[Foundation-l] Board resolutions (chapters)

Nathan nawrich at gmail.com
Tue Jan 20 15:31:42 UTC 2009


The United States previously had no chapter, no organization in which
members of the community could gain membership and organize events,
activities and pursuits independent from the legal organization of

The state of New York has 20 million people. What country in Europe or
anywhere else of 20 million people would be refused a chapter? On what basis
should such a chapter be denied? That people oppose the creation of a New
York chapter, and thus limiting American community members in a way
non-American community members are not limited, on the basis that it somehow
creates an imbalance... I find it hard to credit. Nothing in a New York
chapter should be interpreted as reducing the power over Wikimedia of
Europeans. It should be noted that there are a number of non-American
members of the Board, and neither the director nor the deputy director of
the organization is American.


On Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 8:49 AM, Ziko van Dijk <zvandijk at googlemail.com>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

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