Chapters meeting 2010/Documentation/Working Groups/Toolserver

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Toolserver working group[edit]

  • This is not about tools and technical things, but about governance of the Toolserver
  • Question on mailing list of chapters about who and how we can as chapters get together to see how we can run the toolserver
  • Present Mark Bergsma, WMF, WM NL, WM IT, Daniel, River, WM CH, WM RU, Pavel, WM DE, WM UK, WM SV, WM PL, WM UK, WM FR
  • Alessio, Daniel Kinzler, River, Ilario, Vladimir, Pavel, Sebastian, Mike, Lars, Marek, Delphine

Previous Discussion on the mailing list[edit]

  • Call from pavel to think about a governance structure for the toolserver (legal body that is running the toolserver).
  • Purpose of such a body
  • Do we need a different legal body
  • Sebastian: legal problems, liability reasons, there is WP content on there, so that it might be a problem.
  • Reason why this discussion started is more: money, practical, find news ways for participation of other chapters.
  • 95000 € in costs

Goals of this meeting[edit]

  • Timetable (and an aggressive one) - 3 months
  • Working group of representative from some chapters, and mandate of working group
  • Make sure that we list our non-options/parameters


Mandate of the working group[edit]

  • Make sure that whatever solution is chosen is an efficient, practical and sustainable technical solution (see parameters)
  • Make sure that basic legal requirements are taken care of. The working group will have to explore legal options for a toolserver association (or any other legal option that allows a joint governance and financing of the toolserver)


  • The toolserver association (working title)
  • Chapters are governing the toolserver, not the Foundation, not any other external organisation
  • Single ownership of hardware
  • Chapters (toolserver association) will own that hardware (no outsourcing, no rental, no lease)
  • Keep the existing rules of the toolserver: Work on the toolserver has to be beneficial to a Wikimedia or an Open Street Map projects (potential partner projects)
  • The resulting outcome should provide a strong incentive for chapters to integrate their locally run toolservers in the Toolserver
  • Solution has to be agreeable at least to Wikimedia Germany


  • One month to decide on what chapters are part of the working group
  • End of September there has to be a proposal.

Who is in the working group[edit]

  • Participating chapters in the working group should commit to invest a minimum of 5000 € into the toolserver in the next 18 months.
  • Participating chapters agree to participate in the costs of the working group coming up with a solution. Total=5000 €.

Further notes[edit]


  • DK- Think, in the long run, about integration of existing local toolservers (bot management etc)
  • Should all toolservers be integrated in one thing?

Pending questions[edit]

  • If we have an external organisation, does it need to be able to accept donations?
  • Does the chosen solution have the power to redefine usage policy and scope of the projet: focus (chapters wikis? sandboxes for medawiki extensions?)
  • In the governance structure, should the influence of each financial partner decide who gets to make the decisions?
  • Can this happen within an existing organisation? ex. Wikimedia Deutschland
    • SM - It's difficult because the risk is born just by one chapter. Whereas if you have another structure, it is born by that structure.
    • DM - Not sure it's so difficult to get the chapters to commit to a X per year.

Factors that influence the decision[edit]

  • Assumption agreed upon: only participating chapters influence the governance.
    • Money
    • Size of community
    • Number of people (affiliation to a chapter?) who have an account on the server
  • Proposals:
    • Buying a share into the organisation. The number of shares determines your influence in this organisation (you get to decide who is on the board etc.). (Stock company) - ex. German Top Level Domain Association. Model to look at.
    • Membership fee to stay in by every participating chapter. Commitment over several years
    • Proportional scheme contribution=influence but there needs to be some kind of commitment in the long term (which probably the share model actually solves)

Main Remarks[edit]

  • Toolserver is run by the chapters? Yes, no? WMDE, WMFR are ok with that especially as a cash outlet
  • Good for advertising what the chapters does for the community, nice tool for researchers
  • Technical decisions on a day to day can't be done by the board.
  • However a strategical technical decision should be taken by the board