Friday, June 22, 2007


This post marks what is likely to be the first in a series of installements. To create a new WMF chapter, we must first write up a set of bylaws, which the WMF chapters committee will then read over and accept (or reject). The necessity of the bylaws has been made quite clear, as they are mentioned numerous times in the various explanation and FAQ pages concerning new chapter creation. What has not been made as clear (at least not to me, with my mental impairment concerning all things legalese) is what precisely a chapter's bylaws should discuss. To make matters worse, none of the existing chapters are primarily english-speaking, and it has been difficult for me to find any examples of existing bylaws in english.

However, to the best of my knowledge, the bylaws should cover some of the following issues:
  1. Organization of the chapter, including how officials are elected
  2. Membership, including how to become a member, dues, penalties for not paying dues
  3. Purpose of the organization and primary goals
  4. Declaration of non-profit status
  5. Mechanism for future amendment of the bylaws
The one good example that I have found on meta are the bylaws for the Hong Kong chapter. These bylaws are very formal, and satisfy the needs of a very large and business-like chapter. The entire chapter forms a "membership assembly", which contains all members of the chapter. From this assembly are elected a number of representatives, known as the "Representative Counsel". Also elected from the membership assembly is an "Executive Council", that handles the day-by-day business of the chapter.

While I'm not entirely sure that our chapter bylaws need to be quite so formal, It certainly can't hurt to provide for a future period of unimaginable success. However, I also want to be completely prepared for a situation where membership is very low, and is incapable of sustaining a hierarchy governing system. There is certainly a lot to think about, and I would like to try and get a draft together by next week at the latest.