Talk:Wikimedia Chapters Association/Place of registration

Active discussions

Legal seat vs location of operationsEdit

I'm missing something clear about the fact that the organisation might be founded in one country, but not necessarily need the headquarters to be in that country (at least to start with). I can imagine that in the beginning, the SG will be working from home or from a chapter's office, for example, we might want to take this into consideration. notafish }<';> 09:00, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

We discussed this internally and decided that this is sub-optimal (although possible). It is hard enough to uphold to the law requirements of one place. Registering in one place and running the HQ from another usually requires upholding to laws on both locations with is an unnecessary burden. I would love to hear what are the opposite advantages of that. Tomer A. -- Talk 12:41, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
The advantage of just looking for a seat to legally register is that it allows us to detach concerns that cannot be answered yet. The question of whether the association should have an actual office and what kind that would be is something that will depend a whole lot on the actual activities of the association, which won't be planned until Washington and won't be started until the SG has been hired. Since the operations of the association are inherently international, it can be decided entirely arbitrarily where the organization is legally located. That international operations imply adhering to more than one set of rules and regulations is obvious and will be the case anyway so that can't really count as an argument for conflating legal set and center of operations. sebmol ? 14:49, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
As I noted elsewhere the place of registration has implications on many governance aspects of the association. Since some concerns are already known (we're trying to list them here) we should at least address those. So no, it cannot be decided "entirely arbitrarily", You have to put thinking into it if you want to have solid foundations for the association. Tomer A. -- Talk 10:40, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
I may have missed where you noted how "the place of registration has implications on many governance aspects of the association." In fact, I would be surprised if that were the case at all. Much to the opposite, I would expect that the association be registered somewhere that requires as littly adjustments to the charter and the agreed structure as possible (ideally, it would require none). It is close to unacceptable that, for an international organization, we would let legal or political restrictions of one particular place dictate how it would be structured or run. sebmol ? 10:31, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
I really don't see the point Delphine and Sebastian are making here. Tomer is spot on in his assessment. What you guys are referring to is akin to a shell firm with offshore operations, from a tax/legal point-of-view (primary operations in one jurisdiction and physical registration in an offshore location). Granted EU is distinct in this designation and allows operations within 2 different members states, but it not a good practice to start with for legal/tax purposes. The needless overhead for compliance with the minimum set of requirements in a single European country exceed those incurred in 2 countries anywhere else, concurrently. This won't just be sub-optimal but a bad decision to start with. EU is unique in this situation I assume, allowing member states to carry out cross-border operations, but at the same time, in light of the earlier arguments I heard about costs and overhead within EU, your solution would be to incur that in 2 places rather than the required 1. This doesn't seem like a smart decision either way. Perhaps you aren't articulating your argument well here. Theo10011 (talk) 14:47, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
It's a matter of fact that the association will have its operations spread internationally, likely more so than the Foundation which has a large central office and some remote staff spread throughout the world. So the point that separating legal seat from centers of operations would be unnecessarily costly or burdensome is somewhat dubious.
But maybe I'm just making too many assumptions in my arguments here that actually need clear articulation. So, here's my point in a nutshell, numbered so it might make it easier to see where there's actual disagreement:
1) The association is inherently international and will have operations spread all over the world. Specifically, any chapter development assistance will be local to that country or region so that communication and interaction with chapters can happen without the disadvantages of excessive distance and time zone differences.
2) The structure/governance/setup of the association has been decided upon in Berlin and, aside from some minor adjustments as may be made from time to time, ought not be changed dramatically within the next year or so. Reasons for this are both that the charter needs to be given the opportunity to succeed (or fail) before it is reformed, that achieving agreement on the charter was an arduous task that would have to be repeated (to some extent), and that there are many challenges the association will face in its operations that are much bigger, challenges to which the solutions are much less clear than the already murky question of legal registration, so that endless distractions by structure and governance discussions ought to be avoided.
3) Where it is legally registered is completely immaterial to the actual mission of the association. Whether someone working in, say, Argentina on chapter development gets their contracts with and their directions and payments from an organization based in Geneva, Taipeh, Washington DC, or Paris is completely insignificant for their ability to do their local work. The legal seat is merely the place where reports must be filed and some (hopefully as little as possible) regulations have to be followed. If chosen well, the legal seat will provide all the flexibility possible and needed for the association to fulfill its mission and learn from its own experiences over the course of the next years.
4) The legal seat is not immaterial to process questions, of course. Some places are more advantageous for the association than others, not least because of the flexibility mentioned above, but also because of costs like disadvantageous taxation or excessive regulatory requirements. To give an example, a good argument could be made (leading to litigation perhaps) that chapter contributions to the association will effectively be payment for services subject to VAT within the European Union VAT area, which would significantly raise the cost of the association's activities, to the disadvantage of the entire movement. Similarly, the WCA would probably not qualify for non-profit/tax-exemption status in Germany because none of its purposes are really charitable in the immediate sense of the term. Somebody pointed out that in the UK, it might be difficult to have a three year limited contract for the SG due to labor regulations preventing termination without cause, and so on. So, when I said that it can be decided arbitrarily, I meant that in relation to the mission of the association. In relation WCA operations, the legal seat is actually significant, but also highly dependent on these operations, which won't be decided until the SG has been hired and program and budget have been drafted. One of the worst things that we could do right now is pick a legal seat that turns out to be an impediment to how the SG plans to implement the budget and program approved by the council in Washington. Since there's no necessity, why would we want to add that risk as well?
5) In many jurisdictions, and this includes at least UK, Germany, the US, and Singapore, founding an organization and registering it with the authorities are two distinct tasks that happen separate from one another. Furthermore, it's typical that a newly-founded organization hires a director or a board of directors even before it has been legally registered, if only for the purpose of having a legal representative that actually has the legal power to register the organization. So, the order of "select the director(s)" followed by "register the organization" is not the exception but rather the rule.
6) Point 3 applies to the Secretariat just as well. Even if the legal seat is in Taipeh, to use an example not used so far, there's nothing that precludes the members of the Secretariat to also be dispersed throughout the world. In fact, if an SG were hired who currently lives in Mexico City, it would make no difference for him whether annual reports have to be filed in Geneva, Taipeh, Washington DC, or Paris. If there are SG candidates who would be uncomfortable with not knowing where the legal seat of the association will be, yet have no problems with the fact that neither the budget nor the program or even the operational goals of the next year have been decided yet, I would have to severely wonder whether they're up for the job. The position of SG, at least for the first term, is one of high risk with a very high chance of failure. Individuals who successfully apply for that position will need high risk affinity, specifically the ability to work well in uncertain environments.
7) On a formal note, the committee has no mandate to select a place of registration. Neither during the conversations in Berlin nor in the agreed task list was there any mention of this question being decided prior to Washington. Considering that there's only three months left before Washington and that much of the work is still left open, I would find it very unfortunate if the committee wasted time trying to change its mandate at the expense of completing the other tasks.
So, that's my reasoning. I hope this makes it a bit clearer. One last thing to add: I've been CEO of four young/newly started organizations, three of them non-profit and one for-profit. I've also prepared and successfully submitted the paperwork for official recognition of a globally-focused tax-exempt religious/humanitarian organization in the United States (the IRS being a PITA, as it is known for). I was heavily involved in the creation of WMDE's tax-exempt subsidiary (created for the purpose of channeling donations from Germany to the Foundation) with a lot of insight on the tax and legal ramifications (more than I wished I had) from the perspectives of both the United States and Germany. Finally, while living in Germany I've worked as a contractor for US companies that had no presence in Germany so I've experienced the fine challenges of cross-border employment (or non-employment, as it were, to avoid social security and liability implications). That means, what I write about here is based not only on theory but on actualy practical experience. There's, as the Americans say, more than one way to skin a cat. The most obvious and direct solution (that may otherwise appear typical) doesn't have to be the best. I would even go as far as saying that, for what we're creating, the most ovious and direct solution may actually be the worst because it is catered to normal cases. The WCA is not that. sebmol ? 10:31, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
Heh As far as quoting experience and background go, here's mine - I started reading balance sheets and trading in bonds, commodities and securities since I was 12. In the last 10 years I have started or been part of 6 currently operational for-profit start-ups, either owning or running them. I have worked or had dealings within India, Singapore, Nigeria, Hong Kong, Guangdong, Dubai, Jeddah, Riyadh, Brazil, UK, and of course, there's the very, very, brief contract with WMF in there. My entire education has only been in business and I have been reading and filing paperwork since I can remember. Most of my online friends, have either been from the US or Canada who have worked and dealt with start-ups. I have read and argued about US taxation and non-profit laws ad nauseam. I'm not sure if my perspective how rounded that makes my perspective. Dealing with political bureaucracy and the nuances of International transactions is something I have been well-versed in, in the last few years in context of Wikimedia, more so, than taxation before that. This entire line of discussion, however, doesn't really call upon any of that experience, the decision here is so apparent to everyone - Tomer and Tango both pointed it out in a single line. As far as quoting Americanisms go, there is also a scientific principle that goes, the simplest explanation is usually the right one - I believe it some variation of Occam's razor, that a simpler solution and explanation is usually better than a complex one.
Let's see, the fact that the operations would be international is undisputed. You are conflating a central office or structure, with registration. To legally come into existence, an organization has to file the paperwork and be legally recognized in some jurisdiction as an entity. Merely a meta page or facebook page, does not bring an organization into existence. To quote an analogy, what you are arguing for is ChapCom hiring a CEO to register ChapCom. As an online/virtual committee, your suggestion would make no distinction between ChapCom and WCA. They would both be just pages on Meta with next to no real world existence.
Your concerns about VAT and taxation seem blown out-of-proportion. If you carry on operations in a developed nation you should be paying the required taxes, not thinking of ways to avoid them before starting operations. While in the case of EU, the taxes by member state might be high, the cost of international transfers outside and inwards to EU presents another layer of taxation, add to that bureaucracy of moving funds from say the global south to Europe and backwards. This would be complicated and costly in both cases, which side of bureaucracy you feel you are more adept to deal with is the question. My honest opinion is, bureaucracy, perception and stability trump tax savings, and concerns you are quoting above.
I don't believe not paying proper taxes, is a "disadvantage to the movement", instead, withholding taxes or finding ways to register in an offshore location, would be a liability. If tomorrow it might make sense to register as a Delaware corporation or in the Cayman islands, would you register there? if so, that would send a great message to the movement. I believe it would defeat the very purpose. There is no illicit operations here, why unnecessarily withhold and obfuscate the situation. It should be registered as a non-profit in a stable jurisdiction, there is of course, the chance that this doesn't work; what matters most, is we do things in an open, transparent fashion. There is no reason to have shell firms, offshore operations, VAT concerns before we know what WCA can accomplish.
What this is moving towards, is forming an offshore organization and hiring only remote staff. This is more akin to money laundering operations, or shell firms used to save tax. This is not what a non-profit should do. You have pointed out twice or thrice above that this was not in the task list, and Wikimania is 3 months away - I don't see anything more important than deciding where this entity comes into existence.
I would also like an example of this please- "It's typical that a newly-founded organization hires a director or a board of directors even before it has been legally registered." In those cases usually, the director or the board of directors, are the founder/owner of the firm, not employees. I have never heard of someone being hired to register an organization that employs them, to call it typical is beyond hyperbolic.
I have said what I had to on the matter, others can read it. So far 2 people pointed out that registration is the likely priority, whether you agree or not, is your choice. Form a company/register an organization -> Hire staff -> Start operations, is the logical process everyone knows. I have never heard of hire staff, decide what to register and where, depending on the staff, VAT and legal requirements. Following Occam's razor, the simplest solution is better than a complex one. I fail to see any credible reasoning above why this needs to be more complicated than it is. Regards. Theo10011 (talk) 13:52, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
I have my doubts that guily by association is a relevant principle here. We're building an internal support organization for Wikimedia chapters, not the next Red Cross. High efficiency and high effectiveness in fulfilling its mission are what count, not whether the legal setup is one that may or may not be used by others for other legitimate or illegitimate purposes. If high efficiency and effectiveness require registering in Taipeh, having small offices in Paris, Mexico-City, and Cape Town, and employees or contractors in five more places, then that's what needs to be done. What we don't need is being tied to an ill-chosen place from the start because of some dubious benefits or even more dubious political considerations.
As to your question for an example, I've given it on another page. By repeatedly using the non-descript term "staff", you're creating the wrong impression of what is being sought. We're about to look for someone to lead this newly-founded association, ideally someone with good experience both within the Wikimedia universe and with starting up new organizations. We're not looking for an administrative assistant. sebmol ? 14:12, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
It wasn't guilty by association. The point of the matter is, this is not *just* an internal organization, just an internal organization would defeat the purpose. There would be no distinction between the already existing internal organizations and committees present here- ChapCom, LangCom or any other Committee, is an internal organization with no real world presence. As far as not finding the next Red Cross, that was never my point, it was finding a better chapter organization, no chapter envisions the Red Cross. It's mission remains undefined, before you judge its effectiveness and efficiency, deciding where to register it should take priority.
There is no ill chosen place, there is a set of criteria, and an open discussion. Your entire argument is not arguing for or against any location, but the decision to have a location or criteria. Perhaps you should look at the JD being worked on for the SG, whatever description you have in mind, should be reflected there. For the purposes of legal formation, there are only a limited set of designation for a hire- either as an employee/staff or employer/founder/owner. Maybe you can describe better what you see the SG as, from a legal perspective, if he would be legally an employee or owner. I never suggested it was an administrative assistant, but someone hired by or for the Council. I also believe you are over-emphasizing the importance of the SG, he/she won't be one in the world; given the job market and global economy recently, I would be surprised if there aren't several candidates in every geography you can think of. There is also the other point that since you want the registration to be secondary to the SG, what if the candidate you want is located in a problematic geography, with years of human rights abuse or severe constrictions with international operations, would you consider Egypt, Sudan or Syria? How about a place you or half the chapters can't visit without documentation, or don't speak the language of official government communication or just a place, that is not hospitable of certain foreigners - Trust me, they do exist. I'll repeat, who you hire and where you register are and should be two separate, independent decisions.
Also, I'm not sure why you repeatedly mention Taipeh, Mexico, Paris, Cape town - You can just say other places to be nondescript. My central point is, with all the things left open and the difficult task ahead of the council, it is no time to be adventurous about where to register. I don't know how exposed you have been in conducting business or filing paperwork in Taipei, Cape Town or even Mexico, but I assure you they all come with their fair share of bureaucratic and real world problems in languages and jurisdiction you might not be experienced in. To be adventurous and experiment with these far off places, instead of what you might know like Paris and Europe, is not smart, in my opinion. You don't need to be tied to an ill-chosen places, we can do the due-diligence and collectively find the right place to register. You only need some place stable for the legal registration, preferably a place you and others know well - actual offices, remote staff are another decision entirely. Regards. Theo10011 (talk) 15:13, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
Maybe Theo is a bit eloquent here, but, in general, I think he makes a good point. This is a phase where you have to be much more to the point in order to attract likely and able-bodied candidates for the job of secretary-general. I.e., you have to register the organisation first. No one likes to work for a firm he does not know where it will be seated. We have an interim committee that is in charge of finding a decent location, that's its job. Then it should do its job first. And then, go out and look for a secretary-general who is willing to work under the conditions the chapters deem appropriate. So, in a word, yes, perhaps less adventure and more management and planning is needed, perhaps. BTW, I also think that paying taxes and social security contribution is a good thing. I for one would not want to miss social security. And it does give a clear signal to the rest of the world how you behave in these terms.--Aschmidt (talk) 22:07, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
First, the committee's job is not finding a location. It's not part of its mandate as pointed to a few times already. The task list is already quite comprehensive as it is without adding the complexity of finding a location.
Second, paying taxes is a good thing? The Foundation and most of the chapters are tax-exempt as non-profits, meaning they decidedly do not pay some or, in some cases, even any taxes. It's also dubious why we should be happy to pay taxes in general when that inherently decreasees efficiency of how donors' funding is being used. If there's the opportunity to spend $1 of every $1 donated vs. spending $0.81 and handing $0.19 to the tax collector, without any significant drawbacks, why would we want to voluntarily pay more taxes? The answer appears to be one more of political persusasion, a topic which we, as in the Wikimedia movement in general, have rightly stayed away from. sebmol ? 08:22, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, paying taxes is a good thing, if you are required to pay them. The distinction here is if the council would be a non-profit, completely or partially exempt from paying taxes - that decision again moves back to where and how it is registered. If an organization is required to pay $0.19 or any other amount to tax, it should be paid. I don't know how you can possibly argue against the justified, legal requirement to pay taxes, if the council turns out to be registered as an exempted non-profit, then this is a non-issue. It's also funny coming from the board member of the largest chapter, paying taxes isn't "inherently decreasing efficiency of donor funds" but complying with the legal requirement and social responsibility of being an ethical organization. Either way, my entire point was, taxation is being moved up the list of priorities for no reason, if you are required to pay them by law, you do, if not, then move on and focus on the other aspects.
I have asked this earlier - Why are you constantly pointing to the mandate and the task list? If it's not the driving committee's job to discuss a location, then whose is it? yours? would that decision be made behind closed door with a handful of people or should it be here, discussed openly with a list of criteria, pros and cons. All the steering committee's tasks are secondary to the finalized location. The location would affect more than half the tasks. Theo10011 (talk) 12:12, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
This exchange is becoming ridiculous. You're attacking arguments I haven't made and expressing assumptions and accusations I have given no cause for. Perhaps you want to re-read what I've actually written on this subject rather than what you think you read. sebmol ? 12:27, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
Prolonged discussions have a habit of going out on a tangent, but I was more or less replying to points you made in your numbered summary earlier. The issue about taxation being a criteria is from #4 of your own argument, here are some quotes- "...because of costs like disadvantageous taxation or excessive regulatory requirements" and "....chapter contributions to the association will effectively be payment for services subject to VAT within the European Union VAT area, which would significantly raise the cost of the association's activities, to the disadvantage of the entire movement." - To some extent, my most recent replies were still in context to what you said. I was most recently replying to your own question - "Second, paying taxes is a good thing?". Perhaps you can be a bit specific about what you think I read. Regards. Theo10011 (talk) 13:20, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
Sebmol, I don't want to dwell on this, but I said paying taxes and social security contributions is a good thing, and I don't mean to change anything about the Wikimedia Foundation's or its chapter's status with regard to tax exemption. What I mean to say is that if an organisation is tax-exempt it should behave in a fair and socially acceptable way. It is not an employer as all the rest, and building such an association as an NGO is not like building any other commercial company that is just looking for the money that's left at the end of the month. That's why I don't think you should, say, consider opting for a seat that provides a bad legal framework for its future employees as was considered below in an aside about the regulations for hiring and firing staff, etc. The Wikimedia movement has to have a strong social commitment not only towards society as a whole, but also towards its employees. And, yes, I still think that everyone who joins the WCA, up and including its secretary-general, should be aware of their place of work and all the corporate legal stuff before they sign a contract because it does make quite a difference whether in the end you find yourself in, say, Berlin or Geneva, or in Paris, for that matter (the more outlandish locations not included here).--Aschmidt (talk) 22:15, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
it should behave in a fair and socially acceptable way - I agree with you on that. That's why finding a place that provides sufficient flexibility so that the WCA can conduct its operations in the best ways it sees fit--including behaving in a fair and socially acceptable way--is important. When employment contracts are written up, as mentioned elsewhere, they need to reflect the values and expectations of the employer as much as the values and expectations of the employee. Exploiting weak regulatory requirements to the detriment of employees would be very much contrary to the WCA's own charter where it's stated that Wikimedia is all about empowering and motivating individuals, that "openness, sharing, subsidiarity, solidarity, trust, plurality, effective teamwork, and collaboration are core principles", and that "nurturing the value and reputation of the Wikimedia movement is a shared responsibility". It's also very much a question of policy of the WCA, something that will be decided by council and secretariat, people that are chosen by Wikimedians for, so I would hope, their ability to express and represent the values the Wikimedia movement holds dear. That, at least for me, is a much better guarantee that the WCA will be ethical in its operations than whatever legal regulations may apply at the place of registration. sebmol ? 09:36, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
I think everybody here is arguing for the SAME thing. Seriously. If we cut through the wall of text, I can read "We should find a location where _one_ of the criteria is low taxation (or none at all) and then pay it" I don't see sebmol saying we should do shady wallstreet accounting and not pay taxes IF we are obliged to do so only that we should try to strive to find a location where the Tax is low or nonexistant. Which hey, sounds pretty obvious to me. If we have Narnia that fulfills a lot of our criteria and we have to pay 9% of tax vs MiddleEarth that also does a great job fulfilling the criteria and only has 1% taxation, I think the answer is go with MiddleEarth. On a semi-related note, lets please keep this civil and not get into assumptions, specially personal assumptions. DamianFinol (talk) 05:07, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm not going to list my experience with regards to doing local and international business. The time to do so was when we nominated candidates for the role of the Secretary-General. I'm also not going to comment on the idea of paying taxes. It sounds very obvious, if you need to pay taxes, you should pay them.
I still couldn't understand the basis of the argument, What is wrong in doing due diligence for the location. I've already said that we're not going to select the location but suggest places to the council. Two important point worth noting:
  1. The Berlin mindset was that the interim-SG holds all the roles of the SG until the later will be chosen. Therefore, if it would be the role of the SG to make that due diligence there is no compeling argument why the committee cannot do it.
  2. The task list was something you drafted in the end of the day when everyone were really tired after all the long discussions. given that you had plenty of time to structure your thinking about what you see as the right way of doing things it made perfect sense to approve it. I, on the other hand, did not have this luxury (nor anyone else on the committee) and had to think about it after Berlin. So, while the task list is important, other things are also important. I can even recall that you told me in Berlin that the tasks of the interim-SG will be much dependant on their character. Tomer A. -- Talk 15:43, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

Misplaced sub-requirement?Edit

The sub-requirement under transport seems to be talking about being physcially close to some Chapters, which is its own point lower down - unless I'm missing something? James F. (talk) 10:09, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

I understand this as two different things - the one is the infrastructure which makes it easy to reach other chapters etc. while the second is the geographical proximity to chapters. There might be places where many chapters are nearby but the next international airport is far away. This would be less efficient than a place with not that many chapters around but an airport where the other chapters can more easily (and cheaper) be reached. --Manuel Schneider(bla) (+/-) 11:16, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Actually I don't know how those 2 got conflated into separate points. When I originally mentioned them as a criteria, I was referring to proximity to existing chapters for the exact same reason listed under Middle Priority - "The association would possibly need support from chapters in neighboring countries, and it would be easier for working groups to collaborate if they are close." That was the reason why I suggested chapter proximity to be a criteria. I am not sure what Manuel is referring to, I didn't think anyone was referring to Airports being close or far away, when they talked of entire countries to base the operations in. Theo10011 (talk) 14:52, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Ease of employing foreign staffEdit

The staff of the WCA are likely to be drawn from around the world. Most / many countries make this very difficult and prefer /demand that local staff are employed, unless you go through a very slow and expensive visa application process. This feeds into the SG selection piece as well, of course. James F. (talk) 10:12, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Indeed. This is exactly why the process of advertising the SG position will come only after we'll finish with choosing the location. Tomer A. -- Talk 12:41, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
I actually don't understand why the location has to be decided before the SG position is advertised or filled. As Delphine has pointed out, the question of where the legal seat of the association is can be completely separated from where it's operating or where its staff is located. Indeed, I would go as far as saying that, if a candidate location leads to specific requirements as to where the association has to actually operate or where staff has to be actually located, that location should immediately be disqualified. sebmol ? 14:41, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Actually, physical registration is the most important decision around this. I have mentioned this elsewhere - how will you advertise the position? where will you advertise it? who will the employee be legally employed by? Those are vital decisions that have to be answered first. You can not hire someone to work for a non-existent organization. You can not attract any good candidates, without even having your own registration first. These are basic decision, every company that ever came into existence has to decide first. I don't know why a huge deal is being made to disqualify a location for an employee. You at one point suggested primarily remote staff now you are talking about disqualifying locations because a certain staff member can't be located there. There are enough qualified candidates, if WCA is based entirely around a single potential hire than it will undoubtedly fail before it starts operations. Theo10011 (talk) 15:02, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
I've responded to your point above. I welcome your response there. sebmol ? 10:31, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
Related to this, ease of entering the country (travel visa) would be a plus. -- Obradovic Goran (talk) 11:45, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Good point. In what category do you and others think it should be put? Tomer A. -- Talk 12:41, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
IMO probably not too high priority, because:
a) it is not easy to measure it. Country X might not ask for visa from country A but it is very difficult to get visa from country B while country Y might ask visa both A and B but it is not problematic to obtain it;
b) other criteria already narrow the choice to very few locations, so adding another "must have" would probably leave us with an empty set of locations :) -- Obradovic Goran (talk) 13:36, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Excellent point Goran. I believe the term is 'Ease of movement' in international relations. It is a much easier decision within EU, but quiet a problematic one between Asia and Middle-east. Theo10011 (talk) 15:02, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
I think that's a sensible point. If there's a candidate location that requires staff to be hired locally or put onerous demands on hiring foreigners (even if they are located outside of the country), that location obviously won't work for us. At the same time, I would imagine much of the staff be working remotely anyway since, for example, proximity to the chapters they are working seems an important issue. So, in reality, I would expect that we're looking for a place that lets us hire foreigners in foreign countries effortlessly while also allowing some local staff at appropriate costs. sebmol ? 15:03, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Employer rights/obligationsEdit

I note that the costs of employing staff are included - what about mentioning the flexibility the Association will have in employment, in terms of legal obstacles to hiring/firing staff...? Probably a low priority, but worth considering. The Land (talk) 17:37, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

Right, that makes a big difference. On the other hand I would question it if we should really save money at that end - since labour rights are also an achievement of our society. So on the one hand it makes things more complicated and more expenive, on the other hand it is something we owe to our employees... --Manuel Schneider(bla) (+/-) 17:49, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
The Land, could you elaborate? I'm not sure I fully understood the point. Tomer A. -- Talk 10:32, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
I can take a guess here what The Land might be referring to - legal standards and requirements set by a country. These might be minimum wage, employee benefits, contract-termination, legal hiring/firing practices like benefits, legal liability and so on. These are important, they can get constrictive in certain situations and countries, or they can be the opposite like I mentioned in the case of Singapore and some countries in south-east Asia, with virtually no enforceable minimum wage standards, creating almost unethical parities in wage distribution. Anyway a good point to consider, if that is what The Land was referring to. Theo10011 (talk) 15:08, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
A good point to consider, but hopefully not a decisive point. Social issues are crucial to an NGO that really wants to make a positive impact on society. We should accept and pay benefits, not shun away from them and treat our staff like a capitalist that is only interested in his profit. This would not exactly fit our purpose, and it also would not make a good impression on those looking at us from the outside.--Aschmidt (talk) 22:17, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
At the same time we would not wish to be stuck with a bad employee who doesn't wish to work and relies on the labour laws of the jurisdiction to protect him from getting fired or to get a fat severance. That would be, in fact, a great liability on our donor-funded organization and is likely to distract us from our stated mission. There is nothing remotely immoral or unethical about having greater flexibility to hire and fire employees. Ultimately, an ideal jurisdiction should be one that allows the employer and the employee to come together on the most agreeable terms for the execution of the contract. — Nearly Headless Nick {C} 08:36, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
We've deliberately left the discussion about social rights and labour laws outside the scope of this criteria list. As you can see from this discussion, it is very cultural dependant. Once a location be chosen, we will adhere to its local law. I assume that in any place which is considerable by all other aspects there is a way to fire disfunctioning employees (or any other absurd that can be thought of when only considering the theoretical aspects not taking into account the actual data). It would probably be different than what people are used to in their part of the world but that's what you deal with when you have international organization. Tomer A. -- Talk 16:04, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

High priority for tax?Edit

I don’t understand exactly why the cost of the taxes is in the "high priority" section. I obviously aggree the lower the taxes are the more money there is for internal stuff, but the WCA will not manage large amounts of money since the main costs will be the salaries and associated costs (travel, office, etc.). ~ Seb35 [^_^] 11:22, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

How much money would be a "large amount" that taxes become significant? Personally, I think even if it's just $10 out of $100 saved in needlessly paid tax, that's worth it. Where's your threshold? sebmol ? 11:33, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
I aggree for such orders of magnitudes. I just find that others parameters can be more important such that costs of offices, facility in doing daily business (administrative procedures, rules imposed on the status, etc.) ~ Seb35 [^_^] 18:40, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

obsolete discussionEdit

I understood today at a meeting in the Dutch chapter that apparently this discussion page turned obsolete - and that the discussion has moved to a closed mailing list. Quite some (paid?) research has been done in the mean time so I thought it would be so fair to let people know that responding here at this point is kind of pointless - because if you don't have access to the chapters mailing list, you are missing a lot of information to participate in this discussion. Effeietsanders (talk) 19:27, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

There are people who are really interested in this issue, its status and progress. Could you please provide an update? --lyzzy (talk) 22:14, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
To provide an update of sorts, a report has been commissioned by the interim secretariat and distributed to chapters that makes certain recommendations on where to incorporate. Unfortunately, due to the nature of this report, it cannot be shared publicly at this time. The interim secretariat has made a recommendation to chapters which they may either accept or reject through the Council at the first meeting in Washington DC.
I do apologise because I know that this is probably inadequate for what you're after, and I hope we can share more information than that very soon. Craig Franklin (talk) 12:24, 19 June 2012 (UTC).

Recommendation to come from the budget committeeEdit

On 11 July the WCA met and decided to establish a budget committee and that they would provide a recommendation on the place of registration. I think we need a status update very quickly, and I note that the chair User:Mglaser has been asked to provide one on his talk page, and I've left a note at Talk:Wikimedia Chapters Association/Budget committee#Place of registration also. John Vandenberg (talk) 16:57, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

Return to "Wikimedia Chapters Association/Place of registration" page.