|This page is a proposed project with a new approach to intercommunity communication based on the previous proposal for Ambassadors. It is not current active, although the page uses present tense for ease of reading. All users are welcome to help develop the proposal by editing this page or discussing on the talk page.|
The need for intercommunity communication
There are many wiki communities in the Wikimedia Foundation, but they have become increasingly disparate and isolated. Smaller wikis become discontent with or unaware of their place in the Foundation, creating and enforcing their policies and guidelines regardless of those of other communities. Indeed, they become their own organisations with distinct communities, completely diverged from the Foundation's other communities in all but name.
There are many examples of this. The English Wikisource continued to accept noncommercial licenses until April 2006, 2 years after the Wikimedia Foundation decided these were unacceptable. The deletion of hundreds of noncommercial works because of this change in policy caused some understandable discontent. The English Wikibooks lacks users with much-needed CheckUser status because it is incapable of meeting the vote-count expectations of the larger projects.
The solution is to have active members act as liaisons bridging these island communities with the wider Foundation.
Definition and qualifications
A liaison is an active member of the local wiki community and is aware of relevant discussion in the larger Foundation, particularly on the Foundation mailing list.
They are expected to have sufficient grasp of English (as the Wikimedia lingua franca) to discuss in that language or team with another user or users who can translate for them. They are also expected to be active in the local community, have an account on the Meta-Wiki, and be reachable by email.
They notify the local community of any discussions that may be of interest to them, post regular updates, and strive to explain new developments. They are also expected to relay any decisions by the Wikimedia Foundation, or solicit input from the community if it is needed. In order to best represent the community, liaisons are expected to instigate occasional discussions, polls and/or votes to determine the wishes of their community.
Conversely, they participate in the Meta-Wiki project coordination discussion page and mention new developments in the local community— new policies, problems, disputes, concerns, et cetera. They are encouraged to participate in the #wikimedia IRC channel as well.
They are symbolically elected by the local community. This demonstrates that they are trusted by the communities to represent their concerns and interests in external discussions, although any other member is welcome to do so as well if they so wish. Anything they say in these discussions is a matter of their own opinion, and is not binding on the community in any way.
Liaisons are not endowed with any special power, and each project is permitted to elect as few or as many liaisons as it so desires.