|This is a draft or part of the draft of the Wikimedia Movement Charter. These drafts are the result of extensive effort between different entities within the Wikimedia movement and we are delighted to share them with you. Help us improve them by sharing your thoughts on the talk page or at a community consultation event.|
The Wikimedia Movement (“the movement”) is focused on the collaborative creation, curation, and expansion of the global availability of free knowledge. The movement consists of: editors, participants, projects, affiliates, hubs, technical spaces, the Wikimedia Foundation, and other current and future entities.
The Wikimedia Movement Charter (“the charter”) exists to define the Wikimedia Movement, its fundamental values, and its principles. It is a formal agreement explaining the relationships between all stakeholders in the movement, and their rights and responsibilities. This applies equally to both existing entities and others created in the future.
The Charter was prepared by community members from many countries, coming from various Wikimedia projects. Community consensus for the Charter is obtained in a formal ratification process. It applies across the movement. The Movement Charter applies to all participants, entities and technical spaces within the Wikimedia Movement. It also applies to off-wiki spaces officially associated with movement entities.
Within the movement are a wide range of openly editable informational websites (“the projects”) in multiple languages with different focuses. The projects are largely self-governed, with respect to content creation, content management, and community conduct. Some aspects are not handled under self-governance, but are handled by different bodies where clearly unworkable at a local level. These bodies include, but are not limited to: projects as a whole; the movement; the Wikimedia Foundation; and the Global Council. Each body should operate at the level closest to the participants, when possible. The movement also includes both formal and informal groups focused on specific topics or geographic regions. The role of these groups is to support the projects directly and indirectly.
Supplementing the projects and groups is a comprehensive infrastructure with several roles, including but not limited to:
- Supporting the technical needs of the movement and the readers of its content, provided by:
- The Wikimedia Foundation
- Interested affiliates
- Grantees and contractors who work on specific technical projects
- Volunteer developers, who work on MediaWiki extensions, scripts for local projects, support for global projects
- Specialized technical support software (e.g., Phabricator)
- External providers (e.g., GitHub)
- Providing financial and other resources for ongoing development and retention of knowledge, including:
- Fundraising by the WMF, the Wikimedia Endowment, Wikimedia Enterprise, and affiliates. This also includes seeking, receiving, and managing grants and contracts from third parties
- Support for skills development and capacity building, provided by the Wikimedia Foundation, affiliates, informal groups, and volunteers within projects
- Policies, procedures and guidelines that apply to individual affiliates, managed by the affiliates, their staff and their volunteers (including Board members, if applicable)
- Furthering of a safe and productive environment in which knowledge can be shared and consumed, where it is not feasible for a local project to do so itself, including:
- Policies, procedures and guidelines that apply globally, managed by the global community and the Wikimedia Foundation
- Policies, procedures and guidelines that apply to individual projects, managed by the projects and their volunteers
- Processes that support user and participant safety, through technical and human resources
- Legal support for individual users, and liaison with local affiliates
- Advocating for legal and regulatory changes that provide greater and safer access to free knowledge
The infrastructure support is restricted by limitations external to the movement. Simultaneously, the support must align with the internal values and resources of the movement.
The Wikimedia Movement represents a factual, verifiable, open, and inclusive approach to knowledge. The Wikimedia platforms serve knowledge to a global audience, and the projects they host are driven by independent initiative. The policies and everyday practices are guided by a balance of values established in the Movement Strategy Principles, Movement Charter, and as practiced in the communities that empower all Wikimedians everywhere to be able to participate on a basis of equity.
The values and principles recognize that this approach to sharing knowledge is a collaborative endeavor, and aim to keep the focus on:
Free and open knowledge
The Wikimedia Movement shares all of its content, all its software, all its platforms with the world, using open licensing. It also commits to the inclusion of knowledge that has historically been marginalized - including within its projects.
The Wikimedia Movement strives to operate independently, without any favoritism that would hinder the free knowledge mission. The movement is not driven by commercial, political or other monetary or promotional influences.
The Wikimedia Movement values a common space where everyone can participate, and co-create with a people-centered vision. The projects are presented in many languages, and accessible on diverse platforms with universal design and assistive technologies. The basis of the work within the movement is respect for diversity and the rights of communities. To do so, the people in the movement establish and enforce codes of conduct, complementary to the Universal Code of Conduct, so that everyone feels valued and equally included.
The Wikimedia Movement entrusts authority to the most immediate or local level that is appropriate, on both the platforms and in the organizational governance. Thereby, the movement ensures a capable self-management and autonomy of communities that acts in accordance with the values of the global movement.
The Wikimedia Movement empowers the communities across an unequal world by recognizing the diversity of the challenges they face. The digital rights to security and privacy of its users and participants are a priority for the movement as a whole. The movement takes active measures for equity in knowledge, and provision for allocation of resources through decentralized management and community empowerment.
The Wikimedia Movement holds itself accountable through the transparency of shared editable documentation where at all possible, public notice and reporting of programs and activities, and the prioritization of voices representing community leadership for the roles and responsibilities delineated in the charter.
The Wikimedia Movement thrives by innovation and experimentation, continually renewing the vision of what a platform for free knowledge can be. The movement pursues effective strategies and practices that can be supported and driven through meaningful metrics-based evidence where possible. The people in the Wikimedia Movement promote a culture of sustainability across its structures and communities.
- Context for this draft
The Roles & Responsibilities chapter in the Movement Charter proposes changes to enhance the Wikimedia movement. It also acknowledges that certain workflows will continue without major alterations. This decision is driven by the recognition of the efficiency and effectiveness of the existing workflows. By retaining these successful practices, the movement ensures that essential operations remain streamlined and productive. In result, members focus on driving positive change and maximizing their impact. The chapter aims to strike a balance between embracing innovation and preserving what already works well, to create a cohesive and high-performing movement.
Entities and stakeholders within the Wikimedia movement distribute and decentralize roles and responsibilities as equitably as possible across the movement.
According to the subsidiarity principle, responsibilities are delegated to the lowest possible level. This applies unless the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved at that level but can, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved at a higher level. For higher-level responsibilities, bodies that represent the whole movement exist. They are designed to build consensus for decision-making, and accountability for outcomes.
Volunteers are the human core of the movement. As individuals, they have autonomy to contribute to the mission of the Wikimedia movement. In the Wikimedia context, a volunteer is a person donating their own time and energy to Wikimedia activities without receiving any regular salary for their efforts. They do so either on- or offline, for instance by project editing, administrative duties, committee engagement, and event organization. In some circumstances, volunteers are eligible to receive compensation for their efforts such as expense reimbursement, prizes, gadgets, support packages, or stipends.
Volunteers can commit to individual or collective activities in the movement, and may associate with any open group, community, project, affiliate or hub. The Wikimedia Movement thrives through the engagement of people who contribute voluntarily.
Volunteers are the foundation the movement is built on. The latter would not be able to exist without them. Their contributions range from project editing as an individual to building communities for growth of the movement.
All volunteers must follow movement policies and guidelines while contributing. They are accountable for their individual actions when engaging in Wikimedia movement activities, as specified in the codes of conduct.
- The volunteers’ relationship to the Wikimedia movement is, itself, voluntary: there is no limit to the contribution a volunteer can make. Volunteers have the autonomy to decide the nature and extent of the contribution they intend to make.
- Every volunteer has the right to leave the movement at any moment. They can take breaks for any period of time, or drop out when they decide it is time to move on.
- Care should be taken not to make excessive demands on individual volunteers. Volunteers always have the right to refuse requests for additional contributions or feedback.
- All volunteers in the movement should be treated respectfully and have the chance to participate in an equitable way.
- To maintain a supportive and rewarding environment for our volunteers, there can be a monitored provision for compensation, in terms of expense reimbursement, event prize, gadgets, support packages, allowance, etc.
Wikimedia volunteer communities are groups of volunteers contributing online and offline to build, enrich, and develop Wikimedia projects and activities.
Wikimedia communities exist in many forms and can for instance be thematic, geographic, linguistic, or project-based.
Project communities are groups of people contributing on Wikimedia online projects. They have a large autonomy over their policies, within their contexts, while abiding by universal behavioral rules. This autonomy fosters a spirit of experimentation that facilitates new social and technological approaches.
Communities set and follow their own participatory governance processes, which vary from one community to the other. In some communities, several committees and roles exist to support and supervise these processes, including but not limited to: Bureaucrats, Stewards, Administrators, Arbitration Committee membership, etc. Together with the communities, they are responsible for content policies, maintenance and development of projects and workflows, and collaborations.
Because the governance structure of each community is determined by the community itself, there is little oversight of an organized community but a set of guiding principles to be followed by each community.
The communities are responsible for overall editing, supervision, management and expansion of existing and future projects to ensure sustainability and growth of the movement. They are also responsible for shaping and implementing ways of working and rules in their own projects, and in organizing and driving activities in their contexts.
Project Communities are, in general, accountable to the users in that same community on matters of governance.
Project communities exercise full editorial control over their project's contents.
Community involvement is core to the long-term sustainability of the Movement. For any changes introduced by the Wikimedia Foundation or the Global Council that impact community workflows, the relevant communities should be offered substantive and meaningful consultation. Workflow-impacting changes may include changes in interface or software, or global projects that impact communities such as movement strategy, or Codes of Conduct. Some, such as Movement Charter amendments, are also subject to a further binding ratification.
In cases where critical competing interests prevent such consultation, the Global Council or WMF must explain why the consultation cannot take place. In true emergencies, the Global Council or WMF may act within their authority, but must provide a similar explanation afterwards. An opportunity for consultation and possible review will then be offered afterwards (including possible undoing of actions). The Global Council & WMF must avoid reaching de-facto outcomes before running consultations on decisions or actions.
Information and updates about changes that are estimated to impact community workflows, and should be available and discoverable for community members. Updates include, but are not limited to: ongoing projects and opportunities, information about WMF, and Global Council (including its sub-committees). Communities have the right to adequate documentation consistent with our movement values. Information that cannot be disclosed because it is confidential, private, proprietary, or impermissible to share under the law is exempt from these public publications.
Movement bodies are the independent organizations within the Wikimedia Movement that have gone through the formal process for recognition. They pursue the Wikimedia mission of free knowledge, adhere to movement values, and are active in decision-making and movement strategy within their recognized scope.
Movement bodies gather interested members and volunteers, and provide their services in specific areas of expertise. The bodies offer institutional support, delegate tasks, and assist volunteers and other bodies in developing, operating and coordinating activities.
Movement bodies facilitate the growth and expansion of Wikimedia communities by expanding membership, building collaborations, fostering cooperation, enhancing their skills, and improving their community awareness. They open channels for communication with respective communities and act as their representatives. Given their nature and scope of work, they support extending required resources and support to the communities.
The long term goal is for the resources of the movement to be spread across the spectrum of movement bodies and not dominated by any single body, but overseen by both the Global Council and Wikimedia Foundation. To achieve this, growth will be prioritized in strategic areas to develop a pragmatic decentralization.
(Note to reader: Information on the Global Council will be added to the R&R chapter of the charter in a later iteration of the drafting process. Please refer to the Global Council draft for the current information.)
(Note to reader: Information on the Hubs will be added to the R&R chapter of the charter in a later iteration of the drafting process. Please refer to the Hubs draft for the current information.)
Wikimedia Movement Affiliates are bodies in the Wikimedia Movement that have been formally recognized by the Global Council and its appointed committee, or prior to the start of and transition period of the Global Council, recognized by the Wikimedia Foundation.
A Movement affiliate can be a Wikimedia Chapter with a specified geographical coverage, a Thematic Organization which has a global or cross-regional coverage but a distinct theme, and a User Groups that can be regional as well as topical. Affiliates are a keyway in which groups can organize within the movement for delivery of activities and partnerships.
Composition and governance of an affiliate is open for the affiliate to decide depending on the context and needs within which it operates. The decision maker is an affiliate board or similar, and the affiliate is accountable to the group that they represent – for example their membership body. The affiliate must also abide by the movement mission and values and comply with the standards of recognition.
Affiliates are each responsible for the sustainability of communities being supported by the affiliate, and ultimately they must directly or indirectly aid one or more online projects: facilitating inclusion, equity, and diversity within their community; upholding the Universal Code of Conduct; and developing partnerships and collaborations in their region or theme of work. Affiliates are expected to coordinate with other fundraising bodies, if they choose to fundraise. Affiliates are responsible for making their work visible by providing publicly accessible reporting.
An affiliate needs to be consulted on any Hub being proposed in its area of operation (being it the theme or region), and on any proposed changes to structure and governance of the Movement if they impact an Affiliate’s operations.
The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-governmental organization (NGO) that is legally responsible for the Wikimedia Movement’s free knowledge platforms and technology, and also responsible for the hosting thereof. It implements a strategic direction driven by ongoing participation and representation from across the Wikimedia Movement.
The Wikimedia Foundation's work is complemented by specialized bodies such as the Wikimedia Endowment and Wikimedia Enterprise that are separate legal entities and have their own bylaws.
- Governance structure
The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) has its governance structure in their bylaws, which are complemented by resolutions from the Board of Trustees and WMF policies that apply both to the Board of Trustees and the WMF staff members. The Board of Trustees, with at least half of its membership drawn from the communities, is the main decision maker, with delegated tasks for the WMF Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The WMF is accountable to its free knowledge mission and to the Wikimedia communities. The WMF informs the wider Wikimedia Movement about the Board of Trustee and CEO general decisions. The WMF makes sure this information is open and easy to access.
The WMF is advised and supported by committees who are composed primarily of volunteers with knowledge of and interest in the specific topic, and are supported by WMF staff in carrying out their roles.
The WMF is responsible for the long term sustainability of the Wikimedia projects and its movement. WMF maintains the servers where the Wikimedia projects are hosted, and is in charge of the core software development. The WMF is responsible for the global banner fundraising campaigns. The WMF is also responsible for the Wikimedia Enterprise project.
The WMF is responsible for handling the legal aspects of the Foundation and overseeing its overall governance, such as the processes around the Board of Trustees, the development of annual and multi-year plans, and the protection of the Wikimedia trademarks.
The WMF consults relevant stakeholders that will be impacted by policy and bylaw changes. Where applicable, it seeks external legal advice.
The WMF will create processes, together with the Global Council, to ensure coordination in fundraising in an transparent, inclusive and accountable way. The process will especially clarify different movement bodies’ efforts to avoid overlaps or duplication of efforts.
The WMF tracks developments from outside the movement that impact the movement’s work, e.g. legislative matters and communities under threat.
- It is intended to add the link to the planned amendment chapter when drafted.
- Where staff is inclusive of contractors
- External legal feedback for this draft chapter at foundationwiki
- Wikimedia Foundation's legal feedback for this draft chapter at foundationwiki
Definition and purpose
Regional and thematic hubs are structures for mutual support. They empower existing and future Wikimedia communities to have the capacity and resources to make and implement their own decisions to meet their differing needs. Hubs form a mutual support structure for the hub members and others within the Wikimedia movement to learn, share knowledge, develop best practices, and provide guidance and assistance to other hub members and communities.
Hubs are a tool to ensure sustainability, resilience, and growth for the whole Movement. Regional hubs allow implementation of activities, tools, and information. Regional hubs empower groups of Wikimedians to collaborate and coordinate, for example on resilience, and growth for the whole Movement. Regional hubs empower groups of Wikimedians to collaborate and coordinate, for example on capacity building and knowledge transfer. Thematic hubs allow for specialization and work across the Movement, where shared objectives benefit from coordinated solutions. Hubs create opportunities for new peer-connections and structures, and the strengthening of existing connections.
Hubs are a vital tool for promoting Wikimedia movement values and principles such as subsidiarity, equity and capacity building.
Set-up and governance process
Hubs can be initiated by a minimum of two Wikimedia affiliates as founding members.
The decision-maker and those accountable within a hub is its steering committee or an equivalent, as described in the hub's decision-making model or bylaws.
Hubs are organized with only these two focuses:
- Regional (geographic) focus.
- Hypothetical membership example: Wikimedia affiliates from the Elvish Continent.
- Thematic/topic focus, including linguistic themed hubs
- Hypothetical membership examples: Wikimedia affiliates whose work focuses on the Elvish language; Wikimedia affiliates, WikiProjects and other external organizations with an interest in developing content related to flowers.
Hubs are distinct from thematic Wikimedia user groups or thematic Wikimedia organizations in that the purpose is to be a mutual support structure for the hub members
A hub must be set up in one of these two ways:
- as a registered non-profit organization or its local equivalent
- hosted by a recognized non-profit organization or its equivalent recognized under local applicable laws.
This Hub Host will act as fiscal sponsor, if the hub itself is not a legally registered non-profit or its local equivalent. It must have structures in place that it is willing to share with the hub to ensure proper resource distribution, in furtherance of the hub’s mission and in compliance with all applicable laws.
- The Hub Host will normally be a Wikimedia Chapter or other legally-registered Wikimedia affiliate, but may in some cases be an external organization.
- The Hub Host must meet requirements decided jointly by the Global Council and the Wikimedia Foundation.
- The Hub Host cannot be the host for more than one hub.
Hubs receive their recognition and authority from a committee appointed by the Global Council, with final approval from the Global Council. Hubs are accountable to the Global Council.
Hubs are expected to model diversity, inclusion, accountability, and equity as per the Movement Charter preamble.
Membership and composition
- A hub requires a minimum of two (2) Wikimedia affiliates as founding members to become a Wikimedia hub. These Wikimedia affiliates must have met all standard requirements for an affiliate of its type over the previous two (2) years.
- Wikimedia Affiliates can be members of more than one hub: members of a hub collaborate in decision-making per the hub's decision-making model, and guarantee mutual support levels.
Community Question: Should there be a limit to how many hubs an affiliate can join? (Please elaborate on your answer.)
- Individuals cannot become a member of a hub, but can receive support from a hub.
The hub must determine their decision-making and membership model, and assign accountability for the hub. For hubs that have chosen to become legal entities, decisions will be made in accordance with their bylaws.
Regional and thematic hubs are mainly focused on coordination and support within their region or topic. Hubs empower existing and future communities to have the capacity and resources to make and implement their own decisions to meet their differing needs. Therefore a hub needs to develop and maintain a high level of knowledge in their area of expertise, and be able to relate it to the mission of the Wikimedia Movement.
This section outlines the guidelines proposed on different levels of a hub. These levels are:
- must – guidelines that every hub needs to follow to ensure accountability, transparency, and be truly a Movement Strategy project;
- should – operational guidelines for improving the projects to make them more sustainable and impactful;
- could – guidelines not strictly related to the project itself yet help to position them better in the overall landscape.
The concrete scope and functionality of the hubs will be decided by communities and organizations based on their contexts and needs. Hubs however must have a clearly described purpose in one or more of the areas below:
- Support cluster
- Service provision, such as coordinating human resources; conducting needs assessments of members; conducting growth assessments for members
- Capacity development, such as fostering the creation of new groups as well as their growth and development; providing trainings and leadership development opportunities
- Knowledge sharing, such as providing expertise and advice to other hub members
- Resourcing support, such as providing fiscal sponsorships and providing fundraising or financial expertise
- Coordination cluster
- Regional coordination around networking and communications opportunities
- Thematic coordination around networking and communications opportunities
Prior to approval of a new hub, the potential hub members should prepare an analysis that demonstrates that a hub would provide added value to the movement. It may mean better in terms of efficiency, but also how it helps others to amplify their voice and tap into new capacities. It is important to design a model of strategy and communication that involves affiliates and individuals, and consults them regularly. Ensuring that diverse opinions are voiced takes time, but it also creates lasting bonds and ensures constructive cooperation.
Hubs should collaborate with other Wikimedia organizations, including other hubs, informal groups, and individuals that seek their advice or ask their support. They are expected to stay informed of the related activities of other hubs and movement organizations, so as to know where they have common interests or goals (example: how to successfully develop a new affiliate, how to organize an editing event).
These structures will work toward standards of diversity, inclusion, accountability, and equity in decision-making as per the Movement Charter.
Optionally, a hub can also organize themselves to do additional event coordination, like organizing events and conferences, initiating activities around fundraising and funds dissemination, networking with external partners and undertaking advocacy activities with legal entities.
Hubs work with both the Global Council and the Wikimedia Foundation as a direct communication channel for involving their respective communities in strategic and other consultations and feedback for the benefit of the global Wikimedia movement.
Fundraising and Funds Dissemination
- Hubs are allowed to fundraise in coordination with WMF and affiliate fundraising programs.
- Regional hubs may fundraise locally.
- Thematic hubs can apply for or receive grants, and they can support others in managing their grants (Fiscal Sponsorship).
- Funds Dissemination
- Hubs can allocate funds to their members.
- Hubs involved in funds dissemination need to have a transparent resource allocation process.
- Hubs involved in funds dissemination need to coordinate with regional fund committees.
- As organized non-profits or their local equivalents, hubs and Hub Hosts must allocate funds to hub members in furtherance of the hub’s mission and in compliance with all applicable laws.
Recognition and derecognition
- The Global Council will establish a process around hubs with overlapping regional or thematic interests, and decide on the safeguards.
- The Wikimedia Foundation, Global Council or an already existing hub cannot set up a hub or act as a Hub Host.
- Hubs must apply the Universal Code of Conduct (UCoC) within their membership. Where needed, the UCOC can be expanded to reflect the local context.
- Hubs support conflict resolution within their scope and membership. The Global Council will establish a body to help with conflict resolution between all affiliates, including hubs.
Conflicts of Interest
- The Global Council will develop a conflict of interest policy that applies to all hubs (regional & thematic).
- Hubs and Hub hosts cannot act as fiscal sponsor or support in the grant-application process (assist in drafting, applying, etc.) when they are already involved in the same process in a different capacity (for instance, funds dissemination).
- Hubs do not have a voting right for the Global Council seats because their Affiliate members have direct voting rights.
Relationship to other bodies
As per the mutual support structure, hubs will be open to support all in the movement with requests in relation to the scope of the hub. That means individuals cannot be members of a hub, but they can receive support and benefit from the activities of the hubs.
Affiliates can become Hub Host when they are a legally registered affiliate. The members help prioritize the hub’s activities and all actively engage in mutual support. Non-members may participate in the hub’s activities (for example, if the hub hosts a conference and affiliates want to attend) and have access to its resources (for example, if the hub organizes a training for Board members).
- Wikimedia Foundation
Hubs can work together with the Wikimedia Foundation. Examples include: coordination around fundraising and fund dissemination in order to ensure compliance with applicable fundraising laws; volunteer and staff safety; global advocacy; and skills and capacity building.
- Global Council
Hubs are accountable to the Global Council. The Global Council is to decide on general structures and principles that apply beyond this Charter, and a committee of the Global Council will determine recognition and derecognition.
- External legal feedback for this draft chapter at foundationwiki
- Wikimedia Foundation's legal feedback for this draft chapter at foundationwiki
The existing structures and workflows have been revised to delegate decision-making powers to the Global Council. The aim of this shift is to redistribute power within the movement. This action includes designing new structures and remodeling existing ones. The majority of redistributed powers move from the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) and its Board of Trustees to the Global Council.
The Global Council is a governance body responsible for development and implementation of movement strategy, including an annual report on global strategic priorities for the Wikimedia movement. This body is composed of volunteers and is supported by staff. The volunteers on the Global Council come from a diverse range of Wikimedia movement stakeholders. The Global Council improves accountability and transparency for movement-wide decision-making. It simplifies access to Movement resources and empower individuals and communities, in hopes of nurturing trust between stakeholders. The Global Council carries out its purposes by creating standards and objectives for committees across the movements, providing oversight, and limited executive decisions and directives.
The Global Council has been set up to promote sustainable work and growth within the movement. For this, the Global Council sets accountability to empower communities in an equitable way.
- The Global Council shall advise the Wikimedia Foundation on fundraising efforts to secure financial resources for the Wikimedia movement, in alignment with its mission and values.
- The Global Council shall establish standards and guidelines for the equitable dissemination of funds to support Wikimedia projects, communities, affiliates, hubs, and other movement entities.
- The Global Council shall ensure inclusive and transparent decision-making processes, providing guidance and exercising limited executive responsibilities over specific cross-movement entities.
- The Global Council shall create or modify committees for the overall governance of affiliates and hubs.
- The Global Council shall create channels to simplify access to resources (financial, human, knowledge) for individuals and empower communities in an equitable way.
- The Global Council shall ensure accountability by setting processes and reporting standards.
Responsibilities and associated Powers
[Note to reader: The below powers are broad notes from MCDC discussions. They all would require either small or major additions of detail and clarity, if implemented. Several responsibilities have notes of known WMF legal concerns.]
Approving new language projects - standards setting
- The Language Committee (LangCom) reports to the Global Council. The Global Council makes the final decisions on form and structure of LangCom, subject to the provisions within the Movement Charter.
- The Global Council may modify prerequisites for language projects to be recognised.
- The Global Council may choose to allow LangCom to directly recognise new language projects or retain that authority for itself.
- In this new structure, LangCom is tasked to verify that proposed projects are substantial and sufficiently supported.
Approving new sister projects – requires sign-off
- The Global Council holds the right to approve any new sister projects for the Movement. The decision will be based on the viability recommendation from the Tech Council and endorsement from the new project’s host. Currently the WMF is the host for all projects.
- The Global Council will consider the technical and resourcing viability considerations from the Technology Council & Project host and will also check whether the project aligns with the Movement values. The Global Council will also check if it has sufficient support in terms of potential active editors.
- [Note: the nature of this responsibility may be modified following the creation of the Sister Projects Task Force.]
Closure of lingual and sister projects
- The Global Council possesses the authority to veto decisions to close a lingual project. It may set its own standards on whether to vote on such matters. Where it does not vote, the Language Committee (LangCom) will take the decision.
- An affirmative vote of the Global Council is required to progress with closing a sister project. The Global Council may set additional criteria before voting. The viability of project continuation and necessity of closing will be extensively checked before final voting by Global Council.
- The Global Council, through LangCom, would have the authority to set standards to close an incubator project. In the absence of Global Council action, LangCom will continue to set its own standards.
[Note to reader: The Technology Council is in very early discussion. As such, it is both less detailed than some other proposals and would benefit most from community feedback & thinking.]
- The Global Council will work with the WMF Product & Technology team and tech contributor communities to set up the Technology Council. The final decision on structure and composition of the Technology Council will be made by the Global Council.
- The Technology Council reports to the Global Council. It serves as a bridge between the Global Council, the WMF, and the technical communities.
- The Technology Council will have a combined mandate, including:
- Prioritisation of areas of technical development
- Broad development plans for how to achieve these priorities
- Improving methodology for gathering and using feedback on technical development
- The Technology Council will propose its priorities and plans to the Global Council. The Global Council has the power to approve or reject the proposals.
Recognition & Derecognition of affiliates: standard-setting and controlled decision-making
- The Global Council will recognize and derecognize affiliates through a subcommittee (Affiliations Committee). It may set or modify standards for affiliates to meet for recognition, to continue to be recognised, and to receive grants. The fundamental standards will be codified in the Charter.
- The Affiliations Committee (AffCom) reports to the Global Council. The Global Council makes the final decisions on form and structure of AffCom, based on the provisions of the Movement Charter.
- The Global Council may choose to allow AffCom to directly recognise affiliates or retain that authority for itself.
- In this new structure, AffCom is tasked to verify that affiliates are actively aiding the projects’ functioning.
- Additionally, AffCom gathers and assesses evidence for derecognition of an affiliate, and submit recommendations. These will be accepted or declined by the Global Council.
- WMF Board of Trustees retains the ability to de-recognise affiliates purely for misuse of trademarks, legal, or emergency actions. Except in urgent situations, the Global Council's agreement will be sought in this decision.
- There are three affiliate categories: chapters, Thematic Organizations, and User Groups. The creation of new affiliate categories will be reserved to the Global Council/AffCom with the acceptance of the WMF Board of Trustees.
Recognition & de-recognition of Hubs: standard-setting and direct decision-making
- The Global Council may modify pre-requisites for Hubs to be recognised, to continue to be recognised, to fundraise, and to receive grants. The fundamental standards will be codified in the Charter.
- The Global Council is directly responsible for recognition & de-recognition of Hubs.
- AffCom’s scope is expanded to evaluate Hubs. The committee will be responsible for evidence-gathering and criteria review, and submit recommendations to the Global Council for recognition.
- AffCom will be responsible to review the hubs’ functioning, capacity and assess evidence before submitting recommendations to the Global Council for derecognition of a hub.
- WMF Board of Trustees retains the ability to de-recognise Hubs purely for misuse of trademarks or legally necessary actions. Except in urgent situations, the Global Council's agreement will be sought in this decision.
- The Global Council works with both the Hubs and relevant teams within the WMF to enable cross-hub co-operation and, where necessary, mediation.
Affiliate & Hubs Advancement
- The Global Council shall monitor the work of movement advancement through the coordination of AffCom and Hubs.
- AffCom will primarily be responsible for guiding organisational development and ensuring adherence to good governance principles.
- The Global Council will not raise funds in any way.
- The Global Council, with support from the Wikimedia Foundation, will develop a policy that applies to all Movement entities around fundraising. This will include rules that can be adapted to local context and needs.
- The Global Council and WMF will collaborate on processes to coordinate Movement fundraising.
- The Global Council will issue a recommendation to the WMF Board of Trustees with regards to the criteria for assigning the share of total central revenue to community general funds, regional fund committees, and any cross-regional grant dissemination.
- Regional fund committees will report to the Global Council to demonstrate activity that is effective, equitable, and accountable.
- Open Questions regarding Fund Dissemination
- What role should the Global Council have in fund dissemination?
- Oversight or review of WMF decisions
- Coordination with WMF
- Other (please elaborate)
- Should there be a committee that reports to the Global Council and handles central/cross-regional fund dissemination?
- What should be the Global Council’s role with regards to the allocation of the funds within the WMF?
- The Global Council should be consulted on the allocation of the funds within the WMF.
- The Global Council should have no role in the allocation of the funds within the WMF and only be informed.
- Other (please elaborate)
Global Site Policies - proposal retracted due to vetoing legal concerns
Summary of removed proposal: the Global Council would be a consulting partner on changes by the WMF to global policies. The Global Council can reject them unless they are legally mandated.
Reasoning leading to this proposal: during the pre-MCDC process, there was a desire for the Global Council to be able to reduce the frequency and scale of Communities/WMF disputes. The disputes happen for several reasons, and planned efforts to improve consultation and aspects such as the Technology Council should help with some areas. However, global policies and actions around them have caused past disputes, and the Movement Charter Drafting Committee felt this could prevent issues in this area in the future.
Summary of legal removal grounds: most WMF global policy actions are based on a risk evaluation/judgement call, not a brightline interpretation. There was also a concern that some policies are implemented to prevent more problematic legislation being created.
Request for: Alternative proposals that can mitigate, if not eliminate, major disputes between community and WMF regarding global site policies in the future.
- The Global Council possesses an advisory role in assisting user safety, such as through aiding training and collaboration.
- Formal authority continues to reside with the relevant body (local projects, Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee (U4C), Trust & Safety, etc.).
- The Global Council will also hold a mediating role in cases where 2 or more entities are unable to resolve significant disagreements between them. The Global Council will act as a neutral party with a goal of assisting dispute resolution and/or mediation.
[Note to reader: there are scenarios for how to structure the Global Council that we will invite community to provide feedback on during the community consultation]
- Open Questions regarding Structure
- Should the Global Council exist only as an executive body or should it exist as an executive body with an advisory board? (See scenarios below)
- If the Global Council is an executive body with an advisory board, how are the members of both entities (executive body and advisory board) seated?
- With its size, the Global Council must have adequate diversity and clout, but not be so large as to undermine effectiveness. As an executive body, how many members should the Global Council have?
- Option 1: 9-13 members
- Option 2: 17-21 members
Scenario 1: Global Council as an executive body
|Tranche 1||Tranche 2||Appointed|
|Number of Members||5 community-elected
|2 (1 of which must be a WMF employee)|
|Selection Process||Community-elected seats are chosen in an open and community-wide election. Potentially with some limitations on excessive project presence.
Affiliate seats are chosen from the same candidate list, with each chapter/Thematic Organisation and a subset of user-groups receiving 1 vote.
|Chosen by the elected Global Council members. |
WMF to propose their representatives
|Term of service||Default of 2 year term. Exceptions apply for initial onboarding of Global Council and re-balancing of tranche sizing.||Maximum and default of 2-year terms, Global Council may specify a shorter length to align with elections.|
|Representation/Purpose||Members represent the Movement as a whole. Their purposes are those determined by the Global Council’s mission and the electorates’ needs and wishes.||Primarily designed to provide specialised expertise and experience.|
|1||5 members||5 members||5 members|
|2||5 members||5 members||5 members|
|1||3 members||3 members||3 members|
|2||2 members||2 members||2 members|
|1 member||1 member||1 member|
|1 member||1 member||1 member|
Scenario 2: Global Council as an executive body with an advisory board
The Global Council will have an advisory body; this advisory body will act as a consultation body for the Global Council, as well as community representation. This body will have between 70-100 members who are selected or elected.
- Scenario 2.1 Advisory Board & Global Council both follow elections
- There will be selections or elections for both the advisory board and the Global Council executive board.
- Scenario 2.1.1
- Two separate selections or elections: one for advisory board and one for the Global Council executive body.
- Scenario 2.1.2
- One election or selection process, whereby the top 9-21 (depending on the range of seats available) candidates are seated in the Global Council executive body, and the following 70-100 members make up the advisory board.
- Scenario 2.2 Advisory Board selects Global Council executive body
- The advisory body is selected/elected first, and then nominates 9-21 (depending on the range of seats available) members from within their group to serve as the Global Council executive body.
- The Global Council core group will have a total of XX members [open question above].
- 9-13 members
- 17-21 members
- Potential limitations on Global Council membership, including no limitations (see questions below).
- The Global Council may permit up to 2 WMF or WMF Board of Trustees observing members with no voting rights. The Global Council may set appropriate conditions for these observer members.
- Global Council members can be members of the reporting committees or subcommittees. However, if any committee or subcommittee reporting to the Global Council does not have a Global Council member, they should have a Global Council liaison.
- All voting members will have 1 vote in any decision of the Global Council.
- Members are to serve Wikimedia as a whole and are not serving as a representative of any sub-group, region, or entity within Wikimedia.
- Each member serves 2-year terms.
- Open Questions regarding Membership
With an intention to ensure fair representation, power balance, and promote diversity and inclusivity within the Global Council, we seek your inputs on the following:
- Should there be some imposed limits to the membership in terms of movement representation?
Please share your opinions about potential criteria of such limits:
- Should there be a regional cap, e.g. max 3 persons from a single region? If yes, please specify the condition.
- Should there be a home project or entity cap, e.g. max 2 persons from a single wiki project or affiliate? If yes, please specify the condition.
- Should there be a specific cap for large language communities, projects, or affiliates, e.g. not more than 5 seats from between the 5 largest projects? If yes, please specify the condition.
- Should there be any other limits for Global Council membership? If yes, please specify the condition.
- All nominations for each tranche’s election are made to a single candidacy list.
- The community-elected members will be chosen at-large using a single transferable voting system.
- Selected seats will be chosen by affiliates using a single transferable voting system, with each affiliate receiving 1 vote.
- The top affiliate ranked candidates will be elected and removed from the candidacy list. Then, the top community-ranked candidates will be elected.
- Eligibility standards for community voting will match the approved movement standards.
Candidate criteria & limitations
- Candidates must meet the voter eligibility criteria for WMF Board of Trustees elections to file nomination
- Candidates may be paid WMF, affiliate, or hub, staff/contractors but must clearly disclose this information at the beginning of the election
- Members may not become paid staff during their term without resigning their position
- Members may only serve four consecutive years (equivalent to two full terms) as a global council member. A period of six months is required for a member’s terms to not be consecutive.
- Candidates must be in good community standing (meaning they are not currently suspended or otherwise prevented from participating).
- Members are expected to consistently participate in the Global Council activities.
- Members must be willing to sign and comply with the terms of appropriate private information policies, including a non-disclosure agreement.
Limitations and Safeguards
[To be written after further progress on powers and responsibilities, as the necessary level of limitations/safeguards will vary depending on these.]
- Appendix (implementation): In the original election processes, the top 6 community-elected and top 3-affiliate elected members will receive 3 year terms on Tranche 1, with the remaining members receiving 2 year terms on Tranche 2. At the end of the second year, Tranche 2 will run an election, with members then receiving 2-year terms.
- Appendix (resignations): In the event of resignation (or other removal from position) during a term, that seat will be filled in the next election. If a shift would cause that Tranche’s size to grow to 9 members, then the new seat will be a full term. If a Tranche would grow to 10+ seats, then the bottom-ranked incoming members will receive 1-year terms.
- As determined by number of active editors for projects and voting members for affiliates
- External legal feedback for this draft chapter at foundationwiki
- Wikimedia Foundation's legal feedback for this draft chapter at foundationwiki
Movement affiliates are entities in the Wikimedia Movement that have been formally recognized: either by the Wikimedia Foundation, or (from 2026 onward) by the Wikimedia Foundation after positive advice from the Global Council. There are four types of movement affiliates:
- Chapters – Incorporated independent non-profits representing the Wikimedia movement and supporting movement work globally, focused within a geography. Chapters or national/sub-national organizations use a name clearly linking them to Wikimedia and are granted use of Wikimedia trademarks for their work, publicity, and fundraising.
- Thematic organizations – Incorporated independent non-profits representing the Wikimedia movement and supporting work focused on a specific theme, topic, subject or issue within or across countries and regions. Thematic organizations use a name clearly linking them to Wikimedia and are granted use of Wikimedia trademarks for their work, publicity, and fundraising.
- Wikimedia User Groups – Open membership groups with an established contact person and history of projects, designed to be easy to form. User groups may or may not choose to incorporate and are granted limited use of the Wikimedia marks for publicity related to events and projects.
- Other affiliate types – as approved by the Global Council and the Wikimedia Foundation.
This is the charter for the Wikimedia Movement. It is a document outlining the roles, responsibilities, rights, and common values of the Movement.
Any material added, removed, altered, revised, edited, deleted, or otherwise modified by a registered or unregistered user using any user interface that creates a change to any aspect of a Wikimedia project.
In this document, a contributor is anyone who participates in the creation or management of content, or to the technical support for content creation, of a Wikimedia project.
Equity is an attempt to set standards of treating everyone justly based upon their circumstances and with consideration of the barriers that prevent them from having the same level of achievement. It cannot be accomplished by treating everyone equally.
Entities outside of the Wikimedia Movement that align with our values and mission and collaborate with one or more stakeholders from within the Movement. Not used directly.
A fiscal sponsor is an organization that administers a grant on behalf of a grantee. In the context of this document, Fiscal sponsors do not need to be Wikimedia affiliates. Fiscal sponsors must be incorporated organizations registered as a charity/nonprofit in their local contexts, and need to meet some basic eligibility requirements which will be determined by the organization making the grant
Open knowledge (or free knowledge) is knowledge that is free to use, reuse, and redistribute without monetary, social, or technological restriction.
Fundraising is the act of seeking and acquiring donations. In this document, the term “fundraising” is used to describe the process of seeking monetary donations from independent organizations and individual donors. This includes grants provided by third parties, often to support specific objectives.
Fundraising carried out by affiliates and regional hubs is referred to as locally co-ordinated fundraising. Fundraising carried out by the Wikimedia Foundation is referred to as globally co-ordinated fundraising.
The act of reducing exclusion and discrimination (e.g., regarding age, social class, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) by both individuals and groups through modifying settings, policies, and structures to create the conditions for the emergence of diversity.
The “movement” or “Wikimedia Movement” refers to the totality of people, organizations, activities and values which revolve around Wikimedia sites and projects.
Wikimedia has a series of knowledge projects (e.g. Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons etc). Local projects are primarily lingual variants of a knowledge project (e.g. English Wikipedia, Turkish Wiktionary). Certain knowledge projects are cross-language and do not have local projects, but may be both “project” and “local project”. There are also projects that act as infrastructure for the Wikimedia community, such as Meta-Wiki and MediaWiki Wiki.
- Revenue generation is the process of obtaining funds to support one or more aspects of the movement. Some examples of revenue generation are:
- Including grants provided by third parties, often to support specific objectives
- Membership fees for affiliates
- Wikimedia Enterprise
Related to revenue generation is donation-in-kind, when an organization or individual provides a service or physical items without charge, or by charging a discounted fee. Examples can include:
- Meeting rooms or office space
- Internet access
- Free access to archival material
Resources are a stock or supply of money, materials, staff, knowledge and other assets that can be drawn on by a person or organization in order to function effectively. (Oxford Dictionary)
In the case of the Wikimedia movement, resources include:
- Monetary assets obtained by revenue generation
- Human resources, including the very large number of volunteers who drive the movement, and the small number of paid staff who support the volunteers
- The reputation of the Wikimedia movement and its projects and activities as a source of information made available to the world without charge
- The content of the projects, as developed and managed by volunteers
- The physical storage that contains the software and the content of the projects
- The educational and informational documentation to support the projects and other movement activities.
Any individual or group, whether volunteer or not, having invested human, financial, or other capital in an organization, who can affect the realization of organizational objectives or is affected by the realization of those objectives.
In this document, a stakeholder is everyone who has a stake in fulfilling the Movement’s vision. More precisely, the term includes online and offline communities, organized groups like affiliates and the Wikimedia Foundation, and members from our broader ecosystem, like partners and allies.
The principle of subsidiarity holds that decision-making authority is best placed (a) where responsibility for outcomes will occur; and (b) in the closest appropriate proximity to where the actions will be taken that will produce the outcomes.
Also known as the WMF. An international non-profit organization located in the United States that hosts the Wikimedia projects, has overall responsibility for their underlying technical infrastructure, and provides a wide range of support for Wikimedia entities and contributors. The WMF is the legal host of the Wikimedia projects and related websites. It owns the trademarks that relate to the Wikimedia Foundation specifically, as well as the trademarks associated with the Wikimedia projects.
In this document, a Wikimedian is anyone who contributes to the mission of the Movement. It can be an editor, MediaWiki developer, a curator, an organizer, staff, or anyone else who invests time in Movement activities.
- External legal feedback for this draft chapter at foundationwiki
- Wikimedia Foundation's legal feedback for this draft chapter at foundationwiki