Sister Projects Committee/Draft charter

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The sister projects committee (SPCom) is a proposed community committee that is responsible for supporting existing sister projects and new project proposals.

This includes recommending creating new projects (from scratch, or by adoption), merging or closing projects, reviewing and supporting projects, and maintaining related policies and documents.

Sister projects are wikis/projects for a particular type of knowledge hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation, where community members have been active; mainly those listed at wikimedia.org. Each sister project can have many language editions.

Scope[edit]

Responsibilities of the Committee[edit]

The Committee has the ability to:

  • Recommend that a new sister project be created or adopted,
  • Recommend that existing sister projects be merged (under the Closing Projects Policy however, even if that sounds paradox), or that a sister project and an external project be merged,
  • Recommend that an existing sister project be closed,
  • Review proposals for new projects, help them through the proposal process, and recommend trial versions on the Wikimedia Incubator or other appropriate wikis.

Recommendations are made to the Wikimedia Board and the communities of the projects in question.

Note: The committee's scope does not overlap that of the Language committee; SPCom recommends approval or closing of sister projects as a whole, not specific language editions of existing sister projects. It will engage and defer to the Language committee on issues concerning language or linguistics.

Committee organization[edit]

Membership[edit]

The committee will consist of community members that represent

  • all of the sister projects,
  • linguistic diversity,
  • a broad range of talents, experience and professional background

Criteria for membership:

  • Being active on Meta/Strategy-Wiki in categorizing and reviewing new proposals, and in the committee discussions
  • Participating on at least two different free-knowledge wikis, whether Wikimedia projects or other.[1]
  • Remaining active on the Wikimedia projects
Call for members
At least once a year in August, the committee will put out a call for new members, indicating the work that needs to be done and the qualities or skills desired (including missing language and project coverage).
Becoming a member
People who want to join the committee may apply to do so at any time on Meta. After one week, any current committee member can approve an application by adding the applicant to the roster, if there were no concerns.
End of membership
Participants who do not meet the above criteria, or who have been inactive across the Wikimedia Foundation projects for a period of more than 3 monthsm, may be removed from the roster. Participants who disrupt the committee's discussions and consensus-building may be removed and asked not to rejoin.

Chair[edit]

  • Each July, the committee members will elect a chairperson for a term of one year.
  • The chair will appoint a deputy chair for continuity in his/her absence, e.g., when travelling.
  • The chair will appoint 3 other people to form an executive group of 5; this will generally include the other top candidates in the election.
  • The committee can vote to change the chair at any time with a two-thirds majority.

Decisions[edit]

  • Discussions: The committee will discuss all its decisions on Meta-Wiki and on its own publicly-archived mailing list.
  • Consensus among a quorum: The committee will strive to reach consensus for decisions among the committee members who participate. Decisions should be discussed for at least a week, with a quorum of 7? participants (and a reasonable consensus threshhold - 75%?)
  • Votes of the executive group to resolve deadlocks: If no consensus can be found, the chairperson should initiate a vote of the executive group[2], with decisions made by a simple majority vote (i.e. more votes in favour than against).
  • Votes of the whole committee for exceptional changes: Amending the charter or replacing the chair can be proposed for a vote by the whole committee. Once three members support the motion, a vote will be held, requiring support by 2/3 of all committee members to pass.

Members may be recused temporarily from Committee decision-making if they have a major conflict of interest regarding a particular project or proposal.

Amending the charter[edit]

Amendments to this charter can be proposed by any member. If two other members support the amendment, a full-committee vote may be held, with 2/3 support required to pass the change. Significant amendments to the committee scope should be submitted to the WMF Board for approval.

Core processes[edit]

Process 1: Proposing new projects[edit]

As with the LPP and CPP, old proposals for new projects that have not been updated in 2012 will be marked as inactive and not reviewed in detail until someone "re-opens" them, according to this policy. This serves two purposes: 1) no sudden workload for the community and SPCom, and 2) proposals with active interested users get priority.

The committee will maintain the public process for proposing new projects, and criteria for peer review. It will facilitate the process, responding to new proposals promptly and submitting recommendations on good proposals to the Wikimedia Board and to relevant editing communities.

This policy gives a lot of room to the committee for considerations, alterations of the proposed things etc. This is on purpose (and perhaps not even made clear enough yet). The committee should be able to find the best possible solution for proposed projects.

Process 2a: Modifying sister projects (rename, merge)[edit]

The current closing projects policy states that wiki closures are handled by Language Committee members. The policy (in particular the "Types of proposals") will be changed so that:

  • closure requests of Wikimedia domains (such as Strategy Wiki) or wikis that were created without Language Committee involvement even though the LangCom existed at the time of its creation (such as Wikipedia 10) are the responsibility of the Sister Projects Committee
  • whereas closure requests of regular language versions of Wikipedia etc. remain the task of Language Committee members

The process remains the same.

Example: the 'Proposals for closing projects' process could be used to conduct the suggested merger of Meta and strategy in the following form:

  • Proposal – Community discussion – Committee discussion/decision – Board approves
  • Proposed action: Closure, not deletion (see also below)
  • Proposed action regarding the content = Move to Meta. This is like a 'type 1' proposal, with a Move to Meta, instead of to the Incubator.
Note
Some technical concerns were given. I (MF-W) propose to use (and assume that it will be used) the Import from file (importupload) method – I ask everyone who had the concerns to have a look at the pages of Lezgi Wikipedia, which recently left Incubator, at incubator:Special:Prefixindex/Wp/lez and lez:. The pages were imported with their full history from Incubator to lez.wp, and on Incubator, a note is left behind (try to edit them!). On Incubator, the pages will eventually be deleted; on Strategy and Outreach, they could be left in place (closure, not deletion). Additionally developers will need to devote time, where requested by the Committee, for resolving the problems that exist with renaming wikis so that the current long-awaited renames can finally be conducted AND that a possibly decided rename of Meta (incl. Strategy, Outreach) can be conducted (see bugzilla:19986).

Process 2b: Closing or spinning off sister projects[edit]

only a rough outline.

  1. A proposal is brought up on Meta. If it does not give severe reasons, it is invalid.
  2. The proposal (and its reasoning) are discussed by the community + the committee for at least a month; length of time depending on whether the sister project is dormant or not. [cf. the 9/11 wiki]
  3. The proposal should specify what should happen to the content of the various language versions of the project: merge elsewhere, move to another host, keep as a locked archival wiki?
  4. In the end, the committee determines whether it recommends the closure of the sister project to the Board or not.
  5. The Board reviews the recommendation and can choose to close the sister project or not.

Process 3: Supporting existing sister projects[edit]

Existing projects deserve regular publicity and attention. They are encouraged to reflect on what they need in terms of community or software tools, and to publish ideas and needs for growth at least once a year.

The Committee should facilitate a process for sharing these ideas and requests. And it can serve as a point of contact with the WMF for issues facing sister projects, to communicate those issues well and put them in context.

References[edit]

  1. cf. Talk:Sister Projects Committee#Sister Projects Committee membership
  2. from wmf:Resolution:Committee Standards: "The Chair is ultimately accountable for the committee achieving its mandate / The Chair is responsible for addressing conflict that has proven unresolvable by the committee members on their own"