Meeting:2014 AGM/President's Report
First and foremost, I want to thank the management committee for their hard work. This is at times a thankless job, so I want to thank you for your efforts over this year. I want to acknowledge Robert Myers, who has decided to depart the committee. Thank you for your service.
To Kerry Raymond and Craig Franklin who have been valued advisers to us this year, thank you for your advice over the year. I'm delighted that you will both be rejoining the committee this year.
To all the people and organisations that we have worked with this year - to name a few, the Australian Library and Information Association, the various national and state libraries and the communities that have supported our Wikitown projects - thank you for supporting our effort to spread the sum of all human knowledge freely.
And to all of our members and our donors, and everyone else who has supported us over the year - thank you. We would not be here without you.
This was my first term as President, and excluding myself, this term saw an entirely new committee with Kerry and Craig continuing on with us as observing members of the committee. I feel that we all gelled well, and worked effectively together. There have been times which administrative items has taken over - I feel that going forward we have ideas on how to strike a balance here.
This year we underwent a few administrative changes - the switch to a professional email provider, the reduction of membership fees to a flat $10, and the removal of red tape from some of our programs, the camera equipment program being an example.
At the same time, we have become bogged down by administrative items this year leading to a reduction in time for programmatic work. Similar to the recommendations of my predecessor that Wikimedia Australia seeks the hiring of an administrative assistant of some sort to take care of the more mundane tasks, freeing us up to do programmatic work.
At times projects or actions have not gone ahead due to a delay in gaining universal acceptance by the committee. I think going forward delegation of specific duties and tasks would make things run smoother.
Expenditure, as noted by the treasurer, has been rather lean this year compared to past years. Effective fiscal management was one of my priorities going into this term, and I feel we have accomplished that, even if it may feel like we've gone from one extreme to another. While I think it is still critical that we assess all projects for value, we be prepared to take risks on projects that have potential.
- Linkage grant
The linkage grant (as described in the report of my predecessor here), was a three year, six figure project between the University of Queensland, the Australian Paralympic committee and Wikimedia Australia. While the outcomes of the project had benefits for all involved, it was decided after discussion and commentary from the Wikimedia Foundation about the lack of funding, that it was not something we could afford to proceed with. Nevertheless, we remain committed to supporting the efforts of the Australian Paralympic committe and all our partners.
- Wikitowns and Freopedia
This year, several Wikitown projects were led by Gideon, two of which were at Waroona and Toodyay. Both were successful on delivering on our effort to improve the coverage of under-represented Australian topics and spreading the Wikimedia message in regional areas. Freopedia was a finalist in the Western Australian State Heritage Awards - a real achievement.
On August, the Australian Academy of Science held a Women of Science Wikibomb - an effort to improve coverage of female Australian scientists of limited or no coverage on Wikipedia. Kerry Raymond went along to the event, which saw 113 articles created or improved by over 80 volunteers. Significant news coverage was also generated (as listed on our news section on the main page). There will be more of these events in future, starting with one in Melbourne in November. I hope these events make a real impact on our effort to improve coverage of underrepresented content on Wikimedia projects.
In partnership with ALIA, we have a series of Wikipedia talks planned over the coming months, teaching librarians the ins an out on using and editing Wikipedia. I have confidence these will be a success, and hope they result in a ripple-on effect with training by the librarians in local communities leading to an increased awareness across the country, how to use it as an effective source of information as well as increase the number of editors.
I feel this year has been one of learning for the committee, myself included. Going forward, I think we have a much clearer idea on how to proceed in managing the organisation. I look forward to this year. Thank you all.