Wikimedia charter

This page is obsolete, and kept for historical interest. Please see Wikimedia Foundation bylaws. For the more recent efforts to create a movement-wide Charter, see Movement Charter.

See Foundation wiki for pdf version: [1]

(pre)Historical discussion edit

This page was created to discuss the charter and bylaws for the upcoming Wikimedia Foundation. Right now, Wikipedia doesn't have a non-profit org status, and, I think, we need a charter and/or bylaws to achieve that status. Besides, with the current structure of Wikipedia, if Jimbo gets bored of it or runs out of money to support the server, we're sunk. And he won't live forever. We need to formalise our current hierarchy and rules along with new disaster plans and procedures for changing who has Jimbo's job (AFAIK, we don't have any). We should probably also leave room in the charter for something like Larry's job. Any other suggestions? w:User:LittleDan

You guys are behaving like a bunch of kids. The recent changes is a pure mess because you are making faces at each other, sticking out the tongue and saying "boo". I know how to recognise a personal disagreement when I see one. We are in the middle of a personal disagreement really, and it is plain obvious here a personal disagreement can not be solved through a tribunal decision, but requires that both parties work to solve the disagreement themselves. With help of a mediator if necessary. In any case, I am here to try to help Wikipedia first. I think LittleDan asked a very good question. And I will indicated what some of the comments provided inspire me.

  • a nonprofit org needs a board if only for legal reasons, and a board manual to tell them what procedures to follow (the most basic bylaws)
  • if these people don't set priorities on the software, e.g. wikipedia4 and what it needs to support, then they become impediments to the processes
  • you don't get nonprofit status without some statement of what value systems you support, that justifies a cessation of taxes on donations
  • a little thinking about how to avoid the worst cases would help
Yes. I think that currently, the english wiki may not scale. Seriously, lately very few decisions were taken. Mostly boldly by Martin. But, I feel we are totally in the "melasse" with stuff like User details special page or deletion management redesign. The reason is that we don't push the consensus process to the last point. In a consensus process, there are some deadlines which can be set, till which ideas are provided and discussed; Till the point where a decision must be taken. Otherwise, we are just stuck in mud and don't move at all. It is getting extremely heavy to make things move, because some people just say "no" without providing arguments for their "no". Then, we do nothing. And the more numerous we are, the more likely it is gonna happen. Decisions taken with many people requires a little bit more than what was done at the beginning of wikipedia. We must absolutely work on that. Consensus in big communities. Otherwise, risks are either that a small number of people take over, and impose their decisions and others, or that nothing happen at all anymore; And in case, there will be less and less desire to make things move. People grow tired when their propositions just get nowhere. A system needs to evolve. Ant
  • some concept of governance beyond current Wikipedia Governance (GodKing based) is required, else anyone can challenge your nonprofit org status.
    • Let's discuss that at [[new Wikipedia order]]. w:User:LitteDan
      • Remark: Page new Wikipedia order was deleted by consensus on Request for deletion. --Aphaia | Translate Election | ++ 22:54, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I hope we don't leave room for a Larry Sanger type position: such a role may have been necessary in earlier days, but such a centralised role is non-ideal. Half the point of wikimedia is to protect the project from potential GodKings, no?
Let's start at the basics - Wikimedia presumably needs a board. See The ideal Wikipedia board for some suggestions of who we might ideally want on such a board...
I am not sure it is the basic. When these people are going to ask things like, "how do you take decisions", "which will be our impact in this decision making", "how different will it be from editors", "can we suggest directions", "how are these directions be followed", what are we going to answer ?