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

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Affiliate Data Survey Report                                                                                2020

“ Community organization is perhaps best defined as assisting a group of people to recognize their common needs and helping them to meet these needs. ”

— Walter W. Pettit, n.d[1]

There is an ample and growing body of knowledge about public spaces and their role in the social life of communities. They act as a ‘self-organising public service’, a shared resource in which experiences and value are created. [2] Affiliates have become invaluable as public spaces for community members to meet in person and to continue that meeting online. Affiliate members shared the following insights about the community spaces created by affiliates.


Fig 5: A typical community respondent.

Survey respondents were three times more likely to be male, most were between 35 and 44 years old, had completed high school, were employed, and had access to the internet. Based on the organizational information submitted by affiliate primary contacts, we know that these survey respondents are not representative of the general population of affiliate members. While we cannot generalize these findings to all affiliate members, they do provide valuable information about the typical respondent and have helped us to pilot these measures for broader implementation in 2020.

Responses have been weighted to the affiliate they represent so that all affiliates are counted equally in the data summaries that follow.

Community members from 43 countries shared their experiences about interactions within affiliate community spaces. Almost half (49%) of the respondents live in European countries.

As with the findings from the organizational survey, most of the community members were male (73%). Although the median age was in the 35 - 44 age group, the majority of respondents were under 34 years old (18-24 years = 20% and 25-34 years = 37%). The majority of the respondents were employed (76.1%) and had access to the internet all the time (69%).

Social climate[edit]

We asked affiliate members to answer a set of questions about specific experiences in their community spaces, to better understand their perceptions about how their social climate is constructed. Our 2020 set of social climate categories include:

  • Inclusive Interactions: (3 questions) - Do community members experience an environment that supports the free and open expression of ideas among contributors of different backgrounds?
  • Awareness of Self and Others: (2 questions) - To what extent are people aware of others and their own motivations?
  • Collaborative Intention: (1 question) - How much do contributors feel that others are interested in building successful cooperative relationships?
  • Engagement: (1 question) - How much do community members identify with, are inspired by, and promote being a part of the Wikimedia movement and its projects?
  • Feelings of Belonging: (1 question) - How respected do people feel as a part of the Wikimedia movement, its organizations, and decision-making processes?
  • Problem Solving & Negotiating: (1 question) - How much do community members feel that others seek fair solutions and are willing to talk through competing personal interests?
  • Affiliate conflict support: (2 questions) - How do community members feel about their affiliate’s ability to support them when a dispute or conflict occurs among members?
Fig 6: Overall social climate within affiliate spaces.

Affiliate members reported a favourable social climate in which members feel they belong, are engaged and can collaborate. However, members were less likely to report favourably about Inclusive interactions and self-awareness.

More than three quarters (79% favourable) of respondents felt that there are adequate community policies and systems in place to facilitate safety and appropriate response to harassment.

While respondents felt confident that their affiliate organizations' spaces encouraged positive attitudes towards values of diversity (78% favourable) and commitment to diversity amongst its members (76% favourable), they were more ambivalent (70% neutral) about these spaces being conducive enough for them to experience inclusive interactions.

Respondents were generally skeptical about their affiliate’s ability to create a conducive environment for self-awareness (42% neutral to 12% favourable). There were no differences in how different genders rated the above constructs, however, women (70%) rated self-awareness more favourably than men (54%).[note 1]

A majority of respondents felt that community spaces provided favourable conditions for engagement (81% favourable), feelings of belonging (81% favourable), collaborative intention (79% favourable) and problem solving (69% favourable). There were no differences in how different genders rated these constructs. Furthermore, there was a consistent degree of reliability in how each construct was measured.[note 2]

Programmatic areas of focus[edit]

Fig 7: Programmatic focus of community members.

Affiliate communities have been leading much of the organizing/outreach work that grows the Wikimedia movement through programmatic activities that support communities to engage new audiences,and bring high quality contributors and content to our projects. In 2019-2020, affiliates led 88% of the annual Grants, 90% of Education programs outside of the US, and 77% of GLAM programs in 2019-2020.

Affiliate members are twice as likely to focus on GLAM and education programs, than they are to focus on gender and health-related programs.

Respondents are most likely to focus their programmatic activities on GLAM (54%) or education (52%) programs.

Interestingly, community members were three times as likely to focus on programs related to marginalized or indigenous knowledge and languages as well as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, than they were likely to be focused on Medicine & Health programs.

Gender and Health programs have been conducted by affiliates in the past, however, there has not been a consistent and widespread campaign to support these programs. For both program types, User Group members displayed a higher mean compared to Chapter and Thematic organization members.[note 3]

Awareness of resources & events[edit]

Fig 8: Resources awareness levels.

Affiliate members are 1.5 times more likely to be aware of grants and funding from WMF than grants from other Wikimedia Affiliates or non-Wikimedia organizations. A majority of respondents reported awareness of resources in the form of grants provided by the Wikimedia Foundation.

Chapters and Thematic organization members were 1.5 times more likely to know about grants or other funding from other Wikimedia affiliates than User Group members. Still this means affiliate members are twice as likely to know of grants from affiliates than from non-Wikimedia organizations.

This is consistent with how affiliates rated fundraising as their lowest capacity across affiliate types. This presents a sustainability risk for the movement, as it limits the affiliates’ ability to diversify its funding sources and thereby become sustainable, as envisioned by the 2030 movement strategy.

Fig 9: Community events awareness levels.

Affiliates played a leading role in organizing face-to-face community events (91% of Annual Plan and Conference grants making up 88% of the funds for these grant programs in 2019-2020 went to affiliates) that bring affiliate members togethers. These events vary in scale from local, regional and international.

Members are more aware of Wikimania and affiliate-organized events, than they are likely to be aware of regional/thematic events and other programs.

The overwhelming majority of respondents reported awareness of Wikimania, the flagship event that has brought the international community to meet in-person since 2005. They also displayed awareness for local events such as meet-ups, edit-a-thons and photo walks. Whereas, members reported a very low awareness for regional and Thematic events.

While no Chapter or Thematic organization reported barriers to attending community events, a small percentage of User Group members reported that, sometimes, they were unable to attend community events due to calendar conflict with their work or school schedule.

Fig 10: Collaboration awareness levels.

Lastly we wanted to know how aware affiliate members were of collaborators and support for programs within the Wikimedia Foundation. Two-thirds of affiliate Members indicated that they know how to collaborate with WMF and that they experienced adequate programmatic support from WMF staff.

Respondents rated human interaction with program officers in the Wikimedia Foundation as a leading factor for their ability to collaborate with the foundation in executing programmatic work in their communities. This builds on a trend that programs with staff support tend to tend to engage affiliates better.

So what?[edit]

To improve the quality of experiences in affiliate spaces
  • AffCom should encourage Affiliates to engage in strategies that foster a more favourable social environment that supports the free and open expression of ideas among contributors of different backgrounds, for example, by adopting a universal code of conduct and diversity engagement strategy.
  • The Wikimedia Foundation should evaluate current program & grants to Affiliates in order to align additional funding support to local & regional events and programs.
  • The Wikimedia Foundation should allocate resources to create diverse and strategic content programs such as Gender and Health or medicine related programs.


  1. When comparing ratings of favourable social climate for self awareness amongst men and women, an Independent-Samples Mann-Whitney U test found no statistical significance change in medians (p = 0.39) but found a statistical significant difference in distribution (p = 0.048).
  2. User Groups showed a higher degree of reliability across all social construct scales (Cronbach’s ɑ = 0.876 for 12 items), whereas Chapters and Thematic Organizations was slightly lower (Cronbach’s ɑ = 0.731 for 12 items).
  3. User Group members had a higher focus (Mean = 0.25 and 0.17) on Gender and Health-related programs than Chapters/Thematic Organization members (Mean = 0.17 and 0.04)


  1. Weaver, W. W. (n.d.). Proceedings of the National Conference of Social Work. Fifty-second Annual Session held in Denver Colorado, June 10-17, 1925. Pp. vii - 733. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1925 - W. Wallace Weaver, 1926
  2. Mean, M., & Tims, C. (2005). People make places: Growing the public life of cities. Demos.