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Wikimedia Chapters Association/Research

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WCA Research is an initiative to collect information about the Wikimedia chapters and the movement as a whole. Such information is necessary for a better understanding of the movement, for activists, partners, researchers and journalists.

Improving the knowledge about the Movement[edit]

A Wikimedia conference in Poland, 2009. How many Wikimedia meetings are there worldwide? How to define a Wikimedia meeting? Etc. Every question leads us to more questions...

Chapters may need a WCA Chapters Manual as a short 'how-to' for beginning, small, medium large and large chapters. Aside from this, a WCA Handbook of the Wikimedia Movement could collect information about the movement in a way a little bit similar to Wikipedia. The information partially already exists on Meta Wiki or other websites, partially it still has to be asked from the entities in the movement. It is useful to present it in a relatively unified way easy to access and read, partially in new text, partially via links to the original pages.

The information should help to answer questions such as:


  • How did membership numbers evolve in time? Do the chapters tend to grow, or do they lose members?
  • Altogether, how many people are member in the chapters?
  • What are the ratios between a no. of Chapter members and Wikimedia users / editors / input etc. on said teritory?
  • What are the member fees?
  • Are there institutional members allowed?


  • How much money was raised in the single countries in the fundraisers of the latest years?
  • What are the annual incomes and expenses?
  • What are the structures of incomes and expenses (needs elaboration - e.g. defining what is "outreach", "content production" etc. and asking to split the money to defined blocks - however beware, it is a very tricky and sensitive part).
  • Are there patterns in the growth of budgets, and what is the relationship to the number of employees?

People and Structure

  • Is there any staff employed and how many? How many people on administrative vs. "meritorical" positions?
  • What kind of work is done by the first 1-3 employees of a chapter?
  • How many board members they use and what about the continuity in chapter boards?
  • Is it possible to make a recommendation on the optimal size of a chapter's board?
  • Is there a chapter with an official subnational, language or project level of organization?
  • How do chapters cope with a linguistic diversity within their country? Which language and project communities do they serve and have as members?
  • In general, are there patterns in the historical evolution of chapters?
  • What are the relations between a chapter and Wikimedia projects?
  • What are, in practice, the differences between a chapter and a thematic organization? (When we will have some thematic organizations.)


  • Which chapters are engaged in large software projects?
  • Which chapters are engaged in lobbying? What kind of?
  • Which chapters are interested in strengthening co-operation with e.g. neighbouring chapters and on which field (lobbying, conference, content creation, fundraising etc.)

To answer those questions, for example, we would have to know how many members a chapter had at a given time, who was on the board, how are chapters organized.

It might be useful to collect here ideas until the real work (systematical collecting, exploring, presenting) is done. There more questions, the better. I would be very grateful if you add your names and comments below (I left a question as an example). At the Milan conference in April 2013 there could be a workshop and an opportunity for a first evaluation.Ziko (talk) 23:53, 23 February 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Here I submitted a list of possible questions. The list is not closed and yet IMO it is already too big to answer (by Chapters) and process (by us, e.g. me) in one single survey. Further we will choose and format the best questions, and send them to the Chapters. aegis maelstrom δ 16:00, 25 February 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Qualitative and Quantitative data[edit]

AFAIK we agree we need both.

In qualitative part we would need descriptions of particular Chapters, biograms of their key people and examples of their (mostly success?) stories, including photos etc. Most probably, at least at the beginning, we will need to go with self-presentations sent by the Chapters.

In quantitative we need some hard numbers drawing the picture with a greater precision. The numbers most probably will show a big variety within the global Wikimedia movement, highlighting some corner cases and giving a general picture. Moreover, it will be possible to take a look if any benchmark or a clear correlation and then relation between variables can be found. Again, mostly it will be a data straight from the Chapters but we can use some reports sent by them to WMF or their regulatory bodies. aegis maelstrom δ 16:00, 25 February 2013 (UTC)[reply]

I would like to help[edit]

  1. Ziko, Netherlands, interested in chapters' organization and historical development
  2. aegis maelstrom δ, Poland, interested in both quantitave and qualitative data about the global Wikimedia movement and its diversity
  3. Aschmidt (talk), Germany, interested in conflicts and conflict resolution between Wikimedia organisations, between organisations and the community, within the community, and between the community and people/organisations from the outside; also in legal opinions and rules on Wikimedia matters
  4. ...

Research questions[edit]

  • I am interested in the strategy papers of chapters. Would it be an idea to make a collection of them (in English translation), and comment on the way in what process these strategies have been made? What can we learn for those who still need a strategy? And after a strategy is accepted by the General Assembly, what to do with it, and how to follow-up after the term of the strategy has ended? Ziko (talk) 23:53, 23 February 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • In a short term I want to start with a general picture of the global Wikimedia movement. I think it could be beneficial as an insight for communities, Chapters and Wikimedia Foundation, press materials to use in our local media and a ready research material for academia.
  • In a longer term I would further elaborate the picture, searching for the best solutions and insights as well as potential areas of improvement and opportunities. aegis maelstrom δ 16:07, 25 February 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Ideas for the presentation[edit]

  • The Handbook or the Manual should not be written in a 'technical' or 'business' English. A non native speaker should be able to read them without using the dictionary all the time. Ziko (talk) 23:53, 23 February 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • My first idea of creating something actually useful, not only as a yet another conference report taken by many but read by very few, was a press kit. I think it would be handy to compile some friendly to use materials with a good story to present to our local mass-media. Such a set would be also a treasure for many researchers writing on Wikimedia. This press kit would require both presenting interesting stories and creating some clear slides and infographics, showing gathered numerical data.
  • Second thing are reports, handbooks, yearbooks, who is who etc. materials done both as a finished booklet and as an editable wiki page. aegis maelstrom δ 16:12, 25 February 2013 (UTC)[reply]


  • ...

See also[edit]