Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2017/Direction/Appendix

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Introduction[edit]

In 2001, we started with a simple, ambitious idea: to build a truly free, global encyclopedia. None of us could have predicted how vast and useful it would become today. Wikipedia started as an experiment enabled by what the internet was becoming at the time. We didn’t set out to make the print encyclopedia obsolete—it was simply the natural progression of marrying knowledge sharing with this new network of inputs and outputs.

But the world is changing, rapidly. The old internet is no longer how most people share information, and we need to adapt to where knowledge sharing is going. Wikimedia will only thrive if it meets the real needs of its contributors and readers. The role of the drafting committee[1] is simply to share its perspective on the opportunities it sees for Wikimedia to evolve in a changing world. How it can become more useful. More trustworthy. More engaging and dynamic. And more accessible by anyone, whoever they are, wherever they are, whatever they’re curious about.

Today, we envision a world in which every human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. This vision challenges us to consider what we must strengthen in the Wikimedia movement, and what we need to change. It urges us to engage with the world, to continue to add to our vast network of knowledge, and to empower people to participate in its creation, curation, and dissemination.

Background and process[edit]

In January 2017, we began to consider our collective future. Our global community was asked to imagine the impact we could have in the world in the next decades. Our aim has been to define a common strategic direction that would unite and inspire people across our movement on our way to 2030. We intend to use this direction as the basis to strengthen our work, challenge our assumptions, experiment with the future, build clear plans, and set priorities around resources and allocation.[1]

The process has been exhaustive, delightful, messy and fascinating. More than 80 Wikimedia groups and communities from across our movement have held strategy discussions in the past seven months.[2] Strategy conversations at Wikimedia Conference in Berlin in March 2017 included 350 people from 70 countries, representatives of around 90 affiliates, organizations, committees and other groups.[3]

We also complemented our own discussions with perspectives from those outside of our existing communities. Conversations with more than 250 experts have taken place in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and Latin America.[4] Research on readers across the globe has provided a clearer look into new ways people are accessing information.[5] We reviewed secondary research on issues that will affect our mission on our way to 2030, such as the future of the global population, technology, misinformation, and more.[6] Together, these findings are helping us identify global trends and some key opportunities for our movement in this changing world.

It didn’t take long for us to see that our greatest strength is our volunteer community. Any successful strategic direction must accommodate the diversity of the people in our communities, including their particular interests, motivations, and contributions. Some of us write encyclopedia articles. Some of us develop software. Some of us donate money, time, or expertise. Some curate data, sources, or media. Some organize events, advocate for copyright reform, or remix artwork. Some are community organizers, educators, or researchers. Some are just very curious people. And some are wikignomes. Some of us do all of the above, and more.

What brings us together is not what we do; it’s why we do it. And any successful strategic direction must celebrate this intention, and elevate it to draw even more people into our movement who care about the same thing.

We are all part of this movement because we share a belief that free knowledge makes the world a better place. Every human being deserves access to information, and has innate capacity to participate in its creation, curation, and sharing. That is non-negotiable. Sharing knowledge is how, in 2001, we started to make our mark in the world. We are a part of the biggest collaborative open information sharing experiment in human history. Let’s see how far we can take it.

Where we stand today[edit]

The sum of all knowledge[edit]

Why create free, reliable knowledge?[edit]

Our collective adventure started as an experiment: to create a drafting space where anyone could contribute information for inclusion in a free encyclopedia reviewed by experts.[7] Wikipedia soon became much more than its origin story, and today it is considered by many as a hub for information[8] whose role is to preserve knowledge.[9] Wikimedia communities now stand for ideals of freedom of information and social progress fueled by free knowledge for everyone.[citation needed][10][11] As such, Wikimedia's evolution reminds of that of the World Wide Web of which it has become emblematic:[citation needed] originally an internal information system proposed to "allow a pool of information to develop which could grow and evolve",[12] it is now described by its inventor as "one that empowers all of us to achieve our dignity, rights and potential as humans."[13] shorten / rewrite / clean up

Our success in creating and sharing free knowledge has placed our communities and platform in the spotlight,[14] and with great power there must also come great responsibility. It is with our collective impact in mind that we strive for quality, neutrality, and verifiability as we build out the sum of all knowledge.[citation needed] expand / rewrite / clean up

Communities of knowledge[edit]

The original premise of Wikimedia is that knowledge is built by communities.[15] Good-faith collaboration is the best way we know to create and curate accurate, reliable, and neutral knowledge.[citation needed] The high standards held by Wikimedia communities is what drives us to constantly improve the quality of our content.[16] Our commitment to reliability is what drives us to seek reliable sources.[citation needed] Our ideal of objectivity is what drives us to write from a neutral point of view[17]. It is our responsibility[18], and what we have accomplished in our first 16 years of existence is a testament to the success of this approach.[citation needed]

It is an uncommon model, though, and one that leads readers to question the reliability of what we create,[19] particularly in a world where misinformation has become more prevalent[20][21] In order for our content to be trusted, readers need to better understand how it is produced, and by whom.[citation needed] Accountability becomes especially relevant as trust in established, "reputable" institutions is eroding,[citation needed] leading people to share knowledge through social media and entrust their friends instead.[22] The knowledge that we create cannot be separated from the communities creating it.

This relationship between knowledge and communities is also where our limits are now showing. Our current communities are not representative of the human population,[citation needed] which has created gaps of knowledge[23][citation needed] and systemic biases.[citation needed] If we aim to truly offer "the sum of all knowledge", then we, as communities, must actively seek those whose voices are missing.[citation needed] We must invite them to share in their knowledge and points of views to complement ours.[citation needed]

The lack of diversity in our communities has led to a narrow definition of knowledge[citation needed], primarily based on European and Northern American concepts.[24][citation needed] Creating the sum of all knowledge mandates that we expand our definitions[25] and accept new forms of knowledge from other geographies.[26]

Fortunately, Wikimedia communities aren't alone in this endeavor. We are part of a larger community of individuals and organizations dedicated to free knowledge,[citation needed] including memory institutions.[27] With them, we can join forces and achieve more in integrating, developing, and verifying content, if we can align our efforts.[28]

Infrastructure for reliable knowledge[edit]

The freedom afforded by the wiki platform has served us well in the past 16 years. Wikimedia communities have been able to go from nothing to millions of pages and media files,[citation needed] in hundreds of languages.[citation needed] Our technical infrastructure has evolved and adapted to the needs of Wikimedia communities, to an extent.[citation needed]

Still, most of the content we have created is in the form of long-text encyclopedia articles and still images.[citation needed] Focusing on text leaves out whole swaths of the sum of all knowledge.[29] Many readers now expect multimedia formats that have become more accessible through technological advances. To be true to our vision, we must adapt our platform to support types of knowledge that better represent the diversity of languages[30] and human creativity.[citation needed]

As we adapt our platform to support new forms of knowledge (in collaboration with partners[31]), we have an opportunity to reinforce our position as the champion of free, reliable, neutral information. Many organizations have expressed interest in using our infrastructure and platform to organize their own knowledge,[citation needed] thereby advancing the digital commons. Similarly, our commitment to facts and verifiability is leading us to build out an infrastructure to organize citations[32][33] that could become a driving force for information quality not just on Wikimedia projects, but across the world.

Participation: Freely sharing in[edit]

Why radically open participation?[edit]

Communities of participants[edit]

Good faith collaboration is core to the Wikimedia culture,[36] to the extent that it is sometimes considered more fascinating than the knowledge we have created through it.[37] Opening up participation to anyone is such a radical model that we joke that in can only work in practice, not in theory.[38] And yet, it does: expand on achievements[citation needed]

Joining and participating in Wikimedia communities can be challenging, though. The low barrier of entry from our early years has now become insurmountable for many newcomers.[39] Our success has generated an overwhelming amount of maintenance and monitoring,[citation needed] and we have addressed them with tools and practices that have turned good-faith community members away.[citation needed][40] We agree that a healthy environment is a necessary condition for everything we do.[41] Therefore, we must make changes to provide a welcoming space for new members of our communities,[42][43] and a culture of safety[44][45][46], productive dissent[citation needed], and respectful discourse for everyone,[citation needed] whether new or experienced.[citation needed] We need a stronger sense of shared identity among contributors and across communities,[47] one built on trust,[48] emotion, and human connection.[49]

Some communities, cultures, and minorities have suffered from this exclusion more than others.[citation needed] Our lack of diversity doesn't just bias our content: it also biases who we welcome, who we reach out to, and how we treat each other.[citation needed] Sometimes we have little agency,[50][51] but in many cases we can take action towards more diversity and inclusion.[citation needed][52] In order to increase human representation in our communities, we need to direct resources where they are needed most,[53] while protecting each other from those trying to abuse our trust.[54]

Nurturing close-knit, supportive, diverse communities is an endeavor that we don't have to undertake alone. We can partner with other organizations to ensure unhindered participation, to include hard-to-get knowledge, and to support underserved communities,[citation needed] notably through academia and education programs.[55][56][57]

Infrastructure for participation[edit]

expand on current strengths: online, offline (active network of affiliates and partners)

We can't solve all social problems with technology,[citation needed] but there are ways we can lower some of those barriers, both online and offline. We can support online communities by developing better tools for participation, collaboration, and mentoring.[citation needed] We can take advantage of technological progress, like translation tools[24], automation, and artificial intelligence,[58] to lower the maintenance burden and free up the time of communities, within reason.[59]

We can also support offline communities by further developing local opportunities for participation through a decentralized approach.[citation needed] In both cases, there ought to be a low barrier to participation in developing the infrastructure itself, through experiments and pilots.[citation needed] There also ought to be many different ways to participate[citation needed] beyond editing content online, across generational,[60] ideological, gender, and ethnic divides.[34]

Reach: Every single human being[edit]

Where the world is going (In progress; needs to be summarized)[edit]

NOTE: CITATIONS ARE STILL BEING ADDED

REACH: Every single human being[edit]

Pattern 1: In the next 15 years, the greatest population growth is expected in regions (e.g. Africa, Oceania) where Wikimedia currently has the lowest reach. To serve every human, the movement must pay greater attention to how it serves these regions.

The global population is expected to reach 8.4 billion by 2030, a 15% jump from 2015.[24] The rate of growth of low-income regions will far outpace that of high/middle-income regions over this period, with a projected 35% increase.[24]

Africa will have the highest projected growth rate (40% from 2015-30) followed by Oceania (20%), whereas the Americas and Asia will have moderate growth (13% and 11%, respectively), and Europe is expected to plateau then decrease.[24] Currently, however, Africa and Oceania only comprise 2.1% and 1.9% of total Wikimedia traffic, respectively.[24]

Pattern 2: In many low-reach regions, trends indicate that people will have better technology infrastructure, more digital access, and improved skills (e.g. literacy) to benefit from Wikimedia’s offerings.

And although Africa and Asia are the least urbanized regions in 2015, they are expected to experience the fastest rates of urbanization.[24] Urban-dwelling populations tend to have access to greater infrastructure and services, including IT, which would decrease the barriers to internet access and use.

In general, the number of global internet users are growing, with the fastest growth in the Middle East and North Africa and Asia Pacific. The percentage of the global population who are internet users will rise from 44% to 58% from 2016 to 2021.[69] Not only will more people be connected, it will also be easier to access the internet. Devices and connections per capita, average speeds, and average traffic per capita per month are all expected to rise globally.

Global trends in education also suggest that levels of education and literacy are increasing, so investments in lower-awareness regions (which correlate to lower educational attainment and literacy rates at present) will likely have greater impact. The proportion of adults globally (i.e., between the ages of 15 and 64) that possesses no education is diminishing.[70] (Europe and the Americas will remain highly educated. SSA expects a 10% decrease in the percentage of the population with no education, from 26% in 2015 to 16% by 2030. MENA and AsiaPac also expect reductions of 5% and 8%, respectively.[24]) The proportion of the global population that is literate will increase from 83% to 90% between 2015 and 2030. Africa scores the highest improvement, from 62% to 80%.[71]

Pattern 3: The dominant languages of the future are, for the most part, not those where Wikimedia currently leads in content volume or size of community. See the following comparison:

Most Widely Spoken Languages, Projected by 2050[24] Article Rank by Language, 2017[72] Contributor Rank by Language, 2017[73]
1. Mandarin Chinese 15 8
2. Spanish 9 3
3. English 1 1
4. Hindi 53 42
5. Arabic 19 16

This means that if Wikimedia is truly to reach every single human being, and to provide information that can help them improve their lives, it will need to invest more in developing content and nurturing communities in the languages that are growing in use.

Pattern 4: In many regions (especially where Wikimedia awareness is lower), people greatly desire and value content that speak to their local realities, but struggle to find it both online and offline.  To support the development of this content, the movement needs to refine or expand its definitions of knowledge.

Lack of local relevant content is a major challenge in Africa. With over 2,000 languages, first-time internet users with limited digital literacy skills are forced to consume information in the major colonial languages. There is a general lack of exposure and access to indigenous content. There is also an infrastructure deficit (e.g. internet access) that hinders people from creating and accessing the content.[74]

Globally, a key barrier to the adoption of mobile internet is a lack of local content. “In trying to connect the unconnected to the internet, content has for many years been the forgotten ingredient, with efforts prioritised in expanding coverage and lowering the cost of ownership. These are, of course, fundamental, but so too is the question: is the internet relevant for me?”[75]

There is a lack of online news and quality content in local languages. Research in low-awareness regions showed that many people in these countries use translation tools to make the most of their online experience. People are looking for local-language content on local events, movements, and perspectives and see a gap in the availability of this content on the internet.[76]

To improve the relevance of Wikipedia content for people everyone, in their own languages, experts believe that the movement needs to expand its definition of knowledge. This expanded definition should include cultural sources of knowledge outside the west to reduce bias in developing the world’s encyclopedia. Currently, there is a gap between Wikimedia’s verifiability policies and cultural preservations systems in historically marginalized communities.[77] The movement needs to evolve how it defines and enforces standards of notability, significance, and verifiability, to ensure that Wikimedia goes beyond current, Western-dominated models of knowledge definition and preservation.[78]

Pattern 5: Behaviors, preferences, and expectations for content are changing. People increasingly want content that is real-time and visual, and that supports social sharing and conversation.

Young people are reshaping how we use technology—they expect content that is more real-time, visual, and social. Technology experts suggest that enabling people to access Wikipedia content on third-party platforms (e.g. the Google knowledge panel( or curating channels by content area on widely-used instant messaging apps (e.g. WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, Instagram) will allow the content to have greater reach and therefore impact.[79][80]

The rise of messaging-based networks has profoundly impacted how people gather, share, and determine the value of information in their daily lives. The rapid growth of messaging apps has blurred the line between online and offline information-seeking and -consumption. Today, WhatsApp has 1.2 billion active monthly users[81] that send 42 billion messages a day.[34] Beyond the hard numbers, its growth has been unprecedented. Gmail took 11 years to grow its userbase to the same scale, and Facebook took 8 years to get to its current 800 million active monthly users.[34]

Moving forward, successful information sources will be integrated with these channels (rather than getting people to come to them), providing people with content when and where they need it.

Participation: Can freely share in[edit]

Pattern 6: Movements are built on emotion and human connection. Trust is crucial to creating community.[82]

(In progress)

Pattern 7: Many new to the movement feel that the current barriers to entry are too high.[83] The perceived culture of exclusivity and lack of support for newcomers is demotivating.

(In progress)

Pattern 8: Current norms around contribution are geared towards a narrow set of functions (e.g. editing dominates). People with varied backgrounds and skills wish to add value in diverse ways, and the movement would benefit by supporting them in doing so.

In some regions, cultural norms are not conducive to participating in the movement simply through content creation.[84]

Further, people have diverse motivations for participating in a movement; as such, the movement should offer diverse incentives and ways to engage.[85] This will allow the movement to benefit from the full range of human interests, perspectives, capabilities, and skills to advance its mission.

People are drawn to the idea of telling the stories of their cultures and communities.[86] There are ways to do this that go beyond editing.

Pattern 9: Technology may be able to assist in many of the functions editors currently do. Automation (especially related to machine learning and translation) is rapidly changing how content is being produced. This opens up opportunities for current community members to find other ways to contribute.[87]

(In progress)

Pattern 10: Wikimedia has the opportunity to build a community passionate about not just producing knowledge, but about helping people learn. by working with diverse partners and niche content experts, curators, and ambassadors.[88]

Wikimedia should consider attracting and investing in allies and community members that focus not on just generating content (which is the focus of the community today), but on getting it out to people in the forums and channels in which they learn. This may be programs to support digital influencers in using Wikimedia content and integrating it into their work. It may be ambassadors in schools that empower students to teach their peers about how to access and appropriately use Wikipedia for school assignments. Cultivating allies and champions within the education sector—and particularly in institutions of higher education—can have outsize pay-offs, given the negative impact of skepticism generated within this sector.

Collaboration with local content providers will also greatly enhance quality of content in emerging markets.[82]

Knowledge: The sum of all knowledge[edit]

Pattern 11: Mistrust of Wikipedia is a learned perception. It stems from a lack of clarity about what the product(s) are and how their content is developed.

Most people have no idea about the processes Wikimedia puts in place to increase the quality of content on its platforms.[89] Those affiliated with institutions of higher education tend to be more skeptical of Wikipedia, stating that professors would not accept Wikipedia as a source. Having an authority figure saying definitively that a source should not be trusted obviously impacts perceptions.

Wikipedia’s open contribution model is poorly understood, and therefore viewed as a weakness. Although many people know Wikipedia is an editable platform, they do not think of the actual content as adaptable and expandable. People spoke about the content of Wikipedia as if it was static. The platform is seen as a final rather than an ever changing resource. When they see mistakes on Wikipedia, they judge it harshly, noting that it is a sign of Wikipedia’s lack of professionalism.

[Pull in other materials from New Readers & AAU, and refine content above.]

Pattern 12: There is a widespread loss of faith in the trustworthiness of information sources, particular news media and online platforms. But people only need a baseline level of trust in a particular information source to use its content.

Many factors have contributed to a loss of faith in the trustworthiness of news sources. These include: historical patterns of state control of media, concentrated ownership of modern media systems, the prevalence of sensational and untrue content on the internet, growing popularity of the term fake news, and other factors.[90]

More and more people increasingly view online information to be biased, and adapt how they seek, validate, and use information accordingly. Young people in particular tend to assume bias in news sources (online or offline) and online information sources in general—the degree to which they are comfortable with bias depends on the extent to which the bias serves their interests. When bias aligns with their worldview, it’s recognized but unquestioned. When the bias may not align with their worldview, they seek to discuss it within their networks. Recognizing that news information can’t be trusted, they tend to scan the headlines—taking in many shallow data points—then fill in details of stories through peer conversations with people they trust, as means of passively finding “truth.”[91]

Pattern 13: People are decreasingly going to websites, and finding information via social media, infomediaries, or other channels. They increasingly look to trusted individuals, not institutions for information and learning.[92]

People are increasingly interested in getting information from the right people, rather than the right organizations. This has led to the sense that you should follow the right people—for those less digitally literate, via messaging groups; for those more digitally literate, in the form of specialist social media accounts—to get the information that you need. Information on websites is increasingly becoming a supplemental source of information—not to learn, but to verify or deepen knowledge.

As a result, it is becoming increasingly rare, especially among younger and more digitally savvy users, to browse the internet or go to specific websites. When people—especially those younger and/or more digitally connected—do initiate searches for information, it is typically either i) to verify or learn more about something they have learned about from their peers, typically through messaging apps, or ii) to learn about something that is directly and immediately relevant to their personal needs. To learn new topics, people are increasingly looking to content curators or presenters—whether via niche blogs or YouTube channels—to help them learn.

For these knowledge creators or curators, Wikimedia can empower their development of content. Through features that enable greater modularity and portability of its content, Wikimedia can enable individuals and organizations to develop custom content packages for diverse use-cases.

Online, trust is often a badge bestowed by the crowd—in the form of high volumes of likes or followers—on individual experts or influencers for a particular content area, who may not be associated with institutions. Experts, however, warn of the limits of individual content curators.[93]

Wikimedia has an opportunity to pioneer a hybrid model that marries the best of individual curation with the brand trust of an institution. It can explore partnerships with local content creators as a way to increase local language content and improve quality, trustworthiness, and comprehensiveness.

Pattern 14: Underperforming education systems worldwide have led people to seek alternative ways to learn.[94] As a result, many innovative information and learning platforms have emerged; they all still need a base of quality content.

In many parts of the world, underperforming education systems mean people are seeking new ways to learn. In the last 20 years, the rapid democratization of both knowledge and content creation and publishing has led to a mushrooming of learning platforms previously unprecedented in scale or depth.

Users, for their part, are enthusiastically learning in diverse ways, from how-to videos on YouTube to homework-help communities such as Brainly.com.[95] In this environment, Wikipedia has the potential to be a primary source of learning, by providing relevant, trusted, and customizable content to other content providers.

Experts also believe that integration with major web properties will be increasingly important.[93] This will help increase the reach, and therefore the impact, of Wikimedia’s content.

Pattern 15: Emerging technologies are revolutionizing how platforms are defined and used. The most impactful technologies will be those that make the shift from technical infrastructure to ecosystem-enabling platforms.

History shows us that even the most innovative technologies need to evolve. After decades of digital disruption, we are learning that often older communications technologies do not vanish. Instead they linger and sometimes become more targeted to adjust to shifting consumer habits.[96] These habits differ by generation. Hybrid platforms are adapting to gradually shifting information behaviors by combining analog and digital technologies.

Emerging technologies are revolutionizing the concepts of how platforms are defined and used. The shift from technical infrastructure to ecosystem-enabling platforms is laying the foundations for entirely new business models that are forming the bridge between humans and technology. Within these dynamic ecosystems, organizations must proactively understand and redefine their strategy to create platform-based business models, and to exploit internal and external algorithms in order to generate value.[97]

Pattern 16: Information-seeking is increasingly task-driven and search-led.[98] Wikipedia should consider stronger collaborations with search engines and other content platforms.

Information-seeking is becoming increasingly task- and search-led, and less discovery- and browsing-oriented. When internet users want to find information online, they think of Google first: on average, about 9 times more often than Wikipedia (64% mentioned Google and 8% mentioned Wikipedia first).[99]

This means that on Wikipedia, people often find the articles ill-suited for their specific needs: “too long” and “too hard to find / learn what I need” were common challenges cited by respondents. For articles, people tend to scan the article quickly until they arrive at the exact content they are looking for.

To address this in the near-term, Wikimedia can improve its usability by helping people navigate its content, find exactly what they need, and present content in easy-to-understand language. But in the long-term, the  movement should consider stronger collaborations with search engines such as Google and visual content creators/providers such as YouTube.[99]

Pattern 17: Evolving the Wikipedia product to be more useful and accessible to ‘knowledge brokers’ such as teachers, journalists and civil society will dramatically increase the reach and influence of Wikimedia content.

Wikimedia should consider attracting and investing in allies and community members that focus not on just generating content (which is the focus of the community today), but on getting it out to people in the forums and channels in which they learn. This may be programs to support digital influencers in using Wikimedia content and integrating it into their work. It may be ambassadors in schools that empower students to teach their peers about how to access and appropriately use Wikipedia for school assignments. Cultivating allies and champions within the education sector—and particularly in institutions of higher education—can have outsize pay-offs, given the negative impact of skepticism generated within this sector.

Pattern 18: Technological innovations (e.g. AI, machine translation, structured data) can help curate and deliver relevant, personalized, reliable content.

Experts recommend that Wikimedia use technology to better meet users’ needs. Machine translation, AI and structured data are some ways to curate and deliver relevant, reliable and local relevant content.[93] Research also showed improvements in AI could drive the rise of real-time, personalized education, information and entertainment services, including machine-generated music, news and storytelling.

Visual forms of augmented reality (AR)—which superimposes computer-generated images on users’ view of the world through devices such as mobile phones, tablets, eyewear or projections—have already proven to be popular. Both the viral sensation of Pokemon Go and the runaway popularity of Snapchat filters that allow users to virtually don various props and masks have served as proofs-of-concept that AR has the potential for widespread popularity.[100] These technologies could also transform education, vocational training, healthcare, real estate, retail, military, and other realms.[101] AR applications and devices could help support Wikimedia’s mission—serving up relevant definitions and location information when users point their phones at an object or landmark.[102]

Pattern 19: Developing and harnessing technology in socially equitable and constructive ways—and preventing unintended negative consequences—requires thoughtful leadership and technical vigilance.

New approaches and models are required to ensure equitable access to information, and to realize the full potential of free and open knowledge.[102] Barriers to widespread access presented by technological innovations include:

  • Embedded bias: As AI continues to shape news and knowledge, algorithms might encode deeply held prejudices.
  • Loss of a shared public space: The continued fragmentation of media platforms and content could further deepen polarization and drive people ever more deeply into only consuming information that matches their own preferences.
  • Overload: As new forms of media continue to colonize every available moment of our days—as well as the spaces where we live, work and play—people might become less able to critically process new information and more prone to avoid it.
  • Digital divide: The gap between information haves and have-nots may further widen as fiber to the home and 5G wireless become more commonplace in developed markets, and corporations prioritize associated content.
  • The loss of the open web: New devices for VR, AR and personal assistants may accelerate the creation of paid and proprietary content and platforms, and shift users away from an expectation of content creation and back into the role of passive consumers.
  • Digital frailty: Archivists, educators and historians may find it more and more difficult to maintain and access these many different types of knowledge and content.

As Wikimedia continues to leverage technological innovations, it should consider how it might address these challenges through policy, programs, product, and partnerships. It may also consider how

Our Role in the Changing Landscape[edit]

The world is changing and so, too, must Wikimedia. But beyond our products and programs, what should our role be in the world of 2030?

Many believe that Wikimedia should take a leadership role in the open ecosystem. Experts want Wikimedia to play a leadership role in the open ecosystem — and there is a particular need for a shared platform for the open knowledge community.[5]They believe we can be a better partner in building a digital knowledge base for cultural institutions (GLAMs) and work with other institutions invested in the future of information (media, academia, reference fields).[24]  In doing so, Wikimedia can provide the source knowledge that powers other institutions and platforms for information and learning.

Experts see the potential of Wikimedia to become a platform for underserved audiences to access, create and preserve knowledge.[23][5][24][15] Some go as far as to argue for a stronger political approach, noting that ["Neutrality and silence is actually taking a political position"[23].

Many believe that Wikimedia should be a platform for learning, not just knowledge. Other apps are fundamentally changing the way we learn; tools like Google take much of the low-hanging fruit when it comes to search results. In order to maximize the potential of Wikipedia, more must be done to curate an accessible learning “journey”[4] and to help users meet their learning needs, in all the ways that they currently learn. This may require partnerships with other learning platforms or initiatives, or increasing the modularity and portability of its content.

Drafting materials[edit]

Table to organize concepts[edit]

Table to organize concepts in this section (may not be in the final document, or may be in a different form)
Goals / Impact →


↓ Unique value propositions

Knowledge:

The sum of all knowledge

Participation:

Freely sharing in

Reach:

By every single human being

Motivations (Why) Why create free, reliable knowledge?
  • The original promise of the internet
  • Quality, verifiability, neutrality
Why radically open participation?
  • Collaboration and the wiki spirit
  • Openness, inclusion and diversity
  • Distributed governance, equity
Why reach every single human being?
  • Freedom
  • Threats to information, copyright reform, censorship
Communities (Who) Communities of knowledge

Micro-SWOT:

  • Knowledge is built by communities
  • The makeup of Wikimedia communities and its influence on knowledge:
    • Representation, knowledge gaps, systemic biases
    • Narrow definition of knowledge
  • Personal and timely relevance; discovery
  • Partners for integrating, developing, verifying content
Communities of participants

Micro-SWOT:

  • Congenial collaboration is core to who we are
  • The need for vibrant, close-knit, supported communities
  • Micro-communities (e.g. wikiprojects)
  • Communities of contributors (roles)
  • Community challenges that are preventing more people from contributing:
    • Hedgehog syndrome; isolationism
    • Toxicity, harassment, safety
  • Partners for unhindered participation, hard-to-get knowledge, underserved communities
Communities to reach

Micro-SWOT:

  • An audience of 7.5 billion people
  • Communities Wikimedia is reaching
  • Communities Wikimedia is not yet reaching:
    • Awareness
    • Changing behaviors in terms of information access and use
    • Local relevance
  • Partners for reach: unhindered access, policy, advocacy
Infrastructure (How) Infrastructure for reliable knowledge

Micro-SWOT:

  • Technological platform & innovation
  • Knowledge formats, multimedia
  • Beyond the encyclopedia
  • Becoming the essential infrastructure for free knowledge, verifiable information, and learning
  • Language support
Infrastructure for participation

Micro-SWOT:

  • Local opportunities and presence everywhere; paths to participation (beyond editing)
  • Decentralization
  • Infrastructure and tools for participation (UX, AI)
  • Low barrier to participation in infrastructure; experiments and pilots
Infrastructure for reach

Micro-SWOT:

  • Interfaces, APIs, and experiences
  • Access & accessibility
  • Beyond the website and the connected world

How members of the strategy team understand pieces of the strategic direction[edit]

Framing 1[edit]

Framing 2[edit]

Primary goal as framed by Phills.[103] The substance is mostly the same as in version 1, but structured differently and in a somewhat simpler language. The more abstract, strategic goal is presented first, followed by more practical subgoals that provide some more details without prescribing their implementation.

Framing 3[edit]

Previous documents[edit]

The following documents are very early drafts written very quickly based on individual understandings of what has emerged in community discussions and research. As such, they are subject to all sorts of cognitive biases. They contain very few references and their content is likely to change as more sources are reviewed and integrated; imagine that every sentence is followed by a {{citation needed}} tag. They also heavily borrow from each other.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. The strategic direction is not meant to be a strategic plan. Plans are 3-5 years, executable and measurable, specific to organizational capacity/resources, and should give us points to assess progress/viability. The direction should be broad, enduring, and ambitious, and clear enough to provide guidance on overarching goals against which a plan with those specifics can be built. The strategic direction is on a 12-year timeline because it allows people to focus on aspirational end goals rather than what it means for their immediate roles and interests. We will talk more about strategic plans in phase 2, starting in November 2017.
  2. "Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2017/Sources - Meta". meta.wikimedia.org. Retrieved 2017-07-28. 
  3. "Wikimedia Conference 2017/Documentation/Movement Strategy track - Meta". meta.wikimedia.org. Retrieved 2017-07-28. 
  4. The Foundation conducted one-on-one interviews with 58 experts, including journalists, government officials, technology entrepreneurs, educators, nonprofit leaders, and many others. Moreover, with the help of affiliates, the Foundation has hosted curated discussions with 179 influential individuals and changemakers in Lagos (18), Nairobi (5), Brussels (25), San Francisco (12), Chennai (22), Berlin (15), Warsaw (14), Mexico City (12), Abidjan (27), Santiago (14), and New York (15). Guests ranged from a filmmaker just nominated as Nigeria's entry for an Academy Award to the Director of the National Security Project at the ACLU. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Strategy/Wikimedia_movement/2017/Cycle_2/Learn#Conversations_with_experts.2C_partners.2C_and_users
  5. The Foundation contracted an online Awareness, Attitudes and Usage survey with 8,050 internet users aged 13-49 in seven countries where the Wikimedia projects are more widely known or used: France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Strategy/Wikimedia_movement/2017/Sources/Brand_awareness,_attitudes,_and_usage_-_Executive_Summary; The Foundation has also contracted field research to better understand the needs of potential users in countries where Wikimedia project are less widely known or used, including interviews with 120 people in Indonesia and Brazil, which built on prior research with 138 people in Nigeria and India. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Strategy/Wikimedia_movement/2017/Sources/Indonesia_research_findings_draft_May_2017 and https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Strategy/Wikimedia_movement/2017/Cycle_2/Reach/Generative_research_summary
  6. Considering 2030: Misinformation, verification, and propaganda (July 2017); Considering 2030: Future technology trends that will impact the Wikimedia movement (July 2017); Considering 2030: Demographic Shifts – How might Wikimedia extend its reach by 2030?
  7. w:History of Wikipedia and its references
  8. "hub for information". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  9. "should play an active role in preserving knowledge". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  10. "Wikipedia should take an active role in spreading true knowledge for public good". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  11. "Wikimedia should think of content as a conduit for shaping world policy". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  12. "Information Management: A Proposal", Tim Berners-Lee, March 1989, May 1990; in "The original proposal of the WWW, HTMLized". www.w3.org. Retrieved 2017-07-25. 
  13. "Tim Berners-Lee explains how the web began 25 years ago". The Independent (in en-GB). 2014-03-12. Retrieved 2017-07-25. 
  14. "Role of Wikipedia as free (and true) knowledge advocate" Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft) 
  15. "Wikimedians believe that the movement is built around a devoted community of readers, editors, and organizations who have brought us to where we are today". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)   
  16. "Improve quality of content" Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  17. "Importance of keeping WP as a source of neutrality and not contributing original research". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)   
  18. "It is WP’s responsibility to be a reliable, high-quality source of information, esp. in current information age". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  19. "Wikipedia’s open platform causes people to question its truthfulness and verifiability". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  20. “Instant” and “fake” news from other providers makes potential users wary of Wikipedia.". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  21. Add misinformation brief
  22. "Knowledge sharing is highly social". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  23. "Lack of local relevant content is a major challenge in Africa". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  24. a b c d e f g h i "Language and translation services/tools can help grow the movement beyond a Western-centric viewpoint". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft) Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ":0" defined multiple times with different content
  25. "The movement needs to expand its definition of knowledge". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  26. "To involve new geographies, we need to accept new forms of knowledge and engage in partnerships ". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  27. "Tapping into archives and libraries for partnerships ". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  28. "We are stronger when we work together, but we need direction." Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  29. "As learning platforms evolve, we will need to think beyond the encyclopedia in order to meet the needs of users." Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  30. "Essential to be available and accessible across languages and platforms". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  31. "Partnerships with data providers and tech firms will improve our technological service/products". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  32. "Standardization and citation guidelines are critical for success". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  33. "Efforts […] to design a central bibliographic repository, as well as tools and strategies to improve information quality and verifiability in Wikimedia projects." WikiCite 2017
  34. a b c d "Inclusivity, diversity, and representation are crucial across ideological, gender, and ethnic divides". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft) Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ":1" defined multiple times with different content
  35. "History of the Web". World Wide Web Foundation (in en-us). Retrieved 2017-07-25. 
  36. Reagle, Joseph (2010). Good faith collaboration : the culture of Wikipedia. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. ISBN 9780262014472. 
  37. Doctorow, Cory (2010-12-20). "Good Faith Collaboration: How Wikipedia works". Boing Boing. Retrieved 2017-07-26. Reagle offers a compelling case that Wikipedia's most fascinating and unprecedented aspect isn't the encyclopedia itself -- rather, it's the collaborative culture that underpins it: brawling, self-reflexive, funny, serious, and full-tilt committed to the project, even if it means setting aside personal differences. 
  38. Ryokas, Miikka: "As the popular joke goes, 'The problem with Wikipedia is that it only works in practice. In theory, it can never work.'" In Cohen, Noam (2007-04-23). "The Latest on Virginia Tech, From Wikipedia". The New York Times (in en-US). ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-07-26. 
  39. "Current barriers to entry are too high". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  40. Expand: Community challenges that are preventing more people from contributing; Hedgehog syndrome; isolationism; toxicity, harassment, safety
  41. "Continues to be a critical precondition for other themes". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  42. "Importance of training or otherwise welcoming new editors while curtailing bad practices of old users". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  43. "Invest in training and mentorship". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  44. "Engaging in quality journalism is dangerous". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  45. "Anonymity is an important tool in preserving freedom and countering political repression". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  46. "We must protect the most vulnerable through anonymity." Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  47. "Create a stronger sense of identity and positioning around Wikipedia editors". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  48. "Trust is crucial to creating community." Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  49. "Movements are built on emotion and human connection." Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  50. "There are deeply-entrenched cultural norms that hinder content creation". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  51. "Ownership of content is unclear". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  52. "Desire for partnerships with experts dovetails with clearer guidelines on new user participation". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  53. "Resources should be allocated commensurate with global priorities". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  54. "There’s a tradeoff between credibility and inclusivity.". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  55. "Academia, schools, and teachers are most cited pathway for collaboration". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  56. "Partnership “kits” should be developed in collaboration with a strategy for most effectively engaging new institutions". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  57. "Partnering with institutions for educational programs". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  58. "Automation and technological progress is an unstoppable force that WP must capitalize on or become obsolete". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  59. "consideration must be given to human intelligence". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  60. "Wikipedia should target younger users.". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  61. "How To Break Open The Web". Fast Company (in en-US). 2016-06-29. Retrieved 2017-07-25. People should not need permission to speak, to assemble, to innovate, to be private, and more. But when governments and corporations control choke points, they also control whether average people can participate fully in society, politics, commerce, and more. 
  62. "Vision - Meta". meta.wikimedia.org. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  63. "The present and the near-future are embedded in mobile". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  64. "Wikimedia must adopt mobile-friendly strategies". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  65. "Create a platform for learning, not simply a repository of knowledge". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  66. "Improve user experience in a way that appeals to the masses". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  67. "Multimedia and new non-text platforms are essential". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  68. "go beyond written knowledge". Cycle 2 synthesis report (draft)
  69. “Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2016-2021.” Cisco, June 6, 2017. Accessed June 25, 2017.  http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/visual-networking-index-vni/complete-white-paper-c11-481360.pdf.
  70. Barro, Robert J. and Lee, Jong-Wha. “Projections of Educational Attainment by Country.” Accessed June 25, 2017. http://barrolee.com/data/oup_download_c.htm.
  71. “Country Profile.” International Futures, Pardee Center. Accessed June 25, 2017.  http://www.ifs.du.edu/ifs/frm_CountryProfile.aspx?Country=NG
  72. "Wikipedia Statistics - Site map". stats.wikimedia.org. Retrieved 2017-08-03. 
  73. "Wikipedia Statistics - Tables - Contributors". stats.wikimedia.org. Retrieved 2017-08-03. 
  74. Strategy Dinner: Nigeria, with Social Entrepreneurs. Data.
  75. "Global Mobile Trends." GSMA Intelligence, October 2016. Accessed June 27, 2017. Slide 42. https://www.gsmaintelligence.com/research/?
  76. New Voices Research: Findings & Opportunities, Slide 74
  77. Strategy Salon: NYC
  78. Strategy Salon: NYC. (See: Key Insights).
  79. Strategy Salon: Kenya, with Technology Experts.
  80. Expert Interviews: line 7, line 16, line 35.
  81. Sparks, Daniel (6 April 2017). "How Many Users Does WhatsApp Have? -- The Motley Fool". The Motley Fool. Retrieved 2017-08-03. 
  82. a b Bill Drayton, social enterprise expert, interviewed by Ed Bland, June 6, 2017
  83. Strategy Salon: Warsaw, led by Wikimedia Polska.
  84. Strategy Salon: Lagos, with Social Entrepreneurs.
  85. Strategy Salon: SF
  86. Strategy Salon: Nairobi, with technology experts
  87. New Voices Synthesis Report (July 2017): Summary of 58 Expert Interviews - Technology.
  88. New Voices Research: Findings & Opportunities, Slide 35
  89. New Voices Research: Findings & Opportunities, Slide 90
  90. New Voices Research: Findings & Opportunities, Slide 85
  91. New Voices Research: Findings & Opportunities, Slide 87
  92. New Voices Research: Findings & Opportunities, Slide 56
  93. a b c Strategy Salon: Berlin
  94. Expert interviews, line 24, line 33
  95. New Voices Research: Findings & Opportunities, Slide 27
  96. Sax, David. The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter. New York: PublicAffairs, 2016.
  97. "Hype Cycle Research Methodology | Gartner Inc.". www.gartner.com. Retrieved 2017-08-03. 
  98. New Voices Research: Findings & Opportunities, Slide 30
  99. a b New Voices Attitudes, Awareness, and Usage study. Data here.
  100. Expert interviews, line 9, line 10, line 35
  101. Expert interviews, line 30, line 48
  102. a b Considering 2030: Future technology trends that will impact the Wikimedia movement (July 2017)
  103. Phills, James A. (2005). Integrating mission and strategy for nonprofit organizations. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 46. ISBN 0195171284. Goals […] should have at least a fifty-fifty chance of being achievable. People should say, “I think we can do that, but I don’t quite know how we are going to yet.” The most effective goals stretch individuals, and they make those individuals push hard to achieve them, but they are attainable. They are also concrete and often measurable. Without a level of specificity that allows people to know when they have achieved the goal, it is impossible to hold them accountable, and accountability is critical to the power of goals.