Movement Charter/Frequently Asked Questions
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This is a list of frequent questions about the Movement Charter. The answers come from the Movement Charter Drafting Committee (referred to as “we” or “us” in many responses below).
|The Movement Charter Drafting Committee|
|Elections & selection|
|Movement Charter content|
|Frequently Asked Questions For email enquiries: movementcharterwikimediaorg|
About the Movement Charter
What is the Movement Charter?
- 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 decisions (for example: Hubs).
Why is a Movement Charter needed? We survived without it for 20 years.
- Since the Wikimedia movement started, all the projects and responsibilities connected, have grown organically. The development of the Movement Charter is intended as a review of this governance model, and the final 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 strategy recommendations. That is why it should align closely with the needed direction for the Wikimedia movement through at least the next decade.
What is an example of something that the Movement Charter will solve?
- How can decisions that affect all Wikimedians be turned around or changed? Do all communities have a voice? The Movement Charter will answer such questions.
How will the Movement Charter affect communities?
- The Movement Charter has the potential to turn the movement upside down. It can change who decides or doesn’t decide on certain topics, including technological improvements, grants, funding, etc. This is why we invite you to tell us (the Movement Charter Drafting Committee) about what needs to change in the movement's governance, and also about the things that you are happy with and that should not change.
Is there a possibility that even the core structure of the Wikimedia Foundation may be changed by the Charter?
- Yes, this is something that could possibly be an outcome of the Movement Charter. One of the proposals from the Movement Strategy process is to have a Global Council, which could potentially turn everything around in the governance of our movement.
When will the Movement Charter be published?
- Please see the Movement Charter timeline on Meta.
How and when do you intend to start defining Hubs?
- Currently, the Drafting Committee is not yet working on the hub's definition: they are however closely observing the developments around the-hubs, and the community discussions on the topic. The hubs definition will be included in the final Movement Charter, either as part of the Roles & Responsibilities chapter, or as an independent chapter about hubs. You can follow the Movement Strategy updates to hear about the next conversations related to defining and piloting hubs.
To whom are hubs going to be responsible or answerable?
- The Drafting Committee is in the process of considering how Hubs will connect with future movement governance, and how they will fit into the future organizational chart of the movement.
How can I propose an “official” hub conversation or a pilot in my region?
- The Movement Charter Drafting Committee is responsible for defining hubs, but not for approving them. 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. 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.
In what languages will the Movement Charter drafts be available?
- All Movement Charter drafts will be translated from English to at least the following priority languages: Arabic, Bangla, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese, German, French, Hindi, Indonesian, Russian, and Spanish. The Drafting Committee selected those languages to cover the majority of community members. In all official communications, the Committee commits to using at least the United Nations official languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish, in addition to Brazilian Portuguese. Anyone is also welcome to sign up as a Movement Charter Ambassador to help translate to more languages.
How will you ensure that the Movement Charter translations are readable?
- The Movement Charter is being drafted primarily in English. However, before the English text is finalized, we have a review for the text’s readability and translatability. We do modify our drafts quite a bit to accommodate the need and desire to translate it as simply and straight-forwardly as possible. Within the Movement Charter Drafting Committee, we have normalized working in multiple languages. For example, there is an interpretation to foreign languages in most of our meetings.
How will you consider feedback from non-English speaking communities?
- Feedback from those who speak languages other than English is really important to us. The Movement Strategy and Governance facilitators and Movement Charter Ambassadors both ensure that non-English feedback reaches the Drafting Committee.
Will there be official legal translations?
- The Charter will be translated into about a dozen languages prioritized by the Committee (see above). On behalf of the Drafting Committee, the Movement Strategy and Governance team will explore the possibility to have certified translations for these languages, and of whether it is legally possible to have more than one legally-enforceable version of the Charter.
Will there be an independent (non-Wikimedia Foundation) legal review of the Movement Charter?
- There will be an independent legal review, from outside of the Wikimedia Foundation, on the final Movement Charter text. The timing of this review is still unclear. It may take place after the Movement Charter’s draft content is complete, since the drafts may be considerably re-worked during consultation with the community, and before the ratification process.
Community consultation and feedback
How will the community be consulted about the Movement Charter?
- We, in the Drafting Committee, have already started our conversations with the broader community because we want to listen to all the community feedback while we draft. There are three main rounds of consultations planned for now (see the timeline), but if we need more iterations, we will schedule more. During consultations, Wikimedia Foundation facilitators and the Movement Charter Ambassadors will help reach out to different communities. There will be various methods to provide feedback, including: wiki talk pages, live meetings, an anonymous survey, and the multilingual Movement Strategy Forum. For details about the ongoing or upcoming consultations, please see this page.
What kind of feedback do you hope to hear from the communities?
- We, in the Drafting Committee, want to hear where we are wrong. These parts as well as the final Movement Charter, are the fundamentals of our movement. Do you see something missing in the drafts? The chapter on Roles & Responsibilities might become the most important one. It might also be the one that requires the most revisions, because it is being drafted in parallel to other chapters, like Hubs and the Global Council. Let us know if the proposals in the drafts fit in with the reality of your community, as we want the Charter to fit the whole movement according to everyone's context. That is why we need your ongoing feedback and will be asking for your time and attention on multiple occasions.
How will the Movement Charter Drafting Committee respond to messages and feedback?
- This highly depends on the platform where you are trying to reach us. We, the Movement Charter Drafting Committee, intend to follow up on the open points we receive in the live community consultations, to the emails we receive, and to the questions raised on Meta, in the Movement Strategy Telegram channel and at the Movement Strategy Forum. The committee is supported by the Movement Strategy and Governance team in this. Considering the multiple channels we are watching, this may mean we will collect the questions and create a summarized response.
Will there be multiple versions of the Movement Charter drafts to compare (for example: option A versus option B), or just a single text?
- There are no different options to choose from. It is one text that people can comment on.
Communications and involvement of stakeholders (communities, affiliates, and others)
How are updates about the Movement Charter communicated?
- The Movement Charter Drafting Committee and the Movement Strategy & Governance Team have a detailed communications plan. The returning communications include monthly updates, a monthly newsletter distribution, and casual updates. Communications have been specifically tailored to each stakeholder in the movement and to their desired level of engagement (more below).
How is the Wikimedia Foundation involved?
- The Wikimedia Foundation’s Movement Strategy and Governance Team provides support to the Drafting Committee in various areas, including: communications, documentation, and project management.
How is the Board of Trustees involved?
- The Movement Charter Drafting Committee since June 2022 invites two members of the Board of Trustees as advisors (Natalia and Shani) for the bi-weekly meetings. Both of them have spent years working within the Wikimedia community. They have been valuable to the Committee in being a sounding board and giving suggestions. They are there as individuals and not representatives of the groups they sit on. They do not have a vote when it comes to committee decisions.
How are affiliates involved?
- Affiliates are invited to provide feedback through the community consultations. The Movement Charter Drafting Committee has a communications plan that distinguishes between four different levels of communication: informing (one way from the MCDC side), consulting, involving and collaborating. While there is a general plan on the level of outreach that would suit a certain stakeholder, this does not always correspond to what the stakeholder themselves perceive, since they might possess knowledge or experience that the Committee is not aware of. It is therefore important that stakeholders who themselves would like to participate also feel free to express their opinions unsolicited. Affiliates are also cordially invited to do so.
How are individual contributors involved?
- The Committee is experimenting with different methods for outreach and involvement through community consultations. The Committee will keep iterating and adapting in the next year, because the topic of a Wikimedia Movement Charter is completely new to our movement. One challenge is that the majority of contributors on Wikimedia projects may find it difficult to relate to something like the Movement Charter, as they may find it unclear how it affects their individual work.
How are the non-affiliate organized Wikimedia groups involved?
- All Wikimedians can engage in the Movement Charter, including organized groups that are independent from affiliates. For example, "WikiProjects" like WikiProjects Roads and Military History, are cases of informal groups that are not recognized as affiliates. Because these and others are important contributors, they are already mentioned explicitly in the Movement Charter’s Preamble, and are invited to participate in the process.
How are the regional communities involved?
- Regional conversation hours have been planned for the first Movement Charter consultation, and will probably be provided for the next ones as well. Movement Charter Ambassadors can also host conversations in their language community and invite the Drafting Committee members to join.
Why did the Drafting Committee decide to stop accepting new members?
- It is really time-consuming to orient someone to a process that has been ongoing for over a year. This is the main reason why we, in the Drafting Committee, are not accepting new members after 1 January 2023. We know from experience that it was hard for members who joined us midway during the work to catch up. We also know that when we work in our groups on particular topics, we can reach out to individual community members with experience or knowledge with that topic to help us. We don't need to make someone a full member of the committee to bring them into the process to actively have a role in drafting certain sections.
Is it in the capacity of the Drafting Committee to actually make a decision to not accept new members?
- The Drafting Committee did replace two members before: one who was publicly elected, and another who was selected by affiliates. We had a struggle in both cases. With the election process, there is a different way to count the votes, and in that case we went to the person with the next highest vote support. With the affiliate-selected member, it took the affiliates almost four months to do that since those original selection committees were only assembled for the selection process back in 2021, and were not a normally existing Committee. We sometimes need to stop focusing on the process and focus on getting the work done.
Movement Charter Ambassadors Program
Please see the Ambassadors Program Frequently Asked Questions.
- For the raw notes of the MC consultations, see this