Movement Strategy/Events/Movement Charter Global Conversation, 26-27 June 2021/Proposal by the Wikimedia Foundation

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Movement Charter drafting committee proposal by the Wikimedia Foundation

Considering all the Movement Charter drafting committee proposals presented by different parties and the ongoing discussions, the Wikimedia Foundation presents this new proposal for discussion.

In it, we have tried to address the different priorities and concerns from all the parties involved. While the proposal is based on solid principles, implementation details like the timeline are quite flexible. In some cases we had to make choices between incompatible ideas.

We welcome your questions, suggestions, objections, endorsements…. Please share them in the Talk page or in the Movement Strategy Telegram group.

Modification of our proposal after the June 27 conversations

The proposal published last week received some good feedback, some mixed and yet curious feedback, and also some criticism. We are introducing some changes to this proposal to address the main concerns, with the hope that we all can find a point of compromise and a way forward.

The main concerns raised:

  • the timeline needs to be relaxed
  • some kind of election would increase the awareness and legitimacy of the Movement Charter drafting committee.

The changes that we suggest:

  • Relax the timeline to allow for better inclusion, more feedback, and fine-tuning along the way. We are not tied to deadlines, but to continuous progress.
  • The committee is expected to start with 15 people. If there are 20 or more candidates to vote for, a mixed election & selection process is introduced. If there are 19 or less candidates, then the process of selection without election is kept. Organizing a fair multilingual election takes a lot of work and even more community effort, and there needs to be enough candidates to justify it.

How the election & selection would work:

  • A call for candidates is promoted in multiple languages across the movement. The call is open to volunteers from wiki projects and affiliates as well as paid staff from affiliates and the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • The list of all candidates is public on Meta. The Competence and Diversity matrices are prominently advertised to inform voters and selectors about the desired qualities of the drafting committee.
  • From this candidate pool, 7 seats are elected by the wiki projects, 6 seats are selected by the affiliates, and 2 are selected by the Foundation.
    • The 7 wiki project seats are elected through a ranked voting system with a constraint of no more than 2 elected members per wiki project. The 7 top ranked candidates get a seat.
    • The 6 affiliate seats are chosen through a ranking of all candidates agreed by a group of regionally distributed affiliate members. (Affiliates decide how to select their selectors.) This ranking is done while the election runs, and is published together with the election results. After removing the 7 who got a seat through the election, the 6 top ranked candidates get a seat.
    • The Foundation selects 2 candidates from the remaining list.
  • After the committee is constituted, they can optionally select up to three additional candidates by consensus.

Composition of the drafting committee

  • A team of about 15 members committed to the Movement Strategy direction and recommendations.
  • The team collects experiences from a diversity of projects, affiliates, and the Foundation.
  • All members agree to represent the interests of the movement at large. They are not there to represent a specific project or affiliate or the Foundation.
  • Membership is clearly diverse in terms of gender, region, and languages spoken; English fluency is not required to become a member.
  • Members are entitled to an allowance intended to serve as a cost offset of US$100 every two months.

Selection process

  • Step 1: Preparation of the call for candidates, including a page on Meta-Wiki describing the desired profile, translations in at least 10 major languages, and mass communication across the movement.
  • Step 2: A selection group is formed from three sources:
    • Through an agile process (to be defined), affiliates form a group of selectors capable of representing ESEAP, South Asia, MENA, Sub-Saharan Africa, CEE, Western Europe, Latin America, and North America.
    • Through an agile process (to be defined), projects form a group of selectors that takes into consideration Wikipedia sister projects and small language projects.
    • The Foundation designates 2 selectors.
  • Step 3: All candidates to join the committee sign up on the page on Meta-Wiki, in a single pool regardless of affiliation. Candidates are identified to the Foundation as they sign up and their eligibility (not sanctioned in any project) is confirmed. All candidates come from this pool. Candidates cannot be selectors.
  • Step 4 (latest): A list of about 15 candidates is produced by the selection group following this method:
  1. The affiliates’ selectors rank their top 15 candidates privately.
  2. The projects’ selectors do the same.
  3. Both private lists of candidates are shared within the selection group.
  4. The two private lists are merged into one list with the top 10 candidates (a mathematical merge, calculation method to be defined).
  5. The selection group (with all the selectors from the programs, the affiliates, and the Foundation) reviews the top 10 and adds about 5 more (some flexibility is allowed) to improve the diversity and competence of the committee.
  • Step 5: Announcement of the drafting committee members.

Principles behind the proposal

  • While the competence and diversity of the drafting committee as a team is important, the exact individual composition does not matter enough to delay the work through complex s/election processes. This is not the Global Council.
  • The processes specific to projects’ volunteers and affiliates are not defined in this proposal. We urge these stakeholders to define these processes, and we offer our support to ensure that the timeline and the diversity requirements are met.
  • The committee must commit to wide consultation, communication and engagement with the movement, and will be open to adopt participatory methods that serve this goal.
  • The Foundation aims to have 2 members contributing on an equal footing with the other members of the drafting committee. These are different from support staff for the committee.
  • A radical separation between “project candidates” and “affiliate candidates” would be counterproductive and unfair, given that many volunteers assume both roles, especially among underrepresented groups.
  • The allowance to offset costs has been carefully designed to ease the participation of underrepresented groups and, at the same time, not incur liabilities and other risks related to remuneration to volunteers. There are more details we want to share about allowances, but in the context of this proposal we just wanted to mention them for clarity.