Re: [Foundation-l] A chapters-related question

2009-07-09 Thread Thomas Dalton
2009/7/9 Delphine Ménard notafi...@gmail.com:
 The issue here is that, in the Catalan case for example, the effort is
 already beyond just a working group. You have a group of people who
 are more than mature to have their own organisation and make it
 succesful. What they lack is legitimity under the Wikimedia banner
 in order to talk to potential donors who would support their efforts
 if they only had the name.

I think a formal Association of Catalan Wikimedians, recognised by
the WMF as an affiliated organisation and with something quite
similar to the chapters agreement would work well. Calling it a
chapter will cause problems, since it overlaps with other chapters,
but it can be much the same thing just with a different name.

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Re: [Foundation-l] A chapters-related question

2009-07-09 Thread Delphine Ménard
On Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 16:18, Thomas Daltonthomas.dal...@gmail.com wrote:
 2009/7/9 Delphine Ménard notafi...@gmail.com:
 The issue here is that, in the Catalan case for example, the effort is
 already beyond just a working group. You have a group of people who
 are more than mature to have their own organisation and make it
 succesful. What they lack is legitimity under the Wikimedia banner
 in order to talk to potential donors who would support their efforts
 if they only had the name.

 I think a formal Association of Catalan Wikimedians, recognised by
 the WMF as an affiliated organisation and with something quite
 similar to the chapters agreement would work well. Calling it a
 chapter will cause problems, since it overlaps with other chapters,
 but it can be much the same thing just with a different name.

Yes, keeping in mind that the most important thing here is, in my
opinion, close collaboration with the chapters that are touched by
this organisation. In cases like this, I am not sure that the
Wikimedia Foundation is the best partner. In any case, the
WMFoundation definitely should not be the only partner and
recognition should also come from the chapters potentially involved.

Delphine
-- 
~notafish

NB. This gmail address is used for mailing lists. Personal emails will
get lost.
Intercultural musings: Ceci n'est pas une endive - http://blog.notanendive.org

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Re: [Foundation-l] A chapters-related question

2009-07-09 Thread Thomas Dalton
2009/7/9 Delphine Ménard notafi...@gmail.com:
 I think a formal Association of Catalan Wikimedians, recognised by
 the WMF as an affiliated organisation and with something quite
 similar to the chapters agreement would work well. Calling it a
 chapter will cause problems, since it overlaps with other chapters,
 but it can be much the same thing just with a different name.

 Yes, keeping in mind that the most important thing here is, in my
 opinion, close collaboration with the chapters that are touched by
 this organisation. In cases like this, I am not sure that the
 Wikimedia Foundation is the best partner. In any case, the
 WMFoundation definitely should not be the only partner and
 recognition should also come from the chapters potentially involved.

Interesting thoughts. The WMF needs to be a partner since the WMF owns
the relevant trademarks. The chapters certainly need to be involved,
but I don't know if they should be involved in the recognition part
(apart from maybe writing letters of support to the WMF). The WMF
should probably consult them, since if one chapter is opposed it could
cause some problems, so that should be sorted out beforehand. I'm just
not really sure what it would mean for the chapters to recognise
them.

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Re: [Foundation-l] A chapters-related question

2009-07-09 Thread Ilario Valdelli
On Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 10:41 AM, Anders
Wennerstenanders.wenners...@bonetmail.com wrote:
 I also like this approach
 *On most informal level - a Working  Group, carefully organized under a
 Working Group Organizer who has a time-limited agreement/recognition
 letter with the Foundation
 *On intermediate level - a legally recognized organizations that could
 support an interest group, the organisation either being dedicated to
 the groups activity or being a supporting organization hosting the
 groups activities. In either case it should be possible to get an
 agreement in place without the full demands required for being
 recognized as a Chapter.

Personally I agree the second point with different levels of approach
to the local Chapter status.

Ilario

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Re: [Foundation-l] A chapters-related question

2009-07-08 Thread Thomas de Souza Buckup
Ilario,

you said:

 without an organization it's impossible to found
 a point of contact (for example there is no legal representatives).


I understand your concern, but in reality, there are many ways to determine
a point of contact without an organization. For instance, instead of
legal representatives, (in Brazil we'd have) task assigned peers. They
could be the point of contact too.

you also said:

 IMHO the case of Brazil can be a *type* of chapter (for example a first
 step) and not a different type of organization.


I agree with you. In Brazil we have the same mission as any other chapter.
Maybe it's a first step to become a chapter, but maybe it's a format for
the long-term to do the same as the any other chapters (promote Wikimedia
projects in a certain region). Shouldn't all types of chapters collaborate?

Thomas
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Re: [Foundation-l] A chapters-related question

2009-07-08 Thread Thomas Dalton
2009/7/8 Thomas de Souza Buckup thomasdesouzabuc...@gmail.com:
 Ilario,

 you said:

 without an organization it's impossible to found
 a point of contact (for example there is no legal representatives).


 I understand your concern, but in reality, there are many ways to determine
 a point of contact without an organization. For instance, instead of
 legal representatives, (in Brazil we'd have) task assigned peers. They
 could be the point of contact too.

They can be a point of contact for their task, but not for the group
as a whole. I think the Brazilian method will work quite well at doing
individual initiatives, it's the higher level stuff you may not be
able to do as much as regular chapters.

 IMHO the case of Brazil can be a *type* of chapter (for example a first
 step) and not a different type of organization.


 I agree with you. In Brazil we have the same mission as any other chapter.
 Maybe it's a first step to become a chapter, but maybe it's a format for
 the long-term to do the same as the any other chapters (promote Wikimedia
 projects in a certain region). Shouldn't all types of chapters collaborate?

The problem is, there is nothing to actually recognise as a chapter.
There is nobody to sign a chapters agreement (you would have to have
every member sign it and then amend it whenever someone joined or
left). There is nothing to stop you doing most of the same things that
chapters do, but I can't see how you can actually be a chapter.

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Re: [Foundation-l] A chapters-related question

2009-07-08 Thread Delphine Ménard
On Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 06:54, Michael Snowwikipe...@verizon.net wrote:

 case.) The basic question is, what can or should we do to encourage
 grassroots groups that want to support our mission, but may not fit into
 the chapters framework?

As an answer to this question, I would say yes. My nuances come later.

 There are various possibilities here. One example is interest groups
 that aren't tied to geography, the way the chapters are. I always cite
 the idea of an Association of Blind Wikipedians, who might wish to
 organize to promote work on accessibility issues. As with the Brazilian
 situation, informal groups could also fit local conditions better
 sometimes, or serve as a proto-chapter stage of development. Maybe
 there's a benefit in having an association with some durability and
 continuation, but without going to the effort of incorporation and
 formal agreements on trademarks and such. It could also make sense to
 have an organization form for a specific project and then disband after
 it is completed, such as with Wikimania (somebody can correct me if I'm
 wrong, but I understand the Gdansk team is planning something like this
 as distinct from Wikimedia Polska).

I think it's important to keep in mind the implications of supporting
Wikimedia. These implications fall, in my opinion, in two categories:
- Use of the trademark
- Financial flow (access to specific grants, fundraising)


I see three scenarii:

1) informal national chapters or chapters to be:
There are countries in the world where starting a chapter in the way
it is defined today is an endeavour that makes little sense, for
political, cultural, philosophical, financial or administrative
reasons.

Here I'll make a difference between  informal local/national groups
(will never be a chapter) and chapters to be (aims at becoming a
chapter).

For informal national groups, it is important that the Wikimedia
Foundation supports grassroot initiatives that aim at supporting the
Wikimedia projects. If the work stays informal, and there is no need
for any kind of formality (plan wikimeets, intervene in conferences,
that kind of grassroot public outreach), then the support from the
Foundation could be minimal, such as maybe a letter of introduction
for someone wanting to participate in a conference in a specific
country.
If, on the other hand, the need shows up for a formal kind of
representation, there are probably many ways to explore on how a
group of Wikimedians could integrate an existing structure (some other
NGO with similar goals) in order to enter a formal agreement with the
WMF re: trademarks and/or fundraising. I believe we could develop some
kind of partnership agreeement with third party non-profits which
would allow active Wikimedians who are not able or willing to form a
chapter to intensify outreach in some kind of structured way, under a
Wikimedia banner.

For chapters to be, I think the same could happen, with the idea
that the grassroot initiative wants to take some time to develop into
a working national chapter. Growing initiatives with the help of an
existing structure could be a good first step towards chapteriality,
and it is important that the WMF follow those initiatives and help the
members who wish to develop the best way of founding a chapter by
developing ideas in another context.

What I don't see, in either of these cases, is an informal group
with the same objectives of fundraising and potentially trademark
usage that stays completely informal. Of course, national legislations
may vary, but in the end, in order to protect the trademark and
reputation of Wikimedia, it seems to be very hard to have constantly
renewed individuals being the Wikimedia flagship in one country or
the other.

2) Specific events/projects
I don't know about the Gdansk team and whether they have indeed
decided to set up an ephemeral organisation, but I suppose it would
make sense, in the case of a defined event, or project, to do
something of the kind. Again, I suppose legal jurisdictions have
different ways of going about this. This said, for such cases, the WMF
could also enter some kind of clear agreement which allows the
ephemeral group to use the trademarks and fundraise (or find sponsors
as for Wikimania) for a specific project.

3) Trans-national interest groups.
I remember us discussing wildly the Association of blind Wikipedians
;-). It's a good example, as is a potential Wikimedia Catalunya and
this kind of transnational grassroot initiative is probably the
hardest case.
Of course, as Thomas Dalton said later in this thread, we can't really
(and shouldn't have to) prevent a Wiki for the blind organisation to
see the light of day. The question comes when this organisation starts
to fundraise using the fact that they're going to help the Wikimedia
projects and thus comes, to some extent, in competition with existing
organisations (chapters and the Foundation). The question is really,
at which point is there actual competition?

I 

Re: [Foundation-l] A chapters-related question

2009-07-08 Thread Thomas Dalton
2009/7/8 Delphine Ménard notafi...@gmail.com:
 I have researched a bit, while looking at the catalan case and my
 conclusion is that such interest groups might be able to fundraise
 where national chapters and the Foundation can't. It is impossible
 (and in any case not desirable) for Wikimedia France or Wikimedia
 Italia (and one day Wikimedia Spain) to change their bylaws to focus
 on catalan in order to attract some grants that would be only be
 given to such interest groups or to fundraise in the interested part
 of the population.

I don't know the details of the catalan case and I think it is
probably quite different to the Welsh case, but I'll describe the
Wikimedia UK thoughts on that subject. There is a significant
possibility of specific grants for improving the Welsh Wikipedia (and
other projects) and also simply for donations from the Welsh public
(similar things apply to Scotland and Northern Ireland, although to a
lesser extent). In order to enable us to take full advantage of those
opportunities we specifically got permission from the WMF to use the
names Wikimedia Wales (etc.) in addition to Wikimedia UK. We
haven't used those names for anything yet, but we have considered the
possibility of some kind of sub-chapter (what form that would take
legally, I don't know, there are various options, but it would
probably be something fairly informal) made up of members from that
country carrying out initiatives in that country.

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Re: [Foundation-l] A chapters-related question

2009-07-08 Thread Casey Brown
On Wed, Jul 8, 2009 at 11:53 AM, Thomas Daltonthomas.dal...@gmail.com wrote:
 I don't know the details of the catalan case and I think it is
 probably quite different to the Welsh case

As far as I know, you're right -- they are very different. :-)  My
understanding of the catalan case is that a group of people want to
make a Catalan-language-type chapter, where it is registered in one
country but can carry out activities in other areas where the Catalan
language is widely used.  (They run into a small problem when these
areas are located in countries that already have chapters (fr/it) and
ones that might have them in the future (es).)

The Meta page will probably give a better explanation for those
interested: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_in_Catalan

-- 
Casey Brown
Cbrown1023

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Re: [Foundation-l] A chapters-related question

2009-07-08 Thread Thomas Dalton
2009/7/8 Delphine Ménard notafi...@gmail.com:
 Exactly. One (the Welsh) is integrated into the geographic region of
 one chapter, the other (the Catalan) spreads across geographic regions
 taken care of by several chapters.


 On the case of the Welsh, I see no problem of having a Wikimedia
 Wales as a section of Wikimedia UK, for example. But that is a
 different story :)

That's what I thought. I felt it was worth bringing up the other story
as well, though - it's still relevant to this discussion.

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Re: [Foundation-l] A chapters-related question

2009-07-07 Thread Ilario Valdelli
On Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 10:52 PM, Thomas de Souza
Buckupthomasdesouzabuc...@gmail.com wrote:

 *We are **a movement of autonomous volunteers:
 *

   - *Instead of a legal entity, an open movement*
   - *Instead of bylaws, a statement of principles*
   - *Instead of legal representatives, task assigned peers*
   - *Instead of internal finances, grants can go through partners*

 *Actions come first to material resources!*

Nothing against but there is an important point missed...

* Instead of a organization...

Someone has stated here that to sign a chapters agreement, for
example, it's important to have a legal entity or, at least, an
organization. I think that it could be different also to discuss with
someone because without an organization it's impossible also to found
a point of contact (for example there is no legal representatives).

IMHO the case of Brazil can be a *type* of chapter (for example a
first step) and not a different type of organization (considering that
there is no organization as I can see).

Ilario

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Re: [Foundation-l] A chapters-related question

2009-07-07 Thread Nemo_bis
Thomas Dalton, 06/07/2009 16:58:
 In the UK there is a concept of an unincorporated
 association where the association (which can have full charitable
 status) isn't a legal entity in its own right and any agreements it
 makes are actually made with the Board of Trustees as a group of
 individuals but there is some kind of legislation that ensures
 continuity - when the membership of the board changes, the parties to
 the agreements somehow change (I didn't investigate this in much
 detail because Wikimedia UK decided to go down the incorporated
 route). That kind of association would work absolutely fine as a
 chapter (the main disadvantage is that the board are personally liable
 for the chapter's debts, including court ordered fines and damages)

Wikimedia Italia is an association more or less like that («associazione 
non riconosciuta» = without «personalità giuridica»). :-)

Nemo

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Re: [Foundation-l] A chapters-related question

2009-07-06 Thread Thomas Dalton
I agree that this is a discussion worth having. Chapters fulfil one
very specific purpose (furthering the goals of the movement within a
certain geographical area), there are all kinds of other useful things
to do which need appropriate tools.

Several people have talked about informal groups signing things
(contracts similar to the chapters agreement, MoU's, etc.). For a
group without any legal structure, this isn't really possible. The
group can't sign anything, just the individuals. For a group set up
for one short term project, this isn't too bad (although it isn't
great), but for a long term thing like the Brazilian non-chapter it
isn't an option because the membership is going to be constantly
changing. In the UK there is a concept of an unincorporated
association where the association (which can have full charitable
status) isn't a legal entity in its own right and any agreements it
makes are actually made with the Board of Trustees as a group of
individuals but there is some kind of legislation that ensures
continuity - when the membership of the board changes, the parties to
the agreements somehow change (I didn't investigate this in much
detail because Wikimedia UK decided to go down the incorporated
route). That kind of association would work absolutely fine as a
chapter (the main disadvantage is that the board are personally liable
for the chapter's debts, including court ordered fines and damages)
and doesn't need a separate framework, but as I understand it there
isn't any such option for Brazil (or, if there is, it is no better
than the alternative).

There is nothing that I can see that would stop an Assoc. of Blind
Wikipedians (or similar) from incorporating somewhere (wherever is
most convenient or legally favourable) and could have local chapters
of its own. It could then sign something similar to a chapters
agreement, although with a different name (affiliated
organisation?).

Groups that don't want (or can't have) any kind of legal structure can
just sign ad-hoc agreements with the WMF as individuals for grants or
trademarks or whatever for any specific project they may want to do.

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Re: [Foundation-l] A chapters-related question

2009-07-06 Thread Mike.lifeguard
On Sun, 2009-07-05 at 21:54 -0700, Michael Snow wrote:

 One example is interest groups 
 that aren't tied to geography, the way the chapters are. I always cite 
 the idea of an Association of Blind Wikipedians, who might wish to 
 organize to promote work on accessibility issues.


Actually, that sounds like a good idea. I wonder if there's interest
among people involved with accessibility (whether blind or not - for
example I'd potentially be interested in helping).

More concretely, there has been (for a while) talk of a Wikibooks
chapter... it obviously wouldn't be based on geography, but could
promote Wikibooks and Wikibooks-related issues, and develop programs and
software for that project. Many of the sister projects may feel a
similar need - other than Commons, I don't know of any major projects to
promote growth or reach for the non-Wikipedia projects. Disappointingly,
the usability initiative is explicitly about improving usability on
Wikipedia, and not other projects. While there may be concomittant
improvements, there's nothing specific for us, while everything is
specific for Wikipedia. Luckily that will be addressed for Commons with
this latest grant.

However, beyond technical issues, there is a lot the Wikibooks community
could do in terms of promotion and outreach that isn't being done by the
community or the Foundation currently. There's only so much volunteers
can do from the bottom up without some organization and support, and the
Foundation can only do so much from the top down. An organized
chapter-like body would fill a gap between the two that could
potentially have an enormous impact on the project since it smaller.

Thanks,
-Mike
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Re: [Foundation-l] A chapters-related question

2009-07-06 Thread Thomas de Souza Buckup
Michael, thanks for starting this thread.

I'll try to synthesize below some information about the development of the
Brazilian chapter. I hope the list will find it useful.

A group of volunteers spent more than one year discussing, writing,
translating and approving the bylaws to create a legal entity for a future
chapter in Brazil (we were blindly following the guidelines).

By the end of the process we realized that the requested bureaucracy did and
would not really help us much in order to promote the Wikimedia projects in
Brazil. In fact, it is quite the opposite.

We shared our concerns and ideas with the other chapters during the Chapters
Meeting in Berlin. Since than, we've been trying to wiki the guidelines
for the creation of new chapters.

We see ourselves with the same mission of any other Wikimedia chapter, but
we don't need any legal entity. The structure below would much better fit
our needs, considering the Brazilian context and culture.

(extracted from the Chapters Meeting presentation)

*We are **a movement of autonomous volunteers:
*

   - *Instead of a legal entity, an open movement*
   - *Instead of bylaws, a statement of principles*
   - *Instead of legal representatives, task assigned peers*
   - *Instead of internal finances, grants can go through partners*

*Actions come first to material resources!*

The movement called wikibrasil is finally growing organically, with less
bureaucracy and more action. We are definitely a grassroots initiative,
where any volunteer feels engaged and empowered to promote the Wikimedia
projects. Should it be any different from that?

I hope this thread can help us understand that there is hardly ever a single
formula that fits every single country. We could still be the cohesive
global movement that started 8 years ago.

abraços,
Thomas
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