News and notes
FDC portal launched
FDC under way
On August 1, the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) portal was launched on Meta. The FDC will implement the Wikimedia movement's new grant-orientated finance structure in accordance with the WMF board's recent resolutions (Signpost coverage). As a volunteer committee, the FDC will make recommendations to the WMF board on a $11.4 million budget for 2012–13.
Movement organizations can apply for FDC funds when they meet transparency criteria and have a successful WMF grant track record of at least two years or take part in the annual fundraiser payment processing (detailed criteria catalogue). To date, only two entities meet these criteria – the foundation itself and Wikimedia Philippines – and can submit grant application proposals. Sixteen chapters are eligible in principle but have yet to make transparent all required reports on financial conduct and grants. Twenty-two chapters, most of them recently established – are ineligible under the criteria, in particular the two-year track-record requirement.
Non-FDC funds can be requested through the WMF grant program. The foundation will make its own non-core programs subject to the FDC's volunteer review and recommendation process and will request FDC funds for its own grant program. This program budget, advised in turn by the volunteers of the Grant Advisory Committee (GAC), will allocate $400k in 2012–13 to support organizations and individuals that are not eligible to apply for FDC funds. Other resources available to individual Wikimedia volunteers are the participation support program, which has a wide non-Wikimedia centered scope, and the Wikimania-focused scholarship program, currently under review (Signpost coverage).
The early start of the FDC portal on August 1 drew some criticism due to the not-yet-concluded corrections of key documents such as the application form, and continuing work on other parts of the portal. To improve the community participation process in these efforts, the FDC staff has set up a central input page on Meta, where community members can leave their notes and get responses by the staff.
Volunteers interested in serving on the committee can submit (self-)nominations on Meta in accordance with the FDC membership criteria until 23:59 UTC August 15. The community can ask the candidates questions.
The WMF board will appoint the seven inaugural FDC members and an ombudsperson (nomination page) later this quarter and FDC eligible entities can submit their application proposals for funds until October 1. Subsequent FDC members will be partly community-elected (5) or WMF board appointed (4) and the membership will therefore be extended to 9 members.
- Creative Commons 4.0: On August 1, Creative Commons, whose CC BY SA license has powered Wikipedia since June 2009 (Signpost coverage), announced the release of the second draft of CC 4.0. According to the development timeline, the opportunity for public input – either via the mailing list or the wiki – is open until about September 15.
- New Chair of Wikimedia UK: On August 2, Wikimedia UK announced the appointment of Chris Keating (User:The Land) as new chair, replacing Ashley van Haeften (User:Fæ). Van Haeften had resigned as chairman of the board on August 1 after a call for a general meeting of the chapter was published by the chapter's former treasurer Thomas Dalton (User:Tango) to discuss the handling of the recent ban of Fæ by the ArbCom (Signpost coverage).
- Pilot study on article quality: The WMF reported in its blog on August 2 on the release of the findings of a pilot study on article quality on three Wikipedia language versions compared with other online encyclopedias in the respective languages, English, Spanish, and Arabic. The samples used (22 articles) were too small to allow generalization, but the document by EPIC/Oxford University finds that Wikipedia scores well in the three languages, the English and Spanish Wikipedia, especially, on accuracy and references.
- Springer Images: Wikimedia Germany announced in its July 2012 activity report that, with the assistance of Daniel Mietchen, it is collaborating with Springer Science on how to improve insufficient attributions in the publisher's image archives (Signpost coverage).
- Call for volunteers for the Translation Committee: The Translation Committee, which facilitates translation processes on Meta, has published a call for new volunteer members to improve the translators' network.
- WMF guideline on policy and political association: The WMF has published its new internal guideline on when and how it should associate itself publicly on policy and political issues that are consistent with its mission. The document sets out requirements for transparency in the internal consultation mechanisms for dealing with requests by third parties to the foundation, and the actions of the foundation itself. The guidelines scope is limited to these issues and does not address independent community responses and initiatives in response to policy or political issues.
- New administrator and bureaucrat: The Signpost welcomes our new administrator, De728631 (RfA), and bureaucrat, 28bytes (RfB). This marks the first bureaucrat promoted since March 2012, and the fourth in the last two years.