Thank you Arun for moving this discussion to more generic terms. I am answering to your questions below.

Pradeep, I agree that this discussion needs to go on until we reach to an agreement satisfying all parties. But looking at the thread there is little to nothing specific to Ahmedabad here. One could even say that it is not even restricted to India since this type of situation will happen wherever there is a national chapter and some contributors willing to create a Wikimedia User Group or a MediaWiki Group. I have renamed the thread and you might even consider moving the discussion to wikimedia-l in order to gather opinions from other chapters and contributors elsewhere.

On 01/07/2013 05:20 AM, Pradeep Mohandas wrote:
However, this act of creating a new entity comes along with it the
responsoibility of answering questions and concerns other members of the
community may have.

For what is worth Harsh has been answering promptly to any requests about the Ahmedabad proposal coming from myself (as promoter of MediaWiki Groups), the Affiliations Committee and the Wikimedia India chapter in the direct contacts with Srikanth Ramakrishnan.

Asking Harsh or the Ahmedabad volunteers to answer the generic questions in this thread is like asking Belgium to come up with answers about the problem of Global Warming. Or something. :)

*From:* Arun Ramarathnam <>
For now, it is unclear to me what treating the Ahmedabad Mediawiki user
  group as a formal wikimedia user group actually means?

I tried to answer questions like the ones you are asking at . I'll try harder now. :)

Maybe the simplest way to explain local MediaWiki Groups is that they are like Wikipedia Meetups, but focusing on MediaWiki instead.

"Local MediaWiki groups collaborate with Wikimedia chapters, See also Wikipedia meetups and other local communities related with Wikimedia, free software, free culture..."

No more, no less.

Does that mean it would be non-incorporated entity

Indeed. MediaWiki Groups are not meant to be incorporated. Maybe this should be put clearly in our documentation to avoid confusion.

and have trademark reuse rights (from the chapter?).

No. The only right you get as MediaWiki Group Something is to use "MediaWiki Group Something" in your activities and materials. For anything else you need to ask the chapter or the WMF just like anybody else.

"MediaWiki groups can request support from the Wikimedia Foundation and chapters in various forms:

Advice on the use of Wikimedia / Wikipedia / MediaWiki logos and trademarks in your activities."

It suppose it would need to depend on funding as needed from the chapter or WMF.

Being a MediaWiki Group doesn't grant you any funding. You need to find your own resources or ask the chapter / Funds Dissemination Committe, WMF... again just like anybody else.

India has been a test bed to test out models without  thinking through

About the several mentions of the WMF experimenting in India with new models. I can't speak about the past since I wasn't here. But I can assure you that the WMF has no specific plans or intentions regarding MediaWiki Groups in India.

If some the first proposals are coming from India is because there are people here with an interest in organizing MediaWiki activities locally. India is a computer science powerhouse and there is a history of MediaWiki / Wikimedia tech activities. That explains, not any undisclosed WMF plan. Yuvi Panda might have a address at work but his interest is personal. Harsh and the Ahmedabad promoters don't have any ties with the WMF that I'm aware of.

If someone would have started in Germany, Australia or wherever we would be now supporting them just in the same way. We are supporting MediaWiki Group Ciudad de México just in the same way, only without lengthy discussions because there nobody seems to see a problem in this kind of groups.

If you still think there is a WMF agenda behind MediaWiki Groups in India please speak up, otherwise we will just accumulate a silent layer of misunderstanding.

I care for the movement and do believe that strengthening chapters to be
the custodians of the movement in respective countries is the way to go
forward. In my view, all movement entities should focus on assisting
chapters to be successful who in term focus on supporting the community
and local outreach. If there isn't belief in chapters, better to scrap
them than run parallel entities (I am not referring to the Ahmedabad
initiative here).

I wish someone would explain how a MediaWiki Group (or a Wikimedia User Group) harms a chapter. In my previous email I tried to explain how MediaWiki Groups are designed to support chapters and collaborate with them.

MediaWiki groups are Wikimedia User Groups, and afaik WUGs have been designed and approved by the people organizing the chapters and the presence of the Wikimedia community in the World.

What is sad is in the midst of this complexity of organisational
entities, we perhaps risk losing truly enthusiastic volunteers whose
only  interest is in contributing to the movement. Catalysing and
supporting volunteer enthusiasm and interest ought to be  our collective
sole purpose and focus.

E X A C T L Y !

Thank you for writing this down so beautifully. Now, this is the situation: a group of volunteers wants to create a MediaWiki Group, which is a type of entity approved by the Wikimedia movement and is meant to work in collaboration with chapters. Weeks after the proposal was presented no argument has been presented against this group of volunteers in Ahmedabad, and they are not overlapping with other existing activities.

Can we just let them do what they want?

Like Wikipedia Meetups, they are "just" a group of people getting things done locally and coordinating through a web page. If thanks to this lengthy discussion or other experience we find improvements we can just apply such improvements to this Ahmedabad group and others that will raise. Evolution, the wiki way

I request Harsh and the other volunteers to keep the focus on the
"coding" and the cool stuff than get caught up in the debate of the
organizational complexity which is best left to the chapter EC and the
WMF to sort out quickly.

In fact, ultimately this is a decision to be discussed between Wikimedia India and the Affiliations Committee. The WMF has actually little extra to say.

The WMG Engineering plan does contemplate the creation of MediaWiki groups in the World to "extend the capacity of the Wikimedia Foundation in events, training, promotion and other technical activities benefiting Wikipedia, the Wikimedia movement and the MediaWiki software." For doing that we are using the tools created by the Wikimedia community: Wikimedia user groups, which happen to share the basic idea with open source user groups - which is what we are really after with the MediaWiki Groups.

Quim Gil
Technical Contributor Coordinator @ Wikimedia Foundation

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