[Wikimediaindia-l] Secret WMF Job of Krishna Chaitanya Velaga

Hi,

The individual grantee for Wikiconference India 2020 grant had secretly done a WMF Contract job with the Community Program Team some month ago. There was no public announcement for the job so I believe no selection process or hidden selection and no public documentation that he was working. My question is why was he given the job depriving other community members from India who want to work but apply and get rejected. What was the need of WMF to hide the process by not informing or documenting.

So on Wikiconference India grant WMF was applying to WMF and WMF was going to accept WMF grant. Atleast from WMF grant comments it looks because community blamed grant taking so much money.

To me, this is utter misuse of power and abuse of donation money.

Thanks,

Hi Arvind,

There are many cases where WMF appointed someone for x community and community didn’t know nothing about it until the process is over.

Transparency is lacking in the foundation’s working environment. If you share your username or what you do in the Wikimedia projects it will give your comments some value.

Kind regards,

Piyush

(User:हिंदुस्थान वासी)

Hello everyone,

Firstly, I would like to condemn this email from a person named “Arvind Menon” - this email is very much a personal attack on me, to misguide a community member, character assasination and to defame, all using a fake profile. If the person is actually seeking any information for community benefit, as Piyush rightly pointed, it would be helpful to know the person’s Wikimedia identity, and their work. Otherwise, this can merely be regarded as an ad hominem attack, which has happened several times in the past on this mailing list.

Before I go into details, I have been very disturbed by this email, as several people were asking me, and I was pressurised. I personally request community members to look for authenticity before considering anything. I fear this might become a practice to target people just by creating fake profiles/emails, and wrongfully nameshaming them on public platforms, without complete understanding.

Regarding my role with WMF, firstly, there was a contract, but I did not have any employment, and do not hold any. There has been public documentation about it, and stating there wasn’t any is untrue. All the relevant details+evidence will be put forward. I have asked WMF support regarding the same, and they would be giving further on this shortly (probably in a day or two) after this email.

I would like to particularly focus on the WikiConference India part. My relation with WMF has nothing to do with the grant, and no benefit of the same has been applied in either of the contexts. Though initially people expressed concerns, many of them, after clarifying, went on to support the proposal, and it gained more than 40 endorsements from community members, which shows the community is in favour of the proposal and the conference. WMF comments were not against it. We created FAQs on the grant page itself to help community members understand the reasons behind it, and even all the questions on talk page were answered. We also mentioned that “all bills worth valuing more than ₹30,000.00 will be publicly published” - this demonstrates transparency, in an attempt to establish a new practice. Anyway, the entire Conference and Event Grants program has been paused due to COVID-19 pandemic, and none of the proposals forwarded from the initial stage.

I provided clarification even though the initial email doesn’t address me or respectfully seeks any information. I am taking this effort to provide detailed clarification, for the sake of community members and understanding only. This email, though posted by a fake profile, created great stress, and almost spoiled my entire day. I once again request the community to be careful of random postings with unidentifiable identities. I wonder if there is any way further such personal attacks can be avoided, towards any community member.

Regards,

Krishna Chaitanya V.

I agree. It rushed towards a conclusion without caring about questions and discussion. There was not much good faith assumed as well, in my opinion.

(My opinion is in personal capacity)

–User:Titodutta

1 Like

Hi Krishna and all,

Thanks for very detailed clarification. I agree this was some kind of dubious statement without any credibility (which my comment showed).

But to get some real outcome of this discussion if any. I want to know how the foundation chooses or appoints people for posts roll out for communities. I have been witness to several such cases in the past year or so where such posts got filled by someone without community consultation or knowledge.

I’m talking about Hindi Wikimedia community in this case. What is the procedure for applying for these posts. We get several people here who doesn’t know how to write Hindi and are serving as communication bridge or liaison. And they seem to be getting these (they get paid) jobs by some kind of connection among themselves.

Many thanks,

Piyush

(User:हिंदुस्थान वासी)

I'm talking about Hindi Wikimedia community in this case. What is the
procedure for applying for these posts. We get several people here who
doesn't know how to write Hindi and are serving as communication bridge
or
liaison.

If you're talking of people who are listed in the following page:

    https://meta.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/Community_Relations_Specialists#Who_we_are

Then they're recruited just like every other WMF employee. Opening are usually listed in the following page:

    https://wikimediafoundation.org/about/jobs/

It's worth mentioning that they're liaisons for all communities and not just for any specific community.

Thanks Sivaraam,

But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about part-time hired people serving for 6 months or so on specific projects serving for specific language communities. In India on account of Hindi’s largest user base Foundation chooses it whenever a new project comes in for getting input. Mostly these positions are called ‘liaison’.

They get paid and mostly these job’s information not get publicly available (like mailing list or village pump but maybe on the link you gave). Whenever a new initiative takes place in foundation, these newly made positions get filled up by people who doesn’t have the confidence of the community and in severe cases can’t even write Hindi!

This is a important issue for our community. More information on this will be helpful.

Many thanks,

Piyush

(User:हिंदुस्थान वासी)

Hello.

If you feel WMF was misled into hiring a non-competent Hindi speaker for liaising with the Hindi community, I encourage you to write to the Foundation’s Human Resources department at hr@wikimedia.org, and it will be reviewed, and if necessary, whatever procedural flaw caused it will be rectified.

This mailing list cannot address this issue.

A.

First of all I am not spreading any lies. Please check what information I received from WMF Community Program Director

‘’‘Hi Arvind, Krishna had been working on a contract with Community Programs but that wrapped up a couple of months ago. ‘’’

Now Krishna has also accepted he was on contract and said there is documentation and would provide details in likely 1-2 days. Now 3-4 days have passed and wish the details can be shared.

I could not find any User page with his name and in bracket WMF or Contract and also any Meta page where it is written. This always happen everytime with WMF Contractors.

How was the selection process done? This is also not clear and no mention in the reply. If it is a lateral entry and that too without announcement and documentation this raises serious doubts on WMF.

NOTE - This is not a fake profile. I will share my User Name when I feel comfortable that no one will harass me. Learn to protect the identity of Whistleblower. I will definitely share my User Name and clear everyone do not worry.

Greetings, these days I often get 2 emails when someone sends an email to a list. One from the mailing list and another from the Wikimedia Space.

Anyway, I am not worried about the Wiki-identity/username part here, nor I asked that. However, conclusions were made really fast. I am unsure if it can be called Whistleblowing.

Dear Arvind Menon,

It’s not the question of your username/real identity but about protocols of an organization that is staff-led and is run with some community oversight. This list, on the other hand, is a volunteer-led forum. So, I’d concur with Tito that jumping into conclusions too fast is not ideal. Now that Asaf has suggested writing to the WMF HR, you might want to write to them directly and share your concerns. If you still think that there is a need for community intervention after they respond, that would be a good starting point. Otherwise, it might result in tarnishing a volunteer for no credible reason based on assumptions and suspicions. The second thing I’d strongly suggest is the timing. We all are going through a terrible time thanks to COVID-19. Having this hard two-day-deadline might not be productive. If you really think that this is extremely time-sensitive and needs to be solved as soon as possible, then getting in touch with WMF could be faster. I am guessing it would be less scandalous and less sensational. Let’s assume good faith until proven wrong.

Greetings, these days I often get 2 emails when someone sends an email to a list. One from the mailing list and another from the Wikimedia Space.

He he, I am sure, not everyone understood what you said above might be a possibility, otherwise this thread wouldn’t start this way. ;-)

Regards,

Bodhisattwa

(Obviously as a volunteer)

Arvind,

Irrespective of the facts, firstly these emails are quite misleading, for no reason except to target me. Firstly, the grant is no way related to the subject of this thread, even then only partial information is presented. You have mentioned the community was not happy with the budget, but didn’t mention the clarifications provided, and the 40+ plus endorsements it received from community members. Presenting partial information that is misleading, specifically targeting an individual, is nothing but harassment.

Yes, I mentioned initially there would be a message in a couple of days, but it got delayed, as WMF is not working with full capacity due to COVID-19 pandemic, and one has to be considerate about that fact. Irrespective, a reply has been posted by a WMF staffer, twice, but for some reason it didn’t get through. There might be a glitch, and I wrote to the list admins to look into it.

I would not go into details of the profile for now, though I still think it is dubious based on certain aspects, and this is not the platform or manner for this conversation. This seems more of targeting an individual, rather than enquiring.

Hello,

I am the Senior Program Manager for GLAM and Culture at the Wikimedia Foundation. I’m based in London.

This conversation has touched on a number of different topics but I would like to address the points made about Krishna Chaitanya Velaga.

WMF hires short-term contractors from time to time. Krishna worked on a part-time contract for a data mapping project. Information about this project was shared in December 2019’s This Month in GLAM newsletter and there is a Project page on Meta Wiki. This was not a community outreach position focused on India or any other specific country; it looked at GLAM-wiki projects globally. Krishna was one of two contractors, with the second contractor being based in Europe.

Part-time contractors are allowed to apply for WMF grants under certain conditions. You can read the relevant policy here. Please also note that the conference grant that was referred to has a fiscal sponsor. The Centre for Internet & Society administered the grant on behalf of User:KCVelaga and User:Pavan santhosh.s.

I trust this addresses your concerns.

I do understand from this conversation that paid opportunities with WMF are of interest to this list and I will certainly circulate any future opportunities within my area of responsibility.

All my best,

Fiona

Hello,

I originally sent this message yesterday but it seems not to have gone through.

I am the Senior Program Manager for GLAM and Culture at the Wikimedia Foundation. I’m based in London.

This conversation has touched on a number of different topics but I would like to address the points made about Krishna Chaitanya Velaga.

WMF hires short-term contractors from time to time. Krishna worked on a part-time contract for a data mapping project. Information about this project was shared in December 2019’s This Month in GLAM newsletter and there is a Project page on Meta Wiki. This was not a community outreach position focused on India or any other specific country; it looked at GLAM-wiki projects globally. Krishna was one of two contractors, with the second contractor being based in Europe.

Part-time contractors are allowed to apply for WMF grants under certain conditions. You can read the relevant policy here. Please also note that the conference grant that was referred to has a fiscal sponsor. The Centre for Internet & Society administered the grant on behalf of User:KCVelaga and User:Pavan santhosh.s.

I trust this addresses your concerns.

I do understand from this conversation that paid opportunities with WMF are of interest to this list and I will certainly circulate any future opportunities within my area of responsibility.

All my best,

Fiona