Talk:Affiliate-selected Board seats/2016/Nominations/Maarten

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As you want a small Foundation, what do you think of disbanding the San Francisco office? (For instance, WMF could set up a small administrative office in a cheaper location where to keep the books, hold meetings etc.; employees would work remotely or leave.) --Nemo 09:48, 3 March 2016 (UTC)

@Nemo bis: I don't think it is a good idea to close the SF office. We have a lot of good staff working there, and they are paramount for a strong, good functioning organisation.
However, I do agree that the SF office has taken up too much responabilities. Hence I propose a "small and focused Foundation, with limited responsibilities (eg. strategy, trademarks, setting out guidelines for local chapters, supporting the affiliated organisations).".
We must have a "Foundation HQ", but with a clear scope. Activities like "securing external grant" and "performing big IT projects" should not be in their scope. We should think about a "commercial Wikimedia organisation", closely working with the Foundation but a seperate legal and financial entity, that can take up this roles. This approach also makes it possible to perform this activities outside of the US. I can image a Indian based IT company doing software development for the WMF. MADe (talk) 13:37, 5 March 2016 (UTC)


Financial responsibility of affiliates[edit]

Hi Maarten. You state that you would like to give the chapters and user groups more financial responsibility (eg. fundraising, more decision power on the donations collected in their territory). Could you please explain what impact on WMF-affiliate relations do you expect to get, particularly on Global South affiliates? What is the place of grantmaking in your plan? Thanks! — NickK (talk) 20:19, 4 March 2016 (UTC)

A chapter asking for grant money ("the WMF and chapters are not peers")
@NickK: As member of the GAC and two different chapters, I have experienced the grant processes from closeby. Currently donation money is collected by the WMF all over the world, and than distributed back to the local chapters in a cumbersome grant process. The chapters and the Foundation are not peers on financial issues.
I think this is fundamentally wrong. I want to rethink the relations between the chapters and WMF. I would like to go to a situation of peers, where both the local chapter and the WMF can manage the local donations. This will make the chapters responsable, and although it might lead to the occassional mistake, I think this will lead to a bigger and more sustainable growth.
I have worked 3y in the South African chapter and I'm convinced that this "leaner" process will help the Global South chapter grow. MADe (talk) 14:50, 5 March 2016 (UTC)
@MADe: Thanks for your answer. According to the fundraising statistics, the total amount of donations from South America is far below the budget of just one local chapter, namely Wikimedia Argentina. At the same time, the total amount of donations from North America is far above the total budget of the four North American chapters (WMCA, WMDC, WMNYC and WMMX). Do you think that some redistribution process (by means of grantmaking or any other approach you would suggest) should still exist or do you think that Global South chapters should scale down their programmes and budgets to match local donations? Thanks — NickK (talk) 15:15, 5 March 2016 (UTC)
@NickK: Yes. I want to come to a "leaner"/ "easier" process for the chapters to get their funding; whether this is from donations collected in their territory or from grant funding. This will help small chapters and chapters in the Global South focus on their core activities and with their growth. Believe me, I have been in the board of both types of chapters.
Inevitably, with increased responsabilities comes higher risks of making mistakes. I think this is a risk we will need to face. We can mitigate this by giving more more support to the chapters and the volunteers active in the chapters. MADe (talk) 19:11, 7 March 2016 (UTC)
@MADe: There is one point which is not clear for me. If you state that chapters and WMF should be peers, who will distribute funding? Namely, who will decide which chapters should get more funding than the amount of donations collected in their territories, which chapters should get less than the amount of donations collected in their territories and which amount of funding the "small WMF" should get? Thanks — NickK (talk) 23:00, 7 March 2016 (UTC)
@NickK: currently only the WMF decides how the money is spent (mainly through grants, IEG, scholarships). I would like to see the chapters and WMF as peers, who decide together how to allocate their incomes using a "allocation key". In a very basic form, it could be something like:
100% of the donations in a certain region would be split: 20% for operating expenses (OPEX: wages, office costs, ...) of the chapter, 20% OPEX costs for the Foundation, 20% redistribution to other chapters/user groups/thematic organisations (eg. Global South), 20% saving for future years (redistributing in time), and 20% for capital expenses (CAPEX: projects, conferences, ... managed by grant requests).
I hope this clarifies. Determining the exact key will take a lot of discussions, but it will give more responsabilities to the chapters, and also a long term vision . MADe (talk) 19:01, 8 March 2016 (UTC)
@MADe: This clarifies the theory, it doesn't explain much how this can work in practice (as this can be even more burdensome than the Barnett formula), but thank you for your answer and sharing your views — NickK (talk) 22:52, 8 March 2016 (UTC)

Questions to be addressed[edit]

Hi, I've been reading through the answers to the questions that have been posed by the community, and I note that there are several long-standing questions that you have not yet responded to, including my own question on the openness of board proceedings. Knowing where the candidates stand on a variety of issues is important when deciding who to vote for, and if you have not done so recently it would be worth reviewing the questions that still remain to be answered. MichaelMaggs (talk) 17:29, 20 March 2016 (UTC)

Hey @MichaelMaggs:, I will check your questions.
For your clarity, improving the "WMF board transparancy and accountability" is one of my three top priorities. You will see that several questions on the Q&A are about transparancy (2 questions about board meetings, the story about Arnnon Geshuri, meeting minutes, transparancy in general, a move to a membership organisation, audits). I answered most of these questions by showing my commitment to transparancy, and proposing practical steps to increase it. I just find this very important in an organisation almost fully funded by donations.
But you are right, I missed your question, I will reply to it in the coming days. MADe (talk) 19:52, 22 March 2016 (UTC)

What to do in these cases?[edit]

Hi dear Maarten, Talk:Affiliate-selected Board seats/2016/Nominations/Susanna Mkrtchyan#Questions from 6AND5/2, Requests for comment/Indefinite block the user:6AND5 in the armenian Wikipedia ?--6AND5 (talk) 10:30, 24 March 2016 (UTC)