I hate doing so, but I addressed things inline.
On Nov 2, 2008, at 4:32 PM, Michael Bimmler wrote:
On Sun, Nov 2, 2008 at 10:12 PM, Dan Rosenthal
(Note, I said approvals and development. The lack
of involvement by
ChapCom in the active development of chapters is even more concerning
than the lack of transparency in the approvals process.)
And surely, because you're involved with every chapter and/or on the
ChapCom mailinglist, you are able to make that judgment. (Yes, You
have been involved with DC. That's a special case, see below).
That's a terrible argument and you know it. I don't need to be
intimately involved with every chapter or on ChapCom's mailing list to
know that things are not as they should be. You ought to know better
Well for one thing, when I first started
questioning the idea of why
there were no US chapters either nationally or subnationally (this
before the Pennsylvania chapter started) i was told that it simply
wasn't going to happen, that the Chapters Committee could not decide
what they wanted to do, and that in fact there was direct opposition
on the committee towards certain countries or regions forming
This is untrue. The issue of sub-national chapters has been discussed
for a long time intra-ChapCom (because it is not a light issue which
can be decided about in a couple days, sorry). We have also solicited
board input for quite some time, but the board was for a long time not
really willing to make principal decisions on this matter. This has
now changed and a general framework has, for the first time, been
developed. which is good and which also means that we can now really
work on the approval of sub-national chapters.
Nobody suggested a couple days. How long has it been discussed for
intra-ChapCom? Years now? Are you seriously suggesting that the
ChapCom has been doing EVERYTHING in it's power to pursue more chapters?
As for untrue, I know what I was told. Whether they were correct or
not is less important than the fact that this is a public perception
problem of the ChapCom (and yes, privatemusings may help fix it, but
some of the damage is done already).
Currently there are only 18 chapters (excluding
UK). There should be
far more, and I seriously suspect the Chapters Committee is the
How so? Could it not also be that the Chapter groups themselves are
somewhat less than active? Back when we founded WmCH, yes, I
considered ChapCom to be a "barrier" too and a slowly rising one,
alas. But now that I believe to know both sides, I think that ChapCom
has become much faster and more organised, not least also due to the
great work by our new communications advisor (and general reminder
person) Peter / privatemusings.
I suggest as much below in my post. I'm not saying that ChapCom is not
better now than it was in the past. But there certainly have been
problems with it.
WM Venezuela still drafting bylaws since November
Well, yes. With all due respect, what do you expect us to do? We can't
draft bylaws *for the chapters*, for this, we'd need to know all the
legislations of the world, which we don't. We can only afterwards look
at the scope/aim/goal part of the bylaws but they really have to
figure all the practical proceduralities themselves.
Sure you can. Why can't you help the chapters draft their bylaws for
the general things that do not require specific legal knowledge of
that particular country? Surely ChapCom has a relatively standard
framework that they can provide for the chapters to modify as they
need. If not, that's a failure on the committee's part for not being
WM Canada has been "finishing up
by-laws" since March.
Yes. I happen to be on the wikimedia-canada list and, from what I see
there, not all too much is going on. See, there is a limited amount of
things Chapcom can do: We're always happy to help with advice, and
yes, we might need to get more proactive, but we can't "replace a
community". Either people are there and willing to do this or they
Nobody's suggesting replacing an community. But what has ChapCom done
to proactively find out where the WMF Canada chapter is currently at,
what help they need, what ChapCom can do to speed things up etc?
WM Hrvatske (Croatia I assume? The page says
something about Zagreb)
has been translating bylaws since December last year.
We can't help much here, not speaking Croatian. If they have serious
problems, I believe the WMF would consider a request for the funding
of professional translations.
Has ChapCom made such a request? What efforts have they made to ask
members of the proposed chapter (in whatever language a connection can
be made in) how they can be helped, and find out if the WMF can fund
WM India still in bylaws discussion since
November of last year.
As above myself.
WM Norge listed as awaiting approval since July.
The ChapCom has already been voting on this, but the vote had been
stalled, as somehow, our new membership resolution had not been
considered by the board and therefore, we suspended voting until
knowing who was actually entitled to vote and who not. This has now
been cleared, we expect that the board can vote on Norge at its next
Precisely how long does it take for ChapCom to vote?
WM Portugal listed as "bylaws ready,
discussing how to constitute"
This strikes me as odd, similarly to Thomas. But we're glad to provide
help if approached, but in many cases, we don't even have email
address etc. from people so it's much easier for us, if they write a
mail to *our non-filtered mailinglist* chapterscommittee-l at
wikimedia punto org
This didn't strike anyone as odd at all since March? Is nobody keeping
an eye out for these things?
WM NYC still figuring things out since Jan. 07,
WM Penn. still listed as figuring stuff out since June 07.
WM DC has not heard a peep from the chapters committee since May.
as explained above - sub-national chapters had been not individually
considered until the general framework was set. We now have this and
there is also a sub-national chapters working group, so I expect this
to be dealt with speedily.
I view it as a failure that it took so long for even a general
framework to have been set.
Nine chapters languishing in development for an
time. This is not to say that the chapters themselves hold no
responsibility, but I've seen no evidence of the Chapters Committee
proactively reaching out to say "What can we do to help you guys get
moving". I suspect if they did, we'd have quite a few more chapters.
I'm not sure whether this is really the major issue here. We can't
guide every chapter in a step-by-step procedure "Now you do this, now
you do that, now you do that". On the one hand, there are too many
local specialities, which rather require input from lawyers or
law-savvy people from these jurisdictions (ahem, Wikimedia UK, I
wouldn't know how ChapCom could have helped much there, we know zero
about UK Company Law...), on the other hand, it *must* be possible. I
have seen many chapters form without any "real-time guidance" by
ChapCom (in fact, I co-established one in that manner) and it *does*
work. It needs an active community, a few people who really want to
invest time in doing tedious things like writing bylaws and
translating them, it requires local meetups etc. etc. But, as much as
we enjoy giving advice, we cannot be "facilitators" for every local
group, I can't write bylaws for WM Venezuela and I can't organise a
pub-wikimeet for Wikimedia Canada (random examples, no offence).
So if you can only give very limited advice, and if you can't actively
help, what exactly do you do?
A couple of Wikimeetups ago, I discussed with
some people what their
interests in developing a chapter were. Quite a few people expressed
no interest, either because they believed the Chapters Committee was
unable or unwilling to help, or because they simply believed that it
was impossible for them to get a chapter approved and they didn't
to waste the effort.
Well, maybe you should have a look at how many chapters were approved
in the last 9 months. Quite a few, I daresay. And this, although
ChapCom takes its role seriously and actually considers all bylaws in
depth before submitting an official recognition to the board.
Six or seven? That's hardly "Quite a few". All it does is establish
that now things are somewhat better now than they were the year before.
The fact that people even think that sort of
thing speaks for itself that the Chapters Committee has failed on
On a PR level, possibly. That's why I am very glad that we have
privatemusings with us now.
Good. That's a step in the right direction.
The Local Chapter FAQ has a "Do not translate until ChapCom has had
opportunity to update it" message since Feb. 2006.
Ouch. I'm sure many people have noted this now and we'll have a look
The Chapter Creation Guide has not been updated
in over a year.
In over two years of existence, the line that says "The details of
this process are given in the [[Chapter approval process]] document."
are STILL a red link. So prospective chapters have ZERO idea of what
the approval process is.
Why, that's not good, I agree. But it can't be that bad, because we
still do get mails which simply say "Dear ChapCom, this <permalink>
are the English translations of our bylaws, please review and comment
and then approve, if you may". And this is exactly how it should be
done. If you want to, you can write two sentences to that effect on
meta to make it a bluelink. Else, we'll see that we can do it as soon
as someone finds time. But it's a wiki.
Writing two sentences is not a solution to a lack of a "chapter
approval process" document. That can only come from ChapCom or the
foundation themselves as they are the ones who approve things. Two
years of no public guidelines is unacceptable.
These are just some of the criticisms of the
I tried to address them as detailedly as possibly (although we might
want to make a new thread for further discussion of it), hope this
You have helped a lot.