Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2017/Sources/Wikimania Movement Strategy Space report/Day 3

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
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

New Voices[edit]


01 | Poll[edit]

The session began with a poll against the statement:

The Strategic Direction needs to be more specific about its approach to new voices.

Most participants were more towards the ‘strongly agree’ end of the spectrum.

02 | Introduction to “New Voices” findings[edit]

To give the content input, the Caitlin Virtue (Track C) and Adele Vrana (Track D) shared some of the key findings from the research into New Voices.

Session slide presentation

03 | Clarifications[edit]

Group clarification or concerns to start:

  • Who are the new voices and how much do they know about us?
    • Track C example - a librarian, someone who might be an expert on a topic. Varying degrees of knowing and engaging with Wikipedia from no knowledge to active participants.
    • Track D example - 15 year old in India who wants to learn in their own language, but the information doesn’t exists.
    • Track D example - Nigerian who wants to learn more about the history of his community, but no published books exist.
  • Those of us here are generally “pro” new voices, but we don’t represent the whole Wikimedia community.
  • My main concern is that the draft as a whole is very external facing and just like a slogan. I want to talk about different methods and innovations about how we can bring each community to this direction. It has to be approached more like “affirmative action” to bring the different communities in.
  • Concern about the presentation - clarification about people believing a source based on the person, not the institution. But our editors are not the reliable sources, the citations are what are trusted. We don’t want to get into a situation where someone is claiming they are an expert and become a “trusted” source when they shouldn’t be. We want people to be trusting the process.

04 | Proposal drafting[edit]

Participants then divided into groups of 4s. Have one group of “experts” taking part in the process at their own separate table. Each person in each group was assigned a different role and put the name tag in their badge. The roles were:

  • The Dreamer: the ideal, if there were no constraints; what is possible?
  • The Realist: challenging the feasibility; how would changes be possible?
  • The Critic: questioning all proposals from all angles - why this change?
  • The Conservative: things are fine the way they are now; why any change?

Taking the content of the Strategic Direction and with their role in mind, they choose one main finding from “New Voices” to discuss how could be better reflected in the draft Direction.

04| Draft revision[edit]

One person in each group was assigned the “Presenter” role by their group. The presenter from each group took their draft and rotated to a new table where they had 3 minutes to explain their suggestion and get feedback from the new group. Then the presenter turned their chair to become a ‘fly on the wall’ while they received critical feedback, before returning to their groups to refine the proposal.

05 | Proposals[edit]

“We’ll build on our current strengths and invent new forms of creating + distributing knowledge that engage new voices and partners.” “We will welcome people from everywhere to grow fields of knowledge that represent human clarity. We recognize there are different methods toward, interpretation of, free knowledge in new and different communities. In doing so, we will contribute to human progress and to better understanding of the world and of ourselves.”
“We want to welcome and mentor all participants to the Wiki Community using artificial intelligence (bots/platforms/other forms of technology) to provide more opportunities for beneficial human interaction while acknowledging emotions & human connections that continue to be valued & enhanced.” “We will innovate together within and beyond the movement in social and technological fields to adapt to changing realities of our communities and readers.”
“We will welcome people… represent human diversity. But in order to do this, we must challenge the status quo: how we define and interpret neutrality, reliability, and notability. Right now, we only give voice to those who have the means and power to publish. We will not be able to add new forms of knowledge and participation until we challenge the status quo and transform ourselves.” “The strategic direction of the Wikimedia movement for 2030 is to become the roads, bridges, and villages that support the inequal world’s journey towards free knowledge [...] Our networks of people and systems will connect with individuals and institutions to share knowledge through open standards, policies, and structures, and support them on the journey to openness and collaboration. We will be a leading advocate, influencer, and partner for increasing the sharing, curation, participation, and access to in free and open knowledge [...]  By 2030, but we will make it possible for anyone to join us in our effort to reach “the sum of all knowledge.”

The Big Open[edit]

Panelists participate in "The Big Open" at Wikimania 2017, a discussion about the future of the Open Movement


  • Katherine Maher, Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation
  • Ryan Merkley, CEO, Creative Commons
  • Mark Surman, Executive Director, Mozilla Foundation
  • Moderator - Rob Lancaster, Inside Change

01 | Opening Participant Poll[edit]

02| Discussion[edit]

Panel discussion Comments/questions received via mentimeter (not necessarily correlated with left column)

Q. Ryan, what is your reaction to the poll results?[edit]

RM: have to know what we want in the future to know how we are equipped to get there. Reflection of the poll results feels like we need to be actively focusing on new voices and how we can bring new people in. Re building Mozilla Firefox and other products - once you build then, what then? What do you do next?

MS: In the last 20 years, our communities and some additional communities had a tremendous impact… We are going to need different tactics to be able to remain relevant and bring in new people in the future.

What are the next technologies that will be in the marketplace that can have the same influence that Mozilla once had? Even with the new update in the fall, it likely won’t have the same influence as before.

KM: voted 6. We are great to hold close to our values and don’t let them shift in a meaningful way. We adapt, but don’t shift. The community still values privacy, freedom of expression, freedom of inquiry. There are things we are great at that will help get us there, but it might not be enough. The people in this room are the people who are interested in this process, which is why the vote is leaning towards “strongly agree”. Want to make sure to hear from the “strongly disagree” people so we make sure not to leave behind the things that people care about like the values. We don’t want to leave that stuff behind, because our legacy does inform us.

Q. What are the types of stories that you want to hear in 10-15 years if we were to be having this conversation again?[edit]

RM: Broader narrative about whether we are allowed to do things together or not. Or if we want to do things together or not. The idea that individual innovator and innovative projects are king over everything else. I think one of the things that makes society work is collaboration.

When I think about the stories I want to hear - squarely deciding that collaboration and collective actions are around what we do. And build the tools to support that.

Has a bias (from working at the gov’t level) towards thinking that there are ways to organize each other and ourselves to do things that would not have been able to be achieved alone. If we come together, we can build thing better than ourselves.

KM: Understanding that we have instrumental value and that our value has a place in the world. We provide tangible value to users.

Practical solution vs. abstract value - what’s the tangible version for this for the future?

MS: Agree that tangible value in relation to the practical people. How to keep the value that exists

Environmental movement is a parallel - late 60s, early 70s. Becomes a social issue, whatever side you are on. That’s where I want to get to in this world within 20 years - whatever side you are, you see the social issue. Hopefully not a question of: is this a movement?

Q. Where is the Venn diagram between your CC, WMF, Mozilla ? And then where do you need to reach out to make new partnerships?  [edit]

RM: Obvious one is the shared values and the way we’ve come up together.

But the less obvious one is the way we’ve shifted towards advocacy work, which isn’t what was at the center when we started.

Revised strategy had advocacy in it - and board member mentioned that they don’t do advocacy.

We have power and collective voice. But the challenge is that we are not powerful enough if we are not together. Our opposition has more power, money, influence, reach than us - so we need to work together.

Also, we share an audience - you can’t divide up as “engineers are just Mozilla” etc - people are more commonly part of many movements.

KM: Mozilla was influential in how WMF started developing their strategy. In the Wikimedia community, we often think of ourselves as very “unique” - we are unique in the way we do things, people don’t understand us. BUT we shared a lot of values and things with other communities and there’s a lot to learn from them.

As for these 3 organizations and we have a lot of overlap, we do have unique cultures. And not sure how we take unique cultures together to take collective action in a way that works for all of them.

MS: Wants to push back on the idea that we’re 3 movements. We are 3 organizations and cultures, but we are all within the same movement.

KM: Pushing back further. If we are already together in one movement - how do we come together further to go up against our adversaries?

Q. Is this an exclusively American thing the idea of ‘Open’?[edit]

KM: If you leave the US, chances are if you meet a Wikimedian, they often identify as a Mozillian and Creative Commoner too. In Tunisia at an open market event, everyone identified as broader things. If we look to the edges of the movement, it tells us where we are going to do.

RM: Missed who gave this speech - but that they spoke about the privilege of working in the open. Difference between teaching someone to work in the open in an hour, but doesn’t mean they can be a great coder. Questions of whose voice gets to be heard?

For the people who aren’t in the room - what are they doing instead? And how do we address that?

MS: We should be more explicit about who our “enemies” are and who our “frenemies” are?

Google has had impacts on all of our products as how people see the internet. Of course helps bring people to the table, but also makes us look irrelevant. There are about just 4-5 companies controlling so much of the environment.

KM: Greenpeace slogan “no permanent friends, no permanent enemies”

RM: “Pick big fights with your enemies, not small fights with your friends.” Because our enemies are really good at targeting what they want to do and putting money behind it. But we often spend our energy fighting each other on the little stuff rather than taking the time to figure out what we agree on and fighting for that.

Q. What does it take to get us there? What are some of the fears? What do we do about them? And where is your anxiety?[edit]

RM: Takes a willingness to start. We are responsible to communities and we need a collective willingness to begin. If it fails, it fails and we pick a new thing.

MS: Choosing to start together doesn’t just come from us, but from the communities as a whole.

Also a visionary pragmatism. Ambitions vs. something I miss.  We can build out part of that world today for hundreds of million people.

KM: I feel we have started. We are sitting on stage here together for the first time. We want to bring this to their communities too. Answer is yes.

I have been frightened all year of failing in the movement strategy process. It has felt almost impossible. Have been biting nails to see if we could get it together. But we did. We still need to finalize it, but we have taken the first step and started. We should have confidence that we can take it on. We have still built the impossible thing - the thing that doesn’t work in theory, but only in process.

Q. What is the final thought you’d like to leave us with?[edit]

MS: Grateful to be having the first conversation here. And that all 3 of us are looking to renewal and broader new brand and keeping that practical for people from all over the world and bringing new people in. Feel very inspired and ready to collaborate.

RM: You all have ideas and we need to hear from you. I go to these conferences and see a lot of the same people - and I hope that we can continue to attending each other’s conferences so that we can continue having these conferences. Needs broad community involvement.

KM: People saying our strategy isn’t practical enough. And I think that’s because you all have ideas. So we need to start hearing those ideas so we can start building.

  • The future is unpredictable. We need to focus more on our adaptive capacity to change and respond to shifting needs, not a fixed goal.
  • What are your thoughts on #goatification? #bigopen
  • How are we able to step forward from exchanging ideas to common action? Should we have a common planning process?
  • Is an open competitor to Siri or an educational VR app something that can be build by a community?
  • Does net neutrality threaten our movement?
  • What commitments have each of you made to help ensure the open movements are globally inclusive & don't replicate existing inequities?
  • How do we bring in audiences - in places where they are - and create connections so we have collaborators, advocates and ambassadors?
  • Can we survive without net neutrality?
  • Does net neutrality threaten our Movement?
  • Involvement
  • Our flaws are society's flaws: gender inequality, tech literacy, edu privilege. Must we be social change leaders - outside our platforms?
  • Should we become more involved in global politics directly, e.g. non-partisan lobbying around issues of censorship, privacy, neutrality?
  • Who/what is our biggest enemy?
  • How important will it be for the groups to have great advocacy "shops,"  w/experts/lobbyists/grassroots organizers (volunteer mobilization) Does net neutrality threaten our movement?
  • What are concrete strategies and tactics we could adapt from other social movements, to break copyright's stranglehold on knowledge?
  • How do we relate to the big commercial players on the web? Is it time to take a tougher position on walled gardens, filter bubbles, etc.?
  • The origin of the term "fellow traveler" is worth looking up.
  • Why don't you articulate this big open coalition around knowledge equity and creating platforms that are truly diverse and global?
  • We just can't relax and sit back on our laurels - the momentum of the movement must be accelerated -
  • "We have just collected knowledge.
  • Who is it for? Knowledge for what? We should change our views on knowledge. Knowledge to sole the problem"
  • Do synergies in open movement threaten or strengthen cultural diversity? Let's take on Gmail!
  • Thank you Mozilla for your recent blog posts and articles focusing on privacy and security issues ;)
  • Is open source movement exclusively American?
  • As Ryan said, your original innovations are decades old.  What are you doing to stay relevant?
  • If we are fellow travellers to where we want to go, 2030ish, who else would you want to join our group?
  • What does the Venn diagramme of CC, WMF and Mozilla look like and how can it be used to maximise their synergy in 2030?
  • What are the top 3 enemies (institutions, persons or companies) of the open movement?
  • Why Open Knowledge Foundation, Chaos Computer Club are not here? . . . and there are more like-minded orgs that should be here . . .
  • What do you think of our draft Wikimedia 2030 ? In particular the advocacy position ?
  • Organizations should actively work *together* on issues like anti-censorship, privacy, open access, and open standards.
  • no, net neutrality does not threaten our movement
  • What can we do for the Open movement outside those big orgs? How to support each other with volunteers and local organizations struggling?
  • What does "open" mean to you?
  • Let's take on Google #knowledgeengine
  • What prevents us from embracing the political nature of what we want to achieve? Are we true activists?
  • People use Wikipedia and Firefox and don't know they're open (or what open even is). What can we do to educate our users about CC and open?
  • Is the Wikimedia Foundation using Google Apps hypocritical?
  • Our strategy draft mentions being "advocate of... free knowledge". Could this mean more attention to our global legal environment?
  • Should Wikimedia projects and websites recommend users use Firefox - just as Google recommends users to use Chrome?
  • The Zero MediaWiki extensions are a lot of technical debt for the Wikimedia Foundation
  • are all those millions of user really "our" users of  "our" products?
  • Quick question, why has the Board gone to ~4 meetings/year from ~14/year? "We need to be stronger to get where we're going" - but where are we going. Our biggest prob is not strength but that we succeded.
  • Mozilla also uses Google Apps. :(
  • might the movement lingo be unsuitable, as it inevitably produces inside/outside?
  • to also pick the relevant fights with your friends is not only ok, but necessary for credibility
  • "Data Knowledge Education"

Track C - What should we know for the future? Global trends that will impact the next 15 years of Wikimedia[edit]


  • Tension between trying to predict the future, but know that we can’t. The world is going to look dramatically differently 2030, but we just don’t know what it will look like. So we have to try to look to the future and how we might adapt to what it’s like.
  • Cory Doctorow: “I'm of the opinion that science fiction writers suck at predicting the future. We mostly go around describing the present in futuristic clothes.”


Sarah Lutman - Lutman & Assoc.

Jessica Clarke - Dot Connector Studio

  • We’ve been talking to experts, going to conferences, reading many reports, working in parallel to strategy teams.
  • The last 15 years have brought a huge shift to how we communicate globally. Wikimedia has shown how eternal optimists can influence communities.


Close your eyes, think back to 2001 (when Wikimedia was starting) - what were you doing at the time? How did you get your information?

Ie. Going to a bookstore to read magazines.

Now - we wake up and look at our iPhones (which didn’t exist then), check out FB/Twitter (which also didn’t exist then).

Now think forward to 2030, how are you going to be getting your information? What will the world look like? How will you be communicating with people?

Q. “How can the movement build capacity to track and potentially shape new realities?”[edit]

Also, encouraging those to follow up on meta with the discussions. Go to and click “LEARN” then Scroll to “Foundation research on major trends”

  • Q: You haven’t come up with anything really weird; can you give us something really weird that might happen over the next 15 years?
    • A: We’re going to have chips in our brains and have information beamed into our heads; seems disgusting, but we’re already seeing conversations about brain control technologies. Biotech as another next level intervention; where are the boundaries between physical and digital? There are already sci-fi books with Wikimedia in them; interesting to see how we could reimagine that.
  • Q: Michael from Germany. I like Sarah’s point about literacy and how the definition will evolve. There is such a thing like “Wiki-literacy” - even today, it’s not enough to just be literate to contribute to Wikipedia projects. For many people, with the data we have, this seems to be difficult. From your research, do you have any advice for us Wikimedians on how to make editing easier?
    • A: It’s exciting that you’re working on that. I don’t think we’re in a ‘how’ position, but doing it seems a good idea. One research site is an NSF-funded project at edge of education funding and delivery. Under US government; some of the things people working on are really fascinating, including individualised learning, for different cognitive variations and things like that and possibly people to network with who are working in these spaces.
    • Juliet - I would also add that I think that Wikipedia should be part of the conversation around the definition of literacy. Many people have asked us why Wikipedia hasn’t become subject to the claim of “fake news” and it’s because we have a lot of tools around verifying information so we should be participating in that discussion since we have a lot to offer.
  • Q: Responding to your comment about Sci-Fi. I’m from Minneapolis. I love the idea of Sci Fi and in some ways it’s already happening with computers; some people programming computers to intelligently review data and make human like assumptions. Since the world's knowledge will be in this database and will be more refined over time and it’s from what people are thinking and it’s correct - is there some way in the future to analyse that data to make predictions about humankind and where the world is going? I’m just wondering if there’s something like that?
    • A: This morning, I opened my email to an invitation from a ‘Bot” - a bot that you can interact with based on the current headlines and your search history. So there will be more tools like that in our future.
    • X prize is an example. The critique of this is that any sci-fi narrative only is as good as the people involved in it. So if it’s the same people involved in making these predictions, you’re going to get the same stuff that we’ve always gotten. So how do we then take this info and make some predictions that involve and include all people in this vision? Ideas that we haven’t heard before.
    • A: I went to a discussion of people from different perspectives; religious, scientific etc; discussing scenario plans - they called different parts of society ‘forces’. The scientist raised hand and said that things that have human agency are not ‘forces’; we’re in charge of the future, absent a solar event, etc. Here you are in this giant movement and you have agency to create a future that you want.
  • Q: I’m not sure if this is a question or a comment. You didn’t discuss much about online trends, you focused on mobile. But if you look - most new people getting online, they are using mostly social media. Globally, it’s about 50% of the users now. How can we respond as a community, especially with fake news going around? We seem slow to respond to this. For instance, why don’t we have a “share” button on links from Wikipedia to social media? This would help us address things like the Russian rumors and fake news. We can all copy and paste, but that would help a lot to be able to share facts directly from Wikipedia.
    • A: I think that’s exactly the kind of thing that we’ll be discussing in the next phase of the strategy process. Right now it’s an understanding of general direction and in the next year it’s a question of trade-offs and conversations like that will be really important.
  • Q:  I would like to question the uniqueness in Wikimedia being positioned to be at the forefront of this. The idea of doing this collaboratively in a global fashion is not actually unique to Wikimedia. Maybe there’s something we can learn through partnerships with other organizations who are doing similar things. Ex: Mozilla.
    • A: That’s right. The reason we said uniquely positioned is that the first thing that comes up when you search is Wikipedia, but yes there are a lot of organisations thinking through these challenges; it’s not just creating a product or a platform; it’s a group of people around the world finding common cause and not trying to reinvent the wheel. There are choices to be made and it’s not up to us to make them.
    • A: I would also add that the brand is very recognized in many countries. Also the size of the audience. So the movement isn’t just the people who contribute, but also the people who partake. 1.4 billion unique devices per month.
  • Q: Works for Access Now. Very excited to hear about this project and the research you’re doing. I’m also a sci-fi writer and have a novel coming out this fall so very interested in this. Sci-fi writers are very involved in predicting the future projects. The clients often don’t want a story, but an engaging way of looking at these new scenarios. often when you read, there are constraints on these stories - but then they just go in this standard direction of just focusing on the technology of the stories, which is boring. I think there’s value in engaging the communities, but it’s challenging to make them interesting for the reader. Conference in Toronto in 2018 - want to include people in the process of letting your mind run free and see where you go.
    • A: Good point. As a way of working with complex systems and trying to understand not just the rational situation but the emotional dimension as well? Space for social science fiction, not just science fiction. Also interesting to think about a world without wikipedia; Infomocracy (novel) - give micro-democracies all the information they need. But it’s a closed system.
  • Q: I’m not totally sure of all the things you said. The Russian community have just told me that they’re going to be a doing a contest writing about the future of Wikipedia and it’s going to start this fall.
  • General A: Our research doesn’t cover all things. Ex: disease, antibiotic resistance, climate change, or other social or other forces that are likely to be very prominent in the next 15 years. It just wasn’t a research area for us.
  • Juliet - recommends that climate change is included in the research moving forward for Wikimedia.
  • Q: Could you elaborate on mobile and video and whether they are maybe a killer if they’re not implemented. What are the scenarios?
    • A: What are the sharp questions about choices that our business is going to have to make? There are already attempts to put Wikipedia entries into video. The ultimate argument is that it’s just for ads and eyeballs and actually the other way you can go is to make it more modular, more streamlined, more available on other platforms - and ignore video all together. So these are choices that need to be made. I work with documentary video - and good implementation of video would be very costly to do.
  • Q: The world we’ve created for ourselves didn’t exist; let’s remember that we have created something that is science fiction.
    • A: One of the other points we thought about for the presentation - you can’t gather all knowledge and that’s a beautiful thing. The world is evolving quickly and creativity. The aspiration is enough to drive the project forward.
  • Q: Wikipedia doesn’t collect data on users, unlike Facebook and Google. That doesn’t align with our values of privacy. Do you agree that will be a critical factor in maintaining competitiveness? Wikipedia is a relatively passive thing; not a lot of content is customised and brought to them without media input.
    • A: One of the things we said was - practice drives policy. So it’s the privacy policy stance that Wikimedia brings by not divulging user information.  It’s not about your Wikimedia info being captured, but how is that going to make its way out into the world, to have a more comprehensive distribution plan? And it’ll happen on a case by case basis since each platform will have a different policy.
    • We looked at what people associated with certain terms; word ‘privacy’ was very low in what they associated with Wikipedia/Wikimedia brand. Preserving privacy while we look at new technologies will be an uphill battle.
  • Q: I took the info from the slide and followed the instructions to look at the first 3 research briefs. Don’t understand why the other 3 are missing. I have interest in - disease outbreaks, biotech, and climate change. Ties into a workshop tomorrow “what Wikimedia could do in emergency response?” It’s broken into 1, 2, 5 years - but 2030 could serve as a motivator or guide for this. Might be related to the areas you haven’t covered yet.
    • A: the reason the other three aren’t there yet is that they’re still in the editing process.
    • The research briefs are meant to be conversation starters, so we’d appreciate your feedback - links to the meta in the slides. And then later, we’ll have a more final research debrief for our group and that we can share with partners and people we want to have discussion with.