Message from Katherine Maher
- This message, "February 2: Update on Wikimedia movement strategy process (#5)", was sent by Katherine Maher on 2 February 2017.
The update the past two weeks were delayed while I joined members of our African community in Ghana for WikiIndaba 2017 and participated in organization-wide quarterly reviews.
This is a long email. In summary, you will find information on:
- The core movement strategy team
- Team tracks being developed
- The Community Process Steering Committee
- Strategy discussions being planned for Wikimedia Conference 2017
- The results of preliminary discussions at Wikimedia Foundation's All Hands gathering
- Wikimedia movement affiliates executive directors gathering in Switzerland
- The WikiIndaba conference 2017
First, a quick note from Ghana: congratulations to the WikiIndaba organizers for a high-energy, high-quality event. The program was engaging, highly relevant, and thought-provoking around the future of our movement in Africa. It was great to see people from across the continent, from Algeria to South Africa, Uganda to Nigeria. If you are reading this from anywhere else in the world, and haven’t had a chance to get to know our communities in Africa, you should check out these blog posts about the first Africa de-stubathon and the third annual Wiki Loves Africa - and mark your calendars for Wikimania Cape Town 2018!
Over the past couple weeks, the core strategy team discussed the distribution of these updates, and the likelihood that we’re not reaching enough people in the community with these notifications. We want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to participate in conversations and discussions.
As such, the Foundation’s Community Engagement and Communications departments are working on plans to increase the distribution of our updates to different places and on different channels beyond Wikimedia-l (such as other mailing lists, social media groups, and more). We need your help to get the word out so as many communities as possible can make their voices heard. Where do your communities gather? We welcome your suggestions on where we should share these and other updates.
Core movement strategy team
As I shared in my last update, the core team who will help facilitate the movement strategy process is coming together. They have the experience to do the work we need to do—from deep strategic consideration to long-time knowledge of Wikimedia.
- Whitney Williams, williamsworks
- Ed Bland, williamsworks
- Shannon Keith, williamsworks
- Guillaume Paumier, Senior Analyst, Wikimedia Foundation
- Suzie Nussel, organizational strategy consultant, Wikimedia Foundation
To be clear - this team will not be determining the strategic direction. The Wikimedia movement will, together. Instead, the core team’s responsibility is to shepherd the overall process and keep everyone involved and engaged. The architects (Whitney, Ed, Guillaume) will co-design the conversations within our communities and beyond, and help transform these conversations into meaningful, informed summaries and proposed direction. They will work in close collaboration with, and seek counsel from, track leads, working groups, and volunteer advisors. The project/stakeholder managers (Suzie and Shannon) will work with track leads to drive engagement, coordinate the tracks and support them as needed, as well as manage tasks, deadlines, and budgets for the overall process.
We had an opportunity to introduce the core team at the January metrics meeting, and you can find that here.
Team tracks (A-D)
Our proposal is to identify different audiences within our Wikimedia communities and organize "tracks" of information sharing and dialogue that meet the unique needs of those different audience. Each track would have a working group who would advise the core team on the best way to engage that track’s respective communities. While these are still evolving, the four tracks we are currently considering are:
- Track A - Organized groups - Would coordinate efforts related to Wikimedia organized groups, which include the Wikimedia movement affiliates, Funds Dissemination Committee, Affiliations Committee, the WMF Board, Foundation and affiliate staffs, and other organized or semi-organized groups that help support the movement, such as GLAM-wiki.
- Track B - Individual contributors - Would coordinate efforts related to engaging individual contributors, such as editors, curators, and volunteer developers, across different languages and Wikimedia projects.
- Track C - High reach markets - Would coordinate efforts related to existing and new readers of our projects, and potential and new partners, in countries or languages (markets) where we are well-known. Outreach to readers or prospective readers will focus on those markets where we have high reach in terms of awareness and usage. We will also talk with like-minded organizations and experts in knowledge, communities, and technology associated with the movement now, and those outside the movement.
- Track D - Low reach markets - Would coordinate efforts related to existing and new readers of our projects, and potential and new partners, in countries or languages (markets) where we are not well-known. Outreach to readers or prospective readers will focus on those markets where we have limited reach in terms of awareness and usage. We will also talk with like-minded organizations and experts knowledge, communities, and technology associated with the movement now, and those outside the movement.
We welcome your thoughts on these proposed tracks. Are there stakeholders we are missing? Do they make rough sense? Please share your thoughts on the talk page for this update.
Process design for community audience tracks (A and B)
The Foundation's Community Engagement department has invited people from across the movement to convene a Community Process Steering Committee. This Committee has been having discussions with the core movement strategy team on how we might best engage individual contributors (Track B) and organized movement groups (Track A) in the strategy process. They will continue meeting on Fridays in the coming weeks to propose and collect input for a participatory and open movement process.
In their first meetings, the group has discussed how to engage more "quiet" members of our community, and ways to utilize channels and platforms to encourage participation beyond Meta wiki and mailing lists. In addition to using a diverse number of communications channels - both on and off wiki - they also proposed engaging ambassadors (highly engaged community members) and hiring additional community liaisons to provide support for our many different languages. These roles are now posted and accepting applicants.
The group has also been discussing how to build a facilitator toolkit to help ensure strong and effective discussion in local communities and projects and have a good template for reporting back to/from English. Additionally, a goal is for this toolkit to be able to help engage both long-time contributors and newer contributors.
On a weekly basis, the Core Team will be sharing iterative prototypes of the first 2 suggested processes, based on input and feedback from this Steering Committee. The prototypes will be posted weekly on Meta for everyone to share their thoughts and feedback.
Process design for experts and readers audience tracks (C and D)
The Core Team has been brainstorming some ideas for how to best convene or consult with global experts. The Foundation’s Global Reach team, led by Adele Vrana, is working to identify markets where outreach will have the most impact, and areas where outreach will require special consideration. We are currently considering leaders, both inside and outside the Wikimedia movement, to help develop and lead efforts around these two tracks.
Wikimedia Conference in Berlin (late March)
The Wikimedia Conference in Berlin is coming up in late March/early April. Given that it is one of our major annual community convenings, we have been asking ourselves how we can take advantage of having so many people from so many backgrounds together, in the same place, to talk about the future of our movement.
Working with Wikimedia Deutschland, we have expanded the list of attendees for the conference, and are in the process of developing a dedicated “strategy track” for discussions. We have invited and confirmed arrangements for an additional 145 people, including our stewards, individual contributors, representatives of other movement organizations or groups (such as GLAM-wiki), and additional participants from smaller and newer affiliates. We will use Berlin as an opportunity to have an open conversation on the thematic direction of the overall movement. We will document these conversations in detail, to make sure they are open, transparent, and inform our broader community conversation.
Wikimedia Foundation's All Hands gathering
Whitney, Ed, and Shannon from Williamsworks attended the Wikimedia Foundation's All Hands staff meeting in January and have posted a report on Meta-Wiki with their initial findings. Some of the themes emerging are: sharing knowledge (contributing, not just consuming/distributing), education (pathways to learning, curiosity), access to knowledge (next versus last billion on the internet, or other spaces for knowledge), greater kindness, advocacy (standing up and fighting for free knowledge in the world), and partnerships (the bigger "we").
Wikimedia movement affiliates executive directors gathering in Switzerland
Suzie, Ed, and Anna Stillwell joined 12 executive directors of Wikimedia movement affiliates for a discussion in Switzerland on the movement strategy process. The meeting helped our core team gain insights on challenges and opportunities of the represented affiliates, as well as initial ideas around strategic direction themes and process recommendations for effective community conversations. Key themes identified include Education (focus on media literacy and leveraging projects for education), Go Global (everyone has the same access to knowledge), Inclusion (sum of all knowledge, coming from diverse sources and new formats), and Facts Matter (reliable and true knowledge in a "post facts" political climate in the US and Western Europe).
WikiIndaba conference 2017
I had an opportunity to have a number of wonderful conversations with members of our African community who attended this year's WikiIndaba conference 2017 in Ghana. Instead of a feedback sessions, we agreed that the Indaba community would send me a message with their hopes, dreams, and what they would like Wikimedia to focus on over the next 15 years. I’m looking forward to receiving this, and sharing those themes on the Meta-Wiki strategy portal.
One thing my trip to Ghana allowed me to reflect on is that even with how far this process has come in a short time, we have much farther still to go before we are fully able to engage a movement of our size in a truly meaningful way - or for every corner of our movement to even know this work is happening! I welcome your thoughts on this, and look forward to being able to share more in the coming weeks on how we efforts will help us meet this goal.
- Collecting community-wide feedback on proposed processes (organized groups and individual contributors)
- Confirm track teams, roles, and responsibilities
- Build facilitator toolkit, including:
- Premises for the discussion
- Framing context (research brief) for the discussion on movement strategy and questions/prompts to inspire conversation
- Tools and ideas for engaging communities (e.g., in-person facilitation approaches, best practices on community outreach on wiki)
- Template and instructions for written summary on discussion.
- Build out documentation on Meta-Wiki 2017 Movement Strategy Portal to support engagement and transparency
Beginning this month, we will be sharing a monthly summary of these emails via the strategy updates MassMessage list people have been signing up for. :) If you would like to add your user page or group's talk page to this update list, you are invited to sign up.
Thank you for reading so far!
I really appreciate your continued interest in and patience with this process as it develops. I appreciate the feedback people have provided and, like many of you, am eager to begin a movement-wide discussion.