2019-02-09 Board meeting

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Board meeting 9th of February 2019 from 14:00 till 17:00, Troonstraat 51.

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

  • Present: Geert, Romaine
  • Remote: Alberto, .Anja., Lionel
  • Absent: Robin

Review past meetings


Approve previous board meeting

The Board minutes of meeting are approved.

Grant 2019 status


The Wikimedia Foundation (Grants team) approved the yearly budget of 15 000 EUR for 2019, with a contingency of 1 500 EUR. WMBE accepted this grant. In addition there is a reallocation of 700,90 EUR from the remaining sPG 2018 contingency to the sAPG 2019 contingency. The funds will be made available before the end of February with an effective start date of 1 February 2019. The grant finishes at 31 December 2019 with an intermediate report due 15 August 2019 and a final report before 30 January 2020.

The grant agreement document has been shared amongst the board.

400 EUR was previously used in 2018 from the 1 500 EUR sAPG contingency.  We have additionally used 399,10 EUR from the contingency budget sAPG 2018 for January 2019 (kind of “voorlopige twaalfden”) because of the delay caused by the Foundation in approving our 2019 grant, resulting in an additional 700,90 EUR contingency for 2019.

The board reviewed the internal payment process and delegated the final approval  of every financial transaction to the president.

Geert made a proposal as to how the financial reporting shall be done.

WMF relations

  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Rights and obligations
  • WMF Chapter contact and responsibilities

Notes to be added into the Foundation/Chapter roles:

About activities that are by funded by Foundation (financial) resources.

Foundation/chapter relations can be complicated.

  • WMF might stop grants.
  • WMF might stop the Chapter agreement.

So, as an organisation we might look into how to get additional independent funding source.

This would allow us also to provide national tax exempts for private gifts.

See also chairpersons training 2018 report: Reports/Affiliate_Chairpersons_meeting_2018

Micromanagement by WMF: full list + scan of invoices and expenses? Insufficient taking into account delegation (of responsibilities)? Efficient organisations implies delegation of command and control.

Google Suite and GDPR



  • GDPR rules
  • Open source
  • Lionel Google Suite versus Open source (ex: https://kolab.org/index.html)
  • Private rights against group rights
  • Board decisions

Open source is important.

WMBE is an organisation with public responsibility. So we can not accept any leaks. And (common) access to information is also important/required. So we can only use tools that are available to all (if possible) of the board members.

Privacy is more important than free tools. Private Google accounts are different from Google Suite (cloud solution). Private accounts can not be used for enterprise administration. Clear and official GDPR agreements between data processor and data owner are mandatory. Google cloud is encrypted, and is GDPR compatible.

Standard tools from Microsoft, Android, and Google cloud are used by most of us, so makes it practical to communicate and sharing of documents and data in a secure way.

Mediawiki tools and web sites are not sufficient/efficient/effective for public communication.

Example: Banks are not using e-mail any more; they are using web banking using the HTTPS protocol for any message exchanged with their customers. The bank sent WMBE last week a (normal) e-mail to tell us there was a new confidential document available on the e-bank platform. Then we could download the document from the secured platform after Digipass authentication. So we can use an equivalent technique with G Suite, keeping confidential documents online and not sending attachments any more. Then we can also observe proper retention periods and ownership. Meaning: documents could be deleted when obsolete.

For info: OVH = French internet provider (academic question: is France more secure/has better privacy than USA based companies?).

Import information will be exchanged with a dedicated e-mail account. Sending of attachments is discouraged because not secure. Rather we should keep files on Google Drive and only send hyperlinks. Instant messaging is only used informally, but can be handy/convenient.

For info: Wikimedia translation with Google Translate to translate Wikipedia pages as an opt-in in “Preferences”. This works pretty well but is limited from EN to FR/NL/DE.

As an alternative you could try the (interactive, standalone) translator https://www.deepl.com. Limited number of (major) languages, but better translation than Google Translate.

See also:

  • Jitsi,
  • Kolab (paying).

Finally, a consensus was established about communnication tool on the board. There is no obligation for a board member to have a Whatsapp or Google acound but the communication with other board member have to be done with a specific email address and not a privet email used for other communication.

WMF and WMBE Strategy


Geert will attend the Berlin Summit from 29-31 March. On 1-2 April there is a train-the-trainer session, and a new board member training (Lionel).

Geert prepared a page WMBE strategy 2019-2020 as a preparation for the Wikimedia Summit in Berlin. This document was based on the WMNL version, adapted to the local Belgian situation.

Romaine proposed that we should take into account the possibility that we might have staff and an office in 2020?

Maybe BeCentral could be a central place above the Central train station. Maybe we can also work easily together with PACKED, Open Knowledge Belgium? We should/could then easily work together with other organisations in that building.

Projects and activities





  • Mois de la contribution francophone in March. At least 2 workshops (to be confirmed) - Workshop in Mons.
  • Lionel is in discussion to lead a workshop in a refugee center.

Open Belgium - Open data - Brussels


Brussels 2 and 4 March 2019

There is a discount for social/non-profit organisation members.

Wikimedia Conferentie Nederland - Utrecht


Utrecht 8-9 March 2019

Geert: Interactive workshop Wikidata voor beginners


Wikimedia Belgium highlights

Geert + Lionel

Wikimedia Summit


Berlin 29-31 March 2019




Berlin 1-2 April 2019


Board member training


Berlin 1-2 April 2019


MediaWiki Hackathon - Prague


Prague 17-19 May 2019

Geert? Pending personal grant request.

Wikimania Sweden - Stockholm


Stockholm 14-18 August 2019


Wikidata conference - Berlin


Berlin 25-26 October 2019


WikiConvention Francophone - Brussels

  • Location, conditions, date?
  • Preparation of activities?
  • Responsibilities of WMBE and WMFR?

The Student organisation has booked the conference rooms on the WE of 7-8 September at the ULB (Solbosch, Rooseveldlaan). There is no cost for the conference rooms. Adelaide and Anne are coordinating.

Hotel agreements or kots requirements in the neighbourhood should be investigated.

150-200 people would participate. Local people would not require lodging. 40 shared rooms could be sufficient, based on participation statistics 2018. WMFR has the required budget for the conference and the hotel rooms.

There are too few (expensive) hotel near the Av. Louise. Sleepwell (center of town) might be an alternative?

Metro tickets by the STIB should be possible. It’s not a good idea to have a coach car between centre of town and the venue:

  • Too costly
  • Traffic jams
  • Inflexible

Lionel as former student of ULB would like to be informed and joint the team for giving a hand;

Other activities and ideas

  • Book "Schrijven voor Wikipedia" - gratis for participants to a Wikipedia training? Could WMBE publish a French version?
  • Museum pass refund for photographers? Via expense claim?

About the Wikimedia ban procedure


WMBE is severely impacted by the ban, without any option to react.

The detailed ban procedure steps seems not to be fully documented.

The right of defense seems to be missing in the T&S steps.

The chapter needs more input in the treatment of the ban. It is not sufficient that the chapter is just informed about the final decisions. As an impacted party we should be heard as well before the decision is taken; not after the final decision.

The Foundation is not aware about or does not take the responsibility for the personal/human consequences and the impact on the (local/national) organisation.

WMBE/NL/DE was not informed about the pending problem.

A ban is not always a good decision; personal social integration is disabled/impossible by the ban.

Making the case public would probably not be a good decision neither since it can invoke further harm.

Providing money (grants) does not give the right to intervene in internal functioning.

The current process of grants is not acceptable because the WMF wants to (internally) control the chapters. The grants administration might have too much power?

To allow for a more speedy handling the Rapid grants might be better handled by national organisations.

Think in terms of processes, not about people. May be the processes are failing because some people are incapable. At the end we are spending public money so we need to be clear about procedures, processes, and reporting.

The Wikimedia Auditing committee could be involved?

Since 2012 it appears that the Wikimedia Auditing committee did not publish any report?

Advice from a board member:

Processes should be documented, complete, and published publicly, according to international agreed best practices. The strategy of each of the chapters and the WMF strategy should be aligned.

The internal auditing team should be built from independent persons, not only from WMF board members. An internal audit should be performed:

  • How the WMF can be trusted.
  • How the chapters are trusted.
  • Are the KPIs balanced and OK?

How are grant requests be validated/reviewed/monitored/registered/reported.

WMF staff seems to have a higher weight than local volunteers? We are all humans?

To be further discussed with Frans & Sandra from WMNL, and possibly in Berlin with WMF representatives.

Management of Social platforms


Anne has been reading and evaluating several social media like Twitter and Facebook accounts of WMBE, and others.

Not all activities that were organised (by WMBE) were visible on Twitter and Facebook. Other activities are only visible on the be-website and the Google public calendar, which is not very handy/practical.

Public communication should be owned by the board.

We need a communication plan.

Having a regular presence on all popular platforms is important for any organisation.

We could continue with the current accounts but we might be required to add additional separate accounts for French and for Dutch.

Anne will make a proposal “Communication plan” with the help of Romaine.

Tweetdeck to manage the different Twitter accounts.

Facebook WMBE Sam@Packed?

Facebook great impact / e.g. invitations to wikithon.

  • Extract of E-mail from .Anja.:
Quote open

I am mainly talking here about Twitter but most of this can be applied for Facebook as well.

Use of social networks

Basically, social networks should be used for:

- sharing and transmitting about: - coming, ongoing and past activities (included short assessments because this is important) and behind-the-scenes organized by WMBE and/or Belgian Wikimedians or Wikimedians in Belgium; - activities/events, contests and initiatives, national or international, (examples : #1Lib1Ref, Wikimania, Wikiconvention, WikiMOOC, events like WikiLGBT month...) - blog posts about Wikimedian projects and initiatives from (for example) the Wikipedian Library, Wikimedia Foundation blog...

- concerning political subjects (those that can have an impact on Wikimedia projects and the share of knowledge, like EU copyright policies currently discussed), I suggest that we should have a consensual agreement among holders account before publishing anything about it.

- concerning questions about editing, this is not our role as volunteers of WMBE to fix the practical editing problems on the projects. That's why I suggest we redirect people to the right place on the projects where they could be helped by (help pages, talk pages...)

Language issues

- I strongly suggest for each channel (Twitter + Facebook), we have one account per language (at least one in French and one in Dutch, and why not keep the main one for English). This is how Wikimedia Canada does.

Why ? - to avoid flooding people by having two or three messages/tweets about the same thing (I admit that really piss me off ^^') OR (for Facebook) having to scroll all the message/look for the right version to read (if available) - have a better target when we talk about coming activities - no need to post a tweet about a only-Dutch event for only-French speakers and vice versa... - even with an FR-account you can retweet an interesting post blog in English for example - with a French introduction/summary

Tips for social networks

- adding adapted images is more catchy ; - there are some better hours to post a Tweet for example ; but it mostly depends on your country habits ^^ - I also took notes about a session we had at Wikimania, but they are on my previous laptop. I will be able to send you next week.

Who as account holder(s) ?

- More than 1 holder per language account would be better - one person can take over the account if the other one is unavailable for a while for example. I don't think right now we have the human resources to have more than 1 people for each account, but let's keep open about some future serious and involved volunteers who could be interested in? I suggest that could be open to any volunteer of Wikimedia Belgium who already has a account and is familiar on the social network s/he requests

- For the Dutch and the French account, a native speaker is obviously better and posts would also sound a lot better. Also we need somebody used to interact on social medias (I do) and having a good knowledge of the Wikimedia projects

- Sharing would not be submitted and approved by another user - I think we are adults and we can make the difference between what is relevant to share and what is not. Of course, publications could be discussed. But that is also why we need to trust the volunteer holder accounts about it.

- I also think that both holders of the two different languages accounts should be very in regular touch to have a kind of coordination for common sharing/events etc.

About Instagram : I don't really know Instagram. I can learn, and I'm interested in learning to study and improve the way we can use it. Good pictures are essential, this is a growing social media in which we should more invest.

Quote close

VAT declaration


See Google Docs WMBE\Administration\Taxes\VAT. 2018-11-20

Gevolg gevend aan uw schrijven van 7 november 2018, bevestig ik hierbij dat onze VZW “Wikimedia België” volledige vrijstelling van BTW kan genieten wegens art. 44 van de BTW-wetgeving wegens 2 - 8° - “de diensten aan organisatoren van voordrachten verstrekt door voordrachtgevers die als zodanig handelen;”

We oefenen geen enkele economische activiteit uit. We zijn een sociaal-culturele instelling zoals beschreven in onze statuten.

Ultimate Beneficial Owner


The Chairman has registered the UBOs (board members) for Template:OrganisationName on 2019-02-11, see: https://eservices.minfin.fgov.be/ubo https://be.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_Beneficial_Owner https://financien.belgium.be/nl/E-services/ubo-register https://financien.belgium.be/nl/ubo-register

As a legal European obligation that is due 31 March 2019 the board has been registered (by the Chairman of Wikimedia Belgium) as UBO because they are Board member of an VZW/ASBL.

See https://eservices.minfin.fgov.be/ubo

The Board can verify (or even change) the registration by logging in with their e-ID.

To see/change the personal registration, connect as a person To see/change the Wikimedia Belgium registration, connect as an enterprise

The board members were informed about this registry as part of the GDPR.

Apparently the administration does not take into account the language of the Board member...

General Assembly


Could be organised in April. General Assembly proposal: at BeCentral (board room Open Knowledge Belgium). Romaine and Geert will talk with OKFN. Cost of room: between 200 and 400 EUR.

Other topics


Letter from a prisoner


WMBE has received a letter from a prisoner in Marche-en-Famenne. He complains that prisoners do not have access to Wikipedia in their cell.

Should we contact minister Koen Geens to ask him what the rules are for internet access for prisoners, and how the Wikimedia projects could be made accessible by prisoners? This could make part of the social reintegration process.

Offline access (USB stick) could be a (preliminary but unhandy) solution; online access would be much better.

Prisoners could even write or amend articles. They have plenty of time? WMBE could provide a training?

Wikimedia (Belgium) has a mission "Engaging people in free knowledge" of providing access to Wikipedia to all -- including prisoners.

Lionel can also install a kiwix système (plug or server) on the Jail.


  • Geert and Romaine are preparing a new years letter to our members, volunteers, and the mailing list in general.
  • Geert will make a proposal of how to collaborate with the Koning Boudewijnstichting.
  • National funding via e.g. Koning Boudewijnstichting.

Astrid Fobelets, Erfgoedfonds.

Projects with KBS Heritage.

Documenteren van Erfgoed, à la Paul Hermans.


WD (Flemish) Lexemes?

  • PACKED activities 2019. New Flemish organisation name? Further collaboration.

End of the meeting


Meeting is closed at 16:50. The Chair thanks the board members for their presence.