Chapters meeting 2011/Brainstorming

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This is a brainstorm page for the program of the 2011 Chapters Meeting in Berlin. For a successful meeting it is very important to have a schedule that covers most of the topics that are considered important to discuss by the chapters and the Wikimedia Foundation. Please give input on the topics that you think should be discussed at the meeting – even if you personally won't be at the meeting.

It would be helpful if you indicated what would be the best format to discuss a given topic (e.g. debate, presentation, working group, workshop, etc. [feel free to suggest novel formats]) and if someone (e.g. WMF staff or Board member) should be specifically invited for the topic. You might get some inspiration from the programme of previous years: 2010, 2009 , 2008 (requires access to Internal), however, please be bold in suggesting entirely new topics as well.

Please indicate the topics that you think would be best discussed at the meeting. Usually this would be topics which are difficult to discuss over e-mail or online, or there are discussions that have been going on for a long time and that could use benefit from some extra inspiration or face-to-face discussion.

The meeting is only three days long, and therefore it is possible that your topic does not make it to the final schedule, or that it is combined with another. However, don't let this be a limiting factor for you to suggest topics. The meeting is for you and without your input in the programme cannot reach its full potential.

Update: Based on the input below, there is a first draft of the schedule at Wikimedia_Conference_2011/Schedule.

Programme ideas[edit]

Wiki10 lessons[edit]

Sorry for opening a new section but I think that this topic needs a little discussion in Berlin. Here are my two cents on this: I was the main organiser of the Wikiconference Budapest on Jan 15. It could be of interest how a smaller chapter could achieve the realisation of it and what the aftermath is. I could make a presentation of it if there is interest. Cassandro 17:04, 20 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What about renaming and broadening this to "public outreach events"? Then we can both include a short post mortem (who can prepare that?) as a lookout to the future for more events like this in general. Effeietsanders 15:51, 26 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have no problem with that but I think an own part of the section should be about wiki10. There is a lot to recap I think. Cassandro 00:27, 27 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thats great! A sharing of the same by Wikimedia Kenya should be in order. Especially being the fisrt and only Wiki10 event to happen in Africa.--Limoke oscar 13:27, 2 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nice idea, I will be happy to share my experiences of wiki Ten in India.-- Arjunaraoc 03:59, 12 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Co-ordination and communication methods[edit]

Our experience in Wikimedia Israel is that the constant and daily communication between the board members is both quite ineffective (dozens of mails a day, sometimes) and hard to add more people to. F2F meetings are a hassle, even in a small country. Doing this on a closed wiki proved not effective. How can a group of busy volunteers who want to hear and be heard on every matter best communicate to run a chapter in a democratic, visible and approachable manner that will encourage more people to join in? What technological solutions are out there to facilitate this? Why has the wiki attempt failed? Harel 18:20, 20 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's interesting to read that from you. I can say that it works quite well in the board of WMAT and WMCH. Both use mailinglists for discussions and wikis to do actual work / votes / planing. The bigger problem that inefficiency that I experience is that you need leaders in that group, otherwise the activity will just drop and the board more or less becomes dorment. But I am pretty sure that this is a matter that has nothing to do with the means of communication but with leadership.
What could help to improve efficiency are regular online meetings, such as IRC or phone conferences. In WMAT we do IRC meetings almost every two weeks and work gets mainly done during these sessions. As an improvement of these longish chat session we consider now switching to Skype (phone conferences). From the german arbitration committee I learned that this is more efficient as people don't start side discussions and do not walk away or do other work instead of following the conversation. I have been told that the arbcom is now doing the same work in 1 hour skype discussion than they did before in a three hour chat meeting. --Manuel Schneider(bla) (+/-) 13:24, 21 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have seen you Harel at Wikimania talking about similar problems. We were kind of happy that we are not only one Chapter in the world having such problems.
Well, now we are new to our chapter as a board and also two of our plants for this year consider this issue (to make better relationship with Wikipedia and to have better communication within the Chapter itself. For us board meetings in IRC are horrible, while we think that continuous decisions via internal wiki doesn't cover all issues (especially difficult and shouty issues want work there). Thus our next meeting will be via TeamSpeak (web conferencing software) and we will propose also a new way of board and board-members communication. So we may report in Berlin how successful it was. I think that we may also ask in other NGOs how it works there or may use a help of specialist, who will teach us how to do so. As communication is one of the most important tools of a Chapter. --Juan de Vojníkov 20:57, 23 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This sounds like a set of very specific issues, that will differ a lot from chapter to chapter. We discussed this topic as well last year, and we were mainly talking about how different we all were, and how the cultural differences made the solutions impossible for each other. I think it would in this topic be more helpful to send this question on internal, and ask for suggestions. Effeietsanders 15:57, 26 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The problem is big and cannot be discussed in only one meeting. There is an "internal communication", an "external communication" and this last point must be divided between communication with other chapters and communication with WMF. In the other hand also the communication with other chapters must be divided between general chapters and closed chapters, closed by culture language and so on. --Ilario 12:58, 31 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My focus in raising this issue was on internal communications, which are the daily nitty-gritty of getting the chapter activities going. I think the external communication is a lesser problem. And yes, while this is culture-specific and chapter-specific, I think we can benefit from learning how others are handling the internal communication problem, which IMHO is a major obstacle to a well-functioning chapter. Harel 08:37, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On our current board (WMAU), no two people are less than an hour's flight apart - we even have to deal with timezones as an issue (our committee straddles four of them!) IRC meetings have been used to cover this distance, but meetings can often be long and unproductive. One interesting issue re voice software - unless it records and someone transcripts, one has no record of what was actually said, which may be needed later (especially for doing/checking minutes). While each chapter will have their own situation, there are plenty of commonalities and enough to justify a session I would think - you're going to have chapters with in person meetings and chapters with distance meetings, but both will have issues with efficiency that are pretty similar (a 3 hour meeting is still a 3 hour meeting, no matter where it's held). Orderinchaos 21:34, 3 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm interested. Ijon 20:40, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fool proof intervention to University[edit]

I started out a page in here: schematic: GLOW(but don't have time finishing it and it will probably won't be finished ever), I am confident that Frank will be able to explain, maybe :D (suggestion added by Siska from WMID

I don't understand what you want to suggest. Do you want a lecture, discussion or workshop. What should it be about exactly? Effeietsanders 15:59, 26 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My understanding, although it could be wrong, is that it is an actual model which aims to work with university lecturers who want to engage their class with Wikis/WMF projects for an assignment. However my eyes glaze over at those diagrams (being partly colour blind doesn't help! :)) Orderinchaos 21:35, 3 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

GLAM best practices[edit]

I would really like to make some kind of program/workshop at the meeting (either during the event, or even as a separate day before/after?) to bring together the people in the Chapters who have become the person responsible for cultural partnerships in their country. "GLAM outreach" has become a major part of what Chapters do and I think we need to have a best-practices sharing session, ideas, training and general awareness of what each other is doing in the GLAM field. Also, it would be good to get feedback from the Chapters to the WMF about what priorities might need to be addressed centrally. We have as a central hub, me as a WMF fellow and the the cultural partners mailing list already to help in this direction. Witty lama 08:42, 21 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well that would be interesting.
But actually there is a problem with information flow from GLAM to non-English communities. E.g. we on Czech community always get the news about already finished projects. So if there were and intent to speak to non-English communities, something has to change.--Juan de Vojníkov 21:00, 23 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think we have arrived at a point where we can't have a "glam" session any more. The number of initiatives is growing all the time, and they are differentiating too. I would definitely support the topic to be on the agenda in some extent, but I would highly recommand to split it up. For example to differentiate between a) public facing GLAM-cooperations like Wiki Loves Art, Wiki Loves Monuments, b) content-based cooperations like the Tropenmuseum and the Bundesarchiv cooperation and c) editing and "other" based cooperations like Wiki loves Bieb and other Cultural Heritage Institution (CHI)-facilitated media literacy facing workshop'ish events. Effeietsanders 16:03, 26 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Developing World[edit]

We had a good session in 2010 about what we plan to do to spread the sum of all knowledge in those country that don't provide internet access to most of their citizens. Interesting topics and ideas have been discussed, about Wikipedia Offline, schools projects but also about establishing chapters - supporting local communities (bottom up approach) or WMF's plans about their office in India (top down approach). I would like to let the talks continue and also have a look at the projects that have been done in the meantime: WMIL's OLPC project in Africa, upcoming WMKE's school project, WMCH's support in Mali, WMF's plans and whatever I might have left out.

--Manuel Schneider(bla) (+/-) 13:32, 21 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Would you suggestion a topic about how "Global North chapters" can be active in "Global South countries" or rather about how communities in those countries can help themselves? Both are interesting topics, but the audience is quite different. Effeietsanders 16:04, 26 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good point, thanks. I have more thought about the GN helping GS, but as we have now Wikimedia Kenya I would love to talk about self-empowerment. In my opinion "development help" is bad, it has to be "development coorporation" in order to help the local people to help themselves. Still it needs thoughts from the GN chapters how they can find this local communities in the GS and how to motivate them to help themselves. --Manuel Schneider(bla) (+/-) 15:55, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That sounds interesting.--Juan de Vojníkov 18:19, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm interested. I'll probably have some things to share, both from previous WMIL work and in my new capacity at the WMF. Ijon 20:40, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good idea to continue this conversation. In addition to sharing lessons learned and current activities (which both could use some more formal documentation!), I think it would be useful to talk specifically around what tools could be in place in order to facilitate participation & reach in the developing world. To the point above, some of these things the GN could help build/contribute to empower the GS (for example, the creation of the Wikipedia for Schools in English). Hopefully this could morph into a discussion of very specific needs. Jwild 17:49, 14 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Officer training[edit]

The shortest way to get an answer is to put a question. And the best and fastest is to ask a person who knows. I would say mostly chapters try to study and understand all problems via brainstormings and by self-studying. I would say if the board members have to lead a chapter and work with volunteers, they usually don't have so much time to edit Wikimedia projects. Than such brainstorming and self-studying might be tiring. But on the other side, chapters has resources to get professional training of all people, who has some responsibility.

The question might be, where to start. I would say WMCZ doesn't have members with a previous NGO professional experience. So we need to write questions and than find a professionals. Sometimes we don't know the names of professions covering our answers. That might be a good topic to talk about. BTW are there any chapters, having professionals in the board or just people with a previous experience from professional NGO?

Example questions:
  • How to lead a Chapter?
  • How to distribute power and responsibility in a Chapter?
  • How to attract volunteers?
  • How to animate and manage volunteers?
  • How to communicate with people?
  • How to menage problematic members?
  • etc.

--Juan de Vojníkov 16:32, 24 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This goes hand in hand with the internal communication issue I raised elsewhere on this page. This is the kind of questions still plaguing our chapter (WMIL) even 4 years after its founding, and despite what some may consider its successful activity. I'm in favor of devoting time to this. Harel 08:39, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

OK.--Juan de Vojníkov 05:29, 2 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed this is a good topic to cover. One important thing - and after WMAU's recent experience is close to home - is to make whatever training one provides transferrable. We had an almost complete change of roles at our last AGM in circumstances where the institutional knowledge of several ex-members was not passed on. Orderinchaos 20:59, 3 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yep. A very good point!--Juan de Vojníkov 18:20, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm interested. Ijon 20:40, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Volunteer management[edit]

An interesting issue to put into a program might also be volunteer management. How different board members of different chapters who are not payed understand their roles? Is it just a game for you? Is it a part of life experience? Do you feel a responsibility? Are you stressed from your responsibility? Why? Do you understand it like a part of your life or is it your work?--Juan de Vojníkov 16:32, 24 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think it is a wonderful topic. I am not so much interested though in why the people in the room are feeling like this, but what are you doing as a chapter to attract, involve and cherish your real life volunteers? How do you thank them, what motivates them? What are the best practices in managing volunteers without killing them in the process? Effeietsanders 16:12, 26 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sometimes volunteers may kill you.--Juan de Vojníkov 05:31, 2 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, as I read it once more, I am not sure if we understood each other. How to attract volunteers thats also important issue, but this post was more about Board members and other units within the chapter who has responsibility, but who are not payed.--Juan de Vojníkov 15:26, 2 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I support this topic. WMIL is a negative example on this: though we pull off a good number of activities, we rely on a tiny group of highly-active members, risking burnout in the long term. Ijon 15:14, 2 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not just WMIL my friend.--Juan de Vojníkov 21:25, 20 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think most chapters have that problem to some degree - I know WMAU does too, and remembering from State of the Chapters presentations last year several mentioned the exact same thing. Orderinchaos 20:40, 3 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A related topic to this would be 'sourcing volunteers' - a lot of chapters have difficulty in finding volunteers to manage. ;-) It might also be good to explore the possibilities of interns/fellowships - i.e. where volunteers are paid so that they can focus on specific topics. Mike Peel 21:32, 3 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have made a presentation about why WMIL fails to recruit new volunteers. I could adapt it into a short talk on the subject in the chapconf. Harel 14:11, 4 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm interested. Ijon 20:40, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

State of the Chapters[edit]

One way or the other, I would like to see an overview again of what the chapters have been doing. I think last year worked well: every chapter has 2 or 3 minutes (very strict!) to present the points that /they/ find most important about last year. The goal would not be to tell everything, or even anything close, but to give a very short insight in your most important accomplishments. I would like a little more time for Q&A after that though. Effeietsanders 15:53, 26 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree. This is one of the best opportunities for us to get a little bit more background. How about having a timer that is visible to the speakers, so everybody gets roughly the same amount of time and we have time for everybody? (See the TED talks for an example how to do this.)//svHannibal 14:07, 31 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sounds like a good idea. If it fits into the program why not.--Juan de Vojníkov 05:33, 2 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
From my experience (as a new delegate of a young chapter) it was a great opportunity to see what was happening out there. Agreed regarding the timing too - although the sad bit is the chapters most likely to break the timing are usually have the most interesting things to talk about :) If there was a space on the site for those chapters to provide more full presentations (Powerpoint/open source equiv) that they don't actually present, I think that would be great. Orderinchaos 20:34, 3 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Definitely support having this overview, and also having it timed. Last year's timing was good, albeit confused by the sound of a camera clicking from the same direction as the wine glass tinging. I would prefer seeing a presentation format rather than poster format for many reasons: one in particular is that it means that you get to know who is from which chapter and who to talk to later on. If chapters have topics of particular interest, then those should be covered in the other sessions rather than the brief overview session. Mike Peel 21:15, 3 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is crucial, of course. Ijon 20:40, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Done as posters?[edit]

Just to give an idea, this should look much better if we go with posters --Dami 23:27, 5 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

One of the ideas discussed on the mailing list is to make the State of the Chapters presentation as a poster presentation, with a given template that people could fill out on the spot or they could prepare one in advance and have it printed by the organisers. --Dami 16:29, 3 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Just to repeat my remark on the mailing list: I dont think posters are very worth while in this context - but might be interesting added to the regular 2-3min presentations. Ie, dont replace but add. The personal contact in the SotC is much more important imho. Effeietsanders 12:49, 5 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That is a good point. One advantage over the standard power point presentations that I could imagine would be to have something tangible available on site throughout the conference (and of course uploaded on Commons as well). --Dami 23:27, 5 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Some basic info from each chapter would be interesting btw. A little form with very basic questions would be wonderful to have, especially if someone uses that to draw some stats (ie, total number of members all chapters together etc) Something tangible would be great, but perhaps as optional on top of the presentations? Maybe some people dont have posters, but leaflets, some might have books to show or other swag? Effeietsanders 00:34, 6 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah, it could be the way! But I am afraid, we will not have a time to work on such poster - its better just "say" it.--Juan de Vojníkov 18:34, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Then of course you have situations like WMAU's last year where we literally wrote the presentation on the back of an envelope 5 minutes before we gave it (aided by a wireless connection to our homepage / reports etc). Obviously we'll be more organised next year, but I doubt we were the only ones! Orderinchaos 03:46, 12 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
LOL.--Juan de Vojníkov 21:28, 20 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As a survey before the meeting?[edit]

The suggested poster is pretty straightforward to fill in and could even be made as a survey before the meeting. That could centralize the printing (if it should be printed) and enable som statistics to be compiled and presented. It would also give us a clue to what we should talk about based on what people say is their biggest challenges and what their plans are. --Ainali 09:48, 6 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Another conneted idea is that all chapters updates their information in the table at Wikimedia chapters#Existing chapters. Some chapters have a "last verified" that is a few years old there. Obviously this is not directly connected to the chapters meeting but it would be nice if it were updated until then. --Ainali 18:34, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Extra work. Announcment list is not enough?--Juan de Vojníkov 18:35, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Emails will not replace a page with static URL, it is of great value to have a place to direct anyone who is interested in the state of the chapters, or need to get contact info for them. --Ainali 22:36, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

International communication and coordination[edit]

This topic has been on every chapter meeting agenda up to now, and we have never been able to resolve it with actual results... So I would only want this to be there if there is an actual desire from other chapters to improve communications! Currently the left hand has no idea what the right hand is doing - chapters operate independently and do not share information or lessons, with a few exceptions. If we want to grow further to a more professional level (ironically enough the most professional chapters are communicating the least) we need to learn our lessons before we make the mistakes and we need to help each other with project ideas... Effeietsanders 15:56, 26 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, I tried to replied to announcment-l, but my try failed. Should I copy it to the chapters-l, when trying to talk about someone else activities? And what about the Chapter members who doesn't have an access to Chaptes-l? BTW, WMCZ is having a virtual TeamSpeak server so what about to meet there and talk?--Juan de Vojníkov 18:39, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Blind Date[edit]

OK, just a wild idea here, not sure if it would be a good one or result in anything productive. But it would at least be fun and get us to know each other. What about... having a blind date session? Have one hour (3x12 min) at the begin of the schedule with randomly selected pairs of participants (not from the same chapter, ideally not knowing each other) who need to learn as much as possible about each others problems and what potential solutions might be (brainstorm). Then have 3 minutes to write a summary of a few lines about your partner, and publish that on the wiki (possibly internalwiki if confidential) or even on paper. Effeietsanders 16:08, 26 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I knew that eventually, all this wiki activism is just a way for single people to hook up! ;-) Harel 08:40, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I love this idea of blind date:-) I second it 100% --Abbasjnr 19:57, 26 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
lol. Theo10011 18:37, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Chapter revitalization[edit]

I would be very interested in having a brainstorm session about "small" activities for chapters that are just getting started or experienced a meltdown and are no longer active - how to get active (again), how to get out of this situation. Ideally have some people present from active chapters too, to help think about ideas. Might be superseded by blind dates. Effeietsanders 16:10, 26 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dude I just change the title, that title is socially unacceptable, I receives feedback when you re-titled in in internal list, people are protesting. I want to help, however, I'm not sure whether I attend this chapter meeting. Ours almost dead itself and it need to be revitalized. Siska.Doviana 06:42, 2 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think this would be useful. I'm pretty sure, to be honest, that's what a fair few delegates are there to try and find out about (I know I was last year). Orderinchaos 20:37, 3 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm inclined to include professionalization in this, if ever. --Sky Harbor (talk) 05:24, 4 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm interested. Ijon 20:40, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Chapter Selected Board Seats[edit]

If there are working groups again, and I hope there will be, I would like to see a working group formed about the CSBS for 2012. Although it is a long way, it would be helpful if we know who is responsible, and who will come up with some proposal and timeline. Without the pressure that might be easier. Effeietsanders 16:13, 26 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Chapters and WMF: Building a stronger partnership[edit]

  • I would like to share thoughts on the direction of WMF's work with chapters (including our staffing plans) and have an open discussion on the future evolution of our relationship with chapters --BazaNews 17:59, 1 February 2011 (UTC) (Note: BazaNews is Barry Newstead)Reply[reply]
I think this is absolutely crucial. I'd also be interested in sharing thoughts on our staffing plans, and how they impact the Foundation. ;-) Figuring out the best roles and functions for the chapters and the Foundation to cover is absolutely essential for the future of the Wikimedia movement. Mike Peel 21:29, 3 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sure, this is important topic.--Juan de Vojníkov 18:42, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm interested. Ijon 20:40, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Relationships between a professional organization and a volunteer organizations, intercultural misunderstandings, mutual requirement of transparency, maximize the strengths of each, perception of the role of the other (cross swot analysis), how built a balanced relationship with maintening the Wikimedian spirit, ... So things to talk about. Thierry 07:41, 20 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

WMF Grants Program: Learning to date, ideas for the future[edit]

  • We have two years of experience with the grants program and it would be good to reflect on what we have learned and how we should adjust as we continue to grow this area of work. Of particular interest would be to discuss ways that we can integrate community input and feedback into the design of grants and the decision making process --BazaNews 17:59, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It would also be good to cover other grants programmes; e.g. WMUK has a microgrants process, and also an Initiatives process, and is generally open to providing grants for activities - although the take-up of these programmes hasn't been overwhelming... Mike Peel 21:17, 3 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm interested. I'll be able to share some thoughts about the WMF Grants program's future. Ijon 20:40, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Microgrants for members[edit]

  • In the chapters mailing list there was a discussion about the microgrants to give to the members the opportunity buy materials or to drive a project. It could be interesting to share knowledge and best practice. I put it like sub-content (Mike Peel has already made a comment at the main topic). --Ilario 08:49, 6 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'd suggest inviting WM-CZ to speak on this topic as they are building local infrastructure to support micro-grants --BazaNews 18:00, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Engaging with Education[edit]

Most chapters are to some extent dealing with the education sector - be it secondary, tertiary or vocational - in their activities. It's an obvious way for most chapters to meet their mission statements. What would be good in my view is a workshop/collaborative session on outreach to schools/colleges/universities, ideas on working with the sector, etc. Examples of such engagement can be quite varied, depending on what chapters want to do (note these are just my ideas or ideas I've liked from elsewhere):

  • Working with/giving talks to schools on "how to edit a wiki" type stuff
  • Assisting schools with developing policies on proper student use of Wikipedia as a reference source
  • Assisting with providing professional development activities for teachers
  • Producing open-source teaching materials with schools/teachers (e.g. in maths, science)
  • Related idea - "resource exchange" - producing general resources with an educational purpose for the express reason they can be translated into other languages, useful for Global South initiative etc (where books can't easily be obtained cheaply)
  • Assisting university lecturers who wish to engage with Wiki responsibly with classes (this may be covered better by Siska's GLOW proposal)
  • Being open to approaches from education authorities when they want to change their curriculum - an "official point of contact"

Because education is a broad topic and different chapters will have different projects/needs/understandings (which are all worthy of sharing), I don't think the session should be terribly pinned down or formal, although some sort of facilitation to ensure it produces an output for the schedule would be great. Even better, it provides all in the room with contacts in other countries to trade ideas and information with after it's all over. Orderinchaos 21:26, 3 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I second the idea. Cassandro 20:24, 4 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm interested. I'll be able to share results from WMIL's collaboration with Ben Gurion University. Ijon 20:40, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sounds awesome :) Orderinchaos 03:41, 12 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have had experience of conducting 5 wiki academies in engineering/computer science colleges in small towns in my native state in my mother tongue. Though the participation is good, the response post the meeting is poor. I look at Wikimedia as one of the best ways, in which Students can gain knowledge at their own pace and it also empowers them through the Edit button, which can bring about a change in their personality. I will be happy to share my experiences --Arjunaraoc 04:11, 12 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Definitely a good idea. The other thing I would add to the list above is Organizing student movements/clubs/groups. It would be interesting to talk about ways we can leverage student activism without requiring a professor and classroom. Jwild 17:25, 14 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

One language per chapter, and one chapter per language[edit]

It would be good to have parallel sessions covering:

  • Chapters that predominantly cover one language, and share that language with other chapters: this is probably aimed at the English projects, but also includes Spanish (Spain/Mexico/Chile), and to a certain extent French (France/Switzerland), etc.
  • Chapters that 'own' a language, e.g. Germany, Russia, and work mostly in that language...
  • Both of these cases also include minority languages.

The general questions surrounding this are:

  • How to 'share' a project between multiple chapters, making sure that contributors from all locations are supported, and that there aren't competing opportunities
  • How to support the community of an entire project, and to support the growth of that project, both if it's a big project in a well-known language, and also if it's in a minority language.

I'd be interested in talking about the difficulties surrounding identifying volunteers that are both active on the projects and also based in the UK, and the ways we've found to be effective in solving those difficulties.

Mike Peel 21:28, 3 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Chapters and minor/endagered languages[edit]

There are some minor languages which needs to be helped and the chapters receives some requests for help.

  1. Endangered languages [1] spoken in the same regions of the chapter's country: in Switzerland the best example is the Rumantsch who has few members
  2. Endangered languages or weak languages spoken in other countries without a local chapter: an example is Ahmaric spoken in Ethiopia by more or less 100 millions of persons which has never had an encyclopedia, in this case some missions or volunteers request support to a chapter.

In both cases the request is to improve the use of Wikipedia, to involve local associations, to monitor the use and the process of "alfabetization".

The chapters are not involved in the creation of content, but they have the aim to widespread the use of Wikipedia and the use of the free content.

It could be interesting to analyze how the chapters react to these requests. --Ilario 09:01, 6 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Well, suppose your chapter is fairly mature by now and you even have a nice sum of money in your bank account (for the example, say, $50K). Some people complain that there's lots of work nobody is volunteering to do and support hiring a (part-time) paid employee for the first time to handle this problem, or they think paid staff will help take the chapter to the next level.

  • Pros and cons of hiring a paid employee
  • What kind of employee to take: the junior secretarial type or the guru GLAM master type
  • How to recruit
  • How much to pay
  • What is a true estimate of how much work there is for a paid employee
  • Demoralization effect on volunteers
  • Case studies from other chapters

I guess this must have been discussed in previous years, but it might be worth re-discussing :) Harel 14:20, 4 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm interested. I can offer some arguments on why/when you shouldn't consider a paid employee. Ijon 20:40, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd also be interested in attending this sort of session to see what approaches other chapters have taken. Craig Franklin 01:26, 17 February 2011 (UTC).Reply[reply]
Well it would be nice to have case studies from other NGOes, as it is quite common that NGO is having an office with employees and arround volunteers. So there is probably not a demoralization effect in such institutions. What about to invite some local (means Berlin based) NGOes to tell us.--Juan de Vojníkov 21:32, 20 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wiki Loves Monuments[edit]

no explanation needed? :) Effeietsanders 12:36, 5 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A session about WLM would be nice! Multichill 13:28, 5 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Conflicts between chapters and communities[edit]

It could be possible to know the experience of other chapters in this topic. The problem is becoming important and some communities have a conflict with the local chapter most of all to use Wikipedia to communicate local initiatives or fundraising. --Ilario 09:09, 6 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You mean like this [4] [5]? Harel 14:03, 6 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Exactly Harel, I have been informed about that from some Italian wikipedians and I have found this presentation interesting. We need to keep this alive as, IMHO, it will be an important point in the following years. --Ilario 19:35, 8 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm interested. Ijon 20:40, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, it about the community and how it understands its platform.--Juan de Vojníkov 20:42, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Possible Working Groups[edit]

Please list your ideas here if you think a specific topic should be tackled in a working group format, or if you think a working group from last year (e.g. Toolserver Governance) should convene again this year. --Dami 18:05, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Framework for dealing with legal issues[edit]

The Wikipedia content underlies different rules and laws from different countries. Often chapters receive legal threats / cease and desist letters from local entities, based on content of the local language Wikipedia. While chapters can not influence the content of Wikipedia and are not liable for its contents, it can be often observed that the plaintiff is justified. Chapters can spread that information within the community and hope that it deals responsibly with the given problem. Often this doesn't work - in result either the chapter or the Wikimedia Foundation gets sued.

This situation could be avoided if justified claims could be transferred to the Wikimedia Foundation and would be accepted there; the Foundation as hoster of the project is liable for the contents of Wikipedia and can exert influence on them by an Office Action. But this requires that the Wikimedia Foundation accepts local laws that applies to the country of the plaintiff. In the past such request have been denied on the base of "free speech", a term that covers much more in the US than in most other jurisdictions.

Have a discussion among chapters which have had such situations already and received legal claims and have the new counsel of Wikimedia Foundation participating in that discussion. The result should be a clarification of such situation: Will Wikimedia obey national laws outside US or not? What is the process to arrange an Office Action, triggered by a complaint to a chapter? How should chapters react on justified complains, except denying legal responsibility?

Both Wikimedia Foundation have a moral responsibility for the Wikimedia contents. There are justified complaints where the community is refering to everything that has a reference in an article, even though the resulting article is far from neutral. Attempts to strip down the article and to balance it more often result in reverts, as the deleted facts are referenced. In these cases education of editors is needed and an instance that has the power to step in.

This discussion concerns justified complaints. --Manuel Schneider(bla) (+/-) 18:48, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Movement roles project[edit]

The Movement roles project and its outcome is going to be relevant to the various actors of the Wikimedia movement, especially some of the tough topics involved. What would be the best way to present and discuss movement roles during the Chapters' meeting and are there any specific subtopics that should be given extra attention? --Dami 18:05, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm interested. Ijon 20:40, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, this is also about WMCAT. I heard voices on Wikimania that we should recognize more parties supporting Wikimedia. But currently with the Chapters declaration: one Chapter per country it is kinda going to background. And it has logics to have one representative with some rights per country. So it would be nice to hear from WMF representatives if they have some ideas about supporting other groups.--Juan de Vojníkov 21:44, 20 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi Juan and all the others!
Well, I have real hard time trying to understand the logics behind having one representative per country (just like current borderlines... you seem to like them... maybe then we should have guards in the borders of each wikipedia making sure we control migration fluxes...); isn't the basis of it all the Wikipedias, so wouldn't it be fair/better/wiser to have a representative per wikipedia instead? Or maybe the project in itself is not this important, or maybe non-statal languages are inferior to state recognized ones? The current system of Chapters is unfair, and more interesting I see clear conflicts of interests (nobody else seems to be willing to open their eyes on this issue...) when two (influent) members of a same family have such a prominent role in the decisions of the Chapcom or the Board of Trustees. All the best, de còr e d'òc Capsot 12:12, 23 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How do you share knowledge from Chapters meeting?[edit]

There is a question, which might be interesting to talk about. As the number of participants from every chapter is limited on two, how you will than share knowledge you get in Berlin with the members of your chapter. I would say, I haven't been to this meeting yet and as an interested member of WMCZ from the last and previous year I dont get much knowledge/informations/skills etc.--Juan de Vojníkov 18:27, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I take notes during the sessions and put them directly into the Wikimedia CH board wiki, so all board members can more or less follow in realtime what is going on. If important discussions are scheduled I also send a mail to the board mailinglists and ask for input. To illustrate the results of each session I take photographs of all flipchart sheets and upload them to the wiki as well. These also went into Meta, since I was asked to add them here as well during last year's meeting. --Manuel Schneider(bla) (+/-) 19:28, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What I did during the Bristol Fundraising meeting, and which was imho quite useful, was to keep notes on an etherpad - that way board members can read real time if interesting, and they can even provide input if it is a really interesting topic. But there will be notes made by the organization I guess. However, I am not sure this is the right page for this question? Effeietsanders 00:15, 12 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, its the question, but it might be topic to talk about. I am not sure that WMCZ members got enough information on what was going on Berlin chapter meetings. People, who were in Berlin, came and wrote some personal impressions, but I would say its not enough. Now I am going to Berlin and I would say Ill be looking crazy and probably replying strange as I am having an information gap.--Juan de Vojníkov 21:47, 20 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think we should seperate that you find it important that things are documented from having it as a topic on the agenda. There will be people making (short) minutes just like last year (which you could have spread as well but usually with a delay), and you can make more extensive minutes but then you might have to consider the confidential parts not to be published. Effeietsanders 11:40, 21 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Averting a Crisis of Legitimacy: Chapters in the Wikimedia Movement[edit]

Hi folks,

I've been thinking about the issue of chapter legitimacy and accountability a lot lately, and I would be very appreciative if there was an opportunity for me to moderate a 60-90 minute session on it. This is motivated by the huge amounts of financial support that some Wikimedia chapters have received through the 2010-11 fundraiser, and the increasing questions that are rightly being raised about chapters' legitimacy and their ability to successfully serve the Wikimedia communities relevant to their geography.

Specifically, what I'm hoping we can talk about in a structured form:

  • What does legitimacy mean to us? To what extent are chapter goals separate from Wikimedia community goals? Why is legitimacy important?
  • What's the impact of raising hundreds of thousands of dollars on a chapter's role relative to the community?
  • How do chapters earn legitimacy in the eyes of the communities they serve and the donors who support them?
  • How do chapters remain accountable to editors and donors?
  • How do chapters interact with Wikimedia communities, and how do communities interact with chapters?
  • What kind of work are chapters doing today, and to what extent does it support the Wikimedia movement?
  • What role can/should chapters have with regard to what's perceived as "running the site" (core operations) or developing the software?

The goal of this conversation would be to identify concrete steps that chapters can take to become more accountable, to have higher impact on community work, and to be perceived as maximally legitimate in the eyes of Wikimedia project communities that they serve. I believe this conversation is necessary to do everything we can to prevent increasing "crises of legitimacy", that is, the very existence of chapters increasingly being questioned [citation needed] due to a lack of perceived community benefit, community and donor accountability and transparency, community participation, or community-relevant program work.--Eloquence 19:10, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm interested. Ijon 20:40, 11 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi Erik, I destill some different topics in your suggestion: all important, but I am not sure we should mix them all together in one session - they deserve more than that. Besides that, in general I'm of the opinion we should leave the moderation to the facilitators, who are hired for that, but I'll leave that to the organizers :) - although undoubtly you would do a great job. First of all there is the fundraising, and who can most effectively do that. Or how we can improve that effectivity. The second is basically about movement roles: which organization in our movement is best placed to perform certain activities, to spend money etc. Also important for sure, and we should give that a special stage - but I think the best place for that would be in the movement roles process (but with a wide group of participants of course!). Thirdly I see a topic about communication with/to/about/by/with (yes, twice with) the editing community - also very important, see above. This would include transparency etc. I am by the way not sure I agree with you that only "running the site" is core operations, but that seems like a valid discussion for some day over a beer :). I would be interested also to have that claim of "increasingly being questioned" validated and further analyzed. Because this is not my experience, rather the contrary. I do feel an increasing discussion about how the organization should be organized in general, including the role of the chapters and the foundation. Effeietsanders 00:06, 12 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your reduction does not really resonate with what I see as the essential framing of this conversation, and that framing is legitimacy. It's a word that occurs 7 times in my summary, but not in your response, which I find very telling, because in my experience, we tend to have a blind spot when it comes to talking very explicitly and clearly about chapters being legitimate participants in the Wikimedia movement. On what grounds do Wikimedia Germany, Wikimedia UK, Wikimedia France, Wikimedia Australia, Wikimedia Netherlands and other chapters receive, in total, millions of dollars in donations, largely by virtue of WMF pointing donors to their donation pages? On what grounds are they the go-to organization for press inquiries, for GLAM work, for grants from WMF? On what basis are they hiring staff with these donated funds, and running the programs they run?
I don't mean to ask these questions in a confrontational way. Rather, I think that we need to ask them in the understanding that others -- our donors, our community -- will increasingly ask them as chapters increase in importance, and our answers need to be rock solid. Rock. Solid. There are very good answers to these questions, although I don't think the answers are as sharp and strong yet as they ultimately will need to be in order to avoid a real crisis. Perhaps you do not see such a crisis in the Netherlands (and perhaps there's something important to learn from that), but I've certainly seen symptoms of it in other countries, with donors, chapters and community members (and sometimes chapter members) questioning the legitimacy, accountability and transparency of chapters (either because the chapters are still very new, or because the effectiveness of their program work is being called into question). I'd be happy to give examples of some of these symptoms, but perhaps that's better done by private email.
Perhaps we can avoid this conversation and hope for the best, that self-organization and wiki magic will lead to harmonious community/chapter/donor relationships, that crises will always resolve themselves, and that the legitimacy issue will fade. My feeling is that if we don't talk seriously and openly about it, using the l-word, and confronting ourselves with the kinds of questions that others will ask of us, we're setting ourselves up for a lot of pain in coming years. In other words, to face these issues in a safe and constructive environment, before they hit us with full force, which they inevitably will. And I'd love to have that conversation in a way and with a clarity that doesn't get drowned in the detail of other conversations about fundraising, communications or movement roles.
This is my program proposal, and it's coming from a place of wanting the chapter network to kick as much collective butt as possible. I'm happy to work with a facilitator if that would be the preferred way of doing it. --Eloquence 01:06, 12 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for your elaboration. To be clear: I did not want to ignore the legitimacy question, but I just don't like the particular word because to me it is too multi-interpretable and I tried to cut that up in the different topics I mentioned. I am afraid that when we have a session about "legitimacy" it will be a discussion going everywhere but an answer.
The questions "why is there a chapter" and "why do they get to spend money" are imho just very seperate questions and not in every case they are having the same answer. I did not want to deny those questions, but I wanted to indicate I have been hearing them always, and that there has been no increase in that - rather a decrease. Maybe that is because people around me (not *just* the Netherlands) have always been fairly critical anyway (I have at least been hearing the questions since 2005, before the founding of WMNL), or maybe we are doing a better job - I can't know that for sure. So I do not doubt you have very good examples :) I just would like to have some numbers or clear indication that there really is an increase relative to before (rather than people know better to find you instead of others).
Again, I also think that accountability and transparency are not really a part of the very fundamental questions, but rather practical discussions. We all agree on those in principle, we just need to figure out a good framework for that. We tried that for accountability in the past with the chapter reports as you might recall, and that is just still a not-so-fluent process. Both could imho best be covered within the Movement Roles discussion, so that we can make sure the answers make it as well to the charter.
If you feel that this is a seperate specific discussion, then we indeed disagree - I think it is a typical umbrella topic that includes all those topics mentioned before. To reach actual results in those discussions, it would be helpful to loose the l-word and get a little more specific imho - not because we're afraid of it, but because it is not a very useful term. I totally agree it should not get drowned in details, and that is a common point we should perhaps take to heart. If we talk about fundraising, we should think on beforehand if you want to think about the big picture or the details - the same goes with this kind of questions, if you split them up, it should be about those sub questions, not so much about all kind of related topics to that.
And one of the reasons why I want the facilitator to lead discussions is that I want you to be able to fully participate in those discussions, without having to bother about who gets to say what, and that you have to remain neutral on the topic to be able to lead the discussion fairly. It would be a waste to loose all your good arguments and insight to that.
So all in all, I would propose to definitely talk about these topics, but within a movement roles framework. This is exactly what Movement Roles is all about - Movement Roles is definitely not about details. For more information about the Movement Roles (for those who missed that) see Movement Roles project. Effeietsanders 10:48, 12 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think my presentation from WM10 is relevant to this (and it definitely struck a chord with quite a few people from other chapters). It deals strictly with the community-chapter relationship and its built-in conflicts, and here again the word "legitimacy" doesn't appear explicitly. I do consider it a part of the bigger issue that Erik brought up, though. Harel 18:17, 12 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Erik says lot's of stuff ending by "...or because the effectiveness of their program work is being called into question). I'd be happy to give examples of some of these symptoms, but perhaps that's better done by private em"

I am interested by this private email Erik. I am honestly curious about some of your assertions. I'd like to know more about that to make my opinion as to whether it really makes sense to hold such a talking session or not. Anthere
Hi Florence. I'd be comfortable expanding on this thread a bit more on internal-l, where I feel there would be a higher likelihood of having a constructive conversation without triggering defensive reactions, especially when going into specific examples or incidents. Would that work for you? Thanks,--Eloquence 02:28, 16 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Several pertinent questions !
But I would like to add one : "How the foundation can help ?" Even dare "Averting a Crisis of Legitimacy: Chapters & the Wikimedia Foundation In The Movement".
I think many of these issues would be discussed so in the partnership session proposed by Barry.
Thierry 08:24, 17 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thierry, that's a good suggestion, including the all-embracing title. The partnership session might inform this one. The Foundation's experience could seed the discussion, by addressing how the Foundation has dealt with the seven questions Erik raises above. Some chapters may have found ways to be accountable to editors and donors from which the Foundation can learn, and vice-versa. SJ · talk | translate 00:50, 22 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, the topic is interesting.--Juan de Vojníkov 21:51, 20 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


It is not clear whether there will be a fundraising meeting this year or not. If not, we definitly need a session to be about fundraising. Even if there is such a meeting, it might make sense to discuss this issue anyway. Note that it might be partly included in some other sessions proposed (such as the one by Erik and the one by Barry). Anthere

Net Neutrality[edit]

The issue is now debatted in France, parliamentary committee and political groups questions the stakeholders. Wikimedia France is sometimes invited. Should the wikimedia mouvement adopt a strong commun position especially for the UE chapters (ultimately, this will end up in the European parliament) and how to make it audible . Thierry 07:52, 20 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(For the non-french, UE = EU = European Union) Effeietsanders 11:37, 21 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is a growing subject of debate around the world; and Net Neutrality lobbying groups often use Wikipedia as a case study of why neutral access to the Net matters. If the movement is to take on any advocacy positions, this seems like a good place to start. (While the Foundation generally avoids taking advocacy positions, Net Neutrality seems like one area where it might consider an exception, if there were a clear common position across the movement.) SJ · talk | translate 00:55, 22 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]