Thanks Rupert for thinking about this. The chapter creation process
is indeed under-going review following the Board's November decision,
and all comments, input is welcome.
There are some reasons that make it a bit difficult to enact your
suggestions or to come to the results you suggest in the chapter
creation process. Just to take one practical limiting factor, setting
up an incorporated entity takes some time and money even if
Wikimedia itself did not add any further burdens.
This was one of the reasons the non-incorporated user group concept
was envisioned largely following along the lines you draw. (Membership
organisations with wide trademark use rights, etc.)
- not sure if there is an equivalent easily accessible study for
membership organisations, but this is a good proxy
On Sat, May 3, 2014 at 9:02 AM, rupert THURNER <rupert.thurner(a)gmail.com> wrote:
out of the experiences of creating 50 chapters, and the recent
frustrated feedback from persons involved in the creation of new
chapters, e.g. belgium and ghana, could we please find a simple and
effective way to organize the chapters creation process? existing
chapters not meeting the requirements have 3 years to adjust their
target and purpose of chapters:
chapters match a country as defined by the league of nations defined
in 1939 and reaffirmed by the united nations in 1945 , to follow
local jurisdiction. they are membership organizations.
requirements to be a chapter in the bylaws:
* support the mission of the wmf
* be a membership organization, i.e. the highest body is
the assembly of members
* be a member must be possible for everybody who
contributes (i.e. edits, writes software used by wmf projects)
at zero cost (or low cost, e.g. price of one meal?)
* meet the tax exemption criteria. justification needed
if not possible, reviewed regularly.
* an audit committee, consisting of members, who are also
allowed to seek professional help
this means chapters can created within days, not years. the rules are
clear right from the beginning. measures are already in place if
something goes wrong.
* creating a chapter is possible immediately one
finds the legal minimum number of contributors in a
country, most of the time 2 or 3.
* the bylaw requirements guarantee contributors can
easily join any time and no lockout can happen.
negative example: german football federation,
allowing a red bull club (rb leipzig) with 7 members, exorbitant
membership fee, existing rb leipzig board decides who can
* proper names may be used immediately, current negative
example: "planning wikimedia ghana" registers facebook, and
other social accounts with a temporary name to gather
people. the risk is that it is "planning" forever. later change
of such accounts is nearly impossible without breaking history.
* bank accounts with limited liability are used immediately,
allowing to properly pursue misuse in local jurisdiction. negative
example: kenya, where money disappeared from a
* the bylaw requirements allow the inclusion or lockout of people
not contributing at the chapters discretion. example: germany,
switzerland allowing persons and even legal entities to become
* it allows to organize itself in some federal way within a country,
at the discretion of a chapter.
* it guarantees to have the highest level of local jurisdiction control
by meeting tax exemption criteria. examples: germany, uk.
there critieria are in place which can be fulfilled, austria. criteria
exist what cannot be matched, but discussions are ongoing to
change the law.
* initial signing of policies and contracts with the wmf is not required.
using trademarks without approval is easily controlled by established
procedures (legal, fdc, etc). the movement is used to deal with
people and organizations trying to do that every day, in many
* "contributing" is easily and globally defined by commits, and edits,
as currently used for elections 
* no block is there by enforcing auditing costs, as well preventing a
chapters board to "appoint a best friend auditing firm". negative
examples: enron, which was audited by arthur anderson, and
anyway exploded. positive examples: wmf, using volunteers and
kpmg, most chapters.
* there is no different treatment of newborn chapters, chapters with
experienced boards, and chapters who just changed the whole board.
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