Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2017/Cycle 2/Reach/San Francisco Strategy Salon March 2, 2017
General Purpose and Topic
On March 2, 2017 the Wikimedia Foundation gathered a group of international technology and policy experts to kick off a new initiative bringing together experts and thought leaders in an intimate setting to discuss the future of Wikimedia. As a part of the 2017 Movement Strategy Process, we posed to 15 attendees one question: "What social movements have had the greatest impact on you, and how will they change in the future?"
- Wikipedia is the fabric of the internet. As a movement both autonomy and unity are important for the future.
- Movements are emotionally based. They are driven by fear and enthusiasm. It’s tremendously important that they inspire.
List of attendees
|Katherine Maher||Wikimedia Foundation|
|Juliet Barbara||Wikimedia Foundation|
|Caitlin Virtue||Wikimedia Foundation|
|TJ Bliss||William and Flora Hewlett Foundation|
|Carly Strasser||Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation|
|Rafael Mimoun||Build A Movement/Whistler|
Summary and notes
The following bullet points capture the different perspectives and ideas shared at the strategy dinner around this question. There was a special focus paid to the idea of Wikimedia/Wikipedia as a movement:
- The beginning of the evening kicked off with folks introduced themselves around the table, and a the topic was introduced by ED Katherine Maher
- A few people mentioned a Google document on Resistance being shared around through different tech/ngo circles in the wake of the Donald Trump Election
- Wikipedia is thought of as a great example of a distributed movement - but it hasn’t really been called a movement up to this point
What makes a movement?
- “Autonomy and Unity” is necessary for a movement. Settling a framework of principles, values and processes is important. Then everyone can do whatever they think is best with the framework
- A lot of people feel that Wikipedia is the fabric of the internet. Surprised that there is an org of volunteers. People just assume it works. They take wikipedia for granted. Wikipedia is the internet; it’s infrastructure.
- A question to ponder: How important is it to know how Wikipedia works?
- A bit of a discussion around its viability for source material in schools.
- We’ve reached peak need for Wikipedia. It’s time people understand it’s underbelly and know what goes into it.
The Internet, Knowledge, and Ignorance
- Can the internet be an ignorance amplifier? Sure. We need to build structures to police ourselves to keep us on a diet of real facts
- On the political climate people talked about how we got to this place through passive democracy...the problem is people weren’t engaging but only voting every four years. We need to encourage others to take ownership and being active critical thinkers
- It’s important to communicate that Wikipedia isn’t magic but that it’s made by regular people
- Food for thought: How does the capitalistic nature of things inform the project. E.g. Tenure in Academia
- Movements are emotion based so it’s important to remember what drives behavior. We can’t target that. People make it their business to incense others every day. We need to inspire others
- Donors interactions start transactionally and it’s annoying and then we realize it’s okay. And then we introduce ourselves and from there start to build a community
- In reality we need to need their immediate needs and then work from there to bus these movements Make the only people realize the only time people ask WMF is for donations
- Get more people to participate is core. It’s a democratic principle
- Start to do this by getting to the educational system and help them become a part of the wider community. I’m not sure of the incentive but there are incentive structures built into school.
- Is there a law of diminishing returns with editors? If everyone participates what is the value of participation
- Good to think about the journey from going from passive reader/consumer to active participant
- Look at Raqqa has been slaughtered silently. It’s a website by community based journalists and all the links are Wikipedia. Movements are about values and many other movements rely on Wikipedia to build a shared set of knowledge to prepare their movement
- In other parts of the world that is trying to catch up it’s especially important to have this resource. E.g. Anti-corruption movements in Georgia/former USSR
- What drives movements? Fear and enthusiasm. Movements are about members. E.g. Egypt wifi networks in downtown Cairo drive a lot of traffic even though they're illegal
- Some needs like those discussed above are headwinds for Wikimedia in that wikimedia is talking about self-actualization but lower hierarchy of needs aren’t in other parts of the world
- What or who are we loyal to the most is a good question to think about. Family? Truth? Friends? Facts?
What moves people to action within a movement?
- What creates passivity and what turns that around?
- What makes people want to contribute to Wikipedia? Perceived expertise and everyone will read ?
- Where do the other project fit into the strategy? Can we really make meaningful progress if the resource are spread across the other projects? What are the other things and do we have to focus on them too? Choosing what not to do is as important as choosing what to do
- Building a community around a need is important. Does Wikipedia aggregate and convene demand? What does the matrix of topics and geographies look like? How do we learn that there is a community that wants this info?
- Who represents the interest of readers? This is a fundamental governance question. Knowledge is number #1. Readers should be #1