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Affiliate Chairpersons meeting August 15, 2019

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Affiliate Chairpersons meeting Thursday August 15, 2019

  • Location: Spelbomskan room on the 7th floor in Aula Magna.
  • Time: 13:00 - 17:00 CEST
  • This meeting is open only for chairs of Wikimedia chapters, thematic organizations, and chairs from sAPG affiliates (including sAPG funded User groups).


Present (please list your attendance)

  1. Frans Grijzenhout (chair WMNL)
  2. Josie Fraser (chair WMUK)
  3. --WikiTatik (talk) 20:16, 26 June 2019 (UTC)[reply]
  4. aegis maelstrom δ (chair WMPL)
  5. Laurentius (talk) 09:36, 27 June 2019 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Tiputini (talk) 14:22, 27 June 2019 (UTC) (Secretary Amical Wikimedia, on behalf of Amical Wikimedia, --Toniher (talk) 14:41, 27 June 2019 (UTC) - signed by Chair, not attending)[reply]
  7. --Gnom (talk) Let's make Wikipedia green! 09:32, 28 June 2019 (UTC) (chair WMDE)[reply]
  8. Flixtey (talk) (OFWA)
  9. Kirill Lokshin (WMUS-DC)
  10. Mattias Blomgren (chair WMSE)
  11. --Hogne (talk) 15:53, 21 July 2019 (UTC) - (Chair WMNO)[reply]
  12. Rachmat (WMID) (talk) (General Secretary of Wikimedia Indonesia)
  13. Willie Robert (vice-chair WMFR)
  14. Rocío Mantis (talk) 21:22, 25 July 2019 (UTC) (WMCL)[reply]
  15. Violetova (talk) 17:21, 28 July 2019 (UTC) (GLAM Macedonia)[reply]
  16. Miljan Simonović (talk) 19:31, 30 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
  17. Douglas I. Scott (president WM South Africa)
  18. Bence (talk) (vice-chair WMHU) 16:10, 3 August 2019 (UTC) (maybe; the chairpersons meeting clashes with some other ones)[reply]
  19. Megs (Wikimedia New York City)
  20. NickK (talk) (vice-chair WMUA)
    Millars (talk) 15:22, 27 June 2019 (UTC) (WMES) I must attend the Learning Days because of my scholarship.[reply]
  21. Drbug (WM RU)
  22. Doug Taylor (WM Medicine)
  23. Htm (talk) 10:25, 15 August 2019 (UTC) (Wikimedia Finland board member, a.k.a. Hanna Mäki, chair Jaakko Pirinen is not able to attend.)[reply]
Via conference call
  1. Geert Van Pamel (WMBE) (talk) 20:44, 21 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Philip Kopetzky (talk) (WMAT) until around 15:00 CEST
Unable to come
  1. Itzik Idri


  1. Opening
  2. Introductions
  3. Goal of this meeting
  4. Review Notes Affiliate Chairpersons meeting March 29, 2019 in Berlin
  5. Discuss the Evaluation of the Board Member training 2019, including organizational aspects. More info: Organization and program of the Board member training 2019 (Prepared by Tim Moritz Hector and Frans Grijzenhout)
  6. The Movement Strategy Process (Intro prepared by Lukas Mezger)
    1. Affiliate strategic priorities
  7. Request for Internal audits and Appeal procedures (Discussion note prepared by Geert van Pamel)
  8. Prepare and plan for the Chairpersons' November 2019 retreat and training in Paris (The Affiliates Chair’s meeting request that the Wikimedia Foundation support the introduction of an annual Wikimedia Affiliate Chair Retreat (9-10 November). More info: Evaluation of the Boards training workshop 2018 in Prague. (Prepared by Itzik Idri)
  9. Other topics:
    1. Feedback on the ASBS elections (suggested by Geert van Pamel)
    2. Proposal LGBT Community Wikimedian(Josie Fraser)
    3. Next meeting
  10. Closing



The meeting was opened at 13:15 by Frans Grijzenhout, followed by a brief introduction by every participant sitting in a circle and two participants attending via phone.

Goal of this meeting[edit]

Frans refers to Value and purpose of the Affiliate Chairpersons meetings.

Notes Chairpersons meeting March 29, 2019, Berlin[edit]

No comments. The notes are approved. Notes Affiliate Chairpersons meeting March 29, 2019

Discuss the Evaluation of the Board Member Training 2019[edit]

Prepared by Tim Moritz Hector and Frans Grijzenhout.

Discussion on various aspects of the training
  • We have now disconnected the Board training from the Wikimedia Summit. This posed some problems of organisation and finance, but allows us freedom to choose date and location. Grant was offered by AffCom of around $2000 to support it, but declined, because it would have required changing the scope of the training at short notice. Afflilates needed to pay 95 € to the organisers of the session and pay themselves for hotel and travel.
  • WM Summit is now looking to concentrate on strategic decisions, this can be difficult for representatives from newer and smaller affiliates.
  • New board members need to be introduced into the way an Affiliate is managed and exposed to, both internal and in relation to the Foundation, the Community, partners, government, press+radio+TV, and the general public.
  • Affiliates are so different in scope and audience; maybe we need to split the training up in smaller sessions? Could regional conferences have room for these *Affiliate* Board Member Trainings? Maybe by continent? Maybe by level of experience? How to attract trainers from the Community (time/availability/skills/experience/willingness)?.
  • Is there a way to connect to the Learning days organized by WMF?
  • NickK: Focus is important. Ukraine tries to send the most suitable board member to each meeting. Regional conferences can work, if the are long enough to exchange and focused enough (e.g. stream for more experienced and stream for less experienced groups).
  • Regarding the attendees, there are advantages and disadvantages with heterogeneous target groups. A statement from one participant was that it was valuable to meet people from other kind of affiliates and learn about their experiences and situations. However, focused target groups have an advantage.
  • Board training is very important for the movement, and is supported in the Strategy.
  • Lorentzo: Better to have a training through the weekend, as the board members are volunteers and often have other obligations during the week.
  • Most affiliates have their annual meetings in spring (April/May/June), so it might make more sense to have the boards training find place in the autumn.
  • The group thanks Tim and Frans for their continuous work on the training.

Update movement strategy process[edit]

Intro prepared by Lukas Mezger.

Intro Programmatic changes vs structural Changes

Changing the structure of the organisation might take much more time and should be done before doing the program changes. However during the conversion phase, operations and activities need to go forward. When the Foundation’s strategy changes, Affiliates might be required to change their position. Think of legislative issues, collaboration with additional (other) organisations. The way affiliates are approved and managed, might change, and become, maybe, more flexible? Affiliates typically might be required to sign a new contract with the Foundation, or perhaps with the rest of the organisation/movement/Community?

After 2 years of work since Wikimania in Esino Lario and in Cape Town: there are now about 74 recommendations prepared across the 9 themes, and they are ready now for review, and for approval by the end of 2019. Most of the recommendations follow the patterns of decentralisation, diversification, and establishing global policies. Wikipedia was started by a private company in Florida, and grew to an international Community with a diverse culture, language, content, media, and platforms. There are questions if Affiliates needs to agree on certain points of view related to advocacy (political statements). The focus is on sustainability, not disrupted new technology. Decision making principles follow the subsidiarity principle: decisions are taken at the lowest possible level; to be done at a higher level if needed only.

Discussion amongst the chairs (first round)
  • NickK: We need a mechanism for managing accountability, to resolve problems and conflicts, not the least about finance, and budgets.
  • Money stream. Still Top down? Partially bottom-up? Sideways (transfers amongst affiliates?)
  • Suzanna: When you have multiple Affiliates in the same country? When having (multiple) user groups, within one, or amongst multiple countries?
  • Open Knowledge, and other comparable organisations, who might not be so top-down organised like Wikimedia.
  • Nicolas: Communities, power, and decision making.
  • Lukas: The Community (+WMF, Affiliates) might better behave as a service company, rather than a product owner?
  • Hogne: about sustainability, structure, continuity,
  • Josie: hierarchical model for power sharing, decision taking is hierarchical; sharing the results with the Community.
  • What is the definition of "free"?
  • Frans: democracy needs a separation of powers with a parliament (legislation), legal (judiciary) and operations (executive).
After a 10-15 minutes break we started a 2nd round focused on the idea of a charter
  • Having a charter: good idea? To be written by a working group? What would be the target group/organisation: also external groups like Mozilla...? Will it be an obligatory document to clarify and agree with our mission... to obtain the right to collaborate …? Might the charter be related to the Terms of Use? A charter is much broader than a Mission statement. Hogne: there are a lot of conflicts in the movement, and some look for the strategy process to obtain solutions. Frans: it should be a well-balanced and sharp document that provides clear definitions. Josie: about partnerships and the role of WMF in the movement.
  • Concerns: Money streams versus the decision making power. What will become the role of WMF (and Affiliates) in the movement? Other organisations like Open Knowledge, OpenStreetMap, Mozilla might get involved? Relation between the (Wikipedia) Community and the Affiliates, at local level. Final decision making power versus the wish for decentralizing. Feeling that WMF might be looking at volunteers as production capacity (complimentary labor). Josie: what Lukas presented was not decentralised; the observation is that money streams and decision making are still centralized.
  • Further about the charter: The purpose and content of the charter is important - is it a high level statement, or will it steer in detail. In UK English "Charter" means 2 things: (1) Collection of (agreed) statements, and (2) Collection of rights and responsibilities.

And can it be set in stone? Or will it be evolving? And who writes and agrees with the content?

  • Lukas launches the following: He supposes that WMDE will continue to exist. Wikimedia EU becomes an intermediate level. The Global South might get more money. Affiliates in EU and located in the more wealthy parts of the globe might need to become more responsible to raise and manage their own budget.

Request for internal audits and appeal procedures[edit]

Discussion note prepared by Geert van Pamel.

Geert explains his proposal for an audit or review of T&S procedures and the way grant requests are currently handled. He proposes a review or an internal audit of the procedures. Then communicating the results. Then maybe changing the procedures.

  • Austria: Two years ago an internal audit team was requested to the board of trustees. But this was not accepted.
  • Lorenzo: The accused person needs to be aware of the accusation. This is not always be the case. The audit could be verify what basic principles where (not?) followed. Regarding the FDC recommendations, as a chairperson group we have no power in this matter. We can only request or propose.
  • The scope might be too broad (individuals and organizations). One audit might not be sufficient. Maybe the scope of the request should be split.
  • Appoint an auditor then suggest what should be investigated. And maybe there might be other solutions?
  • Geert refers to the ITIL and ISO 9001 standard within a business context where an internal audit is a yearly feedback mechanism to the board in order to ameliorate business processes, or to identify gaps.
  • There is no standard for processes, and audit, within the Foundation?
  • Lorenzo: proposes to reverse the order of the text: Make a first analysis of what went wrong, before handling the problem much broader with human rights, and legal procedure analogies?
  • Lucas: reviewing decisions and having a documented process is OK. We must take care to not to break more processes by investigating what went wrong. Avoid confrontation but do more of problem solving.
  • Suggestion from other participants: First solve the pending problems. Talk selectively to a few top level board members. Then have a review or internal audit. Then possibly amend procedures.

This is really an important issue, more Affiliates have got similar problems, and it has political and organizational impact and consequences. The main suggestion is to rewrite the request: First describe the encountered problems; making an abstraction of specific cases; then propose a review or an internal audit.

About the sequence of the review process: First resolve the pending problems; talk selectively to a few top level board members; then formally request a review or internal audit; then wait for the result of the review/audit; then possibly amend some procedures.

Chairs are invited to continue to write on the document discussed here, which is available on meta, in order to clarify what potential steps are missing from the different procedures. The document was not previously announced; still it can be publicly read, also by WMF staff. Let us keep it open, and not finger-pointing.

Local strategic priorities[edit]

Intro by Josie Fraser.

Affiliates have different strategic priorities. For example: UK is e.g. the "GLAM chapter". Ukraine invests in "Earth" and so does Austria with regards to photography. Is it possible to draw a scheme with local strategic priorities and then organize “Clusters of specialism” so that we could help each other?

Chairpersons' November 2019 retreat and training in Paris.[edit]

Prepared by Itzik Idri.

Frans: This training will definitely continue. Time and location: Paris, 24 - 25 november 2019. The concept of the program is ready and available. We received a small WMF grant to cover the costs of a professional trainer. All other costs must be covered by the affiliates themselves. A subscription form will be distributed beginning September by Itzik. Affiliate_Chairpersons meeting November 9 - 10, 2019

Other topics[edit]

Feedback on the ASBS elections[edit]

Suggested by Geert Van Pamel, see Affiliate-selected Board seats/2019/Results.

At Wikimania on Friday 16/8 there is a special feedback meeting about this subject. We refer to that meeting. The ASBS was very messy this year; should be more aligned next time. See also: Wikimedia chapters/Statements/Chapter chairs statement: We support the decision of the BoT to include user groups into the ASBS-election process

Proposal Wikimedia LGBT Community Wikimedian[edit]

Proposed by Josie Fraser.

Josie explains the proposal and asks for support from other affiliates, especially for cooperation during the execution phase of the proposed project.

Closing points[edit]

Next meetings[edit]

  • In Paris, during the Board training (with limited attendance): could we have a video/audio conference like today?
  • In Berlin, shall we plan the chairs meeting again one day before the conference (in parallel with the learning days)?
  • Tip for Google meet: enter the URL on the main desktop then you do desktop sharing.

Other points[edit]

  • Time was well used, space was well organised, program was early announced, and content well prepared
  • Frans: for those who follow the organization of User Groups: there is a meeting for representatives of User Groups during Wikimania.


  • The meeting was closed at 17.00