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[Wikimedia-l] Open Letter to Affiliations Committee : Wikimedia India's Demand For A Fair And Transparent Hearing
Dear Friends From Affcom,

I am posting an open public request for your notice of Suspension moved at
Wikimedia India (WMIN) which we continue to contest and to our ignored
demand of having a public hearing as shared with you all over mail and
shared again here under Annexure [A]. You have taken an official position
on suspension without even hearing us even once, unexplained accusations
have been provided and we continue to believe Affcom has been
insufficiently investigating facts before making judgements. We repeatedly
over and over again provided justifications over Mail but you never took
them to your notice and only over calls you heard us, provided your
rationale for expectation gaps but never took our oral commentary which
refutes your claims,in any action, anywhere. Now you say WMIN won’t remain
a Chapter after 14th September and be transformed into a User Group.

Republic of India happens to be one of the only few countries where besides
volunteer driven Chapter and User Groups has a full-time staff based WMF’s
Allied Organisation CIS-A2K [1]. Wikimedia India activities [2] may be less
due to no source of funds [3] however, Community Members from India put
their efforts, strive hard to take the movement ahead. Whether it be the
previous financial year or the present, no Wikimedia Foundation Grants like
Rapid Grant, Project Grant etc have been applied by Wikimedia India members
to support any Chapter activity. They remain self-financed. We received
your notice last year when Wikimedia India was contesting a dispute with
CIS-A2K over attribution grabbing for our self-financed projects and
ignoring Chapter at important National level initiaves [4]. While working
with virtually no source of funds and struggles with WMF’s Allied
Organisation, your notice of suspension was the least bad we could have
had.

We continue to contest your suspension notice. It was Suo Moto (on its own)
decision making and as found and re-stated above and below in detail, there
were gaps and misunderstanding in your basis. We also continue to contest
there has been a Rush-to-decision making. No written responses via Mail to
Chapter’s clarification are being provided and invitation for calls are
initiated where brief responses are shared on a Cloud Document. It has been
subsequently found by both parties on there being gaps in communication.
However, even after clarity during call, Affcom has not taken any action
over them.

The basis of your suspension notice has been shared here for the wider
audience.


1.

Legal Structure : Affcom asked Wikimedia India to resolve and obtain its
necessary license in order to obtain funds. At present, as per Government
of India restrictions it is difficult to obtain foreign funding. Wikimedia
India informed the Affcom on roughly 13,000 Non-Government Organisations
(NGO)s [5] are struggling with a similar crisis to which Affcom
responded, “reconsider applying for a User Group.” and “no evidence that
the current organization’s leadership will be able to drive this problem
toward resolution”. Chapter efforts and commitment in resolving the said
crisis cannot be dusted in few words. A Government restrictive policy which
has an impact on 13,000 NGOs and Affcom finding flaws in WMIN Board Members
capability. WMIN would leave it for public interpretation.


Why not a capability audit for hosting zero-budget activities? While most
of the time are being spent on resolving the said crisis, WMIN continues to
undertake activities as listed. Taking the Open Knowledge Movement forward
remains a commitment for the Chapter irrespective of whatsoever political
climate may remain. Affcom was asked two questions respectively in this
regard however no response has been attained. The questions are



1.

Would zero-budget activities, those self-financed not meet sufficiency ?
Please elaborate for us to stand better and to improve upon.
2.

Would resolving Legal Structure and being able to receive WMF Grants be
a necessary criteria for WMIN to meet sufficiency or continued activities
not meet the fulfilment criteria?


(2) Open Governance : Affcom informed Chapter that a member needs to be in
physical presence at the Chapter Assembly to cast vote and raise voice and
asked The Chapter to change its bylaws. This information is anything but
false. This was communicated during the Call but Affcom did not bring
anything in action. Also, as per the Chapter Agreement between WMF and
WMIN, a copy of bylaws was provided in English Language to WMF. The bylaws
were approved by the then Chapter’s Council. No evidence has been brought
to notice on WMIN violating the Clause 7.2 of the Chapter’s Agreement,

“The Wikimedia Chapter shall be required to advise the Foundation of any
planned or actual change in the bylaws or status of the Chapter which might
affect the Foundation or the continued existence or effectiveness of this
Agreement.”



(3) Active Contributor Involvement :The November 10 email carried the
statement, “The chapter lacks broad and diverse membership, community
representation, as well as buy-in and involvement “ and “Membership seems
to be sourced through university leadership rather than through open
community participation and representation.” Chapter till date received no
evidence or logic construction on how the said argument was reached. Later
during the call, Affcom did acknowledge that there has been a communication
gap. Chapter further floated the idea of sharing the Member’s data base
after discussing privacy policy over them.



(4) Capacity : WMIN was able to submit its annual reports on 21st December,
2018 (3.5 months late) due to a notice by Income-Tax department which
caused delay in preparing our Financial reports. Although we do not have
any annual grants or use any money to support any activity, as per
Chapter’s agreement, affiliate is required to submit Financial Results.
Meanwhile, WMIN reported its activities on every quarterly basis and shared
it with the wider Indian community via India Mailing List and also other
channels [6], [7], [8],[9]. Annual activity report is a compilation from
the quarterly reports.



Affcom claimed via Cloud document that no high level response submitted and
repeated delay is not accepted. WMIN informed Affcom that previous delay
needs to be looked at independently from earlier financial period and
suspension notice (WMIN then had a grant), but we received no response.



(5) Organizational Best Practices : Affcom asked us to ‘Resolve’ issues
relating to Organizational Best Practices, however, no information had been
received on respective deliverables not been met. The November 10, email
carried the statement, “There are concerns about whether” referring that
Affcom was also not sure themselves. WMIN shared the best practices after
placing it in front of the community on member’s mailing list for more than
15 days. To this Affcom responded that you are late with your submission
hence we are terminating your contract. They never shared an evidence and
when WMIN took its time placed it in-front of the community and then
submitted, they said delayed and instead of sending their response in
writing over mail they again invited us for a call. We continue to insist
on providing a written response via Mail but no action.



(6) Action Plan : Affcom asked us to submit an Action Plan and we kept
asking what deliverable are needed. We cannot commit on resolving
Government restrictions within a said timeline as more than 13,000 NGOs
struggle with the similar crisis. We emphasised again and again we have
been running zero-budget activities and working for the movement. We asked
them to review Organizational Best Practices, based on gaps we could have
taken things into consideration. They rather said, you have missed the
deadline, so WMIN has to be closed now.



To sum up, Affcom friends, you made up your own decision, you made up you
own hearing and you made up your own decision. It was a monologue masked in
the name of a dialogue.



I encourage you all to be in our boots someday, hosting activities on
zero-budget, fighting with the Government bureaucracy to attain some
funding as a help, the challenge of having a staff-based organisation in
parallel, struggle with self-financing activities and most importantly
working with Affcom to save yourself from their de-recognition threats.



If you believe you are correct, please abide to the request made under
Annexure [A] and put everything in public domain. Let community read for
themselves and decide. If Affcom is more transparent about its
investigation and actions then community would be able to better understand
the work and provide an opinion.


Regards,
Abhinav
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/CIS-A2K

[2]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2019-April/013994.html
\

[3] Foreign Currency (Regulation) Act, 1960 compliance do not permit India
Chapter to receive money from its primary fiscal sponsor, Wikimedia
Foundation.

[4] Board of Directors at CIS, acknowledged in March, 2019 for a compliant
made in August, 2018 for CIS-A2K Staff not doing their duty to the order.

[5]
https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/06/07/democracies-need-a-little-help-from-their-friends/

[6]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2017-July/013030.html

[7]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2017-October/013089.html

[8]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2018-January/013188.html

[9]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2018-April/013295.html



---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Annexure

[A] Reallocating the Affcom - WMIN Communication To Meta : No
communications over email, video call, social media, instant messaging, or
anywhere but wiki! While this would not just be aligned with the editing
spirit, it would promote greater transparency and also helpful for us to
communicate the message to our community members. While, we understand
Affcom had been advocating the same, however, taking care of privacy
concerns, do let us. Once we hear from Affcom on having no privacy
concerns, we may reallocate the discussions.

If there a consent to this, would request a green light also for

1.

Archiving the entire email conversation over a cloud document and
linking it to the relevant Meta page.
2.

Documenting Internet Calls in an attempt to resolve communication gaps
and linking them to Meta page for greater transparency.
3.

Based on Principal of Free Speech, allowing anybody to use the
discussion page for expression of their views.
4.

Any Volunteer is free to translate the text into the language of their
choice.
5.

Upload All PDF sent via Mails to Commons and link them to the Meta Page.
6.

All relevant customs and procedures which exist for any Meta page to be
in action.
_______________________________________________
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New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Open Letter to Affiliations Committee : Wikimedia India's Demand For A Fair And Transparent Hearing [ In reply to ]
Hello,

I do not have all the answers and mostly I want more information myself!

I am sympathetic to Wikimedia India's situation. Personally, I agree with
Abhinav about all these things. I will not make judgements about right and
wrong or correct and incorrect, but for anyone who is just joining the
Wikimedia Movement conversation about India, here are what I identify as
the recurring conflicts between the WMF and the wiki India community since
~2010.

spending money in India without community participation
The Wikimedia Foundation makes large financial investments in India without
being open about it and without getting Wikimedia community buy-in. The
biggest projects rely on paid staff who will not collaborate with any
existing Wikimedia community members.

asking the India community to avoid public conversation
The Wikimedia Foundation continually requests closed conversation about any
conflict or controversy in India. The WMF argument is that discretion helps
resolve the issue. The downside is that lack of documentation keeps the
various Indian Wiki people from becoming aware that the problems repeat
themselves. A very discouraging situation is when multiple communities in
India all have the same problem, and the WMF has asked them all to be quiet
about it, telling them each that they were the only ones having this
problem. If they come to know they each experienced the same problem with
the same request for silence, then they are all discouraged.

cultural blunders
The Wikimedia Foundation makes decisions without the participation of the
local community and therefore makes blunders when trying to do things for
the local community. In a typical blunder, the WMF will spend lots of money
doing something which makes sense in the Western world but which makes no
sense in India. The local community gets shocked by the waste of money and
simultaneously wonders about other WMF investment in India.

If I made one request for intervention, it would be for the WMF to report
all financial and labor investment in India for the past 10 years and going
forward annually. If the money was public then I think all the other
challenges would come into open conversation as well. Here for example is a
video from 10 years ago where Jimbo mentions the Wikimedia Foundation
office in India.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXD1TRGafQ0&feature=youtu.be&t=150
The WMF has a unique relationship with India and it would be helpful that
if there is to be investment then the money should be in the open.
Strangely - at the same time as the WMF is shutting down Wikimedia India,
it is also making a major push to do fundraising in India. This came out
just a few days ago.
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2019-July/014194.html

What Abhinav is talking about in his letter is the Wikimedia Affiliations
Committee suspending recognition of Wikimedia India in September. There are
a lot of good people in the Wikimedia India chapter who report being
disturbed by the WMF's treatment of them. I do not blame the WMF exactly,
but no one can go into a foreign culture and expect it to adapt. The part
about this that bothers me the most is the years of precedent of only
talking about India-related challenges in secret. AffCom and the WMF are
silent about problems. See the talk pages - there is nothing there -
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikimedia_India
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Affiliations_Committee
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Affiliations_Committee/News

Losing a chapter is a big deal! Where is the discussion about this?

What is the Wikimedia community supposed to think, and how are we supposed
to respond, if we hear that the Wikimedia chapter in India is closing but
there are no on-wiki records of problems and no discussion about this?
Wikimedia India is a community of our colleagues, how do we help? Of course
I do not want the chapter to get a punishment especially without public
discussion.

If anyone wants to get involved, check out Wikimedia India's reports and
comment about them on the main Wikimedia India talk page.
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Reports/Wikimedia_India#Wikimedia_India
If they look to be in order then say so.
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikimedia_India
Anything to start a conversation helps.

yours,


On Sun, Jul 7, 2019 at 4:50 AM Abhinav srivastava <abhinav619@gmail.com>
wrote:

> Dear Friends From Affcom,
>
> I am posting an open public request for your notice of Suspension moved at
> Wikimedia India (WMIN) which we continue to contest and to our ignored
> demand of having a public hearing as shared with you all over mail and
> shared again here under Annexure [A]. You have taken an official position
> on suspension without even hearing us even once, unexplained accusations
> have been provided and we continue to believe Affcom has been
> insufficiently investigating facts before making judgements. We repeatedly
> over and over again provided justifications over Mail but you never took
> them to your notice and only over calls you heard us, provided your
> rationale for expectation gaps but never took our oral commentary which
> refutes your claims,in any action, anywhere. Now you say WMIN won’t remain
> a Chapter after 14th September and be transformed into a User Group.
>
> Republic of India happens to be one of the only few countries where besides
> volunteer driven Chapter and User Groups has a full-time staff based WMF’s
> Allied Organisation CIS-A2K [1]. Wikimedia India activities [2] may be less
> due to no source of funds [3] however, Community Members from India put
> their efforts, strive hard to take the movement ahead. Whether it be the
> previous financial year or the present, no Wikimedia Foundation Grants like
> Rapid Grant, Project Grant etc have been applied by Wikimedia India members
> to support any Chapter activity. They remain self-financed. We received
> your notice last year when Wikimedia India was contesting a dispute with
> CIS-A2K over attribution grabbing for our self-financed projects and
> ignoring Chapter at important National level initiaves [4]. While working
> with virtually no source of funds and struggles with WMF’s Allied
> Organisation, your notice of suspension was the least bad we could have
> had.
>
> We continue to contest your suspension notice. It was Suo Moto (on its own)
> decision making and as found and re-stated above and below in detail, there
> were gaps and misunderstanding in your basis. We also continue to contest
> there has been a Rush-to-decision making. No written responses via Mail to
> Chapter’s clarification are being provided and invitation for calls are
> initiated where brief responses are shared on a Cloud Document. It has been
> subsequently found by both parties on there being gaps in communication.
> However, even after clarity during call, Affcom has not taken any action
> over them.
>
> The basis of your suspension notice has been shared here for the wider
> audience.
>
>
> 1.
>
> Legal Structure : Affcom asked Wikimedia India to resolve and obtain its
> necessary license in order to obtain funds. At present, as per
> Government
> of India restrictions it is difficult to obtain foreign funding.
> Wikimedia
> India informed the Affcom on roughly 13,000 Non-Government Organisations
> (NGO)s [5] are struggling with a similar crisis to which Affcom
> responded, “reconsider applying for a User Group.” and “no evidence that
> the current organization’s leadership will be able to drive this problem
> toward resolution”. Chapter efforts and commitment in resolving the said
> crisis cannot be dusted in few words. A Government restrictive policy
> which
> has an impact on 13,000 NGOs and Affcom finding flaws in WMIN Board
> Members
> capability. WMIN would leave it for public interpretation.
>
>
> Why not a capability audit for hosting zero-budget activities? While most
> of the time are being spent on resolving the said crisis, WMIN continues to
> undertake activities as listed. Taking the Open Knowledge Movement forward
> remains a commitment for the Chapter irrespective of whatsoever political
> climate may remain. Affcom was asked two questions respectively in this
> regard however no response has been attained. The questions are
>
>
>
> 1.
>
> Would zero-budget activities, those self-financed not meet sufficiency ?
> Please elaborate for us to stand better and to improve upon.
> 2.
>
> Would resolving Legal Structure and being able to receive WMF Grants be
> a necessary criteria for WMIN to meet sufficiency or continued
> activities
> not meet the fulfilment criteria?
>
>
> (2) Open Governance : Affcom informed Chapter that a member needs to be in
> physical presence at the Chapter Assembly to cast vote and raise voice and
> asked The Chapter to change its bylaws. This information is anything but
> false. This was communicated during the Call but Affcom did not bring
> anything in action. Also, as per the Chapter Agreement between WMF and
> WMIN, a copy of bylaws was provided in English Language to WMF. The bylaws
> were approved by the then Chapter’s Council. No evidence has been brought
> to notice on WMIN violating the Clause 7.2 of the Chapter’s Agreement,
>
> “The Wikimedia Chapter shall be required to advise the Foundation of any
> planned or actual change in the bylaws or status of the Chapter which might
> affect the Foundation or the continued existence or effectiveness of this
> Agreement.”
>
>
>
> (3) Active Contributor Involvement :The November 10 email carried the
> statement, “The chapter lacks broad and diverse membership, community
> representation, as well as buy-in and involvement “ and “Membership seems
> to be sourced through university leadership rather than through open
> community participation and representation.” Chapter till date received no
> evidence or logic construction on how the said argument was reached. Later
> during the call, Affcom did acknowledge that there has been a communication
> gap. Chapter further floated the idea of sharing the Member’s data base
> after discussing privacy policy over them.
>
>
>
> (4) Capacity : WMIN was able to submit its annual reports on 21st December,
> 2018 (3.5 months late) due to a notice by Income-Tax department which
> caused delay in preparing our Financial reports. Although we do not have
> any annual grants or use any money to support any activity, as per
> Chapter’s agreement, affiliate is required to submit Financial Results.
> Meanwhile, WMIN reported its activities on every quarterly basis and shared
> it with the wider Indian community via India Mailing List and also other
> channels [6], [7], [8],[9]. Annual activity report is a compilation from
> the quarterly reports.
>
>
>
> Affcom claimed via Cloud document that no high level response submitted and
> repeated delay is not accepted. WMIN informed Affcom that previous delay
> needs to be looked at independently from earlier financial period and
> suspension notice (WMIN then had a grant), but we received no response.
>
>
>
> (5) Organizational Best Practices : Affcom asked us to ‘Resolve’ issues
> relating to Organizational Best Practices, however, no information had been
> received on respective deliverables not been met. The November 10, email
> carried the statement, “There are concerns about whether” referring that
> Affcom was also not sure themselves. WMIN shared the best practices after
> placing it in front of the community on member’s mailing list for more than
> 15 days. To this Affcom responded that you are late with your submission
> hence we are terminating your contract. They never shared an evidence and
> when WMIN took its time placed it in-front of the community and then
> submitted, they said delayed and instead of sending their response in
> writing over mail they again invited us for a call. We continue to insist
> on providing a written response via Mail but no action.
>
>
>
> (6) Action Plan : Affcom asked us to submit an Action Plan and we kept
> asking what deliverable are needed. We cannot commit on resolving
> Government restrictions within a said timeline as more than 13,000 NGOs
> struggle with the similar crisis. We emphasised again and again we have
> been running zero-budget activities and working for the movement. We asked
> them to review Organizational Best Practices, based on gaps we could have
> taken things into consideration. They rather said, you have missed the
> deadline, so WMIN has to be closed now.
>
>
>
> To sum up, Affcom friends, you made up your own decision, you made up you
> own hearing and you made up your own decision. It was a monologue masked in
> the name of a dialogue.
>
>
>
> I encourage you all to be in our boots someday, hosting activities on
> zero-budget, fighting with the Government bureaucracy to attain some
> funding as a help, the challenge of having a staff-based organisation in
> parallel, struggle with self-financing activities and most importantly
> working with Affcom to save yourself from their de-recognition threats.
>
>
>
> If you believe you are correct, please abide to the request made under
> Annexure [A] and put everything in public domain. Let community read for
> themselves and decide. If Affcom is more transparent about its
> investigation and actions then community would be able to better understand
> the work and provide an opinion.
>
>
> Regards,
> Abhinav
>
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> [1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/CIS-A2K
>
> [2]
>
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2019-April/013994.html
> \
>
> [3] Foreign Currency (Regulation) Act, 1960 compliance do not permit India
> Chapter to receive money from its primary fiscal sponsor, Wikimedia
> Foundation.
>
> [4] Board of Directors at CIS, acknowledged in March, 2019 for a compliant
> made in August, 2018 for CIS-A2K Staff not doing their duty to the order.
>
> [5]
>
> https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/06/07/democracies-need-a-little-help-from-their-friends/
>
> [6]
>
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2017-July/013030.html
>
> [7]
>
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2017-October/013089.html
>
> [8]
>
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2018-January/013188.html
>
> [9]
>
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2018-April/013295.html
>
>
>
>
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Annexure
>
> [A] Reallocating the Affcom - WMIN Communication To Meta : No
> communications over email, video call, social media, instant messaging, or
> anywhere but wiki! While this would not just be aligned with the editing
> spirit, it would promote greater transparency and also helpful for us to
> communicate the message to our community members. While, we understand
> Affcom had been advocating the same, however, taking care of privacy
> concerns, do let us. Once we hear from Affcom on having no privacy
> concerns, we may reallocate the discussions.
>
> If there a consent to this, would request a green light also for
>
> 1.
>
> Archiving the entire email conversation over a cloud document and
> linking it to the relevant Meta page.
> 2.
>
> Documenting Internet Calls in an attempt to resolve communication gaps
> and linking them to Meta page for greater transparency.
> 3.
>
> Based on Principal of Free Speech, allowing anybody to use the
> discussion page for expression of their views.
> 4.
>
> Any Volunteer is free to translate the text into the language of their
> choice.
> 5.
>
> Upload All PDF sent via Mails to Commons and link them to the Meta Page.
> 6.
>
> All relevant customs and procedures which exist for any Meta page to be
> in action.
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:wikimedia-l-request@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe>



--
Lane Rasberry
user:bluerasberry on Wikipedia
206.801.0814
lane@bluerasberry.com
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Open Letter to Affiliations Committee : Wikimedia India's Demand For A Fair And Transparent Hearing [ In reply to ]
Dear Wikimedia-l readers,


AffCom understands the complexity and sensitivity of the circumstances
surrounding the decision to de-recognize Wikimedia India as a chapter, and
we would like to share more information around it. This decision was not
taken lightly, and only came after consistent warnings, including
suspensions of the chapter, and continued attempts by AffCom to bring the
chapter’s activities in line with the requirements for chapter status. We
understand that volunteers would like more information about this decision
and past actions that influenced its outcome. We will attempt to provide an
overview of the factors and history that led to this decision.

Wikimedia India has been given ample time to address their lack of
compliance with minimum chapter expectations since their initial signs of
non-compliance in 2015 and concerns presented to them during their 2015
site visits, initial 2016 suspension, and most recent 2018 suspension last
November. The Wikimedia India Executive Committee (EC) has repeatedly
failed to respond in a timely and complete manner to call requests, annual
reporting timelines, and remediation deadlines for demonstrating
compliance.

It is worth noting that there may be issues related to incomplete
information regarding the current relationship between WMIN and AffCom.
Abhinav is a current WMIN representative, but he was recently appointed to
the EC on June 14, 2019 [1] following the EC’s receipt of the final
revocation notice sent on June 13, 2019. He was not informed of, nor did he
participate in, our communications regarding the current suspension process
before that time, so he has had to rely on second-hand knowledge of the
situation. The remaining four members of the EC appear to have fully
abdicated their responsibility for communications leadership and as such
further confirm the chapter’s lack of capacity at this time.

Suspension notices give explicit requirements for what and how to
communicate with respect to a chapter’s capacity and provide a timeline for
addressing gaps to meet requirements. We’re providing a table reflecting
the most recent suspension notice, the requirements included, and the date
they were to be delivered below for the community’s context:

According to the suspension notice, Wikimedia India was to:

Status

Submit an Action Plan. By January 15, 2019, the chapter was to submit an
updated Action Plan including a timeline with dates for completing the
tasks outlined.

Submitted past deadline.

Received on March 4, 2019.

Insufficient response; awaiting new action plan for potential
reorganization as outlined in April call.

Complete and submit the required overdue chapter activities and financial
reporting. The chapter was to submit the reporting by December 1, 2018.

Submitted past deadline.

Received Activities Report on December 3, 2018 and Financial Report on
December 22, 2018.

Develop a strategy and timeline for addressing the following potential gaps
in meeting the basic criteria for chapter status in terms of Legal
Structure, Open Governance, Active Contributor Involvement, and Capacity. By
January 15, 2019, the chapter was to submit a plan, via email or posted
online, demonstrating how the chapter meets the specific chapter
requirements outlined. If the chapter does not currently meet the
requirements, they were to provide a plan and timeline for how to address
these issues before June.

Submitted past deadline.

Received on March 4, 2019.

Insufficient response as detailed in April call.



Resolve concerns related to organizational best practices. By May 1, 2019,
the chapter should be able to demonstrate that it is following the
Wikimedia Foundation Board’s recommendations for organizational best
practices
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/WMF_Resolutions/Organizational_best_practices>
.

Submitted past deadline.

Received on June 4, 2019.



More information on chapter requirements is also available on Meta:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Requirements

Although the Affiliations Committee has decided not to renew this chapter
agreement, this does not reduce the importance of the Republic of India to
the Wikimedia movement. We regret that this action has become necessary due
to the chapter’s failure to meet the requirements of continued recognition,
as outlined in the table above. We would also like to reaffirm the
committee’s deep and continued commitment to support affiliates in India
across geographies and languages.

As we have previously indicated, all rights and permissions granted by the
Wikimedia Foundation to Wikimedia India in the Chapter Agreement will be
revoked as of the termination of the agreement on September 14, 2019. In
the meantime, we will continue to engage with Abhinav and the executive
committee of Wikimedia India privately until we can align on a public
communication plan and process to transition the chapter from its current
recognition status. We will continue to discuss whether and how we can
share the outcomes of these discussions on Meta once we have agreement
between the executive committee and the AffCom on the best way to do this.

Regards,

Kirill Lokshin

Chair, Affiliations Committee

[1]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2019-June/014128.html

On Sun, Jul 7, 2019 at 4:50 AM Abhinav srivastava <abhinav619@gmail.com>
wrote:

> Dear Friends From Affcom,
>
> I am posting an open public request for your notice of Suspension moved at
> Wikimedia India (WMIN) which we continue to contest and to our ignored
> demand of having a public hearing as shared with you all over mail and
> shared again here under Annexure [A]. You have taken an official position
> on suspension without even hearing us even once, unexplained accusations
> have been provided and we continue to believe Affcom has been
> insufficiently investigating facts before making judgements. We repeatedly
> over and over again provided justifications over Mail but you never took
> them to your notice and only over calls you heard us, provided your
> rationale for expectation gaps but never took our oral commentary which
> refutes your claims,in any action, anywhere. Now you say WMIN won’t remain
> a Chapter after 14th September and be transformed into a User Group.
>
> Republic of India happens to be one of the only few countries where besides
> volunteer driven Chapter and User Groups has a full-time staff based WMF’s
> Allied Organisation CIS-A2K [1]. Wikimedia India activities [2] may be less
> due to no source of funds [3] however, Community Members from India put
> their efforts, strive hard to take the movement ahead. Whether it be the
> previous financial year or the present, no Wikimedia Foundation Grants like
> Rapid Grant, Project Grant etc have been applied by Wikimedia India members
> to support any Chapter activity. They remain self-financed. We received
> your notice last year when Wikimedia India was contesting a dispute with
> CIS-A2K over attribution grabbing for our self-financed projects and
> ignoring Chapter at important National level initiaves [4]. While working
> with virtually no source of funds and struggles with WMF’s Allied
> Organisation, your notice of suspension was the least bad we could have
> had.
>
> We continue to contest your suspension notice. It was Suo Moto (on its own)
> decision making and as found and re-stated above and below in detail, there
> were gaps and misunderstanding in your basis. We also continue to contest
> there has been a Rush-to-decision making. No written responses via Mail to
> Chapter’s clarification are being provided and invitation for calls are
> initiated where brief responses are shared on a Cloud Document. It has been
> subsequently found by both parties on there being gaps in communication.
> However, even after clarity during call, Affcom has not taken any action
> over them.
>
> The basis of your suspension notice has been shared here for the wider
> audience.
>
>
> 1.
>
> Legal Structure : Affcom asked Wikimedia India to resolve and obtain its
> necessary license in order to obtain funds. At present, as per
> Government
> of India restrictions it is difficult to obtain foreign funding.
> Wikimedia
> India informed the Affcom on roughly 13,000 Non-Government Organisations
> (NGO)s [5] are struggling with a similar crisis to which Affcom
> responded, “reconsider applying for a User Group.” and “no evidence that
> the current organization’s leadership will be able to drive this problem
> toward resolution”. Chapter efforts and commitment in resolving the said
> crisis cannot be dusted in few words. A Government restrictive policy
> which
> has an impact on 13,000 NGOs and Affcom finding flaws in WMIN Board
> Members
> capability. WMIN would leave it for public interpretation.
>
>
> Why not a capability audit for hosting zero-budget activities? While most
> of the time are being spent on resolving the said crisis, WMIN continues to
> undertake activities as listed. Taking the Open Knowledge Movement forward
> remains a commitment for the Chapter irrespective of whatsoever political
> climate may remain. Affcom was asked two questions respectively in this
> regard however no response has been attained. The questions are
>
>
>
> 1.
>
> Would zero-budget activities, those self-financed not meet sufficiency ?
> Please elaborate for us to stand better and to improve upon.
> 2.
>
> Would resolving Legal Structure and being able to receive WMF Grants be
> a necessary criteria for WMIN to meet sufficiency or continued
> activities
> not meet the fulfilment criteria?
>
>
> (2) Open Governance : Affcom informed Chapter that a member needs to be in
> physical presence at the Chapter Assembly to cast vote and raise voice and
> asked The Chapter to change its bylaws. This information is anything but
> false. This was communicated during the Call but Affcom did not bring
> anything in action. Also, as per the Chapter Agreement between WMF and
> WMIN, a copy of bylaws was provided in English Language to WMF. The bylaws
> were approved by the then Chapter’s Council. No evidence has been brought
> to notice on WMIN violating the Clause 7.2 of the Chapter’s Agreement,
>
> “The Wikimedia Chapter shall be required to advise the Foundation of any
> planned or actual change in the bylaws or status of the Chapter which might
> affect the Foundation or the continued existence or effectiveness of this
> Agreement.”
>
>
>
> (3) Active Contributor Involvement :The November 10 email carried the
> statement, “The chapter lacks broad and diverse membership, community
> representation, as well as buy-in and involvement “ and “Membership seems
> to be sourced through university leadership rather than through open
> community participation and representation.” Chapter till date received no
> evidence or logic construction on how the said argument was reached. Later
> during the call, Affcom did acknowledge that there has been a communication
> gap. Chapter further floated the idea of sharing the Member’s data base
> after discussing privacy policy over them.
>
>
>
> (4) Capacity : WMIN was able to submit its annual reports on 21st December,
> 2018 (3.5 months late) due to a notice by Income-Tax department which
> caused delay in preparing our Financial reports. Although we do not have
> any annual grants or use any money to support any activity, as per
> Chapter’s agreement, affiliate is required to submit Financial Results.
> Meanwhile, WMIN reported its activities on every quarterly basis and shared
> it with the wider Indian community via India Mailing List and also other
> channels [6], [7], [8],[9]. Annual activity report is a compilation from
> the quarterly reports.
>
>
>
> Affcom claimed via Cloud document that no high level response submitted and
> repeated delay is not accepted. WMIN informed Affcom that previous delay
> needs to be looked at independently from earlier financial period and
> suspension notice (WMIN then had a grant), but we received no response.
>
>
>
> (5) Organizational Best Practices : Affcom asked us to ‘Resolve’ issues
> relating to Organizational Best Practices, however, no information had been
> received on respective deliverables not been met. The November 10, email
> carried the statement, “There are concerns about whether” referring that
> Affcom was also not sure themselves. WMIN shared the best practices after
> placing it in front of the community on member’s mailing list for more than
> 15 days. To this Affcom responded that you are late with your submission
> hence we are terminating your contract. They never shared an evidence and
> when WMIN took its time placed it in-front of the community and then
> submitted, they said delayed and instead of sending their response in
> writing over mail they again invited us for a call. We continue to insist
> on providing a written response via Mail but no action.
>
>
>
> (6) Action Plan : Affcom asked us to submit an Action Plan and we kept
> asking what deliverable are needed. We cannot commit on resolving
> Government restrictions within a said timeline as more than 13,000 NGOs
> struggle with the similar crisis. We emphasised again and again we have
> been running zero-budget activities and working for the movement. We asked
> them to review Organizational Best Practices, based on gaps we could have
> taken things into consideration. They rather said, you have missed the
> deadline, so WMIN has to be closed now.
>
>
>
> To sum up, Affcom friends, you made up your own decision, you made up you
> own hearing and you made up your own decision. It was a monologue masked in
> the name of a dialogue.
>
>
>
> I encourage you all to be in our boots someday, hosting activities on
> zero-budget, fighting with the Government bureaucracy to attain some
> funding as a help, the challenge of having a staff-based organisation in
> parallel, struggle with self-financing activities and most importantly
> working with Affcom to save yourself from their de-recognition threats.
>
>
>
> If you believe you are correct, please abide to the request made under
> Annexure [A] and put everything in public domain. Let community read for
> themselves and decide. If Affcom is more transparent about its
> investigation and actions then community would be able to better understand
> the work and provide an opinion.
>
>
> Regards,
> Abhinav
>
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> [1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/CIS-A2K
>
> [2]
>
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2019-April/013994.html
> \
>
> [3] Foreign Currency (Regulation) Act, 1960 compliance do not permit India
> Chapter to receive money from its primary fiscal sponsor, Wikimedia
> Foundation.
>
> [4] Board of Directors at CIS, acknowledged in March, 2019 for a compliant
> made in August, 2018 for CIS-A2K Staff not doing their duty to the order.
>
> [5]
>
> https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/06/07/democracies-need-a-little-help-from-their-friends/
>
> [6]
>
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2017-July/013030.html
>
> [7]
>
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2017-October/013089.html
>
> [8]
>
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2018-January/013188.html
>
> [9]
>
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2018-April/013295.html
>
>
>
>
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Annexure
>
> [A] Reallocating the Affcom - WMIN Communication To Meta : No
> communications over email, video call, social media, instant messaging, or
> anywhere but wiki! While this would not just be aligned with the editing
> spirit, it would promote greater transparency and also helpful for us to
> communicate the message to our community members. While, we understand
> Affcom had been advocating the same, however, taking care of privacy
> concerns, do let us. Once we hear from Affcom on having no privacy
> concerns, we may reallocate the discussions.
>
> If there a consent to this, would request a green light also for
>
> 1.
>
> Archiving the entire email conversation over a cloud document and
> linking it to the relevant Meta page.
> 2.
>
> Documenting Internet Calls in an attempt to resolve communication gaps
> and linking them to Meta page for greater transparency.
> 3.
>
> Based on Principal of Free Speech, allowing anybody to use the
> discussion page for expression of their views.
> 4.
>
> Any Volunteer is free to translate the text into the language of their
> choice.
> 5.
>
> Upload All PDF sent via Mails to Commons and link them to the Meta Page.
> 6.
>
> All relevant customs and procedures which exist for any Meta page to be
> in action.
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:wikimedia-l-request@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Open Letter to Affiliations Committee : Wikimedia India's Demand For A Fair And Transparent Hearing [ In reply to ]
Dear Krill,



Thanks for writing & finally opening up to the community on this topic. Let
me add some more to this, so that the global community can understand the
actual situation Wikimedia India (WMIN) is in now right now, in a more
in-depth way.



Ofcourse, before going forward I need to mention very clearly that the
contents of what, I am writing below, is in my personal capacity as a
volunteer.



While Affcom continues to claim, India Chapter lacks capacity, WMIN would
continue to contest all its reports are in order (
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Reports/Wikimedia_India#Wikimedia_India
) and let's not forget they are zero-budget.and also self-financed. Your
letter further says that the board had abdicated from communication and
handed over to Abhinav. The board had also previously communicated with the
Affcom on their suspension notice stating it has been on flawed basis and
made in secrecy. What Abhinav has essentially asked is to put all
information in public domain and let it be for the community to review.
Everyone might not know, but Abhinav has been a board member earlier &
everything has been briefed to him with facts as cited in previous mail.
Affcom initially in their private mail and now today continue to ignore
facts on transparency and continue to blame change in communication
leadership



Why can't Affcom reply on facts and evidences and also be transparent ?



To make our global audience more aware on the situation of not-for-profits
organisations in India, I would want them to see this article <
https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/06/07/democracies-need-a-little-help-from-their-friends/
>.



There are truckloads of many more such information, on trouble with the
government. Since 2015, not-for profit organisations are under severe
scrutiny and I myself have had police officials doing check up on me at my
work place. Of course, as volunteers , we are ready to undergo these
hardships, for the betterment of the movement. But when we don't receive
basic mutual respect as an organisation from WMF, that's when it becomes
discouraging.



I was communicating with AffCom since we received the suspension notice in
November 2018 and I was also leading the April 2019 Con-call . I honestly
think that the any communication that happens between two individuals or
groups, goes ahead with mutual respect for one another. When we provide
justifications on mail, they don't reply us and ask us to be on Con-Call,
on con-call they hear us but don't take anything in action and our
responses on con-call remain not documented.



I did not see that respect from WMF to WMIN and I don't blame them, since
they have the other affiliate Centre of Internet & Society (CIS-A2K) , an
affiliate who has all paid employees , working full time on Wikimedia
projects in India.

If it were any other country,where WMIN was the sole affiliate, our voice
would have been better heard better and we would have been treated better.
Our annual reports were only delayed by 3.5 months due to government
bureaucracy which was delaying submission of our final financial results
(although we don't have enough funds, Chapter is mandated to share its
financial statement).

In the meantime, our quarterly reports were in line and also shared with
the wider community. There are so many affiliates who delay their
submission, so many of those affiliates have an annual budget and also
staff, WMIN had no such comfort but still it received this treatment.



I dont know what is the future of WMIN, but I can say one thing for sure
that as a board member, WMIN has been treated in bad faith by Affiliations
Committee. When thousands of NGOs struggle with a crisis and Affcom comes
up with statements, 'no evidence that the current organization’s leadership
will be able to drive this problem toward resolution”.' Why can't they see
that the same Chapter has been undergoing activities in such hard
circumstances without any funding.



Affcom should know that even after suspension notice, WMIN is indulging in
programmatic activities and they should know till 13th September they would
find us working & serving our purpose.


Regards,

Yohann Thomas


On Mon, Jul 15, 2019 at 3:33 PM Kirill Lokshin <kirill.lokshin@gmail.com>
wrote:

> Dear Wikimedia-l readers,
>
>
> AffCom understands the complexity and sensitivity of the circumstances
> surrounding the decision to de-recognize Wikimedia India as a chapter, and
> we would like to share more information around it. This decision was not
> taken lightly, and only came after consistent warnings, including
> suspensions of the chapter, and continued attempts by AffCom to bring the
> chapter’s activities in line with the requirements for chapter status. We
> understand that volunteers would like more information about this decision
> and past actions that influenced its outcome. We will attempt to provide an
> overview of the factors and history that led to this decision.
>
> Wikimedia India has been given ample time to address their lack of
> compliance with minimum chapter expectations since their initial signs of
> non-compliance in 2015 and concerns presented to them during their 2015
> site visits, initial 2016 suspension, and most recent 2018 suspension last
> November. The Wikimedia India Executive Committee (EC) has repeatedly
> failed to respond in a timely and complete manner to call requests, annual
> reporting timelines, and remediation deadlines for demonstrating
> compliance.
>
> It is worth noting that there may be issues related to incomplete
> information regarding the current relationship between WMIN and AffCom.
> Abhinav is a current WMIN representative, but he was recently appointed to
> the EC on June 14, 2019 [1] following the EC’s receipt of the final
> revocation notice sent on June 13, 2019. He was not informed of, nor did he
> participate in, our communications regarding the current suspension process
> before that time, so he has had to rely on second-hand knowledge of the
> situation. The remaining four members of the EC appear to have fully
> abdicated their responsibility for communications leadership and as such
> further confirm the chapter’s lack of capacity at this time.
>
> Suspension notices give explicit requirements for what and how to
> communicate with respect to a chapter’s capacity and provide a timeline for
> addressing gaps to meet requirements. We’re providing a table reflecting
> the most recent suspension notice, the requirements included, and the date
> they were to be delivered below for the community’s context:
>
> According to the suspension notice, Wikimedia India was to:
>
> Status
>
> Submit an Action Plan. By January 15, 2019, the chapter was to submit an
> updated Action Plan including a timeline with dates for completing the
> tasks outlined.
>
> Submitted past deadline.
>
> Received on March 4, 2019.
>
> Insufficient response; awaiting new action plan for potential
> reorganization as outlined in April call.
>
> Complete and submit the required overdue chapter activities and financial
> reporting. The chapter was to submit the reporting by December 1, 2018.
>
> Submitted past deadline.
>
> Received Activities Report on December 3, 2018 and Financial Report on
> December 22, 2018.
>
> Develop a strategy and timeline for addressing the following potential gaps
> in meeting the basic criteria for chapter status in terms of Legal
> Structure, Open Governance, Active Contributor Involvement, and Capacity.
> By
> January 15, 2019, the chapter was to submit a plan, via email or posted
> online, demonstrating how the chapter meets the specific chapter
> requirements outlined. If the chapter does not currently meet the
> requirements, they were to provide a plan and timeline for how to address
> these issues before June.
>
> Submitted past deadline.
>
> Received on March 4, 2019.
>
> Insufficient response as detailed in April call.
>
>
>
> Resolve concerns related to organizational best practices. By May 1, 2019,
> the chapter should be able to demonstrate that it is following the
> Wikimedia Foundation Board’s recommendations for organizational best
> practices
> <
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/WMF_Resolutions/Organizational_best_practices
> >
> .
>
> Submitted past deadline.
>
> Received on June 4, 2019.
>
>
>
> More information on chapter requirements is also available on Meta:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Requirements
>
> Although the Affiliations Committee has decided not to renew this chapter
> agreement, this does not reduce the importance of the Republic of India to
> the Wikimedia movement. We regret that this action has become necessary due
> to the chapter’s failure to meet the requirements of continued recognition,
> as outlined in the table above. We would also like to reaffirm the
> committee’s deep and continued commitment to support affiliates in India
> across geographies and languages.
>
> As we have previously indicated, all rights and permissions granted by the
> Wikimedia Foundation to Wikimedia India in the Chapter Agreement will be
> revoked as of the termination of the agreement on September 14, 2019. In
> the meantime, we will continue to engage with Abhinav and the executive
> committee of Wikimedia India privately until we can align on a public
> communication plan and process to transition the chapter from its current
> recognition status. We will continue to discuss whether and how we can
> share the outcomes of these discussions on Meta once we have agreement
> between the executive committee and the AffCom on the best way to do this.
>
> Regards,
>
> Kirill Lokshin
>
> Chair, Affiliations Committee
>
> [1]
>
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2019-June/014128.html
>
> On Sun, Jul 7, 2019 at 4:50 AM Abhinav srivastava <abhinav619@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Dear Friends From Affcom,
> >
> > I am posting an open public request for your notice of Suspension moved
> at
> > Wikimedia India (WMIN) which we continue to contest and to our ignored
> > demand of having a public hearing as shared with you all over mail and
> > shared again here under Annexure [A]. You have taken an official position
> > on suspension without even hearing us even once, unexplained accusations
> > have been provided and we continue to believe Affcom has been
> > insufficiently investigating facts before making judgements. We
> repeatedly
> > over and over again provided justifications over Mail but you never took
> > them to your notice and only over calls you heard us, provided your
> > rationale for expectation gaps but never took our oral commentary which
> > refutes your claims,in any action, anywhere. Now you say WMIN won’t
> remain
> > a Chapter after 14th September and be transformed into a User Group.
> >
> > Republic of India happens to be one of the only few countries where
> besides
> > volunteer driven Chapter and User Groups has a full-time staff based
> WMF’s
> > Allied Organisation CIS-A2K [1]. Wikimedia India activities [2] may be
> less
> > due to no source of funds [3] however, Community Members from India put
> > their efforts, strive hard to take the movement ahead. Whether it be the
> > previous financial year or the present, no Wikimedia Foundation Grants
> like
> > Rapid Grant, Project Grant etc have been applied by Wikimedia India
> members
> > to support any Chapter activity. They remain self-financed. We received
> > your notice last year when Wikimedia India was contesting a dispute with
> > CIS-A2K over attribution grabbing for our self-financed projects and
> > ignoring Chapter at important National level initiaves [4]. While working
> > with virtually no source of funds and struggles with WMF’s Allied
> > Organisation, your notice of suspension was the least bad we could have
> > had.
> >
> > We continue to contest your suspension notice. It was Suo Moto (on its
> own)
> > decision making and as found and re-stated above and below in detail,
> there
> > were gaps and misunderstanding in your basis. We also continue to contest
> > there has been a Rush-to-decision making. No written responses via Mail
> to
> > Chapter’s clarification are being provided and invitation for calls are
> > initiated where brief responses are shared on a Cloud Document. It has
> been
> > subsequently found by both parties on there being gaps in communication.
> > However, even after clarity during call, Affcom has not taken any action
> > over them.
> >
> > The basis of your suspension notice has been shared here for the wider
> > audience.
> >
> >
> > 1.
> >
> > Legal Structure : Affcom asked Wikimedia India to resolve and obtain
> its
> > necessary license in order to obtain funds. At present, as per
> > Government
> > of India restrictions it is difficult to obtain foreign funding.
> > Wikimedia
> > India informed the Affcom on roughly 13,000 Non-Government
> Organisations
> > (NGO)s [5] are struggling with a similar crisis to which Affcom
> > responded, “reconsider applying for a User Group.” and “no evidence
> that
> > the current organization’s leadership will be able to drive this
> problem
> > toward resolution”. Chapter efforts and commitment in resolving the
> said
> > crisis cannot be dusted in few words. A Government restrictive policy
> > which
> > has an impact on 13,000 NGOs and Affcom finding flaws in WMIN Board
> > Members
> > capability. WMIN would leave it for public interpretation.
> >
> >
> > Why not a capability audit for hosting zero-budget activities? While most
> > of the time are being spent on resolving the said crisis, WMIN continues
> to
> > undertake activities as listed. Taking the Open Knowledge Movement
> forward
> > remains a commitment for the Chapter irrespective of whatsoever political
> > climate may remain. Affcom was asked two questions respectively in this
> > regard however no response has been attained. The questions are
> >
> >
> >
> > 1.
> >
> > Would zero-budget activities, those self-financed not meet
> sufficiency ?
> > Please elaborate for us to stand better and to improve upon.
> > 2.
> >
> > Would resolving Legal Structure and being able to receive WMF Grants
> be
> > a necessary criteria for WMIN to meet sufficiency or continued
> > activities
> > not meet the fulfilment criteria?
> >
> >
> > (2) Open Governance : Affcom informed Chapter that a member needs to be
> in
> > physical presence at the Chapter Assembly to cast vote and raise voice
> and
> > asked The Chapter to change its bylaws. This information is anything but
> > false. This was communicated during the Call but Affcom did not bring
> > anything in action. Also, as per the Chapter Agreement between WMF and
> > WMIN, a copy of bylaws was provided in English Language to WMF. The
> bylaws
> > were approved by the then Chapter’s Council. No evidence has been brought
> > to notice on WMIN violating the Clause 7.2 of the Chapter’s Agreement,
> >
> > “The Wikimedia Chapter shall be required to advise the Foundation of any
> > planned or actual change in the bylaws or status of the Chapter which
> might
> > affect the Foundation or the continued existence or effectiveness of this
> > Agreement.”
> >
> >
> >
> > (3) Active Contributor Involvement :The November 10 email carried the
> > statement, “The chapter lacks broad and diverse membership, community
> > representation, as well as buy-in and involvement “ and “Membership seems
> > to be sourced through university leadership rather than through open
> > community participation and representation.” Chapter till date received
> no
> > evidence or logic construction on how the said argument was reached.
> Later
> > during the call, Affcom did acknowledge that there has been a
> communication
> > gap. Chapter further floated the idea of sharing the Member’s data base
> > after discussing privacy policy over them.
> >
> >
> >
> > (4) Capacity : WMIN was able to submit its annual reports on 21st
> December,
> > 2018 (3.5 months late) due to a notice by Income-Tax department which
> > caused delay in preparing our Financial reports. Although we do not have
> > any annual grants or use any money to support any activity, as per
> > Chapter’s agreement, affiliate is required to submit Financial Results.
> > Meanwhile, WMIN reported its activities on every quarterly basis and
> shared
> > it with the wider Indian community via India Mailing List and also other
> > channels [6], [7], [8],[9]. Annual activity report is a compilation from
> > the quarterly reports.
> >
> >
> >
> > Affcom claimed via Cloud document that no high level response submitted
> and
> > repeated delay is not accepted. WMIN informed Affcom that previous delay
> > needs to be looked at independently from earlier financial period and
> > suspension notice (WMIN then had a grant), but we received no response.
> >
> >
> >
> > (5) Organizational Best Practices : Affcom asked us to ‘Resolve’ issues
> > relating to Organizational Best Practices, however, no information had
> been
> > received on respective deliverables not been met. The November 10, email
> > carried the statement, “There are concerns about whether” referring that
> > Affcom was also not sure themselves. WMIN shared the best practices after
> > placing it in front of the community on member’s mailing list for more
> than
> > 15 days. To this Affcom responded that you are late with your submission
> > hence we are terminating your contract. They never shared an evidence and
> > when WMIN took its time placed it in-front of the community and then
> > submitted, they said delayed and instead of sending their response in
> > writing over mail they again invited us for a call. We continue to insist
> > on providing a written response via Mail but no action.
> >
> >
> >
> > (6) Action Plan : Affcom asked us to submit an Action Plan and we kept
> > asking what deliverable are needed. We cannot commit on resolving
> > Government restrictions within a said timeline as more than 13,000 NGOs
> > struggle with the similar crisis. We emphasised again and again we have
> > been running zero-budget activities and working for the movement. We
> asked
> > them to review Organizational Best Practices, based on gaps we could have
> > taken things into consideration. They rather said, you have missed the
> > deadline, so WMIN has to be closed now.
> >
> >
> >
> > To sum up, Affcom friends, you made up your own decision, you made up you
> > own hearing and you made up your own decision. It was a monologue masked
> in
> > the name of a dialogue.
> >
> >
> >
> > I encourage you all to be in our boots someday, hosting activities on
> > zero-budget, fighting with the Government bureaucracy to attain some
> > funding as a help, the challenge of having a staff-based organisation in
> > parallel, struggle with self-financing activities and most importantly
> > working with Affcom to save yourself from their de-recognition threats.
> >
> >
> >
> > If you believe you are correct, please abide to the request made under
> > Annexure [A] and put everything in public domain. Let community read for
> > themselves and decide. If Affcom is more transparent about its
> > investigation and actions then community would be able to better
> understand
> > the work and provide an opinion.
> >
> >
> > Regards,
> > Abhinav
> >
> >
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > [1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/CIS-A2K
> >
> > [2]
> >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2019-April/013994.html
> > \
> >
> > [3] Foreign Currency (Regulation) Act, 1960 compliance do not permit
> India
> > Chapter to receive money from its primary fiscal sponsor, Wikimedia
> > Foundation.
> >
> > [4] Board of Directors at CIS, acknowledged in March, 2019 for a
> compliant
> > made in August, 2018 for CIS-A2K Staff not doing their duty to the order.
> >
> > [5]
> >
> >
> https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/06/07/democracies-need-a-little-help-from-their-friends/
> >
> > [6]
> >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2017-July/013030.html
> >
> > [7]
> >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2017-October/013089.html
> >
> > [8]
> >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2018-January/013188.html
> >
> > [9]
> >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2018-April/013295.html
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > Annexure
> >
> > [A] Reallocating the Affcom - WMIN Communication To Meta : No
> > communications over email, video call, social media, instant messaging,
> or
> > anywhere but wiki! While this would not just be aligned with the editing
> > spirit, it would promote greater transparency and also helpful for us to
> > communicate the message to our community members. While, we understand
> > Affcom had been advocating the same, however, taking care of privacy
> > concerns, do let us. Once we hear from Affcom on having no privacy
> > concerns, we may reallocate the discussions.
> >
> > If there a consent to this, would request a green light also for
> >
> > 1.
> >
> > Archiving the entire email conversation over a cloud document and
> > linking it to the relevant Meta page.
> > 2.
> >
> > Documenting Internet Calls in an attempt to resolve communication gaps
> > and linking them to Meta page for greater transparency.
> > 3.
> >
> > Based on Principal of Free Speech, allowing anybody to use the
> > discussion page for expression of their views.
> > 4.
> >
> > Any Volunteer is free to translate the text into the language of their
> > choice.
> > 5.
> >
> > Upload All PDF sent via Mails to Commons and link them to the Meta
> Page.
> > 6.
> >
> > All relevant customs and procedures which exist for any Meta page to
> be
> > in action.
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:wikimedia-l-request@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Open Letter to Affiliations Committee : Wikimedia India's Demand For A Fair And Transparent Hearing [ In reply to ]
Thank you Kirill for outlining the procedural component. That is helpful,
and paints a better picture. I know Affcom us always balancing in a tough
position, not only between interests but also between different levels of
transparency expectations.

The piece of information that I'm struggling to extract/find without
interpreting and reading between the lines (which I prefer not to do in
such a complex case), is what the underlying complaints/findings were. I
understand that there were reporting violations - but I also read something
about capacity issues.

I think it would be at the very least helpful to the wider community to
better understand that component. Could you spell out in a bit more detail
what those capacity concerns were, and what other findings may have
existed? This may especially be helpful to the India community, as it would
be especially hard to address the issues without a full understanding.

Thank you!

Warmly,
Lodewijk

On Mon, Jul 15, 2019 at 3:03 AM Kirill Lokshin <kirill.lokshin@gmail.com>
wrote:

> Dear Wikimedia-l readers,
>
>
> AffCom understands the complexity and sensitivity of the circumstances
> surrounding the decision to de-recognize Wikimedia India as a chapter, and
> we would like to share more information around it. This decision was not
> taken lightly, and only came after consistent warnings, including
> suspensions of the chapter, and continued attempts by AffCom to bring the
> chapter’s activities in line with the requirements for chapter status. We
> understand that volunteers would like more information about this decision
> and past actions that influenced its outcome. We will attempt to provide an
> overview of the factors and history that led to this decision.
>
> Wikimedia India has been given ample time to address their lack of
> compliance with minimum chapter expectations since their initial signs of
> non-compliance in 2015 and concerns presented to them during their 2015
> site visits, initial 2016 suspension, and most recent 2018 suspension last
> November. The Wikimedia India Executive Committee (EC) has repeatedly
> failed to respond in a timely and complete manner to call requests, annual
> reporting timelines, and remediation deadlines for demonstrating
> compliance.
>
> It is worth noting that there may be issues related to incomplete
> information regarding the current relationship between WMIN and AffCom.
> Abhinav is a current WMIN representative, but he was recently appointed to
> the EC on June 14, 2019 [1] following the EC’s receipt of the final
> revocation notice sent on June 13, 2019. He was not informed of, nor did he
> participate in, our communications regarding the current suspension process
> before that time, so he has had to rely on second-hand knowledge of the
> situation. The remaining four members of the EC appear to have fully
> abdicated their responsibility for communications leadership and as such
> further confirm the chapter’s lack of capacity at this time.
>
> Suspension notices give explicit requirements for what and how to
> communicate with respect to a chapter’s capacity and provide a timeline for
> addressing gaps to meet requirements. We’re providing a table reflecting
> the most recent suspension notice, the requirements included, and the date
> they were to be delivered below for the community’s context:
>
> According to the suspension notice, Wikimedia India was to:
>
> Status
>
> Submit an Action Plan. By January 15, 2019, the chapter was to submit an
> updated Action Plan including a timeline with dates for completing the
> tasks outlined.
>
> Submitted past deadline.
>
> Received on March 4, 2019.
>
> Insufficient response; awaiting new action plan for potential
> reorganization as outlined in April call.
>
> Complete and submit the required overdue chapter activities and financial
> reporting. The chapter was to submit the reporting by December 1, 2018.
>
> Submitted past deadline.
>
> Received Activities Report on December 3, 2018 and Financial Report on
> December 22, 2018.
>
> Develop a strategy and timeline for addressing the following potential gaps
> in meeting the basic criteria for chapter status in terms of Legal
> Structure, Open Governance, Active Contributor Involvement, and Capacity.
> By
> January 15, 2019, the chapter was to submit a plan, via email or posted
> online, demonstrating how the chapter meets the specific chapter
> requirements outlined. If the chapter does not currently meet the
> requirements, they were to provide a plan and timeline for how to address
> these issues before June.
>
> Submitted past deadline.
>
> Received on March 4, 2019.
>
> Insufficient response as detailed in April call.
>
>
>
> Resolve concerns related to organizational best practices. By May 1, 2019,
> the chapter should be able to demonstrate that it is following the
> Wikimedia Foundation Board’s recommendations for organizational best
> practices
> <
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/WMF_Resolutions/Organizational_best_practices
> >
> .
>
> Submitted past deadline.
>
> Received on June 4, 2019.
>
>
>
> More information on chapter requirements is also available on Meta:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Requirements
>
> Although the Affiliations Committee has decided not to renew this chapter
> agreement, this does not reduce the importance of the Republic of India to
> the Wikimedia movement. We regret that this action has become necessary due
> to the chapter’s failure to meet the requirements of continued recognition,
> as outlined in the table above. We would also like to reaffirm the
> committee’s deep and continued commitment to support affiliates in India
> across geographies and languages.
>
> As we have previously indicated, all rights and permissions granted by the
> Wikimedia Foundation to Wikimedia India in the Chapter Agreement will be
> revoked as of the termination of the agreement on September 14, 2019. In
> the meantime, we will continue to engage with Abhinav and the executive
> committee of Wikimedia India privately until we can align on a public
> communication plan and process to transition the chapter from its current
> recognition status. We will continue to discuss whether and how we can
> share the outcomes of these discussions on Meta once we have agreement
> between the executive committee and the AffCom on the best way to do this.
>
> Regards,
>
> Kirill Lokshin
>
> Chair, Affiliations Committee
>
> [1]
>
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2019-June/014128.html
>
> On Sun, Jul 7, 2019 at 4:50 AM Abhinav srivastava <abhinav619@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Dear Friends From Affcom,
> >
> > I am posting an open public request for your notice of Suspension moved
> at
> > Wikimedia India (WMIN) which we continue to contest and to our ignored
> > demand of having a public hearing as shared with you all over mail and
> > shared again here under Annexure [A]. You have taken an official position
> > on suspension without even hearing us even once, unexplained accusations
> > have been provided and we continue to believe Affcom has been
> > insufficiently investigating facts before making judgements. We
> repeatedly
> > over and over again provided justifications over Mail but you never took
> > them to your notice and only over calls you heard us, provided your
> > rationale for expectation gaps but never took our oral commentary which
> > refutes your claims,in any action, anywhere. Now you say WMIN won’t
> remain
> > a Chapter after 14th September and be transformed into a User Group.
> >
> > Republic of India happens to be one of the only few countries where
> besides
> > volunteer driven Chapter and User Groups has a full-time staff based
> WMF’s
> > Allied Organisation CIS-A2K [1]. Wikimedia India activities [2] may be
> less
> > due to no source of funds [3] however, Community Members from India put
> > their efforts, strive hard to take the movement ahead. Whether it be the
> > previous financial year or the present, no Wikimedia Foundation Grants
> like
> > Rapid Grant, Project Grant etc have been applied by Wikimedia India
> members
> > to support any Chapter activity. They remain self-financed. We received
> > your notice last year when Wikimedia India was contesting a dispute with
> > CIS-A2K over attribution grabbing for our self-financed projects and
> > ignoring Chapter at important National level initiaves [4]. While working
> > with virtually no source of funds and struggles with WMF’s Allied
> > Organisation, your notice of suspension was the least bad we could have
> > had.
> >
> > We continue to contest your suspension notice. It was Suo Moto (on its
> own)
> > decision making and as found and re-stated above and below in detail,
> there
> > were gaps and misunderstanding in your basis. We also continue to contest
> > there has been a Rush-to-decision making. No written responses via Mail
> to
> > Chapter’s clarification are being provided and invitation for calls are
> > initiated where brief responses are shared on a Cloud Document. It has
> been
> > subsequently found by both parties on there being gaps in communication.
> > However, even after clarity during call, Affcom has not taken any action
> > over them.
> >
> > The basis of your suspension notice has been shared here for the wider
> > audience.
> >
> >
> > 1.
> >
> > Legal Structure : Affcom asked Wikimedia India to resolve and obtain
> its
> > necessary license in order to obtain funds. At present, as per
> > Government
> > of India restrictions it is difficult to obtain foreign funding.
> > Wikimedia
> > India informed the Affcom on roughly 13,000 Non-Government
> Organisations
> > (NGO)s [5] are struggling with a similar crisis to which Affcom
> > responded, “reconsider applying for a User Group.” and “no evidence
> that
> > the current organization’s leadership will be able to drive this
> problem
> > toward resolution”. Chapter efforts and commitment in resolving the
> said
> > crisis cannot be dusted in few words. A Government restrictive policy
> > which
> > has an impact on 13,000 NGOs and Affcom finding flaws in WMIN Board
> > Members
> > capability. WMIN would leave it for public interpretation.
> >
> >
> > Why not a capability audit for hosting zero-budget activities? While most
> > of the time are being spent on resolving the said crisis, WMIN continues
> to
> > undertake activities as listed. Taking the Open Knowledge Movement
> forward
> > remains a commitment for the Chapter irrespective of whatsoever political
> > climate may remain. Affcom was asked two questions respectively in this
> > regard however no response has been attained. The questions are
> >
> >
> >
> > 1.
> >
> > Would zero-budget activities, those self-financed not meet
> sufficiency ?
> > Please elaborate for us to stand better and to improve upon.
> > 2.
> >
> > Would resolving Legal Structure and being able to receive WMF Grants
> be
> > a necessary criteria for WMIN to meet sufficiency or continued
> > activities
> > not meet the fulfilment criteria?
> >
> >
> > (2) Open Governance : Affcom informed Chapter that a member needs to be
> in
> > physical presence at the Chapter Assembly to cast vote and raise voice
> and
> > asked The Chapter to change its bylaws. This information is anything but
> > false. This was communicated during the Call but Affcom did not bring
> > anything in action. Also, as per the Chapter Agreement between WMF and
> > WMIN, a copy of bylaws was provided in English Language to WMF. The
> bylaws
> > were approved by the then Chapter’s Council. No evidence has been brought
> > to notice on WMIN violating the Clause 7.2 of the Chapter’s Agreement,
> >
> > “The Wikimedia Chapter shall be required to advise the Foundation of any
> > planned or actual change in the bylaws or status of the Chapter which
> might
> > affect the Foundation or the continued existence or effectiveness of this
> > Agreement.”
> >
> >
> >
> > (3) Active Contributor Involvement :The November 10 email carried the
> > statement, “The chapter lacks broad and diverse membership, community
> > representation, as well as buy-in and involvement “ and “Membership seems
> > to be sourced through university leadership rather than through open
> > community participation and representation.” Chapter till date received
> no
> > evidence or logic construction on how the said argument was reached.
> Later
> > during the call, Affcom did acknowledge that there has been a
> communication
> > gap. Chapter further floated the idea of sharing the Member’s data base
> > after discussing privacy policy over them.
> >
> >
> >
> > (4) Capacity : WMIN was able to submit its annual reports on 21st
> December,
> > 2018 (3.5 months late) due to a notice by Income-Tax department which
> > caused delay in preparing our Financial reports. Although we do not have
> > any annual grants or use any money to support any activity, as per
> > Chapter’s agreement, affiliate is required to submit Financial Results.
> > Meanwhile, WMIN reported its activities on every quarterly basis and
> shared
> > it with the wider Indian community via India Mailing List and also other
> > channels [6], [7], [8],[9]. Annual activity report is a compilation from
> > the quarterly reports.
> >
> >
> >
> > Affcom claimed via Cloud document that no high level response submitted
> and
> > repeated delay is not accepted. WMIN informed Affcom that previous delay
> > needs to be looked at independently from earlier financial period and
> > suspension notice (WMIN then had a grant), but we received no response.
> >
> >
> >
> > (5) Organizational Best Practices : Affcom asked us to ‘Resolve’ issues
> > relating to Organizational Best Practices, however, no information had
> been
> > received on respective deliverables not been met. The November 10, email
> > carried the statement, “There are concerns about whether” referring that
> > Affcom was also not sure themselves. WMIN shared the best practices after
> > placing it in front of the community on member’s mailing list for more
> than
> > 15 days. To this Affcom responded that you are late with your submission
> > hence we are terminating your contract. They never shared an evidence and
> > when WMIN took its time placed it in-front of the community and then
> > submitted, they said delayed and instead of sending their response in
> > writing over mail they again invited us for a call. We continue to insist
> > on providing a written response via Mail but no action.
> >
> >
> >
> > (6) Action Plan : Affcom asked us to submit an Action Plan and we kept
> > asking what deliverable are needed. We cannot commit on resolving
> > Government restrictions within a said timeline as more than 13,000 NGOs
> > struggle with the similar crisis. We emphasised again and again we have
> > been running zero-budget activities and working for the movement. We
> asked
> > them to review Organizational Best Practices, based on gaps we could have
> > taken things into consideration. They rather said, you have missed the
> > deadline, so WMIN has to be closed now.
> >
> >
> >
> > To sum up, Affcom friends, you made up your own decision, you made up you
> > own hearing and you made up your own decision. It was a monologue masked
> in
> > the name of a dialogue.
> >
> >
> >
> > I encourage you all to be in our boots someday, hosting activities on
> > zero-budget, fighting with the Government bureaucracy to attain some
> > funding as a help, the challenge of having a staff-based organisation in
> > parallel, struggle with self-financing activities and most importantly
> > working with Affcom to save yourself from their de-recognition threats.
> >
> >
> >
> > If you believe you are correct, please abide to the request made under
> > Annexure [A] and put everything in public domain. Let community read for
> > themselves and decide. If Affcom is more transparent about its
> > investigation and actions then community would be able to better
> understand
> > the work and provide an opinion.
> >
> >
> > Regards,
> > Abhinav
> >
> >
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > [1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/CIS-A2K
> >
> > [2]
> >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2019-April/013994.html
> > \
> >
> > [3] Foreign Currency (Regulation) Act, 1960 compliance do not permit
> India
> > Chapter to receive money from its primary fiscal sponsor, Wikimedia
> > Foundation.
> >
> > [4] Board of Directors at CIS, acknowledged in March, 2019 for a
> compliant
> > made in August, 2018 for CIS-A2K Staff not doing their duty to the order.
> >
> > [5]
> >
> >
> https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/06/07/democracies-need-a-little-help-from-their-friends/
> >
> > [6]
> >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2017-July/013030.html
> >
> > [7]
> >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2017-October/013089.html
> >
> > [8]
> >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2018-January/013188.html
> >
> > [9]
> >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2018-April/013295.html
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > Annexure
> >
> > [A] Reallocating the Affcom - WMIN Communication To Meta : No
> > communications over email, video call, social media, instant messaging,
> or
> > anywhere but wiki! While this would not just be aligned with the editing
> > spirit, it would promote greater transparency and also helpful for us to
> > communicate the message to our community members. While, we understand
> > Affcom had been advocating the same, however, taking care of privacy
> > concerns, do let us. Once we hear from Affcom on having no privacy
> > concerns, we may reallocate the discussions.
> >
> > If there a consent to this, would request a green light also for
> >
> > 1.
> >
> > Archiving the entire email conversation over a cloud document and
> > linking it to the relevant Meta page.
> > 2.
> >
> > Documenting Internet Calls in an attempt to resolve communication gaps
> > and linking them to Meta page for greater transparency.
> > 3.
> >
> > Based on Principal of Free Speech, allowing anybody to use the
> > discussion page for expression of their views.
> > 4.
> >
> > Any Volunteer is free to translate the text into the language of their
> > choice.
> > 5.
> >
> > Upload All PDF sent via Mails to Commons and link them to the Meta
> Page.
> > 6.
> >
> > All relevant customs and procedures which exist for any Meta page to
> be
> > in action.
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:wikimedia-l-request@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:wikimedia-l-request@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Open Letter to Affiliations Committee : Wikimedia India's Demand For A Fair And Transparent Hearing [ In reply to ]
+1 Lodewijk -- I was thinking the same thing.
Abhinav and Kirill: thanks each for sharing these public updates.

On Mon., Jul. 15, 2019, 4:29 p.m. effe iets anders, <
effeietsanders@gmail.com> wrote:

>
> I think it would be at the very least helpful to the wider community to
> better understand that component. Could you spell out in a bit more detail
> what those capacity concerns were, and what other findings may have
> existed? This may especially be helpful to the India community, as it would
> be especially hard to address the issues without a full understanding.
>
> Thank you!
>
> Warmly,
> Lodewijk
>
> On Mon, Jul 15, 2019 at 3:03 AM Kirill Lokshin <kirill.lokshin@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Dear Wikimedia-l readers,
> >
> >
> > AffCom understands the complexity and sensitivity of the circumstances
> > surrounding the decision to de-recognize Wikimedia India as a chapter,
> and
> > we would like to share more information around it. This decision was not
> > taken lightly, and only came after consistent warnings, including
> > suspensions of the chapter, and continued attempts by AffCom to bring the
> > chapter’s activities in line with the requirements for chapter status. We
> > understand that volunteers would like more information about this
> decision
> > and past actions that influenced its outcome. We will attempt to provide
> an
> > overview of the factors and history that led to this decision.
> >
> > Wikimedia India has been given ample time to address their lack of
> > compliance with minimum chapter expectations since their initial signs of
> > non-compliance in 2015 and concerns presented to them during their 2015
> > site visits, initial 2016 suspension, and most recent 2018 suspension
> last
> > November. The Wikimedia India Executive Committee (EC) has repeatedly
> > failed to respond in a timely and complete manner to call requests,
> annual
> > reporting timelines, and remediation deadlines for demonstrating
> > compliance.
> >
> > It is worth noting that there may be issues related to incomplete
> > information regarding the current relationship between WMIN and AffCom.
> > Abhinav is a current WMIN representative, but he was recently appointed
> to
> > the EC on June 14, 2019 [1] following the EC’s receipt of the final
> > revocation notice sent on June 13, 2019. He was not informed of, nor did
> he
> > participate in, our communications regarding the current suspension
> process
> > before that time, so he has had to rely on second-hand knowledge of the
> > situation. The remaining four members of the EC appear to have fully
> > abdicated their responsibility for communications leadership and as such
> > further confirm the chapter’s lack of capacity at this time.
> >
> > Suspension notices give explicit requirements for what and how to
> > communicate with respect to a chapter’s capacity and provide a timeline
> for
> > addressing gaps to meet requirements. We’re providing a table reflecting
> > the most recent suspension notice, the requirements included, and the
> date
> > they were to be delivered below for the community’s context:
> >
> > According to the suspension notice, Wikimedia India was to:
> >
> > Status
> >
> > Submit an Action Plan. By January 15, 2019, the chapter was to submit an
> > updated Action Plan including a timeline with dates for completing the
> > tasks outlined.
> >
> > Submitted past deadline.
> >
> > Received on March 4, 2019.
> >
> > Insufficient response; awaiting new action plan for potential
> > reorganization as outlined in April call.
> >
> > Complete and submit the required overdue chapter activities and financial
> > reporting. The chapter was to submit the reporting by December 1, 2018.
> >
> > Submitted past deadline.
> >
> > Received Activities Report on December 3, 2018 and Financial Report on
> > December 22, 2018.
> >
> > Develop a strategy and timeline for addressing the following potential
> gaps
> > in meeting the basic criteria for chapter status in terms of Legal
> > Structure, Open Governance, Active Contributor Involvement, and Capacity.
> > By
> > January 15, 2019, the chapter was to submit a plan, via email or posted
> > online, demonstrating how the chapter meets the specific chapter
> > requirements outlined. If the chapter does not currently meet the
> > requirements, they were to provide a plan and timeline for how to address
> > these issues before June.
> >
> > Submitted past deadline.
> >
> > Received on March 4, 2019.
> >
> > Insufficient response as detailed in April call.
> >
> >
> >
> > Resolve concerns related to organizational best practices. By May 1,
> 2019,
> > the chapter should be able to demonstrate that it is following the
> > Wikimedia Foundation Board’s recommendations for organizational best
> > practices
> > <
> >
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/WMF_Resolutions/Organizational_best_practices
> > >
> > .
> >
> > Submitted past deadline.
> >
> > Received on June 4, 2019.
> >
> >
> >
> > More information on chapter requirements is also available on Meta:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Requirements
> >
> > Although the Affiliations Committee has decided not to renew this chapter
> > agreement, this does not reduce the importance of the Republic of India
> to
> > the Wikimedia movement. We regret that this action has become necessary
> due
> > to the chapter’s failure to meet the requirements of continued
> recognition,
> > as outlined in the table above. We would also like to reaffirm the
> > committee’s deep and continued commitment to support affiliates in India
> > across geographies and languages.
> >
> > As we have previously indicated, all rights and permissions granted by
> the
> > Wikimedia Foundation to Wikimedia India in the Chapter Agreement will be
> > revoked as of the termination of the agreement on September 14, 2019. In
> > the meantime, we will continue to engage with Abhinav and the executive
> > committee of Wikimedia India privately until we can align on a public
> > communication plan and process to transition the chapter from its current
> > recognition status. We will continue to discuss whether and how we can
> > share the outcomes of these discussions on Meta once we have agreement
> > between the executive committee and the AffCom on the best way to do
> this.
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > Kirill Lokshin
> >
> > Chair, Affiliations Committee
> >
> > [1]
> >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2019-June/014128.html
> >
> > On Sun, Jul 7, 2019 at 4:50 AM Abhinav srivastava <abhinav619@gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > Dear Friends From Affcom,
> > >
> > > I am posting an open public request for your notice of Suspension moved
> > at
> > > Wikimedia India (WMIN) which we continue to contest and to our ignored
> > > demand of having a public hearing as shared with you all over mail and
> > > shared again here under Annexure [A]. You have taken an official
> position
> > > on suspension without even hearing us even once, unexplained
> accusations
> > > have been provided and we continue to believe Affcom has been
> > > insufficiently investigating facts before making judgements. We
> > repeatedly
> > > over and over again provided justifications over Mail but you never
> took
> > > them to your notice and only over calls you heard us, provided your
> > > rationale for expectation gaps but never took our oral commentary which
> > > refutes your claims,in any action, anywhere. Now you say WMIN won’t
> > remain
> > > a Chapter after 14th September and be transformed into a User Group.
> > >
> > > Republic of India happens to be one of the only few countries where
> > besides
> > > volunteer driven Chapter and User Groups has a full-time staff based
> > WMF’s
> > > Allied Organisation CIS-A2K [1]. Wikimedia India activities [2] may be
> > less
> > > due to no source of funds [3] however, Community Members from India put
> > > their efforts, strive hard to take the movement ahead. Whether it be
> the
> > > previous financial year or the present, no Wikimedia Foundation Grants
> > like
> > > Rapid Grant, Project Grant etc have been applied by Wikimedia India
> > members
> > > to support any Chapter activity. They remain self-financed. We received
> > > your notice last year when Wikimedia India was contesting a dispute
> with
> > > CIS-A2K over attribution grabbing for our self-financed projects and
> > > ignoring Chapter at important National level initiaves [4]. While
> working
> > > with virtually no source of funds and struggles with WMF’s Allied
> > > Organisation, your notice of suspension was the least bad we could have
> > > had.
> > >
> > > We continue to contest your suspension notice. It was Suo Moto (on its
> > own)
> > > decision making and as found and re-stated above and below in detail,
> > there
> > > were gaps and misunderstanding in your basis. We also continue to
> contest
> > > there has been a Rush-to-decision making. No written responses via Mail
> > to
> > > Chapter’s clarification are being provided and invitation for calls are
> > > initiated where brief responses are shared on a Cloud Document. It has
> > been
> > > subsequently found by both parties on there being gaps in
> communication.
> > > However, even after clarity during call, Affcom has not taken any
> action
> > > over them.
> > >
> > > The basis of your suspension notice has been shared here for the wider
> > > audience.
> > >
> > >
> > > 1.
> > >
> > > Legal Structure : Affcom asked Wikimedia India to resolve and obtain
> > its
> > > necessary license in order to obtain funds. At present, as per
> > > Government
> > > of India restrictions it is difficult to obtain foreign funding.
> > > Wikimedia
> > > India informed the Affcom on roughly 13,000 Non-Government
> > Organisations
> > > (NGO)s [5] are struggling with a similar crisis to which Affcom
> > > responded, “reconsider applying for a User Group.” and “no evidence
> > that
> > > the current organization’s leadership will be able to drive this
> > problem
> > > toward resolution”. Chapter efforts and commitment in resolving the
> > said
> > > crisis cannot be dusted in few words. A Government restrictive
> policy
> > > which
> > > has an impact on 13,000 NGOs and Affcom finding flaws in WMIN Board
> > > Members
> > > capability. WMIN would leave it for public interpretation.
> > >
> > >
> > > Why not a capability audit for hosting zero-budget activities? While
> most
> > > of the time are being spent on resolving the said crisis, WMIN
> continues
> > to
> > > undertake activities as listed. Taking the Open Knowledge Movement
> > forward
> > > remains a commitment for the Chapter irrespective of whatsoever
> political
> > > climate may remain. Affcom was asked two questions respectively in this
> > > regard however no response has been attained. The questions are
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > 1.
> > >
> > > Would zero-budget activities, those self-financed not meet
> > sufficiency ?
> > > Please elaborate for us to stand better and to improve upon.
> > > 2.
> > >
> > > Would resolving Legal Structure and being able to receive WMF Grants
> > be
> > > a necessary criteria for WMIN to meet sufficiency or continued
> > > activities
> > > not meet the fulfilment criteria?
> > >
> > >
> > > (2) Open Governance : Affcom informed Chapter that a member needs to be
> > in
> > > physical presence at the Chapter Assembly to cast vote and raise voice
> > and
> > > asked The Chapter to change its bylaws. This information is anything
> but
> > > false. This was communicated during the Call but Affcom did not bring
> > > anything in action. Also, as per the Chapter Agreement between WMF and
> > > WMIN, a copy of bylaws was provided in English Language to WMF. The
> > bylaws
> > > were approved by the then Chapter’s Council. No evidence has been
> brought
> > > to notice on WMIN violating the Clause 7.2 of the Chapter’s Agreement,
> > >
> > > “The Wikimedia Chapter shall be required to advise the Foundation of
> any
> > > planned or actual change in the bylaws or status of the Chapter which
> > might
> > > affect the Foundation or the continued existence or effectiveness of
> this
> > > Agreement.”
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > (3) Active Contributor Involvement :The November 10 email carried the
> > > statement, “The chapter lacks broad and diverse membership, community
> > > representation, as well as buy-in and involvement “ and “Membership
> seems
> > > to be sourced through university leadership rather than through open
> > > community participation and representation.” Chapter till date
> received
> > no
> > > evidence or logic construction on how the said argument was reached.
> > Later
> > > during the call, Affcom did acknowledge that there has been a
> > communication
> > > gap. Chapter further floated the idea of sharing the Member’s data base
> > > after discussing privacy policy over them.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > (4) Capacity : WMIN was able to submit its annual reports on 21st
> > December,
> > > 2018 (3.5 months late) due to a notice by Income-Tax department which
> > > caused delay in preparing our Financial reports. Although we do not
> have
> > > any annual grants or use any money to support any activity, as per
> > > Chapter’s agreement, affiliate is required to submit Financial Results.
> > > Meanwhile, WMIN reported its activities on every quarterly basis and
> > shared
> > > it with the wider Indian community via India Mailing List and also
> other
> > > channels [6], [7], [8],[9]. Annual activity report is a compilation
> from
> > > the quarterly reports.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > Affcom claimed via Cloud document that no high level response submitted
> > and
> > > repeated delay is not accepted. WMIN informed Affcom that previous
> delay
> > > needs to be looked at independently from earlier financial period and
> > > suspension notice (WMIN then had a grant), but we received no response.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > (5) Organizational Best Practices : Affcom asked us to ‘Resolve’ issues
> > > relating to Organizational Best Practices, however, no information had
> > been
> > > received on respective deliverables not been met. The November 10,
> email
> > > carried the statement, “There are concerns about whether” referring
> that
> > > Affcom was also not sure themselves. WMIN shared the best practices
> after
> > > placing it in front of the community on member’s mailing list for more
> > than
> > > 15 days. To this Affcom responded that you are late with your
> submission
> > > hence we are terminating your contract. They never shared an evidence
> and
> > > when WMIN took its time placed it in-front of the community and then
> > > submitted, they said delayed and instead of sending their response in
> > > writing over mail they again invited us for a call. We continue to
> insist
> > > on providing a written response via Mail but no action.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > (6) Action Plan : Affcom asked us to submit an Action Plan and we kept
> > > asking what deliverable are needed. We cannot commit on resolving
> > > Government restrictions within a said timeline as more than 13,000 NGOs
> > > struggle with the similar crisis. We emphasised again and again we have
> > > been running zero-budget activities and working for the movement. We
> > asked
> > > them to review Organizational Best Practices, based on gaps we could
> have
> > > taken things into consideration. They rather said, you have missed the
> > > deadline, so WMIN has to be closed now.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > To sum up, Affcom friends, you made up your own decision, you made up
> you
> > > own hearing and you made up your own decision. It was a monologue
> masked
> > in
> > > the name of a dialogue.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > I encourage you all to be in our boots someday, hosting activities on
> > > zero-budget, fighting with the Government bureaucracy to attain some
> > > funding as a help, the challenge of having a staff-based organisation
> in
> > > parallel, struggle with self-financing activities and most importantly
> > > working with Affcom to save yourself from their de-recognition threats.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > If you believe you are correct, please abide to the request made under
> > > Annexure [A] and put everything in public domain. Let community read
> for
> > > themselves and decide. If Affcom is more transparent about its
> > > investigation and actions then community would be able to better
> > understand
> > > the work and provide an opinion.
> > >
> > >
> > > Regards,
> > > Abhinav
> > >
> > >
> >
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > >
> > > [1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/CIS-A2K
> > >
> > > [2]
> > >
> > >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2019-April/013994.html
> > > \
> > >
> > > [3] Foreign Currency (Regulation) Act, 1960 compliance do not permit
> > India
> > > Chapter to receive money from its primary fiscal sponsor, Wikimedia
> > > Foundation.
> > >
> > > [4] Board of Directors at CIS, acknowledged in March, 2019 for a
> > compliant
> > > made in August, 2018 for CIS-A2K Staff not doing their duty to the
> order.
> > >
> > > [5]
> > >
> > >
> >
> https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/06/07/democracies-need-a-little-help-from-their-friends/
> > >
> > > [6]
> > >
> > >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2017-July/013030.html
> > >
> > > [7]
> > >
> > >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2017-October/013089.html
> > >
> > > [8]
> > >
> > >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2018-January/013188.html
> > >
> > > [9]
> > >
> > >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2018-April/013295.html
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > >
> > > Annexure
> > >
> > > [A] Reallocating the Affcom - WMIN Communication To Meta : No
> > > communications over email, video call, social media, instant messaging,
> > or
> > > anywhere but wiki! While this would not just be aligned with the
> editing
> > > spirit, it would promote greater transparency and also helpful for us
> to
> > > communicate the message to our community members. While, we understand
> > > Affcom had been advocating the same, however, taking care of privacy
> > > concerns, do let us. Once we hear from Affcom on having no privacy
> > > concerns, we may reallocate the discussions.
> > >
> > > If there a consent to this, would request a green light also for
> > >
> > > 1.
> > >
> > > Archiving the entire email conversation over a cloud document and
> > > linking it to the relevant Meta page.
> > > 2.
> > >
> > > Documenting Internet Calls in an attempt to resolve communication
> gaps
> > > and linking them to Meta page for greater transparency.
> > > 3.
> > >
> > > Based on Principal of Free Speech, allowing anybody to use the
> > > discussion page for expression of their views.
> > > 4.
> > >
> > > Any Volunteer is free to translate the text into the language of
> their
> > > choice.
> > > 5.
> > >
> > > Upload All PDF sent via Mails to Commons and link them to the Meta
> > Page.
> > > 6.
> > >
> > > All relevant customs and procedures which exist for any Meta page to
> > be
> > > in action.
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > > New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> > > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > > <mailto:wikimedia-l-request@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe>
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:wikimedia-l-request@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe>
> _______________________________________________
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> New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Open Letter to Affiliations Committee : Wikimedia India's Demand For A Fair And Transparent Hearing [ In reply to ]
abhinav,

i read that the membership fee is 100 INR, which is the price of a beer.
that sounds fair. how many members do you currently have? do you use the
annual fundraising page to let people know that they can become members
like e.g. wikimedia deutschland (WMDE) does? WMDE, by using this simple
strategy, were able to get 70'000 members with a population of 80 mio,
which makes them one of the biggest clubs in germany.

rupert


On Tue, Jul 16, 2019 at 2:14 AM Samuel Klein <meta.sj@gmail.com> wrote:

> +1 Lodewijk -- I was thinking the same thing.
> Abhinav and Kirill: thanks each for sharing these public updates.
>
> On Mon., Jul. 15, 2019, 4:29 p.m. effe iets anders, <
> effeietsanders@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> >
> > I think it would be at the very least helpful to the wider community to
> > better understand that component. Could you spell out in a bit more
> detail
> > what those capacity concerns were, and what other findings may have
> > existed? This may especially be helpful to the India community, as it
> would
> > be especially hard to address the issues without a full understanding.
> >
> > Thank you!
> >
> > Warmly,
> > Lodewijk
> >
> > On Mon, Jul 15, 2019 at 3:03 AM Kirill Lokshin <kirill.lokshin@gmail.com
> >
> > wrote:
> >
> > > Dear Wikimedia-l readers,
> > >
> > >
> > > AffCom understands the complexity and sensitivity of the circumstances
> > > surrounding the decision to de-recognize Wikimedia India as a chapter,
> > and
> > > we would like to share more information around it. This decision was
> not
> > > taken lightly, and only came after consistent warnings, including
> > > suspensions of the chapter, and continued attempts by AffCom to bring
> the
> > > chapter’s activities in line with the requirements for chapter status.
> We
> > > understand that volunteers would like more information about this
> > decision
> > > and past actions that influenced its outcome. We will attempt to
> provide
> > an
> > > overview of the factors and history that led to this decision.
> > >
> > > Wikimedia India has been given ample time to address their lack of
> > > compliance with minimum chapter expectations since their initial signs
> of
> > > non-compliance in 2015 and concerns presented to them during their 2015
> > > site visits, initial 2016 suspension, and most recent 2018 suspension
> > last
> > > November. The Wikimedia India Executive Committee (EC) has repeatedly
> > > failed to respond in a timely and complete manner to call requests,
> > annual
> > > reporting timelines, and remediation deadlines for demonstrating
> > > compliance.
> > >
> > > It is worth noting that there may be issues related to incomplete
> > > information regarding the current relationship between WMIN and AffCom.
> > > Abhinav is a current WMIN representative, but he was recently appointed
> > to
> > > the EC on June 14, 2019 [1] following the EC’s receipt of the final
> > > revocation notice sent on June 13, 2019. He was not informed of, nor
> did
> > he
> > > participate in, our communications regarding the current suspension
> > process
> > > before that time, so he has had to rely on second-hand knowledge of the
> > > situation. The remaining four members of the EC appear to have fully
> > > abdicated their responsibility for communications leadership and as
> such
> > > further confirm the chapter’s lack of capacity at this time.
> > >
> > > Suspension notices give explicit requirements for what and how to
> > > communicate with respect to a chapter’s capacity and provide a timeline
> > for
> > > addressing gaps to meet requirements. We’re providing a table
> reflecting
> > > the most recent suspension notice, the requirements included, and the
> > date
> > > they were to be delivered below for the community’s context:
> > >
> > > According to the suspension notice, Wikimedia India was to:
> > >
> > > Status
> > >
> > > Submit an Action Plan. By January 15, 2019, the chapter was to submit
> an
> > > updated Action Plan including a timeline with dates for completing the
> > > tasks outlined.
> > >
> > > Submitted past deadline.
> > >
> > > Received on March 4, 2019.
> > >
> > > Insufficient response; awaiting new action plan for potential
> > > reorganization as outlined in April call.
> > >
> > > Complete and submit the required overdue chapter activities and
> financial
> > > reporting. The chapter was to submit the reporting by December 1, 2018.
> > >
> > > Submitted past deadline.
> > >
> > > Received Activities Report on December 3, 2018 and Financial Report on
> > > December 22, 2018.
> > >
> > > Develop a strategy and timeline for addressing the following potential
> > gaps
> > > in meeting the basic criteria for chapter status in terms of Legal
> > > Structure, Open Governance, Active Contributor Involvement, and
> Capacity.
> > > By
> > > January 15, 2019, the chapter was to submit a plan, via email or posted
> > > online, demonstrating how the chapter meets the specific chapter
> > > requirements outlined. If the chapter does not currently meet the
> > > requirements, they were to provide a plan and timeline for how to
> address
> > > these issues before June.
> > >
> > > Submitted past deadline.
> > >
> > > Received on March 4, 2019.
> > >
> > > Insufficient response as detailed in April call.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > Resolve concerns related to organizational best practices. By May 1,
> > 2019,
> > > the chapter should be able to demonstrate that it is following the
> > > Wikimedia Foundation Board’s recommendations for organizational best
> > > practices
> > > <
> > >
> >
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/WMF_Resolutions/Organizational_best_practices
> > > >
> > > .
> > >
> > > Submitted past deadline.
> > >
> > > Received on June 4, 2019.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > More information on chapter requirements is also available on Meta:
> > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Requirements
> > >
> > > Although the Affiliations Committee has decided not to renew this
> chapter
> > > agreement, this does not reduce the importance of the Republic of India
> > to
> > > the Wikimedia movement. We regret that this action has become necessary
> > due
> > > to the chapter’s failure to meet the requirements of continued
> > recognition,
> > > as outlined in the table above. We would also like to reaffirm the
> > > committee’s deep and continued commitment to support affiliates in
> India
> > > across geographies and languages.
> > >
> > > As we have previously indicated, all rights and permissions granted by
> > the
> > > Wikimedia Foundation to Wikimedia India in the Chapter Agreement will
> be
> > > revoked as of the termination of the agreement on September 14, 2019.
> In
> > > the meantime, we will continue to engage with Abhinav and the executive
> > > committee of Wikimedia India privately until we can align on a public
> > > communication plan and process to transition the chapter from its
> current
> > > recognition status. We will continue to discuss whether and how we can
> > > share the outcomes of these discussions on Meta once we have agreement
> > > between the executive committee and the AffCom on the best way to do
> > this.
> > >
> > > Regards,
> > >
> > > Kirill Lokshin
> > >
> > > Chair, Affiliations Committee
> > >
> > > [1]
> > >
> > >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2019-June/014128.html
> > >
> > > On Sun, Jul 7, 2019 at 4:50 AM Abhinav srivastava <
> abhinav619@gmail.com>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > Dear Friends From Affcom,
> > > >
> > > > I am posting an open public request for your notice of Suspension
> moved
> > > at
> > > > Wikimedia India (WMIN) which we continue to contest and to our
> ignored
> > > > demand of having a public hearing as shared with you all over mail
> and
> > > > shared again here under Annexure [A]. You have taken an official
> > position
> > > > on suspension without even hearing us even once, unexplained
> > accusations
> > > > have been provided and we continue to believe Affcom has been
> > > > insufficiently investigating facts before making judgements. We
> > > repeatedly
> > > > over and over again provided justifications over Mail but you never
> > took
> > > > them to your notice and only over calls you heard us, provided your
> > > > rationale for expectation gaps but never took our oral commentary
> which
> > > > refutes your claims,in any action, anywhere. Now you say WMIN won’t
> > > remain
> > > > a Chapter after 14th September and be transformed into a User Group.
> > > >
> > > > Republic of India happens to be one of the only few countries where
> > > besides
> > > > volunteer driven Chapter and User Groups has a full-time staff based
> > > WMF’s
> > > > Allied Organisation CIS-A2K [1]. Wikimedia India activities [2] may
> be
> > > less
> > > > due to no source of funds [3] however, Community Members from India
> put
> > > > their efforts, strive hard to take the movement ahead. Whether it be
> > the
> > > > previous financial year or the present, no Wikimedia Foundation
> Grants
> > > like
> > > > Rapid Grant, Project Grant etc have been applied by Wikimedia India
> > > members
> > > > to support any Chapter activity. They remain self-financed. We
> received
> > > > your notice last year when Wikimedia India was contesting a dispute
> > with
> > > > CIS-A2K over attribution grabbing for our self-financed projects and
> > > > ignoring Chapter at important National level initiaves [4]. While
> > working
> > > > with virtually no source of funds and struggles with WMF’s Allied
> > > > Organisation, your notice of suspension was the least bad we could
> have
> > > > had.
> > > >
> > > > We continue to contest your suspension notice. It was Suo Moto (on
> its
> > > own)
> > > > decision making and as found and re-stated above and below in detail,
> > > there
> > > > were gaps and misunderstanding in your basis. We also continue to
> > contest
> > > > there has been a Rush-to-decision making. No written responses via
> Mail
> > > to
> > > > Chapter’s clarification are being provided and invitation for calls
> are
> > > > initiated where brief responses are shared on a Cloud Document. It
> has
> > > been
> > > > subsequently found by both parties on there being gaps in
> > communication.
> > > > However, even after clarity during call, Affcom has not taken any
> > action
> > > > over them.
> > > >
> > > > The basis of your suspension notice has been shared here for the
> wider
> > > > audience.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > 1.
> > > >
> > > > Legal Structure : Affcom asked Wikimedia India to resolve and
> obtain
> > > its
> > > > necessary license in order to obtain funds. At present, as per
> > > > Government
> > > > of India restrictions it is difficult to obtain foreign funding.
> > > > Wikimedia
> > > > India informed the Affcom on roughly 13,000 Non-Government
> > > Organisations
> > > > (NGO)s [5] are struggling with a similar crisis to which Affcom
> > > > responded, “reconsider applying for a User Group.” and “no
> evidence
> > > that
> > > > the current organization’s leadership will be able to drive this
> > > problem
> > > > toward resolution”. Chapter efforts and commitment in resolving
> the
> > > said
> > > > crisis cannot be dusted in few words. A Government restrictive
> > policy
> > > > which
> > > > has an impact on 13,000 NGOs and Affcom finding flaws in WMIN
> Board
> > > > Members
> > > > capability. WMIN would leave it for public interpretation.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Why not a capability audit for hosting zero-budget activities? While
> > most
> > > > of the time are being spent on resolving the said crisis, WMIN
> > continues
> > > to
> > > > undertake activities as listed. Taking the Open Knowledge Movement
> > > forward
> > > > remains a commitment for the Chapter irrespective of whatsoever
> > political
> > > > climate may remain. Affcom was asked two questions respectively in
> this
> > > > regard however no response has been attained. The questions are
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > 1.
> > > >
> > > > Would zero-budget activities, those self-financed not meet
> > > sufficiency ?
> > > > Please elaborate for us to stand better and to improve upon.
> > > > 2.
> > > >
> > > > Would resolving Legal Structure and being able to receive WMF
> Grants
> > > be
> > > > a necessary criteria for WMIN to meet sufficiency or continued
> > > > activities
> > > > not meet the fulfilment criteria?
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > (2) Open Governance : Affcom informed Chapter that a member needs to
> be
> > > in
> > > > physical presence at the Chapter Assembly to cast vote and raise
> voice
> > > and
> > > > asked The Chapter to change its bylaws. This information is anything
> > but
> > > > false. This was communicated during the Call but Affcom did not bring
> > > > anything in action. Also, as per the Chapter Agreement between WMF
> and
> > > > WMIN, a copy of bylaws was provided in English Language to WMF. The
> > > bylaws
> > > > were approved by the then Chapter’s Council. No evidence has been
> > brought
> > > > to notice on WMIN violating the Clause 7.2 of the Chapter’s
> Agreement,
> > > >
> > > > “The Wikimedia Chapter shall be required to advise the Foundation of
> > any
> > > > planned or actual change in the bylaws or status of the Chapter which
> > > might
> > > > affect the Foundation or the continued existence or effectiveness of
> > this
> > > > Agreement.”
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > (3) Active Contributor Involvement :The November 10 email carried the
> > > > statement, “The chapter lacks broad and diverse membership, community
> > > > representation, as well as buy-in and involvement “ and “Membership
> > seems
> > > > to be sourced through university leadership rather than through open
> > > > community participation and representation.” Chapter till date
> > received
> > > no
> > > > evidence or logic construction on how the said argument was reached.
> > > Later
> > > > during the call, Affcom did acknowledge that there has been a
> > > communication
> > > > gap. Chapter further floated the idea of sharing the Member’s data
> base
> > > > after discussing privacy policy over them.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > (4) Capacity : WMIN was able to submit its annual reports on 21st
> > > December,
> > > > 2018 (3.5 months late) due to a notice by Income-Tax department which
> > > > caused delay in preparing our Financial reports. Although we do not
> > have
> > > > any annual grants or use any money to support any activity, as per
> > > > Chapter’s agreement, affiliate is required to submit Financial
> Results.
> > > > Meanwhile, WMIN reported its activities on every quarterly basis and
> > > shared
> > > > it with the wider Indian community via India Mailing List and also
> > other
> > > > channels [6], [7], [8],[9]. Annual activity report is a compilation
> > from
> > > > the quarterly reports.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Affcom claimed via Cloud document that no high level response
> submitted
> > > and
> > > > repeated delay is not accepted. WMIN informed Affcom that previous
> > delay
> > > > needs to be looked at independently from earlier financial period and
> > > > suspension notice (WMIN then had a grant), but we received no
> response.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > (5) Organizational Best Practices : Affcom asked us to ‘Resolve’
> issues
> > > > relating to Organizational Best Practices, however, no information
> had
> > > been
> > > > received on respective deliverables not been met. The November 10,
> > email
> > > > carried the statement, “There are concerns about whether” referring
> > that
> > > > Affcom was also not sure themselves. WMIN shared the best practices
> > after
> > > > placing it in front of the community on member’s mailing list for
> more
> > > than
> > > > 15 days. To this Affcom responded that you are late with your
> > submission
> > > > hence we are terminating your contract. They never shared an evidence
> > and
> > > > when WMIN took its time placed it in-front of the community and then
> > > > submitted, they said delayed and instead of sending their response in
> > > > writing over mail they again invited us for a call. We continue to
> > insist
> > > > on providing a written response via Mail but no action.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > (6) Action Plan : Affcom asked us to submit an Action Plan and we
> kept
> > > > asking what deliverable are needed. We cannot commit on resolving
> > > > Government restrictions within a said timeline as more than 13,000
> NGOs
> > > > struggle with the similar crisis. We emphasised again and again we
> have
> > > > been running zero-budget activities and working for the movement. We
> > > asked
> > > > them to review Organizational Best Practices, based on gaps we could
> > have
> > > > taken things into consideration. They rather said, you have missed
> the
> > > > deadline, so WMIN has to be closed now.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > To sum up, Affcom friends, you made up your own decision, you made up
> > you
> > > > own hearing and you made up your own decision. It was a monologue
> > masked
> > > in
> > > > the name of a dialogue.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > I encourage you all to be in our boots someday, hosting activities on
> > > > zero-budget, fighting with the Government bureaucracy to attain some
> > > > funding as a help, the challenge of having a staff-based organisation
> > in
> > > > parallel, struggle with self-financing activities and most
> importantly
> > > > working with Affcom to save yourself from their de-recognition
> threats.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > If you believe you are correct, please abide to the request made
> under
> > > > Annexure [A] and put everything in public domain. Let community read
> > for
> > > > themselves and decide. If Affcom is more transparent about its
> > > > investigation and actions then community would be able to better
> > > understand
> > > > the work and provide an opinion.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Regards,
> > > > Abhinav
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> >
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > > >
> > > > [1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/CIS-A2K
> > > >
> > > > [2]
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2019-April/013994.html
> > > > \
> > > >
> > > > [3] Foreign Currency (Regulation) Act, 1960 compliance do not permit
> > > India
> > > > Chapter to receive money from its primary fiscal sponsor, Wikimedia
> > > > Foundation.
> > > >
> > > > [4] Board of Directors at CIS, acknowledged in March, 2019 for a
> > > compliant
> > > > made in August, 2018 for CIS-A2K Staff not doing their duty to the
> > order.
> > > >
> > > > [5]
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> >
> https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/06/07/democracies-need-a-little-help-from-their-friends/
> > > >
> > > > [6]
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2017-July/013030.html
> > > >
> > > > [7]
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2017-October/013089.html
> > > >
> > > > [8]
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2018-January/013188.html
> > > >
> > > > [9]
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2018-April/013295.html
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> >
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > > >
> > > > Annexure
> > > >
> > > > [A] Reallocating the Affcom - WMIN Communication To Meta : No
> > > > communications over email, video call, social media, instant
> messaging,
> > > or
> > > > anywhere but wiki! While this would not just be aligned with the
> > editing
> > > > spirit, it would promote greater transparency and also helpful for us
> > to
> > > > communicate the message to our community members. While, we
> understand
> > > > Affcom had been advocating the same, however, taking care of privacy
> > > > concerns, do let us. Once we hear from Affcom on having no privacy
> > > > concerns, we may reallocate the discussions.
> > > >
> > > > If there a consent to this, would request a green light also for
> > > >
> > > > 1.
> > > >
> > > > Archiving the entire email conversation over a cloud document and
> > > > linking it to the relevant Meta page.
> > > > 2.
> > > >
> > > > Documenting Internet Calls in an attempt to resolve communication
> > gaps
> > > > and linking them to Meta page for greater transparency.
> > > > 3.
> > > >
> > > > Based on Principal of Free Speech, allowing anybody to use the
> > > > discussion page for expression of their views.
> > > > 4.
> > > >
> > > > Any Volunteer is free to translate the text into the language of
> > their
> > > > choice.
> > > > 5.
> > > >
> > > > Upload All PDF sent via Mails to Commons and link them to the Meta
> > > Page.
> > > > 6.
> > > >
> > > > All relevant customs and procedures which exist for any Meta page
> to
> > > be
> > > > in action.
> > > > _______________________________________________
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