Grants talk:APG/Proposals/2013-2014 round1/Wikimedia India/Proposal form

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Incomplete financial information on proposal form[edit]

WMIN did not include information about financial year-to-date progress. Table 3 is incomplete and the following related question is not answered. That question reads: "Based on the variance percentages above, please describe how your entity is progressing against revenue and spending targets. If your projected final amount shows your entity to be significantly under or over target on either revenue or spending, please provide a detailed explanation."

This particular section is not about previous FDC grants, but rather about your entity's year-to-date progress on all funds (including Project and Event grants from WMF). Therefore the table and the related questions are relevant to Wikimedia India and need to be filled out based on your current fiscal year budget and expenditure rate to date.

Can you kindly make these additions to the form, and in the revision history note that it was included after deadline at the request of the FDC staff?

If you have questions, please let me know. Many thanks! KLove (WMF) (talk) 22:14, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for highlighting. I have now updated it. Initially we thought the FDC funded report was expected and since this was our first FDC, I left it blank. Even where we condier GAC, our GAC was approved in the beginning of September, and as of the date of this application, the fund had not arrived in our bank.
The YTD revenue section of the table is showing a large variance because of this delay in obtaining GAC funds. The YTD spend section of the table also has a large variance as it is constrained by the revenue shortfall.
I think I saved the edit after making it without marking the revision field as suggested by you. My mistake. I will add a dummy edit showing this. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 07:02, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Our GAC was approved in end August 2013, and not beginning of Sept as in the comment above. Corrected this error also. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 07:15, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Hello, TS-Sowmyan, Thanks for taking the time to review this and make the correction. To be clear, this section is about all of Wikimedia India's financials year-to-date. Therefore, it should summarize not only any grants you have received from Project & Event grants program but also all of your organizational budget. It should be based on your current year's annual plan and budget (as I understand your previous post, from April to now), and then track the spending to date.
If the current version still only reflects that Project and Event/GAC grant received, please do go back and add in the details from all of your expenditures to date, matching it against the planned budget for this year. I hope this helps to clarify!
As I read your current information, you have only received US$1,086 against the planned budget of US$24,161, but have spent significantly more than what you've received--US$8,408. Is that correct? I want to make sure I am understanding it correctly. Many thanks for your time! Take care, KLove (WMF) (talk) 16:01, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
You are right Katy. We had some re-purposed grant amount, donations, and membership fee for revenue. The major part of the grant arrived yesterday. That takes revenues it to 100% as of today. As for expenses, after the clarity on the new grant being approved we have started fresh commitments. There were a few overhead spends such as Board meetings, AGM, staff salary for planning that were also committed. There are payables that I have included in YTD spending. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 19:02, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying! Cheers, KLove (WMF) (talk) 19:40, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

Administrative Executive[edit]

I have read your very promising propsals and have mainly a question related to the planned role of Administrative assistent. I understand, of course, the need of adm support, but wonder over the volume considering you only plan for two other parsons. Would it be possible to manage this task with a person working say halftime? Anders Wennersten (talk) 12:02, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

Thank you Anders for your suggestions. Since we work on the donors' funds we must be sensitivity over how we spend it. I have the following thoughts to share.
  1. An admin assistant is generally expected to be at the training center cum office, as a default representative when others are out to organize events / meet partner organizations. Not having a full timer would amount to keeping the office closed to any person wanting to use the facility for a editing session. It should be like a public library where we want contributors to feel free to come and work when they need it.
  2. In the absence of any admin assistant I have been handling a lot of the miscellaneous work, and desire to release my personal time to attend the higher value added contribution.
  3. In a small organization such as ours, support can expand with availability of resources, and we will not waste the time. We can consider training the resource in many more useful activities.
  4. A part time work may not attract a young person looking for a job. People may tend to switch to a full time job elsewhere. If we end up with frequent changes, the manpower turn over could be more disruptive causing loss of continuity etc.
  5. It may be possible to engage a retired person for a part time job. But people in that age group in administration role often turn out to be not adequately computer savvy to be able to manage mail, membership data base, and such stuff. I have seen this with a client in my earlier consulting practice. Youngsters learn quickly, but look for full-time engagement.
  6. Notwithstanding all of this, I take the spirit of your suggestion and we will consider it. Much depends on the calibre and attitude of the person we attract and engage. We would like to look for the right mix, including learning ability, to be able to take advantage of the best of the situational factors. Thank you for the suggestion. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 18:37, 6 October 2013 (UTC)


It would seem like lobbying with the government would perhaps be among the most effective courses of action - in fact the application claims one of its successes as "Adoption of CC-BY-SA license by NCERT". The statement that no funds would be used for lobbying for policy change seems to contradict that claim. Shyamal (talk) 02:07, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

Hello, Shyamal: Thank you for your careful review of this proposal. The submitters will answer your other questions, but I will address a part of this question since I am very familiar with the purpose of the questions on this proposal form. This question entitled "Verification that this proposal requests no funds from the Wikimedia Foundation for political or legislative activities," is included because any organization receiving FDC funds is prohibited from using FDC funds for these types of activities. This is because Wikimedia Foundation needs to track use of funds for political or legislative activities very carefully and so we have a separate grants process for organizations that need this type of funding. Note that organizations that receive funding from the FDC and also from sources other than the FDC may be permitted to use their funding from sources other than the FDC for that purpose. We hope that at least clears up the purpose of this question. We realize that question can be a little confusing. Cheers, Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 03:04, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
Shyamal, While lobbying is an accepted practice in USA, it is not accepted in India. However, 'appealing to reason' as a way of influencing that is always open to everyone. The experience related NCERT was of such nature. No funding was used for such a project either from WMF or from WMIN. It was undertaken by an EC member who had opportunities to meet with some people and discuss these matters on an appeal to reason basis. So our declaration is not a violation or contradiction.TS-Sowmyan (talk) 08:30, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
It seems our definitions of lobbying differ. I will only note that Shashi Tharoor says : "I have been lobbied by Wikimedia and other advocates of open educational resources for this standard to be adopted, rather than the CC-BY-SA-NC which contains a more restrictive clause." My understanding was that travel-and-stay for meeting decision makers counted as funds usage for lobbying. I would of course be just as happy if decision makers could see reason sent via email. Shyamal (talk) 08:59, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
Just to clarify, no WMIN or WMF funds were used to travel or stay or incidentals in relation to the meeting with the Minister. Whiles it would be ideal to conduct such work over email, it is not always possible to do it without a meeting, especially at government and institutional level where they normally like to meet the person atleast once. Not to say that it is essential, where possible we do try convince people on email/remotely. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 09:42, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

GLAM detail[edit]

As far as GLAMs go VITM is not a particularly worthwhile option - firstly it is located in Bangalore which has enough community members who can access it without any need for institutional support - secondly the science and technology coverage on Wikipedia far exceeds the levels of 99% of the exhibitis of VITM and indeed animated illustrations on Wikipedia are in numerous cases better explications of science and technology concepts than mechanical exhibits. I am not sure why this proposal goes into sudden details here but the detail appears to be poorly thought out. It would be great if more of the L & A of GLAMs can be considered. Shyamal (talk) 02:14, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

The choice of Bangalore was, to some extent, based by my presence in this city. The cost of doing this kind of pilot project reduces when we have adequate resources in the city where the project is to be executed. We have a large pool of local Wikimedians to help. We can get some interns from local colleges to work on these aspects. We had built these contacts. The objective here is to reduce the number of fronts in which we may have challenges. VITM gets footfalls we can use to spread awareness. We can introduce QR codes and generate some excitement with technology and also promote the mobile platform. We need a few institutions who could be early adopters to participate before we get others on board. I had gone around Bangalore meeting many GLAM institutions and talking to the people in charge. Readiness of a partner institution is a very important criteria for a pilot program. Of the multiple dimensions of challenges, we get to establish capability over some. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 08:20, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
I see the side of GLAM that you are stressing on - which is to make museum visitors use Wikipedia resources in multiple languages. While that is accepted I was tending to give more weightage to liberating resources trapped in collections through Wikimedia Commons - in which case VITM really has less value than many other sources even within Bangalore. In terms of content that cannot be found elsewhere, the state archives, various libraries and perhaps even the Government Museum adjacent to VITM have more to offer. Shyamal (talk) 09:18, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
We are not bound to one particular proposal and should there be more proposals better than the current one, we will consider them accordingly. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 05:50, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
We have just about begun another dialogue with a ministry responsible for Museums. This would involve release of reference material and writing new articles. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 20:32, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

Poor sourcing[edit]

"... digitization will also help the archive with digital copies of nearly 400,000 out-of-copyright newspapers since the 19th century. For Wikipedians, it gives great access to references which can seriously help boost the number of India related articles on Wikipedia - in English the number is a little above 100,000 while in Indic-language Wikipedia " : boosting number of entries versus quality of entries is something to think about. For the purpose of citation, newspapers do not need to be out-of-copyright. There is already an excess of newspaper citation in India-related entries on Wikipedia and this is one of the major reasons why Indian research towards Wikipedia articles is of such poor quality. Good quality references and libraries are for most purposes unknown in India (99% of the Indian editors that I have met have never heard of scholarly journals). Now access to libraries is something that the Chapter could organize, better still something like paid librarian support (to complement the reference desk run by volunteer librarians on en:WP:RX) - library services are available at a charge and could help editors research and cite better sources (rather than newspapers). Shyamal (talk) 02:29, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

Shyamal, your suggestion on supporting better book references is a good idea. We can create a support page where people with access to libraries can come forward to help. News papers have their place as reference for history. We certainly need to do more for book references too. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 08:05, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

""... digitization will also help the archive with digital copies of nearly 400,000 out-of-copyright newspapers since the 19th century" I presume the reference is this initiative. Could you share any information on context - eg. if this is part of a larger/longer multi-year vision for digitization of old newspapers in India or a target of opportunity. Do you expect any major challenges in this ?

Given the delicacy of the matter, I will not comment on any particular projects. Our longterm goal is to improve access to free and open knowledge. If we feel a project could help with that vision, we will look at it positively. With India related references in general, there aren't very many historic references available, which in turn has translated into very few India related historic articles. This is simply a chain reaction of non-availability of secondary sources. That could change if secondary references are made more available and this is something we are interested in supporting. There are definitely quite a few major challenges, but as I said it is not at a stage where we could publicly discuss nuances of any particular project as it may adversely affect a lot of effort that is being put in by several people to make things happen. We have updated WMF on this and are in touch with other chapters who are experienced in this matter. We hope to overcome obstacles to make this a success. Cheers, AroundTheGlobe (talk) 05:21, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
I suspect that most of the community would prefer if everything except perhaps legal matters (sub judice) be discussed out in the open rather than with references to mysterious communications within an unknown "we" group. One of the key cultural facets of the Wikimedia movement that is admired is transparency. Shyamal (talk) 07:24, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
By we, I meant chapter/community members, functionaries/staff involved in the proposal. While we do try to be as transparent as possible, it is required to keep delicate negotiations with outside organisations private as it may otherwise jeopardise the entire project. That said this matter has already been brought to the attention of WMF and has been discussed on the cultural partners mailing list (private). AroundTheGlobe (talk) 06:37, 28 October 2013 (UTC)


Hi, Good to see the FDC application from WMIN. Couple of queries on FDC application.

  1. I dont see plan for WLM 2014 in this budget. Is there only plan for Wiki loves India ?
  2. Is there plan for allocating budget for Microgrants program ? It would be better get funds in the head "Microgrants program". Now we dont know how much amount is allocated to Microgrants.[1]. WMIN has supported many regional conferences , wikiAcademies by microgrants. -- naveenpf (talk) 03:49, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
a) Hi Naveen, I really appreciate your queries. We are really not sure if WLM will take place globally next year. Also, while we are planning for Wiki Loves India, it includes everything where we have planned an special award for the best monument photo.
b) #We have plan for wikiacademies, and our budget also includes for the same also includes mini-grant requests. Wikiacademies will be by the community, wherein the funds will flow through the mini-grant system. WMIN will always support regional conferences; we also have budget for the same. -- ♪Karthik♫ ♪Nadar♫ 18:40, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
Just to add, innovation and general outreach funds would also be available through the micro-grants. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 08:06, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Broaden participation?[edit]

I'm interested to know whether you will actively seek to broaden participation among India's indigenous peoples and diverse ethnic groups, for example within the special interest groups you mention? There is UN research about participatory media development including in India, and resulting initiatives such as Indigenous Voices in Asia, which could benefit from participation and skills sharing with Wikimedia India. I'm sure there are other related initiatives too. I would like to know how your GLAM and special interest groups will help Wikipedia inclusively represent India's incredible diversity and traditional knowledge. Alixos (talk) 04:49, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

The SIGs defined here tend to narrow rather than broaden participation. "Special Interest Groups (SIG) for every city, language and projects" - examples include a Hindi SIG, Bengali SIG, Tamil SIG, Kannada SIG and so on - according to the language medium in which they edit and arguably leads more to partisan editing. It would be a great step if there were literature SIGs, STEM SIGs, history SIGs and so on. Inclusion of tradional knowledge that is not already documented in literature would lead to more unreliable content although some Indian language Wikipedia do not have policies like "No original research". Shyamal (talk) 06:07, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
Shyamal, Your thoughts on Category SIGs is also relevant. I had been talking to many people about it. Many Wikipedians do not seem to restrict themselves to narrow areas. Many people whom I have spoken to, edit in multiple categories. I guess we need a large base of editors, before we find sufficient numbers in such categories. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 08:46, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
Just to add, we have already begun doing this with accepting GLAM and Gender Gap SIG requests. If there are requests for more topical SIGs from members, we would facilitate that. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 10:02, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
As pointed out elsewhere, SIGs already exist independently and the chapter only needs to recruit a member within existing expertise or help work with them rather than to create groups under the chapter. Shyamal (talk) 05:26, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
We have been enouraging such participation and will continue to do so. Not to go into history too much but there were several people who initially were reluctant to be part of the chapter, but we believe that has progressively changed though we still have some way to go. Any help in this sphere would be much appreciated. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 08:04, 21 October 2013 (UTC)
Alixos, You seem to be talking of larger issues. Members and community are not restricted in pursuing other ideas. From the diversity perspective, the scope is large. While we are open, we are still focussed on nurturing some grass root level growth :). TS-Sowmyan (talk) 08:46, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

Wiki Workshop in Metro Cities or NCR of India[edit]

I fully agree form the proposals and finance required. Workshop should be in Mumbai and Delhi every year and in other metro cities and even in main cities like Kanpur( in UP) and Hyderabad from where a new crowd of young and talented people is emerging.

Dr. Meena Mumbai

Is there any program to organize wiki workshops in some of the Metro cities like New Delhi being the capital of India. In 2011 a Wiki conference was organized in the Bombay University of Mumbai. Would there be any scope for this also. It will increase the love of young students towards their contribution more effectively. Krantmlverma (talk) 08:10, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

While it hasn't been announced as yet, there is likely to be one event as soon as November in New Delhi. Watch wikimediaindia-l for details please. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 09:55, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

The M in SMART[edit]

Would it be possible to include some quality measures - perhaps counts of GA or FA class articles - rather than page visit counts which are not very reliable. Shyamal (talk) 09:24, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

We feel it is too early for that sort of measurable. We are too nascent for that, given there is not a lot of research culture among the masses in India. We feel it is more important to take smaller steps, educate people about editing and respecting copyright (which would work well with our new Creative Commons affiliation). We are continuously trying to evolve our academies to suit Indian public given that some of the presentations of the past have been either rule heavy which tend put-off or confuse the audience or not able to give the audience enough confidence to edit - again going back to Indian culture of needing "permission" to do something or scared of spoiling something. For example, at a recent academy in Mumbai, we sat down and thought as to what might work better than what we were doing. There was a suggestion to give a short intro without going into rules or background in detail and break into small groups to edit - based on the premise that several longstanding editors joined that way, by jumping straight into the deep end and learning as you go. That has succeeded to an extent, some of the people who came in to learn that day still edit. We have included a pilot TTT program which would aim to professionally train veteran Wikipedians who regularly conduct academies rather than new or relatively new persons intending to conduct academies. The idea is to improve their skills, the way the conduct teaching and the end result. Through this we aim to adapt and evolve a process which could hopefully be more local population friendly to attract more editors. Given the diversity in the country we would probably need several variations, which can only happen through experience, advice or trial and error. It will be scaled depending on the result of the pilot. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 08:21, 21 October 2013 (UTC)
I suggest this only because the language used in the proposal sounds like what SEO agencies do and page visit counts and the fraudulent practices around them (what with tools like the Low Orbit Ion Cannon) are quite well known in India. Shyamal (talk) 09:42, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
I request you to assume good faith, we do not have any fraudulent practices in our mind and this was definitely not based on a SEO program. As I said we need to innovate and adapt the wheel to local requirements. --AroundTheGlobe (talk) 10:49, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

Running costs disproportionate[edit]

I noticed that the running costs share almost 15-20% in project proposals. For instance, Office rent, consumables, Office equipment and Office furniture consume almost 15% of the total. This won't go on to add any productivity. I feel it can be cut down by observing a bit of austerity. --Jai Ho 19:36, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

Equipment and furniture although proposed to be purchased in this annual plan, will last for a few years so the cost would have to be shown in this years accounts but depreciation deferred over several years. This is typical of any organisation starting an office afresh. Further, in terms of rent, this actually includes a plan for a conference hall cum training centre. At the moment, we seem to have a recurring issue of place WITH good internet facilities. Either it is non existent or it is too expensive. Hence the plan to have our own space within the office which Wikipedians can call their own. When it is not used for academies etc., we plan to use it as an open lounge where Wikipedians can come and make use of the netbooks and internet to edit whenever they want. We hope that this will translate into some editathons as well. This is a problem unique to India (and possibly a few other developing countries), we need to come up with innovative solutions to solve it. This is also why we have proposed to take a 50mbps internet connection. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 06:30, 21 October 2013 (UTC)
Seabuckthorn, When we organize training programs in educational institutions we get a computer lab, lecture hall and so on. This comes with a restriction that only their own students can participate. I have met many educational institutions last year and discussed this. Computer facility access for public training has always been denied. They all cite an institutional policy. Every one has their threshold of tolerance and defensive attitudes. If one untoward event happened sometime somewhere, they tend to clam up. This attitude has always constrained us from conducting public training programs where any one can participate. To conduct trainings we need infrastructure. When we hire paid infrastructure with computers, projector, and space, the per event cost comes out as high. At the cost of 4 such programs per month we could have our own training centre cum office. This will break even even if we conduct just one public event a week. If we do not do any thing, we may not have any expenses. Once we decide to do some thing, we need to compare alternate means of achieving the objective and choose the more cost effective approach. This is the logic we used on Productivity. We wish to organize a series of training program for the public breaking away from the constraints that limited us to the student community. Once in place, the facility will have capacity to cater to other events too. AroundTheGlobe has indicated other benefits above. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 05:25, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Average age and experience of the board[edit]

Given that the average age of the board is less than 30 eyars and many board members have limited professional experience, do you think you can manage the scale you refer to in your proposal? — Nearly Headless Nick {C} 08:54, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Porpington, I think this should not really be seen as too large a scale. It is only a % growth rate that appears large. India is a huge country. As part of the Global South we form a big chunk of territory that needs to be nurtured to growth. If you consider the growth potential through benchmark numbers the potential growth in results to be achieved are very high. We capped our budget at the current level as it was considered as a upper band that FDC may accept considering a growth rate related anxiety every one may have. We also made a conservative estimate in our letter of intent and are sticking to it.
Some part of the expense proposals are first time / one time expenses. We are looking at a captive training centre cum office, and that makes a big change from the past. All growth phenomena will have such large rate of change numbers in their initial years.
We are a membership based body. We have a large volunteer community. Front end work in outreach has always been done by the larger community. We have a large pool of advisers to bank on. The board members have their performance history of having organized large events in the past. When you point to their average age, it is a indicator of a healthy mix of experience and youth. I have some experience too. We will be able to engage event management agencies to support conferences. If we look at individual proposals they are fairly straight forward activities, and not too complex. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 04:57, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Just to add to what Sowmyan said above, I believe our movement in unique and you need people who understand it well in addition to having the experience to manage such an organisation. Majority of the EC has atleast a few years of professional experience and have held positions of importance outside of the movement. Majority of the EC come from an editing background from English or an Indic Wikipedia and understand the grassroots well, which is most important. WMIN has a strong secondary leadership in place via SIG chairs, which aims to decentralise the chapter. There are several veteran community members involved with the chapter who continue to regularly advise and guide us on matters of importance. We are actively considering formalising this arrangement by setting up an Advisory Board. Apart from volunteers, there is Sowmyan who came to us with more than forty years of professional experience and is someone who is well respected and capable of managing the post of Chief Executive with ease. We feel we are well equipped for this. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 05:48, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Team and outlay[edit]

  • Is there a large team behind this proposal ? People, roles not indicated.
  • Why does the funding sought match that of the Access to Knowledge project?
Thanks for the question, whoever you are. We have a board of 7 people who are responsible for functioning of the chapter, details can be found on Its not been updated with new roles post our AGM as there are some formalities to be completed at our first f2f board meeting scheduled for next month. Apart from that there is Sowmyan, our executive manager whose profile can also be found on the chapter wiki. It is proposed that in the coming year, the board will only play a broad governance role whereas the staff would undertake a bulk of the workload and coordinate with the board, SIG chairs and the community on a regular basis details here.
I have no idea of A2K funding and should it be the case that their funding is of a similar amount, it is a mere coincidence. Vishnu has asked us for input on their budget and other documents from time to time, but very frankly, the workload at the chapter is quite a bit so we have never been able to take a look at documents he shared and we have placed our regret on email to him. Our request is solely based on our own estimate on how much we feel we are capable and comfortable handling given that this would be our first big step. Do keep in mind that we have received aprox. $80k in grants in the last two years and this is roughly double that amount. We feel comfortable with this sort of increase. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 10:07, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

Few questions[edit]

Hello WMIN, Thank you for putting forward a promising proposal. I have few questions which are as follows:

1. As per your budget, total revenue for WMIN in 2014 is $217,211. On the expenditure side, your budgeted total program cost is $166,497 & total staff cost is $30,968; so total budgeted expenditure is $197,465. As I see, there is a surplus of $19,746 (total revenue - total expenditure) which is not designated to any specific purpose. Again, you haven't shown any net reserve in your budget either. So, is it a calculation mistake? If so, then you may ask the FDC staff to make the needed correction.

2. There is a cost element named 'WMIN Office admin' in program table (table-8). Is it another staff position that you plan to employ for office administration purpose? As I see in table-6, you are proposing for a Administrative Executive for Accounting and Administration purpose. So, what will be the role of the WMIN Office admin & why it is shown in Program table-8? Will you please clarify?

3. You are planning to spend a significant amount on office cum training facility & also expanding your staff to 3 FTE. Your proposed location for office is in Bangalore & it seems all of your employees will be based in Bangalore. India is a very big country & there are large volunteer bases in other parts of India as well. It will not be viable for volunteers from other parts/cities of India to take advantage of your training facility or get support of WMIN staff on a regular basis. So, how do you think the volunteers from outside Bangalore would benefit from this facility & what is your strategy to make sure that all your staff based in Bangalore knows the requirement of WM community outside the city & facilitate for them?

4. On table, there is a program named 'Governance, Legal, Insurance' & proposed expenditure for it is $26,048 which is the 3rd highest expenditure area. On the footnote, you have mentioned that out of this amount, USD 4,032 is a provision for legal contingencies and USD 12,903 is a Liability insurance premium. So, what is a use of remaining USD 9,119? Your total proposed expenditure for liability insurance & legal contingency totals USD 16,935. Why do you think WMIN will face such legal threat in 2014? Was there any previous record where WMIN faced such legal problem & if so, what was the associated cost?


--Ali Haidar Khan (Tonmoy) (talk) 20:31, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for your questions, response below.
Response to point 3: Bangalore was the ideal choice to begin with given we are registered there and it is a big community hub. Yes, if we have an unmovable office, it would limit us geographically. However it is a start. Based on how we do in Bangalore, we could hire spaces in other cities in future years. We feel we should at this point only concentrate on one office/training centre and get it established. For other cities, we have incorporated costs of academies, general outreach etc which would include renting space. Staff would definitely help community irrespective of their geographic location and would travel where necessary for the benefit of community. Details of proposed staff here.
Response to point 4 (threat perception part): We are lucky not to have faced anything *yet*. I understand one of the reasons WMF shut down India Programs was because that may have made them liable to law in India. We had a political party protest outside our national conference venue 2 years back with a platoon of policemen and their armoured vehicles coming in at the last moment to protect us. Section 144 was imposed outside our venue (which prohibits assembly of more than 4 people) and more than a dozen protesters were arrested. There were calls by the political party for Jimmy and our President to be arrested, though we are lucky that dint take place. Though we had insured the event, luckily we had no reason to claim as things went off smoothly. In recent times Facebook and Google are fighting cases against the government, which is holding their Indian arms liable for content on their servers overseas. One of our volunteers (Tinu) was threatened by an organisation known for suing people in remote parts of the country. We do not have the wherewithal to take time off and travel for days to fight cases on a regular basis or pay for the legal cost of protecting us. Given the situation in the country we need to be prepared for the worst. WMIN has been in touch with insurers and the WMF Legal Counsel/Finance Departments lately and the proposed sum insured is based on a suggestion from the insurance broker that the sum should cover personal assets of the board and staff, which could be liable to be called in to pay for the organisations liability as per the law. --AroundTheGlobe (talk) 10:34, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
Hi Tanmoy,
Response to point 1. After all the estimations were added, we provided 10% for any contingency / variance. As you would have noticed, the amount you call 'surplus' is exactly 10% of the estimate. This kind of provision for contingency is a standard practice in planning.
Response to point 2. Table 6 pertains to manpower costs which include only compensation / salary. Table 8 relates to other expenses. This is as per the definition of what each table should contain, as provided by WMF. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 14:53, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
Additional response to point 4 above. The note below the table 8 shows a Link to detailed budget on chapter wiki with a reference [7]. Kindly look at that for details. The broader heading governance consists of four subsections in that sheet. EC travel, conveyance, accommodation; Communication; AGM and compliance related expenses; Audit, legal and insurance. These contain the details you have sought. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 16:50, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
Hi Sowmyan/AroundTheGlob,
I have some followup questions/comments on the explanations than you've given. The comments/questions are presented in the previous order :
1. As per your clarification, you have kept a contingency surplus of 10%. However, you haven't mentioned it on your proposal. It is customary to mention the surplus separately on the proposal form as other entities who have such provision did. Table 9 is also meant for showing any difference between revenue & spending (surplus/deficit) .
2. Sowmayn, I could not understand your reply here. My question was, there is an item on program table (table 8) named 'WMIN Office Admin'. Is it a cost for an admin staff? If not, then what is the intended use of the fund?
3. As we know, there are currently 20 Indic language versions of Wikipedias & many of them have active communities. Most of these communities are centered in their respective geographic locations & far from Bangalore. So it doesn't look viable that a bunch of volunteers from other language communities in India would come from their distant locations to have their workshops/training sessions in the training facility at WMIN Bangalore office. So do you think having a full-scale training facility in WMIN office justifies the big expenditure when it is evident that it will only be feasible for the language community in Bangalore to use the facility? Don't you think a rather smaller scale office & plan for other cost effective ways for hosting workshops/training sessions (not only for the Bangalore community but also for other language communities in India) is more efficient way of spending the movement resources? Alternative ways of holding workshops /training sessions might be having partnership agreement with institutions & like minded organizations who have training facilities, renting training facilities where such partnership is not available etc.
4. Similar to all other WM Chapters, WMIN is also not responsible for contents available on WM sites. Given the fact that WMIN have not faced any mentionable legal complication (I know the incident during WMIN Conferece), do you think an allocation of $26K is justified?--Ali Haidar Khan (Tonmoy) (talk) 17:06, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the follow up, responses below:
Response to point 3: Bangalore is a large community base and has been so traditionally, so yes, we feel that this is a justified expenditure. We need to start small to solve a big problem and this is one small step in that direction. As I said we need to innovate to overcome local issues. Internet has been an issue. In some cases hardware has been an issue. We have tried tying up with institutions but it has never quite worked out. We also found that tying up with one particular institution kind of limits us to them because not many people from elsewhere come there, it is mostly the internal crowd. Furthermore, most institutions themselves do not have good internet or computing facilities, those that do have computer labs are normally not willing to share it with an outside organisation. Renting too is not an option, most places charge exorbitant amounts and even after that there is no guarnatee on the internet availability. We feel this is the right time for us to have a space Wikipedians can call their own - it wont be just a training facility but a Wikipedian lounge as well. This would be a way of encouraging editors, a place they can call their own.
Response to point 4: Facebook and Google India arms made similar statements which have been rejected by the government and they have been held liable for content. We need to be prepared for the worst. As a board member I would rather spend that the amount and have peace of mind that in case something untoward should happen, we have a backup plan. As I understand, most other chapters have some kind of liability insurance and WMIN is one of the few that currently does not. At Wikimedia Conference earlier this year, I remember a board member of one chapter mentioning that he would not like to be on the board of another chapter which did not have liability insurance. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 06:53, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
Response to qn 1: Thanks for pointing out. I see your point. I will seek Katy's guidance on how to rectify this.
Response to qn 2: It is not staff salary alone. There is a link given below the table that gives details. For your convenience I am reproducing this here. [2] TS-Sowmyan (talk) 07:00, 4 November 2013 (UTC)


Is there anything in your plan to help educate on copyright issues? I can say that through the years that have been a lot of copyright issues coming from new Indian users that don't understand that you have to reword the content rather than just copypasting and sourcing (The Indian Education Program comes to mind, as well as over 20 contributor copyright investigations on Indian issues). Wizardman (talk) 16:34, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

Educating people on copyright is going to be an area of focus as explained in one of the sections above [3].
With specific reference to the India Education Program, we had nothing to do with it. It was run by the WMF directly through its India Program (now known as CIS-A2K). The people behind that program were warned by several chapter and community members but failed to heed advise. The result is well known. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 06:57, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
Copyright and issues with following Wikipedia guidelines to avoid original research, understanding reliable sources and providing appropriate citations are widespread systemic issues and are not part of the focus of any project with a funding-focus because these are going to be hard areas in which to show tangible results. Most of the projects here are about uploading a certain number of images, scanning a certain number of documents or getting a certain number of hits to pages and so on. These are easy to implement and send reports about unlike actually writing an article and doing the research needed for it, something that would require skilled manpower which is scarce. Skilled manpower tends to come with critical reasoning and will want more debate, something that the Indian community/chapter may not be mature enough for. Shyamal (talk) 08:36, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

Questions for all entities from FDC staff[edit]

Please answer a few questions about your entity that we are asking of all entities. The purpose of these questions is to gain clarity about the information provided in your proposal, and also to request information that we can easily understand across all entities. We ask that you respond to these questions within 14 days, so that the FDC will have time to consider your responses during the deliberations. We apologize if any of these questions seem redundant. Thank you for your attention to these questions, and please let us know if you need any clarifications or have any questions for us. Thank you! KLove (WMF) (talk) 00:45, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

Please confirm your rates of growth[edit]

The FDC reviews rates of growth, which are calculated using the amounts provided in the currency requested in the proposal, to understand each entity’s proposed growth in total budget, and proposed growth in movement resources (that is, what the entity is requesting from the FDC this year compared with the amount the entity received in WMF grants last year). We are asking you to confirm these numbers here so we may be sure we are understanding your request.

  1. Please confirm the amount you have been awarded in WMF grants between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2013, and list each grant and the amount awarded here.
  2. Please confirm the amount from WMF grants you expect _to have spent_ between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2013, and list each grant and the amount expected here (note that some of these grants may have been awarded in the calendar year 2012 but spent in the calendar year 2013).
  3. Your total budget in 2013 listed in Table 3 is 1,498,000 1,767,000 Indian Rupees and your total proposed budget for 2014 listed in Table 2 is 13,467,069 Indian Rupees. Therefore, we calculate a proposed growth rate in your total budget of 900% 778.14%. Please confirm that this matches your records.
    Clarification: We now understand the total budget you list in Table 3 only includes 2013 Quarters 2, 3, and 4. In Quarter 1, WMIN received a grant of 269,000 Indian Rupees from WMF for its activities in January, February, and March of 2013, and so we have added these two numbers to create an estimated 12-month budget for the purposes of understanding spending and budget growth across entities.
    1. Amounts received Jan 2013 – to Dec 2013
30 April 2013 INR 267,941.60
01 October 2013 INR 1,452,604.00
Total INR 1,720,545.60
The amounts mentioned here are the values that physically reached us. Some reduction noticed was due to repurposed amount from previous grant being available.
    1. Amount spent + expected to be spent in year 2013
Amount from grant of 2012 spent in 2013 INR 128,191.50
Amount spent from JFM 2013 grant INR 228,163.00
Unspent amount from grants of JFM 2013 INR 39,777.93
New grant amount INR 1,452,604.00
Total INR 1,848,736.43
    1. There are many ways of looking at the growth figure. So we need to be clear on what we are comparing. We are presenting the multiple points of view here.
Three points to note.
(i) the amount mentioned INR 1,498,000 is for the period Apr to Dec 2013. The table 2 asked for fiscal year. Our fiscal year is April to March. Of this we applied for and received only April to Dec amount. We did not apply for Jan to Mar 2014, as we intended to apply for FDC from Jan 2014.
(ii) For Jan 2013 to March 2013 we received a grant amount of INR 267,941.60
Amount received for Apr to Dec is INR 1,452,604.00
Total is INR 1,720,545
There is a reduction from the amount applied for the grant and amount received, because we had a carried forward unspent amount which we sought to repurpose.
Compared to this value the Current FDC grant amount of 11,054,802 represents 542% growth
(iii) there are many ways of looking at the growth rate. While considering the total to total computation, We would like these to be considered.
We had mentioned this as 497% in the opening statements in the proposal. That number was based on rounded off dollar values. The growth % is affected by exchange rate fluctuation as well as rounding off error. The 542% we have mentioned now is based on INR. We are talking of rounded USD values as what we see in our bank account is the INR amount. The transfers from WMF come through a Citibank account of WMF and we do not know the precise dollar values. But this will not be a significant source of variance.
Yet another factor to consider is the 2013 amount is without any capital costs, or one time advances etc. On the other hand, non recurring expenses in the proposal for 2014 will be INR 1,789,590. If we exclude this non recurring expenses, to be able to make like to like comparisons, the growth rate will be 438%
Apart from one time expenses, we have a new dimension of legal cover and insurance which adds up to INR 1,050,000. This is partly a provision for legal expenses and partly insurance fee. Last year we had not insured, and hence we did not incur the cost. If we remove this, to facilitate like to like comparison, the rate of growth will be 377%
We are highlighting these ‘growth’ components that have a non revenue project explanation, so that the effort, and feasibility of these growth rates is not confused by a view based on the amounts. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 10:05, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Clarity around exchange rates used in this proposal[edit]

Please state how you calculated the exchange rate used in your proposal to provide the estimates provided in this proposal. Note that FDC allocations will be made in your requested currency (your local currency, in most cases), and amounts in US dollars are provided only so that entities and the FDC may understand allocations across entities. The FDC will use the exchange rate on the date of the proposal submission (1 October 2013) as calculated by Oanda, to ensure consistency across proposals.

The exchange rate at the time we prepared this was USD 1 = INR 62. This is based on the exchange rate published by Reserve Bank of India on 19th Sept 2013, the time the estimates were made. Our primary estimates are all in INR. These were converted to USD based on the exchange rate applicable for the convenience of FDC. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 10:10, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Questions about your entity’s staffing plan and strategy[edit]

Many entities plan to grow their staff in the coming year, and we would like some more information about each entity’s staffing strategy.

  1. If your entity is increasing its staff by one or more people, please explain how your board and, if applicable, the staff person managing your new staff, will handle the increased responsibilities of managing more staff.
    1. Currently WMIN has a 40+ years experienced part time staff who can manage more employees. He has managed large teams with as many as 60 employees as part of his professional experience. He is currently doing work requiring a wide range of skills, which include many that can be easily delegated. The staffing pattern has been planned with redistribution of some work from existing staff, and leverage the potential of new staff and existing staff better. Growth by addition of staff happens in all organizations at all times. It is always accompanied with redistribution of work and levering existing and new staff appropriately. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 10:18, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
  2. Do you think the decision to increase the number of your staff will change the way your organization or your staff interacts with volunteers or change the attitude of volunteers toward your organization? Will the role of volunteers shift as a result of the change in staffing? How were community members a part of the decision to grow your staff?
    1. The decision to go for staff based activity was a result of inability to get adequate volunteers for many tasks. Though the volunteers are enthusiastic, they are hard pressed for spending much time, while managing a career, a family, and a passion for contributing to Wikimedia. When we were asking them to work on behalf of the chapter, we were not just asking them to edit and contribute; we were asking them to take charge of anchoring events, training editors, and meeting with potential partner organizations. With a marginal increase in staff, this situation is not going to change drastically for the volunteers. The chapter merely acquires dedicated staff who can be counted upon to make commitments of time. Current difficulty with volunteers is that they are unable to commit the time due to many other demands on their time, and things may get postponed. For example, two of the volunteers were keen to start work with a Brain museum in Bangalore. They have spoken to the Director of the museum many times, even set up appointments, but were unable to attend. Last week they have passed this on to me. I will be visiting this museum in the next week. The community members are not being robbed of any opportunity to do what they are passionate about. They are being complemented to fulfil commitments when we are unable to execute them to their own satisfaction. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 10:18, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
  3. Who on your staff is responsible for your organization’s fundraising activities in 2014?
    1. Fund raising has not been assigned as an exclusive staff activity. EC members as well as staff are expected to do this work as part of their roles. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 10:18, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Organizational context[edit]

We have noticed a few ideas that are included in many of this round’s proposals, and would like more information about each entity’s context.

  1. Growth: We have reviewed your response to the question in the proposal form about your proposed rate of growth in budget and in movement resources. The rates of growth in movement resources for all entities in this round are at or significantly greater than the recommended maximum of 20% in the FDC Framework funding guidelines. It would be helpful to the FDC and FDC staff if you have any further details to justify your proposed rate of growth. Why do you believe your rates of growth are sustainable and that your plans are feasible? This request is also informed by the context of current underspending of movement resources (FDC allocations and WMF grants).
    1. Any organization would start from zero and grow to a number. If we take the starting point as zero, the cumulative growth rate is infinity. For example, let us say the starting point is 0 in day 1; that closes at 1 by end of year 1; and plans to be 10 by end of year 2, while the potential or saturation point the entity could reach is 100. What would be the right growth rate? Would you say they should not grow beyond 20% and hence not grow beyond 1.2 by end of year 2? Growth rate should be tied to age of the organization, absolute value at the time of assessment, and potential value to which the community can grow. Year 1 to year 2 growth should not be capped. I would even say, fund should not be the cap, but potential result should be the guide to see how much growth is feasible. I have also presented different perspectives of the growth rates of 'like to like' comparison elsewhere in this response. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 10:27, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
  2. Partnerships: How does your entity define partnership? Do you have a process in place for bringing on new partners? What commitments do you require from the partner to begin the relationship?
    1. Partner is any organization that is in an allied field and can work with us symbiotically. If we take GLAM institutions, they have this potential to find the association mutually beneficial. We get to add knowledge artefacts that add value to users, while they get more click through to their website, or foot falls at their institution. In India, Government is the major owner of such GLAM institutions. So we would like to work with them. We have made attempts to include many Bangalore based GLAM institutions, which are governed by the Central Government in New Delhi. We will start building relations with the departments concerned. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 10:27, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
  3. Grants: If your entity has a microgrants, minigrants, travel grants, or other grants program, how much funding in your budget is committed to grants? What is your process for selecting who is able to receive grants and which grants to fund? How do you know if your microgrants are leading to good outcomes?
    1. So far, we have given grants of small values. Typically they have been about Rs 25000 for a large event with about 50 people. Many volunteers do not even seek reimbursements when very small amounts (USD 5 to 10) are involved. Typically we pay for travel, conveyance, food, accommodation, venue, refreshments to attendees, mementoes to external speakers, and T shirts if the event happens to be very large.
    2. The primary check is to see line item costs are reasonable, and choices are based on functionality and not in the luxury class. Conveyances may be by taxi or auto rickshaw. Long distance travel may be by bus or train in a class just one level above the lowest. Air travel is seldom used, but is always economy class.
    3. With the total value of funds we seek having increased we are planning to shift from a Executive and EC decision process to one where a grant assessor would be involved. All grants exceeding, a threshold amount (say USD 1000) would be through a grant review process. Grant assesors will be from a panel of eminent members with experience in event organization as well as assessment.
    4. It is not easy to measure the effectiveness of these events. We are still doing them based on collective assessment of the grant making panel members. We are trying to collect data and correlate. Often identity of the attendees is a critical requirement for validating effectiveness. Not many people give this information voluntarily. This is a privacy issue and hence we are not able to force. In future we may use the methods developed by WMF for tracking based on edits from a training event’s location.
    5. In the past given the very low level of activity, we have found overheads to be significant. We wish to scale up our activity level multiple-fold to make the overheads relatively lower. However, there seems to be a consideration to cap growth rate. This does not augur well for reducing the overheads to project spend ratio. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 10:27, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Questions for all entities about operating reserves[edit]

We need more clarity on the state of the operating reserves of all entities. Operating reserves are defined as liquid, unrestricted assets available for an organization to use as a cushion, and to cover the costs of operations in case of unanticipated expenses or loss of revenue.

  1. Please summarize your strategy or policy around holding operating reserves, and your procedure for determining the amount of operating reserves needed by your organization.
    1. We have a corpus fund of INR 201,015 (from our local account). This is the reserve amount. This has been set aside with a tax benefit attached to it. In the event of our having to dip into this, we will have to pay tax on the amount drawn.
    2. We have also managed to be just within our budget allocation. In the past we have received bills late and hence unable to spend within the grant period and sought extension to pay it later. But we have not had any situation where we overshot budget and needed more money. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 10:33, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
  2. What amount of funds are in your entity's operating reserves right now?
    1. INR 201,015 (this is our local fund) TS-Sowmyan (talk) 10:33, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
  3. Have you budgeted any funds for your operating reserves in this proposal (your proposal for 2014) and if so, how much?
    1. We have provided for 10% of the total for contingencies.
    2. In the new grant we are seeking a legal provision of INR 250,000, which may not be incurred if there is no legal expense. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 10:33, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Questions about WMIN’s proposal from FDC staff[edit]

These are some questions and points of clarification that arose while reading your proposal. These questions are an opportunity to clarify information in your proposal for the FDC and for FDC staff. Thank you in advance for your attention to these questions. We ask that you respond to these questions within 14 days, so that the FDC will have time to consider your responses during the deliberations. In a few cases, we may need to follow up with you after you respond to gain further clarity around your answers. Thanks again on behalf of FDC staff! KLove (WMF) (talk) 00:45, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

Questions about the financial information in this proposal[edit]

Please clarify some of the financial information you provided in your proposal, so we may be sure we are understanding it correctly.

We had indicated these details in a link given in Table 8 notes. I have reproduced them for the convenience of reference.TS-Sowmyan (talk) 09:06, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
  1. Please tell us which expenses are included in the following line items, which total about US$35,416:
    • Office rent:
    1. Office rent INR 874,750 USD 14,109
    2. includes electricity, and consumables TS-Sowmyan (talk) 09:06, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
    • Equipment:
    1. Office equipment INR 416,400 USD 7,442 TS-Sowmyan (talk) 09:06, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
    • Furniture:
    1. Furniture INR 209,600 USD 3,381 TS-Sowmyan (talk) 09:06, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
    • Advance for office rent:
    1. One time advance for renting premises INR 650,000 USD 10,484 TS-Sowmyan (talk) 09:06, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
    2. Please tell us which expenses are included in the following line items, which total about US$26,048:
    3. We had indicated these details in a link given in Table 8 notes. I have reproduced them for the convenience of reference.TS-Sowmyan (talk) 09:06, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
    • Governance:
    1. EC Travel, Conveyance, accommodation: INR 325,500 USD 5250
    2. AGM, compliance reporting, INR 44,500 USD 717.74 TS-Sowmyan (talk) 09:06, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
    • Legal:
    1. Auditor fee, Liaison consultant: INR 90,000 USD 1452
    2. Provision for legal support: INR 250,000 USD 4,032 TS-Sowmyan (talk) 09:06, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
    • Insurance:
    1. Liability Insurance premium : INR 800,000 USD 12,903
    2. Fire and theft insurance INR 9,000 USD 145 TS-Sowmyan (talk) 09:06, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
  2. US$47,774 is allocated to 4 events in this proposal: US$33,069 for the national conference and US$14,705 for 3 regional and topical events. How do you determine the amount you plan to spend for each event, and what do you believe will be the long-term outcomes of these events?
    1. The details based on which we worked these out are available in the same worksheet referred above. I am giving the link once again here. The details were worked out based on estimated number of people for each of these events.
    2. These events will bring together the significant contributors and enthusiasts. They will share their experiences during these events with talks. We will group them by similar interests and let them brainstorm. This will enable them to network and identify potential collaborators leading new collaborations. We will be recognizing significant contributors and honouring them. This will build enthusiasm and aspiration. Many of them may undertake outreach work with more rigour. More fundamentally it would reflect in their collaborative editing with new collaborators they may have found in the event. The objective is very similar to events such as Wikimania or Diversity conference etc. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 09:06, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Question about strategic priorities[edit]

Please clarify some of the strategic priorities you listed for your programs here.

  1. Please explain how “enabling community members to recognize each other” will lead to ‘Increasing participation’ in Wikimedia projects.
    1. This is a widely held belief in social networking theory. I guess all global events such as Wikimania etc are also held with this belief.
    2. I have started a small study through a recent event I participated in. The average number of people the Wikipedians attending the meeting had met face to face before the event was 3. The average number they recognized after the event was 15. I have the user ids of the willing participants for this survey. About 12 members out of about 50 attendees had opted to give me this data. I will now monitor how much their collaborative work has changed post meeting. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 09:11, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
  2. Please explain how “opening up institutions with valuable artefacts for creating new articles” will lead to ‘Increasing participation’ in Wikimedia projects.
    1. Few of the difficulties newbies go through is finding significant topics to write about, substantial number of these ideas, and finding the reference material to support these writing projects.
    2. By working with partner institutions, and opening up the valuable reference material they have, we can enable these enthusiasts. With the availability of reference material, writing becomes a lot easier. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 09:11, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Questions about impact and feasibility[edit]

WMIN is proposing an extremely high growth rate; even within the context of other FDC entities that grow very fast and in the context of other entities applying to the FDC for the first time, the proposed growth rate is unusually high.

  1. Given the scope of WMIN’s past work and experience managing grants, and the current resources of WMIN, please explain how your organization will accomplish this very ambitious plan with many activities and a large budget.
    1. I (Sowmyan) have been a part time manager of the Chapter for nearly a year. The challenge in the past has been fluctuation in work, spurts in work load. But the average work load has been very manageable. We are also seeking two additional resources and hence the spurts in work load will now be tackled by 3 people. Much of my time was also spent in accounting etc. With the addition of an administrative resource, my time will be released for management and will also enable me to do more of relation building activity with partner institutions etc.
    2. To manage 10 times the funds in terms of administering the expenses, etc is not a problem. Many of the language communities in India have been seeking funding directly from WMF, and have indicated interest in going through the chapter in future. This is because the process of receiving grant funds and accounting for them with all the regulatory norms is a strain on them. To the extent some voluntary work is already being executed by the community, when the administering actions come to us, they do not significantly challenge us. They add to administrative work for which we have added a resource.
    3. We have planned one national and multiple regional conference events. We will be able to engage event management companies for these events, since these will cause a burst of activities. Thus these will not cause a strain.
    4. Our training approach proposal is to experiment with video based training. We have sought video camera and a training center as part of our infrastructure. With these in place, capturing them in video and circulating will not add significantly to our strain. We have provided for one employee for handling trainings.
  2. On a broad level, please explain in one or two sentences the positive impact your organization will have on the Wikimedia projects in order to justify this increase in movement resources.
    1. We will create a greater awareness to increase usage of these free knowledge resources.
    2. We will enable more people to learn editing / contribution on their own, through ready to use self learning modules.
    3. We will hold face to face training sessions for a more mature audience, and compared to the tentative explorers.
    4. We will facilitate more opportunities for interaction among Wikimedians to promote collaboration. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 09:39, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
  3. You intend to increase the page views from India across all Wikipedia projects by 50% over the next year. How did you set this target and determine that it was realistic?
    1. We compared global statistics on page views with respect to number of articles available, and the number of people with internet access. Based on more mature communities we estimated the tie ratios that may be possible in the long run as we also become a mature community. Viewer-ship would be affected by internet connectivity, number of articles available to read, and awareness.
    2. WMF data is usually with respect to the number of people speaking the language. However, in India internet penetration is at about 12% (as per UN data), and hence we need to tie it to the number of people with internet access. We also expect the internet penetration to increase as Government is promoting these initiatives. If this goes to 15% from the current 12%, that adds a potential increase of 25%.
    3. The article count is increasing in some of the popular Wikipedia-s at about 15 – 20%. Some of the less developed ones are growing at a faster pace of 30 to 50 %. Increased number of articles will also contribute to increasing page views. So the estimate is a compound figure considering awareness campaigns, increase in internet access, increase in number of articles expected to be available.
    4. The estimate is a combination of trends in increase of internet penetration (25%), growth in number of computers (10%), increased levels of activity in the more mature language communities with the prospect of increasing articles to view (10%). Awareness creation (10%) is one dimension, and training in editing is another dimension. These are the two, we will directly work on. Considering the largest communities have just about 100 editors, it is also not unthinkable to find a way of pre-screening prospects to impart greater skills. Enabling easier self learning is one approach. Training the trainers for stronger during training is another approach. The ratios here can vary more significantly. But we felt 50% is doable with all these factors. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 09:39, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Relationship with the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS)[edit]

We are surprised that you did not mention work with the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), which is receiving a partnership grant from WMF, in this proposal. Please describe your working relationship with CIS and offer some examples of how you have partnered together in the past or plan to work together moving forward to complement each other's activities in supporting communities across India.

The WMF chose not to seek an opinion from either the chapter or community before giving this partnership grant. This was thrust onto us without even asking us whether or not we wanted it and we resent the arbitrary manner in which WMF has been dealing with the situation in India. To give you an example, recently one of our board members was informed that the A2K team was using WMF trademarks at their events. This came as a complete surprise to us because when the partnership was announced it was publicly acknowledged that they did not have trademark permission at that point in time. Our trademark agreement with the WMF requires them to consult us before granting any such permission to a third party, which the WMF clearly breached. We immediately brought this up with WMF over email and it was brushed aside. This only makes matters worse as far as we are concerned. We have gone on record to say in the past that we have always wanted cordial relationships and will be happy to work together with anyone as long as we feel welcome. However these actions by the WMF make us feel unwanted. If WMF staff wanted a joint proposal they should have sought chapter and community opinion prior to making the decision to have another partner in India as well as choosing that partner. WMF staff cannot toss anything at us and expect our full cooperation.
That given, our relationship with CIS goes back several years, prior to the formation of our chapter where they have always supported us. The WMF decision to handover India Programs to CIS put us in somewhat of a difficult situation, as we had an excellent working relationship with CIS and at the same time had serious reservations with India Programs given their repeated failures. However in the best interests of the movement in mind (and since Sunil Abraham had personally reached out to us), we agreed to assist them in their search for a new director and later had what we would call a fruitful joint meeting where we were given a glimpse of their project plan which we gave our feedback on. There were some points of mutual cooperation that were set down as well.
We currently work with them on what can be called a case-by-case basis where we share information on planned projects and discuss if there is any way one could support the other. We would like to underline that we have not let the issues we had with WMF affect our working relationship in any way. ----Rsrikanth05 (talk) 13:02, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

Question about elections[edit]

The FDC considers a number of factors when assessing a proposal, including the readiness and capacities of organizational leadership in managing and executing a complex annual plan. In WMIN's case, there have been some concerns expressed within the Indian community and reported more globally, on alleged lack of disclosure during the Executive Committee (EC) elections, of a potential conflict of interest. The report claimed that two members of the committee were "in the paid employment of a third...who joined them as a new member at the August election. This information did not appear to have been disclosed to voters, despite the obvious potential for conflict-of-interest in having a block of three members in mutual employment relationships out of a total of nine members."

While the Grantmaking team has been in touch with the EC over the past few weeks, we understand this might be a complex issue that has not been understood fully by the global Wikimedia community. Can you please explain the situation and the steps that have been taken, or are being considered, by the WMIN Executive Committee to respond to these concerns? It would also be helpful to have a quick summary of the Indian community's responses, in turn, to the EC's approach.

With reference to this particular matter, we wish to state that a disclosure has been made of the type of relationship between the parties and that the said relationships had ended and were disclosed to the board during our first conference call. We would further like to make a statement that there is no current election rule that requires candidates to declare any potential conflict nor has any voter raised this issue until now. In any case there was never any accusation of any decision taken by any board member being taken under the influence of any external relationship. There was a response sent on the mailing list by Moksh, which was supported by a former chapter board/movement roles committee member with one anonymous response mocking the previous emails.
The board has taken up this matter seriously and is taking two concrete steps. The First is putting a new set rules pertaining to Conflict of Interest in place. We have requested WMF for their support with this. The second would be setting up of a formal advisory board comprising of experienced persons to help guide the EC to avoid such issues in the future.
On the other matter in the signpost, of a candidate withdrawal where the reason cited was that the votres list was not shared online and that the candidate claimed this was mandated by our rules. Members of our Election Committee, Staff and Board thereafter clarified on our members mailing list that this was not the requirement and that the requirement was to share the voter list in physical form at the registered office, which was duly done and we were fully compliant with the rules. Atleast one member confirmed that they would not like their name published online as part of the voter list and supported our decision not to do so.
At the same time, we were also surprised by what should ideally be called a conflict of interest within Signpost itself. The lead editor of the particular issue (Tony1) also happens to be a member of the Grants Advisory Committee (GAC) and had opposed our latest grant request in August 2013. Lastly, there are factual errors in the signpost entry claiming that our board consists of nine members instead of seven. ----Rsrikanth05 (talk) 07:19, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
Rsrikanth05: Disclosure: not on the FDC, so I may be talking a bit out of turn here, but found this through the Signpost discussion. Thanks for taking the time and effort to respond. However, I'm confused: you say "a disclosure has been made of the type of relationship between the parties" which sorta makes it sound like the disclosure happened in response to The Signpost' but then you later say it was disclosed in the first conference call (after or before?). Also, I understand there was no policy which required it, but was it and do you personally think disclosures should have been made? Out of curiosity are most voters aware of how you gather funds through this process?
I feel like you might be digging in your heels in a little, and I'm not sure that's the right approach. With that said, I do want to assume good faith as I generally think most involved around here do care about this organization. With regard to your last comment, the fact that Tony1 opposed a grant request does not create what could "ideally" be called a conflict of interest. Now, I am hopeful of the opportunity in India, and so I hope over time your organization can grow and not always be subjected to extremely thorough interrogations for relatively little money. That will probably take trust. Incidentally, I personally try to give more of my money overseas because I think you get more for your buck there. ImperfectlyInformed (talk) 05:43, 6 December 2013 (UTC)