Wikimedia Chapters Association/Questionnaire 2012-08

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This is a questionnaire about the new WCA. The questions will help to gather ideas and show how people think about these issues. (It's not a 'voting'.) Everyone is welcome to add comments. Please add only one or two comments to a question, in order to keep it easy to overview it, and to avoid long discussions between two or three persons. Do you want to add a question? Fine, please discuss it first on the talk page. (I have left out questions about hiring and budget, because the committees might want to ask those questions by themselves.) Ziko (talk) 18:41, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


What should be the tasks of the WCA? Strictly supporting the chapters (incl. representing), or more?

  • The most constructive use of the Wikimedia Chapters Association may be for it to serve as a forum for all the chapters, just as how the United Nations is a forum for the world's countries, and to that end, it has more member states than any other international organization. For the time being its membership should be restricted to chapters. Firstly, there is something that makes us chapters and not thematic organizations, the Wikimedia Foundation, a third-party affiliate organization that happens to love Wikipedia, or the Chick-fil-A chain of restaurants. Chapters have a history going back to almost the founding of the Wikimedia Foundation. They are the largest of the Wikimedia affiliates, they have the most money, and they have particular issues as organizations that serve the Wikimedia movement for a plenary purpose in a specific region. To that end, we may want a united front that speaks for the chapters and the chapters only. harej (talk) 19:37, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Former international movement tasks[edit]

There are 'traditional' international tasks and activities of the chapters. Examples are the financial summit (such as the one in Paris in February 2012) and the Chapter Selected (WMF) Board Seats. Do you think that in future the WCA should have a role in these tasks and activities? What role? Immediately, or after a given period of time?

  • The WCA spearheading the chapter-selected board seat process seems like a natural fit. The first half of the question, though, seems to ask if the WCA should be involved in organizing conferences such as the chapters meeting in Berlin. As I understand it, the WCA is a corporate entity with a board and committees that exists somewhere. It may be more appropriate, for the time being, to have local organizations continuing to organize conferences as necessary, given that there's no good replacement for a strong ground team. I must emphasize again, though, that the Chapters Association should only focus on things regarding the chapters. We already have an organization devoted to the Wikimedia movement, and it is the Wikimedia Foundation. We do not want to duplicate their efforts or replace their functions—we just want coordination among our chapters. harej (talk) 19:43, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Other Wikimedia organizations than national chapters[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation announced that it wants to accept new kind of entities in the movement, e.g. the 'thematic organizations'. Do you think that they should become a part of the WCA? How about individuals to become directly members of the WCA? (The name and structure would need some alterations, then, e.g. creating a mechanism how individual member elect a Council Member.)

  • My opinion on non-chapters joining the WCA is above. While said organizations have their merits, they are not the same as chapters. They have different issues from chapters and there is a risk that they may conflict with chapters in a serious way. It risks compromising the notion that the WCA is a united front. And the idea of an individual joining makes no sense to me at all. harej (talk) 19:53, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • chapters only Anthere (talk) 11:52, 4 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • In future we will have thematic organizations in the movement. They could create a Wikimedia Thematic Organizations Association, but possibly there won't be many, so joining the WCA would be much easier. Otherwise, the WCA would have to figure out how to relate to the WTOA. Individuals: In some countries there may never be a chapter, or it will take a long time. Think of Iceland or Morocco. In some countries a chapter would be rather impossible, while an individual might be member of an INGO. Also I think that many people would like to join to be part of the international level (I'd love to). This would bind more people to the Association and the movement, including people who are not editors. Think e.g. of a museum volunteer in Nebraska. The member fees would also be a source of income. Based on my experiences in the Esperanto movement, I don't see reasons for conflict. Ziko (talk) 14:37, 4 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The WCA shall support chapters, but when should that start? Should it even create or stimulate the creation of a chapter in a country where it does not exist? Or only start to support when a group of Wikimedians applies for chapter status? Or wait until a chapter is recognized by the WMF as a chapter?

  • Define "support"—do you mean financial support? To avoid bickering over whether a particular organization has legitimacy, we should stick to chapters which have received official recognition of the Wikimedia Foundation. This is not a perfect solution, but by limiting the channels of recognition to just one, you avoid a situation where an entity is granted legitimacy by one organization but not the other. There is no valid reason to create a situation that parallels real-world international diplomacy. This is especially important once money is involved. As for stimulating the creation of chapters, if there is no dedicated community to create the chapter, there is no point, since Wikimedia has always been powered by volunteers doing things of their own volition. harej (talk) 20:06, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • start up money can be provided by WMF grants. Recognition is granted by WMF anyway. I think we should only start working with an individual chapter when recognized. However, we can help providing framework to help define when a chapter is to be recognized (not that I think this is necessary right now). Imho, our first goal would be to help identify degree of maturity of each chapter. Anthere (talk) 11:52, 4 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


How active should the WCA become with regard to resolutions on more general subjects? Should a resolution about e.g. the movement's fundraising be a rather rare occasion, happening maybe 1-2 times a year, or should resolutions be more frequent?

  • Depends on how often we need the entirety of chapterdom to come to a decision on something. My guess is that it won't need to happen very often. harej (talk) 20:10, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • let's start small and not risk drowning ourselves. Anthere (talk) 11:52, 4 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Should the WCA use other languages than English,? For what communication, for all of it or for some parts? For some important documents? To which languages? 'All' of them, and how to define that? Or only some, and if yes, to which? And why to those? Who should translate, volunteers? Who should organize the translations? Should we pay professionals if necessary?

  • Many international organizations conduct their business in multiple languages, and I think it would be a reasonable endeavor for the WCA. I would recommend limiting it to the two most common languages used by the chapters and any additional non-European languages that enjoy frequent usage such as Arabic (if we had more Middle Eastern chapters). Of course, holding a meeting concurrently in several languages is very expensive. As for emails, unless we work out some pleasant solution where emails can simultaneously be read in different languages, it may be best just to stick to one. harej (talk) 20:17, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I think important documents should be translated into various languages to allow more people to read and understand. Personally I think other languages that should be adapted are Mandarin, Spanish, and Arabic. Peter.C (talk) 22:51, 3 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Meetings to be hold in English. Important documents to be translated into a half dozen (predefined preferably) languages. Summaries provided in other languages as much as possible, but under the responsibility of members.Anthere (talk) 11:52, 4 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


What do you think of a motto for the WCA? What should it be about? And which language would be suitable, English, Esperanto, Latin or another language? Would a motto contest make sense?