User:CristianCantoro/FDC/Questions and answers for the Wikipedia Signpost
My answer to the Signpost's questions for FDC candidates
As you may know, I presented my candidacy for the FDC, the Signpost has asked me some question which resulted in this article. I think that many of you may find interesting to read my full answers so I post them here (I didn't do that before upon request of Tony who asked me not to spoil the interview).
Please note that we were asked to be coincise in our answers, but if you would like to ask something more you can contact me on my talk page.
Questions are in bold, my answers follow.
1(a) Is the substantial funding allocated to chapters yielding value for money in terms of substantive improvements to active editor numbers, female participation, and the quality and scope of WMF sites related to languages in the developing world?
I think that the task of the FDC is to evaluate requests and provide help to the chapters requesting funds to improve their activities, whilst ensuring the maintaining high standards of transparency and accountability. In this sense, I think that FDC can encourage chapters in defining metrics to measure the success of their activities. Finally I can name several activities and projects done by the chapters or with the support of the chapters which have been successful toward the three cites goals, on top of my head I would say the indigenous languages activity by Iberocoop chapters, and GLAM initiatives led by several chapters.
1(b) Should thematic organisations and user groups be eligible to apply for FDC funding?
Growth should not be a goal per se, but if the activities of a thematic organizations or user group become more and more extended their participation to the FDC should be evaluated.
1(c) It has been said that the FDC recommends general future funding on the basis of scrutinising the past, whereas the GAC scrutinises specific future plans. Is this the optimal model for WMF grantmaking?
I think that having a two-way model is a good way to go, I also think that it is useful to allow to proposal initially made for the FDC to be switched to the GAC after the due changes if needed. To clarify: if a proposal is refused for the FDC I think it should be possible to modify or take parts of it and transform it in a project suitable for grant request.
(2) FDC composition
This election will result in the first non-appointed members of the FDC. Should the FDC evolve to be exclusively community-elected?
I think that appointed FDC members should be related for specific needs of the FDC committee, e.g. for specific skills. Obviously this does not apply to WMF "liason" board members which should be maintained.
(3) Hong Kong
Had the Round 2 proposal by the Hong Kong chapter not turned out to be technically ineligible, how would you have voted? Were you satisfied with the application in other respects? http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/FDC_portal/Proposals/2012-2013_round2/Wikimedia_Hong_Kong/Proposal_form
I think that this proposal is reasonable but it is a little "on the high side". Going from 1 to 4 staffers (counting the General Manager for Wikimania) is a big step. Thus my advice would be to evaluate with WM-HK if a more gradual path can be taken.
(4) FDC process
Are you satisfied with:
(a) the FDC's proposal forms;
(b) the community feedback process on proposal talk pages;
(c) the role of the staff in assessing proposals.
Since I have no experience as a proponent of a FDC request (WM-IT do not participate in FDC), I have no specific answers for these questions. From my experience with GAC I can say that comments from the community or the staff are usually valuable and usually are a source of good ideas.
- I received this clarification from Tony: «To clarify, given the funding that they receive, are chapter activities improving editor numbers; female participation; and the quality and scope of, say, Wikipedias like Bangla, Cambodian, and Swahili (to exemplify at random)?»
- I received this note: «These comments are not on-wiki and it doesn't seem relevant to name their author. The gist of the meaning was that – unlike the GAC – the FDC doesn't recommend the funding of specific projects, but rather allocates funds for an entity's general operating expenses in the upcoming year; and that the FDC's application process emphasises the auditing and assessment of an entity's past activities – its track-record. The context was a discussion about whether these two very different approaches should be handled by quite different forums. I also remember that objections were raised at the same time that the GAC doesn't recommend the funding of full-time staff, whereas the FDC does in some cases, to provide further context.»