[WMCEE-l] What the meeting is good for?

Mykola Kozlenko mycola-k at ukr.net
Sun Nov 16 15:18:42 CET 2014

There are two main points that make CEE region very particular worldwide, namely: * one country = one language. This is the only region where one country speaks essentially one national language and where this language is essentially spoken in only one country (with probably some ethnic minorities on the other side of the border, as well as some minor languages like Kashubian, Crimean Tatar or Voro), being similar only with Scandinavian countries who already have their regional cooperation. * legal framework for not-for-profit organisations appeared only relatively recently, with growing organisations in most countries that are yet to achieve the high level of performance of Western European chapters. We do not have a long history of successful NGOs in the country, but in most cases we have a necessary legal framework for chapters. 
Both of these things make us have quite similar challenges - and at the same time make us work separately as one chapter is working most times on one language project. This is very different from Western European countries (where most languages are also spoken in other countries, like three German-speaking countries or French-, English- and Spanish- speaking former colonies), American countries (where Iberocoop works well due to common language) or Asian and African countries (where most countries have several local languages in addition to the language of the former metropoly). 
This means we are a group of over 20 countries responsible for over 20 language versions of Wikimedia projects, and we do have a possibility to develop common projects. This situation is truly particular in the world, and it would be disappointing not to use this particularity. 
At the same time, I do not agree that grouping projects on linguistic basis would work. I believe that education programme in Hungary has more chances to have similar challenges as the Slovakian one, instead of having similar challenges with a Finnish one. In the same way, in Ukraine we are likely to have similar challenges in recruiting volunteers as in Poland or Hungary, but different challenges from Belarus despite linguistic proximity. On the other hand, Caucasian countries have strictly nothing in common from linguistic point of view, and culturally it is easier to imagine cooperation between Armenia and Ukraine than between neigbouring Armenia and Azerbaijan. 
This list can be continued, but generally speaking CEE has more chances to succeed if we look wider than just into language issues, but try to work with common issues for the region. There are many projects that were successful in one country but are unknown abroad, thus it would be a good opportunity to change the situation and learn from each other. 
--- Оригінальне повідомлення --- 
Від кого: "Balázs Viczián" < balazs.viczian at wikimedia.hu > 
Дата: 16 листопада 2014, 09:43:47 

Laura, Iberocoop is a culturally homogeneous community with no language difficulties at all between its members. It can be best compared maybe to the UK's Commonwealth. Or imagine a cooperation between the UK-USA-SA-AUS-NZ-IRL-CAN and other closely related "English-first" countries. The CEE region in contrary can be divided into at least 4 (or more) distinct groups: 1) North Slavic (CZ-SK-POL), 
2) South Savic (CRO-SLO-RS-BIH-MAC-BUL) 
3) Russian-related (RUS-UKR-BLR-KAZ+wherever a sizable Russian minority lives,like the Baltic states plus maybe even as far countries as ISR and the USA) 
4) Baltics (EST-LAT-LV) 
5) Caucasus (ARM-GEO-AZE and Caucasaian Russia, -Iran, -Turkey) and others, like ROM-MOL, ALB-KOS or HUN with the sizable Hungarian minorities in the neighbouring countries, or GRE-CYP or Turkey(-North Cyprus-AZE) or others without a country (Sorbians, Rusyns, Sami, etc) and the many-many more I missed listing here (one example: the Finno-Ugric cooperation of FIN-HUN-EST+many ethnic groups without a country) The only "real" similarity is the Soviet/Communist history (but not for all) what actually almost everybody who had wants to get rid of (and what made most of those CEE countries look similar on the surface) and of course the geo-location. I understand that from the UK these countries might look very similar but beleive me, they are not. Apart from being roughly at the same part of the map if you zoom out enough (Budapest and Astana are 4500 kms away from each other...exact same distance as Lisbon-Moscow) And I have not even mentioned the history yet what gives a CZ-SK cooperation far better chances of success than for example a CRO-RS one (not to say examples like AZE-ARM...) Chapters would probably cooperate better than the general population though, however ignoring all mentioned above could lead to painful fails. Me being from Hungary have not much in common with lets say the Kazakhs due to the physical, linguistic and cultural distances we have between us. It is _absolutely not_ a bad thing just a simple fact. We are too different and too far away from each other (in all means) to find easy ways to cooperate (if we will ever try to...) Probably instead of pushing a single "CEE-coop" it would be better to let those "natural groups" be created. (Note, many countries would belong to more than one group but on different levels and depths what cold help create more focused cooperations). Balázs 2014.11.15. 8:55, "Laura Hale" < laura at fanhistory.com > ezt írta: 
To accomplish goals, to be better integrated into the wider community, to help build the global Wikimedia brand for your own benefit, to get better access to grants, to find other partners in chapters to do projects with, to teach others what you have learned to be successful, to learn from others what they have done to be successful, to alert others to important copyright issues facing your local community, to better lobby on reforms related to open access to information, etc.   
Improving visibility in a positive way is about improving collaboration.  Collaboration is at the heart of all Wikimedia projects, and what makes it successful.  Often, you need face to face to do that. 
At the end of the day, you can argue go it alone all you want.  What success has this strategy of going alone brought you?  Why is eschewing collaboration in this case the better option?  Why is not working with others a better road to success for your chapter or your Wikimedia project? 
Sincerely, Laura Hale 

On Saturday, November 15, 2014, Juan de Vojníkov < juandevojnikov at gmail.com > wrote: 
And why we have to improve the visibility of wmcee comunity? 

twitter: purplepopple 

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