Chapters meeting 2009/Brainstorming

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Below is a list of general topics to get started. Feel free to list specific issues, workshops, resolutions, you would like to discuss one way or another

List of topics
collaboration between chapters, fundraising, political lobbying, current activities of chapters, business, press & PR, legal issues, working with volunteers, cooperation with institutions & governments, public outreach...


Relationship with Foundation[edit]

  • appointments of two persons to the board from the chapters - this long standing issue should be concluded. Anders Wennersten 14:35, 26 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just to be specific, we are still not talking about appointing board members FROM the chapters... the chapters get to appoint two board members. These could be chapter members, non chapter members or whatever. Remember that these seats do NOT represent the chapters but are intended to allow you to enrich the board with skills/people which we did not identify ourselves :) (Jan-Bart, posting anonymous ;)
Big support for this - perfect time to resolve it or at least finalise it --pfctdayelise 06:39, 11 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The board of trustees will hold a meeting in Berlin at the same time as the chapter meeting. They expressed interest in a joint session about "the development of the chapters". guillom 14:05, 30 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Chapters meetings[edit]

  • I see a need of some coordinating body/person between the chapters meetup. This is not to have authority but to act as a communaction/contact body. I would suggest three persons active in chapter boards to take on this role, being replaced each meetup, perhaps one from the board organisting the last meetup and one from the next one. Anders Wennersten 14:35, 26 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Chapters co-ordination[edit]

  • I am interested to have a track around handling of pictures, possible issues to discuss/exchange experience around. Anders Wennersten 14:35, 26 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • setting up a group of members of European Chapters to organize a meeting (explaining Wikimedia Projects, or weighting on some reform affecting the projects) with Members of the European Parliament. Up till now we acted rather separately on the EU stage. (:Julien:) 12:41, 27 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think in general a discussion workshop on European politics might be very interesting and productive. Maybe another one about lobbying on a more national level? Effeietsanders 12:46, 4 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Another European topic could be government aid or European funds ([1]). Are there possibilities to take part in specific programs? What are the requirements or even better chapters' experiences? --Lyzzy 12:36, 5 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'd love to see a workshop with the chapters to see if we can work out plans to do /joint/ projects. Maybe we can, maybe we can't, but this is the opportunity to see the possibilities. Effeietsanders 13:08, 4 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I thought about it as chapters co-operation e.g. multi-language events in border regions or international competitions. --Lyzzy 12:36, 5 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yes, but I had a more broad workshop in mind like collaboratively doing software development, press releases, conferences, and not per se multilingual (consider Germany and Austria/Switzerland or France/Switzerland) but sometimes perhaps that too. I think cooperation could lead to a combination of skills and expertise and can help a lot. Also a German person helping another chapter with their conference, or vice versa, etc. We should be creative :) Effeietsanders 16:21, 5 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I like the idea to talk about free pictures, maybe we can make plans for the Chapters "Year of the Picture". --pfctdayelise 06:39, 11 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Chapters comparisons and best practice[edit]

  • short history of chapters
    I'd prefer to have this as much as possible prepared on paper by all attendees. Then we only need Q&A. Otherwise, this will take way too much time I'm afraid. Effeietsanders 12:48, 4 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As long as we have a short discussion about this, I agree. I wasn't proposing anything big here. But if the suggestion was to drop the matter totally, I disagree for several reasons:
a) as more and more new chapters come into these meetings, we need to update them so they won't have to reinvent the wheel each and everyone
b) not all chapters write good and/or detailed chapter histories - and even if they do, some people won't read them, and it's often the ones who don't read them, that most need the information, since they ask for this during the other sessions
c) even a good and detailed report can't be beat by discussions and the ability to quickly get answers to your questions.
But it appears that we see this matter in a similar way, so this was only a way to give a few reasons why this should not get overlooked ;-) //svHannibal 12:25, 15 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Public outreach: How to approach different groups, e.g. universities; How to get people involved in editing or how to get the academic circle to participate in the quality control of articles?. --Dami 21:06, 26 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Exchange of experiences: there could be how-to presentations about projects that any chapter could organise (contests, WikiGrants, maybe WP Academy) with all the steps from start to finish given by the chapters that have organised such events. --Dami 21:06, 26 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Promotional materials: best practices; are their useful, and if yes, for what purpose; possible cooperation in creating and distributing better promotional materials (keeping in mind that they should be in accessible formats for convenient localisation and adaptation). --Dami 21:09, 26 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Cary Bass offered to take part in discussions/workshops about recruiting and motivating volunteers. guillom 08:38, 3 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I might be very much interested in hearing how other chapters work with their volunteers (ie, the IRL voluneers) Effeietsanders 12:55, 4 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • As part of this, encouraging members to stand for chapter Boards. AndrewRT 23:29, 3 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Frank Schulenburg offered to take part in discussions/workshops about public outreach (exchange ideas and experiences). guillom 08:38, 3 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Please see the corresponding section "Proposal for a possible Public Outreach Track" below for more information. --Frank Schulenburg 01:43, 4 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Funding & fundraising[edit]

  • What breakdown of money do you have from membership fees/donations/grants/merchandise sales/events/other???
  • Do you run concerted fundraising drives? How do you avoid leaning too heavily on your membership?
  • Discussion about the WMF fundraiser and chapters' participation
  • Discussion about localization of the fundraiser to help people donate easier. Effeietsanders 13:00, 4 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dead chapter and how to avoid it[edit]

  • Just a thought, when a new chapter is initiated everyone is excited, is there anyone at all appointed both WMF or by volunteer basis to check on chapters? Are they still alive, comatose, or need some kind of moral or emotional support (he he) 10:37, 8 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    We have discussed this issue in ChapCom and if and how we could adress this issue with an aim to inform the board if a cancellation of a chaper is wanted. So this issue would then probably lead to a dicussion of the role etc of ChpaCom which could or could not be a good idea. Anders Wennersten 06:10, 14 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

More ideas here![edit]

  • Perhaps a tech discussion would be interesting. Not so much "hosting" but rather oriented "improvement of mediawiki software" or "toolserver" (how to make it better, more organised, more useful...) or even "sharing tools between languages" (in particular related to some very useful bots... which might disappear if the user maintaining them disappear, or which might be useful in other languages). It may be a "contest for the most useful bot in your language", which may lead to a discussion on how chapters may help support such initiatives. Anthere 10:36, 4 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Medium to big interest in this. Also: how can chapters encourage the growth of the [local] MediaWiki developer community? --pfctdayelise 06:39, 11 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Communication (or rather lack of it) between Foundation Board, Officers, Committies and Chapters. How to improve it. How to integrate all small, closed groups working "somwhere in the corner" - back into general Wikimedia community. Creating "Foundation FAQ for typical queries" and "service paths" for typical office actions. Polimerek 23:57, 4 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Relationship of National Chapters to Sub-national chapters. The legal and community framework underpinning that relationship. Witty lama 11:39, 10 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • We could have a wrap-up / announcement session on Sunday morning (open to the public) & possibly invite the press (-> Catrin). guillom 15:49, 13 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It was suggested that a few non-attendees could take notes, to allow the attendees to focus on the meeting. guillom 13:49, 16 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

WMF staff member's proposals[edit]


  • Rand Montoya offered to take part in discussions/workshops about
    • the Annual Fundraiser. What worked, what didn't, how to improve on the next years.
    • Chapter Fundraising. What the foundation expects, what kind of help we offer to chapters, how chapters can fund-raise better. guillom 08:38, 3 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Public Outreach Track[edit]

Why Public Outreach?
  • Introduction:
    • What is "public outreach"? - fs
    • How does public outreach fit into our shared goals? - fs, sg
    • Why should the chapters do public outreach? What is the role of the Wikimedia Foundation? - fs, sg, chapters
How to do Public Outreach
  • Outreach tools:
    • Giving an overview of existing outreach tools (mainly related to events: Wikipedia workshops, classes, Academies) - fs
    • Which tool for which purpose? (recommendations based on our experiences so far) - fs and chapters
    • Sharing experiences and best practices - chapters
  • Building the "bookshelf":
    • Introduction to the bookshelf idea and our strategy concerning educational materials - fs
    • Presentation of selected bookshelf items, the idea behind and our plans in the related field of educational materials ("Welcome to Wikipedia" brochure, video tutorials, target group specific materials, presentation slides for Wikipedia evangelists, train-the-trainer materials, etc.) - fs
    • Discussion: How to help people to understand Wikipedia - chapters and fs

Communications/Marketing Track[edit]

Some items that might be of interest or are on my mind based on interactions with the chapters over the last year. JayWalsh

  • Big questions...
    • Best practices in a global public relations practice (JAW and chapters)
    • How important is it for all of us to be aware of our collective PR and media work? (JAW and chapters)
    • How can WMF help the chapters in their communications work? How would you change how WMF works? (JAW and chapters)
    • What do you think are the simplest and most important messages to share with your audiences?
  • Media work
    • A short media relations training opportunity (JAW and chapters)
    • How we manage potentially complex issues, or issues that might be perceived to be negative by the press (JAW)
  • Brand awareness (possibly with business development)
    • Why our brand matters / brand integrity / brand is about ideas, not trademarks (JAW, Kul/Mike, chapters)
  • Design
    • Building a visual identity guide - discussion about design standards and how to share our products (JAW and chapters)
    • Why print - how public outreach/participation/fundraising and others all rely on print products (JAW / Frank)
    • Our official face online: the role of our chapter/foundation wikis to communicate our work (chapters)

Volunteering / Community Relations track[edit]

  • Identifying valuable contributors and putting them to good work
  • Demonstrating appreciation for contributions
  • Relationship between the Chapters and the Community
  • Integrating volunteer efforts on the projects with volunteer efforts with the chapters


  • Mike Godwin offered to answer questions about recent and upcoming changes in the chapters agreements and in trademark policy. guillom 08:38, 3 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I've gotten lots of questions in recent months from the Chapters regarding chapter agreements and trademarks, so I want to make myself available to explain what we've been doing over the last year and why. And of course I would also be able to discuss general aspects of legal strategies and problems and how they affect the relationships between the Chapters and the Foundation.MGodwin 15:11, 3 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think this would be a very important point to discuss during the meeting. Anthere 10:26, 4 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Ditto. --pfctdayelise 06:39, 11 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Agree also. Anders Wennersten 06:02, 14 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Are you referring here to changes that will come up no matter what (ie, explaining) or about what chapters would like to see changing? Effeietsanders 12:44, 4 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think it's likely to be both. Some legal matters ultimately require centralized decisionmaking, but some related matters could use Chapter feedback. In the interests of transparency, I'd like to explain what we're going forward with and why, but at the same time I would like very much to hear comments and criticisms and constructive suggestions.MGodwin 21:19, 14 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Relations between a chapter and its country's local Wikipedian/Wikimedian community[edit]

  • How to avoid possible tension between a chapter and a local community of Wikipedian or other Wikimedia projects' editors?
  • What is the best way to achieve cooperation between the chapter and the local editors' community?

Regional cooperation/Chapter blocks[edit]

  • Strengthening connections for cooperation between chapters with potential common interests. Such common interests may result from being in the same geographical region (e.g. Oceania, the Mediterranean), from having similar legal system (e.g. chapters from common-law countries), or from having similar issues to deal with (low outreach, multilingualism etc.)

I added these two last paragraphs. Dror_K 13:02, 10 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Definitely a good idea. And: should we consider hosting "regional" chapters meetings in the future ("Europe","Asia"?) instead of a single world one? To minimise travel costs, and maybe even be more productive (if there are too many attendees) --pfctdayelise 06:39, 11 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    In that vein, please see our proposal at Chapters meeting 2009/North America. I've recently clarified the context of this.--Pharos 17:31, 12 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]