Most Chapters and many other Affiliates are registered legal
organizations. In some cases, like the one you quote, the organization
is a registered charity and has several years of submitting accounts
and reports as that entity.

Names can be changed but this would be a legally meaningful decision
by each board, and each board should be free to make their own
decision on the necessity of the change and agree their budget for
changing, not simply because some unnamed marketing consultant gave
some expensive advice to the WMF about "branding". There is zero
verifiable statistical evidence to back up claimed benefits apart from
vague hand waving to pie charts in presentations about 'markets' for
which nothing is explained about the self-selected sample space, and
for which there are no reported credible tests.

If the true drivers behind this change are because WMF senior
management believe that the WMF is a competitor for Facebook or
YouTube (as was in one of the marketing presentations), then the
problem is their perception of the mission of the WMF, not the name


On Sun, 14 Apr 2019 at 09:45, Ed Saperia <> wrote:
> Maybe there’s an easy way to just test this? A chapter could start calling 
> itself e.g. Wikipedia UK in its comms for a year and see if there’s any 
> noticeable difference?
> Sent from my iPhone
> > On 14 Apr 2019, at 01:47, phoebe ayers <> wrote:
> >
> > On Sat, Apr 13, 2019 at 2:29 PM Rebecca O'Neill <>
> > wrote:
> >
> >> 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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