.- Tuvalkin (talk) 14:53, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
Fundraising or WLM should not rely too much on banners. I agree with Tuvalkin that it may be better without banner - the banners are in the way and may dilute the value/focus of our encyclopedic work. However, alternatives to banners are yet to be found and to be proven. Both fundraising and WLM are good initiatives for our movement and many of us endured the pain of the banners to support the activities. To be fair and transparent, a panel and a proper process of distributing banner quota should be established. Community should be consulted and informed in advance. --Taweethaも (talk) 04:51, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Tuvalkin, I'd rather agree if there are no banner at all on all wikis.--AldNonymousBicara? 15:43, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
Should a banner have preference in September?
Yes, the fundraising banner should have preference
Yes, the Wiki Loves Monuments banner should have preference
I am surprised this is in question ... --Don-kun (talk) 05:00, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
Sänger 07:16, 31 August 2015 (UTC) Thus far from the usual time in year for donations, there is no reason to use the (probably again totally untrustworthy an deceitful) begging banner. sorry, SUL didn't work for unknown reasons, thus I had to change this entry, --Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden)superputsch must go 07:18, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
Not that our opinion matters or that the foundation has enough funds despite lying to the readers, the WMF will force the fundraising banner on the community par ordre du mufti and thus will spit in the faces of those who provide and create the content for which they're collecting their funds. Viciargᚨ 14:35, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
Imagine what the Wikimedia movement would be like if it was volunteer led. For starters the fundraisers would have avoided this clash. WereSpielChequers (talk) 20:07, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
No, both banners should be shown in September
Can't there be a dual banner, that asks for photos or money? Maybe that would be worth a try? It might work even better for both. If not, then having two different banners could still reduce the banner blindness. Kruusamägi (talk) 18:09, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
i think we can show the both banner in same period it possible ;i agree that fundraising are very important but we can localize wish time are benefit for donations and wish time are benefit for uploaders ....other thing ;we can determine the percentage for each banner --Mohammed Bachounda (talk) 19:49, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
A joint banner which promotes both seems like a great option - this could be done in a way that helps donors see what their money is being used for: WMF support of WLM (e.g. app, analytics, etc). John Vandenberg (talk) 22:47, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
I think that both banners are important. Is possible to show the two banners alternately? --Umberto NURS (msg) 16:39, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Not a vote, just a question why can't they both be shown (Advanced Site Notice-like)? ✒Bennylin 14:44, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
Why not move the fundraiser banner to October?
Could either WLM in Italy or the fundraiser in Italy be moved to October to avoid the conflict? Mike Peel (talk) 20:02, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
Aubrey said on wikimedia-l that it's impossible this year: consider that Wikimedia Italia has 300 institutional partners, all of which have been told September is when WLM happens, and many of which have planned local events ("wikigite", sort of upload-a-thons) in the period. --Nemo 20:09, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
OK, local event planning rules out moving WLM. So move the fundraising banner? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:27, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
Ah, they've just done this. Never mind! Time to close this RfC? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:29, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
This RfC has been opened for two reasons: the current situation and the future situation. That the Wiki Loves Monuments banner has been blocked by WMF banners in the past 2 years has never had the opportunity to be discussed by the community. I think it would be good to have the community speak about on this subject, so that if it would happen again in future situations, we do not have to speculate about it. Romaine (talk) 23:15, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Romaine. This is a recurring problem and should be sorted out now so it doesn't happen again next year. This is a case where history tells us not to assume good faith. · · · Peter (Southwood)(talk): 09:15, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the discussion. The online fundraising team has had, good productive conversations with Wikimedia Italy. WMF had agreed (before this page launched) not run banners in Italy in September.(citation needed) I want to thank them – and especially Andrea Zanni – for their patience, flexibility, and professionalism. --Lgruwell-WMF (talk) 20:08, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
Why is it so important to you that this community discussion had no bearing on your decision? Are you glad you decided this without community input? 126.96.36.199 21:51, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
What is important is that all parties to the discussion use this as an opportunity to improve cooperation and collaboration. I am sure this particular sort of dissonance will not happen again. Volunteer work relies on funds raised by WMF and WMF work becomes so much more effective when they engage effectively with the volunteer community. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 07:15, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
User:Lgruwell-WMF: Please provide evidence of that decision occurring before this page was launched. It does not seem particularly plausible considering the history of this dispute. · · · Peter (Southwood)(talk): 09:11, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
Is that really the most important thing to be doing right now? The important points are that WLM go ahead effectively, that funds are raised effectively and cooperation and collaboration are more effective in the future. This isn't Watergate. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 09:22, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
I made no claim that it is the most important thing to be doing right now, those are your words. However I do consider it is one of the important things to be doing right now, and as it should be technically very simple to do, and not require much effort, and it might restore a modicum of credibility to WMF fundraising, I strongly recommend that it is done. · · · Peter (Southwood)(talk): 09:37, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
@Lgruwell-WMF: To be honest. I am disappointed by you as new Chief Revenue Officer. In wikimedia project the Community is the important thing, not money. You should communicate with the community. I am not surprised about all the recent incidents at friso. A lot of staffer never edited wikipedia before working at WMF. WMF needs real wikimedians as staffer. --Steinsplitter (talk) 10:12, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
I concur and not the ones who can't find jobs anywhere else. Maybe it should be a requirement to work there that they also edit 25 - 50 edits a month. That's not very much and could easily be worked into even a busy schedule. Reguyla (talk) 20:06, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
Wiki Loves Monuments doesn't run in every country every year, in fact most countries don't participate. So there is plenty of room for fundraising in September in those parts of the world not in WLM WereSpielChequers (talk) 20:04, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
I already asked this question once (or twice) on the wikimedia-l thread that preceded the opening of this RFC, but there hasn't been any public answer from the fundraising department, namely: Why is it so ultra-necessary to ask for donations in Italy in September, why can it not be any other month? It seems like there might be a yearly goal of money that should be collected, not a monthly one. And anyway, we all know WMF is certainly not hard-pressed for money. If this question can't be answered convincingly, there is obviously no reason for running the fundraising banner instead of the WLM one. --MF-W 18:54, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
I've asked the same question during a call with the fundraising team. The answer, as understand it (more explanations welcomed!), is that September is in general an important month for the fundraising (in the northern hemisphere), but there is no specific connection with Italy. - Laurentius (talk) 19:54, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
It would be nice if the data & analysis which shows which months are best for which regions is published. John Vandenberg (talk) 22:51, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
regretfully, there seems to be a systemic communication problem, where the WMF makes plans, without considering or getting feedback from the community. the community getting spun up, seems to be the only feedback mechanism. after the WLM "evaluation" heartburn, you would think that the WMF should have been particularly diplomatic. changing from december to september is not necessarily bad, just the way of implementing; but what is the process for community feedback ? are there "cultural ambassadors" ; "community health practitioners" ? Slowking4 (talk) 16:22, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
As an Italian living in Italy September is generally associated to some yearly expenses for people (three different kind of taxes but also most of business coming back from August holidays). Also first two weeks of September are still holidays for certain categories of workers. So, from an empirical point of view, I'd say September is not good for fundraising. As a general suggestion some weeks ("weeks" is better than "months") in December (w:thirteenth salary's month) and April/May are definitely more suitable for. July (14th's salary month) suffers from a dropping online activity. --Vituzzu (talk) 23:51, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
The answer to MF-W 's question ("Why is it so ultra-necessary to ask for donations in Italy in September, why can it not be any other month?") is probably this: "Fundraising campaigns fund the movement and the team has a difficult goal this year with quarterly targets to meet. (...) Postponing the Italian fundraising campaign means for the first time in at least 4 years, the fundraising team will not be meeting a target. The team will pick up extra work in October to make up for work missed in September. It's not possible to do two months of work in one month, so there will need to be adjustments later throughout the year to make up for missing the September target." --Atlasowa (talk) 12:49, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
So the proper solution would be to ditch quarterly targets, or to adjust them to the reality. If targets have to be corrected to fit the reality, they were wrong from start, and it's the fault of those who made them, not those who missed them. Quarterly targets are something fishy anyway, far too hectic and quite useless in the real world (and yes, the financial world is not the real world, it has quite little connection with it). Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden)superputsch must go 13:47, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
So basically WMF employees are sabotaging projects to meet arbitrary targets set by their superiors, possibly to avoid personal repercussions? Very bad form., way to go WMF. --Sebari (talk) 14:17, 1 September 2015 (UTC)