Wikimedia user group creation guide

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This is an easy-to-read introduction into the process of creating a Wikimedia user group. It is designed to help you decide if becoming a Wikimedia user group is right for your group, and prepare for a quick approval process.


Arrow icon.svg What are Wikimedia user groups?
Arrow icon.svg Why should we apply?
Arrow icon.svg What are the eligibility requirements?
Arrow icon.svg How do we create a Wikimedia user group?
Arrow icon.svg How do we apply for recognition?
Arrow icon.svg We have been approved, what should we do next?
Quick links


What are Wikimedia user groups?
Main page: Wikimedia user groups

Wikimedia user groups are intended to be simple and flexible affiliates that are an alternative to chapters and thematic organizations - which require more formal requirements. User groups are highly valued as equal players in the Wikimedia movement. They are meant to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally.

Recognition from the Affiliations Committee allows a group to apply for using the Wikimedia trademarks and to get certain grants; however, recognition is not required to do any of the work typical user groups do or might do, it is an optional extra step with connected benefits and some requirements.


Why should we apply?

Recognition from the Affiliations Committee allows a group to apply for using the Wikimedia trademarks and to get certain grants; however, recognition is not required to do any of the work typical user groups do or might do, it is an optional extra step with connected benefits and some requirements.

Benefits of becoming a recognized Wikimedia user group includes:

  • Use the Wikimedia logos consistent with the Wikimedia Foundation's Trademark Policy without any additional approval. User groups may use other logos not part of the Trademark Policy (such as the Wikimedia Foundation logo) pursuant to a trademark license with the Wikimedia Foundation and approval by the Wikimedia Foundation legal team.
  • Receive large, but limited, quantities of Wikimedia merchandise for use in activities and outreach efforts.
  • Public recognition of the group's affiliation with the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • Affiliations Committee Liaison support during and after the approval process.
  • Apply for Annual Plan Grants after successfully completing two other Wikimedia Foundation grants and meeting other eligibility requirements.

Without recognition, groups may still:


What are the eligibility requirements?
Main page: Requirements for Wikimedia user groups

Wikimedia user groups are intended to be simple and flexible affiliates with far fewer requirements than chapters and thematic organizations. Even affiliates hoping to become a chapter or thematic organization are not expected to meet the requirements for those affiliate models to apply for Wikimedia user group recognition.

The requirements to set up an officially recognized Wikimedia user group are meant to be light-weight and easy to follow.

  1. Three active Wikimedia editors
    At least three active Wikimedia project editors in good community standing (meaning they are not currently suspended or otherwise prevented from participating). While user groups should welcome the input of people who are not active contributors to the Wikimedia projects, and are required to allow new members to join, they should not stray too far from the community. An active involvement of contributors to the Wikimedia projects is necessary to enable a user group to bring its real-life initiatives to life in the Wikimedia projects.
  2. Information published on-wiki
    Your groups should have a page on Meta-Wiki or other relevant Wikimedia projects (e.g. Wikipedia) where the public and interested volunteers can learn about who your group is, what your group does, and how to join.
  3. Clear purpose and scope
    Your group should have a clear definition on what your scope and what you would like to do (e.g. "we would like to organize a lecture series on Wikipedia in local schools" or "we would like to start a meetup group in our town").
  4. Clarity on structure
    Simple unincorporated user groups are the preferred form for new Wikimedia user groups and do not require by-laws or other legal formation documents. However, incorporated user groups may exist if it is essential for impact. Only if a legal structure is chosen for the creation of a user group, it should be clearly independent from the Wikimedia Foundation and the by-laws will require Affiliations Committee review.
  5. Two contact people
    Your group should have at least two primary contact people. You should indicate who the contact people are on your wiki page (e.g. with their username). When the user group signs a trademark or grants agreement with the Wikimedia Foundation, the contact people must be ready to provide their contact details and to be identified to the Wikimedia Foundation (for example by providing a copy or a scan of their ID to the Foundation).


How do we create a Wikimedia user group?

Step 1: Gather the people[edit]

At the most fundamental level, user groups are about people – groups that want to contribute to and support Wikimedia projects as a whole in a way involves more than editing alone.

At least three people are required for the establishment of a user group; but we recommend gathering at least 10 in your group.

We highly encourage you to feel empowered to engage in activities and planning even prior to beginning the approval process.

Step 2: Develop your goals and scope[edit]

When you've gathered enough people interested in setting up a user group, start a conversation on your group's exact goals and scope. Try these questions as inspiration:

  • What do you want to accomplish as a group? What is your scope? For example, do you want to have a monthly meetup on a particular topic, do you want to reach out to schools, to museums? How does your mission aim to improve Wikimedia projects?
  • What kind of activities do you want to engage in (e.g. outreach, fundraising, public relations, publishing, meetups)?

In determining your goals and structure, you may want to contact existing Wikimedia affiliates for advice and inspiration.

Step 3: Select your user group name[edit]

See also: Affiliates naming guidelines and Affiliates logos best practices

When you set up your pages on the wiki, you'll need to give a name to your user group. A user group's name and logo should support more independent activity and discourage confusion with other Wikimedia organizations. User groups should be allowed to use our logos consistent with our Trademark Policy without any additional approval. User groups may use other logos not part of the Trademark Policy (such as the Wikimedia Foundation logo) pursuant to a trademark license with the WMF and approval by the WMF legal team.

Generally, creative and descriptive names are encouraged; however, here are a few examples that might help your thinking:

  • Wikimedia Community User Group _____ : An independent club of Wikimedia volunteers
  • Wikimedians of _____ User Group : an independent group of volunteer Wikimedians
  • Wikipedians of _____ User Group : an independent group of volunteer Wikimedians
  • MediaWiki Group _____ : an independent group of volunteer Wikimedians
  • Wikipedia Editors for _____ : an independent group of volunteer Wikimedians
  • Any name that does not involve a Wikimedia trademark, such as "Wiki User Group _____"

In all cases the Affiliations Committee is tasked with ensuring that the name matches the four criteria suggested by the WMF's legal department, to protect the movement and the members of the user groups. In case of doubt, please contact the Affiliations Committee if you need help finding a good name.

Step 4: Set up a wiki page for your group[edit]

Once you have a group of interested people, it's time to document who you are and to set up some means of communications. For the external world, you need to designate two contact people who can be identified to the Wikimedia Foundation; within the group, think about setting up a wiki page where people can join; perhaps set up a mailing list or talk page or other forum to discuss your projects.

Step 5: Apply for recognition[edit]

Main page: Wikimedia user group applications

You are now ready to apply for recognition, keep reading for help on applying for recognition.


How do we apply for recognition?
Main page: Wikimedia user group applications

Once you've gathered the group, the wiki page, and the big ideas on what you want to do, visit the Wikimedia user group application page and apply for recognition. AffCom will ask you some questions, review your applications, and if appropriate will submit them to the Wikimedia Foundation to recognize your group as an official Wikimedia User Group. Initial recognition is normally for one year, and is then reviewed. Recognition can be suspended or removed if necessary of if a group becomes inactive.

Delays during the application approval process most often arise from incomplete applications or applications that need to be modified before they can be approved. To prevent this from happening and help expedite your group's approval process, please double check this list before submitting your application:

  1. Does your name meet the affiliates naming requirements? Group discussions amongst Wikimedia user groups regarding their name can take time, and generally you want to avoid having to re-engage in that conversation after your application has been submitted. You may contact the Affiliations Committee to seek input on your name before submitting your application.
  2. Does your group have a clear scope and purpose that is consistently and clearly explained? If your Meta page explains your user group in a way that differs from your application, and if those differ from the activities your group is undertaking - that may delay the application's approval as a clear scope and purpose is required for the resolution to approve the user group and the user group agreement which the two primary contacts will be signing with the Wikimedia Foundation. Your scope and purpose statement should clearly and concisely explain what your group hopes to accomplish and who would be interested in joining. We recognize this may evolve over time, but you should have a clear commitment to a specific statement at the time of your application.
  3. Are your two primary contacts willing to identify themselves with the Wikimedia Foundation? Sometimes privacy concerns might cause someone to change their minds, which can delay the final steps in the user group recognition process.
  4. Is your group ready to accept new members and already include at least three Wikimedia editors in good standing? Groups which have a closed or limited membership model may require more discussion and review. Groups which do not have at least three active members who are also active Wikimedia editors in good standing will not be approved.


We have been approved, what should we do next?

You can now focus on your day-to-day business and promote Wikimedia projects according to your mission. In the coming days, you will be put in contact with Wikimedia Legal and asked to sign the Wikimedia user group agreement. While you are required to sign this agreement, you do not need to wait until the agreement is signed to continue planning and implementing activities and ideas.

If you want some hints about possible projects, you can always look at what other organizations have accomplished or are currently doing.

Remember, you can always ask the Affiliations Committee as well as other affiliates for help, and it's possible for Wikimedia user groups to apply to the Foundation for grants. On the other hand, we would also like to hear from time to time about your activities; you can publish public reports or contact your Affiliate Liaison.

Good luck!