Movement Charter/Frequently Asked Questions

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

This is a list of frequent questions about the Wikimedia Movement Charter (“Movement Charter” or “Charter”). The answers come from the Movement Charter Drafting Committee (referred to as “we” or “us” in many responses below).

The Movement Charter[edit]

What is the Movement Charter?[edit]

The Movement Charter is a document that will clarify the responsibilities and relationships between everyone in the Wikimedia movement. It will also result in the implementation of new structures and new roles and responsibilities (for example: Global Council).

Why is a Movement Charter needed?[edit]

Since the Wikimedia movement started, all the projects and related responsibilities have grown organically. The development of the Movement Charter is intended as a review of this governance model, and the Charter will provide standard guidance and processes to ensure that the movement stays aligned. The Charter is important as it will be an essential document for the implementation of the 2030 Movement Strategy recommendations. That is why it should align closely with the direction for the Wikimedia movement through at least the next decade.

How will the Movement Charter affect communities and Wikimedia entities, including the Wikimedia Foundation?[edit]

The Charter is intended as a roles & responsibilities document that both documents the existing dynamics as well as proposes new dynamics, in an effort to improve movement governance. This includes the creation of new entities: the Global Council and Hubs. The Charter aims to codify what’s been working from the stakeholders and reiterate the shared purpose and mission that everyone in the movement is a part of, while shifting some of the Wikimedia Foundation’s responsibilities to the community vis-a-vis the Global Council, like the recognition of affiliates and hubs and the coordination of technology advancement.

The Charter might not have a daily, on-the-ground impact for individuals, communities, and entities, but it does start to shift decision-making powers and creates an ecosystem that demands more collaboration and coordination between the different movement bodies.

What is the origin story of the Movement Charter Drafting Committee?[edit]

The Movement Charter was originally envisioned to be written by an “Interim Global Council” (IGC). This proposed Council would have helped reform Wikimedia movement governance by performing three main tasks: creating a Movement Charter, setting up a Global Council, and overseeing the implementation of Movement Strategy. However, this proposal would require quite a lot of resources and discussions to set up. To resolve this situation, a group of Wikimedians proposed starting with the Movement Charter to move the governance reform forward. The proposal effectively replaced the IGC with the Movement Charter Drafting Committee, the election and selection process for which was held in late 2021.

Content topics[edit]

What is the difference between the Movement Strategy’s Principles, and the Movement Charter Values section?[edit]

The Movement Strategy 2030 recommendations were built upon ten principles, and these guide the ongoing implementation of both the Strategic Recommendations as the Strategic Initiatives from the Movement Strategy.

The values in the Movement Charter have some overlap with the Movement Strategy Principles, but these Movement Values intend to capture what intrinsic motivation connects us in the movement, why people are here, and also to help readers understand how the Charter should be read. The Charter builds on and refers to these eight Movement Values throughout the Charter text.

Why don’t you mention unaffiliated groups in the movement?[edit]

The Charter captures roles and responsibilities for those that the Charter will actually be able to govern. The rights and responsibilities for unaffiliated partners, donors, and institutional partners come from individual agreements, not from the Wikimedia Movement Charter.

Where can I find more information about Hubs? Wasn’t this going to be in the Charter?[edit]

You are correct when you thought this would be part of the Charter, and we did share a first draft about Hubs on Meta in our August 2023 share-out. However, because the Hubs concept is still in a piloting phase, and as the Charter also does not go into details about User Groups, Thematic Organizations and Chapters, we decided that Hubs would also be best to refer to the Meta page with definition and requirements for (pilot) Hubs.

By referring to a page with criteria and guidelines on Meta (here’s our proposed guidelines from the supplementary documents), the (sub)committee and governing body charged with the recognition and derecognition of affiliates and hubs will have more flexibility to address changes to the affiliate model, and to eventually move the Hubs out from the pilot phase when the concept has matured.

How can I propose an “official” Hubs conversation or a pilot in my region?[edit]

Please note that there are no “official" Hubs yet, even if they are receiving funding from the Wikimedia Foundation, because there is no official approval process for them right now. Hubs are in a piloting phase right now. It is also worth noting that, when the Movement Charter is complete, the existing hub structures may need to change their structure to align with the Charter.

If you are interested in working on Hubs, it is advisable to read about the Hubs Dialogue conversation (March 2022), and the initial guidelines on piloting Hubs (September 2022). If you need funding, you can apply for a Movement Strategy Implementation grant from the Wikimedia Foundation.

What does the Charter say about fundraising?[edit]

The Charter is intended to be a roles & responsibilities document that is as evergreen as possible. For that reason, the Charter does not go into details about fundraising mechanisms.

Fundraising practices throughout the movement are of critical importance and a clear understanding and agreement for this needs to be found. The Global Council is responsible for developing a fundraising policy that applies to all movement bodies. The Global Council is also positioned to provide advice and expertise to stakeholders who are developing their fundraising capacities, and to coordinate fundraising efforts across the different stakeholders to avoid duplication or redundancy.

What does the Charter say about fund distribution?[edit]

Again, working from the general consensus that the Movement Charter itself should be short and simple, and evergreen where possible, the Charter itself does not contain details about fund distribution (also called ‘fund dissemination’).

The Charter does say that the Wikimedia Foundation will stay in charge over the overall fund allocation. However, the Global Council will become responsible for the allocation of grants, and the way they are distributed throughout our movement and over the world, per the Global Council’s “resource distribution” function. For this, they are requested to develop a grant distribution policy.

What other tasks are expected of the Global Council in their first term?[edit]

The Council is requested to draft several policies and create guidelines, to serve their core purposes that are proposed in the Function section of the chapter on Global Council. The MCDC tried to extract a list of needed work in these supplementary documents.

However, the most pressing responsibility of the first Global Council will be to set up the Global Council for work. The creation of a new governance body is a responsibility that should not be underestimated in terms of time, energy, resources and commitment it will need from the first members of the Global Council.

Will the Global Council replace global Requests for Comment?[edit]

No, the Global Council will not replace global Requests for Comment (RfC), nor will it have the power to overrule their decisions. Instead one of the purposes of the Global Council is to have less need for large scale community consultations, as it will have more direct contacts with for instance the WMF and its Board of Trustees. Concerns of the broader communities can therefore be raised before the need for global RfC's arises.

Where have the proposed chapters about Decision-making and Roles & Responsibilities gone?[edit]

In the previous stages of the Movement Charter design, the MCDC thought the Charter would need separate chapters on both topics of roles and responsibilities and decision-making. During the drafting process we realized that both roles and responsibilities and the different levels of decision-making are at the core of the Charter, so the drafts from those chapters are now integrally incorporated throughout the whole Movement Charter text. You will however find additional information on both topics the committee found valuable to share with the community in the supplementary documents.

What if we want to change the Charter text after the ratification?[edit]

For changing the responsibilities laid out in the Charter, but also for instance for changes to the Charter text, the Charter includes a procedure in the Amendment section, and a complementing description of procedure in the supplementary documentation.


How will the Movement Charter be ratified?[edit]

In essence, we are running three voting processes: one for individuals on SecurePoll, one for affiliates (using the process they declare), and one for the WMF Board of Trustees, that will run only if the other two voting processes vote in favor of ratification. For each voting process, we will get the result of ratified or not ratified. All three processes must result in a vote in favor of ratification for the Charter to be officially ratified. You can find the ratification methodology on Meta.

Do all voting groups have the same weight as each other?[edit]

Yes. In essence, we are running three voting processes: one for individuals on SecurePoll, one for affiliates (using the process they declare), and one for the WMF Board of Trustees. For each voting process, we will get the result of ratified or not ratified. All three processes must result in a vote in favor of ratification for the Charter to be officially ratified.

How does this compare to other ratification methods in the movement?[edit]

Other ratification efforts, including the Universal Code of Conduct Enforcement Guidelines and UCoC Coordinating Committee charter, have allowed every qualified voter to cost a vote in favor or opposition of ratification, and the majority vote decided the outcome. Because of the potential for the Movement Charter to change the entire structure of the Wikimedia movement, we need a more extensive ratification process that would explicitly allow a ratification vote from each of the major structures within the movement: the individual contributors, the affiliates, the Wikimedia projects and the WMF Board of Trustees.

What is the rationale for voting on the whole Movement Charter, and not on each section of the Movement Charter?[edit]

The Charter lays out the roles, responsibilities, and rights of different governance stakeholders, which are intertwined. As such, the content can’t be separated from each other and voted on in parts; it must be voted on as one whole document.

What happens if the Charter is ratified?[edit]

Depending on the level of support for ratification, we would pursue one of two paths after the ratification of the Charter:

  1. with a strong support (more than two thirds in favor across voter groups) in the ratification, start to implement the Charter (e.g. by setting up the Global Council).
  2. with a weak support (half to two thirds in favor across voter groups) revise the Charter text based on the feedback we receive as part of the voting process and re-vote (similar to what was done for the UCoC Enforcement Guidelines).

What happens if the Charter is not ratified?[edit]

Depending on the level of objection for ratification, we would pursue one of two paths after the vote:

  1. when just falling short of ratification (40%-50% support across voter groups) host an extended community consultation to hear how the Charter text can be improved and re-vote, or
  2. with significant lack of support in the vote (<40% support across voter groups) decide with all stakeholders whether or not a Charter is needed at this point in time.

Development and communication processes[edit]

How do you write the Movement Charter drafts, from the beginning until its publication for community review?[edit]

The Movement Charter consists of many sections. We decided to divide into smaller working groups to draft each section. The initial drafts are derived from group discussions, research and experience. Those drafts are reviewed internally with the Drafting Committee and iterated until the full committee deems the drafts to be “good enough” to be consulted on by the community. (“Good enough” means there is enough content for the community to discuss and offer feedback on.)

Once we meet that threshold, the drafts go through legal and legibility reviews, after which we update again. Finally, it is shared to be translated and published for community review. The drafts we share for community review is by no means final; we want your feedback to help improve it. Tell us what you like and don’t like, and why you feel that way. Propose alternative options for us to consider. Share other interesting and credible research for us to review.

How do you ensure the Movement Charter drafts are available in the languages of the Wikimedia movement?[edit]

The Movement Charter is being drafted primarily in English. Before the English text is finalized, we will review each draft chapter text to ensure that it is readable and translatable, in order to accommodate the need and desire to translate it as simply and straight-forwardly as possible.

All drafts will be translated from English to at least the following priority languages: Arabic, Farsi, French, German, Hindi, Igbo, Indonesian, Chinese (Mandarin), Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Spanish, and Turkish. We selected those languages to cover the majority of community members. As a common practice, in contracts and treaties that are to be enforced internationally, one language will usually “take precedence” over other languages in the event of any differences in meaning. For the Charter, we anticipate that English will take that precedence over translations in other languages.

Will there be a legal review of the Movement Charter?[edit]

We have resolved for some draft chapters of the Movement Charter to undergo legal reviews, both internally from the Wikimedia Foundation’s Legal department and externally from a global law firm. The external legal review is done by a reputable multinational law firm, which provides the service pro bono. When we have a full version of the Movement Charter, the internal and external legal review rounds will be done once again.

For the final version of the Movement Charter (the one up for ratification), in addition to the legal review from WMF’s Legal department, we will be using an external legal service that’s being procured and funded by Wikimedia Deutschland. Because the MCDC is not a legal entity, it cannot enter into a contract with a legal entity, so in this case, WMDE will do so on our behalf.

Why do the Movement Charter drafts need to undergo legal review?[edit]

The Movement Charter process aims to, among other things, decentralize and “share” powers that currently rests with the Wikimedia Foundation to other entities within the Wikimedia movement, where possible. However, some of these powers are linked (sometimes intrinsically) to the more existential features of the Foundation as a non-profit registered in the U.S. state of Florida. Both the internal and external legal reviews of the Movement Charter drafts are done to ensure that the Foundation will be able to support the eventual implementation of the Charter’s provisions and fulfill the mandate to decentralize its powers, while ensuring that as a legal entity with certain fiduciary responsibilities and obligations, the Foundation is not in breach of the laws and regulations of the United States and the state of Florida.

How are updates about the Movement Charter communicated?[edit]

We work with the support staff to plan and implement a detailed communications plan. The regular communication pieces include monthly updates shared on Meta and Diff. These have been specifically tailored to each stakeholder in the movement and to their desired level of engagement. In all official communications, we commit to using at least the United Nations official languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish, as well as Brazilian Portuguese.

How will the Movement Charter Drafting Committee respond to messages and feedback?[edit]

All the feedback received during the community conversations on various platforms of engagement and in different languages, such as Meta talk pages, Telegram channels, local on wiki conversations as well as community conversation hours, is carefully documented and handed over to the MCDC, which review all the feedback received and uses it in drafting the Charter provisions.

Is there any other party that supports the Committee’s processes?[edit]

Since June 2022, we have invited two members of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees (Natalia and Shani, who was later replaced by Lorenzo) to attend our bi-weekly and in-person meetings as liaisons. Both of them have spent years working within the Wikimedia community. They have been valuable to us in terms of being a sounding board and giving suggestions. They give input as individuals with experiences within the Wikimedia movement, which includes their roles as trustees, but their suggestions and inputs are not official positions from the Board of Trustees. They do not have a vote when it comes to the Committee’s decisions.

Community conversations and engagement[edit]

How will the community be consulted about the Movement Charter?[edit]

The MCDC welcomes input and feedback from the community at all times. You can do this by emailing the MCDC at or leaving a comment on the Movement Charter talk page, for example. And there are specific community engagement periods when a draft is published. You can learn about organized engagement opportunities on the Meta page.

What are the results from the previous rounds of community conversations about the Movement Charter?[edit]

The collected feedback from previous rounds of consultations is available on this Meta page.

How are you managing all the feedback that you receive?[edit]

Where and when possible and appropriate, the MCDC or the support staff will respond to individual comments. However, given the depth and breadth and scale of the comments we receive during the engagement rounds, we will most likely collect the questions and feedback to create a summarized response after the engagement rounds end.

How will you consider feedback from non-English speaking communities?[edit]

It is vital that we receive feedback from speakers of different languages and communities. With the help of the support staff and Movement Charter Ambassadors, we strive to ensure that all feedback, regardless of the language, is carefully considered and taken into account by the MCDC.

Are you accepting feedback from outside of the community conversations period?[edit]

Yes, we value feedback from the communities at all times, not just during the designated community conversations period. It is important that stakeholders who themselves would like to participate also feel free to express their opinions unsolicited, at any time they wish to do so. You can do so by emailing us at

However, as we approach the ratification phase of work, there will come a time when we can’t update the Charter text any longer. The current engagement round – ending on April 30, 2024 – is the last opportunity to give input and feedback on the Charter text before the MCDC finalizes the Charter for the ratification vote.

What is the current plan for community conversations?[edit]

The current round of community engagement is focused on the full draft of the Movement Charter and it takes place between April 2nd to April 30th, 2024. Everyone in the Wikimedia Movement is encouraged to share their feedback on the Movement Charter talk page in any language, attend dedicated regional calls hosted by Movement Charter Ambassadors, or email the MCDC:

How are the length and timeframe of the feedback periods determined?[edit]

There are two milestones that we are planning around: the Wikimedia Summit in late April and the ratification vote in mid-June or early July. We aligned this upcoming feedback period with the Wikimedia Summit to ensure that we could hear from the online community and the affiliates collectively and simultaneously. For community members who are not attending the Wikimedia Summit, they’ll have the opportunity to engage online. For community members who are attending the Wikimedia Summit, they’ll have time to review the draft before the Summit to offer feedback – as well as offering feedback online. After the feedback period ends in late April, the MCDC will update the Movement Charter one last time before a final version is published for ratification.

Regarding the ratification vote in June: the month of July has historically been quieter in terms of online engagement, and then the focus pivots to Wikimania in August, as well as the upcoming 2024 Board of Trustees selection process, which will culminate in a vote in late August or early September. Those logistical considerations along with the desire to keep the momentum going after the feedback period made June the best option for the ratification vote.

After the draft gets to a version that is “good enough” within the MCDC, it goes through copy-editing and legal reviews. The MCDC is updating the draft based on that feedback. Then, the draft is again cleaned up and sent to translators, who are given at least a week to translate the draft. After translations are completed, the support staff uploads the content to Meta and the text is live for feedback. To enable equitable access to the draft, we chose not to publish the English version first while it’s being translated; this way, when the draft is live, it is available in English and 13 other languages. All of this behind-the-scenes work takes 3-4 weeks, depending on how much feedback we receive and how many changes we have to agree on.

I am an individual contributor to a Wikipedia project or its sister projects. How can I be involved in community conversations?[edit]

We realize that the Movement Charter process is completely new to some parts of our Movement, and the majority of the individual contributors to our projects may find it difficult to relate to something like this, as they may find it unclear on how it affects their individual work.

We strongly encourage you to participate in one (or more!) venues of engagement in our community conversations round, be it attending a scheduled call, commenting on the Meta talk page of the Movement Charter draft in any language that you feel comfortable, or taking part in the community engagement period.

You may also get in touch directly with the Charter Ambassador from your project or language community, if there is one.

I represent a Wikimedia movement affiliate (chapter, user group, or thematic organization). How can I be involved in community conversations?[edit]

We strongly encourage you to participate in one (or more!) venues of engagement in our community conversations round, be it attending a scheduled call, commenting on the Meta talk page of the Movement Charter in any language that you feel comfortable, or emailing us at or take part in the community engagement period.

You may also host a call with your affiliate about the published Movement Charter drafts to discuss feedback and invite MCDC members to join the call to answer your questions.

I represent a group/organization that is yet to be recognized as a Wikimedia movement affiliate, or an informal, self-organized group that is outside of the Affiliate model. How can I be involved in community conversations?[edit]

You may be from a group that is still very new and seeking ways to grow and be recognized in the Affiliate ecosystem, or from an informal group (e.g. WikiProjects) that is outside of that ecosystem. Similar to the two groups above, you are welcome to participate in one (or more!) venues of engagement in our community conversations round, be it attending a scheduled call, commenting on the Meta talk page of the Movement Charter in any language that you feel comfortable, or emailing us at with your feedback.

I am part of the group that is piloting a Hub in my region or in a certain thematic area. How can I be involved in community conversations?[edit]

Because the Charter is now a roles & responsibilities document that is meant to be evergreen and because the Hubs are still in the piloting phase, details about Hubs have been moved to the supplementary documents. In the current draft, Hubs are one of several “movement organizations” that exist to advance the Wikimedia Movement’s mission in a coordinated way. The Global Council will decide on the criteria for recognition once they decide the concept has moved beyond the piloting stage. Your feedback, through the community conversation venues, are very much welcome. You may remember or have participated in the previous global conversations about Hubs, from which the draft chapter is being built upon.

Where can I learn more about the Movement Charter Ambassadors Program?[edit]

Please see the Ambassadors Program Frequently Asked Questions.