Wikimedia Conference 2011/Documentation/Chapter revitalization

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Chapter revitalization[edit]

Wikimedia Conference Documentation (13).JPG
Wikimedia Conference Documentation (12).JPG
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Introduced by: Alice
Description:This session is aimed at finding and recommending ways that can (re)vitalize chapters that are either still young or have for some reason suffered a decline in their activity levels. This could involve listing small activities or other ways that can help build and expand a community that can achieve new and more complex projects and tasks.


  • Introduction of what the problem of sleeping chapters and chapters out of power was like in the past:
    • different kinds of non-visible chapters:
      1. chapters overspent themselves – e. g. by one event. After that they are out of power
      2. new chapter: Became a chapter: Cool – What to do now?! Too little support...
        • problems: More active members
      3. frustrated chapters → frustration is too bad to do anything
    • Think about ways to make those four gruops of invisible chapters visible!

Discussion: Make invisible chapters visible[edit]

  • Procedual proposal: Brainstorm every group of frustration (proposal accepted by everyone).
    • Lots of efforts to become a chapter → what do we do now? No motivation anymore.
      • Great conferences have a similar effect.
  • WM Indonesia: Advice for the new chapters: After the bylaw-process: The effort to do other projects is high and will have social and financial platform but you should „jump for it“ and fight, it's normal to do that. It's better to let big projects do professionals – a curtain time of professionalization is needed.
  • Strategic planning is very important – each and every chapter should have there goals in mind.
  • Suggestion: Keep your projects easy, local and simple and don't strive after bigger and bigger events.
  • Switzerland: It was a very open and nice collaboration in the beginning of the chapter, but it was quickly pointed out that the board was inactive → everybody else can undertake the jobs to do (like Manuel Schneider. Boards change: they become intransparent, don't give information to anyone
  • Austria: Very active board ...
Question to WMCH: Is it a problem of communication or organization?
Answer: The activities aren't done by the board, the board seems to be unwilling to communicate.
  • WMCH: There is frustration on both the board an the members: The board is not valued by the members, the members overhelm the board and the communication in the board is too difficult.
  • In a board there should be 1) a good people's mangager (people-person), 2) a good administrator for secretary stuff and 3) a responsible for the relationships to the own community, who already is accepted in the community.
  • You can employ people to undertake this roles.
  • A solution to improve the communication is to call / to send SMS to the non-responding people in case there is an event and reimburse the person who undertakes the job to reach out to everybody.
  • Other kind of frustration (Wikimedia India): The people are spread all over the country and the members of the board are volunteers → You cannot meet very often → Chapter communication is very difficult.

Communication problems[edit]

Wikimedia Conference Documentation (14).JPG
    • One proposal: Pay travel costs / start skype-meetings, use other platforms
    • Another model was IRC-contacts, but that takes a lot of time and so it was better to change that and meet more often and to use Skype and other platforms like that (Team-speak / mumble). To share texts: GoogleDocs. Tip: Use etherpad for a very good documentation after meetings.
  • Spend time to find an agreement about the structure of the communication: How do we do meetings, how do we structure conversations: Find your tools to communicate, expereriment with that, do „self-assessment“, look for external help etc. and write these agreements downdefine your processes.
  • WMDE: We did an anonymous self-assessement and it helps a lot to do that to get to know your expectations and to get feedback.
  • What is the right way to get more power to your chapter?! It might be different for each and every chapter.
  • Proposal: Best practices toolkit in board-work → more transparency, more people get involved in board work.