Talk:Wikimedia thematic organizations

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RfC on Future of Education Program as a Thematic Organization[edit]

An RfC has been initiated RfC by the Wikipedia Education Working group on the future of the US Canada Education program as a Thematic Organization. --Mike Cline (talk) 13:32, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

Thanks Mike! Good luck with the RfC. If you have any questions about Thematic organisations or the recognition process, please get in touch with AffCom, we are happy to help. –Bence (talk) 20:44, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

Description[edit]

This is the first page people find when they are looking for "thematic organization", so it should explain what a thematic organization is. Is it possible to include the resolution's description "Incorporated independent non-profits representing the Wikimedia movement and supporting work focused on a specific theme, topic, subject or issue within or across countries and regions. Thematic or focused organizations use a name clearly linking them to Wikimedia and are granted use of Wikimedia trademarks for their work, publicity and fundraising." or something similar to let people know more about requirements (incorporation, non-profit) and values (trademark, fundraising)? Alice Wiegand (talk) 11:15, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Hi, I might have missed this comment, but part of it was fortunately already included in the page, and I added a bit more detail. I expect this page will develop like the Wikimedia Chapters page with individuals being bold in editing it, it is not so much set in stone as the pages outlining requirements, etc. --Bence (talk) 20:42, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, that helps a lot. --Alice Wiegand (talk) 20:20, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

Naming[edit]

Thoughts regarding the naming of thematic organizations[edit]

from Geoff Brigham, WMF General Counsel


As the Affiliations Committee prepares to approve the first new movement entities, I was hoping that I could share with you some of my thoughts as WMF General Counsel on the issue.

As I believe all know, any groups that wish to use “Wikimedia” trademarks in their names must formally request a license to do so from WMF, and the WMF Legal Department often advises on such name proposals. The Committee will help Thematic Organizations to navigate the process of choosing an appropriate name, and upon the Committee’s recommendation, that name will go to WMF for final approval. See https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Step-by-step_Thematic_Organization_creation_guide#Agree_on_a_name.

In that context, at WMF Legal, we would like to encourage that Thematic Organizations consider adopting uniquely descriptive names and avoid incorporating the “Wikimedia” name as a universal appellation to describe their organization. Rather, we suggest that Thematic Organizations choose a name which specifically describes their relationship to the movement, such as “Editors on Wikisource for Natural Sciences,” “Wikipedia Editors of the Rod of Asclepius” or “Friends of Indigenous Languages at Wikipedia.” Subtitles such as “Wiki Loves ...” or “Wikipedians interested in …” also may serve to clearly link the groups to the Wikimedia movement.

We propose that this approach is in the overall best interests of the Wikimedia movement for a number of reasons, including the following:

  • Avoidance of Confusion -- This approach helps to protect the Organizations from legal actions which are actually intended to target the Foundation. In the past, due to confusion by plaintiffs, Chapters have mistakenly received legal complaints and have been forced to defend (successfully) against costly lawsuits for content on Wikimedia projects in their languages. The media has had similar difficulty differentiating between the Wikimedia Foundation, Chapters, and the Wikimedia movement in general. Thematic Organizations may be at even greater, albeit unjustified, risk for misguided legal confusion, as they may be targeted unfairly for a variety of content within their subject areas across languages. (Of course, WMF, not the Organizations, hosts that content.) We believe that this naming policy helps to avoid the potential (and wrong) misperception that Thematic Organizations are somehow legally responsible for the content that appears on a Wikimedia project.
  • Avoidance of Exclusivity -- This approach helps to avoid the appearance that a particular Thematic Organization exclusively represents the entire topic area throughout the movement. Thematic organizations may overlap with another group (e.g., History vs. Scandinavian History vs. Military History), and a user is not obligated to join a Thematic Organization if she or he wants to edit an article within that group's focus area. I suggest that we encourage names that allow a multiplicity of groups to pursue our shared mission.
  • Accuracy -- A descriptive name may more accurately reflect the focus of a Thematic Organization. Using “Wikimedia” in the name may lead to confusion when multiple Thematic Organizations wish to focus on the same topic area within different Wikimedia projects (e.g. “Wikipedia Editors for Military History” vs. “WikiSource Editors for Military History”).
  • Avoidance of Brand Dilution -- The Wikimedia brand is valuable, and represents the tremendous amount of hard work and goodwill created by Wikimedia community. Therefore, we should fully and carefully consider the nature and purpose of each group that operates under the “Wikimedia” trademark on a case-by-case basis.

Please keep in mind that this is a working proposal for naming guidelines. Going forward, we aim to post updated visual identity guidelines (i.e. logos) that take into consideration the naming criteria for Thematic Organizations. We are also working to finalize the text of the agreements between Thematic Organizations and WMF, and to formalize the rules for incorporating Thematic Organizations into the WMF Board selection process.

Many thanks,

Geoffbrigham (talk) 19:34, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

As I understand it, the role of AffCom as filter is to avoid brand dilution and confusion - they seem to have done a good job so far with Chapters, and I trust them to do so here. As to accuracy, the idea behind Th.Orgs as I understand it from the MR process is precisely not to have multiple orgs focusing on the same topic across projects. Each th.org is expected to cover a topic or theme for all geographic regions and projects. Just as a chapter is expected to support all projects and not just (say) Commons. SJ talk  19:32, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
Hi SJ. FWIW, that's different from what I thought/assumed. I'm trying to remember now the potential thematic org notions I've heard discussed -- e.g., the Catalan group, a group running Global Ed projects internationally, a GLAM group. I don't know if in reality the Catalan group supports all projects: it may. Global Ed is specifically Wikipedia-focused. I assume (but am not certain) that most GLAM work is Wikipedia-focused. So I don't know. I never assumed thematic orgs would necessarily support all projects, or would or should be required to. Sue Gardner (talk) 19:53, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
I'll let Galio, Affcom's resident expert on Movement Roles expand on this a bit if he wants, but in my understanding the thematic org framework is very flexible (an organization might support a topic across all projects/subset of the projects in a given country/region/worldwide), for example the prototypical example of Amical supports the development of Catalan language content on all projects (as feasible) operating mostly in the defined regions of Catalonia in Spain, France and Italy; while the group behind Wikimedia Medicine is aiming for a worldwide organization getting content on medicine on at least Wikipedia and Commons; Wikivoyage e.V. is aiming to be worldwide but focusing only on Wikivoyage. It is indeed more unlikely that we would have separate organizations for the same topic on different projects in the same area (e.g. one Stroopwafel on Wikipedia group, and a second Wiki Loves Stroopwafel on Commons).
Somewhere along the way the idea that these thematic organizations are non-exclusive has found itself into the framework as a safety mechanism. Without this a localized group having a prior global claim on a topic could inadvertently exclude the participation of volunteers from other parts of the world (at least initially, setting up a truly worldwide organization is difficult); on the other hand I imagine it would take a bit of convincing and careful thought before Affcom were to approve a second thematic organization in the same topic acting in the same geographic area. In time, I expect,the worldwide thorgs will also develop a network of their own chapters...
The downside of this flexibility is that coming up with a general template for naming thematic organizations is difficult, especially with added proposed restrictions on the use of "Wikimedia" (which is the only good word to describe multi-project work).
I agree with SJ that once clear guidelines, or principles are agreed to Affcom will be able to implement them. (A bit of discussion is currently ongoing on this at the moment with AffCom and Geoff.) –Bence (talk) 20:19, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
This proposal comes as surprise to me. So far I thought the very idea about the affiliation process was to establish entities that are supposed to be identified with the wikimedia foundation and movement and entitled to use the trademarks, the name and the Wikiball. The groups might need to be able to present themselves as rightful representatives of the movement when talking to GLAMs or other partners. I carry business cards courtesy of WMDE with my name, contact information including an e-mail-address at the "wikipedia.de" domain and the Wikiball. The cards are incredibly helpful to establish rapport with media, cultural institutions, etc. But how about user groups without an established chapter? They need the official recognition and the trademarks. And hat might be the other reasons to become a user group than the outward symbols of recognition as part of the movement? Just the option to apply for grants at the Foundation? Don't you think removing the name ans logo would invalidate most or even all of the purpose of applying to become recognized as a user group? --h-stt !? 10:39, 19 November 2012 (UTC) (contact person for the application process of Wikimedia Munich User Group)

The Amical group's current thoughts on the matter are at [1]. –Bence (talk) 10:26, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Media organizations will still get it wrong even if we use the term "wiki". For example Wiki-leaks is often mistaken for Wikipedia. There are a few reasons to create officially incorporated organizations. One is to have a corporate platform from which to interact with other corporations. The second is to have a financial organization independent from the persons involved. As most / all of the members are editors of the Wikimedia family of site I would consider not using Wiki or Wikimedia an obfuscation of our purpose. What we want are names that show a clear affiliations with the Wikimedia Community of which these organization are a part. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:48, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
I second Doc James' concern. I want to be able to represent myself as a member of the Wikipedia community (or is it wiki community?) and I do not want anyone to think that I am representing the Wikimedia Foundation. I can use any names; I just want guidance. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:47, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Hello Geoff, I come from the talk page about Wikimedia user groups, but I think that the same is valid. About your 4 points:

  • Avoidance of Confusion: Does a different name really protect the thorgs, would plaintiffs not figure out anyway that the thorgs might be good victims to sue? And how about the national chapters, should they be renamed?
  • Avoidance of Exclusivity: The thorg indeed should give the impression of exclusivity, at least with regard to the 'real life' world. A national medical association is supposed to approach the (official) 'Wikimedia Medicine', because it is recognized by the WMF, and not a 'Wiki Doctors' Club' or 'Physicians for the Free Encyclopedia' (groups of persons maybe totally nice but not officially recognized).
  • Accuracy: A thorg is supposed to be as inclusive as possible with regard to the Wikimedia projects, not to be only about Wikipedia but also about Wikimedia Commons, Wikisource etc. By the way, I always strongly recommend not to go public under a name such as 'wiki' because that can be anything (Wikileaks, for example).
  • Avoidance of Brand Dilution: Of course not 'anybody' should receive the right to operate under the name 'Wikimedia', but those who did should exactly appear under that very name and not a different one. An outsider must see immediately that the thorg is the official Wikimedia thorg, and not only from the small letters.

For the sake of clarity, thorgs and WUGs (thematic organizations and Wikimedia user groups) should operate under the name 'Wikimedia' which means that the WMF must be careful whom to allow that. indeed. We already have so much confusion about the Wikimedia world (Wikileaks, I didn't count how often journalists believed that it belongs to us). Ziko (talk) 21:10, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Yes agree with Ziko. The community operates as the Wikimedia Community and it is this community that has curated all the content we host. Thus this community should have the right to be involved with who can use this name in an official capacity and represent them. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:06, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Should thematic chapters generally avoid the terms "Wikipedia" and "Wikimedia"?[edit]

Would it be better for organizations to start using the term "wiki" in all places in which the terms "Wikimedia" or "Wikipedia" are often used? Should "wiki-editors" (not Wikipedians) edit "wiki" (not Wikipedia) at "wiki-meetups" (not Wikipedia meetups) organized by "Wiki organizations" (not Wikipedia/Wikimedia organizations)? Has anyone at the WMF written best practices for how it prefers its brands discussed in public? Thematic chapters will, I expect, do a lot of talking and publishing and if this is a concern then perhaps it would be good to articulate best practices. I have always used the terms "Wikipedia" and "Wikimedia" thinking that this was best, but now I am wondering if this has always been troublesome for the foundation, the community, and the external public. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:07, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Just leaving a brief comment here as I don't know too much about the history and background of the naming of the thematic organisations, but I do believe that generally we try to avoid referring to everything as just "wiki" as you suggest. This is because it usually ends up with people linking the phrase "wiki" with Wikipedia, which is not something that we want to do. It is the largest wiki, but then these associations cause confusion especially when WikiLeaks first caught media attention - OTRS was flooded with emails from users who mistakenly believed that it was associated with Wikipedia. Thehelpfulone 17:42, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
The medical thematic group just incorporated under "Wiki Med Foundation Inc" The state of NY said we could not use Medicine due to concerns of confusion. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:22, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

Additional thoughts in the naming of thematic organizations and user groups[edit]

The Affiliations Committee (AffCom) - for which I have the highest respect and admiration for their important, thorough, and hard work as well as their dedication to our mission - is in the business of receiving applications by new proposed User Groups and Thematic Organizations for possible recommendation to the WMF Board as new movement entities. The enthusiasm of Wikimedians around the world to participate in this process exemplifies the extraordinary levels of commitment and dedication to free knowledge within the Wikimedia movement. Going forward, we know that these movement affiliates will help editors and contributors to engage more effectively and efficiently with each other across Wikimedia projects and languages.

To facilitate the creation of these new entities, WMF Legal anticipates that we will be called upon to proactively advise on the appropriate use of Wikimedia marks by movement affiliates and the risks involved, particularly in the naming process. Although each movement affiliate will be subject to case-by-case review by both AffCom and WMF, we hope it is helpful to explain the various factors that WMF Legal may consider when asked to counsel AffCom or WMF on this matter. We of course welcome advice and other views as well.

In the above previous post, I shared some ideas for criteria in naming Thematic Organizations. Today, I want to elaborate on those proposed criteria as they might apply to thematic organizations and user groups. We would like to suggest that the discussions surrounding the naming process for approval of movement entities should involve not just AffCom, WMF, and new movement entities, but the Wikimedia community as a whole. As I believe all would agree, the goodwill in the Wikimedia “name” and trademarks is created by the work of all our editors and contributors, and any decisions in naming and approving new entities will necessarily affect the wider community. Therefore, to the extent AffCom believes appropriate, we would encourage finding ways in which the community may participate in the conversation with respect to the naming of entities.

As stated in the prior post, any new movement entity’s name in its entirety should first and foremost: avoid confusion; be accurate; not imply exclusivity; and not endanger the goodwill of the Wikimedia brand. First, avoidance of confusion helps to protect affiliates from unjustified, unfounded lawsuits which are intended to target the Foundation. Second, we wish to avoid the impression of exclusivity to prevent the impression that one affiliate has exclusive rights to a certain theme at the expense of other potential affiliates. Third, accuracy and precision in naming also help multiple affiliates to coexist with the least friction, particularly where various affiliates with a similar focus may wish to encompass single vs. multiple projects, and single vs. multiple languages. Fourth, we are all stewards of the goodwill of the Wikimedia brand, and must carefully consider trademark permissions on a case-by-case basis.

Below are some suggested draft considerations for discussion amongst the community. We encourage feedback and comment from the community, AffCom, and others. We emphasize that each movement entity will undergo case-by-case review and these are intended only to provide some direction in minimizing not only the risk to the brand but the cost in time and resources to AffCom.

Draft Considerations:

First Consideration

For Thematic Organizations and User Groups that wish to focus solely on a single project like Wikipedia or Wikisource, the “Wikimedia <name>” model (for example, “Wikimedia <Hats>”) may be problematic. The use of the “Wikimedia” mark for those groups and organizations that only wish to edit Wikipedia or Wikisource risks inaccuracy, confusion, and undue exclusivity.

For instance, two groups may wish to edit two different projects on similar themes (for example, Wikipedia <Hats> as opposed to Wikiversity <Hats>). In addition, Wikimedia hosts projects in a multitude of languages across the world. It is doubtful that any one movement entity will wish to or can actually encompass all languages.

Thus, we encourage more precision rather than less in naming. Single-project entities should consider names such as “Wikisource Editors for <name>”. It may further be useful to indicate the language of origin within the name itself. Thus, “Wikipedia <Hats >in French” would create space for a less confusing coexistence with another group on another language project named “Wikipedia <Hats> in English”.

We note that community members have questioned the reasons for encouraging use of “Wikipedia” over the “Wikimedia” mark. This is largely due to the fact that much of the legal confusion which has led to improper targeting of chapters has centered on the use of the Wikimedia mark, as it is more directly affiliated with the Foundation. Wikipedia on the other hand is perceived as a product-based mark, and thus arguably results in less risk of misguided lawsuits. Nevertheless, the more narrow the appellation, the less likely the confusion - a principle that applies to broad and narrow uses of "Wikipedia" as well.

Second Consideration

For cross-project Thematic Organizations and User Groups, the use of the “Wikimedia” mark creates another set of practical concerns. New groups will likely continually form in the future, and any established naming framework should support rather than constrain the expansion of new movement entities over the years. “Wikimedia <Hats>” for instance could seek to co-exist with an eventual “Wikipedia Club <Hats>”, but these names convey an inaccurate and unjustified impression of greater recognition for one group versus the other. To be sure, User Groups/Thematic Organization and their names may be subject to periodic review, but we wish to avoid a situation where, after a negative conclusion, AffCom is required to take away broader names to describe the more narrow activities of an organization; in our view, it is better to start with a narrow name and step up to a broader appellation when the activities of the organization so justify. Furthermore, the existence of “Wikimedia <Hats>” could preemptively discourage similar user groups with an interest in hats from forming. Finally, as noted, we must ensure that we do not favor English-language projects: a thematic organization called Wikimedia <Hats> creates exclusivity in our movement unless it has the methods available to include all our language projects - which will rarely be the case.

Hence, we encourage creative naming choices for cross-project entities to avoid such potentially inequitable situations. “Friends of <name>”, “Italian supporters of <name>”, “Editors for <name>”, or other creative non-English naming solutions all constitute plausible naming models. In certain situations, “Wikimedians Interested in <name>” or “Wiki Loves <name>” may be appropriate if AffCom determines that the <name> meets the stated criteria. For instance, “Wikimedians Interested in <Hats>” may be too broad, but “Wikimedians Interested in <Fedoras>” may be more appropriate.

We are aware that there has been some debate within the community over the use of “wiki” in our movement naming conventions. However, its usage is well-established in the community with events such as Wikimania and projects such as “Wiki Loves Monuments”, and as long as the usage is sufficiently descriptive it remains a viable naming component.

Third Consideration

Movement entities may link themselves to Wikimedia by employing a subtitle like “An Independent Thematic Organization of the Wikimedia Movement”. Such a subtitle would, for example, allow more room for creative names or use of generic terms like “wiki” while still recognizing the affiliation with the Wikimedia movement.

Fourth Consideration

We would also like to point out that movement organizations should seek trademark permission before registering or doing business under any name employing our trademarks, such as Wikimedia and Wikipedia. Before any such registrations or use of the name, WMF should furnish formal, written permission, since the Foundation is the legal owner of the marks as a steward for the community.

We recognize that AffCom is charting new ground with movement affiliates like Thematic Organizations and User Groups, and we know that everyone wishes to ensure that they choose names that work for the new affiliates as well as the movement as a whole. We are confident that User Groups and Thematic Organizations will be able to devise bold and creative names that meet our values without brand dilution, exclusivity, or confusion.

Geoffbrigham (talk) 01:30, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

Hi Geoff, thanks a lot for your constructive and positively faced input and thoughts! I do have a few suggestions for your reconsideration though.
First of all, in your first recommendation you speak of groups that wish to edit. As I understand it, in no scenario it should be the purpose of a user group and definitely not of a thematic organization to edit. It might be a purpose to support editors of a certain project or set of projects though. Therefore, I suggest to change 'edit' into 'support editors of'. Just to avoid confusion later on.
Somehow the 'Wiki Loves <Something>' keeps returning as example. I would like to emphasize that Wiki Loves <XYZ> is a concept for a set of projects, and probably not a good name or scope for an organization. I know Wiki Loves Monuments seems like a big thing, but it is after all organized by chapters all over the world and groups that could be recognized as User Groups - but that are generally not solely focused on Wiki Loves Monuments. Just a minor detail - the rest of the recommendation seems comparable with my own views on the topic.
Thanks! Effeietsanders (talk) 08:00, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
Excellent point re "groups that wish to edit." And I understand your point re "Wiki Loves XYZ." Thanks! Geoffbrigham (talk) 12:09, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
Hi Geoff, thank you for your new recommendations, I think it clarifies a few questions we had.
In particular, the use of the relevant subtitle is a very welcome development.
For the second consideration, about choosing the most non-exclusive name I would add that in practice, we would want to employ a bit of generosity and trust: we would probably not recommend a "Wikimedia <Hats>" without very good reasons, but we would probably – upon careful consideration – recommend a name like "Wikimedia <Hats> Krakozhia" even though it can be conceived that in a future or some futures a second hatter group would want to create an organization in the fictional country of Krakozhia.
This would happen in the general context where AffCom tries to ensure that affiliates are open to volunteers under their scope both in policy and practice and while there is no exclusivity, in the interest of general harmony and the reduction of organizational overheads, we would examine first how the second group of hatters could integrate into the first before recommending separate recognition. So in sum, in examining the exclusivity criteria of a given name-organization combination, I would consider the potentiality of the group to fill the shoes the name implies. Indeed, in the case of thematic organizations we try to include as standard practice an announcement to the Wikimedia-l list of applications in the middle of the process to allow for community input and indeed to see what is the likelihood of Krakhozia's hatters being divided and whose future naming needs might need to be considered in advance.
The thematic organization and user groups models open the field for a huge variety of empowered Wikimedia groups, which will have intersections at various places – I would not imagine hierarchies inherent in naming even if two thorgs would happen to operate on the same theme in the some geographic location. (As noted above, this would only be encouraged if there was a very strong reason the two cannot work together in some form or under some common structure.)
In the case of user groups, which are in general meant to be more fluid in coming into existence and in cases going out of existence, I could imagine agreeing to names like "Wikimedia User Group Grand Fenwick" as a precursor of a future Krakhozian chapter, or "Wikimedia User Group Madripoor" (if the conditions of openness are met, the group is indeed interested in more than one project, and there is no rift in the community that would make this unwise), unless the group in question would suggest more creative names for themselves. –Bence (talk) 21:09, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

My image is that Thematic Organizations will be significant movement entities, at the same level of organization and scale as geographic chapters. To that end, it would not be desirable to have multiple Thematic Orgs sharing a theme. While this does not imply strict exclusivity, it does mean that each org should be able to briefly define a theme within which they provide support for all efforts across the projects, just as chapters are provide support for all efforts within a geography. So most considerations that apply to one type of entity would apply to the other.

For the first Consideration: This makes a great deal of sense for user groups. We may want to encourage thematic orgs to take on a broader scope than this. For instance, Wikivoyage already has a global, multilingual entity supporting its existence; they do aim to represent and support all languages.
For the second Consideration: this seems to expect a large number of fragmented Thematic Orgs. I would expect, in contrast, a relatively small number of broad Thematic Orgs, which are each dedicated to topics of major global significance, across many cultures and eras and many modern sources/repositoies of knowledge. So there would be no thematic orgs focused on hats at all (as too narrow a subject area). However a wide variety of hat- and suit- and accessory-themed user groups might interact with a thematic org focused on Clothing. SJ talk  01:22, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Our expectation is that Wiki Med will be global in scope. We already have interest from more than 13 countries and one of our projects in currently working on medical content in more than 30 languages (with the hope of expanding to 80). The issue with national chapters is just that, they are national, which is why they are not ideal for international collaborations around subject matter. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:30, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Practically speaking, these models of affiliation are demand-based. In other words, it is hard to predict in advance whether narrower categories, such as hats or suits or accessories would want to affiliate (following Bence and SJ's usage of these terms) or the broader category of clothing would want to affiliate. Or where these potential affiliates are based and how widely they see their scope of operation, geographically, linguistically and project-wise. For example, what about Global Hats or Hats in Africa? I think we have to keep the field wide open for any viable group that wants to affiliate to do so - in other words, we may end up with hats, shoes, accessories and clothing. Not to mention socks. :) As long as the naming conventions and criteria are precise enough to avoid confusion and brand dilution, I do not see this multiplicity as an inherent problem. Seen another way, fragmentation is also diversity. I would imagine that some thematic organizations can also be regional in scope (eg South Asia, Africa etc) or linking different geographies via themes.Bishdatta (talk) 06:41, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
On the note of groups wishing to support editors of X and "Wiki*" naming: I sometimes wonder, if a group's activities will be mainly or exclusively online, why not reuse existing naming conventions like "WikiProject X" (in English) etc. This would surely avoid confusion with groups and organisations doing other sorts of activities (including WMF); it could also help choosing relevant names without excessive bureaucratic specifications, and the risk of conflicts with different wikis and subsets of the wiki – apparently higher, to the point I'd myself call this a crazy idea – could actually be way lower, being reduced to the normal consensus negotiations between different communities/groups/projects in Wikimedia projects, without sovrastructures.
--Nemo 08:09, 27 December 2012 (UTC) P.s.: I'm not sure I understand the "not just AffCom, WMF, and new movement entities" part, AffCom is a WMF committee. :-) Does it need a permanent observer from Legal to clarify that its consideration incorporate legal advice?

Thanks Geoff for your thoughts. I agree with these considerations, and I do think they can protect groups from misguided lawsuits -or at least, make it easier for them to defend themselves from such. Which is why the more precision, the better, imho. The subtitle is a great development. It is also rather refreshing to see the effort not to favor English-language projects, and so avoid exclusivity (even despite the best of efforts, they are announced either in English or in an English-speaking forum). This favours empowering volunteers at their own rhythm as well. As Bishakha says, keep the field wide open. To continue the analogy, let there be Hats, Sombreros, Chapeaus, Fedoras et al! Raystorm (talk) 12:37, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Geoff, frankly I don't believe those considerations are useful for the creation of affiliated organizations. Please consider that all those groups regardless of their legal status need to be recognized by the public as part of the Wikimedia Movement. That's the only reason why they apply for affiliate status. So their name must reflect this connection, anything else is secondary. In my eyes, the only valid argument of your statements above is of course the danger of trademark dilution. The future Wikimedia User Group Munich does not want to loose the prestigious term in their name just to be "protected" from erring law suits. As we will not be incorporated there is very little danger in that. And to counter the perils of trademark dilution, you will need a thorough vetting process. That's what the AffCom including oversight by the board is all about. I understand that your job as general counsel is to protect the interest of the Foundation. But its not worth the price of crippling the Affiliate Groups process. rgds --h-stt !? 14:53, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

MediaWiki Thematic Organizations[edit]

Looks like they'll follow a special process.[2] --Nemo 15:33, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Scope and names for movement entities[edit]

Organization chart of the Wikimedia movement

Hello, I would like to present some considerations about the movement entities, with regard to practicality and to the position of the entities towards other entities and the movement in general. Some weeks ago I presented the diagram or organization chart you see here embedded. People told to me that it is much too complicated to show it to average (non Wikimedian) people, but they did not know how to make it simpler. The movement is just very complicated.

My goal is it to make the movement not even more complicated. But I see that danger when in future there will be a "Wikimedia GLAM", approaching the Amsterdam Museum, and leaving that museum with the question who is actually "Wikimedia", Wikimedia GLAM or the Dutch Chapter Wikimedia Nederland. Or imagine a Wikimedia User Group Munich, and people will wonder how it is related to Wikimedia Deutschland. There will be a Wikimedia Kenya and a Wikimedia Ghana (?), one of them being a chapter and one a Wikimedia User group (WUG). Who will understand that?

There are three groups, or four with the WMF:

  • Chapters
  • Thorgs
  • WUGs

Another potential group, the Wikimedia Partners, is still the least elaborated.

Wikimedia Foundation (WMF)[edit]

The WMF is a special entity. It defines who belongs to the Wikimedia movement, by giving entities the right to call themselves "Wikimedia". This is legitimate and makes sense; with the WMF being in charge to control whether an entity is deserving this right (good governance, no abuse of the trademarks etc.).

This means that the WMF draws the line between the Wikimedia movement on one side and all other similar or related organizations in the world on the other side. And if an entity is recognized officially as a Wikimedia entity, it should also appear in public as such. This bears the risk that an entity is doing wrong and causing damage to the whole movement and the trademarks "Wikipedia" and "Wikimedia". But avoiding "Wikimedia" in the name of a thorg or WUG won't help, or putting it into the subtitle. In case of a scandal, Journalists will always find out that an entity belongs to the movement. If a group cannot be trusted it must not be recognized at all.

Wikimedia chapters[edit]

The world is divided into national states, and there is not much to do about that. It is likely that the backbone of the Wikimedia movement is following those structures. The own country is often the most general common ground for Wikimedians, may they be physicians, historians, or developers. Supporting meetings or contacting local and national institutions is best left to the chapters, if there is no compelling reason to do that in other ways.

Thorgs should not be competitors of the chapters, no surrogate chapters. For example, an entity for German speaking Wikimedians or Wikipedians would not make much sense, as there are chapters in all three of the major German speaking countries (all neighbouring to each other). Their collaboration with each other works great, as the WikiConventions show. But for Spanish speaking Wikimedians or Wikipedians the situation is a different one. A WUG for Spanish Wikimedians can be useful, or a federation of Spanish speaking chapters.

It is quite a challenge to found a chapter, and some existing chapters show little activity. It might be good to be more reluctant and ask Wikimedians of a specific country whether they don't want to start first as a WUG, and only later apply as a chapter.

The number of possible chapters is and should be limited. Therefore it cannot be recommended to allow more chapters in US cities or regions but to ask the US Wikimedians to create a chapter of their own, which they can organize as a federation of regional groups. It is very difficult to explain to Europeans or other non Americans why American Wikimedians should have the special right to create chapters on the sub national level.

Some countries or would-be-countries such as Taiwan, Palestine, or Kurdistan, form a special challenge to the chapter model. It would be the easiest to follow the UN and see which countries they have as full members. This is something the movement still has to discuss about.

Thematic organizations (thorgs)[edit]

A thematic organization should be similar to a chapter, just with a different focus. To underline that, it would be the best to call them in a similar way: Wikimedia Medicine, Wikimedia Cultural Heritage, Wikimedia Travelling, Wikimedia History. In other languages they can have equivalent names. They should really relate to a subject, not to a single Wikimedia project.

The number of thorgs should be small; given the severe requirements maybe only a handful will be found within the next ten years. It should be even discouraged to found separate thorgs that could be simply one. The reasons:

  • It takes a lot of bureaucratic work to create and maintain a good working thorg. Wikimedians should combine their efforts where ever possible. Thus: One Wikimedia Medicine is better than one Wikimedia Cardiology, one Wikimedia Gynecology, one Wikimedia Ophthalmology etc., all of them being weak, largely inactive and supported only by very few people.
  • It is confusing for outsiders if there is a multitude of thorgs, and it raises the risk that the outsiders don't know which thorg they should approach for their specific wish for collaboration.
  • Also for the WMF it would be difficult to oversight a multitude of thorgs, instead of a handful.

Should there be recommendations for national subdivisions? Would it be a good idea having a "Wikimedia Medicine national association for Germany" (WMMED-DE)? Or should Wikimedia Medicine encourage German Medicine Wikimedians to form a thematic group within Wikimedia Deutschland (WMDE-MED)? An independent German association for Medicine Wikimedians could be the national affiliation of WMMED, but not at the same time be a work group within WMDE. Such an independent German association cannot exist; at least, WMMED or WMDE cannot give it the right to use the trademark Wikimedia. Only, the Affcom/WMF could, but would that be a wise decision? Such a German association would be much more a competitor to WMDE than WMMED.

National chapters and thorgs will have to find procedures for collaboration. For example, will it be appropriate for WMMED to approach a major Dutch hospital for cooperation, without contacting Wikimedia Nederland before?

Wikimedia User Groups (WUGs)[edit]

Esperanto Wikipedians at the Esperanto World Congress in Rotterdam, 2008

While there should be (and certainly will be) only a very limited number of thorgs, the WUGs will represent the diversity of the movement. While chapters and thorgs have a lot of responsibilities, and must do a lot of reporting, WUGs are easy both for their supporters and for the WMF. The WMF only has to become involved with existing WUGs if there is a reason for. On the other hand, of course, the rights of a WUG are rather limited. Because, if the WMF gives ore or less all rights to a WUG, why should a WUG do the hard work to become a chapter or a thorg?

Still, it is in the interest of the AffCom/WMF that there not unnecessarily small WUGs that could better exist within a bigger WUG.

Possible groups of WUGs are:

  • Essentially national groups, that are too small to become a chapter or are shy of the burocratic work. They should not be called in the same way as a chapter, but e.g. "Wikimedia User Group of Ghanaians". They should only be recognized if there is no chapter in the peticular country. Thus, with having a Wikimedia Switzerland, there should be no "WUG Zürich", "WUG Italian speaking Switzerland", "WUG of Swiss Medicine Wikimedians" or even "WUG of Zürich Medicine Students editing Wikibooks".
  • Essentially inter- or transnational groups, which role cannot be taken over by chapters. The Esperanto and Latin speakers are good examples. It needs still some discussion, also among themselves, whether it can be recommended for them to form thorgs. Maybe ethnic groups such as the Catalans are a similar case.
  • Thematic groups that don't want to become a thorg.

Forming a WUG can be a step on the way to becoming a chapter or a thorg. Possible scenarios:

  • It takes some time (months or longer) to form a chapter. The establishing group could be a WUG until recognition as a chapter. The same is true for a thorg.
  • The Californian Wikimedians form a WUG, and the Texan Wikimedians do the same. After having gathered the Wikimedians in their states or regions, they form together with the New York chapter and the Washington chapter one big US Chapter, "Wikimedia USA". Then those 3-4 Wikimedians in, say, North Dakota, who are not enough even for a WUG, can simply become individual members of Wikimedia USA.
  • There is a long time chapter called "Wikimedia X-Country", but it is rather inactive. It has only 2-3 active members, who find it very difficult to comply to all requirements to be a chapter. Consequently, the chapter "Wikimedia X-Country" becomes the "WUG of X-Country Wikimedians".
  • WUG Historians, WUG Philosophers and WUG Linguists find out that they can better form a WUG for Scientists in the Humanities, or even become a thorg Wikimedia Humanities.

Maybe, to distinguish sharper between chapters and thorgs on one side, and WUGs on the other, one could recommend to the WUGs that they call themselves by people, not a country/region or subject. Thus, not "WUG California" but "WUG of Californians", not "WUG History", but "WUG (of) Historians". (After all, we are talking about user groups.)

Making individuals part of the movement[edit]

One important goal of the new entities (thorgs and WUGs) is it to give individuals a chance becoming a part of the movement. An Italian can become a member of Wikimedia Italia, but what about a Wikimedian in Iceland? It is unlikely that an Icelandic chapter will be created within the next few years. So, the Iceland Wikimedians can form a WUG, or become, as individuals, members of Wikimedia Medicine, Wikimedia Fashion or what ever they find suitable for themselves.

The elephant in this room wears stars and stripes: the largest national group in the movement are the Americans. There is the risk that the thorgs will become essentially US based organizations, with the European, South American, Asian, etc. Wikimedians concentrating mainly on chapter work. Such an evolution would be detrimental to the final goal of having a US chapter.

Wikimedia Chapters Association[edit]

At the moment, the Wikimedia Chapters Association is a federation of chapters. It seems that many of the WCA Council Members are open for the idea that in future the thorgs or even the WUGs can join the WCA, and the WCA would become the "Wikimedia Association". The alternative would be to create a federation of thorgs and a federation of WUGs, which would make the movement even more complicated.

In the current sitation, one chapter has one vote (or one Council Member) in the WCA Council. As the number of possible chapters is limited (there is only a limited number of national states), this is acceptable. But if the WCA accepted thorgs under the same conditions, and 500 thorgs join, the chapters were totally outnumbered. Maybe the WCA wants to wait whether it is safe to accept the thorgs, or for a statement of the AffCom about its policy regarding the likely number of thorgs.

With regard to the WUGs: considering their special status, they could together appoint one Council Member. Should the number of thorgs grow in a similar way, the solution for the thorgs could be the same: all thorgs together appoint one Council Member. But possibly the thorgs would not be content with such a solution, or the whole system of the WCA could be newly arranged, for example with extra Council Members for the larger chapters and thorgs (one for every chapter/thorg, one more if it represents more than 1000 members, two more if more than 5000).

Some recommendations[edit]

These recommendations could also be called considerations, or thoughts. Please accept them as a kind of comprised topics that should be discussed.

  1. An entity that belongs to the Wikimedia movement should also have "Wikimedia" in its name, to distinguish it from entities that are not part of the movement.
  2. Consider to make a certain name scheme obligatory for thorgs and WUGs, similar as for chapters. Chapters: "Wikimedia [name of country]". Thorgs: "Wikimedia [subject]". WUGs: "WUG [people]". Examples: "Wikimedia France", "Wikimedia Medicine", "WUG Greek Wikimedians".
  3. There should be one chapter per country. New entities should be allowed considering the position of existing chapters.
  4. There are good reasons for not allowing too many WUGs and certainly not too many thorgs: AffCom/WMF has to deal with a lot of organizations, and the forces will be divided.
  5. It is in the interest of the WMF to have strong chapters and thorgs, because they are responsible for good governance and a good use of the trademarks. If it works well, they mean less work for the WMF.
  6. Reconsider, if necessary, the status or geographical coverage of current chapters.
  7. Discuss about the issue how good relationships between chapters and thorgs could look like.
  8. Discuss about chapters or other entities in disputed countries or regions.

Ziko (talk) 21:34, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Yes we are a complicated organization that is poorly understand. The primary reason is that we are not a standard corporate hierarchy. We are something that the world has never really seen before. So the question is who is the Wikimedia Movement? Is it the foundation, is it the national chapters, is it the editor community? It of course is all of these. And one group should not have the authority to decide who is and is not part of the whole. It must be decided by active discussion among all members.
National boundaries make little sense regarding much of what we do. Knowledge does not stop at the boarder. We do not have a Canadian Wikipedia, an Australian Wikipedia, a UK Wikipedia, etc. we have an English Wikipedia. Knowledge is often best decided not by nationality but by subject area.
It was not to long ago that we promoted these three as all belonging to the Wikimedia Movement and now we have one part (the WMF) telling another part that they should no longer call themselves Wikimedia (the editor group). This I find uncomfortable and hopefully we can find a balance.
With respect to jurisdiction of different organizations I think w:en:WP:OWN is applicable. Because we have national chapters should the education group not be allowed to partner with universities in countries where chapters exist, should the WMF not be aloud to speak in countries where there are chapters? Of course not. We are complicated and we shall remain that way. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 00:34, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
Knowledge does not stop at the border, but... what language do people speak in your ideal association? :-) That's why for many Wikipedians their chapter is more important than an essentially international association such as WikiMed. / Indeed, it is good that the WMF shares its power; maybe the AffCom could have in future one ex officio member coming from the WCA, for example. / Kind regards Ziko (talk) 16:39, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
I spend time during my medical training in both Brasil and Switzerland and many of the students studied in English as that was the language most of the textbooks where in. Only the wealthy where able to study in their own language and these where often translations. Medicine and science generally is a heavily English profession. I met an astrophysics from Russian at Wikimania last year with a very thick accent. I asked how it was editing the Russian Wikipedia and he looked surprised and said he edits only the English Wikipedia as that was the language of his profession. We have a number of people on our board whose first language is not English but rather German, Dutch or Portuguese.
I however do not see this organization as having exclusivity. There is no WP:OWN. If someone wished to start say a Japanese Wikimedia Medicine project I would be supportive. If they wished to join in this one I would also be supportive. One of our projects is currently working in more than 35 languages. Also WikiMed has existed for less than 2 weeks. I do not think we are yet able to determine if people wish to associate only by country or also by subject matter. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 09:28, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
Well, the people you meet and talk to in English, they are those who actually do speak English. The others you don't talk to. You may want to read about the language issue on the talk page of de:Wikipedia:Kurier... Chapters are necessary, thorgs are necessary, and if one of them became active, it should at least inform the other one if that applies in the specific case. Ziko (talk) 17:03, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
Sure agree. The hope would be that each alerts the other when dealing with projects that overlap by subject area or jurisdiction. Will try to make sure we do this consistently. We have already been in discussion with a number of national chapters. And our first Wikipedian in Residence for the organization is from India. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 13:50, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
Servus, Herr Ziko! One Chapter per country makes sense in Europe; I wouldn't suggest a merged EU Wikimedia Chapter :) Still not certain about optimal Chapter structure here in the US. Incorporation is under state law; we're spread out about as far as Europe; and even though we all speak English, cities as similar as NYC and DC have very different cultural institutions. What we have right now is a batch of overlapping networked organizations. A local organization in each city is advantageous for reasons of subsidiarity. For my part, I'd like to see the US stay with the multiple Chapters and loosely networked groups for the moment. I really want the Foundation in SF for to continue with its software / engineering focus for the next year or two, until we have a better visual editor, and not get distracted with all the discussion of founding a national nonprofit ...
A WikiPod of Orcas en-route to a US editathon
With an improved editing environment, and as we extend our base of experienced Wikipedians willing to participate in person, the sorts of organization you are suggesting are going to happen. Bottom-up participatory organization will be stronger in the long run, because people work together better online when they are in-person acquaintances. Implementing this organization will take a little longer on this side of the pond in large measure due to questions of geography and scale.
A question: where does the concept of WikiPods fit in? This seems a more flexible sort of group, for Wikipedians swimming in the same direction like a group of Orcas ... Djembayz (talk) 00:14, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Regarding the Wikipods, this was only a proposal made some years back - it never came to existance in the proposed form, but Wikimedia User Groups are probably the closest approximation. Effeietsanders (talk) 15:20, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
These ideas are in conflict with the primary purpose of the Affiliate Group concept. The AffCom explicitly desires the creation of User groups in countries with existing chapters, because they have different purposes, can and should coexist, just as the global foundation and the national chapters coexist. We have been invited to apply as Wikimedia User Group Munich by both the AffCom and the German chapter when we inquired about the possibility of recognizing the existing meetup-group in Munich as a Wikimedia User Group. rgds --h-stt !? 14:11, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

Thinking about the comments above: I think that all organizations affiliated with the movement should have "Wikimedia" or a Project in their name ("Wiktionary", "Wikivoyage", &c). Thematic orgs focused on a theme are subject to vetting just as significant as chapters, and expected to have an equivalent history of activity and project work, so a name as short and simple as "Wikimedia <theme>" or "Wikimedia <theme> Organization/Association" makes sense. It is true that Wikimedia User Groups are meant to be informal and easy to set up - having "User Group" in the name makes that clear. SJ talk  23:27, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

Is it correct that this is a community logo?[edit]

Can anyone use this logo without permission to represent community Wikimedia projects?

There is a section on commons containing Wikimedia community logos. The page says that the concept was put forward by commons:User:WarX, who was the creator of the globe logo used to represent Meta-Wiki.

I would like to be able to use some logo to represent Wikimedia community projects which are unaffiliated with and not endorsed by the Wikimedia Foundation. I do not want to cause any brand confusion with the Wikimedia Foundation, but in community outreach efforts, I feel the need to use something. Others must also, because the category on Commons shows that people have remixed this logo for use in all kinds of projects. However, these logos have the following template on them, so it seems that the Wikimedia Foundation asserts some claim of control over these.
Commons:Template:Wikimedia trademark
When Wikimedia project participants need to advertise their projects and claim affiliation with the Wikimedia community, is this a logo that anyone can use for this purpose in any context without permission, just so long as they do not purport to be representing the Wikimedia Foundation or any of its projects? How does Aff Com feel about thematic organizations and the rest of the Wikimedia community representing themselves graphically with a shared community logo? What is the significance of this community logo being labeled as a trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation? Is it in any way different from any other trademarked logo? How would Aff Com and the Wikimedia Foundation feel if there were a community organization which did not want to be an official WMF-organization, but did want to represent the Wikimedia community, and did want to use a logo when they promoted themselves? I am thinking of casual meetups, the education program, programs like Wikipedia loves Libraries, and thematic organizations. Can anyone use this Meta-Wiki logo without permission to represent these kinds of Wikimedia projects? Can anyone freely remix this logo for their group without worrying about the anyone wanting oversight of the group for using the trademark? Blue Rasberry (talk) 12:03, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

This comment was originally in another section; I just moved it to its own section because it never got comment and because I have new information. On December 12 en:User:Mdennis (WMF) (aka en:user:Moonriddengirl) changed the status of many community logos from not being trademarks of the Wikimedia Foundation to being trademarks of the Wikimedia Foundation. Here are some examples showing history:
Many community logos originated in 2006 from a community effort to create logos to represent the Wikimedia Community and not the Wikimedia Foundation. There was a poll about using this logo for Meta with the understanding that the "Wikimedia visual identity guidelines do NOT apply to the new PD image (community logo)". It seems like this logo has always been for unrestricted community use and that any community project can use it or make variations of it - is this correct? Commons:Category:Wikimedia_Community_Logos does not make this kind of statement. I was wondering about the trademark status of this logo, especially since Mdennis just tagged it differently. The tags are a mistake, are they not? I just pinged Mdennis about this. 2006 was a long time ago and that process was not well documented, so I am trying to learn what happened. In 2008 there was talk about this on the Foundation-l mailing list - see 2008-September in the "[Foundation-l] New Meta-Wiki logo - Approved?" thread.
Can anyone use this logo for any purpose due to its not being trademarked and because of its history as a non-WMF but rather community symbol? Were the trademark tags put on this in error? Thanks. Blue Rasberry (talk) 01:59, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
Hi. According to the Wikimedia Foundation's legal department, who directed me to tag the images, they are trademarked. The tags weren't placed in error, but were very specific. However, I'm happy to request clarification if you'd like. :) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 11:11, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes, please, Maggie, we would very much like to see an official clarification from the legal department. Especially because I myself remember talking with Artur (WarX) about his logo, and his reasons for releasing it into the public domain, and I can not remember that it was ever planned to become a Wikimedia trademark. odder (talk) 11:21, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
Happy to. :) But I would like to clarify that its status as a trademark (assuming the attorneys are correct) has nothing to do with copyright. It would still be public domain, as tagged. But I'll shoot out an email. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 12:18, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
Because I needed to explain the question to the attorneys, I checked to see when and by whom the second note was added to that poll; it was added here, well after the poll was underway. I checked to see why, and it probably relates to this discussion, where the user who placed the note seems to agree that it may be subject to trademark protection that restricts it from fraudulent use:
It seems that the designation as a trademark may not have been in question when that note was added, but rather the processes required to use the trademark. But in any event, I am checking with legal. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 12:31, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for seeking clarification on this point, BlueRasberry. As you correctly point out, this particular logo has come to represent Meta-Wiki, which provides an important space for the community to organize and discuss movement issues. The logo is registered as a trademark in order to give us a way to prevent any third-party misuse or misrepresentation of the movement’s marks.
Because this logo has become associated with Meta-Wiki, it has become less effective as a distinctive “shared community logo.” So currently its usage does require prior permission from WMF, which we know adds an additional step. But the legal team is more than happy to guide any community member who wishes to use the Meta-Wiki logo for activities in furtherance of the mission through the permissions process (which we always endeavor to keep simple, fast, and straightforward).
In the future, we plan to make it easier for groups to show their involvement in the movement without permission. We hope to assist the community in rolling out a shared logo that reflects the community consensus, and which may be freely used and remixed, when our trademark policy is revamped in the coming year. Rkwon (WMF) (talk) 02:12, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
I was asked after the recent LCA office hour to find out when this was registered as a trademark. Application was filed 7 July 2012, with a "first use in commerce" claim of December 2006. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 21:39, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

I was just pointed to this discussion, which I hadn't seen before. This does not make sense to me. The logo is clearly labelled as a shared community logo, and there was no ambiguity in the discussions in 2006 that it was to be a freely remixable, 'project neutral' community logo. Meta chose to use it as the meta-logo precisely because meta did not want to have a specially-trademarked logo -- it is the place for remixing ideas from across all Wikimedia projects, and all parts of the movement. I do not think there is a desire to keep others from using, modifying, recoloring, warping, stenciling, hexaflexagonifying, frankensteining, or otherwise creatively riffing off or this logo. Please do not instate any barriers to its use and reuse. If the Meta community wants a unique logo, we can make a new one. SJ talk  19:42, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

I'm also more than a bit surprised by this. I checked the trademark registry and, sure enough, this logo has been registered as US Serial number 85671072, filed on 7 July 2012, and an international application pending: A0031176. It was published for opposition on 26 February 2013, which means the community has until 28 March to either oppose the trademark or request to extend the time to oppose. I believe that Toolserver has a clear prior claim. In any case I believe WMF is acting against the community intent. The logo File:Wikimedia Community Logo.svg was created to be free of any restrictions (including freedom from the visual identity guidelines); the image page and poll at Meta:Babel/Metawiki logo poll made this quite clear. The meta community choose to use a logo free of restrictions, with that in mind. I request that the WMF reverts itself on this one edit and withdraws the trademark application, or endorses another party (WMDE?) filing a opposition extension request. John Vandenberg (talk) 11:38, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

This discussion deserves its own page. I've moved it to Talk:Community Logo. SJ talk 

Use for specific purposes[edit]

I think the specific case of the Wiki Med Foundation (only two letters different from the Wikimedia foundation) using this logo is much more tricky than usual. The combination of having a very similar name, a similar mission and a similar logo carries even higher risks for confusion. I would personally (in my non-legal opinion, and not representing anyone or anything) suggest to choose a logo that is very different from the Wikimedia logo in shape and color, until an agreement with the Wikimedia Foundation is struck. Effeietsanders (talk) 11:50, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

Effeietsanders is bringing this up because I have supported efforts to establish a medical organization for Wikipedians. I have been talking with people about logos since long before the medical thing started and medicine was not really my reason for asking the question. Effeietsanders supports something called en:Wiki Loves Monuments, and I also question whether that project's logo harms the Wikimedia community because it is trying to build its own independent visual identity outside the community. The Wikimedia community works very hard to build a good image and every time a new project has a new logo it forks the branding and reputation that the community has built. I wish that Wiki Loves Monuments would have a logo which showed that it was the result of the work of the community and not some new brand.
I feel the same way about other community efforts, like Wikipedia Loves Libraries, the education program, the summer picnics, community events like "Wikipedia takes (city name)", editathons, and any other outreach event in which members of the Wikipedia community who do not want to affiliate with the WMF but who do want to affiliate with the community and movement can represent themselves. There is a difference between the community and the foundation and not everyone who wants to be a member of the movement also wants the obligations and responsibility of having a relationship with the foundation. The community was around before the foundation and almost every part of every Wikimedia project was built without the foundation interacting with the community at all. I am entirely supportive of everything the foundation does but grassroots efforts do not need to continually seek hierarchy and people need to be empowered to spontaneously do things in some way that we all agree is best. I absolutely do not want to encroach on the visual identity and branding of the foundation, but it seems to me that the purpose of the community logo was to give community projects a common visual identity to support spontaneous grassroots efforts.
I am exploring options for a community logo and whether and how a community logo should be used. This has nothing specifically to do with anything medical but rather relates to every outreach project of every kind. If anyone wants to talk to me by phone or Skype then email me to arrange something. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:16, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
I indeed assumed (too quickly) it was a question related to the ongoing application of Wiki Med. If that is not the case, my apologies and then my remark has no impact of course. In general I do feel that seperate branding gives the community more freedom because it allows them to design as they wish (using a color that suits them well), without having to coordinate everything with the WMF legal department. Using Wikimedia marks is often simply too much fuzz - getting a trademark agreement was this year also more complicated than we hoped. It also gives more freedom because the community is less critical on the initiative, because they don't feel it threatens them. But in general, if a project would like to they should probably be able to use the community logo (imho etc) assuming that doesn't confuse too much (Wiki Med being the only exception I can think of). Effeietsanders (talk) 14:41, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
It seems like the community needs to design its own logos and branding separate from the WMF and than through RfC decide who can and cannot use them. The chapters committee or some other group could than be given the authority to enforce the RfCs at a legal level. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:02, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
This seems a contradiction in terms to me: in the example of WLM, it was chosen to have a non-trademarked name and logo precisely because this makes it unnecessary to have legal authorisations and impossible to require them (claiming some "ownership"). A committee can't trademark anything. (WMNL, who "owned" WLM, could, but decided not to.) --Nemo 17:51, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
A short remark on WLM: I had preferred it to be called "Wikipedia Loves Monuments", but I find it okay that it has a logo of its own. Besides, WLM is officially an activity of WMNL. So it is difficult to compare it to "Wikimedia Medicine" (which is, by the way, not an entity at the moment). As I said earlier, I could imagine that a thorg is a WUG at the beginning, to have certain trademark rights, and after the recognition process it is a thorg. But I would like to see a more concrete description of what "limited right to use the trademarks" (as the page over WUGs say) really means. Remember that the chapters have a lot of responsibilities, and must report etc., for good reasons. It cannot be in our interest that "anybody" can walk arround and say that he speaks in the name of "Wikipedia". That's why we Esperanto-Wikipedians, for example, wish to become an official WUG, and we are willing to submit to certain (reasonable) rules. Ziko (talk) 16:51, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
I am not sure what I think. I think I would like to wait to hear from legal about why the WMF put trademark tags on that logo. It seemed to me that the purpose of the logo was to create a common visual identity for projects which did not want the bureaucratic responsibility of requesting the right to claim affiliation with a WMF body. I like the idea of non-WMF-affiliated community projects having a common identity to associate them with the Wikimedia community and I do not like the idea of the Wikimedia community forking its visual identity with new logos for many different projects, unless some project has a special reason for teaching the public to recognize additional Wikimedia community branding. Blue Rasberry (talk) 01:30, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
Agreed that it is not healthy to fork visual identity unless there is a specific reason and demand for it. SJ talk  22:43, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
I am not sure of the best course of action but as a person who organizes a lot of wiki-movement outreach events, I feel that I am a stakeholder in this. I would like to be party to this discussion if it moves elsewhere. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:50, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

Added US-Canada education program[edit]

A notice just went out about the education program, for example here, which says that someone will establish it in June 2013. I just added it to the table of proposed thematic organizations. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:30, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Thanks! If you happen to speak with the organizers, please ask them to get in touch as early in the process as possible with AffCom. –Bence (talk) 21:33, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
They are notified. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:30, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
It seems to be the case that the Wiki Education Foundation has both incorporated and received a grant from the Wikimedia Foundation. See en:Wikipedia:Education_noticeboard#Wiki_Education_Foundation_update. The grant is here - Grants:User:Pjthepiano - Wiki Education Foundation/US and Canada Wikipedia Education Program. In the terms of issuing the grant, I noticed here that the project still cannot use Wikimedia trademarks. Should this organization continue to pursue recognition as a thematic organization as a route to getting permission to use trademarks and other community resources I would like to see some link to public discussion about this here. Thanks. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:48, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

WUGs vs. LUGs[edit]

I hear that The LUG is dead. I asked in the past if other experiences are useful and I don't know if they are, but I'm leaving here the link anyway. (That's the event when MediaWiki devs' mapping technical meeting may happen.) --Nemo 17:40, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Thanks Nemo! Is there a summary or video of that talk, that you know of? --Bence (talk) 19:57, 23 January 2013 (UTC)


On naming[edit]

It makes sense to link using a trademark in a group's name to its depth of alignment with the movement.

We can set the bar for using a "Wikimedia x" name to be high. For instance, a history of:

3+ years of active programs that support technical / content / distribution aspects of the Projects. Including projects of some size (affecting thousands of people, with hundreds of members, or with region-wide recognition)
a core focus and strategy that is closely aligned with movement-wide strategy*
working well with partners, local communities, and other Wikimedia groups
handling local media effectively, communicating well about projects and direction

* NB: there is disagreement about whether we have such a strategy now. But let's assume that in the next movement-wide planning process we design a true movement strategy, in addition to the individual roadmaps for the WMF, each chapter, and other major entities.


We can choose to be more slightly generous with the naming convention for chapters, since there is a more clear-cut way of defining the scope of their work. (For instance, we don't currently require 3+ years of active project experience.) But the above should be sufficient to be comfortable with a thematic org representing our movement. Some thematic orgs may not request that in any case (cf. many current applications), but it should be an option - in some cases a natural one. SJ talk  14:20, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

Furthermore, the existence of “Wikimedia <Hats>” could preemptively discourage similar user groups with an interest in hats from forming. Finally, as noted, we must ensure that we do not favor English-language projects: a thematic organization called Wikimedia <Hats> creates exclusivity in our movement unless it has the methods available to include all our language projects - which will rarely be the case. Until I see someone argue effectively those points, I will not support creating different levels of recognition within the recognized model groups. All Thematic Orgs should be equal. All User Groups should be equal. Raystorm (talk) 14:48, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
Some people say that regional groupings should be inherently superior to thematic groups, and suggest that regional groups - "chapters" - get to use the term "Wikimedia" and that subject interest groups - "thematic organizations" - should use a term other than Wikimedia. I would like seeing best practices about naming proposed, whatever the case is. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:02, 25 July 2013 (UTC)