WMF and local chapters/Proposal on budgeting and fees

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This is a proposal based on the idea of "Federation system" that Anthere suggested on WMF and local chapters.

This proposal deals with an issue of budgeting priorities and related matters. In short, the question is: it is okay for a local chapter to be somewhat different from the Wikimedia Foundation in how it spends money? Should a local chapter rather strictly follow the Wikimedia Foundation's policies and priorities?

This proposal is a starting point, or something close to a POV article that needs your attention.

Also, please feel free to modify and/or translate the first version written by Tomos and post it elsewhere without following the GFDL requirements or other copyright restrictions.

Basic concerns[edit]

  • Local chapters may want to support something specifically local, not necessarily the kind of things that the Wikimedia Foundation prioritise, such as a get-together of members, publication of promotional materials online or in print in local languages, and so on. This, I think, overlaps mostly with the goals of the Wikimedia Foundation. But it may not be the same.
  • Local chapters may also want to support something that do not match with the goals of the Foundation. For example, they may decide to host a wikipedia mirror in the local language with an advertisement, and generate some extra revenue. For another example, they may decide to publish a series of WikiReaders that are based on Wikipedia articles and wikibooks, but modified further to promote certain point of view and cater to certain audience. (Say, a history booklet celebrating cultural diversity to be used in middle schools.)
  • People would not want to pay a lot of money for many different organizations. They would also like to be heard by the WM Foundation when decisions are made.


I propose that local chapters try to fit either one of three types: a branch, an official partner, or an affiliate. (I would appreciate your help on naming these categories, by the way..)

A branch[edit]

A local chapter could exist as a branch. This means that the local chapter decides to follow WMF's goals completely, and do almost nothing else.


A branch would not support anything that Wikimedia Foundation would not support. NPOV policy, for example, should be strictly followed unless the Foundation changes its position.

All the members of the branch should be deemed as contributing active members.


For this type of local chapter, the membership fees should be the same as the WMF's. The money is spent in the way that WMF would spend if the Foundation was completely in charge of the budgeting.


It is also important that the local chapter does not advocate anything that could contradict with the policies and philosophies of WM Foundation. Members of the branch can as a personal individual or an active WM members, of course. We have disagreements on many issues. That is fine. But as an organization, or an official of a branch organization, there would be statements and remarks that Wikimedia Foundation would.

Exceptions - sometimes, a branch chapter could support something that is not the priority of the Wikimedia Foundation. Things like hosting a party to promote stronger ties among local members, for example, would not be something Wikimedia Foundation is eager to spend money on. But it is not against the policy of WMF, either. So, a branch chapter may support those activities based on "extra fees." Extra fees are different from membership fees. A member does not have to pay extra fees if she does not participate in the activity.

Overall, again, a branch is a rather strict reproduction of the WM Foundation.


In order to support the branch-WMF relation, there needs to be two things:

  • Reporting on budget and other activities and decisions from the local chapter. Wikimedia Foundation may provide opinions or ask further information on them.
    • Based on this communication, WMF or the local chapter may decide that they should change the relationship. The local chapter is no longer a branch, in that case.
  • A channel between Wikimedia Foundation members and local chapters. Wikimedia Foundation is supposedly reflecting the interests of its members. So, the boardmembers may solicit opinions from others regarding activities and decisions of a local chapter. A local chapter may come up with a seemingly innovative proposal for a new activity, and want to allocate financial resources and use its name for promotion. And the WMF board members may not have the clear answer that reflect the general concensus of WMF members. In that case, opinions from members (Wikipedians and other contributing members) could be solicited.

An official partner[edit]

A local chapter could become an official partner.


This type of organization do share the set of goals with the Wikimedia Foundation. Its major goal is to promote Wikimedia. Yet its priorities are diffenent, and they have some extra goals that Wikimedia Foundation do not find objectionable.

For example, the organization may be a group of wikimedians who want to organize trips to take photos to post to Wikipedia and have fun, develop strong ties with certain non-profit organizations, have some insurance coverage for administrators of certain projects, or have some other goals. WM Foundation does not have those goals, but does not disagree with them, either.


For this type of local chapter, the membership fees should be more than WMF's, so that at least $60 per person will be allocated to pursue the goals of Wikimedia Foundation, and spent in the way WMF would spend. Some extra fees are charged for its members. All the members of the branch should be deemed as contributing active members.

Local chapters in this category should be open to anyone, including those who would just want to support WMF's goals only. For those members, the membership fee should be $60.


The organization and its officials can act and speak using the name Wikimedia or indicating official affiliation with the Foundation. They are expected to make good-faith effort to protect Wikimedia Foundation's integrity, but as long as that is done, pursuit of extra goals that Wikimedia Foundation does not disagree could be done officially.


Same as branch.

An affiliate[edit]

A local chapter could become an affiliate. An affiliate makes decisions based on different goals and priorities. Its primary goal is not to support the Foundation or its projects.

But the partner's goals and priorities are still similar and overlapping enough to WMF's, and that is why there is a partnership.


A local chapter of this type has goals that WMF do not agree with, or at least somewhat controversial or objectionable to some of its members. Yet it is respectable as one of POVs that WMF can recognize, for example.

This organization may or may not be open to anyone. For example, it may be an official student group of a university, and only students can become a member. It can be an internal small group of academics within an academic association.


A local chapter of this type spend at least $60 per a member in the way that WM Foundation would, if the Foundation was in charge of the budgeting. It is strongly advised that an affiliate would ask WMF's needs and opinions regarding budgeting of that part.

If an organization has significant resource, the WM Foundation board may decide to give discount in exchange for the mobilizing of the resource.


The partner cannot use the name Wikimedia Foundation without prior permission, but effort will be made to quickly grant such permission upon request whenever the Board sees it fit.

The affiliate can, of course, act as an official affiliate. Its statements and remarks regarding Wikimedia projects and WM Foundation are that of affiliates.


Same as above, and the following requirement.

If the group is related to any of the Board members, there should be a disclosure of potential conflict of interests and public discussion among the WMF members regarding if the organization should be accepted as an affiliate.