What costs should each group - chapters and the Foundation - be responsible for covering?
The WMF has always covered the cost of hosting and bandwidth. The chapters have been working on the things they consider important in their realm which typically is geographic. For many geographic areas there is no chapter and consequently the needs for these areas has largely not been addressed. When money is allocated for such areas it has defaulted to the foundation.
As we grow our chapters, our foundation, more activities can be started. Depending which board (WMF or chapter) has the will and the funding these activities can be funded. There is much more that will directly help our projects that can be funded and that will have a big beneficial impact. Thanks,
Yep, I agree, Gerard.
Projecting into the future, it seems obvious to me that, without intervention, the rich will get richer and the poor poorer. Chapters are generally most-mature in the richest countries, e.g., Germany. And, chapters will quite naturally tend to spend the bulk of their revenues inside their country. (Some spending will benefit "everyone," and some spending may even be specifically targeted to developing countries. But the bulk of their spending will happen inside their own geography.)
What's ironic about that is, of course, that it's in developing countries that the projects are most-needed and most-useful, and it's developing countries that will have the most difficulty raising money to fund their own activities. So, unless someone steps up to fund activities in developing countries, they will likely happen very very slowly, or not at all.
I think that therefore, the Wikimedia Foundation should fund work designed to increase awareness, reach and participation, in developing countries. I just don't see another entity currently in a position to do that. Do other people have thoughts about this?
There are many investments that will benefit all projects and particularly benefit the smaller projects. An example is registering the most sought articles we do not have.. When you publish this, projects will write what our readers are looking for. When you also show the most read articles written in the last month, you promote the creation of the articles that make a difference.
We do not support web fonts while languages like Malayam and Amharic would benefit from this. Lack of font support is a show stopper. Spending money on the ABILITY to support web fonts makes it more easy to support marginal languages. Marginal in the sense of projects performing marginally or not at all.
When we link Commons to lexical resourced categories we can provide search capability to other languages. A first step could be the Wikiword functionality by Duesentrieb however, this does not help languages where there is no article ... When people are not able to find media, they are less likely to add media.. With such multi lingual support, it becomes possible to add categories in people's own language and this helps remove the current western bias.
The whole question of responsibilities and directions of funding is very much dependent on the state of development of the different chapters, as they vary rather a lot in terms of resources. Seed funding and an elaboration of the chapter grants system would of course be more relevant issues to the smaller chapters.
I agree that the WMF should take a lead in reaching out to developing countries without chapters, but I also feel that in certain cases it may be advantageous for the WMF to sponsor one of the existing chapters in pursuing a project in a developing country (if the chapter is particularly well-suited for outreach in that country).
In our context, any country that has no chapter is a developing country. When you consider countries like Belgium, Estonia, Malta but also Tanzania, Peru and Mexico we are talking about countries that all do not really participate in the Wiki movement. When you then look at the languages that they could represent, you find that they are all underdeveloped.
Chapters are important and we should strive to get the fundamentals right for a chapter in every country.
That could be an alternative way to share money and experiences. Others are possible, i.e. an "international-supporting-pot", which is filled with a percentage of each chapters income (or a fix amount, or what a chapter is able to give or ...). The sum of it could be spent in supporting activities in a developing country. One country for a year, so you are able to find donors who give their money especially for this aim. Just an idea without thinking about how to realize sth like this. But such constellations could change the responsibility for money. Not or doing of course, but this thread is about costs. ;-)
In addition to looking at seed funding from the WMF for initial chapter staff (see Wikimedia Chapters for current status), I think we could also examine the possibility of the WMF in some limited cases directly taking on an employee to assist a chapter in their region on a temporary basis, with the payroll being taken up by the chapter itself after professionalization has made the administrative and legal handling of this easier.
Another possibility that has been mentioned is the creation of new positions at the WMF in San Francisco that could help coordinate and augment some aspects of the chapters' activities; I know for example that a Wikimedia GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, museums) relations employee has been proposed.