Initial ideas for new group models
- Interest scope: specific (promotion of WM projects in a determinate language or of contents about a certain culture)
- Territorial range: undefined, variable, non exclusive
- Representation: non exclusive (these groups can act on behalf of the Wikimedia movement)
- Registered (external): yes
- Recognized (internal): yes, by the (new) Affiliation Committee
- Trademarks: agreement possible
- Origin of funds: independent fundraising (outside Wikipedia); fundraising agreements with chapters (chapters could provide an option to mark donations for the partner)*; WMF grants; chapter grants; member fees
- Transparency and communication: commitment to movement ideals, full info about organizers and supporters
- Capacity to sign agreements with third parties: yes, overseen by WMF on global level or chapter on national level if they exist (There may be reasons why the chapter wouldn't sign such an agreement by itself. Think about language-specific subsidies[?])
- Example: A Kurdish group could deal with everything Kurdish in a cultural sense, but another group in that cultural community willing to be a section of a Wikimedia chapter in the region would be fine too, if it cared mainly about geography.
* A possible model would be for chapters in the region where these partners operate to offer the possibility to donate a percentage of the money to support these groups' activities --what would obviously need fundraising agreements between chapters and partner organizations. For instance, people donating to WM Iraq from Iraq could have the option to state that they want a percentage of their donation to support the efforts of a partner organization focused on promoting Kurdish language contents, should such an organization and WM Iraq exist.
- Interest scope: variable, undetermined
- Territorial range: variable, mostly subnational, non exclusive
- Representation: non exclusive
- Registered (external): no
- Recognized (internal): yes, almost automatic, revocable
- Trademarks: case-by-case usage possible, permission by WMF
- Origin of funds: case-by-case WMF/Chapter grants possible or chapter grants if they exist
- Transparency and communication: commitment to movement ideals, full info about event organizers (for case-by-case grants and trademark usage)
- Example: A group formed by local Wikimedians in a city which does not yet have a corresponding national Wikimedia chapter. They do not want to incorporate but they plan to organize a GLAM outreach activity or a conference and would need some money to do so (and being able to use the Wikimedia trademarks would be good for PR and visibility).
- Capacity to sign agreements with third parties: can help with informal negotiations, but WMF or chapter if they exist would sign agreements
- Interest scope: global
- Territorial range: ideally none (undefined), but operates per se in territories where chapters don't yet exist
- Representation: global
- Registered (external): yes
- Recognized (internal): yes, by Wikimedia movement
- Trademarks: own
- Origin of funds: global fundraising, donations
- Capacity to sign agreements with third parties: yes
- Interest scope: global (promotion and support of all WM projects)
- Territorial range: country-specific (Note: if a national chapter does not exist, subnational chapters might be established within subnational entities)
- Representation: country exclusive, no one but the chapter stands for all of WM projects)
- Registered (external): yes
- Recognized (internal): yes, by ChapCom
- Trademarks: agreement with WMF
- Origin of funds: fundraising agreements with WMF, WMF grants, member fees, donations
- Capacity to sign agreements with third parties: yes
- Are asymmetrical relationships desired, since it implies a power hierarchy?
- Should territorial overlaps (e.g., WMF Inc. and chapters in the U.S. and India) be explicitly addressed? And if so, how?
- Would the scope of "partner organizations" and "Wikimedian associations" include a those that may be regional, e.g. parts of the Global South, for argument's sake, focused on "art and culture?" Would it fall into contents about a certain culture, or like the wiki projects do we need language around "special interest groups?"
- Should the language on "origin of funds" be expanded to clarify that multiple sources of income are possible?
- Who is the ultimate arbiter of conflicts between organizations/groups?
- How will the legal implications be addressed?
US chapters council
How do these groups and existing organizations cover things like the Wikimedia United States Chapters Council? I don't think it's covered at all. It would be a more informal, voluntary council that serves as a resource, including for where chapters don't exist, and can help coordinate among US-based subnational chapters. Aude 20:24, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
- Along similar lines are the Wikimedia Asia Project, Iberocoop, and the various regional efforts in Europe.--Pharos 21:09, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
- I'm not sure I understand your question fully here. But let me anyway take a shot at an answer. There can be several "levels" or recognization. One could imagine that you have informal groups that are recognized at the local level, at the national level, at the language level, even at the project level, at the interest level, whatever. The question to address here, in my opinion, is how do we make sure that those groups can work as best as possible to make things go forward for the Wikimedia movement. I don't think we should be looking at recognizing any kind of initiative that is above those groups, and which purpose is to organize them. Why? Because I am not sure what "power(s)" those coordinating groups would need to have.
- The first question I would have is, what powers would a Wikimedia United States Council have that individual groups forming it don't already have (taking for granted that we've found a way to "officialize" these groups, of course)?
- One could argue that the Wikimedia United States Chapters Council provides a place for non-affiliated wikimedians to do stuff. That's great. But then, it becomes an unofficial group in and of its own, which bears recognition. The next question is then: How do existing official organizations that are also within this group defer to that organizing group?
- Iberocoop is a very good example of that. It is not an organization in the legal sense of the term, but it is an initiative that allows existing chapters and chapters to be to work together in a given frame. Does it need official recognition in and of its own? I'm not sure. Because what rights would this organization have that the constituing organizations don't already have?
- The way I see this developping (regardless of the fact that I am an ardent defensor of a Wikimedia US ;), but that is another debate), is that you'd have several US sub-regional chapters, you'd possibly have a looser but official "Wikimedians of Parts of the US where No Chapter Exists" organization (WALRUS for example), and THEN, you'd have the Wikimedia United States Chapters Council, which would be an initiative designed to help all of these groups coordinate. As such, it would not need any kind of special recognition, since recognition would be achieved at the lower level.
- Frankly though, if the Wikimedia United States Chapters Council needs recognition, then it is ... well, a US chapter, and our case is closed :).
- Does that make sense? notafish }<';> 08:34, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Chapters and associations
My comments seem to be the direction in which this is going anyway, but since I was encouraged to add them when I originally shared them on a mailing list, here they are. I would expect that if we have both chapters and other associations, one key distinction is that only the chapters would participate directly in fundraising. If other associations require funds, they would need to make their own arrangements. For example, they might seek grants from the foundation or individual chapters. --Michael Snow 23:17, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
There is a huge potential for Wikimedian associations [geographically-based groups that aren't chapters] in lots of places, and I am pleased to see this question being taken up. Thoughts:
- can there be semi-formal associations even if a chapter does exist in a country? Think of a big country like Australia or the U.S. -- there will still be local meetup groups in individual cities, anything else would be impractical. Can these groups get recognized?
- What if there is overlap with fundraising with either a chapter or the WMF? Think of, for instance, a formal donors event, or cultivation of a local Foundation. Can such associations do on the ground work, or do they need to defer?
- Having formal access to grants and trademarks -- even if it's on a case by case basis -- is important. A group might want to print t-shirts for an event and would need both funds and permission to do so. The criteria for grants & trademarks should thus be clear, have certain (minimal) standards, and be applied in an obvious way -- since we are potentially dealing with 100s of cities/groups, review needs to be streamlined. It would be great for the chapters to help provide this.
- What *is* the minimum criteria for the above? A contact person? Two contact people? A history of meetups? Something else?
- How about an infrastructure for registering such groups -- a template/directory on Meta would be cool.
- Here's how I see it:
- These groups would be able to opt to be recognized as [semi-formal] Wikimedian associations, and apply for grants and permission to use the trademarks on a per-case basis. The existence of a chapter would only alter that it would be itself (or it may have an important saying, TBD) the one who would deal with Wikimedian associations within its territory. Anyway, these groups would always have the option to become an official section of the local chapter, the actual level of formality depending on the chapter's bylaws and internal regulations.
- These associations wouldn't be able to do fundraising, to start with because they wouldn't be incorporated. They could have a supporting role for WMF or the local Wikimedia chapter on the global/national fundraising campaign. Doing otherwise would create serious problems with chapters regarding overlapping competences and, in any case, if a local group wants to fundraise (and incorporate), we would be talking about becoming a section of the national chapter or a subnational chapter. The latter, of course, is only possible in case the corresponding national chapter does not [yet] exist.
- Totally agree. Please insist on this next week ;).
- TBD. Based on what we discussed in Frankfurt, we could even grant these to one-person groups, though I think that we need chapters' input on that. We certainly have to prevent, as long and as much as possible, this recognition model from being used by random charlatans and people wanting to make personal profits out of the projects' good name.
- We were thinking on something like that.
- --Galio 19:34, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
- By way of clarification:
- Overlapping geographical regions are a large part of what this proposal tries to address, so yes.
- As represented on the roles matrix, it's generally accepted that these new group structures will support fundraising, but I imagine that the actual handling of money will remain the purview of formal organizations.
- Trademark use is already granted on a case-by-case basis, and I expect that this will continue (as noted in the proposal). I agree that local chapters (if existing) can definitely help support this—there's probably no need to request permission to print Wikipedia t-shirts in for your Flemish free culture event, for instance, if Wikimedia Netherlands already has a stockpile of lovely Dutch swag.
- Minimum criteria haven't been fleshed out, and neither has the logistical infrastructure. It's possible that the Chapters committee may expand to fill this role, but there are several other options as well.
- Austin 19:52, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
How do I become an association?
something similar to the chapters / wikiprojects guides
The partner orgs need a brief guide explaining how cultural groups can become an established partner org.
What is a partner organization?
Partner organizations are independent organizations founded to support and promote the Wikimedia projects carrying on activities in the off line world within a specified thematic field. Like the Wikimedia Foundation, and Wikimedia Chapters they aim to "empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally".
The partner Organizations have high flexibiliy to define their scope.
According to this flexibility their activities may range in but not limited to:
- Attracting new contributors to projects (outreach) by contacting them in the real world (Schools, Libraries, Cultural associations, Universities…) and helping them to start editing (organizing workshops on editing Wikipedia, providing paper books on Wikipedia and on editing Wikipedia, providing movies explaining how to edit Wikipedia)
- Helping to obtain free materials to be used in projects. By reaching agreements with governmental bodies, companies, cultural associations, libraries, and authors to release their works on free licenses. By helping Wikipedians to get access to contents in museums, events, libraries…
- Improving the image that society has of Wikipedia by releasing press notes, organizing interviews with media, giving conferences…
- Organizing thematic national and international events and initiatives (eg. participate in trade shows, set up Wikipedia parties, give lectures etc.)
- Taking care of PR for the thematic they are specialized, give the specialized press an interlocutor in their own area of expertize or int their own language and culture.
They can operate in a territorial framework that can range from a part of a country to the entire world but they have to be formally constituted as juridic entity in one or several jurisdictions allowing them to operate in the territory they wish to serve. This structure can be developed in a progressive way along the time.
Why do we need partner organizations?
As in the projects people can find multiple ways to contribute from small corrections to writing new articles, helping with translation and participating in several different topics. In off line contribution we also can provide people multiple ways to freely affiliate and contribute to the movement.
In partner organizations volunteers can find a way to support and promote the Wikimedia projects with different kinds of priorities and or in geographic areas wider than a single country.
How do I become a partner organization?
Becoming a partner organization is a gradual process the objective is performing activities to promote the projects. By becoming a partner organization WMF, other partner organizations, and chapters will facilitate you some tools to facilitate doing those activities. But you can have access to them in a progressive way as soon as you need them.
In some cases you may consider the possibility of starting by being an informal association. Many things can be done without setting any legal structure. WMF, the chapters and other partners can support you by giving access to their infrastructure and giving you permission to use the WMF trademarks and aids and grants each time you need it for a specific project.
- Define your mission stating the thematic around which your group is going to contribute.
You have high flexibility but it is important to select one that can gather interested people and that can connect with existing networks and structures in the real world.
Some themas can be languages not covered by chapters like Esperanto or Latin or sets of languages like endangered languages, interest around specific organizations like GLAM (Galleries, Libraries and Museums) or universities, or around specific developments for groups of people like blinds, or around specific activities like photography or archeology ...
- Get people together and talk to the communities of the projects.
Organizations are about people – a group, bound by common interests, which wants to contribute to and support the Wikimedia projects around this common interest but by other means than editing.
You have to gather enough people to start some great projects but not many to make things too complicated at the first stages.
It is important to explain what you plan to do in the village pump of the projects where your activities can benefit and get feedback from them. Partner organizations are not going to act directly in the projects. You need the cooperation and collaboration of the projects to succeed in your activities.
- Start great projects. Continue the contact with the communities.
The best way to gain enthusiasm and attract more people is showing some great results.
Start projects according to your possibilities.
Plan your project taking into account that the Wikimedia Foundation can grant you ad-hoc permission to use the Wikimedia trademarks (i.e. Wikipedia logo, Wikimedia logo) in your specific event/activity; the Foundation can provide funding for your program if required, via the Wikimedia Grants Program; other Wikimedia chapters can offer funding, advice, and other intangible resources.
This is a good moment to contact Affiliated entities committee they can provide you advice on those possibilities and also about good practices learned by other groups.
Always report your activities and your results in the village pump of the projects.
There are some events like annual wikimedia conference or tools to coordinate activities among chapter and groups like mailing lists or wikis. If the amount and characteristics of the activities of your group makes it advisable Affcom can recommend your admission in those events. Lists and wikis to facilitate the coordination and learning and sharing of good practices.
If the number of people and projects continue growing you should consider two possibilities. You can continue developing them supported by the local chapters reaching informal agreements with them or you can go for an independent formal organization.
If you decide the second way then this is the moment to go for a partner organization.
- Work with [Affcom] to develop suitable bylaws
To grant you those tools in a permanent way we need a legal entity to sign an agreement with. You also can have access to many advantages by creating a legal entity. You may be eligible for public aids and grants and you can offer tax deductions to donors giving you resources in cash or in kind.
But setting up a legal entity requires some bureaucracy and it is only worth if you have some critical mass. You can start in the country where you have the main amount of activities or in the country where you have more advantages to extend your activities in the area you want to work.
Affcom can help you in this task. The best way is start by defining a draft of the main statements of your bylaws which must contain the general alignment with wikimedia movement mission and the particular specific mission of your group. Then put it in the hands of a lawyer to give them the formalities according to the laws of each country.
The previous experience will show the needs you have and refine the details of the partner organization agreement to provide you them in a more stable way.
- Set up an incorporation devoted to it
You can set up an incorporation at any moment if you have advantages to perform your activities but take into account the eventuality of having to modify them before signing any partner organization agreement if not previously agreed with Affcom.
- Be recognized as a Wikimedia Partner Org
Affcom will recommend to the board the approval of your Partner Organization.
As soon as the Board approves it you can sign your agreement and continue with your activities in a regular basis. You have to provide regular reports of your activities to the projects and to WMF and can participate in the movement as a full right member.
Affiliated entities committee [Affcom]
There are tho different activities that can be addressed by different committees: Encouraging and helping in the creation of new entities and the oversight function of existing entities. There could be two committees. One for each function. But in the transition phase it seems more prudent to create a new committee for a new kind of entities and once it is running then reshape both committees adding also other recommendations that may appear from the movement roles works.
This approach also can provide a work bench to test new ideas of how the committees can work.
Affcom responsibilities include :
- Facilitate and define the process of creating and disbanding informal associations
- Assisting partner organizations in the early stages of development with obtaining a Wikimedia Foundation endorsement
- Coordinating agreements and actions between the Wikimedia Foundation Board and partner organizations
- Facilitating coordination between informal associations, partner organizations and chapters
- Consulting the communities of editors about the decisions of approval and renewal of informal groups and partner organizations.
- Facilitate communication between informal associations and partner organizations and the communities of editors.
The Affcom members will be appointed by the board among the applying volunteers previously consulting the opinion of the communities of editors.