[Foundation-l] Board resolutions (chapters)

Ting Chen wing.philopp at gmx.de
Tue Jan 20 14:26:38 UTC 2009

Ziko van Dijk wrote:
> First, I do not want to diminish the happiness of the New Yorkers having a
> chapter making their activities easier. But I do think very negative about
> this step of the Board, both for emotional and practical reasons.
> Emotional: Having a NYC chapter next to the French, German etc. makes
> France, Germany etc. look the equals to New York. It makes the Wikimedia
> Foundation look an American organization that has regional chapters in the
> 50 states, and also has some afiliates in the "colonies" (France, Germany
> etc.). As Gerard has said, some countries are more equal than others.
> Practical: When I once talked with Arne Klempert about the possibility of an
> Esperanto or Latin or Alemannic chapter, he explained to me that Wikimedia
> accepts only chapters within international boundaries, one chapter per
> country. There is a German, Austrian, and a Swiss chapter, not a German
> language or a French language chapter. If this would not be so, if we would
> have chapters based on something else, we would get into a lot of trouble.
> And he easily convinced me, because I know similar problems from other
> organizations.
> Allowing sub national chapters (or super national chapters) is giving wrong
> ideas to a lot of people. If we did not deny a chapter to the New Yorkers,
> how can we deny it to other regions, minorities etc.? (Or prevent that
> personal conflicts are realized on the level of regions?)
> Some more questions:
> * NYC chapter does not clearly define its borders, talks about a region
> where it wants to be active. What if other Wikimedians wants to create a
> chapter in a city that is now in the New York chapter region? When a North
> Eastern US Chapter knocks on the door of WMF, will the NYC chapter be happy
> about and volontarily dissolve?
> * Ethnically divided countries: Belgium, for example: What if one group of
> Belgian Wikimedians wants to create a Belgian chapter, but others want three
> regional chapters (Brussels, Flanders, Wallonia)?
> * Minorities without region: What if there is an Estonian chapter, but
> Russian speaking people there demand a chapter of their own?
> * When the chapters are going to work together more than now, and are going
> to elect WMF board members: Will one chapter have one vote? Will there be 50
> US chapters with 50 votes, and one French chapter with one vote?
> * Isn't it much easier for WMF to relate to a limited number of national
> chapters than with a potentially unlimited number of national, sub national,
> or super national chapters?
> It might have been better to consider the NYC chapter indeed as a "sub
> chapter", a stand-in until there will be an US chapter.
> Kind regards
> Ziko
> 2009/1/19 Michael Snow <wikipedia at verizon.net>
>> I've been assembling my notes from last week's board meeting to pass
>> along. The first set of items I have to report is business from the
>> chapters committee. All of these resolutions have been posted on the
>> foundation website.
>> We approved two new chapters, and there's something special about each
>> of the two. Wikimedia New York City is special because it's the first
>> one recognized under the new sub-national chapter guidelines. And
>> Wikimedia UK is special because it's the second version of that chapter.
>> For the sake of formality - and nobody does formality better than the
>> British, which has been part of the difficulty - we revoked the
>> recognition of the first one, which is dissolved or in the process of
>> dissolving. Anyway, welcome to both of the new chapters!
>> Also, two resolutions relating to the chapters committee's membership
>> and procedures were approved. One recognizes the current members and the
>> other allows the committee to determine its own membership in the
>> future. This allows them to keep their work going without waiting for
>> the board to pass a resolution (the board reserves the ability to
>> appoint and remove members and will still be informed of changes).
>> --Michael Snow
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Hello Ziko,

I think this is the wrong way to consider the chapters. The first 
sub-national chapter that we have is indeed Hongkong. Hongkong is 
undisputed a part of China, so it is a sub-national chapter and it is in 
no way an american sub-national chapter. And no, the foundation 
definitively don't want to be an american chapter. Thing is more 
praktical: If the new yorker wikimedians have the ability to organize 
themselves but there's no ability to organize an allamerican chapter, 
why should we lay stones on their way and prevent them doing so. And as 
in my reply to Gerard, if the community want, I really don't see problem 
why the netherland chapter should or could not also incoporate part of 
Belgium. If it can do good for the people, why not? I really don't 
consider the chapters as nations or countries. If say people from Taiwan 
and from mainland China can work together peacefully and constructive on 
the same project, why should we constraint ourselves in concepts like 
national state and boundaries in matter of chapters. The problem with an 
esperanto chapter is mainly I think because one cannot define a clear 
geographical boundary for it.

By the way I am reading your book about the International Esperanto 
Conference. I see a lot of parallels from them and us (for example the 
definition of neutrality, internationality and so on). I find it very 
very interesting. Thank you very much for the book. And do you think 
that the Esperanto community would organize strictly in national 
chapters if they start today, and not more than hundred years ago?


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