On 11/02/14 09:03, phoebe ayers wrote:

Hi Phoebe,

thanks for your answer !

>> 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.
> Should it not? I think we disagree on that point. We want the group to do
> stuff, to have a great track record, to show some evidence that they will
> stay active if we call them a Wikimedia chapter -- not just to prove that
> they have a good lawyer in the group who can draw up bylaws. (That's the
> crux of the matter, not the "user group" label, as far as I'm concerned).

What you say makes a lot of sense, but it is disconnected from the
actual decision. Your decision is not "you should have a good track
record", it is "you should have a good track record AND NOT have bylaws".

What I understand the board is saying is: "if you have a fantastic track
record over the past two years, and you have successfully incorporated
two years ago, and have maybe even managed somehow to attract external
funding to conduct your projects, then sorry, this is exactly the kind
of organization we do *not* want as a Wikimedia chapter or thematic

How can this possibly be something positive for the movement ?

>> 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 ?

I'd love to hear your comment about this point. Agreeing with Itzik, I
don't really understand why we are having this discussion after the
discussion has already been made (and, indeed, will not change whatever
amount of discussion we have) and not before.

> "What if a user group doesn't make sense for us? We want to do a specific
> project, and really feel we need chapter or thematic organization status
> for our situation.
> Please tell us what part of user group status is problematic, and for what
> reasons. We do not want to hinder planned or ambitious projects; we also do
> not know of any current cases where this would be a problem."
> Really, if you or anyone is forming a group, has some projects planned, and

I am not; I am lucky enough to be a founding member of a (successful, I
hope) Wikimedia chapter that managed to exist *thanks to the absence of
such a policy*, and would likely not be where it is if it had had to be
created under such arbitrary constraints. Creating the formal structure
is what got people together; Switzerland is a land of associations (most
Swiss people are members of several of them) and that's how we work.

However, I am not a fan of saying "I am happy because I managed to form
a group when it was easy to do so, so now I don't care about what
happens next for other people".

> thinks the user group framework absolutely won't work -- well, let us know.
> We are not unreasonable heartless people! But we are trying to get us all
> on a different footing in how we view incorporation of groups.

The burden of the proof should be on the WMF board to explain why this
proposal makes sense, and what positive outcome it brings to the
community -- not on motivated community members who have to beg to get

I don't think I have seen much concrete rationale for this decision
beyond vague comments and concerns which I can only call patronizing
("hey, users, we know how you should spend your time and organize
yourself; no, no, don't think about creating a formal structure, it is
bad for your health. And bad for the movement; will anyone think of the
movement ?")

As a side note, this is the only point that I will keep from Rupert's
email: this decision completely ignores international cultural
differences in terms of funding, fundraising and organization in
general. Indeed, in a quote above, you talk about "good lawyer in the
group who can draw up bylaws"; this reinforces the incorrect premise
your decision is based on: that incorporation is a complicated and
bureaucratic process that should be avoided. And this is something that
can not be decided globally.


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