Step-by-step user group creation guide

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This is an easy-to-read introduction into the process of creating a Wikimedia user group. If you'd like to legally incorporate your user group, please contact the Affiliations Committee for guidance and take a look at the chapter creation guide.

In some circumstances it may be possible (or necessary) to go about user group creation in some other way. You might want to consult the Affiliations Committee about variations in procedure.

Because user groups are a new type of entity, the road you will take might differ from the recommendations here: we welcome any comments on the talk page about your experiences and advice to those who come after you!

Step 1: Gather the people[edit]

Only involved people make a user group!

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.

Step 2: Develop your goals and structure[edit]

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

  • What do you want to accomplish as a group? What is your mission? For example, do you want to have a monthly meetup, do you want to reach out to schools, to museums? How does your mission aim to improve WMF sites?
  • 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 or may not want to contact existing chapters and user groups for advice and inspiration.

Step 3: 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.

Naming of user groups[edit]

When you set up your pages on the wiki, you'll need to give a name to your user group. 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 _____" or "Esperanto kaj Libera Scio"

You are free to choose different names not in the list above, the above names, including the tagline were designed with the aim to protect the members of the user group from misdirected lawsuits and to ensure that the Wikimedia trademarks are used in a non-confusing, accurate manner.

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 to find a good name.

Step 4: Apply for recognition[edit]

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

Step 5: Go![edit]

All done! You can now focus on your day-to-day business and promote Wikimedia projects according to your mission.

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 AffCom as well as other organizations for help, and it's possible for 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 AffCom privately by email.

Good luck!