Hubs/Documentation/Spanish community workshop/en

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On January 29, 2022 a hub workshop was held to share ideas about the need to have a linguistic and/or regional hub for different Spanish-speaking affiliates of the Wikimedia movement. With the help of Wikimedia Chile a workshop was coordinated following the guidelines of the hub co-creation workshop held at the end of November 2021.

The workshop had three objectives:

  • Align the idea of having a regional and/or linguistic hub in different local contexts with the structure suggested by the recommendations outlined in the Strategy 2030.
  • To socialize concepts and disseminate discussions around hubs within the community of affiliates.
  • Analyze the real need for a hub, considering the differences between countries and chapters.

The workshop was attended by affiliates from Wikimedia Argentina, Wikimedia Chile, Wikimedistas de Bolivia, Wikimedia Colombia, Wikimedia España, Wikimedia Mexico, Wikimujeres UG, Wikimedistas de El Salvador, Wikimedistas de Uruguay and Wikimedia Small Projects in Spanish.

The following report is provided for the purpose of documenting the discussion and summarizes the perspectives of those who participated in the workshop, but in no way should it be taken as a document that represents or reflects the perspectives of the entire Spanish-speaking Wikimedia movement or Latin America.

Part 1: Why should hubs exist?

Jamboard of the brainstorming exercise during the first part: Why should hubs exist?

At the beginning of the workshop, participants were asked what will the Wikimedia movement look like in a future where the Strategy recommendations are 100% operational? What would be the role of hubs in this context? The responses helped to define several common points. There were positive aspects and other neutral aspects that require further discussion.

Positive aspects

  • The hubs could serve as regional or linguistic liaisons with the Foundation.
  • They could be used to share knowledge patterns among affiliates.
  • It could serve as a cooperative institution with a shared agenda and objectives.
  • Podrían servir como instrumentos de contrapeso en donde la Fundación no sea el único actor predominante en la toma de decisiones a nivel regional o lingüístico.
  • Podrían servir para distribuir fondos entre aquellos afiliados que no pueden afrontar la complejidad del proceso de solicitud de fondos de la Fundación Wikimedia.
  • Podrían diversificar las fuentes de financiamiento nivel regional, permitiendo captar financiamiento de fuentes distintas a las de la Fundación Wikimedia.

Neutral aspects

  • There is still no definition of what a hub is, by whom and how it would be formed, what their roles or responsibilities would be.
  • It is not yet clear whether there is a real need for a hub or what its objectives would be, but the structure must respond and adapt to the needs of the community.
  • The hubs should be a space of trust and cordiality like the one that existed in Iberocoop.
  • Hubs should not present barriers to newcomers to the movement.
  • There is a potential conflict of interest between the activities that an eventual hub would take on and the activities or positions that the Wikimedia Foundation has for a region or language area.

The following table, extracted from the jamboard, shows the main trends.

Aspects What would be easier with a hub? What would be harder? What remains the same?
Governance Coordination among affiliates Consolidating governance structures Cooperation between current affiliates and potential new affiliates
Relations with new communities Possible identity loss of the chapters Relationships and work between new communities and current affiliates
Direct communication with the Wikimedia Foundation
Resources Access to resources Resource sustainability
Management of resources; internal rules for the distribution of funds
Capacity building Internal training Legal advice for affiliates
Capacity building in the movement
Formalization of learning spaces
Movement and projects Giving prominence to the Spanish language Put projects on the back stage. Carry out projects collectively in the region
Estrategy Facing the challenges of the growth of the movement in the region There is a risk that hubs may become consolidated as "change everything so that nothing changes" strategies, i.e. that there is no distribution of power.
The difficulties and simplicities also depend very much on the structures achieved.

Part 2: What could hubs be responsible for?

Classification based on the most necessary (in orange), and based on the most feasible (in green) of the range of possibilities in which the hubs could perform in the future

For the second part, a range of possibilities for the future role of the hubs was proposed, all of which emanated from the strategy recommendations.

Feasibility of possibilities

The possibilities that were identified as the most feasible and most needed by those who participated in the workshop are presented below in hierarchical order.

  1. Knowledge exchange. The hub could serve as a space for strategic opportunities for Wikimedians to network, connect and learn from each other. It would serve to structure some of the work that was being done informally in Iberocoop.
  2. Structural support between hubs.
  3. Decentralized decision making. The hub could provide more opportunities for local communities to participate in decision making.
  4. Sharing and provision of resources. Although this point was considered the least feasible and the least necessary, the need to take into account the contexts of affiliates and communities that do not have the necessary governance structures in place and therefore have not been represented in governance discussions in the past was mentioned. There is a possibility that these organizations may require much more support from the hub for the receipt and provision of funds.

Part 3: How should a hypothetical hub work in our context? Do we need one?

The last part of the workshop was dedicated to detailing three important points: how a hub should function and whether we really need one, in what context or scope it should collaborate, whether region or language, and what lessons can be learned from past experiences such as Iberocoop's, with a view to the future to share the successes and failures of the regional collaboration group.

Points of agreement

  • There is a need for a hub structure.
  • The hub must consider the needs of the communities.
  • The hub must have clear objectives, roles and responsibilities.
  • Any structure (the "how") must respond to the objectives (the "what for").
  • The structure should focus on a linguistic context, which would include most of Latin America and Spain.

Structure and governance

At this point, different scenarios for the structure and governance of the hub were proposed:

  • Horizontal organization. The possibility of it being its own horizontal organization with wide participation and democratic election of its members was raised.
  • Delegated representation. The hubs must respond to the affiliates, with an itinerant spokesperson for each affiliate.
  • Coordination structure. Hubs respond to affiliates but there are dedicated paid staff to coordinate the different regional initiatives.

Lessons learned from other experiences

Retrospective

Based on the analysis of past experiences such as Iberocoop, the following points were highlighted:

  • Need to include all affiliates and communities in the region.
  • Need to communicate more about what is being done to the community.
  • Lack of transparency, reliability and record of certain communication platforms such as Telegram and Whatsapp.
Prospective
  • The idea of considering different models of regional collaboration that work, and from there translating elements that could function to elaborate a collaboration strategy for a future hub, was discussed.

Next steps

For those who attended the workshop:

  • Investigate models of networks or collaborative structures that work in the communities and that could be replicable for a future hub.

For those working on hub projects:

  • To have a process of analysis of Iberocoop's structure in order to learn more about its strengths and weaknesses.
  • Conduct a mapping of the needs of affiliates and communities interested in a hub to identify common needs.

Sources

  • Etherpad: Includes discussion notes and texts copied in Zoom chat.
  • Jamboard with post-its from the workshop.