The United States previously had no chapter, no organization in which
members of the community could gain membership and organize events,
activities and pursuits independent from the legal organization of
The state of New York has 20 million people. What country in Europe or
anywhere else of 20 million people would be refused a chapter? On what basis
should such a chapter be denied? That people oppose the creation of a New
York chapter, and thus limiting American community members in a way
non-American community members are not limited, on the basis that it somehow
creates an imbalance... I find it hard to credit. Nothing in a New York
chapter should be interpreted as reducing the power over Wikimedia of
Europeans. It should be noted that there are a number of non-American
members of the Board, and neither the director nor the deputy director of
the organization is American.
On Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 8:49 AM, Ziko van Dijk <zvandijk(a)googlemail.com>wrote;wrote:
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
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
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
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
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.