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Movement communications insights/Report/Appendix

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Connecting the Movement
Communications Insights for the Wikimedia Foundation

Appendix: The Foundation as a Storyteller

We asked participants to tell us about their perceptions of the Foundation -- who they think we are now -- to understand the opportunities that exist to evolve those perceptions. We got a good snapshot of the qualities that participants associate with us. And, surprise -- there is room for improvement.

If the Wikimedia Foundation were a person at a party, what would they be doing?[edit]

Food at Wikimania 2019 12

The Wikimedia Foundation would be:

The welcoming host. “Making sure everyone is welcome... and sustains the party until the last guest leaves. The host also maintains peace and order in the event and makes sure everyone regardless of color, gender, belief, creed, race and religion is safe and recognized.”

The well-meaning but incompetent host. “They will be the host: a very cool person asking everyone how they feel, whether they need something to drink, talking to everybody, but not necessarily delivering those drinks because they don't know where the bar really is.”

The split-personality. “Somebody of confusing personality who would give everyone free beer but he/she/it -self does not drink.”

The slightly boring but excusable self-congratulator. “They are the people who organized the party...Sometimes they'll make a speech about how important the party is, and most of their listeners will say to themselves "yeah, ok, a bit boring, but they should be excused for patting themselves on the back."”

The guest lacking self-awareness. "HEY, HAVE YOU MET BOB??", the WMF shouts, dragging the host in that direction. The WMF has headphones on at maximum volume, can't hear a word anyone says, and seems unaware of the looks people are giving. The WMF glances at an unopened bottle, and looks down at the sledgehammer they inexplicably brought along…”

Sometimes we are the host that is doing a good job keeping the party going. Often, though, we are unaware of the ways we are destructive, out of touch, or self-congratulatory. We are not always well-integrated into the party. In fact, the one common theme is that we stand out, for better or for worse. Sometimes we pat ourselves on the back, or take credit for the work that other people have done to make the party happen.

Perceptions of us have formed over many years, and of course are a product of much more than our communications practices alone. This report has attempted to shed light on the ways that our message and our mediums have contributed to the perceptions that exist. Throughout the chapters of this report, we have talked about the ways we communicate today, how we got here, and how we can bridge gaps and better support communities’ work. We hope to utilize these recommendations in building a strategy that will help us, as an organization, show up better to the movement party.

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