Friday, August 19, 2011

The big missing #Wikimedia chapter

The Wikimedia movement consists of many parts, in no particular order there are communities, projects, associated projects, wikis, chapters and a foundation. This movement is growing rapidly in all its aspects. There is enough talent and cash to ensure that the parts of the movement operate efficiently and achieve their goals.

As there are many parts, it is important to be clear about who, what and where.
  • a community is a group of people working towards a mutual goal
  • a project aims to achieve a generic goal e.g. Wikipedia, MediaWiki, Wikisource 
  • a wiki is a website where a community works on a project
  • an associated project is a project outside of the WMF involved with the aims of the movement
  • a chapter is an independent organisation promoting the goals of the Wikimedia movement in general and the Wikimedia projects in particular. a chapter is typically based along national borders
  • the Wikimedia Foundation is the organisation that keeps the servers running, develops the MediaWiki code and coordinates the world wide activities particularly where chapters do not reach
Understanding this becomes complicated once you start appreciating the one big anomaly in all this, the special status of the USA. It is the country where a significant part of both our editors and readers are US American. It is where most of our donations are coming from. It is also a country without its own national chapter.

When the activities of the WMF office are separated from the activities in  the USA, a global organisation is left that is more obviously there for any and all chapters and a national organisation is left who will be better able to support any and all activities that take place in the US of A.

A separation like this will make it much easier to consider extra or alternate organisational models. It is one of the more popular threads on the mailing lists. The current complexity is what makes many fine suggestions unrealistic.

1 comment:

Protonk said...

WMF needs to get in front of this. The long game on wikipedia is declining growth on and increasing growth on other language wikis. Blame whatever culprit you like (culture, size, etc.) but don't let blame fixing get in the way of moving forward.