Strategic Wikimedia Affiliates Network/About

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Strategic Wikimedia Affiliates Network

About SWAN, the Strategic Wikimedia Affiliates Network[edit]

  • is a forum where Wikimedia-affiliates can exchange information
  • discuss movement-wide developments
  • identify shared interests, develop joint positions and/or coordinate activities
  • prepare constructive input in movement-wide debate and decision-making.


SWAN was set up to meet the need for a space where affiliates and Wikimedians can discuss movement-wide developments among themselves, before taking part in more formal consultations and decision-making (such as: Wikimedia Summit, Strategy Implementation Process, BoT Elections etc). The logic behind this is that real consensus building can only take place if all stakeholders have had the chance to reflect on their own position.

  • SWAN wants to be informal, open and have as little organisational structure as needed.
  • SWAN can use any means which are considered acceptable within the Wikimedia Movement: online or in person meetings, discussion pages, RfC’s, open letters....
  • SWAN is dedicated to ensuring equity in decision-making through active, open, and consistent communication among affiliates worldwide.
  • SWAN works to stimulate and support healthy debate among affiliates, and find areas of consensus where possible, without seeking to prejudge a particular public discourse or position. Affiliates individually decide whether to support or sign up to any statements and initiatives that may be developed during a SWAN meeting.

Who can join[edit]

SWAN meetings are open to all WM affiliates, meaning Chapters, User Groups and Thematic Organisations. Individual Wikimedians can also attend SWAN meetings. There will be a time slot (Open House) at the start of each meeting reserved for discussion and interaction with WMF Board and Staff, and other interested parties. SWAN relies on the collegiality of WMF Board and Staff, and other parties, to withdraw from the meeting at the end of the Open House section. For the sake of logistics and to make best use of the time, affiliates can be asked to limit the number of participants who will speak on their behalf in a particular SWAN meeting. Participants in SWAN meetings agree to abide by the Friendly Space Policy.


All participants in SWAN events must follow these rules.

  1. Friendly space policy
  2. Wikimedia-compatible copyright licensing
  3. Respect for privacy. We ask participants to observe the Chatham House Rule. Anything mentioned in the meeting can be relayed to anyone else, but we ask you not to attribute particular comments to individuals or communities/affiliates unless cleared by that person. This is to provide an environment so people may speak more freely and to foster free and frank discussion. The main exception is for comments from WMF staff and Board of Trustees attending as part of their responsibilities or official capacities. In those cases, it is assumed that all comments can be attributed and are on the record.


Topics for discussion can be suggested on the SWAN Meta-page and will be added to the agenda if sufficient affiliates express support, either before or at the start of the meeting.

SWAN meetings operate under Chatham House Rule: information from the discussion, may be shared outside the meeting, but it is not allowed to reveal who made any comment, unless a comment is made by a WMF representative in their official capacity, or an individual has given clear permission for their comment to be attributed to them. A public report will be published of each SWAN meeting.

A group of coordinators will take care of logistics and communication. Any regular participant who is able to dedicate at least 2 hours a week to SWAN work can become a coordinator, provided the affiliates present at a SWAN meeting agree.