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> Letter to UK Charity Commission, Is this a big enough stick? I hope so.
Detective
post Tue 6th December 2011, 9:42pm
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QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Wed 30th November 2011, 8:11pm) *

He says “no BLP dispute (to the best of my knowledge) has ever got beyond the stage where it can be resolved through communication with the WMF or through OTRS” Is that true?

Of course it's true. Just look at how easily Daniel Brandt got his BLP deleted just by writing to OTRS.
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Daniel Brandt
post Wed 7th December 2011, 3:08am
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QUOTE(Detective @ Tue 6th December 2011, 3:42pm) *

QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Wed 30th November 2011, 8:11pm) *

He says “no BLP dispute (to the best of my knowledge) has ever got beyond the stage where it can be resolved through communication with the WMF or through OTRS” Is that true?

Of course it's true. Just look at how easily Daniel Brandt got his BLP deleted just by writing to OTRS.

lol. SlimVirgin, the person who started the BLP on me without my knowledge, before I even knew what Wikipedia was and couldn't have cared less about it, said it best:
QUOTE
We need to get rid of that article. We've subjected Brandt to hundreds of thousands of words of debate, 14 AfDs, I don't know how many DRVs — wall-to-wall bickering and childishness for 18 sorry months. We've allowed his article to be edited by any anonymous teenager who turns up with a grudge, and the decision to keep the wretched thing has been made 13 times by people who normally edit Star Trek. We've made complete fools of ourselves as a project.

No matter the merits of the article, the process he's been put through is totally unacceptable by any standard. We've shown we can't be trusted with a Brandt bio, and we should delete it for that reason alone, no matter how notable any of us thinks he is.
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lonza leggiera
post Wed 7th December 2011, 5:15am
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QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Wed 23rd November 2011, 7:37am) *

I think I have found a lever at long last. The clue is in the long time it took for Wikimedia UK to get recognised as a charity. As Ashley van H says here http://bambuser.com/channel/pigsonthewing/broadcast/2140981 "it was quite a big story [i.e. charitable status] for the U.K - the charity commission struggled for a long period, and has had to refine their understanding of a public utility". What does he mean? Well it goes back to 2009, when the Charity Commission ruled ....

No, it wasn't the Charity Commission in that case. It was Her Majesty's Custom's and Revenue. Registration as a charity by the Charities Commission and recognition as a charity for tax purposes by HM Customs and Revenue are completely separate processes—although the former is a requirement for the latter unless the annual income of the charity concerned is less than £5,000 or it is "excepted" or "exempt".

Orlowski's register article contains a link to a mailing list on which Andrew Turvey, Wikimedia UK's secretary, reproduces the rejection letter from HM Customs and Revenue. Turvey's commentary and the replies to it on the mailing list indicate that the Wikimedia directors simply didn't do their homework before submitting their application. In his email, for instance, Turvey states that they should "probably" stop referring to themselves as an "exempt charity". What they meant by that is anybody's guess, since Wikimedia UK very clearly does not fall under any of the classes of "excepted" or "exempt" charities listed on the above-linked page on the Charities Commission website. Presumably, the reason why Wiki UK applied directly to HM Customs and Revenue without first registering with the Charities Commission is that their annual income at that time was less than £5,000. That may be what they meant in referring to it as an "exempt charity".

Turvey also says "Whilst we can still get Gift Aid declarations (HMRC have previously confirmed this was ok) ... ". It would be interesting to see what this "confirmation" consisted of. I strongly suspect that Turvey has misunderstood it, since his statement is inconsistent with what is written on the Gift Aid basics page of HM Customs an Revenue's website:
QUOTE(HM Customs and Revenue)

You don't have to register to claim Gift Aid but your charity must be recognised by HMRC as a charity for tax purposes. Recognition by HMRC as a charity is a separate process from registering with the Charity Commission as a charity.


QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Wed 23rd November 2011, 7:37am) *

....
So kudos to Jonathan Burchfield, partner at the law firm Stone King (specialists in Charity and Education Law, for reversing this decision:
QUOTE
In accepting Stone King’s application on behalf of Wikimedia UK, the Commission has been at pains to point out that the publication of information useful to the public and the promotion of open content are not inherently charitable activities. Any similar organisation seeking to become registered with the Charity Commission would need to demonstrate that its activities are exclusively for the public benefit and that the content promoted has sufficient editorial controls and safeguards on the accuracy and objectivity of the information provided. In Wikipedia’s case, for example, the continuous development and operation of editing policies and content security tools assure an increasingly high quality of content.”
http://www.stoneking.co.uk/news/articles/-/page/1244 (Stone King press release)

QUOTE

“Burchfield said that in order to be registered, Wikimedia UK had to demonstrate that it had high standards for controlling and monitoring the content of Wikipedia so that it was not easily open to abuse.”
http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/news/1102747/ (Third Sector)

.....
A thing that already puzzles me is that if WMUK must 'control and monitor' the content, the following statement from its website seems inconsistent with that.

QUOTE

Please note that we are a separate organization from the Wikimedia Foundation, and have no control over Wikipedia or any other Wikimedia Foundation projects.” http://uk.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

Indeed, the whole principle on which Wikipedia was founded was that there should be no editorial oversight in the traditional sense, and that all content would be the result of a ruthless Darwinian fight for survival. That in itself makes it impossible for WMUK to 'control and monitor' content.

I'm afraid you appear to have made insufficient allowance for the amount of spin in the Stone-King press release. In all Burchfield's self-promotional boasting of having got the Charities Commission to "update" UK charities law, he has failed to mention one crucial detail which might make the Charity Commission's decision seem a little less revolutionary. On October 16th, 2011, an extraordinary general meeting of Wikipedia UK voted to alter its memorandum and articles of association by replacing its original objects (which HM Customs and Revenue—and presumably also the Charities Commission—had rejected as inadequate to establish that its purposes were entirely charitable) with their current ones. The amendments were lodged with Companies House 4 days later.

According to Wiki UK's page on the Charity Commission's website, Companies House registered the amended memorandum and articles on October 26th, and the Charities Commission registered Wiki UK as a charity on November 3rd. According to van Haeften's account the whole process of getting themselves registered took a total of 12 weeks. It would appear that the first 10 of those weeks were spent "negotiating" (or arguing) with the Charities Commission, and formulating a statement of objects which they could be confident of being accepted as establishing a charitable purpose. And, hey presto! Within two weeks of amending their objects they were registered as a charity.

There is still one aspect of all this which I don't understand. On their website, Wiki UK are now claiming to be eligible for gift aid tax refunds from HM Revenue and Customs. But, as I pointed out above, registration as a charity with the Charities Commission is not sufficient by itself to achieve this status. A page on HM Customs and Revenue's website seems to indicate that once an organisation had been registered as a charity by the Charities Commission it is pretty much a formality for them to get recognised as a charity for tax purposes by HM Customs and Revenue. But, as I pointed out above, the website also seems to make it clear that this formality must still be completed before the charity can claim gift aid tax relief. I can find no indication anywhere that Wiki UK has actually completed this formality. If they have, HM Customs and Revenue should have issued them a reference number which UK donors need to quote in their tax returns for the tax on their gifts to be refunded to Wiki UK. But the only numbers Wiki UK quotes on its gift aid form are its company and charity registration numbers. On my reading of HM Customs and Revenue's website, there seems no reason to believe that the reference number it issues would be the same as either of those two numbers.

This post has been edited by lonza leggiera: Wed 7th December 2011, 5:29am
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Peter Damian
post Wed 7th December 2011, 2:20pm
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QUOTE(lonza leggiera @ Wed 7th December 2011, 5:15am) *

[...]


Thanks for the long commentary but the fact remains that HMRC recognition is a formality, whereas recognition by the UKCC is not, and has to be argued for.

I am trying to get WMUK to give me any information at all about how it satisified UKCC that its objects were in the general public interest or 'utility'. So far, stonewalling and obfuscation, ranging from 'we are not legally obliged to tell you ' to 'do you really think that our lawyers would deceive the UKCC' to 'we have already answered your questions'.

To help them, I have reduced my questions to two: (1) whether the UKCC asked anything about controls over malicious biographies, and what (2) WMUK replied.
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Peter Damian
post Sat 17th December 2011, 9:34am
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The stonewalling continues http://uk.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:2012_Activity_Plan . They are now refusing to answer questions on account of my "petty, spiteful, and vindictive campaign against Wikipedia". The question is over what evidence WMUK provided to UKCC over controls on malicious biographies.
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dogbiscuit
post Sat 17th December 2011, 3:24pm
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Locally, I've had an interesting update. At the beginning of this year we identified we had a substantial fraud in our village hall charity. The CC did not advise going to the police, their advice was it was better to sort it out privately because that way we might get the money back. The fraudster did return the moneys but without an admission of guilt - it was an administrative misunderstanding that just happened to involve fake invoices and emails.

I have been perusing this as the same group of people that allowed this to happen were involved in the local scout group. The police were advised several times, but they would not take action with the feeble excuse of the victim led policy - which they interpret as not investigating crime without a complaint from the victim, when I had good circumstantial evidence that it was likely that a fraud had been committed elsewhere.

After strong denials from the scouting organisation that there were any problems, it has now come out that there has been a significant fraud at the scout group by the same person.

The point is that the CC itself has failed the community. My perspective was that this needed to be dealt with to protect the wider community, the CC only were interested in the accounts of the charity.

The point is that we cannot trust the public watchdogs to protect the real public interest. The CC's main interest is in protecting the reputation of the CC - so the real traction is to come up with information that the CC can recognise as showing that they did not perform due diligence, and then working from there with a CC motivated to cover themselves.
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GlassBeadGame
post Sat 17th December 2011, 4:26pm
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Failure to act upon fraud or theft is a very different kind of thing than deciding whether a particular kind of activity should be given the status of a charity. My own view is that a project that makes use of "contributors" who are pursuing their own individual ends on a website that hosts articles is not a proper charitable activity. Even less so for merely supporting this type of website without directly hosting any content. A rigorous discussion of the issues raised by the charitable application of the UK chapter would certainly shed light on the hollow nature of "collaboration" on WMF/chapter projects.

Despite my view I find Petey's self appointed intervention as some kind of party into the CC's decision to be appalling. This type of action turns pursuit of charitable status into an adversarial process. This can only serve to undermine the charitable sector and cheapen civil society. Much better to live with the CC's decision than to let another important social institution fall prey to another Wikipedian dispute spilling its bounds. The last thing that is needed is making the charitable sector another place for their endless war of all against all.

I am sure that at the end of the day the CC will find Petey to lack something akin to "standing" and to send him packing as an intermeddler. Then the Wikipedians, both on WR and on WP, can return to their usual threats-lies-outings-stalking-leaked correspondence-hacked emails and a vanity press that dissects the family financials of opponents. All without causing any harm to people who are trying to actually help others.

Meanwhile I marvel at he cluelessness of Petey in expecting some kind of helping hand from the very people he seeks to undermine. They owe him nothing at all including being nice.
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thekohser
post Sat 17th December 2011, 5:01pm
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GBG came back. To criticize a leading member of WR. Surprise, surprise.
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Peter Damian
post Sat 17th December 2011, 6:01pm
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QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Sat 17th December 2011, 4:26pm) *

Failure to act upon fraud or theft is a very different kind of thing than deciding whether a particular kind of activity should be given the status of a charity. My own view is that a project that makes use of "contributors" who are pursuing their own individual ends on a website that hosts articles is not a proper charitable activity. Even less so for merely supporting this type of website without directly hosting any content. A rigorous discussion of the issues raised by the charitable application of the UK chapter would certainly shed light on the hollow nature of "collaboration" on WMF/chapter projects.


So we agree there, right.

QUOTE

Despite my view I find Petey's self appointed intervention as some kind of party into the CC's decision to be appalling.


Do I need some kind of 'appointment' then? Who does this?

QUOTE

This type of action act turns pursuit of charitable status into an adversarial process.


If someone's pursuit of charitable status is not legitimate, why shouldn't it be adversarial? What are you talking about?

QUOTE

This can only serve to undermine the charitable sector and cheapen civil society.


On the contrary, it is those who set up fake charities who undermine it. And who attack those who seek scrutiny.

QUOTE

Much better to live with the CC's decision than to let another important social institution fall prey to another Wikipedian dispute spilling its bounds. The last thing that is needed is making the charitable sector another place for their endless war of all against all.


I don't follow this argument.

QUOTE

I am sure that at the end of the day the CC will find Petey to lack something akin to "standing" and to send him packing as an intermeddler.


Oh right, this is because I wasn't appointed, yes?

QUOTE

Meanwhile I marvel at he cluelessness of Petey in expecting some kind of helping hand from the very people he seeks to undermine. They owe him nothing at all including being nice.


Not with you. It is a principle of the UKCC, and it is a good one, that you first take your questions and challenge to the charity itself. I am simply following protocol here. You understand UK procedures, yes?

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GlassBeadGame
post Sat 17th December 2011, 9:12pm
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QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Sat 17th December 2011, 1:01pm) *

You understand UK procedures, yes?


That would be your own fetish, not mine and I can't say I pay it any mind. Still I'm sure I understand that better than you understand "standing," Prof. Budz-in-ski.


QUOTE(thekohser @ Sat 17th December 2011, 12:01pm) *

GBG came back. To criticize a leading member of WR. Surprise, surprise.


Came back? I never threatened, stormed off or even complained. That would be your Wiki pal Petey.

So where did we leave off? Oh yeah, fuck you Kohs.

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Malleus
post Sat 17th December 2011, 10:24pm
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QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Sat 17th December 2011, 4:26pm) *

Failure to act upon fraud or theft is a very different kind of thing than deciding whether a particular kind of activity should be given the status of a charity. My own view is that a project that makes use of "contributors" who are pursuing their own individual ends on a website that hosts articles is not a proper charitable activity.

And my view is that you're clearly a fruit cake in need of professional help.
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EricBarbour
post Sun 18th December 2011, 3:22am
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Where were we? Oh yeah, here.

This does not look like PD is "trolling" to me, and yes, I would say that Dalton and Mitchell are stonewalling him. Badly.

I'd go there and comment, but then I'm not a UK citizen. Think I should anyway?
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GlassBeadGame
post Sun 18th December 2011, 3:45am
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QUOTE(EricBarbour @ Sat 17th December 2011, 10:22pm) *

Where were we? Oh yeah, here.

This does not look like PD is "trolling" to me, and yes, I would say that Dalton and Mitchell are stonewalling him. Badly.

I'd go there and comment, but then I'm not a UK citizen. Think I should anyway?


They should never have given Petey the time of day. Looks like the usual intra-wiki squabbling (Duns Scotus...I knew Duns Scotus...and you sir are no Duns Scotus) without any sense of what might be of interest to non-Wikipedians. He is seeking to spread the dispute into another forum... a very common Wikipedian tacit. "Our Wikipedians are better than their Wikipedians" is a fool's game. If allowed to play out out here it will encourage each form of charity (arts, education, public welfare) to exclude the others rather than the healthy unity that usually characterizes this diverse sector.
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thekohser
post Sun 18th December 2011, 5:21am
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QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Sat 17th December 2011, 10:45pm) *

... a very common Wikipedian tacit.


Eff you, too, Classy Glassy.
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Peter Damian
post Sun 18th December 2011, 9:01am
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QUOTE(EricBarbour @ Sun 18th December 2011, 3:22am) *

Where were we? Oh yeah, here.

This does not look like PD is "trolling" to me, and yes, I would say that Dalton and Mitchell are stonewalling him. Badly.

I'd go there and comment, but then I'm not a UK citizen. Think I should anyway?



Why not? I am getting nowhere, so I am going to apply directly under the UK Freedom of Information Act. What an irony.

QUOTE

You don't need me to tell you about Wikipedia and BLPs. You have been around long enough to know as much as I do about them. That is my point. You don't actually want information. --Tango 23:40, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

I don't want you to tell me about BLPs. I want you or someone to tell me what WMUK told the UK Charity Commission about BLPs. UKCC recognised WMUK as a charity because of assurances given that there were sufficient control over BLPs. I want to know what those assurances were. In any case, I will now be asking UK Charity Commission for those documents under the Freedom of Information Act. What a supreme irony. An organisation whose charitable purpose is that information should be free, is refusing to comply with a legal requirement for transparency and openness. Peter Damian 08:57, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

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EricBarbour
post Sun 18th December 2011, 11:10am
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QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Sun 18th December 2011, 1:01am) *

Why not? I am getting nowhere, so I am going to apply directly under the UK Freedom of Information Act. What an irony.

I'll try tomorrow. Probably a waste of effort.

You've been unable to find any other UK citizens who will help you with this?
Perhaps a high priority should be to find allies.

The Monckton case is a real mess, and probably impossible to explain in a few sentences.
Ask Cla, he was directly involved.
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Peter Damian
post Sun 18th December 2011, 11:44am
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QUOTE(EricBarbour @ Sun 18th December 2011, 11:10am) *

I'll try tomorrow. Probably a waste of effort.


The point was simply to prove that they will never publish the really important stuff. Definitely worth the effort.

This post has been edited by Peter Damian: Sun 18th December 2011, 11:45am
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GlassBeadGame
post Sun 18th December 2011, 12:50pm
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QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Sun 18th December 2011, 4:01am) *


Why not? I am getting nowhere, so I am going to apply directly under the UK Freedom of Information Act. What an irony.



So after weeks of carrying on about the injustice of the CCs reconsideration granting the charity status you are only just now abandoning your silly game of trying to crowd source what was related to the CC? A FOI should have been have been the starting point. In fact it should have been a prerequisite to even publicly engaging on the matter. More evidence that you are a busy-body without proper connection or interest in the matter to even be heard in any official manner. You just want your old wiki pals to talk with you about something...anything at all.
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Peter Damian
post Sun 18th December 2011, 1:12pm
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QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Sun 18th December 2011, 12:50pm) *

A FOI should have been have been the starting point. In fact it should have been a prerequisite to even publicly engaging on the matter.


No. That is not the correct process. I have taken advice on this. You always go to the charity first, to try and resolve the matter amicably and reasonably, which is what I was trying to do. If that fails, you try a freedom of information request. Not least for practical reasons. The UKCC wants to avoid the bureaucracy and hassle of filing the request.

You are from the MidWest, according to your signature. You clearly understand nothing of the due process and practices that we observe here in the UK, nor UK charity law. So stop calling me an interfering busybody, which is rich coming from you.

This post has been edited by Peter Damian: Sun 18th December 2011, 1:18pm
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GlassBeadGame
post Sun 18th December 2011, 1:17pm
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QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Sun 18th December 2011, 8:12am) *

QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Sun 18th December 2011, 12:50pm) *

A FOI should have been have been the starting point. In fact it should have been a prerequisite to even publicly engaging on the matter.


No. That is not the correct process. I have taken advice on this.


Worth every penny no doubt. I suppose you felt the need to "exhaust crowd sourcing" first.

QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Sun 18th December 2011, 8:12am) *

You always go to the charity first, to try and resolve the matter amicably and reasonably, which is what I was trying to do. If that fails, you try a freedom of information request. Not least for practical reasons. The UKCC wants to avoid the bureaucracy and hassle of filing the request.

You are from the MidWest, according to your signature. You clearly understand nothing of the due process and practices that we observe here in the UK, nor UK charity law. So stop calling me an interfering busybody, which is rich coming from you.


Resolve this this on friendly terms? Really? Do you expect them to turn and say "By God, Petey, we are not a proper chartity after all. We will now cease to exist as it is only right." Or are you just not convinced of your own postion? It might occur to a less rigid person that "resolve amicably" means "stop wasting everybody's time."

I have sufficient boundaries to limit myself to discussion and opinion without interjecting myself as principal. You lack these boundaries and now seem to feel you can decide who is entitled to even have opinions on the matter.
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