Talk:Wikimedia movement affiliates/Models/2012

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Contributions that are unsigned were summarized / synthesized by me in early March. SJ talk  12:37, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Affiliation models, rights, obligations

  • The definitions for different affiliations is drawn from movement roles work, but should be expanded upon through working with existing groups to see what they need, and what reasonable standards are for their operation. -SJ
  • The existence of associations should make it easier for any group to get started and develop programs. The Foundation is committed to making access to trademarks for events and swag and the like as easy as possible for associations. Groups should not rush to become a Chapter or Partner simply to be recognized for their work - but instead because their activities have grown so much that they need to incorporate, sign partnership agreements with local organizations, run their own fundraisers, &c. -SJ
  • The only currently incorporated group that might qualify immediately as a partner organization is Amical Viquipèdia. Other groups would presumably first be recognized as associations. -SJ
  • A primary reason that recognizing new models is important to the Foundation is to make decisions about trademark use easier. Basic recognition of a community group that is doing solid work and should be free to use the trademarks in their posters and event materials should be commonplace; this ties to associations. Ditto for recognition of partners who use our marks in publicity events and cross-promotion of our work. Partner organizations, like chapters, would be free to use the marks in developing partnerships and building a network of supporters within their sphere of influence. -SJ

Very compelling and logical step for WMF to take

Having discussed this topic with many potential candidates for multiple categories, reading the comments/questions here, seeing discussions in IRC, reading the strategic plan, reviewing annual reports, and hearing thoughts from Wikimedians involved in different projects and languages - I've come to a few thoughts about this.

  • I can understand the confusion that the original names offered. The new ones seems much clearer. I also hope they calm some concerns that were made, and rightly so, by some folks worried about chapters.
  • Like any perceived change in a community the size that Wikimedia has become - there are very valid concerns that we are obligated to nudge our leaders to clarify that yes - they considered this during the decision making process. Clearly WMF wants to live up to the WM communities' expectations of transparency and protecting the vast interests we've entrusted them to support. Okay, so with that disclaimer and with respect to the usual dissenters, this strikes me as a very logical next step.
  • There's increasing evidence that WMF recognizes both their responsibility to and interest in broader interests than it once focused on. In my experience, this is the behavior of a nonprofit maturing in a healthy and strategic manner. Healthy discourse is another common behavior. As the WM projects that WMF supports develop, so do their relationships with outside entities and the interest outside entities have in assisting these projects as well. WMF seems like a reasonable (and legally empowered) entity to corral those efforts into a managed approach rather than wait so long that a complex and unmanageable problem has evolved.
  • Representing at least one outside org (so admittedly - some bias) that has contributed many volunteer hours to MediaWiki development and other ways to support WM projects - we're thrilled by this latest way to develop a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship. It's unfair to ask outside entities to give and give while we hold back any ways to help them in return. That should be true of any nonprofit or truly collaborative effort. Recognizing these relationships, stating certain expectations, and offering guidelines on recognizing the relationship are great developments. Otherwise I ponder how it would be possible to keep consistency between how Freenode, Mozilla, Drupal, WM Esperanto, SMW and various other entities outside the legal "WMF umbrella" should phrase or acknowledge their existing connections to the WM movement.
  • Finally, I wanted to applaud this effort on the note of helping with messaging. Many of us have raised concerns that trying to explain WMF, WM, MW and the various other Wikimedia culture nuances generally requires a lot of connected bar napkins when doing spontaneous outreach. While this doesn't solve the problem - it at least chips away at it - which I appreciate.

Those are my five cents (I'd offer two cents..but apparently cents are not accepted in Canada anymore?).. --Varnent (talk) 06:40, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

Mentoring and overviews of existing groups

  • Mentoring, and summaries of existing groups: this involves new work. Mentoring and dealing with problems is suggested in the original ChapCom scope, but has been deemphasized for existing chapters. Mentoring should especially include helping inactive groups become active and communicative about their work - similar to mentoring a new group that hopes to become a chapter. -SJ
  • As discussed in this context, a review/summary could be very simple - one line for each group summarizing its activity and linking to an annual report, a blog/talkpage/twitter feed, &c. If any more detailed self-assessment or peer review takes place, that could also be noted in the summary.
    ChapCom considered ideas for assessing how a chapter is doing, but has not developed any related policy.
    AuditCom suggested standards for accountability of all groups, which include a concept of regular comparison to those standards. -SJ
  • WM-DE recently proposed that a Chapters Council provide peer review for all chapters. That may be an ideal solution if it can be set up. (In that case, the committee might simply ensure that newly recognized groups get mentoring and peer review when they are ready for it.) Until such a Council is formed, the committee is being asked to provide that feedback loop. -SJ
  • Currently some of this feedback is provided piecemeal by WMF staff: offering professional development, responding directly to requests for help, or to trademark requests from individual groups. Most of this may be better handled by a community-run group, but staff are available to help with any aspects, at the committee's request. -SJ


I've gone through numerous lists and pulled out questions without identifying who asked these. Listing them here for ease of having them in one place so that we can start tackling them one by one. Please add your thoughts below these or add more questions. These are not my questions. This is a collation. Bishdatta 18:15, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

More questions and answers posted below; my own, and ideas drawn from the recent mailing-list thread. –SJ 05:09, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Affiliation models, names, and 'tiers'

I've heard GLAM organizations referred to as a possible partner org; is that a good model?

  • This may not be an ideal model, though it was suggested in earlier discussions about potential patner orgs. GLAM efforts tend to be organized well at the local and national level, and current GLAM groups are working effectively within or with chapters or the WMF.
  • They say no. But I would make the question the other way around. Which model would be right for them? Suppose that continues to flourish and need:
    1. activities worldwide:
      1. Hire staff to coordinate the worldwide GLAM initiative
      2. Defining a strategic plan and business plan with global priorities that do not match those of some chapters.
      3. Open a web page using the domain
      4. Receive grants and sponsorships for activities at trans-national or global level.
    2. Sign agreements with organizations
      1. in countries where there is no Chapter.
      2. in countries where the chapter is not interested in GLAM initiatives
      3. with supra national organizations such as Europeana.
    3. Organize GLAM events in countries where there is no chapter or where chapter is not interested.
I think they actually are a Partner Organisation. Althought they don't know it yet. I think this is a clear example of how a Parner Organization is actually helping to improve chapter’s performance and how chapters are providing basic infrastructure for fast and successful development of a Partner Organization.--Gomà (talk) 19:38, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Hmmm, how about we wait and see what people come up with, and where they feel comfortable? I don't think that speculating on the possible need/wish of future groups to fit in one or the other category is extremely productive. I find we should just, when we have agreed on a clear nomenclature, make sure that people understand the advantages/disadvantages/rights/obligations tied with one or the other status and help them choose the best one for them. Just at the top of my head I can imagine a Wikimedia Group of GLAM activists, or a Wikimedia Focus Group of Content Liberation or some others that relate to GLAM, so I think this is a question that gets us a bit ahead of ourselves. notafish }<';> 08:16, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes I fully agree that it is up to the interested people to use one tool or another. Now we are just designing the tools we will put on the table ready to be used by them. But I would like to highlight the potential usefulness of this tool for the GLAM group because I think they are actually acting as a focus organization.--Gomà (talk) 10:40, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
If we think in this directon we can also imagine interest groups centered say around Wikiprojects: Interest group Military History, Interest Group LGBT, Interest Group Railways and so on/ Do we want them to exist? Yes, sure, absolutely. Do we want them to be incorporated in some official way? I doubt it.--Ymblanter (talk) 09:21, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Could you ellaborate on why we don't want them to incorporate? I think most of those groups would be able to work either on an informal basis, either through the national platforms chapters provide (like most GLAM activities are conducted), but there are some possible cases —such as groups focused on promoting a certain culture, a certain language— where incorporation may turn into a need for them, for they have some interest that both trascends that of the chapters and Foundation and is on the other hand central and specific to them. Those thematic working groups who want or need to incorporate should be allowed to, and included within our organizational meta-structure in a way that does not collide with chapters, but reinforce our global (both as in general and as in worldwide) reach. Yet, as Delphine says, we shouldn't force categories on groups, but provide a scheme that is flexible enough to adapt to their needs. --Galio (talk) 06:27, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
First, if every second Wikiproject would be incorporated )and possibly in every country), we just start losinbg our focus - this would be an extra layer of bureacracy that serves nothing. Second, this situation can stimulate unnecessary lobbying like one project would support a candidate from another project provided this second project would endorse a fellowship from the first one - I can see it as a heavy nightmare.--Ymblanter (talk) 08:14, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
(jump to the left) I think the GLAM community made it clear that they don't want to be considered a seperate organization. I think that the overlap in volunteers actually gives a benifit to have the GLAM initiatives within the Wikimedia chapters where possible - that also increases the GLAM initiatives' credibility and likelyhood to succeed.
As for the numerous other initiatives: I wouldn't start to advocate too loudly that they should aim for a formal status before we know for sure it actually gives advantages. However, we should give them the tools they want. It should be a pull-based model, not push. If the military history folks want to take up a more formal role, and if they have goals in line with our joint mission and vision, then they should get the tools to do their work most effectively. We should however keep a close eye on those goals - I'm still very reluctant to allow for example openly politically motivated groups to be recognized as such, but that is a discussion we need to have. Probably the answer would be it depends - we just need to determine on what exactly it depends. Effeietsanders (talk) 10:50, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
That would be fine with me, but indeed this is smth up to discussion - and the discussion has not even started. May be we should hold on until we really have these groups which would like to be incorporated and then see what they actually want.--Ymblanter (talk) 11:06, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Tentative summary (7 March 2012)

Could associations take any form? Can they be incorporated as well?

  • Yes, any organization with a strong Wikimedia focus can be an association. Their recognition would be driven by their work, not by their structure. -SJ
  • The model of associations (or wikigrups) is to provide recognition for groups that want to do activities without bureaucracy and structure. This is not incompatible with being Incorporated. In fact if they grow and consolidate may feel the need to have legal personality to handle money and sign agreements.--Gomà (talk) 19:59, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I think incorporation is in many instances the default thing to do, therefore I would certainly not rule out incorporated associations. My guess is that at least half of them will be incorporated. --Bence (talk) 11:59, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Interesting point, Bence. Curious why you think so. If there are unincorporated associations and incorporated ones, would we put them in the same category and call them both associations? Bishdatta (talk) 17:10, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
For one, we already have some incorporated bodies, that will have to work on reaching the threshold for being a chapter (Wikibilim, WM Croatia and Slovakia come to mind), and in other cases if people want to do some offline work, it is a sensible first step to set up an organisations, as other organisations are more likely to engage with organisations rather than loose groups of individuals. Therefore, as long as we envision associations as doing something offline, that is more than a regular community meetup, they will either likely need to be incorporated or "borrow" the legal structure of a friendly organisation (be it a Linux User Group as has been the case with Slovenian Wikipedians, or a local chapter).
Groups that mainly envision themselves as doing online work, will probably not need to incorporate, although in their case there is probably quite little sense in formal approval. (Once they start doing things, they will quite soon fall into the first category out of necessity).
As I see it, unincorporated associations will either be the exception or a first step on the way to creating incorporated associations. Otherwise, they make little sense. WikiGLAM could be a theoretical exception and be a good unincorporated association, but as soon as it needs some physical assets it will probably incorporate (and might opt for the "partner org" designation, but that is only a technicality). Wikikansai might be an other real world exception (but I am not sure). --Bence (talk) 17:52, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
I am with Bence on this. I could imagine a Linux User Group, which is already integrated, wanting to focus especially on free knowledge and seeking recognition as a Wikimedia group for example (or part of them seeking recognition as a Wikimedia group), so I would leave this rather open. Are there any disavantages of having our "Wikimedia Groups" be part of a larger established structure? I don't think so. I am not sure that all Wikimedia Groups would end up being incorporated, but we shouldn't rule that out from the start. notafish }<';> 08:20, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree with both of you. I think we should be careful, though, when working the exact differences between associations and chapters or partners, because recognizing a LUG as a Wikimedia group is different from recognizing that LUG as the default Wikimedia group of reference in its geographical area of influence. And on this particular example I would be especially careful, given some differences some chapters have had with (groups of) free software activists. --Galio (talk) 06:33, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
See my remark in the above section. Do we want an incorporated Interest Group Military History?--Ymblanter (talk) 09:23, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
I find you're asking the question the wrong way around. Do we want to prevent from an organised and incorporated group working on Military History in the Wikimedia Projects to join the Wikimedia movement? I don't think we should push groups to incorporate, in any kind of way, but if they wish to do so, why should we prevent them from becoming Wikimedia groups if that the status they feel fits their commitment? notafish }<';> 10:18, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Tentative summary (7 March 2012)

What are examples of potential affiliates?

  • Creative Commons, the EFF, FSF, Mozilla, Freenode. Any organization that we expressly support or have fundraised for, or that has done the same for us, or groups with which that we coordinate publicity campaigns. If we would be proud to see our logo and banners on their sites, and to broadcast their support for our mission on ours, they qualify. -SJ
International vs national

Are we limiting ourselves here to international affiliates? I can imagine we don't want to make things messy by having all the chapters of CC recognized? Should local organizations affiliate then with a local chapter? And what if it is a 3 country organization? Effeietsanders (talk) 10:53, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Good questions...anybody has answers?...--Marctaltor (talk) 11:40, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I have an answer ;). I don't think we are limiting ourselves to international organisations operating in the whole world, but I do think that we are limiting ourselves to organisations that have a wide scope. We shouldn't recognize every single CC chapter, but CC international. As a matter of fact, I would say we should probably devise a "subsidiarity scheme", which allows chapters to create an "Official partner of Wikimedia XX" status for more local organisations. notafish }<';> 10:23, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Tentative summary (7 March 2012)

Do we need to revisit some of the names of these groups - partners, associations and affiliates?

  • The definition of the "associations" is really not clear, associations is a term with legal definition in lot of country, most of chapters and partner are associations. I imagine the board want to talk about "user group" without legal entity but well defined in the scope of the movement. --Chandres 13:28, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
    You are right about the intent. A word with no such connotation would be appropriate, though "user group" also has other meanings. SJ 23:54, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
    I propose changing the name of Associations to Wiki-Groups. Association in many countries implies incorporated.--Gomà 20:12, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
If, as per Bence's comment above, we are thinking of associations that are incorporated and those that are not, wiki groups could work for the unincorporated ones. Has a nice informal sense. Or Associations (incorporated) and Associates (unincorporated)? Bishdatta (talk) 17:13, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
I don't think there is a great need to differentiate between the two types of associations. I sense a difference in the concept of what we think would be associations. I would draw the line at having some offline presence (at least a meetup; or a non-typical online project after careful consideration), therefore I would exclude "simple" wikigroups (e.g. wikiprojects) that might have a mailing list, but will never do any organisation-y stuff. --Bence (talk) 17:56, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
We are not going to sign any written agreement with associations (or wikigroups or wikipods or whaetever the final name be) therefore we don't need to ask them to have legal personality. The idea is to make an easy and quick process to accept them. If it suits them being a registered entity can vary greatly depending on the laws and culture of each place. In Andorra for example there is no need to register a legal entity. A legal entity exists as long as 3 or more people want it, they can sign agreements on behalf of the entity and do exactly the same as registered entities but if they do this then all partners are responsible with all their assets for the acts of the entity, registering the entity has the main effect of limiting the liability of its members. In Brazil for example in the first attempt to create a chapter they were very reluctant to create a registered entity because of bad reputation of NGOs in the country. An unregistered association would have been a good solution for them until they feel the need for a registered entity. From our point of view I would say with regard to the associations (or wikigroups or wikipods) that our answer to the question of whether they should be registered entities or not is "this is not our business". They can do whatever they want we are not going to make any differences among them because of this.--Gomà (talk) 20:55, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
When I wrote incorporated, the point was that it be a legal entity - limiting liability is indeed useful, whether it is necessary for them to register locally to be a legal entity is not central to the point. And obviously the local choice will be local, we won't make it for them. As I say, if they would want to do things offline that would probably require a legal entity of some sort - there is no point in forcing incorporation on someone just to sign some agreement with the WMF (and recognition does not necessarily need a legal agreement, as has been shown in the case of chapters without chapters agreements).
The important point is that official recognition as an association or wikipod would only be required if the group is actually doing something outside a wiki (as their status would give them no extra clout on-wiki), and in my opinion offline work will require a legal entity of some form more often than not. Therefore, we should be prepared that many associations would be legal entities, and that some won't. Furthermore, we should make clear, that we are talking about some form of offline activity and not looking to recognize every single on-wiki grouping. --Bence (talk) 21:17, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
I fully agree that we should make clear, that we are talking about a group of people performing offline activity. I think we also should make clear we are not going to require a legal entity this is up to them. About how offen they will create a legal entity we only can gues.--Gomà (talk) 22:44, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Then we are in agreement. :) --Bence (talk) 23:01, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
  • I think we should think carefully about names. It is bad enough that "chapter" is not a universal concept (except that of a book); if we come up with 3 more names that don't translate, that would be bad. Partners are probably easy to translate, although some languages might have started using that as a synonym for chapter if no local equivalent existed; affiliate I believe connotes a stronger dependence, than the independent organizations we envision here would have; associations are basically a type of grouping that can be a legal incorporation model in some countries and therefore it might be difficult to distinguish an association and a chapter in name (many or all chapters and even the WMF have to have names like Wikimedia [country] [incorporation type]; the word "chapter" is simply implied. If associations started calling themselves Wikimedia [language] Association [incorporation type], it could get confusing very easily.)
    Not having clear definitions, we shouldn't further confuse non-English speakers by using ambiguous terms to describe them. --Bence 18:42, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Personally I think the name “Partner Organisation” has the risk of marking unwanted differences to the chapters. I would prefere the name "Global Chapters." There are large differences between chapters some times they may be larger than between chapters and future “Partner Organizations”. To me the differences between the organizations of the movement should be based on their characteristics and activities not in their name. I'd like more names are:
  1. Local Chapters. National or subnational.
  2. Global Chapters. Linguistic, cultural or thematic
  3. WikiGrups, or WikiPods.
  4. Partners. I have no knowledge of English good enough to recommend a name but to me this sounds better word to describe the idea of what we now call "affiliates".
--Gomà (talk) 20:44, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Mmm...I think not. "Global Chapters" has a sense of "all over the world" that I don't like very much, because it isn't the truth. And "chapter" must be the name of actual Chapters: It's necessary to have care with the confusion that can be created giving similar names to different things, I think. Perhaps a good solution will be something like "[name of organization] Partner Organization of WMF", for example. So:
  1. Chapters, for the current structures, anchored in geographical boundaries.("Wikimedia XXX")
  2. Partner, for the new PO, based in linguistic, cultural or another ("XXXX; PO of WMF") and legally registered.
  3. Wikipods, for Persons' small groups, without legal structure or for those organizations like "friends of commons" or something like this.
Thank you.--Marctaltor (talk) 22:05, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree that "Global" may sound too pretentious. Perhaps "Thematic" sounds better. In Catalan we say "el nom no fa la cosa" (Means that the name given to a thing is a secondary issue, what matters is the reality itself). For me what is important is that the differences will be based on their charecetristics and activities and not in their name.--Gomà (talk) 22:57, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
No problem :-). But I still think that same name to different structures is not a good idea. IMHO, given similar names to different things can lead to mistakes ... imagine if you and me we were calling "Joan" XD.... So better we leave "chapter" for what it is already a definite and established structure and for PO we can look for another name. Right?--Marctaltor (talk) 13:21, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
I would not worry by the name if you would not worry. For the Catalans I have already said that the name is not important (perhaps because they are all bilingual and are used to everything having many different names and sometimes the same name meaning different things) but I am aware that the names in other cultures are very important and can cause problems or can help solve them. I'll explain by an example. For me the difference between a Chapter and a Partner Organization is like the difference between a "espurna" and a "guspira". In Catalan they are two very different words with completely different meanings. However both are translated to English to the same word: “spark”. The “espurna” is a spark (fire) while the “guspira” is an electric spark. If we are interested in the phenomenon that causes them then the Catalan is more clear. If we are interested in how they shine and illuminate then English is more direct. What we want from the organizations, their origin based on geography or other item or its brightness in the results generated to help the projects?
Rather than reaching an agreement on what should be the name perhaps we could agree on what might be the consequences of choosing one name or another.
a) Local Chapters / Thematic Chapters. = Different name same surname.
  • Convey the message that they are different members of the same family.
  • Induces to treat them equally unless there are compelling reasons for treating them differently. Equal by default.
  • Leave open the name "Partner Organisation" to be applied to the Affliates.
b) Local Chapters / Partner Organizations. = Different name and different surname.
  • Convey the message that they are members of different families.
  • Induces to treat them differently unless there are compelling reasons to treat them equal. Different default.
--Gomà (talk) 19:35, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

Some notes on this on my blog: here. Kind regards Ziko (talk) 22:20, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Hi Ziko! I think you make excellent remarks in your post. One clear advantage of your proposal is that it is much easier to understand and translate (it uses 2-6-word phrases which already provide enough context for a good translation, as opposed to single words with multiple meanings that are difficult to get right). I would probably keep "chapters" as a legacy synonym for your "national Wikimedia organization", but otherwise, would be happy to adopt your nomenclature. --Bence (talk) 22:56, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
For better understanding of this part of the discussion I am allowing myself to copy/paste the nomenclature that Ziko suggests in his blog here:
  • National Wikimedia organizations, for example Wikimedia Nederland or Wikimedia France. They represent the movement in one country each.
  • Specialist Wikimedia organizations, for example a future ‘Wikimedia and Cultural Heritage’ or ‘Wikimedia Organization for Medicine related Subjects’, or ‘Wikimedia Organization for Spanish Speaking People’. They represent the movement towards the world of museums and libraries, medical organizations or institutions that are dealing with the Spanish Language or the culture of Spanish-speaking people globally.
  • Wikimedia groups, loose clubs of people who do not wish to create a Wikimedia organization with all its paperwork, but to be allowed to use the name ‘Wikimedia’ in contact with other institutions. For example, maybe the Spanish speaking Wikpedians/Wikimedians find it enough to form a Wikimedia group when contacting the Real Academia Española for linguistic advice. For many specialist groups, certainly when limited to a small field, a Wikimedia group would be just fine.
  • Official Partners of the Wikimedia Movement are institutions clearly outside the movement but linked with it by a common interest. A national museum might perfectly well collaborate with a national Wikimedia organization, but maybe in that country there is no national Wikimedia organization. Or, a truly international institution such as the university of United Nations wishes to collaborate on a certain activity or permanently.
I have to say that I agree with Bence on this, a "loose" definition as opposed to a precise word to describe the new models would lead to much more clarity. I 've been struggling for many years to find a French or German translation for "chapter" and end up sticking with the English word every time, as there isn't any that satisfies me. Since I share all the concerns expressed here and elsewhere about the words "partners" (should be outside, not inside), affiliates (has a very strong connotation of top/down in French at least) or "association" (Wikimédia France is an association), I find a few words express much better what we're trying to do here. I'd tweak it just a bit and go for something like:
  • National Wikimedia organisations I don't think we should keep chapters, it's a weird name to start with and I believe in English it has a stronger meaning (ie. stronger dependance) than what it is in practice.
  • Focus Wikimedia organisations this is less "specialized" than "specialist", maybe?
  • Wikimedia Groups is fine with me, it could also be "Partner groups of WIkimedia" or something like this.
  • Official partners of Wikimedia (I don't think we need to add to the confusion with "Wikimedia movement, I think "Wikimedia" should speak for itself as being the general acception for all of the other groups/organisations.
notafish }<';> 08:01, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
According to Wikipedia “A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history. In this definition, a nation has no physical borders.” So if we chose this word we have to be aware that we are accepting under this the Cherokee nation or the Catalan nation, and many more. For me this is fine but if we want to say a region with physical borders I suggest we use the word “local” no mater if this region is a country or a state or a metropolitan area. So we could use: Local Wikimedia organisations, Focus Wikimedia organisations, Wikimedia Groups, and Official partners of Wikimedia.
--Gomà (talk) 09:36, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Ziko's proposed nomenclature makes sense to me, while sticking to chapters for continuity. I tried out both options with people who are not part of the wikimedia movement - nobody could understand 'partners', 'associations' and 'affiliates' without lengthy explanations, and even then there was confusion - most people thought 'associations' are incorporated, and thought of 'partners' as entities outside of the movement (as Ziko has also noted in his blog), and thought of all categories as 'affiliates'. On the other hand, people did immediately understand the distinctions between 'national', 'specialist', 'groups', and 'official partners of...' without further explanation. The purpose of each was apparent to them. Bishdatta (talk) 15:05, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Mostly agree. In spanish "chapter" has a religious sense ("A chapter of monks", for example) that I don't like very much. If majority is agree with the change, the Ziko's proposal (with the notafish amendment) is a good solution. I don't like "Local Wikimedia Foundations" because "local" has a meaning of localized (both in spanish and english) that national don't have. --Marctaltor (talk) 20:55, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
I also like Ziko's proposal. I also have a story of confusion of the term 'chapter' in the US: at one point recently I recall someone who knew wikimedia fairly well commenting that of course Chapters should be dependent on (not independent of) the Foundation; that was what 'Chapter' meant. (See for example the definition in w:Subordinate organizations.) SJ talk   22:47, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Hello, thank's Bence for copying (I was someonewhat busy the last dayss). I always had a problem with "chapter" and would like to use the chance to get rid of them... "Local" in DE and NL means "belonging to a town or little region", "chapter" is not a familiar English word in DE and NL. Maybe some movie freaks know it from mafia movies. / "of Wikimedia": I would like to be specific. I sometimes hear "Wikimedia board" instead of "WMF board". Ziko (talk) 06:34, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
I also like Ziko's proposal —with Delphine's focus variant— and I also think this is a good moment to get rid of chapters —but not of chapters! Capítulo in ES and PT does only refer to the chapters of a book, aside from the religious meaning Marcos mentioned above. I don't think it reasonable to believe that the use of national could be misleading. It's widely (and cross-linguistically) used as synonimous with a sovereign state, think about the UN, NOCs, the Red Cross and so on. According to Wikipedia, right after the line Gomà has quoted: "In international relations, nation can refer to a country or sovereign state." --Galio (talk) 06:47, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
To me, the "Focus Wikimedia organisations" doesn't sound too natural in English. Should it be "Focused Wikimedia organisations" or "Thematic Wikimedia organisations"? --Bence (talk) 19:46, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
In Spanish the word "nación" has the same ambiguity as the English word "nation". In Catalan there is no ambiguity. The only meaning for the word "nació" is the ethnic group. In this web-page in French, the difference between “nation” and “état” is explained as follows:
“Should be distinguished nation and state. Nation implies an idea of spontaneity, of community of origin. State implies an idea of political and administrative organization. A nation can be divided, belonging to several states, a state may contain several nations.
Nation means a human group considered in respect to the community of origin, language;”
I think that WMNYC, WMMO, WMHK, WMDC, doesn't fit in any of those two meanings.
Until now we have “Local” Chapters. We can change “Local” for “Territorial” but it seems to me that changing it for “National” may produce more confusion rather than clarification.
--Gomà (talk) 09:39, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

I think not, Gomà. "Territorial" it's not also a good word, because it implies only a "territory", which can coincide or not with a nation... If we all agree in uses Nation as synonymous of Sovereign State, there are no problems.--Marctaltor (talk) 11:15, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

We agree in that "Territorial" implies a "territory", which can coincide or not with a soveraign state. And thats one of the reasons why we should agree that this is a better choice than “National” so we include WMNYC, WMDC...--Gomà (talk) 17:06, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Marcaltor. "National" is totally normal also in other movements. Ziko (talk) 21:34, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Us? Who is us?... Because above are many opiniones and I think general consensus is for nation and not something else. And I don't think the example of WMNYC or WMDC is an adequate one, for the reasons that have been explained so many times and that I am not going repeat again because I don't like tiring people repeating again and again the same things ;-)--Marctaltor (talk) 10:17, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Agree that 'National' is easily understandable and recognizable but it does not encompass some existing chapters - that is a problem in my view. It would be a bit odd to place WM NYC or WM DC within these. 'Territorial' is too vague - it would be hard for people to understand what is a 'territorial organization', and also, in English the word 'territorial' has some negative connotations. When used as a noun, territorial can mean any of these: regional, local, land, provincial, national, international, state, so it is not specific. When used as an adjective, it can mean possessive etc. Given this, I would still hold on to 'chapters', while recognizing that this may not be ideal. Even so, it is a known organizational category - Red Cross, Amnesty, IEEE, and many more international organizations have chapters. We can continue to discuss this, of course. :)Bishdatta (talk) 15:36, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
We can continue to use the "subnational chapter" or "subnational wikimedia groups" identifier for the subnational chapters. If we started from scratch, they would probably be in one of the other categories, but given their existence, we should make the model fit them, even if its just a footnote, that some national wikimedia groups in effect cover only a smaller area (e.g. Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and the two US chapters). --Bence (talk) 19:44, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Trying to propose a consensus solution:

  • National Wikimedia Organizations and Subnational Wikimedia Organizations. Taking Nation in the sense of sovereign state. To be translated to other languages to a word with the meaning as close as possible to sovereign state.
  • Thematic Wikimedia Organizations.
  • Wikimedia Groups.
  • Official partners of Wikimedia.

--Gomà (talk) 20:30, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Agree to the addition of Subnational Wikimedia Organizations, but why did you change the Focus Wikimedia Organizations to thematic ones? --lyzzy (talk) 22:06, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Because of the comment done by Bence at 19:46, 5 March 2012 (UTC). But perhaps somebody with better english skills than me can come with a better wording.--Gomà (talk) 23:15, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Somebody can give an example of a "subnational" Organization....? I don't understand the real meaning of this...I think is enough with "National"....and agree with Lyzzy...I'd`prefer "Focused" to "thematic" (Eurodisney is a "thematic park"...)--Marctaltor (talk) 23:03, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
An organization whose geographic area is smaller than a sovereign state: (e.g. Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and the two US chapters).--Gomà (talk) 23:15, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
We have to be clear in that, in case there is not national Wikimedia organization, subnational Wikimedia organizations have the same rights national organizations otherwise do. However, if there is a preceding national organization the normal way to go would be to create subnational/regional branches within the same organization, or to integrate any isolate subnational organization within the national structure. That's what we currently do with subnational chapters, even if up to now we haven't had the situation where a group of subnational chapters either forms or integrates into a national organization. Having this said, I agree with the proposed scheme. --Galio (talk) 00:31, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Agree with Galio.--Marctaltor (talk) 13:10, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
I cannot agree. That would be imposing a rigidity that we dont have now. The new models are to provide more flexibility not to increase rigidity. It is up to the proposants to decide if they prefere to form a unique National Wikimedia Organization with branches or one National Wikimedia Organization plus several Subnational Wikimedia Organizations. If they come with strong reasons for one solution or another we have to provide them the tools they may need.I believe that for large countries like USA or India they should study seriously the second possiblity. --Gomà (talk) 21:55, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
It wouldn't mean any change from the current ChapCom doctrine on this topic, Joan. The proposed USCC would mostly fulfil the coordinating role a national Wikimedia organization is expected to do, albeit with a highly decentralized working model. I wouldn't have any problem with that and I don't think such possible solution is in conflict with what I've said —what I say is that, as far as there is not recognized national organization, subnational entities should not be relegated to a secondary plane: WMNYC and WMDC currently work with all the tools national organizations have and that should continue like that until some agreement on a national-level organization is met. In fact, Michael's opinion you are quoting reinforces this line —he's talking about the US situation where subnational organizations precede a national one, not about the opposite situation. The USCC would be fairly similar to highly decentralized chapters like the Wikimedia Brasil proposal or even the wide margins of autonomous local organization foreseen in Wikimedia España's bylaws and internal rules. On the contrary, one can't reasonably think about recognizing some Wikimedia Île de France chapter without knowing why would that group prefer not to integrate within Wikimedia France (consider also that WMFR may have many members and develop many activities on the Île de France region), or why is that not possible. --Galio (talk) 23:04, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
I do not believe that has very much sense the creation of subnational chapters, inside one sovereign state that already has a national chapter, or risk to becoming in an inoperative [structure]. I understand the operability of the focused org., but not fragmenting the national already established chapters in many subnational chapters (¿subnational Wikimedia organization in Wales, Scotland and England?)...When in a sovereign state there are any estabilished chapter, then the subnational chapters can have sense (for example: China)--Marctaltor (talk) 22:55, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Here we are defining the framework not the particular cases. We dont have enough information to decide if it is a good idea to create a subnational chapter in very far away regions like in French Guiana or in highly populated regions like Île-de-France or in none of them. Surely in countries with bilions of inhabitants may make more sense to create subnational chapters to serve regions with hundreds of milions than in countries with less than hundred thousand inhabitants. The world is very complex and what is definitely a bad idea is impose rigidity by design. And this has nothing to do with starting with the subnational and then going for the national or viceversa if a given structure is a good idea it is no matter the path you follow to reach the final status.--Gomà (talk) 23:54, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
I remind you that particular cases were introduced by you (Hong-Kong, Macao, Taiwan, NYC...), not me. That you say me we don't have enough information in very far away regions surprises me, when more below you said "I think that geographical distances and legal barriers to operate globally have gone down and will continue to fall"... To think that Wikimedia France does not have enough information about Île de France is, at least, shocking. There are no countries with billions of residents (all the world has about 6 billions) and there are not many regions of the world where there are hundreds of millions of people... United States have a population of 3-4 hundred million... Yes, the world is very complex, and it makes no sense trying to complicate it even more with subdivisions that are not logicall.--Marctaltor (talk) 00:21, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Joan, we are pretending to talk in general when your motivation has long been a very particular one —and all of your interventions go in the same direction. There's nothing bad about that, but please let's not be hypocrites. We are designing a general framework but we need to test it against possible practical cases to ensure it's viable and takes into consideration all of our stakeholders' needs and expectations, but also their worries. Wikimedia chapters are some very important stakeholders, as organized, proactive and highly efficient groups of volunteers that need to be sure the "new models" we've been discussing for over a year are not a threat to them. I don't think I need to prove my support for new models. You seem to accept that the Île de France situation is not reasonable. Nor is the one about French Guiana, you seem to suppose the French Guianese group would have some external motivation that would drive them apart from participating in the wider French chapter community. On one hand, Wikimedia France is already developing activities there. However, in case they did not or don't have enough people there and a group of local wikimedians is formed, their natural course of action would be to integrate within the French national organization. If WMFR is able and willing to empower local volunteers to develop activities in French Guiana, why would those people want to work separately and aside? I'd expect them to join efforts and to develop, together, the best organizational model to suit their needs. If I were at the ChapCom/AffCom, I'd need to be convinced such situation is not possible or desirable before supporting the unilateral recognition of subnational organizations in a geography which is already served by a national-level organization. I fully support subnational organizations, what I don't accept is thinking them as if they were opposed or incompatible with a pre-existing framework at the national level. If a national organization is unable to incorporate subnational efforts within a wider framework it's simply failing, for it's not serving the community. In case we don't have any current and actual example of those national organizations failing then I think this discussion lacks enough factual substance. --Galio (talk) 01:29, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
If you are interested in my personal motivation, better to ask me openly rather than trying to guess. The Catalan case motivates me but doesn't worry me. What worries me are the groups of people who are not lucky enough to have a social and economic environment like Catalans have that allows us to promote Wikipedia and sister projects even without any recognition.--Gomà (talk) 11:25, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Just to cut short on the Île de France and French Potential Groups conversation. France has a number of local (regional) groups that operate specifically in a region of France. For fun, we've called them "non-cabal". There's the NCO (non-cabale de l'Ouest), which is an extremely active group, the NCIdF (non cabale d'Île de France) and various others. These have chosen to work hand in hand with Wikimédia France, and I am not sure that they are seeking any kind of independant recognition. The people active in them are both members (in the official sense) of Wikimédia France, and people who are not members. To this day, no regional group has expressed any kind of desire to be recognized independantly of Wikimédia France, and frankly, the continuous support that Wikimédia France has been giving to those groups lets me assume that they probably never will need any kind of separate recognition. notafish }<';> 09:06, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
On the particular subject of sub-national "sections" (actually, a good name for them would be "regional sections"), I remember that Wikimedia Argentina for example, has provided for thier existence in their bylaws, ie. they recognise that regional groups may want to organise within a region, under the umbrella of the national chapter. I am totally against (and this is not new) regional sections being recognized independantly of an existing national chapter (ie. that would be recognized by the AffCom without the approval of an existing chapter in the same geography). That is, I am against the possibility that a group of people seek recognition through the AffCom for a Wikimédia Île de France, when Wikimédia France exists. This should only happen with the explicit OK of the existing chapter. To take the example of French Guinea, I don't think Wikimédia France would be opposed in any kind of way if active members of the community wish to organise a little more (say, elect "regional representatives" or so) to coordinate work in far away geographies, but I also don't see the need of adding another layer of French bureaucracy by creating yet another legal entity based on French laws.
I personally am not in favor of sub-national chapters to start with (and that is also nothing new) and I sincerely hope that WMDC and WMNYC might consider changing their status to either a focus (could be a regional focus) organisation, or a group (as I said earlier, I don't think groups should be necessarily loose and informal, I think they can be incorporated if they wish). Let's say I haven't given hope that one day these organisations bundle up in a US chapter. This said, I will not push for them to change their status, as it is not my role here, but I'm putting the idea out there ;) notafish }<';> 09:31, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Tentative summary (7 March 2012)

Can existing groups change from one form of affiliation to another? Can an existing chapter change to an association or something else for whatever reason?

  • Yes. Any group that wanted to branch out and do significant non-Wikimedia-related work could become an affiliate. An association could expand its scope and activities, and formalize its structure, to become a partner or chapter. A Chapter or Partner could choose to become an association (for example, if they decided they wanted to close their organization, as the first WM-UK did) while continuing some of their activities. –SJ 02:47, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
    The first iteration of WMUK is not a good example here, since that was an organisation that was not doing anything, or able to do anything, hence why it was closed down. Mike Peel (talk) 14:51, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Some changes may be natural and desired like chapters to be evolving from associations to chapters. Perhaps in some geography without chapter we may start with a Partner Organization who extends its thematic scope and ends becoming a chapter or a sub-national chapter that extends its geographic scope and ends becoming a national chapter. Other changes seems less probable but not impossible, perhaps if a chapter focuses its activities in a given project/language and we see it is better to change its status to Partner Organization to facilitate the process of creation of a true geographic chapter.--Gomà 21:49, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Question is too general .... as it is written, only can be answered by " yes, can exisiting these changes". --Marctaltor (talk) 14:11, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Why should they want to change their affiliation? Because they feel redundant with other entities?—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) diff 05:34, 2 March 2012
  • Currently, it is a bit difficult to become a chapter (you need a core group of 20-25 members), and it takes time. Therefore, I think that in many cases it makes sense to start by creating an association (which might only have 3-10 members), and as it grows transition into a chapter. I am a bit more skeptical about downgrading chapters by their own will, but certainly if they fail to live up to expectations (e.g. show some sign of life every once in a while), it makes sense to consider them a chapter no more. I don't think a chapter would really convert into an affiliate or the other way around. --Bence (talk) 12:11, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Do we really need to worry about this now? I say wait and see, and if the case presents, then let's discuss it. I do see possibilities of going from national organisation to focus organisation or group (ie. I see possibilities of movement between these three status). The only one I do not imagine is an official partner suddenly becoming a focus organisation or a Wikimedia group (see the nomenclature I'm using further down this page), ie. Mozilla probably won't become "Wikimedia Mozilla fans" or something :) I think we should stay open to all possibilities. notafish }<';> 08:11, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
  • I do not see a reason why not but I also do not think this is an issue to discuss before we have clear understanding what is the difference between the affiliation forms.--Ymblanter (talk) 09:25, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Agree with Notafish and Ymblanter...--Marctaltor (talk) 21:01, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Agree with Delphine, Ymblanter and Marcos. --Galio (talk) 06:54, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
  • As long as we agree with the general principle (that some groups/entities may want to change their status eg groups may want to formalize someday, and there may be other variations we can't imagine right away), agree that we can hold discussion on specifics for a bit. Bishdatta (talk) 09:01, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Mmmmm...I think there are a mistake...I think Notafish, Ymblanter, Galio and me are agree in "wait and see, and if the case presents, then let's discuss it" and "discuss before we have clear understanding what is the difference between the affiliation forms" not in the general principle...--Marctaltor (talk) 09:54, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
If there is no agreement on the general principle, I would be in favour of discussing it, if not today, then at a later point in these discussions. Perhaps after we have gone through the discussion on 'Rights and Duties'. Here's why I don't think we can wait for the first case to come up before making a decision on the general principle: hypothetically, a group of wikimedians may decide to informally come together as a group to test the waters - if they succeed and work well together, they may someday want to formally incorporate as a focus org. Similarly, another group of people from the same geography working together informally may want to formally incorporate as a chapter later on. It may be important for them to know this in advance, so that they can consider all their options. (For example, if they knew they could not change status, they may be prepared to wait and go straight for incorporation as a chapter).Bishdatta (talk) 15:42, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
+1 Bishakha - I think it makes sense to open the door to changing status as a stated principle of the system. --Bence (talk) 19:49, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
I think at this point we could consensuate that at least Wikimedia gorups have open the door to change to Thematic Wikimedia Organizations or to Subantional Wikimedia Organizations and National Wikimedia Organizations. This means that the Chapters Committee will define the process for those changes.--Gomà (talk) 20:43, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Agree. --Galio (talk) 00:23, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Joan, I would be more inclusive and say, any group has the right to aspire to a new "status" (as I think Bishakha and Bence put it). If we have clearly defined what the conditions are to get one or the other status, the question answers itself. In short, if it's very clear what a national or focus organisation is, what a Wikimedia group and what a partner organisations are, then the AffCom can just judge on new information provided by people wishing to change status to see if they fit the given requirements. notafish }<';> 09:11, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Tentative summary (7 March 2012)

How does one seek out possible affiliates in the newer categories - partners, associations, affiliates?

  • Groups that ask for grants or trademark permission should be considered for recognition or mentoring as associations or affiliates. Cultural groups that are planning to organize at a large scale, but do not fit the specific requirements for chapters, may apply to become a partner, and would then be supported in that effort. –SJ 02:47, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Simply announcing that the WMF recognizes these models may encourage some people to organize themselves. The first step is a passive way. Announce that these new tools are available and expect that there will appear groups wanting to use them.
    Then, in the case of associations and partner organizations, the way forward would be very similar to what we now do to encourage the formation of chapters. Through the projects identify people who are already active organizing wikimeetups, leading wikiprojects, projects on stateless languages, groups who do not want the bureaucracy of creating a registered entity ...
    The case is completely different for affiliates. These are organizations that already exist and that its main objectives are not wikimedia projects but that is highly complementary and compatible with us. I think this figure is a tool in the hands of the WMF to offer recognition and alliances to those organizations.--Gomà (talk) 08:21, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
  • We shouldn't seek them out. We should spread the word of the possibility, and have a process ready for candidates to engage in. Lets take it one knot at a time, and allow us to grow into it before stimulating large numbers of groups to apply. That makes it easier to learn and make adjustments to processes and definitions. Then after 6 months or a year we can re-evaluate. I suggest to ask the recognizing body to come with a report by that time and make recommandations. Effeietsanders (talk) 11:07, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Agree with Effie.--Marctaltor (talk) 11:41, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Also agree with Effie.Bishdatta (talk) 15:45, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Also agree with Effie. --Galio (talk) 00:24, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
  • I agree with Joan here though, while I am fine with not seeking chapters/groups/focus organisations, I think that seeking official partners is just part of what we do today (talking with like-minded organisations, working with them on specific projects etc.). So we should continue being pro-active in looking for partners, and make sure we make the "tools" known to them - ie. an official recognition as Wikimedia official partner exists, are you interested? notafish }<';> 09:15, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Tentative summary (7 March 2012)

If partners are not geographically located, but cut across geographies, where would they be legally incorporated? (Does it matter?)

  • They must provide an incorporation structure allowing them to operate in the geographies they are willing to serve. The requirements may vary depending on their activities. In some cases they can reach agreements with existing chapters or other organizations.--Gomà 22:07, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Where they are incorporated is up to them. They should be incorporated and recognized as a non-profit or charity. –SJ 02:47, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
    If they want to operate legally in several countries, this could be a serious issue. They might need to incorporated in every country they want to operate in.--Ymblanter (talk) 09:28, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
  • If we ask to an organization based on the Esperanto, for example, to be legally recognised in all the countries where they could develop their activities, we can put this people in a mess easily ... I remember that WMF allowed to the chapters, among other reasons, because was difficult to create organizations according to the legislations of every country. Or are we going to ask that this Esperanto organization to creates its own sub-organizations in each different country where esperanto is spoke?... This seems to me to be a good reason why for the organizations based only on a language or on a culture, or other focused activity, should not exceed the limits of a country ... or are we not going ato ask them to be legally recognised? (with the risk taht implies)--Marctaltor (talk) 21:15, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
    • Hello, about "Wikimedia Esperanto": it would be possibly a specialist chapter or an (informal) group. I doubt that it would create national subsections, there would be no reason. An Esperanto Wikimedian in Germany can go to Wikimedia Esperanto or Wikimedia Germany, depending on what kind of support he needs (flyer in Esperanto: Wikimedia Esperanto, contact to a cultural institution in Germany: Wikimedia Deutschland). - There are a lot of specialist Esperanto associations (Esperanto workers, Esperanto railway people, Esperanto doctors, Esperanto catholics etc.), only some of the big have national subsections. And those subsections often are only informal. I believe that the international association of Esperanto catholics is registered in Italy, by the way. / There are national Esperanto chapters; sometimes e.g. the Esperanto catholics in one country are a subgroup of the national chapter. See about Esperanto en:World Esperanto Association. / But of course, Marcaltor, your question could be tricky with concern to many possible new WM organizations. Ziko (talk) 22:10, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Well, put "based on Latin";-)--Marctaltor (talk) 22:13, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Latin? More or less the same. :-) But think of a global "Wikimedia GLAM", for instance, or Wikimedia Spanish language. Ziko (talk) 22:20, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
You're just making my point... if it is easier for someone to go to their local chapter, because the chapter will grant them support in whichever language, then why would he need a focused organization? But that's not the problem. The problem is with the organizations that must do activities in more than one country... if not leggaly recognized in each of those countries, in many of them they won't be able to carry out those activities or be helped by local chapters...and making them register could be very costly, operatively impossible, o give many problems to small organizations.
On the other hand, I really doubt anyone wants to create "Wikimedia in Spanish language", like I think nobody wants to create Wikimedia in English language... I think.--Marctaltor (talk) 22:47, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Consider also that the Spanish Wikipedia editing community is highly reluctant that any group —be it the Foundation, a national chapter or whatever new kind or Wikimedia organizations are recognized— could identify itself as if it were representing the editing community. Back to the point, I think that it's up to those groups to define if it is enough to incorporate only in a certain country or if there is a reason or the need to incorporate in many. Both in case the latter or the former is true —especially on the latter, of course—, I think such Esperanto groups would prefer to work informally and count on the respective national chapters to provide the necessary legal backing to their work, agreements and partnerships in case it's needed. We have two conflictive situations, that of potential overlapping when there is a chapter, and that of a relative institutional vacuum when there is not corresponding chapter. --Galio (talk) 07:45, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
The legal question is more simple fore some questions and more complex for others. We only will require them to be a registered legal entity in some country. It is up to them to set up the legal framework required to operate worldwide or in the countries of the world where they want to serve.
In many countries there are legal provisions to allow foreign nonprofits to operate and have a legal address. For example in France the Article 5 of the “Loi du 1er juillet 1901” provides the framework for the registration of establishments of associations who have their headquarters abroad. In Andorra there are similar provisions in Article 11 of Chapter II of the “Llei qualificada d'associacions”.
A registered legal entity in one country can do some activities in other countries without any further legal requirement. Other activities do require having an address in those countries. Some activities require that the bylaws of the entity explicitly mention certain purposes. In the European Union there are legal provisions that impose the countries they can not discriminate legal entities due to their country provided they are in the European Union.
One of the activities where being a registered entity and having a legal address in the country is of utmost importance is in applying for government grants. Some examples can illustrate the complexity of the situation. One example is to apply for grants of the Pyrenees-Mediterranean Euroregion you must be a registered entity with an address within the euroregion. So a French association with an address in Paris is not eligible but an Andorran association (Andorra doesn't belong to the euroregion) with an address in Perpignan it is. Another example is to apply for Catalan Government grants to promote Catalan language. Your bylaws must say explicitly that one of your goals is promoting Catalan language no mater the country of the world where your address is located. So a non profit with address in Barcelona without this explicit mention in its bylaws is not eligible but the North-American Catalan Society it is.--Gomà (talk) 11:07, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

That's right, legal questions might be easy, but they might be complex, and we must think about the complex, not the easy. On the other hand, Gomá tends to speak only of Catalan (it's logicall), but I remind that we are creating a new system, not a adhoc organization. If in some places of the world it is easy to work without being legally recognized, that doesn't mean that it happens everywhere in the world. A focused group should tend to promote that focus in all the world, not just one defined area. If we are speaking of for example of Wikimedia XXX organization it doesn't make sense that it only promoted XXX in Ruritania, but not in Syldavia... So if in Syldavia it happens that an organization not legally recognized cannot operate (and that is the case in many places of the world) the porpouse of that focus would be diffuminated.--Marctaltor (talk) 14:18, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Just as it is unrealistic to think that a chapter will be able to operate in each and every one of the towns of a country or in each and every one of the languages of the world or in any and all focus of interest for free knowledge is not realistic to think that a partner will be able to operate in each and every one of the towns of the world. Each organization will do its best based on the capability of its members. Surely we will not agree to that. I think that geographical distances (measured in time and transport costs) and legal barriers to operate globally have gone down and will continue to fall. This makes more prominent the distances among people bsed on language, culture and focus of interest. In my opinion the organization around focus of interest is the system of the XXI century while the organization based on geography is the system of the XIX century.--Gomà (talk) 16:36, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
No one is saying a focused organization has to act in all of the countries of the world, although it would be a great scenario. But it is possible that one of those organizations has to act in countries that border with it, countries which may be or may not be of the European Union, or that have several problems. Imagine, for example, Wikimedia Kurdo, set on Turkey... If borders will or will not disappear, that is political-fiction and we cannot base a decision on that; the same happens with that about s.XXI and s.XIX, which even if it is very interesting, is nothing more than your personal opinion, very respectable, but just that. And to fight against distances based on language, culture or other things is why all of us that we are here want free knowledge, because with knowledge you get to truth, and as s.John said, the truth will set you free...--Marctaltor (talk) 10:20, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
I have to agree with Sj here. I don't think where those organisations are incorporated really matters. For all I care, the focus organisation Wikimedia for the blind might be incorporated in the Netherlands, in South Africa or in Singapore. Their scope may also be what they want it to be, ie. can transcend languages and geographies. However, what we need to define here, are rules of good working relationships should their work cross that of a national chapter. For example, let's assume the World Association for Blind People is located in the Netherlands, and Wikimedia for the blind wants to talk with them, they should get in touch with Wikimedia Netherlands to define good practices on how to approach them. notafish }<';> 09:40, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
To address Yaroslav's concern, I think we should leave it up to the organisations to know or not whether they can "operate" in a country and I definitely am not of a mind that we should push them to register/incorporate in all the countries they want to operate in. Focus also means that the "thing" they focus on might be borderless. To go back to my example of Wikimedia for the blind, I don't think that the base of operations is extremely important, as I see their work benefitting the Wikimedia projects as a whole, and the blind as a whole, regardless of languages, geographies etc. I also think that the potential clashes, even with a national chapter, might not be as insane as we make them out to be. I'm convinced there are people out there who might not support a national chapter, because, I don't know, they don't feel that it serves their particular focus , but might a Wikimedia focus organisation (for example, a French person interested in making the Wikimedia projects accessible for the blind might choose to support Wikimedia for the blind rather than Wikimédia France). The reverse is also true, people who speak Esperanto can choose to support Wikimedia XXX because they want certain advantages (tax-deductibility, someone close to them to talk to, whatever) or to support a Wikiesperanto focus organisation, even if it's not incorporated in their geography. notafish }<';> 09:49, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I do not have much experience with this, but I see that WMF Russia writes that only Russian Citizens can be members and that in order to operate legally in Russia the chapter must be registered in Russia. I assume they are not lying, but then it would mean that either they have chosen a form which is not appropriate (I guess a foreigner still can be a member of a sports club for instance), or, which is more likely, any such organization which wants to operate in Russia in any way must be registered in Russia, since foreign-based organization can not operate there. It could be of course that I completely misunderstand the situation, but it currently concerns me.--Ymblanter (talk) 20:50, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

I will talk as a lawyer now. To not ask that any group or association is legally recognised is an error that can have hard consequences. I don’t care if it is registered in Rusia or Kazajastan but we must demand that legal recognition…. Why? Easy: imagine, for example, that there is an “Association for the promotion of kazako” which says that it is located in Bechuanaland and that it is formed by 18 members; great, Affcom approves it because promotion of kazako is inside the objectives of the movement. Next thing, that associations asks for a grant of 150000$ to finance its aims. But one day it is discovered that that association cannot exist because in Bechuanaland promotion of kazako is legally prohibited, so they go to the people responsable of the association and discover that they were four friends that used the 15K$ to buy new computers with which they have been falsifying currency… To whom does the WMF ask for the 15k$?... not to the Association for promotion of kazako, because legally it cannot exist and so it has no juridical personality and it cannot act against it…then…against the four friends? Complicated, because it would have to show that those four friends are the real responsible ones of the fraud, which would lead to a trial, etc etc… and who fixes the bad publicity for the movement, when the newspapers say “the Association for the promotion of kazako, affiliated to Wikimedia, was in truth hiding a ring of falsifiers?”…. This scenary, and others that can be imagined even worse tan this, could have been eliminated simply demanding legal recognition of that association, or group or whatever, because if it has that, it is because the State which gave it to them recognises that they are legal, have juridical personality, etc etc.--Marctaltor (talk) 19:53, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

But if every such group is legally recognized, and there are fifteen hundred gruous, and they are equal partners (as equal as chapters now) and they all want to be represented in the Board and in ChapCom and someone is in the boards of seven hundred of these groups and thus has seven hundred votes in the Board elections, and all this can easily turn into a governance nightmare.--Ymblanter (talk) 20:46, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
When I talk about "legally recognized" it isn't "recognized by WMF" but "recognized by a legal authority of their country".--Marctaltor (talk) 20:52, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I understand. In the Netherlands I can basically register a comnpany in a couple of weeks. What I need is to collect a number of documents, register them with Kamer van Koophandel, and pay the fee. I would not even need to go to the lawyer or to the notary. I guess in some countries such as Bechuanaland it might be even easier.--Ymblanter (talk) 21:05, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Oh, how funny!...Probably you should think that not all the countries are like The Nederlands ... and perhaps to register an association in Bechuanaland is the most complicated thing in the world... if you have doubts, you can ask Wikimedia Venezuela what found it hard to them to be legally registered...or to those of Wikimedia México, which still have not achieved it...--Marctaltor (talk) 21:22, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I am not sure you are looking in the correct direction. What about Cayman Islands? I however have a feeling that we go very much off-topic. I think I made my point clear enough.--Ymblanter (talk) 06:54, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Do we want all these future organizations bunched up together, or will we have a tiered approach to their relationship?
  • New entities will overlap in geography. Current chapters overlap mainly in language. At a beginning stage having communication channels like internal may be enough to coordinte them and deal with any possible conflict. When the number of chapters and new entities grow then we may need coordinating bodies for each language and for each jurisdiction. See [1]. Perhaps Chapters Council may play a role in those issues.--Gomà (talk) 22:39, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
  • They are not in a hierarchy, in that associations and affiliates are generally free to pursue their work without the approval of any other entity, but chapters and partner organizations would have greater obligations and rights in their areas of focus. Chapters are expected to know about any significant work taking place within their geography, and to support related community projects in that region, in addition to any other work. Partner organizations would be expected to know about significant work in their area of focus, and to support related projects. So associations would be expected to ask other entities for support more than vice-versa. –SJ 02:47, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I'm with Samuel, but isn't this question overlapping with the one about overlapping? May we merge them? --Galio (talk) 07:47, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Agree with Samuel and Galio, and yes, the question overlaps with the one about overlapping and could be merged.Bishdatta (talk) 15:49, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Tentative summary (7 March 2012)

Requirements for Recognition

What are the requirements to be a Partner organization?

Similar to those for chapters. A non-profit dedicated to the wikimedia mission and a commitment to serving the projects, a history of good work, a critical mass (20+) of participants. Standards of good governance shared by chapters: an elected board, open membership. Approval as a candidate for recognition by an affiliation committee (or expanded ChapCom), recognition by the WMF Board, and signing a partner organization agreement with the WMF. -SJ
I would put the mission part stronger - their mission and vision should also align with that of the rest of the movement. That doesn't only mean that they should be dedicated to it, but they should also not have a part in it that is perpendicular to it, or could harm the rest of the movement in any way (such as political allegiance to a party or movement). We cant exclude everything right away here, but we should agree that this is important to look out for by the recognition process owner. Effeietsanders (talk) 11:25, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
I have no doubt about this. Though politics is a part of the free knowledge, the free knowledge cannot be politic...and I think we must check the requests carefully in order to unaccept groups that could damage the movement.--Marctaltor (talk) 12:14, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Tentative summary (9 March 2012)

What are the requirements to be an Association?

A contact person, a member roster, a history of project work. A wiki page listing members, projects, and regular updates, minimal yearly activity. Recognition by committee, perhaps by community peer review: a very lightweight process, intended for hundreds of groups.
Related to this, some questions:
  • Why would an informal group ask for recognition as an unregistered Association, or as a Wiki Group? What do they get out of it?
  • Agreed that they would be granted limited use of the Wikimedia marks in their work, for instance for promoting and organizing projects and events - but that happens even now, on a case-by-case basis.
  • Would the association with Wikimedia make it easier for them to get funding from movement sources (Foundations or chapters?) as well as from external sources?
  • Would that be a possible motivation to go from asking for case-by-case trademark usage permission to becoming an informal Wiki Group? What are other possible motivations?
  • If they don't sign an agreement, how do we enshrine this informal arrangement? Would a letter from the Affiliations Committee suffice?
  • Since we have also discussed the possibility of legally incorporating some of these Wiki Groups, what would be the difference in the rights given to those that don't legally incorporate and those that do? Would it be the same set of rights for both? If so, what is the motivation for a wiki group to legally incorporate?
  • Agree with all those who have said that we must clearly distinguish between 'legally-incorporated wiki groups' and 'legally-incorporated focused orgs'. Bishdatta (talk) 14:23, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
An example where we can find inspiration might be the Ubuntu LoCo teams. I'm not a member but I know people from Catalan LoCo Team. I comment based on conversations held with them I may be wrong in some details.
In the case of Ubuntu every group can begin working without even being approved. The approved groups have a mark of different color than unapproved ones. For example Ubuntu Spain is not approved and Catalan LoCo Team it is.
For approval they must demonstrate that have a set of tools and a solid working history. Once they are approved they are entitled to certain benefits like receiving merchandising material or discounts. They do not sign an agreement only have they name published in the list.
The mere fact of being recognized and appearing in a list of recognized groups is a motivation that makes groups remain active and cohesive over time. Having a limited permission to use trademarks and a simplified procedure to apply for grants (such as its history shows they are responsible for handling small amounts of money) in my opinion is more important because it is a recognition moral than the money itself. Having access to advertise their activities in page on meta and share experiences with other groups is a factor that encourages the maintenance and growth of the group. For me the only difference between being or not legally Incorporated is that in the former case if they receive a small financial assistance the group can receive it while in the latter case it has to be received by one of its members personally.
--Gomà (talk) 17:38, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

What are the requirements to be an Affiliate?

An outside group supporting the movement; and supported by us. Simple recognition process, reviewed yearly. Intended for scores of affiliates, or hundreds if it grows to encompass local affiliates.
Agreed. In what form would this recognition be given, since there is no legal agreement? Bishdatta (talk) 14:25, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

How do we assess the risk to the movement of recognizing a group?

From the board's Movement Roles letter, the framework for chapters and partner organization looks identical. I would suggest reconsidering and somehow making a clear distinction here. Chapters represent WMF, they have a board and members, they are legally registered and declare their results, their approval is multi-tiered - ChapCom, the board, and WMF. There isn't a clear specification for partner organizations, we haven't defined what they are required to have, will they have a board? will they declare results? If so, then the exposure is pretty high for the movement, if not, then only WMF approval can suffice. We have to consider the full implication of this, and separate their exposure to the rest of the movement. We are extending the same rights to them as chapters, without defining or considering what their internal structure would look like, even a for-profit company can apply for this status. There are a lot of implications to consider here. Theo10011 12:22, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Agree with Theo --Marctaltor 17:36, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
If you read the related documents on meta, the two frameworks are intended to be similar. What further distinction would you make?
Partners would be required to be registered non-profits, and appropriately obliged to transparent reporting. (I'm not sure what you mean by 'declaring results', but they would have the same obligations to declare their processes and activities that chapters do.) Clarifying these details on Meta would be one of the duties of the Committee. However it is expected that much of the work could be carried over from the requirements for Chapters. Approval would again be multi-tiered - a committee, the board, and the WMF. SJ talk | translate   02:55, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

I don't understand the difference between a chapter and a partner organization. In an area where a chapter already exists, supposing both share the same mission, what is the difference?—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) diff 05:29, 2 March 2012

  • For partner organizations they sign an agreement with WMF and we must act exactly the same way we assess the risk to the movement of recognizing a chapter. For Associations and Affiliates there is no any written agreement just an informal recognition so the risk is quite lower and can be assessed in the process of periodically reviewing their status. --Gomà (talk) 12:19, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
    But what is the difference between a chapter and a partner organization?
  • This IP asks for me too...I don't see any clear difference...perhaps because there is not difference???--Marctaltor (talk) 21:18, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
    In order to assess the risk for the movement of recognizing a group I am not able to see any difference between Chapters and Partners if we are talking about the process of assessing this risk. If we are talking about the risk itself it is highly dependent of the rights we will be issuing to each one. Risks will vary much more according to different rights granted than due to the nature of the organizations. For example the risks related to fund-raising payment processing only applies to some organizations but the risk of using WMF trademarks applies to all of them.--Gomà (talk) 12:44, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
  • IMO there is clear a difference in essence —they have the same goal because both act accordingly with our movement's, but they have different interests. Wikimedia chapters deal with all things Wikimedia in a given geography and are, as I like to say, the Wikimedia organization of reference in that given geograhpy: they promote all the Wikimedia projects and free knowledge in general, try to serve all the members of our broad community within a given geography, they are not bound to any particular language or project —obviously, the chapter will speak the languages its members speak—, try to establish partnerships with similar organizations within a given geography and to link them together, and provide nationwide PR management. Most chapters currently play that role highly successfully. Of course, they can fail, but if they fail both its members and the ChapCom have mechanisms to act. A partner organization focuses its work on a particular issue or theme it wants to promote. The chapter can refer others to it when dealing with that particular theme, but partners won't have any coordinating role. Chapters and partners differ both in scope and in reach, re general/diffuse vs special/particular interests and a geographic vs thematic approach. How to compatibilize organizations with such differences and yet similar means and a common ruling goal is in my opinion our main challenge in this discussion, in order to ensure we can design a synergic, coordinated and cooperative environment. --Galio (talk) 08:09, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Generally agree with Galio's differentiation of chapters and partners, but perhaps some partner would want a coordinating role on the particular issue or theme that it seeks to promote if this cuts across geography, meaning goes beyond one country? Let's imagine partners who may not be in the fray - eg GLAM has said it is not seeking partner status, but could conceptually qualify for a cross-country coordinating role? Or imagine WikiWomen or some such? Bishdatta (talk) 14:31, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Tentative summary (9 March 2012)

Rights and Duties

Taula drets-obligacions.pdf

Instead of providing a fixed set of rights and duties and defining mechanisms to force the accomplishment of duties perhaps we could allow each organizations to gain the rights they deserve according the duties they accomplish. See the draft I already posted to accountability.--Gomà 17:31, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

That seems like a flexible implementation of granting rights, but I think the question is "what is the set of rights that each type of organization can have?". Ideally the process for recognizing affiliations simplifies the process of getting various rights, by confirming they have the minimum capacity, focus and other requirements to get them if they want/need them. –SJ 08:23, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

What are the minimal rights of a chapter/partner/association/affiliate?

  • My thoughts: –SJ
  • My thoughts: * Gomà
  • I agree: (+Z) Ziko (talk) 21:01, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
- (+Z) Chapters: Coordination of Wikimedia movement work and messaging within their geography, WM trademark use for most purposes within that region, Recognition as representatives of the movement in their region. A voice in the selection of two Foundation Trustees every two years.
* Chapters: Use of Wikimedia trademarks within their region. Simplified access to grants. Receiving in kind aid to develop. Having access to private communication channels with WMF, other chapters and partners. (I think coordination is not a right but a function and I prefer to left it for the overlap section. Regarding a movement representation further than the implicit one given by using the trademarks I think this would require further changes in the chapter model and its relationships with editing communities that is out of scope of this resolution.)
- + (+Z) Other rights: Exclusive oversight of partnerships within their geography, for groups that have signed an agreement with the WMF. Eligibility to be considered for longer-term infrastructure grants, or for direct payment-processing participation in site-banner fundraisers.
* + Other rights: Eligibility to have a voice in the selection of two Foundation Trustees, to be considered for longer-term infrastructure grants, for direct payment-processing in their region and in the languages they serve, to participate in coordinating bodies.(Same rational for oversighting function than for coordination above. I think other rights should follow a granting scheme linking the performance of the organizations with the rights granted as drafted in the table above.)
-Partners: Coordination of Wikimedia movement work and messaging within their cultural or topical focus, WM trademark use for most purposes within that focus, Recognition as representatives of the movement in that area.
* Partners: Use of Wikimedia trademarks within their focus. Simplified access to grants. Receiving in kind aid to develop. Having access to private communication channels with WMF, other partners and chapters.
- + (+Z) Other rights: There is debate about whether partner organizations should share in some or all of the other rights that accrue to chapters. Some have no analogue; the mechanism for direct payment-processing depends on geography.
* + Other rights: The same as Chapters when there is analogue and they earn them by accomplishing the required levels of preformance.
- Associations: Simplified access to grants and Basic trademark use.
* Associations: I agree (+Z: well, it will be the question what "simplified access to grants" will mean)
- Affiliates: Recognition as supporters of the movement, simplified access to grants and relevant trademark use.
* Affiliates: I agree (+Z: well, it will be the question what "simplified access to grants" will mean)

General observation: I tend to agree with Samuel's vision and I find Gomà's way of expressing his points somewhat complicated to follow. I'd greatly appreciate if you could find some way to reorder this. I think it's tricky and undesirable to insist too much on matching chapters with partners on every possible level. We have a guiding principle since our first MR meeting, that partners should count with all possible tools and resources to develop their activities, including some that were previously conceived as exclusive to Wikimedia chapters. That does not mean that chapters and partners will play the same role (scope, range). Chapters, I'll repeat something Samuel has already said, fulfil in my opinion a coordinating and overseeing role within a given geography that partners could never play. Let's please don't forget that both chapters and partners are composed of individual members, and that members can be part of both chapters and partners at the same time —it's not that we are preventing some people from doing the same others do, it's that chapters have one role and partners have another one. We're not speaking about exclusive sets. --Galio (talk) 22:14, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

I’ll try to explain my point.
To start I would like to explain that I am not trying to match focus organizations with territorial organizations at every possible level but to highlight some kind of symmetry. I see them as two orthogonal dimensions in a matrix organization. But we are not a top down organization, we area a grassroots movement so we cannot expect uniformity in the structure. We cannot impose rigidity in the rights and duties pattern. We must be flexible in granting rights while always keeping the rights balanced with the duties.
My point is that we have to accept that there will be huge differences among territorial organizations as well as among focus organizations. Then in some cases some focus organizations may earn more rights than some geographic organizations and vice versa. Off course in some cases there is not analogous then some rights or functions may not apply. For example a focus organization about blind may have not analogous in rights or functions around online fundraising but that is so obvious that I don’t see any need to mention.
In my opinion coordination is a function more than a right. Who has to perform coordination functions about pres notes released to media in a given geography or about school projects in schools on a given geography? Is the territorial organization or the focus organization entitled to this? Is this necessary? A press note only impacts one geography or all geographies where this langue has a large number of speakers? Is more suited to coordinate school projects an almost inactive territorial organization in the territory where the schools are placed or an organization focused in education with high experience? I prefer to elaborately my ideas on this in the overlapping area.
In my opinion oversight of movement organizations is another issue. I think that up to some extent all the movement organizations should be assessed and supervised by the Editing communities. Again I prefer to elaborate this in next sections.
--Gomà (talk) 10:23, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Up to now nobody in this sections raised the right of eclusivity in their territory for the chapters. I would like to explain my oppinion.
I have my concerns about territorial exclusivity for chapters. I see a difficulty in this with the fact that they are independent entities and may decide freely the level and the kind of activities they will develop. I would agree if this right is limited to hear them before granting another chapter in the same geography and take into account with high value their opinion. But not giving them a veto right. The other possibility is retiring their chapterhood status if we have another group that can perform better in the same geography but it would be a pity to lose a set of volunteers just because they are not growing fast and doing a lot of things while they do something modest but positive for the movement.--Gomà (talk) 11:25, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

I think Gomà made at least one very good point above (but I have problems following the confusing structure of the discussion though, so I hope I accredit it well) and that is that it should be about function. We should first agree what would be the envisioned function and playfield, and then attach the rights and obligations to that. I do agree that geographical coordination makes a lot of sense as a function for a geographically oriented organization like a National Wikimedia Organization or their sub-structures. To keep things simple, we need some level (not necessarily absolute) exclusivity here. This should include at the very least the right to be consulted before activities in said geography are undertaken. A similar arrangement could be imagined, but less strongly, for Focused Wikimedia Organizations. For example, when there would be a Wikimedia group for Go (the board game) then I can very well imagine that if Amical would like to run a project on famous Go players in Catalan history, they would consult with them. This just makes sense from a movement perspective, because that would also increase the likelihood of success.

From this coordination function, other rights and subfunctions naturally follow. Like a central role in local partners, trademark usage etc. Effeietsanders (talk) 12:26, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Sounds good. Ziko (talk) 21:01, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

I would really like to join into this discussion but I have to admit that I don't understand the opening with the thoughts. Could someone of the contibutors try to rearrange it for readability? --lyzzy (talk) 15:38, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Organizing the first part of this discussion into a table for easier readibility, while leaving the original as is. Please help improve! Bishdatta (talk) 17:56, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Rights SJ Goma
  1. Coordination of Wikimedia movement work and messaging within their geography,
  2. WM trademark use for most purposes within that region,
  3. Recognition as representatives of the movement in their region.
  4. A voice in the selection of two Foundation Trustees every two years.
  5. .
  6. .
  7. .
  1. I think coordination is not a right but a function and I prefer to left it for the overlap section.
  2. Use of Wikimedia trademarks within their region.
  3. Movement representation further than the implicit one given by using the trademarks I think this would require further changes in the chapter model and its relationships with editing communities that is out of scope of this resolution.
  4. .
  5. Simplified access to grants.
  6. Receiving in kind aid to develop.
  7. Having access to private communication channels with WMF, other chapters and partners.
Additional rights for chapters
  1. .
  2. Exclusive oversight of partnerships within their geography, for groups that have signed an agreement with the WMF.
  3. Eligibility to be considered for longer-term infrastructure grants, or for direct payment-processing participation in site-banner fundraisers.
  4. .
  1. Eligibility to have a voice in the selection of two Foundation Trustees,
  2. Same rational for oversighting function than for coordination above.
  3. Eligibility to be considered for longer-term infrastructure grants, for direct payment-processing in their region and in the languages they serve,
  4. Eligibility to participate in coordinating bodies.

I think this other rights should follow a granting scheme linking the performance of the organizations with the rights granted as drafted in the table above.)

  1. Coordination of Wikimedia movement work and messaging within their cultural or topical focus,
  2. WM trademark use for most purposes within that focus,
  3. Recognition as representatives of the movement in that area.
  4. .
  5. .
  6. .
  1. .
  2. Use of Wikimedia trademarks within their focus.
  3. .
  4. Simplified access to grants.
  5. Receiving in kind aid to develop.
  6. Having access to private communication channels with WMF, other partners and chapters.
Additional rights for partners There is debate about whether partner organizations should share in some or all of the other rights that accrue to chapters. Some have no analogue; the mechanism for direct payment-processing depends on geography. The same as Chapters when there is analogue and they earn them by accomplishing the required levels of performance.
Associations Simplified access to grants and Basic trademark use. I agree.
Affiliates Recognition as supporters of the movement, simplified access to grants and relevant trademark use. I agree.
  • In my opinion the fact that the chapters select two members of the board has two advantages. On the one hand makes the chapters feel involved in the governance of the Foundation and on the other hand enrich the selection of these two members with the experience of the part of the movement that works offline. I could be wrong and others may have a very different perspective. Then the following conculisons should be revised.
If we were to agree before then it only makes sense that the chapters with a level of activity and results over a minimum participate in this process because they are who can provide this experience. Participation would also be a recognition of the effort to reach this level.
As for Partner Organizations (Orgs Focus). The criterion should be the same. We also want they feel involved in the governance of the Foundation and to share their experience which will be especially interesting because of the different perspective of the chapters. On the other hand if they reach the level of activities and results established then makes no sense to ignore their contributions to the selection process.--Gomà (talk) 23:26, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

What are the minimal duties of a chapter/partner/association/affiliate?

- All groups: Active work, transparent reporting, non-discrimination, good cooperation with other entities.
- Chapters: Focus on our global mission, development of a sustainable, independent regional non-profit. Within their region: support of community projects, fundraising coordination, grant and partnership development[1], oversight of PR and media; representing Wikimedia and its interests at public events and in government discussions.
- Partners: Focus on our global mission, development of a sustainable, independent non-profit. Within their topic: support of community projects, grantwriting coordination & partnership development[2], oversight of PR and media, representing Wikimedia and its interests at public events and in global topical discussions.
- Associations: Cooperation with other entities, regular activity reports.
- Affiliates: Visible support of Wikimedia and its projects.


What are the minimal duties of the Foundation to a chapter/partner/association/affiliate?

- To all: Ready use of the Wikimedia trademarks wherever needed for their work, access to funds raised through global fundraising, legal backing and advice where needed to carry out their work.
- To Chapters: administrative support in developing capacity as an independent non-profit. Professional development support to build skills within the organization (staff and volunteer) to support that work. help fostering chapters in every country in the world.
- To Partners: Support in developing as an independent non-profit. Building expertise and a global network in their area of focus.
- To Associations: Feedback on their project work. Support if they are pursuing outside grants or partnerships (and there is no regional chapter that can provide that help)
- To Affiliates: Visible support for the affiliate and their efforts


How do the rights of a chapter and partner differ from each other? Do they need to differ? If so, in what respect? Why? What is the cost and benefit of having 'equal rights' for chapters and partners?

  • The primary difference is in geographic vs. topical focus. Chapters are very crisply defined, so that there is almost no overlap, in scope or legal jurisdiction or language, between any two chapters. There is also a simple legal and practical way to identify a chapter with a body of readers and contributors, in part because our geography is stamped into many aspects of our everyday life.
Partner organizations are less crisp: often geographically global in scope, united by a shared cultural focus. There would be some overlap between them. They could be identified with a set of languages they use or topics of interest, but this mapping of organization to audience can be less precise.
For some rights, geographic exclusivity is helpful for clarity and efficiency. [in these cases those rights are generally open to other groups on request, but one group has the right of approval] Other rights are themselves tied to geographic or political jurisdiction, or to working globally. In general, groups benefit from rights that are required for the work they do; this will not be the same between chapters and partners. For instance: payment processing via banners is currently regulated by geolocation; Handling PR and media affairs is currently divided by country. Chapter selection of WMF trustees is currently done by chapters, and any change to how that process works would need to consider the long-term intent.
  • I see there are two kinds of differences.
Fist we have the “Natural” level. It is natural that the rights and duties of chapters will differ from those of partners due to the difference of geographic versus focus. For example territorial exclusivity can not apply to partners.
Second we have the differences due to the fact that they are independent organizations and we cannot impose them a given level of activity or high efficiency. For example the right to get funds for an annual program should be linked to some level of activity, some quality of results, and a minimum level of efficiency in managing funds and not granted to everybody. In this kind of differences both have the same opportunity to earn the rights they need to develop their mission.
--Gomà (talk) 11:20, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Coordination roles

I was revising the text based on feedback here. It seems that Chapters currently have an important coordination role, in offering an unambiguous local contact. Consider this description:

Chapters coordinate off-wiki work in their region, from outreach and media relations to fundraising and partner development.

This is a role that chapters are normally expected to play. Are partner organizations expected to as well? The sharpness of definition of the chapter means that almost any inquiry can be passed to the appropriate chapter for handling, who then pass it on to more specific groups. –SJ 08:00, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

I am not sure. The experience with WLM is that last years it was exclusively coordinated by chapters, and countries with no chapters or where chapters showed no interest were not eligible to participate. This year it might change so that any initiative group, not necessarily related to a chapter, may run the contest locally. I expect that in the majority of (or may be in all) the situations a local chapter would indeed coordinate the effort, but I am not so sure it must be written on paper that this is the only entity which may coordinate off-wiki events locally.--Ymblanter (talk) 18:05, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
I am sorry, but this example is not quite true, in fact, and I have to put my two cents in. There was no requirement that only chapters can take part in Wiki Loves Monuments, and countries without a chapter cannot; the only problem we encountered was related to the critical mass which countries without a chapter simply lacked (for example Belarus didn't make it last year, but they are most probably going to take part this year). odder (talk) 00:23, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
I do not think this is important for the argument, but let us agree that if the chapter said no in 2011 there was no way for anybody else to organize the competition. But this is not the rule: Everybody should be able to do it, which means the chapter is not exclusive.--Ymblanter (talk) 14:13, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
If there is no chapter or the chapter is not willing to participate and there's a partner who's willing to organize WLM on a given country I think that would be great and no conflict could arise, as long as said partner does previously contact the chapter. However, I would still expect the chapter to contact any other partners operating within its geography who may be willing to take part in the organization of WLM, and to provide the necessary means so that coordination can go forward (some place to meet in person, mailing lists, handling domain names, unified PR). On the other hand, if the chapter is willing to organize WLM and a partner plans to do the same in the same country or at the subnational level, then that partner should previously inform the chapter and merge its efforts with that of the chapter. On a general note, I agree with Samuel regarding chapters passing on inquiries to more specific groups. --Galio (talk) 22:28, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
There are a few questions relevant here:
What to do if a chapter puts priorities, and some people disagree?
I guess if there are enough people disagreeing a lot on this, they could organize it anyway. In that case I wouldn't expect the chapter to support it because they simply chose different priorities. Suboptimal, but possible. Effeietsanders (talk) 12:50, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
What to do if the chapter decided that in their scenario, Project A would be harmful to the mission?
Now it becomes more tricky... I don't have a straight answer, and it probably depends on the specifics. Effeietsanders (talk) 12:50, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Sorry but I don’t grasp what has this to do with coordination roles. It seems to me those are very interesting questions but internal affairs for each chapter and organization.--Gomà (talk) 13:52, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

  • For me the key point is not confusing coordination with subordination. If we state clearly that coordinated entities are not subordinated to the coordinating one then it can be much easier to assign the coordinating role to that that can do it more effectively.
Another important point is avoiding bureaucracy. Create only coordination bodies if and when needed.
I would like do define the term collision (without any negative connotation) as one stronger than overlapping. While overlapping means doing things in the same area collision means doing things with the same third party. So if a chapter is not active in promoting Esperanto it can overlap with a potential Esperanto focus organization but they will never collide. If two chapters operate in different countries they don’t overlap geographically but if they share the same language and sent different press notes to the same media they will collide.
Overlapping is never a problem it is just the advantage of having more people working in the same area.
Collision is not necessarily a problem neither a waste of resources. Some times more impacts amplify the effect. But may be a conflict and then is when we need coordination.
Collision is a matter of probabilities the probability is extremely low when the organizations are small and they have a small impact then it is not worth to create bureaucratic coordination bodies when the probability o collision is almost zero.
My proposal for managing those issues is at several levels:
  1. In the fist level we just need communication channels to know what is doing everyone else. Activity reposts may be enough for affiliates and groups.
  2. For chapters and partners I think we need a second level to communicate not only what we have done but also what we are planning to do. I think we need private communication channels for this because things in preparation may contain confidential information. I think existing private communication channels among WMF and chapters can be enough for this.
  3. A third level appears when there are projects or activities where we detect collision. In those cases ad-hoc conversations among organizations may be enough to coordinate activities and solve the conflict.
  4. The forth level appears when we have continuous collisions in some geographic area or around some focus. Then and only then is when may be worth to establish a coordinating body where all affected organizations should participate. I guess this will likely happen mainly in two dimensions: Countries (or supranational regions like European Union) and languages. Then the natural choice for leading and chairing the coordinating the body is the geographic chapter for countries and the focus organization if it exists for languages. But I would not assign to this any kind of superiority so it can be easy to assign this role to who can perform better.
--Gomà (talk) 13:39, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Partners could be focused, among other things, in promoting a certain language through Wikimedia projects —that's different from the general role of promoting Wikimedia projects per se chapters play. I don't see how any partner could claim a coordinating role for activities in any language, especially when most activities are not focused on the language itself. The situation would be different in the case of minority languages where partner organizations could be formed with the punctual goal to promote them (Wikimedia partner association for the promotion of Mapudungun), and then I'd expect chapters to contact and coordinate activities with them if they plan to develop some project regarding that language; on the other hand, if it's the partner who plans to develop something on a country with chapter, I'd expect such partner to previously contact the chapter. Yet we risk making general assumptions from a particular interest or a particular case that has no clear actual parallels. We must take into account that there are currently no language-focused partner organizations and there are not that many waiting in line to be recognized. For the moment, we have a strong and successful network of chapters that need to be reassured they are not being threatened in their viability —even if this means stating in clear terms some things you would prefer not to, or to make them reliant on performance, which opens a whole new discussion. And we have some organizations who don't fit into this model and need the proper tools and recognizement to develop their activities, that's what we are working on. We're making a bet on the future and we'll see how this works —everything can be revisited and rediscussed if needed. --Galio (talk) 15:48, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
It seems to me we have here a huge misunderstanding that can explain many of the difficulties wiht the concept of those new models.
We never should accept as a Focus Wikimedia Organization (before called partners) a group that wants to promote a language through the wikimedia projects. Nor should we ever accept as Local Wikimedia Organization (before called chapters) a group who want to promote a country, its history, its athletes, artists, or its cultural heritage through the wikimedia projects.
It should be clear from the beginning that the the main shared goal of all Wikimedia Organizations is to promote wikimedia projects. Then each one specializes. Some specialize in a geographical area, others in a particular cultural community characterized with some focus of interest.
If an organization wants to promote the language x or the country's cultural heritage y, Wikimedia projects are not the best place to do it. If they are serious and prestigious organizations that are working effectively in their field, we can propose them for Official Partners of the Wikimedia Movement (before called affiliates).
--Gomà (talk) 17:30, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
I phrased it that way on purpose, I'm glad we agree on this. Yet, we should note that language-focused partners do in fact, in essence, promote a certain language. Of course, their goal must be promoting Wikimedia projects and free knowledge in or through that language and not the other way round. --Galio (talk) 17:41, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
You Will Know Them By Their Fruits (Mt. 7:16). You can find organizations like Amical that according to your statement should be promoting the Catalan but in practice they do activities that promote Spanish [2] and organizations like Wikimedia Argentina that according to your satement should promote free knowledge in general but in practice they do activities to celebrate the independence from Spain [3].--Gomà (talk) 18:47, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Uh?...really, sometimes I can understand you, Gomà....can you, please, explain your comment?...--Marctaltor (talk) 23:06, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Do not worry too much. It is only that in Glaio and me was joking. He pretended not knowing that Thematic Wikimedia Organizations whose focus is a language do not work promoting this language through projects but promoting the projects focusing in the communities who speak this language and I pretended not knowing that Wikimedia Argentina is not dedicated to promoting projects in Argentina but to promote the celebration of the 200 anniversary of Argentina's independence through the projects. To finish the joke I presented a couple of evidences. If you focus in a community and this community is bilingual you get fruits in both languages. And if you focus in promoting your country the fruit you get is a book composed of wikipedia articles related to the independence of your country.--Gomà (talk) 23:38, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
That's harsh, saying this chapter only promotes its country and not the projects. Maybe jokes don't translate too well? I wonder, what seems to be the problem with providing free Wikipedia content offline? So its release is targeted to a local festivity. It's actually very smart. This offline method may be not a bad way to introduce people to Wikipedia in countries without that a strong internet/web penetration. You feel this is not in accordance with the mission of the chapter?
That’s exactly as harsh as saying that language-focused partners in fact, in essence, promote a certain language and not the projects. Perhaps it is better to left jokes aside and focus in plain discussion as we have done until now avoiding jokes that don't translate too well.--Gomà (talk) 08:46, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Ah! ... this sense of humour ... I confess that sometimes I'm not so intelligent to understand it, I beg your pardon. But I think you're right, almost in one thing: best we left jokes and talk seriously... It's more harsh to say that a chapter does not fulfill it mission than to say that a Focused Org. devotes itself to promote its focus.--Marctaltor (talk) 14:01, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Overlaps and privileged status within a (region/context)

What is the relationship between chapters and other entities - partners, associations and affiliates - in a geography? Do any of these entities have a 'gate-keeping' role?

  • The way to ask this question seems to assume that a "gate-keeping role" given to a chapter would be a constraint for a given wikimedian or group of wikimedians that would like to take part in something in this country. Why couldn't we assume that the chapter may be, or IS right now a support and a facilitator to them? It seems to assume as well that other wikimedians would be jealous and lust after the chapter privileges. You know, in most of the organizations based on voluntary commitment, you are more likely looking for people to take some responsabilities than trying to push them aside. Astirmays 19:17, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
  • At present, chapters have a certain gatekeeping role, when it comes to partnerships or work in their region. They are certainly informed about any significant project taking place there. This may not be strict: informal community groups may organize their own projects and solicit support for them, without approval (or despite disapproval) from the regional chapter. In the context of recognition and approved use of trademarks, we will need to specify how entities coordinate to avoid confusion; see related question on that topic. –SJ
  • New entities will overlap in geography. Current chapters overlap mainly in language. At a beginning stage having communication channels like internal may be enough to deal with any possible conflict. When the number of chapters and new entities grow then we may need coordinating bodies for each language and for each jurisdiction. See [4]--Gomà 20:20, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Chapters could and should be facilitators, gate-keeping a plus to the movement.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) diff 05:24, 2 March 2012
  • I agree with considering gate-keeping a plus (including trademarks) and not an obstacle. I would rephrase Astirmays statement: If a chapter is not right now a support and a facilitator for a given wikimedian or groups of wikimedians that would like to take part in something in their country, then it's not fulfilling its role. --Galio (talk) 22:35, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Agree with Galio.--Marctaltor (talk) 23:08, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Agree with Galio. Ziko (talk) 20:17, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Should chapters retain their privileged status in a geography? What would be the benefit of this? What would be the cost of not doing so?

  • Yes. This is one of their primary roles: to coordinate work within their geography; as such they should be expected to know about all work taking place in that geography. This does not mean they should prevent other groups from doing useful work there; see the question on coordinating trademark use below. –SJ 02:47, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
    The cost of not doing so would be reduced clarity and organization. The chapters model is one of centralization of effort, within a set of geographies, balanced against decentralization of effort across the world.
  • Granting exclusivity should be attached to the obligation to attend absolutely all opportunities. This is not feasible in a grassroots volunteer driven movement like wikimedia. New models are the solution to this problem without the need of granting more chapters in the same geography. I also think we must stat more clearly in Chapters agreement that WMF will consult the chapter before granting another chapter in the same geography but that the chapter is not entitled to any exclusivity and that WMF may at its solely criteria grant another chapter in any moment--Gomà 20:31, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Yes. Coordinators, on the ground experts.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) diff 05:24, 2 March 2012
  • Yes, per the reasons Sam mentioned. I plan to write some thoughts on this section later. --Galio (talk) 08:13, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Can two entities in a geography be given trademark use? If so, what does it mean?

  • Yes, with reasonable guidelines. This happens today in two ways: individuals and small groups that get simple trademark approval for their projects and events may do so directly via the WMF; and the WMF actively uses its marks in partnerships and agreements around the world. Both happen in geographies that also have chapters. Current guidelines: (citation needed). Trademark agreements should specify how overlaps are to be handled if there is implied exclusivity. At a minimum, all should commit to working in cooperation with and supporting other entities, to observing existing exclusivity agreements, and to informing one another about any efforts that might overlap. Details can be worked out through specific cases as needed. This need already exists for projects that span multiple countries, such as participation in the Global Education Project, or national chapters applying for regional (EU, or US-wide) grants. –SJ 02:47, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
    It is already happening. Now WMF and chapters can use trademark in same geography. There should not be any problem if trademarks are used following trademark agreement. WMDE cannot use the name WMF and new entities will not be entitled to use neither WMDE nor WMF but the new trademark convention.--Gomà 21:55, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
  • No. Confusion over WMF and chapters already exists. Add even more organizations in the same area, and it will be caos. Very confusing to the non initiated. Granting trademark use to other entities should be a rare exception, not the rule.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) diff 05:24, 2 March 2012

Below is one example of how groups could coordinate trademark use and outreach: (note that one can imagine trademark use is regulated 'by law', but in practice most possibilities for confusion happen in outreach, and are a social rather than a legal matter.)

  • A. Projects proposed for a country/region should consult the regional chapter, if one exists. The chapter is invited to be part of the project, and to play a lead role if they have time & capacity. If they feel the project will interfere with existing work they are doing, some sort of mediation and arbitrarion is available to sort things out, or help the two efforts coexist. Models such as this exist for other large global volunteer-driven projects such as the Red Cross (with a great deal of 'multilateral' collaboration across different groups).
  • B. Chapters, partners, and other wikigroups commit to coordinating with one another when carrying out partnerships or projects that span geographies; a coordination page/calendar/communication channel is available to keep all interested entities informed.
  • C. Online initiatives should check to see whether they overlap with the core focus of existing entities, including WikiProjects, and make an effort to coordinate with them in advance.
    ... with variations on the above for projects run by individuals and by the WMF itself. –SJ

I agree with Sam's proposed scheme. I don't believe it's a problem for partners or associations to use the trademarks in a geography where there is a chapter, but I would expect the chapter to be previously informed and consulted by WMF/AffCom before coming to a decision. --Galio (talk) 22:58, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

I also would agree with you if “informing and consulting” doesn’t imply bureaucracy, delays and submission of some entities to the will of others. For example as I undestant in Samuel's optin B if we set a private place accessible for all Wikimedia Organizations where everybody announces their plans. If nobody say anything then implicitly everybody has been informed and consulted. Only if somebody has an objection or an idea or a proposal to cooperate then they open a fair dialoge.--Gomà (talk) 09:07, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
It's not any extra layer of bureaucracy, it's simply the AffCom contacting the involved chapter and hearing its opinion (not necessarily objections, I mostly imagine active proposals and increased communication as a result) before coming to a decision. There is no submission of some entities to the will of others, the decision is as always in hands of the AffCom and ultimately of the WMF BoT. I insist: We have a strong model with successful organizations that must be reassured they are being considered if we want to preserve trust. We should ensure that this opportunity for "new models" is not read as a threat by national Wikimedia organizations. I hope you understand my point. --Galio (talk) 18:22, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Sorry if you where talking about the process of granting the right to use trademarks to a new entity for the first time while I was talking about the day to day operations then I agree.--Gomà (talk) 23:09, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Membership, Communities, and Collaboration

What is the relationship between a chapter/partner/associate/affiliate - and the community? How is this gauged?

  • Chapters are defined by their project activity and scope, and a critical mass of participants in the chapter's work. Most are membership organizations, so their bylaws further define a community of supporters. They are not currently tied to a particular on-wiki community, though there is an implication that they should support projects by editors in their geography. How closely connected a chapter is to a particular group of editors or readers varies widely. Where a country is identified with a single language - every citizen speaks it, and most speakers live there - a national chapter is often closely aligned with the editing community on that language's wiki Projects. In contrast, a chapter that is multilingual, or that uses a popular world language, may have no obvious on-wiki community audience. –SJ
  • My comments on this are in the next question.--Gomà (talk) 21:43, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

What happens if a chapter loses its support among the community? What is this community, and how is it determined that support has been lost?

  • ??? Which community ? The Wikipedia editing community or the members of this chapter ? If it's the second, just wait for the next elections. If it's the first, most of this community don't realy care about the Wikimedias stuff. Astirmays 19:17, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
  • This question is unclear (see above): if a chapter loses support among its membership, they may move to shut it down (as with the first UK chapter). If it is opposed by an on-wiki community, some mediation should be possible; discussing this requires a specific example. (how many wiki contributors oppose it, how many support it, and why? are they trolling? is there an alternate group that is in active conflict over specific projects? &c.) –SJ
  • The first problem is that current chapters have been crated from top to down without a formal process to check they hold the support of the communities so we need a transition period to give them space to gain this confidence. The second problem is the communities are not organized to take this kind of decisions and only few people participate in village pump discussions. Third problem is communities are organized around languages except technological development and commons. This issue goes beyond new models but it is worth to work in solving those problems. First we can start identifying the chapters / projects-languages match. This page can be a starting point. Second we can go for the chapters and Organizations oversight committee with members from each language where we have active chapters and orgs. Third chapters must report its activities in village pump of each language they want to serve and lather oversight committee must request evaluation of chapters activities from each relevant community.Then if a chapter losses the confidence of a community you apply the table proposed before and they are entitled to less rights. --Gomà 23:04, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
    I agree with the above. As it is now, the chapter is not at all dependent on the community (and for multilingual countries / languages used in many countries) it is not at all clear what this support could mean. I do not think it is a good idea since and I had bad experiences with this, but as is the answer is: nothing happens. There is no mechanism which determines the support, and even if this mechanism is installed, and even if it would be, chapters are community independent. If the community members are unhappy with the activity of the particular chapter they should join the chapter (provided it accepts new members) and take part in the elections. If the chapter does not accept members, tough luck.--Ymblanter (talk) 18:10, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
    I don't think gauging onwiki community support can be done. Chapters promote the projects, right? They encourage people to edit Wikipedia, etc. But from what I've seen they don't say "Go to Wikipedia in (X language)". They say "Edit Wikipedia!" Or "Contribute to Commons!" Each person will later choose in which language version they will finally contribute. It may be the one spoken in their country, or one of the several spoken in his country. It may be English Wikipedia. It may be any other language. Even if the chapter does a workshop say in French language, a new editor that attends it may choose to edit in German Wikipedia. Why should wikis of the languages spoken in the countries of the chapter members be targeted to gauge community support? They are not specifically targeted by those same chapters. In fact, chapter members could all be contributors in Wikinews, and have but a person or two editing in their supposed language wiki. You cannot really adscribe a specific community for every single chapter. If people here and there are unhappy with the activity of the chapter, they should become members and try to change it, as Ymblanter says. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) diff 05:12, 2 March 2012
    I agree with [Sj]. The question should be if those people who distrust the chapter have any positive contribution to do, i.e. Did they want to develop some project and the chapter denied support? Do they plan to create an association just to bypass the chapter? Are they planning to do the same the chapter does, or they limit themselves to expressing their opinion on the Village Pump? From my experience, most Wikipedia editors who express a negative concept of chapters and/or the Foundation are nevertheless not willing to engage in off-wiki activities. Let's don't forget that chapters, unlike the Foundation, are open organizations who have members. If there is a big group of Argentine wikimedians who is not happy with our chapter, they may join, outnumber the current plurality, and within a year gain their right to vote —they can even call for an extraordinary assembly and replace the current authorities. If the current chapter leadership does unreasonably deny their membership requests, then we would enter another stage, one where the ChapCom/AffCom and even other chapters (Chapters Council) would have an important say. Finally, I'd like to say that this hypothetical situation is far from being common, and the situation tends to be quite the opposite when chapters fulfil their role. --Galio (talk) 23:24, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
    I see two different points here. First what happens if a group don't like what a chapter does. Second the matching between chapters and editing communities.
    Regarding what happens if I don't like what a chapter does your approach doesn't make sense for me. I cant imagine anybody joining an association that is doing something he don't like. The idea of a group of people maneuvering to gain the power of a chapter is almost immoral for me. If I don't like football or wikipedia I would never maneuver to gather numerous enough group of people to join a sports club or a wikimedia chapter who are focused in promoting football or Wikipedia and then force them to change their focus to basketball or Wikibooks.
    Regarding the capability to identify wikimedia editing communities. I think this should be a primary duty of any wikimedia organization. If they exist it is to benefit the projects and their results must be evident and measurable. So those results should benefit one or more projects in one or more languages. The editing communities of those projects and languages are the communities they serve. One way or another they will impact those communities. A good understanding between the organizations and the communities is vital for the organizations. Many activities can take advantage from on-line cooperation of the communities. But those organizations also can cause a negative impact on those communities for example if they are unfortunate in their media interventions or if they spend money in a way that is seen as inaccurate by the editing community. If the overall balance is negative those organizations must be disbanded.--Gomà (talk) 22:27, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
    You may find it immoral, but the most common phrase for any disgruntled reader in Wikipedia is {{Sofixit}}, ie inviting them to join to change things. It's the wiki philosophy, nothing immoral about that. How can you change things from far removed? As for identifying editing communities, again, that is very hard. Adscribing editing communities to chapters is both risky and innacurate. And may imply huge possibilities of POINTy situations, with people with an axe to grind trying vs admins, ArbCom members, etc who happen to be members of a chapter and so they'd try to harm perfectly good, active associations. That would be terrible.
  • NOTE: Here you have an attemt to identify roles to be played by On-line Communities, WMF, National Wikimedia Organizations end Thematic (Language) Wikimedia Organizations. Many of them require cooperation between on-line communities and off-line organizations.--Gomà (talk) 22:27, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

How are situations of overlap to be handled? For example, in a situation where a partner overlaps the region in which there is a chapter?

  • (Also discussed above.) Chapters provide a natural non-overlapping global network; other global organizations usually give the local chapter first say in how projects are carried out in their country/region. For projects carried out online or in a distributed way, other criteria would hold; an online project in the core focus of a partner would be developed in consultation with them. –SJ 05:09, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
    Here you have an essay about different kinds of overlapping and its advantages. My proposal is only act if a conflict rises. While the number of chapters and orgs is small having communications channels may be enough to solve conflicts when this number raises then we can go for the proposed [language and country coordination councils.--Gomà 23:11, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
More comments on this in the Coordination roles section.--Gomà (talk) 12:35, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
  • What happens when a chapter and another organization want to do a similar event in the same area, and ask for financial aid to do so? Both receive it? One takes precedence over the other? Under which criteria? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) diff 05:12, 2 March 2012
From a global point of view the more rational decision is that that who submit the best bid is who carry on the activity.
But it seems to me that this situation is unrealistic. From my experience we have many more opportunities to do things than the ability to do them and the factor which limits us is volunteers not money. So from a selfish point of view any of those organizations will be more interested in letting the activity to the other and release their volunteers to be devoted on things that no one else will do.
I see no inconvenience in setting some kind of precedence criteria in those strange cases where both insist in doing the activity. For example give always precedence to the National Organization on issues related to National Government and territory while giving precedence to the Focus organization on issues related to their focus. But if this happens I think there is a deeper problem that has to be addressed.
--Gomà (talk) 12:58, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Do partners have boards and members?

  • Yes. They are non profit incorporated entities.--Gomà 23:11, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Yes. (To the same extent chapters do; there is a mote of ambiguity in current requirements) –SJ
  • I would like to require of National Wikimedia Organizations to have a membership structure. How exactly the executive body is called I don't care (presidium, board, whatever) but it is likely they will have one. However, for partners I would like us to be more flexible. Why not a foundation structure? If that works best? Or even a non profit company? Effeietsanders (talk) 13:20, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
The only case where I think another structure can be better than an affiliated one is for Thematic Wikimedia Organizations where the edditing community they serve can be prefectly indentified. For example those whose focus is a language and culture. In those cases a Foundation could be much better than a membership structure under the condition that more than 50% of its board members be directly elected by the edditing communities.--Gomà (talk) 22:41, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
I would like to go further in this respect showing a summary of a series of analyzes made over time.
In one way or another we are talking about legitimacy and impact. The different models have advantages and disadvantages related to these two parameters. I comment on the analysis.
First the discussion between for profit and nonprofit is decanted quickly into nonprofit. The main issue is the impact on the projects and the image of a for-profit organization taking advantage from the projects to obtain profit would be extremely negative for the editors.
One discussion is the ability to work. An entity with members has a base of volunteers available to do the activities while a foundation will have a tendency to build a professional structure. This professional structure will need money and again taking advantage of the projects to raise money that should be used mainly to pay professionals while the authors of the project are volunteers can have a negative impact.
Regarding the legitimacy the model of a foundation where the majority of the members of its governing body are elected directly by the editing community is the best solution. It has direct legitimacy and represents those who have chosen their governing body before the chapters, the WMF and society in general. On the other hand any organization with members will represent their members only.
Therefore there is a conflict between having the best possible impact and having legitimacy. We explored several possible solutions. Having a governing body elected by the editing community is not the only possibility.
But the only one that makes sense in the context we are working here now is that the organization has members and therefore the ability to do activities with volunteers and WMF provides the legitimacy by recognizing it officially.
--Gomà (talk) 08:34, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
  • I would also require that the membership would be open.--Ymblanter (talk) 14:22, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I think open membership is a tricky question. I agree to require a minimum level of openness. For example that membership would be open for editors with an history of positive contributions and who also have the nationality of the country (for National Orgs) or contributing in the issues related to the focus (for Focus Orgs). They can be more open if they want and the law allows it for example accepting members from other countries. But we definitely can't force those Orgs to accept vandals, trolls, or just candidates not active in Wikimedia projects if they can outnumber the editors and change the spirit and values of the project.--Gomà (talk) 13:15, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
Openness in case of membership does not mean that you _must_ accept every application. WMDE's bylaws for example include the possibility to refuse or withdraw membership in specific cases. Could be in not following the purposes of the association, could be if a person behaves in a manner damaging to the association. Restrictions like this, which secure the association, are not contrary to the idea of open membership. --lyzzy (talk) 19:21, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

What is the vetting procedure for partners?

  • This is a job for the ChapCOm to define the details of the process. But here we have a proposal done during conversations of movement roles.--Gomà 23:26, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
  • From discussions so far, this would likely be similar to that for chapters, as far as level of activity, reliability, and critical mass of participants is concerned.
  • Local chapter should be consulted.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) diff 05:12, 2 March 2012

I see a few special steps relevant here:

  • All relevant existing Wikimedia organizations should be consulted. This should also become a requirement for chapters now.
  • The activity threshold (viability) could probably be a bit lower than with chapters because there is less risk to obstructing other organizations to form
  • The exact mission alignment could probably be a bit more flexible than with chapters due to their more specific nature.
  • They should have a clearly defined scope in which they want to operate, contrary to chapters
  • The bylaws should fit with said scope
  • The group should have a track record - being an informal or a formal organization. I wouldn't object to making them first into an association if necessary.

Probably there are more relevant things here. Effeietsanders (talk) 13:27, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

I agree to the consultation requirment if we add that the consultation to the relevant existing Wikimedia organizations should be done on a public place like meta, that we give them a reasonable periode of time to answer, and that the applicant will have the possibility to add also their comments before a decission is taken.--Gomà (talk) 12:49, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree to the rest of steps as they are.--Gomà (talk) 12:51, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

What happens if no Partner Organization/Associations/Affiliates in a given country ask to deal with the WMF, but they instead deal with the chapter?

Astirmays 19:17, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
  • As proposed, ChapCom (or an Affiliation Committee) would set standards for those groups being recognized as part of the movement. recognition of Partner Organizations would be approved by the WMF. The standard for recognizing associations and affiliates might allow for other groups (such as chapters or partners) to recognize groups within their region/context. Note that most chapters currently must get permission from the WMF to sublicense the trademarks -- for partnerships or for this sort of recognition. –SJ 06:11, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
    Should they be approved by the WMF or should this be a joint responsibility of the existing movement organizations? Even if it is only through a veto option for the chapters council for example.
    Your idea to come up with a sublicensing scheme sounds good - but complicated at the same time. Would it perhaps be more practical to leave this licensing with the Foundation, but agree that the foundation will act swiftly and mainly (exclusively?) upon recommendation of the National Wikimedia Organization in a set of scenarios? Just to keep things practical and avoid that many chapters have to hire lawyers to set up sublicensing schemes. Effeietsanders (talk) 13:31, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Mentoring and review/summary of groups

Does "reviewing and summarizing the status of groups" mean peer review? An explicit evaluation of a group's development? If so, to what standard?

This means a synthesis and summary of existing reports of a group's work. For an association it could be a check on the freshness of its group's talk page. For an affiliate, a link to any collaborations, or to the pages where the projects promote one another. For a chapter or partner organization it could include links to self-reports, a blog or other feed, and any other reports that exist (such as the output of some other peer review process). -SJ

What happens if a chapter/partner/association/affiliate does not carry out its duties? How do we support such groups to help them carry out those duties? What sanctions could be imposed? Who is responsible for providing support or executing sanctions?

The WMF currently renews all trademark, fundraising, and similar agreements every year. Through that process, it is currently responsible for evaluating which groups it recognizes as the representatives of the movement. It would continue to have final authority for approving and extending such recognition to all affiliates. Current suggestions are for the Foundation to delegate such assessment to community bodies -- some combination of the Chapters / Affiliations Committee and a Chapters Council.
Support for better carrying out duties would be provided by a mentoring organization; currently proposed to be a Chapters Council.
There have been discussions about developing milestones for organizational development, but it is not clear which group is best suited to help chapters reach them.
Currently there is no policy regarding sanctions or what they might entail. ChapCom acts as the first point of contact with the Foundation and tries to solve any problems for Chapters that arise afte their recognition. The Chapters Council might act as the first point of mentorship for Chapters that need help. -SJ
Maybe an odd approach, but I would, before we even design such a process, like us to think about how we can simply help the chapters and other organizations to reach the point where they can perform like we would like them to. How can we support chapters to be active and constructive organizations? How can we help them develop into a responsible and reliable partner? What kind of training, peer review and whatever other tools there are can we use to improve the chapters, and make them more effective in a constructive way other than 'punishing' them for failing to meet the standards being set up? Effeietsanders (talk) 16:26, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
All of these questions need to be answered. Sanctions have never yet been imposed on a chapter; on the rare occasions that chapters needd help to perform better, WMF staff have historically often provided that support; though communication during those efforts has not always been excellent. It seems to be an improvement for a peer group to be the first point of support, even if the WMF remains an option. SJ talk 

What happens if the Foundation does not fulfil its duty to a chapter/partner/association/affiliate? What sanctions and what sanction process is to be imposed? Who is responsible to execute the sanction?

Chapters currently renew all agreements with the WMF every year. Through that process, they are responsible for deciding whether to continue acting as a chapter and representing the movement that way. An independent body that assesses the work of movement entities could also assess the WMF's fulfilment of its duties to them.
There has been little discussion about milestones for Foundation support for Chapters over time. This is an area that could use attention.
As above, currently there is no policy regarding sanctions or what they might entail. ChapCom acts as the first point of contact with the Foundation and tries to solve any problems that might arise. -SJ
Currently there is no such function in chapcom, and it doesn't have the capacity to be an arbitrator in a conflict between chapters and the foundation. I don't think either that it should become that. That would undermine the position and work of the committee. Perhaps a more effective approach would be to appoint a board member or committee to consider these issues if they are serious enough. I do realize that this is not exactly neutral, so I would welcome better ideas. Effeietsanders (talk) 16:29, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

What about peer review - doesn't this already happen?

A culture of peer review is a good thing - the Foundation would benefit from it as well. Currently there is only limited peer review among large movement entities. The WMF has been sharing more of its inner thoughts on how it does its work (cf. recent summaries of the India education project, or how fundraising was optimized this past year). Last year for the first time some chapters posted annual plans on Meta for discussion before the fundraiser, but for review by only the WMF, not (other) peer review.
Recent discussions about how to evaluate where we should invest time and resources have focused on a large-scale peer review model. Recent development of the idea of a Chapters Council (1) includes a notion of peer review. -SJ
Sharing information is not the same as peer review. Peer review as I see it, is inviting a person or persons to observe your organization up close including the private parts (ouch, this sounds wrong!) and then give some feedback on the internal processes or methods. Sharing information is a Good Thing, but it is unilateral, and doesn't mean per se you're open for improvements and constructive criticism. It also likely gives a very limited view of those parts that the reviewed organization would want you to see. Effeietsanders (talk) 16:32, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Does PR include the possibility of "punishing" inadequate behavior? Usually in PR bad reports imply you don't get something. How would that apply here? No financial aid? -SJ
The role of a peer review is neither to punish nor to reward - but to highlight what works and what can be improved, and suggest how the work of an organization can be strengthened. The real value of a peer review is that it is done by 'peers', not by 'parents' - once a lateral peer relationship is accepted among the reviewers and the reviewed, with the equality that is implied within this, there is greater likelihood of those who are reviewed being comfortable with the process, and accepting the findings. Bishdatta (talk) 15:17, 12 March 2012 (UTC)


Right now, we have two chapter elected seats on the Board and three community elected seats. Is this going to change in order to give the partners more weight in the decision making?

Ymblanter 19:01, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I do not think any seat allocations would change. The only similar suggestion that I have seen proposed was giving partners a voice in the chapter selection, either in vetting and reviewing the candidates, or directly in the consensus-or-vote process. SJ talk | translate   08:59, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Why should partners get a say in the decision making? Will we get a say in the elections of eg. Creative Commons?—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) diff 05:53, 2 March 2012
    Do we get a say in the elections of WMF Mexico? I guess not, unless we are members of WMF Mexico.--Ymblanter (talk) 08:57, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
    So then partner organizations are the same as chapters, in the end? Why become a chapter if this is so? <contribution by unknown person>
    Partner organizations are similar in scope and mission-alignment to chapters. But they are not tied to a geography. Chapters have an additional duty to represent the movement within a geography and in interactions with government entities in a [country]; and to support all Wikimedia-related work taking place within that country. This may be less clearly defined for partner organizations. Chapters also have a clearer connection to a specific body of readers, via geo-ip location; which among other things allows them to use banners to communicate directly with readers in their geography. SJ talk   12:10, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
    So chapters have more duties, but not more rights, than a partner organization? I really fail to see the incentive to become a chapter. And what does "tied to a geography" mean? Chapters support wikimedians and activities across the world (scholarships, etc). But I'd like clarification on one thing: are you saying that chapters will be able to use banners on the projects, and partner organizations will not? <contribution by unknown person>
    A group dedicated to wikimedia in their geography cannot become a partner organization; only a chapter or an association. Partner organizations would have a similar duty to represent the movement within their scope of focus; but the 'established institutions' in a topic area is usually far less extensive than the institutions of a national government. That duty exists for both, but is more clearly defined for chapters. Chapters do have more rights, as currently envisioned: they manage the messaging on banners during the annual site-wide fundraiser. SJ talk   08:07, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
  • I'd say, one should wait until there will be a number of "partner organizations" and "Wikimedia groups". Then, the WMF board can still see whether it makes sence to re-allocate the WMF board members. Ziko (talk) 16:18, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Most developments of the last several years had one direction: The editing community had less and less weight in the decision making: less seats on the Board; Board decision overruling the community decisions. Is this not alarming?

I am fine with managers doing their job, and I am also fine with having more paid staff, some of whom never edited WMF projects, but if we have a layer of managers who never edit themselves, are they not more likely to lose the sense of reality and stop understanding of the processes in the community? --Ymblanter 19:01, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
That is a risk, and bringing new people into the community culture takes time. Do you think more Board trustees should be elected directly by the community?
My view is: Board decisions should generally not overrule community decisions. When they do, or when they make decisions about topics where the community clearly has no consensus, the two should come back into alignment one way or another. We need faster feedback loops and iterative processes for decision making, throughout, to make this possible -- both faster mechanisms for decisions to be improved and amended, and faster ways to communicate with the editing community [our announcements/discussion system has a hard time scaling up to issues that affect/interest hundreds or thousands of editors]. SJ talk | translate   08:59, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
I am personally fine with the existing allocation of seats on the Board, I am just afraid of its shifting towards more seats for the chapters/partners. This would be unfortunate since we know the community is doing fine, and some of the chapters are clearly problematic. But of course any structure with a large management layer tends to lean towards "management for management" - for instance, we have more an more voices who belong to people not actually involved in the editing process, and they tend to only talk between themselves and not going down to the community. Concerning the your view - I perfectly agree, with a provision that the community finds it progressively difficult to come to consensus on any point (flagged revisions is a good example) and obviously soon it will not be able to come to consensus at any point at all. In this situation, the Board decisions become more and more important, and to facilitate the feedback loop we may need an intermediate body similar to the Volunteer Council suggested by Lodewijk three years ago or a structure suggested by Florence. And this structure would be much easier to incorporate to the existing governance scheme now that in a year, when the lack of structured feedback will become apparent.--Ymblanter (talk) 09:37, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree there is a need for a body to perform the roles of improving communication and encourage participation in governance among and from all projects – languages. Previous proposals like wikicouncil or Volunteer Council may be good starting points to design this body. Regarding the chapter selected board seats for me the most important change we need is make all the process transparent to the community. The candidates, their statements, the questions chapters make to them, their answers, and the reasons why chapters select one candidate and not another should be public. If only chapters have voice and vote this is a secondary question. Adding Partner Organizations to the process without making it transparent would only change the players but keep many problems. It should be clear that giving to chapters the ability to select some board members is because they can provide an additional point of view to that of the editing communities neither because those members belong to them nor this is not editing community business who they select and why. Having that said my opinion about who should have voice and vote in the selection is who can provide that additional point of view that is the organizations more active in offline activities who obtain more and better results. I would disqualify inactive chapters and perhaps qualify other organizations if they are active enough to endorse they can do interesting contributions to the process.--Gomà (talk) 10:24, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
I just do not see how it can be done simultaneously. There are two possible approaches here. 1) Chapter and partners have two seats and it is their business (for instance, the Chapter Committee decides) how they elect those members. We can ask for transparency but the transparency can not be enforced. Beria stated more or les clearly on foundation-l that this is not our business. In this model, there is no way how inactive or dormant chapters can be excluded - unless the Chapter committee decides to exclude them, and I do not see why it should. 2) Somebody (the Board?) micromanages this election process, writing extended rules, evaluating weights of the partners, making up the activity criteria for the chapters etc. First, this is overcomplicated, and second, I do not think these elected members would be widely perceived as real chapter representatives.--Ymblanter (talk) 11:02, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
A sidenote: please take into account that you are mostly speaking about the English Wikipedia editing community. In fact, al three current community-elected Board members come from the English Wikipedia. I would be completely in favor of increasing the number of community-elected trustees, while mantaining the two selected by the chapters. Among other things, that would imply greater possibilities for people from other Wikipedias to be among the four or fifth most voted candidates, and would help increasing diversity at the top of the Foundation. --Galio (talk) 01:07, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Not correct: Ting, for example, is active mostly on DE and ZH Wikipedias. Ziko (talk) 16:07, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
However, aside from Ting and Arne I believe all board members are Native English speakers (not sure about Bishakha). But, that is not of the greatest relevance. I would however like to see a bit more input from the community in the expert seats. The nominating committee was abolished unfortunately, but I think it would be good to have some say of some community members in that as well (not necessarily an election). To increase community influence on the board we don't necessarily have to increase the number of directly elected seats. Effeietsanders (talk) 16:37, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
A good point. SJ talk   08:07, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
  • I agree that the editing community does not participate enough in goverance of the movement both in the decisions of WMF and also regards chapters related affairs. This is even more dramatic in non English editors. I think this is a problem that can't be solved with the new models of recognized groups. To the extent that these new groups will lead to more off-line participation of editors and if these new groups have some participation in the governance, then the problem will be a bit reduced. But will remain the same for editors who only participate on-line. In my opinion this is a negative situation for two reasons. On one hand we are losing some very valuable contributions on the other hand we are losing the opportunity to reinforce the feeling of ownership of the editing communities showing them that WMF, the chapters and other groups are at their service to help them make their work easier, giving them free materials and attracting more editors to help them to build the projects. The problem is not easy to solve. We must find the formula to encourage participation without introducing bureaucracy and distracting editors from their main task: editing. But it could well be a vital factor to combat the decline of editors and resume an upward curve with perhaps more editors on current projects, perhaps to innovate in developing new projects aligned with our mission. For me this is a very important part of the job of movement roles that has been left pending.--Gomà (talk) 18:21, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
    Exactly.--Ymblanter (talk) 23:06, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
    Agreed. SJ talk   08:07, 25 March 2012 (UTC)


  1. Avoiding overlap of effort by coordinating global efforts with the WMF and partners as appropriate.
  2. Avoiding overlap of effort by coordinating regional efforts with WMF and chapters as appropriate.

Other comments

The en:wp Wikipedia Signpost interviewed me about these affiliation models on April 2. SJ talk  20:59, 7 April 2012 (UTC)