Movement Charter/Community Consultation/September-December 2023

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This document summarizes community feedback received about the draft chapters of the Movement Charter throughout its events and conversations period on wiki and in community calls spanning September 3 – December 31, 2023.

Feedback is focused on the actionable content and is organized based on the sections of the draft chapters.

Global Council[edit]

The majority of feedback collected during this period focused on the Global Council draft.


There is no actionable feedback in regard to this section.


There is no actionable feedback in regard to this section.


There is an observation from an English Wikipedian that the Global Council is a way to get the Wikimedia Foundation “back on course and keep it there”. The observation further argued that the Council should be positioned as an “equal authority” to the Foundation, and after a period of time, it would mature to be a “fully stable representative of the community”, to the point at which it would have authority over the Foundation.

Responsibility and associated powers[edit]

Feedback for this section will be divided into three specific subjects (Tech Council, fundraising and fund dissemination, and dispute resolution) and the other responsibilities and powers beyond those three.

Tech Council[edit]

During MCDC monthly community conversation hour in December 2023, an exercise was conducted by focusing on past Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees resolutions. It was highlighted that there was a notable lack of product and technology decisions in the mix, despite the prominence of some of it in the conversation regarding movement governance, such as the decision-making process surrounding the development and deployment of Vector 2022 skin.

It was suggested that a technical decision-making process needs to balance the technical expertise and expectations of its participants, and that in the future, differences of approaches or opinions regarding it could be resolved by the Council itself or by a Tech Council, should one become a reality.

Fundraising and fund dissemination[edit]

On the topic of fundraising, the MCDC monthly community conversation hour in November 2023 discussed the model of decentralized fundraising for the Wikimedia movement and how it could sustain the growth of the Wikimedia movement in the current world situation, with a view that a decentralized model would be able to increase the level of revenue.

Arguments in favor of a decentralized model noted that:

  • A stronger base of donors can be built on a more local/regional level than global level, taking the example of Wikimedia Deutschland’s fundraising operations.
  • There are available sources of funds that the Wikimedia Foundation is not currently tapping into and even cannot tap into, due to various legal and/or capacity constraints.
  • A new global governance body should provide room for experimentation around new fundraising models.

Arguments critical of a decentralized model noted that a centralized model is more efficient, taking the example of Wikimedia Foundation’s banner fundraising operations. There was also a sentiment that some of the discussions around funds are conducted through the lens of the more established Wikimedia communities and entities in the West. Whereas for other Wikimedia communities in the developing world, fundraising is a barrier and it can be challenging for those communities to carry out.

There were two specific questions regarding fund dissemination asked during the conversations conducted by Movement Charter Ambassadors, and below is a synthesis of the responses:

[Q1] What role should the Global Council have in fund dissemination?

  • A plurality of participating communities (Kashmiri, Pilipinas Panorama, Fiji Hindi, Turkic language-speaking, Punjabi, and Karavali) were in favor of the Council having the right to be consulted and the right to oversight/review Wikimedia Foundation decisions regarding fund dissemination;
  • One community (Igbo) was in favor of the Council coordinating decisions regarding fund dissemination with the Wikimedia Foundation.

[Q2] Should there be a committee that reports to the Global Council and handles central/cross-regional fund dissemination?

  • A majority of the participating communities (Kashmiri, Punjab, Igbo, Fiji Hindi, and Karavali) agreed that there should be a committee as proposed by the question.
  • One community (Turkic language-speaking) expressed a concern that such a committee could increase the level of bureaucracy.

Dispute resolution[edit]

There is no actionable feedback in regard to this section.

Other feedback on responsibilities and powers[edit]

A major point throughout this feedback period is the powers and responsibilities that will be redistributed from the Wikimedia Foundation to the Global Council. Some observations around this:

  • Observation: The draft does not explicitly specify the nature of these powers. It is essential that the charter clearly delineates which powers, previously held by the Board, will now fall under the Global Council.
  • Observation: the focus should not be on disempowering the Wikimedia Foundation, rather creating a better system for the future movement.
  • Observation: decentralization can be a form of spreading or minimizing the risk.
  • Suggestion: legal and risk assessment needs to be done to potentially define this. There are some legal restrictions in how and where the Foundation is set up.

The Language Committee (LangCom), a movement body responsible for “developing a clear policy and documentation for new language projects and their proposal, processing those requests, and supporting and coordinating new projects to optimize their success”, shared the following observations and suggestions in relation to the provisions relevant to their work in the draft:

  • Suggestion: acknowledge that LangCom already exists and has a structure and a charter, which however still shows signs of being from the time LangCom was established.
  • Suggestion: make clear if the Global Council should have the competency to change the Language Proposal Policy, on its own authority or in coordination with other bodies.
  • Suggestion: make clear what "recognise" means in the provision that said “The Global Council may choose to allow LangCom to directly recognise new language projects or retain that authority for itself”. Currently, LangCom has "verification as eligible" and "final approval" recognition methods, both are done by itself. The Board has years ago waived the requirement that they formally be consulted for a final approval (i.e. wiki creation). It should be kept that way, necessitating striking this point, as the current process works and it would be strange to reserve the creation of wikis to a different body.
  • Suggestion: clarify what would it mean to close an Incubator project. Currently, projects on Incubator can get deleted / prevented from creation, but that is an Incubator community / admins decision. It is also important to note that Wikisource and Wikiversity are being incubated on the Multilingual Wikisource and BetaWikiversity, respectively.
  • Suggestion: use "language version" instead of "lingual project", as it is the established terminology and also clearer than the relatively unknown adjective "lingual". It would also be more consistent with the section above, which speaks of "language projects".

Topical observations and suggestions including:

  • Observation: on the topic of trademark and branding, it is not currently clear what is the defined difference between trademark management and overall branding. The controversy around the Wikimedia 2030 movement brand project was cited to give powers to take branding decisions to the Global Council.
  • Suggestion: the Global Council should act as a voice for the communities when it comes to decisions about user experience and user interface.
  • Suggestion: the Global Council should be responsible to conduct better community opinion polling on issues of global magnitude/importance
  • Suggestion: the Global Council should be involved in building capacity for Wikimedia project administrators.

Other observations and suggestions including:

  • Observation: The draft primarily addresses executive powers, yet it overlooks legislative powers.
  • Suggestion: establish a framework for addressing the emergence of new sources of power.
  • Suggestion: outline who will be responsible for formulating and amending policies, guidelines, and other legislative aspects.


Various structures for the Global Council were explored throughout this feedback period. This section offers a brief overview of each proposed structure, arguments for and against it, and initial community reactions regarding them.

“Small committee” model[edit]

This model was raised and discussed during the MCDC monthly community conversation hour in October 2023. The core reasoning behind the model seems to be its feasibility and effectiveness. A small committee can:

  • make decisions faster
  • be less taxing on volunteer time
  • have lower administrative overhead
  • be the only model that creates a platform for meaningful actual discussion.

It was suggested that it would make sense for the Global Council to start with an incremental change and setting up a small committee feels the most feasible option.

General Assembly model[edit]

The most comprehensive proposal around this model was offered by a group of European Wikimedians; this proposal envisions a Global Assembly as the highest decision-making body of the Wikimedia Movement, made up of representatives from affiliates, Wikimedia Foundation, online communities and some external partners. The Assembly would in turn elect a Global Board, and is supported by a professionally staffed Secretariat.

It was proposed that the General Assembly model would work for the following reasons:

  • Diversity and representation: the model would give opportunity for equity and inclusiveness and represent diverse voices
  • Legitimacy and transparency: representation in important decisions is the key for legitimacy of decisions in the Wikimedia movement
  • Human and community capital: having more people in the Assembly would help to fulfill its mission.

Dual chamber model[edit]

In this model, the Global Council would comprise of two “chambers”: a “Senate” and a “Central Desk”, with complimenting powers and responsibilities. While the Senate is proposed to hold important powers such as organizing elections to global Wikimedia governance committees and “make decisions after global consultations”, the Central Desk is responsible for funds dissemination and evaluation. There is currently no community response to this model, and the proposer did not immediately provide reasons why this model would work.

No Global Council[edit]

In this model, there will be no Global Council created, with the reason being that there does not seem to be a full consensus regarding whether or not and how to set up the Global Council and the Wikimedia movement seem to be far from an alignment. In addition, there is an expectation that the Global Council would not change much regarding the representation of the smaller communities and affiliates, and larger ones already have a voice, making structural change redundant.

Additional feedback from MCA conversations re: models[edit]

The community conversations conducted by Movement Charter ambassadors used an open question that was also used in the July-September 2023 consultation: should the Global Council exist only as an executive body or should it exist as an executive body with an advisory board?

The responses are the following:

  • Karavali, Punjabi, DCW, and Indic-Urdu communities supported a Global Council that existed as an executive body with an advisory board. Karavali and Punjabi communities further specified that the executive body must be compact in form, focused on efficient decision making; and the advisory board must be drawn from a diverse range of Wikimedians, particularly from smaller communities; a point that was also shared by the Kashmiri community. The Fiji Hindi community proposed the Global Council and its advisory body to be elected via a community vote.
  • Igbo community disagreed with having an advisory board, favoring a Global Council serving as a sole executive body.
  • The Indonesian communities suggest that it would be necessary to create a preparatory committee that focuses on the whole process of forming the Global Council.

The DCW and Indic-Urdu communities are concerned with the future representation of the communities in the Global South in the Global Council, as they feel that the current proposed structures do not help solve the problem of representation; pointing out that a future election process must be differentiated from how the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees are currently elected.


All feedback for this section came from the community conversations conducted by Movement Charter ambassadors, which used the four open questions that were also used in the July-September 2023 consultation.

[Q1] Should there be some imposed limits to the membership in terms of movement representation?

  • Kashmiri and Punjabi communities supported a form of membership limit to ensure diverse representation, provided that these boundaries would not limit the expertise required.
  • Kashmiri and Karavali communities supported a limit of one Wikimedia Foundation staff member in the advisory body for the Global Council.

[Q2] Should there be a regional cap (e.g. max 3 persons from a single region)?

  • Kashmiri, Karavali, and Punjabi communities support the concept of a regional cap in alignment with Wikimedia regions to ensure fair representation across all regions, with at least one candidate from a region.
  • The Fiji Hindi community supports the implementation of a regional cap, such as a maximum of three persons from a single region. The regional cap should be set at a level that is fair and equitable, and it should be reviewed regularly to ensure that it is still effective. A regional cap can help to ensure that all voices are heard and that the movement's decisions are made with the interests of all regions in mind.

[Q3] Should there be a home project or entity cap (e.g. max 2 persons from a single wiki project or affiliate)?

  • Fiji Hindi and Punjabi communities proposed establishing a specific cap for large language communities, projects, or affiliates, such as limiting seats to not more than five from the five largest projects, ensures balanced representation while allowing diverse perspectives from significant communities. This approach ensures that the needs of various communities are considered and that no single entity dominates the decision-making process.
  • The Kashmiri community supported the limit of two representatives from one affiliate (1 staff, 1 member) to have representation for others and promote diversity.

[Q4] Should there be any other limits for Global Council membership?

  • The Fiji Hindi-speaking community proposed the following limits:
    • A limit based on various thematic areas
    • A limit based on expertise
    • A limit based on gender balance
    • A limit based on age, background, and skill sets.


Definition and purpose[edit]

There is no actionable feedback in regard to this section.

Set-up and governance process[edit]

  • Observation: Hubs can be big enough to tackle big problems that right now are in the remit of the Wikimedia Foundation, but they are also close enough to the local communities to understand the context (something the Foundation is often criticized for not doing).
  • Observation: The current draft doesn't delve deeply into Hubs, leaving ambiguity in their registration, particularly for geographically-based Hubs in regions like ESEAP and South Asia.
  • Observation: The thematic aspect lacks clarity on its designation or registration. There's a need for more explicit information on how and where thematic Hubs will be situated or registered within the framework. This lack of detail poses challenges, especially in defining their operational boundaries and registration processes.
  • Suggestion: Equity considerations are key in a Hub, specifically to counter challenges that exist within the European model, where large players like France and Germany often end up calling the shots, even though they are not close enough to the local context.
  • Suggestion: Based on the subsidiary model, decisions should be made on the lowest level possible. For example, a global decision on how to categorize the world into Wikimedia Hubs can be made by the constituents of the Hubs themselves (and those decisions should be made based on the principles shared by the community that the Hub is serving, which ideally should also have a committee with representatives from that Hub). This needs to be flexible so it can change when we know more, especially when we know what is not working.
  • Suggestion: Hubs should decide for themselves how their decision-making processes will work. Certainly they should be public, transparent where everyone can comment, like basic Wikimedia processes, and include impact assessments at certain intervals.

Membership and composition[edit]

The community conversations conducted by Movement Charter ambassadors used an open question that was also used in the July-September 2023 consultation: should there be a limit to how many hubs an affiliate can join? The participating communities shared the following responses:

  • The Kashmiri community preferred that Affiliates should be able to join only two Hubs – one regional and one thematic.
  • The Punjabi community supports imposing limits as to how many Hubs an affiliate can join, and that there should be a standard requirement for affiliates that can join the Hub.
  • Indonesian communities suggest that the Global Council needs to design certain criteria for affiliates if they want to join a Hub, so that there are not too many Affiliates in one Hub (note: they did not clarify how many is too many in a Hub).
  • The Turkic languages-speaking communities argue that there should be no limits on Hub membership, as more members will lead to more diversity for the Hub in question. This opinion is also shared by the DWC and Indic-Urdu communities.
  • The Pilipinas Panorama community suggests that regional affiliates should be able to join non-regional hubs if they align on purpose, such as thematic hubs, and that there should be a guideline established by the Global Council to regulate this process.

Other relevant observations regarding the Hub membership including:

  • Observation: Membership is a question of who they serve; for example, the CEE Hub serves the CEE region. Everyone in the region can be a member. All stakeholders will be both beneficiaries and service providers.
  • Observation: A Hub “should not discriminate against individuals or some types of affiliates just because of their organizational structure. It is important to know everyone who would benefit from joining, so there’s a lot of value in letting even those who will only benefit and perhaps cannot yet ‘provide’.”
  • Observation: There is a request for clarification from a Belarus-based group on the need to explore the role of regional hubs as a safety net for stakeholders who don’t have a ‘level one’ institution like a chapter for various reasons (disallowed by local laws, not enough members, war forcing people to flee and become more geographically dispersed, etc) – how can a Hub support activities like fundraising or running core projects for communities like Belarus that had to geographically spread its activities and become more regional not because they wanted to, but because many were forced to leave their country for neighboring ones?


The following responsibilities are proposed for the Hubs:

  • Facilitating communication, as it would be much easier to have communication between affiliates and the Foundation when there is a Hub to coordinate it. Such facilitation must be supported with clear roles and responsibilities when there is one person at the Foundation and in the Hub in charge of coordinating comms or information-sharing with each other.
  • Inspiration and ability to share projects: to expand views of how the Wikimedia movement can be productive, and what projects could be run to see success in developing local editing communities.
  • Supporting Affiliates with their fiscal reporting, including training Affiliate staff in doing so.
  • Playing a supporting role in affiliate development.

In addition, it was observed that the Hub participants need to be responsible to make decisions about what a Hub does, according to the model of decision-making that they have adopted. Recognizing that “everyone’s responsibilities mean it is no one’s responsibilities”, boundaries are important to ensure scope is effective.

Fundraising and fund dissemination[edit]

On the topic of fundraising, the following feedback were shared:

  • Observation: All funds should be movement funds. There are competitive and non-competitive fundraising opportunities.
  • Suggestion: Hubs should be more involved in the fundraising process - at least an advisory role or even make low-level decisions.
  • Suggestion: Hubs should provide capacity building for local fundraising from affiliates - when those affiliates don’t know how to go about it, the hub can provide training, support, etc. to start to invest in a local fundraising system so that Affiliates can eventually do it on their own.

On the topic of fund dissemination, the following feedback were shared:

  • Observation: Just because one group is able to raise funds doesn’t mean they are exclusively the only group that should be able to use those funds (because access to funds is often a mix of luck and privilege). Sometimes funds should be redistributed.
  • Observation: Resource allocation should be done by the global community, not by the Hubs. You always need a specific decision-making structure so that when decisions are made and should be challenged, you know who to go to (when you pick up the phone, you know who to call).
  • Observation: from the Movement Charter ambassador conversations with DCW and Indic-Urdu communities, it was observed that the Urdu-language communities span multiple countries with political tensions. Therefore, there is an interest to clarify since the thematic hubs are not permitted to fundraise directly, should Wikimedia national chapters or local movement organizations be allowed instead?
  • Suggestion: Hubs should play a role in ensuring access to big funds: original, or thematic funding like from multinational organizations are too small to be handed by a single affiliate and not relevant to be handed from the Wikimedia Foundation and there’s nothing in the middle, which the Hub could do.
  • Suggestion: Different political situations between countries should be considered while disseminating movement funds through Hubs model.
  • Suggestion: for South Asia-specific context, Wikimedia movement organizations should be allowed to fundraise locally instead of bringing complex and practically-broken structures like Hubs to the region, citing the example of the Centre for Internet and Society.


There is no actionable feedback in regard to this section.

Relationship to other bodies[edit]

  • Observation: It is important to have boundaries between hubs. It is not just finances where trouble may be expected when there is overlap between geographic and thematic hubs. The Hubs that are overlapping should for themselves set those boundaries; if there are disagreements then the Movement Charter should address who can adjudicate the dispute.
  • Observation: Hubs are not to duplicate affiliates, but should provide spaces for collaboration. Affiliates and Hubs as distinct entities: AffCom being responsible for affiliates; the Global Council taking direct responsibility for Hubs. To do that, these must not be micromanaged by the same quorum. In this manner, the GC can support affiliates and mediate with Affcom when an affiliate is in need of support.

Roles & Responsibilities[edit]

The communities consulted by the Movement Charter ambassador conversations recommended simplifying the section to make it accessible and understandable, especially for individuals who might not have extensive involvement or deep knowledge of the movement. More explanatory content would improve readability and accessibility, as well as enhancing its usefulness to a broader audience.

Context and introduction[edit]

There is no actionable feedback in regard to this section.


  • Suggestion: Change "there is no limit to the contribution a volunteer can make" to "There is no limit to the positive contribution a volunteer can make, provided that their edits align with the policies of various Wikimedia projects" or similar wording. This wording would ensure alignment with the movement-wide implementation outlined in the Charter.
  • Suggestion: Volunteers contribute significant time to foster project growth and drive movements forward. It's crucial to highlight how the WMF can support volunteers in addressing any threats editors may encounter while actively participating in these endeavors.


  • Suggestion: Add legal support for communities in each region, as it is required based on the local law and order.

Movement Bodies[edit]

  • Observation: In parallel to creating hubs, steps should be taken to strengthen the already existing Affiliate structures such as User Groups and Chapters. It is imperative to support these basic structures directly.


  • Suggestion: add a definition of what “volunteers” is.
  • Suggestion: add an explanation of what “Wikimedia Enterprise” is.

Miscellaneous feedback[edit]

Charter formatting[edit]

  • Observation: Users should have the simplest information in the simplest language.
  • Suggestion: The current Movement Charter drafts go into too much detail to effectively function as a general agreement between movement stakeholders to establish common ground for the long term. Strip the detailed content and only focus on principles and essential structures. Detailed content should live in the texts of specific policies and agreements that can more easily be revised and amended over time.
  • Suggestion: The final charter should incorporate hyperlinked meanings of the words for enhanced accessibility.
  • Suggestion: As reading a text-heavy document is challenging, it would be helpful to include a few real-world examples presented in an understandable graphic style so that those who are not comfortable in English can still use the examples to follow the fundamental instructions.

Consultation process[edit]

  • Observation: There is a lack of awareness among Wiki contributors from various global regions regarding the Movement Charter and the Global Council. This raises concerns about the potential formation of the Global Council through member elections, selections, or a combination of both. There's a worry that such a process might not accurately represent the entirety of the Wikimedia global movement.
  • Suggestion: The MCDC should share insights from their deliberation process, and document how decisions are reached (including options that were considered and discarded).



This document summarized feedback from the following source(s):

Further reading[edit]