Monthly Report of Wikimedia Österreich (Austria) for January 2011.
End of November 2010 Wikimedia Österreich had its general assembly and elected a new board with three new members (of eight). Two new board members are from Wikimedia Deutschland (Denis Barthel) and Wikimedia CH (Manuel Schneider). They both act as advisors on the board and could bring in experience from these chapters and improve the relationship between these three chapters which share the german language community.
After setting up some new structures for the collaboration and communication among the members and the board and the holidays in December, the chapter has a real startup in January 2011.
Wikimedia Austria did set up two new Wikis for the communication among it's members: http://mitglieder.wikimedia.at, also a new board wiki was set up for the communication between the board members. A lot of data that has been handled in different places before has been gathered and structured in the board wiki. Marketing material, members database, budgets, agendas and reports of board meetings are now all in place and accessible for all board members.
During this period we had five board meetings. The new members wiki is the central place for discussion among the members and the wiki is used for documentation the progress of the chapter in the future.
An internal mailinglist with all official members has been set up for official notifications and newsletters to all members, while the current mailinglist <VereinAT-l> is an open place for discussions for everyone. Two official members mailings has been sent in the meantime, the plan is to have at least four newsletters to all members by year. The challenge is to provide transparent informations to all members while not spamming them. All other members who want to engange in discussions should subscribe to the open mailinglist <VereinAT-l> instead.
The chapter currently consists of 68 members which includes 1 supportive member and 33 new members from 2010. All members are individuals.
Certain members try to spread criticism about the board's activity and way how the board has done their work. While at the GA all constructive ideas concerning better information, enabling more members participation and more transparency have been approved and generally agreed by the board, there are still ongoing requests from said members to have all kind of data released from the board. This includes a list of all travels done by the board on behalf of Wikimedia in the last two years including the reason, activities done and exact costs of each travel and persons participating. Additionally all contracts should be released, especially the agreements between the chapter and the foundation. While the board agrees that this information should be available for the members, the ongoing requests consume a lot of time which could be invested for more constructive work.
During January we managed to collect and publish most of the information that has been asked for during General Assembly
- report of the General Assembly
- reports of all travels (reason, persons, costs) in 2009 and 2010
- all contracts including Fundraising Agreement, Chapters Agreement etc.
The 10th Anniversary was a big event for Wikimedia Österreich. While the local meetings are mostly organised by the community, Wikimedia Österreich ordered marketing materials such as stickers and t-shirts. There were three parties in Austria, in Graz, Linz and Vienna. At each party was at least one board member of Wikimedia Österreich which provided the marketing materials, computers for the Skype sessions, internet uplink etc.
Wikimedia Österreich sent out a press release through the Austrian Press Agency (APA) on January 10th with some background information about the past 10 years of Wikipedia and Wikimedia and an invitation of the public to the three parties. Several newspapers, radio and TV stations relayed the release and contacted us for interviews and more information. The public broadcaster in Austria, ORF, provided us with webcams, headset and a special conferencing software to do video interviews directly from the parties in HD quality. From this material they produced a 45 minutes video which was broadcasted twice the week after on the satelite program BR-Alpha.
The board will send their chair and vice-chair, Kurt Kulac and Christoph Breitler, to the chapters meeting in March. Manuel Schneider, who is advisor at the board, will also participate as representative of Wikimedia CH.
Wikimedia Österreich tries to support specifically austrian comunity members to participate in Wikimania. To give them a better chance of getting a scholarship for Wikimania, we provide our own scholarship program. Until February 28th all austrian comunity members are invited to apply for a scholarship at the official scholarship website. The applications will be reviewed and rated according the same criterias as the Wikimedia Foundation does. The austrian scholarship team consists of the Wikimedia Österreich board plus Harel Cain from the Wikimania organisers team. The chapter provides a budget for 10 scholarships.
The idea of the national scholarships could be successfully exported to Wikimedia CH which is providing also national scholarships for swiss Wikimedians under the same terms.
Administrative Work / Challenges
During January the board held three official board meetings. We started in IRC, but moved to Skype later. From the german arbitration committee we learned that a vocal discussion was much more efficient than a written conversation. It took a while until the communication worked with all board members, but it turned out to be indeed a better way of communication.
By the end of January open tasks on our todo list were the Fundraiser Report and developing a Budget Plan for 2011. In order to be able to do both we need to do a lot of checkups between the online donations recorded in the donations database, the bank account and Paypal. Within several thousand of online donation several hundreds didn't not proceed through the bank transfer. Those donations have to be filtered, all addresses of the successful donations have to be registered so we can send a mailing to all donors to thank them.