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Last weekend the board of the Wikimedia Foundation, the organization behind the free onlince encyclopedia Wikipedia, met in Berlin to decide on recommendations for restructuring (see “Wikimedia Governance: Showdown on the Board” and “Redrawing the Borders of Wikimedia Governance“). Three important things happened at and around the board meeting.

First, Wikimedia executive director Sue Gardner’s recommendation to centralize fundraising and funds dissemination was largely followed. Only four local Wikimedia chapter organizations – Germany, France, UK and Switzerland – will be allowed to process donations on their own when received via the main Wikimedia project pages such as Wikipedia language versions. A new funds dissemination committee (FDC) will decide on how the funds will be distributed and the whole process will be evaluated in 2015.

Second and probably more importantly, the Wikimedia foundation increases the diversity of potential models of affiliation, previously discussed under the label “movement roles”: Read the rest of this entry »

Earlier this year, Wikimedia executive director Sue Gardner proposed to centralize fundraising activities and to move beyond geography-based chapter associations as the primary means of organizing (see “Redrawing the Borders of Wikimedia Governance: Turning the Money Screw“). Her move has inspired severe criticism and respective responses by prominent chapter organizations such as Germany, Italy and several chapters of Spanish-speaking countries. Specifically Wikimedia Germany, the largest chapter in terms of both members and fundraising, invested heavily in a detailed counterproposal entitled “Wikimedia’s culture of sharing: Remarks on common goals, localized fundraising and global action“.

A good impression of the intensity and the front lines of this debate is provided by the comments on a blog post by Wikimedia board member Stu West, where he explained “Why [he] supported the Board letter on fundraising“. The discussion thread also nicely illustrates the challenge of transnational governance, when West is accused of being US-centric:

There is a world outside the U.S. where people act according to different standards and think and decide differently. Our movement has to pay tribute to this fact.

After two months of discussion, Gardner has recently presented a revised version of her recommendations and asked the Foundation’s board to decide on it. The most controversial clause of her initial proposal is still part of her final list of recommendations: Read the rest of this entry »

The Book

Governance across borders: transnational fields and transversal themes. Leonhard Dobusch, Philip Mader and Sigrid Quack (eds.), 2013, epubli publishers.
September 2019
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