User talk:Millosh

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Trust in Wikipedia[edit]

this is Cathy from Hong Kong working on a research about trust on Wikipedia. I wonder if you would kindly contact me at researchingmedia@gmail.com? I'd like to chat with you about Wikipedia of your language. Would you kindly drop me your email or IM (Skype, MSN, AIM or ICQ)? It wouldn't take more than ten minutes, but it would help enormously for us to understand the overall trust-based social landscape of Wikipedia. Thank you!

Kabyle wikipedia[edit]

Hello,

Our request to have a wikipedia in the Kabyle Berber language have been aproved by an administrator :

http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:TUF-KAT

On this page:

http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Template:Requests_for_new_languages/Kabyle

The use/admin TUF-KAT said we need to ask a developer to do the rest, I have posted in the mailing list [1] but we did not find any developper.

i am a bit lost, what should we exactly do?Toira

Toolserveraccount[edit]

Hello Millosh,
please send your real-name, your prefered login-name and the public part of your ssh-key to Zedler-admins.png. We plan to create your account soon then. --DaB.

what about Anarchopedia ?[edit]

I found your name there : http://fra.anarchopedia.org/index.php/Utilisateur:Libre/motiv

thanks. Join me there.

Thank you[edit]

I ma so gratefull that you saved the lb wiki !!!!!!!

Your comment on Lombard wikipedia[edit]

Hello Millosh, thanks for your comment. You wrote:

Statement update[edit]

Hi Millosh, thanks for being the first to translate my statement. In return, prehaps I should fix the en-fr bilingual statement... except I can't tell if he meant it to show up that way! I modified it after your translation; please look again. (and moved the "a trustee should" commentary elsewhere...).

Regards, and good luck, -- sj | help translate |+

ISO 639-3[edit]

You have new messages
Hello, Millosh. You have new messages at Taivo's talk page.
You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{Talkback}} or {{Tb}} template.

Help compile Objective Data about the Candidates[edit]

Posted to all candidates talk page:

To aid in the fair evaluation of all the candidates, especially those not active on EnWiki, verifiable data about the candidates is being compiled. Anyone is invited to help compile the data since it is all publicly available on-wiki.

But since the people best qualified to help are the candidates themselves, it seems reasonable to ask:

  • Which languages do you speak? (voter statement)
  • Which projects do you contribute to?
    • For each, when was your first edit?
    • For each, how many total edits? (exact figures not need)
  • Which projects are you an admin on?
  • Are you a bureaucrat? which projects? when?
  • Are you a CheckUser? Which projects? When did you start??
  • Are you a steward? If so when were you made one?
  • Have you served in a verifiable leadership role on a project? (e.g. Like EnWiki's Founder or Arbcom member)
  • Have you served in a verifiable leadership role on at the Chapter or Foundation level? (Trustee, etc)

Are there any objectively verifiable facts that should be included in this guide but aren't?

(Incidentally, this document won't reflect my own personal values or wikipolitical opinions. Ideally it will come to exist outside of my userspace in some neutral, visible location. -- Alecmconroy)

Manchu wikipedia[edit]

mini gucu saiyūn?bi inu manjurara manju.bi mini gucusei emgi manju gisun i uikipidiya be araki sembi.manju gisun oci manjusai banjin de ujui uju oyonggo baita inu.bi mini booi urse de manjurambime tese be latin mudan i tacibufi ‘möllendorff transcription’ be inu hūlame mutembi.ere durun i manju gisun i uikipidiya be hūlaki sere manjusa kemuni labdu bi.aika emu manju gisun i uikipidiya be ilibuci manjusa urgunjembime be suwende gemu ambula banihalara!
Hello,my friend!I'm a also a manchu-speaking manchu.Me and my friends wants to write the manchu wikipedia.Manchu language is the first important thing in manchus' life.I speak manchu to my family and they were taught the latin letters so they can also read the ‘möllendorff transcription’.Such manchu people that would very much like to see a manchu wikipedia are still many.If a manchu wikipedia is built the manchus would be happy and we will thank all of you a lot!

Formal complaint[edit]

Hello, Could you please give me an advice in regard how to place a formal complaint against an administrator? I would like to point out an issue at slovak Wikipedia. Thank you.

Please Help me creat Lurish language in wikipedia![edit]

hi millosh! i try creat Lurish language in wikipedia, can you help me, please?

http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Requests_for_new_languages/Wikipedia_Lurish

Stewards doing xwiki admin check[edit]

Hi Millosh. Stewards are undertaking further works on inactive admins through the wikis, and I see that you are

  • crat/sysop at sr.wikinews.org
  • crat/sysop at sh.wiktionary.org
  • sysop at sr.wiktionary.org
  • crat/sysop at sr.wikibooks.org

of those wikis you have been inactive for many years. If you do not wish to maintain those rights, then they can be resigned at m:SRP; if you do wish to maintain those rights, it would help if you could do some editing on that wiki when we get to do formal notifications to those wikis. Thanks.  — billinghurst sDrewth

Help me with my dictionary project?[edit]

Hello, User:Millosh! I am currently researching a language called Sizang (ISO-693: csy) and would like to make a digital lexicon for the language. I've detailled some of my plans on my blog here. But as I have over 400 words already, I think it would like a very long time to input all of the data manually. I have a lot of lexical items in Excel format, and I wanted to know if there was a way to create a bot to mass-import those into separate Wiktionary entries. I tried importing them Excel->CSV->MySQL myself, but when I tested the DB with an array through PHP, the unicode (IPA) rendered as "???". So I figured that using a wiktionary-type platform through mediawiki would be a safer bet. This is an early sample of my data, and what I would like to do is create a page based on the English gloss, and then use the IPA in the middle there as its entry. However, I have multiple sources for a word, so I will probably end up combining Excel spreadsheets to have multiple sources for each word. So, for example, searching "Deer" may return something like this:

== English ==

Deer
== Sizangkam ==

===Noun===
==== Modern Sizang Orthography ====
*   sakhi
==== Luce ====
*   sʽă˦haŋ˨
==== Naylor ====
*  sahkī
====Example Sentences====
*  Sakhi khat an ne zo hi.

Humble Request to Hon'ble Members of Language Committee[edit]

  • As a Test Admin of Wp/khw Khowar Wikipedia Project I on behalf of the Khowar language communities of Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Xinjiang(China) humbly request the all respectable members of the language comittee for early approval, creation of Khowar Wkipedia i.e. khw.wikipedia.org. The Khowar language is spoken in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Xingjiang(China). I have created a test page for Khowar language in incubator i.e. Wikipedia Khowar (Khowar Language Wikipedia), On behalf of the abovementioned Khowar speaking four countries for early approval and creation and normalization of Khowar Wikipedia edition. Khowar is one of spoken 14 languages in Chitral(Pakistan). It will be useful to Khowar internet users to report news from worldwide. I strongly feel it deserves its own Wikipedia. Being a test admin i have translated all most used messages into khowar. I have created test Khowar Wikipedia at Khowar Wikpedia.--Rachitrali

Requests for new languages/Wikipedia Old Russian[edit]

Hi :) I've noticed you've been working on verifying proposals on Requests for new languages lately. Could you have a look at Requests for new languages/Wikipedia Old Russian? This was marked as eligible over a year ago by an anonymous user in Special:Diff/15196541 but since historical languages are explicitly excluded by Language proposal policy, it seems unlikely to me that it is actually eligible. - Nikki (talk) 15:01, 26 January 2017 (UTC)

On a related note, Requests for new languages/Wikipedia Pax̌to was created five years ago already saying that it was eligible, but it's asking for a romanised version of a language which already has a Wikipedia and I can't find anything where someone from LangCom has actually said it is eligible, so maybe that is also incorrect. - Nikki (talk) 16:19, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for both information! Old Russian has been fixed. I have to check what's going on with "Pax̌to". It seems to be Pashto and we already have those projects. I will check all the proposals marked as eligible after I finish with mostly trivial requests. --Millosh (talk) 16:56, 30 January 2017 (UTC)

Requests for new languages/Wikivoyage Tajik[edit]

Hello! Summary to in page. By homage -- Jaloliddin Madaminov (talk) 06:01, 30 January 2017 (UTC)

I see no issue with marking Wikivoyage Tajik eligible. Feel free to create and work on requirements for making Wikivoyage project in Tajik approved. I will deal with the requests for other projects after I finish with the requests for Wikipedia. --Millosh (talk) 16:58, 30 January 2017 (UTC)

Thank you 😊. By homage -- Jaloliddin Madaminov (t) 06:01, 30 January 2017 (UTC)

Wikipedia Old Norse Rejection Reasoning[edit]

I saw that you rejected the Old Norse Wikipedia, and while I respect your opinions, I think that your reasoning wasn't strong enough. You called the language a "proto-language", which is simply not true. The language has been documented and there are countless sagas written in it, as well as rune stones. The language was not in anyway reconstructed and you're probably confusing it with Proto-Norse. As for it being extinct as you mentioned, you are mostly correct. However (you probably guessed I would bring this up), Latin and Old English have their own Wikipedias. If you were to reject it with a better reason, I wouldn't be complaining. But the current reason for rejection inaccurately describes the language and should be removed or changed. --ScriptorHistoriae (talk) 20:45, 30 January 2017 (UTC)

Language proposal policy says: "The proposal has a sufficient number of living native speakers to form a viable community and audience (Wikisource wikis are allowed in languages with no native speakers, although these should be on a wiki for the modern form of the language if possible)." Old Norse doesn't have any native speaker and the proposal was for Wikipedia. Latin is a widely used living language, while Old English and Old Church Slavonic had been opened before the creation of the Language committee and none of them would be made eligible by LangCom. --Millosh (talk) 22:19, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
Well, per same policy, you may already have reason to reject Requests for new languages/Wikipedia Ancient Greek 4, however, according to Talk:Language_committee/2016#Requests_for_new_languages.2FWikipedia_Ancient_Greek, as Gts-tg said:

So instead of speedy reject such historical/ancient/extinct languages, there should have another program to validate such usage of non-Living cases, say really, I also think the tone of this rule makes me vague. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 03:57, 31 January 2017 (UTC)

Yes, Ancient Greek Wikipedia should likely be rejected. However, I need some clarifications in relation to that. At the moment it's not priority, as it's not [totally] trivial and my focus is now to make eligible every valid language. --Millosh (talk) 15:43, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
In relation to Wikipedia and classical languages, the test is relatively simple: Are you able to write encyclopedic articles about the modern concepts (train, airplane, theory of relativity, ecology, meteorology etc.) by using relevant dictionaries of that language, without ad hoc neologisms? The point is that you can do that with Latin (as it's the living language of the Roman Catholic Church; there is even a Radio in Latin in Finland), while you can't do that with, for example, Old Norse or Old Russian (or Old Church Slavonic). There are, of course, borderline cases. Classical Chinese (created before Language committee) and Ottoman Turkish, for example, belong to that category. They have been actively used up to the 20th century and it's possible to write about modern technology in those languages, although they are not, unlike Latin, used anymore. AFAIK, you can't do that with Ancient Greek, as well; but that should be checked. --Millosh (talk) 15:43, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
Note that that was the reasoning for Wikipedia. Unlike Wikipedia, Wikisource can exist. In that case, for example, interface of the Ancient Greek Wikisource should be in English, as you can't translate MediaWiki interface without using ad hoc neologisms inside of a dead language; which would make that language Neo-Ancient Greek. So, Old Norse, Old Russian etc. -- if the materials can't be kept on the appropriate modern language Wikisource (Old Russian materials on Russian Wikisource, for example) and there is considerable amount of written materials (so, it makes sense to make a separate project from the Multilingual Wikisource) -- could have their own Wikisource projects with the interface in relevant contemporary language(s). --Millosh (talk) 15:43, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
@Millosh: Regarding "by using relevant dictionaries of that language, as per @Gts-tg::

--Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 02:14, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

I am not knowledgeable in the properties of old Norse, but I think that any language that can demonstrated to be usable for the purposes of content creation and knowledge description, and is able to have a community to back it up, should have a Wikipedia. It really is as simple as this. With regards to ancient Greek, I believe the assumption that Latin has attributes that ancient Greek does not have, to be a false one, there is a very close parallel route between the 2 (e.g. Latin via Catholic church and use in Vatican, Greek in Orthodox church and use in Ecumenical Patriarchate, as a very basic example, as well as that both Latin and Greek have constantly been used for wordsmithing new terms either scientific or legal or medical etc). Gts-tg (talk) 02:49, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't want to hijack the Norse lang issue, but I had a look again and I've read Milosh's feedback on interface of the Ancient Greek Wikisource should be in English, as you can't translate MediaWiki interface without using ad hoc neologisms inside of a dead language; which would make that language Neo-Ancient Greek. This really falls in with considering ancient Greek as a language that hasn't been in continuous use since antiquity, in other words the same as Latin (+ la.wikisource.org), it really is quite surprising that there is non trivial amount of people that regard that the two languages have very divergent paths. But apart from that, the interface has already been translated in ancient Greek, and in any case it would be a choice for the community to make if they would ever want to change the interface language. Gts-tg (talk) 16:34, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
@Liuxinyu970226 and Gts-tg: There is an ongoing discussion inside of the Language committee about allowing the projects in Ancient Greek and comparable classical languages. It is likely to be resolved positively. --Millosh (talk) 17:03, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
"likely to be resolved positively" (!!) Ἀμήν to that. Gts-tg (talk) 17:18, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

Needed Help[edit]

Sir, I request you to handle the bodo wikipedia creation. I just need your help. please understand me , I need help to create bodo wikipedia. if you need bodo translation then I will help ... please only for me. please don't neglect me ! Nijwmsa Boro 08:05, 31 January 2017 (UTC)

@Mr. Nijwmsa Boro: just to say that I've asked @Satdeep Gill: to help you, as he is also a Language committee member, but, unlike me, he is from India, as you are, so he would be more efficient in helping you. Good luck with creation of Wikipedia in your native language! --Millosh (talk) 09:22, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

Bodo Wikipedia[edit]

I have registered new account in translatewiki.net to translate massages, but bodo language is disabled. I know you can enable it. So, please try to enable because you have better experience. I will request to solve the problem of bodo language in translatewiki.net to @Satdeep Gill also. --Nijwmsa Boro 09:31, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

@Mr. Nijwmsa Boro: I think that it's been disabled on the system level, so you need one of Translatewiki admins to do that. Have you been able to find relevant pages for discussion on Translatewiki? --Millosh (talk) 09:41, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

I haven't, how I can contact translatewiki admins. I have no better experience. please enable it anyway. --Nijwmsa Boro 09:56, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

@Mr. Nijwmsa Boro: This is something you should do: Go to Translatewiki document for enabling new languages and follow the instructions. Satdeep has already created the portal page. However, you should go to the page Support and ask them to enable Bodo, by telling them that you will be the translator. --Millosh (talk) 10:29, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

OK, I will try. if i fails then are you ready to do ?

@Mr. Nijwmsa Boro: If you don't get response in a week, please let me know that and I will see what's going on. --Millosh (talk) 10:46, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

OK, to ask in support page, which button I should click ? this is the button to ask 'Write your message below' ?

@Mr. Nijwmsa Boro: Click on that link ("Write your message below") and you will get the form for writing a message. --Millosh (talk) 10:56, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

OK, I have requested. and now iam waiting for reply, thanks for help.

Khowar Wikipedia[edit]

@Millosh: Your support is required for early approval of Wikipedia in Khowar language spoken in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Xingjiang (China). As we have already completed the requirements i.e. translations, articles, activity, templates, categories and other requirement has also been completed. The Khowar speakers of Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Kashmir are humbly requesting the worthy members of language committee for early approval of this Wiki project. With profound Regards--Rehmat Aziz Chitrali 07:45, 2 February 2017 (UTC)

Enabling of Bodo language in translatewiki.net[edit]

@Millosh: they said that they will enable the language but i have to wait for 3 years, Can you request to enable bodo language first as the language is eligible. --Nijwmsa Boro 02:51, 5 February 2017 (UTC)

@Mr. Nijwmsa Boro: I've contacted one of people working on Translatewiki to push things. I will respond to you quickly, immediately after I get the response. --Millosh (talk) 10:05, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

OK , thanks --Nijwmsa Boro 11:54, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

Are they not replied yet ? --Nijwmsa Boro 08:48, 9 February 2017 (UTC)

@Mr. Nijwmsa Boro: Still working on it... --Millosh (talk) 11:22, 9 February 2017 (UTC)

OK --Nijwmsa Boro 12:23, 9 February 2017 (UTC)

New Wikipedia[edit]

Please see Requests for new languages/Wikipedia Atikamekw. The translations of the most-used messages on Translatewiki are almost done. The test-wiki is relatively active. Can you advise on the next step to get the Wikipedia created please (once it is 100% translated of course)? Thanks, Amqui (talk) 23:48, 12 April 2017 (UTC)

Thank you...[edit]

...for closing a few older proposals, like the closure proposal on Japanese Wikiversity, cleaning out (i.e. updating) the "Proposals for closing projects" page. I saw your name on the Language committee page and pinged you. Thanks again! --George Ho (talk) 14:36, 16 April 2017 (UTC)

@George Ho: you are welcome :) --Millosh (talk) 18:20, 16 April 2017 (UTC)

Communicating in English[edit]

I want to notify the Albanian Wikipedia community about something, but I don't know the Albanian language. What if I communicate in English? Would the community tolerate my English communication there? --George Ho (talk) 21:35, 16 April 2017 (UTC)

They are usually fluent in English, so don't worry about that. (Milos from the mobile phone) --21:38, 16 April 2017 (UTC)

After rejection of closure proposals[edit]

Shouldn't we delete (or empty) both pih:MediaWiki:Sitenotice and rn:MediaWiki:Sitenotice? --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 11:27, 20 April 2017 (UTC)

@Liuxinyu970226: I see. Yes, but we need a steward. May you ask stewards to do that? --Millosh (talk) 11:32, 20 April 2017 (UTC)

A mistake in your description in the Foundation Board Elections 2017[edit]

Hello! I've just noticed that in the Foundation Board Elections 2017, your description has a mistake.
"you are giving me the symbolic power to not only raise those issues"
I'm afraid, it should have been "not only to raise." Cheers and good luck though :-)--Adûnâi (talk) 01:25, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

@Adûnâi: Thank you very much! I will ask Election committee to fix it. --Millosh (talk) 09:20, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
@Adûnâi: Actually, are you sure? I would say as you told me, but my statement have been corrected by a native speaker of English. (As well as I see the construction "to not only" grammatically correct.) (Initially I thought there is no "to" at all :) ) --Millosh (talk) 10:13, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
It's a case of split infinitive, often considered a mistake. Just so you know, I've voted against you on this basis, and I'm sure there are a lot of people like me that don't want to support the spread of incorrect grammar. Have a nice day!--Adûnâi (talk) 17:43, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
I appreciate direct approach. Thanks! :) --Millosh (talk) 18:22, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
@Adûnâi:: split infinitives, used by such lousy wordsmiths as Shakespeare, are not, in fact, a grammar crime, and it is merely a persistent and commonly repeated superstition to believe that it is. See the Oxford Dictionary for example. And it is of course a profoundly ridiculous argument for or against a candidate. Without comment on any of the candidates, I encourage you to consider voting according to your perception of the candidates' actual ability to discharge the duties of a board member; I am sure you can find some more substantial criteria by which to measure them. Ijon (talk) 01:08, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

2017 Board Elections candidate interviews[edit]

Dear candidate,

Thank you for running for the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees in this year's community elections. I am contacting you on behalf of the community podcasts Wikipedia Weekly and Source Code Berlin. We are sure you recognize the importance of transparency and a fully-informed community when it comes to these elections. To that end, we would like to conduct short audio interviews (under 30 minutes) with each of the candidates for publication in podcast form prior to the conclusion of the election. If you agree, we will contact you via email to coordinate the time and date of these interviews. Please let me know if you have any questions. Gamaliel (talk) 16:40, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

@Gamaliel: Yes, of course :) My email is millosh@gmail.com. --Millosh (talk) 16:43, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for agreeing to our proposed candidate interviews, but we have decided that we will not be conducting them this year. We feel that Sunday's video interview has accomplished the goal of providing the community with exposure to the candidates and we are currently exploring ways that our potential election coverage can supplement and not duplicate that exposure. Gamaliel (talk) 18:45, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
@Gamaliel: You are welcome! And thank you for your efforts! --Millosh (talk) 02:56, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Hi Milos, I voted for you - I hope you do well. Maybe consider Grey-scale instead of RGB!? Bloodholds (talk)
@Bloodholds: Thanks! :) My wife told me that it's better to try with CMYK, so I will have to consider all suggestions :) --Millosh (talk) 11:41, 13 May 2017 (UTC)

Uncontrolled spending increases[edit]

(I am asking this question of all board candidates.)

In my essay at User:Guy Macon/Wikipedia has Cancer I make several proposals.

Whether of not you agree with the essay as a whole, would you be willing to propose and/or support any of the following?

  • Make spending largely transparent, publish a detailed account of what money is being spent on and answer any reasonable questions asking for more details. There is no need for you to remind us that some things cannot be published because of legal or privacy issues. I am asking whether we should be as open and transparent as possible, not asking the board to do something stupid or illegal.
  • Limit spending increases to no more than inflation plus some percentage (adjusted for any increases in page views). Are you willing to support any limit at all on spending growth, and if so roughly how much? 10%? 20%? 30%?
  • Build up our endowment and structure the endowment so that the WMF cannot legally dip into the principal when times get bad. There is no need to answer with something to the effect that either you or the WMF have good intentions. I am specifically asking whether you support making the endowment principle legally untouchable, allowing the WMF to only spend the endowment interest.

If we do these things now, in a few short years we could be in a position to do everything we are doing now, while living off of the endowment interest, and would have no need for further fundraising. Or we could keep fundraising, using the donations to do many new and useful things, knowing that whatever we do there is a guaranteed income stream from the endowment that will be large enough to keep the servers running indefinitely. --Guy Macon (talk) 14:40, 13 May 2017 (UTC)

@Guy Macon: here are my answers:
  1. Transparency is extremely important and, as a community-elected Board member, I am willing to facilitate the dialogue (likely here, on Meta) between the community and C-level staff in relation to what exactly should and can be disclosed. I am not an expert in US law and I would definitely need input from the both sides.
  2. Doing anything with spending increases without a serious analysis would be dilettantish. I am willing to hear the experts from WMF and outside of WMF in relation to that to make relevant decision. The only relevant conclusion I could give to you is that the pace of reducing spending increase can't be drastic because drastic changes produce problems. So, if our current yearly spending increase is around 25%, it is more likely that it would be possible to decrease it to 20% next year, then to 15% in two years etc. However, that's under the condition that reasonable number of experts reasonably agree that decreasing spending increase is the best path for Wikimedia Foundation and that it correlates with the reality.
  3. Endowment is very important. Kathrine said that endowment is work in progress. I said it would be one of my priorities during my tenure.
It is complex task to lead the complex systems. We could have the best wishes and our ideas could be sound and solid, but reality could be completely different. Said so, I like your long-term vision and I support it. --Millosh (talk) 17:10, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
That sounds like what a board member should be doing, in my opinion. I especially like your point about gradual changes rather than sudden changes. Wise words indeed. Alas, the WMF board only controls spending, not contributions, as a board member, you may be faced with an unexpected 90% reduction in revenue, as has happened to several non-profits, typically in the midst of a major scandal.
I am still unclear on your position about whether we should structure the endowment so that the WMF cannot legally dip into the principal when times get bad. In addition to the concerns in my essay (the concern that the WMF will ramp up fundraising and dip into the endowment if revenues see a huge drop) this decision may have legal consequences. Would you be willing to engage with WMF legal regarding how best to shield the endowment principle from being drained should the WMF lose some future multi-million dollar lawsuit? It goes without saying that anyone on the board would want to protect the endowment principle, but I am looking for a board member who will find out if such protection is even possible and if so how to make it happen. --Guy Macon (talk) 03:15, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
@Guy Macon: Yes, reality is the most important factor.
My general position is that we should have a number of smaller entities that a big one. Translated into your question, I would prefer a separate entity for endowment.
In relation to your scenario of multi-million dollar lawsuit, I suppose that there are better options than destroying the whole savings. For example, I am sure that many entities would help WMF to handle such situation by donating significant amounts of money. But even without such options, it is possible to borrow money, as -- without catastrophic scenarios -- WMF has stable revenue and is able to use ~5% of the future revenue to return borrowed money.
However, there are other possible (but unlikely) scenarios and it's not possible to give the exact answer:
  1. The scenario of the multi-million dollar lawsuit, but without any other possibility to find money than to take savings. So, we know that the next year would be fine, but this is particularly harsh and we should decide if we are going to destroy WMF and the whole movement or to take money from the savings. In the situation of the existential crisis, it's logical to take all possible actions to avoid serious damage.
  2. Revenue dropped to $1M, it is not going to rise in foreseeable future and endowment $100M big and it could be giving [inflation adjusted] $1M yearly. The options are to spend the endowment or to adapt ASAP to 20-50 times less spending. If there are no reasonable options and the situation is as-is, I would be in favor of immediate drastic scaling down. It's better to have $1M more next year than to spend everything immediately.
So, the answer is not easy. I would like to have both: hard limits, but also reasonable flexibility. I am in favor of whatever could give guarantees that we won't spend money if not necessary, but also a possibility to survive. We could also have a movement-wide discussion in relation to this issue and how to solve it the best.
I also suppose that there are or could be other types of reserves. For example, the reserve for lawsuits; the reserve for one year or a couple of years of (1) movement-wide work, (2) full scale WMF work, (3) the minimum for WMF. I suppose that my scenario (1) could be mitigated by having the reserve for lawsuits, while my scenario (2) could be prolonged by having reserves for a movement-wide work or a full scale WMF work.
Most importantly, we are in good times now and it is the right time to think about bad times. If we do things now (and I see that some of them have been already started), this discussion could be reasonably outdated in a couple of years. I don't think we require too strict approach. I think that we will be safe just if we do reasonable things now. --Millosh (talk) 07:22, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
Excellent response. If anyone cares what I think, based upon the thoughtful answers above, I support your candidacy. --Guy Macon (talk) 07:47, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
yes good response - i would add
  1. Transparency - you could start with a footnote to the annual report about highly compensated employees. this would avoid a repeat of the bonus controversy.
  2. Spending - the spending increases as reported on the annual report should be tied to the strategic plan. there should be a discussion of how increases or decreases are driven by strategy. abrupt changes in spending or strategy should be explained in the annual report. and you should think about a part year disclosure, this would avoid the search controversy.
  3. Endowment - there should be endowment bylaws that govern the annual draw. the restrictions on the endowed funds should be disclosed. "no draw down of principal" is too restrictive. rather what is the probability of "bad times"? and what is the most probable outcome? you should plan for reinvestment of endowment draw. you should plan for the very small probability of a wind up of the endowment and WMF (they are not perpetuaties). Slowking4 (talk) 21:58, 14 May 2017 (UTC)

@Slowking4::

  1. Maybe better "anything unusual" should have a note.
  2. This is a good point: Strategic decisions should be governed by the strategy. Growth is one of the strategic issues.
  3. In ~10 years it shouldn't be an issue. It could be a better idea to leave "bad times" clause for the beginning, but remove it afterwards. --Millosh (talk) 08:28, 15 May 2017 (UTC)