These regulations were published on August 1st, 2022. They became fully effective on August 12th, 2022.
Internal regulations of the Volunteer Supporters Network
Our mission is to enhance volunteer support in the Wikimedia movement. The impact we want to achieve is to improve the conditions for online and offline participation of volunteers, to increase diversity and to strengthen the spirit of global cooperation and innovation.
We develop, grow and maintain collaboration and exchange of expertise, ideas and resources. Our activities are aligned with the strategic direction of the Wikimedia movement.
The Volunteer Supporters Network (VSN) is an open network of Wikimedians supporting Wikimedia volunteers. The roles of VSN Members and Liaisons are similar with small differences. Both Liaisons and Members participate in and contribute to our activities on an equal level. Both have access to our main communication channels. The differences between the roles are related to administrative work and the right to vote, which are connected only to the Members’ role.
Members and Liaisons
Any person working in volunteer support as a staff member of a Wikimedia affiliate can become a Member of the Volunteer Supporters Network.
A list of all Members is published on the Volunteer Supporters Network pages on Meta-Wiki. The list is maintained by the Members.
Anyone interested in becoming a Member of the Volunteer Supporters Network can send an email to the VSN Members mailing list (vsn-orgwikimail.info) including name, affiliate and job title. Provided the definition of who can be a Member is fulfilled and the identity of the applicant is credible, the person is accepted automatically as a Member.
Staff members and contractors of the Wikimedia Foundation can become Members by a process of voting among the Members. Otherwise, the corresponding provisions apply as for Members who are staff of Wikimedia affiliates.
The status of a Member ends in any of these cases:
- The Member withdraws from the status.
- The Member is banned by the Wikimedia Foundation from participating in all Wikimedia events. If the Wikimedia Foundation ban is lifted, the person can reapply for the status of a Member.
- The person ceases to work with a Wikimedia affiliate as a staff member. A mere change of assignment at the Wikimedia affiliate does not lead to an end of the status as a Member.
Based on severe reasons, any Member can be excluded by vote of the Members. An excluded Member cannot subsequently become a Member or Liaison except by vote of the Members.
Any Wikimedian active in volunteer support and with a good standing in the Wikimedia communities can apply to become a Liaison of the Volunteer Supporters Network. Liaisons can include volunteers as well as staff members of the Wikimedia Foundation.
A list of all Liaisons is published on Volunteer Supporters Network pages on Meta-Wiki. The list is maintained by the Members.
A person is accepted as a Liaison by approval of at least two Members from different affiliates. All persons interested in becoming a Liaison can reach out to any Member and should provide sufficient information about their activities in volunteer support. Members to whom a person wanting to become a Liaison reaches out to are encouraged to seek advice from other Members.
The status of a Liaison automatically ends in any of these cases:
- The Liaison withdraws from the status.
- The Liaison is banned by the Wikimedia Foundation from participating in all Wikimedia events. If the Wikimedia Foundation ban is lifted the person can reapply for the status of a Liaison.
To keep the list of Liaisons up to date, any Liaison can be asked via the provided email address by any Member to confirm their status. In case there isn’t any clear response within 3 months, the status of a Liaison can end until the confirmation arrives.
Based on severe reasons, any Liaison can be excluded by vote of the Members. An excluded Liaison cannot subsequently become a Liaison or Member except by vote of the Members.
Conduct and conflict resolution
All Members and Liaisons are expected to follow the Universal Code of Conduct and any additional behavioral guidelines in place.
Conflicts within the Volunteer Supporters Network shall be handled in a constructive manner. The Volunteer Supporters Network will implement conflict resolution paths based on principles of mediation and mutual support.
If technically possible, all Members can have extended technical rights (administration, moderation) to the communication channels. All Members with extended technical rights should contribute to the maintenance. This can include adding, removing and declining Members and Liaisons to or from the communication channels if appropriate.
Any Member can ask for any reasonable decision to be made by the Volunteer Supporters Network by a process of voting among the Members. Decisions about key programmatic activities and major organizational changes as well as the exclusion of Members and Liaisons require a process of voting among the Members.
Every Member has one vote except for Members working for the same Wikimedia affiliate. In this case only one person from the given Wikimedia affiliate has the right to vote. The process of selecting this person – until stated otherwise or on a case-to-case basis – is made by the Members from that Wikimedia affiliate.
A transfer of voting rights from one Member to another Member – until stated otherwise or on a case-to-case basis – is possible. The maximum of transferred votes a Member can have is five. Any Member transferring voting rights shall announce this beforehand on the VSN Members mailing list. Votes cannot be transferred in cases of the exclusion of Members and Liaisons.
The majority needed for the decision to be effective is 50% of the votes. There is not any minimum voter turnout required.
Unless decided otherwise by vote, there are two possible processes of voting: on the VSN Members mailing list and at meetings.
- For a voting on the VSN Members mailing list, the voting period is 14 days.
- For a voting at a meeting, the voting must allow virtual participation and the meeting must be called at least 21 days in advance on the VSN Members mailing list, including the announcement of a voting.
The votes of Members do not necessarily reflect the position of the Wikimedia affiliate they are working with. A decision by the Volunteer Supporters Network shall not be published in a way that can lead to the misconception that it is a collective decision by Wikimedia affiliates rather than individual Members of the Volunteer Supporters Network.
The Members decide on the voluntary dissolution of the Volunteer Supporters Network by vote. For the dissolution to be effective, the majority of votes needed is 75%. At least 25 % of the Members and, in case there are less than five Members left, at least two Members need to participate in the voting.
All rights and services of the Volunteer Supporters Network are provided on a voluntary basis. The Volunteer Supporters Network, its Members and Liaisons cannot be held accountable for denying or restricting any rights and services, except for legal reasons. This provision does not prevent the Volunteer Supporters Network from following the rules and procedures outlined in these internal regulations.