Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2017/Sources/Wikimania Movement Strategy Space report/Day 2

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of the Movement Strategy track
Day 1
» Strategic Direction Feedback Session 1,
» Strategic Direction Feedback Session 2
Day 2
» Strategic Direction Feedback Session 3,
 » Affiliates - Perspectives. Endorsement.,
 » Track D “Bringing all the Voices”
Day 3
» New Voices,
 » The Big Open,
 » Track C - What should we know for the future?
Day 4
» Strategy Direction Feedback Session 4,
 » Movement Strategy Q & A,
 » Considerations for Phase 2

Strategic direction feedback session 3[edit]


01 | Mentimeter poll[edit]

What brought you to this session?

Staff and community members participate in a Strategic Direction feedback session at Wikimania 2017
  • Community coordinator for Dutch & German languages. Here as a community member.
  • Wikimedia Germany - part of the impact and strategy discussion for years. Happy to be here to be part of the process.
  • Renee - guy at the front was very pushy that she should be here!
  • Kelsey - head of Creative Commons Canada. Been part of the movement strategy process at Creative Commons.
  • Finland - been part of the movement for a long time. Excited to see how it’s developed.
  • German board - really interested in the strategy and how we can be a truly global movement.
  • Part of new voices and part of the community in India. Excited to hear more about the process.
  • Karrel - strategy enthusiast.
  • Apple Crowd - been doing 18-19 articles. Wants to expand to inner cities.

02 | Clarifying understanding of the direction[edit]

No clarification was needed in this session.

03 | Reactions to the direction[edit]

# Group A Group B Group C
1 Motivation. Very nice that “strong communities” are mentioned. The idea of open knowledge. Embrace diversity
2 The focus on “local” is :) Using a central metaphor is a great thing! ⇒ choose wisely and word carefully. Lowering barriers to participation
3 “Bold + Experiment” Like 1st sentence, but add: free, universal + accurate knowledge. Building open standards + structures
4 The long term plan
# Group A Group B Group C
1 Flowery language. Too many images. Wikimedia is not alone fighting for free open knowledge and that is a great thing! ⇒ Clearer commitment for enabling a free & open knowledge ecosystem beyond Wikimedia. Be more political.

-Turkey shutting down internet


-Fake news

2 It is unclear that we need new sources and new projects. Dislike lack of emphasis on accuracy. Definition of who we need to serve is too geographic focused, needs to be broad enough to be all - who are prevented by social, economical, political Global South over use of “underserved regions.”
3 Colors should be written colo(u)rs. Use universal spelling. More active wording and more active role for Wikimedia. (Too passive!) Need to include privacy language.
4 Increasing “the” sharing. “The” is superfluous. Avoid superfluous words. Need to include meta “education” - - pathways in
Other lower-ranked points:
  • Our responsibility as role model for other digital cultures is lacking.
  • Too much technical focus. Need to include social + political

04 | Suggestions for improvement[edit]

  • Language - metaphors / text cultural bias - user will be turn off
    • Suggestion: Input from different cultures.
    • Bridges, village, forge, build, foundations, roads, etc.
    • Not American English.
    • Sentences: As a movement… sentence needs rewording
  • More partnership & inclusive language.
    • “We will forge the tools”
    • Wikipedia isn’t the only org working towards free & open knowledge.
    • Change from “the” to “a” or to enable.
    • Our networks of people to “movement networks of people”
    • Write from partnership inclusive position not superior position
    • Adding “people” or “everyone” to the first sentence  
    • Write always “we” ⇐ active voice
    • Define somewhere what is “knowledge” in the case of Wikimedia.
      • Scientific
      • Non bias
      • The best we know as people at this time
  • We, the Wikimedia movement, will create the tools and build the foundation for creating and accessing trusted knowledge.
  • There needs to be mention of how deep structural changes might be needed in order to move away from a presumed universality of knowledge - one language, one truth - and this work is inherently political. Even within one Wikipedia language community, knowledge is not limited and this to be made visible. How can we work towards reducing many kinds of exclusivity: technical, educational, social, political?

05 | Levels of endorsement[edit]




[The BIG issue] is...


[What’s stopping me is…]


[Endorse if… and if…]


[Endorse if…]



Not with this excess of metaphors Define what is “knowledge” in the case of Wikimedia. Scientific = the best non bias we know at the moment. Add emphasis on preserving accuracy of information.
-More active role

-Being political

-Making the world better

-Inclusivity social aspects

-Emphasize responsibility as role model

-Social + educational access

-lowering barriers

-Being truly global

-Listening to the quiet voices

1 thing: there is too much adherence to 1 English, 1 language, 1 truth. How can we move away from presumed universality and decolonize Wikipedia? What we want requires major structural changes to how information is presented.  
Inclusive: Partnership language Needs some mention of protecting user privacy (vs surveillance, etc)
Wikimedia’s role and goals are defined within a larger ecosystem / movement for free & open knowledge (we are not alone!) Empathy on diversity (gender, language, country, skill, projects, etc) and people (less roads, bridges, and villages)
More clear wordings & How everyone fits into it

06 | Post-discussion poll[edit]

Affiliates - Perspectives. Endorsement.[edit]


01 | Welcome and introduction[edit]

As with other sessions, this began by asking participants their reasons for joining the session:

  • Germany - curious to see how other affiliates feel about the movement strategy and the process for implementing it.
  • Norway - Wikimedia gender gap, curious to see how it’s going.
  • Israel - listen.
  • Germany - intense discussions about the draft and are we on the same page and what it means for our organisations.
  • Germany - move forward together.
  • Austria - excited and the hardest part is to come, make it a reality.
  • Curious what people think about the first draft
  • Canada - part of the drafting group. Want it to be the most solid foundation as we can make it.
  • Argentina - listen. Are we on the same page, how do we move it forward?
  • Kaarel - gather info for the chair.
  • Ukraine - what does the strategy mean for us and do we share the same understanding.

02 | Issues and concerns[edit]

The session was designed to focus on the needs and concerns of Affiliates in particular. To surface the landscape of concerns, they were each asked to write on A5 sheets in response to the question:

Q. What are your 3 main concerns about the current draft of the strategic direction?[edit]

NB. Some affiliates had more than one person participating

  • It should be stressed that Wikimedia takes on an active role. Eg. Innovate together (within and beyond Wikimedia) to adapt to the charging realities.
  • Will the document create the needed structure to give direction?
  • How to ensure feedback is well integrated and doesn’t “water down” the original intent?
Wikimedia Norway
  • It being so vague, we are not sure if we’re moving in the same direction?
  • That not all voices from around the world are heard.
WMDE Staff
  • Will it provide a real direction?
  • Will it establish a clear concept?
    • Easy/fast to understand
    • Convincing
  • Will it be globally and widely accepted?
WMUA Board
  • The main direction sounds vague and can fit the entire free knowledge movement.
    • People may not feel being part of it.
  • How does it include those who are not yet a part of the movement but want to join it?
  • What do we mean under “communities”? Does it include affiliates?
Advisory Group
  • We are not only an encyclopedia for a long time – our innovation on other projects could be depicted in a better way in the narrative. We are platform for interconnected – linked free knowledge.
  • Basically describing what we are already doing. History instead of future.
  • Does not seem to be challenging enough to inspire.
  • Who is the owner? (Caretaker)
  • Is it a good basis for deciding what not to do anymore?
  • Does the direction provide enough points to start to execute on?
  • How do we ensure that there is a wide range of different ideas and actions?
  • How do we find the right balance between flexibility of interpretation and a common binding understanding?
  • Fear of next steps and missing confidence
  • Lost in discussions
  • Term(s) and words ⇒ wrong & not common interpretation
  • Is there a common understanding of “movement”?
  • Even if we want it to be bolder + more “strategic” or clear, we get equal and opposite pushback when people’s personal priorities aren’t included.
  • It’s conceptually difficult to translate, but greater specificity starts to become a plan, not a direction.
  • Balancing feedback without “watering it down” or diluting it until we end up with everything back in the draft.
  • “Infrastructure for open” ⇒ is that clear?
  • What does “movement” mean?
  • What is not Wikimedia? What should we stop doing?
  • Are we a movement that is concerned with social justice?
  • In encompassing many different perspectives, is the direction too diffuse? Too anodyne?
[Cards which had no name:]
  • Who is in charge?
  • Identify sets of options where we must choose one + all options seem plausible (not obvious/apple pie). ⇒ articulate trade offs + branching opportunities.
  • Acceptance of a broader mission. “Legacy” doesn’t feel left out.
  • Portability across cultures and languages.
  • Will it be too broad? Will it provide a clear direction?
  • Will it be globally accepted?
  • Will it be really translated into a global inclusive movement? Are we really addressing bias with this direction?
  • Appropriation
  • Changing from inward movement to an outward movement
  • Are we a “political” movement? If so, it needs to be made clear!
  • You can’t please everyone. And that’s fine. Or is it?
  • No interest from the community whatsoever.
  • Translation of a lot of stuff.

 The facilitator synthesised 3 possible main topics of emphasis for the discussion:

  1. Generality / specificity
  2. Stopping / starting
  3. Inclusion / exclusion

03 | Discussion[edit]

Open Discussion 01[edit]

  • Right now we are describing what we are doing, not what we want to do. I am not saying that we need to stop, but we are not pushing the limits.
  • Don’t agree on future/past analysis. This plan gives us more time to approach the diversity issues and filling in the gaps, which is something we are not doing yet.
  • The question is not good enough on a qualitative level; we can do what we are doing much better than we currently are.
  • I think this is bolder when it comes to the diversity work. That’s where we can put our energy. The numbers we get in won’t be as high; need other ways of measuring our impact if we focus more on the harder task.
  • It does not go beyond what we are already doing. It could be like Elon Musk going to Mars; we could be more imaginative and ambitious.
  • Love the “the roads, bridges, and villages” sentence - is very different from what we are today. It’s very active. It does assume the world wants free knowledge, which may not be accurate. But this sentence does put us in a “hello, world” approach, which feels very different from the status quo.
  • The bold move in that statement is that we move from an inward to an outward looking document. It says we are more than an encyclopedia and opens to more players, and I am concerned - can we do that by 2030? And if we do that well, we can have more concrete ideas and projects, but first we need the cultural change that is hard for the movement to swallow.
  • In the UK, we are already on the local level moving in this direction, even if it hasn’t been clearly articulated. What’s different about this vision is articulating it clearly on a global level. So maybe, to some, working on this already on a local level, it feels like old news, but a lot of the communities have not started working in this direction yet.
  • I am happy with what Kaarel said because, having been through several strategy processes with WMF and Germany, there are people who want something hard to achieve, so that you grow, and others want granulated things that are achievable. Helpful to think about that.
  • I agree with Kaarel - feels like strategic approaches to issues that we have been thinking about for some time, rather than spending time exploring new ideas or approaches. Everyone is busy solving the problems we each work on every week. But maybe we need to ask the right questions to see what are the things we have not done yet, so we can support the world too. Maybe there’s a non technical / social framework. We could have a very different angle if we ask the right questions.
  • Somewhat we did that, that is why we needed 2030; it inspired people to participate.
  • Observation - I also sometimes want something that’s bold and clear. I love that you think this is what we are already doing. In my experience, I don’t think we are doing this. We have some of them, but they aren’t broadly applied or accepted. “More than an encyclopedia” being accepted by the community would be transformative. You as affiliates are more likely to want to be strategic and build more long term thinking, that’s why you are in these groups, but I don’t think that’s the feeling of the general community. You are a more forward thinking group. And so there are differences in the way we approach these needs so that they can be broadly accepted by the community.
  • Also providing a shared platform to build up on it, a common base that is strong. There has been some debate and we need to create a safe zone to make it easier.
  • To summarize this discussion: one side to solidify the base so that these things become a widely accepted thing, so we are not leaving people behind. On the other side, people who want to be bolder and do more than that and have new ideas that might be more applicable in 2030. How do we balance that?
  • The door is open to work with others such as Creative Commons. So there are endless possibilities there by leaving a door open, we don’t know where that will lead.

Open Discussion 02[edit]

  • How much are we repositioning ourselves as a political social justice movement?
  • We’re being fairly arrogant here - assuming we can position ourselves as anything. Any standing impact we have in the world derives from tens of thousands of people around the world getting on their computers and doing something. We have had a tough time steering in any one direction because people do what they want. How do we nourish, protect and sustain the current community plus how do we steer a towards a specific direction we want to go in. Two tier process - 1st, how to nourish, care for, sustain this community? Tier 2 - how do we contribute to the world in a social justice way?
  • If we want to have diverse knowledge, we need diverse communities, but we are reluctant to let people in to edit our articles. A real debate.
  • If anyone attended the “whose knowledge” panel earlier, it was stated clearly: Wikipedia has achieved success with a relatively small group of people, which is a success. But Wikipedia doesn’t work for all the people who are attempting to use the infrastructure. If we don’t listen to the needs of the needs of the people attempting to use it, we’ll only be catering to the people who it already works for. Social Justice - one way or another, you’re involved in social justice. Your opinion on the facts of life. Some people feel shut out. Only way the margin becomes the center is if you move the center very deliberately.
  • Global trend - the education gap will continue over the next 85 years or so. So discussing the different formats and ways of  gathering knowledge - what the global south needs - we cannot include these marginalized groups if people don’t know how to write and we stick with only that format. We need to think of other ways and validate other ways of building knowledge so we can involve these people in the movement.
  • In one of the other sessions we discussed what is knowledge, which is healthy to discuss, because we have moved beyond encyclopedia. Knowledge is political, who has it and who doesn’t, civilizations have been built on knowledge.
  • I use Uber a lot in different parts of the world. Often get into a “what do you do?” type of conversation. When I say “I write for Wikipedia” they often say “what’s that?” - even in the US, many people don’t know what Wikipedia is. Reminds me that we can develop the sum of all human knowledge, but if not everyone knows about it, we’re just writing in a vacuum. We need to be aware of being evangelists as part of our strategy so people know about it.
  • There are still a lot of people who do not contribute to free knowledge. By 2030 we can promote Wikipedia in the USA; can we change the attitude in countries where they are not supporting free knowledge.
  • I’m not sure if we can, but we must try. That’s our job!
  • What I heard and what Rosie was saying - it’s not just that people don’t know, but it’s not working for them. Maybe it’s just not serving a need they have - it doesn’t exist in a way that serves their need. It’s not that people don’t have knowledge needs, but the way that knowledge is contained in the Wikipedia system is not suiting them - the question of whose knowledge / what knowledge?
  • Still large areas of the States that don’t have access to the internet.

Q. There are a lot of issues around implementation and phase two. But there are a couple elements back on strategic direction - the impact and how to energize people about them. What are some suggestions for improvement or changes? What might be missing? How do we reconcile these perspectives and different context?[edit]

Open Discussion 03[edit]

  • Use a more active language, the strategy wants something - it is hard to catch, motivate, inspire people.
  • I think this ties into the documentation issue from this morning - communities that don’t have written language. So they have no references and they are not accepted into Wikipedia. Large community of small cultures who have still managed to survive, but do things differently. How do we energize and empower them to submit their histories to Wikipedia?
  • We should make direction closer to what average Wikimedians think, what we are doing well, what we want to change, what is new, closer to the concerns of average users and community members - and clear for those who are not working with movement. Not changing the content, but having in mind the community that’s being targeted.
  • First phase, mis-translation caused a big ripple, then energy needed to change it. Just as the discussion is over people are just understanding! Need pre-screening of language.
  • “Infrastructure for Open” - this term is not really understandable. Raises thoughts of technical software, etc. But we want to focus more on the services; from gathering of knowledge up to the reader that may include new readers that we don’t have yet. I tend to see “knowledge” as a supply and production chain.
    • To add one sentence - metaphors are difficult to translate.
  • I have no idea how to make this happen, but what I’d like to see - if our strategic movement could not differentiate between us/them, it/them, Wikimedia/not Wikimedia, but somehow assimilate everything. If it’s the sum of all knowledge, it’s everyone and everything included. Like the Borg from Star Trek.
  • What I realized in phase one of the strategy process - people think Wikipedia is the core of what we are. As we move forward with strategy, how much of that are we willing to risk? Or do we strategize around keeping that core still there?
  • One thing we have not decided is how specific or broad the plan is, and solving that problem would not improve… we think this is a broad direction and what we agree on. Is it a plan or direction? Plan is specific… some want something clear/explicit.
  • To reference back to the “Wikipedia” thing - we need more people involved to grow. Maybe 60 years ago, an organization that has such a huge community was a novel thing, but it’s not now. So maybe in 15 years from now, we’ll be building communities in a different way. In the Global South - it’s very clear that the way we include people needs to change if we want to grow. We also have Wikidata, other ones also important that haven’t been discussed yet and are not very clear in the draft.
  • “A strategic direction is not a strategic plan…” I feel like if people are not clear, it’s because they haven’t been listening.

04 | Endorsement process[edit]

Nicole Ebber briefly outlined the endorsement process: not content, but process, using the timeline as a reference.

  1. Now through end of August - discuss and review the draft.
  2. End of August - finalize the draft. Have a final strategic direction.
  3. In September - have the final document to absorb and decide if you want to endorse or not. And decide who should be involved in the decision making process. Just the board? Your staff? The members? Need time to think & process, not delay until September for these decisions.
    1. “Endorsement” - people seem fearful of the term. You are not selling your soul! Just means you support the general direction & process and will approach the next phase in good faith.
  4. End of September - We hope for broad support. Also want Affiliates to be proud of it and celebrate it and spread that to their editing communities so they endorse it too. Please go out and talk to people and educate them on this.

Discussion re endorsement[edit]

  • Want to add a note on Nicole’s last words. At the board meeting, we discussed endorsement. Really want to see our local communities celebrating this. It does not need to be a very very serious thing.
  • How final is the timeline? To have the community involved - September is a very busy time for conferences.
    • Nicole - at the moment, this is the timeline. Optimistic we can keep it. But we have a lot of feedback that will need to be included in the next version of the draft, so we do need to allow time for it.
  • Will there be individual endorsements or just organizations? Would like to know because it affects their process for deciding.
    • Process has not yet been designed for that, but personally think yes.

Track D “Bringing all the Voices”[edit]


Goal is to get out and talk to people not yet involvement in the Wikimedia movement.

The full slide deck synthesising the Track D conclusions can be found here

Information ⇒ Learning ⇒ Knowledge

Slide 29.

  • Question about meaning of “destination” verses “source” of learning.
    • A: They will still get the content (source), but not necessarily by going to the website (destination). Many people using messaging apps like whatsapp and telegram - not just for having conversations, but for learning. So our information could be accessible to users in the other channels rather than them just seeking out the website.
    • For example - asking Siri a question and having it answered. It doesn’t always cite Wikipedia as the source, even if it is.
  • Q: Did you find that people were sending links to Wikipedia already?
    • A: Wikipedia was not always seen as a trusted source in those study groups. Is there a potential integration with whatsapp where it says something like “would you like to check this out on the wikipedia page?” Also a lot of non profit platforms that are helping people learn, but they don’t have the content. So what other ways can we be the source of knowledge?
  • How can this movement go to being relevant when people are looking for information when they’re not necessarily using Wikipedia?

Slide 32

  • Q: why did you use the term “preserved”? It’s like putting it in a museum and keeping it the same, but knowledge evolves and grows.
    • A: Someone said today that they come from a country where a certain language is dying. That might not be relevant to other communities, but it’s a part of their culture. So why can’t Wikipedia be the place that they preserve their language and culture? And a lot of cultures are being threatened so this is an opportunity to preserve them.

GAME starting on slide 34 - go to one side for “strongly agree” verses “strongly disagree”.

“Wikimedia Movement has done an excellent job of engaging new voices.”

Session participants stand to each side of the presentation room to indicate agreement or disagreement with the statement “Wikimedia Movement has done an excellent job of engaging new voices.” Left side of photo: disagree with statement. Right side of photo: agree with statement.

(responses heavily on the disagree side)

  • Strongly agree - I understand that Wikipedians are critical of themselves. But relative to any other community project, Wikimedia is doing the best of any other community in the world.
  • Middle - new to the movement. Feels like it’s a great start. Agree to an extent with the guy above. In relative terms, we’re doing pretty well. But feels like there a whole lot more we can do and a lot more work to be done.
  • Disagree - Wikipedia is so restrictive to new users - eg. if you edit and don’t understand, it gets erased. Then gets rejected. It’s a tough process.
  • Disagree - South America: see Wikimedia as more than a movement and a platform. From a design background, it’s not user friendly. In South America, people are engaged with a lot of platforms and Wikipedia is not one of them. Doesn’t leave a lot of room for new voices.
  • Disagree (someone who works on the project). Had a conversation on the phone with an MIT professor who didn’t feel like he was smart enough to participate and would be smacked down if he tried.
  • You have respected voice and “go-to” authorities - those are easy to identify and approach. What about all the people who don’t get a voice because maybe they are not even given a voice in their own communities or families? Very overlooked.
  • Who are these people who are completely overlooked? Is the goal of Wikimedia to be everything to everybody OR to have more partnerships so that those people can reach out to communities and be the providers.
  • Interesting challenge - there’s only so much the community can do.
  • The idea of access - expanding the notion of access.

“Editing is the best way to participate in the Wikimedia movement.”

Session participants stand to each side of the presentation room to indicate agreement or disagreement with the statement “Editing is the best way to participate in the Wikimedia movement.” Projector end of photo photo: disagree with statement. Non-projector end of photo: agree with statement.

[agree: non-projector end  … disagree: projector end]

  • Disagree - wiki is facts and fact points. Communication is more than that process; other senses; how we feel, taste, smell; all these things aren’t being addressed and they’re part of learning.
  • Agree - have issues with the sources and sometimes gives up on some. But almost a “wiki lawyer” after editing for 19 years in Denmark. Still feels like the best way if you familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations.
  • Disagree - Part of the team so has a specific POV about it. Countries with highest paid views are developed countries. Any amount of editing will not solve the problem. We need to expand our notions beyond editing.
  • Middle - editing is the best way depending on who you are. I’m an evangelist for Wikipedia and the best way for me is to spread the word about it.

“Advancing the Wikimedia vision is more important than growing Wikipedia.”

(Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment.)

  • I’ve become convinced today - focusing on Wikipedia is going to grow the same problems. Need to support oral sources and support some definition of senses and emotions.
  • It seems to me that Wikimedia is the product of knowledge and the mission is the process that is producing. All the time the process will be more important than the product.
  • I feel that Wikipedia is just one product from the Wikimedia environment. The environment is going to keep evolving in the way that it has over the last 10 years. So Wikipedia might not be as relevant in 5 years and should remain open to other products that might be the better solution.
  • [Panthea:] Track D - last 16 years, the focus is on production, unprecedented; moving forward is the platform. Is the product the only way or are there innovations on dissemination in the same way we innovated on production?


  • Question about access - what about the constraint around affordability? Eg. Wiki - zero.
    • [Adele] Wikizero is one way, but right now we are opening up the discussion for what other options there are for addressing this challenge. We have learned that there’s not going to be one solution since it’s a complex challenge; there are going to be different solutions that address different aspects of it.
    • [Panthea] unconnected - typically lower socioeconomic status. Organizations trying to find ways not just to get them information, but information that is pertinent to them specifically. Non profits/community based organizations: They need content (which Wikipedia has), but isn’t packaged in a portable, modular way (eg. job training).