I am full agree with Shiju. We should support Mumbai/Pune community to make
arrangements for the Wikimedia India conference. Community and Chapter
should help each other.

On Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 12:15 PM, Shiju Alex <shijualexonl...@gmail.com>wrote:

> In fact all of us know the effort and pain took by Mumbai/Pune community to
> make arrangements for the Wikimedia India conference. They have reached out
> to almost all community members and asked for the support. As per the below
> mail they have reached chapter also. The response from chapter is also
> listed below :)
> Chapter should support the efforts of Mumbai-Pune community; not to
> discourage/derail the great work done by a community.
> There are many other points listed by Ashwin in the below mail, all those
> need to be discussed.
> On Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 7:33 AM, Ashwin Baindur 
> <ashwin.bain...@gmail.com>wrote:
>> The national chapter recently informed the community about its Membership
>> and Community engagement plan -June 2011.
>> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2011-June/003346.html
>> In that document, the regulatory framework for conduct of Wikiconferences
>> was released.
>> http://wiki.wikimedia.in/India_Wiki_Conference_Framework
>> Shortly thereafter, a clarification was issued.
>> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2011-June/003378.html
>> Members of the community must be puzzled at the need for clarification
>> from the Chapter on the issues of its regulatory framework when there was no
>> discussion online. This is because the recent announcement of the framework,
>> in conjunction with other issues, led to the community believing that the
>> chapter had forsaken it.
>> A little history - the idea for a Wikiconference was mooted way back in
>> March by the Mumbai community and they asked the Pune community to co-host
>> it to which the Pune community agreed. As India now has a national chapter,
>> we naturally asked for their support more than two months ago.  For more
>> than two months they were silent. Yesterday, they responded saying that the
>> community was invited to submit their proposal, duly modified as per the
>> said framework, and resubmit it for consideration with other bids. The
>> cavaliar treatment of the serious efforts put in to date by the communities
>> and the contents of the Framework of Regulations were disturbing to the
>> community.
>> At the face off it, one may just consider the Regulatory Framework as just
>> another logical and reasonable document, but its language, text and subtext
>> upset the community, in light of Chapter's attitude.
>> The first and over-riding issue was the type of language used and its
>> indication of the relation between chapter and communities. We all know that
>> the Wikimedia Foundation encourages national chapters so that the community
>> and creation of knowledge by them is facilitated. However, the language
>> herein clearly gives a message - that the Indian chapter is boss and all
>> Indian wikimedian communities are subservient to it.
>> While that is a great inequity in itself, the community was also aggrieved
>> that the framework has been foisted on them without discussion, without any
>> attempt to get them to participate and buy in into the plan, without
>> community consensus and without any consideration of the community's
>> interests. This feudalistic attitude is considered to be an anachronism in
>> volunteer driven communities of the 21st Centuries especially in India. So,
>> no matter whether the framework is good or bad, sensible or not, the
>> approach to the community taken by the chapter is to be firmly objected to
>> and resisted.
>> The Mumbai & Pune community supports the chapter, and have defended the
>> chapter on number of occasions in email discussions. Members of the two
>> communities have enthusiastically joined the chapter once membership opened.
>> A member of the Mumbai and a member of the Pune community are the first two
>> members to join by NEFT and physical cheque. To the best of my knowledge 24
>> members from Pune joined the chapter in response to Arjuna Rao Chavala's
>> appeal for member ships when he came last month to our Pune meetup.
>> We earnestly believe that India needs an active, sympathetic, facilitative
>> and supportive chapter. We look forward to heartily cooperating with such a
>> chapter - alas, the chapter's latest tune was nothing of that kind. It
>> seemed to be indicative of wanting power and to dominate.
>> The third issue, were the "black" provisions of the framework. Each of the
>> sentences seemed to imply negative connotations for the community.
>> To give you some examples of the "black" provisions -
>> Example one - Finance
>> The responsibilities of the Host city team included "Fund raising",
>> whereas the corresponding responsibility of the Chapter Team was
>> "Responsible for facilitating financial operations and accountability for
>> finances for the event".
>> The message conveyed was that the community was responsible for raiising
>> funds but only the chapter was allowed to decide how it was spent. No
>> commitment of raising monetary support was made by the chapter for the
>> event.
>> Example two - Logistics
>> The responsibility for the "Host city team" is mentioned as being
>> "responsible for City logistics in terms of Venue, local transportation,
>> stay assistance". However, the city community was to be given no say in the
>> decision-making i.e. organisation of the programme, guest list, expenditure
>> etc. The OC head was to be some person of chapter Executive Committee. That
>> meant, the community had to do the hard work but the chapter would take
>> credit. If the conference succeeded, it was the chapter's moment of glory.
>> Whereas if the conference failed, the communities would be blamed.
>> Example three - Venue
>> After three months of spade work by Mumbai-Pune, when no other city had
>> shown any inclination to take up the project, the chapter thanked the city
>> community for the "proposal", came up with this framework, asks the city to
>> make changes as per the framework and resubmit it for consideration within
>> two weeks or so. Then, all proposals/bids would be considered by the chapter
>> and the decision communicated.
>> For two months, the community waited with bated breath for the chapter's
>> response and was floored when it eventually came. There were no emails of
>>  encouragement, no saying "we support you", no saying "great job guys, lets
>> give it to Mumbai-Pune this time, next time, cities can bid". The community,
>> not surprisingly, were forced to construe such a response as lack of support
>> by the chapter.
>> So what was to be done? The community was furious at being treated this
>> way. They could not acquiese to this kind of 'fatwa' type of decision-making
>> by the chapter. It was felt that if the community accepted this state of
>> affairs this time around, it would act as a precedent and set the tone for
>> all future interactions between community and chapter.
>> So, we indicated to the chapter informally through various people that
>> this sort of thing just will not do. We were prepared for a confrontation on
>> matter of principle. However, thanks to various third party
>> back-of-the-scenes attempts, the chapter is now beginning to realise this. A
>> member of the chapter Executive Committee has given a clarification. You can
>> read it here -
>> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2011-June/003378.html
>> The community's demands are few and equitable.
>> Firstly, treat us like equals and stakeholders. Amongst us, chapter will
>> then be first among equals. The community will not accept any other form of
>> relationship.
>> The second request is always ask our opinion before issuing policy
>> especially for a thing like Wikiconference which has not been conducted
>> before. The chapter must be consultative and facilitative of the community.
>> The community will not accept orders by fiat.
>> Lastly, this present framework will not do. We need a framework which
>> gives autonomy to the Organising Committee to successfully pull off an event
>> of this scale and nature. While organising this Wikiconference, the
>> community is willing to develop a sensible, practical framework which can be
>> debated and finalised after the event is over. In this manner best practices
>> and lessons learnt will be incorporated.
>> We felt that you as a community member should know what was going on and
>> what happened and how we responded to it. Our next step is to list the
>> issues concerning how the Wikiconference should be conducted and discuss
>> them on the list. At present, an active discussion on this is going on
>> between Pune and Mumbai communities off-list. In the meantime, we invite the
>> chapter to Mumbai where these issues can be discussed amicably face to face
>> and resolved.
>> We thank all those who spoke out in favour of the community.
>> Please write back with your views and support as this concerns every one
>> of us.
>> Ashwin Baindur
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With Warm Regards,
*Jayanta Nath*
Calcutta,West Bengal
Facebook :http://www.facebook.com/jayantanth
Wikipedia :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Jayantanth
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