Talk:Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan/2015-16/draft

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Is it a draft ?[edit]

Could I know whether this is a draft or not? "Draft" was removed from the title, but it still announces its status as a draft in the first section. Tony (talk) 02:47, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

This document is a draft.--GByrd (WMF) (talk) 02:57, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
I wonder whether the title could say that, rather than announcing that it's the actual plan. Tony (talk) 03:12, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
Maybe add a banner at the top of the page stating it is a draft? Template:Draft would do (insert: {{draft}}). Antoine "hashar" Musso (talk) 13:12, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
Done, Antoine "hashar" Musso. :) Thank you for the suggestion. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 15:17, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

Feedback from FDC member who evaluated last year's plan[edit]

The document is well written and easy to understand. The information given is much too limited to enable a detailed evaluation, details are even less then last year, which then was felt to be too limited.

The plan is much more coherent then last years plan. The balance of increases between the differnt areas is well motivated and makes sense (exception below). In general the plan looks much more professional and also that the organisation being supported being more professional driven.

I am rather disturbed, though, of the unbalance of the expenditures by WMF and that for the affiliates. Software etc is a key for the movement and communitites, but so is the outreach and community support (including important local tech devolpment) being done by the affiliates. To then have an increase of around 20% for WMF compared with a decrease of 6% for grants and affiliates funding is not reasonable. It feels like WMF looks at the critical important work done by the affiliates as a "playing around" by local entities and not as "serious business" done by WMF. A proper plan must show respect that what the communities, projects and movemnet needs is both the work done by WMF and the work done locally by chapter and that they compelement each other. I do hope WMF and the Board take a stand to better balance expenditure between WMF and grants/local entities.

For the size of the total increase it is well motivated and can be seen as justified. For an organisation it could though also be good thing to have a time of consolidation in order to get into a more mature and efficient working mode. If this is a time to pause the expansion or if an increase of this magnitude is still motivated and can be implemented without effecting efficiency negativly, I do not have proper insight to evaluate. It could be an idea to ask WMF to better indicate if there exist an organisational stress relating to (too) quick expension.Anders Wennersten (talk) 04:28, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for your post, Anders. I agree with your opening propositions. However, the third paragraph makes me pause: very few affiliates remotely match what appears to be an idealised vision of their function. I don't doubt that a little tech development is done among a few (I've reviewed one or two PEG applications involving such), but let's not get carried away in generalising. Tony (talk) 10:10, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
I hope I have not used wrong terminlogy. I mean local entities like Chapters.Anders Wennersten (talk) 15:21, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
The drop in Community Grants is primarily due to the elimination of the Partnership grant that was designated for Brazil in the amount of $500,000. This grant was discontinued after feedback from the local community and for not achieving the desired outcomes of growing the community. There was also a reduction of $100,000 from Project and Event Grants due to a reallocation of funds to support Community Events. Therefore the decrease in grants in not a reflection on how we see the work of the local entities, but simply a reflection of the changing needs of both the local entities and the community--GByrd (WMF) (talk) 15:40, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

6.35% compensation increase might be confusing[edit]

This increase includes $4 million, or 6.35%, for cost of living, compensation adjustments and annualizing the compensation of staff hired during the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

Being non native english speaker, I read this as a 6.35% average wage increase for all staff. You might want to report the annualization of new staff as a separate number. Antoine "hashar" Musso (talk) 13:17, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

Of the $4 million in adjustments to compensation, 2.6% is for Cost of Living, 3.0% is for either merit or equity salary adjustments, and .75% is for annualization of salaries for hires during FY 14-15. The 3.0% for merit or equity salary adjustments is not given to all employees.--GByrd (WMF) (talk) 15:42, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
That's nice, but I think what Hashar was suggesting is that you note the variability in the report, rather than post it in reply to one person on the talkpage. Ironholds (talk) 16:36, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
This clarification has been added to the draft annual plan. For most changes, our process will be to update the annual plan before it goes before the Board of Trustees for their final review and vote.--GByrd (WMF) (talk) 20:39, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! -- Antoine
  • Incidentally, I like that several WMF staffers are commenting here. Can someone confirm that there is no parallel discussion on mail:wmfall or similar? If so, that's a great improvement this year, everyone discussing in a single place. --Nemo 23:25, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
    There isn't one :) Legoktm (talk) 06:47, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
    +1 SJ talk  21:34, 1 June 2015 (UTC)

Where are the Community Technology resources allocated?[edit]

Structural changes to reporting defines the new Community Technology team under Engineering, but then Staffing by functional area lists new Community Technology team positions under Community Engagement. This is unclear, and makes me wonder where are the Community Technology expenses accounted in Total spending by functional area, under Engineering or Community Engagement? Other than this, I also like the clarity of this document. Thank you!--Qgil-WMF (talk) 21:07, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

The Community Technology team is located in Engineering. There is a Product Manager - Community Tech in the Community Engagement department. The list of staff request for Community Engagement has been updated.--GByrd (WMF) (talk) 15:35, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

Time for comments[edit]

Posted on the 25th, publicised on the mailing list on the 26th, closing date for comments the 29th. Apparently this is to "make certain that we have community feedback". That just is not good enough. "We value this input" -- no you don't. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 06:31, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

+1. I came here to say something very similar... Wittylama (talk) 08:39, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
+1. Yes, this is ridiculous. Described quite well by Liam at Wikimedia-l. Multichill (talk) 11:30, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
+1 Completely agree. Four days is a slap in the face for the people who actually WRITE the encyclopedia...you know...the unpaid members of the community. Intothatdarkness (talk) 15:00, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
+1 An absurd lack of time for community scrutiny and comment. Really, really bad. We are talking about a $67M proposed budget here... Carrite (talk) 15:02, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
+1 This risks looking like a really transparent and cynical attempt to prevent any feedback from happening (known in the vernacular as "pulling a fast one"). I will hope that this was not the intent. Please wait at least one week after an announcement of this page in the Signpost, Kurier etc. --Andreas JN466 15:08, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
I apologize for the short timeline. It was decided a short comment period on our Annual Plan was better than no comment period. I do appreciate the comments on the annual plan we have received so far and I have already incorporating some of this feedback into the draft document.--GByrd (WMF) (talk) 15:46, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for that but I have to say that this is not an adequate apology. The community deserves an explanation why the publication is so much delayed, why no effort was made during that long delay to warn the community that publication of the draft would be so much later than the (unaltered) time table at Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan, why even now with such an unacceptably short time for comments no further efforts have been made to publicise it, for example at the Main Page; the community deserves an acknowledgement that this unexplained late publication has led to it being impossible for the draft Plan to figure effectively in the Board election, where it might have been an important item for discussion and decision; but most of all the community deserves an apology for the egregious wording of the announcement [1] in which we read The objective of this process is to ​make certain that we have community feedback on ​this initial draft ​of the annual plan, and that ​We value this input. These statements are completely lacking in credibility: in fact, the way the draft has been delayed without explanation or warning, and then under-publicised, makes it certain that you will not get wide and effective feedback, and the handling of the whole sorry affair makes it clear that you do not in fact value the input of the community: indeed, that you do not care about it, whatever you may say. Feeding us this nonsense is an insult to our intelligence, and I seriously suggest that a senior manager who tries to foist this sort of stuff on the community needs to consider their position. At the very least please step away, review the whole sorry affair and come back with a proper explanation, a proper acknowledgement of the offence that has been caused and a proper apology for it. This sort of behaviour has the potential to cause further serious damage to the relationship between the WMF and the volunteer community at a time it you badly need to be repairing it. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 20:49, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
The release of the annual plan was delayed due to the first version of the budget being significantly larger than what the management of the Wikimedia Foundation wanted. Based on what was presented in the first version of the annual plan, management had to work on cutting cost and staffing to achieve the current draft annual plan. This resulted in the delay in releasing the annual plan draft from the original, May 8 deadline, to the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees and the community. I apologize for not updating the community regarding the revised annual plan timeline. The community should have been updated at the same time as we updated the Board of Trustees on the delays in the release of the draft of the annual plan. We do not have the option of extending the community review timeline, if the feedback is to be used for the next version of the annual plan, as the final annual plan is scheduled to be sent to the Chair of the Audit Committee early next week so that he and the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees can review the final version of the annual plan and vote before June 30, 2015, the end of our fiscal year.--GByrd (WMF) (talk) 23:59, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
I know that it was not the intention to only give this limited consultation period, and that due to delays at one end and an immovable deadline on the other end means a truncated period in the middle. I am not implying malice or an attempt to deceive - I understand the stressful situation you're in to produce a budget on time. But, given you knew this was going to happen, why wasn't the messaging modified to acknowledge this (to acknowledge the problem rather than pretend it's not there)?
More pertinent though is the question of how the WMF would react if one of the Chapters applying for Annual Plan Grants did something similar? If, for example, WM-De missed the "proposals due" deadline (even with a good reasons) and published their APG 3 days before the 1-month long "community review" phase concluded - how would the WMF react? I suspect that the WMF would declare the application to be ineligible for that round of funding and agree to some form of "bridging funding" until the next round opens. So...when the WMF can't follow the rules that it sets for others (even though it has vastly more staff, is applying for vastly larger amounts of money, and is publishing a document that is much less detailed than several of the chapter's APGs), at the very least it decreases the willingness of others to abide by those rules. If a Chapter submits its application very late next year, citing "delays due to revisions demanded by our executive" and the 2016 WMF budget as a precedent, what do we do then? Wittylama (talk) 14:46, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
@Wittylama:, This will certainly influence future APG and WMF proposals. The WMF, having now had to deal with extremely trying circumstances when building its own plan, will at least have more humility when interacting with other organizations that have similar troubles.
One problem here is that there was no "proposal due" deadline, since the FDC review was given up without replacing it with some other explicit process. Having a deadline makes it easier to respond to missing it. Let's make sure there is one in all future years, regardless of whether it's only a public review, or if the FDC is involved somehow. SJ talk  02:09, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
I would also very much like ans answer to the above question.[2] --Guy Macon (talk) 02:06, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
+1 This shows quite clear the disregard by those in SF to those who generate their wealth, i.e. the communities. You should have ditched the period completely, that would be more honest, as you really don't care about community input to your distribution of the multi-millions you earn because of us. This is just a fig leaf, it's probably intended to be exactly that: a fig leaf to pretend community involvement. And it was probably as well intended to keep this out of the board elections, to save you from inconvenient questions. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden)superputsch must go 04:34, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

Guys, we are talking about the WMF - they don't care about our opinions. The never have, they never will. So the main question should be, why they ask us at all? It's only a show - and for a show, the running time is not of any importance. Marcus Cyron (talk) 12:45, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

  • Re "I apologize for the short timeline. It was decided a short comment period on our Annual Plan was better than no comment period.", Seeing as you gave us only 3 days rather than the usual 30, I am sure that you won't mind if we give you only 10% of the funding that you thought you had. I apologize for the reduced funding. It was decided that giving you a reduced amount of money was better than no money at all.[3] --Guy Macon (talk) 09:06, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Actually the "slap in the face" communication strategy seems to work well to get activity on talk pages! Cf. [4] vs. [5]. --Nemo 23:21, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

Why so much growth?[edit]

Is WMF growing because it needs to, or is it growing because it can? There are 43 new employees envisioned. Are they all really needed? Why is the PR department going from 4 to 11???

Speaking organizationally, this rate of growth is unsustainable, eventually the starry-eyed fundraising targets will not be met and a budget crisis will ensue. A slower growth target seems sensible. —Tim Davenport, Corvallis, OR USA /// Carrite (talk) 14:48, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

If I am reading this correctly, the Foundation planned to take $58.5 million in 2014-2015 (a target that was reached in early January), but will probably end up taking $74 million (25% more than planned). Next year, the plan calls for $67 million. (I dare say the Foundation will not take strenuous measures to avoid taking 25% more than that, i.e. something like $85 million.) I am in many ways heartened by Lila's track record to date. I think the Foundation may well need these sorts of amounts to get its house in order. But the Foundation's past spending record has not been exactly stellar, with millions wasted. And I do have a problem with the means used to extract these millions from donors: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2015-03-18/Op-ed
Please, no more talk about "surviving" and "keeping Wikipedia online for another year" in next December's fundraising banners. --Andreas JN466 15:09, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
Carrite, the increase of PR staff by 7 heads may be in part to counteract the negative publicity generated by investigative reporters and researchers (of my own ilk) who are finding that the WMF "story" doesn't always align with the actual truth. - Thekohser (talk) 15:11, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
Eventually that crap is not gonna work. "Keeping the servers on" is a lie. Carrite (talk) 15:04, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

I guess I was most surprised by the fact that legal represents the only line item that's seeing a decrease versus the FY14-15 projection. A footnote there would be helpful. -- Philgomes (talk) 16:12, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

Of course you are right. It is not about just keeping the servers on, but any means. Our software is 15 years old (and it will take more to update existing system than build a new one) and our support for volunteers is very spotty at best. Our brand is still poorly understood. The laws around us putting free content, free association and free speech at risk. We are spending resources on making impact in those areas. We have risks that we are facing in many ways as well and we are planning for mitigation through things like the endowment. In terms of banner messaging, it is what has worked for years and it is optimized for minimum number of impressions. That message is part of what we do. We can put other things up, and we will try -- but the trade-off is more of the banners more of the time. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 19:19, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
"Our software is 15 years old" err phase II the earliest thing that could be considered mediawiki is about 13 years 5 months old. I understand that there has been some development since that time. The tradeoff is that you reduce your spending to covering those areas that donors will actually support.Geni (talk) 22:49, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
Philgomes, Legal had in the past enormous year-over-year increases which were supposed to be «one-time expenditures including $700K to upgrade the trademark portfolio» and brought no known benefit whatsoever to the Wikimedia community. Not only I welcome the decrease (if it's a true decrease) but I'd rather ask a footnote to justify why the funding is not reduced by one million or so. --Nemo 23:39, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

I'd be more impressed if they grew staff in areas designed to work with the actual laborers on the project. Further funding to the PR spin-machine isn't going to help rebuild relations with the actual content creators or determine what's needed to improve the actual encyclopedia. Intothatdarkness (talk) 14:02, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

We are indeed growing budget for community engagement department. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 19:19, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

┌─────────────────────────────────┘
Budget growth over time:

Wikimedia Foundation financial development 2003–2014. Green is revenue, red is expenditure, and black is assets, in millions of dollars.

The 2014 automated thank-you e-mail for donors (Fundraising/Translation/Thank you email 20140606) reads in part:,

"My name is Lila Tretikov, and I’m the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. Over the past year, gifts like yours powered our efforts to expand the encyclopedia in 287 languages and to make it more accessible all over the world. [...] Our mission is lofty and presents great challenges. Most people who use Wikipedia are surprised to hear it is run by a non-profit organization and funded by your donations. Each year, just enough people donate to keep the sum of all human knowledge available for everyone. Thank you for making this mission possible. On behalf of nearly half a billion people who read Wikipedia, thousands of volunteer editors, and staff at the Foundation, I thank you for keeping Wikipedia online and ad-free this year. (emphasis added).

I would strongly dispute the assertion that "each year, just enough people donate" or the implied threat that Wikipedia is in financial trouble and may be forced to run ads to make ends meet. --Guy Macon (talk) 18:57, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

The problem is the toxic atmosphere that the WMF has allowed to build up in the communities[edit]

Personally I find it rather funny that the WMF shows growth at the same time as the projects are all showing sharp declines in editors and readers. More money is being pumped into adding employees to fix a problem that can't be fixed by dumping money into software changes people don't want. The problem isn't with the software, the problem is the toxic atmosphere that the WMF has allowed to build up in the communities, particularly the English Wikipedia, rather than deal with it. People do not want to work in a hostile work environment and they certainly do not want to volunteer there, so when you have editors who are allowed to do whatever they want to whomever they want with impunity but others are blocked for the same reasons, it doesn't look good. When you have admins who are allowed to apply a lower standard to admin conduct than they do to editors, it gives a bad impression. When you allow admins to block with impunity and use "broadly construed" "discretion" whenever they want to turn the tide of discussion in their favor, it doesn't give a good impression either. Then you have the English Wikipedia Arbitration committee who are basically a Kangaroo court, takes weeks to solve even simple problems and make the process so difficult that few want to even fool with it, while allowing them and other functionaries to get away with blatant violations of policy, it doesn't just make the communities look bad, it makes the WMF look bad. So if the WMF truly wants to fix the declines in the communities, the fix is not to hire a bunch of new College graduates with impressive degrees to release half built software that the community has to debug and fix the broken edits it left behind, the fix is to start dealing with the deeply rooted abusiveness within the powerful groups of some of the major communities like ENWP that stifle the projects and turn people off of editing. Reguyla (talk) 14:03, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Your basic argument (that the WMF should exert more control over what you see as abusive ANI and Arbcom decisions on the English Wikipedia) is unlikely to get much support here, and that even if you got what you say you want, it would almost certainly result in new blocks by a different set of administrators you ending up complaining about how corrupt and evil the WMF is now that they are the ones who are blocking you from editing. Considering the following...
...you might want to consider the possibility that the problem is you. --Guy Macon (talk) 18:23, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for cherry picking a few links to make me look as bad as possible in an effort to discredit me:-). None of those would even apply if the original ban that was done through a manipulation and abuse of policy had been stopped. All of that and more was the direct result of the failure of a few to put a stop to a couple of individuals continuously submitting ban requests on me until they got what they wanted. No one in the world would react well to that. How would the WMF react if the ENWP community submitted a proposal to fire Lila over and over until it got approved? Would they ignore it or would they fire Lila?
I certainly have my problems but if I had less people telling me to just bend over and take abuse like a good little editor I probably wouldn't be as adversarial as I am. I am not a sheep and never have been. If I get bullied I fight back even if I get my ass kicked in the end and even if that is in contrast to the Wiki culture of either putting up with abusive conduct or leaving the site to the bullies. If everyone backs down to bullies it enables them to continue and to get worse. If people stand up to them and have the morale courage to do the right thing then the bullies won't last and the site will improve. I am as guilty as anyone about enabling bullies. I ignored them for years but I finally got to a point where I felt I had to do something. So I got banned for the trouble and the site is the worse for it.
Its easy to sell my as not being here to contribute when I am blocked and can't edit, but bear in mind I have done more than a half million edits (more than all but about 20 other non bots and I haven't even been able to edit in a year), have created hundreds of articles, have over a dozen featured, helped to keep alive more than 100 WikiProjects, created and ran a newsletter for those projects, maintained a collaboration of the month for article improvements, did a lot of administrative work (that had to then be implemented by admins who often didn't even know if it was even right), etc. Every month I am not editing is a month where 10, 000+ edits aren't getting done. Most of the projects, the collaboration and the newsletter I supported are all dead because no one is maintaining them. Countless edits aren't getting done every day and I see vandalism and problems that need fixing going for weeks or months without getting fixed because there aren't enough editors to do the tasks and the admins are too busy banning editors. My problem is that unlimited control has been given to a small group who feels that they should be above the law and are outside policy and are willing to violate any policy and manipulate any rule to get and keep what they want. And the WMF lets that continue without action. Some examples include:
  1. an admin calling the community "Fucking morons" and then getting rewarded with the oversight permission,
  2. outing editors to their employer in an attempt to get them fired in retaliation for comments made,
  3. maintaining blogs against policy on Wikipedia in violation of policy,
  4. telling editors to "Fuck off",
  5. Personal attacks towards editors and even other admins and functionaries,
  6. abusive use of the admins tools, and the list goes on.
Where is the WMF in this? Silent, they do not care and never have. As long as the checks are rolling in they spend the money and let the projects do what they want. Well its time for that to change because the projects are being run into the ground by a handful of admins that do not care about the projects and only care about whatever their personal POV is. If the WMF wants to continue collecting those checks to keep the servers running and keep editors editing they need to step in and take action and quit sticking their heads in the sand and pretending they do not see it. Reguyla (talk) 19:40, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
en:WP:NOTTHEM --Guy Macon (talk) 14:38, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
Guy Macon I'm getting tired of your constant attacks and attempts to derail discussions. I don't know what your problem is with me and I don't care. All you are doing is causing drama and stirring the pot. If you disagree with statements I make then either ignore them or participate in the discussion but please quite trolling the conversation in an attempt to derail it. There is a long history of social problems on Wikipedia and many originate from the double standard of the admin corps. If the WMF deals with that, a lot of the problems including the lack of editors will be fixed. People do not want to work on a project when they are under an aristocracy where any admin has unlimited authority. If the WMF addresses the problem and deals with the 10 or so problematic admins then the system will self adjust. If they continue to ignore the problem though it won't matter how much money they through into new software, because the problems are cultural and social, not technological. So stop attacking me because you disagree, participate in fixing the problem or you are part of the problem. Reguyla (talk) 15:08, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
The reason you were blocked was your own behavior. Grow up and start taking personal responsibility for your own actions. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:46, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
Guy Macon Your personal attacks have no place on this discussion or this wiki. I have asked you to stop and I reverted them but you need to move on and stop attempting to derail the discussion with your constant digression of the topic. The reason I was blocked was because a few admins on the English Wikipedia and some wannabe admins felt threatened by my advocation that they should have to follow the rules. The WMF doesn't have to listen or agree anymore than you do but the fact is there is a serious problem on ENWP with admin conduct that needs to be addressed. If the WMF grows then they should grow in a way that helps to grow and manage the projects and build content. Adding people to build new software to fix a problem that is social and cultural does not help fix the problems. Reguyla (talk) 17:01, 5 June 2015 (UTC)

under-spend[edit]

historically the WMF has under-spent and over fund-raised. what specific steps will be taken to increase budget accuracy? if under spend is inability to grow fast enough, what is the plan to spend the money on under-funded opportunities? if the under-spend is due to fear of future failure to fund raise, what the the financial plan to grow reserve fund or endowment fund? Slowking4 (talk) 15:18, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

One of our C2A items is all about accuracy of budgeting. We are re-building how fast and accurately we account, so we can clearly identify how much any given project is costing us, how long it takes, etc. This is in progress under guidance of our new COO. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 19:19, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

Only 5 new engineers?[edit]

Seriously? Or am I just reading it wrong?? I just looked through the Engineering re-org chart (unsure if public) and count at least 15 teams that were supposed to get new engineers. What about the "Architecture", "Global South", and "Security" teams that currently have no engineers assigned to them? Are we planning to even hire for those teams? Legoktm (talk) 23:58, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

Good question. Especially "Security" is extremely important. I remember a case where accounts were hacked due to the fact that our passwords are known to more than 200 people, engineers? CheckUsers? Anyways: more than a hundred too many if you'd ask me.  Klaas `Z4␟` V:  10:09, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
Err not true. mediawiki passwords have always been stored as a hash and thus not directly known to anyone. It was possible to use various tricks to work out what someone's password might be (largely boiled down to it being possible to tell if two passwords were the same) but that has since been addressed.Geni (talk) 22:52, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
Yes, and there is a good reason for it. We are forcing re-prioritization and filling competency gaps before further growth. We must make sure we deliver on the projects we have started. As a result our first focus is on VE and performance. We will expand from there. Privacy is on our mind it may indeed take priority. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 19:19, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

For what[edit]

I need to ask myself, for what the WMF spend all the money. At the end there comes not much to the Comunity from the WMF and if there comes something that works, it is something to overule Comunity descisions. If there's something that works, for example Wikidata, it was made by other people. So why the WMF should get money at all? And why the WMF should grow? To be more ineffective than today? Nearly not possible. On the other hand, the WMF tries to destroy the chapters - the chapters are the points that really helps us authors. All chapters should be able to develop as Wikimedia Germany has done. ALL! But the WMF tries more to keep even WMF (and other a bit developed chapters) down. WMF don't ever has helped me with my Wikimedoa work. WMDE has. WMAT has. WMCH has. Also indirect WMNL, WMSWE, WMUK and WMIT. I say, WMF goes back to a legal department for solving user- and brand problems and a fundraising department for a central fundraisig for countries, who can not do it by their own. The software should become real free, without the WMF sitting on it. All the other things should be done in the countries and Wikis, by the Comunities and their staff. It has now come to an end, with the ineffective and patronizing policy of WMF. So I say, the WMF don't need more than 2 Million Dollar for the two points I've mentioned. All the other money has to go to the chapters and so to the Comunities! Marcus Cyron (talk) 12:54, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

@Marcus Cyron:Just for information, it takes at least $8.2 million just to "keep the servers running" including $2.8 million for servers and related equipment. This budget provides $8.4 million in for funding and staffing for direct community support, including chapters. Last year the Annual Plan Grants (FDC) process allocated $1.1 million in funding support for Wikidata and other community projects for WMDE.--GByrd (WMF) (talk) 21:29, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
If this were a panel discussion in a conference, at this point the moderator would take the microphone back, say "I'll take that as a comment", and quickly move the conversation on to someone else who wants to ask a question... Wittylama (talk) 14:57, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
We are much over the time for questions. Questions do not help, nobody in the possble position to give answers is interested in giving the answers. I don't have any chance to do something than say my opinion at these points. Btw - you are not the moderator. Marcus Cyron (talk) 00:09, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
This is a Meta-Wiki talk page, it's not a press conference nor a keynote speaker questions session. Comments are the point. --Nemo 23:50, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

Marcus Cyron - ok, let's break out these points.

  • Are chapters the best way to get money directly to the communities? how would you allocate money to them? Originally this was done by the amount of money given by donors in a chapter's country. Would you keep the FDC, or go back to that original model?
  • WMF destroying chapters: is there no benefit to chapters from having an international organization, other than legal support? You say 'It has come to an end... with the patronizing policy of WMF'. What do you mean there?
  • Software should be really free, without the WMF sitting on it: what would this look like? What parts of software development are being held back by 'the WMF sitting on it'?

SJ talk  21:34, 1 June 2015 (UTC)

Personally I see the WMF doing a lot of things in spite of community comments. Sure they say they want comments, but then when those comments come in they just do whatever they want anyway. We saw this with Visual Editor, with Flow, with the Super protect right, etc. etc. There are a lot of people who want to help and will of the WMF takes that help seriously. But when things like this occur where they just drop the plan on the community over a month late with only a few days to comment and no realistic expectation that the WMF will have time to even consider the comments or suggestions, it rubs some in the community the wrong way. You say it takes at least $8.2 million a year to keep the system going but within that there are a lot of cuts that could be made. There are a lot of areas that could be made more efficient and a lot of areas where the WMF could leverage the communities help but choose not too. There are also a number of billets that IMO are unneeded. the WMF used to get by with half the number of people they have, but now they are all needed? That doesn't really make sense. Reguyla (talk) 13:50, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Metrics, metrics, metrics ... but a total lack of specific goals[edit]

This looks like the annual plan of a bookkeeping service, not of a global NGO working with the largest volunteer author force in the world. Did anyone look at this who thinks about language and meaning? Almost every stated goal is defined by metrics. This plan - as WMF in general - is ruled by numbers, figures and percentages. Not by ideas, projects and people.

I am all for targets and evaluation of projects. But only after the fact. Planning should be done with real ideas. I don't see any of those in this plan. What do you want do do next year? How do you justify the vast expenses and the ever increase in spending? How will you work for our mission in 2015/16?

Planning is nice, but where is the evaluation of past plans and years? Why do you want to grow engineering? How did they work in the past? Are you satisfied with their work? I'm not. My plans for engineering would be to cut the workforce at least by half, with a higher percentage in the management than in the grunt work. Besides this general change, I would want to strengthen IT security, by adding personal specialized in that field if necessary.

Same question applied to communication: Are you happy with how communication works right now? Just adding staff won't change anything. It only means more of the same. In the annual plan I would like to see real goals, what you wish to achieve in communications. With whom. On which topics. For which targets ... --194.95.59.160 15:58, 29 May 2015 (UTC) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by [[User:--h-stt !?|--h-stt !?]] ([[User talk:--h-stt !?|talk]]) Sorry, obviously the system did not recognize my account, I did not intend to write this anonymously --h-stt !? 10:51, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

The draft is explicit about priorities, but purposefully is not addressing individual goals, which are outlined in quarterly reports. Have you looked at those yet? They are quite specific and most are quantified. In case of engineering, we are introducing much needed management and technology specialist capability and holding the rest flat, because I do not believe we are doing as good of a job as we must with the current teams. Communication performed well with minimum funding this year and given our global presence we are under-supporting it -- hence the increase. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 19:19, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply. I browse through the quaterly reports when they are published in the blog, but although it might disappoint you, I am not really excited by their level of reasoning and content. And I strongly believe that the annual plan is the place to publish an organization's goals for the next term. Your document does not fulfill that requirement.
I'm not the least bit interested in staff level planning down to single FTEs (the record shows that your plans are totally useless in that regard anyway, you always hire completely different numbers than originally planned). But I want you to tell us where you want the Foundation to go, what you wish to accomplish in the next year or in the medium term of two to three years. I want you to be specific where you have serious plans, while it is perfectly fine to be vague in other fields - particularly where you need to work with the communities of volunteers or other outside stakeholders.
I want you to talk about ideas with regard to the roles of the actors within the movement (WMF, WikiEd, Chapters, FDC, User groups, unorganized communities). And I want to allow for discussion. Not the rushed excuse for participation, you're incompetent staff shows here not for the first, second or third time.
And I want you to be honest in evaluation and wish to see consequences of structural failure. In engineering (I acknowledge the efforts already taken here) and in communications (where I fear this planning to lead to "more of the same").
And you don't need more money. Please stop increaing the fundraising goals. In fact, I still believe that WMF has grown way too big, way too fast since about 2010. At least some departments have build up a behemouth of bureaucracy that is now occupied by justifying its own existence. You did better in the past with a leaner force. --h-stt !? 10:51, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
H-stt, of course ideas, projects and people are central. But my view is that we don't have enough useful metrics yet. And if might add my own comment, I hope the annual plan, when published, contains only a minimal amount of the corporate-type defensive departmental "selling" that we saw in State of the wiki. It may not have been institutionally intended in that document, but it seemed to come out that way. And, of course, thank you to all of the WMF people working on the document—it's important and not easy to get right. Tony (talk) 14:04, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

On the road[edit]

Hi Everyone, i am seeing a lot of recent posts here and I apologize for delays -- I have been on the road for the last few weeks and have another 4 weeks of travel ahead of me meeting Wikimedians all around. I will try to respond as much as I can in my crazy jetlag schedule. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 19:19, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

The timing is unfortunate, but understandable, as this is the best time of year for travel in the northern hemisphere. Perhaps the planning cycle can be pushed up, so that this discussion happens about three months earlier next year? Is your travel schedule published anywhere? Any trips to Ohio in the works? Wbm1058 (talk) 20:33, 7 June 2015 (UTC)

Communications[edit]

Launch Wikipedia 15, a global campaign for Wikipedia’s 15th anniversary, including an event convening thought leaders, community engagement and celebration, messaging platform for WMF strategy, executive speaking, and press coverage.
Why? The approach of an event beyond the existing wikimania seems rather odd.
Provide dedicated product marketing support to drive integrated roll-outs for product launches, develop messaging platforms for new engineering teams, release strategic collateral including product-centric videos, and secure coverage including at least 3 top tier technology articles per major launch, in addition to international press.
Have you any idea how annoying it is for volunteers to have to deal with PR people who are trying to market something at them? You also need a robust definition of top tier technology articles unless you are going to fall back on the thomson reuters impact factor or something.
Refine and distribute community content, telling the story of Wikimedia. Support community engagement through content, including at least 20 stories monthly, contributed by or featuring community members, and distributed across social, blog, video, press, and more.
Questionable use of donor money (if you've got someone halfway competent at video work I can provide them with a list of things that would actually be useful for them to shoot) but otherwise harmless I suppose.
Provide internal communications support to improve information sharing with the Wikimedia Foundation, ensure regular and consistent internal communications around Foundation milestones, and communicate specific campaigns consistent with the Wikimedia vision.
Is there a typo here? "to improve information sharing with the Wikimedia Foundation" who's information sharing with the wikimedia foundation? is this meant to say "within" or something? It is also unclear if "and communicate specific campaigns consistent with the Wikimedia vision" means internally or externally.Geni (talk) 22:37, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

Review from current FDC member[edit]

I will share with the comments both above and on the mailing list that I do not believe that this brief period of 'community review' really qualifies to be considered a community review; the time frame is far too short. The plan itself does not provide adequate information on programs, goals and objectives, or deliverables; nor does it really explain the need for much of the increased staffing in sufficient detail as to make a reasonable assessment of its value. Nonetheless, below are a few observations.

  • Community Technology. During the course of this review, the Community Technology team was first budgeted to Community Engagement (CE) (comprising the majority of staff positions that department was to receive) and then moved to Engineering (with no change in the budgeted staff positions after this move). However, the product manager remains with the CE Department; this is out of step with the (new and sensible) practice of embedding product managers within their product department. This is a new department and splitting the team across two reporting lines is suboptimal.
  • Communications. While I agree that there is justification for some additional staffing in this area, I am not seeing justification for tripling staff. In particular, the Wikimania 15 positions should logically be contracts, not staff positions; the job will be finished in 18 months. I also have concerns about the overlap in the Communications Department and CE Department for product roll-out; we have seen serious problems in the past when the exteriorly-focused Communications messages about products are severely at odds with the community messaging and experience. (Ironically, the Communications end has usually met the expectations outlined in this AP for major launches; it is simply that their messaging was not well-aligned with the actual products.) There's also the question of what would constitute a major launch. There is not evidence in this AP to justify hiring 2 product marketing managers.
  • Engineering/Technology. There are now a very large number of departments reporting into this program. The plan to split this into two separate reporting lines is noted, and this should help, although I note that the AP does not adequately identify which of the current opening and planned positions will go to what departments/reporting lines. The scope of this group is massive, including several new projects (although some of them are relocated existing projects or are existing activities grouped into different projects). Looking at the data here, as well as the current staffing allocations per department, the division of responsibilities does not seem to flow particularly well, with several overlaps and some odd concentrations of focus. For example, why is the UX team separate from Reading? Privacy from Security? (Yes, there are some differences in focus, but there are also synergies. Having teams that are too small means no backup, no "bus person", and major gaps if someone leaves.) Search and Discovery, a new team, seems to be extraordinarily well-staffed with a disproportionate number of engineers at the same time as other areas seem to be wanting for them. I don't see "fix search" in the Call to Action document; even if it fell into the heading "Improve technology and execution", this seems like an abnormally large concentration of the top WMF Engineering minds to be focusing on a topic that didn't even rate its own mention in the CtA. More explanation of why Search and Discovery has suddenly become such a major focus is required to assess whether this is appropriate resourcing.
  • HR/Finance/Admin/etc. Two additional help desk staffers? Is that an internalizing of the two contract positions, or are they in addition to the current positions? If the latter, I'm rather surprised that an organization with so many technically-oriented people needs such a large Help Desk function; I am aware of many much larger organizations with much less technologically-oriented staff who have a smaller help desk team. It is also unclear why the Agile team is part of this department.

As noted in my comments above, because of the sparseness of information one would normally expect to see in an Annual Plan, particularly clearly delineated objectives linked to specific projects and outcomes (despite the frequent references to KPIs, which themselves are not necessarily outcomes but simply output) it is not really possible to assess whether this plan promotes value for money. I cannot tell, from reading this Annual Plan, where the Wikimedia Foundation expects to be a year from now. Risker (talk) 00:29, 30 May 2015 (UTC)

See Grants:APG/Funds Dissemination Committee for information about the FDC. Wbm1058 (talk) 14:26, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
Just a note: Risker, this analysis was quite useful, despite the too-short timeframe. Thank you. SJ talk  03:20, 13 July 2015 (UTC)

Computer equipment and office furniture.[edit]

Some people have, quite reasonably, asked "where does the money I donate to the Wikipedia Foundation go?" Well, about two and a half million dollars a year goes to buy computer equipment and office furniture.[6] That's roughly twelve thousand dollars per employee. The report says "The estimated useful life of furniture is five years, while the estimated useful lives of computer equipment and software are three years." so multiply that twelve thousand dollars by three or more.

I would really like to see an itemized list of exactly what computer equipment and office furniture was purchased with the $2,690,659 spent in 2012 and the $2,475,158 spent in 2013. Verifying that those purchases were reasonable and fiscally prudent would go a long way towards giving me confidence that the rest of the money was also spent wisely. As a non-profit that accepts donations and is committed to openness, the WMF should have no problem with telling me exactly what was bought, the price paid, and in general where it went No specific names, of course, just a general description of which department got what. --Guy Macon (talk) 09:21, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

Oh and at least in Germany office furniture is expected to be used for 13 years (That's the term for write-offs). Maybe US furniture is inferior, but is it really that worse? --h-stt !? 10:56, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
I believe 5 years is the standard accounting write-off (depreciation) for office furniture. That doesn't mean that it all wears out and is disposed of after only five years. See en:Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2015-03-18/Op-ed for background which led to the questions in this section. I think a good figure to know would be the average dollar amount spent for the typical employee workstation. That would give us an idea of whether they were installing budget, average-priced, or top-of-the-line workstations. Wbm1058 (talk) 14:10, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
Please, no more bikeshedding.
Making such assumptions would only make the WMF look worse, and it already looks bad enough. We don't even know how much was furniture, how much was computers, and how much was software. We don't know if the furniture was replacement furniture or the initial buy to furnish some of the chapters. And if someone claims that "computers" includes web servers, I will need to ask a followup question concerning the $2,549,992 and $2,486,903 spent on Internet hosting.
Could we please focus on why I keep failing to get the accounting I am asking for, rather than arguing about how often furniture needs to be replaced when we don't even know for sure whether "computer equipment and office furniture" contains any actual furniture? --18:10, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
"Of the amounts quoted most of the money was spent on servers and other equipment for the data center. The next biggest amount was for computer equipment and software for staff. Only about 9% of the amount in 2013 and about 7% of the amount in 2012 was spent on furniture and fixtures.GByrd (WMF) (talk) 18:01, 20 April 2015 (UTC)"
So, if you assume good faith, we do know "for sure" that money was spent on "actual furniture". If you agree that any discussion of the so-called "useful life" of furniture is irrelevant, which it is, then why did you bring up the topic at the start of this section? What do you mean by "so multiply that twelve thousand dollars by three or more"? I don't follow what you're getting at there. And don't you agree that any discussion of the amounts spent on servers "per employee" is also irrelevant. Perhaps "per gigabyte of site traffic" or some such metric might be relevant there. Wbm1058 (talk) 23:16, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
Regarding furniture, it was the WMF that decided to list "computer equipment and office furniture" as a single item. I did not make them do that. I have not discussed furniture other that in response to the WMF's choice of what to lump together in that line item or in response to questions from others. None of this would be an issue if the WMF would only provide the accounting I am asking for -- we would have an exact count of each.
Regarding multiplying by three, the report says "The estimated useful life of furniture is five years, while the estimated useful lives of computer equipment and software are three years." I chose to treat everything as computers/software and multiply by three instead of five so as to put the WMF in the best possible light. None of this would be an issue if the WMF would only provide the accounting I am asking for -- we would be able to separate the 3-year and 5-year items.
Regarding whether any actual furniture was purchased, the quote you gave says 9% was for "furniture and fixtures". Because Garfield Byrd is the Chief of Finance and Administration for the Wikimedia Foundation, I am assuming that he is using standard accounting language. "Furniture and fixtures. This is one of the broadest categories of fixed assets, since it can include such diverse assets as warehouse storage racks, office cubicles, and desks."[7] None of this would be an issue if the WMF would only provide the accounting I am asking for -- instead of guessing we would know exactly.
Again, instead of bikeshedding about 3-year depreciation vs. 5-year depreciation, do you have any reason why those of us who donate to the WMF shouldn't be able to see an an itemized list of exactly what computer equipment and office furniture was purchased with the $2,690,659 spent in 2012 and the $2,475,158 spent in 2013? Any reason at all? --Guy Macon (talk) 01:10, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
(...sound of crickets...) ---Guy Macon (talk) 12:28, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Although I think some itemization would be a good thing, I don't personally see the need to list out every chair, mouse and keyboard that are purchased. Sometimes things break and need to be replaced. Servers are expensive as are many of the software packages. I don't think they need to be listed individually to that level of granularity. IMO it would take more time to calculate that and then people would argue about how much time and money was spent calculating furniture costs. Its common to budget amounts in for things even if they aren't used. That money can always be realigned into other needs or refunded back into the coffers at the end of the year. I doubt the WMF runs like the US government where they need to spend every dime or risk losing it next year. Reguyla (talk) 13:31, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
If it takes any time at all to "calculate" what was spent on what, then the Wikipedia accounting department isn't doing their job. I know that we have a new COO who is working on improving our financial reporting, but I do not believe for a moment that things are so bad now that they cannot simply make a copy of the existing itemized list of exactly what computer equipment and office furniture was purchased with the $2,690,659 spent in 2012 and the $2,475,158 spent in 2013. This is basic accounting that every nonprofit does. --Guy Macon (talk) 18:43, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
As I said above, I agree that more granularity of what the money was spent on would be a good thing, but I do not think we need to know about every time they buy a new mouse or replace an aging switch which seems to be your desire. I do however agree that simply balling all the furniture and IT stuff into one sum isn't good either. My guess is they didn't actually "spend" 2.5 million on this stuff but are claiming that as depreciation as was noted above.Reguyla (talk) 19:44, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
You shouldn't have to guess. --Guy Macon (talk) 14:43, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
And the WMF shouldn't have to waste time and money creating itemized lists of purchases with a level of granularity no one except you care about. I would much rather they use that money for other things like improving the software or working with the community then telling everyone how many pens and pencils they buy. Reguyla (talk) 15:12, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
If they spend such enormous amount of money for just 200 and a bit employees, that's not even close to "how many pens and pencils", that's more like: Where was that spend at all? Perhaps there's some good explanation, like some money spent for offices in the chapters or such, but so far it's just unbelievable. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden)superputsch must go 19:04, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
I agree that it would be good to explain further but again its likely not actual dollars spent but depreciation on existing equipment. It would be good if they responded to verify though because it is possible my suspicions are wrong and they are just filling the halls with brand new servers and equipment every year in order to spend excess money. Reguyla (talk) 19:50, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
I'd just remind everyone here that our job is running a globally-popular *website* with as close to 100% uptime as we can get, and that website does run on servers, which is the majority of the cost listed here. -- phoebe | talk 00:43, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
Guy has asked a simple and proper question. The WMF has refused to give any kind of answer to that question, not even to state formally that they will not answer it. @Phoebe: do you regard that as a satisfactory state of affairs? Do you regard it as consistent with the wmf:Values which are "to communicate WMF information in a transparent, thorough and timely manner"? What, if anything, will you do about the WMF's failure to address this question? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 20:55, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
He asked a question down to an absurd level of detail. Answering such a question would impose many hours of beancounting onto WMF staff. But of course the question is a symptom of the distrust between parts of the communities and WMF. If community member don't believe anymore, that the Foundation uses its funds wisely, then more is at stake than expenditures for office furniture. --h-stt !? 14:22, 8 June 2015 (UTC)
Personally I believe that is a 100% correct statement. There is a lot of distrust and its growing. Unfortunately the large amounts of good things the WMF does do is washed out by the large amounts of bad and they really do need to do more to fix that rather than give the community the impression that they are not part of the team. The site cannot work without both the WMF and the community and I wish the WMF would recognize that rather than assume that the community members are a throwaway commodity that's easily replaced. Reguyla (talk) 15:07, 8 June 2015 (UTC)

┌─────────────────────────────────┘
The comments above give opinions regarding why I should not ask the question, but fail to explain why the WMF should stonewall me instead of simply answering the question -- or at least6 providing a reason why they refuse to answer it.

Keep in mind that if the WMF has the same accounting controls that every other nonprofit has will be able to produce an itemized list of exactly what computer equipment and office furniture was purchased with the $2,690,659 spent in 2012 and the $2,475,158 spent in 2013 just by clicking a mouse.

If they can not or will not provide the information, it likely that because of one of the following reasons:

  1. They put items in the computer equipment and office furniture category that in no way resemble computer equipment or office furniture.
  2. They have no idea as to whether the computer equipment and office furniture they paid for were ever delivered.
  3. Something about the purchases is embarrassing or hard to explain (a $70,000 conference room table, favoring one chapter over another, furnishing the home office of a highly-paid executive, that sort of thing).
  4. They think that those who donate to the WMF have no right to know where their donations go, and all the talk about financial openness is just talk.

I really want to assume good faith here, so I welcome any other plausible reasons for this behavior.

Finally, while "trust me" and "always assume good faith" are good principles when editing an encyclopedia, in the area of finances they go against generally accepted accounting principles. --Guy Macon (talk) 15:56, 8 June 2015 (UTC)

I strongly suspect that the answers are
  1. The WMF has not designated any channel, venue or portal where such questions may be posed
  2. The WMF has not designated any member of staff who is responsible for collating such questions, obtaining and publishing the answers -- even if an answer were to be "The WMF declines to answer this question"
@GByrd (WMF): as Treasurer would you like to comment on the procedural issues here? Do you accept that WMF has a responsibility to receive, acknowledge and respond to reasonable questions regarding its finance and business operations? If so, how should WMF discharge that responsibility? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 20:36, 8 June 2015 (UTC)
I have responded to the question with information that most of the money listed in "Purchase of computer equipment and office furniture" is for servers. This information is derived from our audited financial statements. If there were any issues on any of the purchases of computer equipment and office furniture then it is my responsibility to report such issues to the Board of Trustees. We have found no such issues and I have not received any inquiry from the Board of Trustees on this issue.GByrd (WMF) (talk) 00:30, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
Although this does not answer my explicit questions directly I will take it as implying a clear, no, you do not feel any responsibility to respond to reasonable questions from the community regarding the WMF finance and business operations. Your response makes it clear that the only process you are prepared to tolerate involves community members' questions being channelled to you through the Board of Trustees. This is clear enough insofar as it is an answer to my questions relating to process, and I find it regrettable that it should have taken so long to extract a response to the original question relating to spending considering that your response is a clear refusal to give the information requested. It will come as no surprise to you to hear that I regard the content of the responses, both to the original questioner and to me, now that they have finally materialised, as unacceptable, and since you appear to assign such a low priority to effective engagement with the community I will ask the Board to explain to you exactly why it is desirable and indeed necessary for you to exhibit a greater degree of transparency and indeed elementary courtesy in answering such questions promptly and informatively. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 12:13, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
Please see Wikimedia Foundation Board noticeboard#Accountability to the community. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 19:26, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
I am pleased to say the issue has now been resolved with this commitment to transparency. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 06:23, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

Remember for next year: more time for feedback and more information[edit]

As this here was nothing more but a scam to pretend community involvement, make sure that next year the following has to be done:

  • At least 4 weeks time for discussion, anything shorter should lead to automatic disapproval.
  • Make this page public known to all communities, definitely with a prominent message her on meta, and in all, o other project in an appropriate place, be it the main page, the signpost or an equivalent, or whatever, but no banner and no hidden page (and a mailing-list doesn't create any public knowledge at all, that's just some insider venue).
  • Answer all questions as soon as possible, and reserve enough time for this process with those responsible for spending our money.

In general: Spend less in SF and more decentralised, as this is a decentralised project, any centralism beyond the absolute necessary is bad and counter-productive. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden)superputsch must go 12:51, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia is no democracy  Klaas `Z4␟` V:  15:51, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

Hello Sänger, more information: hopefully this year as well. It may be too late for "publish, feedback, update, approval" after the end of this week, but a more thoughtful discussion in June is still important. A prominent link from the Signpost or other makes good sense.

I agree about 'making spending & efforts decentralised'. Distributing staff everywhere, and satellite offices, may help. We don't have many examples of decentralised spending that work well, however; the closest we have currently is distributing funding to chapters. Models for directly supporting projects would be even more decentral, and would match how the projects have grown: specific ideas there are welcome. SJ talk  21:34, 1 June 2015 (UTC)

A simple plan to solve all of our financial problems forever[edit]

If the WMF were to scale back spending to 2010 levels and then limit the growth of expenditures to 10% per year, it appears that it would take us somewhere between five and ten years for us to build up enough assets that we can fund everything from the interest forever and stop running banner ads asking for donations.[8]

Given the fact that there would still be some donations without the banner ads, the investment fund would still increase faster than whatever interest we don't spend, and if it ever started not growing fast enough to support the 10%/year growth in spending we could always fire up the old fundraising machine again. Would anyone with some experience with financial calculations/assumptions like to work with me on an RfC to see if the English Wikipedia wants the inform the WMF that we as a community want them to do this?

If this comes together I would follow this up with a similar RfC on the German Wikipedia, then some other large Wikipedias. If you want to help, drop me a note on my talk page because this discussion will be closed soon. Discussion about why it is a good or bad idea is of course welcome here for the tiny amount of time we have left. --Guy Macon (talk) 03:01, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

OR "A multi-pronged plan to ...". Tony (talk) 04:41, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
To be specific, two prongs: Spend less. Save more. --Guy Macon (talk) 12:25, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
As appealing as this notion might seem, the practical effect might be destabilizing. If you turn WMF into one big mountain of money, a lot of people will want to take it. When this is added to the merchandise value of the ever-increasing trove of accumulated content and eyeballs at WMF's command, you're really making it pretty irresistible. We need only look at an organization like FIFA to see what can go wrong. Rather than trying to pry all the funds out of our supporters' hands right now and trusting WMF to steward their eternal self-increase (cf. Proudhon) forever, it would make more sense to scale back fundraising activity somewhat - less histrionic appeals, for shorter periods, acknowledging that its purpose is more to build an endowment than to keep the servers on. Wnt (talk) 22:45, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
We can set up legal barriers that limit the WMF to a 10% per-year increase (with the ability to petition the court for more money if they can demonstrate a legitimate need). Once we do that anyone who taps into the principle faces jail time. And to be honest, nobody at WMF has ever shown the slightest sign of wanting to do any such thing, so we are really talking about some new leadership or the current leadership deciding to embezzle some larger amount when they haven't embezzled the $50 million dollars in the account now. I don't buy it.
As for toning down the appeals, I strongly suspect that if the WMF knows that it will only get a 10% per year increase no matter how much money they collect, they will automatically stop implying that Wikipedia needs your donations to stay open and add-free for another year. Right now they have a financial incentive to use every fundraising trick in tjhe book -- and it is a very thick book. --Guy Macon (talk) 23:57, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Wnt is right. WMF must do its job, not be turned into a big pile of money; for that I proposed a Wikimedia Trust instead. --Nemo 06:00, 3 July 2015 (UTC)
New Wikimedia Endowment seeks $100 million by 2026 --Guy Macon (talk) 19:24, 17 December 2016 (UTC)

Explain "annualization of compensation/salaries"[edit]

annualizing the compensation of staff, then a sentence later annualization of salaries for hires

Google won't cough up an explanation of either, what does this mean? If the two phrases represent the same concept, pick one and use identical phrasing each time. Thanks. -- SPage (WMF) (talk) 18:11, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

Yes, they mean the same thing. We use these two terms to describe the effect of hiring a staff member in the middle of the budget year and therefore only funding 50% of the salary and benefits and then with the start of the new budget year needing to budget for 100% of their salary and benefits.--GByrd (WMF) (talk) 17:01, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
I would like to see the projected annual burn rate, at the end of the projected fiscal year. Is that possible for future WMF plans? Do any affiliates do this in their plans? In general our plans give no indication of whether expenses are intended to be perpetual, for future years, or are one-time expenses in the current year. With the result that the entire budget has been interpreted as being perpetual. This is why, as I understand it, this plan focuses on describing how "new" spending is being allocated, and says much less about how or why the other 85% is allocated. SJ talk  02:09, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

Can Community Technology be externalized to a Chapter?[edit]

I like when the organizational weight is distributed across the whole wikimedia movement because it also gives the chance to other organizations in the movement to learn, gather expertise, and offset the load from the WMF big shoulders. Has it been considered to offer the organization of the Community Technology to a Chapter? There are many chapters that are eager to take up tasks, but if the WMF gobbles up every opportunity for them to grow, then it will become harder with time to build developing resources in any Chapter. In my opinion the Wikidata experience it was a success for WMDE, and I wish that there are similar successes for other Chapters (or group of chapters).--Micru (talk) 14:08, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

We are only taking on Community Tech, as we have received request for us to provide resources in this area.--GByrd (WMF) (talk) 17:10, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
@GByrd (WMF): Is it feasible a shared department where Chapters also can hire developers to be under functional management of the Head of Community Tech? That way the strain could be less for Chapters and also the fear to venture into the development realm. --Micru (talk) 12:07, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
Generally, I don't think it's a good idea to disperse such a complex task. Tony (talk) 14:07, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
@Tony1: Can you give more specifics why? As long as the functional manager is the same, the task is not dispersed.--Micru (talk) 20:18, 4 June 2015 (UTC)