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Wikimedia Australia/Meeting 6/Log

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The fifth meeting took place on May 6th, 2007. A summary is at Wikimedia Australia/Meeting 6/Summary.

Sunday May 6, 2007

<enochlau> nice to see (virtually) everyone again after such a long time
<Mike42> Well, my clock just ticked over 7:00, shall we start?
<enochlau> what are we going to talk about?
<enochlau> a lot of questions on the meeting 6 page seem to require some kind of legal knowledge
<Mike42> Yep, and of course, item #1 on the agenda has to be "Discussion with solicitor? Do we have someone who can visit?"
<Mike42> As far as I know, nothing has been done in that area since last meeting.
* cartman02au has joined #wikimedia-au
<cartman02au> evening
<Confusing> evening
<enochlau> I think it was Angela who had the solicitor contact
<enochlau> but now she's jetted out of the country...
<cartman02au> so who is a definate for tonight
<enochlau> What do you mean by a definite? As in, who's participating in the convo?
<bainer> I may have to step out in a minute but only for a quarter of an hour or so.
<enochlau> Pretty much everyone here...
<cartman02au> yes
<cartman02au> ok
<cartman02au> perhaps we should begin
<cartman02au> awww
<enochlau> Yeh, we were looking at the list of things to discuss
* Mike42 changes topic to 'Welcome to the Wikimedia Australia channel | http://wikimedia.org.au | Meeting 6 in progress, deails at http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Australia/Meeting_6'
<Mike42> probably a good idea to change the topic then :)
<enochlau> I'm just wondering what we hope to achieve from tonight's discussion - mainly because I think a lot of those questions just require us to sit down and ask someone who knows the law
<cartman02au> im hoping for renewed interest and some direction
* Gnangarra has joined #wikimedia-au
<Mike42> I don't suppose it might help that w:User:Mark is a law student?
<enochlau> bainer and i are also law students
<cartman02au> depends what areas
<cartman02au> non-profit law is coimplicated
<enochlau> but i dont know anything about it, and im not sure about bainer?
* bainer does corporations next semester
<enochlau> :(
<bainer> I have some knowledge, but I'll have a stack more in a few months time
<cartman02au> well lets get started
<cartman02au> welcome to meeting number 6 of Wikimedia Australia
<cartman02au> First up: Do we have a legal contact?
<enochlau> Angela previously stated that she had a legal contact from a certain large law firm in Brisbane
<enochlau> but afaik, no one pursued that and she's now out of the country
<cartman02au> the issue is were we looking at incorporating in QLD?
<enochlau> A thought I had thought: law firms do pro bono work and I'm sure some law firm would be interested in us, considering who we are
<cartman02au> again this kind of comes down to company vs association
<cartman02au> considering we are associated with the WMF as a whole
* bainer is now known as bainer_away
<cartman02au> unfortunately the locals i have approached seem disinterested
<cartman02au> im willing to take a trip to sydney if needs be
* bainer_away should be back shortly
<enochlau> well i dont think the state matters very much, afaik there isn't much advantage to one particular state
<cartman02au> if there is someone in sydney that will talk to us im more than happy to go down there for a day
<cartman02au> it varies
<enochlau> but yeh, that's why we need a lawyer
<enochlau> also, about our structure
<cartman02au> exactly
<enochlau> I think there's no point in us deliberating this as in previous meetings because we won't get anywhere - we should just work out what we need from the lawyers
<cartman02au> from what i understand associations can get a little messy inter-stately
<enochlau> perhaps some constraints about what we will demand
<enochlau> btw is there anyone else around?
<cartman02au> i think we look at what structure, which state (if associations)
<cartman02au> the pros and cons of each
<Mike42> We made a list of things to ask a lawyer after last meeting
<cartman02au> linky?
<Mike42> I'll get it
<cartman02au> i dont recall that but it has been so long :(
<Gnangarra> instead of chasing the state diffs why not just the plunge and choose the state then work with what we've
<cartman02au> the problem more so is what structure
<cartman02au> we go association we must register an ARBN as well
<enochlau> Let's go up a level and ask ourselves what we seek from a structure
<cartman02au> associations vary from states
<enochlau> so we can then ask a lawyer which structure to go with
<cartman02au> something cheap and stable
<cartman02au> we dont have a large member base as yet
<cartman02au> i think we need something low maintenance that is cheap and stable
<enochlau> Someone did mention last meeting that perhaps we shouldnt go for small
<Mike42> Looks like most Wikimedians in Australia are in Sydney, it may be an idea to base it there
<enochlau> because restructuring later is horrible
<Gnangarra> ideal would be where there's a local presence
<cartman02au> i would of mentioned that
<enochlau> melbourne also has a large base
<cartman02au> i recall going more towards the company
<cartman02au> because of the avoidance to restructure later
<enochlau> yes, and you seem to want small now?>
<cartman02au> but ive thought about it, companies can be difficult beasts
<cartman02au> and expensive
<cartman02au> to be honest, i dont know
<enochlau> No one here really knows, so let's just agree to ask the lawyer this
<enochlau> I think what we need to do tonight is instead of deliberating all this, we just need to work out who is doing what - and get the ball rolling
<enochlau> Someone needs to approach law firms
<enochlau> Someone needs to do some research about the presence of Wikimedians in the different states
<enochlau> etc
<cartman02au> the problem we had is ok companies require auditing
<cartman02au> auditing is expensive
<cartman02au> i think we need to get more active people involved
<cartman02au> at the moment there is probably ten of us who are active on this
<enochlau> Perhaps we need to set up a forum, or something else that will retain people?
<cartman02au> i dont know
<cartman02au> its more so people seem to lack interest because we are going no where
<enochlau> The problem is that our exclusive means of communications is IRC, and that doesn't really make people stick around
<cartman02au> i mean 6 months between meetins is a long time
<cartman02au> well IRC and mailing lists, mailing lists are a pain
<enochlau> the mailing list is more for announcements now, as i see it
<enochlau> no one's really have a long chat there
<cartman02au> was meant for a lot
<cartman02au> i know
<cartman02au> alot of us are busy i understand that
<cartman02au> mailing lists are hard to keep track of IMO
<Gnangarra> why not start a wikiproject subpage on en.
<enochlau> We have the pages on meta
<cartman02au> i dont check en lol
<enochlau> that's what they were designed for
<Gnangarra> yeah but most eds are on en
<cartman02au> the way i see it we have two issues - 1. time and 2. motivation
<enochlau> perhaps also experience
<cartman02au> i admit i have problems with both at the moment
<enochlau> it doesnt seem like any of us have much experience in running businesses
<Mike42> I for one, don't have a clue about such things :s
<cartman02au> ive had eperience in NPOs but not at this scale
<cartman02au> i have been limited to local organisations
<Gnangarra> I've put together a couple of assn local here
<cartman02au> hence the reason i know the pros and cons of associations and companies but not much further
<enochlau> how well do your experiences scale?
<cartman02au> a little
<cartman02au> the problem is what suits us
<cartman02au> and in some ways we have the next issue of what do we want to be
<enochlau> i get the feeling that there's a lot of people who want to do a lot of things
<enochlau> e.g. wikis in school
<cartman02au> what is it we want to achieve
<enochlau> just meet up to work on wikimedia projects
<enochlau> or open source content
<enochlau> and there isn't a focus and i think it will be difficult to find a focus because everyone is coming here with a purpose in mind already, am i correct?
<cartman02au> but at our core
<cartman02au> where is money coming from
<cartman02au> what are we going to do with money
<cartman02au> why do we need money?
<enochlau> im not so much convinced that money is as big an issue here
<enochlau> a lot of the things we can do require little money
<enochlau> people >> money
<cartman02au> money determines structure
<cartman02au> we have a small turnover then we would be overwhelmed by being a company
<cartman02au> i dont want WMA to be about money
<cartman02au> i want it to be about advancing 1. WM projects and 2. free content
<cartman02au> thats my dream for WMA
<Gnangarra> so what is the purpose of WMA
<cartman02au> all other things are secondary
<Gnangarra> is it to promote open soruce or support wiki's
<enochlau> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Australia/Draft_Mission_Statement
<enochlau> it seems to mirror the wmf missions
<cartman02au> indeed
<cartman02au> more to promote wmf projects
<Gnangarra> so initially WMA is more to promote
<enochlau> ok, and is there anything we can do with WMA that we can't do currently?
<cartman02au> and i think 2.7 should be one of the highest
<cartman02au> it makes us look more professional
<enochlau> and what does that achieve?
<enochlau> who are we planning to meet?
<cartman02au> it gives us more power to go out and say hey we represent the australian wm community
<cartman02au> potential contributors, those who can help promote our cause
<cartman02au> give our projects some defence in australia in terms of bad press
<enochlau> i'm just curious about what you think, so could you perhaps just pull a hypothetical contributor out of the air?
<Gnangarra> So WMA really needs to establish is a spokesperson
<cartman02au> partly yes
<enochlau> the press already contact us
<Mike42> Angela would do well at that, but she's not in the country
<cartman02au> i mean ok why do u bother with any non profit organisation
<enochlau> yes, and i'm just not seeing why there's any benefit to having an organisation in terms of press contact
<Gnangarra> who does the press contact
<cartman02au> maybe thats a bad example
<enochlau> im just trying to establish some need or niche that this WMA can fill so we have a purpose
<enochlau> currently, the press contact angela, but cos she's out of the country, she refers them on to other ppl
<cartman02au> perhaps i should investigate what some of the other guys are doing
<cartman02au> i think that WMA is important
* Confusing has Quit (Read error: 104 (Connection reset by peer))
<cartman02au> i think its something we need to both promote and teach about wikis and free culture
<Gnangarra> WMA should be established to support angela
<enochlau> those things are very nice but not very concrete either
<cartman02au> alright heres my question, why are u guys involved with this?
<Mike42> I'm involved because I'm a wikimedian from Australia who would like to see more people here using wikis.
<enochlau> as a contributor, my main aim is to encourage more australians to contribute to wikipedia, and to build a sense of community
<cartman02au> that should be our core goal
<Gnangarra> because from the west coast there didnt appear to be any australian resources to contact/respond to media critism
<enochlau> are you from perth?
<cartman02au> within the wikimedia world i believe aussies are a minority
<Gnangarra> with that nothing to expand wiki profiles within australia
<Gnangarra> yeah
<cartman02au> or so much within the english projects
<enochlau> i think we punch above our weight
<cartman02au> i think wma should be 2 things - promotional and social
<cartman02au> it should be a grouping of like minded people
<cartman02au> it should assist to arrange social events
<cartman02au> perhaps even an australian wiki convention down the track
<Gnangarra> the wikiprojects do the social now
<enochlau> and the mailing list
<enochlau> perhaps a bigger more concrete aim is to have a structure whereby we can successfully bid for a wikimania conference
<cartman02au> partly yes
<cartman02au> what happens if we wish to discuss with government about wikis and free content
<cartman02au> is an organisation going to carry more weight than a few individuals?
<cartman02au> when that organisation lives and breathes the stuff i think so
* Confusing has joined #wikimedia-au
<Gnangarra> ultimatle it should carry more
<cartman02au> how about research?
<cartman02au> wouldnt it be nice to pool resources?
<cartman02au> or to be able to send a wikinewsie to cover an event that couldnt be otherwise?
<Mike42> hm, yes
<enochlau> the sense im getting here is that WMA is a way for us to gather momentum and be able to carry more weight than we currently do
<Confusing> I'm not sure if anyone has said this, but I think the main thing that WMA could do that we can't now is be the local representatives of WMF.
<enochlau> do the germans do that?
<cartman02au> thats the main aim
<cartman02au> i dont know
<Gnangarra> ideally
<cartman02au> the germans make alot of money from their dvd
<enochlau> im not sure if the wmf likes that because doesnt that entail some kind of responsibility if we say something they dont like?
<enochlau> what do the germans spend their money on?
<cartman02au> i think we should be assisting people to gather content that couldnt othewise
<enochlau> im assuming it's not cold beer
<enochlau> or warm beer
<enochlau> or whatever germans drink :P
<cartman02au> i dont know
<cartman02au> i just see WMA is being able to pool resources together
<Mike42> could we machine-translate en.wiki into Australian english and sell it on DVD like the Germans do?
* Mark_Ryan has joined #wikimedia-au
<cartman02au> whether they are people, financial, soomething else
<Mike42> hello Mark_Ryan
<cartman02au> we could
<enochlau> hihi
<cartman02au> i also see WMA as an outreach group
<cartman02au> where we create relationships with other organisations
<cartman02au> wiki classes at a community college or at U3A?
* Mark_Ryan waves
<cartman02au> speaking at conferences about free content and wikis
* BrianNewZealand has Quit (Connection timed out)
<Gnangarra> representation at events like Nullabor
<cartman02au> true
<Mark_Ryan> Nullabor is an event?
<Gnangarra> Yeah a software development event thru curtin uni in WA
<cartman02au> i mean people arent going to take "Nathan Carter someone who contributes to Wikinews"
<Confusing> I see a fair amount of that, I also think that while, like enoch has suggested, we may not want to be considered "the Australian arm of WMF" for legal reasons, if someone from the press is doing a story about something related to WMF it would be good if there were someone they can contact to give the WMF side of things
<cartman02au> seriously
* bainer_away is now known as bainer
<cartman02au> yet Nathan Carter from WMA might be seen as serious
<Mike42> I'd hope so :)
<cartman02au> getting back to structure i wonder how hard it is to change between association and company
* Orderinchaos has joined #wikimedia-au
<Gnangarra> assn to company would be easier
<cartman02au> if its easy i would lean towards being an association
<cartman02au> thats what i would think
<Confusing> So (in Spanish Inquisition style) we seem to have two main goals: pooling resources and providing a respectable front to Australian Wikimedians.
<Orderinchaos> yeah as in inc. rather than pty ltd.
<cartman02au> yes
<cartman02au> thats right
<Gnangarra> hi OIC
<enochlau> i thought the social/community aspect was important as well
<Orderinchaos> hey Gnangarra :)
<cartman02au> im thinking if its easy to convert from inc to company then perhaps we start small
<cartman02au> i think its all important
<enochlau> well yeh
<cartman02au> if its something we see as important it probably is
<enochlau> as for structure, i think the best idea is to bring to a lawyer a bunch of ideas
<enochlau> including, small, big, small then big
<enochlau> and ask!
<cartman02au> thats what i think
<bainer> the company structure doesn't have to be big
<cartman02au> we just need to find one willing to help
<cartman02au> i dont think we are going to have the resources to be big
<Mike42> How likely is it that we can get a lawyer at no cost, anyway?
<Gnangarra> I'd say we limit the state option
<cartman02au> or the finances, consider auditing
<Orderinchaos> are any of our -au members lawyers?
<Gnangarra> only students
<Orderinchaos> we should try and use inhouse resources where possible
<Mike42> Orderinchaos: Lots or law students, no lawyers
<Orderinchaos> ah damn
<cartman02au> i agree
<cartman02au> as i said if we can find someone in sydney i will travel
<Mark_Ryan> law students make the best lovers.
<cartman02au> i have no problem with that
<cartman02au> lol
<cartman02au> thats disturbing
<Orderinchaos> lol
<Gnangarra> why not say explore a sydney base and one alternative
<cartman02au> i agree
<Mark_Ryan> i reckon a sydney base would be counterproductive
<enochlau> Mark_Ryan: urgh
<enochlau> counterproductive?
<Mark_Ryan> because we have more wikipedians from Melburnia than Sydney
<Orderinchaos> well it seems we have more m - he said it first
<cartman02au> we need a state to base ourselves in
<Mark_Ryan> hence more potential starting interest
<enochlau> yeh i tend to think melbourne is a little stronger in this regard
<enochlau> but sydney comes a close second
<cartman02au> i think we are pretty much at a stalemate until we can determine structure
<Mark_Ryan> sydney's more expensive as a base, too
<enochlau> i think we could get a lawyer at no cost relatively easily
<cartman02au> structure defines neartly everything
<enochlau> we just need to sweet talk a law firm
<enochlau> and im sure everyone has heard of wikipedia
<enochlau> so it's not a problem
<Mark_Ryan> if you're going to be an association, you need to pick a state, because the state is a lot more important to associations than to corporations
<cartman02au> exactly
<Gnangarra> yeah but exploring all seven as options is too much
<cartman02au> i think 1) we define a structure
<cartman02au> 2) shortlist states
<cartman02au> 3) decide which state
<Gnangarra> drop step 1
<Gnangarra> let the state laws define structure
<cartman02au> why?
<cartman02au> we have company or association
<cartman02au> co-ops are out
<enochlau> for company, there are uniform laws statewide
<enochlau> i mean nationwide
<cartman02au> exactly
<cartman02au> therefore the state becomes a no-brainer
<Gnangarra> but would costs be higher
<enochlau> for associations, we need to find out what the differences are
<Mark_Ryan> what's wrong with a co-op? :) the bookshop does it well. lol
<cartman02au> for associations there are subtle differences between states
<cartman02au> correct
<cartman02au> its expensive to maintain across states
<Mark_Ryan> I am a paid-up shareholder in the co-op bookshop
<enochlau> i think someone said for companies, the states just forward your application to ASIC or somewhere anyway, so the costs cant be too divergent
<cartman02au> as am i
<Orderinchaos> true mark :) although an inc., while imposing certain requirements (board, finances, reporting etc), certainly gives a lot of leeway for activity
<cartman02au> the costs of running a company are fairly high
<cartman02au> remember u must be audeted
<Orderinchaos> I used to be involved in the IT for one
<cartman02au> *audited
<Mark_Ryan> Orderinchaos, an incorporated association?
<cartman02au> associations are less stringent
<Orderinchaos> mark: yep
<cartman02au> and better suited where we have a low turn over or minimal resources
<Mark_Ryan> in law school they teach us corporations law but not associations law. pity
<Gnangarra> audit/ reporting process is easier for assn
<Orderinchaos> where I came into it a lot was having to give presentations to their board of mostly volunteer community members any time I needed money for something
<cartman02au> audit is usually exempt for an assn
<Orderinchaos> like buying a new computer or something
<Orderinchaos> and yeah, they didn't need to do auditing
<enochlau> Alright, we're fast approaching the 1 hour mark, so let's work out some concrete things to do
<cartman02au> or protecting members from being sued
<enochlau> What needs to be done next, and who's doing them?
<Orderinchaos> and the community board didn't seem to do much - just rock up at monthly meetings and vote on things
<cartman02au> i think we need to speak to a lawyer and determine a structure
<Mark_Ryan> 1. investigate what needs to be done (fees etc.) to register as an incorporated association, and what level of personal liability subscribers/involved parties might be exposed to
<cartman02au> that is the most important
<cartman02au> incorporated assns are separate from members
<cartman02au> like a company
<cartman02au> liability is limited
<Gnangarra> can an assn get media accreditiation --
<bainer> some time this week I'm going to contact someone at my law school about the issues with auditing companies because I think that's the major disadvantage that has been raised with respect to that structure so far
<cartman02au> id believe so
<Mark_Ryan> yeah but to get any money from lenders would require personal guarantees, cartman02au
<cartman02au> bainer: it is
<cartman02au> marK: thats right, but do we need to borrow money?
<Mark_Ryan> cartman02au, we'd need a registered office, for a start
<cartman02au> or do what they do overseas
<Gnangarra> use a local addrs
<bainer> Mark_Ryan: a PO box can pretty much cover that
<Mark_Ryan> or something like that, anyway
<cartman02au> the registered office is the public offivers home
<cartman02au> *officer
<cartman02au> until we have finance
<Orderinchaos> yeah or just get a box at a popular or easy to get to location. only costs about $60 a year.
<cartman02au> there are a number of government grants i think we can get
<cartman02au> we must have a physical address
<cartman02au> but a committee member's home and a PO box would suffice
<Orderinchaos> using the public officers home for official purposes only would meet the requirement
<cartman02au> thats right
<Mark_Ryan> this is sounding like the most popular option is an incorporated association, at this stage
<Orderinchaos> seems to be the option with the most benefits and least downsides/overheads
<Mark_Ryan> someone should make a post to the wikimedia-au mailing list to let the people who couldn't make it this evening to have a say
<bainer> I still prefer company due to the difficulty of running an incorporated association as a national body
<cartman02au> i liked a company at first because its nationally recognised eaily
<cartman02au> *easily
<cartman02au> i think we need to have a look
<cartman02au> at both
<enochlau> Alright, so bainer's gonna talk to someone at law schol
<Gnangarra> assn can be grown state by state
<enochlau> are you going to be able to get enough air time to ask about other things?
<enochlau> e.g. company structure?
<cartman02au> i think assns are recognised across states
* Confusing has Quit (Read error: 54 (Connection reset by peer))
<Gnangarra> why talk to a lawyer couldnt an accountant give the same info
<bainer> cartman02au: from memory if an assocation wants to do business in another state they need to register their name there too. "doing business" for us would be things like taking donations
<cartman02au> and gaining members
<cartman02au> i cant recall to be honest
<cartman02au> its been too long
<enochlau> accountants hardly do pro bono work :P
<enochlau> or do they?
<cartman02au> i did look into that in detail
<cartman02au> lol
<Gnangarra> but a small accounting firm may see bigger returns from a WMA account, especially if it goes company
<cartman02au> do we have anything else to discuss
<enochlau> bainer: what are you able to ask ppl at law school? are you able to get all the answers we need from them? or do we still need to talk to a lawyer?
<bainer> enochlau: well I'll see what I can get :) I definitely want to ask about auditing, but if there are other questions I'm sure I can take those too
<enochlau> ok great
<cartman02au> auditing is the big one
<Gnangarra> next IRC meeting date/time?
<cartman02au> one month max
<Mark_Ryan> one year from now, at the top of the Empire State building
<Mark_Ryan> no car accidents
<cartman02au> lol
<Orderinchaos> LOL
<Mark_Ryan> Sunday June 3, same time
<bainer> from my own reading the annual costs of a company could be as little as $40, with as little as $330 to start up.
<enochlau> perhaps they'll arrest us for being terrorists
<Mark_Ryan> 5PM AWST, 6.30PM ACST, 7PM AEST
<Orderinchaos> makes sense
<cartman02au> that would be nice
<Mark_Ryan> ooh, companies have to make BAS statements too
<bainer> conflicts with dinner :(
<cartman02au> but im sure there is an issue with ausiting
<cartman02au> *auditing
<Gnangarra> can brainer put his results of convesations up before then
<cartman02au> see what u can find out
<enochlau> bainer: after you meet people at law school, could you report back via meta or the mailing list what you found up?
<enochlau> and then we can see what we need to ask a lawyer if anything
<bainer> via mailing list probably.
<Mike42> June 3 fits with me, there's no football on that day, anyway