From: Lodewijk <lodewijk(a)effeietsanders.org>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Movement roles letter, Feb 2012
It would be great if we can have this discussion without making sarcastic
remarks like this - I know it is a sensitive topic, but I also know that
we're in a suboptimal situation here right now. In the past discussions we
have talked about how we should try to engage volunteers and let them do
what they are best at - I still stand behind that. That however also means
that we should recognize that the chapters model will not work for every
single person or group of persons.
This does not necessarily have to correlate with a 'shift of power' or
disengaging chapters - it *should* be about engaging more volunteers, and
allowing them to do great work with the best tools available. So let us
focus on that.
I think there are two types of organizations within the Wikimedia movement
relevant here besides the chapters and the WMF:
1) Organizations that will ideally grow into a chapter some day
2) Organizations that explicitely do not want to or cannot grow into a
The group 1) will probably mainly be the case because of either legal
reasons or because there is not enough critical mass yet. I don't think
anyone disagrees we should give them the space they need. This includes for
example Wikimedia Croatia, Kazachstan and Georgia.
The group 2) will in my expectation consist of groups that are indeed more
aligned along cultural ideas. To mind come Amical (as discussed) and
Esperantists. Now this is where things apparently become complicated,
because somehow things can get conflicting when they start to compete with
chapters. There are a few things relevant here in the recognition process
* What will be the rights will determine to large extent how high the
threshold will be
* If there is a geographical component (explicit or not) there should,
imho, be a consultation with the relevant other organizations overlapping
with that component. I don't know if it is realistic to go as far as a
veto, but it should definitely be a very serious part of the process. This
should probably be reciprocal - if a chapter is to be recognized other
groups in that area should be consulted, too.
* We should have clear to what extent trademarks and fundraising rights go
- both for chapters and non-chapter organizations.
* We have to remain very careful about political statements. I am
personally a bit hesistant with recognizing any organization which is
politically oriented. Hence, this analysis should also be part of the
recognition process of any movement organization. To give an entirely
obvious example: I would not feel comfortable if any organization would be
founded based on ethnically oriented principles, or would be discriminating
in its membership based on principles that would be considered illegal in
most countries (even if it is not illegal in that specific country).
Another obvious example: I would feel extremely uncomfortable if any of
these organizations would only allow men to vote in their assemblies or if
there are religious requirements.
* In general I would like to find a way to ensure that relations are good
between the organization and the communities and relevant other
organizations. I doubt we ever can formalize that into a demand, but all
efforts should go into this of course.
Probably there are some more criteria which are currently already checked
upon (although not formally in a checklist) by the recognition of chapters
that should be part of this. I think it would be helpful if chapcom can
tackle that issue in it's berlin meeting.
Anyway, just some thoughts. As a final remark, I sincerely hope that we
will not fall in the trap of building policies around a single case - but
rather focus on the big picture and then afterwards test that picture on
the single scenario.
Amical is a complicated case, and it would be very
easy to loose ourselves in who's at fault, the details and what solutions
do not work in their case.
You are disappointing me Lodewijk. You are a man who always find the way to
say things without offending but without hiding the problems. If Amical has
done something you believe is wrong please go ahead and complain. Up to now
our discussion page is empty.
It is not fair to say in a public list that we are a complicated case and
insinuate that somebody is at fault without explaining which complications
we have created to you.