Talk:The Wikinewsie Group/Bylaws

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

draft bylaws[edit]

These were drafted after consulting a number of people behind the scenes for feedback, and was open to anyone with access to's journalist workspace. The bylaws were started after consulting local Icelandic regulations. These are spelled out here. We do not need to have an actual address until the time of incorporation, which merely requires a local PO box and an Icelandic lawyer handling our paperwork.--LauraHale (talk) 04:05, 11 April 2013 (UTC)


I just want to note that we understand that during this process, we will be required to make changes to this. There will be no attempt to register until we have aff-comm approval to do so following approval based on a more final version of these. --LauraHale (talk) 04:09, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

Website version[edit]

A draft of these bylaws has been posted to the website at . --LauraHale (talk) 04:09, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

Board and advisory?[edit]

Hi everyone, I have two questions: in the article 5 is written "approved by Board", Which Board is related to: WMF Board of Trustees or Wikinewsie Board?. As I remember the Thematic Organizations requeriments, we must be independent from WMF, so as I think, the article doesn't reflect which board is related to approval new members. Second question is related to advisory, as you know in the main page of Wikinewsie I signed as advisor because I don't have time to do new tasks in other organization (I'm currently a board member in Wikimedia Chile), but I want hear the Board meetings and make some recommendations based on my experience in the projects and NGO organizations. So, Do not we have advisors to Board?. My idea is based on AffCom procedures and composition of group: they have voting members and non-voting advisors. So, here are my questions. Great work! Superzerocool (talk) 11:57, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

I'm reading this part of the bylaw now. The Board is defined in the bylaw. It's nothing to do with the foundation's board of trustees. --Pi zero (talk) 12:30, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
Hi Superzerocool. Thank you for your feedback. In article 5, we mean the board of The Wikinewsie Group board, not the Wikimedia Foundation board. In relation to the TWG board, we could put this in the board role section,saying that the board could appoint up to X advisers (I'm thinking 2?), to be renewed on a yearly basis, but these would not be voting board members? But they could attend meetings as observers and possibly be allowed to speak at board meetings? What do you think? --LauraHale (talk) 13:14, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
LauraHale, I'm think that advisors may provide some feedback to Board, but I don't want a highly bureaucratic organization or a organization with many main roles in the Board (aka: chair, vicechair, tesaurer, director, etc.). I like 3 or 4 Board members, and the 2 or 3 advisors may provide any advise to Board. As in AffCom, they can discuss a topic but they can't vote to support or against any idea from the Board. My two cents about the topic :| Superzerocool (talk) 13:40, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
It seems to me that the difference between an observer at a board meeting and an advisor is probably, as a practical matter, simply that advisors are supposed to speak when appropriate, and observers are not supposed to speak.
Would it be sufficient (and necessary) to state in the bylaw that observers at board meetings can speak if invited to do so by the board (shorter wording would be appropriate in the bylaw)? Or am I overlooking a downside to that approach? --Pi zero (talk) 13:47, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
Hi Superzerocool. I agree with the idea that we should avoid too much bureaucracy. Here is how Aff-Comm handles the adviser thing, with more detail here. The way we have things set up at the moment though is pretty much as bureaucracy light as we can get away with based on my interpretation of Icelandic legal requirements and based on the report about WM-UK. If the issue is speaking at board meetings, we can write it in to allow that. I was thinking more of delivering reports and recommendations. As board meetings will almost certainly be done via some remote platform, adding more people adds greater "fun" (re:difficulties with) timezone organization to allow maximum participation. But we can try to do something like I suggested above? :) --LauraHale (talk) 13:54, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

Voting of secretary[edit]

Since it's stated in the bylaws that the secretary is voted upon at the first board meeting after the AGM, is there a need to specifically exclude the voting for the secretary in the AGM agenda? -Svavar Kjarrval (talk) 12:42, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

Hello Svavar Kjarrval. If I understand your question correctly, the purpose of having the secretary voted in this way is to allow them to facilitate the meeting per the positions of the role. --LauraHale (talk) 13:22, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
Hi Laura. I'm not objecting that the role exists, I just thought mentioning the exclusion in the agenda was unneccessary. It has been fixed now. -Svavar Kjarrval (talk) 14:16, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

Board election clarifications[edit]

I've just tightened up some passages relating to board elections, based on my understanding of intended function. There are four non-chair board members and a chair; each of these five board positions is elected every other year, with the first AGM electing two of the non-chair positions for just one year so that each year thereafter will alternate between electing two non-chair board members, and electing two non-chair board members and the board chair. And the board decides which of its non-chair members is the treasurer and which is the secretary.

Although it's not unimaginable to have the board chair elected in the "off" year with just one other board member, and then three out of the four non-chair members elected in the year when the chair isn't elected, that didn't seem to me to be the intent, and it would also seem a curiously lopsided arrangement that ought to have a clear rationale. --Pi zero (talk) 13:39, 11 April 2013 (UTC)


If anyone has any major objections to thse bylaws, please tell us what they are so they can be dealt with. (Also, please remember that these are not firm, and may be subject to some change based on feedback from aff-comm.) If there are nor major objections, we should be closer to the next step. --LauraHale (talk) 22:53, 13 April 2013 (UTC)


If you support the current version, please add your name here; otherwise start a new section and ask your question.

  1. Gryllida 08:36, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
  2. --LauraHale (talk) 10:21, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
  3. I'm largely in support of this draft. As a legal document, I'm leery of copyediting it. --Brian McNeil / talk 12:42, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
  4. Also substantially in support. --Pi zero (talk) 14:26, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
  5. Superzerocool (talk) 16:04, 11 April 2013 (UTC) seems valid'
  6. DragonFire1024 (talk) 16:06, 11 April 2013 (UTC) Full on support.
  7. --Laslovarga (talk) 21:18, 16 April 2013 (UTC) Support.


Is there any particular reason for using the Euro as the nominated currency? --RockerballAustralia (talk) 00:53, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

A good question. Would we know how other non-profit organisations with international scope do it? Gryllida 05:16, 13 May 2013 (UTC)
I think we will probably end up using the currency of whatever bank we chose. It seems likely we would chose a European bank (or a bank in the UK), which would mean using the Euro or pound. I would think using the local Icelandic currency would not be completely desirable given the current banking climate there. Is there another thought for where we would select a bank? And what potential currency we would use? --LauraHale (talk) 05:20, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

Meetings documentation[edit]

This may need a line like "During the meetings, the chair is the last person to offer opinion and last to vote." and the rest of voting process documented (including discussion bit, voting bit, and consensus bit) at a point when shaping a non-draft version. Cheers. --Gryllida 14:35, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

I'd suggest generally stuff like that does not go in the bylaw; rules of procedure during meetings are generally adopted by the body involved — like the rules governing US Senate filibusters are not written into the US Constitution. --Pi zero (talk) 14:55, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

Embarrassment leading nowhere good[edit]

Thumbnail on today's English Wikinews main page expands to full professional size in the story

First, the bylaws need copy-editing—in particular, the grammar for some of the bulleted items needs to be consistent: that's basic in the drafting of bylaws.

I'm pleased to see that the bylaws do not explicitly include the support of editors' travel and accommodation expenses for international junkets. Wikimedia Australia had had enough of that last year by the time one prominent "Wikinewsie" expected funding in retrospect for a photographic trip to the ski fields at Aspen—with no clear budget or outcomes. To start asking the WMF for funding to make WN a proper news outlet would be a bottomless pit, and the outcomes, given the evidence on the main page of the English Wikinews today, would be less than ideal—indeed, they would underpin and possibly amplify the weird embarrassments on the Foundation's servers.

I refer specifically to the odd combination of big-picture stories (e.g. "assisted dying for terminal ill in UK"—but let's fix the grammatical howler in the big headline at the top, guys?) and stories that clearly result from "Wikinewsies" going down the road in their local town and happy-snapping the über-trivial. We have "Black and Blue Belles win in Canberra Roller Derby League blowout", which took me a while to fathom. What's a "blow out" (spaced in the main text)? We learn that certain hairstyles "were popular amongst the crowd" (what, the crowd's hairstyles?); we learn that "a trivia night in April raised funds for a Roller Derby Tournament to be held in Canberra on the Queen's Birthday long weekend on June 8–9."

Back to the main page of this WMF site: we have Caloundra defeat Nambour 24-10 in week seven of Sunshine Coast Rugby Union at some little-known place in northern Australia, featuring little-known sports teams, and a photograph that looks as though it was accidentally snapped while the camera was falling to the ground. Weird. The story is three lines long.

So if these are the stories appearing on the main page, just who is going to be organising and implementing education schemes for working "work with educators to instill journalistic values and provide opportunities to practice these values"? (Bylaw 2)

I have to warn readers that "Wikinewsies" have in the past reacted savagely and personally to critical comments on their output. It's a strategy that seems to have worked thus far.

AffCom, please reassure the movement that this kind of twiddle-diddle isn't going to be given the green light to start sucking considerable sums of money out of donors' funds. Tony (talk) 06:04, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

This conversation is now taking place at Tony's talk page, since the issue is not as much "what are local news doing at the main page" as some anti-wikipedia movement reportedly arranged by English Wikinews members: it seems like an issue local to English Wikinews that has nothing to do with this group, since this proposed Group works as an umbrella over many Wikinews editions, and the Group is not accountable nor supportive of local projects policies and politics.
Now, I'm trying to work things out elsewhere as I just mentioned; I hold faith in that understanding can be reached there. --Gryllida 11:21, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Tony for expressing your concerns. AffCom will definitely look at the formatting and typos of the bylaws, and suggest copyediting as one of its recommendations. As for funding, that decision lies with the funders, being a recognized affiliate would make the group eligible for a number of funding programmes, but it would not entitle it to any automatic funding (just like with all other entities, the programmes they propose would need to demonstrate impact for our mission). –Bence (talk) 14:33, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

General questions from AffCom[edit]

Hi wikinewsies. Before enter to review your ByLaws, could you please tell us a little more about you? Please answer in brief the following questions, which are requested to all applicants. Thank you! Salvador (WMMX) (talk) 04:51, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

  • How many are you currently?
    • There are currently 41 listed supporters of which about half participated in the IRC based meeting for the selection of the provisional board.
  • Any prominent Wiki[pm]edians? Active in which communities if any?
    • Laura Hale, former vice president of Wikimedia Australia, former Wikimedian in Residence for the NCIS/Australian Paralympic Committee, co-organizer of WikiWomenCamp, English Wikinews administrator, arbitrator and accredited reporter
    • SuperZeroCool, Director of Wikimedia Chile, Administrator and Bureaucrat on Spanish Wikinews and Spanish Wikipedia
    • ProtoplasmaKid, President of Wikimedia Mexico, member of the Grant Advisory Committee, Administrator on Spanish Wikinews
    • Gryllida, member of the Individual Engagement Grant Committee, English Wikinews accredited reporter
    • Brian McNeil, English Wikinews administrator, arbitrator, sysop and accredited reporter, maintains and currently owns domain
    • Savant-fou, administrator on French Wikinews, French Wikibooks and French Wikipedia
    • Grondin, sysop on Catalan, French and Portuguese Wikinews, administrator on French Wikipedia and French Wikibooks, member of Amical Wikimedia
    • Bidgee, member of Wikimedia Australia, GLAM supporter, English Wikinews accredited reporter, Commons administrator
    • Laslovarga, administrator and bureaucrat on Serbian Wikinews and Serbian Wikipedia
    • Svavar Kjarrval, an administrator of the Icelandic Wikipedia.
    • Bjarki S, an bureaucrat on the Icelandic Wikipedia and Wikibooks as well as an administrator on the English Wikipedia.
  • Could you give a short overview of the time path of the founding up to now?
    • April 6, 2013: The Wikinewsie Group page created, along with support structures such as mailing list and IRC room.
    • April 8, 2013: Aff-Comm e-mailed to inform them of planning for The Wikinewsie Group.
    • April 11, 2013: Following 20 people signing up as interested participants, draft of bylaws shared at The Wikinewsie Group/Bylaws for community feedback.
    • April 18, 2013: Following 30 people signing up as interested participants, The Wikinewsie Group/Meetings created for setting up the meeting to select the provisional board.
    • May 4, 2013: Provisional board selected. Chairperson: LauraHale. Board: Pi zero, Brian McNeil, Bjarki S, ProtoplasmaKid
  • Have there been any activities/meetings etc of this group of people?
    • On May 4, a meeting was held to select the provisional board. It was decided that the board would be composed of the following people: LauraHale (Chair), Pi zero, Brian McNeil, Bjarki S, ProtoplasmaKid. The total number of people and roles was based on the draft bylaws. 18 people, a little under half of all people who were listed as supporters, attended the meeting. aff-comm has been advised of this, and that we are ready to discuss the group's bylaws with them. They have responded back to indicate their review will start shortly.
    • Tentative steps are being taken to have a Wikimedia conference in Iceland with a Wikinews workshop as a component of it. This would likely be in December to coincide with the 10th birthday of Icelandic Wikipedia. Having some discussions about the possibility of having a small Wikinews conference somewhere in Europe sometime in the next year.
    • Wikinews:GLAM was created after writing about previous experiences with GLAM projects on English Wikinews and content related to GLAMs across all projects. Hopefully, with groundwork underway, there should be two announcements about Wikinews and GLAM projects by the end of June that will build upon previous success.
    • While several proposals were made, it does not look like there is a single presentation about Wikinews at Wikimania in Hong Kong has been approved. Given that, plans are to have some sort of Wikinews meetup while there independent of the official tracks.
    • Efforts are underway to do a better job at translating articles from one language to another, and successfully guide them through any local review processes. This is not a one way street of material from English Wikinews to other languages: We have successfully had two articles start on Spanish Wikinews that were translated to English Wikinews, where they passed the local review process and were successfully published. Comments on this effort are welcome at The Wikinewsie Group/Project planning and User talk:LauraHale: WORTNET.
    • Efforts are underway to develop a matrix to understand key policy, community and content requirement differences between different Wikinews projects. Once complete, this should ease cross Wikinews collaboration by having a starting point to discuss content related issues when translating for review, and trying to standardize any policies across projects.
    • Four pieces of research have been completed. They include Blocks on English Wikinews, Wikinews:GLAM/Coverage, Research:Wikinews Review Analysis and English Wikinews and the Gender Gap. If you are doing any research, formally or informally, about any language Wikinews project, please share it with The Wikinewsie Group as it will help better inform our decisions.
    • The development of a reviewing tool for English Wikinews continues. There are some concerns that the future roll out of Lua may hinder this. Once complete, this tool should make it easier for reviewers to leave feedback and check articles against all criteria.
    • Migration of the server to Iceland should be complete by the end of June. Once funding is secure, one of the first upgrades to the server will be to create a secure server and a dedicated host in order to encourage more investigative reporting and reporting of embargoed news stories. The server could also be used for development of bots, and mobile reporting tools. The planning is being done to give The Wikinewsie Group cloud space to host reporting notes, video and audio to support journalism efforts.
    • Icelandic Wikinews and Malayalam Wikinews are both hosted on incubator. The Icelandic Wikimedia mailing list and Indian editors have been contacted to encourage local editors to get the projects viable to move to the main space.
    • On social media, a few The Wikinewsie Group supporters are answering questions about Wikinews on quora. This is part of an effort to expand awareness about the Wikinews in general.
    • A Twitter account was created that can be followed @wikinewsie, The Wikinewsie Group.
  • What kind of activities are planned for the future in the chapter?
    • As a thematic organization, we are primarily concerned with activities around the support of original reporting in terms of securing media accreditation. This includes supporting Paralympic and Olympic accreditation efforts, Commonwealth Games accreditation efforts, securing media access to other major sporting events. We are also planning to support, encourage and actively engage in efforts to secure permanent media access to Parliaments in Australia and elsewhere. A few members have expressed interest in potentially getting visas for journalists to do original reporting in other places around the globe. We would plan to assist in these efforts. Beyond that, we would seek to support any Wikinews reporter (and possibily Commons photographers) to secure media accreditation for other events.
    • We plan to run workshops and training sessions to teach people how to contribute to Wikinews.
    • We plan to assist Wikinewsies in being more active participants in GLAM, broadening our engagement with cultural organizations, and providing training support for people involved with GLAMs so they can contribute to Wikinews.
    • We plan to better support current education projects on Wikinews and to expand them. This would involve speaking to journalism teachers to encourage them to get students involved, creating lesson plans for instructors, and developing training materials. Where possible, we would also see about getting local Wikinews reporters to go into classrooms to speak about reporting for Wikinews.
    • We plan to assist active Wikinews reporters in securing grants from organization that will enable them to do investigative reporting.
  • Do you have an overview of how many Wikimedians would like to join the chapter when founded?
    • We estimate 40 to 50 people would like to join.
  • Have the bylaws been reviewed by a lawyer/specialist?
    • Bjarki S is a member of the board and an Icelandic lawyer. He has been reviewing our bylaws.
  • Please, summarize your focus in a short phrase (maximum 2 o 3 lines).
    • The primary focus of The Wikinewsie Group is to support independent original reporting on an open license platform, work towards increasing participation and content creation on Wikinews projects, educate future journalists by teaching best practices, and support the mission statement and vision of the Wikimedia Foundation.

I have two short follow-up questions I hope you can help me get clarification on - thanks for the elaborate information though! 1) Could you confirm that Icelanding law does not require you (directly or in practice) to have an Icelandic citizen as a board member? I'm asking because that would be quite a drawback practically speaking. I thought to understand this was the case in one of your earlier replies, but would like to be sure. 2) What is your position towards the Icelanding Wikimedia community? I note that you're planning to organize a conference in Iceland in December (quite a frosty month), to coincide with the birthday of the Icelandic Wikipedia. Are you planning more events specifically or partially for the Icelandic communities? I'm asking primarily because I'm trying to figure out the overlap between Wikinewsie and a potential Icelanding affiliate organization. That could both be positive and negative, depending on how you do it, but it should at least be clear up front. Effeietsanders (talk) 20:37, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

  • In response to the first question, we have been advised that we do not need an Icelander to be a member of our board.
  • In response to the second question, we consulted with Icelandic Wikimedians on their mailing lists, on IRC and Icelandic Wikipedia. They have indicated no problems with us, and do not see us as causing problems for their application. One of the people who is involved with the Wikimedia Iceland board is on our provisional board. As I understand it, this provisional board member has forwarded the Wikimedia Iceland proposal to aff.comm. We have been talking with the Icelandic community about running a conference together in Iceland in the next year, and assist them in getting an Icelandic version of Wikinews running on incubator. (This is documented on our proposal pages and newsletter.) We hope that the two groups can work together in the future to provide mutual support and cooperation in achieving our individual goals.
I hope this answers your questions. If you have additional ones, please ask. :) We are more than happy to answer.--LauraHale (talk) 12:44, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
If this conference is to be funded with Wikimedia funds, I urge the Wikinewsie group to discuss its plans with us sooner rather than later. I find I must caution once more against the assumption that any Wikinews-centered activity (and particularly an airfare-intensive international gathering of any size) is likely to meet our impact criteria. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 02:18, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
If this conference does happen, it will be organized by the proto-Wikimedia Iceland, in conjunction with the tenth anniversary of Icelandic Wikipedia. The Wikinewsie Group would try to provide a European-based facilitator to present on Wikinews and broader journalistic issues. When we've talked to the Icelanders, we've recommended they keep a very low budget (keep it local, find a free venue, etc). LauraHale (talk) 07:17, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for your replies so far! As you might be aware, names of thorgs should conform to a number of criteria, including being very accurate and not confusing. Names of new thematic organizations have to be pre-approved by WMF Legal, and AffCom is asked to facilitate this process by liaising with the legal team and providing them with a reasoned opinion that a given group's name meets the criteria in our estimation. It would help us, if you could confirm to us the linguistic policy (focus, openness, working languages) of the Wikinewsie Group, and if you could briefly point to evidence of "Wikinewsie" being a common term among the community of Wikinews (so that we can argue that it should not be confused with the Wikinews trademark but has its own meaning just like Wikipedian has). Thank you, –Bence (talk) 14:43, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Hi Bence. Thank you for the question. The Wikinewsie.Org domain has been registered since July 3, 2007,[1] with members of the English and Spanish Wikinewsie community using the site for e-mail and embargoed article editing since at least 2009.[2] Use of the word Wikinewsie to describe contributors can be seen as early as 2005[3] At that time, the following was said "Wikinewsies are the people who write and edit articles for Wikinews." by Davodd. The use of this term to describe our community is also found on English Wiktionary dating back to 2010.[4] where it was defined "Wikinews' reporter." While the term may mostly be used by English speaking contributors, the diminutive name for contributors best reflects on the sister project's domain name for marketing purposes, while at the same time we feel has been established as an independent identity owing to the domain name and community activities outside content. The domain has been available to Spanish speaking Wikinoticias contributors. If the name is a problem, we are willing to consider changing it. --LauraHale (talk) 15:09, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Laura for the very quick reply, we will check with legal and try to convince them: based on the ample evidence for the term "wikinewsie" seems defendable at this point. I would still be interested in the approach of the group to languages (this is also something we need to take into account in forming our opinion on naming, checking that the scope of the name is in line with the scope and [potential] membership of the group). –Bence (talk) 15:15, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for the quick reply. :) The issue of using an English word for a multilingual community is something we are aware of as potentially problematic and one that has been discussed at length by a number of interested parties on IRC. At the end of the day, the thinking is the English word Group implies or could be made to imply that we are a group of associated journalists groups (thus, there is the potential for more local programming in a nationalistic setting based around a specific language Wikinews project in conjunction with local chapters) like the Associated Press or other newspaper conglomerates. The use of an English name also will be more universally understood to international groups. (Many of the major transnational journalist non-profits use English as their primary language. Also, in my personal experience when dealing with non-English groups, having the ability to provide local and English language news coverage is highly desirable.) So yes, aware of the linguistic choice of English for the name not being an ideal one given our international scope but we do not have many other options. Nonetheless, maybe in the future, another thematic org (since thematic orgs are not thematically exclusive) could, for example, develop using Chinese characters in their name. --LauraHale (talk) 15:28, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
It is a bit awkward that the question comes up in the context of naming, as it is really a number of semi-related issues some of which have only a tangential relation to the name. On the one hand, my interest is to get a full understanding of the languages used by the group, the languages supported and the background of the current and future members (I understand English and Spanish are the main focus, but how exclusive is it?).
On the other hand, and this is where the naming question comes into play, I understand "Wikinewsie" to have a meaning that is language neutral (i.e. it does not mean "editor of the English Wikinews", but rather "editor of Wikinews"), so if a Chinese group were to translate their name into English they might also want to use the same term. This is less of a problem if the current group already covers all editions, or has a name that doesn't block other groups from emerging and finding a natural name for themselves. (This requirement of accuracy and non-exclusivity with future groups is difficult to implement, and there is little precedent surrounding it so the amount it can be stretched and the requirements' exact interpretation is still a bit fluid – that is why I am trying to get a fuller understanding of the whole situation before I could make a recommendation either way.) –Bence (talk) 15:49, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
The use of Wikinewsie is generally specific to English Wikinews community. Different language Wikinews projects use their own ways to describe themselves. For example, Wikinoticias uses Wikireporteros. Our intention is to have an English language name as a way of better working with potential international partners: We can better communicate with a global audience with an English language name. We also want to use Wikinewsie because we have the domain that has been used inside the English and Spanish Wikinews community since 2007. Our supporters and early members would likely be drawn from English, Spanish, French, Ukrainian, Korean, Icelandic Wikinews/Wikimedia projects and probably also German, Portuguese, Greek, Czech, Tamil, Arabic and Romanian Wikinews projects. As thematic organizations are not thematic exclusive, we understand that another group of volunteers could create a similar thematic org primarily aimed at Wikinews contributors on specific language projects. --LauraHale (talk) 16:07, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. –Bence (talk) 16:16, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

AffComm Bylaws revision[edit]

Hi. After reading and discussing your bylaws, the AffComm members want to make you some observations, questions and aclarations. Please read it carefully. If you have some questions feel free of make them openly. Thanks for your efforts.

First part[edit]


[Wording] As general observation, we suggest avoid repeat the name of association in all the text to have a more general wording. In many bylaws the name of association is mentioned at first clause and then is called generically "The association". It would be useful in the case of name changing.

It's now referred to as "the Organization" where appropriate. - Svavar Kjarrval (talk) 21:33, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Thnak you! Salvador (WMMX) (talk) 22:15, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

[Wording] Given the potential term confusion, you might even want to consider using a small list of definitions at the beginning (i.e. defining whether 'Wikinews' refers to the English language version or all)

Added an article regarding definitions (now article 15). Might be moved closer to the beginning later in the review. -Svavar Kjarrval (talk) 21:54, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Thank you. Yes, move it closer would it be technically better. You can include also other wiki terms used as: "administrator", "Wikinews project", "Wikimedian", "Wikimania", "Signpost", "MilHist", "the Roads newsletter", "the Roads newsletter", etcetera. Salvador (WMMX) (talk) 22:22, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for the suggestion. The term GLAM was removed and the reporting of our activities in that section was simplified to not specifically name which newsletters. This way we avoid the need to update the bylaws if newsletters cease publication or new newsletters are created. --LauraHale (talk) 12:03, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

[Wording] Cutting the longer articles in sub articles would make them easier to quote, read and understand.

Hi. Could you provide specific examples where this is an issue? Thanks. --LauraHale (talk) 12:04, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
It might (imho, just a suggestion) be helpful in articles 6, 7, 9, 10. Effeietsanders (talk) 21:45, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

[Minor] We read that in some articles (5 and 11 mainly) you make mentions of Icelandic wikimedians as having special benefits over the rest of members. We recomend explain the reason of these benefits or quit this kind of mentions to promote a fair treatment.

The decision to give Icelandic Wikimedians the same standing as Wikinews contributors was based on two factors. The first is that there is currently no Icelandic Wikinews. (An Icelandic Wikinews is in incubator but strategic priorities do not include investing a huge amount of time at the present time to get it out of incubator.) The second factor is a desire to maintain a positive and healthy relationship with the Icelandic Wikimedia community. The choice to be based in Iceland is a strategic one, given the country's laws protecting journalistic freedoms and privacy. We need their Icelandic specific knowledge and assistance for doing on the ground, Icelandic legal and organization requirements. I am unsure how to address your comment in the context of where to include it in the bylaws. What is your suggestion for where and how to include it? Thanks. --LauraHale (talk) 12:10, 9 September 2013 (UTC)


[confusing phrasing] 3.2 This article is focused only to 'future journalists', Why not open it even to modern journalists that not share this spirit? 'Historical journalistic ideals regarding reporting standards' sounds really subjective, could you clarify or give a better wording to explain your point?

These points need some deep thought. Broadening 'future journalists' calls for some clever rewording (merely substituting for the word future probably wouldn't work very well). The ideals... hm. Pinning these down is the function of The Wikinewsie Group/Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Journalists, but I wouldn't think it appropriate to drag that into the bylaw, both because of what that would do to the length of the bylaw, and the layers of bureaucracy it would add to the declaration. --Pi zero (talk) 14:10, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
3.2 is aimed primarily at educational initiatives that we have done historically and we plan to duplicate in the future. Hence, the focus on historical ideals. This is a technical term used in journalism- Historical journalistic ideals are ones that are taught inside journalism courses and, in a news context, are generally widely understood to be ideals developed during the 1920s that continued into the 1980s when journalism models for reporting changed. Prior to this, journalism was fundamentally different and the concept of ideal reporting did not exist in a universally recognised way. I am hesitant to change this because the historical ideals part is a major incentive for journalism professors to work with us. --LauraHale (talk) 12:16, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

[Minor] 3.4 In this article looks like you are closing your aims just to 'non-professional journalists'. Why not speak about encourage all kind of people to use Wikinews? Perhaps that's your idea with this phrasing but then would be needed to be more clear.

The purpose of 3.4 is to specifically talk about this type of contributor. Trying to recruit and retain a cohort of professional journalists as contributors will not be a specific goal of The Wikinewsie Group. There are economic incentives that would broadly preclude professional journalists from participating, and we could not offer them employment/funding/grants that would enable us to overcome this issue. That said, they are not specifically excluded as part of our mission. They are included in 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 and 3.5 even if they are not specifically mentioned. --LauraHale (talk) 12:23, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

[Medium] 4 This list of goals could become insufficient in future. In the other side, the goals are to much specific when a general description is more common in most of bylaws. That make clear your aims but could be restricting. We recommend a more general wording and a final legal clause that allows in future doing other related activities without the need of changing bylaws.

The organization is being created specifically for these purposes. It was the major point in seeking aff-comm recognition. That said, a general clause has been added to allow some additional freedom in this area. Hopefully this alleviates your concerns? --LauraHale (talk) 12:30, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
For me is enough. Salvador (WMMX) (talk) 21:52, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

[Clear] 4.1 This article puts 'Wikinews' and 'journalists' on the same level, which confuses the exact meaning. Could you clarify? Are you supporting the projects or the editors/journalists? The context suggests the latter.

We are supporting both at the same time. There is a problem with freelance open license reporters in getting media accreditation to events that require they have accreditation by a recognized media organization. We desire to assist in this area, with the belief that this will assist Wikinews in the long term in terms of encouraging journalists to participate on the project. --LauraHale (talk) 12:34, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

[Wording] 4.2 The phrase “making stories verifiable” seems listed as an activity itself, but we assume that actually is the topic of the “print materials” which are the true goal of this paragraph, true?

It says "such as", I'm not sure where the confusion lies. Print materials refers to creating paper handouts (as opposed to online training materials and videos) such as those found at Bookshelf/Wikinews. "neutral reporting, making stories verifiable and factual" is an area where we want to create training materials to support people in achieving these as reporting goals. --LauraHale (talk) 12:42, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

[Minor ] 4.4 Make explicit the abbreviation GLAM. We know what that means but as long as this draft will be a legal document and will be read even for people who are not involved in Wikimedia world, it should be understandable for everybody.

It's now stated in the bylaws. -Svavar Kjarrval (talk) 21:04, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Great! Salvador (WMMX) (talk) 22:24, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
See above. All references to GLAM have been removed from the bylaws. :D :D --LauraHale (talk) 12:43, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

[Medium] 5 We are not sure about the utility of this whole article or its purpose. While you have a few very clear objective criteria in which a potential member has to fall, that is made totally redundant by the very subjective "being a supporter of...".

Removed. We had originally intended this as a way to easily allow certain people such as members of governments and people involved in the governance non-profit journalism related organizations to join. This can be covered by the part saying "(4) by special invitation of the Board." so not a problem. :) --LauraHale (talk) 12:48, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

On the process: Is not so clear the relationship or interaction between Board and GA in matter of members approval. Can the GA annul a decision taken on this by the Board either in a negative or affirmative way?

The GA needs to ratify whatever the board does, so neither can act completely independently. --LauraHale (talk) 12:51, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
Clarification from my side: the possible situation where it gets confusing, is when someone is denied membership because the board doesn't like them. Right now, the text in the bylaws suggests that /both/ the board and GA have to approve for the membership to become active. This would (especially when there are long periods of time between GA's) leave people in 'limbo' for quite a while. In that mean time, would they be approved or not? Either would be fine, as long as it is clear to you. As comparison, several chapters have provisions that the applicant can 'appeal to the General Assembly' if they don't like the outcome. Usually members can be expelled by the GA, but not annulled. Effeietsanders (talk) 14:34, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

[Medium] 6 “Member rules” Do you refer only to bylaws or to a complimentary regulation regarding members?

They now clearly state to mean the membership contingents in the bylaws. -Svavar Kjarrval (talk) 21:20, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
OK. Salvador (WMMX) (talk) 22:28, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

[Minor] 6 Little recommendations: 1) Due the importance of COI maybe would be recommendable make with this stuff another separated article. 2) The current wording seems to assume that a COI can only involve one board member. We suggest a few minor changes to counter that. Most importantly when a decision has to be taken around a (P)COI by majority board decision, the involved members should not be allowed to vote. 3) Change the word “community” for another that refers directly to the association (members? assembly?)

I am unsure of the wording where you think this applies to only one board member. I have added an "or members" following member in that section. The COI part is in this section because it is viewed as a fundamental requirement for a board member and the section specifically deals with requirements for them. I have changed community for membership. Does this address your concerns? --LauraHale (talk) 12:57, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that addresses it fine. Thanks. Effeietsanders (talk) 14:34, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Second part in some days. Salvador (WMMX) (talk) 04:45, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for the feedback! :-) --Gryllida 09:04, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
Indeed. :-)  --Pi zero (talk) 11:03, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes, thank you! :D --LauraHale (talk) 12:58, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

Second part[edit]

[Clear] 7 "The annual General Meeting (...) shall be held at least once per year" If is "annual" then is once per year. If is the one Ordinary General Meeting is not needed to say "at least", due that the other type of meetings would be "extraordinary" as is defined in article 8.

Fixed. Thank you. --LauraHale (talk) 13:01, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

[Clear] 7 Please define when starts and finish your year. In some places "year" in legal terms is according to fiscal year. Many organizations either use a calendar year or the period between two annual meetings. The clarification can be made in this article or another.

Added an article 15 to explain the calendar year. Added article 2 to provisional part to clarify this. --LauraHale (talk) 14:37, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

[Important] 7 "...via an announcement on the Organization's website and its e-mail mailing list" We strongly recomend personal notifications either e-mail or conventional mail. One cannot expect all members (especially those not being Wikimedians) to read a mailing list or watch a website. This is in many countries even a legal requirement. Also, as you collect their email addresses anyway, this shouldn't be a big problem to do.

Conventional mail is not realistic (in terms of money and resources) at this point in time for an international organization, nor does Icelandic law require personal notifications. Email announcements on the mailing list, website, newsletter, Twitter, Facebook, IRC... should be more than enough. If at some point our membership do require some type of personal notifications, that can be studied, but the informal discussions we've had related to this topic suggest people only want one point of contact, not multiple because they feel it is spam-like and incredibly annoying. --LauraHale (talk) 14:24, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
If I look at the practice in existing chapters (those have the longest experience), which usually also have a high percentage of Wikimedians, I cannot think of examples where only public fora are used to announce a General Assembly. I agree that conventional mail is not very practical, but e-mail shouldn't be too complicated (there are great software tools to assist in this, too). While on one side you're saying that you want to reduce the emails because they might feel it is spam-like, on the other side you are basically requiring your members to subscribe to some (poorly defined) mailing list. If you design a dedicated mailing list, announcement-only and only for the General Assembly invitations, it becomes another story of course. Effeietsanders (talk) 15:00, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
I have changed e-mail mailing list to e-mail mailing lists. This means that all mailing lists for the group will be informed, including any purpose created specific announcement lists. I think this address your concerns because the people who feel overwhelmed will be able to select whatever mailing lists for the group they want to join. If they are not interested in engaging on them, which is possible, they will have the website and they will already know that they need to watch the website for announcements regarding the Ordinary General Meeting. (My understanding, having looked at voting participation rates for multiple chapters is that attenandance at these meetings is always low anyway, and the most dedicated cohort who will want to attend will be on the lists anyway.) --LauraHale (talk) 13:36, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

[Question] 7 Since the agenda for the meeting will be set at the announcement, that means that members cannot propose additional agenda items? If they can, it would be recommendable make it explicit. In our opinion, the current wording clashes slightly with the "other issues" defined down in number 7 of the list.

Setting an agenda does not mean members cannot have input into what the agenda will be prior to that moment. It only means that when the OGM is announced, the agenda has to be included. This is important so members who are less engaged will understand what is being said and can then make an informed decision regarding their desire to participate, especially if they want to vote by proxy. --LauraHale (talk) 14:29, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
Agenda items can be added, removed and changed during the assembly. This is usually done if there are any issues at the assembly or if the participants feel it makes more sense. However, 'other issues' deals with matters any participant wants to bring forth at the meeting without it being specifically included in the agenda. -Svavar Kjarrval (talk) 16:35, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
OK, thanks for clarifying. Effeietsanders (talk) 15:00, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

[Medium] 7 "Only members may participate and vote in the AGM" Why is a meeting restricted to members only? We recommend opening sessions to non-members as observers, even give them right to voice but no to vote.

This is a members meeting. This would be something we would oppose, especially if there are issues discussed related to journalism and privacy, an area that project journalists with source protection issues feel especially strongly about. There will be workshops and wikimeets for non-members, but the OGM will be for members. --LauraHale (talk) 14:42, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
I can think of several cases where you would want non-members to participate even: experts, minute takers, observers, candidate members (that need to be confirmed) or in a fictional future maybe even employees. I would suggest a solution more often used: add words along the lines of "and those invited to attend by the board or general assembly". That way you remain in control who can attend, but you keep the option to involve people when desirable. This is mostly a practical suggestion. Effeietsanders (talk) 15:00, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
Good idea. Thank you. This has been addressed with this edit. --LauraHale (talk) 13:41, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

[Question] 7 What do you refer exactly to "member and board authentication"? Can you explain it better? We assume would be a system with password or something related.

The meetings will almost certainly be on IRC. Thus, there will be some form of authentication that needs to take place in advance to prevent voter fraud. This could be something like requiring IRC accounts be registered with nickserv, and that members and the board provide their IRC nicknames to the chairperson in advance. We do not want to get into a more specific version of what authentication requires because if a solution looks less practical, we do not want our hands tied. --LauraHale (talk) 14:47, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
OK. Makes sense. I would suggest to add who is responsible for this authentication to avoid confusion here - but this is up to you. I would suggest the secretary to be responsible (who can then appoint someone else for that of course). This would be comparible with a list of names & signatures in physical assemblies. (minor suggestion) Effeietsanders (talk) 15:00, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
Fair point. This has been addressed with this edit. --LauraHale (talk) 13:45, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

[Minor] 8 33% to call to a EGM might be a high percentage and could make difficult to hold this kind of meetings which at first are really usefull to make changes. The final decision is yours but we invite you to consider a lower ratio.

We discussed this and there was a desire to find a number that would not allow one or two people to cause maximum drama by having a lower number, while at the same time allowing members to still be empowered by not setting too high a percentage. We initially had one or two people throwing around the number 50%. This 33% number was viewed as the ideal compromise.--LauraHale (talk) 14:49, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
What we see in other affiliates is that this high percentage especially becomes bothersome when an organization becomes more mature. An option would be to use two boundaries, for example: "33% or 15 members, whichever is lower". That way you have 33% when you have few members, and 15 members when you get more than 45 members. (minor suggestion) Effeietsanders (talk) 15:00, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
When we become more mature, this might be an issue that we can revisit. At the onset, we want to minimize drama and until we have a better idea of membership size, setting up an arbitrary number seems potentially problematic. :( --LauraHale (talk) 13:59, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

[Wording] 9 As far as we understand the Board has 5 members and is composed by 1 chairperson and 4 non-chairs, doesn't it? And the secretary and treasurer are non-chairs, true? We suggest rephrasing better because the first sentence is confusing in firsts readings,

Tweaked/Fixed. --LauraHale (talk) 14:53, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

[Medium] 9 (i) The Chairperson will preside at all meetings of the Board and of the general membership of the Organization. It might be situations when the Chair can preside but is not desirable that he presides, e.g. a COI process against him. We suggest make clear that Chairperson preside "ordinaly" and describe the rules in such cases. Perhaps the rules of abscence of the last paragraph could apply in this cases also.

Tweaked to say that. --LauraHale (talk) 14:56, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

[Important] 9 It's really notorious the total abscence of rules about majorities to elect Board members, requirements to vote, possibilities of reelection or times to make elections. Why? In the same order the last paragraph talks abour a ratification process in case of replacement, could you explain the rules and details for that process, please?

Given the global composition of the membership and the lack of requirement for specific rules related to this by Icelandic law, there was some hesitancy about getting into detailed specifics in the bylaws for fear of locking ourselves into an unworkable system. We would be happy to say the mechanisms for the issues you brought up will be included in a separate document subject to ratification at the OGM by a simple majority. --LauraHale (talk) 15:06, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
That would indeed be a practical solution. It would probably make sense to refer to the existance of this document explicitely in the bylaws, so that no uncertainty can exist over that. Effeietsanders (talk) 15:00, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
This has been addressed with this edit. --LauraHale (talk) 14:07, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
@Effeietsanders, Thank you for taking the comment. I hope we have addressed your concerns. If you have any additional ones, please let us know. --LauraHale (talk) 14:10, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

[Medium] 10 A quorum based on a percentage makes more sense than on a number. There might be a temporary situation with only 3 board members.

Tweaked. --LauraHale (talk) 15:10, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

[Medium] 12 This process seems incomplete: Creation of the agenda for the session. Can be the proposed changes rejected by the board? Announce of the meeting and notification to members of suggested changes. Is it 66% of the votes or of the members? We can suggest begin with a slower percentage (50%?) to allow change easily the Bylaws according to the dynamic of the group.

It has to be the EGM/OGM who accepts or rejects changes. "66% voting" implies of votes, not of the whole membership. We do not think that changing the bylaws should be too easy because it opens the door for massive potential drama and frequent changes would create confusion. --LauraHale (talk) 15:26, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
The wording does not suggest the board can reject any changes to the bylaws the EGM approves. It only states either a member or a board member can propose such changes. -Svavar Kjarrval (talk) 16:35, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

[Important] 12 This article contradicts with Art. 7 on majority. Art. 7 says all votes before the membership will only require a simple majority.

Article 7 refers to the OGM. Article 12 refers to the EGM. Nonetheless, a change was made to clarify this point. --LauraHale (talk) 15:36, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

[Important] 13 Could you please give us some additional context/explanation of this article? What is the goal? Is it possible have a surplus?

This is an Icelandic requirement to discuss how non-profits will use their surplus money. It is possible to have a surplus if all your funds are not allocated for specific programming purposes at the end of the fiscal year, or if you dissolve the organization and there is still money in the bank. --LauraHale (talk) 15:42, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
The point is to prevent any surplus to be eligible to be paid out to members, as a dividend. Instead, it must be moved to the next fiscal year. -Svavar Kjarrval (talk) 16:35, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

[Medium] 14 "...with the specific procedures of this specified in internal procedures." What internal procedures?

This would be organizational procedures that will be developed for how day to day operations of the organization will run. They have not been created at this juncture but we once we have them, they will be approved by the board. (Broadly speaking, this would also include things like codes of conduct, specific accounting practices, etc.) --LauraHale (talk) 15:46, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

[Wording] 14 "or others purposes that do not distort" sounds very broad. Perhaps: "other purposes focused in reach the association goals and according the non-profit nature of the organization."

This wording is Icelandic specific and deals with how Iceland treats non-profits. Hence, a hesitancy to change it. --LauraHale (talk) 15:49, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

These are the comments that we have till now. Thank you for your patiente. :D If you have any question don't hesitate in ask. Salvador (WMMX) (talk) 22:12, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Thank you very much for the response. :) If you need anything more from us, please let us know. :) --LauraHale (talk) 15:49, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
I have a small question: in [Important] 9 you state it is "notorious" to lack the prescriptions. I am unsure how this is intended to be heard by the group as the term is generally understood to mean "widely known, generally for something bad; infamous." Is it safe to assume you intended to imply that it is an inappropriate status to lack these prescriptions, one which is important to correct? - Amgine/meta wikt wnews blog wmf-blog goog news 15:51, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
Amgine being also a Wiktionarian. :-)  (There is btw, iirc, an old sense of notorious that's slightly different; but I'd have to do some research to check myself, and in any case it's still a negative sense.) --Pi zero (talk) 03:25, 10 September 2013 (UTC)