Wikimedia chapters

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Existing chapters (dark blue), planned chapters (green), and chapters in discussion (light blue) as of 4 July 2009.

There are about thirty national chapters across the globe and presence on all continents. Europe is covered pretty much, Africa and Arabia are the least represented regions. Reach and participation tend to correlate with presence of local chapters. The number of chapters is still growing. Chapters are very diverse in multiple respects. The chapters are global, but the density of chapters mirrors the location of typical contributors.

See movement roles for more thinking on the relationship between the Chapters and the Wikimedia Foundation. The Chapters Committee interacts with and recommends approval of new chapters.


One reason Chapters evolved was to engage with the press, universities, and other potential partners.

The first Chapter was the German Chapter. It has taken a large advocacy role within German-speaking part of the world. Originator of Wikipedia Academy (with Frank Schulenberg (See interview) leading it). There's a strong sense that German academia has a more favorable view of Wikipedia, in large part because of the German Chapter's role in outreach and advocacy.

There has been some tension between the Chapters and the editing community. For example, when the Foundation bylaws changed to allow Chapters to elect two board members, some people from the editing community felt like their power was being taken away.

Would be valuable to talk to German Chapter about issues between Chapter and editors. Sometimes it's irrational considerations. People who think Chapters are trying to make money off of editors' work. How can so-and-so- be president of a Chapter when elected by people who don't edit Wikipedia? Not sure these concerns are grounded in reality. One thing that happens is, when you become president of a Chapter, you may not have time editing Wikipedia. Probably shouldn't be. By that process, you'll become a bit distant from the community.


Communication is mostly through the Chapters mailing list. It doesn't work very well. There have been cases in the past where there were some hurt feelings because Chapters would not hear about something from the Foundation until they saw it in the news. There have also been some occasions when a Chapter has put out statement that wasn't in line with the desire of broader movement to not be political.

Some of the communications problems between the Foundation and Chapters in the past were because Chapters were relying on support from the Foundation, but up until 2007, the Foundation did not have capacity to support the Chapters. The Foundation used to employ a Chapters Coordinator, whose role was to coordinate communication with the Chapters and the Foundation.

There is an annual Chapters meeting. All of them have been in Europe, where most of the Chapter activity has been centered until recently.

Chapters Current Paid Staff? Desire for Paid Staff? Planning Paid Staff? Remarks
Argentina No Yes No  
Australia No   Not at present  
Czech Republic No Yes Yes(*) (*) Currently discussing the possible job description, however serious planning will begin when there will be known funds for paid staffer(s).
Denmark No Unclear Not at this moment  
France Yes (external secretary) Yes Yes (hiring process for first full-time employee ongoing), start around feb 2010  
Germany Yes Yes We will hire additional people in early 2010  
Hong Kong No Yes Always if we have enough money  
Hungary No   Not at present  
Israel No Never discussed seriously Not at this moment The Pikiwiki project has small paid staff funded by ISOC-IL
Italy No No No  
Netherlands No Yes Yes Working currently on a way to finance the paid staff both in the short and longer term
New York City No (except for interns) Yes No  
Norway No Yes Not at this moment  
Poland Yes      
Serbia No Yes Yes, gathering money for payed staff  
Sweden No In discussion Not at this moment  
Switzerland No Unclear Not at this moment  
UK No Yes, but depending on who is asked Just starting to think about it  


Does your chapter participate in the following? (Just put an "X" in the boxes for activities you do participate in; * for activities you plan to participate in)

Chapter name Public outreach Volunteer coordination Partnerships Grants development Communications Business development Fundraising Technical work Software development Legal activities Other
Wikimedia Brasil X X X X X X
Wikimedia CH X X X X X X X X X
Wikimedia Czech Republic X X X * X * X X
Wikimedia Danmark X * X * X * X
Wikimedia Deutschland X X X X X
(have in the past)
Wikimedia France X X X * X X * * X X
Wikimedia Hong Kong X X X * X * X - -
(except lobbying)
Wikimedia Israel X X X X X X
Wikimedia Italia X * X
(competitions and awards)
(2007 WP DVD, merchandising until early 2010)
X * * X
(random lobbying; lawsuits against us...)
Wikimedia Nederland X X X X X X X X
(except defending when
necessary and lobbying)
Wikimedia New York City X X X * X * X X
Wikimedia Polska X X X X X X X X X X
Wikimedia RU X * * * X X * * X
Wikimedia Србије X X X X
(initial phase)
(initial phase)
(initial phase)
X * X/*
(localization of CC licenses)
Wikimedia Sverige X X * X X X X X
Wikimedia UK X X X * X X * * X

Chapter Controversies

Below is information that the Brazilian community put together on Wikimedia in Brazil:

See Also