Water cooler/2013

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New members pack

Hi all! I want to put together a 'pack' for new members which provides a simplified overview of the organisation they've joined and how to get involved. Lots of discussion to be had about what info to include and how to deliver it - plus I want your help to write things like an FAQ section. Have a look here :) Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 14:28, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

QRpedia deal is off

It seems the QRpedia deal is off. [1]. What will happen now? --Andreas JN 22:18, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

But the whole point of that thread is to say that negotiations are ongoing...? Jarry1250 (talk) 23:06, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
it also seems you jump to conclusions Andreas - by the way my offer to talk to you directly in the office about any number of things still stands - have you not been getting my emails?Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 14:00, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Sorry. The e-mail address you used is one I normally only use for mailing lists, and its inbox gets hundreds of e-mails a day. (I have my normal address enabled in Wikipedia.) I am very rarely in London, so will have to take a rain check, but thanks for the invite.
I noted your statement on the mailing list, in which you say that depending on the outcome of the negotiations, it may be necessary to dissociate the charity from QRpedia. ("What I can assure you is that the trustees understand the need to reach an agreement soon or disassociate the charity from any involvement in QRpedia.") I guess I don't really understand what is at issue here, and why the ownership of QRpedia.org matters so much. Couldn't you or WMF have a commercial agreement with QRpedia, just like PediaPress has an agreement with WMF for the "Create a book" function? Or is the disagreement about something else than the ownership of QRpedia.org? I guess I don't really understand it. But given that it has gone on for so long – a year and a half, if memory serves – the community should be told something about what the sticking point is. Andreas JN 03:51, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
I am not sure I really understand "disassociate the charity from QRPedia" either. To reassure everyone, if the 'Wikimedia movement' wanted to start using an alternative to qrpedia.org and stop using the name "QRPedia", this would not stop the QRcodes in current use in GLAM and all other projects from continuing to work, the only consequence would be where the public would be advised to go to create the QRcodes to use to point to Wikipedia in multiple languages. Members can see all the issues that that I am aware of by reading the board minutes and the thread above #QR codes. I am not aware of any "sticking point" beyond those that are now public and those negotiating are obliged to keep the trustees promptly informed on any issue of strategic import. Others have been handling the negotiation since my final recommendation to the board, for what I thought was a manageable and fair non-financial agreement, in July 2012. My understanding throughout the last year and a half, is that both Roger and Terence have always been, and remain, 100% committed to the open knowledge movement and their aim is to ensure that the system can be used freely in perpetuity by everyone. They are friendly good guys, the UK board are friendly good folks and jointly we are trying to deliver an optimal solution, when we probably should have all got on with it and accepted a working solution a year ago.
There is a UK board meeting in February where I expect, and will be pushing for, a final decision. All the alternatives have been explored, analysed and discussed at more than sufficient length for a decision to be made; in my personal and considered opinion.
<history lesson> By the way, my "considered opinion", is based on being there at the beginning, when Roger and I were excited at working together playing around with QRCode creation for Wikipedia pages and I created the first user script to generate them automatically at the click of a link on the English Wikipedia toolbar and supplied the first QRCode sheets to demonstrate the concept to GLAM institutions, which I did with the British Library when QRPedia had yet to be pulled together. I was personally relieved to see an easy alternative to piggy-backing on Google's free QRcode service and then Terence had his brain wave of the multi-language resolution service. </history lesson> Thanks (talk) 08:50, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

Governance: Respecting emails on Wikimedia closed email lists

Hi, I am currently a member of several closed Wikimedia email lists - e.g. chapters, cultural-partners, internal and LGBT. Some of these even require admin approval to join. After some emails of mine were reposted without my permission, I had reason to pen down my ethical stance of how I would respect closed list emails, and how I would escalate any issue beyond the list (for example a serious chapter related issue that should be flagged to the WMUK board). I would appreciate feedback and thoughts on making something similar a behavioural policy for board and staff members of WMUK.

Ethical statement for behaviour on closed email lists.
  • I will always attempt to resolve any issue, concern or correction on the email list rather than forwarding emails posted on the list elsewhere.
  • When this fails I will inform the other party(s) that I am escalating a complaint and offer them the opportunity to redact any information in their emails that raise privacy or legal concerns for them.
  • If emails from closed lists or other conversations, where there was an expectation of privacy, are passed to me without permission from the originator(s), I will attempt to inform the originator(s) and inform the complainant that I will disclose their identity on request, should they still wish me to pursue an issue on their behalf.
  • All my emails that relate to Wikimedia matters where I have a recognized unpaid volunteer or paid role are on the record, which means they may be made available for any reasonable investigation by a regulatory body, however I expect any privacy or legal matter to be handled with discretion and, in particular, the originators should always be offered the opportunity to redact any matter of personal concern.
  • I reserve the right to make any of my emails a matter of public record in line with my ethical stance of openness and transparency.

Thanks -- (talk) 13:48, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

2013 Travel Grants

The board recently approved the 2013 Activity Plan, which includes a sizeable travel grants budget, including approximately 4x£500 places for the 2013 Amsterdam Hackathon, to be held in late May. I realise that's four months away, but equally things need to be booked in advance and application processes take time. Is there any plan to start working on the process pages that can support such applications? (I'm interested in applying.) Or do they already exist out of the way somewhere? Thanks, Jarry1250 (talk) 16:36, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for this Harry - and your reminder email. We had a short discussion at the board meeting this weekend. Here is where we stand (Mike Peel might want to supplement).
Wikimania Hong Kong - applications in the first instance to the Foundation. When they have allocated their places we will see who has not been successful from the WMUK community and a small panel will decide our scholarships. Wikisym - we have two scholarships advertised at the moment. Amsterdam - Amsterdam Hackathon: Mike Peel and Richard Nevell are about to advertise this. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 10:18, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
Richard Nevell posted the Amsterdam Hackathon page earlier today, it's at Amsterdam Hackathon travel grants, and I understand a blog post about it will be coming out soon. The Wikimania and Wikisym scholarships pages are linked to from Scholarships. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:15, 12 February 2013 (UTC)


Is there any chance we can have an English Wikipedia interwiki prefix set up? Currently, we have :w:en: but that's a bit hacky to remember - and if you get it the wrong way around, as :en:w:, you end up with a rather forbidding error message (en.wikimedia.org does not exist).

I've also seen people (including myself) use :w: (which drops you on the Ukranian Wikipedia) or :en: (error message again). It's really quite daunting, especially for people who're loosely familiar with interwiki links but have only just come over to uk.wikimedia.

I think :enwp: would be a good solution, and fit with a generally used shorthand form. Any thoughts, & if there's interest, how do we get it enabled? Andrew Gray (talk) 14:28, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Yes! Fantastic idea. No idea how we go about it, however... Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 14:40, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
The {{w}} template should work, and is quick and easy to remember, but having the interwikis set up better would be good. A request to make a change would have to go through Bugzilla. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 17:49, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Can we get w: fixed so it links to English? This wiki was initially misconfigured with Ukrainian as the default language, if memory serves - is that what caused the interwikis to be set up wrong? If so, it should be possible to fix it. --Tango (talk) 21:14, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Main Page works. But yes, it would be nice if w:Main Page and/or wp:Main Page worked too. Yaris678 (talk) 09:47, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Should the request go on Bugzilla? I'm not completely sure of the status of this site - has it been migrated to our own hosting, or is that just the internal wikis? Andrew Gray (talk) 09:32, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
Only the various non-public wikis were migrated, this one is still hosted on foundation servers. KTC (talk) 11:48, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
Indeed - see here for the update - the next progress meeting will be at the end of this month, feel free to use discussion page of minutes Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 11:56, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
Right - it's probably best holding off any bugzilla request until we have a definite decision on whether it'll be hosted by us or WMF. Andrew Gray (talk) 16:19, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
The pros/cons of moving this wiki to WMUK hosting are at IT Development/This wiki; it's on the agenda for the board meeting this weekend to decide on. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:20, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Governance: Co-option of trustees

I realized this morning, after looking again at the current co-option process, that there are features of it I am unclear on. Could one of our old hands summarize here the interplay between AGM elections and the co-option process including issues with the board of trustees offering a co-option seat of different durations? For example, Saad is a highly successful example of co-option, but I think, had we chosen to do so, the board could have offered him a 2 year term. In practice, I believe we are hoping Saad will stand for election at the AGM, so this is moot. As co-option is relatively new for us to try, we may want to discuss the alternatives and different possible future scenarios (such as a trustee standing down before an AGM avoiding the election process, and then being co-opted shortly after the AGM). Though we need not cover every eventuality by detailed policy (the trustees should be expected to apply good judgement), it would be nice to see if the mechanics of the current process are sufficient to avoid major pitfalls. Thanks -- (talk) 10:44, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

The Articles, 17.4, state "A Director appointed by a resolution of the other Directors must retire at the next annual general meeting." A trustee being co-opted shortly after an AGM could only happen if another trustee resigned, died or turned out to be ineligible to be a trustee. Co-option isn't new to us as an organisation, as we co-opted Tango in the '09-'10 board term. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 11:12, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Indeed. The requirement to resign at the next AGM is standard for co-options to fill casual vacancies. We did modify the CC's model articles slightly regarding co-option. The model articles all co-option for any vacancy, we only allow it for a vacancy resulting from a board member leaving the board. That means if an AGM fails to elect a full board (as happened in 2010 - only 5 people stood for the seven seats) the board can't fill the extra places by co-option and either has to call an EGM or allow the vacancies to remain for the year (we did the latter). I can't remember why we made that change... if we're amending the articles regarding co-option as part of the governance review, we may want to change that bit back to the standard rules. --Tango (talk) 12:24, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Thanks Mike, I think that's clear enough, so any Co-option is limited by the date of the next AGM. If we follow the Compass recommendation to have 3 or more co-optees, then the board of trustees will need to openly plan to reappoint some co-opted trustees and by-pass the election process or change the Articles in some minimal way. Under the current system, this may mean that co-option is essentially a one-shot process, each time lasting less than one year. Maintaining 3 or more co-opted trustees every year, might turn out to be quite an administrative burden if the members do not want to change the Articles. Anyway, I'm sure this is a great topic for GovCom to thrash out and advise on. -- (talk) 12:35, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
The current Articles are designed for an all elected board with the ability to co-opt if a filled seat goes vacant. If Wikimedia UK want to have any co-opted trustees as a matter of course, then it have to change the Articles. If the members do not want to change the Articles, then the board does not have the mandate or legal power to co-opt as a matter of course. -- KTC (talk) 12:56, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Absolutely, I'm all for limiting powers to the bare necessities. I would just like a future board to avoid being criticised for having a co-opted trustee stand down at an AGM, just to be re-appointed shortly afterwards. Crafting a well written and clearly explained resolution seems the way forward, though this would be a challenge to sort out in time for the next AGM. -- (talk) 13:37, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Recommendation 9 on p. 19 of Compass's review clearly envisages a change of the articles. I agree that a well written and clearly explained resolution in time for the next AGM would be good. Yaris678 (talk) 14:08, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
WMUK has received legal advice on the changes to the articles that would be required to implement the Compass recommendations. The advice is on this wiki somewhere (I'm at work, so I'm not going to go searching now). One of the changes would be to allow co-option for more than just filling casual vacancies. The way the articles are written now, you couldn't do it without someone being elected to the board and resigning the next day in order to make room for the co-opted trustee to come back, which would just be silly (the co-opted trustee could have just stood themselves!). --Tango (talk) 17:40, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

VLE talk at WikiConf UK

I've posted a suggestion at WikiConference UK 2013/Speakers. Anyone agree, disagree or able to speak to the right people? Yaris678 (talk) 13:07, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Hi Yaris678, thank you for your comment. I think it's a really sensible suggestion. I'm not a part of the organising group, but if someone involved can confirm whether there's a space I can certainly speak to some of the people involved in the project and identify a speaker. People can either let me know here or via email and I'll look into it. Thank you. --Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 13:49, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Propose it here: WikiConference UK 2013/Talk submissions. I'm sure there will be space. --ErrantX (talk) 14:11, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
ErrantX, I'd prefer it if someone who knew something about the subject proposed it there. Ideally the person who is going to give the talk. But who do we get to speak on the subject? Yaris678 (talk) 16:53, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, Charles is the obvious person... :) --ErrantX (talk) 17:11, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Cool. Can someone ask Charles? Yaris678 (talk) 17:46, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
I can certainly suggest it to Charles, that's no problem. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 18:06, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Cool. Thanks. Yaris678 (talk) 22:39, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Hello again. I've been in touch with Charles and he isn't planning to be at WikiConference so I'm more than happy to do this instead. I'll add something to the proposals page to see if there's an appetite for something along these lines. Thank you. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 09:38, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
I had a chat with Charles only a couple of weeks ago with regard to demonstrating the VLE, it may be one of those things that is better for folks to try driving than to explain. I suspect a quick taster and a brief overview of what the outcomes are for the project might be all there would be time for anyway, if the previous model of 15 minutes slots is what we are going for. -- (talk) 22:49, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Volunteer equipment

The charity has a budget of £2,000 to purchase equipment to be used by volunteers. There are some suggestions already, and people are invited to take a look and make their own suggestions. The page is at 2013 Activity Plan/Volunteer equipment. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 12:32, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

I am concerned that we can demonstrate good value for any capital spend. In the example of the 3 (or is it more?) volunteer laptops, how much use have these had over the last four weeks and how many different volunteers have benefited from their purchase? Thanks -- (talk) 16:09, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
If you want to review the return on investment on those laptops, you need to consider a longer timescale. There could be months where they have minimal use, and months where they are actively used. Just considering the last four weeks where Wikimedia UK have been relatively quiet in terms of outreach events for example wouldn't necessarily be fair. KTC (talk) 21:14, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
Sure, okay, any number of months then, at the moment I have no numbers at all. Thanks -- (talk) 21:56, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
Hi Fae, we supplied numbers at your request in this report (on office wiki) on 17 November last year. We recorded their use over ten weeks, and estimated that an individual laptop is, on average, used for 23 days out of every 50. To break down the cost, the laptops have a three year life expectancy, which equates to a cost of £9.49/month. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 22:22, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Richard, I am unsure what the benefit is of keeping these numbers on the office wiki when they are of use to our members in justifying other purchases. I asked about the last four weeks as I thought that staff could recall roughly how many times volunteers had been in and taken the laptops on loan off the top of their heads without spending ages doing an expensive and complex analysis. Presumably there is also a register so we know who booked them out, in line with how most organizations would meet their insurance requirements, so that would be an easy way of checking whether the 50% usage rate from last autumn has been sustained. Thanks -- (talk) 22:41, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
I am afraid that I can't recall off the top of my head how many times they have been used recently. I'm happy to make the numbers public, but as you can see they are part of a much longer five-page response which I have not broken down. Will you trust me (as the office manager) when I say that the laptops were a good use of our funds? I am not so sure about the cameras - we really need input from volunteer photographers for that, which is why Richard was asking for suggestions. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 23:07, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
Asking questions as a trustee is a duty I have, you don't really have to ask about trust when I do so. Though my notorious gay intuition is perfectly happy to leave these matters to your best judgement, particularly as an employee that I took personal responsibility for recruiting, there has to be a point where outcomes and value for the charity is measurable in a consistent and simple way, even if there is an additional cost of measurement and reporting, that I can point to if we get scrutinized for our governance at a later date. -- (talk) 23:29, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Hi all, I would just like to note that suggestion on this are still very much welcome. Whether it's equipment that you would find useful yourself, or just ideas on equipment that you think other people would find useful, we would love to hear it! Thanks -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 10:49, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

Human readable summary of the STV variant to be chosen

Can someone respond to my post at User talk:LondonStatto/Proposed STV Election Rules#Details of the system. I think it is essential to have a human-readable summary of the rules of the STV varient that we will be using. This summary should be available well before EGM 2013 so that people can analyse it at at their leisure. Ideally we would give people time to develop any alternatives they may think up. Yaris678 (talk) 13:24, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

I asked this very question. I was told we would adopt the Electoral Reform Society system. On their website there is a good explanation of how it works in practice. Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 14:45, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
Have you got a link to a good explanation of the specific version of STV that we are going to use? The best I could find is this, but it needs summarising. I'm looking for something similar to my bullet points at User talk:LondonStatto/Proposed STV Election Rules#Details of the system, except written by people who know what they are talking about.
Yaris678 (talk) 15:05, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
It is quite difficult to summarise the ERS97 voting method, although http://www.crosenstiel.webspace.virginmedia.com/stvrules/details.htm#Section5 is slightly better laid out with hyperlinks for anyone needing to see how exactly it works. If people want to get an idea of what's involved, you could give a rough outline of an example like this:
  • An election for 4 places has 50 valid votes cast. Voters have listed as many candidates as they wish in order of preference: 1, 2, 3, ...
  • The quota is 50/(4+1) = 10. So each of 4 candidates needs 10 preference votes to be elected.
  • The number of first preferences are counted for each candidate. Anyone receiving 10 votes or more is elected.
  • If candidates receive more votes than the 10 needed to be elected, the surplus is redistributed proportionately to the candidates who were second preference (so candidates will receive fractions of a vote).
  • Anyone who now has received 10 votes or more after the redistribution is elected. The redistribution of surpluses continues until 4 candidates are elected or no candidate is elected at that stage.
  • If the redistribution of surplus does not result in another candidate being elected at that stage, then the candidate with the lowest vote is eliminated and their votes are redistributed to the next preferences. This continues until another candidate is elected, then the redistribution of surpluses continues, and so on.
So the system requires voters to give candidates an order of preference; and the counting is designed to minimise the number of wasted votes. There are special modifications to the detailed procedures (for example to resolve ties), but they don't change the broad principles. Variants of the system exist and are described at w:en:Single transferable vote; the w:en:Hagenbach-Bischoff quota is the quota described by ERS97. --RexxS (talk) 20:59, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks RexxS. This is very helpful. Not a million miles from what I put at User talk:LondonStatto/Proposed STV Election Rules#Details of the system... but its good to confirm my understanding.
N.B. This could be moot unless the draft resolution is changed. See Talk:EGM 2013/Draft Resolutions#The precise terms of the election shall be determined by the Board.
Yaris678 (talk) 14:52, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

High quality photographs for Wikimedia UK

Hi All,

So, by now you'll have seen the first couple of members newsletters, a soon to be published donors e-newsletter, and ongoing publications coming up including Annual Review, handouts for conferences, other leaflets and forms.

Its becoming increasingly difficult to find high quality 'marketing-materials' type images to use - not necessarily because of a lack of images in some cases, but because when we document WMUK events we're not necessarily approaching it like we do a 'Wiki Takes...' event. This is a real shame, as I know week-in, week-out exciting events are happening around the UK but we simply don't have enough new images representing us. I think we're all keen to see the numbers of volunteers, members and donors creep up and show increasing diversity and engagement, and high quality publications with exciting images that really encapsulate who we are and what we do are vital.

To that end I've created a page called Photographs as an acorn from which I hope great oaks can grow. I know there are experienced and talented photographers among you, and many of us who go to events but perhaps don't think to document them in this way and for this purpose as a matter of course. I'm open to all suggestions about how we can grow and improve the flow of photos covering our work, as I'm really keen to avoid having to use paid-for photographers to plug the gap.

Let me know what you think here, and please go mash-up the page so we're getting something useful put together Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 15:25, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Commons:Commons:First steps/Quality and description is a useful basic guide to point to for those less familiar with uploading photos. Any volunteer with more experience, can always benefit by asking for some feedback on their uploads at Commons:Commons:Photography critiques. I believe that avoiding the use of paid photographers is quite easy, the chapter has never done this and has no plan to start, though expenses have been paid for volunteers supporting events with video and audio recording or webcasting. We may want to experiment more with techniques such as the British Museum time-lapse video taken in 2010, which demonstrated how an edit-a-thon works. Thanks -- (talk) 16:11, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the links, I've added them to the page(as external links, the interwiki linking doesn't seem to work for me in your links?) Please feel to add any other useful resources you know there directly?
I really don't want to use paid photographers, because its not been budgeted for and because we should be supporting volunteers to do this kind of thing. However, we're not getting sufficient images either a) with the frequency we need e.g. last meetup photos on commons under that category were November last year or b) Of the variety we need - we need to be representing the diverse nature of our community, and the things it does. We seem to have a lot of pictures of Wikimedians in windowless basements lit only by the glare of laptop screen as they edit. Where this isn't the case, the pictures are of events quite some time ago. I would love to better reflect our social side in an up to date way - and not always in pub meets. Some people aren't that fussed for the pub :D Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 16:36, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Just fixed the links, I had missed out the extra 'Commons'. We should recognize the fact that most of what we do is primarily to support people on their own, editing from their home computers or having meetings in shady basements and pubs, however we should find some rather photogenic things coming up soon, for example the Natural History Museum will be great for photos (it is incredibly noisy with over-excited screaming children) and some of their collections are outdoors. I'm glad you are determined not to pay photographers, neither am I, and would be against any such proposal should it come to the board, as I believe using the charity's funds this way fails sufficiently to meet our Volunteer Policy or our values. However I would support a significant budget to pay expenses for volunteers to be encouraged to do more, and would consider the merits of equipment hire or purchase to support a well proposed plan of volunteer activities to create better representative media as well as more experimental media and virtual presence innovation. Thanks -- (talk) 17:04, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
I will bear all this in mind when talking to Katy about this as a part of volunteer development work. I agree NHM a good opportunity, screaming kids aside... I think for now I will work on getting a photography permissions system a bit more firmly in place on events pages and trying to alert volunteers to events we would like photos of. A worked out policy on these specific expenses and a budget like is a good idea. Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 11:55, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Virtual presence

Virtual presence innovation? Wossat then? —Tom Morris (talk) 23:34, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

I'm glad you asked Tom. :-) One of the fundamental components of the chapter's mission is to support Access to open knowledge. It is therefore bizarre that when I think through our history of events over the last 3 years, we appear to be going backwards in terms of the proportion of events with effective access for "e-volunteers" who would like to join us live, but cannot, or prefer not to, join us in the physical world. WMCH has been doing good work with experimenting with the open source Big Blue Button virtual conferencing system, which makes a great free practical alternative for the closed systems of Skype or Google Hangout, but sadly in these access stakes WMUK has been failing to take a lead. In fact, we are in the process of reducing the access to our board meetings, by locking away draft minutes and the trustees even discussing whether we should block any future attempt to video or webcast our "open" meetings for fear of negative press should anyone ever make a misstatement during a meeting. In practice we do not need a policy to go into lock-down; if you check through our track record of making video available after our meetings over the last six months, you can see this has effectively already happened; I believe the answer is zero.
Hence my recommendation that the charity firmly encourages volunteers to make suggestions for how we can innovate live virtual access to events, as well as finding better, faster, cheaper ways to capture the event as a passive record through photography, video and audio. Cheers -- (talk) 07:01, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
I agree we need to do a lot, LOT more virtual and online. When I was based in t'north it was very frustrating as a volunteer that events in london were expensive and rarely webcast. We need to get better at this. We've been asked to cover the open day on the 23rd March by Skype by one volunteer; we can take lessons for this and start to look at how to build this into other events. Big Blue Button is an interesting development too - I understand there is an idea we could trial that on the 23rd instead of Skype? Meanwhile, I'll put 'Supporting Virtual Presence' on the next agenda for the Tech Committee. Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 11:55, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
I'll be looking into the Big Blue Button in an effort to learn more about how it compares to the alternatives. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 16:48, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the response, Fæ. Finding ways to work with e-volunteers on projects would be worthwhile. I participated remotely with one of the editathons in the US, for instance, but that was just IRC. —Tom Morris (talk) 12:36, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Come to next Tech Committee and discuss? PLEASE! :-) Good cross over with potential VLE usage as well, which is also on the agenda...Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 12:56, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Big Blue Button

Any update on the office experimenting with this? I would hope we can show it off at the EGM. Thanks -- (talk) 23:20, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

So far we haven't yet taken the Big Blue Button for a test run. We have, however, been in touch with the WMF to learn from their experience of streaming videos which they do so regularly (eg: metrics meetings). Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 11:00, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

Lua and Pizza

We are thinking of having Learn to Lua event in the office for people wanting to get to grips with the template creating language. There has been some positive reaction on the UK lists, especially when Pizza was mentioned. Anyone interested? Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 11:03, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

This has been arranged for Sunday 19 May. For those interested, please sign up on Lua on Wikimedia. -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 14:19, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
Great news that people are signing up - we will have to order more pizza! Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 14:24, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Discussion about mailing lists and the Water Cooler (split from "Lua and Pizza")

Which UK lists was this notified on? I would like to avoid repeating material already discussed by chapter volunteers. Thanks -- (talk) 11:17, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
wikimediauk-l. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 11:27, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
If wikimediauk-l is the official and only way that chapter staff are choosing to first communicate with volunteers and members (in preference to a chapter members list or this public wiki, for example), then this should raised as a risk at the next board meeting. The chapter office appears to have forgotten that the chapter has no control over the list management and cannot recommend its use to members of the charity. Thanks -- (talk) 18:31, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
wikimediauk-l is not the "official and only way" that chapter staff are communicating with volunteers and members. Honestly I'm not sure how anyone could arrive at that view. We do also use this wiki. We use other mailing lists where appropriate, such as the cultural partners list. We use our blog. We use Twitter and Facebook. We have monthly reports (on this wiki, shared via as many channels as we can). We have a monthly IRC chat (tomorrow is the next one, hope to see plenty of people there!). We have newsletters to members and donors. We attend and host events. Staff try to visit meetups to speak with community members in person. Sometimes the wikimediauk-l is a convenient way to reach many members of our community. As far as I am aware we have never said that we own, or control, the mailing list. Of course, we always welcome any further channels that might be viewed as useful although I think we actually have enough channels already. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 10:28, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Hi Stevie, I was specifically referring to how we choose to communicate with volunteers and members in the context of planning future events; as per the title of this thread. In this case I believe none of the alternative channels in your list was used or considered. I would be happy to be corrected if you can point to any emails on lists such as cultural-partners, on posts to the blog, twitter or facebook with regard to this proposed event that pre-date Jon's note. You may want to apply these alternative channels now if they have not been used, and formulate a better guide for staff in terms of how to make best use of our communications channels if you think that improvement is desirable. Thanks -- (talk) 15:09, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
In this case, the list is one of our most active outlets for collaboration. A lot of volunteer collaboration occurs on there, so it would be illogical for WMUK not to utilise that :) All the other venues you list would have been sub-optimal for the discussion that happened. --ErrantX (talk) 17:06, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
So best not to try then? Communicating with volunteers and members of the charity using this list alone certainly excludes me, and I am not the only member of the charity who is uninterested in received emails from wikimediauk-l in the light of how some people have been treated there as a permanent public record. Thanks -- (talk) 18:14, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
It bears repeating that the wikimediauk-l is not the only channel we use to communicate. It's interesting that this point was raised on another channel that was also used to try and determine whether there is interest within the community for an event like this. Of course, once the event is set and a date is fixed, then it will of course be shared once again via wikimediauk-l, linking to an event page on this wiki, shared also via Twitter, Facebook, our blog... we really aren't short of communications channels. I am certainly confident that we utilise enough different media to be as inclusive as possible. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 11:30, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Although I much prefer discussions taking place on this wiki, wikimediauk-l is *the* mailing list to use for email discussions about things like this. It's where some of our key members are, and we should continue to recommend to WMUK members that they subscribe to that list. It's far better for openness and transparency than closed lists such as cultural-partners and the WMUK office mailing list. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:58, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Mike, by all means raise this matter at the next board meeting, again. The Wikimedia UK charity has never recommended that members of the charity join the wikimediauk-l list, it is not owned, nor controlled by the charity, nor do the administrators of the email list appear to wish it to ever be so. It is independent of the charity and is not governed in a way that can be assessed against the mission or values of the charity. If the UK charity wishes to communicate with volunteers for the charity or with its members, then this list is not a reliable mechanism to achieve that goal.
I remind you that my objection is not that this list exists, just that it should not become the first and only way that charity staff work with volunteers to create events or disseminate information about the charity. It evidently is being used in this way at the moment. Thanks -- (talk) 22:32, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
No huge deal here - let's use both. Remember Stevie's recommendations in his comms paper? In any case we now have Katie on board who will be making completely sure we communicate with all our volunteers. The best thing is that there are a groups of really enthusiastic volunteers who want to be locked away in a room with pizza to discuss and develop templates - let a thousand flowers bloom! 09:28, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
It's the primary way of communicating with the UK community (with a small number of exceptions). I think the distinct lack of response to Jon's posting here, compared to the active response on the mailing list, examples why it is the most important communication channel. If what you're proposing is the replace the WMF-hosted mailing list with a UK-wide (i.e. members and non-members) list hosted by Wikimedia UK, then that is an interesting idea. However, at this time the wikimediauk-l list is the most active forum for discussion in the UK. And for the charity to ignore this primary avenue for collaboration would be cutting off its nose to spite it's face. Only a small number of people object to the list, and as a trustee I'd expect you to rise above your personal objections and examine what is in the best interests of the charity (i.e. from the perspective of collaborating with the broadest user base). In this case the list was used to informally float an idea for feedback, and once interest had been firmed up posts were made at other venues. Had Jon popped something here I doubt it would have gotten as far by this stage... --ErrantX (talk) 09:38, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Fae, I'm really not sure where this idea comes from that the list is the "first and only way" that charity staff work with volunteers. It is not "evidently being used in this way" at the moment. Is it the most popular method? Yes. It is certainly not, and visibly not, the only way. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 11:37, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Hi Stevie, rather than an "idea", it is literal and visibly based on the evidence. This was the first way that staff chose to discuss a possible event (Mar 14) and until Jon raised it here after 4 days of discussion and much of the possible content, dates and location had been agreed, it was the only way. As our communications specialist, you may wish to formulate a better guide for staff in terms of how to make best use of our communications channels, if you think that improvement is desirable. Hopefully future communications will be more accessible to volunteers such as myself, and I will be happy to help by using this page to point out where this fails to be the case. Thanks -- (talk) 11:51, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
It was the only way until another way was used... rather tautologous... I don't see the harm in using one forum to get a rough idea of whether there is any interest in something and then announcing it more widely after that. Your paranoia over the mailing list confuses me - it's just a mailing list. It takes emails from one person and distributes them to lots of other people. It really doesn't matter whose server it is running on... --Tango (talk) 12:20, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
As I'm being accused of paranoia by the process of asking fact based questions as an interested volunteer, obviously this conversation should be considered at an end until this happens again, and in good conscience I have to raise it all over again. Tom, if you believe I am unfit to be on the board due to a mental illness, please do produce some evidence, as that would actually be a valid reason for me to be required to leave, this time. Thanks -- (talk) 12:31, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
While paranoia is a symptom of certain mental illnesses, it is not in itself a mental illness. It is simply a form of irrationality. I never said anything about trying to get you off the board. Please don't jump to such ridiculous conclusions. I always say exactly what I mean, so there is really no need to try and read between the lines. --Tango (talk) 13:21, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
(ec) For the record, nothing's been agreed other the that it's a good idea as a possible event. Possible dates have been suggested (by me) when I was speaking to one of our volunteer and potential runner of the workshop to see if it sounds like a good idea, and that didn't even take place on wikimediauk-l. Location was always likely to be at Development House, if only for familiarity and cost reason. -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 12:35, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Getting back to the topic at hand, yes, the mailing list was the first place that the idea was mentioned. In my view this was the best choice, too. I see no need to formulate a "better guide" for staff and am perfectly happy that the wikimediauk-l mailing list is used, as long as it isn't used in isolation (and it isn't). In the specific example you raised it was very quickly evident that there was enough interest to make an event feasible so there was no need to pursue this speculative line of enquiry anywhere else as the question had been answered. Of course, when details are firmed up the event will be promoted elsewhere. This is standard, as already outlined above. I continue to disagree with your assertion that the mailing list is the first and only place we communicate because this is palpably not the case. As the communications specialist I am happy that our communications are accessible and I am happy with the way they are functioning. I believe most people would agree. That's not to say there isn't always room for improvement. Of course, as a member of the community I encourage you - and anyone else - to continue to raise concerns where you feel communications fail to meet your expectations and I will always be happy to address them. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 13:35, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Chronology version seven.

This is version seven of the chronology relating to the governance review.

It differs from version six in that John Cummings, who had not been interviewed for the study, felt it was inaccurate in one place. After being interviewed the chronology was amended at the end of February. Apologies for the delay in getting this version up. Thanks to Stevie and David Gerrard for overcoming some technical hurdles. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 18:45, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

Is the link correct? It says "v6" rather than "v7". Thanks -- (talk) 22:35, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Can you save us all some time and post a diff? Thanks. --Tango (talk) 23:05, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
I have spotted that the document titled "v6" does in fact contain the document which has "v7" in the footers of internal pages of the document, though the index page calls it "Chronology" and other internal pages use the term "Descriptive chronology".
Unfortunately the licence on this wiki does not contain the attribution required on the second un-numbered page of the document (the first two pages have no identifying numbers, with numbering starting from "page 1" on page 3). Please ensure the attributions are correct on all the versions of this report, including any that have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.
I note that the report is dated "February 2013" with no note, nor indication that this was later revised, my understanding is that this had agreed changes that should be dated as some time in March 2013, and should now supersede all previous versions of the report. Was this an error? Thanks -- (talk) 00:08, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Given that the report has already been published and widely distributed, it might be easier to just issue an errata rather than amending it. --Tango (talk) 00:57, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes. To clarify my slightly confusing paragraph above, it is the attribution on-wiki that should be changed to match the agreed licence in the report. Thanks -- (talk) 06:56, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
To pick up on a minor point here, the reason the file remains named "v6" is simply because there are existing links in other places to that file URL. By updating the file, while keeping the same filename, we are able to ensure that existing links to the descriptive chronology remain functional and that they point to the correct document. --Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 11:23, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
We can move the file to an appropriate new name, and create a redirect from the old name to the new name? -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 11:33, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Could you also correct the required copyright attribution at the same time? Thanks -- (talk) 11:55, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
A URI with a version number in it should always link to that version of a file. Add a notice to the file description saying there is a later version. Don't break links. --Tango (talk) 12:17, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
I think I've fixed it now (during lunch, I hasten to add!). I've renamed the files on Commons. Richard Symonds (talk) 14:46, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Thank you Richard! Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 14:57, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
The links appear to be Commons:File:Wikimedia UK Governance Review Descriptive Chronology.pdf and Commons:File:Wikimedia UK Governance Review Descriptive Chronology.djvu.
As highlighted previously, the copyright attribution remains incorrect. If the intention is for this to persist on Wikimedia Commons, the copyright licence needs to right. Thanks -- (talk) 23:49, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

As Tom requested towards the beginning of this thread, is there a diff available, or can someone point out where the corrections are supposed to be? Thanks -- (talk) 23:52, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

The changes are on pages 24 and 25 and relate to John Cummings at Wikimania. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 10:09, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the pointer, but do I really have to bring up two versions of the document side-by-side and play a game of spot-the-difference? --Tango (talk) 11:28, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes. It's not actually "our" report, so I believe the charity has only been copied the pdf. As a trustee, this is first time that I have seen this changed document, so I have not been presented with the differences and have yet to work out what they are. If someone can highlight the changed text, that would be great. Thanks -- (talk) 12:52, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Please correct the copyright statement on all versions of this report that have been made public

The referenced Wikimedia Commons file page for the djvu document above, includes the statement "described by uploader Richard Nevell of WMUK as CC-by-SA", however the required attribution statement remains incorrect. Can someone please put this right? The Chapter should set a good example on correct copyright releases, particularly when it is Chapter staff choosing to release material on Wikimedia Commons. For those that are unaware, CC-BY-SA includes moral rights under UK and US law, these are enforceable under the law, not optional. Thanks -- (talk) 10:15, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Fae, I'm having trouble parsing the sentence above. You're the most active Commonist we have, whereas the staff are relative newbies - we don't edit Commons very often! Are you saying that we need to update the 'author' field on Commons to read 'Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia UK'? If this isn't correct, please let us know in simple terms what needs changing, and we'll change it. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 11:17, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Hi Fae, I should probably be the one to sort this out as I've been involved in the uploads. I confess though that I'm not following what's wrong. The PDF report states "The content contained in this report is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Licence v3.0 ... by the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia UK unless otherwise stated. The trademarks and logos of the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikmedia UK, Compass Partnership, and any other organizations are not included under the terms of this Creative Commons licence"
As you are focussing on the dvu file I assume your issue is with the self template, although your explanation wasn't exactly clear. Does this clear things up? Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 11:16, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
No, thanks for having a go. The issues I have identified with copyright are as follows:
  1. In the chronology document (File:Wikimedia UK Governance Review Descriptive Chronology.pdf) there is an unambiguous statement of copyright that under the BY conditions of the CC licence must be part of any licence, as the SA component is invoked on the original, then only the CC-BY-SA-3.0 licence can apply on any reuse. On Commons this can be done by using the template {{cc-by-sa-3.0|1=<the required text>}}. Currently, there is no attribution text on that file. I would expect the full paragraph from the report to apply, to avoid any ambiguity or misinterpretation.
  2. In the djvu version (File:Wikimedia UK Governance Review Descriptive Chronology.djvu) the attribution text has been partly quoted in the general description, but has not been added to the licence as a required attribution of that licence. Again the SA component means that the licence should be identical to the original, and the attribution should be quoted in full (currently there is an ellipsis where the text has been trimmed).
  3. The main report Commons:File:Wikimedia UK gov review rpt v5.djvu contains no licence for free reuse that I can see. It may be that the contract with Compass makes a free reuse licence a requirement, but it is not within the Chapter's or the WMF's authority to release this report without unambiguous permission for this specific report. I recommend it is deleted until the licence is unambiguous. The licence used in the Chronology report cannot be retrospectively applied to the main report as the main report contains the Compass logo, which is specifically not included in the Chronology licence. If this was an error, then this needs an agreed amendment with Compass.
Lastly, if any other versions or variations of Compass reports have been uploaded, I would appreciate direct links here so that we can keep track. Thanks -- (talk) 11:55, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
I think this edit and this should sort out the licensing on the chronologies, using full wording of the text in the document and the |1= field in the cc-by-sa template as you suggested. Is that part sorted?
As for the full report, I will have to get back to you on that. The release of the file under CC-BY-SA is probably buried in an email thread somewhere. That is the only version of the full report on Commons, the pdf version is on the UK wiki. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 12:37, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
I've just dug the relevant correspondence out of my email inbox and forwarded it to Richard and Fae. WMF and WMUK own the copyright to the report and agreed to release it under CC-BY-SA. The Land (talk) 12:53, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. As per email, the chronology looks good copyright-wise, the main report we might have to think about how to make a more robust release for. -- (talk) 13:34, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Error on Recent Changes

There is an error on Recent Changes. The red link to Mary Buckland should presumably be Mary Buckland. Yaris678 (talk) 18:31, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Fixed, thanks. KTC (talk) 19:43, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Katie. Yaris678 (talk) 21:09, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks both! :) Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 21:27, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Volunteer and Trustee Security checklist

Hey all,

I'm starting to work on a brief set of guidelines and checklist around data protection and IT security that we can show to new volunteers and Trustees. It's here and I'd appreciate input, including making it as plain english as possible. Please feel free to reshape as you like - though I would like to keep a basic check list in their somewhere, as its often very useful for busy people.

I should add that most of this stuff is common sense, but that in my experience we all email unencrypted files to each other, or keep stuff saved that we no longer need. I'll work on this over the next few weeks, and will start the call now for all volunteers who have any personal data stored on personal devices in relation to their roles, past or present, with the charity that they no longer use or require, to please securely delete it - there will be further reminders in newsletters and on the mailing list over time :) Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 19:09, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

I would appreciate it if this were marked as a draft at the top, to avoid any confusion with board approved policies. I see it has been added to Category:Policies, we may want to use a category for draft or proposed documents instead, and reserve that category for approved documents only. Unfortunately there is no standard process for the chapter to refer to approval and review records from a published policy or process, that would probably be a sensible general improvement if we could agree a system. Thanks -- (talk) 10:11, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
D'oh, yes, makes sense to indicate it's draft. I don't think it really is a 'policy' either because its not prescriptive, so perhaps a new category needed. I really hope GovCom can work out some of these processes and issue staff with guidance as to best practice, as I have no problem complying with procedures when I know what they are :) Honest! Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 10:15, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

23rd event - come in from the cold

Looking forward to seeing about 42 people tomorrow at the offices to discuss the next five years of Wikimedia UK. The heating comes on at about 10 but vests might be in order!

Am pretty certain that transport will be running and there will be a warm welcome and hot drinks for everyone.

We have a busy day so will be starting promptly at 10 please.

Thanks for giving up the time to come.

Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 15:39, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Anyone interested in running bots?

There's several maintenance tasks on this wiki that would probably be best-suited to an automated bot rather than manual work - for example, fixing bad interwiki links, and tagging uncategorised pages and files with unclear copyright. Would anyone be interested in running a bot to do this sort of work? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 22:16, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

This should be pretty straight-forward. Can you spec the tasks? Rich Farmbrough, 23:47, 25 March 2013 (UTC).

Governance: What are the member's expectations for openness and transparency from the Board of Trustees?

Back in October last year, I raised the issue of how much of the UK Board's votes and discussion was conducted in-camera, on closed email lists and closed wikis. Since that time, I believe the Board's behaviour has been to become yet more closed than ever. Though there was agreement in principle, there has yet to be a single example of a vote of the board held outside of the board meetings, being made public, with public discussion. The most recent in-camera vote, was the necessary vote of the board supporting EGM 2013/Resolutions, already a public document, with the resulting 5 days of discussion, changes of vote and explanations of votes, being unavailable to our members apart from the outcome which was made public at Agenda 26Mar13 as it will be confirmed at the next board meeting. This way of working has become a convention for the Board.

In the same month as my raising openness on the Water cooler, Mike created an in-camera vote to ensure that the Board would decide which in-camera decisions should be made available to members. 19 significant decisions were part of that vote. 5 months later it remains open, with only myself and John Byrne (now no longer a trustee) having voted on it.

When there have been strategic or operational issues of interest to the Trustees, they are invariably discussed in-camera, even though many of our members have interests and expertise that might offer better or faster solutions.

In 2011, as a trustee I could see and browse the financial records of the charity, I could easily answer questions from volunteers, I knew at the time if an email had been formally been sent to the WMF, the Charity Commission, or a significant meeting or an agreement was made a supplier or partner. In 2013, this does not happen. Spot-checks are impossible without resorting to a vote, and debate, to make it happen through others. In some instances that might be a good thing, however transparency and openness has been reduced.

So, why an I raising this here and now?
We are approaching an AGM, and this will be a chance to influence the values that our members and wider community expect of the new board. I encourage our members to share your expectations for openness, whether it remains a top priority or not, and to draw the line as to when you think it is necessary or appropriate for the board to operate behind closed doors, so that we establish an understanding in the minds of prospective new trustees as to whether this is a value that we can gradually put aside, and fall more in line with the conventions of other UK charities, or whether our community wishes this to stay central in our values, expressed through visible and measurable actions by the Board of Trustees, and differentiates us from the way most other charities choose to function.

Thanks -- (talk) 18:35, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

Fae, in the good old days when we were colleagues on the Board, you talked a lot about the coming transition of the Board's role to strategic oversight, similar to the trustees of other charities. You complained informally that far too much board time was spent on minutiae. You put a lot of effort, successfully I think, into getting good-quality staff and processes in place to run the charity. You'll recall that I was an enthusiastic supporter of that Fae and wanted him to have a very central role. That Fae would have seen this: "I knew at the time if an email had been formally been sent to the WMF, the Charity Commission, or a significant meeting or an agreement was made a supplier or partner. In 2013, this does not happen." as progress.
I can't comment on whether the number of in-camera decisions is excessive because of course I don't know what they are. I know that there are good reasons as well as bad ones for keeping some decisions in-camera. I expect that as the chapter is professionalised, incidences of the good reasons (e.g. legal negotiations, duty of care to individuals, staff issues, sensitive issues concerning relations with other parts of the Wikimedia movement) will increase. I think it's reasonable to expect from the board some indication of the kind of categories of reason for deliberations to be private. Describing it as "operat[ing] behind closed doors" just sounds like hyperbole.
Personally, I think the coming priority for the members and enthusiasts who want to see Wikimedia grow and succeed ought to be to deal with the counterproductive and unnecessary hostile tone that characterises far too many of our internal communications. I don't think we can afford the assault on volunteer (and staff?) morale. Nor can we afford to have valid criticisms passed up because they're embedded in trivia and point-scoring, or because the combative tone discourages other people from engaging. I expect the Trustees to show leadership in this, and this means we should hold you to a high standard. So the sort of "visible actions" I want to see are adoption of a consensual style of working rather than an individual trustee pursuing a seemingly wrong-headed conception of their role in the organisation. I want each trustee to accept that they are not going to get their own way all the time, and that the best decisions have emerged, and will emerge, from a collegial approach. For the most part, the board are and have been good at this. That's the kind of positive change I'd like to see you focus on, and you might find that people hunker down less as a side-effect. MartinPoulter (talk) 16:55, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
You may be surprised to find I am still the same person Martin, I know you are sore about it taking several months of me repeatedly raising concerns over the management of the Midas contract and the associated declaration of interest to reach a conclusion, but this thread is about the more general views of the members and the values we would like to see for the future board. If any member wants to know more of what is going on behind closed doors, they need to ask, I know of nothing so sensitive that the fact that the trustees have discussed it, or are currently discussing it must not be mentioned or appropriately summarized.
By the way, I estimate that only a minority of what is actually discussed behind closed doors would fit your example categories above. Most of the correspondence could easily be shared on-wiki or via a members email list, without any complications, particularly if a delay were introduced - for example discussion of significant blog posts for the charity that are public a day later. Thanks -- (talk) 17:51, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
The problem is, Fae, you keep asking these kind of leading questions of members. As I think I've said before, we don't appreciate being treated as pawns in your political point-scoring. Your concerns are valid, but you really don't help your case by playing these games. --Tango (talk) 18:21, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Tango, this is not the first time you have made these unsupported allegations of me using the members as pawns in some sort of weird unexplained political scheme. Considering I am not standing for election until 2014, and there is no political process I am involved with, could you explain exactly how me raising the question of how much of priority our value of openness is for the members, is supposed to benefit me politically and personally? From the comments here, if I were a politician, being the only trustee asking these questions looks like political suicide. Obviously if the leading members of our charity don't really care when one of the six trustees on the board of the charity is raising this question, then I'll just go along with keeping the business of the board in-camera. I can assure you, that without the scrutiny of members like yourself, there is far less for the board to worry about, though we should probably drop it from our list of Values if that is our new way of working. Thanks -- (talk) 19:55, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Trying to keep to our values of openness and transparency is a laudable aim, and I should admit that I was the trustee who voted against the initial draft of the resolutions and later changed my vote after several days of discussion. I had spotted a drafting error, but found it beyond my powers to explain in simple terms the problem that it would cause. For that I apologise to my fellow trustees and to the membership. I also wanted to raise my concerns that a side-effect of the balancing provisions (Articles 16.3/16.4) which we were amending would be to decrease the stability of the Board at times when turnover was highest. I would prefer to see some three-year terms used to restore a 4-3 pattern of Elected Trustees in alternate years, rather than the one-year terms that are currently proposed at EGM 2013/Resolutions #Article 16 - particularly in the light of the Hudson Report's recommendation that trustee terms should be 2-3 years as is the norm in the charity sector. This debate took time, but was worthwhile. It could have taken place in public (and a very similar one did at Talk:EGM 2013/Resolutions), but having a little privacy can allow trustees to be rather more blunt with each other than would be seemly in public. In this case, there was no need, but we didn't know that when we started the discussions. Personally, I'm not too worried about having some debates in camera and later releasing them into public whenever we can. You have my assurance that in my remaining time on the Board, I shall continue to support those values of openness and transparency to the best of my abilities. --RexxS (talk) 21:09, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Expanding the descriptions of events

I'm faintly embarrassed that the text about the presentation and workshop I'm doing are taking up several lines on the front page, while the links to things like GLAM-Wiki and the EGM are very compact. The solution is not to cut down the descriptions of my stuff, which are correct and just long enough to say what the event is, but to improve the usability of links to the more important events.

  • Does someone who is not part of our community, and just checking out this site to see what they can do to help Wikimedia, know that GLAM-Wiki is a very important conference, or even that it's a conference?
  • Does someone who is active online but not experienced with companies and charities know what EGM stands for? Will they recognise that it's important from the initials?
  • A lot of us regulars know what IRC is, but there are some very technical, internet-savvy people out there who have not heard of it. Will they know what an "IRC office hour" is? Maybe "virtual office hour (in online chat)" or something similar would get it across to them more clearly?
  • I could make piecemeal changes myself, but we need a change in communication style from what we've long being doing, in order to appeal to more than just each other. If staff or more involved volunteers implement this change in style, the rest of us need to empower them to do it, and avoid being too conservative. MartinPoulter (talk) 15:38, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
I think you're right Martin, the current descriptions are of less use if you're not up to speed with the charity and its activities. Even Wikipedians might not know what GLAM-Wiki is. Expanding the descriptions sounds like a good idea. Changing IRC office hour to something along the lines your suggest is something I'll be implementing and I'll see about coming up with something for the rest. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 16:34, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Some really useful points here Martin and Richard, thank you. These are definitely the kind of things that we need to take into account when restructuring the wiki. As a broader point, something we lack as a wiki (as opposed to a conventional website) is a solid information architecture so hopefully when Richard and I work on this we can find some way, working with the community, to come up with something that's a bit easier to use and find a way around - especially for newcomers. Some user accessibility / user experience testing would be good too, especially if it's independent. Plenty to think about but one thing is for certain - we have to make things easier for everyone, especially new and potential volunteers and editors. --Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 17:27, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
I think a consistent style would be good - either short notices of about four-six words, or a couple of lines for everything (other than, eg, meetups) to give details. (I tend to prefer the former - easier to have a month at a glance). Andrew Gray (talk) 20:29, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

The next five - years, tell us what you want.

Towards a five year plan

Hello all - There is now a page on the wiki where you can start fleshing out what you want to see us doing over the next five years.

Plunge in, or take a while to have a look at the feedback from the event on Saturday and the situational review; there are links at the bottom of the page and very interesting they are too.

The timetable is quite tight if we are to have something substantial to discuss at the AGM so don't hesitate to get going.

Have a good Easter,

Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 18:38, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Spreadsheets on-wiki

A lot of the business of the chapter relies on spreadsheets or complex tables that rapidly become unrealistic to maintain on-wiki. Can anyone recommend solutions? At the moment most key spreadsheets (such as the monthly financial reports) are sent around as Google spreadsheets, which means that any comments or changes are buried in emails and there is no systematic tracability. I note that Extension:Googledocviewer might be an option if we really are stuck with a Google solution and nothing better is possible at this time, this would at least make it possible to view spreadsheet reports on this wiki without jumping to another application. Thanks -- (talk) 10:36, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

This extension would be very helpful. I'll ask the tech team to enable it. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 11:29, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
Richard asked me to take a look at this from a technical perspective. The extension looks fine technically, however I discovered that to get documents to display staff would have to select "publish to web" - this bypasses privacy controls and means anyone knowing the URL could access a read only copy of the document. That's above my pay grade to figure out if it is acceptable or not :D Certainly it seems OK for public documents. Oh, from a technical perspective we couldn't install it on *this* wiki because we don't yet have control of it. But following a migration it would certainly be possible. --ErrantX (talk) 12:49, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Digital Impacts: Crowdsourcing in the Arts and Humanities

I've just come across this event taking place on Tuesday 9 April at the Oxford Internet Institute. I wonder if there are any volunteers who might be interested in going and representing the Wikimedia movement? Do let me know if you're interested and we can make some arrangements. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 10:46, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

On the subject of the humanities and crowdsourcing the Roman limes project led by WMDE might be an interesting topic of conversation at the event. And very topic given the Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition at the BM which opened last week. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 11:09, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Request: Staff hierarchy

Could someone update the staff hierarchy at Staff? It does not explain how the current team of 11 staff and contractors are organized. Thanks -- (talk) 17:54, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

I will work on this and upload the new version when it is ready. I don't have a timescale for completion at this point as I have other pieces of work that have a higher priority. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 12:47, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
I think a volunteer produced this before, I made the request on the Water cooler so that a volunteer could jump in again and help out so I was not particularly expecting this to be another staff job, especially as everyone is busy. In the meantime, for general information and to help a volunteer update the chart, is there a document that explains who is reporting to who at the moment? Thanks -- (talk) 14:48, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

I see this has now been updated by Rock Drum, presumably taking zero staff time. It might be an idea to plan to have these charts updated when we are recruiting for new positions that change the organization significantly. This will help both members and trustees stay up to date with the changes. -- (talk) 16:19, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Confirmation of how many laptops are currently available for events, 3 or 6?

Hi, I am a bit confused by a minor detail at Lua on Wikimedia. This says that the Office has 3 laptops available for loan. However as this is the only event on that day, I think there should be 6 laptops available at this event, considering that 3 additional cheap laptops were specifically purchased for volunteer use this year, and there were 3 previous to that. Could someone confirm the status of these and that the Fixed Asset Register is correct? Thanks -- (talk) 14:32, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Hi Fae. Both the Fixed Asset Register and the event page are correct. The other three laptops will not be at the event unless we really need them. One is in use by a volunteer, and the other two are unsuitable (being a Mac and a Chromebook) unless there is a huge demand for laptops. Thanks for bringing this up. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 14:52, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the update, perhaps the event page ought to say something along those lines and that a maximum of 5 are available. Certainly if an event is popular and more than 3 volunteers need laptops, then I would guess they are really needed, especially as there is no particular expectation that all our volunteers require a Windows operating system, particularly as I understand that the Office all use Macs. By the way, the event is more than six weeks away. I would be concerned if a volunteer were "borrowing" a laptop from the charity for months at a time, perhaps whoever this is, should put in a proposal of some sort so that the board of trustees are aware of why this is to the benefit of the charity. Thanks -- (talk) 14:59, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
For clarity, the office staff do not all use Macs. I believe three staff do, the remainder use Windows machines. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 15:02, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
Okay, thanks for that, presumably that means there is no issue with loaning both the Windows and Mac laptops at events, with the single Chromebook as a backup. After experiencing one of the Lenovo Thinkpads being unable to cope with simply running Skype (plus my normal OS being Mac so Windows would slow me down as I would take ages to work out how to switch on the Dvorak keyboard layout), as a volunteer I would much rather be offered the much nicer Macbook Pro at future events. As it cost £1,100 I would like to see the charity get lots of use out of it.
Is there anything the chapter can say about long term loaner laptops for volunteers? If these are available, it would be sensible to make this a policy. Thanks -- (talk) 15:28, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
As it has been 11 days now since I asked my question, I would guess there will be no answer forthcoming.
Just to be really clear, can someone please confirm that one of our laptops has not now been broken, lost or stolen, and that the volunteer that currently has one (as above) in their possession for an undefined period, for some reason, is known to the board of trustees? Thanks -- (talk) 13:44, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
As we're discussing a specific volunteer, even if that volunteer is unnamed, I'll drop you an email about it rather than reply here. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 14:35, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps the other parts of my previous question can be answered for the benefit of members without revealing the name of the volunteer? For example what policy are long term loans of laptops covered under as I'm sure there are other members that might be helped in their volunteer activities if they can take such a loan? Thanks -- (talk) 15:08, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
No, I think it's more appropriate to do it by email rather than potentially upset a volunteer. I've sent it now though. The idea of cementing long-term loans is an interesting one, and potentially very useful, but I don't think it needs a board level policy - something for Katie to sort out instead. I'll drop her a note about it. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 15:18, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
I find the charity is doing 80% of its business these days by emails and closed wikis not shared with the members. A pity compared to the 80% open of only 2 years ago. As a trustee, I am ultimately responsible for the management of the assets of the charity, so I find this approach of secrecy odd, we certainly have never accepted a non-transparent scholarship or microgrant request in the past, even if we may have accepted a pseudonym, so I don't understand why this is different for any reason. This is more "secret" than I would expect us to be, as in this case the trustees still apparently know absolutely nothing about it, and this is not covered by any agreed process that I was previously aware of, or that has been quoted here. I have separately raised the issue for consideration by the board and potentially the A&R Committee. If we need a policy to allow this sort of thing, then we should approve one, rather than leave this ad-hoc and uncontrolled, which in practice leaves the staff who appear to be making these decisions about long term loans of the charity's assets at some risk should things go wrong, as there are no delegated powers for them to do so and basic requirements for appropriate protection, such as insurance, do not seem to have been considered. Thanks -- (talk) 15:50, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

Just to comment on the MacBook Pro; during the security review I noticed that you (Fæ) and Jon had logged into it using personal accounts. My recommendation was that for the moment it be limited to Staff/Trustee or carefully supervised use until it could be properly cleaned & confirmed free of any possible personal details etc. --ErrantX (talk) 12:03, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Inspiration and imagination needed for the five year plan...

Please get your thoughts on the next five years down!


There is an abundance of supporting material and ideas on the main page but what is mostly needed is your imagination and energy.


Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 15:16, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Wiki Loves Monuments

It's that time of the year when planning for Wiki Loves Monuments picks up for those countries interested in taking part. In both 2011 & 2012, there were discussions about the UK taking part, but for various reasons it never ends up happening. I would really like to see it happen this year, and to that end have started the associated page on Wikimedia Commons.

For those who don't know, Wiki Loves Monuments is an annual photography competition running in September around cultural heritage monuments, which in the UK has in the past taken to mean listed buildings. Participants upload their photos to Wikimedia Commons, identifying it the subject of the photo to be one of the qualifying monuments with the best photos nationally and internationally winning prizes.

If you are interested in joining a working group to help with the organization, even just a little bit when you have time, please sign up on commons:Commons:Wiki Loves Monuments 2013 in the United Kingdom. I would plan to have a phone conference in the near future to discuss what needs to be done, when it needs to be done by, who might be interested in doing it etc. -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 15:48, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

Hi Katie, thanks for setting up the poll to find a time to talk. As this page is probably not very often looked at, maybe you could advertise on Commons as well? I see that there was a volunteer Wiki Loves Monuments brainstorm in 2012 about this, and the subpages have some useful information that could be picked up on now. Maybe a follow-up meeting would be helpful this year, especially as the community now has you working away in the background ;) Looking at the suggested timeline on this page, it seems we are already a month or so behind schedule. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 16:42, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
Note: I've had to remove and revdel'd the link to the poll as it was leading to one or more spammer removing existing responses and adding response/comment that are racially or sexually inappropriate. Anyone reading this who want to join into the upcoming phone conference can contact me for a link to the poll. Thanks! -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 19:53, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Privacy policy - comment and edit

Hi All,

I've just published a new version of a Privacy Policy - we need to get this drafted to our satisfaction so the Trustees can approve a version which will apply to how the chapter manages all its sites, including QRpedia, facilitating the process of transferring the domain.

Because it's important we get this right, we'll get the final version checked by a lawyer - so feel free to edit and query as usual, but it may be that a final tweak beyond these changes to ensure the policy is compliant needs to happen.

I need to come back to out legal counsel by next Friday 19th April, so comments and changes before then would be wonderful :-) Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 15:22, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

Edit protected for Template:BoardApprovedHistory

I think that the first line of Template:BoardApprovedHistory needs to be changed from

[[{{{1}}}|{{{2}}}]] - {{{3}}} (<span class="plainlinks">[{{SERVER}}{{SCRIPTPATH}}/index.php?title=&oldid={{{4}}} approved revision]</span>{{#if:{{{lastid|}}}|, <span class="plainlinks">[{{SERVER}}{{SCRIPTPATH}}/index.php?title=&diff={{{lastid}}}&oldid={{{4}}} changes]</span>}})<br /><noinclude>


[[{{{1}}}|{{{2}}}]] - {{{3}}} (<span class="plainlinks">[{{SERVER}}{{SCRIPTPATH}}/index.php?title=&oldid={{{4}}} approved revision]</span>{{#if:{{{lastid|}}}|, <span class="plainlinks">[{{SERVER}}{{SCRIPTPATH}}/index.php?title=&diff={{{4}}}&oldid={{{lastid}}} changes]</span>}})<br /><noinclude>

i.e. the two inputs for the diff are currently the wrong way around.


Yaris678 (talk) 11:48, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

I notice some trouble with trying to get the template to work. See my comments at Template talk:BoardApprovedHistory. Yaris678 (talk) 20:29, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

Copyright law support for UK GLAMs ?

Not sure if this is the best place to post, but here goes ...

One thing I found interesting at GLAM-WIKI 2013 was the extent to which GLAMs seemed to be very fearful of the complexities of copyright law, getting things wrong, and possibly being sued. This seems to be quite a large problem, to the extent that some GLAMs feel paralyzed and unable to do anything without seeking professional legal advice (which, to be honest, they don't want to get involved in, and which is anyway usually much too expensive). The GLAM-WIKI conference may arguably have not encouraged GLAMs who want to do the right thing but who are just scared of all the legal stuff. Indeed, several speakers mentioned that it is a 'difficult' area which they were not going to touch on. I'd like to think that WMUK could provide some more specialist help in this field.

Ideally, I'd like to see WMUK commit within the 5 year plan to putting some easy-to-understand copyright law resources in place for UK GLAMs, including on-line pages of information on the legal background (UK copyright specifically, but touching on US to the extent to which Commons needs to comply with that), as well as flyers and other resources focused on particular types of GLAM holding (old and new photographs, paintings, sculptures etc). Also, it would be good to have a UK Copyright law question and answer forum where GLAMs could seek informal advice, either on a specific point or on general issues affecting the opening up of their collections.

Hope that makes sense. If this would be of interest to the community, I would be happy to put some effort into it. As a newly-retired UK patent and trademark attorney (until March I was a partner in one of the top London firms) I do have a reasonable knowledge of UK law. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 17:23, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

It makes very much sense. You may wish to start with Commons:Freedom of panorama and works that are of USA origin. You have two from w:List of Academy Award trophies on public display. The FOP page doesn't mention country of origin for 3D works on permanent display in the UK. Commons:Copyright rules by subject matter doesn't mention country of origin either in the 3D sculptures section. We may have to ask WMF legal weigh in on this one. Can you upload an FOP image from the UK of a 3D work with the country of origin being the USA where FOP is not allowed for statues?--Canoe1967 (talk) 22:32, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
A 3D US work on permanent display in the UK would fall under UK FoP copyright.
I would be happy to support a UK working group of some sort to help improve guidelines and policies related to GLAMs and copyright, perhaps with an emphasis on avoiding mistaken 'copyfraud'. In terms of location, doing this as a project on Commons would make the most sense to me, as any guidelines would have the most impact there; plus we could really do with attracting more contributors to related RFC and key deletion review discussions that are right at the cutting edge of this stuff. By the way, we have a lot of wikilawyers who will put forward what they think the law says, but few who will put in the spadework of researching and digging out legal cases to support an on-Commons case book; we have even fewer who can see the bigger picture and understand the difference between significant doubt and insignificant doubt that might be raised by fine hypothetical interpretation of the words of the law... Thanks -- (talk) 05:44, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
Brilliant thought Michael and very practical - could also support non glammers. Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 09:43, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
@Fæ, you may wish to clarify on Commons:Freedom of panorama as well as Commons:Copyright rules by subject matter. Neither of those pages state anything about the country of origin. One editor at en:wp thinks we can't host images of Oscar taken in the UK because the statue is copyright in the USA where the servers are.--Canoe1967 (talk) 23:02, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
At the conference in Milan, the WCA council rep from Armenia got a round of applause as they are the first country in their region to gain FoP. As a copyright concept it is critically important for open knowledge, I really don't like to see folks pointlessly whittling away at the fringes of it. Country of origin for a permanent work on public display is of course, irrelevant. Where the servers are can be relevant if the release relied on something like expired copyright; not the case for this scenario. It would be great if you could add your example and suggestion for clarification to the commons policy talk page; don't wait for me to get around to it. :-) -- (talk) 05:07, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
I am worried about US copyright law for images hosted on commons. If we have a museum take a picture in the UK of the Oscar then will the Academy lawyer up when they see it on posters in the US? Does the US copyright law cover imported images of 3D works that are under copyright in the US?--Canoe1967 (talk) 09:17, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Michael, that would be very useful, but my take on this is that it isn't always knowledge of copyright law that complicates this subject.
  • Many institutions have objects and images that are on loan or otherwise subject to restrictions from the donor.
  • Some institutions have objects and images that are considered culturally sensitive or may involve personality rights, especially in ethnographic collections.
  • Sometimes the subject can be of such an apparent age that reasonable people would disagree as to whether they were adult.
  • Sometimes the applicable law may itself be uncertain and the prevailing standards for seeking subject consent may have changed radically since the photo was taken. For example a 1930s photo showing a topless teenage woman in what was then the colony of a European power.....
Pre-screening image releases for the above may also be a non-trivial task.Checking the IP of this may be a non-trivial task for the institution, especially if this raises questions that may not have been considered when the loan was made.
Then there is the big tension between the role of ourselves and many GLAMs in making information available to all, and the marketing departments of many GLAMs who see digital images simply as a commercial opportunity (even if the copyright has expired). Some GLAMs seem to take the view that possession is >90% of the law, and they try to restrict the use and commercialise stuff even when they should know it is out of copyright.
Among GLAMs that are looking at this from a commercial angle there seems to be a divide as to whether their most lucrative route is to release High definition imagery under an open License thereby maximising use but not necessarily revenue; or whether it is more lucrative for them to release low to medium resolution imagery and get a larger proportion of users buying high res, but a smaller amount of use. Of course the equation changes as more high res imagery being available means that low and medium resolution imagery will tend to be used less, and while this has a big impact on potential image releases it isn't our place to advise GLAMs on commercial impact of releasing images.
Otherwise the institutions have three main approaches on this, One can almost envisage this as a triangle with the points marked "open", "cautious" and "commercial" and every organisation, and indeed GLAM worker seems to fit somewhere on that triangle. I'm beginning to think that there are enough GLAMs into making the material in their collections available to everyone that we should concentrate on them. Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 17:06, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I entirely agree. There is no single thing that's needed, but more of a combintion of individual things. Most important of all, perhaps, is to get more volunteers. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 14:20, 20 April 2013 (UTC)
More volunteers would help, but also guidance in the form of case studies, copyright advice and maybe even Government guidance. Other aspects of this are international - I learned at the GLAM wiki conference about one government that is requesting digital copies of information from a UK GLAM. Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 10:31, 23 April 2013 (UTC)


The Education Committee is now communicating via the education-committee-l mailing list rather than private emails. This will ensure even more transparency and openness, as well as provide an easily accessible archive via the list information page. --Toni Sant (WMUK) (talk) 11:17, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

Working with non-English language Wikipedias / language policy

Hello everyone. During a recent discussion about the Wikimedian in Residence role at the National Library of Scotland a valid point was raised about notifying Wikipedians who spoke Gaelic to the role. I think everyone is aware that there are opportunities for Wikimedia UK to do some excellent outreach work to speakers of non-English languages and Wikipedians who work on non-English language projects. These are not limited to what might be called indigenous UK languages such as Kernowac or Gaelic, but could also include languages that are pretty widely spoken such as Bengali, Polish and Hindi. If anyone has any suggestions on how we might successfully do this please do share them here. It was also noted that we may have a need for a language policy, particularly to cover any Wikimedian in Residence roles (and, potentially any eventual Wikimedia UK recruitment) in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Again, comments and suggestions are very welcome. Thanks in advance for any input on this important topic! Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 23:51, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

The inspiration for such a Policy came from a discussion on Scotland, and therefore this thread should really only involve the WMUK's involvement in Scotland rather than an overarching linguistic policy on the situation of minority languages (such as Bengali) in England. Our Policy on Scotland must begin with the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 and Bòrd na Gàidhlig who are responsible for Gaelic on behalf of the Scottish Government. Wales has similar, yet stronger, legislation (including the Welsh Language Act 1993 and the National Assembly for Wales (Official Languages) Act 2012) which gave the Welsh language official status in Wales - and I suggest that we also include Wales in our Policy, under a separate heading. The Welsh Language Commissioner ensures that "In Wales, the Welsh language should be treated no less favourably than the English language" and "Persons in Wales should be able to live their lives through the medium of the Welsh language if they choose to do so." There are common elements to both countries, which should be acknowledged as should over-riding international law, including European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights (1996) and to some extent the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. -- Llywelyn2000 (talk) 01:31, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
I would strongly counsel against taking a leaf from the UK's public sector rules on this; they are overly-heavyweight and proscriptive, and don't actually apply to Wikimedia or WMUK. Instead, the focus should be on engagement with and support for non-English language groups (be that Welsh/Gaelic/BSL/Polish/Bengali/Arabic/etc.) - the question really is "are there people with such interests in our communities?" - if yes, where are they and what do they want?; if no, are there things we're doing wrongly that we could correct, and/or are there appropriate groups with whom we can reach out to encourage such participation. Jdforrester (talk) 05:32, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
Jdforrester - the employer here is The National Library, not WMUK, they are not only in the public sector but are bound by the laws (not "rules") of Scotland, and their own in-house language Policy. No, they don't apply to Wikimeda UK, but they certainly do to the employer. I've outlined my reasons above why the Policy should mention specifically the different countries (Scotland and Wales) and imho the title should reflect this; I suggest "WMUK's Language Policy for Wales and Scotland". A separate document could be written for other languages which have lesser legal status. In answer to the second half of you comment may I refer you to the Gaelic speaking community here where we have a very live Gaelic speaking wiki. Your most important comment are there things we're doing wrongly that we could correct is very honest and needs addressing. If we have ignored wiki-gd thus far, we need to embrace that community, support and encourage them to be part of our dream; more importantly: can we be part of their dream, their vision? A Language Policy to guide us would be a good start. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 08:59, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
The most obvious thing is to ask the National Library of Scotland, as they deal with outreach to non-English minorities all the time for recruitment and the WIR is going to be their employee. It may be time for WMUK to run an open discussion about how best to engage with minority groups, this is more likely to reach meaningful conclusions if supported with advice from minority group organizations and using channels and forums where their members hangout. -- (talk) 06:49, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
Exactly! Llywelyn2000 (talk) 08:59, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
Also as regards Irish, see Coláiste Feirste, a secondary Irish Medium School in Belfast. 09:26, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
Yes indeed! Is there legislation for the Irish language in Northern Ireland? Do you have any other links, relevant to writing a language Policy? Llywelyn2000 (talk) 10:17, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Of course there are laws that we and our partners and potential partners need to follow, but we also need to remember that we are part of a global movement with a global mission. We have a huge amount of the world's heritage in the possession of UK GLAMs, and in many cases as with Tipu's Tiger and the British library's Canada collection we can be the facilitator to get global access to cultural information that is in the UK. Helping UK institutions reach out to non-English speakers here, as tourists or on the web could be at the heart of what the Wikimedia movement associates Wikimedia UK with. Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 10:54, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
I agree it would be great for WMUK to be known for the internationalism of our work with cultural heritage; and as you highlight we already are. Over the weekend we met with WMIN representatives to take this particular relationship forward due to obvious shared heritage with key assets in the British Library and other institutions that are of immense value for Indian culture and history. Similarly the initiatives you mention that I took part in sponsoring are great examples of simple international partnerships working within our movement.
We are a highly successful global movement, however we do not lead the field with expertise in multi-lingual outreach or accessibility, in fact, at times we are naff at it compared to other global organizations of volunteers. We had a successful global conference in Milan, however the conference materials and presentations were almost entirely in English and the conference venue and social venues failed to assure wheelchair access, even though we knew that one participant was restricted to a wheelchair (I'm aware of the issues that came up as I took some time out for a quiet and interesting chat about access with the person affected). As an example of our maturity along these lines, I think this is fairly normal for us, and even though we can probably think of counter-examples where it has worked much better, this has not yet transferred into policy and standard practice. Thanks -- (talk) 11:22, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
From my experience of Wikipedia I thought that creating policies was something that comes naturally! But seriously though, I’d suggest that WMUK has some sort of guide at the very least if not a policy. Formally informing the Gaelic and Scots wikis of this post at the same time as the English one would have just been common courtesy. I don’t for one minute think there was an intention to insult, but its little oversights like this that tends go get people's back up and rightly or wrongly add to the perception that WMUK is more focussed on one langue wiki over others. IF it is agreed that a language/languages guide or policy is a good idea, then the Estyn Llaw project in Wales has a wealth of advice and guidance, some of which can be taken on board and adapted. Here are some suggestions (of mine) on how to draw up a guide:
Theme Level
(easy, tricky, wishful thinking!)
Example Advantage Risks Obstacles Solutions
Attracting staff with bilingual skills tricky Attracting Gaelic speakers to apply for WIR post *Make good use of Gaelic material at NSL
*Increase content on Gaelic wiki
  • Post notice on Gaelic wiki (!)
Organising events easy If arranging a series of events in Wales, arrange a proportion of them through the medium of Welsh *Attract new editors in that language *Increase content on Welsh wiki WMUK staff does not speak the language *Ask local volunteers to help
*If a GLAM type event, ask if partner organisation has Welsh speaking staff
Organising events easy If one event in Wales, make Welsh visable, e.g. have publicity/posters/webpage bilingually, greet guests in both languages *Attract new editors in that language
*Increase content on Welsh wiki
WMUK staff do not speak the language
  • Ask local volunteers to help
    *If a GLAM type event, ask if partner organisation has Welsh speaking staff
Publicity easy (ish) If promoting event/story related to Wales , send out press release in English and Welsh Increase likelihood of story in Welsh language media *Translation could mean delay
*Translation could mean cost
WMUK staff do not speak the language
  • (cost) Ask local volunteers to help
  • (time) Give volunteers plenty of notice
Anyway, just some thoughts/ ideas I wanted to share!--Rhyswynne (talk) 13:13, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
  • As a general rule I think we should work starting with existing Wikipedian communities, rather than trying to build from scratch. This is what we have successfully done in Wales, & pretty much failed to do with the "non-native" language communities in the UK. As far as I can see the level of activity on the Gaelic WP is really very low, & most editors are probably based in the relatively Gaelic-speaking areas. We don't AFAIK have an inside contact, equivalent to Robin, which is an essential first step; then we'd be able to announce things to the Gaelic WP in Gaelic, which of course we should do with things like this. By all means add it as a desirable thing for the Edinburgh post, but I don't see we need a policy. Johnbod (talk) 16:30, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
    • Of course, it depends what we mean by policy. We don't want to break anybody's balls over this and we don't want a load of legalistic verbiage. But some kind of direction would be useful. I think Rhyswynne's table is an excellent start for that and I also agree with Johnbod that working with existing Wikimedian communities will help in a lot of respects. Yaris678 (talk) 17:08, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
  • FYI elsewhere in Wikimedia, these languages don't even have dedicated Wikisources yet. I mention this as the original conversation brought up "Gaelic manuscripts and books" and "Scots classics" at the National Library of Scotland. Multilingual Wikisource covers them, however. Gàidhlig currently has a glorious one text (and, even then, has no source for it), while Kernewek has twenty texts and Gaeilge has many. Scots is actually part of English Wikisource, with 22 texts. This doesn't even need material from NLS to rectify, the Internet Archive has at least a few works available (Example). It just needs people. (NB: All appear to have Wiktionaries but Gàidhlig Wiktionary looks to be in bad shape.) - AdamBMorgan (talk) 17:01, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
    Further to this: NLS have a section on the Internet Archive but all their texts appear it have CC-BY-NC licences (even the clearly PD-old Victorian works). The copyfraud is easily ignorable but it would help if they didn't do that. - AdamBMorgan (talk) 17:12, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

I've created a DRAFT Welsh Language Policy here based on the Language Commisioner's recommended template: Help Llaw. To keep everything together I suggest that any comments be kept here at the Water Cooler! I also suggest a new second policy to follow, should we agree on this one, based of the Scottish Gaelic. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 12:37, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

Apart from any specific issues that I may have with your draft, I would say that this is not the sort of policy we want. It is a statement of something that looks like a good idea, rather than an analysis of problems, opportunities or options. I much prefer Rhyswynne's table because it is a good start at an analysis of what our options are. Yaris678 (talk) 13:36, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
WMUK should have both. Strategic policy and an operational action plan are different things; albeit things that should work together. The draft has a lot that Rhyswynne's table misses (and probably couldn't include) such as communication in Welsh. That does, however, bring up a potential problem: WMUK is not a large organisation and does not, to my knowledge, currently employ anyone fluent in Welsh, Scots Gaelic, Cornish etc. A commitment to answering communications in Welsh and without a delay is probably a bit too much (even with Google Translate available), especially if extended to the other native languages of the UK. Defining it as an aspiration but acknowledging the potential for a delay might be more realistic. - AdamBMorgan (talk) 16:49, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
Another thought: Putting something on the Main Page about language coverage would be useful. Just a footer box, along the line of the sister links on most wiki projects, would be enough. It would be a natural assumption to read WMUK as WMEngland; something pointing out the wider remit could offset that. When/if other-language pages are made for this wiki (eg. Main Page/cy) they could be linked from here. In the meantime it could just be a simple selection of relevant languages (or possibly links to the the assorted projects within those langagues, as long as no suggestion of possession or authority is made). - AdamBMorgan (talk) 17:05, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
I agree that putting something on the main page about language would be useful.
A commitment to answering communications in Welsh and without a delay is clearly impractical at the moment... but maybe it would be a good target to aim for... or maybe we should spend our energies on something else. It's difficult to know when no analysis is included. If we did make it a target then knowing why it was a target would probably be a lot more useful than knowing that it was a target. And, of course, setting out some actions to meet the target is also essential, 1. so it isn't just wishful thinking and 2. so we can look at those actions to assess how much effort it will take. Maybe we want to commit to it if it is straight forward but not if it is really complicated. And that is just that bit of the policy. Maybe other bits of it are equally open to question... but it's difficult to know because we don't know why they are in there. Do you see my point? Yaris678 (talk) 21:28, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
My table was only just a sample of what could be included. The draft contains parts that could be implemented right away (e.g. the 'Planning' bit) while some parts may never be adopted. I'm not sur ehow WMUK goes about drawung up policies/guidleines, but how about breaking the draft down to a similar table with a column for people to accept/oppose each 'theme' and cite reasons. --This comment was added by Rhyswynne at 08:40, 25 April 2013‎
Syniad da Rhys. Dw i'n awgrymu fod hynny'n digwydd rwan, efallai ar dudalen ar wahan i hwn fel bod pawb yn medru ei ddeall. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 12:52, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
This table is a great start. I suggest that Rhys uploads it onto his namespace so that we can all amend and discuss it there. I also like the suggestion that we replicate and translate WMUK's home page into Welsh asap, with a link to two or three fluent Welsh speakers who could discuss with members, potential members and users in Welsh, if that is their preferred language. In fact a number of WMUK's staff and Board members have suggested this over the last year. A bilingual article was actually published in our Report Section.
The question of why we need to do this (asked by User:Yaris678) can be answered in many ways: Dafydd Iwan's poetry mentions that only a fool asks "why is snow white"? Another answer would be because it is there, but crucially: to respect the wishes of members or users who prefer speaking in their own language or because there is legislation in Wales endorses it, and will in the next couple of years demand it, as they do with the main institutions and local government. Another reason of course is that WMUK in Wales can seem to be, to many people, a very foreign creature, and that may be the reason why the Scots Gaelic and the Welsh language (apart from a handful of us) do not bother joining let alone participate. But my personal reason why we need to do this is that we need to reach out with our vision and enthusiasm to people who are much happier speaking Welsh and I we must respect that choice or alienate them. It's part of a worldwide movement which strives for the conservation of the rich diversity of culture on this planet; the opposite is a Big Brother, totalitarian, monotone-grey, state.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this thread, my suggested action plan involves the only two languages which are indigenous to the countries of Britain and which are protected by legislation: Scottish (and Irish?) Gaelic and Welsh. Once this is in place we can look at other languages. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 12:52, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
You've given some reasons to do a lot more in the area of non-English languages but not necessarily reasons that lead us to what that should be. I think everyone agrees that we want to improve things in the area of non-English languages. We are just trying to work out what to do. Your reference to a totalitarian state is dangerously close to Reductio ad Hitlerum. Yaris678 (talk) 16:40, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
Presumably the first and easiest tasks would be to create a few core pages in each language on this wiki. The main pages are obvious and it will probably help if a few other important pages are done too (perhaps Membership, Events, Contact us and Board). I would signify language with a subpage (eg. Main Page/cy, Main Page/sco, Membership/cy, Membership/sco etc.) but if anyone has a better idea please say so. There appear to be enough Welsh speakers here to handle that set. Perhaps others could be found on the appropriate projects; the Scottish ones could come out of the NLS WIR. - AdamBMorgan (talk) 18:01, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks AdamBMorgan, I've now translated around five of these suggested pages, as testspace; please feel free to amend the links etc.
AdamBMorgan said: A commitment to answering communications in Welsh and without a delay is probably a bit too much (even with Google Translate available)... One possible answer to the fact that staff at HQ do not speak fluent Welsh is to pass on any such communication to any one of the 120 fluent Welsh speakers who edit the Wici Cymraeg regulary; I certainly would be willing to answer any phonecalls, emails or other correspondance passed on to me and I know that other would also do this. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 07:41, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Table of language scope

English (English) en

Wikibooks-logo.svg Wikibooks, Wikinews-logo.svg Wikinews, Wikipedia-logo.svg Wikipedia, Wikiquote-logo.svg Wikiquote, Wikisource-logo.svg Wikisource, Wikiversity-logo.svg Wikiversity, Wikivoyage-Logo-v3-icon.svg Wikivoyage, Wiktionary-logo.svg Wiktionary

Cymraeg (Welsh) cy

Wikipedia-logo.svg Wicipedia, Wikiquote-logo.svg Wiciddyfynnu, Wikisource-logo.svg Wicidestun, Wikivoyage-Logo-v3-icon.svg Wicidaith,[1] Wiktionary-logo.svg Wiciadur

Scots (Scots) sco

Wikipedia-logo.svg Wikipædia, Wikisource-logo.svg Wikisource,[3] Wiktionary-logo.svg Wiktionar[1]

Gaeilge (Irish) ga

Wikipedia-logo.svg Vicipéid, Wikiquote-logo.svg Vicíshliocht,[1] Wikisource-logo.svg Vicífhoinse,[2] Wiktionary-logo.svg Vicífhoclóir

Gàidhlig (Scottish Gaelic) gd

Wikipedia-logo.svg Uicipeid, Wikisource-logo.svg Uicitobar,[2] Wiktionary-logo.svg Wiktionary

Kernowek (Cornish) kw

Wikipedia-logo.svg Wikipedya, Wikisource-logo.svg Wikisource,[2] Wiktionary-logo.svg Wiktionary

Gaelg (Manx) gv

Wikipedia-logo.svg Wikipedia, Wiktionary-logo.svg Wikiockleyr

Englissh (Middle English) enm

Wikipedia-logo.svg Wikipædia,[1] Wikisource-logo.svg Wikisource,[3] Wiktionary-logo.svg Wiktionary[4]

Ænglisc (Old English) ang

Wikibooks-logo.svg Ƿicibēc, Wikipedia-logo.svg Ƿikipǣdie, Wikiquote-logo.svg ǷicicǷide,[1] Wikisource-logo.svg Ƿicifruma,[3] Wiktionary-logo.svg Ƿikiƿordbōc

Multilingual mul

Commons-logo.svg Wikimedia Commons, Wikidata-logo.svg Wikidata, Wikispecies-logo.svg Wikispecies

[1] This project is on the Incubator - [2] This project is part of Multilingual Wikisource - [3] This is part of English Wikisource - [4] This is part of English Wiktionary

Spinning off from my comment above, I've started this table of UK languages and associated wikiprojects: {{Projectslang}}. This table just lists native languages at the moment, not the significant non-native languages like Polish, Punjabi or Urdu. It also doesn't list the currently unsupported native languages like Angloromani and Shelta. Two extinct languages are included because there are Wikimedia projects in those languages. The bold names link to potential main pages and there is some minor language switching in the bracketed language names (assuming the subpage name is the language code). The, currently unlinked, footnotes will need to be lang-switched too (and the method of doing so can stand to be upgraded too).

As for why bother with this, this can be placed on an appropriate languages page (or pages, as there really should be one of those for each language) or, if suitably amended, on the main page. It shows what languages Wikimedia UK could/should support and what projects could be supported as a result. It also at least acknowledges that these languages and projects exist, compared to the very English-Wikipedia-only appearance of WMUK at the moment (of course, the demographics are likely to always push in that direction).

Feel free to amend or ignore as desired. - AdamBMorgan (talk) 17:54, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

I know Isle of Man is not technically in the the UK, but where would Manx fit in?--Rhyswynne (talk) 10:13, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
A great spinoff! I'll amend it a little on the Wicipedia Cymraeg; really useful. Thanks. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 07:29, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
Hi Adam, thanks for putting this together. I would be cautious and spell out that this is not intended to limit Wikimedia UK if this table, or similar, is used in relation to the projects of the charity. The charity's scope is not limited to current or past "native languages" and there may be value in finding figures for all non-English languages in the UK as a basis for judging how much impact new project proposals might have for the beneficiaries of the charity (not restricted to people in the UK). As has been mentioned previously, statistically Polish is one of the highest used languages in the UK today, so encouraging Polish readers and writers to take part in our projects is probably an easy win. I doubt there is any need to make a choice between approaches, as it makes sense for us to aim to be as inclusive and diverse as possible. Cheers -- (talk) 08:18, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
Fæ, I can appreciate that table might give the impression of limiting the scope of the chapter if it were used in the wrong way. But so long as we are mindful of that risk it should be manageable.
I think some of the recent ideas generated by Adam and Llywelyn have been excellent and fit well into WMUK being a volunteer-led organisation. I really like the idea of mobilising volunteers to represent WMUK in non-English languages.
Adam, Llywelyn, what do you think of the idea of doing a specific media training session in Wales for Welsh speakers who would like to represent WMUK to Welsh-language Media? This is just an idea I have now, but if we speak to the right people I think we should be able to persuade them.
Yaris678 (talk) 19:48, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
Interesting suggestion, I'd support that. It would be cool to have snippets of the odd event/workshop in Welsh on video too. :-) -- (talk) 19:52, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
@Yaris678 That's exactly the sort of thing I'd like to see, although at this stage, the number of takers is likely to be low, but I'm sure that there would be demand for a Training-the-Trainers course through the medium of Welsh.--Rhyswynne (talk) 10:13, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
In fact this was discussed in the last meeting of Wici Cymru, a society to further the cause of the Wiki family in Wales. Rhys and myself have done some research into who could deliver such training. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 11:16, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Nice to see this initiative being progressed positively. I left a comment about it at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Wales but it has largely been superceded by events. Obviously, with 20% of the population of Wales speaking Welsh, the importance of addressing the non-English (official) native languages is a real one for Wales in particular! As for the non-native (but widely spoken) languages such as Bengali and Polish, I would imagine they will be contributing in projects other than Wikimedia UK, if any, in these languages. Sionk (talk) 14:15, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

I agree that Welsh deserves more attention than some languages since it is the second most widely spoken language in the UK.
I think that you have got the wrong end of the stick somewhere when you say "As for the non-native (but widely spoken) languages such as Bengali and Polish, I would imagine they will be contributing in projects other than Wikimedia UK". Wikimedia UK exists to promote free knowledge for all. It can do this in a number of ways, but one of the biggest things it does is encourage people to work on projects run by the Wikimedia Foundation, which include the Bengali Wikipedia and the Polish Wikipedia.
Yaris678 (talk) 16:32, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
FYI, English, Welsh (562,000) and then Polish (546,000) are the most widely spoken languages in the UK, (from the 2011 census) closely followed in order:
  1. Punjabi 273,000
  2. Urdu 269,000
  3. Bengali (with Sylheti and Chatgaya) 221,000
  4. Gujarati 213,000
Scots is lagging with 100,000 speakers, which is on a par with Irish in Northern Ireland at 95,000 speakers. Whether this should or should not influence our projects is open to debate and interpretation. -- (talk) 17:50, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
There's an old page at Language support, which could be a good home for this new table. with Fæ's numbers, I think the reference is [2]. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 18:25, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
The number of Welsh or Gaelic speakers is irrelevant to this discussion, imho. The crux of the matter is that these two languages have an important legal status given through Acts of Parliament. Please read my preamble to this thread:
Our Policy on Scotland must begin with the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 and Bòrd na Gàidhlig who are responsible for Gaelic on behalf of the Scottish Government. Wales has similar, yet stronger, legislation (including the Welsh Language Act 1993 and the National Assembly for Wales (Official Languages) Act 2012) which gave the Welsh language official status in Wales - and I suggest that we also include Wales in our Policy, under a separate heading. In Wales the Welsh Language Commissioner ensures that "In Wales, the Welsh language should be treated no less favourably than the English language" and "Persons in Wales should be able to live their lives through the medium of the Welsh language if they choose to do so."
Example: A person who wishes to speak in Punjabi at a Crown Court in Cardiff or London would be given a translator; a person who wishes to speak in Welsh at a Crown Court in Cardiff (or Caernarfon) would be given a full hearing through the medium of Welsh.
Wales is a small nation, with few speakers of it's language remaining. Therein lies it's greatness and vitality, it's still live and kicking; WMUK recognises this, as well as it's legal status. Can I suggest we now move on by 1. getting the WMUK website's homepage up and running (I translated it a few days ago) 2. we continue to work on Rhys' plan, using it as a working document 3. we do the same with Scottish Gaelic. Then we pause for breath. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 05:57, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I agree that it would be great to have the page translation tab thingy up and running for the main page at least (you can see an example of what the multiple translations looks like at meta:WCA). As well as the legally recognized Welsh, which as Robin highlights should be a priority (and is easy for us to implement thank to Robin's commitment), it would be brilliant to find some additional volunteers that would enjoy helping with Polish and the South Asian languages (/me thinks of our special partnership with WMIN, I think Pranav is a member of WMUK, someone drop him a note!). I am keenly aware that if we can get some tame volunteers to regularly help with free translations, this is a great asset to our GLAM relationships. ;-) -- (talk) 07:34, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I think Marek69 speaks Polish (he often attends the London meet up and I think he's a WMUK member). I should point out at this stage that I personally have no strong language skills beyond English (although I have family fluent in Welsh and Polish, it's just not in my bailiwick). Some other notes:
  1. I moved the template above to {{languages native}} and created a sister temple in {{languages immigrant}} based on wikipedia:Languages of the United Kingdom.
  2. I added Manx to the native table on the grounds of "close enough". I was a little worried when I noticed Old Norse and Norn Wikipedias in the incubator but they both appear to have been rejected, so I've left them out for now.
  3. I have hijacked/updated the Language support page Mike Peel mentioned above and included the two tables. Since I was making tables anyway, I summarised to existing statistics on that page into {{language stats}} and updated them. (These are all templates instead of entering the tables directly so they can be used on equivalent pages for each language and still only need to be updated once each.) I hope the blurb around the tables, about legal duties and moral responsibilities, is OK; it was a little presumptuous but I needed to put something in there. Please edit if not.
  4. I know I suggested using a subpage to indicate language (eg. "Main Page/cy") but would it be better to use the appropriate translation instead (eg. "Hafan")? There are potential problem with this, such as the Scots translation of "Main Page" being "Main Page".
  5. Depending on the last point, is there any objection to Llywelyn2000's Llywelyn2000/Template/Main Page going live on "Main Page/cy" or "Hafan"?
  6. Llywelyn2000's suggestion of having volunteers answer communications seems worthwhile. Would/Could WMUK keep a list of these volunteers as points of contact or for translation services?
NB: Apologies for not replying to this thread for a while but other things kept coming up. - AdamBMorgan (talk) 11:49, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
Things have continued to come up but I have taken apathy as agreement and implemented a few more thngs. See Cateory:Cymraeg and Category:Scots for the only non-English pages on this wiki at the moment. Also, Main Page/cy is in place based on a template created by User:Llywelyn2000. - AdamBMorgan (talk) 12:38, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
Arbitrary break

The WMUK tech committee are discussing adding a translation extension on this wiki which will allow a Welsh user interface and make translating things into Welsh much easier, using a system similar to http://www.kiwix.org/wiki/Translation. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 11:22, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

That would be good, and help support possible non-English speaking (or fluent) WMUKers. (Not to mention at least making them feel welcome and suupported by the chapter.) - AdamBMorgan (talk) 11:49, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

Press coverage page

Is there any reason we don't have a page on-wiki for Press coverage? So that community members can add coverage of WMUK-related stuff in newspapers and other similar sources. Because, you know, BBC News coverage of the NLS job. Shall I be bold and make a page where we can dump all that stuff in one place, rather than having it scattered in monthly reports and so on? —Tom Morris (talk) 10:07, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

Great idea - there is an old one and we put them in the monthly report but this is sensible - Can we leave him to comment on this for although he sleeps with the Westcoasters he will awake later today.

Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 11:34, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

Hi Tom, this is a good idea. We do record press coverage in our monthly reports but a separate page may be useful. Please, do go ahead and be bold! Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 18:05, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
My preference would be that we maintain the list of press coverage only in one place, rather than multiple places. That place has always been the monthly reports so far, so I wouldn't say that they've been scattered around. I'm not sure that having a new page for these rather than just pointing towards the monthly reports would particularly help people find them? Please remember that everyone is welcome, and encouraged, to add stuff to the monthly reports! Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 22:00, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Wellcome Collection and CRUK meetings

I have arranged meetings next week with Wellcome Collection and Cancer Research UK (these are not linked, however both on 3rd May, London), and looking for a member of community that may be interested in attending.

Wellcome Collection meeting will look at options of future cooperation between the institutions.

Cancer Research UK will look at their recent external funding bid for a Wikimedian in Residence and see how we can improve it. Someone involved in the WikiProject Medicine may find this useful - at the same time this is an initial meeting focused on looking at paperwork and may not be of interest.

Any suggestions of volunteers that may benefit the meetings would be helpful. Daria Cybulska (WMUK) (talk) 13:39, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Good point about WikiProject Medicine. I have been bold and posted there. Yaris678 (talk) 17:24, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for coordinating this. I am a Wikipedian in Residence at a United States organization which does health education. It is a bit early to plan, but if Wikimania happens in London in 2014 my organization may present there with a health focus. I work for Consumer Reports. In the UK the equivalent organization is Which?. Our parent organization is based in London and is called Consumers International. I expect that neither Which nor CI know anything about me, but Consumer Reports in America would like for other English-speaking organizations to develop health content, so if you need to mention a precedent then CR could be one and we do sort of have a UK link. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:36, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Probably! Let's revisit once Wikimania 2014 comes closer - looking forward to meeting you again! Daria Cybulska (WMUK) (talk) 07:54, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

2013-18 Five Year Plan, first draft.

The first draft based on the 23rd of March event, comments received so far and our previous version is now up for discussion on the wiki.


I look forward to your comments. This version will be brought to the board for their comments in May. Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 17:21, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Wikimedia Botswana

Can anyone help Wikimedia Botswana with drafting their docs? (sorry for not linking it correctly)

Philafrenzy (talk) 15:51, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Possibly... it's rather complex, and would need an understanding of Botswanan law... Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 15:31, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I thought that was something they trained you in at Wikimedia central, Richard. If there is nobody who can realistically help, that's OK. Philafrenzy (talk) 16:46, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Draft 1 of 2013-18 WMUK Plan reminder

The discussion on draft one (to go to the board on May 11th) is hotting up. Please contribute.

Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 14:22, 1 May 2013 (UTC)


Yaris and I made some comments at Talk:Towards_a_five_year_plan_2013-18#Comments_on_the_draft_five-year_plan last week, perhaps these should be moved to be answered as part of the discussion, if these are to be addressed in a revised version in time for the board meeting? -- (talk) 14:37, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Will do - just hoping for few more before I have a go at it. Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 08:08, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

2013 Fundraiser

Just to let you know that we've received a note from the Wikimedia Foundation stating their intention not to renew our Fundraising Agreement with them for the forthcoming year, but leaving the door open for us to participate in 2014-15 after our recent governance changes have had more time to bed in. The Board will be talking about how this will affect our plans at the meeting on the 11th (if you read the reports that have been uploaded today you'll probably find reference to it) & I imagine we will upload their letter here before the meeting. Personally, while a little disappointed, this isn't something I will be losing sleep over: I think there continues to be a strong case for us to participate in the Wikimedia fundraiser in future based on what we can do with the Gift Aid received on donations, and on the use we can make of the email addresses donors give us, but equally this doesn't fundamentally affect our likely income or our ability to fulfill our mission. Regards, The Land (talk) 19:21, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Wikimedian of the Year award

Some of you may remember from last year Wikimedia UK AGM, we gave out a few awards to thank those in the UK or abroad who have helped the UK Wikimedia movement. The idea was that this is going to be an annual thing. In light of that, we would like to invite nomination for this year winners. Please add your nomination on UK Wikimedian of the Year 2013/Nomination by 5pm on 10 May. Thanks! -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 16:23, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Gibraltarpedia is a success !

Just came across this on Commons:

The Greeting At The Port 1.jpg

--MichaelMaggs (talk) 16:04, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

Well on a more serious note it has just passed the 900 new articles mark (which compares with last years top project which had 550 articles). If you download Layar on your mobile phone and point it at the image above then it will add an augmented reality button to the image which will tell you about Gibraltar in the language of your phone (without a QR code or a pound of charity money being used). Can someone check that this works? It only works with (most) Android and Iphones at present. Victuallers (talk) 14:49, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

How can the Board of Trustees measure WMUK's performance as an organization?

As well as being recognised for doing well on increasing our quantity and quality of events, hosting GLAMwiki this year and planning Wikimania in 2014, it is useful to set some key indicators with hard measures for the board to assess performance. I am raising the general issue on the Water cooler to encourage different perspectives, though I am aware that few of our members get excited about this sort of thing. :-)

One of the key performance indicators (KPIs) that I have wanted to see published for a couple of years, is the number of active volunteers. Back in July/August 2012, this was part of a board workshop and we estimated the number of active volunteers at 87. However growth has not been as expected, and current views are that the number of active members today, nearly a year later, might be marginally greater but not by much. No systematic way has yet been proposed for measuring and reporting this number.

Another useful figure is the number of members of the charity. As a table or chart showing the trend has never been published, I pulled this together at Membership/numbers. The trend shows that we rapidly increased, nearly doubling in size, from 2011 to 2012, but since the last annual report, we appear to have dropped in registered members by 20% (based on last month's figure). Out of interest, if we consider this a critical demonstration of the "value" of the charity (debatable, though the above total of active volunteers would be an excellent metric to use were it available), we can compare that to our funding, this can be shown as:

  • 2011: £257k/165 members = £1,550 grant income per member ref
  • 2012: £500k/330 members = £1,520 grant income per member ref
  • 2013: £743k/272 members = £2,730 grant income per member ref

This shows that our spending in the last year has gone up by ~50% (or ~80% if counted per member head), whilst our growth in members (and volunteers) has not grown. Caveats: For 2011 I have only taken the grant income while in 2012, 2013 the activity plan has a figure that may include other income streams, in practice I don't believe this makes much of a difference when the trend is the important thing to assess. I am open to other suggestions of how to pick the best number.

It may well be that we can pull numbers together for increasing numbers of events and perhaps the increasing numbers of public involvement, or we could start to measure the benefit of creation of new public resources, such as the release of images from projects with The National Archives and the British Library. If basic KPIs such as members and volunteers continue to be slower to grow than expected in the charity's long term strategy, and yet the charity is seen as succeeding in delivering the mission in other ways, then we are short of verifiable measurements to give us balancing KPIs that show a more holistic picture.

One balancing factor that I kicked off in 2011, was to start our PQASSO quality assessment programme. This has been a modest success with the charity assessed at 'level 1' and we have plans to carry on to reach 'level 2', giving us good credibility for our policies and processes when benchmarked against other charities in the UK. Perhaps improved governance and quality may itself be considered a KPI? Thanks -- (talk) 10:55, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Thank you for raising this topic Fae. It is useful to be able to discuss this and it provides an excellent opportunity to highlight some of the work that's happening in the office to improve the way we measure and monitor our activity. Perhaps the most important example of this is our quarterly planning grid. We use this to highlight some very top level activities and then monitor progress at quarterly checkpoints. These are then highlighted and monitored using the "traffic light" system. Given that our year runs from February to January we have just completed the reporting for the first quarter. You can view this as a PDF file on this wiki here.
Another aspect of our reporting and monitoring is our report to the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC). We use this as a key way of demonstrating the value of our work to the FDC and also to show compliance. This page sits on Meta and our Q1 report can be seen here.
Monitoring and reporting on the number of volunteers is slightly trickier. This is dependent on how we define a volunteer and I'm not sure that there has ever been a satisfactory definition. One way of monitoring this might be to review the activity on this wiki. I returned from my holiday today and reviewed the last couple of weeks in recent changes and noticed some new usernames making a contribution here so it appears, at least to that extent, that we are successfully encouraging wider participation. I can't back this up with numbers. However, we have the excellent Katie Chan working with us and she has the specific remit of broadening volunteer participation. I have no doubt that her work will bring great benefits.
Regarding membership I do think that more can be done to recruit members and I believe that we will continue to improve. Many previous members have simply lapsed and some may have chosen not to renew because the charity has had a difficult year in terms of governance and press attention. Furthermore the only thing that we currently offer members is voting rights. This means that membership of our charity is not of great appeal to people who might otherwise join. It may be that as time passes we are able to refine and redefine membership to make it more attractive. If we were to do this I am confident that we would see a marked increase in charity membership. All this being said I don't see membership levels as being as important as the other metrics outlined above.
I do hope that my comments are useful and I am of course happy to discuss this further. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 16:31, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
Hi Stevie, you can see from the above that I was hoping for some alternatives to volunteer and membership numbers, as Key Performance Indicators that are currently being tracked so that the Board of Trustees use these to help our duty for oversight of operations and to assess the performance of the organization (rather than staff) against our strategic goals. No matter how we re-frame the current measured trends, they are below any past expectations in our long term strategy.
The quarterly planning grid is a good step forward in reporting, and contains a lot of detail. The column "WMUK KPIs if applicable" is a confusing mixed bag, as some of these are administrative service performance agreements, whilst others are statements of activities rather than measures (such as "Value for money checked when ordering"). To cherry-pick this list, it would be useful to have reports of easily quantifiable performance related figures such as "numbers of people taking part" and "new editors trained" for Outreach, and if these were reported to the board providing trends over a period of 6 or 12 months, it would be great to consider rolling these up as part of a high level organizational KPI. Though prospective numbers like this are listed in the quarterly planning grid, which covers the last 3 months, the trustees have yet to be supplied with any of the "KPIs" stated in the form of a simple report with numbers and trends rather than textual descriptions of activities. Thanks -- (talk) 07:22, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
Morning! Not to put a spanner in the works, but a genuine thought re ' they are below any past expectations in our long term strategy.' - what were these past expectations? (Are they clearly articulated anywhere?) More importantly - in light of the last 12 months of challenge, are they relevant? Were they even realistic in the first place? We need to be careful to make sure that we're not comparing the reality of 2013 to pipe-dreams from when we were a smaller organisation in a considerably different position. This is why the five year plan process is probably a good place to thrash this out - because its based on consultation and consensus on where we really are now and what we can realistically achieve. Please don't see this as a suggestion we shouldn't be ambitious or set stretching targets - I'm pro that :-) Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 10:18, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
  1. In the Board workshop of 2011, you can find Andrew Turvey's (our Chairman) presentation Minutes_27Aug11/Presentations#Growth. This set a target for 2013 of 2,000 members. At that time the Board of Trustees found that a realistic figure in the light of the fact that we were soon to appoint a CEO and set up an office with employees. That expectation shows we should have achieved six or seven times more members than we have today. You may wish to note that it was this scenario planning that Ting Chen gave us warmly encouraging feedback about. Were were a rare chapter that put forward and discussed strategy in this realistic way.
  2. In the 2012 Five Year Plan last year, we set a target of 1,000 members within 3 years. 2012_Five_Year_Plan#Members_and_Volunteers - Drawing a straight line, this means we should have around 400 or 500 members this year. We are more than 50% under this target.
  3. In the accepted 2012-13 FDC proposal there is a "Five year target of 2,000 membership" (i.e. to be delivered by 2016). m:FDC_portal/Proposals/2012-2013_round1/WMUK/Proposal_form Unfortunately this target is not meaningful to assess any current measurement against.
Significant growth in membership has always been a core performance indicator. The staff ought to be aware of these documented expectations of the board, if nothing else it would be a good idea to respond with helping the board and CEO set new realistic goals if these are unrealistic targets. Examining the historic pattern here, you may note that targets have been set increasingly longer distances into the future, and with declining expectations. It would be great if these became hard measurable targets for the year so the board could tell if the performance trend was sufficient or not, and to develop SMART actions and measurable plans so that performance review is based on firm foundations. -- (talk) 10:52, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
Quick point, but is that the same presentation that posited that we would end up with 700,000 members and an income approaching £60million per year? Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 11:23, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
One other point here. I'm currently reviewing the five year plan to 2018 which states that we aim: "To have 2,000 members, at least 25% of whom actively contribute to WMUK activities". I think that's a pretty clear and measurable target. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 11:45, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, Andrew's scenario planning was great fun. Certainly if I am still alive in 2018, I would look at the 2018 annual report with interest to see if it makes any reference to the current five year plan, or uses any of the targets. In the meantime it would be great if the board can work with non-subjective KPIs and credibly reported trends that we can discuss and review in 2013.
Let us be honest, if against any of our past expectations for the benefits of rapidly establishing our office, we have not grown the numbers of active volunteers in the last 12 months by any significant figure, and at the same time, the number of registered members has actually gone down since the last annual report, then we should admit that as a definite failure in performance by the charity, and now look to put a measurable and credible improvement plan in place that addresses these targets. -- (talk) 12:01, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
I think this is slightly disingenuous, honestly. There has been a small upward trend in membership since Katherine joined. The larger drop from last summer could be explained by a change in the way we record numbers although I'm not well versed in CiviCRM so can't be sure. I do know that Katherine worked very hard to cleanse the data when she joined to bring it up to date. One can only imagine how much our membership would have increased had we been active participants in the fundraiser. And we are seeing an increase in volunteers. We have certainly undertaken a lot of positive outreach work, including building relationships with institutions of global renown - and this is by no means hyperbole. Given the difficulties we've faced in the last year I think all things being considered we're doing OK and we have better things to come. There are plenty of reasons to be cheerful. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 15:52, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
Stevie, there are always reasons to be cheerful. I find it odd that you are so determined not to give one inch of room to the possibility that there may be something to worry about here. The fact that we can provide no evidence that the number of volunteers is growing or shrinking compared to last year, and based on your statement we are even unsure if the number of members of the charity has actually decreased or not over the last year (when using figures published in our annual report) would worry most other organizations. Do you accept that an improvement plan and some verifiable KPIs with trend figures being available right now, so that trustees can monitor operations might be a jolly good idea?
I'm not sure why you would consider it odd that I feel we have activity in place to encourage more volunteers to participate in our work and to increase membership numbers. I have total confidence in the work that's being done by staff and volunteers in this regard. On the topic of membership numbers from last year, all I can do is reiterate my previous point that I don't have access to, or understanding of, CiviCRM. As I said it may be that there was a data cleanse that meant that test entries or duplicate entries to the database may have been removed. I was actually writing from a personal perspective and not on behalf of anyone else. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 11:52, 13 May 2013 (UTC)
"consider it odd that I feel we have activity in place to encourage more volunteers" - where exactly did I say that? No, don't bother, though I am saddened to see that you are not prepared to accept that some any improvement is needed, this is just distracting from my original point which was to ask for good alternative KPIs that the Board of Trustees could measure performance of the Charity against. If we cannot compare any reliable numbers for Members or Volunteers to compare last year to this year, then we desperately need other measurements that are reliable. -- (talk) 12:24, 13 May 2013 (UTC)
I created this thread with the intention of having some views from members rather than only staff, hopefully there will be a few. -- (talk) 16:40, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

Slightly related r.e. performance indicators; following the Stamford outreach session I suggested some things we could do to improve our outreach follow up (mostly it seems fire and forget up to this point :P). Including:

  • Build a proper "outreach" team of volunteers willing to lend support to groups
  • Assign a specific volunteer to liase with the group we are giving outreach both before and after the event - to provide both on and off-wiki support.
  • Have a follow up schedule to check on how groups are doing, provide further guidance and see who is editing what

In the case of Stamford I've not heard a peep since, and am not aware of any real follow up with them as a group. Despite a lot of enthusiasm in the room! I think if we had a proper schedule of outreach this would help us with more data points both for new wiki volunteers and active membership. --ErrantX (talk) 15:12, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

I can help with regards to Stamford. I've been in fairly regular contact with them, particularly Dave Sones, who was the key contact and who initially contacted us regarding their project. He is a part of the local civic society. The key idea of their project was to basically rewrite all of the content related to Stamford on the English language Wikipedia. In the end, the project team decided not to go ahead with a wiki-based approach for a few reasons. Mostly, it was related to the idea that they couldn't maintain total control over the content but also related to the encyclopaedic nature of the content that is required by the community (citations and so on). There was an element of promotion / marketing within the project that wasn't appropriate for Wikipedia too, and the group accepted this. I believe Dave remains an editor on the English language Wikipedia which is good. I hope this is useful! Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 11:47, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

Measurements for "keeping the volunteer at the center"

At the Board meeting on Saturday, there was some discussion about how we can do better to meet our Volunteer Policy. This was produced so that our plans and strategy could be measured to see how well our aim for volunteers to lead the charity and be in the center of our activities was implemented.

As a quick and easy to do measure, I walked through the blog this morning to pull some numbers of who writes the Chapter blog posts, here are some results for 2013 only, hopefully accurate +/- 1 post:

  • Posts by volunteers:
    • 9 with 2 of these posts being by volunteers in paid positions, such as a paid WIR post.
  • Posts by staff from other organizations:
    • 7
  • Posts by WMUK staff
    • 33

Many of the posts by staff were standard notices, or posts generally on behalf of the charity, which might be counted as from the Board of Trustees, or the sort of thing that volunteers or trustees would not be expected to write. However more could have been written by volunteers, which might indicate a lack of interest in doing this from volunteers, or that this needs more encouragement.

I think this would be an interesting figure to track the trend of, but I don't think it would be the best measure. It would be interesting to find long term figures for:

  • number of projects managed or led by volunteers compared to those led by staff and paid volunteers
  • percentage of the annual budget led by volunteers compared to the amount led by staff and paid volunteers
  • moving average ratio of staff, volunteers and paid volunteers at events

These are just some rough suggestions, at the moment we do not publish any numbers or trends in order to assess the projects for how volunteer-centric they are, as far as I am aware. Any alternative views?

By the way, the Board does have a commitment to review the Volunteer Policy - "by the Board, in consultation with the Chief Executive and the community, on an annual basis...", so you can expect this to be part of a later survey or community consultation exercise this year. -- (talk) 11:15, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

Need to kick-start WLM 2013 in the UK if it is going to happen

A few of us had a brief phone meeting about WLM 2013 over a week ago (Commons:Commons:Wiki_Loves_Monuments_2013_in_the_United_Kingdom/planning), but I can't see any on-wiki progress since. If we are to run the competition in the UK this year, some hard work is now very much overdue. We are already quite some time behind on the timeline (see Commons:Commons:Wiki_Loves_Monuments_2013_in_the_United_Kingdom).

It would be a shame if the UK missed out again, for the 3rd year running, due to lack of interest.

My understanding is that WMUK is fully behind the community in backing this, and presumably what is needed is some greater volunteer action.

I don't want to step on anyone's toes, but unless another volunteer is in the middle of doing something I will in the next few days post some additional planning suggestions on Commons and will also advertise there to to try to bring in more help, as we certainly don't have enough people at the moment.

Any thoughts? --MichaelMaggs (talk) 14:50, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

I think Katie Chan, Richard Nevell and WereSpielChequers are in the process of this - but I'm not sure who is organising it as a volunteer or as a staff member, or which other volunteers are currently involved. I think we already have the list of monuments done.... I'll prod Richard Nevell and get him to reply here. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 12:45, 13 May 2013 (UTC)
There is a lot of value to be re-used in the work of volunteers last year. I suggest Commons:Commons talk:Wiki Loves Monuments 2012 and Wiki Loves Monuments brainstorm/Notes are good places to check, though I recall other discussions were documented which I don't have immediately at hand. -- (talk) 12:56, 13 May 2013 (UTC)
Michael, by all means add some planning suggestions to Commons. As you know from the planning meeting where we recapped previous attempts, there was interest last but it wasn't capitalised upon. At the moment interest is building, and since the first planning meeting three people have put their names down to help out, and encouraging more people to get involved is a good idea. I will check in with Katie on how we are doing against the timeline. It would be great to see Wiki Loves Monuments take off in the UK. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 14:45, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

Third Age Online Survey

We would like to invite you to take part in our survey among Wikipedia Users. This survey is part of the international research project “Third Age Online” (TAO). TAO aims at developing methods to activate and mobilize senior citizens to participate online and to improve their quality of life. In the framework of this project, this survey is executed by UNU-MERIT, a social science research institute of the United Nations University and the University Maastricht (The Netherlands).

The survey can be found at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/taowiki and is available in English, Dutch and German. It will query your activities, motivations and motives at the Wikipedia platform. We would appreciate it if you can fill out the questionnaire until May 15, 2013. This takes about 10 minutes of your time.

Information and contacts If you have questions about the project or this questionnaire, please visit www.thirdageonline.eu or contact Stijn Bannier, Researcher Maastricht University T.: 0031 43 388 44 79 bannier@merit.unu.edu

I'm posting this because until now we have 350+ German, 350+ Dutch and just 7 English responses. Any idea to increase the English responses are appreciated. Ter-burg (talk) 10:17, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

Hi Ter-burg, I just tried getting hold of you on IRC but we seem to have missed. Is there any background of discussion with RCom (m:Research:Committee) for this survey? There are often concerns about the privacy of data collected and whether IP addresses will be tracked or used in some way. Thanks -- (talk) 12:30, 13 May 2013 (UTC)
Addendum I did catch Ter-burg on IRC and they were not aware of how RCom could help. If I receive any later clarification, I will update this thread. -- (talk) 13:07, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

Program Evaluation and Design Workshop - grant to attend! - June 22-23, Budapest

Dear Wikimedia UK members,

Re the Program workshop in budapest this June

Apologies for short notice, but Wikimedia UK is willing to fund a volunteer to go to this event.

If you are available for 22–23 June 2013 and would like a grant from the UK chapter to attend this then please email me in the next 24 hours with up to 50 words explaining why you and the chapter would benefit from this, and where you would be travelling from.

If you are interested in the UK bidding for a future workshop of this type then please say so here.


Jonathan Cardy

GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives & Museums) Organiser
Trefnydd GLAM (Galeriau, Llyfrgelloedd, Archifdai a llawer Mwy!)
Wikimedia UK
Thanks for the interest, we will evaluate responses and get back to the applicants. We've also had interest expressed in running a further session in the UK anyone else who is interested in that please comment below: Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 15:50, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Wiki Loves Monuments 2013 in the United Kingdom is ready to go!

For the very first time, the UK will be competing in the annual Wiki Loves Monuments competition in September. This is a community-led effort, with support from WMUK. A number of volunteers have already expressed interest in helping to organize the contest, but there is much to be done and many more volunteers are needed, both now and over the coming few months.

If you would like to contribute towards making our first ever competition the great success we expect it to be, please visit Commons:Commons:Wiki Loves Monuments 2013 in the United Kingdom and leave your name there. Even if you are only able to offer us moral support, or want to take part as photographer in September, please leave your details anyway. You need not be based in the UK to help. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 18:45, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Jisc Wikimedia ambassador

As mentioned in a post on the WMUK blog three weeks ago, JISC are looking for a Wikimedia ambassador. From their advert: "Jisc invites tenders for an individual or organisation to be the Jisc ‘Wikimedia Ambassador' and run a nine month training and coordination project for the use of Wikimedia tools and techniques for educational purposes." If you're interested in applying, the deadline is at 12:00 on Wednesday 22nd May. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 10:51, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

File:End of Q1 2013-14.pdf

The PDF linked in the heading is to the quarterly planning grid, showing our progress at the end of the first quarter. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 12:29, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Research position available via Wikimedia Germany

Dear Wikimedia friends,

thanks for the valuable input on the project draft for the Chapters Dialogue[1] in the recent weeks and at the Chapters Meeting in Milan. I have now integrated the feedback and updated the Meta page accordingly. The process is designed to be open and transparent, so please feel free to comment on and enhance the description.

As of now, we are looking for a contractor (paid position, 6 months) from within the Wikimedia movement to design, realise and evaluate this project. We are looking for an enthusiastic and motivated person.


  • Background knowledge of the Wikimedia movement
  • Ability to shape and actively guide the dialogue
  • Willingness and ability to travel world-wide
  • Skills in inter-cultural communication
  • Good written and spoken English skills, favourably also in Spanish

and possibly other languages

  • Knowledge of project management and interview techniques
  • Ability to work independently and remotely
  • Attendance at this year's Wikimania 2013
  • Experiences in survey design and data analysis are nice to have
  • Be more of a story collector than a story teller ;)

Please apply until June 10, 2013 via email to nicole.ebber@wikimedia.de and include

  • a short motivation letter
  • an overview of your experiences in this field
  • a short description (max. 1500 characters) of what your first steps

in this project would be

  • your earliest entrance date
  • your time availability (full-time, part-time)

Find all the relevant information on the meta page. I am available for all your questions and input, feel free to get in touch or leave comments on the talk page.

Cheers, Nicole

[1] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Chapters_Dialogue

Why did you volunteer or become a member? Why should anyone else?

Hi all!

I've started a drafting page today (see here) to put together the content and ideas for a dual purpose handout the chapter can use to get expressions of interest from volunteers or potential members.

You can all help massively by dropping by and adding a sentence or two about how either volunteering and membership has led to interesting experiences, projects, or other outcomes. Also, I'm happy for use to draft section content - what would YOU say to get people to get involved?

There is no hard deadline on completing this, though I will probably be running around at the AGM session on writing the new members pack asking similar sorts of questions, so I would hope to see the first draft of that and this ready by the end of June!

Ping me on talk page or email me if you have questions - happy to answer and listen to advice :-)

Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 10:48, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Update! I've now added this into the mix - http://uk.wikimedia.org/wiki/Membership/Promoting - do have a look and add your thoughts :) Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 13:03, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

Ada Lovelace 2013

Hi All, I am working on setting up an Ada Lovelace event for 2013 - for now together with FindingAda we are feeling the ground to see if there is interest for running small events WMUK could support (via a blog post [3]. A while before there is progress, but if you are interested in helping get in touch. Daria Cybulska (WMUK) (talk) 10:36, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Does my Y chromosome disqualify me? If not, I'm happy to help setting something up. Harry Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 15:14, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
Not at all. Let me know what stage of organising you are interested in. Daria Cybulska (WMUK) (talk) 14:04, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
Do you think it would be a good idea to get in touch with the Girl Geeks? This seems like something they'd be interested in. Yaris678 (talk) 16:07, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
The Manchester cohort is already working on an event for October - I will be letting you know! If you have contacts for other groups, it would be good to get in touch. Daria Cybulska (WMUK) (talk) 17:02, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

List of UK meetups

I have just come across m:Meetup/UK, a page listing UK meetups. Could someone also transwiki the page to the WMUK site? WKUK should keep in touch with as many local meetups as possible. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 11:46, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Hi Michael, several us endeavour to keep WMUK's events list up-to-date, including meetups. I agree it's extremely important for the chapter to keep in touch with these informal groups as there's a lot it could do to help them with their Wikimedia activities and they're effectively a ready-made supply of volunteers across the country (hint to any staff or trustees who haven't been outside the M25 for a while ;) ). Harry Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 15:12, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Board Election questions

Only 5 days to go, and only 2/9 candidates have left any answers to the questions (at WikiConference UK 2013/Elections/Questions), which is very disappointing! I'm not going to Lincoln, & might otherwise be voting now. Past experience suggests that the electorate read answers carefully, and candidates who don't respond, or do so very late, lose votes as a result! Johnbod (talk) 13:24, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

Towards a five year plan 2013-18/Draft goals

Ahead of this weekend's AGM a new draft of the five year goals has been put up. It would be great to discuss the strategy at the AGM, and in the meantime comments are more than welcome on the talk page. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 16:01, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

OSM State of the Map scholarships

Wikimedia UK is planning to offer two (2) scholarships to OpenStreetMap's State of the Map 2013 conference, taking place on 6-8 September in Birmingham. Applicants must be based in the UK and be a contributor to both OSM and Wikimedia. Please see OSM State of the Map scholarships for more details. The deadline for application is this coming Monday 10 June 2013. -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 11:24, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

Welsh main page

In case people miss it above, Main Page/cy now exists. It would help if someone with the appropriate authority could check it out. If everything is OK, please can someone add {{language bar}} to the English-language Main Page and Membership, otherwise no one will know about the non-English pages and site navigation will be difficult. Cheers, AdamBMorgan (talk) 12:41, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

Hi Adam, this looks great! I'm really pleased that someone has taken the time to put together something in Welsh. I do have a quick question which you may be able to help with. Firstly, is there any intention to populate the Welsh language version of the homepage with the content from the blog or the events section? If so, how will this be maintained? Also, the page links to the Wikimedia UK Twitter and Facebook, which is great. But I don't think we're able to Tweet in Welsh at the moment. Is there an alternative Twitter that could be used? I don't know if @WikimediaCY (or similar) exists. If not, could be worth registering one for all things Wici - we can encourage followers for the account, too. Of course, if we have a follower or two that are fluent in Welsh and are willing and happy to translate tweets into Welsh then we can, of course, share those. Thank you! Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 14:35, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
I actually have very poor language skills, so I can help with structure but not content. Communicating in Welsh looks like a job for Llywelyn2000 or Rhyswynne. Further up this page Llywelyn2000 did write, "I certainly would be willing to answer any phonecalls, emails or other correspondance passed on to me and I know that other would also do this." I expect there is an intent to populate the page but that might partly depend on WMUK's communication policy. For example, how do you want it to work? They should also know if there are any preexisting Wici social media. - AdamBMorgan (talk) 16:20, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
Hi both. Let's keep things simple for now. I suggest the page goes on as it is. Yes we Tweet in Welsh - it's called Trydar, yes we could translate the WMUK Blog and WM Foundation link, but let's keep it simple. The Office have my phone numbers, email etc and could in theory ask me to discuss any Welsh language queries on their behalf, should they wish to do so in the future. All that's needed now is a link from WMUK's home page to this. Let's then discuss whether we can take it further in any way. Any internal dialogue can be done in English; this Welsh home page is a statement of intent, a warm welcome for potential members and enquiries and a recognition that our community is inclusive and that these islands of ours (which are today called UK) has a rich, diverse, colourful rainbow of different cultures and people. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 17:15, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
Blog: Ideally, it would be nice to have blog posts in Welsh, but for the time being, having English language blog posts appear on the Welsh version is OK IMHO. I couldn't personally promise to be able to translate them into Welsh (even with a flexible timescale), although having posts in Welsh could provide WMUK with a good avenue for publicity, as the aggregator Blogiadur gathers RSS for a wide range of Welsh language blogs/news sites and has decent readership - something to consider. Posts don't have to appear simutaneously, so timing isn't all that important.
Twitter: I've set up @wicipedia which automatially pumps out RSS for new articles created on the Welsh Wicipedia. Its not pretty, but its better than nothing. Again, having a Welsh account for WMUK would be nice. As WMUK's tweets don't appear on the wiki (as far as I've seen) this isn't such an issue for this discussion, but we have two opptions:
1. WMUK press officer e-mails content of Tweets to Llywelyn2000 or/and myself, and then sends out the tweet (on a Welsh WMUK account) when one of us finally get round to translating it. As tweets are so short and only 2-3 a day are sent out, it should not be a burden. The first one to translate should 'Cc' the other translator in the reply in case we duplicate work for ourselves.
2. Llywelyn2000 and I could get access to the WMUK_cy Twitter account and just translate and then tweet ourselves when we see something appearing on the English account (problem here is trusting us with access, and we have to be sure we don't miss anything - I sometimes only check my Twitter account every few days and I don't think Llywelyn2000 currently uses the service at all.
Both these are issues that can be incorportated in the proposed Welsh language police/guide discussed above, something I'm hoping to work on in a few weeks. Thanks again Andy for your work thus far.--Rhyswynne (talk) 09:59, 6 June 2013 (UTC)
It's just occurred to me that the Welsh language homepage could use a Welsh language banner. If someone could post the text here - "Supporting free and open knowledge" - in Welsh then I can create the image. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 12:00, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
Cool. "Yn cefnogi gwybodaeth agored a rhydd" --Rhyswynne (talk) 13:04, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
Done. I used Linux Libertine (OC) as font and used the same images as on en. Very unusual to have a "{{CopyrightUnclear}}" licence! I also added a video on Friday and finished the translation. The new blog needs translating, and a weekly upkeep with dates etc. Let me know if you have comments or suggestions. Thanks to all for your encouragement! Brilliant. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 15:17, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
Hello again. Just wanted to drop a note here to congratulate everyone involved in putting the Cymraeg main page together. It looks wonderful and it's marvellous we can now offer the homepage in Welsh. Great job. If there is anyone reading this page who would like to have a go at other languages, that would be excellent! Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 13:18, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

WLM competition in Welsh

I just noticed the above topic, and it would be great if we could run the WLM competition in Welsh as well as English, especially for the Cadw list. That shouldn't be too difficult to do, if someone would kindly volunteer to do some translations later in the summer :) Would either or both of you be willing to add your names to the Welsh translations team, at Commons:Commons:Wiki Loves Monuments 2013 in the United Kingdom/People ? --MichaelMaggs (talk) 10:39, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

Volunteer strategy

Hi all. A draft volunteer strategy for Wikimedia UK have been posted at Volunteers strategy. Please have a look, comment or even on the talk page rewrite or expand it as you see fit. -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 11:08, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

Wikimedia Foundation elections

Hi all,

Now that the Wikimedia UK AGM is over, there’s a couple of other important elections going on within the Wikimedia movement. The Wikimedia Foundation is electing three (3) community members to its Board of Trustees, the ultimate governing authority of the Wikimedia Foundation. In addition, the community is also electing two (2) members to the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) and also the FDC Ombudsperson.

You can find more information on all of this, including the candidate statements, ask the candidate questions, list of eligibility requirements for voters and information on how to vote on m:Wikimedia Foundation elections 2013.

As the work of the Foundation Board of Trustees impacts the ways the movement pursuit its goals, and the FDC are involved in the grants making process which the chapter was involved in last year and expects to be again this year, I would encourage as many of you as possible to take an interest and vote in these elections.

-- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 12:49, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

Review of the Train the Trainers programme

We are reviewing the Train the Trainers programme. The documentation can be found here. Feel free to join in and leave any comments on the talk page. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 16:08, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

Rheolwr Cymru/Wales Manager

Rheolwr Cymru

Mae Wici Cymru a Wikimedia UK yn chwilio am Reolwr i Gymru i ddatblygu'r Wicipedia Cymraeg a Saesneg yng Nghymru drwy ysbrydoli a hyfforddi golygyddion newydd drwy gynllun y prosiect Llwybrau Byw!

Dylai'r Rheolwr fod yn brofiadol mewn: golygu prosiectau Wicimedia (Cymraeg a Saesneg), cefnogi ein gwirfoddolwyr, rheoli personél, gweithio o fewn cyllideb a chyflawni targedau mewn pryd. Bydd y gwaith yn cynnwys penodi a chefnogi hyfforddwyr a threfnu a chynnal sesiynau hyfforddi ledled Cymru.

Mae medru siarad Gymraeg a Saesneg yn rhugl yn hanfodol.

Mae'r swydd am 12 mis a bydd yr ymgeisydd llwyddiannus yn cael ei secondio i Wici Cymru a fydd yn goruchwylio'r gwaith (ar y cyd gyda WMUK, y cyflogwr) a Llywodraeth Cymru fel cyd-noddwr.

Mae'r swydd hefyd yn amodol ar ganllawiau a chytundebau WMUK ac am 4.5 diwrnod yr wythnos. Ffurflen Gais a chwaneg o wybodaeth oddi wrth:

Jon Davies: jon.davies@wikimedia.org.uk ac ar wefan www.wikimedia.org.uk

Cyflog: oddeutu £25,500 - £29,000 yn ddibynol ar brofiad.

Dyddiad cau: 21ain o Fehefin, 2013 am 10 y bore. Cyfweliadau yn Wrecsam ar fore ddydd Mercher y 26ain o Orffennaf.

Wales Manager

Wici Cymru and Wikimedia UK are looking for a Wales Manager to develop the Wicipedia Cymraeg and English Wikipedia in Wales through encouraging and training new editors via our Llwybrau Byw - Living Paths Project.

The Manager must have experience of: Editing Wikimedia projects (both English and Welsh), supporting volunteers, managing personnel, working within a budget, and delivering outcomes in time. The work will involve appointing and supporting trainers, and organising and delivering training sessions throughout Wales.

Fluency in both the Welsh and English language is essential.

The post is for 12 months and the successful applicant will be seconded to Wici Cymru who will oversee the work, jointly with WMUK, the employer, and the Welsh Government as financial partner.

The post is subject to Wikimedia UK's guidelines and contracts and is for 4.5 days per week. Further information / application forms are available from:

Jon Davies at jon.davies@wikimedia.org.uk and on www.wikimedia.org.uk

Salary: In the range of £25,500 to £29,000 depending on experience.

Closing date: 21st of June, 2013 at 10 a.m.

Interviews to be held in Wrexham on the morning of Wednesday June 26th.

Applications are welcome. The closing date is 10 am on the 21st of June 2013. Applications cannot be accepted after that date. Interviews are planned for the morning of 26th of June 2013 in Wrexham. Candidates need to be available for this.

For an application form, please email jon.davies@wikimedia.org.uk

Full details

5 Year plan last call for suggestions


I will be creating the version to be discussed and approved by the board at its meeting in July, next week. So any more comments please. Thanks Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 09:25, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

Reviewing Train the Trainers.

All - please have a look at Training/Consultation (We have re-named this page as it may have been a little lost amongst all the other pages). I am looking at how the Train the Trainers project has worked so far and would welcome comments.

Those who have been through it will be asked to fill in an additional survey that will form part of the report. I will then be reporting to the July Board meeting. Thanks, Jon

Martin Poulter stands down as an Associate

In August 2012 the WMUK Board voted to appoint Martin Poulter as an Associate of Wikimedia UK so that the charity would continue to benefit from his experience after he stepped down as a Trustee. Since then he has supported our education work as an active volunteer and attended several board meetings to report on his work. Owing to a job offer that could conflict with this role Martin has now stood down as an Associate. The charity wishes him good luck. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 14:52, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

Editing on fashion topics to become fashionable?

The Netherlands Chapter had a really good session on editing their pages on fashion subjects. According to those who attended it attracted a lot of new people the vast majority of whom were women. A key target for us of course. We have some world class colleges in the UK where we could deliver a similar editathon. Does anyone think this is a runner and would you be interested in taking a lead on this? (via Jon Davies) Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 16:28, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

Review of Commons' Scope is now OPEN

I am pleased to announce the launch of a comprehensive review of our existing policy & guidelines on Commons: Project scope, and Commons:Photographs of identifiable people. This is an important review and will cover a number of contentious issues that have recently been extensively discussed both on and off Wiki. As background, you might like to look at these recent English Wikipedia Signpost articles:

Please visit the main review page to take part. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 22:32, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

Where should Board meetings be?

Just wanted to ask if you have suggestions on locations for Board meetings over the coming year! Since we're a national charity we should avoid having meetings in London all the time. The AGM was in Lincoln, but prior to that the last non-London Board meeting was last September in Coventry. We should aim to meet at least twice outside of London in the coming year. If you have any suggestions, drop me a line. The criteria are:

  • we'd like to go somewhere where there is a Wikimedia-related project going on that we can learn about / help with in some way (e.g. the Coventry meeting coincided with Wiki Takes Coventry and also with a project at the Herbert Museum)
  • it needs to be readily accessible by public transport,
  • we need a good meeting room available for 2 full days and a hotel for people to stay in (though this is the easy bit to sort out in many ways)

If you have any ideas let me know! Thanks, The Land (talk) 09:56, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

Queries about 2011 annual report

Wer900, who is an editor in good standing on the English Wikipedia, has started a thread about the WMUK 2011 annual report on the Wikipediocracy forum. He is pointing out that according to the report, the "cost of generating voluntary income" (£21,459) was greater than the voluntary income generated (£20,603). Is that correct, or is Wer900 misreading something? Would it be possible to give an indication of what the £21,459 were spent on?

I hadn't ever looked at the 2011 report before, but on following Wer900's link noticed that there was an apparent expenditure item of £3,000 for a Jimmy Wales lecture (listed on page 11). Does this relate to the University of Bristol lecture, which as far as I can tell was an event that charged an entrance fee? If so, was there a particular reason that donors' money rather than income from the sold-out event was used to cover costs? And who specifically did the money go to?

I am sure there will be an explanation for these expenditure items, and would be happy to forward that to the forum. Of course, WMUK board members and ordinary members are also cordially invited to register an account over at Wikipediocracy, if you would like to join the discussion and post a reply in person. Regards, --Andreas JN 07:08, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

Hello Andreas, thank you for getting in touch. I'll look into this for you and get back to you with a response soon. Thank you. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 07:38, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
Before my time but we will try and find out and report back here. Budget lines can appear quite complicated and sometimes misleading to the non-expert so Wer900 is right to ask the questions rather than jump to conclusions.
Re the 2012-13 accounts (another question raised in 'an other place') there was a draft statement reported by our treasurer at the AGM and the finalised SORP accounts are now completed, we await a signed copy in the snail mail this week for reporting to the next Board meeting in July. There is no exceptional delay. Just because a financial year ends it doesn't mean the accounts are ready the next day. It is a slow and meticulous process that involves a lot of professional due diligence at the best of times and something as simple as an unpaid invoice or a refund owed us by a supplier can cause weeks and weeks of delays. This time a couple of missing bank statements needed to be re-issued and that took a long time. Our accountants gave us an unqualified statement for the accounts so all is well and Wer9000 can anticipate many happy hours poring over our accounts. If S/he emails me I will priortise a hard copy in the post. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 08:18, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
Hi Andreas. The "cost of generating voluntary income" also covers the income listed under "fundraising events", which was the annual fundraiser - I think we kept that separate to distinguish what funds were covered by the fundraiser agreement with the WMF. It was primarily paypal fees if I recall correctly.
The 'Jimmy Wales lecture' was indeed the Bristol one, but the £3k listed is an estimate of the donation made in kind - it's there both in the income and expenditure columns, but no money changed hands, and I don't think we covered any costs using money from other donors. If I recall correctly, there wasn't an entrance fee for the event, and it was also freely webstreamed. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 08:59, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the replies. I've reproduced Jon's and Mike's answers over there, and suggested that if people have further questions, they might as well ask them here. Regards, Andreas JN 09:30, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
Andreas, it's interesting that "as far as [you] can tell" the Bristol lecture charged an entrance fee, when a quick Google search for "Jimmy Wales talk Bristol" find publicity materials promoting it as a free event. Could you spell out for us what sources or what reasoning led you to the false conclusion? It would be good for the charity to know where this urban legend started, whether in someone telling lies to smear Jimmy Wales or the charity, people on online discussion boards with over-vivid imaginations, or an honest misunderstanding (of what information?). You might have to set one of your correspondents straight, assuming they're in the latter category, or otherwise ignore them. What light can you shed? MartinPoulter (talk) 12:11, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
I saw [4], which said the event was "sold out". Thanks for the info, Martin. Andreas JN 20:49, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

Simplifying language and avoiding acronyms

Just wanted to re-draw attention to this old discussion. I still think we should say "virtual office hour" rather than "IRC office hour" etc. MartinPoulter (talk) 19:41, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

Good point. I've changed 'IRC' to 'virtual' on our front page, events page, and have moved IRC office hours to Virtual office hours. That should make it less likely that will slip bback into the habit of using the acronym again. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 09:47, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
To me, the confusing bit was always the "officer hours" not the "IRC". What does "office hours" mean? Yaris678 (talk) 21:36, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

London based volunteer - time to help the charity with data?

Hey all, I posted this on the community mailing list a few days ago and no response :( Asking again here in case it catches anyone's eye.

You may have picked up the odd mention in staff reports to the board or passing conversation, but one of the pieces of work I'm responsible for is the Charity's gift aid records and claims.

After delay getting our first claim through, then needing to update our records with HMRC so the right people and bank details were on our record, I'm ready to work on the outstanding data files for the claims for last financial year.

However, it's a big job that can't really be automated - it involves reformatting and then checking through spreadsheets with mixture of search and replace and common sense to make sure the claim records we're submitting are those of individuals (not companies) and include real name data.

Is there someone who would be interested and able to help? It would require at least a couple of days in the office next month - its not really appropriate to do remotely and you would have to sigh an undertaking to treat the data confidentially.

We can support some expenses here (travel, lunch/per diem) but I'm not sure we could pay for accommodation - its therefore most probably an appeal to those who are in/near london based to help.

Do let me know if you think this could be something you could do!

Thanks all :-) Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 10:41, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

Mozilla Festival

Hello everyone. I write regarding the Mozilla Festival. It's taking place this October and has as its focus the future of the web and all things webmaking. There's currently a call for session proposals which can be seen here If anyone is interested in putting something together that's Wikimedia-related please do get in touch and let me know if there's anything Wikimedia UK may be able to do to support you. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 16:02, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

This looks very cool. I like the fact that it focuses on practical sessions, rather than talks. No ideas for a session myself but if someone wants someone to bounce ideas off or give feedback then I'm happy to do that. Yaris678 (talk) 21:53, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

Opinions on merchandise

Wikimedia UK is currently conducting a review of its merchandise. As part of this we have sent out a questionnaire to some people. If you would like to fill in the survey email me and I'll send you a link. It's a short survey so shouldn't take too long to complete. Alternatively, feel free to leave your opinions here. For reference, I've listed the merchandise we regularly use below:

  • Wikipedia globe stickers
  • WMUK stickers
  • Wikipedia pens
  • Wikipedia button badges
  • Commons button badges
  • A6 notebooks
  • Lanyards
  • Wikipedia car stickers
  • Wikipedia beer mats
  • WMUK mugs
  • WMUK annual report
  • About Wikimedia UK fliers
  • Cheat sheets
  • Creative Commons flyers
  • Education case study booklets
  • Welcome to Wikipedia booklets
  • Wikipedia t-shirts
  • Wikipedia polo shirts

We want to know what in your experience works and what doesn't, and if you have ideas for items not on the list which might prove useful please let us know (especially if you have design ideas...). Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 14:47, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

  • Key rings should be added to the list. I collect them, and almost all the tourist places stock them so they must sell. Thryduulf (local talk) (en.wp talk) 15:26, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
Good idea although these are not for sale - rather, give outs at outreach events etc.
  • Cheat sheets are useful to hand out at events for newbies, but I'd add space for them to write their user name. Beer mats are good as a promotional item, I gave a few out at the GLAM Wiki conference and they were amazingly popular amongst curators. But generally we need a cash value on the promotional items idea - if we are giving stuff away for free then it needs to be either very cheap, very promotional or very instructional. So an office mug "someone in this office supports Wikipedia with a gift aid donation to Wikimedia UK" would cost a few quid, but would probably be a worthwhile investment as a gift to anyone taking out a direct debit or an existing direct debit person who complete the gift aid form. For Merchandise it is more a matter of what can we profitably do and have fit our brand values. At Christmas I usually give a few people calenders. If Wikimedia sold a calender in the Autumn I might well buy a couple. So I think we could get into the charity calender business and that if we had a calender stocked by the big retailers we could get a serious amount of cash, we would also be promoting Wikimedia as a source of very good images. We could potentially do xmas cards, but in that case we would get into the vexed issue of whether we use seasons greetings or Xmas greetings - I'm not sure that a global culturally neutral organisation should get into such a culture specific product. And then of course we should do flip flops. I would love to walk across a sandy beach leaving [citation needed] on the sand behind me.... That's the sort of merchandise I would buy for myself. Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 09:34, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
  • A couple of people in the survey noted that while the cheat sheets are useful, we should perhaps revisit their design. They're intended to be taken home to use when trainers or someone who knows wikicode isn't around to help. Is the idea of including somewhere to write their user name in case they forget what it is? Is this a common problem? Last year there was a calendar for the overall winners of Wiki Loves Monuments. I don't know what the print run was or how many were sold, but I'll email around for more details. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 11:23, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
  • You read my mind Michael. I've got a memory stick from my old university with their logo on which I use all the time. I'm going to start looking at options for stuff like key rings, memory sticks, and the other items suggested in the survey. If anyone has any ideas, please do get in touch. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 11:14, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Plus 1 to Memory sticks. Especially if we can preload them with some pdfs such as a "how to edit wikipedia". Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 13:08, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I rather like that idea. We wouldn't want to completely fill up the memory stick, but we could even include a short video about Wikimedia UK. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 09:32, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

I'd love a memory stick and a keyring. These are awesome ideas! --Deskana (talk) (email) 10:49, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Flossie conference 8-9 November 2013

Hi All, Flossie is running a two-day event for women who use or are otherwise interested in any aspect of open technology, open knowledge, digital arts, and social innovation. They have a call for proposals that closes on 19 July. It sounds like a perfect opportunity for us to get involved - we are even mentioned in their proposed section 'Open Collaborative Communities'. Would anyone be interested in contributing? If so let me know so I can help. Thanks! Daria Cybulska (WMUK) (talk) 13:07, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

Probably worth noting the deadline is 19 July. -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 13:50, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

Ashley Van Haeften (Fae) steps down from Wikimedia UK board

Hello everyone, just a quick note to let you know that Ashley Van Haeften (User:Fae) has resigned form the Board of Wikimedia UK. You can see more details on our blog post here. Thank you. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 15:31, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

Thanks to Fae - "thanks and appreciation to Fae for all of the time, effort and expertise he has contributed to the charity over the past two years".... Why don't we appreciate our volunteers more?

If any volunteers are contemplating standing for the board then please have a look at Fae's brief post, which briefly summarises Fae's resignation and Fae's donation of literally thousands of hours of selfless work. It should include that this is the man who put together our first GLAM outreach outside England ( Scotland). He negotiated deals with the British Library, National Archives and the Wellcome Trust. Fae also put together the Chapters group in Berlin together with four other leading chapters. Fae also took a leading role in getting WMUK established as a registered charity and helped us resist pressure from WMF board members and staff to not take part in the fundraiser. Fae took a supporting role with many large projects enabling WMUK to rightfully claim that it was a leader in the GLAM field. The first WMUK committee with delegated powers was led by Fae. Fae also led for WMUK at international GLAM events including New York, London and Amsterdam. Fae recently helped in setting up the WIR roles at the National Science Museum, and ... and ... and

Oh and I should also mention that Fae has categorised more pictures on Wikimedia commons for the UK than Wiki Loves Monuments has for the rest of the world. This is an achievement that when it was first discussed was thought to be beyond value (but it also was thought to be somewhere between "major boring project of unknown duration for a dozen volunteers" and "impossible".)

Doug Taylor also stood down from the board at the last AGM and he too achieved amazing things. I'm not sure why these people's achievements are not being mentioned and I apologise for nor doing a more thorough job here. These people both worked practically full time for WMUK and their contribution should be more than my comment on a talk page, a generic thanks or just a record of when and where they stood down. If we don't appreciate them then we don't deserve these volunteers. Thank you Fae and Doug on behalf of myself at least. Victuallers (talk) 21:21, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

Agreed. Fae, despite tumultuous drama and events, has been a dedicated and hard-working volunteer for the chapter. For this, he deserves praise for his enthusiasm and diligence. And the same for Doug. —Tom Morris (talk) 08:52, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
Roger and Tom, thanks for your comments. It's certainly important that we focus on the positive achievements of all of our volunteers. This is something that has been discussed many times but I think it's important that we speak about it again. How can the chapter do a better job at acknowledging the positive contributions of volunteers? Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 09:06, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
There's a lot to be said for barnstars. Recently I gave barnstars to Johnbod and EdwardX for the time they spent manning a stall at the Open collections trust exhibition. Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 09:38, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
I'd like to add one more comment here if I may. When Doug retired from the Board the chapter offered him very heartfelt thanks, both publicly and privately, and with good reason. He offered endless support to the chapter and his dedication to open knowledge, and Wikimedia projects, is remarkable. This is a good opportunity to reiterate those thanks to Doug. (Sorry, forgot to sign so signing now) Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 13:33, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your thoughts Roger and Tom, I look forward to working with you on future projects. -- (talk) 19:21, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

Upcoming Wikimedian in Residence projects in the UK

Dear All,

Following from some successful projects earlier this year, Wikimedia UK has been working on setting up further Wikimedian in Residence projects. I am pleased to say that three exciting ones have been approved by the board at the recent meeting:

  • York Museum Trust
  • The Royal Society, London
  • The University of Manchester Library

We are now discussing the details with them. It will be a couple of months before the projects start, but we wanted to share these exciting news with you now. What would you like to see happen within these projects? You can start letting us know now!

Do you live in the area and would like to be on the recruitment panel? Do get in touch as well. (daria.cybulskaatwikimedia.org.uk; jonathan.cardyatwikimedia.org.uk

All the best - Daria Cybulska (WMUK) (talk) 10:59, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

Tender specification for review consultant

At the board meeting on July 14th the Board agreed, in line with the Hudson Review to hire a consultant to conduct a short independent audit of governance, and in particular the progress the charity has made in governance issues this year. Detail of the tender specification are on this wiki. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 10:50, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Looking for potential trustees in Scotland

Wikimedia UK is a maturing charity with passionate volunteers, dedicated staff and devoted Trustees. We’re part of the global Wikimedia movement which supports projects such as Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and Wikiversity (to name but three).

A review of our governance practices and procedures found was that we’d become even more effective with a larger and more diverse Board of Trustees. This is where you come in.

If you have an interest in Wikimedia projects, a commitment to open knowledge and the desire to help, we would love you to join us in helping to lead the charity through a period of growth and diversification.

To make sure that we genuinely represent the whole of the UK we are particularly keen to recruit someone based in Scotland.

We especially welcome applicants with an experience and understanding of Wikimedia projects but this isn’t essential. Energy, positivity and motivation are equally important.

We hope that this appeals to you and, if so, please contact Richard Nevell, our Office Support Assistant, for more information on 020 7065 0990 or richard.nevell@wikimedia.org.uk

Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 16:23, 19 July 2013 (UTC)

This reads more like an advert than an update at the water cooler. Am I right in thinking that the above text has been placed in a number of places that potential trustees from Scotland might come across it? Yaris678 (talk) 18:00, 21 July 2013 (UTC)
Bore da Yaris! I've placed a link on Uicipeid na Gàidhlig to the ad. Robin Owain (WMUK) (talk) 06:32, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
It has indeed, and thank you Robin for adding it somewhere else. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 15:51, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

Template needed

It works. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 10:08, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Thank you Katie. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 22:56, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Instant bot to reverse editor decline

The best ideas sometimes come in strange ways and I thought I'd share this one just in case someone thought it was possible. At our staff training day yesterday a few of us pointed out that we started editing when we saw terrible spelling mistakes but that this is not a big feature of Wikipedia nowadays. So how about a bot that inserts annoying and prominent spelling mistakes to help encourage new editors? ;) Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 07:33, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

What? Snowolf How can I help? 10:47, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
Probably a suggestion to hold on to until the morning of April 1, 2014. :-) 10:51, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
WP:BEANS! —Tom Morris (talk) 14:56, 13 August 2013 (UTC)


I've found two typos in Membership/Newsletter/2013/July#Review: Sphingonet Wikipedia workshop. There's an "of" that should be an "or" in the second-to-last paragraph and a "not" that should be a "now" in the last paragraph. Yaris678 (talk) 11:30, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

Thank you, fixed. -- KTC (talk) 16:12, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Katie. Yaris678 (talk) 15:50, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Actually Katie. I've just read your piece Membership/Newsletter/2013/July#Opinion: Where are the women in Wikipedia?. Great piece. But there are a few typos in there too:

  • Paragraph 3 - "Wikiboks", should be "Wikibooks".
  • Paragraph 5 - "compare", should be "compared" or "in comparison"
  • Paragraph 5 - "reason" should be "reasons"
  • Paragraph 10 - "bias that exist" should be "biases that exist" or "bias that exists"
  • Paragraph 10 - With "an underrepresented topics", drop the "an" or make "topic" singular.

Yaris678 (talk) 16:32, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Thanks. Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 13:38, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for doing the fixes Katie. I have to say, it feels kind of rude to point them out. Any chance that I could be made an admin on this wiki? (Or some other way to give me the edit-protected right.) That way I can just quietly make such changes myself. Yaris678 (talk) 15:44, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Making you an admin sounds sensible to me (I'll vouch for you, for whatever it's worth). Somebody (Katie?) could also give you access to the internal wiki where the newsletter is drafted. Harry Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 18:09, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Harry. Do I need to apply somewhere or should I just wait for the cogs to turn? Yaris678 (talk) 08:10, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
There's no formal application process, just asking one of the staff works fine as we all have 'crat tools and we can sort out accounts on the internal wiki. In this case, asking on the water cooler works too as it's a high profile page. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 09:21, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Actually, there is an agreed process for this - as per Wikimedia:Administrators, "certain trusted users are also be made Administrators if they apply to the Board and are approved." That policy's been there since before 2009... Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 10:40, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
I stand corrected. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 10:48, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
I promise I won't be offended if someone takes the admin bit back off me until the board have had a chance to consider my case. Yaris678 (talk) 12:21, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

(unindent) To be fair, there are several people (myself included) that have been given admin rights by staff, so you're not the only one following the policy. I have updated Administrators to give both the policy, and the current actual practice. Given the volunteer-driven nature of the charity, it seems a bit backwards to make you have to seek board approval for adminship rights, especially since there's more pertinent matters for them to be focussing on. But I'm not a board member, so what do I know? ;-) --Deskana (talk) (email) 13:56, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

This is basically a hangover from 2009 when the board did all the work - so the admin rights on the wiki was an important thing. I'll raise it for discussion at the next board meeting, but we can probably just delegate this to the Chief Executive if the board agree. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 14:05, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Why not just delegate it to anybody who has the 'crat bit and five minutes? It's not as if there's much damage that can be done with admin tools on a wiki like this. But then I'm not nearly important enough to make that sort of decision! ;) Harry Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 16:19, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

Wikimedia UK office experiencing email problems

Wikimania 2014 & Wikivoyage

I know that Wikimania 2014 isn't technically a WMUK project but this seemed a good place to bring it up: With the event happening in London, it would make sense for the London Wikivoyage pages to be improved for the benefit of all the visiting Wikimedians. We have a Wikimedia travel guide; it would be good to use it. While adding a listing to voy:en:London/City of London, home of the Barbican, I noticed that the page status of many London districts can be quite low. The City is at guide status but most are just at usable status and only voy:en:London/Hampstead is star status (the scale goes stub-->outline-->usable-->guide-->star). This is within the chapter's sphere of responsibility but I don't know if this is something the chapter could/would be involved with, or just UK Wikimedians doing bits (I'm going to continue editing but I don't really know enough about the city to cover everything). - AdamBMorgan (talk) 14:37, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Hi Adam, thanks for your suggestion, which I think is a good one. You're correct that Wikimania itself isn't a Wikimedia UK project but it would make sense for us to try and encourage improvement of WikiVoyage content related to London - and in as many languages as we can, too. Do you have any suggestions on how to do this? If you;d like to deliver / promote a project around this then I'd be more than happy to lend my support and get involved in helping out on this - both as a staff member and as a volunteer :-) Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 14:56, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I'm wondering whether this would be a good way to introduce (secondary/high) school children to wiki editing. We have been discussing possible ways to involve school children over the coming year and this may indeed be a relatively useful and certainly interesting way of doing it. --Toni Sant (WMUK) (talk) 08:51, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
RE: "Do you have any suggestions" -- to be honest, no, not at the moment. At least, I'm not sure how best to do it. I should probably have waited to bring it up at the meet up in August, so I could discuss it a bit first. On the bright side, Wikivoyage is probably the easiest Wikimedia project on which to make micro-contributions. The majority of a standard guide article is made up of template-formatted bullet points, under standard verb-based headings (ie. "See", "Buy", "Eat", etc) which use templates of the same name (ie. {{buy}}, {{eat}}, etc). On top of which, a contribution could be just adding a good local restaurant. - AdamBMorgan (talk) 16:41, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Also, be careful about wanting to introduce secondary/high school students to Wikipedia editing. There have already been a lot of rumblings on English Wikipedia about the need for better child protection policies. WMUK may need to look into the logistics of that with DBS (formerly CRB) checking for volunteers and so on. DBS checking is apparently now free for volunteers. I'm happy to have a DBS check done, as I've been happy to disclose my identity documents to the WMF. —Tom Morris (talk) 10:51, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
It'd also be great if people could help improve London on OpenStreetMap. I do my part in making sure that certain drinking establishments are kept up-to-date, but there's a lot of other things in London that need improving! —Tom Morris (talk) 10:43, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Open Government Partnership annual summit call for proposals

Hello everyone. The Open Government Partnership is hosting its annual summit on 31 October and 1 November. This could be a good opportunity to build networks in this area and find ways that we can demonstrate the value of Wikimedia projects. We may be able to find ways to influence thinking around open knowledge and how this can fit in with public policy. They have issued a call for proposals which has a deadline of 1 September. I wonder if this is of interest to anybody and, if so, this is a good place to discuss some ideas. Many thanks. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 13:10, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

  • Given the just-started discussions with City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) which — I hope — will lead to their webcasts of council meetings, plus Q&A sessions, ending up archived on MediaWiki servers, this is a point to ensure gets some discussion there. --Brian McNeil / talk 17:06, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Student societies 2013 campaign

Wikimedia UK is keen to support student societies towards a better understanding and improvement of Wikipedia and its sister projects. We are currently looking for a volunteer to help me develop a strategic plan we've drafted for reaching out to university student unions across the UK. This work relates to WMUK's developing efforts to support Student Societies focused on editing Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects; it essentially involves an intensive period of concentrated effort to reach out to potential new student societies. Details available here. --Toni Sant (WMUK) (talk) 16:53, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

'Illustrating Wikipedia brochure' - your thoughts?

Hi All, a new brochure about Wikimedia Commons has been produced. Designed to be a companion brochure to the Welcome to Wikipedia brochure, it covers what Commons is, how to upload files, how to use files, and the basics of free licenses - File:Illustrating Wikipedia brochure.pdf. We would like to have a version printed in the UK as well. What are your thoughts on the content? Do you think we already have a brochure that does the job better?

Do let Stevie know (stevie.bentonatwikimedia.org.uk or comment here) - we may even manage to get it ready for Wiki Loves Monuments in September!

Thanks, Daria Cybulska (WMUK) (talk) 14:34, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Wikimania Wikidata and a talk

Hello everyone! :) Today DanielK(WMDE) told me that WMUK (or someone from WMUK that was at Wikimania) was looking for someone to 'give a wikidata introduction' talk of some sort! If anyone knows who was talking to the Wikidata team in Hongkong about this (maybe you are that person) then give me a shout as I may be able to help :) Addshore (talk) 20:39, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

Awesome! Katie is probably the person to contact for details. (I did one of these a few months back and it went well - will happily pass on my notes - but don't have much free time at the moment to do others.) Andrew Gray (talk) 10:49, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
I got a poke from Mrjohncummings here. :) Addshore (talk) 10:56, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Might have been me, I've had a few requests, I put a note on your talk page --Mrjohncummings (talk) 10:56, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Last chance for comments on Train the Trainers


All comments welcomed especially on the recommendations.

Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 08:24, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

Wikidata training

Forthcoming page creation

Just a notice that I'm going to be making a lot of smallish sub-pages with custom CSS, in a pattern that may seem like a wikivous breakdown when looked at in Recent Changes, but the intention is to create a flowchart tool showing external partners how best to work with Wikimedia. I will do this for the Jisc collaboration project, but hopefully the way I implement it will mean there can be multiple entry points. MartinPoulter Jisc (talk) 16:29, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

Sounds very posh! Richard Symonds (talk) 10:45, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

Women's Engineering Society conference 4 October 2013 - would you like to attend to talk about Wikipedia?

Hi All, WES has invited Wikimedia UK to join their one day conference [5] (annual opportunity for women in engineering and related technologies to get together to discuss energy technologies). They are running a parallel session that's much broader in scope - and we got a slot to talk about Wikipedia, gender gap and how Editathons could increase the presence of women, and especially women in engineering, on Wikipedia. I will be attending, and if a volunteer would like to join me to co present I should be able to secure a free entry. daria.cybulskaatwikimedia.org.uk. Many thanks! Daria Cybulska (WMUK) (talk) 14:08, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

EduWiki 2013 Call for Proposals - extended deadline

Please note that the call for proposals deadline for the EduWiki Conference 2013 has been extended to Friday 30 August at noon. --Toni Sant (WMUK) (talk) 15:08, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

Call for Editathon and/or Hackathon ideas at EduWiki 2013

In an effort to provide a wider range of activities over the weekend of the EduWiki Conference 2013, we are now calling for ideas for possible editathons and/or hackathons to take place during or immediately after the conference. We are particularly looking forward to hearing from people who already have the relevant links needed for such events. Wikimedia UK would be able to cover expenses, as appropriate. The deadline for proposals is Friday 6 September 2013 at noon BST. --Toni Sant (WMUK) (talk) 12:09, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Proposed deletion: Wikimedia_projects

I'm proposing deletion of this page. It should be (and is) part of all our communications that Wikimedia is about more than just Wikipedia. But that page doesn't achieve this. Because it's not easily findable, it's easy for it to be neglected and go out of date (as has happened). It doesn't have information that isn't duplicated in lots of other places. MartinPoulter (talk) 14:29, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

One source of confusion I have come across a few times for people dealing with the chapter is the distinction between "Wikimedia projects" and projects organised by Wikimedia UK. Something that explains this could be useful and I'm not sure deleting this page improves anything. 18:46, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
It's out of date information, it's duplicate information (which Google penalises) and for good reasons it's not likely to be maintained. It will be misleading to a newcomer who stumbles across it. So its continued existence is negative rather than positive or neutral. That's the deletion rationale. Fair point about the ambiguity of "projects". MartinPoulter Jisc (talk) 09:40, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Only one page link to Wikimedia projects (apart from the water cooler), and I don't think removing that link from the page would be an issue. I'll delete that page tomorrow if no one objects. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 11:32, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

Proposed deletion: Activities/Geographical diversity

I'm very keen that we monitor the geographic diversity of our activity. However, this page doesn't seem to be the way to do it. It was a good idea at the time to have an "audit" of our activities around the UK, but it hasn't become embedded in the way we work. It seems to me that the same function could be performed by intelligent use of the category system (Events in North-East England, Events in Northern Ireland...) and that this is more likely to be embedded. Someone creating a page for an event will look at an existing page for a similar event and copy the features it has. So we just make sure past events and geography-specific activities have a geographical category, that should send things on their way (or am I being too optimistic?) In the Economics Network (also mandated to serve the whole UK) we used to categorise our activity according to which of ten broad regions it happened in. MartinPoulter (talk) 14:41, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

I think that page has been long forgotten about. It can be deleted or tagged historical as far as I'm concerned. Harry Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 14:51, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
There are no incoming links to the page apart from this page and two user talk pages. If there are no objections by tomorrow I'll delete it. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 16:12, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Richard. At some point I'll start adding geographical categories to stuff so we're still tracking that aspect of diversity. MartinPoulter (talk) 12:31, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

Supporting the UK's first Wiki Loves Monuments competition

Hi all,

For those who haven't been following organizational progress of the WLM competition to date, we have a small group of dedicated volunteers and staff who are working hard to ensure that the UK's first contribution to the world's largest photographic competition goes without a hitch. We have a nice competition website to attract competitors (many of whom will not be Wiki savvy, and will be new contributors & editors). We are expecting this to be quite a big deal, and the staff at Wikimedia UK have been busy making arrangement for publicity as well as helping out with the lists. We hope to get press notices and image spreads in the Metro, which publishes in Bath, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Nottingham, Newcastle and Sheffield, as well as in The Times (thanks Stevie). The high-profile nature of the competition has been strengthened by the agreement of Steve Cole ABIPP, Head of Photography at English Heritage, to join the national judging panel (jury) (thanks Richard N.)

The WLM volunteers will do everything they can to make sure the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland lists are in a good state before the start of the national and international competitions - September 1st is just three weeks away now. We are all very aware that the deadline is looming, and that a quite a lot of work still remains to be done. Everyone is working as fast as they can and due to the rapidly approaching deadline it appears that unfortunately a few errors have slipped through. Really, we need more people to help out. There is a particular need for editors who are experienced with bots or scripts to pitch in now, not only to help fix some of the errors, but also to help put up the remainder of the listed building data using the standard WLM templates. If you can help in any way, please make yourself known to the WLM team, either via my talk page, or by adding your name to the helpers' page on Commons. If you can actively help now, you should also, please, sign up to the Wiki Loves Monuments UK mailing list, where you can obtain detailed information. You can see the current status of the data uploads by going to the Progress lists for Wikipedians; you can see there, for example, that we still need someone to deal with the uploading of almost all of the Scottish data. We can provide structured lists of data for those who can help with this.

If you can't help with bot work, but are able to contribute by tidying up or correcting the WP lists for your area, that would still be very much appreciated. You can get to the lists by going via one of the following links:

The best place to report systematic list errors, to ensure that the WLM volunteers see them, is not on this thread, but rather at the main WLM-UK help desk.

Given the fact that the competition will be starting in just three weeks time (whether the UK team is ready or not!), I would ask that editors do not make any radical changes to the en Wikipedia lists at this stage which could inadvertently destroy the competition. In particular, please do not make mass reverts, unless you are able to put everything back correctly, and please do not remove or change the WLM template structure. This is essential for the automated upload tool to work properly, and also for the WLM international team to ensure that the data gets correctly harvested and copied into the worldwide Wiki Monuments Database.

After the competition has finished, at the end of September, would be a good time for the community to discuss - if desired - any possible template improvements to the way in which the UK data is standardized and displayed.

Thanks for bearing with us and for helping out if you can. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 12:12, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

And thanks to you Michael and everyone working on this - absolutely brilliant and I hope we can lead the way in supporting the newbies (especially) to remain active after the main event has happened. Ideas anyone? Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 08:26, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

Virtual Learning Environment workshop day

Hello everyone, as you probably know Wikimedia UK has been developing a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to teach people about Wikipedia. Progress is going well and we'd like to invite you to a workshop day on Saturday 9 November. The workshop will highlight the features of the VLE, look at how we can make good use of the tool, seek community involvement in the content, maintenance and localisation of the tool. Lunch will be provided on the day and I'm hoping very much to see you there. Please do feel free to drop me a line with any questions. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 11:22, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

List of interested people:

Wikimedia UK contact database migration

This weekend wikimedia uk will be migrating its contact records management database, Civi CRM from its current platform hosting (Joomla) to a new platform (Drupal) and the most up to date version of the software available.

This will mean at some points of the weekend users will notice changes on the donate.wikimedia.org.uk domain as the new database and web forms are migrated and re-established.

If you experience an issue please log it on the WMUK instance of Bugzilla - https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org.uk/ - you can register an account with your email of choice and this will be activated for you,

User testing of the migrated version will commence on Monday and will hopefully establish quickly any remaining issues, allowing the chapter to continue to use the database as before, with a view to moving on to adding new features that will allow for a better experience all round (including better sign-up forms for new and renewing members, events forms and so on)

Please do feel free to reply here or email me directly (katherine.bavageatwikimedia.org.uk) with questions.

Thanks all! Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 11:36, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Did this go OK? --MichaelMaggs (talk) 10:49, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
It went pretty awesome - thanks to User:Kelson! We're ironing out two bugs at the moment - one around changing payment statuses, the other about installing the WYSIWYG API - you can view these in Bugzilla if you like. When I'm happy it's essentially as useable as it would have been pre-migration (hopefully before Friday) I'll email all users a link to the log on. THEN we get to the good stuff like redesigning online forms so they are, well, better, and hopefully using the site to collect sign ups for events and so forth. Thanks for asking :-) Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 11:37, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Open access hackathon

Hi, not sure if this is right place to leave a message, but there's an event coming up that might be of interest to any Wikimedians who are interested in open access to research. The Open Access Button team (Joe and David) are holding a hackathon in London on the weekend of 7-8 September, venue to be decided very shortly. They are very interested in working with Wikimedia on their ideas, and on the Wikimania 2014 team we're planning on getting them involved in the conference next year. They're new to Wikimedia so are very keen to meet people and get involved. You can contact them on twitter if you're interested. Thanks. Lawsonstu (talk) 16:32, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

Further information and sign-up details are now available on their blog. "Millions of people a day are denied access to the research they both need and paid for because of paywalls. It doesn’t have to be like this, but we need your help. We’re two students from the UK making a tool to help change the system – it’s called the Open Access Button..." Lawsonstu (talk) 07:30, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

QRpedia update

Six months have gone by since the announcement by Chris Keating of the donation, and two months since he said they had a solution that would work. As of today, whois.com shows ownership of the QRpedia related domains as:

  • qrpedia.org – Terrence Eden
  • qrwp.org – Bamkin Family
  • qrpedia.org.uk – Michael Peel
  • qrpedia.net - Michael Peel
  • qrpedia.co.uk – Bamkin Family

(Mike Peel has stated the ownership of his two domains has been transferred to WMUK (and WMUK reimbursed him for the purchase), and that he has lodged a bug report to have the records corrected)

Could an update on the transfer of the other domains and the future of QRpedia please be given? The last board minutes note that there were “four points that Roger needs to agree”. Has he agreed? If so, when will the transfer happen? If not, what are the steps from here? TheOverflow (talk) 20:16, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

+1. Four days have passed since this question was asked. A holding response from a trustee or employee as acknowledgement would have been nice even if an answer is being debated in-camera. Considering the public statement on 9th February 2013 with the commitment that a "fuller statement will follow" and assurances after similar questions were repeated on 7th June 2013, it seems long overdue for the charity to share information with members. Referring to my diary, which included my recommendations when I was the Chairman to finalize the deal in 2012, more than two years have passed in negotiation and seeing several months of only issuing upbeat public statements eventually becomes a risk, rather than the board sticking to the value of being open and honest with members about issues. -- (talk) 12:02, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for asking about this. I've passed the question on to people who have been directly involved in the work. Apologies for the delay - I only returned from annual leave today and have been catching up on many things. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 15:58, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
It has been 8 days since TheOverflow raised their question. The charity has a total of 15 staff and board members available, and in the light of several reports and press releases in this time, none appears willing or has permission to give a simple or prompt update. TheOverflow has gone ahead and updated the English Wikipedia article on QRpedia with the information they have. -- (talk) 08:29, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Two weeks and, disappointingly, still no answers despite, as Fæ notes the availability of staff and board members. I do note from whois.com, however, that the qrpedia.net, previously registered to Michael Peel is now registered to Wiki UK Limited, and qrpedia.org.uk while still registered to Michael Peel now has wikimedia UK's address as registrant's address, so there seems to have been some work behind the scenes. TheOverflow (talk) 00:48, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
Sorry for the slow reply. We have what is from our point of view a final agreement which will transfer the domains and IP, which was completed shortly after the last Board meeting and it is awaiting Roger's signature. I understand he has, not unreasonably, been taking his own legal advice before signing and completing the transfer. Regards, The Land (talk) 20:16, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for that response, and the apology for the slow reply. The final agreement from WMUK's view was completed shortly after the last board meeting. That's around two months ago - that's a lot of time to seek and consider legal advice. When do you expect it to be finalised? TheOverflow (talk) 01:03, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
Given that agreement has not been reached, the claim that it has been reached should be removed from Governance_Review/Implementation. TheOverflow (talk) 01:29, 19 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I agree, it is a long time, particularly as the substance of the agreement was settled some time before that (indeed, the basic terms are still what was agreed in January, just with additional complexity to deal with the risk of needing to defend patent litigation in future). I've also updated the implementation tracking as requested, thanks for pointing that out. The Land (talk) 08:11, 19 September 2013 (UTC)
So, when do you expect it to be finalised? Did you provide Roger with an expectation of when he would return the document? If it is not soon, perhaps a formal announcement of the delay would be in order - given the charity has announced the 'donation' several times over. TheOverflow (talk) 10:35, 19 September 2013 (UTC)
I would certainly hope it's finalised shortly and there is no obstacle on Wikimedia UK's side to the domains being transferred right away. I am not sure I can say any more than that. Obviously this state of affairs where we have a contract waiting to be signed can't continue indefinitely. The Land (talk) 11:14, 19 September 2013 (UTC)
Actually, it can continue indefinitely; we are seeing it continue indefinitely now. I asked when you expected it to be finalised. I asked if Roger had been given a date. You have answered neither. Given a commitment to not allowing this to be indefinite, can you please specify a date when either the agreement will be signed and the domains transferred, or that an announcement will be made formally turning down the donation? TheOverflow (talk) 05:02, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
Hello Wikimedia UK! This QR discussion particularly interested me and I drafted a proposal that may be of interest to you: Mediawikiwiki:Requests for comment/URL shortener service for Wikimedia which relies on a shortening service such as Mediawikiwiki:Requests for comment/URL shortener. -- とある白い猫 chi? 02:59, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
By the way, above edit has not been attributed to me yet. This is meant to be a bug report. -- とある白い猫 ちぃ? 01:39, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

Wiki Loves Monuments UK - call for volunteers to pre-screen entries in September

I'm unsure how many uploads we can expect to get as part of WLM in the UK over the next month, but the signs are that it could be in the tens of thousands - far too many for us to give straight to our three-person jury to review.

That means that we will need one or more levels of pre-screening, to knock out the images that are clearly not good enough to pass on to the next stage. We need to plan to do this pre-screening on a daily basis, as the competition proceeds, as there may well not be enough time to do the whole lot in October.

I'm looking for volunteers who could help online with this, either throughout September or at least for a day or two. No experience is needed, other than a reliable ability to distinguish a good photo from a poor one. Although the entries will be from the UK, anyone from anywhere can make a difference.

If you can help, please let me know on my talk page, or add your name to the pre-screening team.

Many thanks, --MichaelMaggs (talk) 11:39, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

Worth noting that we are well over the 6,000 uploads mark and 325 volunteers out there in the rain! Let's make sure we thanks them all and keep them involved until the next one! Well done everyone involved, it is really impressive. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 15:08, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

Getting the word out about the Wiki Loves Monuments competition

As you probably know, the Wiki Loves Monuments competition starts this Sunday, 1st September, and we would like to get as many entries from the UK as we possibly can.

Please do your bit by letting friends and family around the country know, and please also spread the word to local societies that you may be involved with. Of particular interest are local historical groups, civic groups and photographic clubs.

Please feel free to use the text below as an email template. It's designed to be sent to a society, but should be easy to change if you are emailing friends.

--MichaelMaggs (talk) 14:37, 30 August 2013 (UTC)


I am emailing in case your members might be interested in contributing photographs of their local listed buildings to the international Wiki Loves Monuments competition, which runs throughout the month of September. I am a volunteer with the charity Wikimedia UK.

Entries can be images taken specially for the competition, or can be pre-existing images, and will be available for others to use on Wikipedia.

I would be most grateful if you would be good enough to bring this competition to the attention of your members. The link is www.wikilovesmonuments.org.uk

If you or any of your members have queries, please feel free to email me directly.

Thanks for your help, and regards,

. . .


World's largest photography contest comes to the UK - record your local listed buildings

September is the month when summer begins drawing to a close, the football season is in full swing and the leaves begin to change colour. You may not be aware that it's also the month of the world's largest photography competition.

Wiki Loves Monuments is a global competition, open to everyone. In the UK the aim is to gather together freely-licensed high quality photographs of the UK's listed buildings for use on Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia. And it's open to everybody.

Wikipedia has a global audience of over 500 million people every month, making Wiki Loves Monuments a chance for entrants to have their photography potentially reach a very large audience. For example, the article about Hadrian's Wall receives around 700,000 visitors a year while the article about London is viewed around 4.5 million times a year.

Aside from being great fun, Wiki Loves Monuments is a way of capturing a snapshot of our nation’s cultural heritage for future generations, documenting our country’s most important historic buildings. Over time, the collections gathered throughout the competition will become an incredibly useful historical resource.

Entries can be images taken specially for the competition, or can be pre-existing images.

Michael Maggs, volunteer member of the Wiki Loves Monuments UK steering committee and a Wikimedia UK Trustee, said: “The contest is a great way not only to contribute to Wikipedia but also to record and share with the world images of your local historic environment. You don't need to be a professional-quality photographer to upload photos and help make a difference.”

Jon Davies, Chief Executive of Wikimedia UK, the charity that is helping to support the initiative, said: "Taking part in Wiki Loves Monuments for the first time is very exciting. We’re hoping that the UK will provide a leading contribution to the contest and are calling on photographers, amateur and professional alike, to help to make this happen. We'd love for the global winner to come from the UK."

To learn more about the competition and to get involved, visit www.wikilovesmonuments.org.uk


Style for the blog

I strongly recommend more use of the --more-- tag on the blog, so that the blog front page (and WMUK front page) gives only short teasers and people have to click through

  • Not all our readers are interested in any given blog post, but given the diversity of the topics, almost all of them should be interested in at least one recent post. Given how surprisingly reluctant users are to scroll, it's better to make it easier for them to get an overview (headlines and teasers) for a lot of posts.
  • If people have to click through to read a post, then the viewing stats for individual posts give a useful metrics for the interest they attract. If people can read all recent posts from the front page, then that potential for evaluation is lost.

I also recommend just having no more than short teasers of blog posts on the wiki main page (sometimes this happens; sometimes there are longer extracts or the full text of the post). I know this complicates things for the Welsh translation of the blog: maybe a separate page can be created for Welsh summaries of the blog posts?

  • Google apparently penalises duplicate content.
  • In my webmaster job, I've conducted usability tests as well as benefiting from consultants who test usability for sites like the Guardian and BBC. It's amazing how reluctant desktop users are to scroll (just think about how few of the general public are aware of Wikipedia's sister sites, even though you can see them all by scrolling down Wikipedia's home page) and hence a good front page design gets all important items in a desktop user's first screenful. This was really rammed home to me by the consultants. Our text in the "About Wikimedia UK" section is crucial for anyone visiting for the first time, and so arguably are the contact details underneath.

Also, can the left hand navigation on the blog be updated to match that of the main site? They've got very out of sync. Stevie, I recognise you're working hard on a lot of different things at the moment, but maybe this is something a developer can implement? Cheers, MartinPoulter (talk) 15:53, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

Hi Martin, thanks very much for these useful and thoughtful comments. I've made a note to spend a bit of time looking at this and other blog things later this week. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 15:23, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Very helpful. We really need to think hard about what we look like to the outside world. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 09:52, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Photography training workshops for volunteers

Hello everyone. I've been looking in to the possibility of offering some photography training for Wikimedia volunteers. This is definitely something we can do in the form of one-day workshops for small groups. This would be delivered at no cost to the volunteers so at this point I'd like to assess how much appetite there is for this kind of workshop and get a sense of how many people would like to take part. This would be a really worthwhile activity and help to empower volunteers and give them additional skills that can be used not only when contributing to Wikimedia projects, but elsewhere, too. If you are interested, please do let me know, either by replying here or sending me an email. Thank you. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 10:55, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Twitter user and Wiki Loves Monuments participant @secretlondon has expressed an interest so far. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 12:29, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
RodW is interested in a session in the Bath / Bristol area. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 13:02, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
I'd also be interested in the Bath / Bristol area. Rwendland (talk) 13:20, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
I'd love to go to a workshop like this. I'm not averse to travelling, so Bristol would be fine (Bath's a bit of a pain but not impossible). Harry Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 16:39, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
I'd be interested in such a workshop in London. Edwardx (talk) 16:34, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I found the photography workshop in Edinburgh enormously useful. But, my experience from that suggests such should be preferentially offered to established Wikimedians. --Brian McNeil / talk 00:38, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I would be interested if held in London (or a short train ride away). A segment to discuss some of the issues relating to uploading user photographs that can cause snags could be useful; I would be happy to share some examples from my 150,000 image uploads. Common issues include erroneous or non-standard EXIF data (leading to bots reaching wrong conclusions), the impossibility of finding non-identical duplicates, work for hire, model consent, video processing, and unexpected copyright issues from photographs taken in other countries (assuming the group has a good awareness of UK copyright) such as photographs where there is no freedom of panorama or photographs of manufactured products. If there was interest then a discussion of tools for mass processing could also be productive for those with larger collections. -- (talk) 09:35, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks everyone for your interest so far. I'm going to leave this open for a short while longer but it looks like we may have enough people interested to have a cohort in London and one in Bristol. I'm particularly keen to offer this to any other volunteers who attend Wikimedia UK events (especially training) on a fairly regular basis. Fae, your suggestions here are useful and I think that there would be a chance to raise some of these issues with a trainer, particularly the batch processing. I know that Adobe Photoshop can handle this, I suspect that GIMP can too. However, the main (aha) focus of the event would be how to take technically good photos rather than spending too much time looking at copyright, freedom of panorama and so on. I think that would be an altogether different session and might be something that we could do separately. There may well be someone who is an expert on copyright who would deliver perhaps a half day seminar / workshop for those interested in that area. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 13:11, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
I'm sure Fae and I between probably know as much about UK copyright as a hired instructor would! ;) I'd love to talk about mass-uploading and some of the other issues Fae raises, but as you say, Stevie, they might best saved for another event. Harry Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 14:29, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
I could help in London and maybe in Bristol too. Would you like a talk on UK copyright for photographers? --MichaelMaggs (talk) 10:48, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
I have taken a couple of thousand photos as a volunteer and would be interested in a photography course, preferably in London. A copyright session might also be interesting, presumably this would also cover issues for uploaders? Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 12:31, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
Hello everyone. Just a quick update on this. It is still on the agenda but we are looking to extend the offer to Wiki Loves Monuments participants (this depends on whether the level of demand makes this unrealistic). I will be in touch again about this shortly. Michael, your offer to speak about copyright is gratefully received and I may well accept it :) Thanks everyone. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 15:07, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Alastair McCapra's declaration of interest

I am grateful to see Alastair update his declaration at Declarations_of_Interest#Alastair_McCapra in advance of taking up the role of CEO of CIPR.

CIPR and WMUK have had a productive relationship in the past, however this appears to introduce a direct conflict on interest on the WMUK board. During my time as a trustee and the Chair, the viewpoints of board members were varied, complex and at times heated, with regard to failures of governance within the PR industry, which resulted in a pattern of PR professionals being caught out when covertly attempting to manipulate the content of Wikimedia projects.

In my personal view, though I respect CIPR and the impressive lead it has taken to guide the industry, especially around individual governance, the mission of CIPR is not one that sits well alongside the WMUK mission and values. We now have the situation where a trustee on the board is a paid advocate on behalf of the public relations profession. Having the CEO of CIPR advise the WMUK board is incredibly useful and valuable, having the same person as the WMUK Secretary and a voting trustee, introduces a realistic reputational risk for WMUK to be open to future allegations of using resources and putting political pressure on Wikimedia projects to the benefit of the PR industry.

I would appreciate Alastair's thoughts on how he intends to manage his conflict of interest and whether he believes it is best for the charity to continue as the Secretary and a Trustee on the board in these circumstances.

Should Alastair remain active as a trustee, I call upon the board of trustees to openly publish an independent review of this conflict of interest in advance of Alastair taking up his new role in November. Considering Alastair's appointment was made public more than a fortnight ago and he would have advised his fellow trustees in advance of his appointment, though to my knowledge not before his election at the AGM, I am sure this has been subject to an in-camera review which might now be useful to publish for the benefit of the members of the charity. Thanks -- (talk) 16:05, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

These two roles are fundamentally incompatible in my view given the respective functions of the two organisations and I do not believe that Alastair can carry out the duties of both jobs without an actual or perceived conflict of interest. Alastair should either resign here or not take up the other job.If he does not he will inevitably be accused, unfairly no doubt, of being a trojan horse for the PR industry. I have met Alastair and he seems a completely ethical individual, however, the very idea that this could be managed or that the two roles could ever be compatible shows an astonishing lack of judgement by Alastair and the current board IMHO. I am sorry to be so blunt. The next time an article on Wikipedia does not go the way the PR industry would like, will he not inevitably be asked to exert pressure via Wikimedia to have it changed? I thought that Wikimedia UK were working to avoid the own-goals that have so damaged us in the past? It would be interesting to know what influence, if any, Alastair's current position here had on his selection for the CIPR job and whether he knew of this potential position at CIPR at the time he stood for the Wikimedia board. Perhaps Alastair could clarify these matters. Philafrenzy (talk) 17:50, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
Hi Fae. Can't say I agree with you here. On the subject of conflicts of interest - Wikimedia UK's work does not really involve the PR industry. We do a great deal of work with the education and culture sectors, but the only project involving the public relations profession that I can recall was the collaboration between volunteers who were Wikimedia UK members and CIPR members to produce what was effectively a guide on how people in PR could understand and respect Wikipedia policies. That was a very worthwhile initiative, but nothing further is planned. We have always been very clear that Wikimedia UK has no control over the content of the Wikimedia projects and even less over the policies governing such content. So I do not see any conflict of interest. Naturally we're all aware of one another's professional backgrounds, which are disclosed on our register of interests, and I am confident that should any potential conflict arise from any quarter it will be identified early and dealt with properly.
Regarding reputational risk, I also can't agree. It's important to note that the CIPR is not a PR firm, it is a professional body which helps ensure that people who work in PR do so competently and ethically. The CIPR has a Code of Conduct for its members which requires them to act with integrity and transparency, principles all Wikimedians will be familiar with. Regards, The Land (talk) 18:03, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
Let's not be naive, the CIPR is not a regulator. It is paid for by the PR industry, its members are PR professionals, its job is to promote the interests of the PR industry and it's code of conduct is written by the PR industry. Philafrenzy (talk) 18:14, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
(ec) "Wikimedia UK's work does not really involve the PR industry". I think the "really" tells the story here. Some of what Wikimedia UK does does involve PR firms; and by its very nature that small sliver of its activities are also among the most media-friendly. It will look like a COI to the press. It will look like a COI *problem* to the press. It is sad, really, because the truth of the matter rarely gets a look in. We are forced to (and must) discuss issues like this in terms of appearances and not realities. Jarry1250 (talk) 18:23, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
Indeed, let's not be naive about anything, least of all COI on the Board. But we might try to state a point clearly in terms of the Board's function. Is it to influence Wikipedia content? No. Is it to influence creators and potential creators of Wikipedia content? Certainly. Wikipedia's "interface" with PR professionals is not in a particularly good state, compared to the interface with the "cultural sector", where some good things have been happening, and the educational sector, where some good things might be happening. The suspicion with which it is treated is understandable. The upside of closer contact is fairly easy to explain: if PR pros who muck around on Wikipedia are shown that they are not only behaving unprofessionally, but against their clients' best interests, then they will realise why they should take greater care to respect the terms of use of the site. Not rocket science. The downside is what is generating comment here. Does the Board influence Wikipedia policy? Hardly. Seems to be a presentational matter to me in fact. Now I disclaim expertise in presentational matters. But it seems a shame that this line is being taken: it is not about nuances, it speaks to what the Board does and doesn't have in its remit. Charles Matthews (talk) 18:53, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
Charles, the board makes direct choices as to how to spend £750,000 of Wikimedia Foundation funds. This is a great deal of influence to give out jobs and grants and choose what outcomes are required. These outcomes include generating content on Wikimedia projects (such as through Wikimedians in Residence) and co-funding initiatives with other bodies that generate a lot of press interest and media coverage. To say that the board of trustees has no influence over Wikimedia policies is to disregard their influence in controlling who gets funded, for example, to present at events or take part in workshops that create Wikipedia policy, and be the visible face of Wikimedia in the UK and elsewhere. -- (talk) 20:13, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
So the Board has patronage. I didn't use the expression "Wikimedia policies", which is ambiguous because "Wikimedia" is ambiguous. You make a reasonable point about events, though my impression is that the staff now do a high proportion of the event organisation.. Workshops that create Wikipedia policy? I believe the community does that. Being the "visible face"? I've gone on the BBC to bat for Wikipedia, as have a few others. There is some patronage in sending reps to chapters meetings or funding Wikimania scholarships. Are people's concerns really at this granularity? Of course if you want to make the case that anyone from the PR sector is an entryist and should be treated as such, it is a one-liner. Charles Matthews (talk) 20:34, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
Chris, please read my statement again. I have asked for a response from Alastair and a follow-up with an independent report. As the current Chairman of the charity, I would expect you to take a lead to ensure these basics are done, in alignment with policies that we established to cover these situations. You appear to be disagreeing with what you imagine I am asking for, rather than what has actually been written. I see nothing for you to disagree with in a basic request for openness with the members of the charity and for the charity to be conducting itself with the best possible governance processes. If you are disagreeing with an independent review or are disagreeing with Alastair making a response, then I would appreciate a better explanation of why you, as the Chair, believe these are bad things.
By the way, I suggest members carefully review CIPR's mission statement, it unambiguously states it exists as an "advocate and voice of the public relations profession", it is not just about ethics. I doubt the public would have any other expectation than the CEO of the organization to also be an advocate for the PR sector and present it in the best possible light at every opportunity. -- (talk) 19:29, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
Hmm, it has been known for the Board to be used as a soapbox. For example to be an advocate for free software, and present it in the best possible light at every opportunity. Certainly we should not be naive about this kind of thing, when it runs counter to the purposes of the charity. Might be rather easier to do in the case of someone with a clearcut day job. Charles Matthews (talk) 20:34, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Dear all - thanks for the comments. Having spoken to Alastair, he's keen to respond to the points that have been raised, and expects to be able to do so by the weekend. Philafrenzy referred to the lessons of the last year - one of the main ones is that the trust of the membership and the Wikimedia community is vital - and we'll respond to this debate accordingly. The Land (talk) 20:48, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Hi - Sorry it has taken me a bit of time to reply to the points made above. First I’d like to say I understand why there is concern about conflict of interests on the Board. Anything which looks like it might corrupt the integrity of the encyclopedia is a potential threat, and WMUK has suffered badly in recent years from conflicts of interest which have cost it a lot and which nobody wants to repeat. Second I want to acknowledge the particular concerns people have about some members of the PR industry.

I am not a PR professional and had no previous connection with the PR business before applying for a job as CEO of CIPR. Coincidentally this was around the same time I stood for election as a WMUK trustee. I had applied for the job at CIPR before the WMUK AGM, and had my first interview a couple of weeks after I was elected to the Board. I was aware before I stood for election of many of the problems which WMUK has had to deal with recently, but wasn’t aware of the problems that had arisen as a result of Wikipedia editors defending the integrity of the encyclopedia from people who perhaps did not understand what the purpose of Wikipedia is. As a prospective employee I had to declare my various interests, including my recent WMUK election, to CIPR before I accepted the job, and I did so. I only learned of the issues which are causing concern here when I was made aware of them by CIPR after I had accepted the job.

I am very clear about what my role as a trustee is. It is to advance the charitable objects of WMUK in the public interest. Those are to promote and support the widest possible public access to, use of and contribution to open content of an encyclopaedic or educational nature. I am not there to advocate the cause of the PR profession, or to secure some kind of rule-bending on behalf of PRs working for their clients. Every trustee on the Board has a daytime job to which they give their full professional commitment, and none of us acts as an advocate for that industry or interest on the WMUK Board.

The reasons I stood for election to the WMUK Board are simple. Firstly, I believe in the project of building free, open knowledge all round the world, and in particular, in the immense benefit to humanity of a universal encyclopedia. Secondly, I am an experienced trustee and manager of small charities. I have dealt with dire financial crises, major overhauls of governance, and most of the other problems that beset charities at one time or another. I believed, as I still do, that my experience and skills can make a useful contribution to WMUK and that I can help it specifically to get itself out of the difficulties it got itself into in the last couple of years over governance. I currently serve on the Audit and Risk Committee where I am helping establish reliable financial controls, and as Secretary I am working to clear the backlog of unpublished minutes of Board meetings, or parts of meetings, which stretches back to 2009. I have also met with representatives of WMF and talked to them about the changes we are bringing about in the UK chapter, with a view to their agreeing, in due course, to allow us to take part in future fundraisers.

The question has been asked as to how I think I will manage my conflict of interest. I think I would genuinely have a conflict of interest if I had any desire or inclination to argue, in the WMUK Board, for some special treatment of PR professionals or for some bending or relaxing of Wikipedia editing rules. However, I don’t have any desire or intention to do this, and it is not part of my new job to speak up for bad editing or to defend the practices of PR professionals who don't follow WM rules.

As it happens, well before I had any contact with either Wikipedia or CIPR, the two bodies had collaborated to produce guidelines for best practice on the part of PR professionals on Wikipedia, and these are published on the WMUK site at https://uk.wikimedia.org/wiki/Draft_best_practice_guidelines_for_PR . They represent the official CIPR position. Despite this, I think it is possible, in my new role, that I may be approached by some CIPR members who are unaware of these guidelines, asking me to ‘do something’ about ‘their’ article. If I am, I will refer them to this page. If there appears to be a widespread and persistent problem with CIPR members reading or abiding by those guidelines, then I will propose some training sessions to help them get their heads round it. In the extremely unlikely event that one of my employers becomes threatening in their demands that I conspire to subvert the encyclopedia, I will bring a professional conduct complaint against them. However, in considering what pressures I may come under in my new role, I take comfort in the fact that the incoming CIPR President, Stephen Waddington, authored a chapter on Wikipedia in a recently published handbook for PR Professionals, in which he restates what is set out in the guidelines above.

If some community members are inclined to assume bad faith on my part, or just some ethical fuzziness, such suspicions are perhaps natural as I am new, you don’t know me, and my new job stirs up understandable anxieties. However if this is how you feel I hope you will at least have enough faith in the integrity of other Board members to believe that they would absolutely not tolerate any inappropriate behaviour on my part, and if they thought I was trying to open the encyclopedia to manipulation I would be removed from the Board pretty quickly.

Aside from whether I might be tempted to try and undermine the cause I stood for election to uphold, the question has been raised about the reputational risk of my continuing to serve as a trustee. As I say I understand the reasons why some community members may have anxieties about my roles, but outside of this community I’d be very surprised if anyone was much interested. The conflicts between PRs and editors is pretty big news in the Wikipedia community and fairly big in the PR profession, but not of much interest outside of that.

The question has also been raised about the press and what they might make of my roles. If you have a look at what negative stories tend to run in the press about Wikipedia, it is usually about hoaxes, inaccuracies, trustees being paid to work on projects, and pornography. Would the press really get excited about my job? It doesn't seem likely to me.

Perhaps I am just not being sufficiently imaginative in my thinking about these issues and others can foresee scenarios that it would be potentially much more difficult for me to handle. If so, by all means raise them here as I need to think about these issues and my fellow Board members need to be mindful of them too. What kind of difficult position do you think I might find myself in?

Fae has suggested that there should be an independent review of this matter and in fact we are about to undertake an independent governance review in any case to see how the charity is responding to past criticisms and dealing with its problems. I think it would make sense for the consultants to give us their view on this matter.

For now, my commitment to working for WMUK is undimmed, I wish to continue to serve on the Board and don’t feel, on the basis of what has been said above, that there is a strong case for my not doing so.


Mccapra (talk) 08:20, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

In order to have the fullest discussion possible I have posted this matter on Jimbo's talk page, one of our unofficial noticeboards. Here is the link and comments so far. Philafrenzy (talk) 10:02, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
From the beginning, we've had trustees who have day jobs, in which capacity they are paid to work for different causes. We've had trustees who are communications professionals. We've had trustees who have changed day jobs while in post. From the above complaints I still don't see why this case is different. The speculation that "The next time an article on Wikipedia does not go the way the PR industry would like, will he not inevitably be asked to exert pressure via Wikimedia to have it changed?" misunderstands the relation between the chapter and Wikipedia (as though the chapter can "have it changed"!) Did having an employee of Manchester University on the board mean that Wikipedia policies might be changed, or funds allocated, to the benefit of Manchester University? I also disagree with Jarry that we must discuss appearances rather than reality. Are there people really wishing for Wikimedia politics to become like Westminster politics? Given the amount of experience of charity governance now on the Board, and the scrutiny the organisation is voluntarily under, the idea that Alastair is going to "trojan horse" something against Wikimedia's interest, and that the Board are going to allow him, seems more than far-fetched. If we're keen to avoid own goals, then let's avoid undermining a dedicated and capable volunteer. MartinPoulter (talk) 10:07, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
This case is different and it should be obvious why. We need to stop walking into these bear traps (I won't name them all) and then having to spend a year commissioning governance reviews to sort them out. Philafrenzy (talk) 10:28, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
As the employee of the University of Manchester that Martin refers to, I'd note that I had a very clear declaration of interest and statement of how that interest would be managed - "Mike is an employee of the University of Manchester. Some of our activities take place at this University, and he will abstain on all decisions relating to the University of Manchester." Indeed, during the July 2013 board meeting there was a decision relating to the UoM (funding a WiR there), and I duly abstained from it. I would encourage Alastair to do something similar - rather than just stating the CoI, clearly set out the terms for how it will be managed to avoid it being an issue. Although in this case the management will be more complex as it would extend not just to the CIPR, but also the organisations it represents, I think this could still be a managable CoI providing that there is a clear line set in place well before he takes up the position. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 10:16, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
For those who don't know the background, and for avoidance of doubt: I mentioned Mike's workplace because he was (rightly) a highly respected trustee who left in good standing, such that we can safely laugh off an argument which would have excluded him. MartinPoulter (talk) 12:17, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
How can I put this in simple terms? The Vegetarian Association and the National Beef Association may wish to understand each other better, but they can never fundamentally be in sympathy and you can never imagine the head of the National Beef Association being a senior figure in the Vegetarian Association can you? Philafrenzy (talk) 11:10, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

The comments above are all helpful in terms of setting out what I think the issue is here – particularly the Vegetarian/National Beef Association one. If I was a trustee of the Vegetarian Association but taking a paid job with the League for the Introduction of meat-based products into vegetarian recipes, I would clearly have a total conflict of interest. Supposing however I took a paid job with a non-Vegetarian association which had a published policy directing its members to respect and abide by the nutritional rules of the Vegetarian Association when dealing with it? That’s actually the situation I’m in. My future employer is on of the few organisations in the country which has explicitly directed its members to follow Wikipedia rules. If CIPR members don’t follow the rules they are not just damaging the encyclopedia, they are failing to abide by the guidance given to them by their professional body. That does not leave much room for conflict. The reference to Mike Peel’s employment is also illustrative of what the term ‘conflict of interest’ actually means (as in, it doesn’t mean ‘something I don’t much like the sound of’). While Mike was on the WMUK Board there was a possibility that the chapter could discuss funding a project at Manchester or somehow involving them, which would potentially put Mike in the position of taking part in a discussion as a funder with an entity being funded. I know from personal experience that Mike was absolutely scrupulous about making sure this did not happen. I doubt it is likely that the WMUK Board would be discussing funding something with CIPR. If it does discuss something of this sort, I will act as Mike did and take no part in it. The same would apply to any trustee in any job. Mike has also pointed out that I need to make a statement about how I will manage any conflicts of interest which may arise, and I will do so. A statement will need to cover as many ‘what if’ scenarios as possible. As I mentioned earlier today it would be helpful to me in thinking about this for people to come forward with ‘what if’ questions so that I can set out clearly what I would do in each case and include all of that in my statement. Thanks Mccapra (talk) 12:55, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

I must admit I wonder why Alistair feels it appropriate to encourage members to spend their time coming up with a series of "What if" scenarios, when he should be encouraging us to contribute towards Wikipedia and its sister projects. The very fact, which he supports, that there are a range of unpredictable scenarios would seem to indicate that this is a matter which cannot be effectively dealt with by a statement. When he points out that his future employers are one of "the few organisations in the country which has explicitly directed its members to follow Wikipedia rules", far from indicating a lack of conflict of interest, this rather indicates the contrary: for most organisations there is no specific reason to issue such guidance. As a trustee Alistair should be looking at the matter from the perspective of the charity, and I hope he will consider the situation fully before embroils us all in another governance debate.Leutha (talk) (Sorry I forget to log in before) 14:53, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
I'm really not intending to ask anyone to spend a lot of time on this or embroil anyone in anything. However I would appreciate it if some of those are arguing strongly that there is obviously a conflict of interest could spell out how, in practical terms, they think this might present itself. I can think of a few not very likely scenarios, which I have mentioned above. But clearly some people feel there are aspects of this I have not fully addressed. What are they? Thanks Mccapra (talk) 16:06, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
CIPR define public relations as "the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour." (my italics) The second of our five pillars states that Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view. The essential job of the PR is to influence and manipulate public opinion to favour their client. This fundamentally conflicts with one of our highest principles and is why this appointment is a problem and why it is different from any other appointment. Aggravating factors include the already fraught relationship with the PR industry, which should serve as a warning to us, the disparity in commitment (full time CIPR, part time here) and pay (salaried I assume there, nothing here). No PR firm will ever seek any form of balance in their work. The work is essentially partisan and therefore the whole ethos of the profession is contrary to our values. A man cannot serve two masters, particularly where their objectives are fundamentally in conflict and where one pays and the other doesn't. It lacks credibility. Philafrenzy (talk) 17:14, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
It may not be Alistair's intention to sap volunteers' time or embroil people, however this clearly what is happening as I find myself once again contributing to this discussion. I feel that his focus on his own psychological state (i.e. intentions) rather than on the consequences of his retaining both roles as Wikimedia UK Trustee and CIPR CEO illustrates the point I made above. I am also left wondering whether his failure to respond to my point is indicative that he hopes to discourage further critical comment by simply ignoring it! So perhaps I should be content myself with suggesting that Jimbo has made the point in a much better way than me:
"It is obviously a conflict of interest and clearly demands a choice between one or the other. There is no shame in that - such is the nature of nonprofit work. But especially for Wikimedia UK, with a history of problems in this area, it's absolutely beyond a shadow of a doubt something that has to be handled with the utmost defensiveness about the reputation of the organization. I trust that Alastair will do the right thing." (See here)
Leutha (talk) 22:41, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

I agree with Leutha and Philafrenzy. Some conflicts of interest can be managed. Mike Peel's employment by Manchester University is a good example. In these cases, setting out how the conflict will be managed and then managing it in an open way are, hopefully, sufficient. Some conflicts relate to the very purpose of organisations. These conflicts are effectively impossible to manage. The potentially problematic situations can not be listed in advance. They are infinite in their variety. Even if, as situations arise, the correct decisions are made, it will be impossible for the community to be confident of that. Alastair can not be expected to document his every conversation, still less his every thought. Yaris678 (talk) 10:46, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

I'm not seeing any problem in this case. Secretary of WMUK is not a position that comes into conflict with CEO of CIPR. WMUK as a whole has limited, if any, impact on public relations involvement in Wikipedia (positive or negative). Secretary is also not a good position from which to easily subvert the chapter and begin infiltrating the entire organisation. Even if, say, Alastair starts laughing maniacally the moment he becomes CEO and pushes for edit-a-thons and training sessions on white-washing biographies it (a) isn't going to mean anything because anyone else can undo it, (b) it will be really obvious if this happens, and (c) he isn't the only trustee. If anything, I expect the influence to work the other way: CEO of a national professional body is a position from which influence extends (and by which Wikimedia could subvert and infiltrate, etc). - AdamBMorgan (talk) 05:12, 15 September 2013 (UTC)
You have identified one unlikely scenario that could be dealt with easily. But you seem to be missing my point that the purposes of the organisations are in conflict. FWIW, I don't suspect Alastair of being part of any plot and I really hope he can be part of there being a good relationship between WMUK and CIPR. However, he can't do that by holding both roles simultaneously. By having this unmanageable conflict of interest he could easily and unintentionally end up doing harm to both organisations. Yaris678 (talk) 09:02, 15 September 2013 (UTC)
I also don't suspect Alastair of being part of a plot but we can't know what was in the minds of the CIPR selectors when they gave him the job as Chief Exec in an industry in which, as he says, he had no past experience. I realise that Alastair had senior experience in similar membership organisations that no doubt fitted him for the job but there were, I expect, other candidates. The relationship with Wikipedia is certainly one of the hot issues in the PR world and given the poor quality of many of our articles I don't blame them. If I was a PR I would really want to ensure that my client's article reflected well on my client since it will be on the first page of a Google search every time and probably the top result. I would want to exert whatever influence I could to improve that article. That's what the PR industry is paid to do. It's not good enough to say "it probably won't happen" or "there is not much scope for it to happen" or "we will spot it if it does happen" or "the other Trustees will reign Alastair in" or any of the other things mentioned above. The Charities Commission has some useful comments about what they define as a "conflict of loyalty" which is also mentioned in the Companies Act 2006 in reference to Directors of charitable companies (we are caught by both sets of rules). Section d. here says conflicts of interest include those arising from "conflicts of duty which do not involve any material benefit to a director, for example, where a director is also a charity trustee of another charity which might be in competition with the charity ("conflicts of loyalty")" I don't think CIPR is a charity but the concept of a conflict of loyalty certainly seems to sum up what we have here. There is a risk of reputational damage to Wikimedia UK, to the CIPR and to Alastair himself that we would all be wise to avoid. In fact, I am a little surprised that CIPR, if they are as principled as they say they are, have not asked Alastair to resign here. Why haven't they? Philafrenzy (talk) 10:34, 15 September 2013 (UTC)
It has now been one week since Fae raised this here and I suspect that everyone who is going to add their views has done so. The matter has also been on Jimbo's talk page and in the Signpost. I believe I am correct that there does appear to be a consensus, including from certain people whose views we should respect, that this appointment represents a serious conflict of interest. Perhaps Alastair and the board could comment on what action, if any, they propose to take in this matter? I would be particularly interested to know whether any legal advice has been taken regarding the "conflict of loyalty" question and what the result of that advice was. I am sure nobody wants to give the impression that they are hoping the matter will just go away. Given the past problems in this area it is essential that a clear and robust rationale is given for any decisions taken. If the matter is still under discussion, please say so and give a timeline for when it may be resolved. Philafrenzy (talk) 11:39, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
Hi Philafrenzy - yes, happy to update you. We discussed this at the Board meeting on Saturday. The Board's view was that there was not a fundamental conflict between the two roles. It was important to us in reaching that conclusion that CIPR's formal position is that their members should respect Wikipedia policies and that deliberately seeking to circumvent those policies is unethical professional conduct. It is also worth noting that previously we have had Trustees who were professional media consultants without a scintilla of a suggestion that this conflicted with their role as Wikimedia UK trustees and directors.
Given the sensitivities of this and the views expressed here, Alastair and I are going to meet later this week to go through different scenarios that might be problematic and work out how we would handle each of them, and use that as the basis of a more thorough declaration along the lines of Mike Peel's suggestion. It is possible in that conversation we will find something that makes us think "actually this isn't going to work", but assuming that doesn't happen, Alastair will remain a valuable Trustee.
We are currently having our progress against the Hudson Review recommendations audited by a consultant called Rosie Chapman. We will ask her to review how we've handled this and include that in her report. The Land (talk) 19:57, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Alastair, you said above, "If you have a look at what negative stories tend to run in the press about Wikipedia, it is usually about hoaxes, inaccuracies, trustees being paid to work on projects, and pornography. Would the press really get excited about my job? It doesn't seem likely to me." If I look at the types of negative stories that have run in the press, one consistent theme – almost a meme, really – is covert exercise of influence on Wikipedia's content by PR professionals. Indeed, I have myself had a hand in alerting the press to several cases of this type. I can assure you that the press's interest in this type of story is significant, and rightly so, as there are few other scenarios more likely to undermine the credibility of Wikipedia than this one. Jimmy Wales has on several occasions been very outspoken about this matter and made comments that have attracted significant attention.

Now, like most matters related to Wikipedia, there are two sides to this issue.

On the one hand, Wikipedia is extremely vulnerable to both subtle and gross bias and defamation. I would like PR professionals to have a seat at the Wikipedia table: there should be a much better-functioning mechanism for people to make complaints about how they are being portrayed in Wikipedia than there is at present. As it is, I cannot morally judge companies and other organisations who make clandestine use of commercial editing services to ensure that they are not being misrepresented in Wikipedia, given that Wikipedia's gates are wide open to clandestine bias and defamation from those companies' and organisations' detractors.

On the other hand, we are seeing more and more advice columns from PR professionals on how to leverage Wikipedia in their clients' or employers' interest. This includes both denigrating competitors, and sanitising one's own entry and/or making it as positive and compelling as possible. Allowing this to go on unchecked is not in the readers' or Wikipedia's interest.

The CIPR has done good work with WMUK in the past to outline some basic terms of engagement. But it cannot be denied that the interface between the PR industry and Wikipedia is among the biggest challenges both Wikipedia and the PR industry face. It is not a settled area; there are still diverse views, from Jimmy Wales' outspoken hostility to PR efforts in Wikipedia to the German model where PR professionals are invited to register verified company accounts ("User:Coca Cola Germany") and contribute in a transparent way. Dirk Franke in Germany is currently conducting a major study of paid editing for Wikimedia, and will I believe report in a few months' time. There is also uncertainty about the legal situation, at least in the EU – see [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2012-11-12/News_and_notes this Signpost article. To my mind there is no doubt that the interaction between the PR industry and Wikipedia is an area that will continue to be negotiated and re-negotiated over the coming years (including, perhaps, the legal arena, to clarify what the law does and does not allow). The outcome of all these discussions is of vital interest to both parties and the public.

Wikimedia UK has played a significant role in this process in the past, and will continue to do so. However, it follows that your having a leadership role in both organisations, simultaneously, constitutes an ineluctable conflict of interest whenever the topic is raised, and that it will be perceived as such by the media and public. A collegial and productive relationship between WMUK and CIPR is, I believe, desirable, and as I say, there is past good work to build on here. But I believe that having one person perform a leadership role in both organisations will ultimately prove to be to the detriment of both. It will certainly make WMUK vulnerable. Regards, Andreas JN 18:54, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for pointing out and explaining aspects of this matter which may, as you indicate, have a bearing on whether or not I can continue to serve as a trustee. My belief is that as between my future employer and Wikimedia UK, these questions are settled, but as you point out there are much wider dimensions to be considered.
It may well be that for one reason or another my employment puts me in situations where I do indeed have a conflict of interest. If that turns out to be the case I am aware that I may have to resign. I certainly do not want to give everyone the impression that I am just insisting on carrying on, regardless of the circumstances.
For the time being, I have not even started to work for CIPR, so no situation of possible conflict has even arisen. The Wikimedia UK Board has discussed the situation and concluded, unanimously, that there is no reason for me to resign for the time being. Equally, if circumstances change, they may well come to a different view. I will be discussing the situation with our independent governance reviewer, and it may be that they will advise the Board that I should resign, in which case I will. I am certainly not interested in exposing Wikimedia UK to criticism or embarrassment. On the question of press interest, you may be aware that energetic efforts were made last week to interest the press in my two roles, and there was no interest whatsoever. What I do maintain, for now, is that there is nothing automatic in my roles which forces me to resign at once. If the situation changes, I won’t need pushing. Mccapra (talk) 21:33, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

I am disappointed that the board does not appear to have followed the processes that the previous board laid down after the lessons learned from how to manage Roger Bamkin's declared interest. There is no plan independently to manage Alastair's declared interest, with the default path of the Chair taking the lead seeming inappropriate as he started this discussion with the point of view that he could see no problem or risk to the charity.

Alastair actively failed to inform the board of trustees or the members of the charity in advance of being elected that he was planning to be paid as an advocate of the PR industry during his time as a trustee. There is no doubt that his election as a trustee would have been taken into consideration by CIPR as a direct benefit to his forthcoming job as their CEO. I am astonished that as a candidate for CEO of CIPR, Alastair states he knew nothing of the past work of CIPR with WMUK, or the associated controversies that have damaged Wikimedia's reputation. Such a lack of basic research from a prospective trustee is itself worrying. I now regret the two votes I used to support Alastair at the AGM (I was handling a proxy vote in addition to my own). Alistair would have lost many votes had he chosen to be frank about his plans. I have little doubt that he would not have been elected a trustee had this been openly discussed; certainly as a trustee at that time I would have advised him against running as a candidate had he chosen to consult the board on the potential risk.

The board of trustees is straining credibility by creating new artificial distinctions to justify Alastair's position as not a "fundamental" conflict of interest. No such distinction is recognized by the Charity Commission on handling conflicts of loyalty, or by the policies that pre-existed the board discovering this COI after it was announced in the press. During my time improving the governance processes of the charity in 2011/12, it was clear that a trustee does not need a "fundamental" COI to be expected to step down from the board. The convention is that any conflict of loyalties that may sway the board's opinion on how to deploy its resources or influence should be managed carefully and where doubt remains the simplest resolution is for the trustee to step down.

Alastair, please take the initiative and step down as a trustee. As Yaris678 points out, you do not have the confidence of the community you were elected by. This ongoing risk to the charity exists because you failed to manage your declaration in a timely or appropriate manner either with the members or the board of trustees. The story is dogging you as a scandal on the English Wikipedia (Signpost), on Jimmy Wales' talk page, else where off-wiki, and is unlikely to go away with the classic trick of re-framing rather than real action on your part.

I count 5 members have expressed serious concern here, as I recall it only takes this many to force the board to organize an EGM to resolve this problem should they not be able to do so. -- (talk) 09:45, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

Hi Fae, I'm finding your comments here a little difficult to square with either the facts of the situation or your own previous conduct. The facts are that we have identified this well in advance of Alastair taking up this post and are looking at the issues posed in some detail prior to coming to a decision, and we are doing so with external advice. A number of members have expressed their views here, with a number of very cogent points being made on both sides of the debate, which are informing the outcome. Thinking this through is in line with our policies and with governance best practice. Knee-jerk reactions and drama are not in line with governance best practice.
It's also apparent that you are applying a very different standard to this situation than you did to yourself last year, when you clung on to the position of Chair as long as possible after you were banned from the English Wikipedia. The media coverage that resulted significantly damaged the reputation of the charity, and you would be wise to remember your own history before talking about failures by others. Regards, The Land (talk) 10:58, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Chris, this is an example of the sort of pointless re-framing rather than action that I referred to. This discussion is about Alastair's resignation as a trustee, not mine. I am sure that a few members would find the history of your manipulative gaming, or the fact that you gave me and Mike a clear steer in Milan that you intended to step down as Chair soon after the AGM but have failed to do so, instead giving yourself at least the rest of this year even though Mike and I have now resigned ourselves from the board, quite interesting and an insight into the shenanigans that go on in-camera against the supposed "openness" the charity is supposed to value. However most members would find this boring or upsetting to review. Your political skills and associated professional background, or ability to bury and distract from your inappropriate conflict of loyalties while holding the post of Chair, is not the topic here and you might be better off not opening up every possible Pandora's box in your attempt to win what you see as an argument worth taking bad tempered pot-shots as me long after I have resigned as a trustee, rather than a serious governance issue for the charity, that you, as the current Chair, are supposed to take a lead in resolving by guiding Alastair to "do the right thing" as Jimmy Wales has recommended. Please properly fulfil the role of Chair in line with the policies of the charity, or step aside and let one of the more dispassionate trustees take a lead. -- (talk) 11:43, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
I think I've been pretty clear about the action that's going on. However, for clarity: Alastair and I are looking at scenarios where the two positions might conflict, establishing whether we think those scenarios can appropriately be handled by recusal. If there is an actual situation which cannot be handled appropriately then Alastair will resign now. If there are hypothetical situations which cannot be handled appropriately then we will set out how to identify them if they occur and what to do if they do.
I don't really see how doing this constitutes re-framing, manipulative gaming, or any of the other things you're accusing me of. Regards, The Land (talk) 12:15, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
Wikimedia UK having a Chairman on the board of trustees is not intended to stop other trustees answering questions for themselves. Alastair is a PR professional and an elected trustee, so I feel he can probably reply for himself. I have asked for Alastair to resign now in order to remove the reputational risk he has become for the charity, conclude the debate his conflict of loyalties as a paid advocate for the PR industry has created, and out of personal respect for the votes of members that now feel let down by not being informed of the full facts at the time of the AGM. It seems pointless for Alastair's resignation to be left until he starts his role as CEO of CIPR when this was announced in the press a month ago.
By the way, if you insist on going on a delaying tangent by examining hypothetical avenues and scenario planning (this is hardly a complex situation, so I don't see why this takes more than 15 minutes), I suggest you start with "Members request an EGM", the resolution of which is that Alastair resigns before the EGM can be held and preferably before an EGM is proposed. -- (talk) 12:58, 20 September 2013 (UTC)


  1. Please try to refrain from personal attacks on each other and, where possible, on Alastair.
  2. For the record, I'd didn't actually say the the community doesn't have confidence in Alastair. I said it would be impossible to have confidence in the right decisions having been made. Arguably the effect is the same, but, as per 1, let's try not to be personal about this.
  3. Taking time to consider scenarios implies you either didn't read this comment, above, or you just disagree with it. Any particular reason? Please don't just say that you disagree that the purposes are in conflict. That would be saying that you disagree because you disagree.

Yaris678 (talk) 18:30, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

Hi Yaris. Just wanted to respond quickly to your third point before most likely going offline for a few days. If I have understood the point that you and others are making correctly, it is roughly as follows: "The purpose of public relations as a profession is to promote selective and partial interpretations of facts, and this in itself conflicts with the concept of providing a neutral information resource like Wikipedia, which means being someone who promotes PR means you can't also be responsible for promoting Wikipedia". Please correct me if I haven't grasped that correctly.
The reasons why I personally disagree with that view are several, both philosophical and practical. On a philosophical level, it's worth pointing out that selective and biased information resources have always co-existed with those that aim at neutrality, truth, balance or something else, and the promotion of the one does not necessarily mean the rejection of the other. It would be pretty rubbish to have encyclopedia articles that had the content of press releases, and also pretty rubbish to have press releases that had the content of encyclopedia articles. But the existence of the press release doesn't mean there is no need for the encyclopedia, or vice versa.
On a more mundane level I also think it's not that unusual to find people who in their professional lives have the responsibility to communicate in their employer's interests. For instance, I'm a fundraiser - if you read any fundraising letters I produce at work, you will find that they present the causes I work for in the best possible light to encourage people to make donations. We also have lawyers on the Board, and lawyers at work have a professional responsibility to present their client's case as effectively as possible (within the bounds of law and professional ethics, of course). I do not think there is a big gap between the positions of lawyer or fundraiser and that of public relations person. Indeed, we and other entities in the Wikimedia movement have had Board members who have worked in public relations one way or another in the past.
This is why I believe this question is a practical one of "how might these positions conflict and would it be possible to handle it if they do". One area which would make it impossible for Alastair to continue would be if the CIPR had public views which were opposed to Wikimedia UK's views or values. Fortunately on the most important of these areas - how PR people should treat Wikipedia - the CIPR has a firm position saying "follow Wikipedia policies" and regards it as unethical to do otherwise. Of course there are other potential problems and it is those we are looking at.
I hope this makes sense, and if I haven't got your point correctly, please let me know. I don't think the situation is an obvious one. I hope that we'll reach a position where either we are being very clear about how we'll handle any prospective conflict that might arise, which will give reassurance to people who (like you) are worried about the situation - however, it's also possible that potential conflicts are too serious and too likely for Alastair to continue as a Trustee, in which case we'll have made that decision in the right way. The Land (talk) 19:43, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
You argue above, if I understand your position correctly, that true impartiality is impossible so we should just manage the risk through a complicated set of rules to avoid problems on a case by case basis. The point others are making is that the situation is inherently unmanageable. How can we, Alastair or CIPR be sure that decisions taken in one venue or the other are not going to adversely effect a client of a CIPR member or one of our projects? As has been said, the range of possible scenarios is simply too great and we do not have complete knowledge of the interests of every client of a CIPR member and which particular version of the truth they may be seeking to promote at any given time. Unlike a lawyer or fundraiser who might have a particular client about whom conflicts may be fairly readily identified, and for whom Wikipedia is probably a fairly minor concern, the PR industry is a business whose stock in trade is the manipulation of the truth and which has a track record of acting against us. We are rightly wary of them. If he takes up the job, Alastair will have a duty to promote the interests of people we have good reason not to trust. Philafrenzy (talk) 21:33, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
I think it may be useful to have another look at the piece Jane Wilson wrote for "Huffinton Post Tech UK" back in May last year: PR: If You Want to Understand Wikipedia, Become a Wikipedian. She concludes with the reflection "The first step is always the most difficult, but is also the most important." I am afraid I cannot agree with her. Perhaps she did not imagine a "scenario" where someone slipping into her shoes as CIPR CEO would also feel comfortable continuing as a Wikimedia UK Trustee. (She wrote this piece in her capacity as CEO of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.) It is not a matter of there being a "potential" Conflict of Interest, Alastair is stepping into a key role in an organisation which already has a distinct interest in relation to Wikimedia UK. Please also note that WMUK employees from time to time have meetings with CIPR (such as this). Now I find myself in a tricky situation as regards chasing up Stevie as regards what happened at that meeting. Leutha (talk) 00:40, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
Some of the assumptions are interesting:
  • "the question of the most appropriate way to engage with audiences through Wikipedia" We are not here for this purpose.
  • "If Wikipedia is an element in your online reputation management strategy" Nor this.
  • "Wikipedians and ethically minded public relations professionals share similar goals -providing accurate, factual, and up-to-date information" We may share those goals but they don't share our additional goals of neutrality, impartiality and avoiding advocacy, quite the opposite in fact. When was the last time a PR firm put anything in the public domain that might reflect poorly on one of their customers?
Mutual understanding? Dialogue? Codes of conduct? All yes. Good friends who share our values? No. Philafrenzy (talk) 01:57, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
Hello everyone. I'm keeping out of this debate as it's important that it takes place within the community. I do, however, want to respond to Leutha's comment above. Leutha, I'm not sure why you find yourself in a "tricky situation as regards chasing up Stevie". You, and anyone else within our community, are always welcome to ask me about my work. The meeting you point to, I remember very well actually. Checking my diary, it was on Friday 15 March. I met with Gemma Griffiths, a member of the CIPR's social media panel (who also has her own PR agency). We met at Shoreditch Grind for coffee (which I remember came in a glass the size of a thimble and was expensive and lukewarm - but I guess that's Shoreditch for you). We spoke about the potential for doing an updated version of the guidelines that you link to. We both felt that it would be a useful exercise but that it wasn't a priority for either of us or our organisations. The intention was to float the idea with both our communities over the summer but this hasn't happened because a) everyone is busy and b) there isn't an urgent need. You may also be interested to know that I visited the CIPR offices in Russell Square on the previous Thursday (8 March) along with Dirk Franke from WMDE who was visiting our office with some colleagues. While there we met with Gemma, Andy Ross of the CIPR and another CIPR officer, whose name escapes me (could be Francis Ingham). There were two reasons for my visit. Firstly, it made sense for someone to take Dirk along as London is a confusing city for visitors and it's easy to get lost. Secondly, I wanted to learn about Dirk's research into paid editing on the German Wikipedia. He was already scheduled to speak with CIPR about this so I went along to learn about it. It's very interesting and I'm looking forward to reading his report when it is ready. I hope this helps and please, don't think of asking me about my work as a tricky situation. I'm quite approachable and don't usually bite so please feel free to ask me. Thank you. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 11:08, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
Hi everyone. I am sorry if it appeared I was suggesting that Stevie is anyway unapproachable. The trickiness of the situation was basically as Stevie put it, he's trying to keep out of this debate. By the way, thanks for the info (I have something not directly related to this discussion to take up with Dirk.) Leutha (talk) 14:02, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
Thank you, Leutha. I appreciate your comment and I apologise for not updating that page at the time. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 14:29, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
May we have an update from the board and Alistair regarding what action, if any, is taking place on this matter with some dates? Thanks. Philafrenzy (talk) 13:28, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
Philafrenzy: I think the draft minutes now up at Minutes 14Sep13#AM potential CoI should answer your question. I'm not sure we have dates yet as Chris is on holiday this week, but I know it's being worked on. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 14:24, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

Edit break

The Board minutes were clear enough, though the board seems to have an odd view of the discussion on this page as the minutes make it sound like this thread is a resounding success for Alastair, when it looks pretty ghastly from where I am sitting. I would like to see Alastair reply to my request above, and consider the statement from Jimmy Wales, for him to do the right thing and step down as a trustee, after failing to manage a declaration in a timely or appropriate manner either with the members of the charity, or the board of trustees, rather than having replies through second parties or leaving the members to deduce what might have been said from carefully worded reports of closed meetings long after the fact. Had the members been told before voting at the AGM that one of the candidates was planning to soon become a paid advocate of the PR industry, there is no doubt that Alastair and the charity would not be in the current situation. -- (talk) 15:30, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

I agree the minutes sound a bit rosier than this discussion (although I perhaps think the consensus here is less "ghastly" than you do). I'm also not certain the the claim "Had the members been told before voting at the AGM that one of the candidates was planning to soon become a paid advocate of the PR industry, there is no doubt that Alastair and the charity would not be in the current situation" is obviously true, and I think you're implying some bad faith on timing here, which I think has been refuted above. As for the J'Wales comment while I think that view should be taken into consideration, it'd be a bit weird if we start deferring to Jimmy Wales on every disagreement...and there's far more discussion going on here than there was on that post (unless there's another section I've missed). Not sure what I think of this potential COI, but I think new points would be more useful than returning to these ones again Sjgknight (talk) 15:49, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
In terms of timing, Alastair, nor any other member of the board, has yet confirmed in writing exactly when he first informed the board about accepting the job. I believe the board was only told after this became an issue on Wikipediocracy, a couple of weeks after CIPR put out a press release. If this is the case, then timing is a problem, as Alastair had several months in advance of this to informally approach his fellow trustees about a potential conflict of loyalties, or openly advise the members about these events, but chose to act and update his declaration of interests when it was too late for the members to use the information to influence their votes and only after the press already had a version of events and the board of trustees were in a position of reacting to events and attempting to quench the exposure rather than planning and seeking advice on a potential risk. Conflict of Interest Policy states "Trustees must not use their Wikimedia UK position or title to advance any private interests", there is no doubt that CIPR knew about his position as a trustee of WMUK when deciding whether to appoint Alastair and CIPR were fully aware of their effective partnership with WMUK even if Alastair was not, as they had worked closely with the charity on guidelines for Wikipedia and even presented at our 2012 AGM. I would expect Alastair included his position as trustee in his portfolio and would have discussed it during interviews, it's up to Alastair if he wants to set the record straight and make a full explanation to the members about how and at what point his position as trustee became relevant to his new job. The same policy states "Any board member's potential conflict of interest must be discussed with the Chair or the full board before any decision is made", this did not happen. If you contrast this with Roger Bamkin's behaviour, the board was informed about a potential contract well in advance and I had time on behalf of the board to seek independent advice which we fully followed. If you contrast with the press interest in me, I reviewed this potential risk with the board months before it became a public problem. I do not see the board responding more openly now, or in a more timely fashion, than we did with those events, in fact the process followed today seems less effective by only reacting to events and is being controlled by the Chair who has stated here that he sees no problem and has only acted after repeated complaints from members, a situation that I would expect the board to pick up on, and put someone with an independent viewpoint in charge of a COI review.
With regard to Jimmy Wales, the board has no duty to ignore his comments, and I used the word "consider", not expecting to just do whatever Jimmy Wales says blindly. At the moment neither Alastair nor the board has responded directly to Jimmy Wales' statement as far as I can tell. -- (talk) 06:43, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

Alastair has provided a full statement

Hello everyone. I'd like to draw your attention to a full statement that Alastair has written on managing potential conflicts of interest that may arise as a result of his paid employment. This can be seen here. Thank you. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 12:08, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

I thank Alastair for the amount of effort that has gone into the preparation of this statement which would be more than adequate in any normal conflict of interest situation. What stands out for me is the number of different scenarios, the double negatives, the recusing and non-recusing. This complicated document is symptomatic of the legalistic and managerial approach that has been taken to this matter, with an attempt to break it down into a number of smaller problems and to design a solution for each one, thus minimising its significance and avoiding the need to face the more difficult questions of principle. At point two particularly there seems to be an argument that because we have the agreed editing guidelines there is no fundamental conflict of values between the PR industry and Wikimedia or conflict of loyalty between Alastair and Wikimedia. This is incorrect in my view for reasons already given.
We can see where the higher loyalty will lie, with multiple scenarios outlined where Alastair will resign here but, tellingly, none where he will resign from CIPR. It is clear that when push comes to shove it is the CIPR that will come first. Does anyone expect Alastair to resign from CIPR on a matter of principle involving Wikipedia? This tells us something about the uneven nature of the arrangements. I don’t believe that Alastair’s statement addresses the fundamental conflict of values between the PR industry and our movement. Some conflicts are so deep that they cannot be dealt with through carefully worded legal statements, this is one of them. Philafrenzy (talk) 00:16, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
+1, I agree with Philafrenzy's point of view. The risks are all one way, for WMUK rather than CIPR, the charity requires trustees to put the interests of the charity first, not barter interests between their conflicts of loyalties. Rather than a full statement, this appears an over complex, hypothetical and inadequate one. The facts we have established on this page are:
  1. Alastair failed to declare his conflict of loyalties to either the board or the membership until immediately after a public fuss about it was made on Wikipediocracy. Alastair knew about this conflict of loyalties before running to be a trustee at the AGM, he failed to discuss it with the board of trustees then or declare it so that members voting had the full facts.
  2. Neither Alastair nor any board member has confirmed the precise date on which he made a declaration to the board. This fails to follow the agreed WMUK policy with regard to conflict of interest. This would be a simple statement of fact, that it has been skirted over appears a failure of the board to comply with the value of openness.
  3. Alastair has responded once to questions here from members, avoided responding to any further questions and given no response to the statement by Jimmy Wales asking for him to do the right thing, instead he has preferred to work through Chris and Stevie. It is notable that Alastair's long statement says nothing about his accountability to the members that voted for him and gives no assurance that he will be accountable to the members in the future.
  4. The board has failed to comply with their own published process for management of conflict of interest. The board failed to ensure an independent review occurred before reaching a decision, and has failed to ensure a process for managing Alastair's active conflict of interest is in place, instead accepting that he makes a long hypothetical statement. Chris and Alastair agreeing a statement is not an independent review, when Chris stated his final position before any discussion started.
As has been pointed out previously in this discussion, Alastair's conflict of loyalties appears unmanageable, failing to establish a process to attempt to manage it or independently review it, apart from "parking" it by saying it will be mentioned in the general governance review, long after entrenching views and the trustees have fully committed themselves to one option, gives the impression that the board is acting to quickly bury this problem and putting PR spin first, rather than taking on board the valid concerns and questions of members and the founder of the WMF - the organization that directly controls almost all future funds of the charity. -- (talk) 06:23, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

I am not sure there is much more to say except that the Board takes a different view, and I'm not sure another statement of the rationale is going to help. However I do think I ought to address Fae's post as there are a number of factual inaccuracies.

Regarding your point 1). This is not the case.
Given Alastair's extensive engagement on this page, I don't think it is fair to say he's failing to take the issue seriously, or not discussing with members.
Your statement that we have failed to follow the Wikimedia UK policy with regards to disclosing his new job is untrue. Please see Conflict_of_Interest_Policy#Disclosure. The policy states that interests should be raised and discussed early, and then the Board should decide on how they are to be handled, which has happened. There is no requirement for prospective Trustees to disclose to us any prospective job they are applying for, particularly one so tangentially related to the Wikimedia movement. And while there is no requirement in the policy for the handling of any conflict of interest to be independently reviewed, in handling this we have taken advice from Rosie Chapman, the consultant performing our current governance audit, and we have asked her to comment on our handling of this situation in her report.

Regards, The Land (talk) 09:30, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Hi Chris. If my point (1) is not the case, could you, Alastair or another member of the board give a precise date on which Alastair put his conflict of loyalties to the board of trustees for the first time, so that the members can confirm that this date was indeed before it was raised on Wikipediocracy? I am sure that Andreas can compare dates for us. I find it extremely odd for this date to be kept obscure when it is as easy to confirm as a trustee checking the date of the first email from Alastair to the board about his relationship with CIPR.
With regard to policy it states "Any board member's potential conflict of interest must be discussed with the Chair or the full board before any decision is made." Alastair made his decision to become the CEO for CIPR without consulting with the board, as far as I am aware. There was a press announcement by CIPR before anything was put in writing, or discussed, with the WMUK charity. I note your partial responses have tacitly accepted the other issues as correct.
As for Alastair being an advocate for CIPR, when CIPR has publicly worked closely with WMUK for more than a year previously, I find it surprising that anyone would dismiss that as "tangential". It is not tangential, it is bang centre of the COI policy as an issue of having an active PR lobbyist brokering the values and mission of this charity. The policy states "Trustees must not use their Wikimedia UK position or title to advance any private interests and must ensure a clear distinction between their role as Trustees and any other activity they engage in" I believe it is a perfectly common sense reading of a "private interest" that having Trustee of WMUK on your CV when applying to be CEO of CIPR, an existing collaborator with WMUK, is indeed advancing a private interest that requires discussion.
Why is it you that is writing here as an apparent official proxy, to address questions put to Alastair, rather than Alastair? Are trustees no longer supposed to discuss problems with members without going through the Chair? This seems an approach that runs directly counter to the Nolan principles included in the Trustee Code of Conduct, in particular "[Trustees] should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider interest clearly demands."
Lastly, you mention "we have taken advice from Rosie Chapman", please publish this advice. I am sure the charity paid well for it and it would be great for the members to consider it and learn from it. Thanks -- (talk) 11:22, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
I too am finding the relative absence of Alastair here puzzling. Even his statement was posted by someone else. I note there has been some interaction here but it seems to be principally via intermediaries and there is a lofty detached tone that suggests that Alastair feels that he is an important man above all this annoying nonsense from the trouble makers on that Watercooler thingy. This does very much play into the feeling that the trustees don't actually get much involved in the nitty gritty of our work and that has been said above in defence of these arrangements. I note particularly that one does not often see the trustees at the London meetup. I know not everyone is in London but there is nothing like those meetings for taking the temperature of the community and understanding who we really are. I hope also that we will start to see Fae at those events as he also has been absent. I hope that Alastair will correct me and give us some sort of personal statement that faces head on the worries that people have, rather than relying on documents draw up by committees, boards and lawyers.
Regarding Chris's assertion that this appointment is "tangentially related to the Wikimedia movement", this is a troubling and factually incorrect statement to say the least. The PR industry exists solely for the job of "influencing opinion and behaviour" (their words) for the benefit of their paying clients. Information and its use is their currency. How can that not be a concern to us? Philafrenzy (talk) 11:57, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
I am intending to be at the next London meetup - see m:Meetup/London/74 --MichaelMaggs (talk) 12:20, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
Great! Philafrenzy (talk) 12:27, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for chipping in on this thread Michael, it would be interesting to touch base at the wikimeet on some Commons projects, I've added it to my diary. While you are here, it would be great if you could confirm the date of the first email from Alastair bringing up the issue of his relationship with CIPR as a potential conflict of loyalties. Thanks -- (talk) 12:34, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
Hi Fae. I have been responding here because it falls to the Chair to deal with Trustees' conflicts of interests, and with allegations like the ones you are making that the charity has failed to comply with its policies. Alastair spent a great deal of time at the start of this conversation responding to peoples' points and nothing new has been added since. Also, you said above that you felt I had "tacitly accepted" some of the things I have said - this couldn't be further from the case. If you make an untrue statement and I fail to disagree with it, it does not mean your statement has suddenly become true.
Philafrenzy - yes, I'm planning to be there - I was in the habit of coming but haven't been for a while. Look forward to seeing you and talking some of this through. The Land (talk) 12:45, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
Also great! You have been to dozens more meetups than I have I know. Philafrenzy (talk) 12:48, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for continuing to write here Chris. I am familiar with the role of Chair having held it myself and discussed it with the board many times before and after that; it certainly was never the duty of the Chair to replace the voice of other trustees, nor to take a PR role and answer instead of others when the members have direct questions for a trustee that is not the Chair. By the way, calling my statements "untrue" does not make your assertions that there is nothing to worry about here and policy has been followed "true". Alastair was offered a job with CIPR after becoming a WMUK trustee, that appears to be a personal benefit. Alastair failed to come forward and discuss his potential conflict of loyalties before the AGM, despite CIPR being fully aware of their long term relationship with WMUK. As for the order of events, the members have no idea, as neither Alastair nor anyone else on the board has explained who knew what when.
It is easy for any reader to see that your answers are selective. If you don't wish them to be seen that way, perhaps you would be prepared to answer a very simple question that I have asked around 4 or 5 times now but has been skirted around every time. What was the date of the first email to the board from Alastair bringing up the issue of his relationship with CIPR as a potential conflict of loyalties? -- (talk) 13:04, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes, will someone please just answer this question and put us all out of our misery. What possible reason can there be for not providing this factual piece of information? Philafrenzy (talk) 13:40, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
This is a closed question, which could have been answered at any time by any trustee cut & pasting the date from an email, it does not take hours to write a reply, let alone days or weeks. It would be refreshing if a response just gave a date.
In terms of a comparative timeline, Alastair was running for the CIPR job before the AGM and he became a WMUK trustee on 8 June 2013, CIPR made a public announcement of Alastair's new job on 27 August 2013, the thread on Wikipediocracy was started on 10 September 2013 and in apparent response, Alastair decided to declare his conflict of loyalties the day afterwards[6] 11 September 2013. -- (talk) 15:22, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
28 August. I hope that settles the matter. Regards, The Land (talk) 15:00, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
Actually, I was wrong. 24 August. There we go. The Land (talk) 16:55, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
Incidentally, there is a good quote from Jimmy Wales on page 172 of the book Share This Too: More Social Media Solutions for PR Professionals (ISBN 1118676939) issued by CIPR and referred to elsewhere here. "What I have found - and the evidence for this is pretty comprehensive - is that people who are acting as paid advocates do not make good editors. They insert puffery and spin. That's what they do because that is what paid advocates do." (my italics) Quite. Our Secretary, apparently, is to be their leader. Philafrenzy (talk) 18:15, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Comment from Geoff Brigham

Hi all. As General Counsel of the Wikimedia Foundation, I have followed with interest the efforts of WMUK to address a number of outstanding governance issues over the last months. See http://blog.wikimedia.org/2013/03/19/movement-governance-recommendations/ If I may, I would like to share some of my own thoughts here in light of this ongoing discussion and concerns about a possible conflict of interest.

I have been favorably impressed by WMUK’s recent leadership in seeking to address outstanding governance issues and solving past issues, including the recruitment of strong Board members with rich experiences and talents. I appreciate the opinion of others on the handling of this and other potential conflicts; that said, I personally feel that the chapter is taking the right steps in addressing the necessary legal requirements of managing this potential conflict.

The first rule of thumb to managing a conflict of interest is to declare it timely, completely, directly, and transparently to the parties affected, including the decision-makers, which I feel was done here. See http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Guidelines_on_potential_conflicts_of_interest

The second rule is to put in place a protocol for managing the declared potential conflict. Such a protocol rarely requires resignation as a solution when Wikimedia interests can be addressed by removing the declarant from discussions and decisions on the matter where the potential conflict could arise. On this last point, WMUK sought, received, and followed advice from a leading UK governance expert on the topic; its Chair and Executive Director reached out to me early for my thoughts given our working relationship and my past experience on these types of ethical questions; and, in layperson’s language, Alastair issued a comprehensive, transparent statement, which, in my mind, addresses the legalities satisfactorily. To be sure, there is always a possibility that scenarios may change, and such unanticipated changes may require a course adjustment in the management of the potential conflict; for that reason, ongoing vigilance to ensure against any future conflict is appropriate by both Alastair and the Board. This is the nature of any legal potential conflict of interest, however.

To manage duty of loyalty cases, I have always subscribed to a somewhat conservative double recusal rule that applies to both organizations. In this case, if a substantive issue arises at CIPR with respect to Wikimedia or its projects, I understand that Alastair intends to recuse himself from discussion and decision and appoint someone else at CIPR to act as the final decision maker on that issue within CIPR to avoid any appearance of a conflict of duty of loyalty. Alastair would also recuse himself on the WMUK board from a discussion and decision on any issue concerning CIPR. If an issue is particularly contentious and critical to the very fabric of either organization, Alastair may need to make a decision of resignation to address the potential conflict on that question, but such decisions can be handled on an issue-by-issue basis. The mere possibility of such a scenario does not necessitate resignation today.

Of course, as General Counsel of the Wikimedia Foundation, I cannot give legal advice outside the Wikimedia Foundation, so the above represents only my view, not advice. Indeed, WMUK has sought outside advice from its own ethics expert in the U.K., who has a better understanding of UK governance than I (obviously). Also, to be clear, I am not addressing the broader extra-legal policy issues of paid editing, which I understand could be a subject to debate. My focus is getting the more narrow legalities correct.

In short, I have expressed my discontentment in the past when conflicts of interests have been undisclosed or mismanaged; at the same time, I believe we should also recognize when they are handled well, despite challenging circumstances. It is a tough job handling these issues professionally, and I commend the chapter and Alastair for their efforts to do so here.

Geoff Brigham (WMF) (talk) 17:05, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

It's good to know that the chapter has taken the correct legal steps in this matter, however, Geoff's opinion does not directly address the question of the appropriateness of the head of the UK's professional body for public relations also being the Secretary and Trustee of Wikimedia UK. It may be legal for that to happen but is it right? Philafrenzy (talk) 19:33, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

Fundamental conflict of values/Conflicts of loyalty?

Thanks to Alastair for working on his statement. However, I feel it only serves to illustrate that there is a Fundamental conflict of values/Conflicts of loyalty.:

"For the present CIPR and Wikimedia UK volunteers have agreed a set of guidelines for PR practitioners on how to interact with Wikipedia, which states essentially that PR practitioners should not edit articles for their clients and should always follow Wikipedia policies and guidelines."
Now I realise that Alastair may not be particularly familiar with what went on, and it would be interesting to know whether he was advised on this by
  1. the people at CIPR
  2. Wikimedians who participated in the discussion
Certainly he did not contact me for my view on it. Indeed there is a bit of Catch 22 here, because as far as I am aware this is the first time that someone, whether a member of staff or a fellow trustee, has referred to an agreement between CIPR and "Wikimedia Volunteers". On the one hand it would be a serious omission if this was not included, but on the other this is precisely the sort of announcement in which Alastair should not be involved. Indeed the Catch 22 is precisely indicative of a fundamental conflict! Certainly if he had checked the documents he would have found that I contributed to the document, only to have something removed without discussion by Philip Sheldrake. Please check Draft best practice guidelines for PR
  1. These are a draft.
  2. There was never any "agreement" as far I was concerned. Now I may be wrong, and certainly checking for one is the sort of thing that Alastair can do once he takes up his position as CEO of CIPR, and if it does exist I would certainly like to know how it came about.
  3. On May 31st we were informed that the CIPR planned to create a Version 1
  4. This was carried out on 27 June 2012, when Philip Sheldrake also suggested that there should be a "Version 2". CIPR issued a press statement, which quite understandably included a quote from the CIPR CEO (as well as Jon). Nowhere was there any reference to any agreement in this press statement. The statement also stated unequivocally:
Furthermore, the guidance document published today is merely version one – it will continue to be reviewed and refreshed as the relationship between the Wikipedia and public relations communities continues to progress."
It is hard to see how this sits comfortably with Alastair's statement.
  1. Alastair also makes reference to Share this too, a book recently published by the CIPR, with a chapter by Stephen Waddington, President of the CIPR. Now, I have no problem with The CIPR publishing their views about Wikipedia, and it would be churlish to accuse Alastair of promoting a CIPR publication, (even though by including it in his statement he inevitably is - I doubt if I would have heard of the book otherwise). But this again underlines the problem that we have here an ongoing relationship
  2. Alastair accepts that he "must be mindful of the fact that if, in future, CIPR and Wikimedia no longer agree on matters which relate to Wikipedia", but what does that mean: Wikimedia UK, the Wikmedia community - two quite different entities, one a legal defined corporation, the other something much more nebulous.
  3. Alastair goes on to say "If I become aware that CIPR is seeking to modify the guidelines I would need to make the WMUK Board aware of this and take no part in any following discussion." In this he seems to be unaware of the CIPR view that:
  1. CIPR view Draft best practice guidelines for PR as a living document.
  2. CIPR would like to see a more concise document for Version 2

He also seems unaware that:

  1. Changes have in fact been made since Version 1
  2. By a curious irony the very last line states: "This introduction (everything to this point) will not feature in the guidance; everything hereafter will."
  1. As I touched on previously, there was a meeting to follow as regards Version 2, about which I felt uncomfortable prompting an update from Stevie in the context of this debate. Stevie reported that there had been an idea of seeing whether there was any interest in working on a Version 2, over the summer, but that in the end neither organisation regarded it as a priority.
So to summarise my view: I do not wish to pillory Alastair, and I have no doubt that he could make a very helpful contribution to WMUK, and Wikipedia and its sister projects, however for the reason above, I do not understand why he sees no conflict of loyalty between his role as CEO (a less significant role might have been more manageable) of CIPR and that of a WMUK trustee. I feel he has been more naive than anything else in this matter. For the reasons I have argued above, I do not think he properly understands how the relationship between CIPR and WMUK has developed, and his suggestion that there is any sort of agreement is incorrect. And, er yes, I have got better things to do than spend hours clarifying the situation as I have done this evening. After I engaged with the CIPR people on this, I came away feeling very dissatisfied, with little respect for them, and perhaps a little more understanding of persuasion actually works. I do find Alastair's suggestion that I have agreed to the CIPR guidelines problematic and I do not understand why those of us who had troubled ourselves to contribute to the draft were not consulted before he issued his statement? Leutha (talk) 21:29, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
By whose authority were these guidelines "agreed" if indeed they are agreed at all? I was not aware that WMUK had the authority to do such things. Certainly they can be of no binding effect as far as Wikipedia or the Foundation are concerned. Whilst guidelines are welcome, I am not sure that WMUK should be the ones writing them. We certainly seem to be being used by CIPR as a proxy for the community as a whole. Would these guidelines have been agreed if they had been put forward for community agreement on a wider basis? There is considerable dissent on the talk page here alone. Who decided the matter was settled? If these guidelines have some official status as far as WMUK are concerned, then the least that should happen is that WMUK members should vote on them. Should an EGM result from the other matter, I think the WMUK community should have a chance to vote on these guidelines too. Philafrenzy (talk) 21:46, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
This may be old news but this US PR firm claims to be able to manage their customer's Wikipedia page through "our network of established Wikipedia editors and admins". Philafrenzy (talk) 22:28, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
How much do they pay, maybe we should put our names down at $400/day? Considering that WMUK already acts as a certification body for consultants for hire rather than factoring these services out, the realpolitik approach the charity has adopted towards the PR sector by having a paid advocate of the PR industry as a voting trustee would seem to set a trend that the board would have no problem in officially supporting this sort of paid work, or even having this organization as an approved commercial partner. Anything else would seem contradictory, wouldn't it?
Perhaps it is time for the board of trustees to re-write the mission. -- (talk) 08:32, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
†—I have dropped WIKI-PR an email to find out more. By the way, I was offered money to sort out a biography on en.wp through my work on OTRS. Maybe I was being stupid to turn down the offer. -- (talk) 08:38, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
That's a pretty shocking site. Though, as has been pointed out many times, CIPR's position is that anyone working in PR should avoid anyone using the "dark arts", avoid doing any of the things that site claims to offer, and follow Wikipedia policies regarding not engaging in COI editing. So I am still not particularly clear of its relevance to this situation. The Land (talk) 08:47, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
I agree, I am not suggesting that is happening here, and CIPR do reject that sort of thing but it is a reminder of the broader context. Let's not get too cosy with the PR industry please. Philafrenzy (talk) 09:01, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Chris, I suggest that as the Chairman of the charity, you avoid defaming WIKI-PR on public record unless you have specific evidence to support your allegations of "dark arts". You should be particularly careful that WMUK might be seen to be only critical of non-members of CIPR considering that the board has a trustee that is a paid advocate of members of CIPR. The WIKI-PR site states extremely clearly that "We respect the community and its rules against promoting and advertising." If you feel that it is the charity's business to create an official list of approved PR suppliers, rather than just your public allegations about who is good and bad, maybe you should make a proposal.
Philafrenzy, I cannot imagine WMUK getting any more "cosy" with the PR industry than having a paid advocate as a trustee with a legal role as the Secretary of the charity. If we have a paid advocate as a trustee, there seems little reason any more to disapprove of having paid advocates as volunteers for the charity. -- (talk) 09:11, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Fae the "dark arts" comment was re: CIPR's position, not Wiki-PR (being shocked isn't defamation), much as that bait and switch made me lol. CIPR is also different to single PR organisations, in that it's an overarching body and taking a rather different tact to wikipedia to (the American) Wiki-PR. You say "I cannot imagine WMUK getting any more 'cosy' with the PR industry"...and then go on to give an example of how that could happen. Alastair's status has been discussed, COI managed, let's discuss separate issues separately... Sjgknight (talk) 09:24, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, I was misreading. Chris Keating speaking as the Chairman of the charity has said that he finds WIKI-PR "shocking". I think it would now be proper for that to be expanded so that the members understand the difference between WIKI-PR and other PR companies, in particular so that we can contrast with the sites and behaviour of the members of CIPR that Alastair McCapra is paid to be an advocate for, whilst also being the Secretary of the WMUK charity. For those volunteers for WMUK that would like to get paid for their editing time, it would be great if Chris could point out some paid editing sites that he does not find "shocking" and that are going about this the "right" way, presumably by following the guidelines that WMUK and its members has officially agreed with CIPR in the past. Thanks -- (talk) 09:34, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Now you're just trolling. The Land (talk) 09:47, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
And you are claiming that WIKI-PR is "shocking" but now prefer to call me a troll rather than explaining why so that the members of WMUK can apply the same standard to other PR agencies in a fair and even-handed way, in particular the charity must be seen to be apply the same standards when we approve or disapprove of the behaviour of members of CIPR. If I get an email back from WIKI-PR, I'll send them a link to your comment here. -- (talk) 10:02, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
https://wiki.wikimedia.org.uk/wiki/Draft_best_practice_guidelines_for_PR Sjgknight (talk) 10:11, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes, thanks Sjgknight, though as WIKI-PR upfront (on its main page) says it complies with the policy, there seems no reason to suspect it would not be happy to comply with the best practice guidelines that WMUK agreed with CIPR. In what way is WIKI-PR shocking if this is the case? -- (talk) 11:13, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Just for some context regarding Wiki-PR, if you haven't already seen it; Signpost coverage. The Land (talk) 17:38, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
Please also see Water_cooler#Wiki_PR_update below for link to Daily Dot article.Leutha (talk) 20:37, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

All sides of the debate are inviting more members of WMUK to speak up, so I'm taking that invitation. I say "all sides" not "both sides", because there are actually two sides of this discussion offering contradictory reasons on why Alastair can't handle his COI:

  1. Some argue that WMUK and CIPR have a "fundamental conflict of values";
  2. Others argue that Alastair has a personal conflict of interest arising from the working relationship between WMUK and CIPR.

These can't both be true, and in my opinion the first one is false. As Philafrenzy illustrated, "the Vegetarian Association and the National Beef Association" have a fundamental conflict of values because vegetarians fundamentally don't do beef. In contrast, there's nothing in WMUK's vision that says we don't work with the PR. If there was a fundamental conflict of interest, "CIPR and Wikimedia UK volunteers" would have never "agreed a set of guidelines for PR practitioners on how to interact with Wikipedia".

That's pretty definitive proof to me that there isn't a "fundamental conflict of values", so it boils down to how Alastair should handle his own conflict of interest. As pointed out earlier in this long discussion, WMUK does not fund CIPR in any way, so there is no financial COI for Alastair. This makes Alastair's COI between WMUK and CIPR nothing more than any other COI - as Mike Peel illustrated, we all have involvements beyond Wikimedia in other walks of society and each of them is both a perspective to be welcomed and a COI to be managed. If we as WMUK choose to single out Alastair and CIPR, we're simply shooting ourselves in the foot. I commend Alastair for declaring his forthcoming job well in advance, I agree that no further special action is required other than Alastair's expected standard of "double recusal" (thanks Geoff) so long as he holds both WMUK and CIPR executive positions, and I hope that we'll stop being paranoid about our trustees' lives outside Wikimedia. Deryck Chan (talk) 21:37, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

The fact that we have the so called agreed guidelines proves nothing of the kind Deryck. You hang an awful lot in your argument on something that is not even agreed by WMUK members, has never been ratified in any way by the community, and has no standing of any kind on Wikipedia or with the Foundation. The fundamental conflict of values is the fact that in our work we seek neutrality, impartiality and to avoid advocacy, while the PR industry exists specifically for the contrary purpose of manipulating public opinion to the benefit of their paying customers. Please explain how those things are not in conflict. Philafrenzy (talk) 21:53, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

Need for an EGM

It is pretty clear that many in the community find the statement about managing Alastair's COI woefully inadequate. It also appears that the board doesn't understand the concerns of the community. I think we need an extraordinary general meeting. Yaris678 (talk) 12:03, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

I agree, as long as it focuses on issues not individuals. I feel that a motion should be put that "It is incompatible with our principles for a senior figure in the public relations industry to also be an employee or trustee of Wikimedia U.K." or something along those lines to be agreed. Philafrenzy (talk) 13:15, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
If it becomes clear that there is a strong opinion from our members (or the wider community) that we've got this wrong, then there won't be a need for an EGM. But, as I just posted on the email list - since Alastair posted the details of how he will handle this situation, only 5 people (myself included) have taken part in the resulting discussion. Some have posted at some length and in strident terms, but I don't yet see the picture I would need to see to be persuaded we are taking the wrong course of action here.
This time last year we had a very clear message from our membership, from the broader community, and from the Wikimedia Foundation that we needed to greatly improve how we handled conflicts of interest. That resulted in the Hudson Review, which gave us some pretty clear recommendations. We have followed those recommendations in dealing with this situation - taking external advice early, thinking carefully about the likely impact of the potential conflict of interest, and coming to a conclusion which the Board believes defends us not just against the risk of anything bad happening, but any allegation of impropriety. In short we have been to the best of our ability doing good governance. You might see Geoff Brigham's comments above if you were in any doubt about that.
However, we also clearly have a duty to our members, and a responsibility to maintain the goodwill of the Wikimedia community as a whole. If there is a widespread view that, even with the steps we've outlined, it's not in the charity's best interests for Alastair to continue, then we will listen to that. So if there are a lot of people out there thinking to themselves that the Board has got this wrong, but haven't summoned the time or energy to post to that effect, please do post and let us know your views. Equally, if there are people who have been watching this conversation and haven't participated because they feel the right decision's been made and so they have nothing to add, please do speak up. Regards, The Land (talk) 18:23, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
See my comments elsewhere about the democratic deficit here, caused by the active membership being too small, leading to difficulty all round in determining the views of the community. Philafrenzy (talk) 19:44, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
I do not have a particular view on whether an EGM is or isn't needed (I don't have much time to consider the matter). But as a gut/largely uninformed reaction, assuming Fae is correct to suggest that Alastair was running for the CIPR position before the AGM (apologies if this has been rebutted somewhere, I haven't been able to read everything), I find it disappointing that the process we had in place at the AGM did not bring this to members' attention at the time, given how much we talked a lot about COI there. Jarry1250 (talk) 19:42, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
I have contributed before here, and was going to leave it at that. I thought Alistair's statement above could have been stronger. If this thread still has life in it, I have a few comments from Wikipedia experience. Namely: (a) there will certainly be those who see process as the dominant factor, but they tend to be on the wrong side of arguments; (b) I was (for once) heavily involved in WP policy when it came to the COI guideline, and there the whole point is that "potential COI" should be distinguished from what happens in practice - which leads me to back the Board's approach; (c) the argumentum ad Jimbonen here, which has been brought up, brings nothing new to the discussion on PR for those who have been paying attention - Jimmy Wales is our "tough cop" in this area, for good reasons from past history, but stringency isn't the only approach. Charles Matthews (talk) 19:53, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Charles, I'm not sure what you are saying here. You caution against seeing process as the dominant factor, and yet you appear to be supporting the boards current position, a position based on process, a position that neglects factors like trust, community and simplicity and instead gives us an unconvincing description of how hypothetical future problems will be dealt with. Yaris678 (talk) 09:27, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
OK, I lived through what could reasonably be called the "scandal-torn" era of the English Wikipedia. Some such scandals were caused (I'm thinking of Essjay, in particular) by "trusted" people being not what they seemed. Some reasonable precautions were the answer there, not more reliance on criteria about whom to trust. You can call reasonable precautions "process" if you want, but my point is an old one, as far as I'm concerned: wonkishness about process isn't the answer. I mean by that privileging form over content. Community concerns should be met, and a sense of history does matter to the movement as a whole. Here we are, hoping for the end of the "scandal-torn" era of WMUK. The basic argument against the Board seems to be that to over-correct is the only safe way, and advocacy for it picking holes in what has been done so far. Charles Matthews (talk) 13:28, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
The basic argument against the Board seems to be that to over-correct is the only safe way, and advocacy for it picking holes in what has been done so far. I am not quite able to parse the second half of your sentence. What does "it" in "advocacy for it" refer to? Do you mean that advocacy for over-correction means picking holes in what has been done so far? And if so, do you mean to say doing so is a good thing or a bad thing? Andreas JN 18:07, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

Response from Alastair

Hi sorry for not contributing for a while but I've had login problems following the migration of the site.

Fae opened this discussion on 11 September by asking that I make a statement about how I think I would manage the potential conflict of interest and I have done this. He also asked that there be an independent review of the conflict of interest. This matter has been considered by the WMUK independent governance advisor, who will be publishing her report in due course.

There was a question of why I did not declare a potential declaration of interest when I stood for election, which I believed I had addressed in my comments on 12 September but evidently not in sufficient detail. At the time I stood for election I had not even been interviewed for the job, and was unaware of the potential conflict I would have to deal with. I certainly did not conceal anything from the members who were considering voting for me and am quite sure that nothing I have done as a trustee since being elected has fallen short of what voting members properly expect.

I only became aware of the issues which have caused concern on this forum after I was appointed to the job. I then discussed the matter with Chris as Chair, and disclosed the potential conflict to the Board on 24 August. It was understood that I would need to think the matter through thoroughly, and prepare a detailed statement for publication on the matter, which I’ve now done.

In my earlier comments I hope I did set out that I understand the serious concerns people have about the PR industry and the way it often interacts with Wikipedia and I certainly have not tried to minimise or downplay that. I have however tried to make the point that my future role at CIPR is not to represent or to advocate for those behaviours. I’ve also made clear my own personal view on bad editing and corrupting the encyclopedia.

The view has been expressed that the approach I have taken to handing this is excessively legalistic or managerial and that this approach avoids something fundamental. The approach I’ve taken is exactly the approach required by the Charity Commission and by WMUK’s own policies – to think about how to manage the situation. Some people have expressed the view that there is a fundamental conflict which makes these steps inadequate, and if that is the case then there is nothing that I can I think, say, or do, can make any difference. If that really is the view of a large part of the Wikimedia UK membership or the Wikimedia community then I can't continue as a trustee. Most of the comments here have come from a small number of people however and it would be helpful for me to hear from others too to know whether what is being said here represents a substantial body of opinion..

What this boils down to, I feel, is that I have found myself in an unexpectedly sensitive situation. I believe that have responded to it thoughtfully and responsibly and the opinion of WMF legal counsel, posted here on the water cooler, confirms this. The WMUK Board is satisfied that I have acted properly and that the situation is manageable. The independent governance advisor agrees with this. However, since these views do not coincide with the opinions of those who originally called for me to make a statement and to seek an independent view, they evidently no longer count for anything.

My statement has generated a lot of detailed discussion about the ‘Draft best practice guidelines for PR’ which I have referred to as ‘agreed’. It seems from some of the comments here that I perhaps ought not to have even mentioned them, as the mere mention creates a conflict of interest, so I think that kind of puts a stop on my discussing them any further. I hope it is clear from the context of my statement that I referred to the guidelines, as well as to a couple of other examples, to illustrate that CIPR seeks to promote good behaviour on Wikipedia. In the postings on this topic there have been several references to what individual PR practitioners or firms do, but nobody has yet indicated a statement or action by CIPR itself which is contrary to the values and principles of Wikipedia.

There was a suggestion that I attend a London meetup to understand the community better. I have attended two since being elected and enjoyed them both very much. I also intend to come to the next one. Mccapra (talk) 21:09, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

Breach of CC BY-SA 3.0

My problem is this: in his statement Alastair stated:

“For the present CIPR and Wikimedia UK volunteers have agreed a set of guidelines for PR practitioners on how to interact with Wikipedia.”

As one of the volunteers engaged with the discussion around the Draft best practice guidelines for PR, I also contributed to the document itslef, both the version as published by the CIPR, and the version currently on the WMUK website.

The terms of my contribution were the CC BY-SA 3.0 license which says:

Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work)”

Alastair, by his statement has suggested that as one of the volunteers contributing to the work, I endorse its use by CIPR.

When I challenged him on this he has declined to make a further comment.

The chair has also not made any comment on this, despite otherwise being active on the WMUK Wiki over the last few days.

I have what I consider good reasons why I do not want to be seen as endorsing either CIPR or their use of the document. But such reasons are secondary to the issue under debate here.

I take exception to the CEO designate of CIPR, in his capacity as a Trustee of WMUK issuing a statement on the WMUK Wiki stating that some WMUK volunteers – of which I am one – have agreed with CIPR to a set of guidelines when this is not the case.

I regard this not only as a conflict of interest but also a breach of the terms of the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

I would like to make a further request to Alastair that he retract his claim or provide evidence to support what he has stated. Leutha (talk) 15:24, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

Hello everyone. Without taking a position in this discussion overall, I do want to respond to this comment from Leutha. I was involved in facilitating the discussion that led to those draft guidelines last year. The guidelines received over 200 edits, by the way, so we know there was a decent amount of collaboration. There was also a good amount of discussion, too as the talk page received around 130-150 edits or so. On 24 June last year it was noted here that version one was going to be circulated. It was further noted that the document would be kept open. Now, I think the reason that Alistair may have felt that these were “approved” was probably because he would have got that impression by speaking with me – and I was under the similar impression. I suspect this is entirely down to me and for any confusion here, I apologise. I certainly don't think it's fair to blame Alastair for something which he knew nothing about. However, I note that at this point I had only been in post for three months and was still getting to grips with some of the finer points of the movement. As far as I was concerned I was happy with the guidelines, especially as they had received so much input. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 08:25, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for that, Stevie. Just to make it clear, I am not blaming Alastair, I am saying that what he said in his statement was incorrect. I do not believe he was aware of its consequences. One of the reasons why I have suggested that it is inappropriate for him to maintain both a position as a trustee and as CEO for CIPR is not because I am suggesting that he has any personal short-comings, but because I have insights into the CIPR-WMUK relationship having been involved with the Draft_best_practice_guidelines_for_PR. Nevertheless, his statement did cause the problems which I have outlined above. And I feel these need to be resolved.Leutha (talk) 08:46, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

It might be a good idea for WMUK not to be involved in writing "guidelines" (for which read rules) which quite reasonably might be interpreted by the other party as being a community-agreed official policy of Wikipedia or the Foundation, when we can't even agree amongst ourselves. CIPR, for instance, clearly see WMUK as a kind of proxy for the movement as a whole and the presentation of this document in the recent book and elsewhere to me read as "we have negotiated with Wikipedia and done a deal and this is the result". I don't know what authority WMUK had in the first place to issue any sort of guidelines to anyone, surely this can only come from within the Wikipedia community directly? However carefully couched, the true status of such documents is likely to be misunderstood by others. Philafrenzy (talk) 09:31, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
For clarity, I wasn't involved in any writing of guidelines. I simply facilitated the discussion and continued the work started by former Trustee Steve Virgin. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 10:00, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
Noted. Philafrenzy (talk) 10:03, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
Hi Leutha, that's a novel attempt to open a new legalistic line of attack, but your allegation of a breach of CC-BY-SA 3.0 is legally unsustainable. The CC licence provides third parties with permission to do certain things that would otherwise be an infringement of the IP rights (typically copyright) of the author of a 'work'. It does not and cannot provide the author with any new rights over and above those which arise from existing law. Copyright simply restrains third parties from reproducing, distributing and creating adaptations of the work without permission. If none of those things have been done, no rights of the author have been engaged and the CC licence does not come into play at all. Alastair has neither reproduced, distributed nor created adaptations of those parts of the Draft best practice guidelines for PR that derive from your contributions, and his reference to the entirety of the draft guidelines as having been 'agreed' does not as you appear to suggest represent a breach of any of your legal rights. The copyright you hold in your own contributions cannot be used by you to restrain anybody from commenting on them - and that applies whether you agree with the comment or not and even whether the comment is factually correct or not. It is for just that reason that Wikimedia editors who contribute to policy cannot allege any infringement of the copyright in their own contributions when the policy is adopted by the community against their wishes.
It might be helpful for me to comment on CIPR's position as well, to anticipate anyone thinking of following up with a potential switch of your 'breach' allegation from Alastair to CIPR. I am not sure where the purported licence text you quoted above came from, but your wording appears nowhere in the licence itself. What the licence actually says is "You may not implicitly or explicitly assert or imply any connection with, sponsorship or endorsement by the Original Author, Licensor and/or Attribution Parties, as appropriate, of You or Your use of the Work". CIPR has certainly reproduced the draft best practice guidelines, but has been careful to comply with the CC licence. CIPR's publication is a paper by them which is addressed to their own members, and there is nothing in it, explicit or implied, that breaches the licence requirement. The document says "Note: These guidelines have been written collaboratively on an open wiki with input from public relations professionals and Wikipedians. The text above and below is a ‘snapshot’ of the content of the wiki at midnight on Sunday 24 June". The acknowledgement that "Wikipedians had input" ("Wikimedians had input" would have been more accurate, admittedly) bears no implication that any particular contributor, such as yourself, agrees with the final result.
Some people have criticized those who support Alastair of being overly legalistic. I make no apology for focusing purely on the legal issues here, as my intent is merely to respond to your specific legal allegation of a breach of licence. You are of course perfectly entitled to disagree on non-legal grounds with what Alastair has said, and you have made your views very clear on this page. I entirely respect your right to do that. I will be at the London meetup on Sunday, and would be more than happy to discuss in person: I think you have said you expect to be there too. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 11:23, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification, Michael.
Leutha, your comments about Alastair seem entirely over-stretched. You've made a big deal out of a sentence having "agreed" rather than "contributed to". You've labelled it repeatedly as a breach of a licence and a misunderstanding on Alastair's part, when it's clearly not. In fact, calling for trustees to be educated about this matter is a bit ironic in the circumstances.
Elsewhere on this page you write "I must admit I wonder why Alistair feels it appropriate to [...], when he should be encouraging us to contribute towards Wikipedia and its sister projects." This is another blatant straw man. The discussion about Alastair is happening for (mostly) good reasons. It's not reasonable to ask that he respond to allegations by deflecting the issue. It's reasonable to complain at wastes of volunteer and staff time, but at least direct the complaints to the people making reckless allegations. All I ask is that you take a step back and a deep breath before getting on Alastair's case again. MartinPoulter (talk) 11:56, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for these comments. However I find it regrettable that you suggest that I am searching for a new legalistic line of attack, when actually I feel I am forced into a position of defending myself from the implications of Alastair's comment.

I have also taken Martin's advice to take a step back before returning to this issue.

  • Firstly, I completely agree that in the publication of their booklet the CIPR were quite scrupulous in not stepping over the boundaries. At the time I read the document and the press release] issued last June. However, Alastair's comment goes much further than this:
"For the present CIPR and Wikimedia UK volunteers have agreed a set of guidelines for PR practitioners on how to interact with Wikipedia"

Thank your for the link you provided to the full license. My quote was from the human readable summary which you will find by going to the bottom of this page and clicking on the link in "Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License; additional terms may apply" or on the CC Logo.

However, if you look through the full license, it states:

"For the avoidance of doubt, You may only use the credit required by this Section for the purpose of attribution in the manner set out above and, by exercising Your rights under this License, You may not implicitly or explicitly assert or imply any connection with, sponsorship or endorsement by the Original Author, Licensor and/or Attribution Parties, as appropriate, of You or Your use of the Work, without the separate, express prior written permission of the Original Author, Licensor and/or Attribution Parties."

I do not see that it is at all helpful to suggest that I am looking for a "strawman" in all of this. Actually this is touching on a much deeper issue as far as I am concerned. As I mentioned before, I have reasons why I do not want to seen as endorsing CIPR in any way, reasons which do not have a direct relevance to Wikimedia UK, and which I am reluctant to raise here. However I now find myself accused of lacking good faith, because contributors to this discussion do not respect my restraint in not clouding the issue by discussing why I find CIPR so disgusting, and why I find it so problematic that a WMUK Trustee/CIPR CEO-designate should implicitly imply an endorsement by me as one of the WMUK volunteers who engaged in the production and discussion of the Draft best practice guidelines for PR. Bearing in mind that a member of staff has identified how the error arose, I really do not understand why Alastair has not withdrawn that part of his statement, or that the Board has not issued a statement of clarification.

I do not quite understand Martin's point that there is no difference between "agreed" rather than "contributed to". Actually this element of the CC BY SA license is very important to Wiki editors. What it means is that if I contribute to a page on a Biography of a Living Person, I am responsible for my own contribution, but cannot be construed as having agreed to the whole page. This means that in the event of another editor putting up a libelous comment, I am not implicated.

Perhaps Martin would like to clarify his point in the light of this? Leutha (talk) 19:20, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

"CIPR and Wikimedia UK volunteers have agreed a set of guidelines for PR practitioners"

Noting Michael's points on copyright above still leaves Leutha's outstanding question of the status of the guidelines as being not agreed and CIPR's version challenged. Reviewing the documents listed at Wikipedia and PR, resources, CIPR and some individual members of CIPR gained a great deal of non-financial reputational benefit from working with Wikimedia UK, even though Wikimedia UK did not fund CIPR directly.

ACTION: Could the Wikimedia Board of Trustees definitively withdraw these Paid Editing* guidelines or pass a binding resolution that the board of trustees underwrites them? In my view, they give a false impression that it is the business of the Wikimedia UK charity to impose standards on the English Wikipedia and that the Wikimedia UK board of trustees supports this ethical position, rather than being a workshop that would go on to work with the English Wikipedia community (which is not represented by Wikimedia UK trustees). The document has been draft for nearly a year and a half, and CIPR (including Alastair McCapra in both his roles as CIPR CEO and WMUK Secretary) seem under the impression that this can be used as a PR success when they are clearly not. I propose they are now formally withdrawn to avoid any confusion, in the light that it would be unlikely and a massive waste of volunteer time, for Wikimedia UK to attempt to get these guidelines agreed with the English Wikipedia (which is the only project the guidelines address) through a community RFC inside that project. * The term "Paid Editing" was used in the title of the presentation in the 2012 AGM presentation by Philip Sheldrake and Neville Hobson, this is the most accurate term for what these guidelines give a process for achieving by any commercial provider. -- (talk) 15:10, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Uninvolved opinion

I haven't been following the blow-by-blow postings on this issue, but a post on the mailing list from Chris Keating invited comment from those who have not yet done so. I've now read most of what has been posted here, and I'm failing to understand why there is still an issue. Questions were asked and those questions have been answered repeatedly - concisely and expansively.
As I understand it, at the time of the AGM there was the potential for there to be a potential for a potential conflict of loyalties. No policy requires such to be disclosed, nor could a policy that did be effective (when looking for a specific tree that might or might not exist, planting a dense forest of trees, potential trees and potential potential trees and then examining each one individually is not helpful). When he became aware that this potential, potential, potential COI was now merely a potential COI Alistair advised the board in accordance with policies and best practice. The board initially made an interim judgement that no resignations were necessary and sought advice from at least two external expert sources, both of which also said that no resignations were necessary because Alistair can (and AIUI has said he will) recuse from any discussion or decisions about CIPR that come to the WMUK board, and from any discussion or decisions about WMUK that come to the CIPR board.
Some people seem to be trying to prejudge the appropriateness future actions of a professional body in the UK based on the alleged past actions of an unrelated body in the US and what Jimbo said about a hypothetical editor who might or might not be eligible to join that body. This is just as ridiculous as claiming that because a US journalist made POV edits to a Wikipedia article five years ago, the goal of the National Union of Journalists is fundamentally incompatible with anything and everything anything related to the goals of any Wikimedia project.
Scrutiny is desirable. You do need to accept though that no matter how much you may want there to be a scandal, sometimes there really isn't one. There may be one in the future, but if you keep hounding people over events where people acted correctly and everything is above board then they will not believe you when you next cry wolf.
I am not yet a member of WMUK (I have applied, but AFAIK there has not been an appropriate meeting since the date of my application at which it could be considered), but I am not seeing a need for an EGM. If one was called though, I have not seen any evidence that would lead me to support a motion as proposed above. Thryduulf (talk:local | en.wp | en.wikt) 22:30, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

  1. Please don't accuse people of crying wolf. With some notable exceptions, this discussion has mostly managed to maintain an assumption of good faith and I think everyone would like that assumption to continue.
  2. I agree the colourful examples from elsewhere weren't exactly helpful, but that doesn't change the fact that the purpose of CIPR is in conflict with that of WMUK.
  3. A number of people have stated that they hope that the conflict can be managed in a sensible way. I for one think that the draft guidelines on COI editing will help in managing the conflict. There are probably other things we could do to, but having an individual in a position of trust for both organisations is not one of them.
Yaris678 (talk) 09:52, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes, this is very far from crying wolf, and, for me, this is about the future not the past and about both jobs being occupied by one individual, not one particular individual. Inevitably we have to keep mentioning Alastair's name, but the exact same considerations would apply to anyone else who sought both jobs. We are already getting bogged down in COI issues, even over the so-called agreed guidelines and there seems plenty of scope for more. Although our values are not compatible with those of the PR industry (see above) we do operate in the same information ecosystem and that is exactly the problem. We both trade, so to speak, in information, it is in what we do with it and in how we approach it that the conflict arises.
I am unclear exactly how this is all going to work in practice. Both are senior appointments, both bodies operate in the same information ecosystem, exactly how many times can one person recuse themselves from different discussions or argue contrary to vested interests of an employer before they cannot carry out the duties of these positions effectively? What if we need in WMUK the Secretary's experience in a particular matter but he has had to absent himself? What if CIPR or one of its members says "we are paying you £50/75/100K per annum, we want you to stay in the room and earn your money and act in our interest not someone else's". What if Alastair is in a CIPR board meeting or with a client of a CIPR member and these matters arise, is he really going to bite the hand that feeds and be seen to argue against powerful corporate interests, leave the room or remain silent? There simply isn't enough clear blue water here between the two posts to make me feel comfortable. Philafrenzy (talk) 10:43, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
I have seen these arguments above, but I still have not seen any evidence that the two organisations actually are both so diametrically opposed and indivisibly entwined, despite numerous assertions with varying levels of hyperbole. Iff the CIPR asks Alistair (or another person in this position) to act in a way that would force an actual applied conflict of interest (by which I mean not recusing from discussions where you have a COI) then Alistair (or whoever) would need to resign one or both positions, just as he would if WMUK asked the same thing. It would be inappropriate for anyone to dictate to Alistair which position he should resign from. I have full trust that the WMUK board would not appoint someone who would refused to resign when faced with this situation. However until such a situation actually exists we have no cause to claim one does, or to insist the parties act to resolve it as if it did. Thryduulf (talk:local | en.wp | en.wikt) 11:36, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
No one has said the two organisations are diametrically opposed. Indeed, I have implied that they are not diametrically opposed by expressing the hope that the conflicting purposes of the two organisations can be managed with such measures as guidelines on COI editing. This does not change the fact that the purposes of the two organisations are in conflict. One organisation seeks to support Wikimedia projects, projects that value neutrality, not least because it enables people of differing points of view to work together towards the common goal of free information. The other organisation seeks to represent the interests of the PR industry, an industry that seeks to bring the public round to agreeing with the views that are in its clients' interests.
When you talk about the board appointing Alastair you miss the fact that he was actually elected. I doubt he would have been elected if the members had known that he would later be given a senior role at CIPR. I don't want to cast any aspersion about this. Arguably, it was perfectly reasonable to not mention it, since he hadn't been invited for interview yet. The issue is the best thing to do now, given the situation we are in. How can the board maintain the trust of the community? How can we ensure that the charity stays true to its purpose? How can we manage the situation without having to decide, in advance, how a trustee would respond to each of an innumerable set of hypothetical problems?
Yaris678 (talk) 14:00, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

Comment by Joseph Seddon

I have been unable to comment prior to this but feel that as someone who has criticized the board publicly and privately in the past I should, if in the best interests of the chapter, do so again. I have called on board members to step down in the past when they, as far as I am concerned, have materially damaged this chapter and its reputation due to their continued presence on a board. I would do it again if so required. In the case of Alistair this has not happened.

Firstly, Alistair has not in anyway acted in a manner which is unbecoming of a board member. In fact Alistair has handled himself throughout this in such a way that he is almost beyond reproach. He declared the conflict of interest, he publicly acknowledges it and going forward we simply ensure that as a trustee, he does not act on behalf of Wikimedia UK working with CIPR. Any contacts through Alistair's role should simply be offloaded to another board member before being pursued. The board has gotten some useful experience handling COI with Mike Peel's role with the FDC and the relationship we have with CIPR is no in anyway as symbiotic or intrinsic to our existence.

Secondly CIPR and WMUK have a good history. We have done some fantastic work with them through Steve and Andrew and its work we should continue to build on if it is of benefit to us. Being the secretary of WMUK isn't going to give CIPR some tactical advantage in getting PR agencies an inside track to Wikipedia. Lets be a little realistic here. WMUK has no real power on wikipedia and we should not have delusions of grandeur as to how much leverage CIPR would have even if we didn't manage the COI.

Thirdly, we are not talking about someone who is financially gaining as a result of his role with Wikimedia UK. Alistair has experience of being a Chief Executive of a professional body long before he joined Wikimedia UK. He has experience of working with PR and communications etc. long before being involved with Wikimedia UK. We were no springboard and he has not abused his position. I do not think it undermines the position of the chapter either. If anything the fact that we have someone who is a chief executive of a major professional organisation means we have some fantastic governance experience on the board. Getting rid of that would be idiotic at best.

I encourage members not to support any call for an EGM in relation to Alistair at this time. My recommendation is that the board appoint a board member to handle all relations with CIPR going into the future. If people are going to continue to be paranoid, other ideas might be for the board to maintain a log of any actions in relation to CIPR and Alistair's role and review these every 6 or maybe 12 months.

Lets turn down the vitriol however. It is a great deal more damaging to the chapter than Alistair's continued presence on the board. Seddon (talk) 18:08, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

Addressing your points in turn:
  1. Alastair has not in anyway acted in a manner which is unbecoming of a board member - Agreed
  2. CIPR and WMUK have a good history - Agreed
  3. We are not talking about someone who is financially gaining as a result of his role with Wikimedia UK - Agreed
  4. Let's turn down the vitriol - Agreed
But you have not address the point about the purposes of CIPR and WMUK being in conflict. Your mention of Mike Peel and the FDC is an interesting contrast. In that case, the conflict of interest is clear... but the way to manage it is also pretty clear. This is doable because the ultimate aims of the organisations, to support Wikimedia projects, are not in conflict. The conflict only arises about the means to those aims. e.g. Mike might want WMUK to be responsible for delivering something that the FDC wants to pay for but it is not necessarily in the interest of the FDC to get WMUK to do it, which is why Mike recuses from decisions of the FDC relating to WMUK. No such simple solution exists when there is a conflict in the purposes of the organisations.
Yaris678 (talk) 19:19, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I agree with Joe (especially his closing sentence) and Thryduulf. I have the utmost respect for those arguing that Alistair should step down, but I respectfully disagree. I don't believe the two positions are so incompatible that Alistair must sign from one or the other. There is a potential conflict of interest, but it is one I believe can be managed. Alistair is not going to be practising public relations as such (ie advocating for a client), he is going to be the chief executive of the industry's professional body; nor does his position with WMUK put him in a position to influence Wikipedia content. The vast majority of WMUK's work would have nothing whatsoever to do with the PR industry, and Wikipedia is presumably only one in a vast array of resources through which the industry might seek to promote their clients. We need trustees with experience like Alistair's (and we can't keep losing trustees!). Harry Mitchell (talk) 20:15, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Agree with Seddon also. I think Alastair and the Board have handled the situation well. There is a potential for conflicts of interest to arise, but Alastair has anticipated these and been very clear about them in his statement. This approach is in line with Charity Commission guidelines, WMF guidelines, and the Hudson report - and this has been endorsed by an independent governance expert, and by the General Counsel of the WMF. I see no need for any resignation here, and in fact believe it would be damaging to the charity. The wub (talk) 22:45, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Agree with Seddon, Harry and Peter above. Alastair, an outsider, has invested significant time in getting to learn about our organisation and how he can be of service to it as a volunteer. The policy on eligibility for the Board is clear: if we didn't want him as a trustee, the policy should have been different. When he was on the board, Fae had ample opportunity to shape this policy. Policy, rather than post-hoc drama, is how mature organisations handle this sort of issue. Yaris, I see what you're getting at with your in-conflict/not-in-conflict analysis, but I think you've oversimplified and the two cases are more similar than you've made out. MartinPoulter (talk) 10:04, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Martin, you neglect the question of whether Alastair would have been on the board in the first place had it been known he was applying for the CIPR job. He could have waited a year, worked as a volunteer like the rest of us and applied later. As it is, he has gone almost straight in as Secretary with no past experience in our projects, weeks before then getting the CIPR job, appointed by people who knew about his appointment here. It is the motives of the CIPR selectors that continue to worry me and the difficult ethical challenges anyone might face when dealing with the PR industry all day long, particularly given the disparity in commitment and pay. I accept at face value that Alastair was unaware of how contentious this matter was, despite extensive publicity about it. Did he not research Wikipedia and the PR industry before applying for either job? One would think he would have done. Here is a May 2012 article from PR Week for example. I hope I have just been reading too many copies of Private Eye.
You also rather miss Yaris's, and my, point that it is precisely because the PR industry and Wikipedia have so much cross-over that this is a problem. If the two entities were completely divorced in their activities none of this would matter. We both deal in the same medium, information, but it is in what we seek to do with it that we are so fundamentally different. It's all been said above. Philafrenzy (talk) 11:09, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
That I'm not persuaded by arguments doesn't mean I've neglected them. Sorry, Philafrenzy, I appreciate your good intentions and your patient argument, but I'm still seeing the arguments as oversimplifications, and you repeatedly describe the role of Secretary as if it's something that requires editing Wikipedia pages. "Disparity in pay" is a red herring: plenty of our community have day jobs that pay all their bills and an involvement with WMUK that actually costs them a bit of money, but they're far more loyal to the chapter because they recognise and internalise its ideals. I think if you were to look at the objectives of almost any volunteer's day job, you'd find goals that are contrary to the Wikimedia movement. For example, educational institutions such as universities are increasingly focused on competition and on ownership of intellectual property. We manage that by judging volunteer contributions on their individual merit, or by having formal partnerships with narrow scopes of activity. MartinPoulter (talk) 12:09, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
I think I have explained above why this case is different Martin but I really feel that in this thread almost everything worth saying has now been said and we ought to turn our attention elsewhere. I haven't changed my views but it is evident that a motion of the type I mooted above would be unlikely to pass in an EGM and therefore I am withdrawing my support for an EGM. We will just have to rely on good old-fashioned vigilance. Philafrenzy (talk) 14:24, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
Just for information: CIPR president-elect Stephen Waddington hits out after reports of Wikipedia abuse by US PR company. (View it through Google News if you can't link directly) Philafrenzy (talk) 13:07, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
The quote from Jordan French in that article was classic PR puffery and completely false; "There is a rather silent majority on Wikipedia that supports paid editing." -- (talk) 15:18, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
For clarity, I should point out, for those who haven't read the article, that Jordan French is the CEO of Wiki-PR. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 15:42, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Responding to comments about CIPR vs. issuing or withdrawing the draft WMUK/CIPR paid editing guidelines

Does anyone else find it odd how quickly qualifications to comments about CIPR are added to this Water cooler, apparently to ensure that CIPR are presented well, and yet a direct request for action to either withdraw or publish the WMUK/CIPR paid editing guidelines gets ignored? -- (talk) 15:58, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

It's a part of my job to keep an eye on the water cooler and engage where appropriate. On this occasion I felt it possible that people unfamiliar with the story may make an erroneous assumption that Jordan French is connected with the CIPR. I wanted to be clear that he isn't. With regards to the second part of your comment, I do not speak on behalf of the Board, or the CIPR, or anyone else. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 16:03, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
It used to be the case that when an employee of WMUK was writing using an official WMUK account, they were considered to be representing WMUK. Is that no longer considered true? I note that various official and unofficial accounts have been used to edit the FDC grant application, so perhaps this has been allowed to become blurred. -- (talk) 16:07, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Of course, representing WMUK and speaking on behalf of the board are obviously very different things. I said I wasn't speaking for the board. I didn't say I wasn't representing WMUK. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 08:14, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Apologies, "I took I do not speak ... [for] anyone else" literally. Hopefully my assumption that the double negative "I didn't say I wasn't representing WMUK" means "I do represent WMUK" is now the correct one, and therefore your comments relating to CIPR are on behalf of WMUK as would be any comments by employees of WMUK. -- (talk) 09:43, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
I don't really understand what you're saying here or trying to infer so let me be very clear. I work for Wikimedia UK. I do not speak for the board of Wikimedia UK. I'm not sure what the CIPR has to do with anything here but I obviously do not work for them and I obviously do not speak for them. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 09:54, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
At no time in this thread have I said that you were speaking for the board of WMUK, neither have I said anywhere that you speak for CIPR, these assertions have been made only by yourself and I find them a misdirection from my original question of whether anyone finds it odd how quickly statements about CIPR get qualified but direct proposals for action remain ignored.
So far you have failed to agree or confirm that when you or any employee writes using an official account of WMUK then you are representing WMUK. I do not understand why it is necessary to make such a simple statement appear complex by talking about the board or using double negatives to apparently avoid confirming it. Employees of WMUK, when acting within their terms of employment, are always representing WMUK, this is a basic statement of fact, given what I know of the standard WMUK employee contract, my experience when interviewing you and other employees for their jobs, and a reason why the charity pays for liability insurance. -- (talk) 10:33, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Following a helpful discussion with Leutha yesterday I agreed to try and bring clarity to the exact nature of the CIPR guidelines. I am content to confirm that the CIPR editing guidelines are not a 'formal agreement' with WMUK. They were discussed with our community (around 200 or so edits) which helped shape them but there was no formality involved. There was a feeling that a consensus had been achieved. CIPR is of course an independent organisation and what they do in terms of advising their members is down to them. We were happy that they took the line they did in advising members to adhere to Wikipedia guidelines. I hope this helps. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 09:47, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
Please confirm to what extent you or other board members have discussed this with Alastair. Avoiding ambiguity using the precaution of making declarations when CIPR is involved and while WMUK has the CIPR CEO on the board, seems a sensible way of publicly managing Alastair's conflict of interest. Thanks -- (talk) 11:49, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

As this discussion and my request for the simple action of either withdrawing or issuing the draft appears to be making me no friends here, I have created Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Best practice guidelines for Public Relations professionals so that the community affected can express their own opinions if they so wish. Thanks -- (talk) 11:30, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

BCS Women invites you to their Festival of Wikipedia for Ada Lovelace day

Hello everyone, thought you might be interested to see that BCS Women, a part of the Chartered Institute of IT, is hosting a Festival of Wikipedia as a part of this year's Ada Lovelace Day celebrations. There are sessions in Edinburgh, London and Southampton and they are being delivered in association with Wikimedia UK. You can find more details here. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 11:14, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

And here! Especially if you are available as a trainer. Daria Cybulska (WMUK) (talk) 11:48, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

Wikimedia UK spreads the word about GLAM showcase stories in Poland

Dear All,

We have been invited to participate in the openGLAM Conference 2013 - Open Cultural Resources. The main purpose of the conference is to present outstanding examples of implemented initiatives as well as to discuss the benefits - and challenges - of openness. I am able to attend and show Polish GLAMs how they can benefit from the partnerships with Wikimedia using examples from the UK. I'd love to get suggestions from you as for what would be the best examples to present. Wikimedia Poland has been particularly interested in the Wikimedian in Residence programme, but any other suggestions are welcome!

Many thanks - Daria Cybulska (WMUK) (talk) 11:55, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

Migration of the UK Wiki on 27th September 2013

If I could direct your attention to this page on Wikimedia UK's site: WMUK wiki migration

It contains the details of the migration, the impact it will have on users of the UK wiki who have user accounts, and how the old wiki will be archived as a read only document. You will also see a site notice go live for the next two weeks reminding readers to do the following...

The most important things to do in the next two weeks are:

  • Enable email from other users
  • Download your watch list text before the migration (put in your diary for the day before)

Following the migration you will need to:

  • Check your email for your new password to a stub account on the migrated site
  • Reimport your watch list data
  • Update your bookmarks in your browser or phone
  • Log any emerging errors on our bugzilla - https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org.uk/

The above is only necessary if you currently have a registered user account.

If you don't have an account on the UK wiki but follow this list then, why not register? Logged in users can interact better with other members of the community around Wikimedia UK business by adding agendas and topic pages to their watch list and staying up to day with chapter business :-)

Any questions, fire away here, on my talk page, or email me katherine.bavageatwikimedia.org.uk. NB I am on annual leave 16th - 20th inclusive, so will ask other members of staff and User:Kelson to keep an eye out and respond in my absence! Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 13:26, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

It would be helpful if you could do a quick note explaining how users can import watchlist data. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 15:05, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
This is in the linked to page at WMUK wiki migration. -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 15:32, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

I have just switched over to the new site, and have to say that from my perspective the transfer was really smooth. Many thanks to all who worked hard to make that happen. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 05:21, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

Thanks again to all who worked on this. One problem that remains regards people using the old site and either missing out on updates on the new site or trying to make edits and getting confused. We have updated the banners on the old site to try and signpost this better and put a striking graphic on the old home page but if anyone has any other ideas about how we can help this process post away. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 12:45, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
I've made the notice a bit bigger. ;-) If anyone can figure out how to use {{FULLPAGENAME}} in a site notice, it would be good to add that to the end of the top URL so it's easy to click through to the correct new page here... Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:32, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

What should our volunteer space look like?

In the London office we have always tried to make volunteers feel welcome with places to sit (or slump in the case of bean bags), wireless, coffee, bics etc but are we getting it right?

In October we are re-designing our space and hope to make some changes that might give us the chance to offer volunteers more of what they fancy?

At the moment we have:

  • Sitting area
  • Spares screens and keyboards
  • Spare laptops
  • Wifi of decent quality
  • A slide scanner
  • AN SLR camera with accessories
  • A DV camera with accessories
  • Digital recording equipment

Amongst other suggestions we have had are to establish s small reference library to help with editing.

What would you like to see? Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 13:38, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

On the topic of the reference library, I've started to bring in some of the books I own about the First World War so that they can be used as sources for any interested in doing some editing on this topic, particularly around the centenary. Do let me know if you're interested and I can provide a list. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 13:47, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
A list of equipment currently available for volunteer use can be seen at Volunteer equipment, while a list of books currently owned by the chapter can be seen at Library. -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 14:47, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
Beanbags are nice for lounging, but for those hoping to pop in and work with a laptop a couple of desks would be most useful. And some chairs to go with them. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 14:57, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
We'll have a couple more of those - maybe enough space for 12 or 14 desks (up from ten). In addition, we'll be paying per sq ft, not per desk, so this will be something we can do without spending too much more. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 15:08, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

Registration for EduWiki Conference 2013 is now open

Hello everyone, just a quick note to let you know that registration for our 2013 EduWiki Conference is now open. The conference takes place on 1 & 2 November in Cardiff. You can find all of the details, including the registration information, here. We're looking forward to seeing you all there. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 14:53, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

Signpost discussion

Note ongoing discussion between Stevie and myself, concerning the York Museums Trust Wikipedian in Residence job, at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Wikipedia_Signpost/2013-09-11/In_the_media Andreas JN 14:37, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

For those interested in the discussion, I've added a further response which I hope is helpful. Thank you. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 13:12, 16 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. Basically, the upshot of the conversation from my point of view is that
  1. it would make sense to co-ordinate publicity with partner institutions, so the public does not gain the impression that WMUK is funding institutions' self-promotion;
  2. if we have money to spend, we should focus less on broadening Wikipedia's coverage of niche subjects, and more on enhancing the quality of pages that both (a) attract high page views AND (b) cover topics that it is important for Wikipedia to get right (e.g. medical advice, including drugs advice and sex education, legal advice, "vital articles", etc.)
If we use donors' funds, we should prioritise projects in a way that ensures both that the largest possible number of readers profit, and that the improvements are as significant as possible from an educational point of view. I would like to see WMUK expand the Wikipedian-in-Residence concept beyond the GLAM area, paying subject matter experts in reputable educational organisations to monitor and contribute to important articles and topic areas in Wikipedia.
Further discussion welcome. Best, Andreas JN 12:44, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Note recent comments from Sue Gardner. Stand-out quote for me:

  • Last year, WMF spent US$ 4.71 million in FDC annual plan grants, excluding WMF (US$ 5.65 million for all grants), and is projected to increase this up to as much as US$ 6 million this year for FDC annual plan grants (US$ 8 million overall in grants). That's a lot of money. While the Program Evaluation and Design, and Grantmaking Learning and Evaluation teams at WMF will be supporting the FDC in understanding the impact of global Wikimedia programs, there is currently not much evidence suggesting this spending is significantly helping us to achieve the Wikimedia mission. I believe we're spending a lot of money, more than is warranted by the results we've been seeing.

Before donations are spent, there ought to be a process of prioritisation, based on quantifiable reader benefit – using criteria such as number of readers that will benefit, degree of improvement, importance of the information, etc.

I read what Sue says here as a startlingly clear admission that she believes donations are not being spent wisely and effectively – and that is what donors are promised in the fundraisers. --Andreas JN 04:32, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

"paying subject matter experts in reputable educational organisations" is not a suitable use of donor money. Those experts are already paid, usually by the taxpayer or by charitable funds. They already have a push from funders to engage with the public or to open up education. It's not a sustainable model for Wikipedian's 24 million articles, or even a relatively small subset, to have experts paid from donor money to monitor them. What is feasible is for Wikimedia UK to do training and outreach which overcomes the barriers to these experts engaging with Wikipedia routinely. That way, small amounts of donor money leverage (horrible word, but it's appropriate) large amounts of non-donor money and effort.
A relatively large proportion of our outreach is already in the medical sector, and it looks like something will be happening with Bristol NHS in the coming year. Different people have different views on what is important knowledge to preserve and disseminate: if you want to tell arts and humanities academics, librarians or curators that their fields aren't important, be my guest. I don't think you speak for all donors on this matter.
Some consideration of marginal impact has to be made when using funds and effort, and the marginal effect on what you call a "niche" such as a local museum can be much greater than medical or scientific areas where huge sums of public and charitable money are already being spent on informing and engaging the public. MartinPoulter (talk) 10:23, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Those huge sums may be spent on informing and engaging the public, but they are not spent on improving Wikipedia, which is what our donors' money should be spent on. If you can create a paid position in York Museum, you can also create a paid position staffed by an actual expert in an educational institution to assess Wikipedia coverage of key topic areas. The benefit to the public will be infinitely greater than paid work on some niche area. It's about leveraging funds to best effect. Andreas JN 15:24, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
Incidentally, has the WiR for York been selected yet? Andreas JN 15:24, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
Hi Andreas. Leaving aside your other points, the York Museums Trust Wikimedian in Residence has been provisionally appointed (after an open recruitment process) and we hope to be in a position to properly announce this soon - hopefully by the end of this week. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 15:27, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
Just to follow this up for everyone that's interested, I can confirm that the York Museums Trust Wikimedian in Residence is now in post. His name is Pat Hadley and you can find out more in our blog post here. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 11:35, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Vacant seats on the Board of Trustees

The following was recently emailed to the WMUK mailing list by Chris Keating, Chairman of the Trustees:

Just to keep you up to date about our co-options process! As you will probably know, we have a total of five vacant seats for the Board at the moment, and we are in the process of filling them.

There are the three "co-opted" seats which were created at the AGM in June. We are aiming to make some decisions on these in the next few weeks. For these we have already advertised and had some informal "getting to know you" conversations with prospective Trustees from a range of backgrounds, and we are just about to do some more formal interviews.

One way you can input into this process is to help us draft interview questions, please have a look here at what we are planning to ask, and add your thoughts.

There are also two vacant seats from those elected at the AGM, which will take a little longer to fill but we definitely wish to fill before the December Board meeting. We are particularly keen that these seats are filled by people with a strong knowledge of the Wikimedia community - if you are reading this and thinking "yes, being a Wikimedia UK trustee sounds really interesting", please do drop me or any trustee a line. You can find out more about this extremely rewarding role here, and about what we're looking for from our Board here. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 12:16, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

Open House December 10th.

For your diaries:

We will be repeating last year's successful (NOT A CHRISTMAS PARTY) Open House for the community and friends at our offices on Tuesday December 10th from 4pm until 8ish

Refreshments will be provided but if you can bring a bottle or snack (we still remember Johnbod's smoked salmon last year) it would be appreciated! Come and enjoy a chance to chew over the past year and the exciting one to come.

Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 12:48, 20 September 2013 (UTC)


I am in discussions with a Cornish museum about a possible tripod friendly event for photographers. Is anyone in or near Cornwall and willing to be the Wikimedia UK host for such an event? If so please drop me an email. Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 14:18, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

Wiki Loves monuments anomalies

I've been fixing some of the anomalies that have been coming in through Wiki Loves monuments in the UK, and I think it is fair to assume from the entries that are neither grade I nor grade II* that the community wants this scheme extended to scheduled Ancient Monuments, or at least Stonehenge, and also to Grade II listed buildings. Perhaps we can add both next year? We also seem to have some monuments coming in with a different coding system. British Listed Buildings uses English Heritage Building ID: 407791 this seems to equate to the UID field. Would it be possible to modify the bot so that it uses that field where the ID doesn't match the List entry Number? WereSpielChequers (talk) 15:47, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

The problem with Grade II listings is that there are an awful lot of them -- imagine the work we have all put in maintaining lists, etc, x10, and you'd be close the overall amount of work (okay, if we did it again we'd be better at it, but you know what I mean). I agree that some expansion should occur, we just don't want to bite off more than we can chew.
Not sure what you mean by "Would it be possible to modify the bot so that it uses that field where the ID doesn't match the List entry Number?" The UID is used throughout for all English listed buildings (Scotland, Wales & NI maintain their own numbering systems. Jarry1250 (talk) 22:42, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
Here's one I fixed manually. Basically there are two coding systems, we use one but some of our images are coming in using the other codes. Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 11:48, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
I just followed the 'upload another image' link from the table in question and the correct list entry number was used. I'm not sure why that particular file had an incorrect one. I'll ask Richard Symonds if he knows what happened. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 12:16, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

First ever Northern Ireland meetup

This is close to being scheduled. Can anyone suggest a NI event around which to organise the meetup? In Belfast ideally. It could be as simple as an informal trip to a local museum in the morning (a Sunday) followed by a meetup in the pub from 1.00. Or a photo compettion of some kind. It needn't be a full editathon. Possibly Ulster Museum. The placeholder page is here: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Meetup/Northern_Ireland/1 Philafrenzy (talk) 18:56, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

I think that idea is spot on, except that (for me at least) a Saturday would be preferable. I could do a meetup on Saturday evening, followed by a museum trip on Sunday morning, or both parts on Saturday. I think it would be best to do everything on the same day. Sunday afternoon is no good for me because I would have to fly back to Liverpool, and then drive home. (Theoretically I could stay off the drink, but...)
So I suggest a visit to Ulster Museum at 10.30 on Saturday with a best-photo-uploaded-to-Commons competition thrown in for good measure, followed by a trip to the pub for a normal Wikimeet at 1pm. No obligation to do both parts. In terms of a pub, the Bot (anic Inn) is handy for the museum, and it might be OK for an early afternoon pint, but it's likely to get really busy and loud later on, so perhaps the Wetherspoons (Bridge House) might be the best place for the main meetup (free wifi, good value, and no music).
I think October is too soon, and December is too Christmasey, so that leaves November. The 16th is a no-go for me, so I reckon the 9th or 23rd would be best. What do you think? Bazonka (talk) 20:18, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
I have scheduled it for Saturday 23rd. A Saturday may not be to everyone's taste but we can always split it into a Saturday photo competition and a Sunday meetup if necessary. If it takes off it could even became a Belfast Wikimedia Weekend! Philafrenzy (talk) 13:56, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

Wikimedia UK now has the lowest membership total this quarter on record for more than two years

Fellow members may recall that I created the page Membership/numbers when I was a trustee as, even as a board member, these numbers seemed hard to get hold of and the decline was rationalized as database problems. You can see the trend in the table now showing the charity is at a record low. For the entire time I was a trustee I attempted to use membership as a key performance indicator and when we employed Jon Davies two years ago, agreeing and reporting KPIs, such as membership, was a top level commitment written into his terms of reference. As far as I am aware, verifiable and accountable KPIs are still to be agreed.

I see this the declining membership as an urgent issue, and I suspect there has been a matching failure to grow volunteer numbers in any significant way but no numbers get reported in any reliable fashion. The CEO has full responsibility and authority to fulfil the strategic plan to grow the volunteer base and ensure a solid membership for a volunteer centric charity. Despite generous funding from the WMF of more than £700,000 and a current staff complement of 9, this has failed to happen over the last two years. The most recent board minutes do not mention this as a problem or risk, neither did the public reports from the CEO or the fundraising report (which I assume covers membership).

I welcome other members to express a view as to the direction the charity is going with regard to openness and accountability, and whether the CEO should be accountable using these most simple and basic key performance indicators, and be questioned by the board of trustees on how he has improved them at each board meeting, rather than being assessed on apparently subjective and unmeasurable claims of success. -- (talk) 19:01, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

I have no idea why these numbers are so low, who should be accountable for it or what the "right" membership number is for an organisation of this type, however, I am absolutely sure that it is not 165 or 200 or anything like that. It looks wrong and feels wrong to have so few members with such a budget and so many staff. A higher membership would mean more voices, more volunteers, more brains and more potential trustees. In the 2013 strategy day there was a presentation showing 5750 monthly direct debits. That's 5750 people who are prepared to pay money to Wikimedia UK. I understand there is a problem collecting membership dues at the same time as donations but that's 5750 individuals who one would think are keen enough to pay £5 for membership. Has anyone emailed them and asked them to join? Should we consider abolishing/reducing the subs or making it a one off payment for life membership? Could the board please review this urgently and make increasing membership a strategic priority? Philafrenzy (talk) 21:30, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
You may find the discussion in May helpful, when I last explained the history and past expectations of the board (not the current board) for strategic membership growth—see Water_cooler/2013#How_can_the_Board_of_Trustees_measure_WMUK's_performance_as_an_organization? where the main response to this problem was "we're doing OK and we have better things to come", however since then when we were using a membership total of 272, we have suffered a drop of another 50 members. -- (talk) 22:36, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

It's not unusual for a charity to have more donations than members - people largely are happy handing over money, but actively avoid participation. Which is fine. Looking at the figures, that is a major drop - but IIRC we picked up a massive boost of members from the fundraiser we ran for the WMF, which we unfortunately were unable to do last year (because of Fæ and others). So I'm guessing natural wastage from that? --ErrantX (talk) 07:02, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

You are attempting to blame me for WMUK withdrawing from the fundraiser and the decline in memberships rather than your boss, the CEO, who is actually paid to do this stuff and has full operational authority and responsibility to deliver the strategy and been given every resource he ever asked for to do it? Irrelevant rubbish. The fact is that Chris Keating ran a vote of trustees to withdraw from the fundraiser a few hours after a closed meeting with the WMF CEO and WMF Legal, a meeting that Chris Keating denied me access to and failed to publish any record of. I was neither invited nor given access to vote (making it an invalid vote of the board per the articles of the charity). The decision and the reasons behind it given in emails from the WMF CEO had nothing to do with me, apart from the fact that I advised the board, multiple times, to take legal advice before making such decisions, which Chris Keating and Jon Davies ignored.
Membership is in rapid decline and the trend has been obvious and predictable for anyone that either examined the top level figures or was prepared to forecast based on dates of expiring memberships. There is no excuse for anyone to be surprised considering how I highlighted it at every board meeting whilst I was a trustee. -- (talk) 08:07, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
There should be a zero on the end of those numbers with WMUK's budget, staff and profile. A higher membership would reduce the democratic deficit here and help to avoid the risk of groupthink by the board because they have heard too few dissenting voices. If only a handful of people contribute to each debate it is easy to dismiss dissenters as just the usual "awkward squad" and eventually those voices become a form of static that the board does not hear at all. Philafrenzy (talk) 09:27, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
+1 it seems routine to shoot the messenger and hide problems away with in-camera meetings, only speaking after carefully crafting a response analysis on the Office wiki, as if we were the Tory party, rather than frankly discuss a problem with members. Not the innovative and open charity we hoped to create back when Andrew was our Chairman. -- (talk) 09:40, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

I'll observe here that there is one conversation to have about our membership, why our membership goes up and down, and what we can do about it (and indeed other governance issues). There is another conversation to have where Fae hurls bricks at me over my perceived failings as Chair over the last year and a bit. I am asking our staff to deal with the first conversation only, and I am also going to say as little as possible in response to the bricks that are being hurled at me: I think my record and Fae's can be allowed to speak for themselves. The Land (talk) 14:43, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

Excellent idea. Certainly asking our staff to stop attempting to make it appear that I am somehow responsible for the current decline in membership or your decision to withdraw from the fundraiser, when the facts are easily demonstrable otherwise and on record with the charity, would be helpful. As for up and down, the steep drop over the period of Jon's tenure as our CEO in the official figures from 330 members to 220 members, is hard to brush off as either acceptable variance or database anomalies. Rather than focusing on me, I'm just an unpaid volunteer with no authority or responsibility, you may want to focus on the CEO's performance, a duty you bear on behalf of the members. Thanks -- (talk) 15:47, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
Fae, it's simply incorrect to state that membership is in rapid decline. There was a big drop around May/June of this year when the membership of many people that joined when Wikimedia UK last took part as a payment processor in the WMF annual fundraiser expired (12 months membership + 6 months grace). Since then, membership numbers have in fact been slowly increasing. Of course we would like the number to increase more quickly, and the board at its meeting this month agreed the volunteering strategy as a plan of action towards increasing the number of both volunteers and members. To point to just one outcome of the strategy, we have a newly designed member / volunteer recruitment leaflet that has just gone to print. This will help to inform potential volunteers and members of our activities and how they can get involved with the charity. The community does need to consider whether it's appropriate, or desirable, for the charity to offer benefits to members that are only available for members. Successive boards have decided that we as a charity does not wish to discriminate against non-members by offering any members-only benefit beyond voting rights and the ability to apply for project grants. If the community believes significantly increasing our membership is a priority for the charity, then having significant and identifiable members-only benefits will certainly help.
For reference, you also asserted that this issue was not covered in either the last board meeting or in the fundraising report. I'm not quite sure how you reach these inaccurate conclusions. It was in fact referred to as major risk 3 in the CEO's report on the risk register. It is also, very clearly, mentioned in the fundraising report. To quote:
“Membership planning – Numbers had plateaued prior to the donor newsletter which recruited some new sign up. The volunteering portal and recruitment leaflet will help when available from the end of September, and welcome emails will be updated to reflect this. The new database will mean we can have better sign up/renewals options online. The delegated approvals system has worked well, meaning members can receive confirmation of joining within 48 hours, maintaining momentum and hopefully improving engagement." Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 17:09, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply. Though the Fundraising report mentions the topic of membership, it does not highlight this issue (or mention the numbers), such as the fact we are at the lowest membership this quarter for more than two years, as Mike Peel's graph on Membership/numbers now clearly shows (the graph makes it reasonable to conclude that membership is actually running at a three year low). Similarly the CEO's report does not mention this as an issue (issues are risks that have happened) and the CEO did not highlight this for the board to review in the meeting, the point of the CEO's "five top risks" section in the report (something that only happened after I repeatedly asked for it to be included) is that these are the risks that the trustees will consider in the board meeting. The detailed risk report is separate from the CEO's report. As for asking the community what it believes with regard to membership numbers, good idea, however this always was considered a key performance indicator for the CEO and after two years in the job, having membership significantly lower now that when he started is a problem that the board of trustees must take seriously due to the resulting "democratic deficit" as Philafrenzy mentions and the increased risk of entryism, especially considering how easy and cheap it is to set up fake memberships to manipulate a vote of members for anyone who fancies getting their pal on the board as a trustee or just to cause cost and disruption by legally forcing the board to call another EGM using a handful of votes.
What is needed here is a commitment to new action, rather than reiterating that "we are doing okay" and a rethink of the current organization which has failed to deliver measurable growth over the last two years against expectations (or any published strategy) despite having 9 staff and £700,000, with the same budget again requested in the 2014 pipeline.
For those that have not thought through the figures yet, during Jon's tenure the charity quadrupled its budget, went from 1 employee to 9 and yet there is no evidence that numbers of long term active volunteers has increased (in fact the only estimated numbers available appear to show this decreased) and numbers of members of the charity has dropped from 330 to 220 rather than growing. Thanks -- (talk) 04:44, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

This thread really is extraordinary. Last year this charity received negative press coverage about not one but two of its recent chairmen - the two before the no current chair and both still trustees at the time that the news became public. One of these only resigns as chair after there are moves by the membership to call an EGM after the board fail to force the issue. The other's conflict of interest leads to the charity having to hire in external consultants to advise them on how to not let something like it happen again. It would have been surprising if a substantial proportion of the membership had not failed to renew. And yet, when the figures are revealed, one of those recent chairmen complains and objects to any suggestion than he might have had a teensy-weensy bit of influence on this drop.

The remaining members of the current committee do share some of the blame for not nipping things in the bud. The poor press coverage was entirely predictable. However loyalty is in its way admirable. Fae is right that Jon has a measure of blame for not meeting the charity's growth targets. A major point in paying £60K, or whatever it is, for an experienced charity executive is to have them point out to the inexperienced trustees when they are heading for trouble. Instead it appears that the trustee who saw the impending difficulties with Roger's COI was left feeling unsupported by Jon and ended up resigning. However, given that the way that Jon damaged the membership figures was by not pushing for Roger and Fae to go, it is absurd for Fae to be criticizing him for the loss of numbers.--Peter cohen (talk) 10:47, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

"Saddening" was the word I had in mind actually. Saddening that the point of this thread has been lost in all the vitriol and personality clashes. If everybody (and sorry Fae, but I'm talking to you in particular) put their opinions on individuals to one side, we could have an intelligent discussion on membership, its purpose, and how or whether we should be recruiting new members. If you all want to carry on blaming each other for this, that, and the other and making this a personal issue about Jon, Chris, Fae, or anybody else, please do so elsewhere (Wikipediocracy comes to mind—in-fighting like this serves nobody but our critics); if anybody wants to make an intelligent comment about membership without playing the blame game and without attacking anybody else, I suggest you do so below this thread. Harry Mitchell (talk) 11:44, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
If I may quote myself from above: "It looks wrong and feels wrong to have so few members with such a budget and so many staff. A higher membership would mean more voices, more volunteers, more brains and more potential trustees. In the 2013 strategy day there was a presentation showing 5750 monthly direct debits. That's 5750 people who are prepared to pay money to Wikimedia UK. I understand there is a problem collecting membership dues at the same time as donations but that's 5750 individuals who one would think are keen enough to pay £5 for membership. Has anyone emailed them and asked them to join? Should we consider abolishing/reducing the subs or making it a one off payment for life membership?" Philafrenzy (talk) 12:01, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
That's an interesting suggestion, thanks. Personally, I'd like to see a discussion about what the purpose of membership is and how we recruit members. I think the statistics above show that signing up members by asking them to tick a box when they donate during the fundraiser wasn't the best idea, in that it leads to an ostensibly large but uninvolved and apathetic membership which plummets 18 months later. Harry Mitchell (talk) 13:40, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
Absolutely. There are two issues here. 1) Achieving a higher membership base 2) Communicating regularly in order to encourage participation to address the democratic deficit that may result in bad decisions being taken in good faith by the board because they are operating in a bubble of mutual agreement with too few opinions being heard. (I know they don't always agree, far from it). Philafrenzy (talk) 13:52, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
Is there any legal requirement to charge anything for membership or at any particular frequency? Members don't actually get anything tangible for membership and many are also donors anyway so why charge anything? The costs of collecting the money may exceed the subs. Obviously, precautions would need to be taken to prevent entryism. It would be useful if someone from the Chapter with knowledge of the legal position could comment on these matters. Philafrenzy (talk) 14:28, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
There are charities that give membership as part of other things (paying for entry to an event for example), however we have always been wary of how the articles are currently worded. If you have 2,000 members instead of 200 then the articles would need to change as the percentage of the membership required to vote to make changes would probably have to adapt as membership grows as the percentage interested in voting will drop, or you need two classes of members (some other chapters realistically handle votes at general meetings this way). There is a second issue of the fact that members are not verified, which means that free or even cheaper membership might encourage larger numbers of people using fake names. According to Stone King, our membership charge at £5 was already remarkably low compared to equivalent organizations with similar issues. -- (talk) 14:38, 28 September 2013 (UTC).
  • Info: <Postings removed here> This thread is for objective discussion of membership numbers only. Anyone using the thread to criticise or attack individuals can expect to be blocked. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 17:36, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
If free membership is too vulnerable to entryism, what about a £10 lifetime membership (or for a 5 or 10 year term)? This would avoid the annual admin chore of needing to renew which probably costs £5 per member in staff time to organise, and as many don't renew now there might not be a significant loss in revenue. Contact with members would then focus on news and involvement rather than collecting small sums of money. It would also avoid the mass cancellation of membership each year because people have forgotten to renew. Are we really sure those people aren't interested? Enthusiasm can wax and wane and people have many calls on their time. Do we keep in contact with the ones that don't renew? If not, I think we should. It costs little to send them a newsletter. CK would be the expert here in keeping in contact with people on a long term basis. Philafrenzy (talk) 20:52, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes! Extending the membership term sounds like a great idea. Yaris678 (talk) 18:34, 30 September 2013 (UTC)

Possible editathon - Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Hello everyone. As you may know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I'm in discussion with a breast cancer charity at the moment about a training session / editathon in London towards the end of October. Please do let me know if you're interested in attending as a trainer or volunteer. I'll share further details as they emerge. Thank you. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 14:28, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

Hello again. Following some discussion, this event is definitely taking place. It's provisionally lined up for 22 October and I'd love to recruit a couple of volunteer trainers to help on the day. If anyone is interested please do let me know. Thank you. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 12:52, 30 September 2013 (UTC)

WMUK programme for 2014-15

Our application to the FDC (the funding committee of the Wikimedia Foundation) for next year has now been submitted. Thanks to everyone who helped.

It is based on the board's agreed budget and contains quite a bit of detail. It is however not carved in stone. We will have a great deal of flexibility within our programmes and we will be asking the community where our emphasis should be as we plan the work for next year.

I hope you find it interesting.

Have a good weekend and make any comments or ask any questions here.


Interwiki prefix from outside

What is the new interwiki prefix to reach this site from elsewhere? For example, on both English Wikipedia and Meta, it used to be possible to use [[wmuk:Events]] to reach the Events page here, but that no longer works - it still points to the old site. --Redrose64 (talk; at English Wikipedia) 20:42, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

Let see if it's possible to get the WMF interwiki table updated to reflect the new address. -- KTC (talk) 20:49, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
I have requested an update at m:Talk:Interwiki_map#wmuk. -- KTC (talk) 21:06, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
Changes made at m:Interwiki map [7]. Actual update to the WMF database will happen whenever someone with access run the necessary script. -- KTC (talk) 21:31, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
I am still having trouble with links made before the migration; they still are linking to pages on the old site with the wmuk prefix. The above response sounds like it should be automatically directed to the page on the new site, unless I've misunderstood? Advice would be appreciated; for now I've just used an external link for events pages. ACrockford (talk) 10:27, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
No, the interwiki links from WMF site have not been updated yet. The process for updating such prefixes on WMF sites involves an admin on Meta-Wiki updating m:Interwiki map. Someone with Foundation database access then come along once a while and run a script copying what's on the wiki page into the Foundation's server database for all its wikis. The first bit have happened, the second not. -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 10:42, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Gotcha - I'd just misinterpreted the previous message. Will make do for the time being then! ACrockford (talk) 11:32, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

Will the office be open during Wikimania?

It's a bit far off but does anyone know if the WMUK will be operating and open for visitors during Wikimania 2014? I noticed it was not far from the Barbican and it's possible that people may want to have a look. On the other hand, there's a good chance everyone from WMUK will be at Wikimania. If it will be open, I was thinking of adding it to Wikivoyage:Wikimania 2014 London Guidebook. - AdamBMorgan (talk) 12:21, 30 September 2013 (UTC)

Hi Adam, that's a sensible question. Yes, the office will be open. Most staff will be at the conference but we will be making the office space open and available, too. And we like having visitors! Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 12:33, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
Cool. I've added a listing under "Do". It's slightly off the edge of the embedded slippy-map but not too far (and visible on the big one). - AdamBMorgan (talk) 14:17, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
That's great Adam, thank you for doing that. Much appreciated. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 14:32, 30 September 2013 (UTC)

Migration bugs: Scripts, styles and NavPopups on this new wiki

I've just copied my en.wp user CSS and user JS over to here (CSS, JS), but they're not being imported in the header.

Also, I enabled the Gadget Navigation popups and hovering over things gives me the popup menu, but without the styling (so a transparent div with an unordered list of links) and without the onmouseout event (so it never goes away).

I'm guessing these are just teething things; is there somewhere better I should be posting this kind of problem or should I just put them here? — OwenBlacker (Talk) 16:18, 30 September 2013 (UTC)

Popups never worked properly on the UK wiki. I'll look into why when I have time. -- KTC (talk) 19:46, 30 September 2013 (UTC)

Announcing new WMUK trustees

The board of Wikimedia UK is pleased to be able to announce today the co-option for a two year term of two new trustees, Carol Campbell and Kate West, both of whom have specialist expertise. Carol has extensive experience of volunteer organisations and brings strong conflict-management and relationship-building skills to the board. She was previously Cathedral Executive Officer at Ely Cathedral. Kate is Chief Operating Officer at the Electoral Reform Society, and brings strong governance, management, policy and planning skills. We welcome them both.

Further extension of the board can be expected soon, particularly with a view to increasing the proportion of trustees who are active members of the Wikimedia community. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 14:00, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

Hi Michael, considering that for non-elected trustee positions, potential conflicts of loyalties would already have been reviewed by the board of trustees, could statements please be added promptly to Declarations of Interest? For future co-options I recommend that trustees consider publishing these the same week as making an announcement. Members have a stake in how past or current relationships with suppliers and partners of Wikimedia UK are managed, including those that happen to be through close family members, and therefore ought to be made aware of potential conflicts of loyalties as early as possible, even though that authority and responsibility is legally delegated to the trustees on our behalf.
Considering some specific in-camera advice from Stone King to the board of trustees last year, I would expect that pre-existing friendships of any kind requires careful discussion and to be part of the public declaration whenever relevant or where this may be seen to have influenced a choice of co-option. Thanks -- (talk) 14:17, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
To the best of my knowledge nothing has been added to Declarations of Interest as neither of the new trustees has any known actual or potential conflict. However, for the sake of transparency it makes sense to have a statement anyway, even if it's a null statement. I'm following up and will post something as soon as I am certain. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 15:35, 12 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. I would think that anyone with long careers in religious or political sectors to consider, may wish to document potential conflicts of loyalties with future proposed programmes and funding decisions, before any become a reality. For example, the Electoral Reform Society is a campaign group that is worth a public declaration for the benefit of members, even if a declaration says little more than you have here already. Similarly, current trustees may wish to review issues of the moment to update their own declarations, for example anyone with close family members involved with CIPR might find this now relevant to make clear, whereas last year it might not have seemed important enough. -- (talk) 16:56, 12 October 2013 (UTC)
Is the CIPR point just an example Fae, or you think it actually might apply to WMUK? Philafrenzy (talk) 20:31, 12 October 2013 (UTC)
It may apply, though I have no reason to think that anything one might notice in the public record is any more than coincidence. -- (talk) 22:15, 12 October 2013 (UTC)

Preparations for EduWiki 2013

Preparations for EduWiki Conference 2013 are now in full swing. The event will take place on 1-2 November 2013 in Cardiff. Registration is open until 20 October and a number of different rates are available. Details about accommodation options at and around the conference venue have also been released. A limited budget to support scholarships for the conference has been allocated and applications; please contact Daria Cybulska (daria.cybulskaatwikimedia.org.uk) by Monday 7 October to apply.

We are also in the process of trialing a conference information mobile app called EventSpark, which is being developed by a potential Wikimania 2014 sponsor. More on this in the coming days - i.e. as soon as we have something concrete to share with the public.

Kindly direct any personal questions or concerns to me. We hope to see many members of the WMUK community at the conference, especially those who live within easy traveling distance from Cardiff. --Toni Sant (WMUK) (talk) 10:14, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

When you say EventSpark are a potential "Wikimania 2014 sponsor", does this mean that that money will be changing hands. Will WMUK be in receipt of any funds? Having looked at their app, it seems to be some form of advertising ("It’s now easy to feature and sell your space online."), possibly in competition with WikiVoyager. Whilst I can understand it would give them an enormous boost to have it promoted at Wikimania 2014, I am not quite sure what either WMUK or the wider Wikimedia community get from this trialing? Leutha (talk) 22:28, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
I'm not aware of any money changing hands nor whether this may or may not happen in the future. WMUK will certainly not be in receipt of any funds from this arrangement in relation to EduWiki. WMUK has agreed to be involved in this as a way to support Wikimania 2014, since the request came from that event's main organisers. --Toni Sant (WMUK) (talk) 14:39, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
EventSpark is in fact a different product by a different company - the one we're thinking of using is a conference support app similar to something like http://www.eventmobi.com/. The sponsorship element would involve in-kind donation of their app as a service. EdSaperia (talk) 11:12, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

Training for Trustees

It is great to see some new trustees come on board, but unfortunately I have recently found myself in a situation where it seems that a trustee has not really grasped what is meant by "attribution" in the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0) Creative license (This license says that "You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work" (emphasis added). As Carol Campbell and Kate West have not arisen from within the community, I would suggest they are provided with some training in this. It may well also be useful to provide some refresher training for existing trustees to help them better exercise their responsibilities in this area. Leutha (talk) 22:16, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Yes, that will be included in the induction for Carol and Kate, and refreshers can easily be provided for anyone who needs it. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 14:56, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Why have the Water cooler?

I wonder if it might be a moment to think about why we have the [cooler] and how we can use it best.

I see it as two things. Firstly a forum for discussion and debate and secondly a notice board for ideas, events and activities.

But a few questions:

How can we get more people involved? We counted less than 20 people using it in a six month period.

How can we make it more manageable? The scrolling has become a little out of control.

Are there postings, and I put this in the kindest way possible, that might be better as direct enquiries to the person concerned? Some of the postings are so arcane that they could better be answered off-wiki.

And one final question - can we make it more friendly? Even as I type this I wonder whether I am putting my neck on the line for a good chopping. It shouldn't be like that. If people see lots of negativity they will be put off and miss out on all the stuff we share. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 10:32, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

There is a fairly easy way to make it more manageable, auto archive all discussions that haven't had a post in 7 days. Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 10:47, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
Not sure that would eliminate the excessive scrolling because on the current page today that would archive next to nothing and the excessive scrolling would remain practically as is. --Toni Sant (WMUK) (talk) 11:04, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
Richard N did a big archiving session manually this morning, if he hadn't there would have been threads with stuff from August. But we can probably collapse some threads. Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 13:09, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
I knew there was something more to your suggestion than meets the eye! :-) --Toni Sant (WMUK) (talk) 13:27, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

"We counted less than 20 people using it in a six month period" - this is a natural symptom of failing to increase the membership of the charity, or increase numbers of volunteers (two years ago we expected the numbers of volunteers to grow exponentially and organically, we never dreamed the charity would remain effectively static +/-20%). If we only have 80 active volunteers who work with the charity (not counting those that are being paid to contribute), then the likelihood is that you would be doing fantastically well to have 25% of them writing here about anything, or even reading this forum. -- (talk) 11:24, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

Should it be visible only to members? That might be one way to make membership more distinct from non-membership, though it wouldn't necessarily make it more friendly as people might speak even more frankly out of the public gaze. I am in favour of openness but not sure why this particular forum necessarily has to be a public one? Philafrenzy (talk) 11:48, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
Benefits for members is something to consider, but closing forums without a solid reason to do so, goes against the mission of this charity. -- (talk) 11:56, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
I understand but there seems to be nowhere here where the membership can have a robust debate without washing our dirty linen in public. It's not like we all go to the same place of work or have a regular meeting everyone attends. How do other chapters handle it? Philafrenzy (talk) 12:01, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
Other chapters handle it with some difficulty too. Some chapters have a 'members only' wiki, others have an online forum for discussion, rather than a wiki. Would enabling some of the features of Mediawiki help - such as Flow when it's ready, or Echo? These tend to make the wiki easier to use, and might encourage more outside input. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 12:18, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure how enabling echo could be a bad thing, regardless of whether it is an answer to this question or not. I don't have any experience of using Flow, but if its like Liquid Threads then its unlikely to help anything.
One possibility to solve the scrolling problem would be to have different pages for different topics, with this page being left for things that don't fit elsewhere - kind of like how the reference desks are organised at en.wp. If MediaWiki supports restricting read access to certain userlevels then some pages could be made members only if desired. This would require setting up a "members" class of user (not difficult) and assigning all WMUK members to it (potentially tricky to identify all as you are not required to disclose your username when registering) and unless automatable there would be a delay between becoming a member and getting access to the members only pages, at least for those joining outside office hours. Really though I think only things that cannot be discussed in public should be members only - I imagine the COI discussion would additionally attract accusations relating to hiding things if held in a members only venue for example. Having members only pages might encourage increasingly more things to be members only though, which I'm not generally in favour of.
Another option would be to set up a forum additional to this wiki. MediaWiki is a fantastic wiki platform but it's very poor at being a forum because it isn't one and was never designed with that usecase in mind. Things like event signups work well on wiki pages, and would remain here but threaded discussion would move to the forum. If you choose to do that, make sure before it goes live that there are no copyright, licensing or T&C impediments to the two-way copying of posting between venues. Ideally you'd choose a forum platform that can be closely integrated with the wiki, but I don't know to what extent that is possible.
In terms of reach, fæ has a point but I suggest that simply not being able to access some of the discussions presently here would not be a sufficient draw, on its own, to a significant number of people and that not being able to access any of these discussions would result in fewer people becoming members - this page is what finally prompted me to join for example (although I'm still waiting for confirmation of membership). Accordingly I suggest that for now we treat them as separate questions - if we increase the membership without coresponding activity here from those new users then we can revisit it. If we get changes here right then in theory it should be equally attractive to new and existing members. Thryduulf (talk: local | en.wp | en.wikt) 23:10, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
I think this discussion has missed something (speaking as somebody who keeps a lazy eye on the recent changes on this wiki but doesn't really follow the water cooler). We like to think that lots of people read this page, but it's simply not the case. The main forum for discussion of WMUK-related things and Wikimedia-related things in the UK is the mailing list (I know some people like to think that's not so because they think WMUK should control everything, which seems to have been the the idea behind the migration of this wiki, but it's a fact). The 20 people using the water cooler (other than trustees and staff, and the handful of volunteers who look at this wiki on a regular basis) were probably drawn here from posts to the mailing list. Personally, I find the mailing list is easier for people to use and easier to keep up with, but some people really don't like mailing lists, so it's worth having both, but the number of people who follow the water cooler who aren't on the mailing list could probably be counted on one hand.

Whether the water cooler has the potential to be a more lively forum depends on whether we can define its purpose and how we advertise discussions here, but I would respectfully suggest that duplicating posts to the mailing list isn't the answer, and neither is posting messages here and not on the mailing list. I would imagine that increased use of the water cooler would be a symptom of larger and more involved volunteer and membership bases, but it's not an end in itself. Harry Mitchell (talk) 17:36, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

The evidence does not support your view Harry, I read both and if you take the CIPR question for example, which must be the most important recent discussion, there has been almost no substantive discussion of that matter there while extensive reasoned contributions about it have been made here. I think you could say the same for most topics in fact. As for practicality, in what way are dozens of separate email messages more practical than being able to see everything on one page? Philafrenzy (talk) 17:55, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

I think Wikimedia UK needs a website

Wikimedia UK is perhaps alone within the charitable sector in the UK in that it does not have a conventional website. We do have plenty of information that is publicly available through our wiki but it is disorganised and lacks a proper information architecture. It is especially unwelcoming for new and potential volunteers as well as those people just interested in learning more about the work of the chapter. Wikis are at the heart of our activities and this is appropriate. However, I propose that we create a small, welcoming and friendly website that overlays our wiki. This would have its own design and would not generally be community editable (although the content would be written collaboratively). It would feature perhaps six or seven useful pages (see below) that would all link back to the wiki. The wiki would remain of fundamental importance as a place of collaboration, discussion and engagement.

It is important that useful information is quickly and easily available to people interested in our work but not experienced with wikis. This includes many of the significant number of people who are familiar with reading, but not editing, Wikimedia projects.

I understand that there may be some resistance to this approach given the importance of wikis to our work. However, for our charity to develop its base of volunteers and members we must be much more appealing to newcomers. By having a website overlaying the wiki we are making important information available to everyone rather than those familiar with the use of wikis. I would like to show respect for the community by encouraging volunteers to take part in drafting the content for the website if the proposal is accepted. Nothing is yet set in stone so I hope we can have a useful, friendly and open-minded discussion about this idea. Proposed pages would include:

  • Home
  • About us / about the movement
  • How do wikis work?
  • Volunteer / get involved / join us
  • Publications page – cheatsheets, welcome booklet, commons booklet, education / GLAM booklets etc
  • Contact us (off-wiki but to also include on wiki information)
  • Media page

Suggestions for further content are welcome although the idea is to keep it simple. In terms of design there is a need for the site to look modern, clean and visually attractive. It also needs to be as accessible as possible. I envisage a design with plenty of white space but with appropriate use of spot colour based on our brand colours. Each page will include a prominent link to the main page of the wiki and contact us pages as well as appropriate editable content / project / event pages on the wiki.

With a view to taking this forward I am looking to meet the MD of a leading local web design company who is interested in delivering some work on a pro bono basis. I believe that implementing a small website over the top of our wiki will make us an easier organisation to engage with while making us more attractive to volunteers, donors and the media. It will also help to reinforce our brand identity by being in keeping with printed collateral that we prepare in house or with a graphic designer. A side benefit is that we may even be able to implement some of the design elements from this website into the VLE although this is nothing more than conjecture on my behalf at this point.

Please do let me know what you think. I believe this would be a good move for Wikimedia UK and would make it much easier for people who aren't familiar with us to get involved in our activities. For context, WMDE have already taken this approach and I know that WMNL are working on something so this wouldn't be setting a precedent within the movement. I'm looking forward to receiving your constructive feedback. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 12:31, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

This is a terrible idea. :-( This sort of thing doesn't need to be done separately from the wiki, and in a separate way - it can be done by having carefully designed wiki pages and navigation links/sidebar that provide structure for the rest of the content. Mike Peel (talk) 13:27, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
I think we all take care with our pages. But I don't think it has worked so far. To outsiders it is impenetrable... Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 13:30, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
The current home page is not obviously wrong to my eye, it looks quite professional and the wikiness of it ties in quite well with what we do actually. All the same links as proposed by Stevie seem to be there. Philafrenzy (talk) 13:54, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
+1 for Mike's point of view, along with the fact that if we lock editing away from volunteers we create cliques and artificial barriers. Wikimedia UK is not supposed to be like other charities. The norm for other charities is that every word on their websites gets reviewed or written by a paid staff member, working this way would be a long, long way away from the mission and values of charity that we created - neither would we be able to call the charity "volunteer-centric" any more. -- (talk) 16:12, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
The main page is already locked so that only admins can edit because it is an official page and the first place many people will encounter the charity, so editors are not losing any rights with the implementation of a site over the wiki. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 16:18, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
Not only is the main page already locked but you'll notice that the content for any website would be collaboratively written with the community. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 16:22, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
That's a good point - really, the main page should be unlocked a bit so that everyone can update things like the events list. Other pages that Stevie's talking about here aren't currently protected, though - e.g. Volunteer... Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 16:48, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
I was under the impression that protection defaults to none. This means that protection only happens where there is a problem or there is unusual risk (such as a footer template that is transcluded on every page) and if the risk alleviates then protection periodically gets removed. If there are "official" pages, it would be good to have a category of those so they can be monitored and the numbers minimized to help avoid bureaucracy and ensure the site remains volunteer-centric. -- (talk) 21:13, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
That's broadly the standard approach of enwp (and it is a very good approach), but I'm afraid that it isn't the approach that that we've been taking on this wiki so far (dating back to WMUK having its own wiki). We have been designating 'official' pages that only admins can edit for quite a long time. I do like the idea of a category that includes all protected pages on this wiki, though - is there an easy way to do this? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 21:27, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
It would be a simple bot script, though having moved the wiki I am only assuming the API will work in an open manner as it does on Wikimedia sites and has not been restricted in some new way. However, you can browse existing protections by using this special page—tweak the parameters to suit. -- (talk) 22:38, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

Align left for readability. I think there's an important point here that's being missed and that is the audience for the website - people who aren't familiar with wikis. In my view we need something that is light, welcoming and clear for people who have just heard about the chapter and want to learn more. It's not established editors or volunteers. The wiki would be totally unaffected. And just to touch on the point about unlocking the main page. I don't think that would be sensible at all. The idea that anyone can come along and vandalise the main page of the charity's public facing website doesn't really bear thinking about. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 08:09, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

The home page does seem light, welcoming, and clear to me. Do you have any evidence Stevie that people don't like it or find it confusing? I think this might be a lot of effort to solve a problem that doesn't actually exist. Don't we have enough real stuff to deal with? Philafrenzy (talk) 08:27, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
The evidence I have for this is anecdotal but may I suggest that as someone familiar with wikis that this would influence your opinion? As far as "real stuff" goes, we've been seeing a lot of discussion about engaging new members and volunteers. Somepeople have been expressing the view that we don't do enough to encourage people to get involved. I'd say this would be a step that we could take to make it easier to bridge the gap from someone hearing about the charity then taking the step to being a member. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 08:35, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
+1 for Philafrenzy's point. Though improving the website is a nice regular thing to work on, there is no evidence that changes had any impact on the numbers of volunteers or members, indeed the wiki has had many improvements over the last few years, especially the landing page and events list, but these had no tangible effect for which anyone could provide evidence, such as user stories. I suspect from several years worth of anecdotal evidence that wikimeets where volunteers talk about projects and problems with other volunteers, are far more powerful at engaging new volunteers. If we want to reverse the decline, and for membership to go back to as it was, 50% higher, before Jon's tenure as CEO, then radical changes are needed. I can only hope that the board of trustees are considering significant change rather than Pollyanna-ish plans to spend another £700,000 in 2014 by drawing a straight line, on the assumption that we are doing fine and things will get better without agreeing any solid performance indicators for the charity that would underpin a robust strategy that the CEO will be held against (robust means measurable, such as publishing a monthly count of the number of active volunteers against a growth plan, so we can see whether the trend is up or down from a count of 87 active volunteers in 2012). We were committed to double or quadruple the size of the charity as measured by the numbers of active volunteers, it is a shame that these targets were dropped when found inconvenient, rather than driving new approaches.
Wikimeets are volunteer-centric events that cost the charity nothing and many volunteer driven projects that are enthusiastically talked about at wikimeets (such as my upload of 100,000 images of Aircraft, the categorization of 2,000,000 UK photographs on Wikimedia Commons or the LGBT free media collective) cost the charity precisely nothing and take no staff budget to manage but are still the bread and butter of the Wikimedia movement. -- (talk) 09:03, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
What do people think of other chapter websites? France Germany Netherlands Austria Switzerland

I would value some honest opinions? Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 12:30, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Some are similar and some are slightly more glossy with greater use of graphics, but none are that different from ours. I would favour refining what we have, perhaps by making it slightly less cluttered, rather than a completely new site which will suck up everyone's time in arguing about the content. Are we embarrassed about using Wiki's? Please don't sacrifice usability and honesty for coolness. Isn't there also the point that if you create another corporate-style website for us we just become like all the rest? The current site is slightly geeky maybe but that might be distinctive? Isn't the clue in the name? Philafrenzy (talk) 12:45, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
I think a welcoming landing page is a good idea, even if all it did was link off in friendly ways to various wiki pages. I refer you to e.g. the homepage of The Wikimedia Foundation: http://www.wikimedia.org/. Experienced users of wikis screen out the sidebars and extraneous links, but virgin users do not, and it can certainly be offputting. A custom landing page could also be made to work well on mobile devices. I can't help but imagine Yahoo executives in 2000 deriding the design of Google's homepage. It's worth noting that a lot can be achieved visually with just wiki code. I am pretty sure you can hide almost everything if you try hard enough, so maybe that's a reasonable compromise. On the other hand, I don't think a welcoming language page should be very high on the list of priorities for WMUK staff time, because I think the vast majority of valuable volunteers will cut their teeth on wikis like en.wikipedia.org before discovering such a thing as WMUK exists, so perhaps we should focus on e.g. making more people aware that wikipedia is a site that even they can edit, rather than worrying about non-technical people who manage to somehow stumble onto a small organisation that supports some activities of a few volunteers. EdSaperia (talk) 02:39, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
Note that the home page for the WMF is http://wikimediafoundation.org/ - http://www.wikimedia.org/ is more an index page for the projects. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 07:39, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

My own feeling is that the current design and layout is fine for those of us who are used to it, but doesn't necessarily help people who aren't. I don't think we have ever systematically thought about what kinds of people are looking at this site and what they want to get - if we did we'd probably have a much more streamlined design. As to the implementation, I'm fairly agnostic about whether we can accomodate what we need from a better wiki, or whether something else is needed in addition. The Land (talk) 11:53, 11 October 2013 (UTC) I'm broadly against the idea of a separate website - it is too confusing and I disagree strongly with the idea of moving away from using Wiki's to build our tools :) There is nothing overly confusing about the current home page layout of this wiki - it could definitely be modernised with better css/design (which is 100% possible with a wiki!). And we could definitely consider some work on the default MediaWiki skin to make it more unique and pleasant. But fundamentally we are about Wikis, and we shouln't hide that from visitors!! --ErrantX (talk) 15:01, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

Whenever I have used this wiki as a wiki, I have been quite shocked at the poor level of maintenance, by which I mean things like navigation and in particular categorisation, which I think of as fundamental to the basic wiki function of making collaboration produce useful web pages. I have a number of questions about the use of this site.

  • Does it have its own budget? I don't know the exact current position on this.
  • How does WMUK stand now on the issue of volunteer versus staff involvement with this site? My impression is that the navigation matters that trouble me are still subject to "sofixit", so that for example the Education Committee pages are assumed to be drawn into some sort of order by the Committee.
  • Why are Board meeting pages still titled in a style like Agenda 13Jul13? It's a small point, but these are not filenames for a Sinclair ZX. It all looks very much for internal use.
  • Which are the key pages for OTRS volunteers to use in response to queries? Are they in presentable shape? My experience of this is now fairly ancient, but it should be known which pages are those that answer the questions the public has. The home page basically presents the charity as organising events.

I would suggest the issues Stevie raises might be addressed by:

  1. A drive to categorise all the pages here;
  2. Then a drive to move pages to systematic titles that are more informative, and introduce guidelines for page titles, to smarten the whole place up (and where at all possible banish subpages);
  3. Then put at least something on the home page about "this site";
  4. Then take stock. Which pages are so essential to fundraising, outreach and OTRS replies that they should be worked on carefully, and then perhaps protected? Which pages here need templating with "historic content retained for reference", and so on?

The key pages under (4) are those that might be worth having on a standalone website. I think we might have a better discussion of this issue if we had a list of which those are.

Further, I think the following really matters at present. As a strategic decision and as Fæ has brought up related matters here (a bit off-topic and I disagree with much of it, but still), I think Membership/Newsletter needs a rethink. I feel it is obvious that WMUK needs to do something to promote discussion of matters within the membership, within a suitable forum. That is, not on the UK mailing list (which is not WMUK's, and subject to the limitations of and drawbacks of email threads), and not in this wiki-thread style. I'm a fan of the Signpost structure (I'm not speaking of other aspects); but forum software, with light moderation, might allow us to see the public life of WMUK, contentious and somewhat politicised as it has become, on an issue-related and less a personality-related basis. Charles Matthews (talk) 11:35, 12 October 2013 (UTC)

Volunteer trainers needed

Martin Poulter looking for volunteer assistants for next week's Women In Science editathon at Oxford University, on the afternoon of Tuesday 15th:


...and our first Veterinary Science editathon, in London on the afternoon of Wednesday 20th November


He reminisces:

My serious involvement with Wikimedia UK started when I supported training at Cancer Research UK. More experienced and confident people than I delivered the training, and some of us helped one-to-one. That low-stress experience helped build confidence to where I could deliver training workshops myself, and so now I'm particularly interested in working with people who are taking their first steps.

If you are interested could you him: infobomb@gmail.com

Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 16:30, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

Who are our members and why did they join?

Following on from the membership discussion above, one thing that has just occurred to me is whether it is known why the existing WMUK members joined? If we know what attracted them we can go about doing/publicising more of those things. If we know why former members no longer are again we can see about either meeting their expectations or changing the publicity so we are not implying things we don't want to. How did they find out about WMUK?

If there is a breakdown of the membership by demographics then we can also use that to advise how we go about recruiting more members. It would be interesting and possibly useful to compare our membership with what is known about the general editor demographics of Wikipedia and of those actively engaged with the Wikimedia community as a whole and how we compare with other chapters (where that is known). Thryduulf (talk: local | en.wp | en.wikt) 23:28, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

*Some* of this was covered in a members survey last year and I need to re-run that again soon at the end of this month. There is also a survey for people who have expired/cancelled which is sent ot everyone but I don't think has ever had much engagement (maybe, three responses in the last year?) If you'd be interested in helping draft the questions/look at the other data with me I'd be so grateful as I've never got enough time to do in-depth analysis like this. If you want to pop to the office at any point again soon we could chat about it or just catch up on IRC? I'm keen to have more useful info to inform everyone's discussions :-) Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 09:18, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
I'll pop into the office when I can next walk properly (hopefully just a trapped nerve) and see what I can do. I'm not a brilliant analyst, but I can maybe help. Thryduulf (talk: local | en.wp | en.wikt) 09:51, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
Awesome and you can definitely help by being a sane extra pair of eyes :-) Dont come in if you're not well though - we can start on IRC? Is there a good time next week for you? Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 11:28, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
Fingers crossed I should be able to make it into the office on Monday afternoon or Tuesday. I've never used IRC so you'll have to point me in the right direction for that! Thryduulf (talk: local | en.wp | en.wikt) 14:16, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
The IRC channel WMUK uses is irc:wikimedia-uk connect. If you click connect it opens in your browser so you don't need to install any new programs. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 15:03, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

Training the Trainers November 2013 event

Wikimedia UK is committed to supporting our volunteers and to encourage them to teach others how to edit Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, we are running a weekend training workshop. This will take place on the weekend of 23—24 November 2013 in Cardiff. This session is targeted at volunteers in Wales and the immediate surrounding areas. We are especially interested in editors of Wicipedia Cymraeg who work through the Welsh language. However, both English and Welsh language editors will be welcomed.

The workshop will be delivered by a professional training company and aims to improve delegates’ abilities to deliver any training workshop. It’s especially relevant to anybody who already runs Wikimedia-related training, or is very interested in doing so in near future.

The workshop is a chance to:

  • Get accredited and receive detailed feedback about your presenting and training skills
  • Get general trainer skills which you can then apply when delivering specific Wikipedia workshops
  • Share your skills with others
  • Help design a training programme that serves Wikimedia UK in the long term.

The course will run from 9:30 am—6:30pm on Saturday and 9am—5pm on Sunday. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided. We should also be able to cover travel and accommodation if you let us know in advance.

If you are interested in attending, please indicate your commitment by signing up on Training the Trainers/November 2013 event. Spaces are limited to 12 places.

If you are not able to attend this time but would like to take part in the future, please add it to the event page or let me know by email to katie.chanatwikimedia.org.uk — we will be offering more sessions in the future.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions. I can also put you in touch with past participants who will be able to share their experiences with you.


Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 10:46, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Wiki_PR update

For those interested Wiki Pr have been implicated in mass sock-puppetry.Leutha (talk) 21:33, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Information on CIPR and its 10,000 members

As CIPR is a partner of Wikimedia UK and with Alastair being their CEO that partnership appears to be very close indeed, I have been trying to find a public list of members of CIPR, but have been unsuccessful so far. Can someone point me in the right direction as I presume the list is not supposed to be secret?

I note that CIPR holds its members to account against their code of conduct and sanctions those that fail to meet it, I would like to track down the details of past violations as would have been confirmed by the CIPR Professional Practices Committee. Obviously with more than 10,000 members, it would seem likely that some of these offer Wikipedia related reputation management through forms of paid editing, whether in compliance with the Wikimedia UK officially approved paid editing guidelines or not. Thanks -- (talk) 08:37, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

The register is here http://www.cipr.co.uk/pr-register and shows 501 results so presumably not complete. See also http://www.prweek.com/article/1157339/cipr-list-members-online-increase-accountability Philafrenzy (talk) 09:06, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes, this worries me, considering the reputation of Wikimedia UK is tied to that of CIPR. CIPR claims to be an advocate for more than 10,000 PR professionals and their CEO stated that they would release the names of all members a year ago, committing to a date of implementation of 1 December 2012 in order to fulfil their duties under their Royal Charter. CIPR has apparently failed to do this. Without this transparency, it is not possible to confirm whether anyone found to be using "dark arts" to manipulate the English Wikipedia or other Wikimedia projects has the support of CIPR, or not. For all we know WIKI-PR may have members of CIPR as employees or contractors. -- (talk) 09:55, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
I have the gravest doubts about the PR industry Fae, but I am not sure there is any link here. I think WikiPR are based in the US and it seems unlikely that they would bother to join CIPR, or that CIPR would have them. (I did check to see if Damian McBride was on the list. He's not.) A complete public register would obviously be good for transparency but it may have proved impossible like the register of lobbyists which I think has been dropped by the Government. It also would not name the clients and I think CIPR could fairly say that we are largely anonymous. Philafrenzy (talk) 10:23, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
Information about the paid editors (rather than just their clients) seems to be dropping out of the sockpuppet investigation, along with interesting sets of IPs. I would not write off any possible interest or inter-connection, after all 10,000 PR service providers as a membership is a huge proportion of the PR sector, especially considering that a large number of CIPR members are "Global Affiliates" which I infer means that they are not UK residents. -- (talk) 11:13, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
Hi Fae - just thought I ought to point out that anyone using the "dark arts" to manipulate Wikipedia obviously does so without the "support" of CIPR, as CIPR explicitly condemns the practice. I believe you already know this, but it wasn't clear from your post. Regards, The Land (talk) 11:39, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
To clarify, in line with its stated mission, CIPR is an advocate of the PR sector and all its members, period. If a member violates the code of conduct, then my understanding is that a complaint has to go through the CIPR Professional Practices Committee for consideration and a sanction might include removal of membership. I have made no claim as to what CIPR supports or not, other than its stated mission (and as might be interpreted from policies which may change over time).
As you appear to no longer be treating my questions as trolling, could you go back and answer my question with regard to what, as the Chairman of Wikimedia UK, you find shocking about WIKI-PR so that we can apply the same viewpoint to any member of CIPR that may have used the same techniques. I would appreciate it if you would declare up front if you have discussed any of these questions or issues with Alastair as the Secretary of WMUK and a paid advocate of CIPR and its members, or indeed any other member of CIPR.
I believe it would be timely for either you, or any other trustee, to respond to the action at #"CIPR_and_Wikimedia_UK_volunteers_have_agreed_a_set_of_guidelines_for_PR_practitioners" to withdraw the draft guidelines for Wikipedia paid editing, if there is no intention to either get them officially issued or agreed with the English Wikipedia community. The document is currently featured on Signpost as one of the achievements of CIPR. -- (talk) 12:16, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
It has been 7 days since I raised these questions, and considering trustees have been highly active in other discussions on this page, I no longer expect an answer from the WMUK Chairman, nor other trustees, on what will happen to the draft WMUK paid editing guidelines, nor any clear answer over whether he or other trustees consulted with Alastair, who takes the post of CEO of CIPR in November, before making comments about CIPR on this watercooler. In terms of transparency and openness with regard to board level management of declared conflicts of loyalties, it would be hard for anyone to consider a lack of unambiguous and non-political responses to direct questions about it a success. -- (talk) 10:22, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

Looking at the website, the figure of 501 is for members with a surname beginning with A. There are 983 members whose surname begins with B, and so on and so on. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 10:24, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

I stand corrected. Philafrenzy (talk) 11:00, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
It's a good job the CIPR is only a trade body and not a regulator isn't it? How would they ever keep tabs on 10,000 PR people? Philafrenzy (talk) 11:07, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
Good work, I'll mine that list shortly. As I understand copyright, a list of member names is not copyrightable so I see no problems in my republishing a full flat list somewhere else.
As for CIPR being a regulator, yes, that is how they present their mission, so implementation is their problem rather than ours to doubt.
A flat list of members of CIPR is available online here as a spreadsheet. As a check you can find Gemma Griffiths listed as a member, Stevie Benton is not a member and Alastair McCapra is not a member. Though 10,501 names are listed, I would treat this as a maximum as I spotted at least one listed twice probably due to membership status changing. -- (talk) 12:23, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

Diversity Conference - how many UK volunteers are going?

Based on m:Wikimedia Diversity Conference/Schedule I can see that at least two UK staff members are being paid to join this conference but I cannot find any information on how many unpaid volunteers are attending. I know that travel grants from WMUK were offered, so could someone please confirm how many volunteers are being sponsored by Wikimedia UK to attend for this weekend in Berlin, and preferably publish a list somewhere? Thanks -- (talk) 12:21, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

We are paying for two volunteers to attend and one member of staff, Daria, who has been organising it with WMDE. We had quite a few applicants, as you know, which is a good sign for the future, but made choosing difficult in order to get as broad a range of people as possible You can always phone the office to find out such things.Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 07:31, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
This is the sort of thing that should be in the monthly reports, not something that should require interested people to phone the office about! Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 08:29, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
Hi Mike, Sorry for the slightly delayed response here, I've just noticed your comment. I agree it should be in the monthly report and it will be in the November report, along with any write-up of the conference which I am sure will be offered by those attending. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 10:58, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
I do not understand this answer, it seems opaque. I can see from the official schedule, both Daria and Katie are going, this makes two members of staff being paid to go, I note that staff expenses for travel and accommodation come from staff budgets not volunteer budgets. Please just list the names of who are going so that the chapter's business can be seen to be transparent. One of the advantages of asking this question on-wiki is that the question is answered once, I cannot see the point of phoning the office and then writing answers I might get back on the Water cooler when you can do it directly and avoid bureaucracy or forcing members to behave like journalists to find out how money is being spent. Thanks -- (talk) 08:38, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
There are some sensitivities here, as you will be well aware of Fae from the treatment you have received in the past. For that reason I was/am reluctant to use people's names in this public forum without their permission. Given that Katie's name is already out there I can confirm that she will be attending but not as a member of staff. She will be attending in her own time as a volunteer and her funding will come from that budget. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 10:06, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for reminding everybody about the four years of harassment I have endured, it does not seem relevant to this thread. It was certainly never a reason for my activities as a trustee nor for any funding I received from the chapter to be done in secret.
Considering the issues we have seen with a lack of growth (or decline) in numbers of active volunteers, and issues with not appearing a "volunteer-centric" organization, I find it bizarre that the chapter has fallen into the habit of counting staff members as volunteers whenever convenient. According to what you have said here so far, the chapter turned down several applications for travel grants to go to this conference from unpaid volunteers, and has decided to send two members of staff and fund just one unpaid volunteer rather than several. I am concerned that the reasons for obscuring the numbers of staff going and avoiding explaining who is being funded to go, is how this would appear politically. If a volunteer is being paid to spend a weekend in Berlin at a conference, then I can think of no good reasons that could possibly meet the mission and values of the chapter with regard to openness and transparency by keeping this a secret. Spending donated funds on secret projects and secret beneficiaries is not why the chapter was established as a charity.
If there is an undeclared issue here of potential conflict of loyalties with funding, it should be made openly. I remind you of the advice from Stone King last year with regard to making decisions for the charity that involve friends or close relatives. That advice for governance best practice applies to staff as well as trustees and requires transparency when it occurs. -- (talk) 11:10, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
I am always happy to respond to questions from members of the community and will try and find them in your post. With regard to the names of the attendees I am unwilling to name anyone going to the conference without asking them first. I have asked Daria to contact the other person and check it is OK with them. I am pretty certain they will not mind but it is common courtesy and good practice to ask first. This is not about secrecy. There is no decline in active volunteers, despite what you assert. We now have 101 people listed which is a steady increase from a year ago of 83. Not enough of course but not a decline. You are extremely adept at jumping to conclusions to justify your assertions, to quote you: 'I find it bizarre that the chapter has fallen into the habit of counting staff members as volunteers whenever convenient'. This is just not the case. I informed the board that we had just enough funding for two volunteers. We had to choose two who represented as broad a range of diversity as possible. Candidates who were not successful were informed and given the chance to talk to me to find out why they had not been chosen. Some took me up on this offer and accepted our reasoning. Katie and her fellow volunteer represent several areas in which we are very weak as a chapter.
Katie applied as a volunteer as she knew she could not go as staff and as she remains an active volunteer, contributing many hours of unpaid volunteer effort, I believe this is entirely justified. Of our ten staff five were leading volunteers before they took up employment. Should they now be banned from being volunteers? To be personal, should I have to stop editing and taking part in Wiki Loves Monuments? If you have evidence that we have fallen into this habit can you let me have it instead of making vague assertions? I don't think we have. Richard S, Richard N, Jonathan, Katie and Toni are extremely careful to differentiate between their staff and volunteer roles. I am really pleased that Katie still wants to spend her own time as a volunteer in addition to the long hours she works as a member of staff.
I hope this is helpful and that we can all assume a little more good faith. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 11:34, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, it is helpful. The members can now see that the facts are that 2 current employees and one unpaid volunteer are being paid to go to this weekend conference in Berlin.
Your original answer of "one member of staff" was not a complete enough answer to avoid misleading the reader. Please do not parody my question as "banning from being volunteers", I am questioning the logic of reporting paid staff members as volunteers in official statistics or reports, or the trustee judging this as an appropriate way of implementing the value of keeping the charity volunteer-centric rather than being a political trick to by-pass it.
As for the numbers of volunteers, in 2012 we counted (by naming them) 87 active volunteers, not 83. We did not count staff as volunteers as far as I can recall. The figure of 101 volunteers is not one that I recognize, despite this being questioned for several months on this page. QUESTION Could you point me to where this has been published in a report to the board so that I can understand how this is counted (presumably using the logic here, it includes employees and "paid volunteers" rather than just "unpaid volunteers")?
As you are having difficult assessing where questions are, I have highlighted one in this post to avoid ambiguity.
So that we can keep track and show the trend as we have just started to do with membership, I have created Volunteers/numbers, please do add the source reports there. -- (talk) 12:14, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
The document to which you refer was developed as a means of tracking who is involved with the charity. It is not a public document any more than our register of members is public, and has not been something reported on to the board as it is mainly for office use. I can report on the headline numbers, however because it is a working document it has updated periodically rather than kept up-to-date minute-by-minute.

The document was created in July 2012, at which point it was estimated the community had 58 active volunteers. At the end of the 2012-13 financial year this was 59. By March 2013, this had increased to 79. At the end of June 2013, this number was 82.

In September 2013, in our proposal to the FDC we wanted to include the figure to show what kind of volunteer community we have. At that point I updated the document and the number had increased to 101. Part of the jump is because there were some people who had already been volunteers but were not documented in the file. This was not really an issue since it was intended for internal use. At the moment, the number stands at 103 (my apologies to Jon for supplying the out-of-date number of 101 earlier). The volunteer community has grown, which is unsurprising considering how many people have gone through Training the Trainers, how many people have received grants of one sort or another, and have got involved with events such as organising Wiki Loves Monuments or delivering training. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 13:06, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Thanks Richard. I find it odd that Jon should start using this as tangential evidence of volunteer numbers in response to a question from me, if it has not been presented to the Board of Trustees before or used to respond to questions about volunteer numbers raised here over the last few months. In particular the board published figure of 87 volunteers (in Minutes_8Sep12/Strategy_day) was not challenged in 2012 as being at variance with any other document, in fact as a trustee at the time, though this was discussed in great detail with staff, the document you are now raising for the first time in public was not provided to the board.
If this is the evidence to be used by Operations in how we measure numbers of volunteers, the performance of the charity, and it has already been officially used as evidence for the FDC proposal, then I believe it is good practice to publish it openly on-wiki so that everyone can refer to it and understand how it is calculated (for example, counting anyone contributing to WLM might give over-generous figures if we want a count of long term active volunteers). I suggest you add the numbers you have quoted here to the table at Volunteers/numbers. Thanks -- (talk) 14:08, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Having spoken to the second volunteer attending the conference, he is happy to let people know that he is User:Kwaku BBM. He was chosen as he represents BEM users, an area WMUK is particularly weak in, and has an interest in black music and history. Daria Cybulska (WMUK) (talk) 08:46, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

What does 'BEM' mean? It doesn't seem to be an acronym that enwp knows (unless he's representing British Empire Medalists, or the endangered Black-eared Miner species). Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 10:01, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Black Ethnic Minorities, or similar. Also known as BME or 'Black and Minority Ethnic' communities. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 10:12, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Thank you. I've updated the dab page accordingly, although it seems that a relevant article doesn't exist on enwp here. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 19:43, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
I do not believe it is reasonable to say that Kwaku represents BEM users as his total number of edits on all Wikimedia projects is 15. In comparison my contributions number over a million and I co-founded the Wikimedia LGBT group/proposed thematic organization, making it fair to consider me a potential a representative of LGBT users, yet my application for a travel grant was rejected. This choice of funding verges on the bizarre if there was only sufficient funds to send 3 people, 2 of whom turn out to be Wikimedia UK employees (one employee having their expenses paid out of the volunteer budget) and the remaining applicant is highly problematic as they only registered a Wikimedia account in May this year, and have made no edits since June.
This is a poor use of the charity's/WMF funds, especially in the light of the fact that there were "quite a few applications" from unpaid volunteers who had reasons to contribute to the success of this conference and its expected outcomes. I hope the Board of Trustees will be asking questions on the record about this at the next board meeting. -- (talk) 14:45, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
I have to agree that this does appear to be a poor choice. Has Kwaku done anything else apart from that 15? Surely someone should have some sort of established track record before we can reasonably call them a volunteer and pay out of chapter funds to send them to Berlin and back? I note that there is a plug for his personal project (www.BritishBlackMusic.com) on his user page which appears to be a commercial site soliciting advertising. Philafrenzy (talk) 15:27, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Firstly to reiterate and I can only hope you understand at last Fae, Katy is NOT GOING AS A MEMBER OF STAFF IN HER OWN TIME. She is going as a volunteer and of course one, who represents the LGBT community, women and an ethnic minority, all areas we can do better in. Secondly Kwaku does not have many edits but has been involved in hosting with WMUK an editathon around Black Music. He has shown a lot of energy and enthusiasm and is exactly the sort of volunteer we need to be encouraging if we are to grow. Given I knew how controversial this decision would be I consulted the board. It is a pity Fae that instead of taking up the offer we made for an explanation of why the decision was made you went straight to a public forum. If I was thinking of getting involved as a volunteer this sort of discussion would put me off. I would get the impression that unless I had done a zillion edits I could never be considered worthy. Our charitable funds are there to develop new talent and editors. I will make sure Kwaku is asked about the link. Perhaps someone form the community could reach out to him and help? Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 16:11, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Jon, this remains a poor use of funds on apparent and unfortunate tokenism, regardless of how you politically reframe this decision, or try to pitch this as somehow my fault for asking very basic questions about who is being sent to a conference where getting factual answers rather than spin, has been like extracting teeth.
Sending someone with just 15 edits under their belt off for a fully paid residential weekend conference in Belin and who has direct COI issues in promoting their website on the English Wikipedia, is an obviously bad choice of how to spend several hundred pounds, when several other applications were made from unpaid willing and experienced volunteers to support this conference. Jon, please do not parody or marginalize this issue as being one of requiring a "zillion edits", this is someone who has barely made any edits, and has made no contributions on Wikimedia projects for the last four months. A justification that we create "new talent and editors" by sending them away for an all expenses paid free weekend in Berlin is not something I would expect the Wikimedia UK Board of Trustees to support. This would be a very, very, poor way to spend our £700,000 budget in order to create new Wikipedia editors.
This was a serious mistake in the way the charity's money is spent, as the CEO you should recognize it as such and make a proper report back to the board on the improvements to the grant process that are required rather than expecting that typing in capitals makes a better justification that "we are doing fine, there is nothing to see here, go away and stop asking questions in public when you should only ask questions of the CEO in private and undocumented phone calls".
Lastly this is not any fault of Kwaku's, he has been poorly advised by the charity as to his suitability to represent BEM users at this conference. -- (talk) 16:33, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
I note that britishblackmusic.com has an advertising page which states: "If you want to know about other opportunities please contact our exclusive marketing agents, CyberMedia Solutions on xxx xxxx xxxx alternatively you can visit their website at www.cybermediasolutions.net" I suggest that Wikimedia UK reviews relationships like this rather more carefully, and ask sensible questions openly in relation to grants. -- (talk) 16:46, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Obviously this is not a Board-level decision, but the decision Jon's taken is quite reasonable in my view, and the Board will not interfere in cases like this. It'll be important for this conference that there are a wide range of perspectives represented, and the idea of sending two volunteers, one a long-standing Wikipedian with an interest in many aspects of diversity and one less experienced on-wiki but who has engaged with us enthusiastically off-wiki, seems eminently sensible. I would be very concerned if we started saying either that people need a certain number of edits to take part in our work, or indeed if we said that staff were no longer allowed to do any Wikimedia-related volunteering.
If I've understood correctly, Fae, you are essentially saying that you ought to have received funding to attend this conference. I can appreciate your disappointment but I don't feel that castigating Jon (or indeed Kwaku) in is an appropriate or mature response. The Land (talk) 17:36, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Your position as Chairman is that the board of trustees is not prepared to discuss the problem of sending someone with only 15 edits, and who does not current contribute to Wikimedia projects, for a free weekend in Berlin with no commitment as to outcomes, apart from an apparent interest in promoting a sponsored website? I find that at odds with fact that the trustees have a duty to hold the CEO to account in order to ensure that the donated funds of the charity are wisely spent on the mission of the charity, and in line with the values of the charity. This is another case of the charities' money being involved in COI editing, I suggest you take time out to discuss this properly with your fellow trustees rather than dismissing it as an issue.
Jon said there were several applications for grants from volunteers. Please do not take this discussion off on a tangent as being about my application, I am just the only applicant to take time to ask questions about this conference on the Water Cooler. You will note Jon's response was to keep who was being funded a secret and leave secrecy as an option for the sponsored person, this was not in line with the values of openness, transparency and accountability that we value; especially considering the facts of this case. -- (talk) 17:43, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Hi Fae, I don't really know what you mean by "this is another case of the charity's money being involved in COI editing". This suggests two things; firstly that this is a case of the charity's money being involved in COI editing; second that there has been a previous one. I do not know of any evidence to suggest either of those things is true. Please could you either direct me to some, or withdraw your allegation. The Land (talk) 17:54, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
This is not a court of law, I suggest you avoid turning the water cooler into one if you actually want members to freely ask questions here without the impression that they might be prosecuted for doing so. I have made no "allegations". It is merely a fact on record that paid editing or COI editing was a long running project with CIPR. This took staff time and resources of the charity, especially considering the expense of the 2012 AGM where CIPR had members presenting.
If you wish to talk about CIPR further, please create a new thread rather than diverting this one. -- (talk) 18:05, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
I read your "the charity's money being involved in COI editing" as saying that the charity was funding people to engage in COI editing, but thank you for clarifying that's not what you meant. I am also struggling to see how to construe last year's CIPR project as "money being involved in COI editing" when the outcome was the CIPR telling people not to break Wikipedia's conflict of interest policies, but never mind.... The Land (talk) 18:15, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
You may wish to note that this thread shows a classic run-around. Jon points to the board of trustees for his authority on this decision "I knew how controversial this decision would be [so] I consulted the board" and you point back to Jon with "Obviously this is not a Board-level decision". I have been asking some basic questions, I do not expect spin and diversions with questions as simple as this. If Jon has full authority and responsibility for this decision, I suggest you make that completely clear to him, not just me, and hold him properly to account for the decision he then makes with how this money gets spent and any mistakes that might occur in the process. It is consequently Jon that has a responsibility to openly and transparently answer questions from members that may arise from his operational funding decisions.
I would be happy to discuss the apparent COI editing that promoting britishblackmusic.com and CyberMedia Solutions represents, should you have any real questions about that, and how this makes funding a weekend in Berlin to do the same, before this is properly and openly reviewed, an unacceptable use of the charity's money and a risk to the reputation of Wikimedia UK. -- (talk) 18:19, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
I have had a look at Kwaku's edits and I can't see any "COI editing". He has a link to his site on his user page, which is quite allowed by the user page guidelines, and indeed recommended if there's a risk of getting into any vaguely COI-ish edits. The rest of his edits are clearly those of someone not used to using Wiki markup, but look to me like a good-faith attempt to improve coverage of the topic, very different to someone trying to promote something. Again, I read your post as saying we are sponsoring him to attend in order to promote two websites, which is certainly not the case (and you have no reason to believe it is the case). The Land (talk) 18:35, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
I'm afraid you did not look closely enough. Luckily I have more experience on that project than yourself, and from my experience as a past Admin (blocking many promotional accounts), I am aware that his user name fails the username policy, as it promotes his website (the shortcut is CORPNAME) and exceptions do not apply as he has promoted it on his user page. In addition, sadly, he appears to promote his own writing off-wiki in a reference in the "Music of Black Origin Awards" article and has only made edits to two articles, the only really meaningful edits happening on 17 May. I think any proper review of this account would find it problematic and Kwaku should be warned to avoid undeclared COI editing, which he has already engaged in, and be required to change his promotional account name. From his one day of problematic edits on the English Wikipedia, this is not someone that Wikimedia UK should be sponsoring for a weekend in Berlin and effectively representing Wikimedia UK. He has neither made enough of a contribution to be considered representative of Wikimedia BEM users, nor understands Wikimedia policies sufficiently to be a reliable representative. Being a member of a minority group of itself is not a reason to pay for a member of the public to have a free weekend in Berlin, they should be an active volunteer on Wikimedia projects otherwise this is just pure and embarrassing tokenism.
It is a pity that this is the first time these questions are being considered by the board of trustees or the CEO, when COI is such an important issue for the board otherwise. The ball has been dropped, please admit this is a mistake and act on it, rather throwing up chaff and defensive spin to make the problem go away. -- (talk) 19:17, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Is it really wise for you to boast about your experiences on the English Wikipedia? The Land (talk) 19:34, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
I think it unwise for you to throw back obvious chaff to divert from the factual and clear evidence presented above showing that this funding decision is an embarrassing mistake for Wikimedia UK. If you wish to write about me and my boasting, I suggest you create a separate thread. -- (talk) 19:44, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Oh, and - yes, Jon asked informally for the Board's advice. He felt it was unlikely your application would be supported but was concerned that, in that event, you would probably start some kind of public argument about it. The view I and other Board members expressed was that he ought to use his judgement without taking into consideration what individuals might end up posting on the Water Cooler. The Land (talk) 18:52, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Surprising then that despite this advice, Jon has twice recommended that members not post questions for him on the Water cooler but use private undocumented phone calls instead. -- (talk) 19:17, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
It is perfectly reasonable to ask these sort of questions in writing in a way other members can see them. How else will we know what is going on? If Fae had not pressed this matter, these facts would never have been disclosed. We need greater scrutiny, not less. If this is all too public, can we please have a place where these matters can be discussed in such a way as not to be indexed by Google. The paid employees of the chapter are not a filter through which every matter relating to the chapter should be directed. There needs to be somewhere here that members can discuss things among themselves. Philafrenzy (talk) 16:51, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
I am very uncomfortable having public discussions about whether a given individual should be participating in our activities. This should not become the norm. The Land (talk) 17:36, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I am not surprised. The charity has many years experience of discussing micro-grants openly that does precisely that (the members have Mike Peel to thank for this commitment to openness and transparency, during his time as a trustee he constantly and consistently reminded the board of this core value of the charity). Secrecy about how the charity's money is being spent, has only become a problem recently for this charity, mostly an aspect of your leadership with Jon. Perhaps the trustees should consider doing rather less of their important business in-camera or in secret, and instead where the members can comment and see that good work is being done. -- (talk) 17:57, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
A couple of points here:
  • I think it would be useful that when a member of staff is going to a Wikimedia event as a volunteer, this made clear. Being a member of staff is not simply a job, but it is also a role and they have a different relationship to the charity than someone who is simply a volunteer. It would have made this thread a lot more straight forward if Jon had reported at the outset that there was a second member of staff going in their own time as a volunteer. Whilst I agree that reading this discussion may be off-putting to volunteers, a little bit of clarity at the outset would have helped a lot.
I did make it clear (although given the length of the string it is easy to miss) Quote 'Given that Katie's name is already out there I can confirm that she will be attending but not as a member of staff. ' The reason I did not do it at once was I did not have Katie around to ask for her permission to mention her name in this context which was not a staff context. Fae outed her and I think that was bad practice. Apologies if I don't reply anymore but away for four days. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 19:57, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Jon's statement that I outed Katie is a serious one, and it is blatantly false. In my first sentence, in fact the third word of it, on this thread I gave a link to m:Wikimedia Diversity Conference/Schedule which gives both Katie and Daria's names as presenters. Asking questions about what has been officially published on a Wikimedia website is not "bad practice", nor can this be construed in any possible way as me outing anyone. After 2 years as CEO of Wikimedia UK, I would expect Jon to understand the distinction of what is outing and what is not. I find the pattern of irrelevant chaff attempting to put blame on me for asking pretty straight-forward questions and highlighting an embarrassing funding error quite incredible. -- (talk) 20:10, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
The basic problem is that you have scarcely asked a "straightforward question" for over a year. You ask questions then pick over the answers to find fault in whatever answer has been given, then leap to an unreasonable conclusion which gives you something else to get angry about, and unless someone denies it straight away you treat it as if it's somehow become an establish fact. Any constructive point there might have been gets lost in the wash. The Land (talk) 20:26, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I do not think rhetorical questions about staff being banned from volunteering really helps either. The issue is individuals being funded by WMUK to go to the diversity conference, not simply in participating in WMUK activities or editing WM sites.
  • Furthermore I think that WMUK members who are being sponsored to attend an event should be asked to agree before hand about having that fact made public, and perhaps where the costs are significant that they provide a short statement as to how they think their sponsorship will help the Wikimedia community.
  • Underlying all this it seems to me that in WMUK, some serious consideration has gone into the gender imbalance in the community and engaging with the Welsh language, I am not sure to what extent this has happened in other areas.
I agree with Philafrenzy that a members only Wiki might be useful for these discussions. Leutha (talk) 19:01, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

Just as a note (I only just got my wiki account setup): I was approached to go this conference (presumably because I have been involved in gendergap activism and because of being openly LGBT). The offer was very kind but I was too busy with work in order to make the appropriate arrangements and fill in the application forms and so on (I also didn't even have time to check whether I'd be able to take time off work). I say this only to note that staff did approach volunteers. The very nature of a diversity conference is going to present issues whoever is selected. I think this presents more of an issue regarding Wikimedia UK as an organisation than the suggestion of failings or bias among the staff: we have a very small number of member-volunteers even before you start talking about diversity in terms of race and gender and so on. It should definitely be one of the aims of the charity to increase the number of members and the number of active volunteer members so that for future conferences and events there is a larger pool of volunteers able to go to these kinds of events. Further bickering at this point seems unproductive. —Tom Morris (talk) 09:26, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

I think that if we have an understanding of volunteers going in a personal capacity, rather than "representing" other WMUK volunteers/Wikimedia editors, then that's OK. I agree with Tom that it is a more a matter of looking at how WMUK as an organisation can handle diversity more effectively. I think that serious efforts have gone into the gender-gap and Welsh language, but feel other areas need more attention. Leutha (talk) 12:14, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
+1 Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 13:03, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
The end result of the way this has been handled is that 2 WMUK staff are going and there was only enough money to send 1 unpaid volunteer, who happens to have made only 14 edits to any Wikimedia project, whilst other volunteers were rejected. It appears that only one person is attending this conference who has been active with Wikimedia LGBT and he is being paid to fly to Berlin from the USA. I will be able to double check this fact once the registration list is published, as the conference organizers have now promised to do after my request. -- (talk) 14:09, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
I need yet again to tell the truth about this, if anyone is still reading this, TWO volunteers are going and one member of staff. Fae might not be happy that he was not chosen by the German chapter to get funding and then not chosen by us. He was not alone, but decisions had to be made and I made them for WMUK knowing how sensitive this decision would be. I wanted a 'delegation' that was as broad as possible. Katie works for WMUK 35 hours a week and then has her own identity as a very well established and highly respected volunteer with an exemplary record of service to the community. She is also a representative of the LGBT community, a woman and from an ethnic minority. That she should choose to spend her own time, unpaid, as a volunteer attending this conference is amazing and should be applauded. As Someone else said Fae you have a habit of repeating what you believe until people give up refuting it. This latest post is misleading and I think that needs saying. Bottom line is when someone works for WMUK can they no longer be a volunteer? I hope not, as someone who still enjoys contributing and I know my colleagues agree. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 09:45, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
I assume this is Jon Davies from the IP address? Perhaps if you made it clear up front when employees are being funded from volunteer budgets to travel to conferences, rather than relating only selective partial facts for members, then there would be rather less to explain later. As for "the truth", anyone that re-reads my post can see it is accurate. You might consider how often on this Watercooler you can been seen deflecting discussions and valid questions about Wikimedia UK Operations and governance into ad hominem political spin about me and speculation as to what might be in my head, rather than actually answering the question; not good practice from anyone or what the public would expect from the CEO of a large and important charity.
That you are turning this question into a defence of Katie is unnecessary spin, when at no time in this thread have I said that Katie should not be funded to go. The question here is a lack of transparency and how budgets and scholarships should be managed so that employees can be funded to go to many events during the year, both as volunteers as well as in paid time, without needing to be in direct competition with volunteers who are not employees or contractors (and who also should be applauded for giving their time for free). This can be improved, however if you spend your time defending the status quo, then as the CEO you create an environment where these questions can only raised in closed meetings or private phone calls and improvement is constantly managed as a threat and a hassle, rather than a benefit to the charity. Thanks -- (talk) 20:16, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Just in case anyone does worry about staff dominating events where the charity pays for people to go we did a quick tally up this morning and since October 2011 when I started volunteers (including trustees) have been supported to go to things 126 times and staff 22 times including the AGMs where we all need to be there. Here come the Tildas! Sorry everyone for forgetting them yesterday! Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 11:19, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for these figures, though they could be more meaningful with context and if the trend can be seen by showing them by year rather than an odd selective period. For the sake of transparency can the figures be separated so that trustee expenses taken from the board expenses budget and employee expenses taken from the employee travel and expenses budget be distinguished from the unpaid volunteer travel and expenses budget? The difference being that the first two methods of paying for travel are not in competition with unpaid volunteers who are not trustees. For example unpaid volunteers who are not on the board were not offered any expenses to attend the AGM - as far as I am aware they never will be, so counting these payments is like comparing oranges with apples. Thanks -- (talk) 11:59, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

School of Data - data expedition

Hello everyone. In the course of my work I've recently been speaking with the School of Data. One of the things that they do which I think may be of particular interest is work on "Data Expeditions". These are collaborative efforts to gather data on a particular topic with a view to developing a greater understanding. The information is also hooked up to OpenStreetMap. For instance, there is a data expedition taking place this weekend related to the global garment industry. This has grown out of an earlier examination of the industry following the collapse of a factory in Bangladesh earlier this year. The earlier session was driven by a desire to highlight poor safety standards and working conditions. It strikes me that this is the kind of project that we could look at utilising Wikidata for. Projects like this could be used to populate Wikidata, too. I wonder if there's anyone out there inspired by this kind of project and has ideas about how we could do something similar. If you're interested in taking part in the data expedition, you can do so remotely. It takes place from 18 October to 20 October and you can see full details here.(Sorry, I forgot to sign my post!) Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 14:23, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for that. I am interested, but I must admit I don't know enough about Wikidata to see how it might work in this context. Perhaps if there is anyone else interested we can discuss this in more detail off-wiki?Leutha (talk) 15:42, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
I don't think this seems really suitable for Wikidata, which is primarily about structured, linked, data about specific entities and the relationship between them. It's not a generic home for any sort of stored information, in much the same way that Wikipedia isn't a repository for any sort of writing. Andrew Gray (talk) 18:17, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

Bug report: Notifications in Monobook

Notifications appear behind the content

Notifications have now been switched on on this wiki, but they are not working properly in the monobook skin as they appear behind the content area of the page (I'm guessing a div). This doesn't happen on en.wp where I also use monobook so I don't know whether this is something that should be reported on bugzilla or not? Thryduulf (talk: local | en.wp | en.wikt) 15:40, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

WMUK T-shirts

On an IRC with the community several centuries ago there were calls for us to make some t-shirts that would be fun and specifically WMUK branded. With Wikimania coming and as we are running out of our current 'nice but a bit predictable' stock we wonder if anyone has clever ideas for the designs.

Here are some previous suggestions:

  • Don’t revert me I’m a Wikimedian.
  • WMUK - helping share the world’s knowledge
  • Wiki loves monuments survivor
  • My difs bring all the boys to the yard
  • My friends went to edit Wikipedia and all I got was this lousy t-shirt
  • [citation needed]
  • You are free to reuse, remix and distribute this t-shirt
  • CC-BY-SA
  • Rule Britannica!

(Perhaps with ‘I edit wikipedia‘ on the back? JD)

  • Break the mold!
  • I don’t like “Like”; I like “Edit”.
  • Wikipedia, read by hundreds of millions, written by tens of thousands.
  • Our mission “To make the sum of human knowledge available to all humanity” Wikipedia
  • Ask me about Wikipedia

Feel free to add your suggestions. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 13:20, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

"Don't trust Wikipedia: Improve it!" Leutha (talk) 13:45, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
I like this one! Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 13:59, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
I LOVE that one Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 14:20, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Thirded. Thryduulf (talk: local | en.wp | en.wikt) 15:10, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Some of the others are a lot more pithy than that, and shouldn't it have a question mark where the colon is? Philafrenzy (talk) 15:32, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
I like that one two. And keep the colon. A question mark would miss the point. Yaris678 (talk) 11:46, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
I think this would be a hit in Education circles. Well done, Leutha! --Toni Sant (WMUK) (talk) 13:10, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

I like the one that is "I don’t like “Like”; I like “Edit”." It would be good to have images on the T-shirt that look like they are from a screen (but are higher res than an actual screen dump). A possible alternative/varient would be more graphical. It has the two images and then a big red cross through the "like" and a big green tick next to the "edit". Yaris678 (talk) 11:46, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

My favourite is still the redux of Magritte I think. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 15:16, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Cymraeg Mae dyfodol Cymru yn dy law (Transl: The future of Wales is in your hand! (Handheld pencil with “Wikipedia” written on it).

Template:Angen ffynhonnell (Transl: ‘citation needed’)

Wicipedia Cymraeg - Cefnfor Gwybodaeth! (Transl: WC - An ocean of knowledge)

And why not use any of these I created / adapted around 5 years ago: https://cy.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defnyddiwr:Llywelyn2000/Bwrdd_plymio

Our current pop-up says: Wicipedia - Byd o wybodaeth (Transl: A world of knowledge)

Wicipedia - yn RHYDD o’r diwedd! (Transl: WP - FREE at last!)

We can use an image of Rhys Ifans with bubble speak: Dw i’n Wici-Waci-Waciwr! (Transl: I’m a Wiki-Wacky-Whacker) All suggestions from Welsh Wikipedians. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 10:26, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Time to bring this fun to an end - any more suggestions? Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 14:03, 14 November 2013 (UTC) Possibly all with "I edit Wikipedia" or "I support Wikimedia UK" on the back:

  • I'm teaching the world
  • Knowledge is power, so I'm sharing mine
  • Bringing knowledge to the world
  • I edit, therefore I am
  • 287 languages / 30 million articles / and counting [arranged either as three lines or as a circle around the puzzle globe]
  • Wiktionary: Every word in every language, and all for free
  • Wikivoyage: Where do you want to explore today?
    • maybe these two should have the project name (and logo?) on the back rather than on the front?
  • {{Citation needed}} · {{angen ffynhonnell}} · {{उद्धरण आवश्यक}} · {{Kilde mangler}} · {{Εκκρεμεί παραπομπή}} · {{Doplňte zdroj}} etc.

Maybe one with all the project logos as on https://www.wikimedia.org/

Most of these could have Welsh and English versions (and some possibly bilingual). Thryduulf (talk: local | en.wp | en.wikt) 16:38, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

Members registry not public?

Under another heading above it was suggested that the WMUK register of members is not public. Actually it is, and in fact anyone can view it, unless WMUK persuades the court that the information is not being sought for a proper purpose. The information can be found on the Companies House website here Leutha (talk) 18:25, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

I doubt that many members would object to a list of members being published on-wiki. Many other charities make their members lists available on websites and I would have thought that membership is something to be proud of. -- (talk) 19:53, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
This is a timely reminder that the members are actually members of a company registered at Companies House, though I think I am right in saying that a full member list is not necessarily sent with every Annual Return. You can also get an officers report for any company for free here: http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/toolsToHelp/findCompanyInfo.shtml using the WebCheck service. Interestingly, for Wikimedia UK this shows Alastair McCapra as a Director but not Secretary and a form TM02 having been filed on 3 October noting his resignation as Secretary. I suspect, however, that this is purely a company secretarial matter and all the officers of Wikimedia UK are now simply listed as Directors, regardless of their real position on the board. Philafrenzy (talk) 20:23, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
That's correct. The Board decided to dispense with the role of Company Secretary, and that's what's been updated. The Land (talk) 20:27, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
What's the position with the members list please? Is it filed with every AR, or if not how often? When was the last one filed? Philafrenzy (talk) 20:34, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Will need to get back to you on that! Bear with us... The Land (talk) 20:42, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
That's fine. This does put a different perspective on the need to keep the membership list in the office up to date, since even if it is not filed with Companies House regularly, I assume that the Companies Act still requires it to be maintained accurately at all times, charity law too no doubt, and to be made available at any time in response to a valid request. (I am not planning on making any such request) Philafrenzy (talk) 21:09, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
That's really bad news. :-( I take it that the role has now been delegated to the office? If so, given how unsupported I was by the office when I was the company secretary, I have zero confidence in it being done well by the office. At the current time of WMUK's evolution, this really needs to be done directly by a board member rather than being delegated.
With regards the members list - this is only held by WMUK, and isn't filed with companies house. It isn't 'public' in the sense of being published online, and we've always steered towards keeping it private (and also towards avoiding it cross-linking to usernames) to protect members' personal information. I don't believe that there is any requirement to file it with companies house - rather, the requirement is to have it available for inspection at the registered office. See Part 8 Chapter 2 of the Companies Act 2006 for the full details. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 21:27, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
+1, zero confidence. -- (talk) 22:01, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Mike is of course correct that we don't file the list of members at Companies House, and that we're not required to. We do of course hold a membership list, and if we ever received a request to inspect it we would comply with our obligations - I don't recall such a request having been received in the time I've been on the Board. We've never published the membership list online and I am not sure how doing so would square with our obligations under the Data Protection Act.
Regarding Company Secretary, Mike - yes, the tasks involved have been delegated, but you can be reassured that we have several Trustees who are just as vigilant as you were in making sure everything happens. Our annual report and accounts to 2013 were filed here in early October. The Land (talk) 08:09, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

It certainly shouldn't link to user names as otherwise anyone on payment of the fee could discover the identity of every user who is a member. It also certainly should be maintained with the utmost scrupulousness as the Act makes clear that failure to maintain it accurately is an offense on the part of the company and every officer of the company who is in default. I don't believe it can be regarded as a private document. Has anyone run a test to see if it could be produced within the timescales required by law. I am not going to apply for it as I don't want to give Richard a heart attack but I assume our processes for adding or removing people are in accordance with the requirements of the Companies Act? Philafrenzy (talk) 22:02, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
A minor clarification, the list of members is not verified in any meaningful way. Even the address is not verified and you could give any name, it does not have to relate to the membership payment method and never has been tied to a Wikimedia account name. In this situation I would expect anyone terribly worried about their on-line identity would pay for their membership under a pseudonym or several pseudonyms. For the member at least, I don't believe that would even break any law. I raised the issue many times in board meetings. -- (talk) 22:17, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
OK, I think you are correct that in English law a person can give themselves any name and that is not an offense in itself. It could cause considerable administrative problems in the office, however, and in paying subs so I think we must assume that most people have given their real name and address, I did. Philafrenzy (talk) 22:24, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Actually it is important that members and prospective members are aware that the list is available for public inspection with the proviso mentioned above. Whether a person uses a different name to that which they use in other aspects of their daily life is OK, however if someone registers in a variety of different names then that would be very problematic (20 votes for £100!). I would hope that WMUK has suitable processes in place to ensure that such abuses cannot occur. Leutha (talk) 07:24, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
If you look through past minutes, I publicly objected to passing new unverified members several times in a row, even though I knew the rest of the board would simply outvote me rather than not processing memberships. The reason for this was to put a line in the sand at this significant risk of disruption and entryism. It is public knowledge that rather than £100, £25 worth of memberships would give anyone the ability to force a disruptive EGM (the meeting would legally have to be arranged, even if pointless) and it would probably only take this number to seriously change the outcome at AGMs using proxy votes (only a fraction of the current 220 members would actually bother to vote on any issue or election, a key reason why 220 is far too small a number of members and allowing memberships to decline over the past 2 years has been a serious failure of the CEO). The board has a duty to ensure more than £700,000 is wisely spent, and yet entryism leaves that money subject to a hostile take-over, including replacing the current board, closing down the charity or spending the money in a partisan way. The fact that the only reason against doing something about this risk over the past year was that it would create minor verification work for the staff, who were overworked and too busy, always seemed an incredibly weak one to me, especially as I always supported the idea of contracting out some of the administration.
This may seem far fetched, but consider the fact that WMUK only has 220 members and yet CIPR has 10,500. If CREWE wanted greater representation in WMUK and mentioned this in their members newsletter, it would not be surprising if suddenly we had 100 or 200 members who were partisan to the PR sector (neither staff nor trustees would have any means of being aware of this happening, they would only be congratulating the CEO for increasing membership numbers). This may even happen with purely benign intent and yet would remain a serious reputational risk for the charity as I doubt the FDC or the WMF would take kindly to funding an organization that had the appearance of a partisan membership. -- (talk) 08:34, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

Could I just say that the charity is very well aware of these issues which have been under active review by the board for some time prior to them being raised here. That active review is continuing. Discussing in a public forum potential ways in which a hostile take-over could be attempted does not help the board to minimize the risk of such an attempt being made. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 15:13, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

Where else would you suggest these matters are discussed Michael? If this is too public then there needs to be somewhere private. Philafrenzy (talk) 17:01, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
That is a good question, and I've opened an new thread about it, below: #A Water Cooler for members only?. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 18:24, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
Michael, everything I have said here has been said in public on this wiki before (as well as in public off-wiki). It is a problem that should have been solved last year. I am surprised at your suggestion that somehow members should not be allowed to either know about this issue with the charity they are members of, nor be allowed to discuss it with each other. Neither should we be keeping problems like this a secret from the WMF or the FDC.
You may want to go back through the long history of minutes of the in-camera meetings and the related in-camera vote of trustees about this. I would have thought spending well over a year talking, consulting and listening to reasons from the CEO as to why all employees are too busy to take action, rather than finding a way to resolve this serious risk (such as contracting it out if everyone is too busy with more important work), would be far too long for even the slowest charity or much smaller charities than ours, especially in the light of the informal advice I passed on to the board from the charity's excellent lawyers (Stone King) way back in 2012. I hope you and the other newer trustees can implement real changes, and promptly, where I failed to do so. Change is long overdue.
If you want a quick fix, then I recommend the trustees announce a halt to all new memberships until a system of verification is agreed and in place. That way the risk of entryism would be zero, at least from new applications, and members and trustees can discuss the problem completely in the open without accusations against anyone creating risks by being open and transparent. It would have the benefit of putting significant pressure on the CEO to agree prompt and effective solutions. -- (talk) 17:15, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
The Board looked at a couple of potential solutions for this at the July board meeting, and we didn't adopt any of them. It's my view (along with most of the Board) that any additional "verification" step would be offputting for prospective members, as well as an unnecessary administrative headache. I've never seen any advice that such a step is necessary, and in my professional experience of running membership schemes I have never even heard of a membership organisation which does anything like this. The Land (talk) 17:48, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
You may want to go back to Stone King and get your professional experience balanced with theirs, especially if you are personally taking a lead in advising the board of trustees to take no corrective or preventative action on this risk. Perhaps you can share my summary email from 2012 of the conversation I had with Stone King, with the new board members that have yet to see it? By the way, I am unsure that a vote with a result of 3:2 is best described as "most of the board", in fact I would say that was a difficult vote that the new trustees might want to re-visit and ensure they have all the viewpoints and evidence, especially in the light of your statement "never seen such advice" when it exists in my 2012 email. Thanks -- (talk) 18:02, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
I am not sure of how the present charity is set up in this regard, but I was involved with setting up Wiki Educational Resources, the first attempt at a UK chapter (sometimes described as Wikimedia UK 1.0). At that time we considered the possibility of a hostile takeover, and our attitude was that because the single biggest asset (by a long way) was the "Wikimedia" name that that was what needed defending. Accordingly everything was set up so that if a hostile takeover happened, the Wikimedia Foundation could quickly and easily revoke the right to use the name, meaning that the hostile board would be left with little more than a worthless shell. I can't remember if the impetus for this came from the Foundation or from the prospective chapter folks. Thryduulf (talk: local | en.wp | en.wikt) 23:38, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
It is an interesting point, however there are two massive differences between a hostile take-over of Wiki Educational Resources and Wikimedia UK, namely access to donated funds of nearly a million pounds and responsibility for employment of 9 people. -- (talk) 09:53, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
My understanding of charity law (and I accept I might be wrong) is that the board is prohibited from spending any donated funds in a manner contrary to the charity's objectives, which would render some protection (and if the money is spent furthering our objectives that isn't actually a bad thing). I suppose it is possible that a hostile board could change the objectives, but I don't know to what extent that would need to be approved by bodies such as the charity commission. Again IANAL, but I believe that employment law gives protection to employees such that they cannot be forced to act contrary to their terms of employment, and while I don't know the terms on which WMUK employees are hired it would not surprise me if they are required not to bring the organisation into disrepute or similar. That would provide a limited defence against a hostile board acting contrary to the charity's interests. The main point though was to make it an unattractive target or a hostile takeover. Thryduulf (talk: local | en.wp | en.wikt) 10:34, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
Michael, by the way, I have raised a related question at Status of reports and some numbers underpinning the FDC application which you may wish to consider. Thanks -- (talk) 18:02, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

Review of membership approvals process

Michael, now I have had some time to check through the minutes of the July board meeting in conjunction with Chris' statement on this thread that no action is being taken or planned, I am having difficulty reconciling your statement here of "That active review is continuing". Given the history of board and CEO level discussions and related actions dates back well over a year, could you explain for the benefit of interested members the scope of the continuing review of membership verification, exactly who has been actioned by the board, and when the members will be able to read a public report of the outcomes of the review of this issue? Thanks -- (talk) 09:50, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

The review has been ongoing by email and the issue is likely to be raised at the December board meeting. Chris did not say that "no action is being taken or planned". --MichaelMaggs (talk) 12:15, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the partial clarification, though it would be useful for the members to openly know who has been actioned by the board and what the scope of this review is.
I note that a possible date of December to have another discussion, would make this a major risk that has been under discussion by the trustees for over 18 months, without any action, plan or committed resources that members have been informed about.
As for Chris' comment earlier in this thread, I made a reasonable paraphrasing I thought, however to avoid doubt, Chris stated "It's my view (along with most of the Board) that any additional "verification" step would be offputting for prospective members, as well as an unnecessary administrative headache" which to any casual reader indicates that the board has no intention to take any action on this, indeed there appears to be no action in the minutes of the last two board meetings. It is impossible for members to know the contents of unpublished emails between trustees, we can only form our opinion from the comments that trustees have made here. Thanks -- (talk) 15:58, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

QRpedia Donation Update

The last thread on the announced donation of QRPedia to WMUK has now been archived, unresolved(see https://wiki.wikimedia.org.uk/wiki/Water_cooler/2013#QRpedia_update for the last discussion).

As of today, whois.com shows ownership of the QRPedia related domains as:

  • qrpedia.org – Terrence Eden
  • qrwp.org – Bamkin Family
  • qrpedia.org.uk – Michael Peel, but with WMUK’s contact details(1)
  • qrpedia.net - Wiki UK Limited
  • qrpedia.co.uk – Bamkin Family

(1) It appears that qrpedia.org.uk has not been properly transferred to Wiki UK Limited, as qrpedia.net was. I have alerted him to the problem on meta.

Given that it is now more than a year since the first announcement of the donation, more than six months since the last announcement of the donation, three months since the WMUK prepared agreement was provided to Roger Bamkin for signature, and one month since WMUK Chair advised that the situation could not go on indefinitely, could a definite statement on this donation please be given? Please, clearly either decline the donation, or advise a date by which the donation will be resolved and the transfer occur – or of course, better still, an announcement could be made that the donation has been completed, and the domains transferred to WMUK. TheOverflow (talk) 03:37, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Dear TheOverflow, the transfer agreement has been signed by ourselves, Terence but not yet by Roger. This was discussed at the last WMUK board meeting in September and is in the hands of the trustee dealing with the matter. We would all like to be able to report a resolution to this and will do so as soon as there is one. Apologies for the delays. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 11:02, 21 October 2013 (UTC)
Thank you. By what date to you expect this to be resolved? As I noted above, the Chair has previously advised that this cannot continue indefinitely, but without a date for resolution, it is, effectively, continuing indefinitely. Has the trustee responsible had any recent correspondence regarding when resolution can be expected? TheOverflow (talk) 22:25, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Oh how I wish I could say but in the hands of the trustee handling it.Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 09:42, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

I imagine that is still Saad. From what I understand of the recent governance audit, the approach of using trustees to manage this sort of operational matter is to be avoided in future, and this will become wholly the responsibility and authority of the CEO. -- (talk) 10:55, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps the trustee handling the matter could comment? TheOverflow (talk) 22:56, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
+1 Come on Saad. -- (talk) 23:19, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
Saad tells us that a final date in the very near future has been arrived at whereby we take ownership or move away. Fingers crossed. Tilde time. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 14:31, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
That's great to hear. And what is that date? TheOverflow (talk) 22:58, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, we are not publishing details of legal discussions. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 10:04, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
I have two regrets from when I was leading the QRpedia agreement in 2011/12, one was my failure to firmly drive the agreement through in 2012 and consequently hand the negotiation to a trustee who was the principle critic of that proposed agreement, the other was my failure to be more open about the issues and progress with our members. Considering it is a gift rather than a purchase, and the only tangible risk has already been discussed in public, it does seem a shame that the members are still being kept in the dark after two years due to it being a legal matter. -- (talk) 10:41, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

Mobile app for EduWiki 2013

Further to my recent announcement on the Water Cooler about trialing a mobile app called EventSpark, which is being considered for Wikimania 2014, at EduWiki Conference 2013: the app is now live and available for download. Full instructions available here. --Toni Sant (WMUK) (talk) 11:45, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Interested in helping Wiki take Leicester?

Hello everyone. I recently met with an editor of the Gujarati Wikipedia to explore some ideas of how the chapter can support outreach efforts to Gujarati speaking communities. The proposal we came up with was Wiki Takes Leicester. This would be a traditional Wiki Takes style event but with a slight emphasis on Indian culture and community. There would also be a parallel session offering editing training, on both the English and Gujarati Wikipedias. The draft proposal is at https://wiki.wikimedia.org.uk/wiki/Draft_proposal:_Wiki_Takes_Leicester so please take a look and get involved. Thank you. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 11:55, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

Engagement with public libraries - a draft proposal

Hello everyone. Recently I spoke with a friend who is a librarian and we discussed how widely Wikipedia is used in public libraries. We got to thinking about how Wikimedia UK could engage with those users effectively. This led me to have a very useful exploratory conversation with the Operations and Data Manager of Thurrock Library Service. We discussed some possibilities and following on from that I've put together some notes into a draft proposal for how we may do this. It's at https://wiki.wikimedia.org.uk/wiki/Draft_proposal:_Thurrock_Libraries and I'd welcome your thoughts. Please note that's it a draft at the moment and none of this is set in stone. Thank you. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 11:58, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

Hearing Loop

We've just purchased a hearing loop for the UK chapter, to make it easier for those with hearing difficulties to partake in discussions and events. The loop doesn't have a huge range, so it's not good for full conferences, and is instead best for smaller meetings of 3-4 people.

We'll work to update the various event pages to include this information in the next few weeks. This loop can be requested by anyone running or attending events (provided we know who's in charge of it). I'd be really keen on hearing from people how it can be "effectively utilised", and doesn't just sit around gathering dust. Every time that it could be used, we want it to be used. We'd be happy to lend it to other chapters for short periods too (although it's a UK/240v charging system). Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 16:54, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

Monuments results

We are pleased to announce the winners of Wiki Loves Monuments 2013 in the UK. [See the blog for the results and pictures.]

This was a magnificent effort for a band of devoted volunteers who got it all together, Richard Nevell and Katie Chan who offered staff input (and some) and of course the participants.

Wiki Loves Monuments is the world’s largest photography contest. The objective is to collect high quality photographs of some of the world’s most important buildings – in the UK, this means Grade I and Grade II* listed buildings.

Over 570 people took part in the UK competition, contributing more than 12,000 photos to Wikimedia Commons, one of the world’s largest repositories of freely licensed media files. Volunteer editors have already started making use of some of these new images to illustrate Wikipedia.

Steve Cole, one of the competition judges and Head of Imaging at English Heritage, said: ” The Wiki Loves Monuments photography competition produced a fantastic range of subjects and photographic styles. Choosing the winners was no easy task. The views of the judges varied enormously, individual favourites fell by the wayside as they failed to excite the other two judges. The winning images present not only a good eye for composition but also the ability to capture the mood of the moment.”

Bottom line is that Commons now has 12,000 more images that can support our movement. We can't wait for the next one.

Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 10:49, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In buttons

Hello everyone. A volunteer has approached me with the suggestion that it would be a good idea to add Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In buttons to the UK wiki to make it easier to share interesting content with others. I think this is a good idea assuming we can work out things like privacy. I leave that to people with a better understanding! What I'm keen on here is to to understand what other people think. So - any thoughts? Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 13:55, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Certainly I can see the attraction for things like events pages and other things we want to publicise. I'd guess that just linking to a page on here via such a button would be no different privacy wise than copypasting the URL, but I have no actual knowledge. I have no objection if there are no privacy or similar obstacles. Thryduulf (talk: local | en.wp | en.wikt) 15:12, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
The standard share this page links/buttons leak information on which page someone is on to the social media sites (I'm assuming if you are logged in to the social media sites). It is possible to do share it via two clicks, where the first click activate the buttons, with the second click actually sharing the page that will get over this issue. Will need a more detailed look into how the script work and our privacy policy before definitely commenting that such a solution would be okay. Would do that, if the community think this is something worth having. -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 16:06, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Two key issues with social media buttons (such as sharethis, like or vote) and common reasons raised over the last few years every time this comes up:

  1. These "social buttons" drive useful discussion and viewpoints out of the Wikimedia community (or any other open community) and moves them to a platform which is closed, spams you with intelligent advertising, and may require membership and logging in to even read. This will discriminate against those Wikimedians who will refuse to have to have to log in to Facebook in order read a discussion there or to set up a Twitter account to express their own views on that platform. Worse, where Wikimedians have driven discussion to off-wiki sites, such as Facebook groups, the discussion does not have to comply with local policies such as avoiding defamatory or discriminatory content. A good example was the Facebook campaign which moved discussion on the issue of sexually explicit content away from discussion pages on Commons, where these views may have actually influenced policy, and instead divided the community, effectively ensuring that a consensus would not be reached through cooperative discussion by sticking to one main on-wiki process.
  2. A key element of the Wikimedia UK charity's mission is to "promote an open approach to learning and knowledge", spending donated funds on integrating a Wikimedia site with closed platforms, that may then drive readers and editors away from our open projects in order to express their views on closed sites is the opposite of this mission. It would be better for Wikimedia UK to encourage discussion on this cooperative social wiki, rather than away from it.

Thanks -- (talk) 17:07, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

I tend to agree and don't want to have to monitor too many sites to keep up to date with discussions. Already there is a difficulty aggregating opinion in one place in order to form a coherent consensus and this wouldn't help. Philafrenzy (talk) 18:46, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
While I agree with the points you are making, I don't think that what is being proposed here is to divert any discussion away from this wiki. My reading of the initial proposal, and so my earlier comment, was that the buttons would be used to advertise content on this wiki on external sites. For example I know lots of people with an interest in history and archaeology, and we have an informal discussion group on Facebook where we link to various topics of mutual interest. I advertised the Wiki Takes Chester event on that group by linking to the event page on this wiki. I did this by copying and pasting the URI. If I have understood the initial proposal correctly, I could have done exactly the same thing by pressing a "share to facebook" button on this wiki. The aim of such would be to pull contributors from the closed source social network onto this free content wiki, which would be a good thing (in my opinion) rather than to push people away from here (which would be the bad thing you say it would be). I don't know which of us is reading the proposal right or wrong, I am simply pointing out that your (Fæ and Philafrenzy) reading is not the only one and explain the background to my comment. Thryduulf (talk: local | en.wp | en.wikt) 00:06, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
Fair enough, I think it depends on the exact technical mechanism, where the buttons would be, who could click them and what info was passed on to whom. Philafrenzy (talk) 00:32, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
Thryduulf has it exactly correct. It's about making it easier for people to share information that they think is interesting with people that they think may find it interesting. It's just another way to encourage people to share information about the chapter and its work. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 08:17, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
This is a tough one but although we are growing gradually as a community not enough people know about what we do and how to get involved. This could help? Tildas Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 11:38, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
If links are being shared on facebook or elsewhere, then it's inevitable that people will start talking about them there (since there's normally a nice easy comment box right below the link), so that is definitely something to bear in mind. It is something that is unavoidable, though - people will share links regardless of whether there's nice easy buttons to do so on a page. For me, it really comes down to whether we want to promote the other websites here, and how we choose which ones we promote. There's the obvious ones like facebook, twitter, etc., but there are also open source alternatives (e.g. status.net) - shouldn't WMUK be giving more of a presence to them? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 12:06, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
There is no evidence that integrating a Wikimedia project or Chapter wiki with the closed systems of Facebook or similar by adding buttons, would result in more contributions to Wikimedia projects or do anything other than drive discussion that could be held on-wiki to being off-wiki; if there is evidence that editor growth is an outcome then I would be very interested to see it as a justification for the investment, and the apparent deviation from the core values of the charity. However there is case evidence that well written blog posts and providing pieces and interviews for the press or other websites does attract more involvement, if nothing else by seeing the readership and editing of controversial or promoted topics increasing. Essentially the difference is creating media content that is intellectually engaging and attracts the types of people who might actually want to write solid content or publish quality photographs, from the haz cheezeburger twitterati with attention spans typically measured in seconds, even though engaging with the twitterati will give high "media engagement" values, the outcomes are non-existent or at best incredibly shallow, such as just attracting more vandalism or the mobile engagement exercise for Wikimedia Commons that resulted in 90%+ of mobile uploads being copyright violations that were an enormous drain on Administrator's time. Ensuring we had meaningful engagement with the media and high quality pieces that become reference stories for everyone else, is one of the reasons why that when Wikimedia UK started hiring employees, we believed that placing someone in a Communications role was a priority.
To be honest, given an hour or two I could rehash some old code and create a user script to provide any Wikimedia project with "share this/tweet this" type buttons at the side of a page for a whole range of social media sites (so please do not pay a contractor out of donated funds when this can be done by unpaid volunteers). I have never wanted to release code of this type because it is antithetical to our values. -- (talk) 12:13, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

I agree that we should keep conversation on wiki, the problems of facebook include that it requires real life identities and it is difficult to mix Facebook and wikimedia without undermining pseudonymity. We also don't want to repeat the whole IRC problem that Wikipedia has, with one subset of the community having a parallel debate on IRC and another subset feeling left out by that process and being suspicious of anyone known to be active on IRC. However I would hope that people would not have problems with other editors promoting events and blogs within social media. At least one of the attendees of the last editathon in york was recruited via social media, and if we are to recruit editors for Wikipedia then we may need to go off wiki to find them. Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 12:10, 1 November 2013 (UTC)


Hi all. Wikimedia:Copyrights was set to redirect to the WMF version, which is out of date (it talks about GFDL rather than CC-BY-SA). I've changed it to point to Copyright Policy, and am flagging it here just in case that's not correct. There's also a lot of files in Category:Copyright_unclear_files that could do with having their copyright status cleared - presumably most of these (in particular the staff reports) are all {{Cc-by-sa-3.0}}? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 09:57, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for updating this. The transition from GFDL has been sluggish on many projects as well as confusing for many. On Commons the joint licence is still in use though there remains talk (but not consensus) that the project ought to be formally disallowing uploads of any new material under that licence (I happen to have just uploaded 60,000 images under the joint licence and the potential phasing out of the licence has been a reason to prioritize this project). With regard to WMUK, my understanding was that the board agreed policy had been in practice by Operations and that employee works were definitively CC-BY-SA under their employment contract unless there were exceptional confidentiality issues requiring greater restriction. -- (talk) 10:14, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

London Meetup & WMUK anniversary

Last year, a cake was bought to the November London Meetup in celebration of Wikimedia UK 4th birthday and 1st birthday of WMUK charitable status. We like cake, and I think other people do too, so we will be bringing a Wikimedia UK birthday cake to this Sunday meetup again. If you are around the area, do pop in and have some cake, and a chat with some of your fellow Wikimedians. -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 15:31, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

Outcomes from Berlin Diversity Conference

The goals of the Diversity conference have been laid out quite clearly:

  • Establish a sustainable dialogue with collaborators in Wikimedia Chapters, the Wikimedia Foundation and the international communities to frame the issue of diversity in the context of Wikimedia.
with an aim to build a shared understanding of what diversity means for Wikimedia projects and why it is important.
  • Connect, multiply and create successful initiatives for increasing gender and other types of diversity in Wikimedia.
with an aim to turn ideas into action.

Particularly as WMUK is one of the partners of this initiative, I fell it would be useful to use the water cooler to reflect on what this might be in practice, and what could be some possible outcomes we would like to see from the event. Leutha (talk) 23:18, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

I would like to see an appropriate proportion of WMUK's budget committed to diversity outreach spent on LGBT related initiatives. Despite having this budget around for a couple of years, I do not recall any money ever going to fund an LGBT project, such as the projects created by Wikimedia LGBT. We may assume good will, but this track record seems to show that other projects invariably take a priority for attention. As no unpaid volunteer active in WM-LGBT from the UK has been funded to attend the conference, this would seem to put the UK as a laggard in addressing the balance in this area. -- (talk) 23:35, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
I agree committing budget to diversity is a good idea, although I think many (you and I included) would be cautious about committing budget with no clear idea where it will go/appropriate actionable projects in mind. So certainly I think we should have a discussion about how WMUK can support LGBT issues and where it might have had opportunity to do so in the past but failed. The Wikimedia LGBT looks great and it'd be fantastic if WMUK could engage with it, but Fae there's no need to stick the boot in at every opportunity, the project is young and mostly focused around wikimania 2012 as far as I can see, so sure let's talk about how WMUK can be supportive but the "laggard" comment is just detracting from opportunities to actually open up useful discussion. Not to mention, the choice of volunteers being sent has been discussed elsewhere. Sjgknight (talk) 08:32, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
The commitment to diversity was more than a good idea, it was a firm commitment of the 2013 Activity Plan to spend £10,000 in this area, part of which was to be targeted at the LGBT community. My understanding is that 0% of this £10,000 was spent on LGBT projects. However, if asking questions about it is to be considered "sticking the boot in", then I doubt that other unpaid volunteers from the WM-LGBT community will be much interested in joining me in discussing how to improve that situation here and we will look for funding our projects more directly and leave the UK chapter to collaborate with itself. Thanks -- (talk) 10:22, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
Not what I said. Asking questions isn't sticking the boot in, accusations of lagging with respect to a specific young project is though. If the situation remains the same over time, particularly if there are missed opportunities to support organisations/projects who could've been supported then I'd be worried, as it is I think it's entirely reasonable to ask questions and think about how wmuk might be useful, while avoiding assumptions of bad faith...no? Sjgknight (talk) 11:10, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
I am unsure what the young project is. When I was voted to join the board as a trustee (2011), I was extremely clear in my candidate statement about my interest in LGBT projects, this was one of the things I wanted the UK Chapter to take a lead in where other Wikimedia organizations had failed. For example at that time the WMF had no openly gay employees even though they would talk to me in private about their support of LGBT projects. My openness as a board member of a chapter led to a number of people active in other chapters feeling they could discuss their plans with me (even in countries where anyone openly gay would definitely suffer public discrimination) and eventually we focused these ideas by creating WM-LGBT as an interest group with its own email list, IRC channel and presence on Meta; for whatever reasons a significant proportion of those involved remain covertly active. I can be criticised for failing to make any significant progress while a trustee, apart from ensuring that LGBT was an explicitly mentioned part of our funded outreach activity when it was removed from the list, though to be fair the implementation of the Activity plan is a matter for Operations rather than the Board of Trustees. In terms of missed opportunities, there has been plenty of outreach for other groups to encourage proposals and projects, in the case of events focused on women contributors, this has been successful. A lack of meaningful outreach for LGBT groups is an issue as it has already remained "the same over time" for a period of a couple of years. If every time someone asks a tricky question the answer is always to press the reset button and to put aside past history, I don't see how issues with implementation can ever be learned from. -- (talk) 11:41, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
Well that gives a lot more detail mostly not around WM-LGBT (which was where my concern re: laggard claim lay). It's worth remembering not everyone who reads cooler has such a long-standing history and contribution to wikimedia, nor will they have time to read up on all the history of the chapter (e.g., me) so these clarifications are useful. Thanks Sjgknight (talk) 12:00, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
No problem, I would imagine the Board of Trustees has the same issue; with Mike and myself having left the board this year and only Chris' personal perspective informing the in-camera discussions about events that are now considered part of "history" such as our original vision for the charity, and how best to interpret the values that we established at that time. -- (talk) 12:05, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

Something that came to light in a presentation at the EduWiki Conference over the weekend might be of interest here. Discussing the gender gap on Wikipedia, I learned that while there is a very large gap on the English Wikipedia - figures have ranged from about 85-90% of contributors are male - within the Wikipedia Education Program this shifts to around 60% of participants being female. Not really linked to the diversity conference outcomes but thought it worthwhile sharing that here. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 08:10, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

Do we collect information about gender balance at events like editathons? Obviously it would be inappropriate to be surveying people at such events about their sexuality, so we can't know how well or otherwise we are doing inclusivity wise for that. Thryduulf (talk: local | en.wp | en.wikt)

I disagree about setting a budget aside for Diversity issues, as this in essence is creating artificial scarcity around rival resources, which can create real or perceived ill feeling. So for instance by allocating funds for x staff and y volunteers to go to the conference, with an unclear process of selection the board created precisely the sorts of problems discussed on the water-cooler earlier. I was very disappointed to see that people criticising the process were then caricatured as jealously suggesting that they should go instead of the person who was selected. I feel it is precisely this sort of approach which gives rise to some of the negative views expressed on the water cooler, and that attention should be given to these structural issues rather than the hand wringing which we have witnessed here.

More specifically I think that one outcome of the Diversity Conference should be:
  • all attendees leave with a clear understanding of the factors which have made WMUK interaction with the Welsh speaking community such a success.
Speaking personally, I only really grasped these issues at the EduWiki conference, in particular, that there is a goal of reaching 200,000 pages of content as this is considered the tipping point to persuading Google to provide a version of their search engine in Welsh. Aside from the benefit of having a much larger on-line encyclopedia in Welsh, this provides a further bonus with a positive impact on Welsh speakers outside and beyond the Wikimedia community.
Another lesson from the Welsh experience is that rather than simply dispersing relatively small sums of money from a limited budget, it is a matter of bringing in more funds to expand our activities. I would much rather see staff time being made available to explore additional funding which can impact on areas included in the discourse on "diversity" (I am uncomfortable with this term: it is a concept which has attracted criticism in that it hides power relations and thus impedes strategies for change from below). Such funding bids should include funds to cover the investment of time in drawing up the bid, and other management costs, so that each new project does not constitute a drain on limited resources, even if there still remains potential rivalry over supporting different projects when faced with tight deadlines. However, even this could be dealt with by having sessional staff to deal with any bottle-necks, with their costs being covered by an ultimately successful bid. (Safeguards would need to be worked out to cope with unsuccessful bids were covered, but this would not be too onerous.) To some that up as an outcome:
  • a non-rival approach to developing "diversity" projects.
Leutha (talk) 14:41, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

Our response to LGBT issues in the chapter has indeed been disappointing. We were hopeful of having a Wikimedian in Residence at the Women's Library this year. This is an institution that contains a lot of material relevant to LGBT issues and history. We chose them but owing to circumstances beyond their control (their hosts closed the building and the collection was transferred) we were unable to go ahead but hope we can do so next year. In the meantime it would be great to see some grant applications to do work in this area. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 14:58, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

An odd example to put forward, considering the relationship with the LSE started with me, my contacts and long term personal friendships there and the fact that the LGBT archives in the LSE only exist because it is a part of the Hall-Carpenter Archives that I helped with as part of our small gay archive community for many years before Wikimedia UK existed. Considering how coldly my recent grant application was handled, I have hardly been encouraged. -- (talk) 15:22, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

I've been following the progress of WM-LGBT for a while, but I have to say I haven't noticed any initiatives resulting from it that the Chapter could be involved in funding. If there are then please do tell us! Indeed, any proposal from any quarter would be welcome - thinking about the LGBT Wikimedians I know, I think more of them aren't involved in WM-LGBT than are, and being part of an organisation isn't a prerequisite. Regards, The Land (talk) 21:43, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

Hi Chris, if you have questions or criticism for WM-LGBT, please do feel free to raise them at m:LGBT where the community can reply. Thanks -- (talk) 23:35, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
Hi Fae, is there a particular outcome you'd like to see from this thread? You're coming across as rather hostile, but if there's something you think WMUK should be doing that it isn't, I'd be happy to work with you to try to rectify that. For example, if you have an idea for an event with a partner organisation, I'd be only too happy to help you facilitate it, but it seems a little unfair to criticise the chapter for not supporting LGBT-related projects if nobody has made any suggestions for such projects that WMUK could support. Harry Mitchell (talk) 06:10, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
It seems odd to blame volunteers for failing to put in proposals if the UK Chapter has done hardly any outreach to LGBT groups. I have quietly made past suggestions for contacts and follow up, such as the gay history month group, but only my contacts at the LSE were followed up on in a sustained manner, presumably as this was the Women's Library rather than because it houses part of the Hall-Carpenter Archive (for which there has been no particular proposal from WMUK apart from Jon Davies mentioning the gay archive here, presumably without understanding its background). I am not the only gay in this village, and certainly when a Trustee it would have been particularly foolish for me to start intervening or leading any funding proposal for my own pet projects as this would have been jumped on as an inappropriate COI, indeed my nominal 6 months of "clear blue water" have yet to expire, even if most other trustees seem to ignore that gentleman's agreement. If WMUK wants to see more LGBT related projects then active outreach in the same way as we have seen with Women or BEM is the best way to achieve that. There are 9 members of staff and only one of me, and I have been pretty busy making 3 million edits on Wikimedia Commons after leaving the WCA.
As precious little has been arranged in the last two years, then I may set up an editathon at a gay archive and historic library I happen to be friendly with in 2014, when my 6 months window expires, something that would require no WMUK employee time and I can do under the WM-LGBT banner, but making this sort of thing work should not wait for me to get around to it, nor should it depend on the charity's money going to fund a WIR before anything happens. -- (talk) 09:08, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
I actually tried to set something up for LGBT History Month at the beginning of the year, as it happens. Fae, you were involved in those conversations. It didn't get very far as there wasn't a great deal of interest from the group we proposed it to via lgbthistorymonth.org.uk - perhaps if there's enough appetite the chapter could try again this year but approaching a different group. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 09:36, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Just to point out that there is no obstacle to you doing that now if you wished - the "6-month rule" in the Conflict of Interest policy relates only to remunerated positions at organisations funded by Wikimedia UK, not to volunteer activity. The Land (talk) 21:27, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Actually the policy includes partner organizations even where there is no direct funding from WMUK, such as CIPR, though as this has been conveniently put aside for Alastair's new job when there is significant remuneration, I guess the board is uninterested in taking that bit as seriously as I do. -- (talk) 22:58, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
CIPR is not "organisations funded by Wikimedia UK or Wikimedia movement organisations", nor would there be any COI in contacting organisations to set up partnership or events if you are not intending to apply for any possible post resulting from such partnership or accepting remuneration. I hope that clarify matters. Regards -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 23:41, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
The policy only relates to "any post or form of remuneration". Running an editathon is neither a paid post nor something that you have to be paid to do. So unless you intend to charge for giving it (which I hope isn't the case), then there's nothing stopping you going ahead and doing it if you want to. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 07:48, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
Katie, the COI policy states "A conflict of interest may occur even where a board member does not have a personal financial interest in a third party, but has a historical connection or loyalty to them", so we must consider COIs to exist when considering partners like CIPR where no direct funding has taken place but the partnership has been declared and many people have used this for their reputational benefit and a PR benefit for CIPR, for example on CIPR's website Gemma Griffiths states "In January 2012 I brokered a partnership between the CIPR and Wikimedia UK". The partnership with CIPR was a matter of public record for more than a year before Alastair applied for his new full time job as CEO of CIPR, that this is a conflict of interest is in no dispute and there has been no period of "clear blue water" as Alastair was unwilling to step down as a trustee to resolve his conflict of loyalties. -- (talk) 08:36, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

And if there is one lesson we have to keep learning it is START EARLY! The sooner we make the approaches the better. Pride 2014 is only eight months away. We could be building the links now! Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 09:50, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

Just now seeing this section, having posted an invitation below at the advice of Chris Keating (I had previously posted an invitation at the Wikimedia UK page at Meta-Wiki). If you have specific projects in mind, feel free to bring the discussion over to Wikimedia LGBT so other project participants can contribute as well. Thanks! --Another Believer (talk) 22:11, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
And make some grants proposals - we are crying out for applications. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 19:51, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

December 2013 Board and community social

There will be an informal social event on the evening of Saturday 7 December in central Edinburgh after the day's board meeting. All are welcome. -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 16:31, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

And it will be fun, in the oldest Student Union in the World according to Katie who may be biased.(She used to be on the Union Council) We are really hoping to see Sottish Wikimedians, anyone interested in the open knowledge/rights/license movement and in fact anyone who might be tempted to get involved. It will be a great chance to meet the board, some key staff and several people from the Foundation. And there will be a buffet. Beat that! 6.30 until we run out of things to discuss, so late then.Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 19:55, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

Thank you

Hello everyone. It's been an incredibly busy few weeks and there's lots of work happening, both on and off wiki. I've been working on a few pieces of work lately that have taken a lot of time and effort from various people and so there's some folks I'd like to say thank you to. John Cummings has spent a good amount of time working with me on various things lately, such as the session we delivered at Mozfest and the ongoing work around that. Charles Matthews and Doug Taylor have been doing a lot of work on the Virtual Learning Environment, in terms of content and tech. Doug, along with Martin Poulter, gave me some excellent and useful prompts during my presentation at EduWiki. Hannah Jones and Jasbir Saund, who many of you may not know, spent an awful lot of time volunteering to make sure that EduWiki was just so. They both did a great job, along with the other volunteers involved. Wikimedia UK had a stand at the Open Government Partnership last week, and I'd like to thank Ed Saperia, Deskana, Harry Burt and Charles Matthews for giving up some volunteer time to help staff the stand over the course of the Summit, along with myself, Katherine and Richard Nevell from the office. I'm sure that a great deal more has been happening elsewhere, but I thought it important that I took a little time to publicly thank these people for all of their excellent efforts - we all appreciate it. With apologies to the people who I have inevitably missed... Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 18:39, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

Knew I'd forgotten someone. Thanks to David Gerard for his very, very helpful briefing today. It was extremely useful. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 19:14, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
And of course, Leutha and Graeme Arnott who both gave me some very helpful feedback on World Cat and libraries. And Simon Knight for his really helpful views on badges and analytics. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 21:08, 5 November 2013 (UTC)


I see the UK wiki is suffering a targeted automated spam attack. What's the plan for a systems solution rather than volunteers and employees spending their time blocking individual accounts and deleting spam pages by hand? -- (talk) 09:14, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

It's currently being discussed. May need someone more technical than I to explain it but the gist of it is there's a couple of solutions that could be employed. A captcha for new accounts is one. A limit to how many new accounts an IP can create is another. I don't think a decision has yet been made on this but we will, of course, keep people up to date with the solution that is implemented. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 09:40, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Sounds good. Making the login more complex is probably to be avoided, while limiting by IP address seems relatively easy, so long as admins can easily add exceptions when requested. I would imagine that spambots eat up their available IP ranges fairly quickly. -- (talk) 10:16, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
I'd hope that login wouldn't be affected, although I'd need to check. I'm comfortable if the captcha is only used at the registration phase. I don't know about the admin exceptions but perhaps Richard, Richard, Katie or Jonathan may be able to shed some light on that. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 10:47, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Account creation throttle have been enabled and set to 2 per IP per day. Sysops has noratelimit set to true. -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 11:46, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Sounds like a fix neatly avoiding too many restrictions, hopefully that will be sufficient to keep the spam manageable. -- (talk) 12:06, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
We have a numeric captcha that doesn't seem to slow the spambots. I have raised a bugzilla request to replace with a text based captcha. Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 12:36, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Is the spambot really doing that? Rather clever, it would take me ages to sort that out and make it reliable. I wish the spambot writer was helping to improve the projects. -- (talk) 12:47, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
I'm assuming they have cracked it, otherwise there are a bunch of teleworkers doing this, and doing so very very quickly. I have heard that someone from the AI community has claimed to have cracked handwriting captcha, but they seem to be white hats so it should still work against spambots. Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 16:15, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Text Captcha went live for new account creation last night, let's hope that fixes it. Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 10:33, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
The main thing is not to have a security clampdown as a knee-jerk reaction. The vast majority of the accounts created remain inactive, so are not actively disruptive. I would recommend not eating up too much volunteer/employee time even blocking these accounts when with a bit of thought we could probably get a bot to do this housekeeping (including deleting any spam pages they create), once a suitable long term pattern makes it worthwhile in programmer time. Right now I could block all the accounts using a bit of smart regex and a script sniffing the account creation log, or create a hit-list that could be human-vetted periodically, but there are more urgent Wikimedia content related things to spent this sort of effort on when the spambots might vanish or change tactics in a week. -- (talk) 11:43, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks but I think we have blocked most of them and closed the door to bot creation of accounts. A txt based captcha is a trivial hurdle for human editors and I doubt that many will be deterred by it from creating accounts. Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 13:08, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
Enwiki uses a CAPTCHA for edits by brand new (ie non-autoconfirmed) accounts which introduce an external link. Might be worth considering if the problems persist. But why is this happening now? Is it a side effect of the migration? Harry Mitchell (talk) 12:08, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
To an extent yes. Some, though certainly not all, of the account creation yesterday comes from open proxies / cross wiki spam bots that are blocked globally on Wikimedia Foundation's wiki. Since the migration, we are no longer affected/protected by WMF global block list. -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 12:56, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
Our old site and indeed Wikipedia both require a text based captcha to create new accounts. When we first migrated we didn't have that feature and while it is still the first 24 hours, since we've installed it the problem seems to have been fixed. Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 13:08, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

Thanks everyoneJon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 15:08, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

Using mw:Extension:ConfirmAccount would help eliminate 99% of account-created spam. These days, spambots often hop IPs (sometimes only one account per IP) and get around CAPTCHA. The preferred solution on Wikimedia wikis is usually mw:Extension:AbuseFilter.--Jasper Deng (talk) 05:06, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

Wikimedia UK - members survey

Dear all -

In October 2012 I ran a survey of our membership which had a bit of bumpy ride but did produce some useful information. This year I'd like to put more collective time into planning the questions, making sure we have a clear commitment to data protection and privacy in collecting and storing the data, and work together to get good response rates to the survey itself.

I've started a page to discuss our options here and maybe we can use this as an opportunity to channel some of the ideas that have been mooted in recent water cooler discussions into outcomes. Helpfully we have Thryduulf in the office with me today and we're going to start developing what we think are a useful series of questions but please get involved. I'd like to distribute the survey to all members alongside the members newsletter i.e. at the end of this month!

Thanks Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 15:24, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Hi All! I would like to close this survey draft tomorrow. There has been a lot of discussion and participation so far, and I am grateful to all contributors. Last chance to check it out and perhaps suggest the inclusion of a key question we've missed!
Cheers Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 17:37, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

Wikimedia LGBT

Wikimedia LGBT outreach logo.svg Wikimedia LGBT
Wikimedia LGBT is a proposed thematic organization that seeks to promote the development of content on Wikimedia projects which is of interest to LGBT communities. Proposed activities include outreach at LGBT events, Wikimania and other Wikimedia events, an international campaign called Wiki Loves Pride, and work on safe space policies, among other collaborations and interwiki projects. Active Wikimedians are welcome to join this cause! Please consider adding your name as a participant/supporter. Current tasks include translating pages, building a strong framework at Meta, and achieving user group status (with the eventual goal of becoming a thematic organization). Your feedback is welcome on the discussion page.

Please considering supporting this project, or at least participating in discussions re: the LGBT community in the UK. I know Wikimedia LGBT hopes to have a strong presence at Wikimania 2014, so those conversations will be taking place soon, too. Thanks! (BTW, pleased to be here. I will try to poke around a bit!) --Another Believer (talk) 21:42, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps some of the issues raised by Philip Sandifer need to be considered also. See Chelsea Manning name row: Wikipedia editors banned from trans pages. Leutha (talk) 11:07, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
We should all be deeply concerned at how badly this incident has been handled, and continues to be badly managed, creating rifts in the community. As part of the generally odd and unpredictable nature of how the English Wikipedia works, I would not dream of commenting about this on the English Wikipedia for fear of being blocked or banned.
The draft blog post touches on LGBT related bullying and if you feel it needs to be more direct, or should do more than take the long view, please do comment on the talk page of m:Wikimedia Blog/Drafts/Wikimedia LGBT is about to happen. -- (talk) 06:36, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Diversity conference blog - copyedits needed

Could someone with appropriate permissions, please make the following changes to the otherwise good blog post:

The world we live in splits people into two discrete mutually exclusive categories of male and female. However, human beings aren’t so simplye. Increasing amounts of both research and anecdotal evidence have shown that gender are is actually a continuum or spectrum. In addition, not everyone’s sex appearance, gender identity and gender role matches.

An Eestimate by the Gender Identity Research and Education Society in 2011 gives a figure of 1% of the population for the number of people that experiences some degree of gender variance and 0.2% for those that undergo transition from one gender binary to the other.

For articles subjects that are transsexual, the situation is fairly okay if the majority of their notability is post-transition. Thryduulf (talk: local | en.wp | en.wikt) 08:27, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the spot. I've picked those up now. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 09:35, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Education Committee meeting minutes, 12 November 2013

Hello everyone, the Education Committee has just concluded this evening's meeting. For those interested, you can see the draft minutes here. Thank you. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 20:05, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

Monuments ceremony

We are really pleased to announce that during our volunteer Christmas party at the office between 4 and 8 on December 10th Jimmy Wales will be coming to present the prizes to the winners. We hope to see as many people there as possible. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 14:07, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

Wikimedia Diversity Conference - Kwaku's report

Hello everyone. One of the volunteers that attended the Wikimedia Diversity Conference, Kwaku BBM, has submitted a very useful, engaging and insightful report of his experiences. It's well worth a read and can be seen on the Wikimedia UK blog here. Enjoy! Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 13:33, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

One of the best blog posts I've read this year! Thanks Kwaku! Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 22:20, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

WMF assessment of WMUK's $707,000 bid

Chapter members and volunteers may be interested in the feedback from WMF staff and independent experts review of WMUK's annual funding proposal.

The top 3 concerns were reported as:

  1. Potential for impact on Wikimedia projects is too low in proportion to funds requested
  2. Programmatic strategy is diffused and unfocused in the context of WMUK’s size and history
  3. Plan lacks clear metrics or a feasible plan to evaluate work

This is an interim stage of assessment (round 1) but will strongly influence the FDC recommendation and the final WMF board decision on annual funding for WMUK. This has been published at Staff proposal assessment. The scores average below 3/5, making WMUK's evaluation as "weak" or below "moderate" alignment with the evaluation criteria. As well as the numbers and summary, there are a number of well explained concerns in the review that would be valuable for the board and CEO to respond to with new plans and commitments in the December board meeting.

Sample comparison

Picking one smaller and one larger proposal from the list to compare, gives the following results:

  • WMUK's proposal appears a close comparison with WMCH's proposal for a 30% smaller bid of $500,000, though WMCH scored slightly higher in almost all areas. The main differences appear to relate to the quality of planning and clearer measures of success than WMUK were able to put forward.
  • WMDE's proposal was for $2.4m, 3x larger than WMUK's, and scored higher in all areas and significantly higher with their quality of measurement. There are interesting aspects of community feedback highlighted, including a key risk of "Relationships among board, staff, and community have been challenging."
Signpost summary

The following summary graph was used to compare all bids in this week's Signpost article and shows that Wikimedia UK's assessed ability as an organization has declined, with a significant drop in quality ratings from a middle of the pack bid in 2012 to an embarrassing second to last this year, with Wikimedia India just beating us to last place (to be fair on WMIN, they are a newcomer to this type of bid and are asking for 1/5 of the amount of money that WMUK is proposing). The main difference between the way these two proposals were created was that in 2012 the proposal was driven by unpaid volunteers who managed to pull the bid out of the fire at the last minute, creating an adequate proposal through herculean efforts, and this year the proposal was professionally managed by Jon Davies with lead time measured in months rather than days, but with an unfortunately visibly unsatisfactory outcome. This bid is essential to the funding and strategy of Wikimedia UK as a charity, and in the continued absence of agreed top level key performance indicators, the board of trustees will count this as a principle independent assessment of performance in their duty to monitor operations and deciding what major changes need to be implemented for the remainder of 2013/14 to show improvement rather than comparative decline.

FDC staff assessments 2013–14 round 1.jpg

Thanks -- (talk) 11:02, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

Please share your practical advice for how to improve. For example, what were the practical difference between last year and this year? I don't mean timescale or personnel differences, that's not relevant. What was done last year that wasn't done this year, and vice versa? What actual steps can be taken to improve? Thryduulf (talk: local | en.wp | en.wikt) 11:36, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
Practical suggestions are welcome of course, but to be fair Thryduulf, we do have nine employees, a budget of £700K and an experienced board who are supposed to be doing all this. What suggestions do you have Thryduulf? Philafrenzy (talk) 13:44, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
The key difference between 2012 and 2013 has been a shift to entirely relying on the CEO to drive our plans and strategy rather than volunteers or other community members. Employees are now budget holders, the CEO leads strategy development, employees manage funding proposals or negotiate large donations, all board level reporting is through the CEO and created by his employees (a possible consequence of membership decline), the majority of outreach and relationships with partners is now through employees, even most on-wiki correspondence and public emails in relation to activities of the charity is now written by employees.
Consequences of this have been poor ratings from WMF's independent assessment, openness has been turned into a problem rather than a value, and there has been a massive increase in administrative costs over the last two years, which means that less than 48% of donated funds go to programmes with outcomes that align with the mission of the charity (as confirmed during the FDC bid process). The question for trustees and members is, do we believe this is satisfactory and if not, are we going to use our charity's money to change the resource plan and employ the level of management experience needed to re-launch our approach to deliver a credible strategy and a programme of measurable outcomes for our $1,000,000 budget charity?
My professional advice has been given several times over the past two years, while I was a trustee. I was hopeful that the PQASSO quality programme that I launched would provide a solid foundation, and it did during 2012, however the failures that the WMF correctly highlight are about basic management operational competence in planning, reporting and monitoring; not high level policies. The nuts and bolts of effective and efficient operational management is a topic that many cheap and short management qualifications and off-the-shelf training courses focus on. When the charity employed a CEO two years ago, these were the skills of 'professionalization' that we were buying in and that was the topic the 2011 AGM centred on. If you look through past board meeting minutes, and imagine that several times more was said in camera, I did not stint in my duty to raise issues that required change or improvement to the board as a whole.
After 2 years the board of trustees know precisely what my final recommendation was, it matches that of another trustee that retired early. We are at the stage where the board must take action to put in place management competencies to speedily turn around our track record of poor performance. I am sadly disappointed that the board could not get a consensus to make major changes in 2012, which would have given plenty of time to put in an excellent bid for 2014/15 funding and support Wikimania.
If change is under-way, indeed having a new Chairperson in December may stimulate change, then this is not something that you can expect the current trustees to discuss openly until it happens. I have absolutely no insider information as to whether anything significant is going to really change in the face of hard evidence. It would be great to move away from the mantra "just say we are doing okay, we must keep all criticism in-camera" which can turn into re-arranging deckchairs while asking passengers to avoid looking at the iceberg. -- (talk) 13:14, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
That's interesting, but doesn't actually answer the question. You've focused on who is doing things wrong now, I want to know what you think can be done better in future. I wasn't around here when you were a trustee so just referring back to what you said during in camera discussions back then is not helpful. Thryduulf (talk: local | en.wp | en.wikt) 17:51, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
As I said above, do the basics of competent management consistently. Track and openly report actions, actively drive operations using risk management, publish and maintain programme plans and measure progress against agreed baselines of the plan (normally from a fixed starting annual budget). With this in place we can then discuss top level indicators. If you look at the current CEO reports, it is rarely possible to track whether what was promised in last quarter was delivered in this quarter, and there are no published programme or project plans (with schedules, work breakdowns and planned deliverables), just budgets. In the bad old days of 1990s, management consultants were soundly criticised for managing by using "burn rates" rather than managing plans with outcomes, pretty much that's where Wikimedia UK is. Here are some examples that could be answered if the basics were in place:
  1. Where is our strategy? - There is only a budget for the year and subjective statements of intent. This was a known WMF/FDC requirement, there has been a year to create it, and is a standard expected by the UK Charity Commission.
  2. Where can I see the charity's top level performance trends for the year? - You cannot, as an example membership and volunteer numbers is disputed and cannot be measured from one year to the next.
  3. How efficient or effective is the charity? - We don't know and we do not measure any trends.
  4. Where are the programme plans and objectives for the year? - We don't have these, we just have a budget (which we call an Activity Plan) and report our spending of it, creating forecasts based on discovered burn rates rather than plans. If expected outcomes are not delivered on time or cancelled, we may not even see budget being moved around to document that fact.
  5. Did the CEO (i.e. all of Operations) deliver his commitments from the last board meeting? - There is a long history of failing to deliver actions, however this is not tracked or reported, the long trend over the last 2 years has been to report subjective successes whether planned or not (and how hard everyone worked to get them done), at length, rather than consistently and objectively report progress against commitments.
Anyway, all of this is just me writing some random thoughts on a Saturday evening in my spare time, responding to your haphazard questions that look like they are holding me to account for something. What is really needed here is for the board of trustees to be extremely worried about the 3 key points raised by the WMF and their well paid experts (highlighted in a green box above) and for the CEO to rapidly respond with a detailed plan of the improvements that will be put in place in the next 1 to 3 months.
At the moment there are some "acknowledgements" but a mainly defensive response at WMUK/Staff proposal assessment, along the lines of "we are doing okay, look at our successes" and even manages to criticise the FDC process without making a show of taking on-board the serious nature of the concerns the WMF has written up, nor making any commitment to change rather than arguing the case for changing nothing; I cannot imagine the WMF or the FDC taking that well, nor being convinced that this is any more that a transparent political non sequitur. I find the section there "Value for money" more than a little bizarre as I previously ran the chosen "flag ship" relationships with the British Museum and the British Library, including creating the well paid WIR position, with no WMUK money needed nor employees quite successfully (yes that did make them extremely good value, but does not justify a $700,000 grant when the best examples can work just paying expenses for unpaid volunteers like me), and this does not take on that the charity now looks poor value with less than half the donated funds going on measurable programme outcomes.
If a real response happens next week, this might even influence the FDC's decision making process, which completes in just two weeks; too late after that, if the funding is slashed by 50%, the CEO will just be forced to scale back accordingly. There are 9 members of staff and the CEO is well paid (full time) to transform this charity into an effective and efficient organization; not me tapping on a laptop while watching Doctor Who on the telly. -- (talk) 18:56, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

I think there are many factors at work that make up the difference between last year's FDC bid and this years. My recollection of last year's process was an fervid period of work where Jon and I collaborated intensively to produce the bid - Jon provided all of the figures and much of the narrative; I did my best to provide analysis and filled in the gaps as well as wikifying the end product. Each of us fed back and modified the other's work in the same sort of way that I'm used to collaborating on Wikipedia articles; I was more than happy with the way the collaboration worked and Jon was key to whatever successes we had in that bid. Nevertheless I knew that last year's bid was weak on metrics and reporting mechanisms, but as that was the first year of the FDC process, I gained the impression in exchanges with the FDC staff that they were probably more lenient with such deficiencies as this was the initial round. I did read all of the other chapters' submissions last year and generally they all had similar problems to ours. From what I've been able to gather from this year's bids, the FDC is taking a sterner line with how well a chapter describes its mechanisms for measuring and evaluating; this will disadvantage WMUK (and WMDE for the same reason) because we have so many diverse activities that we are looking to fund. It is far easier to take a few activities and concentrate resources on them as many of the smaller chapters have done. I still think that we are right to set our targets high rather than taking the easy route - it may take several FDC rounds before we can prove that we have the right strategy, but I remain optimistic that we will. --RexxS (talk) 13:54, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the optimism and sharing your memories of 2012. My recollection of the board meeting before the bid had to complete was that we realized for the first time how unprepared the charity was to submit any bid. This was a cause of surprize for the board members at the time, having expected this was being planned and managed, though I do remember the fervid activity in the week or so before the final deadline for submission going from a cold start to final document; it all seemed very stressful, one day you may want to flick through the emails of that period. In terms of organizational development, it is well recognized that firefighting can be fun and rewarding (everyone loves a successful firefighter and they tend to get all the medals). Avoiding creating the fires is the next level of maturity but means a shift to rewarding those that deliver planned work, rather than only those that happen to enjoy tackling the unexpected. Two years into having a full time CEO it is these aspects of good planning, good reporting and simple accountability that the board should be measuring performance against. Pretty much these are the 3 areas highlighted in the green box above which are hard to dismiss as untrue, nor are fundamental required improvements that the board should be seen to sweep under the carpet as inconvenient. -- (talk) 23:58, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
What I found particularly telling, as quoted in the Signpost, was the FDC criticism of editathons and microgrants, given that these have been particular interests of certain trustees. Some assumptions do need to be questioned now.
In fact October saw a particularly full calendar for WMUK, and I took part in a couple of events myself. The balance of the staff has been skewed to event organisation/logistics for a while. There is a perfectly good rationale for this: "being active" is the obvious ploy for a chapter trying to show its relevance to the movement. Metrics chat doesn't alter that.
I don't think this whole situation is comprehensible without going back to early 2011, and the _community input_, which created Board discussion and a strategy. I saw that happening, as WMUK's first employee. I think we have to recognise two points: (a) momentum - hiring decisions create activity and you can't change that overnight; and (b) where the WMF and FDC now are is really at odds with where (the vocal parts of) the WMUK community were then, and still are to an extent.
In the past couple of days the Board has been brought up to strength. I have my own fish to fry (as a WMUK contractor) and so I'm not going to comment in detail on the way ahead. I don't find any of this assessment of WMUK strategy very surprising, based on how things were three years ago. My internal comments then had no traction at all, and I'll leave it to others to draw conclusions. I find it obvious where some of the main issues lie, and I don't agree with making the CEO an Aunt Sally. Charles Matthews (talk) 09:17, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
We would be very foolish to ignore what the FDC has said and indeed are not doing so. I do however believe that we have improved as a chapter over the last year and that the FDC analysis is harsh. As staff we feel a great responsibility to do our best and address the issues raised from community members and really appreciate it when there is active support to make things better. P.S. in the true Wikipedian spirit of getting things right I should point out that I initiated and led on PQASSO. I had used it before and recommended it to the board. Last week I wrote a report on our progress, which is going to the board, in which I acknowledge the support Fae gave in this process. So thanks Fae - you saw its value.Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 10:28, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
Some of the FDC criticism is harsh. Looking at some of the other bids, I think they've decided to be quite a bit more rigorous in their appraisal of the bids this year, but that's not the whole story. The bid looks like it was compiled in a rush, which is odd considering that the deadline can hardly have come as a surprise, especially after last year's last-minute dash to get the bid in. There is a wealth of excessive detail in parts of it (especially when it comes to talking up administrative and governance issues and other matters that are mostly internal or meta-level rather than directly impacting on the movement, the latter of which is clearly what the FDC wants to see), but others are under-detailed or poorly explained, and misunderstandings by FDC staff (such as around the definition of "editathon", which is used as a generic term for an event where attendees do some editing) have been left unaddressed. It's small wodner the FDC don't think the amount of money requested is proportional to the impact it will have when we can't properly explain how our spending of many hundreds of thousands of pounds benefits the movement. I'm firmly of the opinion that WMUK is doing good and useful things, but it's hard even for me to see what impact it's having with its vast budget and resources that it couldn't have had two years ago when it had a fraction of the budget and resources. And if it's hard for me to see, how do you expect the FDC to see it? Harry Mitchell (talk) 14:21, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
I agree , it is hard to work out what impact WMUK is having. It might simply be in the nature of the activities that they are hard to measure. I often wonder what the position would be if WMUK had not been formed? Would it have made much difference to the overall health of the projects? That might be a good place to start thinking about it, by asking what we wouldn't have if WMUK had never existed? (This is intended purely constructively, I hasten to add) Philafrenzy (talk) 14:46, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
That would be leaving out things like "Wiki Loves Monuments", then? Harry and I having one year been involved in an ultimately fruitless effort to have it run, it was good to see it happen in 2013, with office support, instead of having to listen to the Board say no one was coming forward.
There is any amount of "outreach" going on, which is not wrong in itself, but lacks the focus of WLM. Where the FDC/WMF type of criticism has some point is in that type of distinction. And the members can be poor judges, in that they may not feel the need to be reached out to, informed, chivvied into becoming involved in editing, and so on. There is something amiss in the argument "I didn't need a chapter to get me involved, so people in general don't".
Anyway, the chapter has been somewhat in denial about being the branch office of a US-based company, and had better get used to the idea once more. As management hardball, this is all fairly straightforward stuff. A chapter can't be a jack-of-all-trades, so trustee whims are a bad idea; it can't behave like Jack the Lad either, just to make a name for itself; it is supposed to pay attention to the mission (and for a charity, its own stated purposes). This is what is coming from San Francisco via the FDC, but in a sense compliance with the second and third points ought to be a given anyway. I have it from the horse's mouth that the jack-of-all-trades issue is what this is all about. There just aren't that many really excellent types of projects, while there are innumerable somewhat plausible ones. Charles Matthews (talk) 15:15, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
I was suggesting an alternative way of thinking about it to draw out what has been achieved, that is all. Philafrenzy (talk) 15:23, 19 November 2013 (UTC)


I'm not sure we can measure impact by counterfactuals Philafrenzy (although I understand your point isn't exactly that). I haven't been around long enough to see all the discussion around metrics and tracking impact, but a quick search throws up these draft metrics, I wonder what people think about them generally, how they're used, whether they're tracked, etc.? I'd rather consider 'impact' as a whole not just metrics (so that might include some narrative contributions, etc.), but either way it'd be good to be able to see (track via templates?) impact statements from projects collected, etc. I used to follow Nominet Trust stuff quite a lot and I was always v. impressed by how they thought about impact (metrics and beyond) as a funding body. Anyway, is that draft a good place to focus some attention? Sjgknight (talk) 15:40, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

Just throwing a couple of relevant links up Program evaluation and Metrics in Wikimedia research. Also on the Thurrock libraries talk page I've started a discussion on metrics, including distinction between outputs and outcomes. More broadly perhaps this is a discussion that should happen on a separate page (or at least thread), I also know many people who watch this page are involved in a lot of these Foundation/wider community based discussions, so may know of other useful resources we could perhaps collate. Any contributions would be much appreciated. Sjgknight (talk) 18:03, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

QRpedia conclusion

The board of Wikimedia UK is delighted to report that Roger Bamkin has signed the final agreement which formally transfers ownership of the intellectual property in QRpedia to Wikimedia UK. Accordingly, as of today all of the IP rights in QRPedia are held by Wikimedia UK.

The final stage in the process is to get the Domain Name Registrars to update their online domain name records to reflect the new ownership. This is purely an administrative procedure which can now be initiated immediately.

We regret the delay in achieving this outcome for the community but we are very happy that the technology has been secured for the global Wikimedia community to use. We would like to once again thank Roger and Terence Eden for their generous donation of QRpedia intellectual property rights and for their patience during the process. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 23:06, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

That is an excellent outcome. Thank you for advising the community. TheOverflow (talk) 22:18, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
I am so pleased that the Board and Roger have been able to successfully move the QRpedia project to its next stage. I'd like to add my thanks to Roger, Terence and all of the Board for their efforts and I look forward to seeing many more implementations of the technology word-wide. Cheers --RexxS (talk) 13:59, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
This is very good news. Well done to those that have pushed this to a conclusion! Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 04:38, 25 November 2013 (UTC)


There is a discussion here on this subject prior to the December board meeting. In an earlier thread I proposed changing the membership structure to £5 or £10 for five years rather than £5 per annum in order to alleviate staff time and costs in collecting multiple small sums of money and to prevent the regular lapse of membership by those who forget to renew. This idea seemed to have some support. Could it be discussed at the same time? Could we be told how many members lapse each year and what efforts, if any, are made to retain them? I think we should be focusing on communicating with members about how they can get involved rather than collecting trivial annual subs. A change of this type could lead to a rapid increase in membership if we currently lose a lot each year, though I acknowledge that they would not all be involved members. The larger membership resulting from a longer membership term might also help to protect against entryism. Philafrenzy (talk) 02:13, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

Hi Philafrenzy, I'd be more than happy if anyone else wanted to follow up on your idea, but my own view is that it would not significantly help with entryism. We could increase our headline membership numbers, agreed, but the vast majority of members would be disengaged and would have no interest whatsoever in voting. A smaller and active membership seems to me to be more healthy than a larger and uninterested one. Of course we need to keep people involved to dissuade them from leaving, there is no question about that. On the collection of subscriptions, annual subs are pretty well universal for membership charities such as us, and collection should be done where possible by direct debit. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 10:26, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
Michael, from the comments I understood that the preferred method of preventing entryism was a large increase in membership and its also one of the key objectives of the board I thought. Although there is a risk of an increase only in uninvolved members, most members are uninvolved now and I don't think we can assume that people retained in this way would be uninvolved. Considering that we have been unable to develop any package of member benefits due to intractable disagreements about whether any such thing should even exist, and that we communicate with members only in a rather haphazard way compared to other organisations of which I am a member, I am surprised that we have as many members as we do. Can I ask you as a member of the board to please find out and state here how many lapses we have each year? I am sure we must have stats on this easily available. It is well established that it is easier to retain an existing customer/donor/member than it is to recruit a new one and I would like to know specifically what our procedures and stats are in this field please. Philafrenzy (talk) 13:33, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
I'll see what I can do. I have long thought it would be sensible for the charity to publish monthly membership numbers in a table along with numbers of new and departing members for each month. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 14:31, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
Excellent idea. Let's do it (by which I mean that Richard should do it of course!) Philafrenzy (talk) 14:47, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

I was sad to see this comment "When WMUK was a very small community with entirely hands-on Wikimedian trustees, there was a reasonable chance that many or all of the Board members would personally know at least some of the applicants for membership. However, as the nature of the board has changed to be more strategic than day-to-day operational, that is no longer the case." It confirms that we have a board that considers itself not personally engaged with members, and worse than that, seems to think this is an improvement; an odd statement for a board that needs to be periodically elected by the same members that they do not know. When I was on the board we considered it part of the trustee duties to go to wikimeets and get to know members and answer any questions they might have.

The statement also ignores the fact that membership has dropped by 1/3 over the last two years, so in fact the "community" of members is actually smaller now than when the board was "entirely hand-on Wikimedians". -- (talk) 10:56, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

As the pre-Richard person, I find those numbers less than compelling. The first GLAM-WIKI conference gave a discount making it very foolish financially not to join WMUK. Of course that was going to lead to numbers dropping later on. There was, when I was office manager, a great reluctance to drop people who had "failed" to renew (i.e. ignored a reminder). Who included two trustees, famously. In fact the state of the membership register in the past hardly bears thinking about. I imagine the protocols are now more sensible, but they weren't then in the slightest, and the stats are not going to convince me, at least. Charles Matthews (talk) 16:40, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

Announcing three new WMUK trustees

Wikimedia UK is pleased to be able to announce today the appointment to the board of three new trustees: Joseph Seddon, Simon Knight and Padmini Ray Murray.

Joseph is a highly experienced Wikimedian who will be well known to many in both the UK and wider communities; he was previously a hands-on director of Wikimedia UK before it became a charity, and has been following our progress closely and attempting to provide quiet advice ever since.

Simon is a PhD student who has been very active with WMUK over the last few months in education projects including as an EduWiki speaker; his research interests focus on learning analytics and open content education and cover such issues as using Wikipedia as a platform to support information literacy.

Padmini is an academic with significant knowledge of the University Education field; she lectures at Stirling University on subjects including social media and participatory technologies. Her home is in Edinburgh.

Joseph and Simon have been appointed as 'replacement elected trustees', to fill the board seats left vacant by the resignation of previous trustees Fae and Mike Peel. Their terms run until the next AGM when they will put themselves up for re-election. Padmini has been co-opted for her specialist expertise and will serve a two year term.

We warmly welcome all three. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 11:54, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

Could you please clarify this statement - as there officially is no such thing as "replacement elected trustees", my assumption is that all three new trustees are co-opted, could you confirm for the benefit of members that this is the case and how many trustees on the current board have been elected and how many have been appointed without election?
Could you please provide further explanation as to how the board decided that co-options default to a two year term and those that have been volunteer Wikimedians in the past are expected to stand at the next available election, thereby are only appointed for a period of less than a year at a time and are put at a disadvantage as to the reliability of their term? As a counter-example I note that Greyham Dawes was not considered an active volunteer Wikimedian when co-opted but successfully stood for election after only a few months on the board. Thanks -- (talk) 17:42, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
Padmini has been appointed as a Co-opted Director under Article 17.2 of the Articles of Association and her term is set by the requirements of Article 16.2. Simon and Joseph have been appointed as replacement Elected Directors under Article 17.5 and their terms are set by the requirements of that same Article. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 18:26, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
That makes sense. A slight legalistic further clarification to your wording, Simon and Joseph must retire at the next AGM. So to answer my own question for the benefit of other members:
  • The number of trustees elected by the members of the charity is now 5/10 (50%). The remainder are unelected by the members.
  • The number of trustees originally coming from the Wikimedia community is now 5/10 (50%) - based on my personal count rather than self-identification.
Thanks -- (talk) 19:18, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
The makeup of the board is defined by Article 14.4 which says that the board shall 'ordinarily' comprise seven elected directors under A17.1 and three co-opted directors under A17.2. We now have a full board of 10, of whom three are co-opted as required by A17.2. The remaining 7 have been elected or (where they replace you and Mike) will be put up for election at the earliest opportunity as required by the articles. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 19:34, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
That is correct, my statement is correct too [the Articles deliberately say "must" not "will", there are important differences]. 5/10 trustees have been elected by the members, the remainder have not. You may not have been on the board when there were discussions about the importance of addressing perceptions or murmurings of democratic deficit. Should more trustees elected by the members retire from the board, this may become a thorny issue for the members that consider these things important, even if the articles give much leeway. Personally, I just want the members to have a clear understanding of the current board balance. Thanks -- (talk) 19:56, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
Fæ, I trust your judgement that you don't really worry about democratic deficit. If you really thought that was a problem, I guess you wouldn't have resigned from the board shortly after an election. Thanks for giving us an opportunity to call an EGM but I'm inclined to pass. Deryck Chan (talk) 20:25, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Hi Deryck. LOL, I am not in the least bit surprised that you think I'm a jerk. Folks get these impressions when just one exaggerated half of a story gets leaked and anyone with a pinch of common-sense can see that I have been made into a simply super scape-goat for all ills over the past two years. Luckily I have been off the board for months, and had no influence for at least six months before that, so issues the current board have with operational performance, or the eventual result of the this year's FDC bid for money, will be incredibly difficult to twist around and blame on me, I'm just a member of the charity and had no hand whatsoever in the way operations is working right now. I don't see anywhere that I called for an EGM, in fact that would be particularly stupid and unnecessary, so please don't put words in my mouth. Cheers -- (talk) 20:40, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Good to know, just checking! Deryck Chan (talk) 22:36, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
If any of the 5 elected trustees leave the board for any reason (retirement, incapacity, etc), then consideration should be made to calling an EGM to elect replacements (which I think can be done, but I'm not 100% certain), depending on circumstances though. If it is only one member and happens shortly before the next AGM then doing so may not be in anyone's interests (and within 21 days of the AGM would not be constitutionally possible anyway I don't think), if four of the five leave tomorrow (I hope they don't!) then that's very different. Thryduulf (talk: local | en.wp | en.wikt) 09:29, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Michael, I talked this through with a trustee in another charity with a large stable board of trustees, and this helped crystallize the point I was making in my mind. To clarify again, when you state that Simon and Joseph "will be put up for election at the earliest opportunity as required by the articles", this is factually incorrect, whether they run for election at the next AGM or choose to step aside before that should there be an earlier opportunity such as during an EGM, is a matter entirely for them to decide, and is not part of the defined process for appointing directors (trustees) as stated in the Articles section 17.5 which merely states that they "must retire at the next annual general meeting". This a procedural matter, however I do not want any members (or trustees) reading this to become confused as to the intent of the legally binding articles of the charity. Thanks -- (talk) 11:53, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
I was referring to the normal and expected course of things, but should something totally unforeseen happen there is indeed always the possibility of an EGM.--MichaelMaggs (talk) 17:25, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

Also, congratulations to Seddon for being the first retired trustee to rejoin the board! This has been celebrated by partially rewriting the board timeline code. Deryck Chan (talk) 20:59, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

Indeed, I hope that the newer trustees do more than listen to Joseph's concerns, and that he can be seen to ensure that our core values stay at the heart of the board's difficult period of change over the next few months. -- (talk) 23:42, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

WMUK Liverpool idea

I'm from Liverpool way; just thought I'd suggest an idea, maybe have some Wikimedia UK days in the Liverpool Central Library (contact details are on site).

I signed up on the old site by mistake so re-created my account on here.

This could be a good idea; make it open to the public, promote Wikimedia sites etc. (not just Wikipedia - maybe Wikinews/Wikiquote/Wikisource etc.), have a "Wikipedia day" there, get people using the library for book references for articles etc.

Just wondering what everyone thinks.

Hope this helps. --Whitacre86 (talk) 11:41, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

Jonathan Cardy, the GLAM organiser, is on holiday at the moment but I am sure he would welcome working, with your help, to make this happen. Thanks for the suggestion. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 12:11, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. The thinking behind this idea is people can use Wikipedia safely, lessons in Internet safety etc., something that other sites probably don't have (i.e. real-life meetups to promote the site and gain new users); promoting the other Wikimedia projects - Commons, Wikinews etc. and getting local publicity (my local newspapers are Liverpool Echo, Crosby Herald, Formby Times, Southport Visiter). This could also be done at libraries in the bordering areas of Halton, Knowsley, St. Helens and Sefton (after discussion with the city councils etc.). At least I have some sort of idea on how it would work. --Whitacre86 (talk) 13:49, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
And people have the sources for their work right there. Could also be used to reach people who don't have a computer at home, children and those for whom the library is their only conduit into the digital world. Philafrenzy (talk) 17:42, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
This could be rolled out nationally - a Wikipedian in every public library - steady stream of visitors - no need to carry equipment to a venue as they already have it etc. etc. Philafrenzy (talk) 17:43, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Hello everyone. Whitacre86, thanks for sharing your idea. I think it's a good one. It may interest you to know that I'm currently developing a pilot project looking at exactly this kind of thing. I'm hoping to have a more substantial response form the library folk by the end of the week and will share it. But for now, you can get an insight into the way it is developing here. I'm interested to know what people think. Thanks you. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 15:26, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Given I seem to spend so much time in Liverpool, feel free to ping me if you decide to have one of these days and I should be able to help out. Worm That Turned (talk) 14:39, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

Wikisource 10th anniversary proofreading contest

Wikisource's 10th Birthday

I've mentioned it on the mailing list but just to be sure: a previous message said that Wikimedia UK would be prepared to provide the prizes for a Wikisource contest. Assuming that is the case, are there any specifics about what exactly WMUK are willing to provide?

Sorry to post this twice in different places, but there isn't a lot of time left and I'd like to include this in the contest page on Wikisource.

For those not reading the mailing list (and I only usually check it every fortnight or so myself): Wikisource's 10th birthday is this Sunday. A few Wikisources are having a proofreading contest to celebrate, including the English Wikisource (see Wikisource:Tenth Anniversary Contest). Other Wikisources have suggested prizes; the original suggestion was an e-reader for the winner (there have been other ideas too). In this post, Richard Nevell wrote "If there are volunteers interested in taking the lead on this, Wikimedia UK are prepared to provide prize(s)". Now I need to know details to get things ready before the weekend.

I'm also curious about how to best advertise this contest in English if anyone has any ideas (and bearing in mind that there's less than a week to go). - AdamBMorgan (talk) 22:21, 19 November 2013 (UTC)


I have blocked User:Qemu25, but don't have time at the moment to clean up the mess. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 22:56, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

Seems the cleanup has been done. I've added protection to this page and its redirected talk page. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 11:51, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Andy, that's appreciated. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 12:22, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

Grants - micro, macro or otherwise

WMUK Grants programme - a piece of cake?

I understand that there is a major underspend here. Can we have a refresh please on what sort of grants are OK? It seems to me that as there is no payment for time, there always will be an underspend as that is likely to be the largest cost of most projects in reality. I have no evidence, but am theorising that projects with large costs are also likely to take up a lot of time and that people can't afford to do them for free even if the out of pocket expenses are paid, and that is why there are no applications? Philafrenzy (talk) 22:26, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

  • The problem is mainly the huge effort of pulling together a proposal, always a major barrier for a project. For this reason it becomes do-able to have microgrants as you can knock out a few paragraphs and have lost little if they don't work, and it is okay to work on "very big ideas" like the GLAMtools project with Europeana as they involve teams and tend to be partially running even as proposals develop, but the middle-ground of a couple of thousand quid is highly unlikely to get done due to the fact that it may take as much of your volunteer time writing the proposal and making the case as would be spent doing the project.
  • You can have your time paid for, this is precisely what Wikimedians in Residence do, they are invariably contract or employed positions, I cannot remember the last time we used that title for someone who was unpaid (though we should have such examples!).
For example, if I had a clever idea for working with an archive to get a massive amount of useful and well categorized material on Commons, then I could either spend a year trying to do it for free and exhausting myself, or I could put in a proposal that the partnering organization supports, based on an FTE rate for my time to work for 2 days a week (with a list of committed outcomes) and have it all done within 12 or 24 weeks. A well written proposal might even be able to get funding even if the UK chapter had to ask for special funding; in fact a well written proposal might end up having funding bodies rushing to fund extensions to the project. -- (talk) 00:00, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes, this is exactly what I was getting at of course. An academic recently told me how she got funding from Leverhulme for a project to do a particular piece of work. I don't know exactly how that goes, never having worked in academia, but it seems to me that we need to cross this bridge and allow people to apply for a round sum amount of money to deliver specific outcomes, for which they would be accountable, in order to move beyond the useful but narrow scope of the WIR. This would allow payment for time but not on an hourly or daily basis as such. It would be up to applicants to manage a project and decide what their time was worth. This might also allow a wider range of projects to be funded than is currently possible. How do other chapters handle this? I imagine there might be tax problems. Philafrenzy (talk) 00:20, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

This is a significant problem and one that we share with other chapters and the foundation. At heart we are restricting individual recipients to Chapter members which limits the people who tend to know about it. At the last London meet-up I asked around whether the people there (about 22 people) knew about the grants or would be interested. There was no real enthusiasm but the issue that Philafrenzy raised. paying for time, was discussed. We have tried to streamline the process and this may help but there are some questions that I would like the community to think about?

  • Should we open up the grants to non-members?
  • Can we make the process easier in any way?
  • How can we better promote the grants?
  • Should we offer recompense for time as part of the grant?

Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 16:34, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

For large grants:
  • Membership is not important as anyone can get it for £5 but a track record in relevant work would be essential. This could be in one of our projects or a related field, e.g. OpenStreetMap. Applicants would need to show they were credible. If involved in a Wikimedia project they should also be in good standing. We could set any criteria we like, to ensure a good fit with our aims. This would also be an excellent opportunity to fund things that are not related to Wikimedia projects which we ought to be trying to do as part of our charitable objectives.
  • If the grant is many £1000s then the process would inevitably get more difficult but micro grants could continue with a light touch.
  • We do not spend anything now to promote grants or anything else about membership even at meetups. We would have to do some proper marketing rather than relying on word of mouth and free pens. If we became known as a grant making body, WMUK would find itself listed in relevant charitable directories and would probably start to receive regular inquiries from potential applicants.
  • I don't realistically see people making applications for large grants unless they receive something to live on. Is it fair to expect people to work for free or expect other people to fund them (spouses, employers)? The people in the WMF or WMUK don't work for free, nor should they. If we make a grant of £5000 and somebody does a great job of producing something worthwhile but only spends £3000 on expenses and lives on the rest why should we care? There is also the point that most of the current budget already goes on time built into the services and products bought, we just don't separately identify it. It seems unfair that everyone we pay gets payment for their time apart from the members who are expected to do everything for free. (our unpaid trainers for instance)

I understand the issues regarding paid editing on Wikipedia but WMUK is not Wikipedia and I don't think the same rules necessarily apply. It might depend on what the anticipated outcome of the project was. Editing Wikipedia, for instance, would be quite different from a digitisation project that was then made available as a resource on a Wikimedia project.

In terms of processes, I think we are in danger of trying to reinvent the wheel here. Grant-making charities have been doing this for a long time with no problems. Here is a link to a Leverhulme page which explains how they go about it (much larger sums probably): http://www.leverhulme.ac.uk/funding/RPG/RPG.cfm I am not suggesting that we become like them, we can design our own criteria and our own processes, but we could probably learn a thing or two from how they do things. Philafrenzy (talk) 23:54, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

I hope someone else will give their views on this or the budget seems likely to continue to be underspent, which would be a real pity as projects completed using it have the potential to greatly increase the chapter's impact. Philafrenzy (talk) 14:57, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
I'm just wondering whether we have feedback that have decided not to apply for grants for whatever reason, or is it more that people don't know the grants are available? It could be both of course but spending effort to fix the wrong problem wont help. Thryduulf (talk: local | en.wp | en.wikt) 15:30, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
I think we just don't know. It's easier to ask those who applied why than find out why unknown people didn't do something. I hope you agree that doing nothing also isn't an option or we might as well just allocate the money elsewhere. Philafrenzy (talk) 15:37, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
We should do something, but not just anything for the sake of doing something. At the risk of sounding like Donald Rumsfeld, there is merit in putting down on (metaphorical) paper what we know and what we know we don't know, and basing our action on things that will address the known issues and on things that will fill in the blanks in our knowledge. Thryduulf (talk: local | en.wp | en.wikt) 10:01, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
OK, to address Jon's points
  1. Membership: I think the financial aspects of membership aren't the issue, it is about agreeing with the objects and not bringing the charity into disrepute. By having membership as a criteria for applying for/receiving a grant it means that that issue has been dealt with. However I am not sure how the membership rules apply to unincorporated and incorporated organisations, as the seem to imply that membership is open to all natural persons. Some clarification on this would be useful, and maybe we should look at how organisations could get grants. Access to grants is + for membership.
  2. Process: Maybe some change in the processes may come out of this discussion, but no suggestions at the moment
  3. Promotion: Regular updates in members newsletter. Blogs from successful recipients.
  4. Recompense for time: Fæ suggested this is currently possible, but Jon sees this an open question, but is in favour of it. I agree with Jon's comments. I could and probably would get in a proposal quite soon if this was clarified. But otherwise an individual is taking on a certain amount of risk, probably committing themselves to a substantial amount of work-time (which might otherwise go on editing) for a project which might get torn apart in the application process. Also, it seems that some proposals are excessively scrutinised as regards any personal benefits that a person may enjoy, i.e. as if they were equivalent of trustees. I think a simpler equation of cost and benefits in terms of the WMUK charitable objects would be more effective. However, I do feel that we should be careful to avoid any sistuation which could be described as paid editing.
I also think that in light of the FDC recommendations below, we should look at ways we could encourage matched funding. I think this might work particularly if we dealt with community organisations. In this context we could use networks like the Community Archive Heritage Group as a network to find partner groups to work on relevant issues (and that is just one such network). I would be interested to know whether any progress has been made in linking up with HLF to work on compatibility with their funding strategy. In light of the comments on Kwaku's blog, I would agree that one off editathons are of little use, but working in a consistent way over a longer period I think would lead to much more impressive results. Leutha (talk) 12:42, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
The charity is accused, not entirely unfairly, of a lack of impact for its potential and size. Our reaction is to do more of what we are already doing by arranging more low impact events with few measurable outcomes. I have lost track of the number of editathons I have attended, all of which I enjoyed, but which had very few outputs that I could discern apart from WMUK and the host both putting a tick in their activity or engagement plans and some editing which just replaced other editing. Much of our activity (by no means all) amounts to a fig leaf over our lack of impact.
I am suggesting that instead of more and more frenetic activity that pads the plan but delivers little, we start to move to giving grants to individuals or organisations that result in defined outcomes for which they would be accountable. Our annual report would then read as a list of projects we had funded and the specific outcomes that had been produced. The comparison in this respect is with grant-giving academic charities. This does not mean, however, that a lot of what we currently do wouldn't continue, including editathons. The matter of payment for time is crucial as I don't think we can reasonably expect people to produce large projects for free, subsidised in reality by spouses or employers and to face an inquisition here over costs when applying. Lets also not confuse Wikipedia's rules with our own ability to fund specific projects carried out in public with known participants and defined outcomes that can then be used on Wikimedia projects. We have the money, let's use it. Philafrenzy (talk) 13:15, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I think we have to admit that editathons can create a handful of important articles and may result in a few thousand good images, however this is vastly outweighed by the productivity of individual Wikimedian volunteers we know well, who personally deliver far more in their spare time than all of these chapter events added up. For example I have uploaded over 150,000 photographs to Wikimedia Commons over the last year (the uploadsum tool has not been working for ages, so I can't check this right now), of which hardly any relate to Wikimedia UK events, they are just me getting on finding historic and cultural free photos (with good metadata) being a pet project of mine costing $0 to Wikimedia. I have recently put in a grant proposal for a dedicated macmini to support this individual non-WMUK organized activity (the sort of thing I could not ask for when I was a trustee), I suggest other highly active volunteers think of ways that Wikimedia UK might support them a bit more; any grants of this type represent incredibly high returns in terms of measurable Wikimedia project outcomes and are actually spot on with the charity's mission statement. Certainly travel and expenses should be claimed more often by volunteers (like Leutha and Philafrenzy) that go out and negotiate/maintain interesting relationships and push for events or projects that are eventually claimed as successes by WMUK. -- (talk) 14:01, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
I would personally be very keen to do more to help and encourage highly active volunteers as this is an area that has great potential for high impact at relatively low cost. At present the main way in which we make anything more than moral support available is via the grants process, and that is apparently not attractive as it has historically been undersubscribed. Innovative ideas for ways in which the charity can do better would be welcome. One idea that has been floated, for example, is a 'bounty board' where we offer a fixed payment as a 'prize' for completing a particular task that we/the community thinks would be worthwhile. In addition to the prize, we would also pay reasonable expenses, if agreed in advance. Such an approach might bring more volunteers forward who want to help out but who are nervous about having to prepare a formal grant application. A possible downside is that we could end up paying out prizes for tasks that a volunteer might be prepared to do for free. However, there are probably any number of tasks that we already know, in practice, that no volunteer is otherwise going to get round to. Thoughts on this, or other ideas? --MichaelMaggs (talk) 19:03, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
Another idea is the one that has been outlined above Michael, which is grants that include an element for the time costs of a project. What are your views on that? Can we also please stop obsessing about paring down the costs of everything? We have the money, which currently goes unspent because we give people the third degree if they so much as want to buy a ham sandwich. When people donate they imagine we will use the funds in pursuit of our charitable objectives by spending it on things. Lets start acting like adults running a serious charity with serious objectives and take a chance on people. A few might disappoint, but it is worth the risk. Philafrenzy (talk) 21:52, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
A bounty board would actually be one way to achieve 'payment for time'. The bounty would be enough to represent a worthwhile investment of a volunteer's time, though it need not explicitly be described as a time-based payment. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 06:54, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
Rather than a "bounty", a suggestion I made a couple of years ago of keeping an Agile style backlog list of "volunteer jobs", some of which might entail compensation or prizes as an incentive, would be a reasonable step. On the whole this works better for lots of small tasks and we ought to choose tasks that it remains unlikely that volunteers are ready and willing to do for free. Two examples:
  1. (Large task) if we were looking for volunteers to help with a UNESCO bid for matched funding bid of £100,000 to help with a 5 year programme of minority language cultural preservation, then paying £1,000 for an estimated two weeks of effort to research and write up a draft (just over the minimum wage mark) would be a pragmatic offer for a task that would be demanding and remain unattractively hard for most volunteers.
  2. (Small task) get the popups navigation tool working on the UK wiki, it is a neat feature and has been waiting for a year for someone to do. Reward - £10 John Lewis voucher.
-- (talk) 08:45, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
Maybe it does not matter what this is called, but perhaps a page called 'bounty board' would attract more immediate member interest than 'volunteer jobs' (pure PR, I know!). Anyway, we are talking about very much the same thing. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 12:28, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
(unindent) On bounty boards, and generally paying volunteers for time, the thing I'd worry about is that it sets up the expectation that volunteers would be paid for their time (and hence, no longer being volunteers), which may result in them not volunteering their time when no money is on offer. Probably the best example of this in the Wikimedia movement is technical development work, where there is much more of an expectation of being paid to contribute to MediaWiki than there is to the other Wikimedia projects, and in my opinion that's now a fixed trend that would be impossible (and probably also undesirable) to change. There is currently a risk of organising outreach events going the same way (although more in terms of being a paid employee, either directly or as a WiR), which would be a real shame. I wouldn't like to see other activities going the same way, which would be a risk if there is the promise of money in return for doing things. Compensating people who are running a big event that needs a lot of time spent on it that prevents them from working their day job is one thing (and something I would support), but paying for small tasks that can be done in spare time is a very different thing.
Reading through this section, I've just spotted Fae's comment about a small paid task being fixing the navigation popups. I fixed that a few days ago based on the discussion here; I probably wouldn't have done so if it had been a bounty board task. (Note that this wasn't planned - I didn't notice his comment until I started writing this!) Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 21:38, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
My particular proposal Mike, is not for payment for completion of small tasks. That probably would have the undesirable effects you suggest and certainly would be time consuming to organise (though there is an unresolved question about the trainers who find themselves teaching a room in which every other person is being paid). No, my proposal is potentially more far reaching and involves moving to spending more of the chapter's funds on large grants (£1000s), including payment for time and expenses, to complete projects in line with our charitable objectives that would not otherwise be viable. For instance, a large digitisation project that could then be a source on one of our projects. The WMUK annual report and the plan would then be a list of projects funded and outcomes achieved rather than a list of low impact events that I suspect we only do because we have to put something in those documents. I said at the start that I am theorising that we don't get applications for large grants because people can't afford to work for six months for free. Who knows what projects would be completed if we used some of our money creatively? If we don't revise the grants budget in some way, it really ought to be transferred elsewhere or returned to donors or the Foundation as surplus to our needs. Philafrenzy (talk) 22:09, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply, Philafrenzy. I was referring more to Michael Magg's point in my comment, so I agree that most of what I said doesn't apply to your proposal. On your points, the major question for me would probably become 'why WMUK?'. If WMUK focuses its work on giving 'large grants', then why couldn't that be done by the Foundation (which has a lot more experience with grant-giving than WMUK at the current point in time.) Personally, I believe that WMUK has a lot of potential for 'value-add' with this sort of thing, which would come in terms of staff resources, local knowledge and general infrastructure, and any large grant should really be able to demonstrate that sort of benefit. Being able to professionally temporarily hire people to work on the projects that they are proposing would probably also be a good thing, provided that the conflict of interest issues are suitably managed (which would mean significantly improving WMUK's current CoI policy!). Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 22:41, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

FDC 2013-14 recommended funding for Wikimedia UK

Amount requested: £442,217 ($714,746)
Amount allocated: £353,000 ($570,000)

  • The stabilization of growth of WMUK’s staff is a good sign, although there are concerns about the number of staff devoted to administration (three full time administrative staff).
  • Governance issues are being addressed.
  • WMUK’s programs are not focused enough, and WMUK has not fully defined its goals and metrics or provided sufficient justification for what it wants to achieve, especially in the context of its size and ability to influence.
  • The proposed growth is too rapid and the amount requested is large.
  • Despite last year's FDC recommendation, WMUK has pursued a path of rapid and potentially unsustainable growth in the current year, making long-term commitments; furthermore, it is increasing its reliance on FDC funds in the proposed year.
  • WMUK’s projected impact on Wikimedia projects is too low in proportion to funds requested.
  • WMUK has a lot of potential for impact on Wikimedia projects; for example, through partnering with GLAM institutions, and demonstrated by success in implementing the Wikipedians in Residence program and EduWiki conferences.


I am reposting the FDC recommendation and feedback/criticism of this year's bid for funding for the convenience of members and other readers of the watercooler. Very few members show much interest in the financial affairs of the charity, so any comments and thoughts would be welcome, particularly in relation to whether the FDC's pointers need visible corrective action from the chapter, and given the context of the original bid of £442k included a freeze on staff numbers. -- (talk) 17:18, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

Thanks to Fae for positing the good news. We received 80% of what we requested, above the overall average. All in all, without pre-empting any discussions in the chapter, I would say a fair result. We don't do everything perfectly but the FDC has recognised that we do some great stuff, have made progress and are addressing the two big issues: the need for a long term plan and consistent and co-ordinated metrics. Mostly thanks to all the volunteers, trustees and staff who helped write the bid and tell the story of the good things we are doing. It as been a really tough couple of years for the chapter but got through them. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 09:10, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
It's interesting looking at the allocation/feedback and the earlier comments, certainly I think we need to think about how to address the feedback, but it's worth reading feedback to all the chapters and the funds they were allocated as it provides interesting context. Fae do you have things in mind re: visible corrective action or the staff number freeze? Sjgknight (talk) 09:19, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
It is hard to understand why an originally conservative funding proposal that included no growth in the resource plan being cut back by over 20% can be repainted as a sign of a successful bid. My understanding is that this effectively drops Wikimedia UK's total funding compared to last year. It would be sensible for the board of trustees to put in place timely and specific improvement plans to address the many issues raised by both the WMF and the independent FDC with regard to Wikimedia UK's reporting, resource plans, sustainability and focus of strategy. Defensively blaming both organizations for giving honest feedback is unhelpfully divisive and though we can learn from other bids, pointing to other chapters to say "aha, but look how bad they are" (remembering how low Wikimedia UK's ratings were compared to all other assessed chapters) is equally not a response that recognizes change is needed or a foundation for improvement.
If you want to know what improvements I recommend, I have made the same recommendations for basic consistent operational management and reporting for the past 2 years as a trustee, and have given a number of replies along these lines on this page, repeating these yet again seems pointless. I suggest you talk with the other board members and plan to have a serious review in December making some real changes rather than talking yourselves out of making any. Thanks -- (talk) 10:03, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
Hi Fae, I certainly wasn't saying "aha, but look how bad they are". But it is useful to look at the scores, feedback, and funds allocated. On the other point I was responding to your comment re: "corrective" response wondering if you thought there were specific things we should respond to (or rebut) in the feedback, rather than general recommendations. Cheers Sjgknight (talk) 10:17, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

For some context with the numbers:

Entity Amount requested Amount recommended Difference Percent recommended Rank by % recommended Rank by difference
Wikimedia Nederland $436,312.00 $410,000.00 -$26,312.00 93.97% 1 3
Wikimedia Serbia $119,335.00 $108,000.00 -$11,335.00 90.50% 2 1
Wikimedia Sverige $435,596.00 $390,000.00 -$45,596.00 89.53% 3 6
Wikimedia Argentina $196,451.36 $175,000.00 -$21,451.36 89.08% 4 2
Wikimedia Österreich $310,686.00 $276,000.00 -$34,686.00 88.84% 5 5
Wikimedia UK $714,746.00 $570,000.00 -$144,746.00 79.75% 6 8
Amical Wikimedia $134,608.00 $100,000.00 -$34,608.00 74.29% 7 4
Wikimedia CH $552,400.00 $400,000.00 -$152,400.00 72.41% 8 9
Wikimedia Deutschland $2,431,458.00 $1,750,000.00 -$681,458.00 71.97% 9 11
Wikimedia Israel $438,306.00 $200,000.00 -$238,306.00 45.63% 10 10
Wikimedia India $176,214.00 $53,000.00 -$123,214.00 30.08% 11 7

Postponed events?

Hi all. There seem to have been quite a few postponed events in the last few months, which is particularly notable since I don't think we've had to postpone events in previous years. Do we know why this is happening? Is it an indicator that events need to be planned further in advance than they currently are? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 05:52, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Hi Mike. Thanks for asking. I know about two, which I can clarify. The first was the VLE workshop due to take place early in November. This was set up plenty of time in advance but there have been some technical problems in making sure that the Moodle platform has been ready to use, particularly the Moodle + MediaWiki transclusion function. Given the technical problems, Charles and I felt it best to postpone until the software is ready for a proper road test. We are making progress and the event will be rearranged in the new year. The second one I am aware of is an event at Imperial College this weekend. As I understand this has been pushed back because there aren't actually many students around because the end of term is approaching. I haven't been personally involved but perhaps someone who has can add some extra context. Hope this is useful. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 08:50, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Stevie - that is good to know. The first sounds like a reasonable cause postponement to me; the latter sounds like the timing needs to be better considered before an event is scheduled. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 19:50, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
I think there are two factors at play. One factor is the relatively low number of active and experienced volunteers and members available to notice the events calendar and will register to take part, the other is the move over the last two years from volunteer driven events to employee driven events.
As employees are concerned that WMUK is seen to have a full calendar of events, it is no surprise that they are pushing the envelope of what is practical. As a result we have seen wikimeets and editathons that fail to attract an appropriate number of attendees and have cases of some being cancelled or floating forward. When we had volunteers driving more of the events, they tended to only be set up after being discussed with other enthusiastic volunteers at wikimeets, meaning that there was already a handful of folks intending to sign up as soon as the registration page was available. Employees tend not to do this, with events being planned with partners and sometimes announced without much testing of the volunteer community.
If membership went back up to the 330 level of 2 years ago, and the number of active volunteers increased from the declared "101" to several hundred, then our problem would be how to cope with numbers registering for our free events.
One part of the solution would be better networking with volunteers at wikimeets to test the coming proposed quarterly schedule of events before they are announced with fixed dates on the website, and reduce the monthly number if unrealistic. Employees would be better measured by popular and volunteer-driven events rather than just a number of events. If we knew that 3 or 4 volunteers were ready to sign-up immediately after an announcement, and that these key volunteers would work with the community to make the event popular, we might avoid these problems. -- (talk) 10:00, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure of the reasons behind postponement of individual events; it depends on a variety of factors, not all of which are under our control. And Fae, you're half right, but what we've moved from is events driven by board members (acting in a volunteer capacity rather than as directors/trustees) to events driven by staff, which isn't quite the same thing as you suggest. Harry Mitchell (talk) 18:35, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes Harry, I have seen you repeat this theme several times, it wears a little thin as I don't accept it as matching our history. The fact is that there always were plenty of unpaid volunteers not on the board that were busy and engaged in creating events without being directors or trustees. Some of them even became employees. I don't think it is a good thing that any future board have a majority of members that do not actively help make our events a success, being a trustee should not ban you from supporting our activities for fear of treading on anyone's toes. Thanks -- (talk) 19:23, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
That doesn't match my recollection of our history; your involvement in WMUK pre-dates mine, but I remember from late 2010/early 2011 most of the active people were also the directors (that's not a criticism, merely a suggestion that we haven't seen a sudden exodus of volunteers). There were a handful of people (like Andy and Rock drum, for example) doing things on their own initiative with support form the board, but most of them are still involved today. I think you and I agree, though, that more needs to be done to recruit and retain more of those people, and that WMUK hasn't, to date, been very good at that. And I completely agree that being a trustee should not ban you from supporting our activities..., though that seems to have become the default state in the wake of the so-called "Governance Review". Harry Mitchell (talk) 15:06, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
I haven't said there was an exodus of volunteers, though membership dropped by 30%, the number of volunteers has been relatively static (i.e. under a 20% increase over 2.5 years when employee numbers grew by 900%), only that we moved from events driven by volunteers to a de-facto standard that events are driven by employees, oh and sometimes employees wearing a volunteer hat. -- (talk) 17:41, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
Mike, can you give some examples? I saw the Ctrl Alt Change one, and the VLE one, but I haven't seen many more postponed... I recall the membership survey asked some questions about why people don't attend - one of the answers was related to "not planned far enough in advance". When the results are out I think that'll help answer. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 21:54, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
Indeed, discussing the causes before looking at the actual data set would be pre-judging the situation. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 10:04, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
That's a bit tricky to do as a complete data set - the ones you mention (VLE Workshop and Ctrl Alt Change) are currently labelled as postponed on the Events page, but there are others that were postponed but are no longer marked as such. The others that I've spotted being postponed are Early Photography in Scotland Edit-a-thon and Training the Trainers/February 2014 event; perhaps the office can remember if there are any others that I've missed from this list? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 19:47, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
A quick search of edit summary on Events gives Python and Wikimedia bots workshop Oct 2013 (lack of interest), Leaders in Community Wikipedia training (venue issue), Science editathon at the British Library, AHRC Wikipedia training workshop at the British Library. Early photography was postponed as the organiser (and the one who can let attendees into the building) got ill. So mostly outside our control I'd say. -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 20:43, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Katie. My aim in raising this for discussion was because I was curious to see whether there were any systematic reasons why this had started happening in the last 6 months; if it's simply reasons outside of WMUK's control (and probably due to the increase in the number of events over the last few years) then that's great. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 21:03, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Just to point out the Ctrl/Alt/Change event was an external event arranged by Imperial College that I had been asked to run a workshop and give a presentation at. Mrjohncummings (talk) 16:23, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Part of the reason may be that we are getting better at recording such things. Daria Cybulska (WMUK) (talk) 17:04, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
I have been involved in two events that have been postponed. In one case we were targetting the existing community and haven't yet had enough interest in a fairly specialised event. The other case was with a partner who was 95% confident of hosting the event but has since gone quiet. As we have had some unfortunate clashes with two or more events on the same day I would encourage people to pencil in events when they have agreed the date, even if they have to put (details TBC) on it. This will inevitably mean that some things fall through; However I'm hoping that by doing so we can achieve a more balanced program. I'm sure that people would prefer to see some events postponed before they'd had many if any signups if that enables us to reduce the number of clashes. Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 12:01, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

Navigation popups

Is the 'Navigation popups' gadget broken on this wiki? I've just tried it, and the results are unreadable. It works for me on en.Wikipedia and Commons. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 16:29, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Yes it is. As far as I know, it has never worked correctly. I'll see if I can do anything to fix it when I have a moment unless someone else wants to do it. -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 16:33, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
I looked at it a year or two ago, and raised the question on this Water cooler. It met with a big meh so I was not inspired to fix it.
Dug out the link; Water_cooler/2012#Does_Navigation_popups_work_for_you_on_WMUK?. -- (talk) 23:27, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

We're missing the required CSS, which can probably be gleaned from a MediaWiki:Common.css on a Wikimedia wiki.--Jasper Deng (talk) 02:49, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

It should be working now. The problem was that the gadget css wasn't being included using MediaWiki:Gadgets-definition; I've now fixed that. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 19:35, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Mike! Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 11:11, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Working well. Thank you. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 12:12, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance

Hello everyone. Wikimedia UK has been asked to consider signing a document supporting these International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance In principle I think this is worthwhile and shows that we are on the side of the every day internet user. But some may say it is out of our scope. What do people think? If there's a consensus I'll add Wikimedia UK to the list. Thank you. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 13:22, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

This looks a bit indirect. Could someone spell out in clear and specific terms how this fits with the current Mission of the UK charity?
Wearing a slightly different hat, I note that being monitored by the state due to your identification as LGBT, or thought to be an LGBT advocate, is a hole in this document. Any government agency can choose whether a right to privacy extends to LGBT activities at their convenience, depending on their interpretation of "other status". I would flag the current document for that ambiguity, however the choices appear to be to either support it, or don't. -- (talk) 13:46, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
Tend to agree with Fae here. While the document looks like an interesting one regarding digital civil liberties, and I know many of our members care a great deal about that area, I don't see how it relates to Wikimedia UK's mission. I could be persuaded, though. 18:02, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
(Better to log in rather than waive a narrow IP address around. -- (talk) 18:32, 28 November 2013 (UTC))
I agree it is too remote from the mission. We are not a campaigning organisation, at least not on those issues, and WMUK should not be endorsing on behalf of the membership any political cause or manifesto as we don't all share the same politics. Philafrenzy (talk) 19:59, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Philafrenzy and the anon editor here - I think it's too remote from the mission, although I can see why others would disagree. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 19:07, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
I would say no, because I think the point Fæ made is actually more serious. Actually the document endorses the use of surveillance against Gay people where LGBT rights are denied. I think this a significant flaw in the document and would oppose any move to sign it.Leutha (talk) 00:37, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
Can anyone point me to where "the document endorses the use of surveillance against gay people" please? I didn't see anything resembling this when I read it. Thank you. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 09:18, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
It is implicit in the way the document accepts what is decried as a crime: "Any limitation to the right to privacy must be prescribed by law. The State must not adopt or implement a measure that interferes with the right to privacy in the absence of an existing publicly available legislative act, which meets a standard of clarity and precision that is sufficient to ensure that individuals have advance notice of and can foresee its application." So in countries where homosexual acts are serious crimes, individuals do have such advance notice, this statement says surveillance is OK. As Fæ points out, there is no reference to LBGT issues to mitigate this. 09:46, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
I'm not a lawyer...but perhaps the "Legitimate Aim" para is relevant. Sjgknight (talk) 09:53, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
I can see the relevancy of that paragraph but it also includes at the end "... and other status." But I do agree it's not particularly well phrased. Interestingly, it seems strong enough for Amnesty International USA and Human Rights Watch if that's any reasonable barometer. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 10:32, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

Any idea what other chapters/WMF are doing/if they might sign/are discussing, etc.? Sjgknight (talk) 09:53, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

No but I will share it with the communications committee mailing list to get an idea. It's a useful discussion here in the UK anyway as obviously we wouldn't sign it without discussion with the community. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 10:32, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
As explained in our conversation on the mailing list, it fits with our mission because of "free and open". Arbitrary surveillance is a cost imposed on those who seek, use or produce information. I think it's clear that the document does not endorse the use of surveillance on the basis of sexuality. The language condemning surveillance on the basis of sexuality should be stronger, but it's a wild logical step that turns that into endorsement. The Open Knowledge Foundation, the Open Rights Group, the Free Software Foundation (Europe), the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Liberty are among the signatories. How likely is it that these are actually homophobic organisations with a poor grasp of their own missions? MartinPoulter (talk) 17:46, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
Nobody has called any of those organizations homophobic, that's a highly polarized view of why these organizations skipped over LGBT status, and an unnecessarily divisive comment. Should anyone not want to support this document in its current state, due to a lack of LGBT rights recognition, they are in no way guilty of calling the EFF, ORG etc. homophobic organizations.
Looking at the list of involved organizations, it is no surprize that a strategy of avoiding any mention of LGBT rights or "status" was adopted. Some will be happy with that as a strategic approach to gain as many international signatories as possible, others will find it a unpalatable compromise too far. I do not see any LGBT specific rights organizations supporting this document. -- (talk) 18:08, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
Well, I am afraid the document is not clear, although others may well disagree with my interpretation. As Fæ has pointed out, I was not calling any of these organisations homophobic. However, an implication of the failure to flag up LGBT issues, and at the same time the fact that the document does allow for surveillance in those situations where a particular state deems certain acts as serious crimes, is precisely as I suggested. No doubt Wikimedians will have a variety of views on the matter, and I as it lies somewhat outside the core mission of WMUK, I am not sure how likely it will be for us to reach the level of consensus to make signing it a sensible way forward.Leutha (talk) 18:39, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
Paragraph 2 under "Changing technology and definitions". The broader definition of legislative process and human rights used in the document precludes your concern Leutha. Sjgknight (talk) 18:46, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
Incongruously, that paragraph is the only place where "sexual orientation" is mentioned. It is mentioned in the context of using metadata to reveal information about an individual and that use of metadata in this way should be restrained. If an individual is under surveillance in a country where being a homosexual or advocating gay rights is considered a crime, the document does not propose that this data should not be used, or that in using it the state would be considered to be acting unlawfully or illegally in an international context. -- (talk) 18:58, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

As a suggestion: it might be worth doing something like an RfC for these sorts of issues, and inviting members to express their support or opposition in a more structured way than a free-form discussion. That would probably yield a clearer indicator of whether there is consensus or not than is the case here thus far. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 19:10, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

I agree that a clearer process for assessing a consensus for this sort of thing is needed with members.
I note that this was still proposed to the board by Stevie this weekend, even though there were several members with concerns and objections here. Political principles of human rights are the type of thing that really ought to require a super-majority to be bothered with doing. External tangential politics and lobbying do little more than create questions and distract everyone from our mission. Hopefully the board of trustees were aware of these mixed opinions from members and did not vote for it without discussion, because an employee put it forward and it was on the agenda under "uncontroversial matters". It would be odd to have a negative RFC now to withdraw support, rather than what could have happened; a positive RFC with members to decide whether to support political principles. -- (talk) 13:24, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
As far as I could tell (I was observing some bits of the board meeting), Stevie was proposing something else ("Free Knowledge Advocacy group EU statement of intent"), not this. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 13:32, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Mike, you are indeed correct. Fae, it's also clearly stated in the agenda that is linked in your comment above so I'm not sure where this erroneous impression comes from. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 13:46, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Glad to hear it. Now you highlight the phrasing, I vaguely recall an email about this (last month?) that seemed knotty in such a way that I glazed over it. In 2012 I happily thought through a presentation by the handsome Redmonkey (a WMDE trustee) on EU lobbying and our role in it. I was impressed by his commitment but realized that this was a black sink for (my) volunteer time and decided that as a volunteer it would never be pragmatic to do any more than stick a finger in it. I'll create a new thread on the general outcome of this that we need some sort of RFC process that is member driven. -- (talk) 17:07, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Glad to see we got that confusion cleared up. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 17:15, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Actually, to provide a (rough) further clarification, the board has not formally agreed to the statement of intent at this time, rather we have given it support in principle and will be requesting comments from the community shortly Sjgknight (talk) 17:23, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Simon. There could have been an email about the Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU last month. If there was it would most likely have been from Dimitar Dimitrov, a WMDE-funded "Wikimedian in Brussels". There will be more information about the group, and the possibility of WMUK being involved, within the next day or two I expect. This will include the community discussion that Simon rightly mentions.Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 17:37, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
In the meantime there's a whole spiel at m:EU policy. Apparently Stevie is the Designated contact. Searching my email, I see that I must have had Dimi's last two monthly "EU monitoring" reports in mind, he started putting these out on Wikimedia-l. -- (talk) 17:46, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

Membership numbers

We now have:

Philafrenzy (talk) 14:43, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

I've been bold and merged them to a single page at Membership/Numbers. The content from both pages are useful - the new one's good for the breakdown of changes and the context, and the old one's good for the historical perspective. It will be interesting to see how things develop over time in the future - and it's good to see that the office is putting time into making these numbers more easily available and comparable. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 18:01, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

Newsletter and Survey

I must share, in case anyone else has the same problem, that Google regards both of these as spam and put them in that folder with the helpful advice "Be careful with this message. Lots of other people have marked similar messages as spam." ! Philafrenzy (talk) 19:44, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

A side effect of having images, the word 'newsletter', the word Wikipedia, etc etc in our emails I guess :-( Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 11:47, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes, but is there anything we can do next time to make these things seem less like spam? If a lot of them are being filtered out like this it does really reduce the effectiveness of the whole thing and might explain the poor level of response to the survey (if I am correct in thinking that it is indeed poor). Philafrenzy (talk) 17:56, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
Whether a response is "poor" is dependent on what response rate you expect. Typical response rate expectations vary hugely, but an analysis of 1607 academic surveys published between 2000 and 2005 gives a headline figure: "The average response rate for studies that utilized data collected from individuals was 52.7 percent with a standard deviation of 20.4" [8] customer survvey type questionaires with a prize draw incentive seem to expect a reponse rate of between 0.4% and 16%, opt in panels for market research seem to expect around 15-40% response, This study uses a more limited sample size but it is probably the most closely relevant to our survey, their headline average response rate reported is 32.52%.
I don't know what the response rate has been so far, but based on these figures I wouldn't call a response rate above 25% to be poor. Several studies discuss timing, and the consensus is to target the release time to your target population (results from this survey will probably help us with this next time), but in general consensus is that Monday is the best time to begin a survey, but opinions differ on whether morning or afternoon is better. Unsurprisingly Friday afternoons and clashing with major events of interest to the target audience are to be avoided - don't launch a survey just before a major sporting event for example. Responses from males are disproportionately more affected by clashes with these events than responses from females, so this is something to take into account if measuring gender balance. For Wikipedia purposes if you wanted to emphasise the male bias launch your survey just before something like the Strictly Come Dancing final, to minimise it launch it just before Manchester United play $foreign_team or something even more male biased.
Regarding your main point about making it not look like spam, that is something to look in to. FWIW, my email provider uses SpamAssasin which didn't mark it as spam (using the default setting it scored -1.57, anything scoring >=5 is classified as spam, I have my personal settings customised to be significantly more aggressive and even then it scored -0.7), so it wont have been in everyone's spam folder fortunately. Thryduulf (talk: local | en.wp | en.wikt) 15:07, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Both timing and content of the invitation email are clearly important. I thought the invitation was good but we may have to abandon that in favour of individual messages that don't include the word survey if we want them to get through. (my Google settings, by the way, are totally standard and I hadn't marked anything from WMUK as spam.) Google, and I assume similar services, are reading the content and seeing the surveymonkey link and that is enough probably. What if we changed as follows:
  • To plain text messages, which are much less likely to be spam in my experience.
  • Individual messages from and to a named person.
  • Changed the message to "we need your views on an important matter" (or something similar).
  • Changed the link to a page on our site.
  • Finally, put the surveymonkey link on that page?
How many responses would we get if every message actually got through? Philafrenzy (talk) 15:24, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Simplifying the formatting would definitely be a good improvement to reduce the odds of this happening - it's probably not necessary to go quite as far as plaintext though. The HTML formatting's currently a bit broken too - e.g. there's extra table closing statements at the end that aren't necessary - which means it doesn't always appear right (e.g. I can't see the company info or address at the bottom), and may be causing some of the issues here. For those having problems, though, it might be easiest just to add the address to gmail's whitelist, although that doesn't solve the general issue. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 17:44, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
We want them to go through without anyone having to add them to a white list because we can't assume anyone will go to the trouble. Highly involved members are already on the look out for these messages, it is the other 80%ish we need to reach. Philafrenzy (talk) 18:57, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
I agree, that's why I said "although that doesn't solve the general issue". Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 19:01, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
OK. Regarding the survey, I suspect that the words Survey and SurveyMonkey are incredibly toxic as far as spam detection is concerned. I think we should consider dropping SurveyMonkey in favour of some other method of gathering replies. Suggestions? Philafrenzy (talk) 19:12, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Shouldn't we wait until we know how many responses we've had before we change anything?
Absolutely, this is just a discussion. Philafrenzy (talk) 19:34, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
It's a somewhat premature discussion that presumes the response rate will be poor right at the top! :/ Lets do things a bit more logically - wait until the results are out, and do a wash up then, yes? Thanks for reporting the spam issue - it's one we're aware of and have tried to address on the Tech side. We can look at key words/HTML design improvements as well so thanks for the feedback - although really whether it merits a post on the watercooler/discussion as opposed to just sending membership@ an email is debatable.
On a productive sidenote; anyone with spare time and their thinking cap on who wants to start a page on wiki to list/group together all these disparate improvement suggestions would be a great help, otherwise we risk people wasting their time raising them in dribs and drabs on the watercooler and never getting actioned when the threads are archived. Philafrenzy - you've raised a LOT of these points in the last few weeks so if you find time to do this at any point it would be massively helpful/productive I think. Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 11:51, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Did mention at the start Katherine that the results may not be poor, but I think it is reasonable to think that a large number of the newsletters and the survey are being filtered out. This no doubt applies to everyone's bulk communications, it's not just WMUK obviously. Is a reminder being sent in a different form to the original so that it is not caught by filters (in the form of a personal email from somebody in the office, not a bulk email)? A lot of effort went into the questions, pity to let it all fall on deaf ears. It's not too late to signficantly increase responses by sending the right sort of reminder. Will you do that Katherine?
A page for snags/technical/operational issues is a good idea as long as anyone reads it. Title Operations Noticeboard or Technical something or other? Philafrenzy (talk) 12:19, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Boardgame trivia

I played a boardgame the other gay called CV. The game is a card/dice game built around different things a player can do with their life, from adolescence to retirement. There is card called "Wikipedia author" which requires two lightbulbs (i.e. knowledge) and which allows you to roll to extra dice (a significant bonus). Leutha (talk) 22:09, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

Says it is best with three players, while ours has millions, making ours a more complicated game with much less chance of winning. Philafrenzy (talk) 22:13, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
'fess up Leutha, who was the other gay you refer to? -- (talk) 17:07, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
AGF - I assume that was a typo meaning 'day'? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 17:47, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
LOL, 'twas the point of the comment. -- (talk) 18:34, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
You read too much Freud!Leutha (talk) 17:09, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Even Sigmund would say that sometimes a gay is just a gay. -- (talk) 13:17, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

Lua session

Any chance of another Lua session? Leutha (talk) 17:09, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

I don't think we have one planned at the moment, but the feedback from the last Lua session was very positive. Would you be able to put together a short proposal for another Lua event (eg: location, target audience, date etc)? Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 12:32, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

Jon Robson's world of Wikipedia


Philafrenzy (talk) 22:44, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
The bit about the secret cabal is remarkably inaccurate. It doesn't reference Phillippe Beaudette's cardigans at all. Chase me ladies, I'm the Cavalry (talk) 01:33, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
And the scale is all wrong. The City of in Popular Culture is far larger than that in reality. Philafrenzy (talk) 00:40, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

Book of Aneirin put online by National Library of Wales

National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.jpg

This popped up on my Facebook news feed earlier:

"The Book of Aneirin, one of the most important literary works from medieval Wales, can now be freely viewed online.

The 13th century text is now kept at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth. Written around 1265, the Book of Aneirin contains a long poem called ‘Y Gododdin’. The poem is attributed to Aneirin, who was in his prime during the second half of the sixth century and commemorates the heroic deeds of part of the Gododdin tribe who fell in an assault upon the strategic site of Catraeth (Catterick, Yorkshire), about the year 600. After a fierce battle, only 3 Brythonic warriors escaped with their lives, among them the poet Aneirin. He then composed a series of stanzas in a form of early Welsh, commemorating the slain young warriors."

The bottom of the page however notes: "The National Library of Wales has digitised and published the Book of Aneirin by kind permission of Cardiff Council. Rights relating to the use of these images are retained by Cardiff Council: permission for copies for commercial research, or for publication in any form, must be obtained from Cardiff Central Library, The Hayes, Cardiff CF10 1FL, localstudieslibraryatcardiff.gov.uk"

I think that means that we couldn't do anything with this on WikiSource for example? Is this something we should be talking to Cardiff Council about to try and get the rights freed up? Thryduulf (talk: local | en.wp | en.wikt) 00:42, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

It might be worth reminding our friends at Cardiff Council that copyright in the original work is not indefinite. While it's possible that local laws allow a "sweat of the brow" claim over new images (reasonably so for pictures of three dimensional objects), that doesn't seem to apply in the USA to images of two-dimensional pages, so one of our overseas colleagues might upload them to WMF servers (suitably cropped, to remove the modern accessories). we could also point to the recent mass release of scanned images by the British Library (not to mention US national archives and the Rijksmuseum) as more enlightened examples of best practice. As for Wikisource, attempts to claim copyright over the text content are laughable and can (IANAL) be ignored with impunity. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 12:14, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
I've mentioned this discussion, on Commons:Village pump. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 12:52, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
Another user has created File:The Book of Aneirin.pdf. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 20:37, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
As far as I am aware, "sweat of the brow" remains a myth rather than a legal reality in the UK too. This is one of those situations where Wikimedia should be calling the bluff on these sorts of claims rather than letting fear of prosecution where there is no legal basis suppress legitimate open knowledge, especially in the many cases where public domain documents are being locked away on thin rationales of revenue creation, which do not survive basic scrutiny of the financial record. If anyone has some useful UK case studies of anyone being successfully taken to court and ordered to pay damages after a "sweat of the brow" case, I would love to review the case notes.
By the way, I should declare that I have done a couple of batch uploads from UK institutions this year which ignored false claims of copyright or non-commercial use restrictions. I do correspond with the institutions and try to move them on in their thinking, but as an open knowledge advocate I do not think it right that I should be expected to sit by indefinitely when polite negotiation has got us nowhere. I take care with checking there is completely unambiguous legal evidence on record of the works I upload being public domain; which means that no judge could ever assess damages being more than zero pence, which would make for a useful case study should that ever happen. -- (talk) 12:08, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

Guidance on COI

Hi, Can I have some guidance on what I've done here. I bumped into a conversation in a Google Group that a prominent organisation were actively planning to edit two Wikipedia articles directly associated with their 'products'. I posted into the Google group a bit of advice on COI and provided a link to the relevant page. The two articles fall into a project and so I also advised them to contact the group, and I provided a link for this too. I decided not to create a topic for discussion on the COI noticeboard because, as yet, they haven't actually done anything. Is that okay, or should I have done anything differently? (Sorry if I've been a bit vague but I don't want to out them unnecessarily) Thanks in advance.--Graeme Arnott (talk) 23:39, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

I would not expect any more than off-wiki advice, I would be cautious about raising the equivalent of warning flags on-wiki before anything has actually been done. In my past OTRS work, I have suggested by discrete email that those with plans to edit when they have an obvious COI, share their thoughts on WP:COIN where someone might even offer to help more directly and this sounds pretty much what you have done. -- (talk) 11:43, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
Hi Graeme. You've done just the right thing. If you're concerned that they're going to go ahead with dishonestly, then let an admin know (or the COI noticeboard, but it can get a bit hectic on there with so many people who feel strongly about the issue). Chase me ladies, I'm the Cavalry (talk) 19:02, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for that folks; much appreciated. :-) --Graeme Arnott (talk) 21:51, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

Training the Trainers February 2014 event

Wikimedia UK is committed to supporting our volunteers and to encourage them to teach others how to edit Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, we are running a weekend training workshop. This will take place on the weekend of 1—2 February 2014 in Cardiff. This session is targeted at volunteers in Wales and the immediate surrounding areas. We are especially interested in editors of Wicipedia Cymraeg who work through the Welsh language. However, both English and Welsh language editors on all Wikimedia projects will be welcomed. The workshop itself will be delivered in English.

The workshop will be delivered by a professional training company and aims to improve delegates’ abilities to deliver any training workshop. It’s especially relevant to anybody who already runs Wikimedia-related training, or is very interested in doing so in near future.

The workshop is a chance to:

  • Get accredited and receive detailed feedback about your presenting and training skills
  • Get general trainer skills which you can then apply when delivering specific Wikipedia workshops
  • Share your skills with others
  • Help design a training programme that serves Wikimedia UK in the long term.

The course will run from 9:30 am—6:30pm on Saturday and 9am—5pm on Sunday. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided. We should also be able to cover travel and accommodation if you let us know in advance.

If you are interested in attending, please indicate your commitment by signing up on Training the Trainers/February 2014 event. Spaces are limited to 12 places.

If you are not able to attend this time but would like to take part in the future, please add it to the event page or let me know by email to katie.chanatwikimedia.org.uk — we will be offering more sessions in the future.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions. I can also put you in touch with past participants who will be able to share their experiences with you.



The Water Cooler has been split

I've now gone through the process of moving threads regarding WMUK operational matters to the newly created Engine room, while keeping threads around our activities and getting involved on this page. This will be our first attempt at creating different spaces for different types of discussion, and we're still working on the headers for these pages (the divs now inserted at the top of the page). If you watch the Water cooler you may also want to add the Engine room to your watch list. I've also moved the Water cooler up to the "get involved" section on the sidebar. The new Engine room can be found under 'organisation' on the sidebar. If you think I've incorrectly moved something, or have a suggestion for how we should define and describe these places do let us know (ideally here in the Engine room). Finally, I look forward to seeing people engage on both pages. Cheers Sjgknight (talk) 21:27, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

The title of the section "Archiving this page" suggests it should have stayed here. I've added a note in that section, querying whether it applies there also. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 15:10, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for adding the move notices Andy, very helpful. I think the thread you refer to above does still apply to the Engine room, and there would probably be the place to raise such issues in the future too. I guess in this transition period there will be some such posts which are slightly out of context where they would not be had they originated on the Engine room. If there are any threads you think really don't work moved across let me know (and I'll keep an eye out too) but I don't think that's the case at the moment (copying this note (edited) to both pages) Sjgknight (talk) 15:52, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU - statement of intent

Flag of Europe.svg

Hello everyone. As you may have seen the board discussed the Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU at their meeting the weekend past. The Group is a collection of Wikimedia chapters which is looking at ways to improve the regulations regarding copyright in the EU. They have provisionally agreed to sign a collective statement of intent which sets out how the group will work. This is subject to a community discussion period. Please do take a look at the statement here and get involved in the discussion here. Thank you. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 13:14, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

The statement has been signed

I am pleased to announce that the Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU's statement of intent is fully supported and has been signed by the board of WMUK. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 10:49, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

Potential MOU and collaboration with the BBC

BBC Broadcasting House, London, July 2013.JPG

Hello everyone. I'm currently exploring how we may be able to develop a working relationship with the BBC. We are discussing various possibilities for collaboration and a memorandum of understanding. Before we go too far I'd like to get an idea of how people feel about working with the BBC. I'd also welcome suggestions for projects we may work on together. There's a page with some no