It is limited liability on both parts, meaning that user groups are not 
required to become legal entities, or maintain the higher reporting and 
capacity requirements that chapters and thematic organizations are required to 

The considerations that you are mentioning are tied to your activities and not 
your status as a user group. It is a misleading and discouraging to others to 
imply that running a user group in the United States requires all of that 
liability and workload. User groups are not required to become legal entities 
(which Cascadia has opted to do), and can be as simple as a student club at a 
university. In other words, not all user groups are alike. The level of 
liability is tied to the activities the group engages in, not the affiliations 

-greg (User:Varnent)
Vice Chair, Affiliations Committee

> On Oct 19, 2015, at 12:56 AM, Pine W <> wrote:
> Hi Manuel,
> Can you clarify what you mean by "limited liability" for user groups? I
> think you mean limited responsibilities as far as WMF is concerned. As far
> as the United States authorities are concerned, we have plenty of paperwork
> that we're expected to deal with, particularly if we're handling funds
> and/or hosting public events. Most of the paperwork is the same whether
> there are 5 people or 500 people involved, so it's a pretty complex
> operation, particularly if volunteers are dealing with all of this with no
> paid help. I had some experience with business law prior to my involvement
> in Cascadia Wikimedians, and even with that background I'm finding that
> there is a lot to learn and a lot of paperwork to deal with in order to
> keep our user group on solid legal ground.
> Pine
> On Sun, Oct 18, 2015 at 10:05 AM, Schneider, Manuel <
>> wrote:
>> Hi Ilario,
>> it is the will of the board to make it easy to start a recognised body to
>> do work and it is totally acceptable if these bodies also die after having
>> fulfilled their purpose - or grow and develop into other affiliation
>> models. So the criterium for us is easy entry.
>> Anyway the user groups have limited liability and responsibilities, access
>> to ressources is controlled on a case by case basis eg. through the Grant
>> Avisory Committee and every year user groups must be renewed, for this we
>> want so see a simple report. So every ug with the minimum of activity - a
>> report written, having responded to our follow-up e-mail - is renewed.
>> /Manuel
>> --
>> sent from mobile phoneAm 18.10.2015 4:46 nachm. schrieb Ilario Valdelli <
>>> I personally think that the main concern, in this proliferation of
>>> groups, is an lack of the implementation of a "good governance".
>>> A user group is like a body, it can born, can develop and can die.
>>> At the moment there is an unclear guideline about the monitoring and the
>>> development of these groups: they can only born.
>>> Basically the affiliation committee creates these entities, but don't
>>> monitor them and don't evaluate to retire (or the best would be to
>>> freeze) some old entities when they become essentially inactive or
>> silent.
>>> In this case the balance would be compensated and the proliferation of
>>> these groups would have a sense.
>>> Kind regards
>>> On 18.10.2015 16:48, Gregory Varnum wrote:
>>>> The Affiliations Committee (AffCom) has been preparing for the
>> increased momentum since the user group model was implemented, and it
>> follows a pattern that we’ve been seeing over the past couple of years. In
>> 2013, we approved 10 user groups, last year we approved 19, and so far this
>> year we have approved around 20. That number will likely increase next
>> year. This growing momentum is why we have continued to tweak the approval
>> process to be faster and able to handle the growing momentum. So, from our
>> perspective, this is something we have been preparing for from the start,
>> and not a surprise.
>>>> Personally, I think further complicating affiliate classifications is
>> a bad idea. “Small” and “larger” are very culturally relative, varies
>> across the models (there are user groups “larger” than chapters), changes
>> over time, and implies that “large” affiliates do work “small” affiliates
>> cannot, when we continue to see that is in fact not the case at all. The
>> current criteria for WMCON is active and inactive, which seems far more
>> appropriate. Additionally, dividing them will not save much money, if any,
>> as there would still presumably be a gathering for the “small” affiliates.
>>>> I agree with Leigh and others that affiliates should receive more
>> support, but I do not think those efforts will be served well by further
>> dividing them.
>>>> -greg (User:Varnent)
>>>> Vice Chair, Wikimedia Affiliations Committee
>>> --
>>> Ilario Valdelli
>>> Wikimedia CH
>>> Verein zur Förderung Freien Wissens
>>> Association pour l’avancement des connaissances libre
>>> Associazione per il sostegno alla conoscenza libera
>>> Switzerland - 8008 Zürich
>>> Tel: +41764821371
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