Meeting:Committee (2019-06-16)

Committee meeting

16 June 2019

This meeting has two pages: one restricted-access page (only for members of the current Board) and one public-access page (which may have sensitive information redacted).

  Wikimedia Australia Inc.


  • Facilitator: Julian Singh.
  • Participants: Pru Mitchell; Gideon Digby; Tom Hogarth; Caddie Brain; Robert Myers; Steve Crossin (agenda-wrangling); and Sam Wilson (note-taking).

Introduction from Julian about how he was to facilitate and what type (information-sharing, discussing, or decisive) of meeting this is. Tom suggests it's a decision-making meeting, with some discussion. This counts as a formal Committee meeting (we have a quorum and are able to make decisions). Some disagreement occurred about what this morning's meeting should be. Then we needed to list what decisions need to be made, go through and prioritize them, and then we can make the most useful decisions. Discussions such as recapping yesterday's conference were moved down the list as they don't require action. Grouped things into P1 for decisions, P2 for documented outputs, and P3 for general discussions.

The meeting will continually be tied back to the global movement strategy: knowledge as a service, and knowledge equity. Julian recapped on the definitions of these; it's about communities and diversity.

We came up with the following two ordered lists:

Priority 1:

  1. Committee operations (meetings, roles, etc.)
  2. Communicating within the WMAU and global community

Priority 2:

  1. Conference attendances in the next year (ESEAP, Wikimania, Chapters Conf)
  2. Recognising and rewarding people's involvement (inc. Craig Frankin Award)
  3. Strategic plan, and the next APG

Committee operations

Roles and responsibilities in the Committee. Some people have taken on different tasks than in the original descriptions. Roles like secretary and treasurer don't have anyone to operate when the office holders are unavailable. Each role should have a fallback. Does this require changes to the constitution? Do we need to decide soon when the next AGMs is going to be? [Some notes missed.] All decisions around the structure of the Committee need to obey the Rules, so we can't make hard decisions about some roles (e.g. a committee member can't coopt an assistant to themselves, that has to be done by the committee or SGM). Let's talk about role names rather than people's names to keep it less personal. Another way to get more support for treasurer is to create e.g. a financial subcommittee, which could even have people who aren't on the committee. Basically we need to make sure we're not relying solely on individual people; we want to create redundancies within the committee. The Tech team is one example of this already in place, in which there is one member on the committee and two others who are not on the committee. There's a danger that the non-Committee members of these redundancy groups would not have the authority to act, so we'd have to ensure that they're pre-approaved and would not act without Committee direction.

The outcome here is a new policy: that any current WMAU member can be coopted onto the Committee for any role (e.g. assistant treasurer or secretary). These people must be approved and minuted in advance by the committee, and must only act at the direction of the Committee.

We recapped the existing Committee roles (President, VP, Treasurer, Secretary, and ordinary members). The commwiki has definitions of each role. For example President doesn't include responsibilities of membership, but Pru's been doing this. We edited the separate role pages on commwiki.

Recommendation: that a membership subcommittee will be created, consisting of the Secretary (head, as per rules), Treasurer, and one other WMAU member. This was postponed until after deciding about membership fees (below).

Some discussion was had around getting rid of membership fees entirely, to reduce the administrative burden. We'd get more members. The cost of maintaining membership fees is quite high for the Committee. Does free membership make it easier to stack Committee elections? The signup process would include a email verification, so that makes it a bit harder to create false members. Would the WMF care? Probably not. Would the current membership care, given they've paid for something that'd now be free? This is a bigger decision so we should consider it for a few weeks (to a future meeting, with implementation to happen before May 2020).

[tea break]

Continued going through Roles on commwiki. All edits made there today are related to this meeting. Discussion happened around minute-recording proceedures and how to write and store minutes (and correspondence also).

Communication within the Committee, chapter, and globally

This is what we're least good at, as a Committee. Is a newsletter 3 times a year and a renewal notice enough? We have improved on previous years. One thing that came out of yesterday's discussions was that we're not all aware of the rest of us are doing (us as the Australian Wikimedia community). Communication is time-consuming, and so takes lots of energy; we must be strategic and are not likely to do all that a larger organisation might manage. The newsletter is great, but we should move on wiki with the same content, so that everyone doing work can write reports to include in it. Does this mean that people won't write anything? And they can already submit email reports to the newsletter-compiling person. How can we encourage content to be submitted? Are we spending too much time on Committee meetings, and are these taking energy away from other activities such as report-writing and communications.

We used to have every other meeting be a community meeting (it was via IRC) and that's a good thing. It brings in non-committee people. Let's agree on whether we should do this, then argue about what platform to use. Let's run some training as the public meeting, to give value to the community. Each meeting could be on a different platform, depending on requirements.

Proposal: monthly Committee meeting, fortnightly executive chat, subcommittees as required, and semi-regular community meetings/presentations.

If we move to monthly Committee meetings, will we be able to make quick decisions when required? This has been done via email, with decisions ratified by the following meeting. Could we use Phabricator to track tasks? Monthly meetings might force us to be more efficient; it'd free up time for committee members; and more members might want to join if the commitment is smaller. Monthly might mean we forget what's going on; fortnightly keeps everything fresh in our minds. Monthly frees up th the off-fortnight to be used for a general community meeting. Monthly makes missing a meeting more of an issue.

We'll record all tools used (Google docs, calendar, etc.) on commwiki:Tools.

Out of session decisions will be done via email (with voting) and ratified at the next meeting.

Communicating with:

  1. Members
    1. What: Inform on activities, opportunities, major updates
    2. Why: Be more informed, more active, create more capacity, build sense of community. Increased networking opportunities
    3. How: Newsletter, mailing lists (email), public meetings, social media, on-wiki (e.g. WMAU wiki)
  2. Australian Contributors
    1. What: Similar to Members & our existence!
    2. Why: Increased awareness of organisation and activities, encourage membership, create knowledge equity
    3. How: Geonotices/banners, public meetings
  3. Australian Partners
    1. What: Branding, recognition, skill sets, help build their capacity, provide connection to community
    2. Why: Amplify our work and ability to get things done, increase impact, access to their stuff!
    3. How: Partnerships page on public wiki, case studies, support attendance to conferences.
  4. Australian Community (e.g. general public/media)
    1. What: Create awareness of WP and dispel myths, who to contact
    2. Why: Donations & philanthropy (raise money), create awareness of how it works and what we do as a community, create contributors, educate them, advocacy
    3. How: Media outreach
  5. Regional community (e.g. ESEAP)
    1. What: Mutual knowledge exchange, create regional partnerships, regional knowledge equity,
    2. Why: facilitate openness among region, create equity of knowledge
    3. How: Become active and sustained member of ESEAP, regular intra-community reporting, shared access to regional events
  6. Global community
    1. What: Improve funding, better connection to movement, influence outcomes and raise awareness.
    2. Why: build capacity, develop relationships, create impact, improve our standing and awareness in the movement, contribute to the strategic direction of the movement.
    3. How: Sending to and presenting at conferences, social media, virtual meetings, volunteering for global initiatives.

Other business

Business cards

Discussion about who's going to ESEAP and Wikimania. This moved to talking about who's able to be given business cards and email address. Everyone who gets cards should be logged on the public wiki so that people can verify them. A business card is a good reason for people to become members.

Motion: Pru moves the resolution drafted on commwiki re email addresses and business cards. Seconded Steve. Passed without dissent.

Motion: that we provide Jeremy Bahnfriend with business cards and email address (as he desires) in recognition of his involvement in the Wikimedia community. Moved by Tom; seconded Pru. Passed without dissent. Action: Treasurer will organise the details.

Conference attendance

Ingrid to Wikimania and Celtic Knots conferences. We support both in principle. How do we fund these?

Crag Franklin Award

We want to do this, but need to figure out the recipients, criteria, etc.


We got through a fair bit of what we hoped to, and this was felt to be a productive day.

Went around the circle and each gave a short closing comment.

Meeting closed at 2PM.

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