[Wikimediaau-l] Chapters purpose and relationship (was: Re: Melbourne meetup report)

Gnangarra gnangarra at gmail.com
Fri Oct 12 13:59:04 UTC 2007

Sorry my poor wording there, they shouldn't be separate entities but sub
branches of the one entity WMA, purely as away of overcoming the issues of

On 12/10/2007, Brianna Laugher <brianna.laugher at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 12/10/2007, Gnangarra <gnangarra at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Its a good idea to have individual chapters
> >
> > The way I thought we are working is to create WMA first, then WMA helps
> the
> > states create chapters during 2008, once created the states would have a
> > representative on the WMA committee, realising that not every state is
> going
> > to have the critical mass to support a local chapter initially anyway.
> I was going to say that I think WMF expect max one chapter per nation
> state, then I remembered about the recent American Pennsylvania
> chapter talk. So is it one chapter per legal jurisdiction?
> I am not sure that I think multiple legal entity chapters within
> Australia would be a great idea. What with the small population. I
> would prefer formal state structures within a single legal entity
> being Wikimedia Australia, I think. The European chapters for example
> have one per nation despite larger populations than us. I am not too
> convinced that the distance necessitates separate legal entities.
> On a related note,
> For those who missed it, Florence recently reported on foundation-l
> about the recent Board meeting. Her email is here:
> http://article.gmane.org/gmane.org.wikimedia.foundation/20666
> Specifically:
> >>
> Sue Gardner began the
> discussion by presenting a possible strategy to clarify the relationship
> between WMF and Wikimedia Chapters. The strategy outlines 4 types of
> relationships, essentially ranging from business development with
> revenue sharing over traditional non-profit activities to informal
> affilitations.
> Far ranging discussion resulted, hmmm, with obvious agreement resulting.
> (...) We also agreed on the
> need for a systematic process of gathering feedback from the chapters on
> their expectations & perceived purpose should precede a strategy draft
> from WMF about the relationship with chapters.
> <<
> So, we are not a chapter, and they won't be getting feedback from us
> :) but it is worth thinking about anyway.
> To me the purpose of a chapter, as in creating and maintaing a local
> legal entity, is mainly two-fold, or maybe they are in fact the same
> fold:
> 1) To gain the benefits from official/formal legal status within
> Australia. This includes potentially access to grants and funding,
> charity status to make donations (to us?) in AU$ tax deductible,
> potential partnerships with Australian groups such as universities.
> Also, greater respect and visibility.
> 2) To encourage and enable face to face meetings of Wikimedians on a
> greater scale than local meetups. Although this is sometimes derided
> as merely "throwing parties" I think it is much more powerful than
> that. Connections made or cemented face to face are much stronger than
> those only through email or wiki. That goes for connections within the
> group of  Wikimedians and also between non-Wikimedians and "friends
> and allies" such as free software people, free content people,
> education people. Such meetings can boost everyone's enthusiasm and
> motivation and also spread disparate knowledge quickly and effectively
> over short, sharp bursts.
> Some other ideas...
> 3) (probably should be 0) To carry out the WMF's vision and mission
> within Australian territory and within an Australian context. This
> could mean Wikibooks(Wikiversity) adapted to Australian (ahem state)
> curricula. It could mean Wikisource special topics on historical
> Australian documents. It could also mean specialised DVDs or books
> being produced and distributed, collecting (eg) Wikipedia articles on
> Australian topics. [I personally would be delighted to see a disc of
> Spoken Wikipedia as recorded by Australians... there are a few Aussies
> who have done them and they are delightful to listen to.] It could
> also mean talking to educators or students about a) how to use
> Wikimedia resources effectively and b) the benefits of using wikis and
> c) The benefits of using free licenses (creating free content).
> 4) To lobby the Australian government for reduced application of
> copyright on Australian government-created works. To lobby Australian
> public archives and collections for greater access to works in their
> collections especially public domain works and digital access.
> This point is my hobby-horse and also the most different from how WMF
> acts in the US today so likely the most controversial.
> However... through Wikimedia I have become aware of how we, the Aus
> public, are unnecessarily dudded and deprived of works that are owned
> by us (or by no one), collected for us, created by us, and yet somehow
> are not recognised as belong to us.
> Why did I become aware of this? Because the US has an amazing attitude:
> http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode17/usc_sec_17_00000105----000-.html
> that greatly benefits Americans... that greatly benefits Wikimedia...
> that greatly benefits the whole world.
> The US appears to be a world leader in this regard. Europe's space
> agency the ESA is stupid and releases their images under a
> non-commercial license. I will sincerely celebrate the day that
> Wikimedian lobbying helps to overturn this.
> Those of us who have used state libraries' or museums' online
> collections will be aware that they frequently claim to have
> reproduction or other rights on public domain material. This is wrong
> and misleading... instead of acting as caretakers on our behalf they
> frequently act as  scolding nannies wrapping us on the knuckles for
> daring to touch. So a related effort would be lobbying for greater
> funding for digitisation of all kinds of archives.
> 5) To lobby and promote the use of free licenses in academia.
> The amount of information locked away in subscription-only journals is
> nothing short of scandalous...education, via access to information, is
> nothing short of revolutionary. What is the point of academia if not
> to ultimately increase the public good. If so, it should be available
> to the public.
> I am not totally sold on the use of free licenses in, say, personal
> art and photography. Things created by private citizens. But in the
> case of academia, science, education, government, and *works that are
> already free* due to copyright expiration, it is nothing short of
> outrageous to make things expensive and difficult to access.
> Again this point is more removed from what WMF does in the US, but I
> think it has pretty clear links to the WMF vision.
> So that's my thoughts about it.
> cheers,
> Brianna
> --
> They've just been waiting in a mountain for the right moment:
> http://modernthings.org/
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