Global Data and Insights Team/Our Reports/2020 Affiliates data survey report/Institutions

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Affiliate Data Survey Report                                                                                2020

“ Institutions are the rules of the game in society or, more formally, are humanly devised constraints that shape human interaction. ”

— North, D. C, 2017[1]


Wikimedia affiliates are an essential infrastructure for coordinated movement strategy. They act as both institutions that shape community structures and cultures, as well as spaces for the community to congregate and prosper. It is critical to understand and invest in their institutional resilience if we want to successfully meet shared movement goals.

Institutional Identity[edit]

Fig 1.1:Governance structures by affiliate type.

Affiliates identify themselves in two aspects, first through structures they use to govern themselves, as well as the people they elect into those structures. The majority of chapters and thematic organizations have elected boards, while user groups tend to adopt less formal governance processes.

96% of Chapters and Thematic Organizations have elected boards as structures for community governance. In contrast, 46% of all User Groups employ a less formal democratic structure for community governance, with 34% having an elected board, 46% using a democratic process, and about 20% having no governance process. There were no changes in the types of community governance structures, between 2018 and 2020. [note 1]


Fig 1.2: Men dominate affiliate governance structures.

Gender representation continues to be a concern amongst affiliates, especially within organizational structures of governance and influence. Men are overrepresented on boards (82% of Chapter/Thematic Organization boards and 80% of User Group boards are men) as well as among formal representatives of affiliate groups (74% of Chapter/Thorg primary contacts and 65% of User Group primary contacts are men).

A year-over-year analysis revealed a statistically significant decrease in the proportion of men on boards (↓13%)[note 2] as well as a decrease in the proportion of men listed as primary contacts of affiliates (↓8%).[note 3]

Still, we continue to see more men than women in structures of leadership amongst affiliates. Interestingly, membership in User Groups is much more representative of the global population than chapters and thematic organizations.

Institutional Culture[edit]

Fig 2.1: Affiliate requirements for new members to join.

Two-thirds of affiliates require that members must sign-up as well as meet a certain threshold of relevant activity to join. Many of these affiliates (61%) also use formal democratic processes (Leadership/ Board voting processes that are either partially or fully democratic) for making group decisions. Only 25% of affiliates have existing processes and policies for intervening with conflict internally.

Affiliates continue to exhibit a similar pattern to 2018 in their membership requirement practices. Most require that new members sign-up (26% in Chapter /Thematic organization boards and 36% in User group boards) and/or to have a certain threshold of activity (32% in Chapter/ Thematic organization boards and 33% in User group boards).

We are not able to make a year-on-year comparison for these practices, as we have had to change the categorization methodology from 2018.

Chapters and Thematic Organizations preferred to use more formal processes for decision-making; 90% report having a partial or complete democratic process or Board voting while the remainder use informal group discussions for decision-making. User Groups employed both formal processes (53%) and less formal processes (47%). There was a noticeable increase in affiliates' ability to use both formal and informal processes to make group decisions from 2018 to 2020. [note 4] In 2018, 47% used a combination of full/partial democratic board voting processes, 28% used popular voting, and 25% used informal discussions.

Fig 2.2: Affiliates are adopting formal processes for making group decisions.
Note: WUG = Wikimedia User Group, ThOrgs = Thematic Organizations


Chapters and Thematic Organizations are more prepared than User Groups to intervene with internal conflicts using both formal and informal conflict resolution mechanisms. This is consistent with responses from the 2018 survey. [note 5]

Fig 2.3:Affiliates use both formal and informal conflict resolution mechanisms, However, a third of user groups have not experienced group conflicts


Institutional Capacities[edit]

Affiliates were most confident in their ability to execute programs and events, develop new contributors and manage conflict internally and significantly less so in all other capacities related to higher-level organizational development.

Chapters and Thematic Organizations continue to exhibit a strong capacity to plan and execute programs and events, to build partnerships as well as continually evaluate the impact of these activities. While they have had some successes in the past for running communications and press relations, advocating for policy changes towards more open licensing of content, and raising funds for movement activities, most affiliates indicated these areas as critical targets for developing capacity in the next 12 months.

User Groups continue to show strength in capacities related to welcoming and nurturing new community members, such as contributor development, executing programs and events, and managing internal group conflicts. They struggle mostly to build more formal structures for fundraising, policy advocacy, and general governance of their young groups.

Fig 3:Presence of Capacities amongst affiliates


Capacity for contributor development and building partnerships were consistently rated in the top 4 across geographic regions.

Activities[edit]

On average, affiliates conducted editing events 1.5 times more often than other types of programmatic activities. These events are known to be effective at improving on-wiki content as well as community interactions and engagement.[2]


We continue to see activities/programs that require light coordination and planning, such as photo events, education partnerships, GLAM partnerships, and other partnerships, having a moderate presence. Whereas, activities that require specialist knowledge/capacity such as technical events, conference organising, and Wikipedia Library, were least common across affiliate groups and regions.

Fig 4.1:Presence and frequency of programs amongst affiliates


There were no noticeable changes in the presence of programs between 2018 and 2020. [note 6]

Consistent with last year’s survey results, Wikimedia affiliates in economically developed countries/regions run programs more frequently compared to those in economically emerging countries/regions. While Asia and Middle East regions were cited as regions showing low frequency in programs, we did not receive responses from these two regions to make a year-on-year analysis of change.

So what?[edit]

To strengthen affiliates as effective institutions for building a diverse and inclusive movement
  • AffCom should encourage Affiliates to develop a shared gender equity strategy and policies to improve practices of inclusivity and community governance.
  • The Wikimedia Foundation should create a plan to help affiliates build capacity in communications, contributor development,and community governance, all of which are crucial to achieving the Medium Term Plan goals under Thriving Movement.

Notes[edit]

  1. When comparing prevalence of types of governance structures amongst affiliates between 2018 and 2020, an Independent-Samples Mann-Whitney U test found no statistical significance change in both the medians (p = 0.546) and in distribution (p = 0.086).
  2. A non-parametric test was performed on gender distribution across affiliates structures of leadership as well as membership. An Independent-Samples Mann-Whitney U test found statistically significant change in both the medians (p = 0.045) and in distribution (p = 0.007) of men in boards.
  3. A non-parametric test was performed on gender distribution across affiliates structures of leadership as well as membership. An Independent-Samples Mann-Whitney U test found statistically significant change in both the medians (p = 0.00) and in distribution (p = 0.00) of men as Primary contacts of affiliates.
  4. When comparing prevalence of types of governance practices amongst affiliates between 2018 and 2020, an Independent-Samples Mann-Whitney U test found statistical significance change in both the medians (p = 0.00) and in distribution (p = 0.00).
  5. When comparing prevalence of types of conflict resolutions practices amongst affiliates between 2018 and 2020, an Independent-Samples Mann-Whitney U test found no statistical significance change in both the medians (p = 0.312) and in distribution (p = 0.604).
  6. When comparing prevalence of types of programs amongst affiliates between 2018 and 2020, an Independent-Samples Mann-Whitney U test found no statistical significance change as follows:
    a. Conference Attendance & Presenting: medians (p = 0.960) & distribution (p = 0.934)
    b. Conference Organizing: medians (p = 0.991) & distribution (p = 0.479)
    c. GLAM partnerships: medians (p = 0.878) & distribution (p = 0.900)
    d. Education partnerships: medians (p = 0.997) & distribution (p = 0.728)
    e. Wikipedia Library: medians (p = 0.960) & distribution (p = 0.934)
    f. Other partnerships: medians (p = 0.973) & distribution (p = 0.702)
    g. Photo events: medians (p = 0.394) & distribution (p = 0.403)
    h. diting events: medians (p = unable to compute) & distribution (p = 0.707)
    i. Meet-ups: medians (p = unable to compute) & distribution (p = 0.638)
    j. Technical Events: medians (p = 0.888) & distribution (p = 0.945)

References[edit]

  1. North, D. C. (2017). Institutions, institutional change and economic performance. Cambridge University Press.
  2. Learning & Evaluation, Anstee, J., Galves, E., Cruz, M., Bittaker, A., & Higgins, D. (2015). Wikimedia Programs Evaluation 2015. Meta Wiki