Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/2019 Community Conversations/Advocacy

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Scoping format[edit]

What is your area of inquiry?[edit]

The vision of the Advocacy Working Group is:

In 2030 everyone can access, use, transform and build on Wikimedia projects within the legal and functional environments which enable them to share the diversity of knowledge and express it freely. These environments nurture free knowledge that is created and maintained within and outside the Wikimedia movement.

In drafting the vision we drew from the strategic direction to investigate how advocacy contributes to that strategic direction. Since our movement operates in various contexts, currently there is no unified definition of advocacy. Therefore the process serves the purpose of determining what advocacy is for our movement accounting for a variety of tactics and approaches. Community input is needed to fully define this concept.

Advocacy means many different things to many different people, for this reason we are still working on a consensus definition of Advocacy.


What is the current situation?[edit]

We felt it best to represent our current situation through a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis, which we have summarized below and which is available in full in the Appendix. This analysis is based on our own expertise and observation and is thus only a draft which will evolve as we continue our research.

Strengths: Advocacy strengthens the image of Wikimedia as well as the community. It places the movement as part of a strong “free culture lobby” enabling to build tools and tactics applicable in various contexts.

Weaknesses: Resistance to advocacy efforts. This work can be seen as non-inclusive and against neutrality.

Opportunities:  Wikimedia advocacy operates in an environment of increased interest, awareness, and enthusiasm for digital rights, human rights, and access to knowledge on both an individual and organizational scale. Additionally, increased connectivity and access are creating more diversity online and within the Wikimedia movement.

Threats: Advocacy in the Wikimedia movement is threatened by adverse perceptions of the movement, including negative perceptions of tech in general, misunderstandings about the effectiveness of technological solutions, hostility to truth and media, and both implicit and explicit censorship. Additionally, a lack of resources and support, both internal and external, limit the scope of advocacy efforts. Finally, because of the ever-changing nature of advocacy, time and resources often need to be spent on defending previous gains, rather than advancing free knowledge further.


Why this scope?[edit]

For extraction of scoping questions we used Theory of Change methodology. We defined conditions inside and outside our movement that need to emerge for achieving of advocacy vision. We grounded those conditions on a presumption that Wikimedia projects are run in ways that ensure representation and diversity. In order to reach 2030 strategic goals, advocacy is a necessary action to be taken by the movement.

Necessary conditions:

  • Advocates have tools and support from Wikimedia movement to work.
  • Practices of using free knowledge exist and expand in as many contexts/geographies as possible.
  • Frameworks promote & support access to information and knowledge.
  • Integrated open movement advocacy toolkits, training packages, strategies etc. developed and shared.
  • The pervasive use of and contribution to Wikimedia projects expands reach and value of free knowledge.
  • Wikimedia projects are accessible across formats, technology, languages, modalities (visual, verbal etc.).
  • The Wikimedia community is inspired to drive advocacy through understanding and collective passion.

Scoping questions[edit]

What are the key questions within the scope of the Working Group?[edit]

  1. How do we ensure that our community’s various contexts are represented through advocacy?
  2. How do we advocate so that all people who want to access Wikimedia projects can do so, in the languages and ways the want?
  3. How do we use advocacy to turn “adverse” or “unaware” environments into enabling environments?
  4. How can we ensure that the movement's advocacy efforts are not harming the neutrality of the Wikimedia project's content?
  5. What is needed to encourage and inspire advocates for the Wikimedia movement?
  6. What sort of material, conceptual, resource and expert support do movement advocates need and where does it come from?
  7. How do we safeguard and protect the efforts of advocates (and contributors) within “adverse” or “unaware” environments?
  8. What external frameworks should we support and/or change to further ground contribution and access in free speech and free knowledge (e.g. legal frameworks or government departments)?
  9. How do we incorporate existing and future aligned partners in our advocacy efforts?