Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2017/Sources/Synthesis overview

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Over the past few months, we have expanded the participating voices in our global dialogue about what our movement should build or achieve together over the next 15 years. Between May 11 and June 12, over 50 organized groups and language communities from across our movement discussed the five themes that emerged from Cycle 1 discussions (creating a healthy community, participating in the augmented age, forming a truly global movement, becoming the most trusted source of knowledge, and joining the knowledge ecosystem). Meanwhile, conversations on global issues with over 150 experts have taken place in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and Latin America. On-the-ground research in Indonesia and Brazil has also provided a deeper look into new ways people are sharing knowledge in these countries. Together, these findings help us identify global trends and some of the key opportunities for us as a movement in this new world.

 Wikimedians believe that the movement is built around a devoted community of readers, editors, and organizations, and that community has brought us to today. But their hopes don’t stop there -- at maintaining a strong and healthy community; there is growing sentiment for Wikimedians to grow their communities to be truly global, and include places that don’t yet have access to free knowledge. Although there are tradeoffs in becoming an inclusive and diverse movement, Wikimedians feel that incorporating more viewpoints will lead to higher-quality, more reliable, and less-biased content, with the goal of continuing to maintain a high-quality encyclopedia. Wikimedians have also identified a natural tension between being an inclusive, diverse movement and maintaining a high quality encyclopedia; there is some concern that there might be a tradeoff between credibility and inclusivity. 

But while maintaining that high-quality encyclopedia, Wikimedians acknowledge that in order to capture all knowledge, the movement should expand its reach into new audiences and geographies where it has not been widely used. There is much work to be done to include new voices and help them participate effectively on Wikipedia and beyond. And in those geographies, the behavior of users is different than it has been before. Knowledge sharing is highly social and technology is a key factor in meeting the changing needs of readers; research suggest that as learning platforms evolve, we will need to think beyond just the encyclopedia in order to engage those who are new to the movement. 

But Wikimedia can’t do it alone. Experts say movements are built on emotion and connection, and that we will need to develop effective partnerships that will help the movement achieve its mission. And even though we are stronger when we work together, we need direction. According to experts and partners, Wikimedia should be an influencer and driving force in shaping world policy for access to knowledge. As the world prepares for major societal changes in the future, Wikimedia has the opportunity to use its position to advocate for a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.