The committee will seek community input until Friday, May 1, 2015. The committee will then review the community's input, and publish the new process and agreements on Meta-Wiki. The committee will again seek community input approximately six months after any changes are adopted to gauge effectiveness and if any additional changes are necessary.
When Wikimedia user groups were initially introduced, the committee used the chapter approval process as a model for user groups. Since that time, the committee has modified the approval process twice to simplify and expedite the process. Additionally, the committee has modified the user group requirements to make the model more accessible to developing projects.
Proposed user group fills out an application on Meta-Wiki
Proposed user group emails notification of application to Affiliations Committee
Committee assigns two members to act as liaisons and review application
Liaisons review application and verify it meets requirements
Liaisons then approve or deny application on behalf of the committee
Summary of current user group requirements:
Three active Wikimedia editors
Information about group published on-wiki
Clear purpose and scope
Clarity on structure
Two contact people for Wikimedia Foundation
While these changes reduced the overall processing time for applications, there remains a lag in processing applications which is longer than the committee finds acceptable. Additionally, the number of Wikimedia user group applications has been increasing each year, and the current process may not be tenable for a volunteer-based committee as the pace of applications continues to rise.
Proposed changes being considered
The Affiliations Committee met with members of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees and staff at the Wikimedia Foundation San Francisco office in January 2015. During that meeting, a new framework was developed and initially agreed to. Since that time, the committee has been working with staff to fully develop the new process, and prepare it for public comment. If adopted by the committee, the new process and agreements will go into effect shortly after the conclusion of the request for comments.
The new proposed approval process for Wikimedia user groups is:
Wikimedia user groups will apply by filling out a simple online form that sends an email to list with Committee and Foundation staff, where they can track user group applications.
The Committee will approve new groups by two members confirming they meet the criteria and responding to the email list to approve the group.
Committee and Foundation staff can talk to the applicant if more information is necessary.
Committee and Foundation staff may introduce applicants to affiliates which may be interested in the application, such as affiliates with a similar geographic or topical focus.
Committee and Foundation staff can watch applications and raise objections, but the aim is to approve the group after a 48 hour waiting period.
User groups will automatically get "Wikimedia Community User Group " name, or applicants can request another name on the approved list. If they want to use the house logo (the logo used by Wikimedia Foundation and chapters), they can also request a standard trademark license.
The new requirements for user groups will be:
Three or more active Wikimedians (defined as 10 edits within the previous 12 months)
Agree to the user group code of conduct
Here is a mockup of what the new application form would look like:
Please provide your country and city, so we can keep track of our user groups around the world. If global in reach, simply put "Internet".
Three active Wikimedians
Please provide the name, email address, and Wikimedia user name for three group leaders. For the purpose of this application, Wikimedians with 10 or more edits in the past 12 months are considered active.
To help with simplifying the new approval process, while reducing the amount of investigation work required by the committee, a new user group code of conduct will accompany a simplified Wikimedia user group agreement. Applicants will initially agree to these while filling out the user group application form. As is currently the case, a physical copy will be signed once the group has been approved by the committee.
Existing user groups will be sent the code of conduct and per their existing agreements, be required to begin following it within 30 days of being notified. User groups recently passed have their final approval already conditional on the agreement of the new code of conduct and agreement, once adopted by the committee.
Here is the proposed user group code of conduct and new agreement:
User group agreement and code of conduct
The Wikimedia Foundation ("we", or "us") is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering and engaging people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain and to disseminate it effectively and globally.
You and your user group ("you") agree to the conditions in this agreement by clicking "I agree" on your user group application.
You will follow our Trademark Policy
You have read and agree to follow our Trademark Policy. This policy explains when you can freely use Wikimedia logos and when you need to ask permission.
You are independent from the Wikimedia Foundation and other groups
This agreement does not create an employment, agency, or partnership relationship between you and the Wikimedia Foundation and any other Wikimedia organization. You acknowledge and understand that you and the Wikimedia Foundation are independent of each other. You and your user group may not speak or act for the Wikimedia Foundation in any way.
You are recognized as a user group as long as you follow this agreement
This agreement will last for 1 year, beginning on the date you receive your user group recognition notice from the Affiliations Committee. This agreement will automatically renew for additional one-year terms unless the agreement is otherwise terminated.
We may terminate the agreement at any point by providing 30-days written notice. The Affiliations Committee may terminate this agreement immediately if you violate the Code of Conduct. You may terminate this agreement at any time by sending notice to the Affiliations Committee.
Your user group's name and logo
The Affiliations Committee will provide your approved name, usually in the form of "Wikimedia Community User Group [area or topic]." Your name must be consistent with the User Groups Naming guidelines.
The Wikimedia Foundation gives you permission to use your approved name for activities that are consistent with the code of conduct and this agreement. This permission ends if your agreement is terminated.
Your group's goals and activities should be consistent with the Wikimedia mission. You must not engage in activity that is inconsistent with the Wikimedia guiding principles or poses significant risk to other Wikimedia organizations or Wikimedia projects.
You must provide the Wikimedia Foundation the names and contact information for two representatives for your user group. These representatives must agree to this agreement. Upon the Wikimedia Foundation's request, your representatives will need to provide additional information to confirm their identity. The names of your representatives can be made public at any moment when considered necessary by either the Wikimedia Foundation or the Affiliations Committee.
You may not engage in illegal activity, and you must comply with all financial and privacy laws and regulations.
You must maintain and satisfy all relevant license requirements and other legal obligations to operate your group.
This agreement is governed by the laws of the State of California, USA, without regard to conflict-of-laws principles. The parties will first attempt to resolve all disputes through mediation. If mediation fails, then we will resolve that dispute, and consent to personal jurisdiction exclusively, in a state or federal court in San Francisco County, California.
It may be necessary for the Wikimedia Foundation to modify this User Group Agreement from time to time. Your representatives will receive 30-days prior notice by email of any changes to this agreement.