Before I reply, I'll note that I actually agree with Sarah here re Melbourne
- it's also evidenced by Victoria's membership following the national trend
rather than NSW/ACT's.

2009/12/13 Liam Wyatt <liamwy...@gmail.com>

> So, if there is a concern that the chapter is focusing too much on Sydney
> (and/or Melbourne), I wouldn't want this to be the perception, off the back
> of local Wikimedians being particularly interested in hosting meetups.

It's got nothing to do with meetups (more attitudes, actually) - in essence,
and I am paraphrasing a couple of concerns I have received, people feel
Sydney is given full support at national chapter level to conduct events,
national spaces are used to organise them etc, but the perception is that
the smaller cities are "on their own" and lack of expertise/knowhow is an
issue. In the words of one correspondent, but summarising several views I've
heard during 2009, "it's important for some in the organisation to realise
this is Wikimedia Australia, not Wikimedia Sydney like some seem to think it

This is why my election statement sought a role for the committee in
enabling volunteers to do stuff wherever they were by developing a resource
pack or kit they could fall back on - most likely not use as is, but they're
starting from something rather than nothing. It's about enabling people to
achieve (rather than trying to run the projects from head office) and
knowing they have the support to do so, rather than dictating what they
should or should not do. It also ensures Wikimedia Australia gains some
brand integrity and we're not solely relying on the strengths and weaknesses
of individual volunteers with no direct experience of this kind of work or
of approaching institutions and the like.

> The solution is not to stop Sydney/Melbourne Wikimedians from having
> meetups but to encourage people in different cities to host their own.

This assumes that meetups will fix the perception problem. I don't think it
will - they're good for social purposes but not much else. Projects allowing
locals to contribute as they have time and ability to do so would be more
effective and importantly create a sense of achievement as results are
obtained and people can feel a sense of direct connection with the results.
I work in education and I know that allowing people to own their successes
increases their willingness to try more and stick around, and gives us
valuable selling points to encourage sceptical locals.

> The first priority of my election statement
> <http://wikimedia.org.au/wiki/2009-2010_AGM/Vice_President/Liam_Wyatt>this
> year was to encourage the formation of a regular series of meetups in (at
> least) some major cities as a way of galvanising greater local-community
> activity - beyond the ad-hoc system that currently prevails. It would be
> fantastic if all Wikimedians in, say, Adelaide knew that the second Saturday
> of the month at the xyz pub was definitely going to be a meetup. It is the
> time and place consistency that makes the meetups in London (for example)
> such a success.

The fact is that regular meetups just aren't going to happen in some cities
due to the local culture, and people don't like a "top-down" direction for
these things. (The point on your election statement re that was brought to
my attention at the time by a non-WA member, so I suspect it's not simply an
issue in Perth as I'd previously thought.)

London and Sydney are big cities with a critical mass and a centre of
gravity, so things work there which are not going to work in Australia's
smaller cities. I've actually been a member of WA organisations which have
tried something like this and it's fallen on its belly before it even
started - nobody turns up at the agreed time, everyone assumes everyone else
did and they don't need to. There's no commitment to it - and you're talking
about a state full of people who've abandoned their commitments to a home
somewhere else to come here with their families to work here, which explains
in part why that is a feature of our culture and to some extent Queensland's
also. In order to make it work, everything has to be negotiated and tweaked
so that they can turn up, are committed (by name, individually) to turning
up etc and the process can take weeks or months (and sometimes fails to
happen at all).

> Would this be a good way to empower more local activities around the
> country?

In short, no.

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