Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2017/Sources/Cycle 2/Wikimedia Austria (Board and ED)

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What group or community is this source coming from?

name of group Wikimedia Österreich Board and Executive Director
virtual location (page-link) or physical location (city/state/country) Vienna, Austria
Location type (e.g. local wiki, Facebook, in-person discussion, telephone conference) in-person and online
# of participants in this discussion (a rough count) 8


Theme key
  1. Healthy, inclusive communities
  2. Engaging in the knowledge ecosystem
Questions key
  1. What impact would we have on the world if we follow this theme?
  2. How important is this theme relative to the other 4 themes? Why?
  3. Focus requires tradeoffs. If we increase our effort in this area in the next 15 years, is there anything we’re doing today that we would need to stop doing?
  4. What else is important to add to this theme to make it stronger?
  5. Who else will be working in this area and how might we partner with them?
Theme (refer to key) Question (refer to key) Summary Statement Keyword
1 A 1 Healthy and inclusive communities are the core of our movement - by further nurturing them, we enable more people to participate in our endeavours and make our movement an integral part of society. integral part of society
2 A 2 This theme has the power to make or break our movement - without healthy and inclusive communities, none of the four other themes would be viable approaches and would heavily jeopardize our place within society.

Volunteers are at the heart of Wikimedia projects and will be in future. Hence, how well we will do in this regard has an impact on the other themes, as we need the man- and womanpower to come up with bold technological innovation, grow globally, partner up with like-minded communities and organizations, and to deliver high-quality information and knowledge. The importance of this can therefore not be overstated und should be of the highest priority. The fact that we already face severe challenges in welcoming new contributors and not too many good practices and working processes to change that also shows that this aspect within this theme deserves special attention and joint effort.

high priority, newcomers
3 A 3 We need to stop catering to high performance users who are also high maintenance. Despite our best efforts, it is often impossible to integrate them into a healthy and inclusive community, because they make our communities less inclusive and therefore less healthy.

Volunteer work should be easy – support for volunteers needs to be flexible and adaptable. Reducing the the complexity concerning legal and financial processes around grant making or the usage of Wikimedia trademarks would decrease the overhead costs on the side of the WMF, save volunteer time and decrease the hurdle for many volunteers to get involved in first place. We are an online movement and should be careful not to loose the power and strengths that come with that by overinstitutionalizing things in a way the offline world works. As an affiliate organization we are aware that this line is not always easy to draw, but would still encourage to constantly question such developments and where possible favour flexibility over security.

flexibility, legal barriers, toxic users
4 A 4 A healthy and inclusive community does not exist in a vacuum. It interacts with the society it is surrounded by on a daily basis, influencing and learning from each other. Developing awareness in societies around the world for the Wikimedia projects being a shared responsibility of all humankind should therefore be an essential goal of of this theme.

What is implicit in the current statement is that an inclusive culture which makes contributing fun requires to fight toxic environments. This is a cultural shift as currently an indivdual’s amount of contributions to the projects or years of service weigh more than his or her behaviour towards others. The prefered way to do this is positive reinforcement: As a movement we should celebrate those who successfully manage to bring in and mentor newcomers. However, in some instances a tough stance against toxic behaviour will be necessary and should have the same importance and consequences as other violations of the core values of Wikimedia.

mentoring, awareness
5 A 5 Any community working towards opening up knowledge to a wider audience on a freely accessible basis is a potential partner - be it the Open Knowledge Foundation, the Cochrane Foundation, Open Data initiatives by governments etc. While there are myriad ways to partner with likeminded organisations, collaborations on topics we have similar views on in order to successfully create synergy effects would be a promising way forward. This process would also bring our communities together, making them more inclusive and at the same time offering a different perspective or approach to the movement.
While preparing the Wikimedia Hackathon in Vienna we realized that there is still a lot of room for impovement when it comes to integrating newcomers into our community. At the same time there are many great concepts out there – some of them we tested and implemented for the Hackathon – from other tech communities (Rails Girls, Jugend hackt, Ladies that FOSS), which have not been applied to the Wikiverse before, such as mentoring programs for young coders or tech events for women and non-binary volunteers only. We should become bolder when it comes to radical changes to our event formats so we can apply successful approaches from other communties and organizations.
adapting, learning from others
6 E 1 In the network of the knowledge ecosystem we aim for an outcome that benefits society. Creating and spreading Open Knowledge together with our partners in the knowledge society, our movement will have an impact to any individual participating in that system. It will improve the access to knowledge and provide participation in the creation process. participation, access
7 E 2 Free Knowledge is the core of our engagement in the Wikimedia movement. Our idea can be maintained best in a growing and developing knowledge ecosystem. We can influence the development successfully creating networks. This does not mean that we do not need strong support by the other themes (e. g. community). networks
8 E 3 As a chapter of the Wikimedia movement we should set up programs to engage teachers, students and other participants of the educational process. We should not try to send our present volunteers and community members to schools and universities doing everything on their own. embassadors
9 E 4 Coping with technical innovations and facing evolving challenges to the knowledge society we need to cooperate with institutions and likeminded organisations as well as with governmental officials. networks, alliances
10 E 5 There are many organisations inside and outside the educational system and wider open culture ecosystem aiming to improve knowledge. They all are partners in a dialog where we are sharing our experience looking towards a knowledge society coping with future challenges. educational institutions, open culture movement

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