Principally, the political theory raises interesting points of philosophy,
but their direct translation into practice here must be qualified by the
reality WMF has to face. That is, there is a board, it is the 'supreme
power' under law, and thus the rest of the organizing principles for the
Foundation proper are significantly limited. What is *not* limited in the
same way is the 'community' or 'projects' per se. That is by design, or at
least has been since WMF abandoned membership as a concept for the
Chapters are relevant because they are the result of humans in a particular
point in space, surrounded by a particular geographic and political
boundary. Virtual citizens, on the other hand, exist within a particular
domain/project. This raises fascinating choices - are all projects created
equal? Are all languages created equal? Data for the size and growth of
projects demonstrate that the answer is clearly no; Wikipedia is the biggest
project in all languages; English is the biggest language in all projects.
This is well-understood and the subject of much evangelism towards other
projects and languages.
How then to temper the effects of an EN:WP-centric set of projects and
virtual citizens? To tend towards "senate"-like rather than "house"-like
forms of representation. Should projects get one vote, irrespective of
size? Can language ever be a proxy for organizational structures? I would
suggest those thorny problems will not be easily resolved - there is no
elegant design which encompasses the virtual citizen to the same degree that
the political compromise of a human/voter in a point in space.
Which leads us back to chapters. They are constrained by local law, but
they have the benefit of being real and encompassing real people
irrespective of a computer. Some do not see this as a virtue. I do. I
think real people really change the world, especially in areas outside the
EN:WP hegemony, and should be given every incentive and aid in organizing.
Thus, the chapter "republic" issue. How do you compare Germans with
Netherlands with Hong Kong or Poland? One vote each? How should the
Americans respond, with a chapter in each state? Can the US game the system
no matter what by shear numbers? Should a count of chapter membership be
relevant? National population? Per capita participation? Donations?
Other statistics? These are all hard questions. But they keep the focus on
real people and less virtual identities which are transient and not easily
susceptible of capture.
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