Movement Charter/Drafting Committee/Decision-making

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This is a page that explains how the Movement Charter Drafting Committee makes its internal decisions. It is intended as an internal Committee document that supports its principles.

Voting-oriented decision-making Proposal[edit]

This structure splits MCDC decisions into three groups. It would only be used when the MCDC cannot reach a clear consensus on a decision. The three groups are:

  1. Regular internal decisions
  2. Important internal decisions (defined as decisions equivalent or greater in importance than selecting new members or removing a member)  
  3. Content decisions

Regular internal decisions[edit]

  1. Settled by a majority vote
  2. At least ⅔ of the MCDC (rounding up) must register a vote to provide a quorum
  3. In the event of more than two options being considered, an option must have 50% + 1 of the MCDC supporting it in order to be selected.
  4. If no option can obtain a majority, then the MCDC may either select to re-discuss re-vote on a smaller number of the most popular options or go back to the drawing board to find new alternatives.

Important internal decisions[edit]

  1. Settled by supermajority vote
  2. At least ⅔ of all MCDC members (whether or not they choose to cast a vote) must actively vote for an option, in order for it to pass. In effect, all abstains or non-voters have the same weight as opposing an option.
  3. If a vote has not reached ⅔ but still could, then a neutral summary of each option (and its reasoning) should be emailed to all members asking them to vote within 72 hours.

Content Decisions[edit]

  1. There should usually be an estimate of how many consultation/drafting cycles will be done on a specific Movement Charter segment (e.g. 3 cycles to write the Movement Values section), even if this is subject to change.
  2. In all iterations other than the final one, content decisions that aren’t supported by a near-unanimous MCDC (c. 80%) should be listed as an open question for the local projects, affiliates, and WMF to specifically (further) discuss in detail.
  3. The various options should be noted (both those supported by MCDC members, and others where relevant), providing as neutral a phrasing as possible. Significant causes of disagreement should also be noted.
  4. In the event that no given option has received significant MCDC support then a topic may be listed as an open question without further commentary
  5. In the final iteration of a segment, a ⅔ majority may select a specific position if necessary to progress to later stages of drafting the MC.
  6. If later stages of the MC may instead help to resolve this dispute, then the question may be held-over for later in the process.
  7. In either case, it should be clearly noted in the public documentation
  8. If a vote has not reached ⅔ but still could, then a neutral summary of each option (and its reasoning) should be emailed asking members to vote within 72 hours.

Pros and cons[edit]


  1. It provides a clear-cut resolution that means that we shouldn’t bog down
  2. It endeavours to provide varying levels of protection to minorities, with a focus on content and important topics. If we can’t get a clear consensus of ourselves onboard, then the likelihood of us getting the full Movement onboard with an option is very low
  3. Regarding content, it highlights that we are drafters, and so disagreements are best settled by increased Movement discussion and resolution.


  1. Like all voting, it comes with the inherent issue that some people may “lose”, potentially causing a slow fracture within the MCDC.
  2. In order to provide nuance and increased protection, there are multiple methods. This may be a degree of complexity
  3. There remains a reduced possibility of deadlock on important questions and content questions - where a majority that can’t gather ⅔ can’t progress. This is deliberate (to necessitate working together and compromise), but is an inherent potential risk to our process.

What makes a decision important?[edit]

  • It amends the structure of the MCDC (such as a membership change or a principle change)
  • It is viewed as likely to cause major controversy with one or more core stakeholder groups (BoT, WMF, local communities, affiliates, public)
  • It amends a prior important decision

Gradients of Agreement Decision-making[edit]

It is a decision-making methodology, aiming to better reflect input of particular individuals in decision making groups. Compared to voting, it aims to encourage consensus rather than majority, and it is more about testing multiple possible decisions and their fitness to the opinion of the whole group.

It is also more actively asking about boundaries of particular group members, why they disagree with particular options and what can be done to have everyone onboard.

How do you use gradients of agreement?[edit]

The group is facilitated to discuss particular proposals, and before the final decision a number of proposals is being polled. The members express their opinion, like:

  • Whole-hearted agreement
  • Agreement with a Minor Point of Contention
  • Support with Reservations
  • Abstain
  • More Discussion Needed
  • Don't Like but Will Support
  • Serious Disagreement
  • Veto

After each time, the results are discussed - especially if there are strongly dissenting group members - then reasons of dissatisfaction and different opinions can be clearly voted. When needed, the polling is repeated, unless the clearly most acceptable solution in the reasonable time can be found.

Usually, results with only top three reactions are being sought - but in really hard cases we may need to go with "don't like but will support"s or even a serious disagreement.

Pros and Cons[edit]

The major pros are:

  • The decisions seem to be better discussed - dissenting members have a much better chance to explain their Points of View and convince other members of the group.
  • The decisions seem to be better tested - potential issues can be raised and discussed. Ways to mitigate and answers to criticisms can be prepared.
  • The decisions seem to be more equitable - in particular decisions unfair to minorities are more avoidable .
  • The group has more clarity why a particular decision has been made, which options were on the table and which pros and cons were conceived.
  • The group has a better ownership of the decision and can stand behind it. Voting has a significant risk of dissenting, overvoted minority at the end of the day. Here it is very much reduced.
  • It can be used as a strawpoll method as part of the initial consensus-determination, and is thus its use only replaces voting if used for both initial and final determinations.

Major Cons are:

  • A significantly slower pace
  • Ultimately a decision still needs to be made, and where consensus cannot be found, some number of positions is needed, and that marker is unclear (both numerically and in terms of what gradients will be accepted for progress)
  • Without knowing where that marker is in advance of a final decision being found, it encourages against certain options in the middle.