Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2013 07:31:59 +0800
From: Josh Lim <jamesjoshualim(a)yahoo.com>
To: Wikimedia Mailing List <wikimedia-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Are chapters part of the community and
board seats for affiliates?
On Feb 23, 2013, at 4:27 AM, Fae <faewik(a)gmail.com> wrote:
The vast majority of volunteers like the idea
that there is a Chapter
they can turn to to ask for help, or to get their idea for a project
reviewed, funded and looking "official". If a volunteer came to a
wikimeet with a brilliant idea for a project, but said they could not
stand the stupid bureaucracy of chapters, I'd say "excellent mate, you
go for it and I'll see what I can do to help with funding if you need
I'm inclined to believe that bureaucracy exists despite, not because of, chapters.
As it is, volunteers, especially those from the Global South, can be classified into two
1. They're "detached": they're part of the community, but they
don't know about the support options open to them
2. They're so involved in the community, they could care less about the
"bureaucracy" (in my university, this is called "going down the hill",
as my university is on a hill)
Chapters aside, I'm in fact curious to know how many volunteers do know about the
Foundation's grants system, or the research program, or heck, Wikimedia User Groups or
Wikimania scholarships. Granted, it's a good thing that volunteers have options open
for them whether or not they want to deal with the bureaucracy, but it's all for
nought if they're left unaware of those options.
JAMES JOSHUA G. LIM
I just wanted to follow up on this and reinforce Josh Lim's point.
Yesterday, I spent several hours chatting with volunteers, seasoned and
new, at the Wikipedia Day that the New York City chapter put together:
you, volunteers of New York City!). I was dismayed at how few people
knew about the Participation Support subsidies that they could apply for
to help them do outreach (more on that & related opportunities at
In my role helping MediaWiki sysadmins and developers, I often ask
whether they've heard of our conferences, our paid internships, our
online events, and so on. More and more of the undergraduate students
have heard of Google Summer of Code
, but graduate
students often don't know that they're eligible, and students in North
America and Europe often haven't heard of it.
I don't know the answer. Like Josh, I don't know how well our publicity
about these things is penetrating our volunteer communities, and I don't
know what level of penetration I would be satisfied with. I suspect
that others have better answers regarding what we've tried, what works,
and what we're doing next, and I'd love to hear them.
Engineering Community Manager