Newsletter/November2008

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Wikimedia UK Newsletter
November 2008 Issue
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Summary: Wikimedians in the United Kingdom are working to set up a chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation, which will aid and encourage people to collect, develop and effectively disseminate knowledge. A board of five members has been elected, and a company has now been set up. Membership applications are now invited, and will be processed as soon as we have a bank account. The organisation needs the support and involvement of people like you.

In this month's newsletter:

  1. Creating a chapter
  2. Elections
  3. Status of Company Formation
  4. Membership
  5. Getting involved

Creating a chapter

Wikimedians in the United Kingdom have been working since 2006 to create a chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation. A company—Wiki Educational Resources Ltd—was incorporated on 14 February 2006. This company had several problems with recognition from the Foundation and opening bank accounts which meant the decision was made in August 2008 to wind the company up. The community decided to start the process to create a new company, firstly electing an initial Board.

Elections

From 20–27 September, the community voted for an initial board of five members to incorporate the new organisation, set up a bank account, request charitable status and arrange the first Annual General Meeting (AGM). Nine people put their names forward to stand and eight were accepted as candidates - the ninth being rejected as they were under 18. These five candidates received the support of more than the required 50% of voters:

Of the the 37 people who registered in time to vote, 26 (70%) cast their ballots.

The board members took up the positions listed alongside their names. New board elections will be held at the first AGM.

Status of Company Formation

The board has agreed a timeline of objectives. Good progress is being made. Following extensive discussions, a company named Wiki UK Ltd has been set up and was incorporated on 5 November. The company's Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association have been agreed, and these include the organisation's objectives:

The charity's Object is to aid and encourage people to collect, develop and effectively disseminate knowledge and other educational, cultural and historic content in the public domain or under a license that allows everyone to freely use, distribute and modify said content, by means including (but not limited to):
  1. promoting freely accessible online information repositories whose content is freely and collaboratively editable;
  2. acting as a voice and representative for the community of UK residents and citizens who use and edit such repositories;
  3. preserving world heritage, and particularly that of the UK, through such repositories;
  4. supporting the charitable work of the Wikimedia Foundation;
  5. enabling, assisting, promoting and promulgating wider participation in the creation, dissemination and expansion of information and educational resources covering the world's knowledge and languages to all persons, everywhere;
  6. furthering the development of electronic, printed, and other resources required to support such participation;
  7. producing, publishing and developing, or cause to be produced, published and developed, information resources, whether in printed, electronic, or other forms;
  8. making use of or encouraging the use of information resources for the advancement of education; and
  9. encouraging the adoption of practices and policies to widen education, participation and dissemination of information worldwide;
    Objectives of Wiki UK Ltd

The Chapters Committee has passed a resolution to support us becoming a chapter of Wikimedia. This does not yet give us chapter status, as the board of the Wikimedia Foundation must decide on this, and their next meeting is from 9th-11th January.

Membership

We have decided to have one membership level to start with. Members will have the right to elect the Board, submit motions and vote at AGMs, thereby playing a central role in determining the activities of the organisation. The membership fee will be £12/year, reduced to £6/year for concessions. These fees may be revised, and additional levels of membership created, at an AGM or by future Boards.

We are now inviting applications for membership of Wiki UK Limited; you can get the application form from here. We will process these as soon as we have a bank account. We are currently applying for a bank account and hope that this will be up and running by late December.

More information on membership can be found at Wikimedia UK v2.0/Membership.

Getting involved

In order to aid and encourage people to collect, develop and effectively disseminate knowledge, the chapter needs the support and involvement of people like you. Now is a great time to get involved. If you haven't already done so, you can subscribe to this newsletter. You may also like to subscribe to the WikimediaUK mailing list, where discussion on the chapter is taking place. You can additionally pose questions or make suggestions on Meta Wiki, where you can also respond to the items raised for consultation by the Board. Our Board Meetings held on irc are generally open to the public to listen and contribute and the agenda, reports, minutes and IRC log are posted on the wiki.