I propose a real-life case to all Foundation Board
candidates. I expect that all candidates are on this
mailing list naturally.
Say, you are on the board of Wikimedia Foundation.
A user from a rather minor wikipedia contact the
foundation mailing list, to ask for help on setting a
local association. This user is currently working on
the status of the future association with her peers,
and naturally should set status that are in coherence
with the Foundation principles themselves.
Now, it so happens that when you were a candidate a
while ago, and while candidating, you indicated as
PART of your platform, that indeed helping smaller
wikipedias were an issue to you, and that you would
HELP set local chapters.
Indeed, the user of the minor wikipedia is VERY
encouraged by the fact you put local chapter
considerations in your plateform, so that she knows it
is IMPORTANT to you, so of course, she is confident
you will answer and bring help.
So, here she is, bringing the issue on the mailing
list, and asking help...
Question : what do you do ?
I apologize for not responding more quickly, and for resurrecting the
topic so late, but since Anthere addressed the question to me among
others, I feel I should respond. I have family visiting this weekend, so
I haven't been able to devote much time to the discussion here. The
penalty I pay is that everyone has said much of what I would say already.
First of all, having some information on Meta is definitely needed, and
I'm glad to see that Yann started a stub at the page Angela suggested.
Also, I would ask this person some additional questions, to determine
what kind of help they need. For instance, right now I don't necessarily
know what kind of association this person has in mind. Are they looking
to do some fundraising at a local level, and do they need non-profit and
tax-exempt status for this? Are they trying to create an organization
that will be able to interact with other institutions, such as media
organizations? Are they trying to form a body to have some sort of
governing role in this "minor" Wikipedia? Or are they thinking of an
association primarily in terms of a group that meets together on a
social basis? Also, do they know of anyone else that is interested and
wants to participate in the proposed association? Would the association
be related to a location (e.g., a Moscow chapter for the Russian
Wikipedia), or would it be universal for that particular Wikipedia?
Part of the purpose of these questions is to evaluate whether this needs
to be an official chapter of the Foundation, or whether they could do
just as well as an unofficial body. A social networking group probably
doesn't need official status (which is not to say that I wouldn't be
willing to assist them in getting started). But if the association wants
to raise funds for a particular project, or represent the Foundation in
an official capacity, it should have a more direct connection. We can
have different models for official chapters, depending on which of these
functions are needed. Naturally, the guidelines for creating official
chapters should allow the community on that Wikipedia to make as many
organizational decisions as possible, as long as basic principles and
the relationship to the Foundation are clearly established.
It may not be quite fair to answer a question with a bunch more
questions, but I don't have a glib answer to give this hypothetical
person. I would rather find out more about the situation, so that I know
what guidance the person needs, and how I can best help out.