Chapters Council/Draft charter of the Wikimedia Chapters Association

Draft Charter of the
Wikimedia Chapters Association (WCA)

Wikimedia Chapters Association

For comments, please use the talk page or contact user:Ziko

Note and introduction (not part of the Charter)


In February 2012, in Paris, chapter representants agreed on creating a new organization. As there was no person or group assigned to write a draft charter, finally, after having talked to some people on general questions, I took the task on me. Subsequently I presented this page (March 7th) which was very much altered in the meanwhile.

I have tried to integrate Paris texts, parts from the models B and KISS, and I have contacted a lot of the people who are going to Berlin (end of March; alas I did not find all e-mails but I believe I've contacted every participating chapter). There were some phone calls and chats with Sebastian Moleski, especially. There is also another draft, by Tango, which I (and others) read carefully.

Now we nearly arrived March 18th, on which, according to the timeline, a draft charter is supposed to be ready. Whatever that means, I would like to call the draft provisorily ready (there will be certainly changes, especially for the final incorporation) and invite people again to read.

Ziko (talk) 19:26, 17 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]

This is a summary and introduction to this draft charter of a Wikimedia Chapters Association. The idea is to have an organization with a kind of parliament (Council) and a kind of government (Secretariat). A Judicial Board has the task to arbitrate in severe cases of conflict; this could have been a simple Council committee, but for general reasons a seperate organ is better: the Council or Council members could be part of a conflict. We hope that the Judicial Board will have nothing to do.

Normally, the members of the organs are elected for a certain term. This is important to give them a certain independence. There must be a relationship between work, responsibility and the right to make decisions. But if there is a severe problem, then the Council can dismiss people (by a 2/3 majority).

There was a lenghy discussion on several levels about the position of the Council Members. Now, according to the general principle, the Council Member has a fixed term and can be dismissed in certain cases. But the Council Member can have a position in a chapter (in contrary to a former model).

Maybe the most important question to be answered: If a chapter joins, what are the consequences and obligations? First of all: A chapter joins only if it wants to, it does not become a member automatically. A chapter agrees to elect a Council Member and pay an annual contribution. Later in the year 2012, there will be a budget. Possibly, the chapters will have to pay some % of their annual chapter budget. Of course the Wikimedia Chapters Association will consider the financial possibilities of the chapters.

Why is it good for a chapter to join? The Association will support the chapters and represent their interests. A lot of international coordination work, that now has to be done by chapter boards, will be done (or supported by) the organs of the Association. Even if a chapter is already big and mature - it is good for every chapter to belong to a big family of well organized chapters.

Ziko (talk) 18:58, 18 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]


Recognizing that:
  • the common vision of the Wikimedia movement is creating a world where every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge,
  • this common vision must be realized primarily through the effort of motivated and empowered individuals,
  • supporting such motivation and enabling such empowerment is the fundamental purpose of the Wikimedia Chapters, which must therefore be able to grow into strong, capable, sustainable, and self-sufficient organizations,
  • openness, sharing, subsidiarity, solidarity, trust, plurality, effective teamwork, and collaboration form core principles of our movement,
  • diversity in language, culture, philosophy, and approach are an important asset of our movement,
  • nurturing the value and reputation of the Wikimedia movement is a shared responsibility that must be met by everyone in the movement and does not rest on any individual or any single entity alone,
we, the Wikimedia Chapters, hereby establish the Wikimedia Chapters Association and adopt the following Charter.

Section A: The Association


Art. 1 [Purpose]: The purpose of the Association is

  1. to further and represent the common interests of the Chapters within the Wikimedia movement;
  2. to set, review, and enforce standards of accountability and participation among the Chapters;
  3. to facilitate the exchange of experiences, ideas, and knowledge within the Wikimedia movement;
  4. to assist and support Chapters in their organizational development;
  5. and to serve as an umbrella organization for the Chapters in all other aspects not mentioned before.

Art. 2 [Values]: The Association values openness, transparency, and honesty about its mission, goals, policies, activities, governance, structure, funding and finances.

Art. 3 [Scope]: This Charter is binding on all activities of the Association, the bodies, institutions, and officers established under this Charter, and the member Chapters.

Art. 4 [Charter]: This Charter of the Association can be altered only by an explicit amendment to the text. For an amendment to become effective, it must be approved by a two thirds majority of votes in the Council and accepted by three fourths of member Chapters.

Section B: The Council


Art. 1 [Purpose]: The Council has the power

  1. to set its own rules and organize its own proceedings;
  2. to determine the level of dues from the Chapters;
  3. to set the annual budget;
  4. to elect the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General;
  5. to oversee the activities of the Secretariat;
  6. to remove for cause, by a two-thirds majority vote, Members of the Secretariat and Members of the Judicial Board;
  7. to install additional principal officers if necessary;
  8. to define the common interests of the Chapters;
  9. to take measures, such as setting up working groups or committees, creating positions, etc. as needed to fulfill the purpose of the Association;
  10. to pass whatever resolutions necessary to carry out the powers vested in the Association.

Art. 2 [Funds] No funds may be disbursed unless authorized in the annual budget or individual resolutions passed by the Council. The Secretariat will publish a regular statement and account of its revenues and expenses at least once a year.

Art. 3 [Members]: The Council consists of its Members. Each Chapter selects one Council Member, by announcement of the Chapter to the Chair of the Council. Council Members serve for a term of two years. Each Council Member has one vote.

Art. 4 [Replacement of Council Members]: A Chapter may replace their Council Member for the remainder of the term if the Council Member resigns, has become inactive, or has been expelled by a two thirds majority of the Council due to severe misconduct. If a Chapter leaves the Association the Council Member leaves the Council.

Art. 5 [Status of members]: Council Members are volunteers. They will be compensated by the Association only for expenses incurred in discharging the powers and duties of their office.

Art. 6 [Chair]: The Council elects from its own Members a Chair and a Deputy Chair.

Art. 7 [Majority decisions]: Unless otherwise specified, the Council decides by simple majority, meaning more votes pro than votes contra. The quorum to conduct business is half of all Council Members.

Art. 8 [Transparency]: The Council conducts its business in public and publishes minutes of its meetings, votes, etc., unless the subject matter requires confidentiality.

Art. 9 [Meetings]: The Council meets in person at least once every year. Other activities happen online or by other appropriate means. The convocation of the Council is the task of the Chair. One fifth of the Council Members can call for a meeting.

Section C: The Secretariat


Art. 1 [Purpose]: The Secretariat performs the executive powers of the Association.

Art. 2 [Composition]: The Secretariat consists of the Secretary-General, the Deputy Secretary-General and other Members. The Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General serve for a term of two years.

Art. 3 [Election]: The Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General will be elected by the Council. The other Members of the Secretariat are appointed by the Secretary-General, with the consent of the Council.

Art. 4 [Compensation]: The members of the Secretariat are compensated by the Association for expenses incurred in discharging the powers and duties of their office. They will also receive a compensation for their services, the amount of which will be determined by the Council and which will neither be increased nor decreased during the period for which they have been elected. They may not receive any other compensation from the Association, the Wikimedia Foundation, or any Chapter.

Art. 5 [Incompatibility]: A Member of the Secretariat cannot be a Council Member or hold a position in a Chapter or in the Wikimedia Foundation.

Art. 6 [Activities]: The Secretariat reports to the Council on the Association's activities and has the right to submit proposals for Council resolutions.

Section D: The Judicial Board


Art. 1 [Powers] The Judicial Board performs the judicial powers of the Association, which extend to all cases arising under this Charter.

Art. 2 [Members] The Judicial Board consists of at least three and at most seven members appointed by the Secretary-General with the consent of the Council for a term of two years. Members of the Judicial Board cannot be members of the Council or the Secretariat or hold positions in a Chapter or in the Wikimedia Foundation.

Art. 3 [Inferior bodies] The Council may, by resolution, establish further judicial bodies inferior to the Judicial Board. Decisions made by such bodies may be appealed to the Judicial Board.

Art. 5 [Fair and equal treatment] In judicial proceedings, everyone has a right to be treated fairly and equally without discrimination.

Section E: The Chapters


Art. 1 [Admittance]: Every organization that has been recognized as a Wikimedia Chapter is eligible to become a member of the Association and may join by formal request.

Art. 2 [Rights, Duties and Obligations]: Upon joining the Association, the Chapter accepts all rights, duties, and obligations for member Chapters that arise under this Charter.

Art. 3 [Withdrawal]: A member Chapter may withdraw from the Association. The duties and obligations of a member Chapter incurred up to the time of withdrawal are not terminated by its withdrawal.

Art. 4 [Sanction]: If a member Chapter severely fails to fulfill its duties or obligations or loses its recognition as a Wikimedia Chapter, the Council, by a two thirds majority vote, may sanction the Chapter up to and including its removal from the Association.

Section F: Transitional provisions


Art. 1 [Ratification]: This Charter has been agreed on in Berlin, on March 30th, 2012. The Association will be established if at least nine Wikimedia Chapters accept this Charter.

Art. 2 [Organs]: In an initial period before the first meeting of the Council, the provisions for the organs of the Association can differ from the rules in this Charter.