How many Wikimedia communities have embraced advanced Wikidata use? How many have active social media accounts? Which groups have a written, current strategy? What are the most common gaps in capacity in Latin America? or in Eastern Europe? What kind of investment in capacity building would be likely to bring the most value?
The goal of the CCM is to provide useful information about the capacities present or missing in a group, a community, or an organization, with a view to identifying and acting on opportunities to build and improve that capacity, as well as tracking change over time. The information should be useful for everyone, from the community/org/group itself, through independent experts and volunteers interested in lending a hand, to the Wikimedia Foundation as a large investor in capacity building across the movement.
See the Guidelines page for details about the principles for populating the map.
The CCM is an experiment led by Asaf Bartov from the Community Resources team at the Wikimedia Foundation, created as one of the recommended next steps following the Community Capacity Development (CCD) pilot project.
The CCM began in January 2018. If found useful, it is hoped it would see contributions by more groups and affiliates, and more use by people doing planning and resource allocation at WMF and elsewhere.
Likely-asked questions, with answers
- Why do this at all?
- The Community Resources team is doing this to attempt a more comprehensive view of capacities and gaps across the movement, to enhance our existing, anecdotal and ad-hoc, impressions of only some of the communities and affiliates. See the goal statement above.
- لم الآن؟
- The CCM experiment is an implementation of one of the recommendations made at the conclusion of the Community Capacity Development pilot year.
- Why should I spend the time to read through it or go through the self-assessment?
- There are a couple of reasons you may want to put in the time: First, by self-assessing your group/organization's capacities and gaps, you are giving WMF and other potential investors in community capacity a chance to provide your group/org with resources and opportunities to build up those capacities. Secondly, self-assessing according to the Guidelines page may be in itself a worthwhile exercise and discussion-starter for your group/org, pointing at potential areas for proactive work by your org/group itself, for example in your next annual plan. Finally, self-assessing (at least some) capacities today would enable you to review and re-assess in six months, or two years, and see how your group/org has developed (or not) in each of these aspects.
- So does WMF expect all groups and organizations to do this?
- No. This is an opportunity and a tool. Like all other tools, you are free to use it or not, and we certainly understand that it would take time and that you may have more pressing priorities in your group/org. We hope as many groups, organizations, and communities eventually take the time to self-assess, at least on some capacities, but it is not mandatory, and there would be no penalty for not participating.
- Would we have to provide self-assessments for all of the capacities?
- No. Feel free to self-assess on as many or as few capacities as you are able to, interested in, or find relevant. You can also add assessments gradually, as your group/org finds time to discuss and agree on assessments.
- Should I assess capacities in the context of my wiki community, my user-group/chapter, or what?
- It depends. It may make sense to do separate assessments, or just one. For example, while the English community has plenty of bot builders and technical experts, you may belong to a small community contributing in English in a country with little or no bot-building expertise, such as Wikimedians in Uganda. In this case, it would make sense to describe the capacities of the Ugandan group you're part of, and not of the whole English Wikipedia community. On the other hand, it is possible that there is a very high degree of overlap between the Estonian community's capacities and the Estonian chapter's capacities, and in that case, it may be most useful to assess just once, for the Estonian community or Wikimedia Estonia, or possibly once for the community for on-wiki capacities, and separately for Wikimedia Estonia only for the organizational and off-wiki capacities. See the Guidelines page for more details.
- Okay, and suppose we did put in the time and provided some assessments. What can we expect next?
- You can expect, at the very least, one program officer at Community Resources paying attention to your contribution, and possibly, depending on each specific capacity and assessment, that officer may have resources or opportunities to suggest to your community/group/org. The more groups provide assessments, the better-informed WMF would be, and the more likely it would be that WMF could allocate resources and create training opportunities for your group. Shared needs in a region would increase the likelihood of WMF acting even further, as it would allow economizing on the investment by training/supporting several groups/communities at once.
- Are you saying if X number of communities demonstrate need Y, WMF is guaranteed to allocate resources to fill that need?
- I'm afraid not. But it does make it more likely, in that it demonstrates the need, making it easier to argue for it in internal budgeting and allocation discussions, and to marshal internal WMF resources (such as borrowing the time of subject experts at WMF to conduct training or mentor groups).
- Okay, so how would WMF decide which communities to offer resources to?
- There's no simple deterministic algorithm, but WMF would prioritize emerging communities over other communities, larger groups serving larger populations over smaller ones, and at least at first, would probably prioritize "low-hanging fruit" -- lower-cost/lower-risk investments, as we learn and improve this program's use of resources.
- Wouldn't the fact these are self-assessments mean we'd be comparing apples to oranges, given some groups would overestimate or underestimate their own capacities?
- No. We do understand there are some cultural tendencies (some cultures are more self-critical than others, or have rosier or more pessimistic views of future prospects and current capabilities). However, we think the fairly coarse granularity of the assessments (none/low/medium/high), coupled with the Guidelines for self-assessing, would lead most groups to make reasonably comparable assessments. Ultimately, these would remain subjective and unscientific assessments; but they would certainly at least indicate a group/org's own perception of their capacity. And before WMF (or others interested in investing in capacity building) make a decision to tackle a particular capacity with a particular community/group/org/region, we would be sure to take into consideration all the relevant context we have, i.e. not just the aggregate of the self-assessments in the CCM, but also all the accumulated experience, context, and history we are aware of at WMF, regarding that community/group/org/region.
- Okay, this may not be the worst idea ever to come from WMF
- We're glad you think so. :)
- What if none of this turns out the way you hope?
- Then we'll archive these pages and look for other ways to do effective capacity building. The CCM is an experiment, based on observed needs and an expectation that it would be useful. But we are ready to learn that it may not, and to change course if necessary. Let's give it a shot, though!
- What if I have another question?
- Use the talk page! :)
Actually-asked questions, with answers
- How much time do you expect groups to spend on this assessment?
- That would greatly depend on the group and on the capacity. We expect that if the right people are in the room (figuratively speaking -- an IRC chat or video call are just as good), some capacities could be assessed in as little as 3 or 4 minutes (using the guidelines, possibly just reading them and quickly agreeing which assessment most closely matches the situation in the group), whereas others may take perhaps up to 15 minutes. Depending on how many capacities the group chooses to assess itself on, it could take anywhere from an hour to several afternoons. Again, it is perfectly fine to focus at first on the capacities most interesting to the group, and to gradually (if at all) fill out others.
- Realistically, what is the expiry date of an assessment?
- We expect assessments to be representative of a group's situation until they are updated, or at the very least for a year since they are made. We understand that some assessments would be made once and not revisited even if the situation may change, but on the other hand, expect that significant changes in capacity (new volunteers, new skills, new energy, or conversely, loss of key volunteers) would be likely to be recorded here (even if it takes place just two months after a previous assessment was made). The CCM would not be used as-is for making crucial decisions; if some decision depends on the accuracy of assessments in the CCM, the decision-maker would do well to double-check with the group that the recorded assessments are still representative of the group's capacities.
- What do you mean by 'capacity'?
- We mean the set of abilities, skills, and experience necessary to conduct a particular kind of work or task. See the Guidelines page for descriptions of the various capacities, along with a guide for self-assessing.