Dear Community Members,

The Affiliations Committee has put together a public response to the
Board's decision to express the dissatisfaction with the process and
outcome of the decision, and thereby the opportunity lost to actually
discuss and address the Board's underlying concerns. This opportunity can
be restored with an open, sustained dialogue - we will be available online
as well as in person at the Berlin Wikimedia Conference, among other venues
- we hope the Board and other community members will commit to

You can find our statement at:
can be provided at:
The English version is copied below for your convenience.

Best regards,
Bence Damokos
Chair, Affiliations Committee


Dear Community Members,

The Affiliations Committee shares the surprise and disappointment felt by
many in the community with the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees’
recent decision to require all new chapters and thematic organizations to
exist as affiliated user groups for two years prior to being allowed to
formally organize, and the restrictions placed on the Funds Dissemination

We remain committed to serving the Wikimedia mission by advising the Board
and the movement at large and fulfilling the mandate given to us, but we
feel the way this decision was taken and its potential negative effects
warrant public comment.

We are deeply saddened by the demotivating effect this decision will likely
have on the volunteers building future affiliates, especially those who
have already begun their organising work only to find out that the rules
have suddenly changed. As a committee, we will continue to provide maximum
support to current and future user groups, but that might not be enough to
mitigate the immediate and long-term repercussions of this decision.

We are concerned that the decision sets a negative example for good
governance and transparency in the movement. This decision was not made in
a process consistent with Wikimedia movement values, and the Affiliations
Committee has seen no evidence that this decision will achieve the Board’s
stated goals. This approach taken by the board and the contradictory
messages sent by this decision and subsequent communications will only
demotivate the very volunteers the Foundation proclaims it is working with
to engage and empower.

We share the Board’s desire to take a strategic view on how Wikimedia
organisations can best achieve the goals of the movement and how we can
support them in building up the necessary capacity for long-term
effectiveness. Unfortunately, making a decision without any prior
consultation or research does not further that discussion -- it merely
introduces an arbitrary change with unclear goals, impacts, and

While we appreciate the logic presented by the board, we feel ultimately
that this decision was a lost opportunity to address the board’s underlying
concerns. The limitations this places on future organizations creates an
unfair disadvantage for developing countries and sends conflicting messages
about fostering dependency on the Wikimedia Foundation for local
programmatic work. By announcing the decision without proper consultation,
the board has sent several mixed messages about process, alarmed groups
impacted most, and discouraged affiliates from commenting by bundling and
framing the two decisions in a way they fear will label them as being
financially motivated to comment on.

It is our hope that the Board sees the publication of its decision as the
start of a conversation and that it will commit to engage the wider
community, the movement stakeholders, and experts in evaluating it. We hope
the conversation will be constructive, focusing on how volunteers can best
be empowered to fulfill our joint mission. We are ready to participate in,
facilitate, or aid that discussion in the interests of the movement.

We encourage candidate affiliates, existing affiliates, and community
members to leave questions, comments, viewpoints, factual briefings, and
feedback on the Board
noticeboard<> or
the talk page of this
Meta. We are also happy to hear community members’ perspectives and hope to
engage the Board in an open dialogue.

Best regards,
the Affiliations Committee

On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 6:33 AM, phoebe ayers <> wrote:

> Hi all,
> 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. 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).
> The decisions are published in the meeting minutes here:
> There is also a FAQ on Meta:
> You will notice these decisions are published in the minutes for the
> November meeting. We originally took these decisions at that meeting;
> however as the FAQ explains it took us some time to talk to community
> groups, clarify our wording and write the FAQ.
> Hopefully the FAQ will answer many of your questions about these decisions;
> however, if there are other questions please do ask them, here or on the
> meta talk page. Thank you!
> for the Board,
> Phoebe
> _______________________________________________
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