Wikipedia:Village pump (miscellaneous)

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Severance pay at WMF reaches new heightsEdit

The Foundation's Form 990 published today shows that the WMF paid 5 executives a combined total of over $1.2 million in severance pay. About half of this was pocketed by Katherine Maher. Individual figures as given on page 50:

  • Katherine Maher $623,286 (over 150% of her base compensation in her last full year)
  • Janeen Uzzell $324,748 (over 100% of her base compensation in her last full year)
  • Heather Walls $153,612
  • Lynette Logan $74,645
  • Anthony Negrin $70,920

In 2021 there were six WMF executives receiving total compensation of more than $400,000; likely to be more now.

For historical comparison, the severance payment Lila Tretikov got in 2016 was $262.5K, approx. 77% of her $342K base compensation in 2015, her last full year. Andreas JN466 20:24, 9 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I dunno, I'm pretty sure I've provided at least 1/10 the value Katherine Maher has to Wikipedia, I wouldn't mind some of that cash. --Golbez (talk) 20:50, 9 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That’s a bold statement. Frostly (talk) 17:38, 19 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How does this compare with typical severance settlements regarding similar posts in nonprofit organisations? Anyone have any data? AndyTheGrump (talk) 20:56, 9 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Apparently this has been recognized as a problem, and the "Highlights of Form 990" blog post talks about severance and links to an earlier blog post which has a small mention of "new standardized severance policy for staff at all levels of one month of severance pay for every year of their employment, up to nine months (unless local laws require otherwise)", or in other words 75% base compensation maximum. Matma Rex talk 21:36, 9 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Now we know what those donations are going towards. On a more serious note, we do need to take care that the WMF structure is not captured by profiteering opportunists. BD2412 T 22:20, 9 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I wonder whether the new "standardized" severance policy still requires people to agree to a "You agree to refrain from publicly criticizing, denigrating, or otherwise disparaging WMF, WMF Board members, WMF officers, or WMF staff members, or otherwise take any action which could reasonably be expected to adversely affect the reputation of same" clause (and/or "You agree not to disclose the existence, contents or negotiations leading to this Agreement, unless required by law") to get any severance. Anomie 11:37, 10 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If the WMF has identified a role which is unnecessary, and paid a year's salary to make that ongoing commitment go away, then that may be a wise investment which will repay itself every year. However, if the WMF just took on someone else to do essentially the same job then we need to look more closely. For example, if a departing employee didn't do their job adequately, or decided to leave of their own accord, then we must ask why they should be compensated for going. Other explanations are possible, and I make no comment on any individual listed above, as I am not in a position to assess their contributions. Certes (talk) 22:59, 9 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Reorgs are expensive, as Certes notes. When the WMF board embarked on a journey to replace the management and decided to get a new ED from outside, surely they knew it would come at a cost, but they decided the benefits were still higher. Upfront cash outlays like severance pay are more visible than other costs, but often they're worth it: a bitter departure can also come at considerable costs, as does any delay in implementing necessary changes.
Personally I think WMF management has performed very poorly for the past 10 years or more, and change needs to start at the top. If anything I hope the WMF has budgeted for more severance costs this year, so that changes can happen at a suitable speed and not be unnecessarily delayed by personal circumstances. A layoff equal to 5 % of the headcount was already announced for 2023, so I wouldn't be surprised to see one-time expenditure of 10 % of the annual budget to make it possible (especially if the more expensive USA-based roles are involved).
That said, the mantra of "professionalisation", which was constantly repeated since the early 2010s to justify the increases in wage expenditure for top and middle management, has only wrecked damage on the Wikimedia mission, so it would probably be healthy for WMF to reduce overall management costs in the next few years. Less managers often means less ill-advised vanity projects thrown to us just for the sake of justifying salaries or promotions. Nemo 07:05, 10 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's worth noting that even the present WMF management appears to acknowledge that these payments were excessive. A Diff post published last month describes new guidelines that ...
have also provided an opportunity to better align our processes globally when staff leave the Foundation. This includes a new standardized severance policy for staff at all levels of one month of severance pay for every year of their employment, up to nine months (unless local laws require otherwise) – any exceptions require a joint recommendation by the Head of Talent & Culture and the General Counsel, with final approval from the CEO.
If I read this correctly, this would cap severance at 75% of annual (base?) compensation (for employees with a tenure of nine years or more); someone who has only been at the WMF for a little over two years (like Uzzell, for example) would only get around 1/6 or 1/4 of their compensation.
As can be seen, however, even this new policy still allows for "exceptions", plus there have been cases recently of steep pay rises for executives in their final year at the WMF (which might then obviously also increase the severance). So it seems by no means assured that the new policy will prevent the recurrence of such large severance payments, which are ultimately paid from global Wikipedia donations. Right? Andreas JN466 12:18, 10 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Local laws permitting, the pay rise just before departure could be countered by handing out not one month's pay per year of service, but one twelfth of their total salary to date. The cap could still stay, though I expect the very few staff who have served for more than nine years didn't earn much ten years ago. Certes (talk) 12:30, 10 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For an interesting historical overview of WMF executive pay see m:Wikimedia_Foundation_salaries. The page has just been updated and reorganised. Andreas JN466 11:20, 12 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It'd be nice if the WMF at least reimbursed me for the books I've had to buy to write comprehensive articles that help contribute to someone's bloated pay. Darkwarriorblake / Vote for something that matters 12:04, 12 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I must say that is what still rankles with me as well: the money I spent on books back in the day (before the Wikipedia Library, and before the ballooning of these pay checks). Chipping in was all well and good as long as everybody was poor. But then ...   Andreas JN466 12:40, 12 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Should we fork then? CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 12:11, 28 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also the WMF fundraising giving me vibes... CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 12:14, 28 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's a tough question which deserves its own page, if not its own website. The WMF has many faults, but there are signs that the juggernaut is starting to turn and remember its former core values of serving readers and helping editors to do so. Forking is possible but far from easy given a very wealthy owner which controls our trademarks, URLs and hardware. Certes (talk) 15:17, 28 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No chance. Too big to fail. At this point it (like Facebook and others) can only be disrupted by something better, never replaced by an equivalent. DFlhb (talk) 17:42, 28 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Mastodon seems to be replacing Twitter, the only disruption being growing dislike of its ownership. But this thread isn't the best place for such discussions. Certes (talk) 18:33, 28 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How can I legally change the link to the Tornado Cache website?Edit

Cryptocurrency mixer  Tornado cash is under sanctions U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY. While under sanctions, the project changed the site address. Is it possible to specify a new address in the article about the project?

  1. Does a reputable site (as example indicate that the site is working at a new address?
  2. Do Coinmarketcap or coingesko indicate a new legal website address on the Tornado Cash page?
  3. The site is under sanctions and therefore it is impossible to specify a legal link to the site.Vladlen Terezhe (talk) 10:02, 18 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Firstly, there are relatively few reliable cryptocurrency-related websites, as far as Wikipedia is concerned - and the appropriate place to ask whether these sites are acceptable is the Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard, not here. As for linking the site if an appropriate source can be found, I can think of no good reason why Wikipedia would wish to assist a cryptocurrency-related website sanctioned for money-laundering to evade such blacklisting. AndyTheGrump (talk) 10:56, 18 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The "main menu" is at the upper left corner of every page, or if hidden, it hides in a square in the upper left corner, to the left of the Wikipedia globe. That menu has a list of links, including "Contribute" which doesn't link to anything. (It apparently means contribute to an article, as there is also a working link labeled "Donate".) Is that a bug, a feature, or too hard to fix? It happens on both Windows 10 and 11, and two different browsers. You'd think they'd either link it to an appropriate page or delete the menu item. Art LaPella (talk) 01:14, 20 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's a heading for the next five options, I think. Ian Dalziel (talk) 01:29, 20 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes it is. Have a look at a page in another skin, such as proper Vector or MonoBook. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 05:52, 20 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If it confuses one person enough to actually post about it, it's likely confusing another thousand people who haven't, fwiw. -- Avocado (talk) 22:41, 22 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Your first editEdit

TLDR: Did you make an edit first, or did you create an account before your first edit?

A conversation over at Meta-Wiki about m:IP masking has revived my curiosity about how experienced Wikipedia editors got started. Specifically, was your first edit as an IP, or did you Special:CreateAccount before making that very first edit?

For example, my first edit was as an IP, probably sometime in 2005. It was probably fixing punctuation, because when someone puts a comma in the wrong place, I'm in the "Duty Calls" mindset.

This is meant to be a fun question, and I hope that a lot of registered editors are willing to help me find out what's common. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:08, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Edited as an IP firstEdit

  1. WhatamIdoing (=volunteer-me) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:08, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  2. Pretty sure I did.. — TheresNoTime (talk • they/them) 01:18, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  3. Aye, I don't remember which page but I did make one or two edits before registering. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 07:05, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  4. Just a few typos. I show an unreasonable level of hatred for sites which expect me to register just to read content they could have served me instead of a registration form, but soon realised that Wikipedia did not fall into that category and was well worth joining. Certes (talk) 11:44, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  5. I made about ~150 edits over 3 years as an IP, before creating my account when I wanted to create either a redirect or a disambiguation page (don't remember which), which I couldn't do while logged out. * Pppery * it has begun... 13:11, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  6. Random minor type edits back in 2005, but if I started on a new project today I'd register first. — xaosflux Talk 13:14, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  7. One edit early in 2005, added a phrase that a radio station's call letters supposedly represented, then waited to see if it would be reverted because it was unsourced. Created an account in August 2005 to make one edit, started editing in earnest in October 2005. - Donald Albury 16:12, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  8. Obviously. But maybe I don't count here, since I never made an edit with the account I eventually created. (talk) 16:55, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  9. Yes, and I revealed it many years ago, see User:Redrose64#Editing. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 19:15, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  10. Minor edits. Dege31 (talk) 22:22, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  11. Yes, but I probably wouldn't if I was starting out today. the wub "?!" 21:57, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  12. I edited for quite some time before making an account. -- LCU ActivelyDisinterested transmissions °co-ords° 22:25, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  13. I think it was about a month as an IP. Art LaPella (talk) 23:38, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  14. I edited for a few months as an IP years ago, improving a few pages here and there, but I mostly did anti-vandalism. OutsideNormality (talk) 16:50, 27 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  15. Probably around a dozen small edits in January and February of 2013. I don't think I would've became a regular editor here if registration had been required. — SamX [talk · contribs] 04:34, 29 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  16. I absolutely did, probably for several months in late 2005 to early 2006. I was so excited to find a website I could actually correct. I didn't register until I found I wanted to write a missing article. Ntsimp (talk) 19:33, 29 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  17. Yes, I did. But that was back in 2002, which was another time & another Wikipedia. -- llywrch (talk) 18:49, 30 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  18. Made hundreds of edits in 2014 before registering. – SD0001 (talk) 17:32, 2 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  19. I loved to contribute with no account, and I still do. --NaBUru38 (talk) 21:27, 2 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Created an account before first editEdit

  1. I was read-only for quite awhile and then made my first edit using this account. RudolfRed (talk) 04:33, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  2. Ditto, but I read Wikipedia through a mirror. Once I found out this site could be edited, I created my account and began contributing. Graham87 06:12, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  3. If I recall I created an account to participate on talk pages, editing after that. CMD (talk) 06:54, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  4. I seem to have created an account in May 2006, made my first edit with it in June 2006 (seems unlikely - possibly I edited pages which have since been deleted?). I suppose I might have edited earlier as an IP but have no memory of doing so! PamD 07:57, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @PamD: Your earliest deleted edits are three from 15 June 2006, all to The University of Nottingham Hillwalking and Rambling Society. Your earliest live edit is from 9 June 2006 - six days earlier. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 21:09, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Redrose64: Ah yes, I remember that article. I wonder why I created an account a month before I used it ... will never know. I do know that I was encouraged to edit by my former colleague, the late lamented GuillaumeTell. PamD 07:07, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  5. My first edit was to an AfD discussion to which I had been canvassed, but I didn't make a comment that the canvasser would have liked. I don't think that I was aware that I could contribute to the discussion without creating an account. Phil Bridger (talk) 08:40, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  6. I seem to have created this account at the end of 2012 with my first edit in late 2013. Although I did not start regularly editing till March 2017. Paulpat99 (talk) 09:24, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  7. Created this account in case I ever wanted to edit. My first edit was two years later. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 18:05, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  8. It was so long ago (early 2003) that I can no longer be sure, but I think I created this account for my first edit. Probably unknowable at this point. Skynxnex (talk) 18:35, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  9. I'm not certain, but I'm pretty sure it was an account with a plan Nosebagbear (talk) 18:56, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  10. I've only ever edited logged out by accident. I don't think I knew it was possible to edit logged out. Had some trouble even finding the edit button. Schierbecker (talk) 01:48, 27 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  11. My first wiki was another in 2005/2006ish timeframe in an ecosystem that had an expectation of logging in (video gaming). Besides it being natural here, I understood the privacy context for logging in as well rather than editing logged out. IznoPublic (talk) 02:38, 31 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  12. I created an account to avoid my IP being shown publicly. Frostly (talk) 19:02, 31 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  13. I had the idea (I don't remember where from) that I could do some Wikipedia copyediting as a distraction / procrastination activity. As I recall I created an account because it was recommended at the time – I remember being annoyed that my preferred username was already taken. Wham2001 (talk) 15:30, 2 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Other discussionEdit

Should this discussion refer to editors whose earliest edits were signed by users who signed off their names in red letters, because they had not learnt how to set up user pages? That was the case with me, and you might, if you traced back the history of some articles far enough, find edits I signed as being by ACarl or Cardamom, both in red letters. YTKJ (talk) 19:12, 29 May 2023 (UTC) You can find some edits by "Cardamom" on the article on the Psychology of Religion, dating back to July 2005. YTKJ (talk) 19:17, 29 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Selection of the U4C Building CommitteeEdit

The next stage in the Universal Code of Conduct process is establishing a Building Committee to create the charter for the Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee (U4C). The Building Committee has been selected. Read about the members and the work ahead on Meta-wiki.

-- UCoC Project Team, 04:20, 27 May 2023 (UTC)