Wikimedia Chapters Association/Meetings/2013-16



General meeting. Focus on next steps and real action.



All times are local time (CEST, UTC+2)

09:30 - 10:00 Arrival and set up
10:00 - 12:00 Action teams
13:00 - 14:00 Lunch break
14:00 - 15:00 Council meeting
15:00 - 15:30 Coffee break
15:30 - 17:30 Open discussion

There will be a two hour meeting on Sunday, 21st April, 9-11, if neccessary.

  1. Welcome, Meet 'n' greet
  2. Action teams
    1. Research
    2. Peer review
    3. Chapters exchange
    4. Chapters manual, movement handbook
  3. Council meeting
    1. Committees
      1. Dissolve election committee
      2. Future of budget committee
      3. Executive committee: define tasks, call for participation
    2. Charter
      1. Reflect openness and inclusiveness
      2. Revise section D3 on withdrawal
  4. Open discussion
    1. Situation of the WCA
    2. Outreach
    3. Wikimania: tasks and goals
    4. Help of volunteers
    5. Task list
    6. Next meeting
  5. Wrap up

Video Conference


  • Browser with Flash Plugin
  • Headset (to avoid unneccessary noises / echo on the conference)

Since some people will be arriving on Thursday, please indicate your availability during the day below.

Attendees (planned)
Real life
  1. WMDE --Mglaser 22:04, 9 April 2013 (UTC) -- all day[reply]
  2. WMAT --Manuel Schneider 07:07, 10 April 2013 (UTC) (will bring video equipment for streaming / conferencing)[reply]
  3. WMIL --Itzike 07:31, 10 April 2013 (UTC) (from about 1PM)[reply]
  4. WMIT --Laurentius 08:39, 10 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  5. WMUK -- Jon Davies WMUK 11:02, 10 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  6. WMES --Millars 11:15, 10 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  7. WMEE --Oop (talk) 13:27, 12 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  8. WMUS-DC --Kirill Lokshin [talk] 04:27, 13 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  9. WMNL Ziko (talk) 21:45, 14 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  10. WMUK (talk) -- available all day
  11. WMRS -- Obradovic Goran (talk) 07:44, 18 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  12. WMNL SRientjes (talk) 08:11, 18 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  13. WMUA --A1 (talk) 08:45, 18 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  14. WMVE Maor X (talk) 12:21, 18 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  1. WMxx Signature



NOTICE These notes have been copied across to meta at: They should be finalized on 30th April 2013 unless there are objections. The history is still available to be scrolled through or played back on etherpad.

Introduction by Markus.

Ziko: Ambitious plans didn't all become reality - but Fæ acted when others just talked.

Ziko thanked Fæ and gave him Stroopwafels from Amsterdam.

Markus: Anything to be added to agenda?

It was confirmed that the 'official' minuted meeting of the Council will be under item 3 of today's discussions, scheduled from 1.00pm.

Should anything come to a vote, only council members have a vote, according to charter.

London meeting: emergency meeting after letter from board which stopped us doing what we had planned, had intense debate with board members on how to recreate our goals, and what came out was that we should focus not so much on structures and organisational stuff, but rather deliver things, for chapters, by chapters. Not exclusive to chapters, also for thematic organisations and user groups. Note: "chapters plus" will mean "chapters plus thematic organizations and user groups". WCA needs to listen to our needs, (?what is missing here?)

Give chapters a voice: for example in FDC process, help chapters follow the process and get to grants process.

[facilitate] Exchange between chapters: a peer-help organisation. organise development; help out when there are difficulties. Set up entry points, facilitate peer exchange.

Four more concrete points:

  • Research
  • Peer review
  • Chapters exchange
  • Chapters compendium, movement handbook

Active participation in WCA has not been as high as expected. So have a few people who are responsible, and will drive these actions. Neither the chair, vice chair or other elected members can do everything.

Comment: if we move more towards action, there will be more cooperation. Ziko replies that structure and organisation are important; a problem was to have all the discussion shattered over different communication channels, e.g. on meta, on mailing lists, etc. Important to take the discussion to Meta, because then it's all public. And have a kind of report on a more or less regular basis.

In London we had 3 action teams:

  • advice
  • research
  • voice

peer review & chapters exchange = advice

Will now create action teams with names and specific short-term tasks. What we are not good at: when we have meetings, we identify action items in minutes, but no-one follows up to see who did them. For today: move the action items from the minutes to the list, to keep track of the actions. Also will be visible to outside world.

Budget committee will lead to discussion of resources: for example, WMDE can allocate 1/4 person to work on WCA stuff.

Some tasks can be done better by volunteers than by council members.

Report back on Research


Ziko took lead on research: do we have anything to report?

Ziko created a good framework, and Michał tried to fill it with some ideas, but there was little involvement. Need to discuss which questions to discuss. He will be in HK to deliver [what?] Soon will have time to answer these question for the 30 or 40 chapters. Ziko: On meta there is a link to WCA, and "research" is on the index, with some questions about chapters. These are there to increase knowledge about the movement, but still not much response: maybe we can get the chapters to fill in the page over this meeting. Idea was to create a handbook / press kit / data for us to communicate with press. There is not much info in the press about the Global movement: always just WMGB or "Global South", but not the strong movements in e.g. Eastern Europe. Create a data set with simple graphs, photos, etc. Wikipedia "who's who", to allow us to know who's in the movement (also about WMF). Someone needs to do that, Michał will provide some infographics once the data is there. Please look at the page. They will send us mails to ask for info.

Markus was wondering, re handbook, there is so much info on the mailing list, e.g. WMCH talking about archive being freed, so can't we get volunteers to put the info that comes through the mailing list into the handbook?

Christophe Henner wants to do a report and share it with the whole movement. When you need to deal with the media, you need a simple message. They have limited time, and ahve to write small articles. In Poland, they had two big articles in big Polish magazines, with detailed info. That kind of journalist will dig further, and in Poland they need more info. Wikis are about documentation, but we're not doing well on our documentation. Maybe we can do a case study about the French case. At least, put the info from the malinig list on the wiki with a reference to the post; doesn't have to be perfect.

Michał will take the lead on this.

Two results we want from the team: handbook + manual Handbook: collection of information of all kinds: encyclopedia of the movement. Manual/casebook: how-to guides. That's a bit strong: WMF findings came from the UK government's review of conflicts of interests. In therms of good practice, UK has good CoE policy. Not a how-to, because for your own legal framework, you need to review it. Santiago: Handbook, good idea, but in Iberocoop, we did itto an extent, advised chapters-to-be. There is a group doing that, we didn't have a written handbook, but gave advice. Only 3 Iberocoop chapters are here. One problem could be the language: which language should be use in WCA? One of the good points of Iberocoop: each chapter uses its own language to express themselves. Easy to understand Iberian languages, but hard to understand and communicate in English. In which language should the handbook be? We need more volunteers: how do we reach more volunteers? The information is everywhere, and gets lost. How can the people who are not involved now get that information? There are some steps that need to be taken to get this information on what the WCA is doing [to the volunteers?] The most important thing is to create a group where people can work in other languages, e.g. French / Spanish.

Markus: 3 areas:

  • Get volunteers to translate info on results into a few key languages, e.g. in Germany, Nicole does a lot of translation.
  • To take part in discussion, we have no way around English. But in working groups, it can be done in the most convenient language. Have to feed the info up and down from working groups.
  • maintain pool of translators. There is volunteer activity on Meta for translation. People like to translate. e.g. Wikimedia Quarto was a WMF newsletter which was translated into different languages. It stopped because it was hard to maintain. Too many levels of corrections and translations of corrections. Great idea, though, so if we can deliver something like that for WCA. For example, if we can have translation to and from Spanish, we will be less isolated from Iberocoop. If we endorse specific languages, there will be a problem about which to offer, but if we offer an interface, whichever groups have info to share can do translation. Good to have bilingual research teams, but how? Is it maybe the task of council members to be the transmission instrument for their chapter's language? Cannot translate all documents into all languages, but in small groups there doesn't have to be a fixed rule [did I understand that correctly?]

The idea of encouraging people to act as language bridges is good.

Not obligatory to communicate in English, but for communication to WCA, has to be in English? Maybe not really. Someone can translate?

Peer review


Chapters can request reviews of their operations from each other. Fæ and Raoul were discussing this…

Don't ask WMF to audit us: let's audit each other through peer review.

Email discussions have shown interest. Blue Raspberry did a good job, set up the page (link above)

Last year, Fæ set up a checklist, but it was complicated to translate. In general, difficult to translate governance documents.æ/sandbox is the result of the discussion with Estonia, and will be published after being reviewed.

In Portugal they had a critical decrease in members, and they need help from others who have experienced this kind of thing. Maybe need to worry about their structure. Maybe need an administrator to provide a continuous relationship with outside entities and institutions? They noticed that their activities are endangered. Employing staff may or may not be the right answer: peer review can help uncover other options. For example, paying a volunteer for 6 months can resolve the problem, or show that you need a full time staff member. This is where WCA can add value: need process to raise request for assistance. A peer review report can support a grant application to FDC. Peer review is cheap and friendly: took about 3 days of volunteer time, so it's efficient. has a list of chapters' reports - good to get your reports there: don't have to be in English.

Pavel did a good presentation in Berlin about employing staff. Mutual support was also listed as a requirement from chapters. Friday afternoon there will be a report on the governence review. There will be a practical "mark your own chapter" exercise.

Goran (Serbia): Fæ/Sandbox has a proper peer review, but Peer review page: areas for review section looks like request for suggestions/comments. What is the plan in future? Fæ is a professional reviewer. This example was based on the governance checklist developed last year. Peer review page on meta is a set of questions. Peer review vs review and report - need to separate these concepts. Would be good to take case studies as well as general discussion.

Raul: Hard to get insurance against directors' liability [in Estonia?], and liable for 5 years after leaving board: makes employing staff a higher risk.

Chapters exchange

edit Page where chapters can show their expertise (skills, experience, etc.) so that we can share resources. This way we can remind the movement what we can offer as chapters. We need a team who can review this page regularly. Maybe have it in the monthly report? Maybe also post request on the mailing list [WM-L] to alert people of new requests: that list is also read by people who don't have an interest in chapters.

[Cross-chapter thematic contact?] This information is available on meta etc. [I don't know how to capture this comment]

We have many instruction sites for similar things.

Nicole: Considering "Chapters dialog" project to set up a strcutured assessment of how chapters work, their needs, their partners, howthey feel aboutwhat they're doing, set up a basis of data and text, which cna be a basis of future research. WMF says this isn't their job, but chapters also shouldn't do it, so no-one feels responsible for chapter development. Important to have a basis for this - to communicate with other movement entities, like WMF and Affiliation committee. They know a lot about the challenges that chapters face. Also with FDC, because FDC is getting a strong insight on what chpaters actually do: they read the reports that chapers write. Not every chapter needs to hire staff and do large projects: chapters need to develop in the way they neded to, e.g. basedon their surroundings and culture. Planning to have a contractor to talk to all chapters: set up a survey/interview, travel to chapters, talk to them, analyse data transparently: involve people inthe process, seewhat we can do with the results.

WLM is an example where many chapters & countries worked together to collect pictures. WMUA had a competition to improve articles, where they wrote articles about France, and France about Ukraine. Also did it with Estonia and Macedonia. Could work well with chapters exchange. Multilingual music project: work on music in Ukr language [non capisco?] WLM was very successful, and wmukr decided to organise competition: Wiki Loves Earth already has over 1000 pics in 3 days. How can we get a mechanism for such competitions?

Markus: this could form part of the exchange. WCA should facilitate, not lead such discussions. Set up a list of what chapters can offer, also projects then, not just skills. Not really part of chapters dialogue as Markus understands it: that's more about the state of chapters, their needs, etc.

WCA must make chapters' projects more visible. e.g. WLM is so successfull because it was well communicated.

Transparency doesn't work if the info can't be found. This is where chapters exchange, dialogue, handbook, etc. come in: direct people to the right info. A chapters portal would help, with links to the various pages. A way to structure information. Meta doesn't do linking and categorisation well. Meta has a "best practices documentation team" that has been dormant for a long time, for example.

Takes work to maintain pages; takes courage to delete old stuff.

Mailing lists


Do we need a private list for sensitive matters? Need one closed WCA list, for announcing reports, for voting, etc. Don't have to be on Wikimedia-l. Do as much discussion as possible on talk pages on meta. WCA chair will write report, put it on WCA list and on meta. Prefix WCA mails on wikimedia-l with [WCA]. WCA council members should be on chapters list. Administrator of chapters list decides who gets onto chapters list. This would be a separate list for announcements and private discussions.

Maybe as WCA we can influence chapters-lis to allow thematic orgs.

Posts to a private list won't stay private, and the existence of the list will raise questions immediately.

Ziko - So start WCA-announce for announcements and start private list.

Markus: we have 3 WCA lists already, one private.

Fæ: Markus should describe on meta how the lists would work. [lost discussion of which lists should exist]

Executive committee


Need to figure out sources of funding: can't apply for FDC grants. (topic for next discussion)

Before the start of the meeting, Wikimedia Serbia joined the WCA

Council meeting

  1. By decision of chair (no one had any complaints), the Election comittee id dissolved. [afterwards we had a vote and passed a resolution on this.. this should be somehow reflected in the minutes].
  2. Future of Budget comittee.
    Manuel asks whether we actually need a Budget comittee, since we don't yet have activities that require funding.
    Ziko suggests that we first discuss the Executive comitee because executive comittee will oversee a possible budget or any resources in general
    [general discussion on funding of operations related to the WCA]
    Suggestion to declare the Budget comittee inactive.
    Markus suggests to disslove it instead.
    [discussion about the procedure for dissolving the comittee].
    Gabriel Thullen gives formal proposal to dissolve the Budget comittee
    Ziko counts the present council members (quorum needed for voting).
    R1 The WCA council voted to dissolve the budget comittee.
    R2 The WCA council voted to dissolve the election comittee.
  3. Discussion about the executive comittee.
    Where can we find people for this comittee, who will have enough time to do the comittee work (they don't have to be the chapters' delegates).
    Maybe this people could be paid by chapters.
    If we have both paid and unpaid members of the comittee, could that cause a friction inside the comittee?
    Fæ: Executive comittee will have delegated powers. That powers need to be defined (say choosing a lawyer). Action groups do their tasks, but don't have delegated powers.
    Markus suggests to start a meta page to define the executive comittee, and to have consultations in order to vote for the executive comittee in Sunday.
    • So you're suggesting to give people three days to comment on this? Nice.



Markus suggested to change the Charter to explicitly declare that non chapter entities can join the WCA as well[?] Fæ believes that we don't have to put it in the Charter, that it is enough to call them to join the WCA.

Section D of chapters association charter:

Withdrawal: The duties and obligations of a member chapter incurred up to the time of withdrawal are not terminated by its withdrawal.

Not clear why we need this, and there are no duties that are relevant to this.

After a discussion, the WCA council voted to ammend the Charter as described in this diff

Open discussion

  • Do we want the thematic organizations to join the WCA?
  • What do we have to offer to thematic associations?
  • What about wikimedia user groups?



Discussion whether to move relevant documentation from mailing lists to meta (there are copyright issues). Ziko suggested for chapters to fill in page with their experiences. Discussion on information and advice exchange: keep log of fulfilled requests.



Do we want to discuss WCA at Wikimania? Maybe have a "chapters lounge" where chapters can discuss their issues. Do we have the resources to provide this? Chapters lounge should have experts who would be able to give concrete advice (e.g. how to set up a job spec for an executive, or how to ask for a grant). maybe have some chapter chief executives available to present?

Votes by Proxy or E-Mail


Electronic votes are acceptable, have been done before. Only council members may vote. Some chapters have not formally joined the WCA, and therefore have no member who can vote, and also only the member who is officially the appointed council member may vote.

Allowing another delegate to vote for a specific chapter: how should this be handled? Maybe have a second person who can also act as representative? Ziko: The chapter board appoints CM, not a CM himself/herself a successor. Markus: Maybe just allow substitutes for real-life meetings, but inform WCA beforehand. There will always be time and scheduling conflicts.

Markus: prepare a resolution to vote on before wikimania.

Next Meeting


At Wikimania? No objections.

Meeting at 10:00 on Sunday. Markus must leave at 11:00.