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Wikimedia Chapters Association/Meetings/2013-07/Questionnaire

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The following questions (in bold) were put to the Council members on the 8th February. The opinions were collated below for feedback during a workshop at the Chapters Association coordination meeting scheduled for 16 February 2013.

Questionnaire Results[edit]

What should the Council do now?
"Try to reform the Association": 13
"Make an end to it": 2
"I don't know": 1
Should the Chair propose an Executive Committee, elected by the Council?
"Yes": 7
"No": 6
"I don't know": 2
Should the Chair consider a Council Member to be 'non active'?
"Yes, if he or she missed three or more votings": 2
"Yes, if he or she was not active during three months or longer": 3
"No": 8
Do you think that, if possible, the Association should try to receive (also) support from the chapters?
"Yes": 12
"No": 4

1. Executive committee. I said "the chair should propose an executive committee" meaning "there should be an executive committee", but my preference is for leaving to the council the task of establishing it (through a discussion or, if necessary, a vote).
2. Aims. The main problem of WCA is that it hasn't done anything yet. We should do something. We all of us have in mind many useful activities: any of them can work. Give people (and chapters) a reason to became engaged.
3. Staff. The usual course of action is "first you carry out some activity, then you hire someone to help, then you hire an executive director". I understand that we want to hurry up things, but it seems that the WCA was following it in the wrong direction.
4. The SG. It seems that people expects that a secretary-general will sort out what the WCA has to do. It doesn't work like that. We decide our aims, and then we hire someone to help us implementing them.
5. Governance. The old (Berlin agreement) model seems to many people too distant from the wiki way.
6. Participation. Half of the chapters is not in the WCA, and half of the members is dormant. We ought to address at least the second fact.
7. Activity. No, we shouldn't consider members as "not active", because we can't afford having non-active members. If a council member is not active, we have to push him into activity. If we don't succeed, his chapter should replace him. If the chapter fails to do that, or is unable to find someone willing to be engaged, we still have a problem, but on a different level.
8. WMF board statement. We have to be honest and realize that what they said is sound. They point out real issues, we have to address and solve them.
9. Thematic organization. Last year in Berlin they were only an hypothesis; now they are becoming real. I don't know which is the best way, but we should consider a role for them in the WCA. As a first step, we should ask the current candidate thematic organizations for their opinion.
10. Money. As this is the Chapters Association, it should be mainly supported by chapters. As now a large fraction of chapters money comes from the WMF through FDC or GAC, this may be awkward, but I still think that it's better to pass through the chapters. And, of course, this is not the case of all chapters.


  • do a serious reboot, cut back on activities that have been pushed too much
  • review the aim and goals of the associations
  • make a tasklist including steps / milestones what needs to be done to accomplish the goals
  • everything else, the staff, bureaucracy etc. will come as a neccessity out of the tasklist once we actually implement things
  • do things once we get there"

The main problem of WCA at the moment is that the general Wikimedia movement has lost faith in the way it's going. Since the WMF doesn't support (W)CA in terms of trademark use, I think it's time to consider not incorporating, and staying as an official but unincorporated super-organisation of chapters. Hiring can be done through the big chapters, which will also help us get through the problems of FDC.

WMCH board answers.

It seems that most of the chapters are against a real board, it's a brake against WCA development.
The "" no "" answer to the questions 3 and 4 means that it's not the time to talk about that, people are asking for real action, not for new regulation and rules."

  • See our situation as one others can learn from. Make a list of recommendations for future affiliates, which pitfalls they should avoid and whom to contact in which order
  • Focus on a practical topic, e.g. Chapters Development. Define what needs to be done. Try to hire a ""Chapters Developer""
  • Go back to the idea of a Chapters Council and see what goals there were. Take this as a list of inspiration
  • Emphasize what we achieved: there's a working council, we are able to make decisions and do have the framework for this. We should not give up this.
  • Prepare and actually do some practical work. Leading question could be: ""What issues can we solve for the Chapters, the Foundation, other organisations""
  • Start a discussion on ""What is the role / what are the key tasks of chapters""

Please note: My chapter (WMDE) does not yet have an official position, so my remarks are only my personal opinion. -- Markus"

Fae: I reviewed the questionnaire with WMUK's board this weekend, and the UK Chapter would like to emphasise how critically important it is for the WCA to be seen to deliver outcomes for the movement rather than having an internal bureaucratic focus on the charter, location and organization. If progress on delivering outcomes is not demonstrated within a few months time, the trustees will review the value of WMUK staying a member of the Association. We would hope to see a positive plan along these lines being made public shortly after the London meeting.

Most probably some heavy reform will be needed.

Probably due to the funding issues and a lacking support from member organizations it will need a heavy scaling back and rethinking - probably ending up as a lightweight org acting as a network of knowledge and platform for synchronization and co-ops.