The world's largest photo competition, Wiki Loves Monuments (WLM), is entering its final two weeks. The month-long event, of Dutch origin, is being held globally for the first time after the success of its European-level predecessor last year. During September 2011 more than 5000 volunteers from 18 countries took part and uploaded 168,208 free images (finalists and winners). This year, volunteers and chapters from 35 countries around the world have organised the event. The best photographs will be determined by juries at the national and finally the global level.
Halfway through September, Spain leads the field by uploads, with more than 23,500 files submitted. Poland, with nearly 18,000 uploads, has overtaken Germany with around 16,000 submissions, and France, with 13,000. The Czech Republic and Ukraine (both around 7000), India (8000), and the US (9000) are heading the broader field.
The competition, which is advertised in banners on every WMF site accessed in participating countries, is designed to appeal to the broader readership as well as Wikimedia volunteers. People from countries that do not take part can participate if they submit photos of monuments in countries that are playing a role in this year's competition.
FDC members announced
On September 15, the membership of the volunteer-run Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) was announced. The seven volunteers will look at applications by Wikimedia organisations, chapters, and the WMF itself (the "entities"), to recommend how $11.4M of donors' funds should be distributed.
The FDC is the key component of Wikimedia's shift to a grant-making finance model, aimed at lifting transparency and accountability. To date, only six Wikimedia organisations, including the WMF itself, meet the transparency requirements for previous fiscal years and are eligible to apply for FDC funding of their operations; a further 12 chapters may gain eligibility if they act before the end of this month. The entities' applications for funding will be reviewed openly on Meta, and the community will be able to take part in the proceedings. The seven voting committee members will bring a wide range of experience and qualifications:
Arjuna Rao Chavala is an experienced manager in both the public and private sector, whose term as the chairman of the Indian Wikimedia chapter ends next month. He has degrees in electronic and communications engineering, computer science, and management, and is currently focusing on open-source development.
Dariusz Jemielniak is a tenured associate professor of management, with a track record of research collaboration with Cornell, Harvard, and UC Berkeley. He is a Wikimedia steward from Poland.
Mike Peel is a former chair and the current secretary of the UK chapter. He has a PhD in astrophysics and is a postdoctoral researcher at Jodrell Bank in the UK. He is the only voting committee member to hold relevant office in an entity that is potentially eligible to apply for FDC funds.
Yuri Perohanych has degrees in data processing and economics, and a masters in international law; he is a general director of a Ukrainian NGO. Perohanych has been involved in Wikimedia Ukraine since its creation and is its executive director.
Sydney Poore, from the US, has served on the FDC working group and has been a member of the WMF's ombudsman commission on privacy since 2011. She is involved in the GLAM consortium and was an English Wikipedia arbitrator from 2007 to 2009.
Anders Wennersten is a former senior manager at the Swedish telecom company Ericsson. He has served on the WMF board committees for auditing (2009–10) and chapters (now the affiliations committee) 2008–10. He was treasurer of Wikimedia Sweden between 2007 and 2009 and is now a member of that chapter's election committee.
The WMF board will be represented on the FDC by two non-voting members: expert trustee Jan-Bart de Vreede, from the Netherlands, and chapter-selected trustee Patricio Lorente of Argentina. In case of complaints by participating organisations about the FDC process or results, the two trustee members will liaise with the ombudsperson in looking at the dispute. Susana Morais, an industrial designer from Portugal who has worked in communications, will be the ombudsperson. She will be responsible for supporting complaints investigations and will publish an annual report to the board that documents and summarises complaints.
The durations of members' terms are not yet clear. In mid-2013, the community will elect two additional members in conjunction with the upcoming WMF community-trustee elections. Committee and community alike can review applications for FDC funding from October 1 (master timeline).
These appointments to the FDC give it a wide range of language abilities: native-speaking ability in English, Swedish, Telugu, Bangla, Ukrainian, Dutch, Spanish, and Polish; full professional proficiency in Russian and Norwegian, professional working proficiency in Hindi and Danish, limited working proficiency in German, Tamil, and Malayalam, and elementary proficiency in French. Susana Morais, the ombudsperson, is a native-speaker of Portuguese, has professional working proficiency in English and German, and limited working proficiency in Spanish and Mandarin.
Pending Changes: The first Request for Comment on Pending Changes since May has closed. This one concerned Pending Changes Level 2, a proposed form of page protection meant to be less restrictive than full protection but more than semi-protection. The closer, The Blade of the Northern Lights, found that supporters argued that it may be useful against persistent sockpuppets and may allow the removal of full protection from some pages "prone to problematic edits", and also found that opposers argued that it was too complex, that it would create a new hierarchy among editors, and that it was not preferable to existing forms of page protection. He concluded: "Given all of this, I would have to say the result is no consensus, which would default to not using PC level 2 for the time being. We will leave discussions about PC level 2 until we have used PC level 1 as a community for 3–6 months. By then, we will have a better idea of how PC works, and people can work out a policy and come up with/adjust their views in accordance with that." His full opinion, and a good explanation of both levels of Pending Changes protection, can be found at the Request for Comment page. Attention is now turning to an upcoming Request for Comment on Pending Changes Level 1.
US Wikimedia Federation: Between September 17 and October 1, interested users can comment on the bylaw proposals of the US Wikimedia Federation. The proposed organisation would promote cooperation between subnational chapters in metropolitan areas of the US—currently the chapters in New York City and Washington DC, and the work of non-incorporated groups like the Wikimedians in New England, centred around the Boston meetups. The entity under review, if established, would replace the informal WALRUS committee, which helped among other things to organise the Great American Wiknic.