Talk:WikiProject Med/Archives/2012

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Foundation recognition[edit]

There is a discussion about getting Foundation recognition of this project, occurring atTalk:Step-by-step_Thematic_Organization_creation_guide.--Anthonyhcole (talk) 04:29, 25 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Now that conversation is happening on this page. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 01:21, 25 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikimedia medicine email list[edit]

You can join the email list discussing this project. Ask James.--Anthonyhcole (talk) 04:29, 25 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would like to join this mailing list. Thanks. Vinicius Siqueira (talk) 19:31, 29 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Me too, thank you! NCurse (talk) 16:04, 1 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Email me and I will send you an invite. Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 04:28, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Quality of content[edit]

It would be great if the mission included something about the quality of the content. There is a fair amount of open source health information available, but high quality content that satisfies en:WP:MEDMOS and en:WP:MEDRS should be our aim. JFW (talk) 17:36, 18 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agree and feel free to change the wording to reflect this. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 17:39, 18 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm wondering if we should mention all Wikimedia projects in the description of the purview. Definitions on Wiktionary need attention, and there's plenty of room for expansion of med/bio images at Commons. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 05:25, 19 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Excellent suggestion and feel free to change this proposal yourself. You do great work Anthony thus I am hoping you will be willing to join us. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 00:23, 20 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How's this for a mission statement?

to make comprehensive, reliable, well-organised, well-written and well-presented, current, evidence-based medical knowledge available to all people in their preferred language

--Anthonyhcole(talk) 06:50, 24 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes. How about splitting it over two sentences

To make high quality medical knowledge available to all people in their preferred language, where high quality refers to comprehensive, reliable, well-written, current, and evidence based

? Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 17:06, 29 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's better! --Anthonyhcole (talk) 14:53, 30 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Continuing along the same lines...

To make high quality medical knowledge available to all people in their preferred language, where "high quality" refers to relevant content that is reliable and evidence-based; comprehensive and up-to-date; and clearly expressed.

MistyMorn (talk) 10:14, 1 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Great. Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 04:22, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Board membership[edit]

I'm not a doctor and have no relevant skills to bring to the board, so won't be applying for membership, but I'd like to very carefully follow the activities of the board. Will all board discussions occur in the open except for those involving personal or commercial-in-confidence information (but I can't imagine much of that)? That is, will the board restrict its discussion of policy and initiatives to fora where others interested in this project can scrutinise that discussion?

I can see no reason for anything but radical transparency here, and would like to hear the views of others on this point. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 05:18, 19 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I see no reason why anyone interested should be restricted from joining. Besides board members there would be general members. Since Wikipedia is the single most consulted source of health information in the world I think that everyone in the world has some stake in the work of this project, so it may not be appropriate to restrict membership to health professionals. Blue Rasberry(talk) 20:44, 19 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We want people from all walks of life not just medical professionals. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 00:19, 20 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree, Blue Rasberry and James, and very much want to be an assembly member; but on the board I'd like to see an accountant, a lawyer, philosophers of science and epistemology, a professor or recognised expert or two in pedagogy, as well as some expertise in medicine communication and curricula. That's ideal of course. I'd be happy to contribute within my limitations to board decisions if we're so bereft of options that that becomes useful, or for a limited time during this formative stage, but hopefully we're not that desperate.--Anthonyhcole (talk) 06:13, 24 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Those are very high standards you have :-) We are simply a group of people who care deeply about providing accurate health care information to the world in the language of their choice. We welcome all who share this vision. And if one has time and while to pursue it to a greater degree we would welcome you on the board. Most of what boards do is boring stuff like make sure that the bank accounts balance and the government is paid their yearly fees. Organizing funding will also be a key part. Doc James(talk · contribs ·email) 02:17, 25 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, we may have to start with each other but, hopefully, as this thing gains momentum and gets some runs on the board we'll be able to attract a few Nobel laureates :)--Anthonyhcole (talk) 04:21, 25 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Probably not, and you don't want them on your board anyway. You put people like that on advisory boards. You do not invite them to spend hours talking about what kind of fundraiser to hold next or whether the budget for next year is realistic and whether it is worth spending thousands of dollars getting books officially audited.
Board membership is largely boring administrative work, plus an opportunity to be blamed for anything that goes wrong, or that seems to go wrong in someone's opinion, or that doesn't happen exactly when and how someone wanted it to. It is not a glamorous job. It is likely to be about as much fun as serving on ArbCom. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:17, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WAID it would be great to have you as a board member. Interested in taking on this role? Agree that it is mostly boring stuff / paperwork. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 17:36, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd prefer WAID to any Nobel laureate, butshe's declined. She's right, though, if it's not fun, we shouldn't be doing it. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 22:00, 22 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How can one become a board member? NCurse (talk) 08:36, 22 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Board members are currently set. However join and during the next elections you can apply to be a board member. Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 08:42, 22 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you! NCurse (talk) 12:27, 24 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


User:Anthonyhcole above asked for radical transparency in this groups' discussions. I presume that this chapter would be managed as any other existing Wikipedia chapter according to established norms.

One thing which comes to my mind which might be different is that perhaps this group should have a private ethics review board should it ever come to pass that personally identifiable health content, such as media files being presented to demonstrate health conditions, become commonly passed through this project. Probably this group should make public statements on the ethics of sharing health-related media files, and probably some ethics discussions about sharing media content should happen in private as is the tradition when disclosure of information can harm persons. I think these would be unusual cases but still much more likely to happen in a medicine project than in any other kind of project. It is very common in many countries for organizations to have ethical review of media content they publish; perhaps such review would be appropriate for housing in this project at some point. Blue Rasberry(talk) 20:59, 19 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree that basically everything should occur out in the open. This will give us a foundation from which to apply for grants and a legal entity with which to interact with other organizations.
Developing guidelines regarding ethics can take place in the open. Specific cases that involved identifiable people may need to take place behind closed doors. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 00:22, 20 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I hate to say this, but transparency sometimes interferes with getting the job done. There are good legal and ethical restrictions to transparency that most people accept, but there are some practical ones, too. It's hard to get candid comments and opinions if people worry that they'll be targeted by trolls. If you make a public commitment to "radical transparency", then the mere belief that something wasn't disclosed or adequately discussed will become a bone of contention. I'd suggest that you formally adopt a strategy of "best practices" or some such phrase, and then do your best in practice to be radically transparent within legal/ethical limits. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:25, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Now, this is why you should be on the board. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 22:06, 22 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Existing initiatives[edit]

Some existing initiatives that this entity could oversee or support include:

  • Translation initiative
  • Peer review and open source journal publication of Wikipedia articles
  • There's at least one other initiative from James that I can't bring to mind at the moment.

Thoughts? --Anthonyhcole (talk) 06:29, 24 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agree that is the idea. As well as the collaborations with WHO, Cochrane and pubmed. These organizations are interested in the possibility of Wikipedians in Residence.Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 13:03, 24 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's what I was trying to remember! --Anthonyhcole (talk) 13:43, 24 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I keep the main things I am working on listed on my user page under "current projects"Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 02:11, 25 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Political advocacy[edit]

Just want to point out this is a bit of a grey area in the law and after incorporating if we engage in certain actions of political advocacy without consulting a lawyer we could run into legal problems. Just a little disclaimer. Peter.C (talk) 06:12, 29 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There are two actions which interest me - making political statements and endorsing political statements of others. Some examples of political statements of relevance to this group are the following:
  1. All government health organizations should freely release online any health data and media which they have collected and created for educating the public
  2. Governments should support Internet media as a tool for educating the public on health topics
Should there ever be a case when any government or government-funded entity has some educational health media for the public which it produced under a non-free license then I propose that Wikimedia Medicine have the option to request that government entity to make that media free and to change laws so that similar media will be free. If some other organization is petitioning for a change in law which would free health information then I think that Wikimedia Medicine has stakeholdership to be able to endorse such petitions from other organizations.
I have heard about problems other organizations have had accessing health media intended for the public but which is not free. I think it would be in line with Wikimedia Medicine goals to be conscious of issues related to access to educational health media and to issue statements advocating for free access to public educational health media. I also do not want legal trouble in making such statements and we should get legal advice about what limit the organization has in making such statements.
I think that this issue is relevant now - I think that it would be great if from the inception of the organization we asked for free access to the public's taxpayer-funded health educational media in all countries. Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:23, 29 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
One is allowed to spend 10-15% of their income on political activities up here in Canada and still remain a charity. If you spend more however you are not eligible for charity status.
We should support other organizations, institutions and governments in releasing their health related content under an open license. Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 17:01, 29 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I proposed some political advocacy issues here - Wikimedia_MED/Advocacy. I would love to learn more about potential problems for doing political advocacy - if it is only a matter of not spending much money then that sounds great, because spending money to do advocacy is not something that I ever imagined doing. I was thinking about endorsing efforts which were started by other organizations. Blue Rasberry (talk) 17:20, 29 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes as far as I am aware we are allowed to support / endorse efforts of other organizations. The IRS only cares when tax deductible donations are funding it from my understanding. But of course I am not a lawyer. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 17:24, 29 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As I understand it, the IRS only cares about the money (that's their job), and they primarily only care about spending that is intended to influence votes/support a particular candidate for elected office. I doubt that any WMF-related organization would have any reason to do that anyway. In the US, organizations have a free-speech right to say (for example) that they support open access to research results. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:31, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I wrote some by-laws[edit]

Hey guys, what do you think of these by-laws I am proposing? Here is the main pageand here is my editing process. Blue Rasberry(talk) 23:18, 29 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Great call. Using Wikimedia NYC bylaws will make things easy. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 23:35, 29 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you! I've asked Bence for input here.--Anthonyhcole (talk) 14:59, 30 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Introducing myself[edit]

Hi everyone! My name is Vinicius Siqueira, I'm wikimedian since 2007, four years before begining my studies at Medical School in the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). I'm former administrator of pt.wikipedia and, presently, I've been involved in the stablishment of the brazilian Wikimedia chapter and started last semester as campus ambassador in my university. This year I had the pleasure of attending Wikimania in Washington DC and this event showed some activities combining Wikimedia projects and healthcare subjects in what I'm very interested. Despite this conversation had taken place in Wikimania I was not advised about that. Occasionally I met this page in meta's recent changes and got very excited, so I'm available to help in the way I'll be able. One of the strongest reasons I have to be here is to bring the effects of this chapter to brazilian and all other portuguese speakers. Thank you,Vinicius Siqueira (talk) 04:26, 30 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To bad we did not meet up. I spent some of my training in Presidente Prudente[1] at Santa Casa hospital and UNOESTE. Welcome.Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 05:05, 30 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That really is unfortunate that we did not meet. If you have any ideas about how to plan a collaboration between this group and Wikimedia Brazil then please share. Blue Rasberry(talk) 13:40, 30 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good to have you here. :) --Anthonyhcole (talk) 14:41, 30 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes. It was too bad not meeting you in Wikimania, but we will have other opportunities to offset this. James, I really appreciate to know that you have walked through terras brasileiras. I hope you come back soon! Wikimedia Brasil is not even a consolidated chapter. We are leading for this. Talking to an organization of medical students of my university, exactly trying to think about a partnership, I thought in contribute to the Translation Task Force, improving content in Portuguese. I will enjoy if you share some ideas you have in this purpose. Vinicius Siqueira (talk) 06:49, 1 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Bence has just pointed to this questionnaire. These and some other questions will be put to us in a week. I thought we might give some thought to answers now so we're better prepared when the committee gets back to us.

  • Who are the people behind this application?
    • How many?
    • any active (on local or international level) Wiki[pm]edians? (please provide user names and wiki of origin)
    • Active in which communities if any?
  • Could you give a short overview of the time path of the founding up to now?
  • Have there been any activities/meetings etc. of this group of people?
  • What kind of activities are planned for the future in the chapter?
  • Do you have an overview of how many Wikimedians would like to join the chapter when founded?
  • Have the bylaws been reviewed by a lawyer/specialist?
  • How can we help you?

--Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:11, 30 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Here is how I would answer this with some ideas on how to progress forward:
  • We have a more than enough people (nine) so we are good in that category and they all seem active from various parts of the world. We could work on an official list with who people are and what they do for people to fill out on their own.
  • Don't quite understand that one. We had an idea and all developments on it are on this meta page.
  • A lot of us met up at Wikimania and discussed it, but perhaps we could have some sort of online meetup (Google hangout?) and discuss it further? Maybe even set up a monthly meeting?
  • [[2]]
  • I would assume the same 9 that listed.
  • No, when they are finalized I will send off a copy to the lawyer working on incorporation and to Newyorkbrad who has his own niche in Wiki law.
Just a little cheat sheet to refer back to with some ideas. Peter.C (talk) 02:30, 31 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I can propose an answer for the question about the path to founding. I think this could be an overview of members' personal histories about how they came to feel the need to start a group - for example, "User was coordinating a project which required formal structure which only an organization could provide." It might not be a bad idea to have 1-2 sentence profiles of members on a list of why they are in this group. I have never seen that done with WikiProjects but perhaps since this group will be setting a precedent it would be worth considering if there was any reason to do this. That could be a way to describe group history -it is a convergence of the work of many individuals. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:24, 31 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Concerning the question "any active (on local or international level) Wiki[pm]edians?", Doc James is active both locally and internationally - for example he's coming to the UK at the end of the month for an event sponsored by two national chapters. Also I serve on the board of Wikimedia UK, and hopefully I can bring some of my experience to the process of setting up WMMED. I'm sure others will be able to give examples of their local and international level as wikimedians. --RexxS (talk) 19:13, 22 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Non-Wikipedian membership[edit]

The quality of health information on Wikipedia is not just the business of Wikipedians; I think I could argue that the information on this website has a significant effect on a significant percentage of the world's population as compared to the influence of any other educational health outreach project. About having Wikipedians join - it might be the case that someday a health organization may want to join the board as a non-Wikipedian and that could be a good thing. Stakeholdership in this organization is not just among the Wikipedia community - I think it might be worth counting how many people would join this organization rather than just how many Wikimedians. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:24, 31 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agree completely. There are editors of journals who are interested in joining, members ofw:en:Translators Without Borders and a number of profs / others in the open source movement. Anyone who shares our goal of making Wikipedia/Wikimedia better and using it to get health care information to all will be welcome to join. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 15:51, 31 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
People with detailed knowledge of health publishing and open source medicine would be very welcome indeed. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 17:32, 1 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Really encouraging stuff, imo. Although not much of a contributor myself, I'm acutely aware of the relevance of what Bluerasberry is saying. I feel this is a good path to be pursuing.—MistyMorn (talk) 20:11, 4 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  • It occurs to me that this effort would be at liberty to adopt sourcing rules distinct from MEDRS that could prevent many of the difficulties seen in the Wikipedia article-space. We might, for instance, support a positive FUTON bias, which would tend to better support verifiability (not to mention helping incent authors to choose open publication).
  • Although it never fails to astound me what Wikipedia:RX is able to find, it would still be much better to have an explicit cooperation arrangement with publishers. Such arrangement should seek to provide easy access to major sources, at least for some established editors. (It is understandable that commercial publishers' stockholders might balk at opening the door to free access for all readers, they would no doubt need some assurance against widespread abuse.)
  • Many publishers already make available free access to institutions in developing countries, through efforts such as the WHO's HINARI. Doing so here could be a logical extension of that concept, by assisting Wikimedia Medicine efforts to provide such information.

LeadSongDog (talk) 17:54, 31 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Excellent idea. If we at WM:MED could get access for our members that would be a huge plus. I asked my University library about the possibility. They have very tough contracts signed with publishers about who exactly can get access via them. Let me check with WHO.Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 18:11, 31 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
!!! This proposal could be a winning situation for all involved. Blue Rasberry (talk) 19:19, 31 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I can't support a positive FUTON bias but do support the use of a free over a non-free source when each is making the same point and is equally reliable. And I'm not sure it's our call anyway. Sourcing policy seems to me to be firmly a matter for English Wikipedia and the other individual projects. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 17:25, 1 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, well there's the nub. Are we talking about articles to be developed on en WP, then ported, or are we talking about a different partnership, that develops the content on WM:MED and then ports it to other WPs equally, revising as needed for each project's rules?LeadSongDog (talk) 18:21, 1 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Either way I won't personally support allowing a source's free availability to outweigh reliability. I see the writing and online publishing happening at en.Wikipedia, de.Wikipedia, Wiktionary, etc., and images hosted and curated at Commons. This body, Wikimedia Medicine, will facilitate those processes by liaising with professional bodies, institutions, businesses, NGO's, governments, etc. But that's just how I see it. The purpose of this discussion is to hear all ideas. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 19:41, 1 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Dear me, I certainly didn't intend that FUTON should outweigh reliability, quite the opposite. FUTON encourages reliability. Increasingly major journals are publishing some or all content freely, and such articles see substantially higher citation rates. The present ruleset assumes that a source's value is unrelated to its accesssibility, but that is patently false: If a single wp editor misinterprets an offline source, that error is far more likely to persist than if the source was online and accessible by any interested reader. No one is going to advocate ignoring a systematic review in Lancet for a reader comment in PLoS One, but where sources are of similar relevance and reliability, why not prefer the one that actually gets used by readers? LeadSongDog (talk) 16:03, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I misunderstood you. We agree. And I like your idea for free online access to journals and textbooks for members. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 00:52, 3 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What to do about sourcing kind of depends on your audience. So Doc James mostly chooses review articles, because that will be more impressive to other physicians than equally good textbooks. Students might make the opposite choice, because it will feel better to other students. Patients might reject both options and choose lay-friendly patient-oriented websites, brochures, or books, because that will be better for their audience, which is other patients.
Personally, I think the best option for the English Wikipedia (usually) is to have a mix of sources: review articles for up-to-date evidence on what works best, textbooks for physiology, diagnosis, and such, the occasional freely available patient-oriented website for simple information, etc. But figuring out what's "best" depends significantly on what you're actually trying to accomplish. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:22, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I do use a lot of textbooks as references. A number of very broad topics do not have reviews which deal with the subject matter as a whole. And of course for pathophysiology as you mention.Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 04:17, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I know. But the question about sourcing is really about audience: when you have a choice, when the information could be adequately sourced to several different types of sources, which do you choose? The answer is, I think, that it depends on your target audience. MEDRS, for example, prefers secondary sources, which indicates an audience choice: we are choosing clinicians and patients over researchers (who would find it far more convenient if we cited the best primary sources instead of review articles and textbooks). So what's the audience for this group? Knowing that will tell us a lot. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:34, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Secondary sources typically carry the primary sources within them. Thus this would satisfy the researcher. Our audience is general but yes we are leaning towards summaries which are more applicable to physicians and patients than to researchers in that specific field.Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 17:43, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
While definitely agree that researchers don't need Wikipedia for their field, I do take the point that not citing major trials can seem strange. (In an ideal world, I suppose we'd have articles dedicated to notable trials based on secondary sources...)—MistyMorn (talk) 20:17, 4 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Adding: I tend to agree that it would be good to find a practical way of providing multiple sources for different types of reader. I suppose there could be several ways of doing this. Such as by using footnotes in addition to references (example), or referencing first mentions of concepts, where appropriate with reliable material written for a general audience. Though I can see the relevance of using high quality textbooks, for verification (or further reading) I find they're the opposite of FUTON—very difficult to access without physical access to a library. Ideally, I feel it would be good to develop editorial solutions that favour multiple readerships (per WAITM's point)... nobody excluded—even academics browsing outside their own field. I guess that challenges to doing this sort of thing include sorting out the editorial esthetics (general usability considerations) and safeguarding against gaming the system (pov-pushing etc). Inevitably too, there are intrinsic limitations to universal comprehensibility: however carefully presented, certain parts of articles (eg detailed immunology bits!) are always likely to remain difficult reading for the majority of our readers. —MistyMorn(talk) 17:38, 23 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First, do no harm...[edit]

If this project develops high quality medical content on its own, which can be used and referenced in many projects, great. But I'd like some reassurance that its purpose isn't going to end up being as an external group coordinating the exclusion of information from Wikipedia merely because it is not universally agreed, or conventional. I want a Wikipedia that covers all the herbal remedies, true and false alike, citing all the sources from the Ebers Papyrus to the Ethnobotanical Journal. I want a Wikipedia - accurately representing the tentative nature of the research - that covers breaking news stories that amount to a newspaper article and a primary journal article. I don't want this displaced by content that is "conservative", out of date by design, or which dismisses unread any part of the collective literature of mankind, even the crazy parts. If your project offers a chance to create a finer focus with a more carefully sorted pool of editors and content, that's great - as long as it provides anadditional resource, and doesn't exclude the broader goal of reflecting all human knowledge. In that case, I think it will be a most worthy enterprise. Wnt (talk) 00:44, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sure. One has to be very careful covering breaking news as it is so frequently simply wrong / misinterpreted / out of context. A lot of the herbal stuff is written as adverting on Wikipedia unfortunately. Would be great if more people would want to help fix this but not my interest. The goal is to write balance, NPOV, health care content based on the best available resources. Other organizations have similar goes and this organization would help facilitate that.Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 00:54, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikipedia is the page/portal that floats to the top of most search engine results, so it is the Wikipedia article on a topic that will present any content that WM:MED sponsors or generates (same for definitions at Wiktionary and images at Commons). So, regardless of where it comes from, regardless of what policies and guidelines WM:MED may impose, content will have to conform to the policies and guidelines of those projects before they will host it.--Anthonyhcole (talk) 12:34, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Can you help this person?[edit]

This is not that uncommon: there was just a posting to the Science Refdesk on Wikipedia by an Ethiopian IP address, w:User:,

"my name is ___ Ethiopian live in AddisAbaba my phone no ___ email add. ___
"MY CHILD Dagmawe born September1996 with spania bifida problem now he is sick he did not eat food he have infected in his leg and back sit place he have long treatment anti biotic and test gastric, kidney, sugar and stool but not problem on the result his weight will be drop day to day is their highly infected part in his back and leg no Doctor to give me solution and a real information to me p/s help me by advice urgently tank you for your reply soon."

To which the "ethical" people at the Refdesk dutifully responded,

"This question has been removed. Per the reference desk guidelines, the reference desk is not an appropriate place to request medical, legal or other professional advice, including any kind of medical diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment recommendations. For such advice, please see a qualified professional..."

Question: is there any way to see a clear ethical path to not tell people like this to FOAD, or does the moral imperative of denying medical information to the world's poor so outweigh all other considerations that there is nowhere that any well meaning volunteer should be permitted to try to talk with someone like this, get some understanding of the situation, and look for simple ideas and resources to help? Wnt (talk) 10:55, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have occasionally pointed a talk page questioner to an article or section that addresses their question. But the way things are presently set up, I can't endorse going any further than that. We all want this reader (and their doctor) to be able to quickly and easily find a trustworthy answer to their medical question online. Ultimately, that's what WT:MED and WM:MED are about. We're not there yet. But we will get there, and soon.--Anthonyhcole (talk) 12:25, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think that Wikimedia Medicine ought to maintain input into themedical disclaimer and inform other projects, like the help desk, of how it ought to be used. To make an example of this case by giving a proposal about how I think queries like this ought to be answered, I think that a good response would include the following:
  1. Simple condolence without leading the person on to think that they should talk more about their situation
  2. A link to the medical disclaimer with a statement that Wikipedia provides information, but not advice
  3. A link to information which relates to their question - in this case, the article onspina bifida
I do not know the legal subtleties between giving advice and directing people to information, but in this case Wikipedia had something useful to share to this person (information about a disease) but because the questioner asked for advice instead of information, the person was directed to leave with nothing. I would like to think that it would be possible to say, "Sorry, we do not have advice, but here is some information." We should probably take ownership of developing best practices for how to handle requests for medical advice.
I do not blame the people at the help desk - I think they are following best practices as they exist and can be understood now. Blue Rasberry (talk) 12:54, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agree. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 13:31, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was hoping you'd provide an alternative to Wikipedia rather than merely interpreting or interfering in its policies. I mean, the nearest alternative for this person is... Yahoo Answers? Can't you or Wikipedia do better than that? It's not good enough to link to spina bifida - to answer this question, someone would need to talk to this person, get out all the little details (like whether the kid still has a visible infection or not at this point) and research the literature a bit. Then he can point the questioner to potentially relevant information. I still don't think that's advice - I don't think that helping someone research the literature is advice. Wnt (talk) 13:34, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This seems like the question, am I willing to practice medicine online, as what you describe would be taking a history and providing advice. I would be unable to do a physical exam, I have had people offer to send me their lab work and imaging to which I have declined. While I think this service would potentially have benefits I 1) am concerned about issues of liability and licensing. These are huge and includes not only fines but jail sentences if it is deemed you are practicing medicine in a jurisdiction without a license. I have just had two physician friends who where tossed out of Africa recently. One was in Kenya/Somalia with Doctors Without Borders. The government decided they did not want help for their people. The other was tossed out of Zimbabwe over similar issues. Africa has more issues than just a lack of physicians. 2) asecond issue is that I do not have time to provide one on one care via the Internet 3) I simply would be unable to provide good care. I will likely volunteer with MSF one day but you cannot do medicine justice from across the world.Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 14:11, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I appreciate that there are harsh and unjust laws, but there are other sites like that routinely allow patients to talk about their experiences and share ideas. Why should Wikipedia, or a project you begin, not be able to do as they do, with a wider focus? Wnt (talk) 22:10, 3 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There are several reasons.
  • Nothing happens without a community, and there is no community to organize or support this at this time. The reality is that Wikipedia is the world's most popular website for sharing health information and even it is desperately low on contributors and participants. There are no human resources to expand focus. I want to build Wikipedia's social network for one goal before breaking that community to tackle separate projects.
  • There is a likelihood of a bad result (by not helping people, by harming people, and by wasting time and money) when carelessly beginning a health support network, and right now, a careless beginning is the only option for which we have resources to try.
  • I contribute to Wikimedia projects because it is, by my evaluation, the best possible use of my time. I truly feel that contributors to other sites like gout pal would bring more benefit into the world if they abandoned their work until they had fully developed informational content on Wikipedia. More people have greater need for Wikipedia than their website. All benefit starts with sharing basic information - after Wikipedia is developed then other projects will be meaningful.
Blue Rasberry(talk) 17:13, 4 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The above prompted me to look at Category:Health in Ethiopia on WP, and the coverage truly is in a sad state. Still, providing a link to whatever coverage we do have could assist people in finding whatever local care is available, without attempting to practice at a distance. Sometimes, this sort of thing actually improves WP too. LeadSongDog(talk) 19:10, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We should also encourage all people to improve Wikipedia. These people may be willing to help fix the current situation. Doc James(talk · contribs ·email) 19:14, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Questions from ChapComm[edit]


  1. What is your scope? What definition of medicine are you planning to use?
    We are using the common definition of medicine and our scope is the same as that of Wikiproject Medicine Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 11:59, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Indulge me. What is the "common" definition (Western? Easten?) and to which Wikiproject Medicine are you referring? That of the English Wikipedia, Spanish Wikipedia, French Wikipedia...? Raystorm (talk) 14:12, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    We have a nice page here on the definition. w:en:Medicine Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 14:18, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Western, I guess then. Japanese wp article could do with some work, btw.Raystorm (talk) 14:35, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Eastern medicine is not precisely the same as alternative medicine with an Oriental origin. Do you have a particular area of interest that you think is being overlooked or unfairly excluded? WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:50, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think, the aim of the question is generally to see that you have thought through what should or should not fall withing your scope (it is after all, entirely your decision to draw any lines you agree on, or be totally inclusive). Given that we are not medical experts, it would help us understand your definition if you were a bit more specific than a link to Wikipedia. Even if medicine is very broad, would you consider devoting special attention to improving content on traditional or alternative medicine, or would you rather prefer to make cutting edge results available to all? Are there any fault-lines along which people might consider a practice or idea part or not part of medicine – and if so, do you have a position on the issue?
    Medicine is a very broad topic, and you aim to create an organization with global reach, we want to see that your mission, membership, structure is compatible with this aim -there is a bit of a worry – that your answers and action can assuage – that there would be a crowding out effect for local volunteers if your actions didn't reach their parts of the world, or doesn't cover their understanding of medicine and they are unable to participate in WM:MED. (Technically, it would be possible to have more thematic organisations focused on medicine, but in practice it would be a bit controversial and difficult to set up, that is why we want WM:MED to succeed and be inclusive from the get-go.) --Bence (talk) 17:17, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yes it is a very broad topic which is why it is difficult to come up with a simple definition. I like the Wikipedia definition "Medicine is the applied science or practice of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease" The key words I think are "applied science or practice" and "disease". This referencing guideline is also key[3] Not sure what you mean by "crowding out effect for local volunteers if your actions didn't reach their parts of the world" Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 18:10, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The following terms describe medicine as a cultural practice and not as a scientific practice: traditional, modern, Eastern, Oriental, allophathic, Western, conventional, andalternative. This chapter is to develop articles on the scientific practice and non-scientific cultural practice of medicine and to maintain a distinction between the two. The way to make the distinction between scientific practices and non-scientific cultural practices is to consider whether a practice is evidence-based or non-evidence based, and none of the cultural words above necessarily indicate that difference. "Evidence-based medicine" is a technical term which refers to "scientific evidence", and that also is a technical term. There is rarely any confusion about what is scientific and what is not. The usual conflict which WikiProject Medicine encounters is that someone does not distinguish between scientific practice and non-scientific practice, and asserts that a cultural practice is scientific or that a scientific practice is cultural without considering any scientific evidence. There is opportunity in this chapter for anyone who wants to develop cultural or scientific articles on medicine, but this chapter cannot entertain discussions which begin with the premise that scientific information is directly equivalent with non-scientific information or that sometimes it is not possible to distinguish the two. That distinction should transcend all cultures. Lots of cultural practices are scientific. The general word "medicine" in English, as a default, refers to evidence-based medicine. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:25, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Perhaps it's worth pointing out that the term "evidence-based medicine" is arecent coinage, from around 1990—even though many of its principles are less recent. As defined by one of its original proponents, Evidence based medicine is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. The practice of evidence based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research.[4]. I think Blueraspberry is rightly considering evidence-based medicine in a broad sense as medical practice that is grounded in scientific evidence. —MistyMorn (talk) 14:40, 22 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Per James and Blue Rasberry, en:WP:MED's scope is the scope I envision for this themed organisation. Per Bence, we should agree on a statement that summarises that. Bence, WP:MED encompasses all content related to health, including Eastern, traditional, folk, fringe, alternative, complementary and anything else that touches on health. Where there is scientific evidence related to a view, or where scientific consensus is clear on a view, we report that. Where there isn't, we report that. en.WP articles on traditional medicine and fringe medicine are as carefully curated as any other health-related content.--Anthonyhcole (talk) 13:24, 22 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In our real world, there will presumably be a need to prioritise topics that are clinically relevant to different settings, based on available scientific evidence. I don't think, say, the physiological notions used in traditional Chinese Medicine (however interesting they may be from several viewpoints) need be a particular concern of the present project, whereas scientific evidence of the efficacy or otherwise of particular therapies or practices might be. From a global perspective, I think the project may eventually have to address relevant challenges regarding our approach to traditional forms of medicine in their original settings. Such questions may be especially relevant for some the most isolated and vulnerable of peoples, for whom antibiotics, say, may be a very important tool to survive contact with the outside world, and whose traditional ways also require utmost respect. I feel that we should be aware of the anthropological dimension.—MistyMorn (talk) 13:08, 23 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  1. Do you intend to limit yourselves to Western medicine?
    See above for the scope. If you look at our article on say Common cold you will notice that all aspects are covered including history, social aspects, and alternative medicine.Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 11:59, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Your scope only intends to impact English Wikipedia, then? Raystorm(talk) 14:12, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    There are language links to the left and one goal is to get content into all 285 languages in which Wikipedia currently exists and more. We are also hoping to find authors to specifically address language / culture specific content within languages. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 18:16, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  2. Do you intend to focus on the Anglophone world?
    No. A big part of this effort is improving content in other languages. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 11:59, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Terrific! How? Have you for example contacted other language Medicine Wikiprojects?Raystorm (talk) 14:12, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Have left notes on the talk pages of all other Wikiprojects. Discourse will primarily take place in English because medical research primarily takes place in English. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 18:14, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    With respect to the translation project I have contacted all other Medicine Wikiprojects. I have also spoken to medical schools in both India and Nepal about becoming involved with the Wikimedia Movement. Will be posting further about this thematic group. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 14:18, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    IMO, the multilingual/multicultural nature of the global Wikipedia project offers great opportunities for local access to good quality, evidence-based medical information worldwide. For historical and institutional reasons, most of the primary and secondary sources providing high-quality evidence are originally published in the English language. Despite the existence of worthwhile translation/digest services in non-anglophone countries, the reality is that medical professionals who aren't wholly confident in English are at a disadvantage. The opportunities that Wikipedia provides for sharing well-sourced information across languages and cultures may help redress some of this imbalance in ways that could be relevant around the world (including the poorer parts of the world). In this view, I see Doc James's translation project as an exciting step in the realization of some of these potentials. Obviously, great sensitivity is needed to avoid perception of initiatives like this as a form of anglophone colonialism. One of the advantages of Wikipedia worldwide is its capacity to provide information that is relevant to speakers of different languages—including less widely spoken languages which effectively represent regional communities with particular interests and needs. Smaller Wikipedias are able to take advantage of content from good articles on the larger Wikipedias while at the same time providing information that is especially relevant to local or regional public health contexts. —MistyMorn (talk) 14:09, 22 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Structure and legal matters[edit]

  1. Is there a provisional Board? If so, who are the people in it?
    Right here Wikimedia_Medicine#Provisional_board_members Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 18:12, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  2. What is the jurisdiction you are planning to incorporate in? Was there any discussion about the topic? Specifically, have you considered other jurisdictions besides the one you plan to choose?
    We were looking at either New York or British Columbia.Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 11:59, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Why New York, rather than California (where the WMF is located, although probably not where they're incorporated), Delaware (darling of the corporate world), or some other state? (BTW, you need to decide whether you'll have members before you make this decision. In some states, if you have members, the Board meetings must be open to them [except for specified exemptions], and the membership, rather than the previous board, will be the ones that vote in the next board and take other decisions.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:38, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Peter C's parents are lawyers and have agreed to help us incorporate there. Also WM NY has bylaws written for that jurisdiction that we can base ours on. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 17:44, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  3. Do you have the bylaws ready or are they currently under development? Are you planning to post them for review in the near future? Have they been reviewed by a lawyer/specialist?
    Under development still. But they are here[5] Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 11:59, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The WP:NY bylaws allow for voting by proxy and participation in meetings via Skype. I'd like to be sure whatever constitution we end up with allows for that, so overseas residents may participate at member or board level with the least inconvenience and expense.--Anthonyhcole (talk) 13:24, 22 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Contributor involvement[edit]

  1. How many people are currently involved in this project? How many of those are actively pursuing it?
    As listed on the content page Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 11:59, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    All seven of them are active participants? Raystorm (talk) 14:37, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yes with some more active than others. Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 18:11, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  2. Are there any prominent Wiki[pm]edians in the group? What communities (projects) are they active in?
    We are Wikipedians mostly but edit others like Wikimedia Commons Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 11:59, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I am currently Wikipedian in Residence at Consumer Reports in the United States. Regardless of whether I continue to serve as resident in this organization, someone from Consumer Reports will likely be a member of Wikimedia Medicine because that organization is working to improve the quality of health articles on Wikipedia. Blue Rasberry (talk) 12:45, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I am wikipedian since 2007, campus ambassador at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and member of Wikimedia Brasil (chapter to-be). Vinicius Siqueira (talk) 17:34, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Just to clarify: when you all say Wikipedia, do you mean English Wikipedia?Raystorm (talk) 14:31, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You can see all of Vini's edits here, more than 30,000 of which are in Portuguese.Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 15:00, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  3. Do you have an overview of how many Wikimedians would like to join the organisation when founded?
    I am sure there will be some plus there will be a bunch of non-Wikipedians who will hopefully become Wikipedians with time. Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 11:59, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  4. Are you planning to accept people from other countries, or only from the country of incorporation?
    Yes from all countries. Doc James(talk · contribs ·email) 11:59, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I have a question about the legal feasibility of this. Are there any particular restrictions in either Canada or the United States on having non-citizen voting members in a non-profit organization? I know nothing about this but I presume it has been discussed somewhere before. I ask this because I know that some countries, such as India, have laws which create barriers for any non-citizen to participate in organizational management. Blue Rasberry(talk) 12:36, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Canada did have a restriction but I think this is changing. The US I think does not. Many of the people on the board of the WMF are from other countries.Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 12:58, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    To the best of my limited knowledge, there is no federal residency requirement, and state residency requirements vary. However, I believe that it is generally the case that no organization is required to have more than one resident on the board, and that most don't require even that, because what they're mostly concerned with is whether the organization is active in the state rather than whether a board member lives there. You normally need to have an "agent for service of process" (someone to receive paperwork if you get sued or subpoenaed) in the state, but that can be a law firm or a volunteer who knows how to reach a board member, rather than a board member. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:43, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  5. Have you done outreach throughout the projects to recruit interested people? Did you include other languages, besides English?
    Haven't done much outreach yet. Will do more eventually. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 11:59, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I have worked in health education in India for several years and I will be traveling there again in early 2013 to meet Wikimedians there, train the health educators whom I already know to use Wikipedia in their own languages, and otherwise promote Wikimedia projects and health education there. It is important to me personally that Indian people are included in this project and they can participate both in English and in local languages. Blue Rasberry(talk) 12:52, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Have placed a note on all medical Wikiprojects. Unfortunately most (all but 3 or 4) are more or less inactive. Hopefully we can help change that. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 15:29, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  6. Do you plan to accept only professionals? How would you define those?
    All people will be accepted. Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 11:59, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  7. Was there a discussion with the potential membership to see whether they agree on the goals and the chosen legal structure? Is it available online, and where?
    The goals are those of Wikiproject Medicine which is to improve the quality of Wikipedia's medical content Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 11:59, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Those of the English Wikipedia Wikiproject, you mean? So, no general discussion?Raystorm (talk) 14:31, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    General discussion is taking place here. So yes general discussion is occurring.Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 15:02, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We need to agree upon a form of words that concisely but comprehensively defines our goal here. I think we all share the same goal, but the form of words needs to be settled, by motion, on this talk page probably. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 13:24, 22 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

History and activities[edit]

  1. Could you give us a short overview of the time path of the founding up to now?
    The Wikimedia chapters are set up around countries. This does not make sense for many editors who are arrange around topic areas. Thus those of us interested in medicine discussed the creation of a thematic group when we where in Washington DC at Wikimania in 2012, or at least an organization with which to promote the goals of Wikiproject medicine. My local chapter Wikimedia Canada does not allow non Canadians for example. When I was speaking in Delhi and Kathmandu at medical school last year they where interested in joining an organization.
    Wikiproject medicine has of course been around since 2004 and the founder of the project is one of the members here. We have become the single most used medical source on the Internet both in terms of page views and in terms of unique visitors.
    A number of us have done outreach at Universities. Myself Jfdwolff will be speaking on the topic of medicine and Wikipedia in the UK in a couple of days.Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 12:59, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  2. Has the group done any activities or had any meetings to date? If so, could you provide some links to them?
    Yes we met informally during noon hour at Wikimania 2012. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 11:59, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    WikiProject Medicine members met twice at Wikimania - once to discuss WikiProject Medicine and once to discuss the chapter. Blue Rasberry (talk) 12:39, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  3. What kind of activities are planned for the future of the organisation?
    We will continue on with our current partnerships such as that taking place with Translators Without Borders here[6]
    We hope to help create Wikipedians in residence at the World Health Organization in Geneva as well as the NLM
    I will continue giving lectures on how to become involved with Wikiproject medicine as I have done here [7]
    May look further at getting the Wikipedia Journal up and running.[8] as well as our current efforts to collaborate with journals[9]Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 11:59, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    There are many proposed activities on the project page - Wikimedia Medicine. Blue Rasberry(talk) 12:41, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  4. Is there a mailing list? Is it public? Raystorm (talk) 14:56, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yes we are using google groups.[10] I emailed to request a listserve one but no one ever got back to me.Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 15:03, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Have you tried opening a Bugzilla request? This might serve as an example on what to include in a request to succeed. Let me know if it doesn't help and we can help by prodding a few people :) --Bence(talk) 13:49, 22 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. How do you see the relationship and overlap between the thematic organization and the online wikiproject(s) medicine? For example, do you think the thematic organization has a role in editorial decisions on the online content? --Bence (talk) 13:45, 22 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I see us listening to medicine wikiprojects, and I hope they will listen to us; I would hope that many people will be members of both; I don't see this project exerting any authority over individual wikis, but hopefully, if we listen to each other, there will be mutual influence.--Anthonyhcole (talk) 22:22, 22 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

IRS paperwork[edit]

Do you have a notion of the expected budget size? If you incorporate in the US, have you considered whether you'll need to file Form 1023 to get federal tax exemption status? WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:50, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No idea. I write off what I spend on Wikipedia as business expenses currently thus do not need tax exemption. US tax exemption does not help non Americans usually anyway. I have discussed the possibility of sending large donations through the WMF to which they have agreed in principle Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 18:09, 17 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So for background, since most people don't know how this works: non-profit status is actually achieved in your incorporation paperwork, where you declare that nobody gets to take the profits home at the end of the day. If you want donors to be able to deduct their giftsdirectly to this organization from their taxable income, and if you want the organization not to owe taxes on any net income, then you need to get that non-profit status formally recognized.
Form 1023 is the paperwork to request recognition from the IRS on behalf of the federal government. You would qualify under 501(c)3 as an educational organization. There will also be at least one set of paperwork for the state of incorporation (sometimes two, if they require separate filings for taxes and fraud prevention).
None of this paperwork is actually complicated, but it can be time-consuming. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:58, 18 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That is not entirely correct. As Doc James was saying, donations can be processed through an umbrella organization with charity status. Current options for this include the WMF itself or an existing US Wikimedia chapter, assuming that the incorporation is in the United States. It may or may not be more beneficial to have this organization be a registered charity in its own right. Non-profit status need not include the charity status conferred by Form 1023; for example, Wikimedia Medicine could be a non-profit organization, and not issue profits to anyone, and not owe taxes on income, but to be unable to issue tax receipts for gifts. It could ask that donations instead go to a charity, and then have that charity transfer funds to itself. One motive for this might be to not have a need for a separate accountant or office work to create two charities when one would suffice. Blue Rasberry (talk) 22:56, 18 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have clarified my comments (underlined) about the tax deductibility of donations.
Even registered public charities owe income taxes for certain activities' "unrelated business income". Merely refusing "to issue profits to anyone" does not provide you with an exemption from corporate income taxes. If that were the case, then most Silicon Valley tech companies would owe no income taxes, because most of them don't pay dividends. The 501(c) code is about the exemption from corporate income taxes, not about the deductibility of donations. The text of that section begins, "An organization described in subsection (c) or (d) or section 401(a) shall be exempt from taxation under this subtitle..." It says nothing about donors. Form 1023's purpose is seeking IRS recognition of the organization's right to an exemption from federal income tax. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:28, 19 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Non-profit organizations without this designation are still exempt from some kinds of taxes on some kinds of income. I presume that the organization will need this designation but I do not have the legal background to understand why or whether it is necessary immediately. Blue Rasberry(talk) 20:30, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Perhaps I can arrange some sort of conference call with the lawyers involved with the incorporation to answer various questions including those involving the IRS paperwork.Peter.C (talk) 01:58, 22 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Please give an example of a tax you think a non-profit can avoid paying without getting formal recognition of its tax-exempt status. In my experience, organizations typically need to deal with these taxes: income (federal, state and sometimes local), capital gains, sales tax, and property tax. So far as I know, every federal tax exemption requires a successful IRS application for recognition, and every state and local tax exemption involves attaching a copy of that IRS determination letter (=the result of a successful 1023 application) to the state or local exemption paperwork.
It's true that if you're not handling money and don't own any property, that it's not important. But I think you may want to have some money, at least to pay for your incorporation paperwork and insurance for the Board members. WhatamIdoing (talk) 14:54, 22 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No one said anything about not getting formal recognition of tax-exempt status; the issue is which kind of exemption status is necessary when, and honestly that is a question for lawyers and not this board. Probably 501(c)(3) status is best immediately but there are other options. The US government grants different kinds of tax-exempt status to 501(c)(3) organizations and non-profits which do not have that designation. Non-profit organizations which are not charities do not have to pay taxes on some donations. Many small organizations without 501(c)(3) status collect a small amount of donations to manage their regular business. For example, a small nonprofit organization may collect $2000 a year to buy coffee and snacks for meetings but not pay taxes on that income. They could collect significantly more money that that and not pay taxes. An organization could get non-profit designation, not have 501(c)(3) designation, open a bank account and collect a certain amount of donations, use that bank account to manage its regular business, and not pay taxes. I have no idea what the donation limit is, but I would rather put donations into an organization than into anyone's personal finances even if it is a small amount of money like $2000 a year. I see having a small budget to buy coffee for in-person meetings and to reimburse phone charges for virtual meeting attendees to be essential because these things are basic courtesies to meeting participants. Blue Rasberry(talk) 15:19, 23 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No organization, profit or non-profit, pays taxes on donations to the organization. You pay taxes on profits, not revenue.
en:501(c) organization#Types has a complete list of the options for US federal tax exemption. This group easily qualifies under 501(c)(3) as an educational organization. I suppose you could attempt to re-cast it as a 501(c)(7) "recreational club", but it's not a natural fit.
The reason I asked about the budget is because 501(c)(3) status is more or less automatic for 501(c)(3)-qualifying organizations with annual gross revenue of less than $5,000. You would need formal recognition to receive grants from most private foundations, and the WMF might well insist, but if it's just a matter of paying for a few odds and ends (I'd add a post office box to your list), if your donors are diversified (so that you aren't boxed into re-designation as a private foundation), and if you don't have any donors/grantors who are picky about the paperwork, then you could fly under the radar.
Of course, all of this pre-supposes that a US corporation is wanted rather than a Canadian one, which might not ultimately be the case. And if you do a US corporation, then you'll have to check the state rules, which are different. WhatamIdoing(talk) 17:37, 24 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We should leave open the possibility that we'll be handling millions of dollars per annum. We may be able to achieve everything on a shoestring and volunteers, but it will all happen much faster if we can employ talent when it's not readily available for free.--Anthonyhcole (talk) 01:12, 25 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Board members[edit]

All board members will be required to submit their full name and address for legal purposes. Perhaps we could set up a Google form that people can submit their info to? Also, positions will need to be decided. I will be able to work out more details next week as at the moment I am in Peru. Peter.C (talk) 19:56, 20 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sounds good. Lets use a google spreadsheet. I will create one and share it with everyone here. Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 21:44, 20 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Hello guys! Not easy to write in english (I only can read it and understand a little), wp:fr user in medical field, I found Translatewiki which seems to be linked with Wikimedia too. Why not use this tool to translate medical articles inWikiProject Medicine? Because of these two pages (Medicine on wp:en and Wikimedia Medicine on meta), don't easily find news and place to connect and follow ;-P What is the best (place)? Regards--BonifaceFR (talk) 12:11, 22 August 2012 (UTC) please use fr:user:BonifaceFR to contactReply[reply]

I have not looked at Translatewiki and am not sure about its relationship to Wikipedia. Its use is definitely something we should consider.Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 15:54, 22 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A quick examination shows that Translatewiki is about localization of messages in Wikimedia-based platforms, not content. If, for instance you are reading this with your interface language preference set to "de", you can reply by clicking on "Bearbeiten" instead of "Edit". Translatewiki is about tools for extending this to new languages.LeadSongDog (talk) 04:00, 29 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You're right LeadSongDog. Translate is also an extension of MediaWiki : see[11], developers are the same. Maybe this plugin can help?--BonifaceFR (talk) 09:32, 6 September 2012 (UTC) (no COI to declare ;-)Reply[reply]

Conference call[edit]

We all should talk with the lawyers who will be incorporating Wikimedia Med to ask our questions and work on a plan. When can we all do this? Is Wednesday at 2PM 3PM EST good for everyone? Peter.C (talk) 22:29, 27 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's quite past my bedtime. Can I just put on the table:
  • Provision must be made for overseas members to "attend" and vote at general and board meetings via Skype or similar. (The constitution of the New York chapter seems to allow for this.)
  • All other things being equal, we should incorporate in the jurisdiction with the least ongoing taxes and fees.
  • The drafters should be aware there is the possibility the corporation will be managing very large sums of money and reasonable provision should be made in its structure to ensure financial prudence, transparency and accountability.
--Anthonyhcole (talk) 23:55, 27 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with everything Anthonyhcole says. 2pm Wednesday EST is good for me. Also, I work with a New York-based non-profit organization called Consumer Reports in official capacity as their Wikipedian. Although staff other than me are not active Wikipedia users, everyone in the organization has a lot of interest in getting more involved in Wikipedia in general and health articles in particular. Would anyone have any objection to my inviting someone else from Consumer Reports to join me in this call? Blue Rasberry (talk) 00:42, 28 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's as good a time for me as any, though I believe it is 10pm here, which might not suit others as well as if it were a little earlier. Presumably the conference call will be over the Internet? Rich Farmbrough02:49 28 August 2012 (GMT).
I'm at a conference these days and not sure whether I'll find a way to go online then (8pm here), but online should still be easier than via phone. -- Daniel Mietchen- WiR/OS (talk) 06:58, 28 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am in the UK right now. Thus my schedule is a little all over the place. We should be able to address most of the legal questions on meta yes? Would the lawyers be able / willing to provide comments here? Can you provide a link to a clock which says if it is 2 pm EST what time is it everywhere else in the world? Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 09:09, 28 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
= 7pm in the UK (unless I've done something wrong). —MistyMorn (talk) 09:29, 28 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The problem is the lawyers do not wish to reply to questions online as they do not fully have an understanding of the needs of our organization and it could present problems later on for them,however; I think after a few weeks of talking to them they would be more than happy to reply on long.Peter.C (talk) 16:24, 28 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Note: The time for the conference has been changed to 3PM EST, however; this works in our favor as we will have more time to talk. Peter.C (talk) 00:38, 29 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


We should decide on platforms for communication. A disadvantage with online communication is that it could exclude people who do not use particular software. One easy phone option is With this service, people from most countries can quickly join a conference call by calling a local number. Unless someone has a better idea, I propose using this service for the call tomorrow.

  1. Determine the time of the call in your area from 3pm EST on Wednesday 29 August -converter
  2. Dial your local number
    1. United States +1 209 255 1000
    2. United Kingdom +44 (0) 784 843 2913
    3. Germany +49 (0) 977 231 6000
    4. Switzerland +41 (0) 44 595 9080
  3. give the pass code - 791226#
  4. join conference

Will this work for tomorrow? If not, then what platform will we use? Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:33, 28 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Regret I will be unavailable. Would the host please make and post an audio recording as shownhere? That would serve the whole "radical transparency" goal and also help keep everyone on the same page.LeadSongDog (talk) 20:11, 28 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I will likely be exploring London or on a train tomorrow. But if people wish to meet.Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 22:03, 28 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We will definitely try to record the call and I will try to take minutes of it. Does anyone who will be unable to attend have any questions they would like asked by proxy? And there is a slight chance the call might be pushed back an hour. Peter.C (talk) 22:32, 28 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It just occurs to me that posting the recording might be taken as outing. Perhaps the transcript or minutes alone would be a wiser choice. LeadSongDog (talk) 03:24, 29 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd be very satisfied with minutes. (Please don't miss my 3 bullet points above.)--Anthonyhcole (talk) 09:50, 29 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'll happily read the minutes (while fully recognising the relevance of legal matters, I'm a non-starter at grasping them). —MistyMorn (talk) 11:11, 29 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Written notes are probably best. Notes from a couple of people might provide different perspectives. NB that making an audio recording of a phone call is illegal in some jurisdictions, and that posting a recording might also compromise attorney–client privileges (although I can't imagine why that would matter for this particular topic, but that's why you hire a lawyer instead of me). WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:28, 29 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Has the conferece already started? Vinicius Siqueira (talk) 19:17, 29 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, feel free to join though! :) Peter.C (talk) 19:39, 29 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm sorry but I only listen to a song on the phone. Vinicius Siqueira(talk) 19:51, 29 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nice to talk to you. I'm sorry I can't stay more. We continue this conversation here.Vinicius Siqueira (talk) 20:07, 29 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Recently there was a call for volunteers to join the body that disburses Foundation funds to chapters etc. Does anybody know where that body's home page is?--Anthonyhcole (talk) 11:26, 28 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Funds Dissemination Committee Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:20, 28 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 14:57, 28 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


There were minutes posted here and discussion about those minutes. I moved all the contenthere so that we would have a central repository of the minutes of all meetings. Here are the minutes for this meeting - Wikimedia Medicine/minutes29Aug2012. I propose that we keep discussion about meetings on its own page when the discussion is about that meeting. When conversation gets broader, as perhaps this one was doing, then I propose that we raise new topics here on this talk page. Blue Rasberry(talk) 17:57, 30 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Canadians cannot deduct donations to an USA non-profit from their taxes. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 10:40, 30 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Based on foundation:Deductibility of donations#Canada, it seems that Canadians with US sources of income can deduct donations to US non-profits. I assume that this is a small percentage of Canadians. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:11, 30 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Did you considered the possibility of donors giving to local Chapter by specifically saying they wish to give to Wikimedia Medicine and have the funds tranferred to you by the Chapter? However, that may create a legal issue, i.e. if a Canadian gets tax-deduction for giving to a non-profit Canadian organization, maybe the money have to or suppose to be spend in Canada (I'm not a lawyer, I'm more asking than anything else). Amqui (talk) 16:42, 30 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I thought that the attorney said yesterday that because of a NAFTA agreement that there were circumstances under which people in the US, Canada, and Mexico could get deductions for charitable donations in any of these countries. I thought that he also said that residents of one EU country could donate to charities in another EU country and get a deduction. Does anyone know more about this? Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:15, 30 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • This is confirmed for Mexico and Canada, but we need to consult a European lawyer for EU rules regarding this. Peter.C (talk) 18:33, 30 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Canadians as far as I am aware do not get tax receipts when they donate to the Wikimedia Foundation. Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 20:09, 30 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think they do if you specifically request it. Amqui (talk) 20:50, 30 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Name of this group[edit]

In response to talk yesterday about the name of this group, Doc James proposed that the chapter be called "Wiki Medicine". The proposed chapter is currently called Wikimedia Medicine. Here is a summary of the issue:

  • Wikimedia Medicine
    • has influence of the Wikimedia brand
    • creates obligation of some kind to Wikimedia Foundation
    • Ties group to Wikimedia projects when there is already a precedent of good relationships with other organizations, like Translators without Borders
  • Wiki Medicine
    • Non-proprietary name does not create as much obligation to Wikimedia Foundation
    • Has influence of the generic term "wiki"
    • The Wiki Loves Monuments project set a precedent for not using the trademarked name and for using "wiki" to refer to various types of media including photographs, not just Wikipedia

What should the name of this organization be, and why? Thoughts? Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:12, 30 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Personally I think we should incorporate as something other than Wikimedia Medicine to give us a bit for freedom and mobility like how Wikimedia DC and Wikimedia UK did it. I personally I think we should incorporate as "Society for Open Medicine" as it just sounds a little less generic.Peter.C (talk) 18:36, 30 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Open Medicine Society (OMC) sounds better than SOM. Also note the existence Amqui (talk) 19:16, 30 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We can incorporate under one name and operate under another. We will operate under Wikimedia Medicine once we get permission to do so.Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 20:08, 30 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I like the idea of incorporating and trading under something other than "wikimedia", and avoiding "wiki" altogether, provided the foundation will recognise such an entity as athematic organization. — The preceding unsigned comment was added by Anthonyhcole (talk) 21:37, 30 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Replace "medicine" with "health"[edit]

The term "medicine" seems to exclude psychology and dentistry, so I'm starting to think it is too exclusive, and propose renaming the organisation to something that includes all aspects of health science and practice. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 21:47, 1 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't pronounce on the name of the organization, but using "health" instead of "medicine" in documents such as mission and charity statements would alleviate some concerns mentioned before about what is considered "medicine" in one hemisphere and not in the other, but are all health-related topics. Amqui (talk) 21:57, 1 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Health" would more obviously include public health, perhaps. I agree the decision should probably be a pragmatic one: which formula works best? —MistyMorn (talk) 10:59, 2 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I just noticed en:HINARI describe their remit as "biomedical and related social sciences". That's more restrictive than "health". --Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:54, 5 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(coming late to the party...) I like "medicine" better than "health", mainly because "public health" and for that matter "health" assume medicine overview anyway. I get worried that if it is renamed the boundaries become looser and the whole shebang might evolve into something it's not set out to be (read between the lines folks!)....Casliber (talk) 00:45, 8 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Persuaded. The exclusiveness of "medicine" does have the advantage of strictly focussing our efforts and resources. If we want to start up a foo thematic organisation, we can always do that later. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 07:17, 11 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, I'm having second thoughts. I'm now thinking "medicine" is too prescriptive; because it excludes, by my understanding of the term, psychology and biology, each of which is essential to a comprehensive study of health. I don't think "health" is too broad a term. It captures biology, medicine and psychology. However, we do need to address the point you allude to. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 11:57, 11 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am happy with health. Am also happy with medicine. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 10:01, 12 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In theory at least, I'd be most comfortable with health(-related). However, ifmedicine is better for the pragmatic reasons Casliber alludes to...—MistyMorn (talk) 20:05, 29 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Below I recommend including "evidence-based" in our self-description. I like the idea. I think our readers and donors would expect that of us. How do others feel about that?--Anthonyhcole (talk) 11:55, 11 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Can we discuss the aims and means of this organisation?[edit]

We will need to pin down a concise - but comprehensive - description of our aims and means before incorporation or Foundation recognition. There is the beginnings of a discussion above at #Quality of content. Personally, I'm here to receive and disburse donations; build relationships with charities, governments, the private sector, professional and educational bodies and others; and to establish, support and manage projects, all aimed at the online dissemination of comprehensive, free, evidence-based medical knowledge health-related information in all languages. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 21:40, 30 August 2012 (UTC) Updated 22:05, 1 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

While developing this we might as well make a mission statement as that is required for Non profit status. Also, this is kinda talked about, but not properly formatted on the main WP:MED page.Peter.C (talk) 22:34, 30 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think this says it all:

to receive and disburse grants and donations; build relationships with charities, governments, the private sector, professional and educational bodies and others; and to establish, support and manage projects, all aimed at the online dissemination of clear, comprehensive, free, evidence-based health-related information in all languages.

Thoughts? I couldn't think of a non-clumsy way to use "education" here, but others may. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 22:18, 1 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Just a quick jiggle (or wiggle)...

...aimed at comprehensive free online coverage in all languages of clearly presented evidence-based information on health-related matters.

Btw, do we really have to pack every everything into one long, long sentence? Maybe that's what "mission statements" are all about...—MistyMorn (talk) 11:24, 2 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I love long sentences. I delight in them, provided they're clear, unambiguous good English. But I know they're not to everyone's taste. I like your version. And I like Blue Rasberry's. I'm following his links and they're well worth a read. I followed a link in the first one to [12] Google slide show. One of the slides said

Organize world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Isn't that what we're doing?--Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:15, 3 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Here are some examples of famous companies' mission statements[13][14][15], and here is the Wikimedia Foundation's mission statement. MistyMorn, I think that one sentence would be fine. Anthonyhcole, I think that what you have written is not the like other mission statements, although it does describe the intent I imagine. The things that you listed are practical goals which would enable fulfillment of more abstract goals, which would themselves fulfill the mission. Some people are proposing to talk about "evidence based health information". I do not think this is appropriate because this group will also disseminate cultural information and non-evidenced-based information about health research and theories, like for example, information about unknowns in the fundamental science of diseases. I propose this variation of the Wikimedia Foundation's mission statement for our mission statement:

The mission of (the organization) is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational medical content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally.

In collaboration with a network of health education organizations, (the organization) provides the essential infrastructure and an organizational framework for the support and development of multilingual wiki projects and other endeavors which serve this mission. (The organization) will make and keep useful information from its projects available on the Internet free of charge, in perpetuity.

Thoughts? Blue Rasberry(talk) 14:27, 2 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What is the immediate purpose of this statement? WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:46, 2 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry for not being clear. We are planning to incorporate a legal organization at some point, perhaps soon, and to do this we need a mission statement. The mission statement probably should not be revised once we file it with the government, so we should discuss it now and get consensus for one. Other discussions about purpose and goals are just for the members' own edification. In this section there is some talk about goals - and there is no need to articulate those precisely - and I am veering the conversation into production of a mission statement, which is something to be stated with certainty. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:59, 2 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok, a wild single sentence shot in the dark...

The mission of (the organization) is to empower and engage people around the world to provide everyone with free access to the sum total of the most reliable and pertinent health information in their own language, in perpetuity.

Amen. —MistyMorn (talk) 23:30, 2 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I support this as the best proposal so far. Blue Rasberry (talk) 00:29, 3 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I like both of your proposed wordings very much. Thank you so much for the above links, Bluerasberry. I'll get back to you when I've done the reading. :)--Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:15, 3 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We are planning to incorporate a legal organization at some point, perhaps soon, and to do this we need a mission statement.
No, you don't. Incorporation paperwork doesn't require a mission statement. People incorporate companies every day of the year without mission statements. And yes, you can change your mission statement whenever you want. It is typical for corporations to formally review a mission statement and change it every five years or so.
You need a statement of charitable purpose for the IRS (to get non-profit status recognized). You technically need nothing for the incorporation paperwork. However, it's typical to include the charitable purpose in the bylaws, and that should be something that you think you can live with for years to come, because while you may make changes to it whenever you want, the non-profit regulators will require copies of said changes every time you make them. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:35, 3 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm no expert here. But "statement of charitable purpose" and "mission statement" seem to be used interchangeably in Google results. When the former is used it is in the context of applications to the IRS for 501(c)3 status. The couple I've found that are described as "statement of charitable purpose" are very concise:

to benefit members of any and all branches of the United States military and their families for educational and charitable purposes.


to support children with an autism spectrum disorder by providing education, information and financial assistance to their families and relevant community service organizations.

I take your point about including "education". We may need legal guidance on how broad or specific the statement should be in our 501(c)3 application. Do you have any thoughts about wording for that? What do you think of:

to make clear, reliable, comprehensive, up-to-date medical and health educational information freely available to all.

? --Anthonyhcole (talk) 01:45, 4 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You want something that sounds specific while actually being broad enough to be flexible. I think that strikes a nice balance between the two. Something along those lines would probably serve you well for decades to come, no matter what happens technologically.
I'm not opposed to the other suggestions, either, but you asked for my opinion on this particular one, and I think it would be fine. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:45, 5 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

List of mission statements[edit]

to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.


to publish and disseminate scientifically rigorous public health information of international significance that enables policy-makers, researchers and practitioners to be more effective; it aims to improve health, particularly among disadvantaged populations.


to encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks.


What we need for incorporation[edit]

Here is a list of what needs to be done for the incorporation documents:

  • All proposed board members need to fill out this form
  • We need to finalize a name to incorporate as - perhaps we should have some sort of vote?
  • A statement of purpose (basically a mission statement) that shows what we do and why we are non profit.

Any thoughts, questions, concerns?Peter.C (talk) 01:00, 31 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I suggest that your statement of charitable purpose feature the word "education" prominently. The initial purpose is of this statement is to make government employees say, "Ah, they qualify in the following category". /it's generally wise to make it easy for them to get the right answer. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:01, 31 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Seems like a good idea. I think we should also force ask someone to write a draft of this and then we all can discuss what we think about it. Peter.C(talk) 17:21, 1 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This recently created Wikipedia article, Wikimedia UK, documents the teething problems that organisation had in getting charitable status recognition from HM Revenue and Customs, and the issue hinged on whether teaching and education was a part of its remit. The Charities Commission "said that WMUK provided a 'public resource' by supporting public access to information through Wikipedia. As it did not serve the charitable purposes specifically outlined in the 2006 Charities Act, the ruling referred to a provision of the act allowing for considerations based on case law." --Anthonyhcole (talk) 05:24, 24 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Purpose of Wikimedia Medicine[edit]

Had an excellent discussion with one of the divisions of the WHO today. They are interested in setting up a Wikimedia in Residence. One of the questions asked was with whom would a memorandum of understanding be created? I would propose that it be Wikimedia Medicine but we need to come into existence first. Hopefully we can finalize the last few details in Oct 2012.Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 17:41, 2 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's marvellous news James. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:27, 3 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is this a how-to?[edit]

Okay, just gathering my thoughts as I had no inkling of this before about seven minutes ago. Ultimately, I think if wikipedia is going to keep up-scaling and evolving then this development/process is a Very Good Thing. I really do. I do worry about how it gels with the current equilibrium and what risks it might have -what direction content-wise folks are thinking of taking. i.e. The state of play with medical content on en.wp is interesting in that we've got a good set of guidelines and folks have done a fair job of keeping content from straying too far off this path (i.e. much more rigorous adherence to secondary-only sourcing due to the risks of primary sourcing on undue weight and misrepresentation. We also on have a number of sensible people as a quorum on the en.wp medicine wikiproject. I'd be fascinated to hear about other language wikipedias and whether they try to abide by the same sourcing guidelines! All input on this appreciated....

Are we proposing more of a coordinating entity, so that the medicine wikiproject carries on as is but this acts as a meta-body assisting in the transwiki-ing of information? Also, we're not proposing veering into how-to territory are we? In what way are we thinking of changing approach on content (if any?)

Also, I must admit I was taken aback at the amount of bureaucracy which hit me when I opened this talk page - I agree it is likely necessary and needs some discussion but just saying....Casliber (talk) 01:00, 8 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You've reflected my understanding of and concerns regarding this project.--Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:18, 9 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Casliber, is there not enough information on the project page for you to be able to understand what this organization will do as compared to what Wikipedia volunteers have traditionally done? I hope that the project page describes some barriers to improving Wikipedia which can only been done with more organization than a WikiProject can facilitate.
In answer to your other questions, no, other language projects do not try to abide by English-language sourcing guidelines, but I think people at this project would support that they do. I personally would even support this if it were culturally intrusive or discriminatory in favor of promoting Western views of what constitutes good sourcing in medicine articles. I am not talking about anything to do with a culture's medicine; I am only talking about imposing on other cultures' Wikipedia sourcing standards.
No one is proposing veering into "how-to" territory except for one big "how-to" - how to get encyclopedic information about medical topics. The traditional answer to the question "How do I manage my health?" is "consult your doctor", but that answer is now and has always been partially bogus because ideally patients and doctors should make decisions together. No patient can make an informed decision without understanding some fundamental health topics such as would be found in an encyclopedia, and previously no suitable encyclopedia has ever been available. People have always had a demand for more information than any doctor has time to give and other sources of information have always been in demand to supplement what a doctor can say, and besides that people need a source of health information that they can use as a basis for discussing health with their family and friends when they are reflecting on the doctor's advice at home away from the doctor's office. Doctors give a type of information which encyclopedias do not, and encyclopedias give information which a doctor never would. Everyone needs access to both of these types of information, and both of these types of information are fundamental to any "how to", but unambiguously a person's doctor is the source of the "how to". What is different now in the age of the Internet is that the first step in a how to could be "Get information on which basis you can make an informed decision about your health", and since this was never possible before, this step was always skipped. Now it is becoming more possible for people to do this step. Wikipedia has more potential for coordinating the development of this content than any other organization. Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:08, 11 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I expect this project to work with scholarship and the professions to increase the quality, accessibility and amount of free medical content online, too. That would involve such things as encouraging the experts to create en:WP:MEDRS-compliant articles, encouraging bodies such as the American Psychiatric Association to make their knowledge freely available, and encouraging governments to ensure research and analysis funded by the taxpayer is freely-available online. ---Anthonyhcole (talk) 13:07, 11 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's nothing to prohibit you from facilitating how-to or instructional material at Wikibooks or Wikiversity. It's not wanted at Wikipedia, but that's not the only WMF project. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:25, 11 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Excuse me, WhatamIdoing is totally correct. Everything I said was about Wikipedia. So far as I know, though, there is no one developing health content on either Wikibooks or Wikiversity and a how-to guide for health has never been created there. Doing so would be legitimate by the existing rules of those projects. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:46, 11 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have advised a number of people with no encyclopedic medical content to consider looking at another sister project such as wikibooks. Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 09:58, 12 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good point, WhatamIdoing. An example of a current medicine-related Wikiversity project:The science behind Parkinson's. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 05:39, 24 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Log jams[edit]

The name of the organisation[edit]

See #Name of this group. I'm wavering between using "medicine/medical" and "health/health-related" to define what we're doing. "Health" has the advantage of including topics such as psychology and biology that may be excluded by "medicine" but which bear heavily on it. "Medicine" has the advantage of sharply focussing and limiting the areas to which our resources can be directed, so limiting the possibility we'll be taken over by woo or foo activists. HINARI uses the formulation "biomedical and related social sciences" in it's statement, which, though it includes medicine, biology and psychology, is not as broad as "health", and we might adopt it for our mission statement, but for the name we'll need something shorter. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 05:54, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm tending towards "medicine" for the reasons outlined by Cas, above, provided the mission statement includes the "biomedical and related social sciences" formulation.--Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:41, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Do we want to use "wiki" or "Wikimedia" in the name? --Anthonyhcole(talk) 16:41, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mission statement[edit]

See #Can we discuss the aims and means of this organisation? We need a mission statement for our application to the US IRS for charitable tax exemption, and for recognition by the Wikimedia Foundation. I propose:

to make clear, reliable, comprehensive, up-to-date educational resources and information in the biomedical and related social sciences freely available online to all.

--Anthonyhcole (talk) 05:54, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We also do text copies and offline versions. Otherwise looks good. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 06:17, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Edited accordingly. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:27, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't have an opinion one way or the other, but if you were for some reason unhappy with that formulation, you could maybe simplify it to something like "medicine-related" or "related to medicine". WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:04, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm becoming more attached to the "biomedical and related social sciences" formulation because of its clarity about what we include and exclude. It addresses Cas's concerns with the "health-related" formulation: it includes relevant biology and psychology while emphasising science. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:27, 17 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's another potential advantage to your preferred phrase: it excludes things that are medicine-related but not at all science-related, like individual people, self-help books, hospitals, charities, and businesses. It seems to me that these things aren't particularly of interest to this group. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:22, 18 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yep. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 05:10, 20 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for implementing this, Anthony. Sounds good. JN466 18:43, 3 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]



A controversy is rising around the behaviour of trustees of Wiki UK Limited (operating as "Wikimedia UK"), the recognised Wikimedia UK chapter. There areoff-wiki accusations of corruption, and[16] and accusations of acting as a trustee with an inappropriate conflict of interest. We need to consider how we should deal with COI in directors and members. In the WMUK case it looks, to my non-lawer eyes, like they have a much more relaxed attitude toward directors'/trustees' conflicts of interest than I do. I'm still watching that controversy unfold, and still doing the background reading, and would welcome thoughts from others.--Anthonyhcole (talk) 05:10, 20 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Conflict of interest and paid editing or employment are separate issues, despite a lot of the Wikipedia community not seeing things this way. The ideal situation would be to have as many paid members and directors as possible, including paid staff from government, non-profit, and commercial organizations which employ people to educate the world on health topics. I would like to see the following:
  • Employees of every regional government public health office share the government research and alerts that their organization produces on relevant Wikipedia articles, despite that traditionally being discouraged.
  • All universities and medical schools take charge of making sure that when their researchers publish something which meets en:WP:MEDRS that since they themselves are familiar with it they commit the huge amount of resources it takes to make sure that it is integrated into Wikipedia by community standards and with oversight of their own student community in a transparent way.
  • Commercial medical companies to feel obligated to integrate all the information which government regulators mandate that they share with the public into Wikipedia as one of their routes of transparency, and I would like for them to do more to sponsor Wikipedia as a part of their diligence to give fair reporting about the uses, side effects, and consumer safety information about products they produce.
I take the position that there are a lot of cases in which an organization can be trusted to edit articles about themselves and their work and projects, and I would think that in a lot of cases this will mean that the organization will tell the person who is already being paid as a community educator or outreach staff to manage communications, blogging, twitter, email, or other such things to also join the Wikipedia community and share their organization's highly technical expertise in the context of being a Wikipedia community participant.
I do not see a conflict of interest when someone is paid to share information on Wikipedia which the Wikipedia community needs and wants; conflict of interest to me does not merely mean "paid editing" or "editing about one's own projects" but rather a disalignment of goals between Wikimedia projects and an organization's mission. A potential conflict of interest just because an organization could theoretically abuse Wikipedia for their own ends does not mean that an organization should be shunned from editing, although some fields and organizations are definitely more suspect than others. In health there are lots of organizations which align well in their educational mission with Wikimedia projects. There are a lot of organizations already paying people to do fundamental health education.
If someone is doing health education online, and they are not acknowledging Wikipedia's impact on online health education, they are doing it incorrectly. That applies to everyone paid, unpaid, with or without a conflict of interest. Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:25, 20 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am not sure how to word it but we have groups like "no free lunch" which shun pharmaceutical funding. I would propose that we maintain our independence from the pharmaceutical industry. Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 15:02, 20 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, but I hope the time soon arrives when academia and the professions wake up to the importance of Wikipedia; when that happens there'll be no threat from Pfizer editing articles about their products because independent scientists, academics and professionals will keep the articles honest. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:54, 20 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What does "independence from the pharmaceutical industry" mean? For example, if ScaryBigPharma Inc offers free access to every paper every published about BrandNameDrug, are you going to turn them down? WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:29, 20 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would be happy to see Wikimedia projects somehow get all good things from the pharmaceutical industry and no bad things. I think that commercial industry has a supreme duty to support community education and that Wikipedians somehow should continually remind them of this duty. I am not sure that that will look like, but since the future of Wikipedia is to be a fundamental driver in all efforts to provide health information, someone involved in Wikipedia and healthcare should start thinking about what Wikipedians ought and ought not do with commercial industry. Commercial industry has a lot to give that makes it worth something; I have no idea where boundaries are drawn but I might propose following precedent from other organizations who are compelled to work with industry in guarded relationship. Blue Rasberry(talk) 13:01, 21 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Bluerasberry, I do expect that some day authors of MEDRS-compliant sources will automatically update the topic on Wikipedia. Regarding the COI and paid editing issues, one focus is a trustee of WMUK who is being paid by Gibraltar to improve Gibraltar's presence on Wikipedia while possibly also being paid by WMUK; and the other is a Wikipedian-in-residence who also appears to be offering to write positive articles for PR companies for money. Both issues appear to be more than simple COI editing and paid editing. The former looks like immensely poor judgement if not a breach of WMUK's conflict of interest policy, and the latter looks more like paid advocacy than paid editing. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:54, 20 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The problem in those cases is, I think, accusations of someone doing what is not best for the Wikimedia projects. If someone does things to develop Wikimedia projects and they get broad community consensus that their work is useful for the movement then I do not care if they have a commercial interest. I would like to see the day when every organization hires staff whose job it is to support, please, and serve the Wikipedia community and when there are drawbacks for organizations who do not. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:18, 21 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We may be involved with trying to convince the pharmaceutical industry that releasing data is ethical and therefore the right thing to do.
We would also be happy if they decided to donate open access to review articles. Typically though we will want entire collections of review articles through hopefully donated accounts from publishers.
We however need to be very careful regarding our interactions with industry as we do not want to either tarnish our own or the organizations position of independence from financial conflict of interest. Doc James(talk · contribs ·email) 17:40, 28 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Since you, for the first time in WP history, afair, install an comprehensive authority for all lng. versions on a specific topic, your construct is the logical target for an organisation which attempts to influence certain articels. Until now they had to divert their attention to dozens of articels in even more lng. versions and none of them had any hierarchy which could be directly approached on top level. You change all that. So with the same amount of money and personell, dedicated to influence the WP, such an organisation can now maximize the effectiveness of their measures by focusing on Wikimedia Medicine, the rest of WP is likely to follow. So you must be extremly cautious and take steps to reduce the influence some group may be able to gain, and, sorry, the editors in all projects have to stay skeptical about everything this project produces. Alexpl (talk) 09:17, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is specifically NOT a comprehensive authority for all lng versions on a specific topic. Wikipedia is a "do-ology" which means we are lead by people doing stuff. Incorporating this organization will not change one bit. This organizations primary goal is to try to convince other people (ones we think are good anyway) to join us. And to convince other organizations to release their content under licenses that we can build on. It is going to be boring work. Stuff that I am doing already under the banner of Wikimedia Canada and primarily funding personally and will most likely continue to primarily fund personally. Doc James (talk· contribs · email) 17:17, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Initial Board[edit]

  • We have 8 initial board members listed. Unless there are others who wish to sit on the initial group I would proposal we go forwards with these people on the documents of incorporation.
  • We of course want as many people as possible to join as members once we launch. Of these 8 members we should come up with some duties for each.
  • One thing that we will need to be managed is "membership". Typically I would see this being taken care of by the secretary. Another position will be that of treasurer who will take care of making sure taxes are dealt with and that we comply with the requirements of any of the grants we receive from either the WMF or others. A president to manage public relation issues / be an available contact as well as organize regular meetings. Would be good to have specific positions relating to languages as well.
  • Of course the main activities of the group will be driven by what the volunteer members want to work on.

Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 17:02, 26 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some orgs have a "membership secretary" whose job is to keep track of members. This reduces the workload on the regular secretary (who deals with recordkeeping and formal communication). WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:51, 27 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Great idea. By the way would you be interested in being on the initial board?Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 14:55, 28 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, thank you. I've spent enough of my life in meetings already. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:35, 29 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Non-Wikipedian members[edit]

I am the Wikipedian in Residence at Consumer Reports and have been so since May 2012.

There are two people at Consumer Reports, Tara and David, who would be willing to serve as board members in Wikimedia Medicine. Both of these people are senior staff in the health department at this organization. I would recommend either or both of them for board membership except that they have both only made exploratory edits to Wikipedia.

Among the benefits of having either of these people as board members would be that Wikimedia Medicine immediately would get a formal connection and backing from a conservative, well-respected, internationally-networked health organization and board members who are professionally able to navigate non-profit, commercial, and governmental interactions. Among the drawbacks would be the oddity of having board members who have never been regular Wikipedia editors. I should also point out that I am one of the proposed board members and at this time I work at Consumer Reports, but I do not have experience to give input as the other two can.

How would anyone else feel about having Consumer Reports staff in addition to me serving on this board? If I recall correctly James, Daniel, Brian, Peter, and RexxS have met Tara at Wikimania when I introduced her at a health meeting. Vinicius Siqueira talked with her and David in the last phone conference. Both Tara and David are available to chat more if that would help anyone make a decision. Thoughts? Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:49, 27 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Once they are people interested in free knowldege, I totally agree. Our commitment is with the free knowledge above all else. Their experience with this kind of management will only help if they are moved by the same ideals we are when forming this organization. Vinicius Siqueira (talk) 19:50, 27 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is difficult to explain Consumer Reports briefly. Free knowledge is a new concept and I would not say that Consumer Reports is entirely compatible with it because unlike Wikipedia, it depends on paid staff to function. Certainly Consumer Reports is interested in exploring options and has made significant contributions to promoting Wikipedia. Do you knowProteste? That is a partner organization through the international network. I would expect that the philosophies of the organizations would be similar. Blue Rasberry(talk) 20:48, 27 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think they (or anyone else) should be on the board representing another society or institution. Their link with Consumer Reports (or another one) can't lead themselves. Which motivates we all is the free knowledge, or spreading medical information, or something near. If they are experts in managing this kind of organization and are also interested in share with our ideals, I think they are the best people to be on the board. I don't know if it is clear for you, because I'm trying to express these thoughts in another language, which is always a hard job. Vinicius Siqueira (talk) 04:34, 28 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think I understand you well enough. It is true that they would be representing another institution and in fact this would be the major advantage of including them, because through them Wikimedia would be more able to have partnerships with other organizations. You are right that their loyalty would be to Consumer Reports first and this board second, but I think that in this case the goals of both organizations are so similar that I cannot see a disadvantage to this. Other people may see things differently.
Consumer Reports will not be the only organization which will want to partner in some way. Already there is talk about a World Health Organization partnership of some kind, and after that, I think that any number of organizations will want to partner. I am not sure when partnerships are appropriate and what kind of partnerships are appropriate. Anthonyhcole was having this conversation withuser:iridescent and some others on Iridescent's talk page about these issues and I think there are good points to address in that discussion. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:06, 28 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am happy to partner with organization which are working to develop / explain medical knowledge for free. Organizations which are attempting to sell knowledge or products however IMO should not be eligible. Consumer reports would fall into the first group.Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 15:37, 28 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Lane would either of these two be interested in being on the board? I am wondering if the board should be limited to editors of Wikipedia's medical content? We could than have them join board meetings in an advisory position.
We want all members of the board to have a good understanding of Wikipedia's medical content and thus be able to both explain Wikipedia's role in medicine and be able to advice other organizations on how to work with Wikipedia.Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 17:44, 28 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The two people are Tara Montgomery and David Ansley - James, you have met Tara at Wikimania and talked to David by phone. Either or both would be interested in being on the board. They both would participate in conferences and both participated in the first call. These two are the health editors most engaged in studying Wikipedia and presenting it to other groups. David works in the Seattle office and Tara is here with me in NYC. If you or anyone else is curious about the extent to which either of them understand Wikipedia then they are available for questions. It is hard for me to estimate the costs or benefits of having them on the board and someone other than me should evaluate this offer. I would expect that whether they are are on the board or not they will continue to discuss Wikipedia's role in medicine with other organizations because they have raising such conversations for at least two years. Regardless of their formal affiliation they and other staff members at Consumer Reports are willing to provide advice and other support. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:49, 28 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Can you send me their phone numbers? I will give them a call. We also have the advisory board as discussed here[17] which I see as an ideal position for those interested but not yet involved Wikiproject Medicine members. Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 18:59, 28 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I suspect that you want people like this to be on an advisory board, not on the administrative board. Board members for a small organization differ from other volunteers primarily in the amount of bureaucratic paperwork they deal with. If you have people with skills and connections, then you want them doing "real stuff", not dealing with regulatory (tax) compliance paperwork and planning fundraising. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:42, 29 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Appearance of website[edit]

I assume that we will continue to run our main page here? I am thinking that changing the layout to something like this would be nice. Thoughts? Anyway want to have a go at it? Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 19:18, 28 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think we should do something like Wikimedia New York City and have a placeholder site on meta but an independent website of our own to serve as the frontpage.Peter.C(talk) 10:25, 1 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sure if we can find someone who wants to deal with this aspect. Initially I do not think it is really needed and meta will work fine. Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 20:32, 1 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Board elections[edit]

This is about the subsequent Boards, not the initial one:

Are you sure that you want to have a members-elected Board instead of a self-perpetuating one? What if the members ("Membership will be open to all persons over the age of twelve and interested in the purposes of the Corporation") have a very, very different vision? What if they want to elect a bunch of Scientologists or quacks? There is some risk to your project here. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:03, 30 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I share your concerns. Article II section 1 of theproposed bylaws says:

Membership will be open to all persons over the age of twelve and interested in the purposes of the Corporation. The members and the Board of Directors of the Corporation may establish such other criteria for membership, including a schedule of dues, as they deem appropriate.

Perhaps we should consider changing that to something like

Membership will be open to all persons over the age of eighteen who support the mission of the Corporation. The members and the Board of Directors of the Corporation may establish such other criteria for membership, including a schedule of dues, as they deem appropriate.

See #Mission statement, above. The present proposed wording is

to make clear, reliable, comprehensive, up-to-date educational resources and information in the biomedical and related social sciences freely available to all.

This mission statement combined with the revised article II section 1 will, I think, exclude proponents of pseudoscience and quackery from membership, so that may mean we can trust the membership to appoint the board. But we need a deep and detailed discussion of this point. Does anyone support the proposed mission statement or my proposed change to II.1? Should/can the mission statement be locked into the constitution? --Anthonyhcole(talk) 05:42, 1 October 2012 (UTC) Iridescent has just said "A politburo model in which existing board members have the ability and the willingness to blackball prospective new board members seems to be the only one which wouldn't spend all its time fending off entryists."[18] Would that veto, plus restricting membership to people who support the mission statement, plus identification of members be enough to keep the project on target? --Anthonyhcole (talk) 18:58, 1 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Minimum age for board members[edit]

I'm opposed to the idea of having it that you have to be 18 to be a member, but I have a conflict of interest in the matter.... Peter.C (talk) 10:26, 1 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd support a minimum age of eighteen for members. Directors should always be adults (at present, I cannot see a minimum age specified for directors). I would have a criticism of the first part of the mission though: "Encourage health care providers to use Wikimedia projects and to adopt the values of free culture and open access." This is unduly politicised: the mission should merely be to help ensure that Wikimedia projects provide accurate, non-misleading medical information to the public. Anyone willing and able to help with that effort should be welcome, whatever their views on political and social matters extraneous to Wikimedia projects.
I would also suggest that the wider on-wiki community be advised of the plans to establish this project, as there are many implications that need thinking through carefully, and could benefit from more eyes. I'll drop a note to the English and German Wikipedias, as well as the Wikimedia-l mailing list. --JN466 11:32, 1 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good idea, Jayen. That mission statement is still under discussion on this talk page, by the way. The wording is not settled. Would you consider commenting on the latest version above under #Mission statement?
Regarding ordinary membership, Peter, I'd support giving the board the right to waive the age requirement in exceptional cases, but as the members will elect the board, and the board signs the cheques, I'd rather under-eighteen members were rare exceptions. There may be a legal age requirement for directors in New York, but even if there isn't, I'd prefer to limit that to those over seventeen. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 18:13, 1 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Notification posted in de:WP --JN466 20:21, 1 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Have added the "who support the mission of the Corporation".[19] Setting an age limit I do not see as needed. Some young people are both competent and hard working. Feel free to change the wording of the mission statement. Doc James(talk · contribs ·email) 20:46, 1 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm open to persuasion on the age restriction, but I'm not persuaded yet. Let's hear from others. I changed "interests" to "mission" in the draft bylaws per #Board_elections.--Anthonyhcole (talk) 21:17, 1 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How about 15 with exceptions allowed by the board? We do not want to prevent people like Peter from joining us. Doc James(talk · contribs ·email) 22:12, 1 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the age of the board members should reflect the ages of the people the organization will serve and whose interests the organization will represent. To me, this includes youth. There is precedent for promoting youth leadership in many health programs, for example in the International AIDS Conference where youth representation in decision-making processes which affect youth populations is mandatory. In general, when there are populations to be served I think that this organization should try to recruit members of those populations to serve on the board. I think it would be ideal if Wikimedia Medicine recognized young people's right to give input on health education projects by having youth representation on the board. Blue Rasberry (talk) 00:22, 2 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm being persuaded. I think. Is there an age restriction for directors in New York?--Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:51, 3 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't see any problem with age for any member of WMMED, and I know of several young people who are excellent volunteers in the UK. On the other hand, considering the typical duties of a Board Member, there's probably sense in establishing a minimum age for that. For comparison, the Companies Act 2006 requires company directors in England and Wales to be 16 and a similar restriction applies in Scotland. I don't know of any regulation in New York, but I would still recommend 16 as a minimum age to be a member of the Board. --RexxS(talk) 21:53, 27 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Membership criteria[edit]

Whom do we exclude?[edit]

Iridescent raised the question, "Whom do we exclude?" Above we agreed that we would be open to all, but are there some people we don't want as members or directors? --Anthonyhcole (talk) 05:10, 20 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

People with significant conflict of interest (how to define this of course is difficult).Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 16:53, 26 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Iridescent's essay is worth reading. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:57, 27 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Red flags[edit]

Are there any red flags we could agree upon which would be considered almost certain grounds for exclusion? An example: believes in homeopathy. This red flag reveals such serious defects in medical and scientific knowledge as to make all their medical opinions suspect, and hence they would be a liability for this project.

Are there others that come to mind? -- BullRangifer (talk) 03:30, 30 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would support the inclusion of a good Wikipedian who believed in alternative medical practice if one could be identified. It is difficult to find people who understand the concept of reliable sourcing and who also study such topics, but if I ever identified one I would invite that person here to organize the breadth of the best sources in their field. Homeopathy is an influential health practice and any Wikipedia reader who seeks information on this topic needs to understand what it is and to what extent it is effective. I would like for Wikimedia Medicine to support dissemination of perspective on such topics with emphasis on the evidence-based consensus while not neglecting alternative viewpoints.
I support Wikimedia Medicine's exclusion of and discrimination against people who insist on making health assertions which are not backed by scholarly review articles. I think that makes me open to welcoming someone who has things to say about homeopathy, assuming that person's projects on Wikipedia are aligned with the reasonable practices already developed by WikiProject Medicine. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:21, 1 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This however does not need to be written into the by laws. We can have a membership policy independent of the by laws. We can stipulate that no significant COI is allowed but how does one define COI.Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 20:02, 1 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think general acceptance of Wikipedia policies/ guidelines, and specifically MEDRS, should be an eligibility criterion. (Unlike at the Reference Desk [20], apparently[21].) —MistyMorn (talk) 14:24, 2 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Confirmed identity[edit]

I propose we insist that all voting members publicly disclose their real identity. I'm not proposing they have to identify their Wikipedia user name. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 06:03, 1 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Legally they will have to anyway for the paperwork. All board of directors will need to submit their name and address to the lawyer to submit to the state of New York. Peter.C (talk) 10:22, 1 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm referring to all members, not just directors. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 18:27, 1 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is all much simpler if you eliminate the concept of members in the first place. How do you expect to handle voting? What does it mean to be "present in person" at a meeting of the members? (Your proposed bylaws say "At all meetings of the members, the lesser of members entitled to cast (i) one hundred votes or (ii) one-tenth of the total number of votes entitled to be cast will be present in person to constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.") I'm dubious about the ability, much less the willingness, of most potential members to travel to meetings. You are hoping for people from every country, and I can't see most people traveling more than an hour or two to attend such a meeting.
If you're doing meetings via WebEx or Skype and voting over the Internet, then you probably don't need members to produce their real names. In that situation, you really just need to know that "Peter.C" is one of your members, even if you don't know his full legal name. But if you're voting (or delivering proxy notices) through mail, then you need physical mailing addresses, and it is traditional and in some cases necessary to attach a real name to that. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:03, 1 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
When I read them a few weeks ago, the draft bylaws allowed members to be present at general meetings and directors to be present at board meetings via Skype etc., and for them to vote by proxy. I'd feel more comfortable if we had a confirmed name and address for every member. I worry about socking. I realise it won't prevent stacking, but that's no reason not to protect ourselves against socking.--Anthonyhcole (talk) 18:27, 1 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The whole point of this organization is to have real life Wikipedians with which other institutions can interact. For this real names are required IMO. Nearly all meeting will take place electronically except maybe for a yearly get together at Wikimania. Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 19:59, 1 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
An active anonymous en.WP medical editor has emailed me saying they would like to be a member but do not wish to publicly disclose their identity. Perhaps we could insist on confirmed identities but, as with ArbCom, keep an identity confidential when a member requests it, allowing them to use a screen name for voting or discussions. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 15:32, 2 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Board members have no choice: if there is more than a trivial amount of money moving through the organization, their names and real-life addresses (you can use a business address) are disclosed on IRS paperwork, which is always published online at
Of course, anonymous members will be limited in their ability to participate. You can't very well show up for a training session (online or in person) with a professional outfit and say, "I'm here to represent this group, but I'm shy about telling you my name..." It's unprofessional and is going to give you a strange reputation with the target audience. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:09, 2 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think we're agreed, provided you're saying members may keep their identities private but must identify themselves to the memberships secretary, and their opportunities to represent the organisation would be limited. I wasn't proposing anonymous directors, just the occasional anonymous ordinary voting member. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 10:51, 3 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(ec) That could be better explained on this page, I think. Something like, "We organize Wikipedians with a medical background to publicly engage organizations with a stake in improving Wikipedia's medical content through in-person and online training. In most cases, this will require public disclosure of the Wikipedian's name, employment, professional status, and on-wiki username". What do you think?WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:05, 2 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agree with WAID above. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:13, 3 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sounds good but we do have at least one real world medical writer who, to the best of my knowledge, has no medical training, and I wonder if this language would exclude them from outreach. If we want to include such editors in outreach perhaps we could leave "with a medical background" out of the statement. I don't know. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 11:08, 3 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How about we change it to an "interest in medicine" rather than a background in medicine.Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 16:18, 3 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Or perhaps something like "with scientific bio-medical interests"? Reasoning: Though more long winded, that might both broaden ("biomedical") and restrict ("scientific") the definition.—MistyMorn (talk) 13:55, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Note that this is a classic Wikipediocracy demand, because it lets them fish through all of Wikipedia looking for any edit at any time that they can showcase trying to make someone look stupid - and they are getting very good at getting their comments published verbatim in the media. This is what they did to Fae. By getting you to identify all of your members, they substantially increase their power, especially since as physicians some of you are particularly fond of your reputations. You've even apparently agreed that showing Wikipediocracy your ID card is more important than knowing anything about medicine. Wnt (talk) 05:03, 29 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


A question was posed to an Affiliations Committee member as to whether there should be any special policy about anyone's liability related to quality of medical content on Wikipedia.Here is that question. Blue Rasberry (talk) 00:42, 2 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You mean a statement like "This organization does not determine Wikipedia's medical content. If you have concerns regarding said content please post it on the articles talk page." Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 00:55, 2 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Or the WM:UK disclaimer: "Wikimedia UK is an independent non-profit charity with no legal control over Wikipedia nor responsibility for its contents."[22] --Anthonyhcole (talk) 15:14, 2 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes agree. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:19, 3 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Wondering if we should create one of these? Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 04:55, 2 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

en:user:Isarra makes logos. She made the WALRUS, theWiknic, Labs, a Wiknic barnstar, and other things. When it is time to make a logo I propose talking to her. Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:38, 2 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nice. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 15:06, 2 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No international participation – additional participation is needed![edit]

I would like to critisise that Wikimedia Medicine is founded without any international participation. The language versions of Wikipedia and its sister projects were not informed in advance. I participate very intensively in reporting international affairs to the German community, but I did not realise that there is a Wikimedia Medicine at all until yesterday. I also am sysop on German Wikiversity, and I have to say that we were not informed either. User:Jayen466 only last night gave us a hint to these developments. He handed it on to the English and to the German Wikipedia communities, other language projects have not been informed so far. This means that they have not been able to take part in the discussion at all.

I gather that Wikimedia Medicine is designed to manage all WikiProjects on Medicine in all language versions of Wikipedia. This means that there will be restrictions to volunteer authors in the future. This can only take place if all communities have a ample opportunity to take part in the discussions leading there.

An organisation such as Wikimedia Medicine cannot be founded without sufficient participation and representation of all Wikimedia communities. Wikimedia is not an organisation, but a worldwide movement. All authors must have an opportunity to discuss whether they want this change to happen, and in their native language, please.

So would you please allow at least two more months for international discussion. Thanks.--Aschmidt (talk) 11:35, 3 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Welcome. Great to have you here. I'm fairly sure James advised the other language medicine projects. But I would support waiting for more input from other languages if you think it is likely forthcoming. Wikimedia Medicine is expressly not a management organisation. It will have no control over the editing or other policies of any of the Wikipedia projects (en, de, etc.). Its aim is to support those projects by persuading, teaching and helping experts and others to contribute to the Wikipedias, and by organising or supporting the translation of good Wikipedia medical articles. If you are looking for an organisation that will manage Wikipedias or WikiProjects, you'll need to start another organisation. That's not what this one is designed for.
Can you tell me whether your misunderstanding is due to JN466's mistaken description of this organisation or is it due to your mis-reading what he said? If he is mis-describing the purpose of this organisation, that's a problem. I'll tell him about this discussion.--Anthonyhcole (talk) 15:17, 3 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Per Anthony. This proposal was posted to ALL Wikiproject Medicine languages on Aug 21st, 2012. Here is the dif for German [23]. Aug 18th it was added here[24] One of the board members is from Brasil. I am happy to have another month for discussion but do not want this to delay things indefinately. Incorporating is not the end of creating policies and guidelines for this organization. It is just the start. Incorporating only creates a basic outline and what we add on afterwords defines to a greater extent how we operate. Doc James(talk · contribs ·email) 16:17, 3 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here is a translation of what I said:
Wikimedia Medicine is a planned Wikimedia Thematic Organization. Thematic Organizations are like a chapter, but relate to a topic area (in this case medicine) rather than a geographical region. But like chapters, they derive their official status from theAffiliations Committee.
The draft bylaws of Wikimedia Medicine are [25].
Wikimedia Medicine will according to present proposals have its seat in New York City, but its directors are meant to represent various language versions of Wikipedia. The project will thus have an international competence, and it therefore seems to make sense for the various languages to get involved in planning at an early stage. The discussion page is here.
I subsequently made three more posts, (1) one pointing out that I was only notifying en:WP and de:WP and would appreciate anyone else notifying other projects, (2) one saying that as far as I could see, there were no German speakers involved in the discussions here and that that was a problem, and (3) one giving a brief overview (with links) of the related to the recent WMUK troubles,this discussion where a project participant suggested two members of their organisation for the WMMED board, and the discussions on Iridescent's talk page. JN466 16:29, 3 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks JN. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:40, 3 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My quick review of the people who are involved shows that we have people from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Poland, the UK, and the US involved—and that's just among the people whose locations I happen to know. I would be interested in hearing what Aschmidt's definition of "no international participation" is, if at least seven different countries doesn't count. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:27, 3 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Translation Task Force has the broadest international and multilingual outreach of any Wikimedia project besides Wiki Loves Monuments, which communicates primarily with images rather than text. Here is the list of languages participating in this at this time - Wikipedia:WikiProject Medicine/Translation task force/RTT. Bengali, Hindi, Swahili, Persian, Tagalog, Indonesian, Macedonian, Greek, Bulgarian, Romanian, Croatian, Turkish, Polish, Swedish, Hungarian, Arabic, Dari, Dutch, Czech, Serbian, Tamil, Ukrainian, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Armenian, Kinyarwanda, Telegu, Yoruba, Norwegian, and Urdu speakers have participated as translators expressly for this project and have been given a chance to have involvement to the extent of their interest. Typically these were non-Wikipedians who were interested in health translation but did not understand the Wikipedia platform. It would be lovely to identify more Wikipedians who are also interested and if anyone has ideas for reaching them then please do anything useful. Blue Rasberry(talk) 19:07, 3 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes I am very much in need of Wikipedians with skills in these languages to help. Please sign uphere and than jump right in. We are a do-ocracy (any organization lead by doing). Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 19:25, 3 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for your response to my critical note. Maybe you are not quite aware that an organisation as WMMED that assumes a competence for Wikipedia articles on a certain subject across language versions would bring about a dramatic change for authors. It does not suffice to notify medicine projects only (no response from the German WikiProject Medicine, by the way. sp far). This has to be tackeled by thewhole community. There should be enough time to discuss such a change, and in users' native languages, please. This has not been the case so far. This is why I oppose WMMED at this stage. It is by no means clear from the bylaws what the organisation may or may not do with regard to Wikipedia content. This should be expressly said in the bylaws in order to make it clear which competences remain with the community and what would be the role of WMMED with respect to the community and content creation. This is altogether intransparent. WMMED also would open the door to official co-operations with paid editing and PR people from more organisations in this field. As you claim to raise funds from other sources than the WMF you position yourself expressly outside the Wikimedia movement, making control of funds and resources now run by the FDC, i.e. the Wikipedia community, impossible. This all looks quite bad to me, and it badly needs discussion by the community because I am afraid that it would change things for the worse. – BTW, I beg your pardon that I am not able to respond to mails I have received asking for personal discussion on the matter by Skype as I lack the time. This is a community matter, so please have the community discuss it in their respective wikis and languages. Thanks.--Aschmidt (talk) 11:17, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Regarding "an organisation as WMMED that assumes a competence for Wikipedia articles on a certain subject across language versions" and "what the organisation may or may not do with regard to Wikipedia content": You have nothing to worry about there. None of us here has any intention of controlling Wikipedia or its content policies, and even if we wanted to there is no way we could, that I'm aware of. How do you envision this organisation controlling a Wikipedia exactly? I mean, please be very specific.
Also note: as an independent charity, like all Wikimedia Thematic Organizations and chapters, we will be taking money from whatever sources we like (bearing in mind at all times COI). Wikimedia Foundation will be one of those sources, but since our goals align with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organisation, and many other health-oriented entities, I certainly hope we'll be exchanging skills and resources with those too.
As for these discussions occurring in 7, 10, 30 different languages; how, exactly, and I mean exactly, specifically, how would that work? How, for instance would I follow and contribute to a Chinese or Mongolian thread? Do you plan on employing full-time professional independent translators?--Anthonyhcole (talk) 17:19, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As for these discussions occurring in 7, 10, 30 different languages; how, exactly, and I mean exactly, specifically, how would that work? How, for instance would I follow and contribute to a Chinese or Mongolian thread? Do you plan on employing full-time professional independent translators? – You see, in converse, this is exactly the position all communities other than the English community are in at the moment. There is rather little participation here because (1) we had a public holiday on 3 October which means that many editors are on leave and, thus, offline, and (2) we have a language barrier to overcome. Reporting on Wikimedia Medicine in the Wikipedia:Kurier in dewiki was a first step to get the message across to the German community at all. As I said in the first place, we do need some more time for discussing this project. More language communities are probably not even aware of what's happening now. Please be aware that enwiki and metawiki are not at the centre of the universe to most editors, and most folks out there are not speaking English good enough to take part in a discussion or even to read this.--Aschmidt (talk) 18:42, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 As I stated above, this project claims a certain authorty on most/all health-related-matters, across all language versions, which is something unequalled in WP history. In theory, all articels, written by a large number of contributers over the last years, can be dumped and replaced by a version, which is based on the findings of "wikimedia medicine". That is a bit scary. Alexpl (talk) 14:14, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The by laws do not specifically state what this organization will do with Wikipedia content because this organization does not and will not have any official say over Wikipedia content. It is no different than a national chapter. This project is NOT claiming any authority over health care related matters. Where does it state that WMMED can replace versions? Anyway confused by these comments.Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 16:36, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You have misunderstood what this organisation is for, and you have a different understanding about how Wikipedias work if you think we can impose anything on them. I welcome your scrutiny, though.--Anthonyhcole (talk) 18:26, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hm, but I read: "members of the health community...and learn to contribute content". So the results of those peoples work, you have inspired to contribute, will be merely a recommendation to the community? Still challengeable by every author in every lng. version on a level playing field? If you are not going to provide any kind of patronage, like you say, that is going to be extremely fustrating for those people. Alexpl (talk) 21:05, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes they will be members of the community just like everyone else. We will explain the rules so hopefully it will be less frustrating but yes they will be Wikipedians just like the rest of us. We cannot give out any more special privileges than you can. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 22:19, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok. But there will be some kind of counselling by Wikimedia Medicine for those contributors on how to handle conflicts they may encounter with their articles, if requested ? Alexpl(talk) 10:28, 5 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes and their is "counselling" right now from the TEA house and one can request help at WT:MED. So this is just one more way. If this new project thinks the organization is a good fit we may even do in person "counselling" Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 10:36, 5 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Opposition of advocacy[edit]

I will not support any thematic organization that has a stated goal of political advocacy, and the community likely will not either. I actually strongly agree that publicly funded research should be publicly accessible, but that is beside the point. The foundation should not be supporting and officially blessing an organization with political advocacy as a goal. On a side note, comments like those above that state that someone who believes in homeopathy should be barred from the board are concerning as well. Again, I think homeopathy is a load of crap, but it seems like this organization is being set up to push a certain POV. This is a disaster waiting to happen, and I have to register my strong opposition to this unless these issues are addressed to turn this into a POV-neutral project with a scope that excludes advocacy. Gigs (talk) 15:22, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There are and will continue to be conversations on all kinds of topics on talk pages. What is said on a talk page does not indicate a position of all people affiliated with an organization. Not much has been said in any case about what this organization will do except to further the goals of WikiProject Medicine and related projects. This is a Wikimedia-focused project.
The homeopathy discussion is just that - a discussion. There are a hundred pages of this discussion already on WikiProject Medicine and you can see there that there is support for all cultural interpretations of what medicine is.
I do feel that the act of editing on Wikipedia is a sort of political advocacy for the right of all people to have access to information. I also advocate for more people to edit Wikipedia as community members who serve other community members. To what extent do you agree with that? "Advocacy" is a bit of a buzzword in that it means a lot of things to different people. I know the history the word has on Wikipedia, but could you specifically describe what it is that you are opposing? Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:00, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was just in Geneva meeting with the WHO and advocating them to release their content under a CC BY SA license. I have written to Health Canada to advocate that they release some of their medical content under the same license. This will be part of what the organization does.
We will probably also support Open Publication by journals. And was encouraging all these groups and more to hire a Wikipedian in Residence to support their understanding of what we do. Not sure the issue you would have with this?Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:29, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Asking someone to release something they own voluntarily under an open license so we can use it is not political advocacy, it's something most editors normally do. Advocating that the laws be changed to force things to be released under an open license crosses a line. I hope you can see the difference.Gigs (talk) 18:14, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I still plan to advocate that governments changes the laws so that their content is release under licenses we can use. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:19, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The stuff that's already intended to be freely released, sure. That's not advocacy so much as providing guidance on "how to be open". I don't have a problem with that part. The later part about requiring all tax-funded research to be open is what we are talking about here. I'd be very happy if such a law did pass, but I strongly object to the WMF spending money on political advocacy to make that happen. Gigs (talk) 18:31, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I disagree with your stance on advocacy. The purpose of this organisation is to make clear, reliable, comprehensive, up-to-date educational resources and information in the biomedical and related social sciences freely available to all, and we'll be advocating for that, and anything that furthers that goal, including open journal publication and the open publication of all treatment trial results. I'm not alone there. If you think this organisation shouldn't be doing that, explain why.
I welcome the debate on homeopaths and Scientologists. That's something we have to have out. Do you seriously believe we should waste either our volunteer time or, even worse, our donors' money, humoring those quacks? I'm more than happy to support dissemination of NPOV content about quackery, but I have no intention of allowing advocates of those poisonous cons to vote here. I wouldn't oppose the formation of a charitable organisation called WM:CAM but I would be very disappointed if the Foundation ever gave them a dime or recognised them as a thematic organisation (though I wouldn't rule it out). This is Wikimedia Medicine, real medicine, science-based medicine. I think. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 17:42, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes this is science based medicine. And there is a great deal of science that homeopathy does not work. Individual editors here I am sure have added that to Wikipedia already. There is a great deal of support that Scientology is a religion and thus has little / nothing to do with us. If someone wished to create a religion based thematic organization and if Scientology wished to get involved with it that would be up to that group. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:06, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would be opposed to that as well. It's not the WMF's job to fund battling partisans, quack or mainstream. Gigs (talk) 18:14, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Opposed to which? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:20, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Both. You seem to realize yourself the pandora's box we are looking at here if we allow WMF to fund partisan advocacy. Gigs (talk) 18:27, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To be clear, is this your view: It would be a mistake for the foundation to fund this organisation if it is going to be (1) speaking out in favor of open access to publications funded by government and publication of all trial results and (2) denying membership to people who oppose science-based medicine. Have I got that right? --Anthonyhcole (talk) 18:35, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sure so we may as well incorporate independent of the affiliation committee as Wiki Medicine. We can do almost everything I wish to accomplish independently. If after a bit people are happy with this organization we can apply down the road. Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 18:43, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I can't imagine any experienced medical editors, doctors or scientists will want to associate themselves with this project if it is not guided by evidence and science and is not permitted to advocate for freer access to medical science. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 18:58, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If no one here can see the difference between convincing people to release things voluntarily under free licenses and using the legal system to force them to release things under free licenses, then I'm not sure where can go from here. Gigs (talk) 19:37, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
When you are asking governments to release stuff it is legal systems involved. When you are asking individuals it is not. I currently do both.Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 19:53, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If all you want to do is ask governments to release government-owned research, then you should not say "taxpayer-funded" research, the majority of which does not happen in governmental institutions. Gigs (talk) 19:57, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sure didn't realize we had. Doc James(talk · contribs ·email) 20:01, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's on the Advocacy sub-page. "Wikimedia Medicine advocates for governments to give taxpayers access to taxpayer-funded medical research by requiring that institutions receiving taxpayer money to conduct health research publish their work under a free license." I checked the history and you didn't seem to be involved with the creation of that page, so that may explain some things. Gigs (talk) 20:03, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ah thanks. Had not read that. Think it is a fine idea though. The World Bank has just mandated that all research that they fund be released under a CC BY license. They UK is looking at it as is the USA. Would be a huge step forwards. Doc James(talk · contribs ·email) 20:11, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, the NIH has such rules already. That's why so many papers are available at PubMed Central. The effort to expand it to non-NIH federal agencies is en:Federal Research Public Access Act. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:02, 8 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Advocacy is also a tricky legal battle as we are a legal entity, it's highly regulated and if we do decide to persue advocacy, we should tread slowly.Peter.C (talk) 20:05, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Peter, can you elaborate on that? What are the constraints you're referring to?--Anthonyhcole (talk) 13:47, 5 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I actually mispoke, we will fall under a Type Bnon-profit under NY state, meaniung we will be unable to preform any political advoacy. There are ways around this but it will take much more additional time to be undertaken.Peter.C (talk) 02:04, 6 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's important, I think, that we have a very clear understanding of the constraints imposed onNY Code - Not-For-Profit Corporations. If we'll be constrained from lobbying governments to further our aims, I for one would like to consider alternative forms of incorporation. I guess we need a good definition of "political purposes" as the term is used in that code. My reading of Section 201 is that if a corporation is formed for purposes which are within both type A (which includes political) and type B (educational), it is treated as a type B corporation, but that section doesn't seem to be forbidding the corporation from pursuing both a political and an educational purpose. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 19:08, 6 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We could become a non-profit organization that can involve itself in political advocacy, but then we will not be able to offer tax deductions on donations. We could however; deliver information in a way that would support specific legislation, candidate, or an official take an action. This means we can support topics such as free culture in a general sense such as "we support free and open information in government", but we cannot say "We want bill X for transparency to be approved by congress".Peter.C (talk) 19:21, 6 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It comes down to how much funding is put towards this. It must be kept under 10-15% of the budget which will not be a big deal. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 20:11, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For simplicity sack it will be easiest just to drop advocacy. We can still all be involved with it from a personal position. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 21:59, 6 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If it's any help, you might want to note that WMUK is a registered charity, so is restricted to spending donations only for the purposes of the charity (e.g. to support free education), but we have had success in persuading governmental departments to release material under free licences - I assume it's considered non-political because we take the same line with whatever government is in power. Perhaps it might be better to consider such activities "lobbying" for free educational resources?--RexxS (talk) 02:15, 7 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is all true of NY state, except we cannot lobby, we can only work in partnership with the government. Peter.C (talk) 04:03, 7 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I believe that non-profits are allowed to "lobby" on issues that directly affect their operations. Otherwise, no non-profit organization could express an opinion about the laws that regulate non-profits. I believe that also extends to supporting laws that affect their main goals, e.g., the March of Dimes (which I believe is also a New York Type B) is allowed to favor legislation related to preventing birth defects. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:02, 8 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for sussing this out guys. Ultimately I agree with your mission and wish you the best.Gigs (talk) 15:41, 7 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 22:43, 7 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mission statement[edit]

As we near incorporation wondering if everyone is happy with the mission statement as seen hereWikimedia_Medicine#Mission "To make clear, reliable, comprehensive, up-to-date educational resources and information in the biomedical sciences freely available to all." Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 03:49, 5 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My problem with this formulation is it excludes psychology, and I don't think we can ignore psychology, given the deep inroads CBT is making into the clinic. That was the reason for including "and related social sciences" in the earlier version. I'd be happy with any solution that includes psychology while stressing science. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 05:21, 5 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Okay agree and restored. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 05:26, 5 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would like to subscribe to an issue that has been raised on Wikimedia-l[26], viz. WMMED's position towards alternative approaches to medicine, e.g., traditional Chinese medicine, Anthroposophical medicine, or other forms of complementary medicine. Would you include these, as well?--Aschmidt (talk) 12:53, 15 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here is a summary on that topic. A shorter answer is that yes, these things are included in the same way that Wikipedia:WikiProject Medicine has included them. That project has talk archives since 2004. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:32, 15 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for pointing me there.--Aschmidt (talk) 16:31, 15 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

New mailing list for the group[edit]

Is here [27] Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 10:20, 5 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Hi Guys, I'm trying to catch up on these discussions and give some feedback. First and foremost, I want to thank you guys for taking this initiative, as someone who worked on Movement Roles and participated in these discussions, not necessarily arguing for these changes, it's still great to see the first organization use them to seek affiliation. I know a couple of people like James who have been involved in other initiatives like Wikimedia Canada and the recent Wikitravel initiative. I hope you guys can realize that you are breaking new ground and this is something unique that is happening here, and I just want to see this done right, so I hope you can forgo my inquisitive perspective. There are a couple of concerns I'm mentioning below -

  1. You chose 25 as the maximum number of your board member. Why? That seems quite high. Majority of the board members are there to fulfill the required roles as functionaries of the organization, serving as treasurer, president, secretary etc., this would complicate voting and consensus building within the board, I can't imagine if 25 would be a manageable number, across time-zones and countries. James also states that he wants, the most board members as possible after incorporation, why? Most chapters and similar organization have the same board (usually under 10-12) that remain with the organization for the first year and then go up for election after the membership base is established.
  2. I'm curious about your planned trademark and brand usage, I'd like to inquire if you have any plans related to them yet.
  3. There are also a few things in the talk page above that are not inspiring confidence, like adding board members ad hoc and indiscriminately, things like "I met these two great people at work today, and we should get them on our board", discussion about age requirement, IRS paperwork are other important topics that are being taken very lightly. This gives me some concern.
  4. I'd like more specific roles on the board to be listed, if the proposed board members also list their functioning roles. I'm also not clear about certain things, which might be my own fault, but you are proposing to register in NYC and James is one of the most active members pushing for this but happens to be based in Canada, I believe. Who would be the official legal contact in NYC? there is a big concern about liability and exposure that the official representative in NY might be open to, I'd like to know what the plan is for that.
  5. There are existing chapter in NY, and DC. Have you tried reaching out to them? I'm concerned there might be some overlap between the two.
  6. I see multiple times that someone is mentioning that Thematic organizations are like chapters, but I don't see a lot of people remotely familiar with Chapter affairs. I met James and Alan in Berlin 2 years ago, he is perhaps the only exception I know of, and even I cant confidently say he has been active in majority of the chapter discussions in the last year or two. To go so far as to incorporate a chapter-like organization in NY, when I believe James is not a US citizen, is also concerning.
  7. You are mentioning your scope as global but have very little representation from beyond US-Canada, and perhaps UK. I know you are soliciting members to join and it might be hard, but I would prefer if you consider adding a couple of members from around the world.
  8. Lastly I hope you can understand that there is some trepidation about this approval, being the first and paving the way and so on. The concerns are very legitimate, so I would also request that you exercise some patience at the same time. We want to see a thematic organization, but we also want to see this done right.

Regards. Theo10011 (talk) 20:36, 14 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. We want people with different language backgrounds on the board thus have made the number as high as it is. I do not think I stated that I want most members on the board. Most members will simply be members. I of course may have miss typed.
  2. No plans yet
  3. Those two members will most likely go on an advisory board rather than the NGO board. IRS paper work is not a big deal. Yes one does their taxes. Age requirements are being discussed. We have legal advice on what is allowed.
  4. Not convinced our legal liability will be any greater than it is right now. I guess we could register in Canada but our current NGO laws are up in the air right now as Canada is in the process of changing them. I have been sued a couple of times now related to my wiki activities. I try to do what I consider to be right and try not to get hung up on potential law suits.
  5. No we are more international in scope and are working on collaborating and promoting only health care related content.
  6. Yes we at Wikimedia Canada are neither for nor against the "Wikimedia Chapter Association" which is why you have not seen us involved with the discussion regarding the WCA.
  7. If you look above we have members from at least 7 different countries.
  8. Yes we are planning on incorporating. Whether or not we become a thematic group is really secondary. This organization is primarily a platform from which those who are interested in improving Wikipedia's medical content can form collaborations with other organizations. We are not really looking for money from the WMF with most funding hopefully coming from people personally or third party granting organizations. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 20:58, 14 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks James, I think you might be getting a bit defensive but I understand. I wasn't talking about WCA or anything in particular, just a general comment about WMCA level of activity and your area of interest and activity. Please don't take my queries personally, I know of your previous work and involvement -they are not in doubt here. I'm not concerned about anyone's particular involvement, actually I know and trust your work. I'm more concerned about what happens when you are not as actively involved, I hope you admit you are a busy man with a job, personal life and another chapter and other responsibilities, what happens when someone else on the board takes up where you left off and you are in another country while they make changes. Hypothetically, 6 months after approval, to get more representation you add a Tunisian board member, who then in turn goes and makes a deal with an insurance company, or drug company and offers to speak on behalf of Wikipedia based on this affiliation(he can choose to keep you in the dark about most of this) - that is the sort of scenario I'm more concerned about. I know you have been sued in the course of your volunteer work, but you are not based in the country you are incorporating in, someone else might be signing up for that. I was asking whoever that is, is aware. Funding is not my concern, I know you want to use this as a platform, and I support the idea, but you are choosing to incorporate in a country, that opens up the door to laws and taxation. It gives you a legal real world identity to own a corporation, you might be aware of what comes with it, but the others should be too. It is not about funding, or activity or preventing you from what you want to do. I just want to know how much you've thought this through, if not, then let's discuss it and iron out the kinks. Regards.Theo10011 (talk) 21:24, 14 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Someone from an unspecified country can already claim they are from Wikipedia and form collaborations with pharma companies. This new organization will not change any of this. A few people have poor scruples and legality does not affect this significantly.
My most recent law suit is from the USA. Me being Canadian does not give me any defense from US lawsuits. Helping to operate a US based corporation does not change any of this. Anyone who edits Wikipedia can currently get sued.
I will not "own" a corporation. This is being incorporated as an NGO and I will be a board member. Sure we will have to do taxes. We already have legal advice so I am not too worried. This is going to be a very small organizations. I am sure that we will not be that active. Appreciate the comments.--Doc James (talk· contribs · email) 21:44, 14 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For clarification, we have talked to some local chapters on ways they work and operate. We most likely will work further with them when we are officially incorporated as any official talks seem a bit premature. Also, The reason why we wish to incorporate in the State of New York is because it has very lax regulations with regards to non-profits, for example, we will not have to meet in person for an annual meeting, and votes are the same. As for your other points, I think most are valid and we should be treading slowly into this, instead of jumping right into this. I would rather have a plan set out for how we wish to do things, rather than incorporating and having to start from scratch.Peter.C (talk) 02:49, 15 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
James, thanks for the reply. please bear with me a bit more. SO, as you said "a few people have poor scruples", the concern is if you start handing out board memberships willy-nilly you won't have time to vet them enough and you might inadvertently end up adding those unscrupulous individuals to represent you. The concern is partially based on allowing 25 members, your organization would be based on all those 25 member carrying themselves in a responsible manner, just make sure you vet them and please consider one last time if you can revise the number down to a more manageable one, that majority of NGOs and chapters have, and limit it to 10-12. There is no problem that chapters have with a more manageable board number. Second point, I know you have been sued, and yes anyone who edits can get sued. But you were sued as an individual, this is a corporation, you will have a board but you will also have an affiliation and a brand name. This is about representations and image, chapters have come close to having scandals, some have garnered bad publicity that reflects on Wikipedia and Wikimedia, I'm not asking anyone to stop but I'm saying taxation isn't the only thing you should be concerned about. All this comes with a bit of liability, I just wanted to know who would be the representative in NY who would be the official legal contact. Thanks again for exercising patience and talking through this. Peter C, thanks for the explanation. there are a whole host of other factors related to registering in NY, the regulations might be lax but the cost of legislation and getting professional services might be higher. But that's just one opinion, there is absolutely no reason to reconsider the location,I was suggesting it wouldn't hurt to talk to the NY chapter and get some quotes from lawyers and accountants to plan and budget better. Regards. Theo10011 (talk) 18:12, 15 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Peter has convinced his dad to do the incorporation paper work for us. His dad being a lawyer I am sure would have a lot of lawyer friends to help if we where to run into legal problems. It appears however that someone can sue you in whatever state they like down in the USA regardless or where you live or due business. Being sued as an individual exposes one to a more liability then being sued as an NGO IMO.
I know everyone fairly well who has been offered a board position at this point in time. Individuals also have scandals and could potential reflect poorly on Wikipedia / Wikimedia. The media dose not separate the two and neither IMO is a greater liability than the other. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 04:35, 16 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What do you mean by "the cost of legislation"? This is what members of the government do?Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 04:49, 16 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was referring to the general cost of legal actions, and the cost of your own internal body's deliberation, considering the time-zones the board members would be in. Anyway, Thanks for the reply, I'll respond when I find some time. Theo10011 (talk) 17:22, 16 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Costs of meeting via skype / google hangouts for up to 25 people is free. Deliberations will take place primarily via 1) skype 2) email 3) meta which are all free
As most law suits probably originate from the USA it would be good from a legal point of view to have representation in the USA. Doc James(talk · contribs ·email) 19:15, 16 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Okay changed the max number of directors to 15 Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 20:37, 17 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Your project has been the topic of discussion on the generally Wikipedia-hostile site"Wikipediocracy". (often abbreviated "WO" on Wikipedia) I have seen very unpleasant things emanate from this organization in the past, most notably in the Fae ArbCom case where they drove Fae off the WMUK board of directors. More recently they went after Roger Bamkin there. Some editors I remember vividly from the Fae case include Anthonyhcole and JN466, who have been very active here. I don't know all the people here who are involved in this organization, but given its great interest in controlling board membership in WMUK, I would be very, very wary that you are setting up an organization which will end up directly under Gregory Kohs' control. The subsequent activities of such an organization might be anything but what many of you wanted "Wiki Medicine Inc." to be all about.Wnt (talk) 16:05, 15 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thank you for the warning. I don't know Gregory Kohs. I invited comment from that project because they are not a bit timid in criticising anything Wikipedia, and I think it's important we get very very carefully scrutinised, now in the early development of this project, and going forward as we become active. I've also invited many non-medical Wikipedia editors to comment here, some of whom I've been in significant, sometimes heated, disagreement with, but whose intelligence I respect, for the same reason.--Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:39, 15 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am aware of Gregory Kohs. I do not see where the above link comments on WMMED? Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 04:41, 16 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
[28]--Anthonyhcole (talk) 17:01, 16 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For an overview of the situation with Fae and Bamkin (one rather too neutral for my taste), see[29]. My disagreements with Anthonyhcole are expressed at [30],[31] and related pages. Two board members from the WMUK have been put to public disgrace over trumped-up issues - in Fae's case, issues which had no substance at all, and in Bamkin's case, which could have been clarified with much less public discredit to Wikipedia. And these people are helping you set up your board of directors.Wnt (talk) 17:21, 16 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fæ wasn't "driven off off the WMUK board of directors." Fæ resigned his position as WMUK's Chair. Fæ is still a director / trustee.--Michaeldsuarez (talk) 13:21, 17 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry - you're right about that. They had some kind of special election/recall motion which apparently never went anywhere after he resigned the chair. Wnt (talk) 18:14, 17 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


It has come to my attention that you are planning to incorporate in a near future. I would advise you not to do that before getting an explicit say-so from the Affiliations Committee (that's the general procedure). odder (talk) 09:09, 19 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes hopefully in the next 10 days are so. Just a couple more issues to hammer out. We are happy to incorporate without affcomm approval. If that committee wishes to consider approval afterwards this will be up to them.
A number of other organizations have incorporated before approval including Wiki Canada. WikiVoyage was of course also incorporated before consideration for obvious reasons. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 14:19, 19 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Affiliations Committee will not approve any organisations that were incorporated against its advice. I hope this is clear to you: you will incorporate an organisation that will not be approved, and might or might not be able to use Wikimedia trademarks. odder (talk) 14:28, 19 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Where is this rule documented, and why does it exist? WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:07, 19 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This rule is documented in the step by step creation guide, and has been mentioned by us many times during the past few weeks/months. It is written down because reviewing bylaws and suggesting changes (whenever applicable) is a part of the recognition process, and because changing bylaws of an existing organisation is extremely hard and inconvenient. odder (talk) 15:11, 19 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You mean the page that begins with a statement that doing things in a different order may be not only possible but sometimes necessary? That doesn't sound like a hard-and-fast rule to me. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:22, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If one wanted to wikilawyer it, the guidelines themselves are incorporated into the Requirements for future thematic organizations, and include a number of phrases like the one you quoted (i.e. if deviations are shown to be necessary), and certain others that suggest that such deviations need to be explained to and accepted by Affcom. (If you have suggestions on how to edit the page in a way to make that clear, that would be welcome.) --Bence (talk) 01:40, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To give a bit more context, the way that applications normally go is that a group comes together, agrees on goals, structure, their first projects, decides on the bylaws (in case of an international org, they might have a long and hard conversation about place of registration). The Affiliations Committee's review process is built up to parallel this in a way that as a preliminary step we check whether there is a coherent, good faith group that shares a common goal and understanding and that wishes to become part of the "Wikimedia family of organisations", before starting a review of bylaws that aims to share best practices and to ensure that the organisation is democratic, inclusive, and if possible that it has proper financial controls in place. This review usually (or perhaps always) results in some changes to the bylaws based on suggestions from the review. At this point, the Committee will make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees for the group to be recognized (first in an interim fashion, until it is incorporated and signs an affiliation agreement with the WMF), and that the incorporation can take place and the organisation can jump into doing things. (In most cases the incorporation process is longer than the 8 minutes it takes in Estonia, so in the big picture the time it takes from the bylaw review to the board resolution is usually negligible in comparison to the whole incorporation process). The above linked pages, contain more info on the process (especially if you follow the links in the sidebar on the right) and the Committee (who are by the way all volunteers and human.)

In the case of Wikimedia Medicine the Affiliations Committee feels that the interested participants still need to form a coherent group and agree on a number of outstanding issues (e.g. membership, the scope of the organisation, etc.) – this has been the reason we have been trying to invite wider participation in the present discussions. While it has been noted above that agreement on these elements can be expressed in the form of policies outside the bylaws, until they are properly developed in whatever form, we are not able to conclude the first part of the recognition process, and move on to a bylaws review. Given that any amendment to the bylaws takes 3 months, it is no wonder that we have been adamant in stating that premature incorporation would slow down the recognition process and cause harm to the organisation in terms of lost momentum and waiting around (this has been the unfortunate case with Wikimedia Canada, where the ratification of bylaw changes have avoidably prolonged the process without any tangible benefit even in the form of activities performed in that period).

Wikimedia organisations are part of a network and are expected to be able to integrate into that, flouting Committee recommendations and long established, working processes, guides, requirements is not a sign that the organisation is able to play well with others (and we feel this without for a second doubting that all participants have achieved great things inside Wikimedia, and that a thematic organisation if thought through properly could be very beneficial to the whole movement) – which is a secondary cause of doubt inducing us to be cautious in considering the current application.

(The above, in more detail, have been numerous times made known to James and other members of the core team, without being listened to.) --Bence (talk) 15:42, 19 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes a number of us are well aware of the position of the affcom. That this process has movement support is not clear. And I for one disagree with it.
We at Wikimedia Canada feel that incorporating first was beneficial rather than harmful as we where then able to come to the table as equals with the WMF. And we actually proposed that the affcom change their procedures to match our experience. This has been made clear to Bence and the affcom numerous times :-) Doc James (talk· contribs · email) 15:56, 19 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I do not know what tangible benefits resulted that would not have resulted or would have resulted slower otherwise – perhaps that is why it was difficult to champion this change in process based on the Canadian experience. But this is off topic here.. –Bence (talk) 17:25, 20 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For what it's worth, you're allowed to incorporate whenever you want. If you want to incorporate before gaining official approval, just incorporate with a generic name. That's a good way to meet the priorities of the AffCom and of the Medicine group half way; the Medicine group benefits by having a corporate shell and the Wikimedia Foundation doesn't have to claim Wikimedia Medicine as one of their own until they're ready to do so. harej (talk) 20:27, 19 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes thanks Harej. That sounds fair. Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 21:02, 19 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
May I ask what this means for organizations that are already incorporated, even longer than the idea of thematic organizations exists? I think about associations like Wikivoyage e.V. Alice Wiegand (talk) 16:47, 20 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes exactly. The currently proposed process by the affcom does not make sense. That other organizations are supposed to have permission from the affcom before they incorporate cannot apply to organizations like WV or other existing projects. Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 16:57, 20 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There are differences. Wikivoyage e.V. has been existing for some years already. Its scope is firmly set in its bylaws, and it has proven to work quite efficiently and trustworthy to achieve its mission. I don't deem it appropriate to address affcom policy in this way.--Aschmidt (talk) 17:04, 20 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
About 90% or more of Wikimedia affiliate organizations are created from scratch, mostly by volunteers who have varying degrees of prior experience in creating non-profits, let alone Wikimedia organizations, and this is what the processes are tailored for. In the outlying cases of WikiVoyage and Amical the process is similar, but as Ashmidt notes, the bylaw review is more of a formality to see if there is anything out of order– given the organizations' history – and less of a way to transfer institutional knowledge. Given the long existence of these organisations, usually the question of whether the core team can work together and have a coherent picture of their goals and mission is less difficult to ascertain.
As Harel notes, the non-outlier organizations can also decide to incorporate first, but that will not change the fact that a more thorough review is warranted, nor that such review might become more difficult to do than if they had followed the recommended process (or at least, if they really had the necessary discussions on goals, structure, bylaws, that leads to a level of clarity that satisfies Affcom and smooths the review process). –Bence (talk) 17:25, 20 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sure so we have differing opinions on this. How can we determine if the "core team" can work together if they have not worked together in a formal capacity in the past. It would make the most sense for an organization to incorporate and than prove that they are functional before being accepted as a WMF thematic group. But as mentioned this is off topic here. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 17:50, 20 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Some groups do run some pilot projects before incorporation – and especially where there is a sponsoring organisation, this is perfectly possible with thorgs as well – to see if they can work together, but in most cases this determination has to be done by observing how a certain group behaves online, how they respond to the stresses of having asked questions (e.g. on their bylaws) and in rarer cases how they behave in the real life if we are lucky enough to meet them or know somebody who has met them.
(There are two caveats – most groups we interact with have been national, the task of dispersed or international groups is more difficult – although the usual stages a group has to go through in forming are probably the same; and ultimately there is a judgment call that is influenced slightly by the communication and personal skills of a given groups' ambassador, especially when we have no access - due to language or other barriers - to their usual channels of communication.)
In the end, the recognition process itself is a rite of passage that tends to help unite most groups (if in no other aspect than in disliking Affcom, which is totally fine as long as they channel it into performing together and proving themselves; this is one of the few shared experiences most new organizations will have in having finished the recognition process that makes them part of the "Wikimedia organizational family") – questioning and ignoring the process usually lessens this effect and slows things down, in my experience. –Bence (talk) 18:30, 20 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see assertions above that "changing bylaws of an existing organisation is extremely hard and inconvenient" and "any amendment to the bylaws takes 3 months". Now perhaps things are different elsewhere, but in my experience, amending bylaws for a US-based corporation takes about ten seconds—the ten seconds that usually elapses between a Board chair saying "All in favor" and "Motion carried".
Bylaws changes made in advance of applying for non-profit status don't even involve IRS paperwork. I do not see why this should be considered difficult. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:21, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I saw the three months here. It would of course make WM Med's life easier if bylaws could be amended faster. Not sure I would be too happy with the board members (who can be coopted until they fill up all the places - if I understood the situation correctly) can decide amongst themselves to change the bylaws. -Bence (talk) 01:35, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
§602 of the New York code doesn't seem to impose any time limit. It also says that bylaws are unnecessary at the time of incorporation, which means that they could be adopted months later and that a vote of the Board is adequate rather tan a full membership vote. We need to figure out where that 90-day provision is coming from. Perhaps it's something special for New York-based non-profits? WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:08, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The big advantage I can see in incorporating now, before IRS non-profit recognition and WMF recognition, is it would enable me to approach my local med school as a representative of something. I'm ready now to try a little local outreach. And I can approach school and department heads eye-to-eye as a representative of WikiMedicine, a NY-based multinational, in a way that I can't as a volunteer Wikipedia editor.

The down side is, I share Bence's concerns regarding deliberation. I'm not satisfied we've discussed important issues regarding our goals and structure deeply enough among ourselves, or widely enough in the community at large. Some of that uncertain structure I would like to see cemented into our bylaws, particularly the COI provisions, which are still being tinkered with.

Bence, you've got a lot more experience here than most of us. And I assume others on the Affiliations Committee do to. Can I invite you (plural) to engage with us on a more collaborative basis, offer tangible suggestions, ask specific questions, etc.? I realise you're volunteers, and this may be outside what's expected of the committee qua committee, but if your guidelines don't rule it out, I'd be very grateful for any more detailed input you as individuals are prepared to offer.

Regarding "Can we work together as a team" your answer is at en:WT:MED. We get on. We sometimes disagree furiously but we're all mature enough to behave professionally for the benefit of our common aim. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 07:35, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'll try my best, perhaps starting here. And I have invited other members of AffCom to engage in a similar way if they have time. I am not sure of the best way to structure my comments, but these are some of the things I would consider:

Who is making the decision to incorporate?[edit]

I would be interested to know how the incorporation is going to take place, who is involved in the decision on going ahead with it, and who will be personally involved in that? (Incorporation methods vary from place to place, some require up to 20 people to be in the same place at the same time on two different occasions, while in other places one goes to a website and fills in the details and is done in 10 minutes. The timing is usually such that it follows the news from Affcom that they might go ahead; so when a group decides to go about in a different way, it is interesting to see how it was done - e.g. was there a vote; did someone take the initiative and nobody opposed it; is everyone involved aware of the decision and about how to become members after the incorporation?) –Bence (talk) 15:06, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I find these ideas helpful. I will respond to some of them giving my own opinions, which may not be representative of anyone else's.
Incorporation is a functional priority but not terribly interesting, and I fail to understand why AffCom would care about this. From my perspective, the incorporation has little relationship to what the organization will do other than exist. The procedure for incorporation has been chosen for being ordinary and intuitive to people in Western culture. The process is that a lawyer proposes bylaws and then files something. There is not any particular need for anyone to understand the incorporation process if they have some background understanding of how an organization works. I think the important things to know are that the organization operates on member consensus. I think there is also a presumption that people who are more active in the group will have more control over organizational business. This is because anyone who does things can, if they like, give credit for their work to Wiki Medicine, so people who do more for themselves would also seem to do more for the organization. If 4-6 people participate regularly in organizational business then this is enough and I hope no one is expecting more in the foreseeable future, because to me that is a lot of people working together and very impressive. If AffCom had a list of expectations to which organizations ought to agree then I suspect that Wiki Medicine would agree to them, but I hope any expectations take into account that the current vision of Wiki Medicine is a few people doing a few things as volunteers part time, and no one doing much that they have not done before except projecting a bit more professionalism than disorganized Wikipedia volunteers can express. Blue Rasberry (talk) 23:13, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The process is that a lawyer proposes bylaws and then files something.
Actually, both the attorney and the bylaws are optional. From the looks of it, what you need in New York is three people to be named as initial directors and the incorporation fee, which appears to beUS $75 for non-profits. It looks like WMMED might need to send a $10 form to the NY Dept of Education (which wants to know about all the educational charities) as well, but I'm not sure about that. Many people do the paperwork themselves, and the NY Division of Corporations even provides a simple, four-page pdf. Fill it out, mail it in, and you're done. The word bylaws doesn't even appear in the form. They can be adopted later, and they don't have to be adopted at all once.
I think it's fantastic that an attorney has volunteered to do this paperwork, but it's not actually required, because incorporation is a pretty trivial undertaking in the US. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:26, 23 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes I have incorporated two companies up here in Canada. It is no big deal on either side of the border. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 12:42, 23 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some unresolved issues that may belong in the bylaws[edit]

I would try to continue the discussions that are still left open. Even if issues such as the exact goals, membership criteria, and lesser issues like membership fees and payment methods can be decided post-incorporation, that shouldn't mean that the discussion leading up to that decision has to wait until then. (As you note, it would be a good idea to include some of these details in the bylaws themselves – not including it seems a bit strange in comparison with other bylaws I have seen in the Wikimedia and my local context, even if technically it is not necessary in NYC, it might be a good idea to include it anyway. On a related note, the US federation for Wikimedia orgs bylaws has a nice human readable preamble summarizing the bylaws, it might be a good practice to adopt and once people understand what is in the bylaws quickly check whether they agree with it.) –Bence (talk) 15:06, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The discussions will never end, ever. I do not know of anyone in the group who is very interested in strictly defining anything. I am imagining Wiki Medicine as a lot like Wikipedia - anyone can show up and do what they like, or not. Wiki Medicine exists to help people who want to participate and would not conflict with the activities of people who do not. From my United States-perspective including details like organizational goals and membership criteria in the by-laws seems wrong and against the purpose of by-laws. The two existing Wikimedia chapters do not do this, nor do other organizations in which I have been a member. I think a good organizational goal for by-laws is "to advance Wikimedia health content" and good membership criteria is interest in advancing that goal. Of course there will be more specific goals and membership criteria, but it would be improper to put such things into by-laws. Most organizational goals will just be the personal goals of active members, and frequently individuals will join, continue to do whatever they were doing before they joined, and then just claim that now they are doing Wiki Medicine work instead of working alone. Blue Rasberry (talk) 23:13, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Online vs. offline contact with schools, & national, linguistic and cultural diversity[edit]

The interaction at en:WT:MED raises interesting questions to ponder in two directions: 1) how does online collaboration translate into offline projects like approaching schools and 2) how international or multilingual, multicultural is the association, what is its goal to become, and what steps can it take to involve those from other communities in the core team of Enwp editors who already know each other quite well? –Bence (talk) 15:06, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

These questions are very interesting but I do not think that Wiki Medicine should answer them. These are questions to direct to someone with large amounts of money and a huge amount of volunteer organization. If Wiki Medicine could answer them then it would be more organized than the WMF, and of course the WMF despite expenditure of huge amounts of resources has not come close to answering these questions. Here is a description of Wikimedia Germany asking for money for its USD 8 million budget, and I think if any organization should answer such questions then that one should, but so far as I know questions like these are not in anyone's scope. If anyone ever compared Wiki Medicine's responsibilities with those of the WMF or WMDE then I think it would be fair to expect at least 1,000 times more output by any measure from those two than Wiki Medicine. Wiki Medicine is a small entity - it is just a few people doing something together in their free time, which is what most Wikimedia chapters are worldwide. I would like for people to compare this organization with one of the Wikimedia chapters with a budget of 0 rather than a more resourceful one. I think it would be cool to be an official chapter, but I am not aware of benefits to this except getting money from the FDC and I do not know of anyone in the group who has ever proposed to ask for funding from the WMF or the FDC. I think we have all been using the term "Wikimedia Medicine" but I do not think anyone really wants to represent themselves as the Wikimedia Foundation's representative in medicine in the same way that national chapters have some kind of representation over entire countries on behalf of the WMF. It is Wikipedia Medicine or Wikimedia Medicine only in the sense that we are "Wikipedians" and not that anyone has any particular interest in the Wikimedia Foundation. The Wikipedia community is very distinct from the Wikimedia Foundation despite the similar names, and if it were easier to express that we are members of the Wikipedia community and very distinct from official Wikimedia Foundation business then I think the members would communicate that. The WMF or big chapters can answer philosophical questions and this community group can do practical things. Blue Rasberry (talk) 23:13, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I didn't mean these questions as philosophical ones – and indeed they are quite difficult to answer in the abstract (and people are really starting to ask similar questions on the FDC applications) –, they were meant more as a reflection on claims above that the intention is to create a really multinational organization, in which case the reference to how the English Wikipedia's wikiproject is able to cooperate is just one part of the answer, on how the Wiki Med community, which is greater than simply the English Wikipedia is able to cooperate.
While technically it is very easy to set up new organisations, from the point of view of Wikimedia, it is unlikely there will be many Wikimedia Medicines (if for no other reason, for a lack of synonyms to put in the name...:), and that is why there is such emphasis placed on doing WM Med right from the start, or perhaps as an alternativecoming up with a name that reflects the actual group, leaves open the door for others, and perhaps manages expectations a bit.--Bence (talk) 17:02, 23 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Engagement with the interested potential members[edit]

I would perhaps try to engage with the 30 people who have signed up on this page that they are interested: make sure they are on the mailing list, send them a welcoming message, ask them to introduce themselves (either on the mailing list or here), see which particular (offline) project they would like to be involved in and how much time they have for that, periodically send out a status update with relevant news and links to ongoing discussions, etc. (I am not sure of spamming people who have not signed up yet, but Edwardsbot can help in notifying people who have opted in.)–Bence (talk) 15:06, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have been contacting people on the Wiki Medicine interest list by phone and Skype video over the past few months. I talk with them about whatever they are doing. Everyone has their own interests. Other people talk among the group in their own ways. Blue Rasberry (talk) 23:13, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Great, I think the personal contact via phone is really useful often much faster than online forms. From a group development point, it might be useful to start utilizing the mailing list (e.g. Lane, you could share a summary of your various phone conversations related to WM MED; or people could send their intros to the list as well) – otherwise, it will become a bit opaque what is happening. (And even if one wants to create a "do-ocracy", free open flow of information to all participants - and in our Wikimedia setting perhaps even the outside lurkers - is key.) –Bence (talk) 16:38, 23 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I do not intend to be opaque but just as I do not have the habit of posting most of my actions to Facebook, Twitter, or my blog, I am also not finding time or much reason to track my life so thoroughly in Wikipedia. If anyone is so interested I will call or Skype with them and they can record me and post what I say on Wikipedia. I would be interviewed as would many other people in this project. I would post more if I had time but already I spend so much time on Wikipedia and documenting off-Wikipedia conversation is too much. Blue Rasberry (talk) 02:23, 25 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am sure you don't intend to be opaque -- of course, time is an issue for everyone, but there is some necessary overhead in building groups and running organisations. You might try actively suggesting to the people you talk with to send out the summaries themselves -- that also being one way to involve people in the action, and make sure the whole group has access to what was said. --Bence (talk) 18:13, 28 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is holding off on incorporation delaying anything important?[edit]

I think the going into med schools is a great and feasible project idea. I am not convinced it necessarily has to wait until WM MED is incorporated (e.g. WM NYC, or perhaps even the WMF would be perfectly happy to provide a letter of introduction, I am sure) – and some of the projects listed here seemed to have gotten off the ground even before the incorporation. –Bence (talk) 15:06, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In the United States, at least, I think the WMF wants distance from some education programs, and particularly those in the United States and Canada - see en:Wikipedia:Education Working Group/RfC. WM NYC and WM DC do not really have resources for medical school outreach in the United States and they ought not be trying to negotiate with people in other countries because that is not aligned with their mission and may not be fair to their donors. Blue Rasberry (talk) 23:13, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My understanding was that there are a few people ready to do the actual work, but are reluctant to start approaching outside organisations for lack of an organisation behind them. I would encourage them to ask the existing organisations to provide such backing – which is a very low key activity for any chapter without having to have their own similar programme, or having their own existing volunteers participate in the proposed programme: all they need is to letterhead and sign an introductory letter.–Bence (talk) 16:41, 23 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Flesh out the proposed sub-projects, sign people up to them[edit]

Setting aside the incorporation debate, it would be useful to have some developments on the projects that you want to run. For example, this could involve having "people interested" sections for each proposed project to see where there is interest; sending an explanatory introduction to each project (what it is, what resources it needs, how can one be involved, who is leading/coordinating it, a timeline) to the mailing list, asking for people to discuss it, express interest and perhaps share their own ideas. –Bence (talk) 15:06, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The biggest resource needed is people who will do anything and stay in touch with the group. The reason for incorporation is to give more legitimacy to the idea that there is any group anywhere which cares about health articles on Wikipedia, and hopefully incorporating is a good strategy to attracting more people who will start contributing Wikimedia health content. In the entire United States and excluding people at the WMF there are maybe 25 people who are actually in regular contact with people who have interest in managing Wikipedia chapter stuff. I am thinking of the members of Wikimedia DC and NYC plus the people who participate in IRC meetups, national phone calls, and discussions in the organizational forums. I do not think that it would be inappropriate to say that the interest and participation in WikiProject Medicine is comparable to the interest which existing in organizational business in all of the United States. Certainly the typical daily activity on the WikiProject Medicine discussion board is greater than the typical daily activity of WM NYC and WM DC because the focus in Wiki Medicine is on doing practical things and not expending resources into organizational politics. Blue Rasberry (talk) 23:13, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(I am not sure this necessarily ended up in the right section?) Nevertheless, I fear that the creation of any structure brings with it a certain amount of organisational politics – the big open question is whether the great collaboration taking place online contains enough amount of practical discussion and actions in the "offline" world? (I am asking because I don't follow the Wikiproject discussions, and Wiki Medicine will have to define itself or be defined by the real world as either an English Wikipedia "thing" – which would be perfectly fine – or something that transcends it, in which case perhaps more neutral discussion places need to be found and the collaboration and activity built up on those.)--Bence (talk) 16:48, 23 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Flesh out details on existing sub-projects, and WM:MED's likely impact on them