Hi,

* Chapter, user groups and online wikimedia project communities need not be
mutually exclusive.

* A user group need not be created just for the sake of it without clear
idea of the problem that it intends to solve and which cannot be solved by
other already available means.

For example, forming a Tamil Wikimedia user group in SriLanka will make
sense as we have legal and financial restrictions of spending India
chapter's money in other countries. But, there is no need felt to start a
Tamil Wikimedia user group in Tamilnadu.

Will a global Tamil user group like
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Esperanto_kaj_Libera_Scio help?

May be. But, it isn't a pressing need. Whenever we come up with a project
or grant request, it is well supported already by WMF and Wikimedia India.

Please also note that for a country like India, a registered and legal
entity like chapter is very essential. Because, without a letter pad and
official seal, we can't enter many places. And without such entities, we
can't conduct mega projects with big budgets (Individuals who receive money
on behalf of communities or user groups will face tax audit issues. And the
process needs to be repeatedly done every time by a new individual)

* A user group will help when they operate across multiple projects and
regions. For example, GLAM volunteers and Mediawiki hackers. But, I see
this as a convenience as to organize the volunteers themselves formally
than as a requirement to operate outside other entities like chapter,
especially when they are willing to support them.

* Please note that many of the current and waiting to be approved user
groups are just incubators for future chapters. We will be going backwards
if we dissolve the chapter and split into user groups.

* Yes, Wikimedia India chapter could have fared better. But, I wouldn't
blame it or any single person or EC. Like any Wikimedia project, it can
only become better with more participation, collaboration and emergence of
natural leadership. For a complex country like India, it will take time. 7
members of EC are not super humans and they are not supposed to do all the
work by themselves. Any such expectation set by themselves or from the
members should be reconsidered. In my personal experience interacting with
the chapter, they have always supported us in all ways possible. Only if
the chapter stands in the way of any aspiring member / community's plan, it
should be highlighted and discussed.

* The chapter is already as democratic as it could be by design. In fact,
most of it's problems stem from that and not because of lack of democracy.
Other players in the movement like WMF or their working partners like CIS
don't have this issue while chapters have to face this issue. So, it is
unfair to judge chapter's performance without considering this crucial
aspect.

* Whatever be the structural setup we might agree, it is not going to solve
all issues. We need to think with it and also outside the box.

* I am surprised that no one highlighted the impact of non-community
organizations like CIS in the movement.

Once, I asked an active Indian Wikimedian who initiated many chapter events
and then started collaborating with CIS, why he made this transition.

His answer:

"Chapter doesn't give us money. CIS gives money".

And there you see, how in the name of language community strategy of WMF
through CIS has bifurcated the community.

This, in my view, is a bigger issue that needs to be addressed.

Ravi
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