Hi Liam and List,

 

I'm sorry if I implied in any way with my post that there was any willful
neglect of regional areas going on previously - I'm not implying that at
all, and members of the committee have been very helpful when I've suggested
various ideas for activities in Brisbane.  And, of course, having GLAM-WIKI
in Canberra rather than in Sydney or Melbourne was a good move and defused
any possible Sydney/Melbourne/Regional rivalry; it seems that we all see
Canberra as "neutral ground" in that respect!

 

I have some further thoughts on this matter, but it's getting late here and
I don't want my meaning to be obscured by fatigue, so I guess you'll all
have to wait ;-)

 

Cheers,

Craig

 

From: wikimediaau-l-boun...@lists.wikimedia.org
[mailto:wikimediaau-l-boun...@lists.wikimedia.org] On Behalf Of Liam Wyatt
Sent: Sunday, 13 December 2009 11:43 PM
To: Wikimedia-au
Subject: Re: [Wikimediaau-l] Membership, regional participation and other
things

 

In fact, I don't even think that Sydney should be lumped in with Sydney when
talking about chapter activity in the last year :-) IIRC the only "official
Chaper events" that happened in real life last year were GLAM-WIKI
(Canberra), a Backstage Pass (Sydney), Linux-Australia conference booth
(Hobart). Effectively Canberra was our hub of activity :-) All of the
activities that may make Sydney active and therefore appear to be getting
Chapter attention are actually normal meetups that happened quite
independently of the chapter - and thank you to the organisers of those
events! 

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. The
solution is not to stop Sydney/Melbourne Wikimedians from having meetups but
to encourage people in different cities to host their own. The first
priority of my election
<http://wikimedia.org.au/wiki/2009-2010_AGM/Vice_President/Liam_Wyatt>
statement 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. 

To do that however, requires a local organiser. It doesn't necessarily have
to be a chapter-led thing (although, as an elected chapter rep. that I would
be nice!), but it does need local administration. It might also require some
form of official organisation status (in order to book the function room of
the city library for example). 

To that end - would people in some of the cities feeling left out of the
action feel empowered to run a more frequent series of meetups (or other
more involved activities) if there was a designated "Chapter-approved
organiser" in the city? Would it assist in the creation of a feeling of
activity and solidarity if there was someone in your city who's
chapter-agreed responsibility it was to make local events happen? In the
future they may even be able to have a local "events budget", who knows.
Moreover, would anyone in these cities like to take on this task? (I would
like to suggest that the "local rep" *not* be a member of the committee,
such as myself, in an effort to empower more people in the Australian wiki
community rather than centralising power).

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

Best, 
-Liam [[witty lama]]

wittylama.com/blog
Peace, love & metadata



On Sun, Dec 13, 2009 at 1:20 PM, Sarah Ewart <sarahew...@gmail.com> wrote:

Just to say that I also agree with membership concerns and it's something
that's worried me for a long time, just from being aware of the membership
from membership records and it's something that's going to need to be
addressed for the viability of the chapter in the medium-long term. I don't
think there's any quick and easy solutions to the problem though. However, I
don't think it's correct to say the chapter activity has been concentrated
in Melbourne. Melbourne always gets lumped in with Sydney when talking about
the chapter, but really, its probably been as active here as in Queensland
and pretty much anywhere else except Tassie (poor Chuq). 



On Sun, Dec 13, 2009 at 9:42 PM, Craig Franklin <cr...@halo-17.net> wrote:

Hear hear!

 

I'd like to add some of my own to cents to this discussion.  The turnover in
Queensland isn't quite as bad, but based on the secretary's report and my
own observations of who's been showing up to the AGMs, we had a forty
percent turnover of membership in the last year.  As Andrew says, that sort
of statistic is simply not sustainable in the long term, and it *must* be
addressed by the committee in 2010.  As Andrew says, a lot of this is due to
the fact that a lot of the chapter activity to date has been concentrated in
Sydney and Melbourne, while things have been fairly quiet everywhere else.  

 

To a degree, in the case of Brisbane at least, this has partially been our
own fault; events and perks for members simply are not going to materialise
out of this air for us.  At the same time though, there has to be a
realistic commitment from those in the southern/eastern states to assist us
in the northern/western in growing our local communities and membership.  I
note with satisfaction that those I've spoken to in the committee seem to
"get it", so hopefully there can be some real progress on this front.

 

In closing, I think Andrew's idea is an excellent one, and I'd encourage
everyone (particularly those of us in Queensland) to get aboard and start
brainstorming.

 

Cheers,

Craig F.

 

 

 

 

From: wikimediaau-l-boun...@lists.wikimedia.org
[mailto:wikimediaau-l-boun...@lists.wikimedia.org] On Behalf Of Andrew
Sent: Sunday, 13 December 2009 7:41 PM
To: Wikimedia-au
Subject: [Wikimediaau-l] Membership, regional participation and other things

 

Fellow members and supporters,

A key priority for 2009-10 has to be building the chapter and make it
successful. 

Before being elected to my present role, I heard lots of people saying they
felt this chapter was overly Sydney- and Melbourne-focussed not just in
activity but in priorities. There was also a fair few people saying (both
among those who stayed/newly joined, and some who lapsed) that the chapter
was overly focused on central or headline priorities and, in their view,
gave insufficient support to members.

Using the figures from the secretary's report at the AGM, in regional terms
our numbers were stable, here in WA we went from 5 to 3 members (I am in
fact the only original WA member left) and, even more concerningly,
nationally we lost 2/3 of our initial intake although we actually gained a
fair number of people. We need to do *far* more to retain members, and to
give those outside the two biggest cities reasons to join and ways to
participate - otherwise this chapter will fail. I ran on a platform to that
effect and got support for it, so I'm hoping that means the members trust me
to find ways to act on those concerns.

I am happy for people to approach me privately with project ideas they want
feedback on or support for. I think peer support is vital to keeping
people's enthusiasm up, and I understand not everyone wants to go public
with projects before they're ready. I would note in saying so that I can't
give "official chapter approval" to anything although I can certainly seek
it on your behalf from the committee if you wish me to.

On the wiki I've been working on an early draft for a regional participation
drive, and I'd also appreciate comments on that. I'll be adding more to it
after the first committee meeting on the 20th as I'll know then what I have
support for.

kindest regards
Andrew Owens
(WM-AU committee general member)

 

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