Talk:Movement roles project/User Groups

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Related discussions[edit]

Apart from building on these Feb/March 2012 discussions, these draft parameters draw on the 2011 Movement Roles discussion on Wikimedia Associations, also here, and an earlier summary. Bishdatta (talk) 05:28, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Territorial range[edit]

Can we necessarily assume that associations are sub-national? What about an unincorporated association that works across countries? Hypothetical examples could include WikiWomen, Wiki Project Tree of Life, Wikibooks Translation Team, Semantic MediaWiki Association and many more. Bishdatta (talk) 05:28, 23 March 2012 (UTC)


While previous discussions have assumed that associations are unincorporated, the Feb/March 2012 discussions came to the consensus that:

  • Recognition as a Wikimedia Group/association should not be ruled out if the group is already incorporated
  • However, caution is advised not to push potential Wikimedia groups/association to incorporate
  • It should made very clear what the difference is between a Chapter/Focus org (partner) and a group (association) within Wikimedia and to avoid confusion of an incorporated Wikimedia group (association) acting as something they're not.

We recognize there is a need for further discussion about what level of organisational structure is needed specifically about Wikimedia groups/associations being or not being legal entities. See full discussion in response to the question: Could associations be incorporated as well?. This may need further discussion and clarification - there is scope for confusion otherwise. Bishdatta (talk) 05:28, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Board and Membership[edit]

What is the requirement for associations that are incorporated? Also, this needs to be considered: "An association wanting to apply for project grants would also need a treasurer, secretary, and bank account." Bishdatta (talk) 06:16, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Some offline presence[edit]

Would associations need some offline presence to distinguish them from wikiProjects? Bishdatta (talk) 14:05, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

Local IRL groups[edit]

Hi, I guess this type of affiliate fits well for small IRL groups, on the same models as the Linux User Groups (LUG). I like the term of Wikimedia User Group (WUG) although the acronym is a bit difficult to pronounce :) (but perhaps it is sufficiently difficult to pronounce to be funny, and also is sufficiently simple.) If this is the case I guess the Non-Cabale de l’Ouest (NCO/Uncabal of the West) or the Cabale romande could be examples of such affiliate groups.

For the NCO, we meet every week in Rennes (Brittany); try to organize a beginners session once a month (with various successes, but the most successful was a session with 40 students); last year, for the 10th birthday of Wikipedia, we created a set of IRL articles positionned in the streets (see the second page of the WMF Annual Report :); organize regional events to take photos in some cities under the model "Wikipedia takes […]" ; and we wrote an annual report for 2011 issued one month ago (but I don’t think it is currently publicly available, although it could amha). ~ Seb35 [^_^] 17:30, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Responsible Parties and Identification[edit]

The proposal for affiliation models currently includes several references to an identification procedure. A few questions have been raised regarding how this would be performed and who would do so. Asaf and I had some internal discussions to see what the best process would be that would achieve the objectives of AffCom. We also identified a few things we thought were particularly important to consider.

  • It is important there is more then one person responsible for a User Group in case one moves on to other pursuits or is unavailable for whatever reason.
As a result, we thought it would be good for the User Group to designate at least two "responsible individuals" who are required to provide their names and contact details to WMF and/or AffCom as part of establishing a new User Group.
  • In our opinion, it is only important to "identify" through the collection of a government issued ID in two cases:
  1. Where the User group requests a grant from WMF (this is already part of the grant process and a legal requirement placed upon WMF by the IRS).
  2. Where the User Group is granted a license to use the WMF trademarks and enters into a license agreement with WMF. (We would request a scanned copy of the ID of the two responsible parties at the time the signed license agreement is returned to WMF)
This is not a legal requirement, but we think it is important to know who we are contracting with when providing a license and ensuring our ability to enforce it.
  • We also discussed security and storage of the ID's collected. As we do now, we will electronically store the ID's in encrypted files on the server and only those with a business purpose for access to the information will have access. That includes, the members of the legal and grants teams who actually place them into the encrypted files and those that need access to keep the records current.
The IDs would need to be stored for the entire length of the Grant and/or license agreement and for the legally required period thereafter. This is determined by the IRS rules governing our record keeping regarding grant making.
  • We would not require User Groups who request both a grant and license to go through this process twice, unless the User Group wanted to designate separate people as the responsible parties.Kkay (talk)

Conflict with trademark policy?[edit]

Hello, this page says: "Recognition from: Affiliations Committee, with support from staff: staff will process the original requests, and submit recs to the Committee for approval. [WMF staff would be available to handle any such requests; chapters can also where chapters want to handle this within their geography]"

But here I read: "In general, the Wikimedia Foundation should be the only organization that approves third-party licenses for trademarks."

So, who will provide the logo and trademark use to a WUG? The WMF or a chapter? And who will supervise the WUG, e.g. with concern to proper use? If the WUG is in the geography of a chapter, shouldn't it be a group within that chapter? Ziko (talk) 16:03, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

The current implementation of this recommendation doesn't (yet) contain chapters approving user groups. Some of the factors that might contribute to that are that chapters can't sublicense the trademarks to independent groups but chapter subdivisions (e.g. regional wings or groups of their members) can use the trademarks just like the chapter (in my reading), so there is a a bit of complication here.
Under the current implementation a subdivision of a chapter as well as independent groups in the chapter's country can be recognized as user groups (by the WMF). Usually (at least in the three on-going cases we have encountered in AffCom) we ask the local chapter whether they have any fundamental objections to approving a given group. The easy part is when they don't (after all, more offline volunteers being empowered to work for the mission is beneficial overall), the tricky part comes when they oppose it on the grounds that groups outside the chapter shouldn't exist.
You may want to follow the discussion on Wikimedia India-l starting at and terminating (so far) at
I think the model still needs to develop a bit through use and actual groups wanting to form to extend it to the full specs in this recommendation (including staff at the WMF, and delegation to chapters), at which point I expect the chapters agreement or the trademark policy can be modified to meet this new state of affairs (or the specs might be rewritten to conform to actual practice).
If you have any thoughts on the matter (e.g. should groups be approved in chapter geographies at all; or on your original point about chapter-recognized groups), I would be happy to hear them. –Bence (talk) 18:10, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
Ah, thanks. I am wondering what "MediaWiki groups" are and how that line will evolve. Thorg or WUG? My idea would be that a "Wikimedia MediaWiki" (crazy name, I know) will become a thorg, and that it will have national groups. Or, if the people interested in it are shy of the work for a thorg, a WUG. I would find it odd to create a big number of WUGs or thorgs, each being occupied with MediaWiki... / So, more clarity about thorgs and WUGs would be useful. Kind regards Ziko (talk) 19:18, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
MediaWiki groups (MGs) try to mimic the user group model associated with various open source groups (e.g. Linux UGs are quite common), proposed by the Engineering department in their plans for this year. They were thus conceived independently, but as the concept was actually developed they were folded into the WUG model – we will see if this will prove a wise decision in practice. MGs are groups of people focused on outreach and coding related either to a geographic region or a specific theme, and from the WMF Engineering side of it they are currently promoted/helped/handled by Quim Gil. It is probable that there might be a big number of MediaWiki WUGs forming (even in countries with chapters due to the difference in focus in most cases), most of them on a local basis and a handful of them on a thematic one (but still being a WUG; sorry for adding to the confusion).
I can imagine the creation of a MediaWiki Foundation as a thorg in time (though I am not qualified to predict what it would focus on with the WMF still doing coding) and that we will need to figure out its relation to the existing MediaWiki Groups. (Perhaps similarly to the need to figure out the existing chapters' relations to the WCA, or the chapters relationship to user groups in their country. In general, the affiliations models are meant to be non-exclusive, and mostly non-hierarchical, so the creation of a thematic thorg doesn't invalidate the existence of the WUGs or require them to join the thorg if they don't want to).–Bence (talk) 19:39, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
The WMF board decided to allow thorgs and WUGs, so I would find it very confusing if a 'third group' were established ('MGs'). Okay they are WUGs. But is it really in the interest of the AffCom to check the applies of a multitude of thorgs and WUGs? Isn't that a lot of work? Ziko (talk) 20:11, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
Some of your reasons were behind recommending the MGs to be actually WUGs. The MG model simplifies a few things (if there was no model, some potential members would never know they could form an MG and lower AffCom's workload, while others would all come up with very-very different approaches to the same idea), and Quim is helping with handling the extra load carried on by the requirements under the MG model (which are in addition to those on WUGs, so technically, every MG should be a bona fide WUG as far as the Board approved models are concerned).
Nevertheless, you are right that AffCom's workload has increased significantly. In the last year, the support it receives (e.g. the budget) is already significant, but its best use and the areas of real need still need to be figured out – I could imagine (and this is my personal viewpoint) that seeing how the workload develops that we would request that the $60k set aside for AffCom would be better spent on an employee to pre-screen all applications.
I genuinely believe, that the possibility of empowering more volunteers with the new types of models is worth the costs in terms of AffCom's time or WMF's money. From an organizational point of view this year and the previous will be a "wild west", but as the dust settles we will have more engaged people and a sort of clarity. –Bence (talk) 21:13, 7 January 2013 (UTC)