Proposal: Wikimedia Australia Meetups
- This page is a proposal being developed by our members. The proposal was moved by Steven Zhang and seconded by Anne Frazer. If you are not a member of the organisation, you may request an account on this wiki using special:RequestAccount, and discuss this proposal on the discussion page.
Since the inception of the Wikimedia movement, meeting each other in person has been commonplace. It's an opportunity for Wikimedians to come together and celebrate our movement, learn new things and meet new people, but also presents an excellent opportunity for community outreach. Wikimedia Australia is no exception. There have been regular meetups in Melbourne and Sydney, with more sporadic meetups in Brisbane, Canberra, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, and Newcastle, and one meetup in Bathurst. There has also been three unconferences in Canberra.
This proposal addresses an innovative step of formally creating Wikimedia Australia meetups to be held on a regular monthly basis for WMAU members, active wikipedians and the general public who by their attendance demonstrate an interest in becoming active wikipedians and demonstrate in good faith an interest in learning about Wikimedia Australia and the Wikipedia projects. It is envisaged that WMAU meetups should play an active role through the analysis of participants needs in terms of training so that participants of the monthly meetings gain knowledge and develop the skills to participate through Wikimedia Australia effectively explaining the function and practices required to produce Australian content for Wikipedia.
It is envisaged that Wikimedia Australia meetups would be held in addition to the usual practice of the movement's community meetups which traditionally are held in various venues across the country and that a formally held WMAU meetup in no way supersedes the traditional community meetup. This proposal for a Wikimedia Australia meetup does not refer to WMAU committee meetings or special or general meetings as outlined in the Chapter's Rules of Association.
In 2012 Melbourne has hosted frequent meetups - once a month until last month, and initially these were well-attended, but dropped off over time. The same holds true for many other state locations, while community meetups initially had good attendence levels, it has declined over time.
WMAU has gained members as a result of meetups, editors have become more active in the movement and the general public has become more aware of the purpose of Wikimedia. Even with all this effort, our membership numbers remain low, and some states are more lacking in members than others.
- That should this proposal be accepted by the members it is on the condition that the rules governing a WMAU meetup be laid down by the committee from time to time as deemed necessary by the WMAU committee and that the rules be announced in the monthly committee minutes and posted on the Chapter's website.
- That each quarter, on the first Sunday of each month (the same day of the IRC meeting) a Meetup will take place in each capital city, and some regional hubs, or Australia. These, where practical would occur on the same day, and would be Wikimedia Australia meetups.
- That each participating region would be given a budget for expenses as deemed necessary by the local attendees. This may be used for venue hire, however the use of public and free facilities (cafes, libraries) would be preferred.
- That announcements could be sent to Wikipedians via the usual list notices available to Wikimedia Australia, as well as by email and public notices (such as newspapers) where deemed appropriate.
- That where possible a brief report would be written up and sent to WMAU committee, containing the content of the WMAU meetup's discussion and including the number of attendees, and the name or handle of attendees where consent is sought and granted by an attendee or attendees.
- That as it is proposed that the meetup be a Wikimedia Australia gathering, the committee will set the terms of reference for such a meetup which could include nominating from among its membership those who are authorised to announce and to preside over the meetup.
- Possible benefits
- Increase in membership size; retention of existing members. - In the past, community meetups have resulted in an increase in the membership size. Having more regular meet ups could increase this effect, but also help mitigate the attrition rate of the membership - if members are more engaged in the Wikimedia movement, they may be more likely to remain active.
- Increased prescence of the chapter in the Australian community - through an increase in active Wikimedians brought about by regular in-person meetups, we would have an opportunity to work on more projects like GLAM and HOPAU - more manpower could allow us to get stuff done faster.
- Possible risks
- Cost - it will need to be carefully controlled to ensure it does not blowout if many regional hubs participate - the budget for the first year is set to allow for a few regional hubs to be included in the program. This will need to be reviewed annually.
- Public liability-the organisation will need to obtain public liability insurance to cover these events.
- Brand-the autonomy granted to the local organisers while operating under a 'Wikimedia Australia' program means they could cause damage the worldwide Wikimedia brand or the Wikimedia Australia brand. Wikimedia Australia will need to assert some oversight over meetups where it is unfamiliar with the local organisers. Wikimedia Australia will encourage and support local Wikipedians to apply for 'Wikimedia User Group' affiliation status in order to also allow international oversight.