Jump to content

Resolution talk:Wikimedia Foundation Guiding Principles/Archive 1

From Wikimedia Foundation Governance Wiki

Freedom and open source

"As an organization, we strive to use open source tools over proprietary ones, although we use proprietary or closed tools (such as software, operating systems, etc.) where there is currently no open-source tool that will effectively meet our needs." - Is there a requirement and process in place which forces people to publish an evaluation which open-source tools were considered and tested for a task in order to identify which specific functionality was only provided by closed-source tools? --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 18:08, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

Well, maybe that is my impression because I work remotely, but I've seen some proprietary files been shared and proprietary softwares being used when we could have free software. For instance, microsoft documents or apple softwares. And I've heard the wifi network in SF office works better with apple stuff, which is kind of weird - I've visited SF office only once and I checked that, but I've heard the same from other online meetings. For pragmatical reasons, sometimes I know using some closed softwares can deliver things faster tho. --Ezalvarenga (talk) 19:37, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
I agree we could use a little more discipline on this. e.g. I'm not convinced all Mac users in the office would truly be significantly less effective at their work on Ubuntu machines. I do acknowledge some may be. I think it warrants some nudging/pushing, though. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 20:28, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
I think there's a huge distinction between closed source tools for personal productivity, and closed source tools for supporting the projects. This should be clarified in the text of the principles, because the current state of affairs is that we require FOSS when it comes to what is actually necessary for the projects to run, and we obviously don't when it comes to the office IT. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 22:42, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. In my initial posting I had shared tools in production (servers, webservices, etc.) in mind, but did not mean to refer to personal computers of individuals - that would be under the "personal freedom" category, and a published evaluation feels like overkill for such private cases. --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 09:40, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Hi, Aklapper, I don't have time today to make a longer comment, but for the personal freedom, if everybody begin to use closed formats, people who wants to use open formats will be forced to use also closed ones. If a person doesn't want to buy an apple computer, but the wifi network forces people to do so or make their lifes with other hardwares difficult, sorry, a serious policy about that should change. Yes, people can choose whatever they want on their personal computers, but if the majority is using what is fashion, a conscious minitority will not have freedom to choose what they want. As an example, I do use sometimes closed softwares, like skype, but only when really necessary, like a partner or co-worker that prefers to use it. And I know the pain it is sometimes to use only Linux since 1998. :) In Brazil, at least, in the government level, we are trying to BURN ALL THE DOCS! There are also bills under way. ;D P. S. I could not even imagine close softwares on the server side. --Ezalvarenga (talk) 12:36, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Responding to a couple of you here. No, AKlapper, AFAIK there is no formal documented requirement/process for evaluation of when the Wikimedia Foundation uses a proprietary tool instead of an open source one. To date we've been small enough, and had a sufficient proportion of the staff who're personally dedicated to open source values, such that evaluation has tended to happen informally on a case-by-case basis, and it's worked reasonably well. Like, we made an organizational commitment to use CiviCRM early and we've stuck with that, and similarly I know that Finance & Admin uses proprietary accounting tools because early on some research was done that determined there was no acceptable open-source tool. I think those were both reasonable outcomes. Over the years we've toyed with the idea of developing a formal evaluation policy, but we have not done it. If you're suggesting we should, I would generally agree, but I also wouldn't say it's the thing Office IT should prioritize as most important and most urgent.

More generally, in response to Ezalvarenga and Ijon, yes, I'd agree that our actual practices are likely imperfect -- there are probably some people at the Wikimedia Foundation using proprietary tools for individual use that could be replaced by open source tools. For example, I know that Legal has at some times used Microsoft Word for documents shared with external firms, when they probably could've insisted on using OpenOffice or LibreOffice without too much of a productivity hit.

Frankly, individuals using proprietary tools has been a pretty big pain point for the Wikimedia Foundation. It's understandable: individual staff have widely varying levels of personal commitment to FLOSS, people want to be effective at work and so they want to use the tools that support them best, and people's work, and their needs, vary. No-one wants to be told they have no choice but to use X, whether X is Ubuntu/Thunderbird/LibreOffice or IE/Outlook/Word. That's utterly reasonable. So it's complex, and we're not going to capture a lot of complexity in a short statement.

StevenW had proposed we modify the language here to distinguish between site production tools and personal/individual tools. Can somebody propose language for that, and for anything else here that might need clarification or finetuning? Feel free to make a change and I'll revert it or finetune it if I feel I need to. Thanks Sue Gardner (talk) 18:35, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Related reading: FLOSS-Exchange. I think focusing on the ideal (and its rationale, which Erik sort of touched on with his "right to fork" addition), instead of what individuals might do, is a reasonable compromise. --MZMcBride (talk) 07:25, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

I think the line should be what's shared by the organization (or teams within the organization) and personal. For anything shared, we should make it free software/open source unless it's really unworkable (and even then, we should always keep an eye out for moving to free software as it improves). But if you want to use MS Word on your personal machine to write PHP that fully meets our coding conventions, more power to you ;). This basically matches the current text. But there are some cases where free software is workable for shared tools but we're not currently using them; as I said, we should try to change that. Superm401 | Talk 20:14, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Agreed with SteveW and others above that there's some distinction between what we share, what we use personally, and what we require others to use. Apple users in the office? Who cares, they're mostly running FOSS on top of Apple -- most of our ops folks and engineers live in a terminal and use standard Unix tools. Adobe Photoshop and proprietary-format files for graphics work? Maybe we do care, because you can't always use the PSD files without it. (I always advocate for SVG format for graphics, especially anything we intend to use in software or on sites that may need to be revisioned in the future.) Google Apps for email? Who cares, email is interoperable. Google Hangouts for video conferencing internally? Who cares? Google Hangouts for video conferencing including open community participation? Runs on Linux, but requires a proprietary plugin; not ideal but we accept it as the best compromise of several options for now. Maybe we care but we can live with it. etc. --brion (talk) 18:50, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
So the text now reads like this:
The Wikimedia Foundation is deeply rooted in the values of the free culture and free software movements. With the exception of "fair use" material, all information in Wikimedia projects can be freely shared, freely distributed, freely modified and freely used for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, in perpetuity.
All code written by the Wikimedia Foundation is licensed under an applicable open source license. We realize our obligations not just to share code, but to cultivate a healthy community of contributors around the source code, and to work with upstream projects and contribute back improvements to their code.
All material in our projects is available in free formats that do not require the user to install proprietary software.
Consistent with the above principles, we support the right of third parties to make and maintain licensing-compliant copies and forks of Wikimedia content and Wikimedia-developed code, regardless of motivation or purpose. While we are generally not able to directly assist such efforts, we enable them by making available copies of Wikimedia content in bulk, and avoiding critical dependencies on proprietary code or services for maintaining a largely functionally equivalent fork.
As an organization, we strive to use open source tools over proprietary ones, although we use proprietary or closed tools (such as software, operating systems, etc.) where there is currently no open-source tool that will effectively meet our needs.
Does this work for everybody? I could add some language specifically around personal tool use, but I feel like "where there's no open-source tool that would effectively meet our needs" covers it. Like, you use Illustrator if Gimp isn't good enough for what you need. Let me know if anyone feels like this language isn't clear/accurate: otherwise I'll consider this thread resolved. Thanks Sue Gardner (talk) 21:48, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
As a very minor piece of word-smithing, I'd change "not able to directly assist such efforts" to "not able to individually assist such efforts" - we do directly help such efforts with data dumps and tools, we just don't have the resources to give human attention individually to such efforts. But yes, looks good to go otherwise. Jdforrester (WMF) (talk) 22:25, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
Done -- thanks James :-) Sue Gardner (talk) 17:02, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

Quick suggestion...

[1], which I made before seeing the request to comment first. Anyway, "serving every human being" seems a bit disingenuous, since we really aim to serve every literate human being with access to data and a digital device. ;-) The goal of providing equal access to all seems fairer, and more in line the the section's comments about well, accessibility. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 00:26, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

"equal access to all" is, er, equally disingenuous, as, by your own phrase, we're providing equal access only to "every literate human being with access to data and a digital device".
Furthermore, I actually do think we strive to serve every human being. Remember the free knowledge the Wikimedia community creates and shares is consumed offline too, not to mention the huge value of secondary use -- the knowledge worked into presentations, newspapers, books, radio and TV programs -- all consumed by hundreds of millions more than the group consuming it directly from our Web sites. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 00:50, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, I agree with Ijon. The language is "aims to" and "endeavours to," so I think it's appropriately framed as aspirational. Sue Gardner (talk) 18:37, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Actually, it's not quite that limited. We do generally serve literate people, but there are actually readings of many articles (e.g. see Template:Spoken Wikipedia, I'm sure among others). There are also various mechanisms for printing Wikipedia (some in-house, some just people trying to make money by selling Wikipedia books), so you don't need a digital device. The fact that we've consistently used fully free licenses for our content (except fair use extracts) has facilitated all of that. Superm401 | Talk 20:17, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Commons serves non-literate people indirectly. Tom Morris (talk) 19:02, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Getting rich

On «nobody is getting rich by working at the Wikimedia Foundation»: define "rich". For instance, I'm a student but I'm very rich compared to most world population and richer than millions of Italians (so, when serving in my university board I raised tuition fees for myself/my income range). --Nemo 09:14, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Yeah obviously "getting rich" is relative. It's only when you compare apples to apples and look at other tech and nonprofit compensation schemes that you see what is meant. In any case, it's pretty awesome that we want to put that among our guiding principles, right? Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 18:38, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Edit conflict with StevenW! And yeah, Steven, I agree. I think the key word here is "getting." Nemo is correct of course that by world population standards, everybody who works at the Wikimedia Foundation is rich. But we were born rich, we did not "get" rich through our work at the Wikimedia Foundation. The point here is that working at the Wikimedia Foundation is not a path to dramatically improving one's personal wealth. Thanks. Sue Gardner (talk) 18:40, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
I tend to see those negative statements ("not getting rich") as putting things in people's head that you don't want there in the first place. You say "not getting rich" (and I am on par with both Steven's and your interpretation on this) and all people seem to read/hear is "rich". Maybe we should try to find a positive statement for this? I'm kind of stuck though for a good one. "If you want to get rich, go work somewhere else"? -- ok, that one is stupid, but maybe you get my point? notafish }<';> 21:48, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
I suspected that the point was in getting, however this is tricky. One may get "richer" by going to work in the WMF for career reasons, compared to the previous work (or country?), comparatively getting "poorer" than possible in some other place, however the latter is mostly impossible to prove. "Nobody is getting richer" would be clearer but is technically wrong.
Maybe: "we aim at level of income not being an important [the most important? one of the most important?] motivation[s] for someone to stay at the WMF", which implies there are different/contrasting motivations (presumably honest ;) ) without getting lost in defining which, and that income may be sacrificed. This is probably what is meant hear; no idea if it is positive enough as per notafish. --Nemo 00:15, 21 March 2013 (UTC) P.s.: Steven, personally I don't care that much if someone gets rich at the WMF, as long as it's not by fleeing with the cash. :) I just like clarity.
Seems a bit "off" for Sue Gardner to be commenting on "not getting rich" when her salary exceeds that of about 99% of American wage earners. -- 2001:558:1400:10:456A:2BA3:C990:8D0A 18:46, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

I've just removed the phrase about getting rich. I think "fair but not lavish" covers it :-) Thanks Sue Gardner (talk) 22:00, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Reasonable travel costs

«We aim to incur only reasonable travel costs: the general policy is to travel economy class and stay in moderately-priced hotels»: were $225K for staff (and board) at Wikimania reasonable? Talk:Wikimedia budget#Wikimania travel question. --Nemo 09:14, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

How much is that per person sent to Wikimania that year? I think looking at the total for shock value is unfair. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 18:39, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Nemo we're not making a commitment here to reduce travel costs, or to minimize travel. (I wouldn't want to do that: with a growing staff that operates as part of a global community that stages many international events such as Wikimania, the chapters' meeting and various hackathons, it strikes me that a focus on reducing travel costs would be a net negative not a net plus. I expect travel costs to be a not-insubstantial chunk of the Wikimedia Foundation budget: that seems eminently reasonable to me given the nature of our work.) The point here is simply that when we travel, we aim to do it moderately not luxuriously. The nuts-and-bolts of how we do that are captured in the travel policy, but the purpose of this statement is simply to summarize the overall intent. Thanks Sue Gardner (talk) 18:47, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
So in short yes, you think it's reasonable. :) I don't know if it was: while you do or can know all the details on the alternatives and other considerations, I can't judge — no opinion at all. Given that "reasonable" conveys little, you may consider removing «to incur only reasonable travel costs: the general policy is » and leaving only the straightforward part of the statement.
Ideally (IMHO), we'd include some other criteria, like the impact:cost ratio (which you hinted to), usage of cheapest means of transportation, miscellaneous synergies (dumb example: double rooms instead of single where possible? and other more impactful stuff), with the disclaimer that all this must be applied fairly (see other section on benefits/reimbursements). I have no idea what are the current practices on all this so I don't know where to start, but I'm confident a compact form is possible. --Nemo 00:38, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Hey Nemo, please see my comment in Title and Position (the next section down). Thanks Sue Gardner (talk) 17:29, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

Title or position

«People at the Wikimedia Foundation get the same benefits regardless of their title or position».

  • Who's "people"? Are you including all managers, trustees and employees?
  • What's "benefits" and how do you measure if "salaries" are "fair"? Are you considering only accessories or also the actual wage, before or after taxes, pension contributions etc.?
  • What are you including in "title or position" (or other comparison for "fair")? For instance, remote worker vs. office worker, full time vs. part time, staff vs. contractor.

--Nemo 09:14, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

  • Well, people does include at least all staff if you read further "regardless of their title or position". This should include everyone. As for Trustees, you've got a point, "people" is not clear and should probably be changed to "Staff" when it comes to benefits. I do not believe Trustees get benefits, even though they might benefit from insurance and related stuff when it comes to their work for the Foundation. It might make sense here to differentiate between staff/volunteers or something along those lines. notafish }<';> 14:34, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
To be clear: yes, the statement's intended to refer to all staff, and I can change the word "people" to "staff." There is detail available in the document Wikimedia Foundation Compensation Practices. And for Notafish, yes, the trustees don't get any benefits. Expenses they incur on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation are reimbursed as per the policies, but they receive no compensation in the form of salary or other benefits. Thanks Sue Gardner (talk) 18:56, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
I think Staff makes sense in that context, thanks for clarifying. notafish }<';> 21:41, 20 March 2013 (UTC) (Sue, it's notafish, with a small n, and I'm stupidly particular about it. If you want a capital, go with Delphine ;)
Thank you, Sue, this clarifies the first point: only two left in this section. :)
On "benefits", the exact meaning of the word (or lexical equivalent) varies quite a lot across jurisdictions and fiscal systems, as far as I know, so it's not safe to assume everyone will get what you mean. I understand that reimbursements are a different matter, but it would be nice if they were fair and independent from title etc., too. (I suppose they already mostly are?) --Nemo 00:00, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, in the U.S. "benefits" is generally understood not to include salary (people talk about "salary plus benefits") (it's basically everything but salary). However, that might not be true in other countries/languages. Also, the 401(k) maximum match is a fixed percentage of salary. While the percentage is the same across position, the amount (n% × salary) technically is not. However, it's true this is a fine distinction. Superm401 | Talk 20:28, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
  • 'Staff' is normally understood to mean Employees + Contractors, where contractors are afforded fewer benefits (if any at all). I'd suggest amending to specify 'Employees at...'. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 23:23, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
    • I'd kind of like us to provide fair benefits to all staff including international contractors, but of course jurisdictions make things.... difficult. --brion (talk) 19:01, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
As per Oliver and others, I changed "staff" to "employees" for clarity. I do wish the WMF could provide equivalent benefits to everyone regardless of their official status (i.e., staff versus contractor) but Brion is right, it's very complex. Having said that, I'm pleased we do provide additional benefits to all U.S. employees beyond what's provided by the state. In many/most countries, the state provides the basics: in the United States it does not, and so employer-provided health insurance is critical. Sue Gardner (talk) 17:14, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
Okay I just rewrote this section.
We aim to be careful with donors' money. We pay salaries that are fair but not lavish, and provide reasonable benefits (e.g., health and dental insurance) that are the same for all employees regardless of their title or position. We aim to incur only reasonable travel costs, and to keep work-related entertainment costs moderate.
Purpose of the rewrite is just clarity/simplicity. Nemo, rather than expanding the travel-related part with more detail I made it higher-level. The full travel policy is here, and it's an official Board policy, so if it changes it would be updated on that page. Folks, let me know if aiming "to keep work-related entertainment costs moderate" is clear enough. Again, there is a more detailed policy on this. Thanks Sue Gardner (talk) 17:27, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
It's clearer now, although of course it requires some knowledge to understand what "employee" and "benefit" mean exactly in USA.
As for travel costs, fine to "redirect" to the policy; what about replacing "reasonable travel costs" with "consistent and fair travel costs", quoting the very first paragraph of the policy itself? It's still high level but more specific. --Nemo 14:29, 12 April 2013 (UTC)


«The Wikimedia Foundation wants to be accountable to [...]». Please clarify how the concept of accountability applies here: «responsible for your decisions or actions and expected to explain them when you are asked»[2] (are there processes to be responsible of your actions in front of the readers, receive their questions and explain? etc.). --Nemo 09:14, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Sure, of course there are processes to be responsible to the readers of the projects. Reader surveys. User testing. OTRS. The blogs. The annual reports. The regular publication of activity reports, performance reports, financial statements. Social media. Engagement with charity watchdog groups. Public mailing lists. Bugzilla. Office hours on IRC. Events for donors. This page, and many other on-wiki consultations related to feature development, policy development, and so forth. There are probably lots I am forgetting :-) Thanks Sue Gardner (talk) 19:09, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Most of what you mention is communication by the WMF (or discussion among colleagues), not something that falls under "expected to explain [your decisions or actions] when you are asked": specifically, everything except OTRS, mailing lists, social media and office hours; in fact, I've never heard of watchdog groups and events for donors in WMF (links?), but again are they really people you're held accountable to, who can ask questions independently and to whom you're expected to answer?
Social media are obviously not the place for serious discussions and office hours are only for affectionate wikimedians willing to use IRC, so we're left with OTRS and mailing lists. Would you say that WMF is expected to explain its decisions and actions when asked on mailing lists and OTRS? Who specifically at the WMF, what lists and OTRS queues, and questions by whom (are readers expected to write on mailing lists?)? For instance, wmf:Contact us doesn't offer any such option, nor wmf:Staff and contractors says anything on the topic. --Nemo 14:55, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

On the supposed accountability to readers, I finally got to write down some of the thoughts I've had floating in my mind for a while: Stupidity of the reader. --Nemo 12:09, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

The title of your article is probably volontarily shocking without the question mark or a final "... or not". But yet it sustains your argument: it intrigates the reader and forces him to read and know why it was like so.
In summary, we should value much more the act of reading, and reading more. Everthing that allows a reader to see more diversified opnions, or different ways to seeing any content (including with external references, or by using customizable presentation features and filters, or using other devices, including mobile ones with narrow screens or limited bandwidth) should be developed.
For this to work, we must be able to properly tag our contents by type, semantics, and allow reintegrations with other tools (not kist wikis, byt also RSS feeds, Facebook and Twitter announcements, sharing permanent links, sorting the contents by solid and maintained categories...). This means that articles are not jsut a solid unbreakable "page" even if it structured and shoudl avoid repeating things. Content sharing is also important, and to measure quality, the best tool we have in Wikis is the use of links, templates, transcudable sections, Wikidata, the newer Translate extension, SUL for contrubuting more easily, Echo for following specific topics.
You only talk about talk pages, you were too much concerned by the talkback tool.
We must also teach to readers that want to become editors, that eveything will be commented, positively or negatively by random people even for things that would appear like "stupidity" for the editor. We should not care much as long as we don't give too much importance to these talkback tools and don't promote it as a single way to react in a too visible place when readers will not want to be disturbed.
Is summary, we don't need a single feedback tool, but more integration of the content in places (or specialized sites) where they can react (why not letting readers react on other sites republishing our content, including social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn...?? As long as they respect our licence and bring back thir local community to us this is not a problem. In the old times of the web, there was the concept of "web rings", deprecated now by the use of major web search engines.... and Wikipedia because it is vey well rated by search engines simply because of the wide number of references and enlarged vision of the web, and its very sorted content organized cooperatibily across languages, and international community portals).
The talkback tool was disabled only because it was not cirrectly focused on the same community of readers with the same kind of interests. We still have the "talk pages" separated, even if they are not very well organized and not working as we would like.
But for now our priority is to address the need of readers, and notably on mobile devices. My opinion is that the recent sharp decline in readers is becaue of the fast development of mobile internet, which is the only available solution for poor countries, but also in our largest and oldest communities in developed countries abandoning their traditional PCs (that have already rapidly evolved from desktops to notebooks) and their wide screens to more mobile devices (notably smartphones and tablets). We're seeing now for the first time a radical change of the Internet and the way it is used: mobility, small screens, touch interfaces based on gestures and a radical change of UI design, simplified layouts. The historic time of the horizontal 4/3 screen with typical 1004x768 resolution (rarely lower than that) is over; we use now BOTH screens with wider aspect ratios, with a wide gammut of pixel resolutions and physical screen sizes both very large (HDTV) and very small (pocket smartphones), and a wider range of internet bandwidth.
It's high time to progress in terms of adaptability of the UI. by developing contents that will best fit automatically to the viewing conditions.
What this means:
  • deprecate contents with fixed layouts requiring minimum screen widths.
  • deprecate usage of specific fonts in pages: really separate the content from the presentation
  • implement good semantic web practices
  • better integrating all our wikis (developing cross-wiki transclusions)
  • offering various custom views and experiences for users : the Mobile view in *.m.(wikimedia|wikipedia|...).org is just a beta trial
  • deprecate things like infoboxes and portals that use layouts in tables for creating columns (doesn't work with narrow screens, this is a severe usability problems; even new pages in Meta-Wikis are currently being developed using this very old and really bad design, including the Grants portal and related pages !)
  • facilitate the translation, with less work for page authors: stop assuming layouts that work only in English
  • teach authors about the best practives that work, and let them work more with those that have developed some solutions
  • teach authors to correctly categorise their content: publishing a page (or even translating it) is NOT enough. This really helps organizing the content and keeping it organized and helps monitoring progresses about what is really missing, or how we can restructure it without breaking everything
  • teach contributors about content quality monitoring tools and use them (e.g. broken links and redirects, most wanted categories
  • creating more quality monitoring tools (with automatically fed lists of tasks to do)
  • letting readers know the many tasks that are pending changes (there should be some TODO list for each pagen collecting data from various QA monitoring tools). Most of the time, it will require very small edits, but spread in so many places and nt always feabible by bots (due to ambiguities). Red links in articles (the traditional wiki way) are not the only tools usable for indicating to readers where they could help.
  • many tasks are related to things that have been experimented with success by one or a few authors in a limted scope but still not used as widely as they would like due to lack of time: authors: We need some "mashup tools" to describe the work to do and create lists of taks to complete, just like we have Gerrit and Bugzilla tools to track and organize developments, testing, and deployments. These "content bugtracker" tools need to be more organized than just linear todo lists, or basic lists of comments in talk pages).
  • change the way bots are used: all of them should be using open-source with active feeds of corrections. Bots maintained by a single person, even if they seem to work correctly, should be disabled (even if they are run by "trusted" users or the WM staff...). This includes also knowing what is in their local databases (which should be readable with at least a basic report view of their tables), and opening their documentation page (we should have a WikiBots documentation site, or all user pages for bots should be opened for documenting them cooperatively and not just by the Bot maintainer). Bot authors are unable to document their work themselves, they don't have time and in fact need help (EVERY author needs help in Wikimedia sites! Those that think they can do their work alone are completely wrong and this also include the Foundation staff! And EVERY one needs to learn from others, this ALSO means reading more).
Remember the core mission of Wikimedia: educate. This has always meant a few "professors" and many students, with professors constantly trainining and learning from their students (nothing is definitive, we must also constantly change our "best current practices" with evolving guidelines, presenting alternatives and showing the way we are progressively going to, instead of unnecessarily strong policies that irritate many authors or because of consequences that policy authors did not expect) !
  • teach people that edit conflicts are not bad. They are unavoidable and in fact should be considered more positively as a demonstration that soem topic is very vivid and interest people (readers) or that the initial authors were too much sure themselves about their own references, or did not document many things they know but forgot to publish to give their reasons (those that don't explain their reasons are operating under hidden conflicts of interests).
  • teach those that revert edits that they need to do something else. "bad edits" are not so bad as they think, they demonstrate that things are not correctly documented as they should. Almost bad edits are on fact made in good faith. An unexplained blank revert not followed by some contributing action should be reverted too (for me these blank reverts are just destructive and malicious too !!! Notably against edits made by people that are open to discussions and discussing often).
verdy_p (talk) 16:33, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

Shared power

This section seems entirely useless, in that it lists a lot of minor ephemeral details from the here and now and no actual "principles" that may "guide" any action. --Nemo 09:14, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

The purpose of this section is to explicitly acknowledge that the Wikimedia Foundation works in partnership with a global community of volunteers -- that the Wikimedia Foundation is not the sole or even primary actor in fulfilling the Wikimedia mission, and that it needs to conduct itself accordingly, by creating mechanisms and processes enabling the community to have influence on its actions. Because we are interdependent partners. I think this is a pretty fundamental and important point to make, because in this regard we are different from practically everybody else. (What I mean by that: eBay and Facebook and Yelp may also have a social purpose or utility, but their primary purpose is to make money, and "community members" are a resource to be managed by the company to that end. In our case, the primary purpose of the movement is to make knowledge freely available to everyone around the world, and the Wikimedia Foundation and the global community of volunteers play different and complementary roles in achieving that shared goal.) So I wonder if that's not clear -- if my wording is just mucky. If so, can someone help propose better, more useful language? Thanks Sue Gardner (talk)
The shared power section does mention volunteer "developers". However, I would like to see more emphasis on this. Something like "The Wikimedia Foundation strives to continually increase its partnership with outside developers, project managers, and system adminstrators so we can technically improve the sites together". This is an area where we've had some success, but more can definitely be done. The reason I said "outside" not "volunteer" is that they may be paid to work on something like MediaWiki, just not paid by WMF. The Apache Software Foundation is an example of an organization where many (not all) developers are paid (by various companies organizations), but they partner together to get things done. Superm401 | Talk 20:35, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Hi Matt,
Sue asked me to help her add to the section, and I've made an effort to do so here. I think the "aligned with our interests" piece is an important qualifier.--Eloquence (talk) 21:35, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

United States

On «support successful job candidates in attaining the legal right to work in the United States»: why only USA? What if they want to move elsewhere? --Nemo 09:14, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Maybe this should become "...to work from a WMF office in the United States", in case that's what's meant here. --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 09:44, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Or rather: Support succesful job candidates in attaining the legal right to work in the US should the need arise". Or something along those lines. notafish }<';> 14:36, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Yeah -- you're correct, we also support remote workers when people don't want to relocate and the job doesn't require it. I will reword :-) Sue Gardner (talk) 19:21, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Here's what I changed it too -- let me know if this is clearer. "We aim to recruit talented people regardless of where they live, and depending on their preferences and the needs of the job, we support them in working remotely or relocating to the United States." Thanks Sue Gardner (talk) 19:29, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Does the trick, as far as I'm concerned. :) notafish }<';> 21:42, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, much clearer, thanks.
Ideally you'd be completely nation-neutral and support them in relocating to another country of their choice too, if suitable for them, and you could remove the "to the United States" bit. However, I understand this is an edge case. --Nemo 00:20, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Relocations are done because the WMF feels the employee should be in-office. Up until we open an office somewhere else I can't imagine that spending donor funds moving people to a country 'because they want to live there' would be optimal. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 23:24, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, Oliver is right. We have once or twice had staff who wanted to relocate for personal reasons. We are okay with them doing it when it doesn't interfere with their work (like, if they are moving from one non-SF location to another non-SF location, or if they used to work from SF, want to move elsewhere, and working remotely wouldn't hurt their ability to do their work). But in those cases, when they are moving for personal reasons, the WMF wouldn't pay for the move, and wouldn't arrange or pay for any services related to the move, such as immigration-related legal fees. Thanks Sue Gardner (talk) 20:23, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
I understand this, but I'm convinced that "the employee should be in-office" is only one of the many possible requirements to achieve the max productivity for an employee. Assuming that the only possible relocation one may be forced to in order to work efficiently for the WMF is a relocation to SF sounds bad to my ears in principle. --Nemo 14:33, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

Just out of curiosity, does the WMF pay for the repatriation of employees once their employment ends? --Bence (talk) 11:51, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

Nemo yeah, that is definitely true. Not everyone needs to be in the office, and the people who're in the office don't need to be there all the time. It's definitely true that sometimes productivity is higher if people are out of the office (all the time or some of the time), and that's why the WMF is pretty flexible on this issue. For example, lots of people who work in the San Francisco office normally will work from home if they have a dense session of writing to get through, or if they want to slam through a bunch of code without being interrupted.
Bence, no, generally we don't pay to repatriate employees. There might be circumstances in which we would do that, for example if someone was coming in for a chunk of work with a defined duration -- like, a one-year-contract. In that case we might be open to exploring whether we'd move them here and then move them back afterwards. But I don't think we have ever done that to date. Sue Gardner (talk) 16:19, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

Serving every human being

This section looks weird being 7 sections away from «Freedom and open source» with «All material in our projects is available in free formats that do not require the user to install proprietary software» etc. --Nemo 09:14, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

The emphasis on the development of new features is undue and likely to grate on both engineering staff and community, in my opinion. It is out of step with the custodian role which many individuals in both groups identify with. We should express a stronger commitment to high availability and site performance. --Ori.livneh (talk) 10:29, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Oh ha, Ori.livneh I think that's just clumsy wording on my part. I can see how it's easy to misread, but what you think I said is not what I meant to be saying. I'll revise. I'll also move this chunk up to be nearer to Freedom and Open Source. Thanks to you both Sue Gardner (talk) 19:31, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Also, it talks about these being directed at "readers", and hoping to support them in starting to contribute - but we should probably also talk about supporting existing contributors. :-) Jdforrester (WMF) (talk) 20:11, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
On Sue's request, I've tried to address these points with this edit.--Eloquence (talk) 23:13, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
It's better (thanks, Sue, Erik, and James) but it's still not quite right, in my opinion: rather than rank engineering priorities (features, performance, availability) and then work backwards to explain the values that motivate them (access, participation), I think the section ought to lead with a statement of values, and then explain how our engineering priorities reflect our effort to realize these values maximally. --Ori.livneh (talk) 11:55, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Want to take a crack at drafting something on talk?--Eloquence (talk) 20:45, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
How about:
The Wikimedia Foundation aims to make the material in the Wikimedia projects broadly accessible to all. We work to enable for the world education from, entertainment by, and engagement with our projects' content, and participation in the communities and processes that create them. Ensuring the continued reliability, availability and responsiveness of all Wikimedia sites and services is our first priority. In prioritizing new products and features, our goal is to impact the largest-possible number of readers and contributors, and to eliminate barriers that could preclude people from accessing or contributing to our projects, such as poor usability, lack of language support, and limited access to technology. We endeavour to create the structural support and the necessary preconditions for bottom-up innovation by others. We do not form agreements in which one organization is given access to material or functionality that others are denied. Where possible, we aim to preserve and support frictionless use of the material in the projects, so that people can share it widely and easily.
Thoughts? Please forgive the "power of threes" and running alliterations. :-) I worry that this section is now trying to say too much; possibly split after "technology"? I'm not particularly attached to my wording, so don't worry about offending. Jdforrester (WMF) (talk) 05:54, 22 March 2013 (UTC)


Do you think https://xkcd.com/802/ [3] applies to the WMF? (In particular, the proportions in the two maps on the top right left being zoomed.) --Nemo 09:14, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Nemo, could you clarify which proportions you refer to by naming them? Top right is "Unread Updates". --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 09:46, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Ouch. I meant left, of course. :) Thanks, Nemo 09:56, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Right to fork

Again nothing. Talk:Terms of use/Archives/2011-12-06#Right to Fork. --Nemo 09:14, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Sue asked me to explore some language around this, so I've taken a first crack at it with this edit.--Eloquence (talk) 23:01, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks! Much better. I'll let the experts comment on the specific wording and if it covers all the essential (people would like to have something more than page history dumps, but what exactly is tricky). --Nemo 23:53, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
If this idea is developed any further could someone ping me? I'm interested for obvious reasons. Thanks. -- ArielGlenn (talk) 09:44, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

I think this is covered now by Erik's language, right?

Consistent with the above principles, we support the right of third parties to make and maintain licensing-compliant copies and forks of Wikimedia content and Wikimedia-developed code, regardless of motivation or purpose. While we are generally not able to individually assist such efforts, we enable them by making available copies of Wikimedia content in bulk, and avoiding critical dependencies on proprietary code or services for maintaining a largely functionally equivalent fork.

Thanks Sue Gardner (talk) 20:25, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

Not necessarily. For instance, a list of users is not "content" nor software dependency. This is probably a stupid example, again I'm not an expert of forking. --Nemo 14:35, 12 April 2013 (UTC)


«When we consider the community as a whole, we aim to consider all its languages and geographies and to avoid global initiatives that favor communities speaking only our languages» (emphasis added). I note that you're only talking of how you consider the community; what about «initiatives that favor communities speaking only our languages» in general? For instance, roughly how much of the WMF spending goes on initiatives that favor only English-language people (projects, users etc., readers) or only the USA? --Nemo 09:36, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Right to influence

«Their work has earned [...] financial support sustaining the Wikimedia Foundation [...] and the global community has therefore earned the right to influence the work of the organizations»: it seems that you're stating that the only reason why someone has the "right to influence" the work is that they bring in dollars. --Nemo 09:55, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Mm, Nemo, this is a good point. I was meaning to specifically talk about the financial aspect, but I realize from your comment that it reads wrong --- it *does* read like that's the only reason the community members matter, which is of course not true. I've taken a crack at rewording below, let me know what you think.

These are the people who build the projects, and they have earned the right to influence the development of the platform, and the work of organizations that receive funding from the movement.

Thanks Sue Gardner (talk) 20:32, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

Better, but again the emphasis on funding is IMHO misleading. Also, what is "funding from the movement"?
I think it would be better to build upon that "influence the development of the platform", generalising to any work around the Wikimedia projects (whether software development or other kind of activity); and to replace the second part with "anyone willing to work with or within the Wikimedia movement, of which they are the most important part".
For instance, lettera27 works on WikiAfrica with external funds, and is working with the Wikimedia movement (or is already part of it because it furthers its aims): does this mean that the rest of the Wikimedia movement should have nothing to say about what they do? Of course not, lettera27 should and does listen carefully to what editors and other wikimedians have to say, because they are among those who can advise them best on the work they wish to do on Wikimedia projects (apart from having some "right" to do so).
Which brings me to the final observation: the "right to influence" makes it sound something those "organizations that receive funding" have to live with against their will ("hey, you must listen to me because it's my right, whether you like it or not!"), rather than a cooperation in which they learn and gain something. --Nemo 15:08, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
All good comments Nemo, thank you. I've made some pretty substantial edits to the text to reflect what you've said here. Sue Gardner (talk) 16:25, 12 April 2013 (UTC)


This section says "including employee guidelines". What happened to the public sharing of the Employee Handbook? -- 2001:558:1400:10:456A:2BA3:C990:8D0A 18:49, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

I asked about this recently. It doesn't really seem relevant to this kind of document, though. There's a thread on wikimedia-l, I think, if you want to follow up. :-) --MZMcBride (talk) 21:10, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
It explicitly says "As a matter of general practice, unless there’s a particular reason not to, we aim to publish internal organizational policies and procedures, including employee guidelines, financial policies, etc." I think it does belong here, because what the employees do is relevant, particularly to the donors who are essentially paying us. I agree the current reality around such employee procedures, etc. is not quite consistent with the document. There is some stuff on Office Wiki (a private WMF wiki for employees) that does not need to be confidential. Superm401 | Talk 23:08, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
If only there were someone with access to both wikis with the technical know-how to move the pages. --MZMcBride (talk) 03:53, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure the staff handbook contains (amongst other things) access info to our healthcare providers, and other non-public information which should be stripped. I think that if someone did have the access and technical know-how to move the pages and acted on it, they'd swiftly find themselves losing the access ;p. As a general statement, the document should be moved over - but I imagine they want to get it finished and stable before combing through it to identify elements inappropriate for public consumption (otherwise you end up having to do multiple sweeps). Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 03:58, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
There are also sections which have been vetted by Legal and should not be open for editing by the public. This is one of the problems.--Jorm (WMF) (talk) 23:44, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
The legal team has no issue creating redacted PDFs. They just did for the NDAs. But they shouldn't be releasing documents in this way, of course. I've started some notes at legal docs for anyone interested. --MZMcBride (talk) 06:11, 28 March 2013 (UTC)


"Skillsets" is not a proper word. -- 2001:558:1400:10:456A:2BA3:C990:8D0A 18:57, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Context, "Similarly, our Board of Trustees selection process is designed to encourage representation of different voices and skillsets, rather than recognizing donors or celebrities."
What would you recommend instead? "skill sets"? Something else? (This level of minor word tweaking you can really just do yourself, but I'm happy to proxy the edit for you from the talk page, if you'd like.) --MZMcBride (talk) 20:53, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
"Skillsets" is a reasonable word, but if the IP objects strenuously, we could use "sets of skills", which is rather po-faced. Jdforrester (WMF) (talk) 05:55, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
"Skillsets" is a perfectly cromulent word, even if my spell checker doesn't like it. If you're picky, write it as "skill sets". :) --brion (talk) 18:56, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Frictionless and copyleft

You might want to clarify this does not mean abandoning copyleft. Though not all WMF wikis use copyleft, many do, and there is general understanding of its benefits. I want to ensure people don't come later and start arguing that e.g. all new wikis should be non-copyleft to avoid "friction". Superm401 | Talk 23:12, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Surely by definition, 'avoiding friction in reuse' would be 'copyleft' - it's talking about freedom for others to reuse our work, not freedom for us to reuse the work of others. Which WMF wikis are non-copyleft? Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 04:00, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Wikinews and Wikidata, for two. Copyleft licences are overly restrictive for wider re-use in some contexts. Jdforrester (WMF) (talk) 05:38, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Aha, we're talking less- rather than more-restrictive; my mistake :). Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 05:40, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Duplicate of wmf:Values?

Hi. I wonder if these guiding principles aren't in some ways a duplicate of (or perhaps an update to) wmf:Values. What's the purpose of this document? Is it going to live alongside the mission statement, vision statement, etc.? Or will it end up being a Board resolution? Or something else? --MZMcBride (talk) 04:10, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

It is similar, but more detailed than the values statement. I think the guiding principles are pretty well done, and cover some additional ground. It is worth considering if they could supersede the values statement, but there is some value in having a shorter document too. The guiding principles draft says, "It is likely that these principles will be presented to the Board of Trustees for their approval, at a future Board meeting." Superm401 | Talk 16:16, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, Superm401 is correct. This document isn't intended to supersede the Values document. It's actually intended to flesh out the values a little bit further, so it's more explicit how we live them on a day-to-day basis at the staff level. A word like "independence," for example, is very subject to interpretation, and so the purpose here is to lay out how (e.g.,) the value "independence" manifests on a day-to-day basis, in practice, e.g., in the realm of fundraising, our commitment to open source, etc. Thanks. Sue Gardner (talk) 21:50, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

Free formats

In re: All material in our projects is available in free formats that do not require the user to install proprietary software, can you clarify whether or not this is meant to mean that we will provide every file in free formats and thus not require the use of non-free software to view the file or does this mean that we will not provide the file in non-free formats at all? There seems to be some contention both internally and externally surrounding the possibility of providing non-free formats. I, personally, full appreciate having available to me free-formats, but when all of my devices have hardware-accelerated H.264 decoding, I would prefer to save cpu cycles and my battery when watching videos from commons. Similarly, there are some mobile devices that only support non-free formats and thus we currently do not support those users. -Peter Gehres (WMF) (talk) 05:20, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

We're working on that issue with legal internally... I'm certainly trying to push advocacy for explicit support of multi-format stack as officially acceptable, and would prefer clearer language on this as well. --brion (talk) 18:52, 22 March 2013 (UTC)


It strikes me that there is a glaring omission here. The current list of principles is a good set of ideologies, but surely the Wikimedia Foundation values high-quality content as much as it does the abstract principles like transparency and accountability. I understand that the Foundation does not generally (nor should) directly involve itself in the creation or judging of content on the projects, but certainly one of its core duties is encouraging or enabling the content creation, and one of the core implicit principles is that the content of the projects ought to be high-quality, comprehensive, authoritative, and so on (to the degree such quality descriptors are applicable to each project). To me, it seems like the omission of any principle that actually addresses the content of the projects is likely a matter of something being so obvious it didn't seem to need saying. I think it is important nonetheless, though. Dominic (talk) 06:50, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

I agree. I think reiterating the mission statement might be good here. (Related to the section above about wmf:values, this page seems to be doing a bit of wheel reinvention....) --MZMcBride (talk) 06:55, 22 March 2013 (UTC)


Is being ad-free a guiding principle? Relatedly, is being neutral? --MZMcBride (talk) 07:53, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

On the neutrality issue... that seems perhaps too WIkipedia-specific? Wikivoyage, for instance, has no neutrality policy. It seems like being independent is really the principle here, related to being ad-free, and that actually extends to other things like not being reliant on a few major donors. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 18:18, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

I think being ad-free is something we think is really great, but the relevant guiding principle is indeed independence. --brion (talk) 18:54, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Mm, it's a little more than "really great"; Sue, Jimmy, and other board members have repeatedly stated for the record that Wikipedia will never show ads. So it's not accurate to present this as merely a strong preference; it has long been a firm commitment. (All this not to contradict that the principle here is independence rather than no ads.) Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 22:14, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
IMO a commitment to not put ads on the site is more of a position than a principle. We certainly don't advocate against advertisement culture the way we advocate for free speech and access to information. --brion (talk) 23:13, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. (your first comment did not acknowledge it was a committed position.) Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 23:38, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Independence is the overall meta-principle, but ads come up so often, even today, even after all the times we've said no. I think it's an artifact of our time and place and how every other internet service in the world gets funded, so I think it's worth focusing on ads specifically just to make the very clear point that: we are not the same as google, or facebook, etc. What we show people under our logos matters a lot, and part of that is that no one can pay to control one square pixel of a Wikimedia project page. -- phoebe | talk 00:05, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
Hilarious that I omitted anything about ads, considering I am asked about literally on a weekly basis. Ridiculous oversight, I'm glad it's been caught :-)
How about something like this (also now on the article page):
Because the Wikimedia Foundation does not want to compromise the editorial integrity and independence of the projects, nor risk a perception that they have been compromised, we would be extremely reluctant to put advertising on the projects, or anything that might be perceived as advertising. We do not say that would never happen, because if it was a choice between shutting down the projects and accepting advertisements we would consider doing it, but we think it is highly unlikely to ever happen, and would only be considered in the gravest of circumstances.
Let me know what you think -- thanks Sue Gardner (talk) 21:55, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

Free speech

"Another crack at alternative wording: We aim to balance appropriately between our goal of being active internationally and our desire to minimize legal risk to the projects."

^ I worry this version doesn't actually say anything about being pro-free speech or making information available to everyone. One way to improve our international activity and lower our risk profile would be to censor information for certain countries to comply with local censorship or blasphemy laws, but I think we wouldn't consider that acceptable. --brion (talk) 19:10, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Gah, good point Brion. You're right, it could be misread as supporting/allowing censorship, which of course is the opposite of what it's supposed to say. Clumsy writing. (By me.) I'll delete it from the page.
What about this version (copied from the article page):
In making decisions, we will not allow censorship of our content as a means to facilitate other strategic goals: to the contrary, our strategic goal is to preserve content, and other initiatives must be consistent with that mission.
Personally I never like use of the word "content" so I might rather word it as "censorship of the projects" and "to preserve the material in the projects," but that aside, do we think this works?
Thanks Sue Gardner (talk) 21:17, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

Thank you

I just checked this page because I had a free moment (I am in an all-day annual planning meeting) and I want to say thank you to everyone who's contributing here -- this is a really useful conversation. Some of the language folks are proposing is really helpful, and there are a couple of places where the comments show that the existing language isn't nearly as clear as I thought it was. So this is good. I'll come back sometime over the next week, but please meanwhile continue to develop new needed language through discussion here -- it's very, very helpful. Sue Gardner (talk)

Wikimedia Brasil Statement of Principles

Hi, I would like to suggest also the reading of the Statement of Principles made by the group of volunteers of Wikimedia in Brazil, in 2009, which has nice thoughts and can inspire a little those reading here:

I would like later, when I find time, to make comments on the internationalization section. --Tom (talk) 22:40, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Transparency: lack of IRS Form 990


The text mention we disclose the IRS form 990. The Financial page at http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Financial_reports only shows the 2010-2011 form, thus we are missing the 2011-2012 form which should have been filled last year. Ashar Voultoiz (talk) 11:41, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

This isn't missing, just not there yet. :) The 2010-2011 form (here) was uploaded in May 2012. Previous years have been uploaded in [[:wmf::File:WMF 2009 2010 Form 990.pdf|April]], May, May and September of the year following the expiration of the fiscal year. Forms 990 are not due until the 15th day of the fifth month after the end of the fiscal year, with up to 180 days of extension if necessary. Last year's form 990 is still on schedule with previous years, and I'm sure it'll be uploaded sooner if ready. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 14:38, 27 March 2013 (UTC)


Thank you Sue for sharing and drafting this document in public! Reading the document – while understanding that it is aimed to describe current practice – I was a bit saddened to not see "movement entities" described in the context of partnership and cooperation in achieving the common goals. (There is some mention about giving movement entities money and freedom to do what they want, but I feel this does not live fully up to the mission statement, either in practice or at the level of principles.) –Bence (talk) 13:51, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Hi Bence. Yeah, I totally understand why you would say that -- it makes sense. I've just added this: "In addition to our work with individual volunteers, we work in collaboration with a network of chapter organizations and other Wikimedia movement entities, in our shared pursuit of the Wikimedia mission." Let me know if that works for you :-) Thanks Sue Gardner (talk) 00:58, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks! --Bence (talk) 11:49, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

"Regardless of their title or position"

"We aim to be careful with donors' money. We pay salaries that are fair but not lavish, and provide reasonable benefits (e.g., health and dental insurance) that are the same for all employees regardless of their title or position. We aim to incur only reasonable travel costs, and to keep work-related entertainment costs moderate."

Hi. Is this recent? Was this envisioned when people were planning the catalyst programs? What about benefits as laptops and mobiles, how is the policy of WMF defined regading this? Best, --Tom (talk) 18:39, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

Hi Tom. No, none of this is recent. It's in the compensation practices document, which I don't have time right now to find the link for, but which is linked from the Foundation website -- I think if you do a search for compensation, you'll find it. I created that document in I believe 2009, to document practices that had been generally in place since I started. For things like laptops and phones, it works like this -- we provide laptops for all staff who want them (some I think prefer to use their personal machines) and we provide phones for staff whose jobs require them to have one. Generally, we provide whatever equipment people need to do their work. The equipment's the property of the Wikimedia Foundation, although in some cases when people leave the organization we let them keep them, depending how old (and therefore depreciated) they are. In a few cases when people had reasonably new equipment when they left, we let them buy them from the Foundation upon their leaving. Sue Gardner (talk) 16:30, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
Helpful links: wmf:Purchasing and disbursements procedures, wmf:Duty entertainment guidelines policy, wmf:Travel policy and wmf:Travel approval policy. Thehelpfulone 16:39, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, Sue and Helpful! I will read it later when I have time. --Tom (talk) 16:57, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

Finalizing the Guiding Principles soon

Hey folks -- just wanted to let you know I am going to be finalizing the Guiding Principles over the next day or two. (So, by the end of 13 April.) The discussion can still continue, but if there's anything in the actual wording of the text that you would still like to see fine-tuned, please say so, and please propose new wording, over the next two days. Thanks Sue Gardner (talk) 00:51, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for opening this, Sue. I would like to make comments later on the "Internationalism", but I haven't found time for that. I do think that some reflection with everybody that worked in the catalysts programs (India, Egypt and Brazil) should give some feedback to Wikimedia Foundation to improve that and what were the main learnings. We could even use Global Development page for that. I am really busy (mainly now with two jobs), so I hope I can share an opinion about this soon, although the deadline is today. --Tom (talk) 17:02, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

Shared power 2

The second paragraph in this section begins with the following sentence: "The global community of volunteers select Board members who oversee the Wikimedia Foundation’s work, and the Wikimedia Foundation makes special efforts to share decision-making with them." I believe that it should be reworded to make it clear that community members do not select all ten Board members, but just two of them (the so-called "community selected Trustees"). odder (talk) 19:33, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

Actually, the community elects three out of 10 members of the board of trustees, not two. Bishdatta (talk) 13:27, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

Replace Values

I've no idea why in the end the board made this into a resolution, but for its content (describing current practises more than demanding for certain things to happen) this is still more a "staff policy" so it's not that useful as replacement for that document. --Nemo 13:33, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Free software

As expected, this document is already being abused to push proprietary software. mw:Content_translation/Machine_Translation/Yandex#Yandex_is_not_based_on_open_source_software._Why_are_we_using_it.3F. Nemo 08:32, 10 November 2015 (UTC)