I am not sure where this discussion is going to. Srikanth had specific questions on why the MediaWiki user group and why not a technical SIG instead. At least that's what I gather from his mail. 
However you seem to be asking why a MediaWiki user group at all. For this you will need to rewind to previous mailing list threads where community members, oblivious to any possibility of such MediaWiki groups had expressed the desire to have some kind of a technical collaborative. In fact on this thread itself, I remember a response on the chapter list informing people whom this could interest. The mailing list objections don't quite make sense to me. Nor do the arguments about dead groups. That is the nature of volunteer communities perhaps. People were informed about this proposal on all lists precisely due to te absence of an existing tech list. 
I personally don't see why there needs to be any justification to start a collaborative group as long as it is not pulling on precious resources. If enthusiastic volunteers of Ahmedabad wish to call themselves MediaWiki group Ahmedabad and have already localized gadgets and think that formalizing would attract more like minded local users, I don't see any harm. 

Did you see the mini hackathon post and the announcement for all interested members to have a chat with Sumana? Did you also see sucheta and pratik's initiatives in the same vein? Wouldn't it be unfair to term this as an absolute staff initiative and undermine their effort? 


On Jan 3, 2013, at 10:07 PM, Theo10011 <> wrote:

Hi Yuvi

On Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 9:37 PM, Yuvi Panda <> wrote:
This happened on IRC over a few hours, between me, quim and harsh. Most of the conversation was quim convincing me that a mediawiki-india list would be a much better Idea than a MediaWiki India User Group (which he succeeded in), and Harsh volunteering to start the Ahmedabad one. The logging bot has been wonky, so no logs. 

So, to summarize again, Quim, a staff member, and you, a contractor/staff member had a discussion with harsh - I don't know harsh so please forgo any mistaken assumption on my part, had a discussion on IRC, and between the three, it was decided, if a group would be a better option to a list. Unfortunately, there are no logs to even prove the above discussion, which would brig me to reiterate what I said earlier, now confirmed with the explanation above. For the time being, I stand by what I said.

As for 'why User Groups, why not a SIG' - the User Group idea is neither unique nor novel - it is a very well understood concept. Linux User Groups, Python User Groups, Ruby User Groups, Java User Groups, etc abound on per-city levels. This is just another user group for a piece of open source software. MediaWiki does not run just Wikipedia, but is also (IIRC) the most popular software used for standalone wikis. Plenty of projects that use MediaWiki have nothing to do with the Wikimedia movement (An experiment with using Semantic MediaWiki for Public Transit routing a bunch of us tried a few years ago, the w3c wiki (, lots of internal company's documentation wikis, lots of open source software wikis, etc). 

Hmm I have no idea about these user groups, or what levels of formalization they do have, so I'll take your word for it. What I do know is the concept of Wikimedia User groups is a new territory for us, the first group using this approach is being led by the staff, as I said earlier. 

Second, MediaWiki *is* independent and might have nothing to do with Wikimedia. But then again, why are we on a list of Wikimedia asking Wikipedians to join or create the said group? To the extent of my knowledge, Mediawiki is a platform, a piece of software, in terms of real world implications it has no existence. Which would then lead the discussion back in to the circle, that went on the tech list about a MediaWiki foundation and an independent identity, because clearly that's the problem we have right now - shortage of committees, and groups and organizations to conflate a bunch of stuff rather than the actual work they are supposed to do.  

The simplest question is what would this achieve? Let's say there is a group or a list, what then? would the work materialize that so far has not? or would we be left with dead organizations in a year or two that will continue to carry the Wikimedia or Mediawiki name till someone realizes the exposure of proliferating these. I can point you to 2 dozen dead lists with no activities, in order to get wider participation they forward important announcements to the major lists like this, so, if you end up forwarding to the India list most of the times, what is the separate list achieving. It's the same people, perhaps more so on the older lists. 

And 'why formalize their affiliation'? IIRC you need to go through the process to obtain the right to use 'MediaWiki' in your group's title. That is all (from my perspective, at least).

Actually, the discussion about demarcating the rights to use a term is still ongoing. Thematic organizations are being discussed on Meta and if they should use Wikimedia or even Wiki in their name, I suppose some extension would apply to Mediawiki as well. I hope I don't need to point out that the 2 words are the same in both organizations, 'Media' and 'Wiki'.

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