2022 Wikimedia Board elections: Plus, Form 990, fundraising, RfA and UCoC.
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2022 Wikimedia Board elections

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By EpicPupper, Sdkb and Andreas Kolbe


Wikimedia Foundation 2022 Board elections

A timeline of the elections process.

The Wikimedia Foundation Board election process for 2022 started in April. Twelve Wikimedians have submitted their candidacy, and six members of the Analysis Committee have been confirmed at the time of publication. The Analysis Committee is responsible for evaluat[ing] the candidates against the skills and diversity, equity and inclusion criteria shared by the Board of Trustees. An affiliate shortlisting period will be held from July 1 to 15, and a community voting phase is scheduled for August 15 to 29. To help inform affiliates on the wishes of the community, The Signpost is holding a poll to select a potential shortlist. For more information, please see Community view. – E

Wikimedia Foundation publishes Form 990 for 2020 calendar year

Form 990 is a United States Internal Revenue Service document that provides the public with financial information about a nonprofit organization. It is often the only source of such information. The WMF has just published its Form 990 for the 2020 calendar year, along with an associated FAQ on Meta. Here is a very brief summary of some key points:

The form shows that in 2020, eight Wikimedia executives earned more than US$300,000 in compensation and benefits, headed by then-Executive Director Katherine Maher ($423,318). Five of these eight executives (Maher, Ingersoll, Uzzell, Negrin, and Arville) are no longer with the Wikimedia Foundation today; three of them only served for a couple of years before leaving again. Comparing the data in the 2020 and 2019 forms, Chief Product Officer Anthony Negrin's compensation and benefits rose by the highest amount – from $258,896 in 2019 to $324,916 in 2020, an increase of more than 25%. He left in November 2021, after many years with the WMF.

The number of US-based employees went up, from 291 to 320. Overall salary costs (for US-based and non-US-based employees, but excluding contractors) rose from $55,634,913 to $67,857,675, an increase of more than twelve million dollars.

The highest-paid independent contractors were:

The full set of Wikimedia Foundation financial reports – both the filed Form 990s and the annual financial statements, along with their respective FAQs – is available on the Wikimedia Foundation website. Forms 990 are also available on external sites such as propublica.org. – AK

Fundraising campaigns in India and Latin America to kick off shortly

"32% of your gift will be used to support the volunteers who share their knowledge with you for free every day" – this is the caption accompanying the above image in the email which the WMF says is being sent to Indian donors. The same wording and image were according to Meta also used a few months ago in the Swedish emails.

The WMF has announced on Meta that it will run fundraising campaigns in India (which skipped last year's fundraiser because of COVID-19) and Latin America from May 31 to June 28, 2022, with parallel email campaigns from May 23 to June 20.

According to mock-ups linked on Meta, emails will ask existing donors to renew their support "to keep Wikipedia online for yourself and millions of people around the world", "to ensure that Wikipedia remains independent, ad-free, and growing for years to come", and to "keep Wikipedia online, ad-free, and growing for years to come".

The first email (of a total of three) explains, at the top of page 2, that "32% of your gift will be used to support the volunteers". This text is illustrated with a picture of schoolchildren in Rwanda. Based on revenue of $163 million in the 2020–21 financial year (likely to be exceeded this year, judging by the WMF's second-quarter revenue reports for this year and last year), this would correspond to more than $50 million of donations revenue being used to support volunteers. (The same email text and picture was, according to the Meta Fundraising page, also used in Swedish emails sent out in March 2022.) Total expenditure in 2020/2021 was $112 million (this includes $5 million paid to the Wikimedia Endowment and $68 million for WMF salaries and wages).

A fundraising banner campaign is also currently underway in South Africa (May 23 to June 20). – AK

Most widely attended RfA ever turns on comment about desysoping Trump supporters

Tamzin, a seasoned and well-respected editor known for their work at SPI and in various other areas, was nominated for adminship on May 1. Initial smooth sailing brought a slew of supports, but the RfA took a sharp turn after Ad Orientem asked about an earlier comment Tamzin made, in which they stated "I'd be fine with a rule that we automatically desysop any Trump supporter. I will never vote for an admin candidate who's right-of-center by American standards (although I wouldn't vote against someone solely on that basis)." In answering, Tamzin moderated their stance only slightly, writing that "avowed, continuing support for Donald Trump constitutes support for an oppressive regime, and thus should be disqualifying" for adminship. "I don't think it's unreasonable to judge someone's fitness for a position of trust based on one's impression of the reasonableness (or lack thereof) of their political views," they wrote, but "it should not be the only consideration, definitely not a litmus test."

This response led to a run of opposes; many of them cited an ardent, later-rescinded !vote by Hammersoft, who wrote: "This lock-step belief that a person can't be trusted if they have political views opposing the candidate's isn't just troubling, it's disgusting in the extreme. That we would embolden a member of this community with such despicable views is horrifying. An administrator must be able to be dispassionate in their assessments. This candidate clearly can not be so."

Meanwhile, Tamzin also continued accruing support, and many editors who had previously supported affirmed their !votes. Most disagreed with Tamzin's specific stance, but testified to their quality contributions as a whole, and noted the lack of evidence that their views had influenced their editing.

The RfA closed with 340 supports, 112 opposes, and 16 neutrals, making it the most widely attended nomination in Wikipedia history. At just over 75% support, the raw !vote total fell a hair above the traditional discretionary zone in which nominations are closed through a discussion among bureaucrats ("bureaucrat chat"). Maxim initiated a bureaucrat chat anyway, citing in part "the acrimoniousness of the discussion". The discussants questioned how much weight to give reaffirmations, and ultimately decided 9-to-2 that there existed consensus to promote. – Sd[1]

Input sought for revisions to the Universal Code of Conduct and its Enforcement Guidelines

As announced on the Wikimedia-l mailing list on May 25, 2022, pages have been opened on Meta to discuss improvements to the Universal Code of Conduct and to the Universal Code of Conduct Enforcement Guidelines:

The WMF also published a report (announcement on Wikimedia-l) on the feedback received during the vote on the Enforcement Guidelines, along with what is said to be a full list of anonymised comments users had left along with their votes. – AK

Brief notes

The WMF has decided to stop accepting cryptocurrency donations, following a community RfC on Meta.

Disclosures

  1. ^ Disclosure: The author of this segment !voted or otherwise participated in the discussion.
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So much money for (very high) WMF salaries but never enough for support for editors. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 23:10, 29 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't mind so much decent salaries for qualified individuals, it's all of the money going for PR services that I question. I mean, does Wikipedia have a big PR problem that needs to be remedied? If so, how are they going about this? Commercials? Focus groups?
I also thought I'd see some mention of whether or not WikiMania was happening but nothing here or on the WMF-related page. Maybe you could add some information on this, whether it is going on or canceled or gone virtual? If this was already mentioned in a previous issue, sorry I guess I missed it. Thanks. Liz Read! Talk! 23:42, 29 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm curious where the PR efforts are going. US? India? Waste of time. Indonesia? Might be worth it. -Indy beetle (talk) 00:03, 30 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Liz: Apparently the Signpost didn't cover the March announcement on Wikimania 2022: "Wikimania will take place this year from August 11-14. The conference will be primarily virtual, with support for local gatherings and events where possible." --Yair rand (talk) 00:16, 30 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi! It was partially covered in the Technology report through coverage of the Wikimania Hackathon. 🐶 EpicPupper (he/him | talk) 00:31, 30 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That report is a particularly unfitting place to put one, and we should have included coverage in NAN. Apologies for this oversight. 🐶 EpicPupper (he/him | talk) 00:31, 30 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, the claim in emails sent to donors is, "32% of your gift will be used to support the volunteers". I'd like to know how this figure was worked out. Andreas JN466 00:06, 30 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do the WMF think this is an impressive claim? I imagine people would assume the statistic was 100% minus the server costs if asked. Though I shouldn't complain about them making people less likely to donate, as I'm firmly in opposition to all their fundraising. — Bilorv (talk) 00:17, 3 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Bilorv: There is a little more information on this claim now on Meta. Of course, it is problematic in multiple ways. --Andreas JN466 16:34, 3 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your tireless patience in those Meta comments is admirable, Jayen466. But to be blunt, what I've learned from the WMF response is: the emails are both directly false (32%) and deliberately misleading ("to keep Wikipedia online"). — Bilorv (talk) 18:19, 3 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I wonder if the fact hundreds of us contribute our time, labor & materials for free has ever been considered by Foundation employees who push for more pay. Not that I think anyone should be paid less than a living wage, but IMHO the fact that what people come to Wikipedia (& its related websites for) is created by unpaid labor would make me uncomfortable if I insisted I should be paid more. Even prevailing wage might be asking too much. -- llywrch (talk)

FWIW, "Gluzdov.com, Inc." is usually known as Speed & Function. Legoktm (talk) 04:06, 31 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I could think of a lot more adjectives than 'astonishing', Bilorv. That said, that salary would pay the entire intercontinental scholarship bill for around 300 attendees to a Wikimania, or provide NPP with a complete, desperately needed rewrite of the code of its MetaWiki curation software extension ten times over... Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 12:23, 3 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed. I wonder how Maher would argue that she contributed more value than this per year. She wasn't even the front-facing public representative of Wikipedia—this has always been Jimmy Wales. — Bilorv (talk) 15:02, 3 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]





       

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