Talk:Affiliations Committee

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To be archived[edit]

The archiving tool is not set up in the standard way. Probably all the archives here need cleanup. I do not have labor to commit to this now, so I am going to cap the 2014-2017 discussion here. This entire collection of discussions needs cleanup to conform to the normal standards of talk page archives. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:57, 10 October 2018 (UTC)

Brazil Next steps discussion is missing your participation[edit]

Thank you for starting the discussion on the page Talk:Affiliations Committee/Brazil Next Steps.

Please, do not forget to follow the discussion. It is been a while and nobody from AffCom commented. It would be nice to at least refer if we are going to have an answer or not. I don't know if members of AffCom were notified about the discussion and maybe that is why you are not there. So, I am reporting here. Regards.—Teles «Talk to me ˱C L @ S˲» 16:52, 22 August 2018 (UTC)

I'll second this concern, it would be very constructive to have input from Affcom members on that page. Chico Venancio (talk) 18:40, 1 September 2018 (UTC)

Why is that page almost abandoned? Wasn't it created to be a place where questions could be asked by the community, and answers would be provided by the AffCom?--- Darwin Ahoy! 21:46, 1 September 2018 (UTC)

Another week has gone by. Should we expect any involvement from Affcom or WMF? Chico Venancio (talk) 18:40, 8 September 2018 (UTC)

2 more weeks have gone by and we still have radio silence on most issues. Chico Venancio (talk) 18:42, 21 September 2018 (UTC)

Wikimedia community in danger, Wikimedia Portugal in distress[edit]

See thread Plea from Wikimedia Portugal

Whenever any Wikimedia affiliate is in trouble, every Wikimedia affiliate is in trouble. We all depend on each other. If anyone fails the responsibility for blame includes the WMF, AffCom, and each Wikimedia affiliate in proportion to its resources.

Whatever is happening with Portugal is unfortunate for us all. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:59, 10 October 2018 (UTC)

Lack of conversation on issues related to Wikimedia affiliation[edit]

The trouble with Wikimedia Portugal could be a signal of a more systemic troubles. Here are some issues I see -

  1. Lack of on-wiki discussion forums about Wikimedia affiliation
    1. The lack of activity at this talk page, which is the natural center of discussion and seemingly ideal place for archival records
    2. The lack of any other central repository for reporting, sorting, and addressing claims
  2. Although the wiki community needs a place to speak, it also needs whatever liberty encourages open discussion
    1. AffCom and related powers control funding and the destiny of entire cultures - this creates a chilling effect around surfacing problems
    2. So far as I know there has never been any public discussion about conflict of interest in relationships between the Wikimedia Foundation, AffCom, and the Wikimedia affiliates
    3. There are lots of reasons to believe that people cannot speak freely even when they have problems which Wikimedia community infrastructure could address and support.

I do not see what will resolve the challenges with Wikimedia Portugal but I expect that part of the solution is open and transparent conversation. It is not appropriate to only surface problems when they have grown to be huge, out of control, desperate, and a global problem for all Wikimedia community groups.

Just curious, is anyone else aware of any other Wikimedia affiliate having any challenges, questions, or concerns about the affiliation process but which are not on this talk page?

We have a community of 10s of 1000s of members. Is it truly correct that on this page, which seems to be our highest and most authoritative record, that there was 1 comment in 2018, 3 in 2017, and 1 in 2016? I strongly suspect that every year thousands of Wikimedia community hours go into bureaucratic processes related to AffCom. Everyone in the wiki world knows this organization. Everyone is keenly aware that this organization is intimately tied to community groups making grant requests to the WMF and those grants making wishes come true.

Is there anyone who thinks the Wikimedia community could be lacking for things to say on the matter of affiliation? Is that the reason for the lack of discussion here and seemingly elsewhere? Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:59, 10 October 2018 (UTC)

Thank you for caring, Bluerasberry. I also have requested more attention from AffCom to a certain issues (above), but my questions weren't properly addressed IMO. I am not trying to make it sound as if you support my complaints, but just want to say that it is nice to see that others also care about it. Hoping for more transparency, dialogue, and fairness. Regards.—Teles «Talk to me ˱C L @ S˲» 20:53, 6 November 2018 (UTC)

Wiki Medicine seeking to become a Wikimedia thematic organization[edit]

While I am here for Portugal and asking about conversation on this AffCom page I should share the news I have.

Wiki Project Med is a global multilingual community of Wikimedia contributors on all Wikimedia projects who develop content related to medicine. This organization is currently seeking AffCom recognition as a Wikimedia thematic organization.

The request was made before Wikimania 2018 in South Africa. The application is at Wiki Project Med/Application.

If any individual can give review or support to this group transition from user group to thematic organization then please sign off on the application. If any Wikimedia chapter can review and endorse collectively then that would be most welcome. There seems to be no established process for this. I think that there have been no new chapters or thematic organizations since about 2013, so hopefully this medicine application can be part of a process for determining a process of review for affiliation. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:05, 10 October 2018 (UTC)

Community[edit]

India has different communities still one nation! Rajinder Raina (talk) 23:41, 4 November 2018 (UTC)

AffCom participation in the voting process[edit]

I originally posted this to Talk:Wikimedia Foundation bylaws/December 2018 - Affiliate-selected trustees, term limits, and diversity. @Raystorm: asked me to post this for comment here.

AffCom appoints user groups so AffCom shapes the Affiliate-selected Board seats election. Previously this election was imagined as a Wikimedia community organization process. To what extent is AffCom a Wikimedia community organization?

  1. Can anyone list all the Wikimedia Foundation employees, consultants, or any other paid staff who are paid to engage with AffCom?
  2. What budget or estimate of a budget for AffCom can anyone show? Can AffCom start publishing an annual budget, if its money is more than 0?
    1. Include an estimate of paid staff who do admin for AffCom
    2. Include travel costs to convene
  3. To what extent is AffCom and guiding the voting in the Affiliate-selected Board seats election part of the WMF administrative process? Are the designated AffCom staffers independent of other WMF roles, or do the AffCom staffers mingle with other interests and potentially bring those into AffCom
  4. To what extent do any paid staff set agendas, discussions, goals, or do strategic planning for AffCom?
  5. What sources of funding does AffCom have?
  6. What is the history of paid staff in AffCom? When did this start, where is the documentation?

The point of me asking about money is that in the past, it was imagined that AffCom was a community organization which operated on a budget similar to other Wikimedia community groups. I am curious about the extent to which this might have changed, and the extent to which money gets involved in the Affiliate-selected Board seats election, decisions which AffCom makes, the discussions it has, who shows up to participate, or whatever happens in AffCom with money that might not happen without money. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:44, 7 December 2018 (UTC)

Hi Bluerasberry! To provide some historical context, let me start at the end and work generally backwards through your questions:
  • I'm not sure that viewing AffCom as a "community organization" is a particularly good way of looking at it when considering our relationship with the Wikimedia Foundation. AffCom—like the FDC—is formally an advisory committee to the Board, and has always had a relatively intimate working relationship with both the Board and various members of Wikimedia Foundation staff as a result. For the same reason, AffCom can't really be viewed as an entity "independent" of the Wikimedia Foundation in its broadest sense; our ultimate responsibility is to advise the Board, not to act in furtherance of our own, independent objectives.
  • There have been a number Wikimedia Foundation staff who've interacted quite closely with AffCom since the committee was first formed—the legal department, in particular, has always worked closely with us, for what I imagine are obvious reasons—but the current model of having staff specifically dedicated to supporting committee's work as such began in late 2015, when Jaime Anstee and Rosemary Rein were assigned as our staff liaisons. The change was closely tied to a shift in the committee's workload—the bulk of our work moving from chapter recognition to user group recognition—and was intended at first to support the user group application and review process, which the committee had struggled to execute on a purely volunteer basis during the prior year. In the three years since then, the role of the staff supporting us has continued to evolve, just as the committee's own role has; for example, our staff liaisons now provide a significant degree of support for our inter-affiliate and intra-affiliate conflict investigation and mediation work, which has grown considerably as a segment of the committee's overall workload.
  • That having been said, it's important to distinguish between the formal membership of the committee and our non-voting advisors, liaisons, and supporting staff (a full list of whom is available at Affiliations Committee/Members#Current members). The Wikimedia Foundation staff who support the committee are not voting members of the committee; they support our work in a variety of invaluable ways, ranging from the mundane (scheduling meetings and tracking action items) to the profound (conducting affiliate compliance investigations), but it is ultimately up to the committee's volunteer voting members to assess the information available to us (including both materials prepared by staff as well as other inputs) and make decisions. In this regard, AffCom is quite similar to the FDC.
  • The overall AffCom budget consists of two somewhat distinct pools of funding: a direct budget for specific AffCom activities, including travel, and a proportional budget allocation for our staff support, which is integrated into the applicable Wikimedia Foundation departmental staff budgets. Our direct budget has typically run around $50,000 to $60,000 per year; for example, our 2018-19 budget consists of the following items:
Category Item Amount (USD)
Travel Annual meeting at Wikimedia Summit $32,000
In-person training for Mediation Subcommittee $13,000
Visits to new or growing affiliates or to regional conferences $4,000
Volunteer Development AffCom and/or Affiliate leadership development $8,000
Total $57,000
I'm not certain, offhand, what the specific budget allocation for our staff support is this year, but Jaime Anstee might be able to provide this number. In either case, this funding is directly allocated by the Wikimedia Foundation as part of its core budget.
Please let me know if that answers your questions, and if you have any further ones. Kirill Lokshin (talk) 23:39, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
Hello, Bluerasberry, there are various staff who engage with the AffCom in the course of connecting foundation supports to the committee and affiliate issues. Combined, staff currently provide about one full-time equivalency from across the Community Engagement and Legal departments. The amount of support varies however, as some of this support is reactive and is dependent on needs. You can see the official staff liaisons and observers listed among non-voting advisors here on meta. JAnstee (WMF) (talk) 20:17, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
@JAnstee (WMF) and Kirill Lokshin: Thanks both of you. My questions are answered completely. Kirill I regret that I lack the resources to get you in front of an interviewer to talk for hours, because I would listen to whatever you stories you published. You both have been thorough and I appreciate the response.
I will make a guess that the 1.0 FTE means about US$150,000/year. Correct me if I am wrong.
My calculation is that the salary is about $100,000/year and other costs of having an employee are another US$50,000. With the WMF staffing and the costs Kirill mentioned, that makes the operation of AffCom a US$200,000 / year operation.
There are about 140 Wikimedia chapter and user groups. I have trouble accessing data but I would guess that ~100 of them operate on a budget of less than US$5000/year. I would guess that the bottom 50% (70 groups) collectively consume less than $200,000 / year. I perceive an imbalance of power here where AffCom could be caught in conflicts of interest against Wikimedia movement affiliates. If the interests of the Wikimedia Foundation as an organization and the Wikimedia Movement ever come into conflict, then the money that AffCom controls could impede Wikimedia user affiliates from expressing themselves.
I want to express that I perceive no urgent danger at this time. I post below that I think that AffCom came to a strange counter-wiki practice of establishing a norm of privacy in applying for user groups. If there had not been paid staff involved in the process, I have doubts that the Wikimedia community alone would have come to the conclusion that operating a user group can happen in private.
In the longer term I wish that there could be a trend of resources associated with Wikimedia community group management mostly coming from the governance of Wikimedia community groups themselves. I do not need a particular response to any of this. I only wanted to speak my view in public. I also want to express that I am happy with AffCom and the WMF, and hope that the WMF encourages Wikimedia community expression of concerns by inviting them and making conversation as casual as possible. Another mark of community health is a steady stream of comments and concerns from a diverse userbase. Blue Rasberry (talk) 01:04, 12 December 2018 (UTC)

No more private user group applications![edit]

With the WMF board at Wikimedia Foundation bylaws/December 2018 - Affiliate-selected trustees, term limits, and diversity issuing new Affiliate-selected Board seats voting rights to user groups the balance of power is changing.

I would like to request either a change in AffCom's process of recognizing user groups or otherwise an explanation for why a process came to be.

Currently user groups apply by private email which the Wikimedia community cannot access. The form is at Special:Contact/affcomusergroup. Other communication happens by email beyond this form.

This kind of non-transparent, off-wiki process is not the Wikimedia norm. The off-wiki process is even stranger considering that it got established without on-wiki discussion, that Wikimedia Foundation staff got involved in establishing a practice like this, and that it is not obvious why there is a need to elevate an application to a user group to be under the Access to nonpublic personal data policy.

I request either of the following responses:

  1. Move the application process to be on-wiki, and move the normal Wikimedia amount of information outside of Access to nonpublic personal data policy
  2. Explain why this information is private
    1. Name the individuals who said that user group applications should be private
    2. Identify which parts of the information are most sensitive
    3. Give a narrative of when and how anyone decided to start making this private.

The part about this that I perceive as most anti-wiki is that by default, user groups have no obligation to report the Wikimedia accounts associated with the user group's decision making process. For these groups to get a vote in an important election I feel that the Wikimedia community is at a great disadvantage for not being aware of Wikimedia accounts associated with groups. Why hide this information? Why do applicants prove their eligibility to be a user group to the WMF, but have no obligation to demonstrate eligibility to the Wikimedia community? Blue Rasberry (talk) 00:36, 12 December 2018 (UTC)