2018-09-15 Board meeting

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Board meeting 15th of September 2018 from 10:00 till 16:00, Troonstraat 51.

The coming months we should tackle as an organisation important projects and tasks.

Present Alberto (first part), Anne, Geert, Lionel, Romaine
Excused Robin

Review past meetings

Approve previous board meetings

Both Board minutes of meeting are approved.

Review WMCON Berlin

(Romaine, Robin)

See meta:Wikimedia Conference 2018


  • Romaine published it at Wikimedia Conference/2018 report
  • Robin still needs to publish his report on this same page. A question was raised on the visibility of Robin @Conference?

Romaine talked to the WMF Grant team and to other (Simple) APG chapters. There appears to exist a reciproque fear between the WMF Grant team and the Chapters. Chapters feel threatened and feel not recognized nor understood by the WMF grant team. The WMF ream feels being attacked by the Chapters? The more fear and the more frustration there is, the less mutual trust... Why? Why is there a general feeling of frustration? How could we possibly work together in such an atmosphere?

There seems to be a (growing) conflict between the ongoing and continued attempt to improve the grant process and subsequentially (first) agreement and (later) disagreement about pending and ongoing or closed grants. Grants that previously existed have been abolished. The minimum grant amount of a Rapid grant has been increased. There seems to be a too big delay for granting or refusing Rapid grants. Reports and additional requests /adaptations remain either unanswered, or wrongly interpreted (different cultures).


  • (Simple) APG grant amounts seem to be frozen for years for all Chapters, it appears, due to the pending implementation of the 2030 Strategy?
  • WMF decided not to grant Chapter staff any more
  • Guidelines seem to be missing long term stability. Rules are changing all the time...
  • Changing the rules, moving the goal-posts in the course of the grant
  • (grant) Reporting templates are changing
  • Meta documentation page(s) were set to hidden. Why? Which ones?
  • Too much of the communication is done via e-mail; should be done in discussion pages with proper history tracking...
  • Only 1 single person is treating the Rapid grants (so holiday periods are breaking continuity)
  • Taken decisions are not properly registered
  • English is not the native language for most of us (so continuous source of growing misunderstandings)
  • There seems to be a lack of Foundation staff to treat all the grant requests, and related questions
  • Do they have a lack of (sufficiently) trained employees?
  • There appears to be a huge cultural misunderstanding between the US/Californian and the European country situation/culture
  • E-mail remains unanswered, even after escalation

To solve the problems of large delays in Rapid grants, wouldn't it be better that the Rapid grants would be organised locally by individual chapter budget and staff?

In general:

Due to his occupation with the Grants and helping organising WMCON, Romaine did not follow too many other presentations. One question that other Chapters have as well is "How to involve more organisations?". The foundation seems to like more to share their own ideas rather than listening bottom-up?

Remarks from Alberto: The above seem to be limitations and constraints of large organisations and systems. Conflicts of private institutions against volunteer freedom? There is a minimum need for structure and formalism in an organisation. Conflict with volunteers will always be possible due to difference in viewpoint, requirements, strategic views, personal opinions, etc.

How to do it better?

Bureaucracy will be always there (in some way or another). There is always a tension between the private anonymity against the public movement, and subsequent reporting.

Review Wikimania South-Africa

(Romaine, Robin, AnneJea)

See https://wikimania2018.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania

Wikimania/2018 report: AnneJea, Robin, and Romaine have published their report about Wikimania.

There was a conflict with Winifred, FDC and (Simple) APG, about presence in a room, and a feeling of being threatened? The harassment committee apparently took a single-sided decision without listening to the defenders' version. Another gossip message about "attack against WMF Foundation" was launched. And everything got worse, and escalated amongst the involved parties and participants. Some participants got mentally sick during several weeks because of the conflict.

This is unacceptable.

The Trust and safety team seems to have lost its trust. There is a feeling of a not responding, annoying, unworldly team? The first complainer seems to be more important? A volunteer/dender seems to have fewer rights (than WMF staf)? Assume good faith is not properly taken into account. It was not really a harassment; it was rather an unhappy, inconvenient feeling (that could have been easily settled person-to-person?).

How to make clear the "Safe space/friendly space" rule?

The Trust and Safety team should first talk to the defender before taking a decision. It can never be a one persons' decision without talking to all parties.

Anne: there is a huge opportunity for improvement of the "Safe space" policy. Gender gap, better summary on contributor side. How to make WM events more inclusive for autistic people. A quiet room is wanted/needed. Anne will give a lecture in Grenoble about the subject.

Sunday party on multiple venus; very small room with loud music and flashing lights; not autistic-friendly.

Michelle (WMNL) to create an awareness document about mental overload at conferences or activities. Feedback from Sandra: WMNL does not have this issue (?)

Chapter meetings

Report from Robin, who attended the Chapters meeting at WMCON + Wikimania's meeting on behalf of Geert, is still missing?

[WM-Chairpersons] Invitation chairs’ meeting in Prague 24 - 25 november 2018.

The WMF refused the (collective) grant for the Chair training session in Prague. Therefore all participating countries needs to fund this meeting from their own yearly budget. Geert asked if he could attend the Chairs meeting.

This training and the attendance of Geert was approved by the Board because there is still sufficient Board training budget left.

Subjects for Geert to discuss in Prague:

  • EUR payments within WMF for Europe (all payments, e.g. for Chapter grants and for public donations)
  • General feeling that the WMF is reducing the grants
  • Independent chapter funding. How? What can we do?


Closed projects

We did not hear any remarks on the Projects closed: Wiki Loves Art (2016) and Wiki Loves Public Space (2017) are financially closed, the midyear 2018 report has been filed, but we did not get any feedback. We even did never receive any feedback on our complaints. An e-mail of the WMBE Chairman to the WMF Grant management was also never answered.

The Wiki Loves Monuments grants were only available after the project actually started.

Remaining funds from 2017 are still pending. We assume they will be settled with the 2019 budget? This will avoid additional bank fees, that we incurred when we received the 2018 budget... since coming from a non-EUR WMF bank account.

We would need to have further facts and figures...

Current projects

Wiki Loves Heritage

1355 photos are currently uploaded. Anne and Lionel will look for Jury. Geert is volunteer as well. He has used the selection tool last year.

We need to setup the photo selection process beginning of November. We need to be able to contact the photographer.

The question was raised if we would have 2 separate projects and 2 independent juries?

This was considered to be a very important discussion. Wiki Loves Heritage is considered to be (a single) WMBE project. Do we ask money from external parties? Do we accept external organisations to kid-knap our organisation?

No. Principle: One project, One banner, One funding.

We should settle the following questions:

  • Who is doing what?
  • Who is accountable?
  • Who takes the responsibility?

There is also a problem of scale-ability. We cannot handle each and every region, government, community independently... We are WMBE (Wikimedia Belgium). We are behaving as one single organisation right since our conception. We want to be politically independent at all times. We do not want to interfere with language, or political sensitiveness.

Therefore the Board decided not to split by geography, language, or region.

How do we present it?

One single number one. Technically the photographs are identified in one of the 3 regions. But for WMBE it is not considered as a separate project? We have only one single WMF grant anyway... So we propose to have one single jury for national photos.

If Flemish wants a special price(s) they might need to organise a separate jury? If the Flemish community prefers to give a special prize they are free to do so... PACKED, Onroerend Erfgoed, and the Flemish government can decide how they organise their own photo prize session.

The Walloon region seems not to respond?

Organize the New Years drink in January together with Prize event Wiki Loves Heritage 2017 together with PACKED in Antwerpen because there is an author that becomes Public Domain in 2019? Died in 1949?

  • AnneJea is organizing workshops with Maison Losseau to take pictures of art objects, archives etc. and upload them on Commons; the participants will join the photo contest Wiki Loves Heritage; Anne will organise on the 6, 13, 20/10 an edit session in the museum from 13:00 17:00 (or may be shorter).
  • AnneJea will start again to look for people to make a jury and contact them next month for the photo contest;

Prepare Activities

6th anniversary of WikiData

The wikidata workshop in brussel collaboration with PACKED on 29/10 in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek

See also d:Wikidata:Sixth Birthday/Brussels

A earlier WD session Rotterdam was the triggering example.

It appears the target public are GLAM organisations. Individuals are not specifically invited. But if they come we cannot send them @home?

Romaine will implement a registration process together with PACKED in order to avoid that there would be more than 40 participants.

WikiConvention francophone

WikiConvention francophone, Grenoble, 5-7 oktober 2018)

  • AnneJea has met Pyb (president of WMFR) last friday to talk about the next Wikiconvention of Grenoble and how to make it a bit more inclusive for autistic people (informal talk about quiet spaces)
  • AnneJea is preparing a presentation for the WikiConvention
  • --> a mail was sent to the board about this meeting
  • Location of convention Belgium in 2019: Large university campus: ULB, VUB, other?

Wikipedia training in Ternat for the local Erfgoed vereniging

  • Wikipedia editor training in Ternat for the local Erfgoed vereniging

Pending question for the Ternat student edit sessions:

  • WP sources were missing
  • Students did not include their references

The NL Wikipedia requires more and more references, so editors should comply.


New ideas on activities for WMBE?

Lionel is ready to organize an event before the end of the year in Wallonia but is very disappointed by the lack of participation during the mois de la contribution francophone. Ideas and propositions are welcome but only for online activities or already existing group as student classes, staffs, or other.

Feedback from Lionel:

  • importance of properly announcing events
  • refugies have nothing to do
  • for schools it could be useful to have a Wikipedia awareness
  • Organisations to contact for a lecture: request "open binary" communities to invite WMBE to give a training session instead of WMBE organising sessions

Why was there a low participation in Louvain-la-Neuve? (Louvain-la-neuve) Students have their own study work to do? The interest to do Wikipedia editing is missing?

Writing weeks

Romaine about (to be organised) Autumn Writing weeks:

  • not by region
  • Focusing on a topic
  • Online + remote coaching


  • Hilke (Ternat)
  • SvenDK (Brussels)
  • Geert Lievens, PACKED

Manage the calendars

It is important to have the activities timely planned /published.

Use the Public calendar to publish official meetings.

I suggest to use the Google calendar “Projects” agenda to allocate dates before they are publicly announced, so as to be able to plan future activities (avoid overlap, conflicts, and to distribute the workload).


  • Lionel will rapidly present the new version of kiwix plug installer and make short demonstration. WMBE could right now create a kiwix plug them self. Just providing hardware and SD card and that's it.
  • Could be installed on a Raspberry Pi, which we already have. It would just require another SD card + configuring the Linux distribution.
  • Could be interesting? More info required.


The board

Robin, you are so silent?

Business cards for new Board members. How? Printer? Typesetting? Can we possibly reuse previous templates? Derek? Romaine believed he might still have some layout material? For the time being Anne and Lionel are happy to work with generic business cards.

Board WhatsApp group... Lionel, please join us... we need to communicate online easily.

  • Lionel would prefer to join a open source instant message app to easily communicate with the board and will propose some of alternative to whatsapp during the coming board meeting to make the best choice and will propose signal as best option.

Lionel: centralisation against free initiative. WhatsApp against open source. WhatsApp belongs to Facebook, which is less trusted?

There is a proposal to use Telegram instead of WhatsApp for Board internal quick and short communications. What is the opinion of the other Board members. Would Telegram be a better tool than WhatsApp?

Telegram would be also possible only on laptop.

WhatsApp may be more easily used on a laptop? Just an URL and an (easy) once-only authentication via a simple QR code. For Telegram we would need to install a separate application on a laptop. For Linux yet another one than for Windows. How about authentication/privacy/GDPR?

Collaboration with other organisations

WMNL: Neerlandocentrisme – Our Dutch friends seem to plan for a project to involve more Vlaanderen on WPNL. Geert?

WMFR: AnneJea?

WMDE: Romaine?

  • Collaboration with museums (Alberto)
  • Collaboration with libraries (Hilke, Geert)
  • Collaboration with OpenStreetMap (Romaine, Geert)
  • Chapters meetings feedback (Robin, Geert)
  • EU Policy group (Dimi) – A mail distribution list has been created for eupolicy@wikimedia.be. Current projects? Pending legislation?
  • Still waiting for a reply to an e-mail about OpenStreetMap collaboration.

Volunteer communication

About Interacting with volunteers: Romaine proposed that he writes a "Job description" for:

  • volunteer project leader
  • volunteer support for event organisation

Creating a mail list volunteers@wikimedia.be.

Any (domain security) exception possible? Manually maintain this list? Could be maintained by its current members.

Newsletter layout à la WMNL? More readable than the current be-site Wiki style. Could we ask WMNL to reuse their style (template). How do they produce it?

Interpersonal behaviour

  • How to behave more Autism-friendly during conferences, and collaboration activities (quiet room, Friendly space policy)

meta:Friendly space policies (I would call it safe spaces)

  • Improve conflict handling at conferences. How?

Communication channels about Interpersonal behaviour:

  • Meta
  • Twitter messages
  • Proposel to have a blog to describe personal feelings.
  • Wikiconvention

Relationship with the WM Foundation

  • Status of our relationship with WM Foundation

We are forced to be more independent financially. Projects /budgets are refused/reduced. This is a common feeling that all chapters share.

WMF should be more EUR-friendly:

  • WMF to support EU IBAN payments
  • More easy WMF Fundraising (e.g. support transparent BE e-banking, tax exempts)


Budget review

  • Budget 2018 review

Romaine has created our midyear report to the WM Foundation (meta).

Romaine promised to publish an interim budget review by begin October (after processing invoices and expenses of Q3) in order to ensure we have enough money till the end of the year.

Done by the Chair:

  • Registration of new board members (Statutes update)
  • Registration of our Financial statements over 2017 (Kamer van Koophandel)
  • Declaration of our taxes (RPB, rechtspersonenbelasting)

New legal and administrative rules:

It appears that the law is once again becoming more complicated.

Prepare the Simple APG 2019

(projects, budgets)

See meta:Grants:Simple/Applications/Wikimedia Belgium/2019

Romaine proposes that Geert makes the initial Budget 2018 proposal.

There are few alternatives to search for money. We are a non-profit organisation with a social target. Koning Boudewijn stichting?


See: Internships at Wikimedia Belgium.

Job description of 'volunteer project organiser' required.

See if /how we can engage a first staff via article 60: Article 60.

  • Here is a list of all social center of bruxelles where we can ask for an Art.60 (in french) but that's possible to have a staff coming from all over the country but don't forget than we have to pay public transport. Lionel'll contact all French speaking social center by phone (that's the best way for a first contact and to know exactly who is the good person to talk with).
  • Geert asked input from Flemish government.
  • Lionel will contact by phone French administration in Brussels for getting more information and maybe opportunities before the coming board meeting.

What will be our strategy?

Different regions?

Prerequisites: We would first require an office, budget, and coaching. None of which we currently have.

We do not have sufficient budget. We do not have employees. Other organisations like PACKED and OKFN already have employees. Couldn't we implement a shared internship?

Romaine: collaboration with other organisations require reciprocal benefits.

Article 60/61

Article 60/61 might be a another solution, but is very depending on the target person.

The law is very complicated, and just changed once again the 1st of September.

Frequently OCMW/CPAS people do not have the right skills to do independent work and tri-language translations.

WMBE needs to be registered as a social organisation (which in a way we are).

There needs to be a 13 month assignment, with involvement and evaluation by OCMW/CPAS responsibles.

End of the meeting

Meeting is closed at 16:15. The Chair thanks the board members for their presence.