On Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 11:43 AM, John Vandenberg <jay...@gmail.com> wrote:
> The committee has talked a lot about allowing non-members to edit the
> wiki, and I would love a good proposal, but the one that
> privatemusings put up was an empty proposal.
> Non members can explain here why they want to be able to edit our
> wiki; we are listening.

I haven't read the whole thread so please excuse me if some of my
findings are redundant with things discussed here or in the past. I
want to share two experiences from other chapters. (and this is also a
tl;dr kind of email, sorry ;))

1) Wikimedia France.
Wikimedia France has a member-only wiki, which since its opening a
year and a half or so back, has seen increasing activity from the
members to promote free knowledge and of course the association. This
wiki is associated to a member-only mailing list, which serves as a
relay for those people who are not so much into wiki editing (yes,
there are lost of those).
The question of opening the wiki and list to outside perusal and
participation has been asked many times. Most interestingly, the
people that were rather against are people who are not the most active
on the Wikimedia Projects but have proved invaluable to the
association. They mentionned the fact that being in a private sphere
has actually allowed them to "speak up", which they would not have
done on a public mailing list (due to their outside-wikimedia status
or whatever.
Information and call for particpations are relayed on a public
wikimedia-fr list, which is open to subscription from anyone.

2) Wikimedia Deutschland
Wikimedia Deutschland has opened very recently a "forum" wiki for
anyone who wishes. A members-only section has also been created, which
is as of now still a rather empty shell, we wanted to see if the need
would arise for Member-only communication and exchanges. It's a bit
early to say so, but that section had been called for by members.
I just took a quick look at the list of registered users, 90% are
members, 5% are people who are related in some way or other to
Wikimedia Deutschland (the wiki serves also as a coordinating platform
for a Project "Wikipedia in Schools") and 5% are people who are not
The most active participants are members.

Of course, those are far away examples, I don't know how Australians tick ;)

So the questions I would ask is:
- what prevents anyone interested in participating in Wikimedia
Australia's activities to actually become a member of the association?
**if it's money, I'm pretty sure there is always the possibility of
asking for a waiver for the membership fee to anyone who can't afford
them, for example. If not, well, that might be an option to consider.
- Who wants to participate that is not a member?
My answer to that is:
**trolls: ie. people who just are there to disrupt and question every
single activity/action of the association without going through the
trouble of supporting that same association by becoming members. (been
there, seen that).
**People who want to look at what happens before they actually become
member. In which case this means that the relay to public platforms
about the Association activities is not doing its job, and this is the
point that should be addressed, regardless of whether the wiki is open
or not (because people who really want to get involved will just do
that, and those who hesitate are not the people whose opinion will be
swayed by having access to a member wiki, which they probably won't
visit anyway).

Personally, I find the idea of a members-only wiki appealing and
interesting, because my experience is that it allows for more openness
in the way people work. This said, Wikimedia Deutschland's example
shows that a wiki open to all is rather de facto a members-only wiki
in the end, so an open to all wiki is not inherently a bad thing.

Please take this as examples and sharing of experience. That's all it is.




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