Meeting:2017 AGM/President Report
Over the last 12 Months Wikimedia Australia has very busy, I'd like to thank the committee members, Pru as Vice President, Robert as Treasurer, Tom as Secretary and Caddie who joined the committee for the first time as a general committee member. Without their help and input this year wouldn't have been as successful as it was. Caddie brought to the community a new concept she called Wikiclubs and following a presentation she did at a libraries conference Queensland adopted the idea and WA branch changed its identity to a wikiclub.
A lot of the year was spent focusing on fostering content creation activities from the "Life in Canning" photo competition in October to the Queensland Family History Society just a few days ago. I'd like to also pay my respects to Kerry who ran many activities in Queensland in collaboration with the State Library. Kerry also attended her first Wikimania in Montreal and at my request while there spoke in depth with the WLM international team explaining how our heritage site data is distributed and what efforts will be need to participate.
This also saw a visit to Melbourne by WMF CEO Katherine Maher for Knowledge week where she was the keynote speaker. During that visit Pru Mitchell successfully organised meetings and events for WMAU as well as support for activities the organisers had arranged for Katherine. This year saw the WMF focus on its Strategy planning starting in Berlin with a number of Australians invited to attend the strategy sessions there. WMAU then followed during phase 2 with Tom leading the strategy project work in Australia starting from Knowledge week discussions and continuing around the country with visits to Darwin, Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide. I like to also recognise the efforts of Caddie, Robert, and Sam in supporting this along with the State Library of Western Australia.
This brings us to our next significant event of the year, the collaboration space made available to WMAU and WikiClubWest by the State Library of Western from the 20th May until 20 August 2017 we had our space within the library. The space gave Tom a base to work from for the strategy planning work with Sam Wilson who was working on his day job remotely from the room we were able to provide an enquiry/learning space for people about the various projects. Additionally the Noongarpedia team utilised the space for meeting, workshops and other training activities, along with number of other Wikipedian who used the space while doing research. The room also hosted some WikiClubWest meetups along with a number of public discussions on various topics, its an opportunity I hope can be explored again in the future.
From the committee perspectives a number of growing issue have been resolved and processes have been put in place to ensure that they don't repeat themselves, I'd like to thank Michael Billington and Sam Wilson for the technical support to make this happen. During the year I hired an accountant to review our system, besides identifying some minor issues with way in which we had been using Xero to produce reports there were no significant issues. Robert took the advice of the accountant, fixing some issues with the ATO over reporting and bank account options with these solved we finally closed the Bendigo bank accounts. We became the target of what could be described as some unscrupulous characters who used our PayPal donation process to test apparently stolen credit cards, this consumed much of Roberts time in dealing with PayPal over each request, how WMAU goes forward in the future in accepting donations is something that will need to be worked for the moment we cant accept PayPal payments for anything.
While on finances Robert and myself attended this years Wikimedia Conference in Berlin where we able to discuss with the WMF the processes for ongoing funding and we have already started the development of our first APG which should be submitted sometime in the next month, this process will help secure WMAU financial position into the future and provide a stable base from which WMAU can seek out addition support. WMAU also committed to the WLE and WLM as well as the strategy process, I was also able to speak with a number of the originators of the QRpedia project and as part of the APG we'll be seeking support to develop a qr reader app that will use WikiData, Wikipedia and WikiVoyage information and rather than the current system that uses third party readers which send people out to be inundated with advertising.
Looking into the future I first need to go into the past. Over the years WMAU committees have at various times considered hiring someone the focus of those roles has been as an assistant to committee taking on the minor repetitive tasks. Sorry if you take on a committee role these minor repetitive task are part your responsibilities and paying someone to do them isn't a good use of resources nor will it ensure a long term commitment from an employee. What I think is needed is for a community type coordinator. Someone who can nurture the relationships with existing partners and work with new partners as they come along. Additionally as we get into the grant making process we'll need to actively ensure that all reporting and other conditions are being monitored. While it's not a priority and unlikely to be necessary in the immediate term it's a concept I'd like the community to think more about. There is discussion and planning for a regional meetup in Indonesia during 2018 which Robert has been involved in with the support of WMAU. Locally we haven't committed to a national conference but the planning is for a number of local meetups hosted by the committee.
As I step down as President I hope the work and efforts I have contributed to have created the foundations from which WMAU can develop into a strong and prosperous future. I would like to wish Pru all the best as she steps into the role of President and look forward to the opportunities her leadership will undoubtedly offer.
- President October 2015 to October 2017