- Date: 15 September 2019
- Time: 15:00—19:00
- Location: Hotel Cristal Porto
Wikimedia Portugal had planned to host this Strategy Salon in July 2019. However, funding was received only a few days before the event and we were unable to organize it at that time. We therefore postponed it to September, as August is a holiday month in Portugal and many members would be on vacation during that time. The date was then settled to September 15, and the event was held in the city of Porto, hosted in Hotel Cristal Porto. It started at 15:00 and ended at 19:00.
The Salon started with a brief welcome from Gonçalo Themudo, president of Wikimedia Portugal. The strategy process was explained, covering all the steps that had been taken up to that point, and what was expected from the Salon that day. As some of the participants were relatively new to the movement, some time was dedicated to explain the current structure of the movement: what the Wikimedia Foundation is, the general structure of affiliates (chapters, user groups and thematic organizations), and the interdependence of the projects.
Participants were then asked to introduce themselves and explain their involvement or interest in the Wikimedia movement. When idealizing the salon, we had chosen two themes: Roles and Responsibilities, and Capacity Building. However, as draft recommendations had already been published on meta by that date, we instead discussed some of the recommendations that had caught the participants’ eye instead of discussing the scoping documents. As it turns out, new drafts of recommendations were published between holding the salon and writing this report, so the below refers to the draft recommendation published prior to September 15, 2019.
Discussion was lively on many discussion points, and continued until 19:00 with a coffee-break in between. At 19:00 the salon was closed, and participants were invited for dinner in a restaurant at a walking distance from the hotel.
Regarding the Diversity Working group Recommendation #9: The majority of participants felt strongly that the acceptance of a non-commercial license in Commons would cause more harm than good. The main points raised against were that it complicates reuse of our content further down the line, the usability of non-commercial licenses for educational purposes is dubious and some went as far as saying that the Wikimedia Movement should recommend to Creative Commons that CC-NC type license be no longer supported or should be abolished. As upsides, a few participants mentioned that we would be able to probably host ten times more content than we do now. The consensus view was however, that the difficulties were greater than the advantages.
There was some discussion about decentralization of the formal structure of the movement, including the allocation of funds and grants. Some of the participants felt that funds generated in very high degree by volunteer work were not easily accessible outside of the WMF and large chapters. Despite Portugal being located in Europe, the Wikimedia Community in Portugal is defined as an Emerging Community (https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Community_Engagement/Defining_Emerging_Communities). While this year, Wikimedia Portugal has been successful in attracting funds from the WMF, there were some worries about instability of rules regarding for example Rapid Grants, and that there is no more possibility to ask funds for projects with a value smaller than 500 USD.
This led to some discussion on the instability of nomenclature of some of the sites and services, such as the Tool Labs/Tool Forge, and the proposed re-branding of the Wikimedia Foundation. In particular there was some disagreement of whether the rebranding to Wikipedia Foundation was opportune, particularly with the emergence of Wikidata as a vibrant and exponentially growing project in recent years. An alternative view expressed by participants was that it is natural for rebranding to occur for the most widely known product of the movement. A consensus view was that this rebranding was not a crucial aspect at the moment for the Wikimedia Movement.
Furthermore on recommendations regarding decentralization, despite the participants feeling that some degree of decentralization was positive, a concern raised regarded unequal pay across the globe for the same job. Technical jobs in the US, and particularly the San Francisco area, are well paid, while the same job in other parts of the globe, including Portugal may be not so well paid. So, some care should go to ensure that, if decentralization goes forward, some assurances regarding work conditions, fair pay and work/life balance should be made for an ethical minimum standard and a gold standard for all Wikimedia jobs.
There was some appreciation for including not only well established members of Wikimedia Portugal, but also inviting newcomers to provide their opinion. Participants felt that it was important to hold the salon, even though it was late in the process, and draft recommendations had already been published.
We were awarded $1070 of which we spent 263.44€ (ca. $289).