On 11/02/14 06:33, phoebe ayers wrote:

> I want to draw your attention to two Wikimedia Board of Trustees decisions
> that were recently published, regarding funds allocated to the FDC/Annual
> plan grant process and Board approval of chapter/thematic organization
> status. In a nutshell, the Board decided to allocate approximately the same
> amount of funding to the FDC for the next two years.

Some chapters have asked to consider the possibility for multi-year
funding, in order to make planning easier. The WMF indicated that it was
something difficult to do since the funding of the whole movement is
planned on an annual basis. Does it mean that this argument is now moot ?

> The Board also decided
> that new organizations should first form as a user group and have two years
> of programmatic experience before being approved as a legally incorporated
> entity (either a chapter or thematic organization).

My first reaction to this: why is the WMF board pretending to be more
and more a board overseeing the whole community ? I can understand
concerns "about new groups legally incorporating before they need to or
are ready to", but this remains up to the groups to decide -- and one
thing about which there is no doubt is that they will know better than
the WMF board if they need to be incorporated and when (if only because
they know they local legal landscape much better than the WMF does).

It is indeed up to the WMF to decide the conditions a group must have
achieved before being recognized as a chapter or thematic organization.
However, this is an assessment at a given point in time. How the group
actually got there should have no influence on the result.

I see that the WMF ED suggested the change, and that it was not endorsed
by the Affcom (which is interesting in itself). But why doesn't the
community have a chance to comment on how it should organize itself ?

So if you had asked the Swiss chapter, for example, we would have
mentioned that a "user group" would be close to useless in our country.
That would basically be a group of people having meetings in a
restaurant once in a while, but it just does not exist as a group: it
can not get access to grants (it can not even have a bank account, so
any money received would be received by a single member in his own name
-- making the user group useless), can not be granted trademark usage.
This is why creating an association in Switzerland is an extremely light
process: take 2 people, get them to write one page of bylaws and voilà,
the association is incorporated and it can open a bank account. So long
for "becoming a chapter or thematic organization involves much more
corporate overhead".

Maybe the board's reasoning makes sense in the US, I don't know (I will
not pretend that I know how people in other country should operate). It
does not makes sense in Switzerland, and likely nor in other countries.
But alas, this does not seem to be taken into account by the board when
it takes decision.

Frédéric

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