In the context of the Wikimedia community, peer review refers to any group of Wikimedians reviewing the actions of any other group of Wikimedians. This is an informal process.
The purpose of peer review is to share administrative and management support. Many groups of Wikimedians form without formal non-profit management expertise because these groups are usually founded by typical Wikimedians who may be from any professional background. Because of this, peer review can help groups of Wikipedians share best practices on organizing outreach events, doing advertising, establishing partnerships between the Wikimedia community and local organizations, hosting training sessions, doing accounting of funding if any exists, or conducting management processes like founding a legal NGO or non-profit.
How to participate in peer review
- Collect a group of Wikimedians. Set up a page on Meta-Wiki defining yourselves and describing your projects
- Find another group of Wikimedians anywhere in the world who might want to exchange peer review with your group. Here are so places where you might find them.
- Send the group with which you would like peer review a request that you would like to talk with their members about organizational affairs.
- Have some talks with group members by phone, conference call, IRC meetings, Skype, email, or otherwise in all the ways that organizations communicate with each other. Do what you like on-wiki, but to have relationships between groups, talking off-wiki is more efficient.
- If the two groups like talking with each other, then consider whether you would like to establish regular chats between groups.
- After two groups have a good working relationship with each other, each should seek contact with another group. If every Wikimedia group talked regularly with two other groups, then the entire community supports a network for organizing worldwide.
Areas for review
Most Wikimedia groups who would seek review already have collected a group of people who understand Wikimedia culture and are established Wikimedians. Once a group of Wikimedians are meeting together, often the next problem becomes doing non-profit organizational management. Here are some questions which often arise:
- Our group wants to advertise events. Has someone already made advertising materials which we can reuse?
- Our group was thinking about setting up a website, a Facebook account, a Twitter feed, and other online community spaces to organize. How should we plan this?
- How should we the regular business of our group? When should we have meetings, what records should we keep, and how should we report our activities?
- We have a group of Wikimedians. We are starting to meet regularly and were thinking about registering formally with the Affiliations Committee to get recognition as a Wikimedia group, because we want people to be able to find us. What should we think about to prepare for this?
- Sometimes our group spends money for tea and biscuits at meetings. Most of our members just contribute their own money for these things, but we were also thinking someday to have a proper process for organizing this. Under what circumstances would it be useful for us to keep records of our expenses?
- We want to host a major training event and would like to request money from the Funds Dissemination Committee to cover our group's expenses. How do we do this properly?
- We want to establish a partnership with a local organization to regularly provide Wikimedia training and host Wikimedia events with them. What are our options for supporting a Wikimedian in residence, participation in the outreach:GLAM program, or otherwise facilitating a relationship between the Wikimedia community and the organization?
- Our group wants to apply from grants from a funding organization other than the Wikimedia Foundation. How do we identify such organizations and how do we make a good grant application?
The review process is informal. It starts when one group of Wikimedians requests review and another group agrees to provide it. Review can happen in any way that the groups feel is best, but here are some general guidelines:
- Make review requests in writing. The review request should consist of the following:
- a link to the page of the group seeking review
- a list of the Wikimedians of the reviewed group who are requesting the review
- An explicit focus for the review. Here are some example questions:
- "We had money to host a one-day Wikimedia event. We made an account sheet explaining how we spent the money we budgeted for this event. Can you please comment on the extent to which you think this is clear and understandable reporting?"
- "We were thinking of partnering with a local school to train students. We wrote a two-page outreach plan describing what tasks there are to do and who will be responsible for each task. Will you look at it and give comments on what difficulties you think might arise?"
- an explanation of why you have chosen to ask a particular group for their review, and not for the opinion of any other group
- an end date for closing the review
- If the review can conducted be on-wiki, then great; if not, please somehow transfer a copy of the review or a link to the review to a Wikimedia project
- The organization giving the review should have a link to the review they gave on their project page, and the organization receiving the review should likewise link to the review on their project page.
- Conduct reviews while being open to the possibility of establish a long-term relationship between groups. It is good for Wikimedians to regularly talk to each other and share resources, expertise, and knowledge!
Partnerships between regional and thematic groups
The largest regional groups in the Wikimedia movement are Wikimedia Chapters, which are national organizations everywhere except in the United States, and Wikimedia thematic organizations, which are international groups of Wikimedians who are promoting a particular topic.
Thematic organizations, being topic-focused, may have interested members in any place. Anyone who is interested in a thematic organization and who is a member of a regional chapter may act as representative from that chapter to the thematic organization and from the thematic organization to the chapter. It only takes one interested person to establish such a relationship and doing this can go a long way to establishing international relationships in the network.
Outreach review is a review of the special relationship between the mutually-agreed-upon relationship between the Wikimedia Community and any external organization. In this relationship, typically the external organization offers expertise in a field and the Wikipedia community offers support in processing and disseminating that information according to Wikimedia community guidelines.
Persons doing outreach historically have been unregulated, unreviewed, free agents who rely on trust rather than oversight to do as they think as best. In the future such people could engage in formal processes for transparency and oversight, perhaps in a way analogous to the peer review process between Wikimedia organizations. For example, the work of a Wikipedian in Residence or Wikipedia Campus Ambassador could be monitored by affiliation with a Wikimedia chapter or thematic organization.
List of groups with established relationships with each other
The following is a list of chapters and the organizations which they regularly review.
- Iberocoop, for Wikimedia supporters interested in Ibero-America
- Wikimedia Asia Project, for Wikimedia supporters interested in Asia
- Wikimedia US Coalition, for Wikimedia supporters interested in the United States
- Francocoop, for Wikimedia supporters interested in the Francophonie
- Wikimedia CEE, for Wikimedia supporters interested in Central and Eastern Europe
- Nordic Wikimedia, for Wikimedia supporters interested in the Nordic countries
- see Interchapter groups in general