2010-2011 AGM/Secretary's Report
From Wikimedia Australia
Welcome to the third annual secretary report. This year has certainly been a difficult year for the chapter and the committee in particular. In May the committee accepted Brianna Laugher's resignation from the seat of president as she moved on to continue her work with Linux Users Victoria and other projects. She has been missed by the committee and it proved difficult to gain traction after her departure. Steve Peters moved from the seat of treasurer to president and Brian Salter-Duke moved from ordinary member to treasurer. This left the committee with a five-person committee. However, the committee has made progress and we have introduced some new projects and have others on the horizon.
At the time of writing, the chapter has 34 current financial members. This is down from 47 last year. In last year's report I noted that 23 2008-2009 financial members had failed to renew their memberships resulting in their memberships lapsing. This year retention of members has continued to be an issue for the chapter with 32 members failing to renew their memberships before the AGM. Retention of members remains a critical challenge facing the chapter and future committees.
Geographic distribution of members
The chapter currently has members in each Australian state and territory. The east coast states and territories have 25 members, compared with a total of 9 in all other states. Encouraging membership and chapter participation from people in the west, central and northern regions of Australia continues to be a challenge. The ACT has seen the most dramatic change in memberships with a decrease from six members last year to one this year, but this may represent a self-correcting and stabilising change following last year's GLAM-wiki conference which was held in the ACT.
In 2008, the chapter had five female members (or 13.9% of the membership). This increased last year to 11 female members (or 23.4%). This year we have four female members (or 12%). Low female participation is disappointing, however, this figure may be consistent with the participation of women in the broader Wikimedia movement. A study conducted by the Wikimedia Foundation and and the United Nations University’s tech-research program MERIT, found that only 13% of Wikipedia editors are women. 
The chapter has been receiving increasing levels of correspondence over the last year. We generally receive 5 to 10 emails per day on the contact email address. A significant portion of these emails are enquiries, comments or complaints about the English Wikipedia and these are usually referred to the relevant OTRS queue.
It is intended that the chapter will participate in the Wikimedia Foundation's fundraising campaign this year. This will be our first time participating in the WMF fundraiser so it is going to be a very important year for the incoming treasurer and the new committee. Brian has worked very hard (both as an ordinary member and then as treasurer) to obtain the fundraising permits for each state and territory. We now have CiviCRM installed and I have begun moving the records over from members-db. John Vandenberg, the chapter's systems administrator, is working on some errors with the program, but we are on track and should be ready to join the fundraiser when it commences in November.
Committee meetings, communication and technology
The committee used some funds from the Wikimedia Foundation's board development grant to hold a face-to-face meeting in Melbourne in January. All committee members attended and we attempted to lay out our plans for the year. Unfortunately our implementation was not very successful and Brianna's departure resulted in a lot of disruption to the committee.
The committee operates a private mailing list and this year we introduced a secondary mailing list to use in cases where a committee member has declared a conflict of interest. We also introduced fixed monthly committee meetings and they have resulted in a significant improvement of the issues that Brianna referred to last year. The committee has experienced a lot of difficulties this year but I feel that most of them are primarily leadership issues and I am hopeful the new committee will be able to overcome these issues and succeed in taking the chapter forward.
The committee has also benefited greatly from the opportunity to participate in international Wikimedia Foundation meetings. Andrew and I both gained a tremendous amount from attending the Chapters meeting in Berlin in April. We were only able to attend due to the very generous support of other chapters, in particular, Wikimedia France, who paid our airfares, and our very generous hosts, Wikimedia Deutschland. In May, Brian attended the Wikimedia Foundation's Fundraising Meeting in Bristol, UK. Brian was able to bring back lots of information from the meeting which will be invaluable as we go into the fundraiser.
As most chapter members will be aware, we have experienced numerous technology-related issues over the last year - from website crashes, fatal errors, through to broken email accounts and disappearing mailing lists. We finally appointed John Vandenberg as a sysaadmin and he took up that role immediately. Since then, most of the technology-related issues have been resolved. However, there remain two outstanding items - repairing the CiviCRM installation and finalising the domain transfer from Angela to the chapter.
Small grant program
This year, the committee introduced a trial small grants program. This program was developed at the committee's retreat in January. For the trial of this program, the committee allocated $AUD500 and members were invited to submit applications for small grants up to $100 to support or assist Wikimedia project work and other projects that fit within the chapter's mission. So far, two grant applications have been received - a request for $100 to assist with the purchase of reference material and a request for $100 to assist with a photo expedition to Canberra. Both applications have been approved and one project has already been successfully completed, resulting in improvements to a number of Wikipedia articles. The committee has extended the trial until the allocated funds have been distributed, at which time the committee will review the program and decide whether to continue with it or not.
At the retreat in January, the committee developed the idea of a chapter info kit, which could be used as an outreach and communication tool and the project was adopted by the committee as a key project for the 2009-2010 year. Unfortunately progress has been slow but a detailed plan and several pages have been compiled. Andrew Owens was appointed the project manager of this project and the kit is still under development. I'm sure Andrew would welcome assistance if any members are interested in helping with this project!
Since we started the chapter, the various committees have been very aware of the generous support of the members who have paid their membership fees each year without receiving anything tangible in return. The committee feels it is important for members to receive something in return for their annual fees. I have been working on a basic membership pack this year, which will be sent to the members in the new term and hopefully future committees will be able to build on it and put together some great packs for members.
This year we have continued our work with galleries, libraries, archives museums. Our Vice President, Liam Wyatt, has spent most of the year working with museums throughout the world, including his participation in the "Wikimedian in Residence" program at the British Museum. You can read more about Liam's work on his blog. Brian, Stephen Bain and myself ran an introductory Wikipedia training program with the Melbourne Museum and Liam provided training for the staff at the Powerhouse Museum. Other chapter members have also been working with museums in Australia and their work has resulted in improvements to Wikimedia content, as well as improving the image of the Wikimedia movement in Australia.
Presentations, training and outreach
During the 2009-2010 membership year, committee members and chapter members have represented Wikimedia Australia and the broader Wikimedia and free culture movements at a range of conferences and events including:
- "Is mass collaboration is all it's cracked up to be?" at the National Library of Australia’s Innovative Ideas Forum.
- 2009 Linux.conf.au.
- Open Day, Linux.conf.au conference.
- The Wikimedia Foundation's chapters meeting, Berlin, Germany.
- The Wikimedia Foundation's fundraising meeting, Bristol, UK.
- 2010 Wikimania, Gdansk, Poland.
- Open Edge 2009.
- "Wikim/pedia data sources the MediaWiki api", MelHack, November, 2009.
- Wikipedia and the Cultural Sector, 19 April 2010 IUPUI, Indianapolis
- "Wikipedia, Museums, and access to Art", Columbia University, NY, 20 April, 2010.
- "Everything you wanted to know about Wikipedia but were too afraid to ask", JISC/Culture24, London, 7 June, 2010.
- "From Sausages to Freedom", Stockholm, 2010.
- Software Freedom Day, September 2010.
- Museums and the Web, Denver, Colorado, USA.
- Museums Australia, National Conference 2010.
Chapter members have also provided Wikipedia and MediaWiki editing workshops and training programs. Organisations that have received Wikipedia and Wikimedia training programs from Wikimedia Australia members include:
- Melbourne Museum.
- Mosman Municipal Council.
- Powerhouse Museum.
- Wikimedia in the Classroom at Redcliffe State High School.
- Australian Computers in Education Conference.
Summary of meetings
- Resolution:Robert Myers' Small Grant
- Resolution:Reimbursement of conference call costs
- Resolution:Payment of merchandise account - stickers
- Resolution:Distribution of monies received
- Resolution:John Harrison's Small Grant
- Resolution:Proposed changes to the Association Rules
- Resolution:John Vandenberg appointed system administrator
- Resolution:Reimbursements - Sarah Ewart's expenses
- Resolution:Reimbursements - Andrew Owens's expenses
- Resolution:Reimbursements - Brian Salter-Duke's expenses
- Resolution:Reimbursements - A Small Orange expenses incurred by Brianna
- Resolution:Reimbursements - Domain renewal charges incurred by Angela
- Resolution:Thank you letters
- Resolution:Nomination of Michael Snow to Chapter-selection WMF board process
- Resolution:Merchandise sub-committee
- Resolution:Election of new treasurer
- Resolution:Sanction to fundraise in Queensland
- Resolution:Appointing a new president
- Resolution:Brianna Laugher's resignation
- Resolution:Confirmation of support for Wikimedia Foundation board chapter's seat election process
- Resolution:Powerhouse Museum
- Resolution:New business cards
- Resolution:AGM conference call reimbursement
- Resolution:Approve use of Grant Applications/Board Capacity Development funds for the January meeting in Melbourne
- Resolution:WMF internal mailing list and wiki membership
- Resolution:Updating bank signatories
The committee is losing two-thirds of its membership this year. Steve Peters, Brian Salter-Duke, Liam Wyatt, and, of course, Brianna Laugher, all leave their seats on the committee this year. Liam has served as Vice President for the last two years and we wish him well as he continues his work with the international GLAM sector. Steve joined the chapter prior to the GLAM-wiki conference last year, was elected to the committee this year as treasurer, and moved to the seat of president vacated by Brianna in May. Brian was a member of the original organising team, became the public officer in the interim committee's year, was elected treasurer last year, then elected as an ordinary member this term but re-assumed the role of treasurer when Steve vacated it to take over as president following Brianna's resignation. As a founding member and a very important part of the chapter's founding, Brian will be missed on the committee, but he will continue as a member and as the chapter's public officer.
Finally, I would like to thank the members who have supported the chapter and continued putting their money in each year, particularly the founding members who have stuck with the chapter each year. This past year has definitely been a very difficult and frustrating one for the committee, but we have some truly outstanding members stepping up for the new committee and I feel very optimistic that the chapter will be in great hands, regardless of the outcome of the ordinary member elections, and I am confident that the new committee will have a successful year and continue to make progress and take the chapter forward to an exciting future.