User:Pfctdayelise/Wikimania 2009 submission

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Title: Panel on Wikimedia chapters

Abstract: Although chapters have existed since 2004 when Wikimedia Deutschland was founded, and there are now over 20 with many more fledging groups nearing official approval, many people know little about what chapters are and what they do. This panel will explore questions relating to the development and functioning of chapters. Why would you want to start a chapter? What types of things do they typically do? What is the relationship between a chapter and editing communities like? What forms may a chapter take? What are common difficulties faced by would-be chapters and young chapters?

Panel speakers (to be confirmed closer to the date):

  • Alice Wiegand, Wikimedia Deutschland (Germany) (WMDE)

Wikimedia Deutschland was the first Wikimedia chapter, founded in 2004. It now has over 400 members, an office, around 10 paid staff and has organised numerous projects with government and cultural bodies in Germany. Alice has been a member since 2005 and is the current Vice President.

  • Manuel Schneider, Wikimedia CH member (Switzerland) (WMCH)

Wikimedia CH was founded in 2006. Its diversity reflects the diversity of its nation -- there are four official languages (German, French, Italian and Romansch) as well as English. Thus Wikimedia CH is not strongly tied to any single language used in Wikimedia, as many of the European chapters are. Manuel helped found Wikimedia CH and is their current Chief Information Officer. He also helped organise the first Swiss "Wikipedia Day".

  • Thomas de Souza Buckup, Wikimedia Brasil (Brazil) (WMBR)

Wikimedia Brasil was founded in 2008. After internal deliberation, it chose to form as an informal "mutirão" -- a "self-assigned task force of socially motivated volunteers" rather than a formal legal entity. Thomas has been one of the leading participants, reaching out to extant chapters to learn from their experience, while keeping an open mind about what works locally for their group.

  • Wikimedia Argentina member (WMAR)

Wikimedia Argentina was founded in 2008. The official language of Argentina is Spanish, but this is of course shared with many other nations, giving WMAR a "non-exclusive" relationship to the Spanish projects. WMAR is hosting and organising this year's Wikimania!

  • Chapters committee member (ChapCom)

The chapters committee is a committee of the Wikimedia Foundation, charged with helping nascent chapters find their feet and their bylaws.

Panel moderator: Brianna Laugher, Wikimedia Australia (WMAU)

Wikimedia Australia was founded in 2008. It faces the challenges of having a small national population dispersed over a very large area, and like Wikimedia Argentina lacks an exclusive language to rally behind. Brianna is the current President of Wikimedia Australia.



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