Each Wikimedia group needs to openly and transparently share its work with the movement, reporting through self-assessment, auditing and peer review. These reporting process are complementary to each other.
Balanced reporting mix of self-assessment, auditing and peer review
The first step in any review process is self-assessment. We are mutually accountable for reporting: what we do, and how this helps the Wikimedia movement to realize our shared goals and vision; adherence to movement principles, such as privacy and non-discrimination; use of the brand, public perception and partnerships; how we manage money - both received and spent; how our groups govern themselves; and mutual commitments.
Every Wikimedia group should report its self-assessment annually. In addition, formally recognized Wikimedia movement groups are expected to abide by accountability standards.
Auditing of reports and self-assessments confirms consistency, builds trust, and confirms that nothing serious or 'material' is wrong. Any Wikimedia group can be audited. All Wikimedia groups with more than $100,000 revenue per year must invite an external audit at least each year.
Formally recognized Wikimedia groups may also participate in "peer review". If the purpose of auditing is to confirm that nothing serious is wrong, the purpose of peer review is more to help spot what might be better.
Pilot test of Peer Review
To develop the right peer review process for Wikimedia, we propose a pilot run between October and April. Learning from the pilot can illuminate how Wikimedia might pick the right process for coming years.
The peer review process to test will have five key steps:
- The group prepares reports according to the Wikimedia accountability standards, draws its own conclusions, and takes whatever action it believes appropriate. When it is ready, it can invite a peer review.
- The group selects peer reviewers in conjunction with the Affiliations Committee. The peers should be Wikimedians in roles that give them first-hand understanding of the issues that the group tackles. The panel of reviewers should together be respected by the Affiliations Committee to give an accurate and helpful review of the group's work.
- The peers visit and review the group, discussing reports with members, trustees and staff. Hopefully, these discussions prove useful and helpful in themselves. If the peers identify suggestions for improvement, they might want to raise them at this stage, to allow the group to be ready when recommendations are published. At this stage, also, the peers can raise any issues best treated confidentially.
- The peer reviewers publish recommendations to:
- highlight what the group is doing well – especially good practices that other groups may wish to adopt or adapt
- suggest improvements – in particular practices that other Wikimedia groups have proven
- Groups then act on the recommendations
- the Affiliations Committee may recommend that other groups adopt the good practices highlighted in the review
- the group itself can implement suggested improvements
- the Affiliations Committee can demand that the group make changes, if the review suggested that major improvements were needed, or if the group was not meeting expectations on a material dimension
As a pilot, the first round of peer reviews will take place between the WMF board meeting in October and the Chapters Meeting in April in Berlin.
- The first round should probably include at least Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia Deutschland and one or two other well-established chapters.
- The round should be completed in time for each review to be published before the Chapters Meeting, and to allow reflection on the process. The meetings in Berlin of the Chapters and the Wikimedia Foundation Board with each be able to discuss both the findings of each review, and the success (or not) of the process, and suggestions for improvement.
- Learning from this first pilot will, hopefully, illuminate how to improve this process help nurture Wikimedia groups.