Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lots of Chapters news today

For people who were paying attention to foundation-l, chapterscommittee-l or wikimediauk-l today, there was a huge amount of activity. Again, I know this isn't strictly USA-related, but it's chapters news, and there isn't much new from the USA right now.

  1. One of the remaining 4 directors of WMF UK resigned this morning, prompting Alison Wheeler, the director, to call for the disolution of the ailing chapter. Lots of mailing list activity over this issue (some of it is misfortunately negative). Already, there is talk of creating a new chapter to take it's place. If you're from the UK and would like to get involved, this might be the best time to do it.
  2. A new chapter is in development in Brazil. We've heard from them that they are serious about becoming a chapter and are interested in starting to move forward with the process.
  3. The ChapCom is still accepting applications from people who want to join. We're looking for both members and advisors, so we can take applications from people with busy schedules. We're looking for people who are hopefully multilingual, globally-minded, energetic, and interesting in playing a fundamental role in the coordination of Wikimedian volunteers. If this sounds like you or somebody you know, send an application to the

Friday, August 22, 2008

Some chapters-related news

This post isn't strictly on-topic, but news has been scarce in the area of USA chapter development so I am trying to fill in the gaps with other related news.

First and foremost, the Chapters committee is looking for new applicants to fill it's ranks. We are looking to fill spots for both members and advisers. We don't have a set quota of seats to fill, but at the moment we are probably looking to fill more seats then we have received applications. Ideal candidates will have some interest in existing chapters and in the development of new chapters. We would like people who are multilingual to help in communications, but we really need people who have some level of english fluency to communicate with the committee.

If you're going to send in an application, we would like to hear a little bit about you. Where do you live? What languages do you speak/read/understand? What are your opinions on chapters as they currently are? What do you think we can do with chapters in the future? What is your level of participation in WMF projects and, if any, the open content movement at large? Send an email to with the answers to these questions, if you're interested.

In other news, yesterday we had a second meeting with organizers from the Catalan group. As a recap, the Catalan language is spoken in a large area of Europe that includes parts of Spain, France, Italy, and Andorra. The Catalonians want to create their own chapter, but this would obviously overlap with existing chapters in France and Italy, and a chapter in development in Spain. I need to go over chat logs again to make sure I know all the details (I was working at the time and could only pay partial attention) but it looks like things are moving ahead slowly and cautiously. In the worst case, they create a non-profit organization but are never recognized as an official chapter. In the best case, we find some agreement between all parties involved and we get a new Catalonia chapter (or "metachapter", or some other term that shows they are recognized but not a traditional "Chapter"). It will be interesting to see where things go with this.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Catalan Organizers

There was an interesting meeting yesterday around 1pm (evening for most participants) on IRC's #Wikimedia-chapters. It wasn't a private meeting as anybody could attend, but it wasn't advertised either. It's not directly related to USA-organizational efforts, but it's chapters-related and it might influence the USA situation in a tangential way. Delphine and I attended for the chapcom, although Delphine did most of the talking.

Some volunteers have been looking into organizing speakers of the Catalan language. Catalan is spoken in parts of Spain, France, and Italy, and is the official language of Andorra. Organizers, who come from all of these countries are proposing to create the first transnational Wikimedia Chapter.

This raises a couple problems, notably due to the overlapping with existing chapters in France and Italy, and another proposed chapter in Spain. The organizers were, however, very well prepared for the meeting and had a number of specific plans and ideas in mind that would indeed require some sort of legal framework like that required of our chapters. Questions and ideas were exchanged on both sides of the table, and we're taking a week for both sides to think things over. We're having another meeting next Wednesday at 1pm EST (5 pm UTC) to continue the discussion and see where we could be moving from here.