Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Chapter Logo

I've uploaded a first draft of the chapter's logo. I tried to follow the instructions on the logo guidelines page, but I'm just too lousy with Inkscape to make all the details happen correctly. The logo can be found here:

And it can also be seen on the Wikimedia Pennsylvania project page:

Just having the logo up gives me both a sense of pride and a feeling of relief. We are really doing it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

New Name: WMF Pennsylvania

At the request of Notafish, I've changed the name of the proposal to "Wikimedia Pennsylvania", instead of the more local "Wikimedia Philadelphia". The idea, I assume, is to pave the way for state chapters, instead of a strange and disordered mix of state- and city-based chapters.

The new chapter page is located here now:

We are still working on the Bylaws, more information on those will certainly be forthcoming.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Bylaws: Structure

I have posted a very first draft of the chapter's bylaws on meta. You can find those bylaws here:

My purpose with this draft was basically to get a lot of ideas on paper, although it's a dreadful mess and needs much work. One of the issues over which there has already been some argument is the issue of the chapter's structure. I envision a two-part structure as such:

  1. A "General Assembly", which consists of all the members.
  2. An "Executive Council", which consists of a small number of members.
If the chapter meets en masse only once or twice each year, the majority of the chapter's members should be tasked with making the big decisions of the chapter: setting the dues, electing next year's executive council, and any other big issues which require chapter input. In order to facilitate the General Assembly in making decisions, I envision a number of "Representative Councils", ad hoc committees which are tasked with informing and guiding the general assembly. A representative council is, essentially, a group of experts from among the General Assembly, which can efficiently debate an issue, and provide the results to the Chapter for discussion and vote.

A representative council is selected by the executive council in times of need. If there are important issues to discuss at an annual (or bi-annual) meeting, the executive will select the representative council in advance, and then the results will be presented at the meeting (or in advance) in order that the general assembly may act on that information without delay.

This is, of course, just a first draft. We can expect there to be some changes to this structure as time goes on, but I'm pretty proud of the first attempt.

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.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I've gotten in touch with Cary Bass, who has in turn put me in touch with Notafish. Hopefully, If things go alright, we should have a chapter up and running before too long. In about three weeks there is going to be a "Wikimeetup" in philadelphia, and I think Johnny and myself are planning to advertise the idea of a local chapter to the local Wikimedians. If we can get some initial support for the idea, We can move to advertising more online, such as going through [[Category:Wikipedians from Philadelphia]], or even advertising at [[Category:WikiProject Philadelphia members]].

On Wikibooks, my home wiki, the users don't tend to announce where they live, although I have learned of a few members from around my area.

Besides attracting existing Wikimedians to our chapter, it's really our primary goal to reach out into the community and get new people involved. There are a few ideas floating around right now as to how to accomplish this, all of which have some promise.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


This blog is going to be a discussion area for the creation of a new Wikimedia Foundation Chapter in Philadelphia. The goal of this chapter will be community outreach and promotion of the WMF. We are at a very early stage of planning for this project, but hopefully it will gain some momentum in the near future.