Talk:Training the Trainers/Agreement for trainers

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Problems with third clause[edit source]

Whilst I think that having such an agreement is a great idea and that this draft goes long way to meeting that need, there is one clause I am not happy with

3) "The Participant undertakes not to approach any other person or organisation with the aim of providing Wikimedia-related training or services for a fee of any kind without the permission of Wikimedia UK."

I think this is really bad - it smacks of the sort of clauses which go in contracts for proprietary intellectual property, and is at odds with the concept of Open Educational Resources and Open Knowledge. Whist I understand the concerns that have been discussed at Board level concerning fears that individuals might do the course and then set up their own agencies - this is not the solution. It is not for Wikimedia UK to hold people in such a contractual vice. The fears expressed by the board mirror the responses that other firms have had in relation to Wikipedia/Wikimedia.

  1. It has no time limit.
  2. It is put in such a way that anyone seriously wanting to wiggle around it could.
  3. It means that someone mentioning they ahd done the course in a CV when applying for a teaching job which involves working with Wikipedia would be in breach if they didn't gain permission from WMUK.

Indeed it may well be in breach of the objectives "to promote and support the widest possible public access to, use of and contribution to Open Content of an encyclopaedic or educational nature." These objectives positively include the types of COI edits which the Board is concerned about

I understand the concerns of the Board that they might be criticised for providing expensive training which does not benefit the work of the charity. I also find the "paid to edit" approach of the PR industry distatsteful. However, as I have received payment for facilitating the use of Wikiversity in a University setting, I would not be happy signing such a clause. I am also concerned that it might have a negative impact on encouraging teachers and college lecturers from engaging with the programme.

What I would suggest is that we have a clause more like this:

3) "The Participant agrees to contribute towards Wikimedia UK activities designed to realise the objectives of the charity, and to apply the knowledge and skills they have gained in a way which is in harmony with ethos of the Wikimedia movement."

OK, it is equally unenforceable, however it give a clear, positive account of the intent of the TtT programme. .

I hope this goes someway to help formulating an agreement that everyone will be happy with. Leutha (talk) 13:06, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

On the assumption that this document will be used for attendees of the planned Manchester February training event in four weeks time, could someone comprehensively answer Leutha's concerns or adapt the agreement in advance of the board meeting of 9 February 2013? Thanks -- (talk) 00:01, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
See below. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 12:37, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

What is the risk we're trying to mitigate here?[edit source]

What is this agreement actually trying to achieve? All the stuff about not misrepresenting yourself is just a restatement of trademark law so doesn't actually do anything except make sure people are aware of what they are and aren't allowed to do (which isn't a bad idea, but does it really require a signed agreement?). The important clause in this agreement, and which the rest of the agreement is clearly just there to distract attention from (whoever drafted it may not have thought about it in those terms, but it's true nevertheless), is the bit about not selling Wikipedia training. What is actually the harm from someone selling Wikipedia training? The risk with training people is that Wikimedia UK won't get anything out of it. Banning paid training doesn't mitigate that - in fact, it increases the risk since it prevents people doing something that would further our objects (another person that knows how to edit Wikipedia is another person that knows how to edit Wikipedia, regardless of whether they paid for it or not). If you want to mitigate that risk, then get people to commit to giving at least one training course on behalf of Wikimedia UK within a year of taking the course (obviously, you would need to make sure there were enough courses being run to use everyone). You can make it one of the requirements to get the certificate. You could even have a rule that you have to give one course a year in order to retain your certification if you want. --Tango (talk) 23:40, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

When will this be signed?[edit source]

What's that bit about getting you a place on the course within twelve months for? Why would this be signed at any time other than when they are on the course? --Tango (talk) 23:41, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

Can someone please answer this question? Thanks! --Tango (talk) 12:23, 31 January 2013 (UTC)


I am wracking my brains to know why 12 months. suspect this is a hangover for a previous concept. Would anyone object if we removed this altogether? Anyone signing it would be on a course as that is why they would be signing. Sorry about the delay in replying Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 13:38, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
That was my thinking exactly. It seems odd to get people to agree to all kinds of restrictions before they've even arrived. Of course, it's important to make sure people know what they'll be expected to agree to before they go so they don't have a wasted trip if they don't want to sign. --Tango (talk) 13:51, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Resolving problems with third clause[edit source]

Thanks for the comments Leutha - we are trying to come up with something that indicates a maximum of good faith. You make some good points and I think your suggestion makes a lot of sense. This agreement came out of a trustee discussion about how to protect the charity against people taking our training and making money out of it. In practice this has not proved a problem, yet, but of course could do.

I suggest adopting Leutha's amendment and continuing to assume the good faith from participants that has been demonstrated so far.

What do other think?

Jon Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 11:37, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

I agree with Leutha's comments. I like his new words but I can see some participents worrying that they might be sued because they can't find an opportunity to contribute. I'm not saying anyone will be sued, I'm just saying some people would be worried. Maybe the words could be tweaked to state it as an intention, rather than an agreement. i.e.
"The Participant intends to contribute towards Wikimedia UK activities designed to realise the objectives of the charity, and to apply the knowledge and skills they have gained in a way which is in harmony with ethos of the Wikimedia movement."
Yaris678 (talk) 14:22, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
Hi Yaris, though I doubt the charity would ever consider legal action, I believe the intention was for the charity to have the potential to ask for its training costs back, and for the attendees to clearly understand they are making a meaningful commitment in order to have £800 or so of donated funds invested in improving their skills. If the agreement does not do this, then I am unsure of the tangible benefit of having it in place for either party considering it may cause some concern.
With regard to the realities of who attends the courses, it would be neat if we had some published training delivery accounts showing who from the certified trainers has or has not taken part in delivering two or more events since receiving the training and certification. Knowing this was to be published would naturally strongly encourage all trainees to take part in delivering the events programme within six months of being trained. I don't know if everybody trained to date has done this, but if we can all see this minimal level of return on investment, there is unlikely to be an issue.
I would suggest that the agreements are a requirement a reasonable time in advance of the training, it would be odd for someone to refuse to sign the agreement on the day of the training. Thanks -- (talk) 19:40, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
If the idea is to ensure a reasonable return on investment for the charity in providing these trainings, then the agreement should reflect that. The current draft says nothing regarding a participant actually using what they learn to provide training on behalf of or with Wikimedia UK. All it does is a restraint of trade on a participant. In fact, since there is no time limit specified, it's a highly unreasonable restraint that is (IANAL and all that) probably unenforceable.
If this agreement is intend to be in place for all upcoming Training the Trainers events, including the upcoming February event in Manchester, then the chapter need to contact everyone who has signed up letting them know that. Even though I have never offered "Wikimedia-related training or services for a fee" in the past or have any plans to in the future, I for one for example would not have signed this agreement as it's currently worded if it existed at the Training the Trainers event I attended. I certainly would not had wanted to have travelled to the training only to discover I wouldn't be staying because of my refusal to sign the agreement. KTC (talk) 01:46, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
Yep, I certainly agree that the agreement should be completely clear about the outcome the charity is looking for. Thanks -- (talk) 10:44, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
I think it is reasonable that WMUK should want a reasonable level of commitment from participants. I think it is also helpful to state this clearly. But the very idea that they might be charged £800 if they didn't help out in a certain amount of time is just going to scare people off. I can see that this is a delicate balance that a charity relying on volunteers has to strike, but the £800 idea strikes the balance in the wrong way. The existing wording also strikes it in the wrong way.
I think the whole thing should be seen as a declaration of intent, rather than an agreement. It should clearly state that it has no legal force but is designed to make clear what WMUK can reasonably expect from the participants.
Yaris678 (talk) 11:00, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
Hi all, this document was discussed at the Education Committee meeting on 30 January, and the decision is reflected by my edits on the page. Any questions could be directed to RexxS, or Jon Davies. As for the 'value for money' - how many training sessions the participants deliver - I am hoping to work on this with the upcoming Volunteer Support Organiser person.Daria Cybulska (WMUK) (talk) 11:55, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
That's better, although you've missed out the "apply the knowledge gained" bit from Leutha's proposal, which I think is an important bit. There is no point training someone as a trainer if they are going to contribute in some other way. --Tango (talk) 12:25, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
I think "The Participant agrees to contribute towards Wikimedia UK activities designed to realise the objectives of the charity." is sufficient to cover that. Yaris678 (talk) 14:46, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
I like this wording, and it seems reasonable (and could be extended to any other MoU for training given). Perhaps "contribute towards relevant WMUK activities..." would resolve some of the previous concerns? Andrew Gray (talk) 16:44, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
What do you mean? It doesn't cover it at all. The objectives of the charity are far wider than giving training. If we want to make sure we're getting value for money out of these courses, then we need to make sure people are actually using what they're taught. If they contribute in other ways, then they might as well have not gone on the course. --Tango (talk) 12:23, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
Tango, that's not necessarily true. For example, it may be that two volunteers meet as participants on the course and then come up with an amazing idea, which advances the purpose of the charity but is not about giving training. That said, the purpose of the MoU is to be clear about what participants are getting into and giving training is obviously what it is supposed to be about so I wouldn't be against tweaking the wording to make that clearer. (To put it another way, just because I think it is sufficient at the moment, it doesn't mean that I think it can't be improved.) Yaris678 (talk) 13:33, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
The course is a valuable networking opportunity, certainly, but that alone is not worth sending people on it. They can go to meetups for that. --Tango (talk) 18:18, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

Problems with fourth clause[edit source]

Clause 4 could have similar problems to clause 3. Specifically, is the participant agreeing not to mention their accreditation on their CV? Yaris678 (talk) 18:48, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

I think I went off half-cocked on this one. Specifically the end of the sentence is sufficient to allay my fears: "with the aim of selling or providing Wikimedia related training independently of Wikimedia UK." Yaris678 (talk) 14:56, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Memorandum of understanding[edit source]

I notice that the changes by the education committee change this from an agreement to a memorandum of understanding. I think this is an excellent step forward in line with what I said above. As Wikipedia says, a memorandum of understanding "is often used in cases where parties either do not imply a legal commitment or in situations where the parties cannot create a legally enforceable agreement. It is a more formal alternative to a gentlemen's agreement." If this is the case, then perhaps it would be best to remove or alter the bit at the bottom, which says "This contract is to be construed according to English law."

Yaris678 (talk) 14:56, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

I would support that. I am increasingly uncomfortable with legal documents replacing agreements or MOUs. A lot can be achieved with social pressure and, for example, removing someone's name from an official on-wiki list of accredited and active trainers would often be the limit of any remedy the charity would want to implement. -- (talk) 15:03, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
Many thanks to everyone who's been involved in putting this together. The last line of the current draft says this is a contract construed under English law, which doesn't seem to fit with the intention to make it a non-contractural understanding. Can I just check whether that's right, or is it a drafting problem? Thanks, The Land (talk) 16:49, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
diff - Thanks for handling it Yaris. -- (talk) 09:43, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Agree delete the end bit (UK law) - looks like something there just for effect. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 12:20, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Relevance of fifth clause[edit source]

5. Wikimedia UK will use its best endeavours to provide the Participant with the opportunity to attend a two day UK-based Wikimedia Training for Trainers course within the next twelve months.

propose delete this clause as irrelevant Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 13:39, 7 February 2013 (UTC)) (Originally posted on Training the Trainers/Agreement for trainers)
Hmmm... it certainly seems a bit odd to mention it at that point. The thing that the MoU is trying to get across is that WMUK provides the trainer training but they expect a reasonable level of commitment to giving training in return. To make this point it does help to mention that WMUK is providing the trainer training! But it should probably be mentioned earlier.
It probably doesn't need the "within 12 months" bit because the MoU will probably only come up at the point when the appropriate trainer training course has been identified. But maybe I am missing something.
Yaris678 (talk) 13:48, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

Opportunity to train[edit source]

Something else it might be worth mentioning, possibly with a "within 12 months" bit is WMUK providing an opportunity for the new trainer to apply the skills gained on the course. Not sure how best to phrase that because it depends on a number of things... but I think it is important. I wouldn't want to spend a weekend learning how train people and then not be able to use my new skills. Obviously WMUK would want to reserve the right to not give someone such an opportunity if serious problems were identified during the weekend or after... but maybe that should be mentioned in the MoU too, to hopefully reduce any disappointment if it happens.

Yaris678 (talk) 13:48, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

There is a slight issue, for certification to be meaningful, it may well be that some folks do not 'pass' the course. They may be willing, but perhaps their communications skills are not realistic to expect to lead a workshop or training session, though they may find the training useful in other ways, such as helping to organize or support sessions. In practice, I doubt this will be a issue for the text concerned, but we may want to phrase it to cater for such a scenario. Thanks -- (talk) 14:17, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
I agree. Yaris678 (talk) 14:29, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
Indeed. "Following successful completion of the course, WMUK will endevour to make available a place as a trainer on a WMUK training course within 12 months." or similar? --Tango (talk) 16:56, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
Hmmm... yes... maybe the use of the word "successful" covers everything we are concerned about. Yaris678 (talk) 19:55, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
We ended up simply taking this clause out in the Board meeting. Otherwise, thank you to everyone who's contributed, it was a very helpful community-led discussion and we were happy to adopt the draft. The Land (talk) 20:02, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
Any particular reason why the discussions on this talk page were ignored by the board? Yaris678 (talk) 22:16, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
Hi Yaris, all five trustees, Jon D. and Richard S. had this page up on a shared screen and we discussed this change and thought we had made a sensible minor change without missing the points being made, in order to get the policy agreed by the board in time to be applied for the February training event. In fact I highlighted that this was a good example of community engagement with a tricky policy. Would you like to explain why the change might have been in error? Cheers -- (talk) 22:30, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
I think there was a consensus here to remove that clause. You proposed introducing a completely different clause. It was an interesting idea and one that it would have been good to have had a proper discussion about and reached a consensus on it, but unfortunately you proposed it too late in the process for that. The board would have had to delay approving the agreement, which would have caused problems for the next training course. Your proposed clause wasn't important enough to justify such a delay, so I think the board made the right call on this one. --Tango (talk) 00:12, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure there was consensus, at #Relevance of fifth clause I actually suggested moving the clause rather than removing it, and no one challenged that. However, reading the document as a whole I can see that it kindof repeating some of what is in clause 1 so removing it probably was the best thing (for redundancy, rather than irrelevance).
I note that:
  1. No one (on the wiki) objected in principle to mentioning an opportunity to train in the MoU.
  2. There was obviously concern about phrasing it right.
  3. Tango suggested some words that got a degree of support and no objection.
  4. The board decided not to include it because, if they were going to include it they would want time to consider it, but they didn't want to delay things by taking that time.
Yaris678 (talk) 14:06, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

Review of this as an example of community consultation[edit source]

I notice that Fæ considers this to be a good example of community consultation. I would agree to an extent. Certainly:

  1. Much has been gained by community consultation.
    1. Improvement in clause 3
    2. MoU, rather than contract
  2. Nothing has been lost by community consultation.

Therefore it shows the value of community consultation.

However, had I known that there was a time limit on this, I might have done a couple of things before the deadline.

  1. Proof read it. This would have revealed that there is an inconsistency in that clause 2 refers to "trainer", whereas most of the others refer to "Participant".
  2. Suggested that the MoU included a preamble or an extra clause that explained what an MoU actually is and possibly explains that some of the content is also covered elsewhere (e.g. in legislation on trademarks).
  3. Had more urgency about getting consensus on words about an opportunity to train.

Therefore, I think we can make two recommendations:

  1. Keep doing this sort of community consultation.
  2. Next time, if there is a deadline, make it clear.

Yaris678 (talk) 14:09, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for your thoughts on this, I completely agree with everything you have said here, and think WMUK should take more care with communicating any schedule or deadlines for key documents of interest to our members and volunteers. Off the top of my head, the next big things coming up, are:
  1. The necessary resolutions for an EGM in April and then those for our AGM. This includes good stuff like our vote procedure and the number of trustees on the board and how we co-opt more trustees.
  2. Community consultation on the Strategy and Risks plan. Jon Davies is running these and I am aware that March/April will be a time where stakeholder groups (trustees, members, donors...) will be requested for their expectations as well as for direct feedback and ideas for the direction we want the charity to take over the next few years.
  3. Consultation on the new committees on Governance and Audit and ensuring that our leading volunteers can and do take part in assessing issues and recommending solutions to the board, independently of the board.
  4. Inter-chapter 'stuff'. We see the Chapters Association having a hard time getting going, and yet WMUK is committing to international projects such as Wikimania, the GLAMtool with Europeana and QRpedia! I think our chapter should retain a strong voice and a lead in international policy and strategy, this probably goes beyond just the Chapter long term strategy and though not every member or volunteer will be interested in all these things, I am sure that most of us are very interested in some. ;-)
I think the simple lesson from this page is to ensure that our UK community is clear on how we engage in these discussions and reviews, consultation needs to be heavily advertised (right on our main page would be sensible) and that everyone understands the schedule needed for timely feedback and that the consultation process itself is agreed, sensible and reasonable to encourage and promote engagement. Cheers -- (talk) 14:44, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes. I agree with what you say too! Advertising consultation on the Main Page and/or at the water cooler would be great. I only found out about this one through recent changes. That page will always have a place but it will miss a large portion of the people who may be interested. Yaris678 (talk) 18:27, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
Hello Yaris and Fae. Thanks both for this really useful piece of feedback. I think the point made about making it easier for community members to get involved in discussions of this nature is very sensible and one that I wholeheartedly support. As you may know, a piece of work is ongoing to improve the appearance of the UK wiki homepage. This will be led by Richard Nevell (supported by me) and will, of course, have community input. As a part of this, I propose that we utilise some of the empty space in the right hand column of the homepage, creating a new sub-heading - community consultation. This space would include some basic introductory text, outlining our determination to make it easy for community members to have their say and reaffirming our commitment to keep volunteers at the heart of our work. We would then list the most current few consultations and perhaps include a link to the Water Cooler. How does that sound? --Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 10:33, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
Sounds like a simple way of improving comms on this stuff. It can always link through to your year long plan of big consultations coming up, obviously preparing for the AGM and so forth will remain a perennial challenge. Thanks for picking up and running with this tip. Cheers -- (talk) 11:43, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Recommended tariff[edit source]

Whilst we can't and probably wouldn't want to set a compulsory quota for how many events we require trainers to train at after they have been trained, there are advantages to spelling out an expectation.

  • We need to make it clear to those who sign up for such a weekend that this is an expensive investment that the community is making in them. So we only want to put people on this course who intend to use this training to voluntarily train people to edit Wikimedia projects.
  • If people know that there is an expectation that those who qualify will volunteer for a certain number of events then we have an agreed metric against which the program can be judged and which the trainers have signed up to.
  • It is possible that some current or future trainers will also market their services commercially. This would be somewhat less contentious if such individuals could either demonstrate that such commercial work was in addition to their meeting the "tariff" of voluntary training, or that they had salved their conscience by donating money to WMUK equivalent to the cost of the training they have received.

This could be achieved by adding a clause such as "Volunteers who pass this course are expected to be available to deliver 6 training sessions with 24 months.". Six is an arbitrary number and 24 months an arbitrary period, both could be altered if people think that the minimum expectation should be different. "Who pass this course" means that there is no subsequent expectation on anyone who fails this course. "Expected to be available" emphasizes that these people are trainers, not necessarily event organisers, the expectation is that they will sometimes be available if others organise events, not that they will necessarily organise them themselves. Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 14:49, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

I don't think this is necessary or desirable. We should avoid over-bureaucratising the process or putting pressure on volunteers. Some will deliver more training than others. Some will have more confidence than others; some will take the initiative and organise their own events, others won't have time; some will live in areas with lots of events they can help at, others will live outside London; some will have greater real-life time commitments than others; etc etc. Applying the same criteria to all our trainers as if they're a completely homogeneous group would be a mistake—I do lots of training, mostly at events I set up myself; for others, making it to even one event may be an accomplishment (for reasons that weren't necessarily known at the time of the course).

The way to get the best out of trainers (and volunteers in general) is to provide opportunities for them, which the chapter is currently not very good at. If there was a training session in the north west every couple of months (with a variety of weekday and weekend events at a variety of venues), I would eat my hat if you didn't get each of the currently trained trainers in the area to at least one, and you'd discover a whole new batch of trainers to put through another course at the end of that year.

The same applies to all other areas proportionally (certainly London and Bristol; with time the Midlands, Cambridge, and the north east will follow; then other areas with some work), but we have a higher concentration of skilled and experienced people in the north west than in most other places, but WMUK is simply not providing enough opportunities for these people to use their skills. Most won't want to take the initiative and approach potential partner organisations to set up events, but most will be perfectly happy to take the baton once somebody has got provisional agreement. IMO, it would also be a more efficient use of staff time to make these initial approaches and simply support volunteers in taking it forward, rather than organising everything themselves. As well as building capacity for many more events, it would also develop volunteers' skills so that they can go on to organise more events themselves, leading to a sustainable and exponential (somebody hit me if I haven't used that word properly in the mathematical sense!) growth in the number of events we can hold and the number of organisations we can work with, without a massive increase in the cost of hiring more staff to do the same. Harry Mitchell (talk) 18:17, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

+1 to "rather than organising everything themselves". My personal experience of unexpectedly receiving grief and complaints from having the gumption to take the initiative to organize an event with a Uni department (the one you later delivered with Charles) without putting everything through the staff first, seemed bizarre to me - I certainly saw nothing to apologise for, and I was not the only trustee at that time who thought so. When we first created the charity and started to have employees, we thought they would support this sort of volunteer activity, it was not the intention to control it. In my view, we have lost the organic and spontaneous growth we saw happening in 2010/11, because of this centralization and an assumption that bureaucracy is a good thing; hence all our new growth areas invariably have an employee or a funded WIR on a WMUK Agreement in the middle of it. Paying for a truck of plastic grass quickly solves the gardening "problem", unfortunately it will ensure that the flora and fauna vanish too.
With regard to commercial services, I still believe we should follow through on the proposals I put up (a year ago?) on how volunteers with certified training could make an open declaration of their interests. This way the relationship is positively managed, including discussion of the equivalent of a "tariff" and might be encouraged, rather than being "uncovered" later on and used to punish everyone involved. After all, if someone lands £10,000 worth of training work or gets a related job, great, so long as their potential benefit was understood and members could see how in the round the relationships help deliver the mission of the charity and the investment of the charity was not perceived to be misapplied. -- (talk) 20:09, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure I agree with your thesis that every problem can be blamed on the staff (as one of the few volunteers who has been around longer than the office and has never been a trustee, I recall the board was no better at actively engaging volunteers and that most WMUK projects were the pet projects of a board member; all that seems to have changed is that the staff have taken the reigns and the so-called "governance review" has left the trstees scared to get involved with progam work), but I agree with your general point. If you have ideas for creating more opportunities for volunteers to get involved or ideas for projects, I'd be happy to chat to you about them. Harry Mitchell (talk) 12:33, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
I have made no thesis that every problem can be blamed on staff. Thanks for agreeing with my general point. -- (talk) 12:51, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
My understanding of the point Fæ was raising was that the issue was structural rather than a matter of "blaming" people. It is not so much the governance review that has left trustees scared of getting involved with operational matters, but a clearer understanding of their role as trustees under modern charity law. The changes in the law have reinforced a tendency towards corporatism that has been prominent in the so-called "voluntary sector" for at least 40 years (well, that's the period I have been involved, but it might go back further). However one of the features about Wikipedia is that it does not function in a corporate manner (Yochai Benkler's good on this see Coase's Penguin, or Linux and the Nature of the Firm). I must admit I did not share Fæ's optimism about the impact of creating a charity, and indeed it might even make sense to look at the decline in Wikipedia editors in the context fo the growth of WMF and the chapters. Robert Michels (before he became a fascist) theorised the "iron law of oligarchy": "Who says organization, says oligarchy." According to this, bureaucratisation is inevitable. However, as Martin Lipset et al. suggested in Union Democracy: The Internal Politics of the International Typographical Union, effective local groups can provide a counter-balance to this tendency. And in that respect I know you have contributed to a great extent.
I must admit that I was somewhat surprised (though only somewhat) by the "corporate" nature of the "training the trainers" weekend. I feel it was a bit tangential to Wikimedian trainers needs, and that it could hav ebeen effectively shortened by dropping a lot of the unnecessary managerialism. Of course I understand that such training might be very useful for members of the Lib-Dems as the party transformed itself from perennial outsiders to a party of government, by breaking all it's promises as regards student fees etc. (I do love the video Say goodbye to broken promises which to me truly captures the essence of modern corporatism.)Leutha (talk) 14:53, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
Leutha, I hear you much more clearly now after my personal experience of being in the team that created this charity, having a couple of years as a trustee and now no longer having any role. It is with some sadness that I look around and find some of the most passionate volunteers no longer here or disillusioned, and it seems odd to me that most of the current board of new trustees do not remember their names or their importance in our history. It is hard to believe that the erosion of the organic, radical and shared nature of what we were could be billed as professionalism embodied as centralization, standardization and the inevitable corporate style information hoarding and an expectation that criticism should only happen in closed rooms or private phone calls.
As a change of note, you may be interested in taking a look at this list Commons:User:Fæ/Userlist which shows the contributions an unpaid volunteer can make without expecting grants, staff support, experts or training in order to make a difference. Thanks -- (talk) 22:35, 29 October 2013 (UTC)