Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wikimedia DC Chapter discussed at meetup

At the recent DC #4 Wikimeetup, which was attended by around 20 people, we briefly discussed, and formally announced, the creation of a working group for the Wikimedia DC Chapter. While discussion was limited and brief, we identified some of the bigger issues that we will have to work through in the next weeks: 1) How will the chapter organize itself internally? 2) How will the chapter organize itself legally? 3) How will the chapter work with the other surrounding chapters in the northeast region?

These are difficult questions and there are no easy or ready answers for them. However the working group is committed to working our way through them and coming to the best possible result for our constituency. To that end, I invite all readers to visit our site, WP:DC on en.wp or Wikimedia DC on meta and offer your opinions.

-(posted on behalf of) Dan Rosenthal
Wikimedia DC Working Group coordinator

Sunday, May 4, 2008

It Hits The Fan!

The issue of USA chapters has hit the scene in a big way. This week, the WMF Board of trustees announced a reorganization plan that described how seats on the board are to be filled. Most importantly for our purposes, two seats on the board are to be reserved for members to be selected by the chapters. The exact mechanism by which the chapters are going to select candidates for these seats is not yet known. However, this raises a very important and relevant question: What about the people in the USA? What about this community, which is arguably one of the largest and oldest groups in the entire WMF? Are these people to be completely disenfranchised because they don't have any chapters? Florence sent a very important email to foundation-l about the USA topic specifically. Here is an excerpt:
It does not mean that we yet know what these chapters would do
it simply means that on the principle, we'll be happy to approve a USA
chapter ... or USA chapters, or USA chocolate cake, or something, that
will make it possible for USA citizens to get involved at board
membership level.

Hear that everybody? The board would be happy to accept, in principle, a US chapter or "chapters". This is good, because "chapters" is what we have forming right now. We have people talking about organizing in PA, NY, OR, and CA. This discussion has even revealed that a new group has started organizing in Washington DC. I've even extended an invitation to Swatjester, one of the people organizing that group, to become an author on this blog to help get them some more exposure! I have even heard, through the grapevine, about people organizing in other states: MA, TN, AZ. I would love to hear more about other organizational efforts, leave a comment or send me an email if you have any information about these.

I've been in touch with Delphine, and I've also been hard at work trying to draft a proposal on the issue that the chapcom can present to the board for approval. Our intended proposal will be very open-ended to help encourage thinking and discussion. It should help put the final puzzle piece in place, and finally open the floodgates for US chapter creation.

On a side note, I now regret renaming this blog to "Wiki Northeast" because I would love to extend it to include the entire US organizational effort. However, renaming is a total pain, so "Wiki Northeast" is what we are stuck with. However, I am more then willing to talk about organizational efforts in other US regions as well.

I am looking to recruit more authors and guest authors for this blog. Applicants must be an active participant in some kind of organization effort for a USA-based chapter. If you or somebody you know is actively organizing and would like a little soapbox to talk about it, please send me an email. If you don't want to become an author, you can email me news updates short stories, or one-time posts, and I can put them on the blog for you. I would really love to hear from the people "on the ground" about how things are going. I look forward to posting more updates on these topics as things progress.