Esperanza was a Wikipedia project founded on 12 August 2005. Its goals were to support the encyclopedia indirectly by encouraging a sense of community. It was the belief of Esperanza that a friendly, supportive community within Wikipedia would help the encyclopedia by keeping editors happy, productive, and on the project. The name is derived from the Spanish word for "hope," and the original goal was to offer hope for the Wikipedia community and bring it together. When proposing the association, the founder wrote the following:
Towards those goals, Esperanza attempted a number of initiatives, such as:
Some of these programs survive as independent projects.
Esperanza was governed by a charter, which stipulated an Advisory Council with staggered terms (two tranches), as well as an Administrator General who was selected by the council two times a year to lead the project. Administrator General made binding decisions about Esperanza on IRC. Amendments to the charter could be made through week-long discussions held on Wikipedia talk:Esperanza. This was criticized as being heavily bureaucratic and counter to the open and transparent spirit of a wiki; Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy.
Esperanza was first nominated for deletion in November 2006. Critics of the group argued that Esperanza distracted people from contributing to the encyclopedia proper by providing an environment for social interaction. Esperanza was also criticized for having regular Council elections, which were seen as nothing more than popularity contests. Following a no consensus result in the first motion to delete Esperanza, the organization engaged in a series of reforms, which resulted in the deletion of the coffee lounge, the user page awards, Stressbusters and the Barnstar Brigade. The group also attempted to promote participation in the article namespace by creating an Esperanza Collaboration of the Month. While most of the reform discussions ultimately reached a consensus, the overhaul discussions related to Esperanza's goals, its charter, its governance, what constitutes membership, and the noticeboard weren't completed.
A month later, Esperanza was once again nominated for deletion. Noted complaints against the organization included:
After long discussion, it was ultimately decided that Esperanza was to be decentralized and disbanded; see Wikipedia talk:Esperanza for a list of now-independent projects. Other pages about Esperanza themselves were redirected to this page, which was replaced with the summary above.
More debates followed on various pages in the Wikipedia namespace, including on a deletion review filed to review aspects of the MfD closure. The closing admin declared the consensus to be that the original MfD decision was endorsed.
This essay serves as a notice to all editors that existing projects must be open and transparent to all editors at all times, not to be overly hierarchical lest they are to meet a fate similar to Esperanza's.