dinsdag 21 juli 2009

It's all about people, about people who care

The Wikimedia movement, Wikipedia and other projects, is all about people, about people who care. The Wikimedia Foundation is non-profit, with a strategic goal to educate people, to educate them the Foundation is non-profit. To educate people that they also can contribute something valuable, educate them in lcoating the edit button - anyone can edit on Wikipedia and other projects, or, also appreciated, a small financial donation. Without hundreds of thousands of small amount donations the Wikimedia Foundation can't host Wikipedia and other projects.

In the current election season the communities is asked to re(s)elect community members in three vacant community designated seats of the Board of the Wikimedia Foundation. Ting Cheng, elected a year ago, has submitted his candidacy. Most likely he will be reselected. Domas Mituzas joined the Board in January 2008. Most likely he will be reselected. That leaves exactly one vacancy to fill. While the question period is open already, candidate submission will be accepted through through July 27th at 23:59 (UTC). So maybe Kat Walsh will submit her candidacy in the days to come. She microblogged on identi.ca "I'm thinking I will run, though there are a few things I want to do before I put up a candidacy", so we'll have to wait and see.

Quite a few people do care about this election. For example, the election committee, the translation committee, bloggers who comment on the election, like Guillom, Wikizine, and of course Brianna, who really cares about the election, but doesn't want to be a candidate.

Boring as it sounds, Audit Committee work is one of the responsibilities of the Board as a whole. Not every Board member has to be involved in performing the duty, but each and every Board member should make sure the work has been done diligently. I'm happy doing the work on the Audit Committee since January 2007. Currently I'm the longest serving Audit Committee member, and recommitted myself for another season this Spring. I'm a candidate to the Board for a reality check with the community, as I did a year ago. I am happy with the support I receive from community members during the election for the work I do at the Audit Committee. As a year ago some argue that I might fit the specific expertise seat better than another seat. With three community seats available, and with an election in which you can cast votes on multiple candidates, all community members should cast at least one positive vote for a financial literate candidate. Ask yourself: will the current or next board have at least one financial literate member?

Ultimately the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikipedia and other projects is all about people, about people who care, about people building relationships. Building positive, constructive and rewarding relationships between Wikipedian, Wikipedist, Wikimedians, Commonists, Wikibookians, Wikisourcians, Wikinewsies, and contributors, editors and registered users of all other projects, relationships with our readers and viewers, and relationships with Galleries, Archives, Libraries, Museum and Educational institutions. Wikipedia and other projects are disruptive. More than one paper encyclopedia has been put out of business. At least one commerical online encyclopedia announced this year to close business. Yes, we are a risk or threat to others. Others who will feel to be forced to rethink their business model. However, the Wikimedia movement nor the Wikimedia Foundation has anything to win by forcing anyone out of business. Wikipedia Loves Art and Wiki loves art, are good examples of grass roots initiatives and collaborations in complex nets of institutions which are rewarding to all people and all institutions involved. It's fun to participate. All parties grow by not spending money. You really need a financial literate person to reiterate that time and again.

While at the Audit Committee I have seen the number of staff in the office and the dollar amount in expense increase nearly tenfold. A lot of money well spent. In some places we can't avoit to spend a lot of money. Serverfarms and bandwidth for example. And a growing number of paid techies who squeeze maximum performance out a small set of webserver farms while keeping Wikipedia a global top ten website. An one year collaborative strategy process is on going. We don't know the outcome yet. You as a community member will have to provide some input for that in the coming year. As I look back in the last two, three years, some numbers increased tenfold. As I look a head for the coming three to five years those numbers might as well increase again tenfold. The necessity of having financial literacy at the board will only increase not decrease. Keep contributing!

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