On Sat, Apr 13, 2019 at 2:29 PM Rebecca O'Neill <rebeccanin...@gmail.com>

> I agree Galder!
> I would like to respond to Phoebe's comment on not wanting to draw people
> to the *Wikimedia* movement is not true of the Irish experience. We have
> some idea of an editing community that aren't interested in getting
> involved in our user group (and probably never will be), so we are very
> keen to draw people to volunteering as Wikimedians not just as editors.
> Presenting our group as something more than people who are experienced
> Wikipedia editors is very important to us, and anything that makes that
> message easier would be of huge benefit to us.

Dear Rebecca,
Thanks for this. Let me try to explain my thinking a bit more...
I too want people to join Wikimedia New England, which is the group I'm
currently running. And in general, I want a thriving and healthy ecosystem
of affiliates. But I want that to be true because the work that chapters,
affiliates and the Foundation itself does is meant to be enabling for the
larger goal of making free knowledge available, and specifically for
improving and sustaining Wikipedia and her sister projects.

Everything that the groups do - from building the technical/legal
infrastructure side, to training new editors, to providing a friendly
geographic or topical face to Wikipedia, to doing outreach, to supporting
existing editors - is a means to an end. It is not the end itself. We do
this multivarious work because we recognize that there are many, many
effective ways to contribute in a project as complex as ours, and that
participants can sometimes best find a home in ways that are not directly
editing. But equally: there are of course other means to this end of
building free knowledge that have nothing to do with the Wikimedia group/
structure, most notably the thousands of independent volunteers who work
largely alone to maintain and build the projects, and upon whose work we
all depend. Groups, and the Foundation, are important! But they are not, in
themselves, the end goal.

So where does this leave us with rebranding? I admit I haven't read all of
the comments/analysis. But, to my mind, there's a cost to rebranding: the
several hundred person-hours that have already been put into this
discussion, if nothing else. For the benefit to outweigh the cost, we need
to imagine what will happen to increase participation in building free
knowledge as a result. If we are "Wikipedia New England" or "Wikipedia
Ireland" et al, will our groups be more effective -- for instance, with an
easier to understand name, will new people join our trainings, perhaps
becoming Wikipedia editors? Will more cultural institutions reach out, and
be more amenable to releasing images? If the Foundation is the Wikipedia
Foundation, then how does this improve the infrastructure that the
Foundation provides, exactly?

If the answer is that this change will definitely increase participation in
the projects and free knowledge generally, through the mechanism of the
various groups being more recognizable and thus reaching a bigger audience,
then the proposal is worth seriously considering. But if it is hard to
imagine - and I admit I do find it hard to imagine that the name of the
Foundation is the thing standing in our way to wider Wikipedia
participation - then it doesn't seem worth the cost.

-- Phoebe
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