First, I do not want to diminish the happiness of the
New Yorkers having a
chapter making their activities easier. But I do think very negative about
this step of the Board, both for emotional and practical reasons.
Emotional: Having a NYC chapter next to the French, German etc. makes
France, Germany etc. look the equals to New York. It makes the Wikimedia
Foundation look an American organization that has regional chapters in the
50 states, and also has some afiliates in the "colonies" (France, Germany
etc.). As Gerard has said, some countries are more equal than others.
Practical: When I once talked with Arne Klempert about the possibility of an
Esperanto or Latin or Alemannic chapter, he explained to me that Wikimedia
accepts only chapters within international boundaries, one chapter per
country. There is a German, Austrian, and a Swiss chapter, not a German
language or a French language chapter. If this would not be so, if we would
have chapters based on something else, we would get into a lot of trouble.
And he easily convinced me, because I know similar problems from other
Allowing sub national chapters (or super national chapters) is giving wrong
ideas to a lot of people. If we did not deny a chapter to the New Yorkers,
how can we deny it to other regions, minorities etc.? (Or prevent that
personal conflicts are realized on the level of regions?)
Some more questions:
* NYC chapter does not clearly define its borders, talks about a region
where it wants to be active. What if other Wikimedians wants to create a
chapter in a city that is now in the New York chapter region? When a North
Eastern US Chapter knocks on the door of WMF, will the NYC chapter be happy
about and volontarily dissolve?
* Ethnically divided countries: Belgium, for example: What if one group of
Belgian Wikimedians wants to create a Belgian chapter, but others want three
regional chapters (Brussels, Flanders, Wallonia)?
* Minorities without region: What if there is an Estonian chapter, but
Russian speaking people there demand a chapter of their own?
* When the chapters are going to work together more than now, and are going
to elect WMF board members: Will one chapter have one vote? Will there be 50
US chapters with 50 votes, and one French chapter with one vote?
* Isn't it much easier for WMF to relate to a limited number of national
chapters than with a potentially unlimited number of national, sub national,
or super national chapters?
It might have been better to consider the NYC chapter indeed as a "sub
chapter", a stand-in until there will be an US chapter.
2009/1/19 Michael Snow <wikipedia(a)verizon.net>
I've been assembling my notes from last
week's board meeting to pass
along. The first set of items I have to report is business from the
chapters committee. All of these resolutions have been posted on the
We approved two new chapters, and there's something special about each
of the two. Wikimedia New York City is special because it's the first
one recognized under the new sub-national chapter guidelines. And
Wikimedia UK is special because it's the second version of that chapter.
For the sake of formality - and nobody does formality better than the
British, which has been part of the difficulty - we revoked the
recognition of the first one, which is dissolved or in the process of
dissolving. Anyway, welcome to both of the new chapters!
Also, two resolutions relating to the chapters committee's membership
and procedures were approved. One recognizes the current members and the
other allows the committee to determine its own membership in the
future. This allows them to keep their work going without waiting for
the board to pass a resolution (the board reserves the ability to
appoint and remove members and will still be informed of changes).
foundation-l mailing list
I think this is the wrong way to consider the chapters. The first
sub-national chapter that we have is indeed Hongkong. Hongkong is
undisputed a part of China, so it is a sub-national chapter and it is in
no way an american sub-national chapter. And no, the foundation
definitively don't want to be an american chapter. Thing is more
praktical: If the new yorker wikimedians have the ability to organize
themselves but there's no ability to organize an allamerican chapter,
why should we lay stones on their way and prevent them doing so. And as
in my reply to Gerard, if the community want, I really don't see problem
why the netherland chapter should or could not also incoporate part of
Belgium. If it can do good for the people, why not? I really don't
consider the chapters as nations or countries. If say people from Taiwan
and from mainland China can work together peacefully and constructive on
the same project, why should we constraint ourselves in concepts like
national state and boundaries in matter of chapters. The problem with an
esperanto chapter is mainly I think because one cannot define a clear
geographical boundary for it.
By the way I am reading your book about the International Esperanto
Conference. I see a lot of parallels from them and us (for example the
definition of neutrality, internationality and so on). I find it very
very interesting. Thank you very much for the book. And do you think
that the Esperanto community would organize strictly in national
chapters if they start today, and not more than hundred years ago?