Wiki Loves Monuments (WLM) is an annual photographic competition held by multiple Wikimedia chapters, members, and partners around the world to take pictures of local historical monuments and heritage sites in their region, and upload them to Wikimedia Commons. In 2011, it achieved a Guinness World Record for being "the largest photography competition" ever.
I had the occasion in the past weeks that I spoke with people from WMF who are working for the foundation for some years, and I had to explain what Wiki Loves Monuments is. (And that was not the first time.) It is the largest project of the movement, recognised as largest photo contest in the world, and some WMF people do not know or understand.
And even after explaining the community perspective many times by multiple people, the Wikimedia Foundation does not really get it. Multiple countries have an exemption in their law allowing buildings and 3D-works to be photographed without having to ask for permission, without it breaching the copyright of the architect or artist. This is something called Freedom of panorama. However, countries such as Italy do not have any exceptions like these, which makes hosting competitions like these much harder.
Isn't Italy one of those odd European countries that won't allow freedom of panorama? Surely the impact won't be too great, considering that the type of people who can participate are at least savvy enough to understand the oddities of the Italian monuments situation & Commons.
This is really sad for Italy. Extra sad because of the difficult copyright situation in Italy, what requires the local team already to do much much much more work than in most other countries, just to have a normal contest. The Italian team does a great job this year.
Every year WLM puts a banner on Wikipedia telling readers about this competition. The competition has always been held in September, every year, so it should come as no surprise that it is in September again this year. However, it seems like Wikimedia Foundation's fundraising team has forgotten about this fact. According to Romaine, the fundraising team are planning to have a fundraising banner on the Italian Wikipedia during 62,5% of the time in September, causing the WLM's banner to be mostly absent from the Italian Wikipedia during crucial competition time.
The community is working very hard on improving and expanding the content of Wikipedia by organising Wiki Loves Monuments. I always thought that this was the number one priority of the whole Wikimedia movement. Did I made a wrong assumption somehow?
important than yours".
We were in the same situation last year, including all the negative side effects mentioned already. [...] Like you, we decided to come to terms with the situation without causing drama or trouble, but we communicated very clearly and on various channels that we wish for or rather strongly recommend a better planning this year, i.e. an information for the affected countries months and not only weeks or days before the event, so that they they can come up with adequate strategies and plan accordingly. It sounds that - again - this was not the case this year.
— Claudia Garád
This has caused the user Risker to start thinking of alternative solutions, such as having a big button in the sidebar on the left side of every article. However, this will undoubtedly be hassle to code and will not generate as much traffic as a nice banner. Ricordisamoa also came up with an idea to make the WLM 'banner' become a Main Page panel like the ones on Commons.
Users have asked the fundraising team to publicly comment about this issue on the mailing list.
We were always told that December is the best month. It is no secret that many (and which) chapters run the WLM event in September. Maybe the FR team can explain about that, so that we have the bigger picture.
On 22 August, the Foundation's Director of Community Engagement, Luis Villa, commented that there have to be compromises. The need to run these ads in September or specifically in Italy wasn't really explained, only that they have to run in Europe in the fall.
Fundraising has been asked to raise $68 million this year to support the movement (including funding some parts of WLM!). This is going to be extremely difficult, given the decline in pageviews.
Every year, readers are told that money is required to "keep Wikipedia online and ad-free another year" (a hangover from ten years ago, when bandwidth was indeed the main cost). [...] Every year, members of the community point out here on this list that given the Foundation's present-day wealth, these phrasings are misleading and manipulative. [...] it is abundantly clear that the Foundation intends to use the same approach in this year's December fundraiser. Banners observed in testing earlier this month still used the same wording, despite last year's controversy.
On August 30, a Request for Comment on the issue was launched. It was followed by an announcement that the WMF and Wikimedia Italia has already reached a solution. They announced that the fundraising banners would not appear in September.
In the last week, the Fundraising Team and Wikimedia Italia's board worked hard together to find a common solution. In these very last days, we continued a very honest and direct conversation.
I just received the news, and I'm glad to share it with you all.
I personally think that the Fundraising Team made a brave move (as they will not likely meet the fundraising goals), and would love to see it welcomed with the respect it deserves.