Talk:Movement roles

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Goals overview and matrix[edit]

Can the members of this movement provide a matrix and status overview of the goals?

  • Collect a broad range of views from Wikimedians who already have some knowledge of how the movement is working.
  • Build a fact base of all groups and entities in the Wikimedia movement in the hope of drawing an accurate map.
  • Research peer organizations to find out if there are lessons to be learned from them.

I started reading through some meeting minutes and cross-posts, but find it very hard, aka confusing, to draw any conclusions at this point. I find it also equally hard to understand which status was reached on any of the goals, but that might just be me, since I really like comparison matrices and timelines;-) Thank you! Joerg Kurt Wegner 13:41, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

This is a good idea. Recent discussions have been moving towards a more matrix-like presentation of goals, for this group and for the movement as a whole. A version of this should be taking shape here on Meta in the next week or so. SJ · talk | translate 23:07, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Background Q&A[edit]

Here are specific questions summarized from recent emails and discussions, for an updated q&a. This might be useful for a broader renewed call for participation. SJ talk | translate   21:53, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

MR is obviously trying to solve some pressing problems, but many are not aware of the problems. Some issues addressed are practical / currently important for one or two groups in the movement (single chapters, or just the foundation, or just a known potential future conflict), but invisible to others.

Many people who are interested in the topic[s] do not have a good overall understanding of the movement roles issues to see where to listen or contribute.
Notes on Meta are general and consensus-conscientious in language, avoiding naming specific examples, even in the "tough topics" section. That may be exactly how such notes should be written, if it's to document negotiations between people that disagree, but it makes it difficult to motivate interest.
What are active issues/problems which will be affected by MR discussions? Please be as concrete as possible, noting e.g. active discussions about Catalan, Brazil, fundraising agreement changes, partnerships, grants, &c.

  • What are some of the problems that made people start this conversation and set up this group?
  • Historically, can we remember what understanding of movement roles was, from the founding of the first chapters in 2004 until now? Has the general opinion of what chapters are for changed since then, and how? There seem to be different views.
  • Were there early efforts at movement roles resolution between 2004 and now? what results did they have? for unresolved topics, why was no resolution reached? What are the most difficult topics at this stage?
  • What are the issues with subnational chapters (NPOV summary)? Examples where the current handling has of movement status has unnecessarily prevented volunteers from doing useful work (various personal POVs)?
  • A list of concrete roles that are being proposed, and the envisaged rights and responsibilities each entails
  • Legitimacy questions, as mentioned elsewhere (1, 2), applied to movement roles in general - what is the basis for the legitimacy of each [proposed] role?

Thoughts and definitions[edit]



Hi, I have mentioned the vague and generic implication of the term 'Groups' being used in the questionnaire and discussion. For the sake of argument, we first need to decide and agree on the definition on what encompasses a Group in our Movement. We need to offer classification for different categories of groups we are likely to engage. The first and foremost of such groups that would be very pertinent to the project would be chapters. I hope we can agree on that as one of the groups of concern, further more we should look at alternative definitions, structures for what might fit into our movement. There are unregistered entities which mimic chapters in their structure but refuse to or haven't form an official entity for that purpose, so I would suggest adding a second unorganized group to the classification. We should be able to divide the rest of the groups in a similar fashion- between organized vs. unorganized, official vs. unofficial and Internal vs. external. External groups that aren't completely from within our movement but have some affiliation or a similar common goal. I hope we can get more discussion on this point and start classifying these groups categorically for future discussions. Thanks. Theo10011 20:30, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

'Partner Organizations'

One of the types of groups we have discussed recognizing is "Partner Organizations" -- groups not defined primarily by geography that represent a significant body of people supporting our movement. This would include major cultural groups and those associated with a paticular field or subject, which have their own non-profit and governing body, and which could benefit from the sorts of tools that Chapters have access to.

Specific examples here would help. The Association Amical Wikipedia is the most active association that exists today and might quality; other possible examples include an organization of Esperanto Wikimedians, an international GLAM-Wiki organization, or an organization of Wikipedia scientists. What are the relevant differences between partner orgs and geographic chapters? How would their use of available tools and services differ? What new issues might arise? And as with chapters themselves, how are we to determine or observe mission alignment? SJ · talk | translate 10:32, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

I am not sure if we need a different thing than a chapter. Up to now almost all (but not all) chapters coincide with a single sovereign state and almost do not overlap among them. Although in Requirements for future chapters and in Guidelines for future chapters those requirements are not stated it seems to me that due to political reasons some people are reluctant to accept chapters in a territory not coincident with a sovereign state side to side with those that coincide.

Perhaps a good solution to erase those prejudices would be having two types of entities in wikimedia movement with the same level of commitment but clarifying this point:
  1. Keep the name Chapters for those that coincide with a sovereign state and by definition doesn’t overlap among them.
  2. Create a new name like Partner Organization for those who don’t coincide and that are open to overlap among them and with the chapters.
From this point of view WM NYC and WM TW could be POs.

I see several reasons to create organizations not coinciding with sovereign states one is in large countries or in countries where there are regions with autonomous political statute were people feel it is more effective organize themselves in smaller areas. This could be the case of NYC or TW. Another one is people that prefer to organize themselves around a language and a culture instead of around a country. This could be the case of Catalans or Esperantists or Arabic… Another one perhaps could be the case of people wiling to organize themselves around a common interest like GLAM, science, or blind.

Regarding to the question of how would their use of available tools and services differ

I think every organization in the movement should have access to the best tools available to promote and support the projects. Differences should come more from the needs and from the common sense than from being one or another type.

For example this year chapters participation in fundraising raised a lot of complains when people reading wikipedia in language A were requested to give money in language B because we geolocalized them and directed them to the chapter landing page. Here you have a sample: [1], [2].

It seems to me that it is much more reasonable that fundraising be driven first by language and then by geography.
--Gomà 10:44, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Group naming conventions[edit]

If I understand well the previous comment, Lodewijk sugests using Wikimedia TLD for chapters based on a sovereign states. But this requires changing the names of almost all existing chapters and doesn't provide a uniform naming convention for Partners.

I see two interests that can be attended in naming conventions. Fist identify the Chapter or Partner with wikimedia movement and then identify it with its characteristic.

If we redefine the concept of chapter (or clarify the definition if you believe it is already stated) to those Organizations characterized by operating in the territory of a sovereign state then we can use the name Partner for any other characterizing concept.

Then we can state the following naming convention uniform and coherent for all of them: Wikimedia Characterizing-concept.

In the case of chapters Characterizing concept = name of the sovereign state.

In the case of partners characterizing concept = a word identifying it.

For example Wikimedia NYC, Wikimedia Esperanto, Wikimedia CAT, Wikimedia GLAM. --Gomà 23:20, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

WMNYC is a full-fledged Wikimedia chapter, operating under the subnational category only because Wikimedia USA does not yet exist.
I don’t’ agree in the “only because Wikimedia USA does not yet exist" part. I think this should be said by our WM NYC folks but I see in their bylaws they have foreseen overlapping with Wikimedia USA. And a similar case happens for Wkimedia Hong Kong. --Gomà 09:21, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
My original comment was meant to be a single paragraph. I can't put together your comments without some editing, so I'd apreciate if you could do it for the sake of coherence. To cut out others' comments in random pieces makes discussions somewhat hard to follow when the original text had not paragraphs or asterisks.
This said, the situation I mentioned regarding subnational chapters has to do with ChapCom doctrine, it's not really a matter of agreeing or not: what's important is that they are full-fledged chapters and they are only possible to establish when and where a national chapter does not yet exist. The integration of previous subnational chapters into a future or hypothetical national chapter has some aspects TBD, and parallel or intermediate solutions such as a coordinating chapter council shouldn't be excluded —but, as Delphine said, that council would ultimately end up acting as the national representation, only that with a very decentralized model. Hong Kong is a SAR with a completely different legal framework within the People's Republic of China and a particular level of recognizement at the international level, and their situation is not comparable to others'. --Galio 11:27, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
If partner organizations and chapters have different interest scopes and ultimately different capacities —because some roles, i.e. direct participation in the fundraising campaign or signing agreements with third parties, can only be covered by organizations operating in the territory of a sovereign state, namely Wikimedia chapters—,
I don’t agree in the “can only” part. Signing agreements with third parties can be covered by anybody with legal capacity to do it. Direct participation in the fundraising campaign can be covered by anybody able to fulfil the legal requirements to manage and transfer funds and able to provide a clear criteria to identify which donors are to be addressed to their landing page.--Gomà 09:21, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm not only talking about legal restrictions. They wouldn't be able to do so because they are not representing the Wikimedia movement or the Wikimedia projects in any given territory, because their goal is not that but to promote contents or projects in a particular language or regarding a certain culture, unlike chapters. Thematic organizations can't participate in the global fundraising campaign, but they still could establish fundraising agreements with chapters if there is some common ground. This goes in line with Amical's proposed agreement with WMFR, for instance, though I say it only as an example. --Galio 11:27, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
I really don't find it feasible to use the same naming pattern for both. That would only make appear different things as if they were the same, what goes against the mission the MR working group has, that of helping clarify some ongoing discussions and proposing viable solutions. Perhaps something like Wikimedia Association for the Promotion of... (WAP FOO) could work, though I have some reservations.
In fact I Proposed two name patterns: a) Wikimedia “name of a sovereign state” b) Wikimedia “something else”. --Gomà 09:21, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
That still gives the idea that name of a sovereign state and something else are on the same operative level. They are not. --Galio 11:27, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
On the other hand, I understand CAT's relation with the .cat sTLD, but I think that it lacks descriptive power for newcomers: We have Wikimedia Deutschland and we know that's Germany, we have Wikimedia France and we know that's France, we have Wikimedia España and we know that's Spain. What's CAT? I know you mean Catalan language and culture, but that is not always evident. Preventing ambiguity is crucial.
I agree in the case of France but I am sure this is not that clear for hundredths of millions of people for cases like: Österreich, CH, Deutschland, Eesti, Suomi, Magyarország, Србије, РУ, Sverige. The only thing we can do is base the name in a clear word. Looking for one understood around the globe is impossible. In the case of CAT it is perfectly clear. It is the ISO 639.2 code for the Catalan Language and the ISOC approved Top Level Domain for Catalan language and culture. And this is a solution already used by international organizations to identify their Catalan chapters. Here you have a sample of an organization as prestigious as UNESCO: --Gomà 09:21, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Chapters are named Wikimedia Country in their native languages or using ccTLDs, but names can always be translated to English when necessary. Using an ISO 639.2 code for a language on the same naming fashion ccTLD/ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 codes are used for countries, namely Wikimedia XX (WMAR, WMES), is confusing. But, in any case, this one is a completely secondary discussion. --Galio 11:27, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Why don't we think on a naming pattern for partner organizations that, while keeping names reasonably short (or shortenable), at the same time gives some clue about what these organizations are about (because partner organizations, unlike chapters, are about something)? --Galio 04:48, 22 March 2011 (UTC) PS: Shouldn't we move these last threads here?
Do you have a proposal? I think that apart from the points already stated: 1) Identify them with wikimedia movement. 2) Identify them with their purpose. There is another important one: They must be considered and accepted as members of the club and be allowed to contribute to the development of the projects together with the chapters as much as they can. If we start using a name pattern that suggests they don’t belong to the same club I think this is not the best starting. --Gomà 09:21, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Hey, but now the proposal is not for Catalan language territories. It's for three Spanish regions when and where Spanish (for Spain, not language) Chapter already exists. Are we talking about the same proposal? --Millars 10:13, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
This is not a matter of being members of a club. We should suggest that these partner organizations are part of the Wikimedia movement, of course, but that they are a different entity than Wikimedia chapters, with most of the same tools but a different scope, a different approach and different roles. --Galio 11:27, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

Thoughts on Foundation & Board obligations[edit]

Query for the Board and others: please share your feedback on the Foundation's responsibilities for decision-making in the movement

Sue Gardner
We asked Sue to elaborate on some of her thinking about movement roles. She answered at length: Sue Gardner's input on Movement Roles project.
Jan-Bart de Vreede
I think that arguing from the point of obligations and decisions-making is a very negative way of approaching things. We don't want to use our fiscal and legal obligations as an argument for this process.
My viewpoint is that we invented (or copied) chapters as a concept several years ago. Times change/communities change and I think that we can do so much more! Using whatever means of association (people who love esperanto, people who love walking trails in Nepal, people who all live in Catalonia, etc. etc.) is great. Whatever gets a group of people together and helps them promote the goals of the movement is perfect. Its logistically impossible to support all these associations in a "human" way, but the least we could do is make it easy for them to form their association and facilitate them technically to communicate and share without throwing up complex rules, gatekeepers etc.
Example: if a friend of mine tells me that Wikipedia is great, I will look at it, our goal is to make everyone's friend talk about how great the Wikimedia projects are :) Jan-Bart 13:02, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

Talking about roles: MR for newbies[edit]

There are three questions we should answer as elegantly as possible.

  • Why is it helpful to clarify movement roles? Why now?
    A: This is part of optimizing how different players work together, make decisions promptly, share resources effectively. Resolving this now helps avoid conflict later...
  • What roles are important in the Wikimedia movement? In movements generally?
    A: Roles in defining priorities, allocating funds and staff time, protecting contributors, forming partnerships, communicating our goals...
  • How are contributors, chapters, and other groups affected by this?
    A: In how their suggestions are acted on, how they donate or fundraise, how they share information...

I've started a series of blog posts about Movement roles, and what they mean for our movement. See this first post for an overview. I will include shorter summaries of whitepapers and longer essays that have been written to date. Please suggest improvements, other topics to cover, or entire posts – Other writers are welcome.

I also proposed this as a series in the Wikipedia Signpost. Thoughts? How do we speak to both editors and people focused on chapter, meta, or local-group activities? SJ talk | translate   08:08, 7 June 2011 (UTC)


Berlin 2011[edit]

See the scheduled meeting for today, the 24th. We are on the 1st floor of the Hotel in room Palma 1 all day, just getting started. If you ask at the desk for the Wikimedia meeting, they will point you in the right direction. SJ · talk | translate 08:29, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

June 2 2011[edit]

We are having 2 meetings on Thursday, June 2. These will be relatively short meetings to focus on our near-term targets and plan for the release of the next draft of the Charter. Please try to make one of these meetings. If you cannot, please note which of our targets you want to work on over the next 1-2 weeks.


  • Charter update and timeline (current status; sticking points)
    Draft release cycle (every 2 wks?), meta RfC (in July?)
    Signing on - endorsement by / at Wikimania? discussion @ the chapters day there (Aug 3)
  • Other targets: schedule
  • Future meetings
    Vienna fundraising meeting: resolve fundraising tough topics
    Online workday one weekend, to divide & conquer charter language (etherpad + chat) could be the same weekend
  • add yours...

Interest in specific targets

Please add your name next to MR targets you are interested in working on. Some of them are fairly straightforward; others require communication and consensus building. Some require knowledge of financial or other movement details. Targets in italics are 'new business' raised since our last meeting, or important topics that we haven't gotten to discuss very closely in those meetings. SJ talk | translate   19:23, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

Movement roles/targets
Movement roles/recommendations

Wikimania Haifa[edit]

There is a Chapters day at Wikimania (on Wed August 3). MR will be part of that agenda. What should we discuss with the people there? Who will be welcome to attend that day - only chapters, or people in other movement groups also? Harel is organizing this and Katie offered to help propose a workshop if possible.


  • an intro to MR (will the attendees not already know about it? perhaps this can be guaranteed some other way, say with docs sent out by email 2 weeks in advance.)
  • a discussion of the charter (we need to convey why it matters)

The next in-person MR meeting will be Tuesday, August 2 in Haifa. (Followed by the Chapters day noted above, on August 3).

Please sign up on the wikimania wiki if you plan to attend.

Sunday, 12 February, 1730 UTC[edit]

In #wikimedia-roles on freenode.

Please list proposed agenda items below. If you have been working on one of these projects or related proposals, and can briefly summarize your recent work, please note your name next to those agenda items. Please share ideas here on meta before the meeting to help it move along promptly. As usual, this will be open to the public. --SJ

Draft agenda

  1. Updates from the board meeting (bishakha)
  2. Movement roles at Wikimedia Conference/Chapters Meeting in March 2012 (added by lyzzy)
    1. Future work and structure
      • Proposal for a clearly defined, entirely public group
      • Related: movement health / strategy / decision-making
      • Publishing a summary of work to date
    2. Meeting in Berlin, coordination with ChapCom meeting
  3. Current proposals on Meta
    1. New models and chapcom/affcom
    2. Wrapping up existing work
      • Chapters council + peer review
      • Charter + shared standards

Hi there, where can I find information on the MR mailing list (it ain't publicly listed) or the data-time-channel for this meeting? Thanks! --Solstag 12:16, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

Hi Solstag, the date is not yet fixed, but information follows when that's done. --lyzzy 15:53, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
The meeting will be on Feb 12 1730 UTC at #wikimedia-roles --Gomà 17:29, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
I'll see what I can do to get the list publicly listed, or replaced with a public list. SJ talk | translate   14:19, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Minutes and transcript[edit]

The full transcript is online.

Summary minutes:

Alice Wiegand, Anirudh Bhati, Asaf Bartov, Abbas Mahmood, Aude (Katie), Arne Klempert,
Bishakha Datta, Jan Eissfeldt, Joan Goma, Lodewijk Gelauf, SJ Klein, Solstag
MzMcbride (lurking), Phoebe Ayers (at the end)

We reported a summary from the board discussion:
- a timeline going forward for recognizing new models of affiliations (public discussion from now for a month; Board decision before Berlin)
- accountability standards and committee standards are being reviewed by the Board for voting this month

We proposed to wrap up this phase of MR work after Berlin, draw a line under the work of this group, and suggest paths forward for dealing with movement roles.

Much of the meeting revolved around how to wrap up this phase of the work by the end of March (i.e. the work that we are not taking forward right now).

There was some discussion about new models after the meeting ended. The substantive discussion should move to meta.

We agreed on three steps between now and Berlin:
1. Engage in the new models and standards discussions on meta.
- Identify concerns with the new models framework
2. Communicate what came out of our work
- Summarize important MR work, and organize an overview linking to them (probably the MR main page)
3. Indicate a path for the future
- Identify clusters of open topics to be carried forward, and parallel work taking place today.
- Create a future roadmap, showing what group is responsible for working on each parts and follow-up area

We started planning for a meeting the day before the Chapters meeting. ChapCom already has a meeting scheduled that day, and we asked Bence about possible coordination.

Issues raised at the February Board meeting[edit]

  • Accountability standards - requested of the audit committee, which is consulting with chapter treasurers
  • Committee standards - requested of the board governance committee, currently in development as guidelines for all committees
  • New affiliation models have been under discussion for some time; the Board is inclined to recognize new affiliations and ask chapcom to expand its mandate. Draft resolutions will be posted to meta for discussion/improvement before voting.
  • Mentoring and review of movement groups - the above drafts request mentoring of movement groups, and outreach to active groups to ensure those who need help get it.
  • Annual planning cycle - this is seen by some as time-consuming to do well. At the same time, new methods of sharing work and priorities are being discussed
    • Annual budget review - a facet of annual planning coming from Sue's recent fundraising rec: a movement body, like a large committee, that would review both WMF and other movement programs for fund/resource allocation. Still under public discussion on Meta and foundation-l.

Working notes[edit]

Chapter roles[edit]

Somewhat related to the objectives of the movement roles group, various WMUK board members have been thinking about roles within a chapter. I've put a summary of the different roles as I see they could be for WMUK in a year or so's time at wmuk:Chapter roles - comments and suggestions for improvements would be most welcome. Mike Peel 21:04, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

Thanks Mike, that is very helpful. SJ talk | translate  

On a future charter[edit]

A few people (effe, goma, sj) had a discussion on IRC in #wikimedia-roles about where there is consensus and friction in current recommendations, and what it would be possible to review.

On the movement charter, it was noted that few stakeholders have a direct interest in the outcome at present and have a hard time sharing in consensus. (And current concerns about fundraising and other basic issues make it hard to discuss abstract standards and principles.)

  • we need representatives or liaisons from each stakeholder, whereas current participants are generally not representative of groups they are part of.
  • we need to settle on a mechanism for reaching large-scale consensus among chapters.

We discussed options for reaching consensus on such issues in the future:

  • Reaching a very high (aiming for unanimous) degree of consensus from all stakeholders before any agree to it
    • Identifying points of disagreement, and removing them for all
    • Or allowing acceptance individually for each principle
  • Presentating a draft, expecting rounds of amendments by the stakeholders.
    • Planning regular iteration, and leaving contentious points to the next cycle's discussion

Questions to resolve[edit]

Summarized from discussions and talk pages. SJ talk | translate   21:43, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

Movement Charter
  • The current charter is relatively simple, it only outlines principles. As we had discussed on our October board meeting, charter of most international organizations are far more detailed, it should not only be a statement of principles, but actually a handbook of operation. But we also agreed (as far as I recall) that the current document is a good start point. But maybe we want to improve or change or add content to it later.
    Note: this process is on hold while resolving more dramatic topics on movement structure and coordination.
    • What process should be used to make changes and expansions on the charter?
      The current plan (see above) is to share a draft, to have a liaison for each chapter give their feedback, and to hold an rfc among those parties at the end.
    • Who may propose changes and expansions?
    • Who may work on formulations of changes and expansions?
      the major organizations / mainly wmf and chapters.
    • Who may approve the changes and expansions?
      a facilitator who closes the RFC.
New models
  • Chapters (ongoing questions for chapcom)
    • (see chapcom standards) for these q&a's
    • What is the condition for recognition as a chapter?:
    • Beside the usual legal statements, what are the minimal basics for the content of a chapter's agreement? (For example the chapter should state clearly on its bylaw that at least one of its mission is support local Wikimedia communities, as I said, personal opinion)
    • What are the minimal duties of a chapter? (For example actively take part in movement strategic planning, supporting movement strategic goals, publish annual activity report, publish external audit result, etc)
  • What are the minimal duties of the Foundation to a chapter? (For example granting structural funds in accordance to some criteria [the number of volunteers the chapter is supporting or the strategic importance of the region])
    • What happens if a chapter misses its duty? What sanctions and what sanction process is to be imposed? Who is responsible to act on this?
      Initial feedback from a group that reviews status and work regularly (chapcom, or a chapters council; cf. WMDE's recent recommendations)
    • What happens if the Foundation misses its duty to a chapter? What sanctions and what sanction process is to be imposed? Who is responsible to act on this?
    • What happens if a chapter loses its support among [its] community?
  • The same questions to associations, partners, affiliates

some of the above

Affiliations Committee
  • What status does it have? (Board, staff or community committee)
    Community, with staff support
  • What duties does it have? (For example tracking different organizations)
    Recommending for recognition, reviewing, summarizing the work of organizations
  • What process is to be used to recruit its volunteer members?
    Nomination and recruitment
  • What happens if one of its members falls into inactivity (a recent problem of ChapCom.)
  • How should it be initiated (we discussed on IRC about the possibility to create it parallel with ChapCom, or expand ChapCom to become AffCom. the workgroup should make proposals or at least work out pros and cons to every possibility)
    Suggestions so far: Affcom makes sense as the umbrella group, which includes the current chapcom and its work; on the other hand, the current group already has its hands full improving engagement with chapters. (see recruitment Q above)
  • How should this interact with ChapCom -- an extention of the latter's scope, a separate body, an interleaved body?
Annual planning process
  • What group sets this process / cycle?
  • How does this group work with the GAC? With various strategy processes (incl. of WMF and chapters)?
  • How does this affect annual planning for the current year, for the WMF and other groups?
Implementation timeline
  • Given the above, on what timeline will various parts be implemented?

Name of topic[edit]

Movement roles seems like a terrible name for this whole project. Why not use a name that gives people some idea of what we are talking about, like authorized group? -- Ssilvers (talk) 23:36, 4 April 2012 (UTC)