Talk:Wikimedia India

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Notification of Past Due Chapter Reporting[edit]

Good day, This is a notification to bring to your attention that your organization is currently past due on its required annual reporting. Chapters are required to submit an annual activity and annual financial report covering the entirety of the 12-month agreement period due within 4 months of the end of the organizations fiscal year. Reports must be written in English, posted to meta, and linked on the meta Reports page.

This page is used to track how organizations and groups are meeting reporting requirements described in their agreements with the Wikimedia Foundation (e.g. chapter agreements, thematic organization agreements, user group agreements). It is the central place where affiliates can add reports about their activities, share their plans, and even news or social media channels with the wider movement. When new reports are available, organizations and groups should add them to this page to keep their columns up to date.

As noted on the meta Reports page, your organization’s 2017 annual reporting became past due in April. Please be sure to

  1. Post your 2017 annual reporting to the meta Reports page as soon as possible to return to compliance with your chapter agreement.
  2. Check that your group’s page is also up to date with past report links for historical record-keeping, and
  3. Please send an email to Wikimedia-l in order to share with a movement-wide audience.

If you have any questions or need any further guidance, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Best regards, DNdubane (WMF) (talk) 17:35, 31 July 2018 (UTC)

@DNdubane (WMF): It has been updated sometime back, please check.--Abhinav619 (talk) 05:47, 30 December 2018 (UTC)

Shutting down of Wikimedia India[edit]

Wikimedia India Chapter is to be de-recognized by WMF and shut down, from September 14, 2019, for the inability of the community to abide by Foundation requirements and lack of leadership. The community has accused WMF of not taking them into confidence and have sought a public hearing on the issue.Per Nitnaware, Himanshu (July 14 2019). "It's a curtain call for Wikimedia India Chapter". Pune Mirror. Retrieved 2019-07-14.  Check date values in: |date= (help) Winged Blades of Godric (talk) 15:00, 14 July 2019 (UTC)

Maybe Titodutta can say something more about the circumstances (since he is employed by CIS), given that the souring of love affair between CIS and WMF-I, seems to be a major mitigating factor. Or Krishna Chaitanya Velaga can say something about his' being a board member but claiming absolute ignorance about the state of affairs.Winged Blades of Godric (talk) 15:17, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm surprised that this made the news already and I'm even more surprised that the community has to learn about the de-recognition from the press. The image of Wikimedia Foundation shutting down WMIN to please Google and its deep-pocketed projects is especially unflattering and I hope the WMF offers a powerful counter-narrative rather than the usual stonewalling (like "given no other choice"). Nemo 18:24, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
Precisely; there's nothing in public apart from the linked news and a MayDay message by Abhinav to the Wikimedia-mailing-list, when the AffCom had already settled on the decision. There's absolutely nothing else in any wiki/mailing list. Both the sides (WMIN and AffCom) need to give some clear answers, as to the complete absence of transparency. 06:24, 15 July 2019 (UTC) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Winged Blades of Godric (talk) 06:24, 15 July 2019
I see below that the stonewalling continues. Pity, a wasted opportunity. Nemo 22:14, 16 July 2019 (UTC)

Support for our communities across India[edit]

Hello everyone,

Wikimedia projects are supported by you—a network of generous individual volunteers, groups, and organizations around the world. Together, you collaboratively enrich, grow, and advance the Wikimedia projects and free knowledge mission.

You may have heard about the Affiliations Committee’s decision to recommend the de-recognition of Wikimedia India. Some community members have asked what this means for the future of WIkimedia communities in India. We want to share more information about the AffCom decision, and reaffirm our commitment to and support for our many communities across India.

The Affiliations Committee is a community-run body of volunteers that represents and supports Wikimedia affiliates. After several years of working with Wikimedia India to bring its activities in line with chapter requirements, the Affiliations Committee recommended in June 2019 that the Wikimedia Foundation not renew the chapter agreement.

Wikimedia India was first recognized as a chapter in 2011. In 2015, it experienced difficulties meeting chapter agreement obligations. Working with the Affiliations Committee and the Foundation, the chapter developed a plan of action and returned to good standing by 2017. However, between 2017 and 2019 the chapter was unable to secure a license to act as a fiduciary organization, and is not currently legally registered as a charity in India to accept funding from the Foundation. The Foundation and Affiliations Committee both hope that this licensing and registration can be secured, and that the chapter will take all the steps needed to be eligible for recognition.

We are grateful for the vibrant, growing community in India who has shown great leadership and created significant impact within our global movement. The Foundation currently supports eight Indic language community user groups, and we expect two more to be announced by AffCom in the coming weeks. We receive more than 700 million pageviews to Wikipedia every month from readers in India, and the growth of the Indic community is a top priority for the future of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects.

The Republic of India is of great importance to the Wikimedia movement. The Wikimedia Foundation remains committed to supporting volunteer editors, contributors, readers, and donors across India. We’re grateful for all of your continued and growing efforts to support Wikimedia projects and our free knowledge mission. We look forward to continuing our work with you together.

On behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation,

Valerie D’Costa
Chief of Community Engagement
Wikimedia Foundation

Posted by CKoerner (WMF) (talk) 21:18, 16 July 2019 (UTC)

@CKoerner (WMF): Thank You for your response. I will be happy to provide few clarifications and would also like to ask few questions. It would be grateful to receive your response.
  • unable to secure a license to act as a fiduciary organization : Wikimedia India which is registered under Karnataka Societies Act, 1960 is governed by rules, procedures, legislation's and jurisdictions within the Republic of India. Wikimedia India submits its annual report to the registrar office for the Karnataka society every financial year beginning 1st April till 31st March.
  • is not currently legally registered as a charity in India to accept funding from the Foundation. : This is not a government license to attain utility which can be accessed by all if things are in order. Repeated best efforts are being made to attain the said license. Several times on public platform such information has been shared and sharing again for visibility here. Has WMF done some independent research on the same ? Grateful to receive a response.
  • The Foundation and Affiliations Committee both hope that this licensing and registration can be secured, and that the chapter will take all the steps needed to be eligible for recognition. : As follow-up to the second statement this is not a utility license. What is the view of Foundation and Affiliations Committee on Chapter's zero budget activities ? As asked by the Affiliations Committee would running programs and taking the movement forward not meet sufficiency and having WMF grants be a necessary criteria for sufficiency ?
  • we expect two more to be announced by AffCom in the coming weeks. There is public information about Wikipedians of Goa User Group which can also be found on the Application Pipeline page but there is complete secrecy about the second User Group. Why has Chapter's view also not recorded for the same ? It is mandatory for the Affiliations Committee to approach the existing affiliates in the same Geographical area.

Thank You. Looking forward to hearing. --Abhinav619 (talk) 06:05, 17 July 2019 (UTC)

Hello Abhinav,
Thank you for providing that clarification. Please see our response to your questions in line...
is not currently legally registered as a charity in India to accept funding from the Foundation. : This is not a government license to attain utility which can be accessed by all if things are in order. Repeated best efforts are being made to attain the said license. Several times on public platform such information has been shared and sharing again for visibility here. Has WMF done some independent research on the same ? Grateful to receive a response.
We acknowledge and encourage the best efforts made to get FRCA licensing. It is a necessary step for Wikimedia India to receive funding like other Indic organizations have. The Affiliations Committee (AffCom) requested evidence of this license from Wikimedia India, it does not independently research affiliate licensing and registration.
The Foundation and Affiliations Committee both hope that this licensing and registration can be secured, and that the chapter will take all the steps needed to be eligible for recognition. : As follow-up to the second statement this is not a utility license. What is the view of Foundation and Affiliations Committee on Chapter's zero budget activities ? As asked by the Affiliations Committee would running programs and taking the movement forward not meet sufficiency and having WMF grants be a necessary criteria for sufficiency ?
The revocation notice was based on Wikimedia India’s activities between December 2018 and May 2019, and it set out concerns about the chapter’s capacities in terms of Legal Structure, Open Governance, Active Contributor Involvement, overall Capacity, and with regard to organizational best practices required of chapters. The necessary criteria for chapters have also been shared.
we expect two more to be announced by AffCom in the coming weeks. There is public information about Wikipedians of Goa User Group which can also be found on the Application Pipeline page but there is complete secrecy about the second User Group. Why has Chapter's view also not recorded for the same ? It is mandatory for the Affiliations Committee to approach the existing affiliates in the same Geographical area.
Both user group applicants referred to are shown in our new pipeline under committee review: Wikipedians of Goa User Group and Dehalvi Wikimedia User Group. Notification about the applications and request for comments was sent to all existing Indian affiliates in good standing. Wikimedia India did not receive the notification as the chapter was already in suspension as of 10 November, 2018, before the two new applications were submitted.
On behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation,
Valerie D’Costa
Chief of Community Engagement
Wikimedia Foundation
Posted by CKoerner (WMF) (talk) 15:49, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
Dear @CKoerner (WMF):
  • You have mentioned that it is a necessary step for Wikimedia India to receive funding. There are so many other affiliates who work on zero-budget then why this special criteria for India Chapter.
  • India Chapter till date has been requesting Affiliations Committee to put all communications in public. Chapter has no communication records since November 2018 where Affiliations committee was asking for evidence on efforts put up for FCRA License. Please provide necessary information like a Mail followed with Time-stamp etc.
  • Wikimedia Foundation has been asked for their views on Chapter running zero-budget programs, however you have responded on different parameters like Open Governance, Capacity etc. Please respond to the questions asked specifically. In Addition, Affiliations committee has been asked to provide evidence on several such parameters however they haven't, however this is not the question asked to WMF. Please answer as per the query.
  • Thank You for your response on User Groups. --Abhinav619 (talk) 17:27, 18 July 2019 (UTC)

@CKoerner (WMF): "The Affiliations Committee is a community-run body of volunteers" - This is a gross misrepresentation, basically a lie. AffCom is entirely run by the WMF, and has nothing to do with the "community". Some individual members of the community may be part of it, but the community does not runs it in any possible way. Even AffCom members are chosen by AffCom itself, often completely against the expressed wish of the community. Please don't make AffCom troubled decisions as this one look as if they had emanated from the community, when it is purely WMF stuff. Thanks, --- Darwin Ahoy! 15:08, 24 July 2019 (UTC)

Affiliations Committee Communication[edit]

Abhinav,
AffCom’s main concern has been that the chapter has overcommitted itself and has not been able to develop the capacities needed to comply with the requirements for continued chapter recognition; specifically, the suspension notice was sent based on concerns regarding the chapter’s capacities in terms of legal structure, open governance, active contributor involvement, and overall capacity, and with regard to organizational best practices required of chapters. According to the suspension notice, the window for demonstrating those capacities and practices to AffCom was between December 2018 and May 2019, and the chapter failed to do so. Indeed, we imagine that the barrier to receiving Foundation and other foreign program funds has limited the chapter’s capacities and development.
The final window for demonstrating Wikimedia India’s chapter capacities and practices was between December 2018 and May 2019, as detailed in the suspension notice AffCom sent on November 10, 2018. The submissions by the Chapter in March 2019, and now June 2019, while intended to meet the terms of the suspension notice, were submitted late and did not evidence the capacities in question; this was explained in detail in the April call and associated notes. The June submission was made only after AffCom’s decision to revoke the recognition and, upon review, does not appear to resolve the primary points of concern, which remain unaddressed.
As you know, AffCom has also notified and encouraged Wikimedia India to reorganize and reapply as a Wikimedia User Group in order to stay within the Wikimedia affiliate ecosystem while you work to redevelop the capacities named above. This would allow the group to begin setting a new track record and more attainable goals for an organization without any funding. We encourage you to reach out to explore the steps necessary to apply as a Wikimedia User Group.
Kirill Lokshin
Chair, Affiliations Committee
17:09, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
Dear @Kirill Lokshin:, I have re-allocted the discussion under a separate header.
  • There is still complete silence from your response on putting all communications under public domain.
  • There is still complete silence from your response on providing objective responses to different parameters like Open Governance etc. Please reply with facts and evidence as also asked over Public Mailing list. Chapter continues to believe they do not hold much weight.
  • You mention specific timelines but do not answer why Chapter is not given a right to be heard even once before the suspension notice is being provided. In addition, why did Affiliations committee did not respond to Mails and invited for Internet Calls. We continue to believe our oral responses were not taken in any action.
  • Please provide views of Affiliations Committee on Chapter running zero-budget self-financed programs.

Thanks. --Abhinav619 (talk) 17:36, 18 July 2019 (UTC)

Re-assessment For The Decision[edit]

Hi @Kirill Lokshin:, At first place I appreciate that you yourself understand restrictive foreign funding as been the problem for India Chapter. Most people outside India don't understand that. I recommend in all good spirit to revisit your study. Please don't get me wrong but we understand Affiliations Committee to be someone who help affiliates in their problem. Your response looks in bad light. You should help instead and not suggest User Group model etc. Without Chapter there will be no volunteer body at national level but only CIS. There is no election and democracy out there. You know right Chapter works without any money ? Then, help them out and listen to their problems. Working without any money for the entire annual cycle is not an easy task. There should be appreciation and not punishment. -Nikhil.kawale (talk) 10:44, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Dear @Kirill Lokshin:,
  1. Moving to nation chapter status to user-group status is not going gain FCRA approval. It will only going weaken the case.
  2. National Chapter has a funding issue. Indian nationals can donate to chapter without any issue. Donating to WMF or WMIN has no tax benefit. Ask WMIN to a plan for one financial year and raise required fund directly from Indian nationals from Wikimedia sites.
I know this is not going to happen. This is suggested multiple times from 2011 onwards. Niether WMF nor Affiliations Committee want to help. They just tell get the FCRA approval which almost impossible now.

-- naveenpf (talk) 11:31, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

Anirudh has already mentioned most of the points I also wanted to say. (Check here: https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2019-July/014215.html) I will add a few more things here.
WMF is very very keen on all kinds of legal compliance. The recent example is the "Germany court order". Surprisingly, possibly for the first time in Wikipedia history, all the relevent content was WIPED out from Wikipedia within a day of the court order where only one person was affected by the content. Compared to that, here in India, FCRA issue is affecting thousands of organisations in a serious way and AFFCOM is still not able to understand the FCRA compliance issue. (Maybe, compared to Indian languages, German language is better understood by concerned people!!)
By the way, What was the support given by WMF/AFFCOM to WMIN in the FCRA matters? Have they provided any consultant or legal help to WMIN. Or even some high level contacts in the concerned Government office to put up our case further.
It will also be interesting to know if by any chance, CIS looses FCRA, (I sincerely wish that does not happen anytime) AFFCOM/WMF will remove their affiliation? Read the WMF news article here: https://wikimediafoundation.org/news/2019/04/11/a-german-court-forced-us-to-remove-part-of-a-wikipedia-articles-history-heres-what-that-means/
Indian Wikipedian community is very very keen on expenditure, especially wherever they feel that some wrong expenditure is made (not just by Indian organisation but even when WMF money is spent) They become very very concerned about it and become very vocal. Mail thread goes on for months asking for justificaiton of such expenditure.(eg. check here: https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2018-July/013400.html) Hardly anyone from WMF/AFFCOM comment on it. Compared to that, when India chapter is not spending any money and doing all zero budget activities, what could be the problem with it for the community or AFFCOM or WMF. Actually they should appriciate and should be happy about saving lots of money and still doing activities.
The closure of India chapter topic comes up again and again and some lengthy discussions happen on it. I am referring to one such mail thread a few years back and specificaly want WMF people to read my comment that time in a reply to Gerard Meijssen. Please check it out here: https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2014-September/011563.html
Now that AFFCOM is showing so much concern about the India activities, it will be better if they can tell us (the stake holders in this- Indian Wikipedians, volunteers, current and past WMIN EC members and general WMIN members) the comparision of performance of affiliates in India namely WMIN and CIS-A2K. What is the expenditure on various activities, paid staff etc etc. And give us a clear understanding of where the real objection is. I suppose this should be with reference to the contract between WMF and WMIN. I read the contract document again some time back and could hardly see any possible serious violation of the contract that AFFCOM is referring to.

Sudhanwa (talk) 20:58, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

Additional information from the Affiliations Committee[edit]

There have been a number of requests from different members of the Indian Wikimedia community–both posted here and communicated privately to the Affiliations Committee–that we share more information regarding our reasons for suspending and ultimately revoking Wikimedia India's status as a chapter, and the implications for other groups and individual members of the Indian Wikimedia community giving forward.

The suspension (and subsequent revocation) were based on concerns about Wikimedia India’s compliance with several standard chapter requirements, including legal structure, open governance, active contributor involvement, capacity, and organizational best practices. These concerns reflect a combination of concerns identified during routine assessments of Wikimedia India’s reporting and compliance by the Affiliations Committee and the Wikimedia Foundation, and of concerns specifically raised by members of the Indian Wikimedia community in various forums.

The Notice of Suspension sent to the Wikimedia India Executive Committee in November 2018 identified these concerns in detail, and provided a list of specific steps that Wikimedia India needed to take in order to lift the suspension, including providing action plans showing how Wikimedia India would resolve any concerns that remained open. These detailed concerns are outlined in the table below.

While the Wikimedia India Executive Committee has attempted to respond to some (but not all) of the concerns identified in the Notice of Suspension, it has in most cases not given us either (a) documentation showing that the concern was unfounded or has already been resolved or (b) an action plan showing how the concern would be resolved in the future. After receiving initial responses from the Wikimedia India Executive Committee, the Affiliations Committee hosted a group call with the Wikimedia India Executive Committee in April 2019 to review each area of concern in detail and to clarify the specific documentation or action plan required to address each one. Despite this, we did not receive the information we requested by the June 14 deadline for making a final decision on revocation.

Concerns Regarding Legal Structure
Concern Wikimedia India Response Requested Deliverables Status of Deliverables
The Affiliations Committee expressed a concern that Wikimedia India has not obtained either 12A non-profit tax status or an FCRA license, and appears to have no plan to do so. In a March 2019 email, the Wikimedia India Executive Committee stated that it “cannot provide a tentative timeline to resolve issues on government licenses pertaining to 12A and FCRA”, but that “attaining the two licenses are of utmost priority and most of the efforts are spent there at the moment”. During the April 2019 call, the Affiliations Committee requested that the Wikimedia India Executive Committee submit (1) documentation demonstrating Wikimedia India’s current non-profit registration status and (2) an action plan that describes how Wikimedia India will work towards obtaining the 12A and FCRA licenses in the future. The Wikimedia India Executive Committee has not submitted the requested documentation or the requested action plan.
Concerns Regarding Open Governance
Concern Wikimedia India Response Requested Deliverables Status of Deliverables
The Affiliations Committee expressed a concern that the requirement for members to be physically present at a general assembly excludes members or potential members who do not live in certain cities or do not have the means and flexibility to travel and to take time away from work. n a March 2019 email, the Wikimedia India Executive Committee stated that “requirements to be physically at the assembly is a prerequisite of the government laws and regulations and outside any control of the Wikimedia Chapter”.

In response to questions raised by the Affiliations Committee during the April 2019 call, the Wikimedia India Executive Committee clarified its earlier response to state that delegate (proxy) voting by mail was permissible.

During the April 2019 call, the Affiliations Committee requested that the Wikimedia India Executive Committee submit (1) documentation demonstrating how Wikimedia India used delegate (proxy) voting. The Wikimedia India Executive Committee has not submitted the requested documentation.
The Affiliations Committee expressed a concern that new members of Wikimedia India appear to be recruited primarily through connections with existing university programs rather than through open community participation. The Wikimedia India Executive Committee has not responded to this concern.
Concerns Regarding Open Active Contributor Involvement
Concern Wikimedia India Response Requested Deliverables Status of Deliverables
The Affiliations Committee expressed a concern that Wikimedia India appears to lack a broad membership base, as well as broad community support and involvement in general. In a March 2019 email, the Wikimedia India Executive Committee stated that Wikimedia India “abides to the principal of fairness and transparency and the list of members are always updated before the elections along with their city” and that the Executive Committee “can share the list of present members along with their usernames”. During the April 2019 call, the Affiliations Committee requested that the Wikimedia India Executive Committee submit (1) documentation demonstrating that Wikimedia India has at least 20 active contributors as members and (2) documentation demonstrating that Wikimedia India has a process for involving a broad and diverse membership base in its activities. The Wikimedia India Executive Committee has not submitted the requested documentation.
Concerns Regarding Capacity
Concern Wikimedia India Response Requested Deliverables Status of Deliverables
The Affiliations Committee expressed a concern that Wikimedia India does not appear to be effectively planning and leading programs and partnerships, and that it has not demonstrated the capacity and ability for collaboration necessary to do so. In December 2018, the Wikimedia India Executive Committee submitted Wikimedia India's annual activities report, which had been overdue since July 2018. This report included information about certain programs carried out by Wikimedia India; however, some of these programs do not appear to have been completed in a timely manner, possibly as a result of insufficient capacity.

The Wikimedia India Executive Committee has not responded regarding Wikimedia India's ability for collaboration.

During the April 2019 call, the Affiliations Committee requested that the Wikimedia India Executive Committee submit (1) an action plan that describes how Wikimedia India will ensure that it has sufficient capacity to implement programs in a timely manner before committing to them in the future. The Wikimedia India Executive Committee has not submitted the requested action plan.
The Affiliations Committee expressed a concern that, based on repeated failures to submit on-time reports to the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia India appears to lack capacity for the basic reporting required to maintain legal status and compliance with its chapter agreement. In a December 2018 email, the Wikimedia India Executive Committee stated that the failures to submit on-time reports were the result of delays imposed by the government.

In response to questions raised by the Affiliations Committee during the April 2019 call, the Wikimedia India Executive Committee clarified that Wikimedia India was compliant with reporting deadlines within its local jurisdiction, but that those deadlines were not aligned with the deadlines for submitting reports to the Wikimedia Foundation.

During the April 2019 call, the Affiliations Committee requested that the Wikimedia India Executive Committee submit (1) an action plan that describes how Wikimedia India will ensure timely reporting to the Wikimedia Foundation in the future. The Wikimedia India Executive Committee has not submitted the requested action plan.
Concerns Regarding Organizational Best Practices
Concern Wikimedia India Response Requested Deliverables Status of Deliverables
The Affiliations Committee expressed a concern that Wikimedia India was not following the organizational best practices published by the Wikimedia Foundation, particularly in the areas of governance, transparency, and assessment. The Wikimedia India Executive Committee had not responded to this concern prior to the April 2019 call. During the call, the Affiliations Committee reiterated this concern, and clarified that it was not limited to the lack of annual plans and the repeated failure to submit on-time reports.

The Wikimedia India Executive Committee ultimately submitted a response on June 4, 2019.

As we have previously stated, both publicly and directly to the Wikimedia India Executive Committee, the revocation notice is not negotiable, and the action will not be undone. The window for Wikimedia India to demonstrate its capacity and compliance was between December 2018 and May 2019, and the chapter unfortunately failed to do so. At this time, the only path forward is for the Indian Wikimedia community to work together to develop a strategy and action plan for regaining affiliation.

There are a number of other, more specific questions that have been raised by the Indian Wikimedia community; for the sake of brevity, we’ve provided answers to these additional questions, as well as some brief FAQ responses, below.

Question Answer
Why was Wikimedia India suspended? The suspension (and subsequent revocation) were based on concerns regarding Wikimedia India's compliance with chapter requirements in the areas of legal structure, open governance, active contributor involvement, capacity, and organizational best practices. These concerns were detailed in the November 2018 Notice of Suspension sent to the Wikimedia India Executive Committeee.
What was required of Wikimedia India to lift the suspension? (1) By December 1, 2019, Wikimedia India was to submit their overdue chapter activities and financial reporting.

(2) By January 15, 2019, Wikimedia India was to submit an Action Plan for returning to full compliance, including a timeline for completion.

(3) By January 15, 2019, Wikimedia India was to submit a plan, via email or posted online, demonstrating how the chapter meets the specific chapter requirements outlined. If the chapter does not currently meet the requirements, they were to provide a plan and timeline for how to address these issues before June.

(4) By May 1, 2019, Wikimedia India was to demonstrate that it is following the Wikimedia Foundation Board’s recommendations for organizational best practices.

Is the revocation decision final? Yes. As stated in the Notice of Suspension sent to the Wikimedia India Executive Committee on November 10, 2018, the window for demonstrating Wikimedia India’s capacity and compliance was between December 2018 and May 2019.
Why did the revocation decision have to be made in June? Certain forms of the agreement between the Wikimedia Foundation and each Wikimedia Chapter only allow the agreement to be canceled once per year, 90 days prior to the anniversary of its signing. If a notice of revocation is not sent to the Wikimedia Chapter by that deadline, the agreement automatically renews for another year, and there is no further opportunity to cancel it until the following year. As the anniversary of Wikimedia India's chapter agreement occurs in September, it was impossible to delay the decision on revocation beyond June.
Wikimedia India is no longer eligible for grants at this time. What does that mean for individual community members? While Wikimedia India as an organization is no longer eligible to receive grants from the Wikimedia Foundation, the Wikimedia Foundation welcomes requests for support from other individuals and groups in India.
Can individuals from Wikimedia India apply for recognition as a new Wikimedia User Group? Yes. We encourage members of Wikimedia India to consider joining existing Wikimedia User Groups in India, or to work together to reorganize as a new Wikimedia User Group. However, the specific individuals who are part of the Wikimedia India Executive Committee will be prohibited from serving as the primary contacts of any Wikimedia affiliate for a period of one year following the de-recognition of Wikimedia India on September 14, 2019.
Is the Affiliations Committee available to meet with members of the Indian Wikimedia community? The Affiliations Committee has repeatedly encouraged the Wikimedia India Executive Committee to schedule a call to discuss potential ways to move forward. The Affiliations Committee similarly welcomes requests for meetings from other groups in India if they believe that a call would be helpful for coordinating potential next steps. Several members of the Affiliations Committee will additionally be available to meet at Wikimania.

Kirill Lokshin
Chair, Affiliations Committee
02:42, 13 August 2019 (UTC)

"the revocation notice is not negotiable, and the action will not be undone" - Lovely. I wonder what justifies this kind of definitive judgements inside the Wikimedia Movement about one of our affiliates. AffCom seems to have been taken hostage by bureaucratic procedures whose origin is not even clear at all. Why is AffCom acting like that? Who are you serving, acting like that?--- Darwin Ahoy! 13:50, 15 August 2019 (UTC)

Derecognition story in The Signpost[edit]

Hello, can anyone comment on this story draft I have for the English Wikipedia community newsletter, The Signpost?

I think that this should be brief because all of this is new to most of the wiki world outside India. The most important feedback is whether any of this seems incorrect or wrong. Beyond that I would appreciate any suggestions.

This gets published in probably 1 days. My apologies for late notice. Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:32, 31 July 2019 (UTC)

Title of blurb - "no money to India"[edit]

Someone privately emailed me asking about the appropriateness of my titling the article, "No more Wikimedia grants for travel, equipment, meetups, or India". The issue is that people in India can still apply for grants, and that the derecognition of the India chapter does not mandate a reduction in grant funding to India as a region.

While I agree that people in India are technically able to apply for grants I think the reality is that without a community chapter the practical outcome is the barrier to applying for grants increases greatly. The presence of strong regional Wikimedia community organizations is an indication of the robustness of regional community organization, and chapters are a benefit to local community organization. I think that saying "no grants to India" explains the situation with the right amount of precision for human readers of a news headline. From an accounting and numbers perspective, the some small amount of money does go to India and those others. News headlines have to compromise in making accessible communication versus being precise in more contexts.

I think saying "no grants to India" is generally correct in the context of the many other gaps in information in this space.

Here is some data which I think does not exist in any publication -

  1. amount of money which the WMF invests in India
  2. if the total amount were known, identify (1) amount managed by non-community (2) amount managed by community
  3. the target amount of funding which the WMF wishes to invest in India

If I threw a number out, I would say that India merits investment of about US$1 million a year right now, and a plan to increase that funding to 1/6 of total available WMF funds (US$115 million) since India is 1/6 of the world's population. I am not sure - because the data is spotty - but I think that the total money going to India in 2018 is something like US$500,000, and the total money to community for 2018 is something like $100,000. Of that $100,000, probably half of it is travel scholarships.

If the total money going to the Wikimedia community for programs in India is about $50,000, then I think that it is fair for me to say that the Wikimedia community volunteers in India are cut off from WMF funding. I am ready to admit that I am greatly lacking in information but so far as I know, so is everyone else.

I would love for someone to correct me with the financial report on India. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:35, 31 July 2019 (UTC)

Clarification questions with Affcom during Wikimania 2019 ( Aug 20, 2019)[edit]

Good day Abhinav et Wikimedia India

This email is sent as documentation of the meeting held between Wikimedia India representative (Abhinav Srivastava) and members of the Affiliations Committee (Kirill Lokshin; Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight; Manavpreet Kaur & Sami Mlouhi) where Dumisani Ndubane was present as staff liaison to AffCom. Clarifications to the following concerns by AffCom were provided in the form of actionable questions to be responded to by Wikimedia India.


1) Wikimedia India to provide documentation on Legal Structure:

  • Submit current non-profit registration status (i.e. legal certificate of registration as non-profit being current and up-to-date for local reporting requirements)
  • Submit action plan that describes how the chapter will work towards obtaining the l12A and FCRA licenses in the future, or, alternatively, how your group will resource your community programs otherwise.

2) Wikimedia India to demonstrate Open Governance:

  • Explain how the current EC was elected, how many members were physically present and how many members voted via proxy.
  • Submit documentation demonstrating how Wikimedia India used to delegate (proxy) voting.

3) Wikimedia India to demonstrate Open Active Contributor Involvement:

  • Explain how new members are recruited and what is the current spread of chapter members across the country by region?
  • Submit a list of at least 20 active contributors who are members of the chapter.

4) Wikimedia India to demonstrate Capacity to run program activities:

  • Explain how many programs the chapter executed in the past 12 months and how many people were involved.
  • Submit an action plan that describes how the chapter will improve its capacity to successfully execute programs and ensure that it does not take on programs beyond its capacity.
  • Submit an action plan that describes how the chapter will ensure that it reports on its activities and finances on time, as per chapter agreement.


Abhinav committed to meet with members of the EC attending Wikimania and that together they will draft and forward response as well as action plans on above items.


The Affiliations Committee reiterated that this meeting or the subsequent communications sent do not nullify the revocation notice that has been issued. It is hoped that with the clarity being provided, Wikimedia India can provide a response that will assist the Affiliations Committee to understand the nature of the intervention(s) that may be necessary to again demonstrate the capacities required for chapter status. Any decision on moving forward with a new affiliate agreement will only be taken by the full committee after careful review of Wikimedia India’s response and a clear plan of action on all matters raised above.


Best regards
Dumisani Ndubane

Thank You Affiliations Committee for accepting to our demand of putting questions in the public domain. As stated before via Mail, Chapter would put its responses by 6th September. --Abhinav619 (talk) 15:59, 29 August 2019 (UTC)

Wikimedia India Response[edit]

Q.1 Wikimedia India to provide documentation on Legal Structure:

Submit current non-profit registration status (i.e. legal certificate of registration as non-profit being current and up-to-date for local reporting requirement

The original scanned copy of the Chapter’s Registration Document is already in the public domain.

Wikimedia Chapter(India) has a legal standing and is registered as a not-for-profit organisation in India under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960 and abides to rules and regulations within the Republic of India. The Chapter was registered via Registrar of Societies, Banglore Urban District Certificate No : SOR/BLU/DR/1137/10-11 dated 3rd January, 2011.

This information is also provided on public platforms such as Chapter’s Wiki and Mailing list. During different thematic discussions with the community, Chapter’s registration details are continuously shared as and when needed.

As a registered entity, Chapter submits its annual reports, annual general meeting updates amongst other organisational developments to the Registrar of Societies,subsequent to approval of reports and other documents in the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Chapter receives several legal suits in India for unfavourable content on Wikimedia Projects by different applicants. Currently there are ongoing suits in different courts of India. All legal suits are issued on the basis of Chapter being a registered charitable organisational associate of Wikimedia Foundation. Wikimedia Foundation Legal Team is well-informed about the legal suits and usage of Chapter’s Registration document in the advocacy.

Submit action plan that describes how the chapter will work towards obtaining the 12A and FCRA licenses in the future, or, alternatively, how your group will resource your community programs otherwise.

Ever since 2014 with the change of political leadership in India, Government of India has tightened Foreign Contribution (Regulations) Act 2010 (FCRA) to counter money laundering, black money, terror funding, etc. This has an outcast on more than 20,000 institutions. The larger Indian community has also discussed the issue and requested Wikimedia Foundation to reconsider. Chapter is committed for pursuing FCRA License, however looking at the present situation it is difficult to commit on any deadlines. Wikimedia India is thankful to organisations who have come forward to provide consultation on legal and financial matters on charity basis. A certificate by a financial firm in this regard has been provided over email. Chapter expects to receive 12 A certificate within the next 12 months, which would help Chapter in receiving domestic funding via philanthropy by different corporate houses via Corporate Social Responsibility under Companies Act 2013. Several Wikimedia India present partners have also shown intent and the license would help. Besides that, Wikimedia India members would continue, as they do today, promote self-finance alternatives to support Chapter activities. It has already been demonstrated that Chapter is undergoing activities through (a) Collaboration with Government (b) Collaboration with Academic Institutes (c) Zero-budget self-financed initiatives. Chapter would also try do local fundraising drives like before.

Q.2 Wikimedia India to demonstrate Open Governance:

Explain how the current EC was elected, how many members were physically present and how many members voted via proxy.

Wikimedia India respects community self-governance. Elections were guided by three volunteers (representing different Indian communities), a community committee, under its publicly available charter. Wikimedia India recognises the role of outside observers and transparency for bringing fairness and sanctity to the election process. Chapter understands documentation to be a tool that improves community health.Therefore, all important election updates were also shared on Chapter’s Wiki public domain pages (non-internal) and India Mailing List. The call for volunteers to be on the Election Committee along with the election charter were first shared on Wednesday, 18th January,2017 on India Mailing List alongwith member’s mailing list. Subsequent to the appointment of the election committee members, all the details on the elections were shared with the larger community via India Mailing List Friday, 10th March, 2017. The list of all eligible voters along with their respective city was put forward in public domain on Chapter’s Wiki for visibility and to maintain a community audit. All nominations were then scrutinised by the election committee and discussions floated on Election discussion page, Mailing List etc. Discussions included notices,guidelines, views, opinion, etc. Everything was documented in public domain. The willingness to improve on each and everyday, new stringent guidelines were proposed by the Election committee and also shared with the wider public. These guidelines included in quotes as shared then by Election committee “(a) All of the ballot papers have been signed by one of the election committee members. This is to ensure that when the votes will be counted, we are sure that the ballot papers are genuine. (b) All ballot papers have the original coin stamp of Wikimedia India. (c ) Upon receiving the ballot papers, the sign of the election committee member and seal will be checked to ensure the validity of the ballot paper. (d) On the ballot paper, we will also cross verify the sign of the members with their membership form and also their member id, to make sure we received the same papers that were sent to them.” After having received no objectionable views by either members or the wider audience, the election committee adopted the said guidelines. Ballots have been adopted as a standard practice for contesting elections by different Wikimedia Chapters and so does India Chapter adopt them.

Ballot Paper used in Wikimedia India Elections

22 candidates representing more than 10 different communities filed their nominations out of which 20 nominations were accepted by the election committee and two candidates later withdrew their nominations. The ballots were then generated for 18 candidates. All feedback, complaints, concerns etc were publicly documented on the discussion page. Also, two different IRCs were undertaken for speedy responses and the said IRC chat logs have been reported on the Chapter’s discussion page for visibility.

All ballots by post were received at Chapter’s registered address, as informed to the community and as present in Chapter’s registration document. The registered address is the official office for Centre For Internet and Society. Chapter at present operates from a different shared office space. On election counting day, all postal ballots in not-disturbed/not-tampered condition were handed to the election committee members who brought them to the Chapter present shared office space for counting. The counting happened in the presence of several community members including the presence of several contesting candidates.

The elections witnessed a unique situation where-by for the 7th position there was a tie amongst three different candidates. A chit-pull system was used by the election committee and it was informed on member’s mailing list and with no objections, the results were considered accepted and the result page documented all facts publicly such as votes received by post/hand, tie amongst candidates etc.

b. Submit documentation demonstrating how Wikimedia India used to delegate (proxy) voting.

As per the Chapter’s bylaws, which have been accepted by the then Chapter's Committee, Wikimedia India has a provision for proxy votes for its Institutional members and Foreign Ordinary Individual however, it had no institutional member or foreign ordinary member hence no proxy votes took place. Few members although did pass their sealed ballots to community members visiting the polling station, however they were sealed and subject to scrutiny as per the guidelines and recorded under ‘hand’ ballots separately. Out of the total 109 ballots, 81 ballots (74%) were received by post and remaining by hand. For all ballots received by post or hand, the new ballot verification method as proposed by the election committee keeping the wider Wikimedia community in loop was adopted. 01 ballot was found invalid by the election committee and the said was also documented publicly on the Election page.

3. Wikimedia India to demonstrate Open Active Contributor Involvement:

Explain how new members are recruited and what is the current spread of chapter members across the country by region?

Wikimedia India recruits new members via several initiatives such as Invitation on Mailing List, in-person during Wiki-offline events, etc. Several members also follow the membership guidelines as present on Chapter’s Wiki and apply for membership. 

Chapter has at present 57 members such that as per membership form they belong to

State Members
Haryana 3.51 %
Andhra Pradesh 3.51 %
Gujarat 1.75%
Karnataka 15.79%
Kerala 10.53%
Maharashtra 17.54%
New Delhi 3.51%
Odisha 5.26%
Punjab 5.26%
Rajasthan 1.75%
Tamil Nadu 10.53%
Telangana 1.75%
Uttar Pradesh 10.53%
Madhya Pradesh 1.75%
West Bengal 7.02%

Submit a list of at least 20 active contributors who are members of the chapter.

To maintain User’s privacy this data has been shared over email. We also request you to kindly sign the letter of acknowledgement that this data has been obtained for a regular audit process and will not be used for any gains or to breach any privacy as per the laws governing the Republic of India.


4.Wikimedia India to demonstrate Capacity to run program activities:

Explain how many programs the chapter executed in the past 12 months and how many people were involved.

All Chapter reports until the previous financial year are in the public domain and have been repeatedly shared with the community for review. Chapter has been involved with more than 100 editors which includes both New Users Created and Working with existing active contributors. The said could be ascertained from Chapter’s report. No public money was spent on any of the programs and all of them were self-financed by Chapter members.

Chapter members have also been assisting via sharing its learning and experiences to the community, User Groups, Allied Organisations on good-faith basis under its endeavour to make the local communities self-sustainable. Some of these include helping local communities organise conferences in Delhi with Hindi Wikimedians User Group and Kerala with Wikimedians of Kerala User Group, help set-up Wikimedians for offline wikis User Group, imparting skills to volunteers during Project Tiger Community Consultation, reviewing and providing suggestions to CIS-A2K in their annual workplan. Facilitated Government partnership such as Partnership with Government of Maharashtra to host workshops for Marathi Wikimedia Projects where 17 workshops during 2018 and 19 workshops in 2019 have happened, Wiki For School initiative in Kerala etc. At the International level, (a) Sharing Chapter experiences on Partnerships and Finance under Movement Strategy 2030 (b) Proposing Conflict Management solutions for Chapter’s during Affiliates meeting (c) Sharing and learnings best practices on Hackathons, Gender Gaps via Poster Presentations (d) Displaying India’s unique diversity as an innovative tool (e) Women's Edit-a-thon on Women's day in 2018 (dashboard) and 2019(dashboard) in collaboration with Art+Feminism (f) Chapter Equipment Support program which was revamped at larger scale as Project Tiger in India and Project GLOW worldwide .

Chapter has also been defending Wikimedia communities in several legal suits across India.

Submit an action plan that describes how the chapter will improve its capacity to successfully execute programs and ensure that it does not take on programs beyond its capacity.

The Affiliations Committee informed Wikimedia India that it had left roughly 200 images unreviewed during the Wiki Loves Monuments in India 2016 competition. As previously stated to the Affiliations Committee members, it was a human error. Wikimedia India has previously hosted the Wiki Loves Monuments Program in 2012 with roughly 15000 images, in 2013 with roughly 11000 images while the 2016 recorded roughly 37000 images. As there were a large number of images, missing out on those 200 images was purely a human error. Chapter also executed the Wiki Loves Monuments program in 2017 where the International first prize belonged to India.

Chapter is for the communities and its volunteers and in any case of it taking programs beyond its capacity, it would research, investigate and then document the facts, statements and put them in public domain for communities to reflect. These would then form part of Chapter's reports.

Submit an action plan that describes how the chapter will ensure that it reports on its activities and finances on time, as per chapter agreement.

Chapter will endeavour to submit all its report within the stipulated time as per the Chapter agreement. In case, it cannot, it will inform the community on a prior notice and based on community conversations it would inform Wikimedia Foundation for the delays, if ever.

--Abhinav619 (talk) 19:39, 6 September 2019 (UTC)

Abhinav619, thank you for submitting this additional material. While the Affiliations Committee recognizes and welcomes the effort made to answer our questions, the provided responses are unfortunately not sufficient to address them. In brief:
Submit current non-profit registration status (i.e. legal certificate of registration as non-profit being current and up-to-date for local reporting requirements)
The committee requested evidence of current non-profit registration status; in other words, the request was for information demonstrating that the organization is, as of the present moment, legally registered and in good standing with the local nonprofit registration authorities. The provided material documents the organization's original legal registration in 2011, but does not appear to demonstrate anything concerning its current status. Consequently, this response is not sufficient to address the question asked by the committee.
Submit action plan that describes how the chapter will work towards obtaining the 12A and FCRA licenses in the future, or, alternatively, how your group will resource your community programs otherwise.
The committee requested either (1) an action plan describing how 12A and FCRA licenses would be obtained or (2) information regarding how programs would be resourced if the licenses were not obtained. The provided material includes information regarding alternative resourcing approaches; consequently, this response is sufficient to address the question asked by the committee.
Explain how the current EC was elected, how many members were physically present and how many members voted via proxy.
The committee requested information regarding participation in the election of the Executive Committee, which has been provided. Consequently, this response is sufficient to address the question asked by the committee.
Submit documentation demonstrating how Wikimedia India used to delegate (proxy) voting.
The committee requested information regarding the organization's use for proxy voting, which has been provided. Consequently, this response is sufficient to address the question asked by the committee.
Explain how new members are recruited and what is the current spread of chapter members across the country by region?
The committee requested information on two discrete topics: (1) how new members are recruited and (2) the geographic distribution of members. The provided material addresses both topics; consequently, this response is sufficient to address the question asked by the committee.
Submit a list of at least 20 active contributors who are members of the chapter.
The committee requested evidence that at least 20 active contributors are members of the chapter; for the purposes of affiliate recognition, "active contributors" are defined as individuals who have "300 or more contributions to a Wikimedia project on a registered account that has existed for more than 6 months in good community standing". The committee acknowledges the submission of a list of 20 account names in response to this inquiry; having examined these accounts, it appears that all of them meet the requirement to be considered "active contributors". Consequently, this response is sufficient to address the question asked by the committee.
Explain how many programs the chapter executed in the past 12 months and how many people were involved.
The committee requested that the organization provide information on two discrete topics: (1) the number of programs executed and (2) the number of people involved in those programs. The submitted material documents the programs in question in a manner sufficient to address the first topic; however, for many program, no information regarding the number of participants has been provided. Consequently, this response is not sufficient to address the question asked by the committee.
Submit an action plan that describes how the chapter will improve its capacity to successfully execute programs and ensure that it does not take on programs beyond its capacity.
The committee requested that the organization submit an action plan addressing two discrete topics: (1) improving capacity to execute programs and (2) ensuring that programs that are beyond the organization's capacity are not taken on. The submitted material does not address either of these two topics; while the material does provide a plan there is no mention of any specific actions that the organization will take to improve its capacity, and no mention of any specific actions that the organization will take to avoid taking on programs. The submitted material appears instead to focus on what the organization will do if programs beyond its capacity are taken on. A plan that describes what the organization will do when it fails to meet this requirement is not sufficient; the request is for a plan that describes how the organization will avoid failing in the first place Consequently, this response is not sufficient to address the question asked by the committee.
Submit an action plan that describes how the chapter will ensure that it reports on its activities and finances on time, as per chapter agreement.
The committee requested that the organization submit an action plan addressing how future reports would be submitted on time. The submitted material is only a statement of intent; in other words, the material indicates that the organization aims to submit reports on time, but does not describe any specific actions that the organization will take to ensure that this occurs. As with the previous question, a plan that describes what the organization will do when it fails to meet this requirement is not sufficient; the request is for a plan that describes how the organization will avoid failing in the first place. Consequently, this response is not sufficient to address the question asked by the committee.
Kirill Lokshin (talk) 14:20, 7 October 2019 (UTC)

@Kirill Lokshin: and other members, Thank You are your responses after 30 days. Chapter is happy to find that even Affiliations committee has acknowledged that (a) Even after political turmoil in India, Chapter has been undergoing its struggles to ascertain the necessary license (b) Chapter hosted its elections under the free and fair principle and abides to transparency (c) Chapter holds the confidence of active Wikimedians (d) Chapter holds a geographical base amongst its members (e) Chapter has been undergoing activities even without any money, etc. For everything else, please find additional clarification.

The provided material documents the organization's original legal registration in 2011, but does not appear to demonstrate anything concerning its current status. The main argument was about Chapter's registration documents which were provided and regarding Current Status, registration document does not hold any such expiry. Chapter is presently a registered entity and as informed its registration documents are being used in Legal suits.  It has also been informed that subsequent to Annual General Meetings, reports  are submitted to the charity commissioner. As informed earlier, Chapter has no money or an annual budget, hence, it had been having some hard time to undergo Annual General Meetings for the last two years which can also be ascertained from the reports.. However, reports are in order and can be seen under the Reports page. These can be noted as delays due to financial stress but work has been in order. To save public money, Chapter hosts its election and due-AGM together.
for many program, no information regarding the number of participants has been provided. Chapter does not have a grant hence has not been undergoing Impact reports. However, there is enough data in form of Dashboard, Individual name, Event Metrics to ascertain Chapter has been working with the community. If Affiliation Committee requests, Impact Report can be created with a proper metric. 
 the request is for a plan that describes how the organization will avoid failing in the first placeThe idea of expressing Chapter's responses in public were that community can cite them or use them to make the Chapter much more accountable. There is nothing more powerful in our communities than transparency and accountability. Otherwise, any template or an existing example which the Affiliations Committee can share would be helpful. Happy to put them in public domain also. 
the request is for a plan that describes how the organization will avoid failing in the first place As stated above, the idea was to put Chapter's responses in public domain so that it remains utmost accountable to its communities. Any template or an example on how to proceed would be helpful. 

Additionally, we have also received a mail. It would be grateful to have it in public domain also. As asked by you, Chapter is happy to engage with its communities even further, however, we request you to abide to our long time request of putting all the communications in public domain. This would help us in our communications.

Dear, @Kirill Lokshin:, received a mail from you post this comment. Could you respond here. Also, could you be more specific, because you say last question but mention 'you'. Can we have all communications between Wikimedia India and Affiliations Committee in public domain beginning since November 2018. --Abhinav619 (talk) 16:51, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
Abhinav619, please do not presume to tell the Affiliations Committee what it has or has not acknowledged. Our recent review has been limited to the sufficiency of your responses to the specific questions that were communicated to you after our meeting at Wikimania; we have not made any determinations regarding the fundamental fairness of your governance practices or the degree of confidence that Wikimedia India and its leadership hold within the community.
As far as prior communications are concerned: as we have told you and your colleagues before, Wikimedia India is free to make these communications public if it chooses to do so. The Affiliations Committee, for its part, does not intend to unilaterally force discussions to take place in a public forum, and reiterates its concern that doing so will limit your ability to fully and frankly discuss these issues with us. Kirill Lokshin (talk) 12:58, 9 October 2019 (UTC)
Now I am not going to move any forward but quoting this statement,' that doing so will limit your ability to fully and frankly discuss these issues with us.' Is Affiliations Committee asking us to choose, Either we get their cooperation or get the needful transparency. Will comment on everything else but before that it's important to hear on this. --Abhinav619 (talk) 04:55, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
Abhinav619, the Affiliations Committee is not asking anything of the sort. As I said, the committee is concerned that forcing all discussions to take place in a public forum "will limit your ability to fully and frankly discuss these issues with us". Kirill Lokshin (talk) 17:22, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
@Kirill Lokshin:, Thank You for your reply. I value your volunteer's time and efforts however I would request you to be more specific on the rationale. This is not to take away your valuable time but only to receive more clarity.The mandate whether it be for the Chapter, Affiliations Committee or anyone is received by holding the confidence of our communities. The reason Chapter requested to answer the above stated questions in public domain for it to remain inclusive, transparent and accountable to its communities. Public conversations not only help each one of us improve and be better for tomorrow but also takes away potential power to manipulate, tamper, disturb facts and evidences. In the same light, Chapter could have responded to the above questionnaire over Mail but it wanted to be transparent and willing to learn for its mistakes if any. That said, it is hard for us to understand why would transparency limit ourselves to fully and frankly discuss issues. --Abhinav619 (talk) 04:50, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

Community Review[edit]

Dear, @Kirill Lokshin:, What Affliliations Committee has done to fund National Chapter. Knowing all the issue of FCRA, why affiliation committee is not recommending the solution to Wikimedia Board.Why there is no constructive suggestion to WMF or its Board ? . Conducting strategy wiki or Movement programs will not help . When Wikimedia Community require help it has change its framework.
  • National Chapter has a funding issue. Indian nationals can donate to chapter without any issue. Donating to WMF or WMIN has no tax benefit.
  • WMF knows how raise funds and spend funds in India. Now they wants Wikimedians only to create value in their projects. Idea of National Chapters was to involve the Wikimedians in Governance. And whenever there was any issue the support from WMF was pathetic. Whether it on funds or in the name of domain name . [1]. Its is very clear that WMF wants spend truck load of fund via the friend's 'orgs' . Why this undemocratic setup is supported or promoted in India ? -- naveenpf (talk) 18:12, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
Success of European chapters is because during the initial years of formation, they were allowed to raise funds from Wikimedia sites. If the framework is not helping Wikimedians in one part of the world which 'so significant' then you have to change the framework. Do you any idea how much pain the people who volunteered for Wikimedia India EC has gone through ? . We are passionate volunteers who wanted wikimedia activities to grow in this part of the world. Wikimedia India chapter formation discussions started way back in 2007[2] and took long form in 2011. 2011-2019 all these years we are telling same problem. WMF and Affiliations Committee is replying the same. So what is the solution ? IS IT TO SHUTDOWN WIKIMEDIA INDIA CHAPTER ? Then it is clear that WMF and Affiliation Committee intentions are not solve the problem. Shutdown Wikimedia India chapter for some other reason which only 'WMF knows'. WMF now only wants 'coolie editors' who won't question back their strategy. -- naveenpf (talk) 02:27, 11 October 2019 (UTC)
Dear, @Kirill Lokshin: After taking such a long time this is not the response expected. It should be opposed. After knowing all the government problems you are not satisfied saying how would reports be in order at first place ? How can Affiliations Committee be so myopic and cannot see Chapter's zero-budget activities but put out reporting criteria. It has been asked several times what has committee done to help out but no response. Can't you see programs yourself and figure out about number of people involved ? Let's not forget Affiliations Committee origin is not even clear at all and so his for CIS. I am not surprised with both of them helping each other Cheers to this new face in our movement. --Nikhil.kawale (talk) 19:54, 8 October 2019 (UTC)
Hello @Naveenpf:,
First, I want to acknowledge that more than a month is definitely too long to answer any question, and I am sorry about taking so much time. It must be a bit stressful to have these important questions not answered for what must seem like for ever. Your question could lead to a very long conversation that I would be happy to have at the next Wikimedia event we find ourselves together at. Until we get to have that conversation, I will try to give a perspective based on my observation of the past 15 years on your question here. Fundraising in our movement has many layers and levels. To understand for example how the Foundation fundraises, you might want to look at the fundraising report that came out a few weeks back.
Growth also has many aspects. Because of these complexities, it is difficult to tie European chapters’ growth to their ability to fundraise alone. There are a lot of contextual reasons why (some) European chapters have thrived while others have not. Some of those reasons have to do with their access to funds that the movement would fundraise in their geographies, others with having a very connected community, others with a local cultural inclination to forming associations, some again with a favorable political environment. Access to early fundraising methods like the banners definitely played a role for the growth of some affiliates, but it did not everywhere, and did not for everyone. Therefore, tying European chapter growth to "fundraising" seems to me to be a bit of a shortcut. Also, this is why we have grants: an affiliate’s potential should not be limited by local fundraising capabilities.
I am not sure where your interpretation that anyone is "denying" fundraising to affiliates comes from. If we are talking about fundraising through banners, then there are rules and laws we need to follow, as a US organization hosting the websites and yes, most affiliates will not have access to this fundraising method. At the end of the day though, fundraising entails a lot of different possibilities and the Foundation is certainly not preventing any affiliate from doing fundraising locally, regionally, through institutions, regional actors, big donors etc.. As such, I think it is inaccurate to represent the Foundation as "denying fundraising" to affiliates. A lot of affiliates have their own fundraising strategies, specific to their local context.
This of course should not hide the fact that our movement growth has been driven by the biggest Wikipedias and that we absolutely need to be thinking about growth in a very different way than we have in the past. There are a number of initiatives in the Medium Term Plan, tied to the outcome "Thriving Movement" that are aimed at supporting affiliates in many ways, among which building capacity for fundraising could be one option. The Movement Strategy recommendations also have a number of interesting ideas to explore regarding financial sustainability of our movement. I am confident that the future holds novel and interesting methods of bringing sustainability for affiliates across the globe, that will not require direct fundraising, and I am looking forward for all of us in the movement exploring those methods together. -- Delphine (WMF) (talk) 08:02, 20 November 2019 (UTC)

Wikimedia Foundation removes recognition of Wikimedia India as a registered chapter[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation and the Affiliations Committee have expelled Wikimedia India from being an Wikimedia affiliate!

See DNdubane (WMF)'s execution -

special:diff/19466448

I am unhappy about the deregistration. I feel that it harms the Wikimedia community in India, but worse, this break of ties with India harms the Wikimedia Foundation and the global Wikimedia Movement. I am unsatisfied with the communication which the Wikimedia Foundation offers and wish that they were willing to speak and discuss publicly. The part about this which bothers me the most is the lack of communication from the WMF. If anyone from the WMF would ever be willing to exchange brief answers for brief questions then team India would appreciate them. All the secrecy which the WMF has around India makes me anxious. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:44, 17 October 2019 (UTC)

@Bluerasberry:, as per revocation notice and FAQ Wikimedia India ceased being a chapter on 14 September 2019. My monitoring workflows are staggered by a month, this is why I am executing only now and not then. --DNdubane (WMF) (talk) 16:15, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
@Bluerasberry: your characterization of this is dramatic and misleading, and a disservice to community members unfamiliar with the facts. This der-ecognition comes after years-long dysfunction, discussed at some length above, and is the result of failing to meet basic duties all recognized chapters must meet. It is not some sudden, whimsical action, and it comes after several attempts to repair this without resorting to de-recognition, attempts that had clear timelines and expected deliverables, which were not (perhaps could not have been) delivered.
Also, your alarmed phrase "break of ties with India" is factually false, and I trust it is only out of ignorance that you uttered it. To anyone else reading this, I would like to mention there are multiple user groups in India on excellent terms with the Wikimedia Foundation, proceeding in doing useful Wikimedia work independently of the moribund (and now de-recognized) chapter. That work continues, with Foundation support, as does the work of individual contributors in India. Since that is the case, it is absurd to frame the particular failure of Wikimedia India to remain a recognized affiliate as a "break of ties with India". Please reconsider your rhetoric. Though I am sure it is well-intended, it is not doing any good for the community in India. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 20:02, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
@Katherine (WMF), VDcosta (WMF), and SRamkisson (WMF): May I request you for a change of staff for someone who can communicate on behalf of Wikimedia Foundation out here. At the most, we all here are unanimous in recognising the value of debate and discussions while also having space for dissent until and unless one abide's to good-spirit, friendly-space and recognise each other with respect. It can be understood that WMF Staff are there to help in administration so that volunteers can self-run their communities with good-quality standard. The above stated person has also previously participated in Indian community debates where he has passed specific judgements, not only putting Chapter in bad-light but also public abuse to the Wikimedia India members. A mail regarding the same has also been written to a T&S person on 11th July, 2019 but it has received no response. Rest assured, the facts put up by him are false even though he himself had inquired (would be provided if WMF changes the staff) about few of them previously. We expect to have a change in the communication person and no response or adherence would be made to the present staff. --Abhinav619 (talk) 06:44, 19 October 2019 (UTC)
@Asaf (WMF): I appreciate your response and hope that it is an indication that you are willing to talk. I admit to ignorance and am willing to apologize. I wish that in return you were willing to communicate in your capacity as "Senior Program Officer, Emerging Wikimedia Communities".
You are presenting the Wikimedia Foundation perspective on Wikimedia India and the Wikimedia community. I perceive your words and past actions as defensive and ready for conflict, and this is fine, so long as there can be conversation. I recognize that there have been many past serious problems between the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia community in India, and this history has brought us to this point. Since you summarized the Wikimedia Foundation position - "years-long dysfunction" in Wikimedia India - I will give the community perspective that there have been "years-long dysfunction" in Wikimedia Foundation treatment of people and communities in India. I may be ignorant about things but you have knowledge and information, so please fulfill a request I have.
  1. Please share the budget and accounting of all the money the Wikimedia Foundation has invested in India in the past few years and has planned for next year
  2. In that accounting, please make it clear how much of that investment the Wikimedia community in India directs and manages, such as through grants.
A major point of contention between the Wikimedia Foundation and the community of Wikimedia editors in India is that the Wikimedia Foundation shares less money with India than is the fair share of that country and community, and when money does go to India, the WMF spends it at the direction of foreign people outside the local community. Strangely, I have trouble accessing financial records about WMF money in India and regional spending patterns of the WMF in general. Surely the WMF has financial records - please share. I apologize for the heightened sensitivity and thanks in advance for disclosing finance in the open. I actually would like to see finances in this way for every region but please India or South Asia for now. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:48, 22 October 2019 (UTC)
I had been asked to let others respond, and that response (delayed by some unrelated issues) has now been posted below, in a separate section. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 23:59, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
Hello @Bluerasberry:,
First, let me acknowledge that more than a month definitely is a very long time to answer any given question. It must have been distressing to think that your questions have been ignored on a question I know you care about so much. Hopefully my answers will clarify some of the context and give you some of the information you are looking for.
Our commitment to, and support for, our many communities across India is real. Among the ways we support Wikimedia communities and entities in that region are recognition with scholarships and grants and recognition of affiliate status, which is given to groups with goals aligned to our mission. Since 2010, the Wikimedia Foundation has provided just over 2 million USD in grant funding to individuals (~$352,000 USD), groups (~$146,000 USD), and organizations (~$1.5 million USD) in India.
Wikimedia India was a grantee from 2011 to 2016. This support was provided in response to six grant proposals from the chapter (1,2,3,4,5,6). This has amounted to around $118,000 USD awarded through grants from 2011 - 2016. Unfortunately, Wikimedia India repeatedly violated the terms of its grant agreement with respect to financial reporting, mismanagement of funding, and other issues (7,8,9). After multiple attempts by Foundation staff and efforts from the AffCom to bring the chapter in line with the terms of the grant and chapter agreements, which did not conclude with a satisfying resolution, the Wikimedia Foundation stopped funding the chapter after the 2015/2016 fiscal year.
The changing status of the chapter has not lessened the Wikimedia Foundation’s commitment and support to India and ever since Wikimedia India has fallen out of compliance, work in India has continued.
The level of funding through grants to individuals and new groups in the region has grown over the years. Total grant awards directly funding affiliates and individual projects in India have more than doubled, to about $100,000 USD/year, while annual plan grants to the CIS-A2K program, which includes seasoned Wikimedians on their team, have supported a great number of communities through micro-grants and specific programs developed in consultation with those communities.
The issues faced by the chapter have not and will not impact future funding to local user groups and volunteers, and we will continue to fund good work throughout the country.
As for your question about where you can find Wikimedia Foundation report of their regional spend. It is reported in each year’s publicly available Form-990 by geographic region and funding type. (See the most recent reporting year available.). You and I probably agree on the fact that the support we give to great projects in India (and in so many other geographies) as a whole is still not enough when balanced against the potential of the region, but change in that will take us as a movement to rework our funding priorities, something that is at play in the movement strategy conversations.
On a more personal level, I also want to say that I really think we (Foundation, AffCom, volunteers, and many Indian contributors) have done everything in our power to not just let a chapter fall out of compliance and forget about it - because that is not what we do in Wikimedia. Starting way before I even joined the Foundation, when I was a volunteer, up to today, we have spent hours in conversations, we have involved local contacts to try to find solutions, pushed deadlines as well as given second chances, heard pleas, we have drafted plans, given ideas, and looked for solutions. All this while, we have steadily continued to support amazing projects by the many other individuals and groups in India, some of whom have also tried to help the chapter and failed. It is sad to see the work of some go and I understand the sentiment at seeing a piece of our history disappear. This said, I think it is important that we all realize that the time we have spent crafting questions and answers to the countless remarks on this subject has been time that we collectively have not spent supporting active members of the Indian communities, and others, and that it might be time to turn a page and start writing the next. Thank you so much for your patience, -- Delphine (WMF) (talk) 08:21, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
Thank you Delphine, this is much more helpful than what was posted above. It would be useful to know from AffCom whether we can now disregard their stated reasons for the derecognition, some of which were very concerning.
I've not reviewed all the documents yet, but am I correct in saying that the only explicit statement of non-compliance in the documents you linked is the 2015-16 audit where it's said that a FIRC is missing? (Other statements on eligibility are found on later requests for grants.) For those tuning in now, according to an official checklist of red tape for India, that's a Foreign Inward Remittance Certificate. Getting one appears to be a spotty process. Nemo 15:41, 20 November 2019 (UTC)

Thank you[edit]

Thank you for all the good work... @Abhinav619:,@Yohannvt:,@Sankoswal:,@Viswaprabha:,@Cherishsantosh:,@Rahuldeshmukh101: . This way of shutdown of WMIN was predicted in 2012 itself.So no worries. --naveenpf (talk) 01:05, 18 October 2019 (UTC)

Worries about India[edit]

Next thing what will happen in India? will CIS Take cover? or the user groups grow their own? No India level collaboration and help? this is sad news. See you again. --Ranjithsiji (talk) 03:14, 19 October 2019 (UTC)

Introducing Wikimedia Diary: A memory book (notebook) for all[edit]

Wikipedia Education Globe 1.png Wikimedia Diary
Hello Wikimedia India, I wanna share you about Wikimedia Diary, a public memory book (notebook) in which Wikimedians from all over the world are free to write any worth noting event/activities/experiences by them or community in this Wiki world. It is a more casual place to write about what one is up to.

As we all know, a diary is a book in which diarist keeps a daily record of events and experiences. Likewise, the basic idea of Wikimedia Diary is that we do many activities here in wiki world which we are proud of, but unfortunately it became only the history anytime. So, It is meant to record those activities on the happened date with a signature (~~~~) which is worth noting, and letting fellow Wikimedians know about what inspirational you've did. It would motivate users from all around the world to keep on cool activities and publish a note. I hope you share your activities with all of us on the page, and please let your friends know about Wikimedia Diary. Also, your feedback is welcome on the discussion page. Thank you!
Kind regards,
Tulsi Bhagat, Initiator of Wikimedia Diary, Wikimedia movement communications group.
MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 08:09, 15 November 2019 (UTC)

A comment from the Wikimedia Foundation on the Wikimedia India de-recognition and future support to Wikimedia projects and communities in India[edit]

Recently, questions have been raised about the Affiliations Committee’s decision to de-recognize Wikimedia India and how the Wikimedia Foundation will continue to support the Wikimedia communities in India moving forward. We would like to bring clarity to how we will continue to support the many Wikimedia communities in India.

Wikimedia India was derecognized by a volunteer committee, the Affiliations Committee, empowered to make such decisions. This decision was not made by Wikimedia Foundation staff – however, it was made for reasons staff recognise and agree with, including issues originally discovered by review of the chapter’s financial activities in 2015. The full reasons are detailed in AffCom’s messages above and in more detail in their FAQ.

Specific questions which have been raised on this page about past support to India and fundraising will be answered separately by the staff most suitable to do so (here & here - diffs [3] [4]). However, the de-recognition is final and the reasons and steps that led to the de-recognition have been covered in great detail by the Affiliations Committee directly with chapter representatives and in the FAQ link above.

The Wikimedia communities in India have been critical to Wikimedia’s growth, and we have every intention to continue supporting and empowering the many communities and volunteers in India who contribute to Wikimedia projects.  Wikimedia India was not the sole representative of the movement in India, and there are many other new and existing affiliates in the region, including: Punjabi Wikimedians, Karavali Wikimedians User Group, West Bengal Wikimedians User GroupOdia Wikimedians User Group, Hindi Wikimedians User Group, Wikimedians of Kerala User Group, Wikimedians of India technical User Group, Marathi Wikimedians User Group, Dehalvi Wikimedia Community User Group, and the Wikipedians of Goa User Group. Each of these affiliates, as well as the Centre for Internet and Society - Access to Knowledge program, and individual volunteers, are continuing to advance the movement and to organize local outreach programs across India. The work of these groups is critical to growing and expanding Wikimedia projects in India, and we are eager to continue supporting these efforts. We will continue to support the review process for new affiliate applications with the AffCom as well as review requests for grant funding where we might be able to support local events, programs, and other efforts. We will continue to evaluate opportunities where we can help facilitate partnerships with local communities when it is appropriate and of interest to communities, support awareness efforts of Wikimedia in India, and offer other training and capacity support.

We understand and deeply appreciate all that the Indic communities have done to grow and develop Wikimedia projects across India. Our vision -- all the world’s knowledge for all the world’s people -- requires that we work together to achieve such a bold and ambitious goal. We look forward to continue listening, learning, and working together to serve India and the world together.

--Katherine (WMF) (talk) 22:03, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

  • Note: The above message includes a marker for "[Link to section]" which will be edited later to contain links to the referenced response to questions from staff. These responses will be forthcoming. JAnstee (WMF) (talk) 00:25, 20 November 2019 (UTC)