So, since at least the chapters meeting in April, and especially at Wikimania, I have been Thinking about Chapters. What is a chapter, what should a chapter do, how should it operate, all that fun stuff. What I realised during my chapters panel is that we for one thing, we have a dearth of terminology. So here are some modest steps towards clearer definitions.
A Wikimedia interest group (WIG) — any group, with a common characteristic or theme, that aims to further the Wikimedia mission.
Now, borrowing the idea of features from linguistics, we can start to map out some identifiable WIGs.
Features are also typically arranged into sets of features. The first set should be geographic.
V W R C S
W: Whole world
R: Region covering multiple nations
S: (Sub-national) region
So typically a WIG would only have one of these features… so possibly they are all a single feature? Normally features are binary.
Another set of features could be scope of interest.
P L T
P: Project (a single project, such as Wikibooks)
T: Theme (e.g. linguistics)
A third set of features could be characteristics, or functions. My initial guess is that these are only relevant for non-virtual WIGs.
LB F M O P L
LB: Legal body
F: Performs fundraising
M: Organises meet-ups or community-oriented events
O: Performs outreach events
P: Partners with other organisations or groups
L: Performs political lobbying
So a typical national chapter, would look like this:
Geographic V W R C S - - - + -
Interest P L T - - -
(This means, rather than being focused on a single project, language or theme, they are at least nominally interested in all/many of them. While in practice some countries tend towards monolingualism, so it may appear that some chapters are focused on a single language. But that is generally not an explicit part of their being.)
Functions LB F M O P L + + + + + +
So these sets of features are not independent… a value in the geographic features will have implications for the other sets. But that is OK I think.
A typical mailing list/project community (say, French Wikibooks) could also be defined thus:
Geographic V W R C S + - - - -
Interest P L T + + -
Functions LB F M O P L - - - - - -
So… what features am I missing so far? Have I listed any that are redundant? I’m sure I’m not thinking enough outside the box just yet.