Thank you for responses. Having known you for quite some time, I am very well aware of your good intentions in writing that mail. I was just taking the opportunity to humbly try to remove some of misconceptions and notions that was unfortunately spread about the chapter.  

Please understand that we as a chapter, are no different from the community members. We are a bunch of volunteers who is just trying to setup a non-profit organisation to help and catalyst the Wikimedia Movement in India. We are all community members at large, who have also done considerable efforts in building wiki-communities and spreading awareness about Wikimedia and Wikipedia even in our personal capacities, much before the even the chapter existed. 

Unlike full time and paid Wikimedia Foundation staff, we, as chapter members,  have our jobs to keep and family to keep in merry and we all do this in our "free times" at the cost and sacrifices of our personal times and professional growths. But we do this by not thinking "How will I benefit from the chapter ?" but instead "How can I do to help the chapter and the movement?" , Isn't it the same reasons we all started contributing to Wikipedia ? Isn't that the same joy and satisfaction of contributing for the sum total of human knowledge , we were attracted to this one of the wonderful projects in the world? 

I joined the chapter only in June last year ... After the AGM elections in end of September 2011, i was elected to the chapter board. I stood myself for the elections neither because I wanted to fancy myself as board member nor because I had enough time.. I was going through an insanely difficult phase both in professional and personal lifes. I would have worked just as a normal chapter member. But I was saddened by the lack of interest and participation even for people standing for the vacant board positions and I went to persuade others to stand for the elections. In order to prove the point, i too stood for the elections and now helping the chapter in an official position.. 

The chapter will never exclude anyone from helping it or the movement...The chapter never has any intentions try to divide the community. The chapter is here to to serve the community. Even when the scholarships for Wikiconference were selected, it was sincerely done based on the merits of the applications and not of any relationships with the chapter. Just be aware that many of us , at the same time, traveled and helped the event from our pockets. You must be also aware that one of largest wiki communities that received those scholarships were from Malayalam Wiki-projects. 

The previous night before the Wiki-conference, some of us were at the police stations seeking protections against party protesters who has threatened to stop the conference. We didn't have to do all these, we could just enjoyed our weekend leisurely at our homes. Least, we could have happily edited the wikis without having to bother about bringing together hundreds of Wiki enthusiasts and wikimedians from all around the country.  But we believed in a cause.. we were committed to a mission, to help it as much as we can. 

With our limited set of active volunteers, we are working with other language Wiki-communities too.

As I stated earlier, we have a "chicken and egg problem" : "The community will join the chapter only if the chapter is strong ... The chapter can grow strong only if the community actively joins the chapter". 

How will the chapter grow, unless each one of the active Wikipedians come in ? The chapter needs your support, encouragement and participation. We are a part of you, the community...

We need you !

Tinu Cherian 

2012/1/7 Jyothis E <jyothis.e@gmail.com>

Again, please dont think that I am picking a fight. Just trying to be constructive with the situation. Please take a step back and think about it. Comments and questions are welcome.

2012/1/7 CherianTinu Abraham <tinucherian@gmail.com>
Hi all,
               Please don't differentiate and undermine any Wikimedia event as hosted by chapter or community.

Nope, not doing that. Should not feel that anyone is undermining anyones effort anywhere. even a space adjustment is counted as an edit in a wiki. 
We ( as I speak for the chapter in this mail) is committed to encourage and help any Wikimedia event in the country, in the best of the efforts. 

Good, it should be that way. It should be much more that events. It has to evolve into bringing projects to life and beyond.
As chapter, we agree to use even use the term co-host , only if the local organizers ask themselves.

Not taking this in a negative sense. I assume you mean to say that chapter does not use the title/brand unless it is required.
Since some time, we have consciously decided not to brand any Wikimedia event in the country as a chapter hosted one , except the Wiki-conference, Mumbai.  We had do that for Mumbai conference, for the purposes of getting sponsors, opening bank accounts etc. 

Sorry for a stupid question here: Can I see a list of other events chapter helped organizing without using its brand documented somewhere please?

The chapter get frequent requests from various corners, from conducting Wiki-academies.

Good to see that chapter is being recognized and approached by various entities. What are the documented steps in the current chapter's procedure to involve communities when such a request come in? Apart from requests that come in, what are the efforts put in to reach out to various organizations and educational institutions to offer them with the community support?
The first thing we do is to put them in touch with local Wikipedians if there are any.

Good to know! What can we do to ensure that the same coverage goes to the communities that does not have as many active participations around? What can chapter do to build those communities? What can we do to grow the sleeping wikis to life? Can chapter reach out to educational institutions and goverment organizations in Bihar and see if it can vitalize Bhwiki? 
We are making the events as much as inclusive as possible. The recent Wikiacademy @ Jaya Engineering College, Chennai , though the request came to the chapter, we heartily welcomed the participation of the Wikimedia Foundation India Programs officials.  Another recent event "Wikimedia Takes Ahmedabad" , primarly done by chapter members ( they are also community members), we never publicized it as organised by the chapter. Even though many newspapers wrote that the event is organised by the Foundation, we didn't mind, as the goal and cause is more important for us.   An earlier event at NIT, Calicut [1] was driven by Malayalam Community members like Vishwaprabha, Netha, Manjok & Abhishek. Still some of the Malayalam community members blamed and questioned us for doing "chapter events in Kerala" !

Good to know. If not already in place, please work on a standard protocol to inform community, seek participation or support in such events etc. if there are enough local community members available to run the show, chapter can save some money and time of people by just sending a representative (or may be none in a case by case scene) as well. What do you think?
When somebody requests for a Wikiacademy, should we tell them to "get lost" if it is in Kerala ? Another request is received here at Adoor [2] , please tell us what to do ? We would be more than happy if this also is driven by the community in Kerala!

See, This is where the core of the problem lies. Why cant the chapter learn that though it is termed as an independent entity, it is not a separate body, but an umbrella and support organization for the local communities? chapter and communities going in two different directions is fruitless. Chapter cannot force the communities go their way just because chapter has recognition by the foundation. Lets not forget that there were communities and events before chapter arrived in the scene. Especially with the way the Indian chapter was formed, chapter leadership has a long walk ahead to work with communities and prove itself to be worthy of the title, funding and recognition it seeks. Chapter will fail in its mission if it is not supported by the communities it tries to serve, nourish and promote.

Now, for the "get lost" part in your statement, I think you already know the answer to that question. I would choose to frame that statement better (or at least politically correct fashion) if I were in your position. It is not a crime to organize and conduct events anywhere, but kindly try to understand the community sentiments before your fire off statements like this. 

But that is just me.

AFAIK, the event at CUSAT ( jan 5, 2012 ) was more finalized a few days before the event on 26 Dec [3] , The chapter secretary Naveen sent the mail to ML mailing list on 29 Dec. I agree that the local organizers & community members (like Ditty and Anil) should have informed the community much earlier, if that was possible. 

Why would that not be possible? 

The chapter itself is driven by veteran community members.

I dont think anyone questioned this part.
It is true that the chapter is now just a smaller subset of the community...The chapter will serve its purpose and becomes more meaningful only if the whole community becomes part of it and takes its reins to drive forward. Like any other community member, we are also unpaid volunteers who sacrifice our precious time for the passion and love of the movement. It is an open membership and non profit society and we strongly encourage and humbly request every active member to join the chapter. http://wiki.wikimedia.in/Join_us 

Community members will come and join the chapter in packs when they learn that the chapter is worth their time and money. I dont think by not being a member of chapter prevents anyone from helping chapter move forward or participate in a chapter event with community participation though. If chapter starts putting a boundary that non members cannot participate in project related events, I think that would be a step towards alienating the community from chapter.

Tinu Cherian


Thanks for reading thru. Bottom line is, Lets work together as a community for the growth and progression of projects rather that seeing chapter and community as disjoint sets.


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