Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Frequently asked questions

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Contents

Basics

What is Wikimedia 2030?

When Wikipedia marked 15 years in 2016, we as a movement began to think about the future and what we want to build or achieve by 2030. Out of this, a participatory and adaptive process was brought to life to define what Wikimedia will look like in 2030, and how we want our projects, our communities, and the free knowledge ecosystem to evolve.

The Movement Strategy Process “Wikimedia 2030” started in 2017. The first objective was to create a structure for this process and develop a cohesive direction to guide the movement going forward. Global community discussions were coordinated by a core strategy team and a Community Process Steering Committee to create this shared vision for the future. In October 2017, the movement’s strategic direction was finalized and endorsed: By 2030, Wikimedia will become the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge, and anyone who shares our vision will be able to join us. The strategic direction is driven by two objectives: Knowledge as a service and knowledge equity. Now, in the ongoing process, we are exploring our path to get there.

What is the Movement Strategy Process 2018-20?

The Movement Strategy Process “Wikimedia 2030” brings together members of our movement to define how to best advance in our strategic direction. To do this, we are assessing where the movement currently stands and where challenges may lie so that we can identify and seize opportunities that support our strategic direction and develop recommendations for change within the movement‘s structures. As part of this, discussions and analysis will take place on a global level to develop a plan for change that:

  • is built on sustainability, inclusivity, and diversity
  • ensures the movement makes the most of all potential opportunities
  • pinpoints existing and possible challenges and best practices to overcome these
  • identifies the tools, methods, resources, and structural changes that are needed in order to ensure effective implementation of recommended changes

What does the Movement Strategy Process involve?

Our goal is big: Becoming the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge by 2030 requires a deep analysis of where things are at and bold ideas to progress in our strategic direction. How can we adapt our structures to ensure our movement is future ready? What are the biggest opportunities that could drive this evolution? This is what inspires the work of the Movement Strategy Process.

Broadly speaking, the Movement Strategy Process consists of: analyzing the current situation of our movement, developing recommendations for change, and implementing those recommendations.

From July 2018 to November 2019, the process itself rotated around the work of nine working groups, each focused on a specific thematic area that is essential in the movement structure. The groups facilitated discussion, research, and analysis of their thematic area to help the movement answer important questions.

The initial focus is to define a scope of inquiry, aka a set of guiding questions, that will act as a framework for identifying the necessary changes at the movement’s structural level. The answers that the scope yields will be used to decide what changes to implement and how to move forward.

From here, the groups analyzed the movement at a deeper level than ever before. As part of this, dedicated discussions with the broader community took place online and in-person. The community input enriched the groups’ work with diverse perspectives and helped ensure that everything from analysis to recommendations drafting is well informed with what Movement Strategy means in various local contexts.

With two draft iterations, the nine working groups produced 89 recommendations. They concluded their work and dissolved at the beginning of November 2019. From here, a smaller team (made up of former working group members) worked to consolidate the 89 recommendations into one coherent set. This coherent set of recommendations will be presented to the broader Wikimedia movement and the Board of Trustees in early 2020 for review and consideration.


The broader community, experts, and key stakeholders will be brought in at particular points to keep these discussions well informed and enriched with diverse perspectives.

The working groups and overall process are supported by a core strategy team that provides guidance for everyone involved and ensures the process is relevant, collaborative, open, and focused on outcomes.

What are the desired outcomes of the Movement Strategy Process?

The goal is to develop concrete recommendations for how we can evolve and develop structurally in defined thematic areas in order to advance in our strategic direction.

Regular input from communities, movement stakeholders, organized groups, and experts will help ensure that the recommendations are actionable, that they have widespread support, and that the significant legal, financial and structural aspects and implications have all been considered.

What is the Movement Strategy Process timeline?

Status January 2020: The Movement Strategy Process was initiated in 2017. The development of the scope took place from July 2018 until March 2019, and a first draft of recommendations for change was published in August 2019 for community input, including in-person discussions at Wikimania.

This input, alongside research and external expertise, was used to refine the draft recommendations further. At the same time, individuals from different working groups started to work on turning the nine sets of recommendations into one coherent set. Representatives of each working group came together in Tunis, Tunisia in September 2019 to identify overlaps in the content produced by the nine groups and use these to harmonize the recommendations. The goal had been to produce a draft harmonized set by the end of the meeting in Tunis. An initial draft grouping of the recommendations was produced, but it became clear during the event that before it’s possible to create a coherent and actionable set of recommendations, fundamental principles that underpin the path towards 2030 needed to be formalized. This began happening at the meeting in Tunis.

During October 2019, working groups put the final touches on their draft recommendations, 89 in total. The nine working groups were dissolved at the beginning of November 2019. From here, a smaller group of people (who were previously working group members) signed on to take the work on principles forward and continue to create one coherent set of recommendations.

This synthesized, coherent set will be published here in January 2020 for community review. This set of recommendations will also be presented to the Board of Trustees. A following set will be presented to the movement at the end of March 2020, in the lead up to Wikimedia Summit. This set will also be presented to the Board at the same time.

The organized part of the movement will have a chance to discuss the recommendations and implementation in depth at the Wikimedia Summit, which takes place from April 3 to 5, 2020.The event will first aim to create clarity and shared understanding of the recommendations, and then initiate the implementation across movement organizations in a collaborative way.

Implementation of the changes will likely start later in 2020.

You can find more info on the dedicated Timeline page.

Working Groups

What is the role of the working groups?

Working groups are the heart and soul of the Movement Strategy Process, and they have driven the discussions for structural reform across the movement. Over 90 members of the global Wikimedia community have formed into nine working groups, each one analyzing a specific thematic area within the movement. The results of their analyses will form the basis for developing recommendations for structural change.

Working groups have played three important roles:

  1. Identify and monitor trends in their respective thematic area and assess their relevance and impact to the Wikimedia Movement.
  2. Develop structural recommendations for the movement in general and for diverse stakeholders (affiliates, WMF, communities and allies) in particular.
  3. Work closely with a range of community members throughout the process in an effort to develop recommendations and inclusive implementation plans for these recommendations.

The nine thematic areas that the working groups researched and developed recommendations for are: Advocacy, Capacity Building, Community Health, Diversity, Product and Technology, Partnerships, Resource Allocation, Revenue Streams, and Roles and Responsibilities.

Where can I access the working groups’ work?

The guiding questions of the scope, draft recommendations, analysis and deliberations during the process, research and case studies, reading materials and working group reports will be documented on Meta, available for both analysis and discussion.

The minutes of the meetings, decisions made, and action items will be published with the consent of the working group members on each group’s Meta page.

How often did the working groups meet?

The frequency of meetings varied from group to group as the working groups determined their own scheduling. The groups relied on an asynchronous workflow, allowing them to meet online, collaborate, and manage common documents and workloads remotely. Each working group member committed to a time investment of five hours per week.

How were the members of the working groups selected?

Each working group consisted of around 8 to 15 people and featured a mix of volunteers, Wikimedia staff, and Board members from different backgrounds and regions. In mid-2018, an open call for applications was put out to the Wikimedia community to join the working groups. 172 applications were evaluated by the core team and a shortlist was created for the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee - assembled by the core team from members of the broader movement who were involved in Phase I of the Movement Strategy Process - finalized the selection of working group members.

For more details and analysis of the overall applications, please refer to the Application process report here.

What was the proportional makeup of the working groups in terms of the number of volunteers, staff, and Board members?

The working group membership structure roughly breaks down like so: 30% volunteers, 40% staff, 30% Board members.

The distribution of applications was relatively even between staff, board members, and volunteers. When forming the working groups, other factors were considered in addition to applicant roles, such as expertise, geography and also gender identity, in order to ensure a diverse, well-rounded group makeup and help us strike the right balance in group membership.

Have you considered paying volunteers to contribute to the working groups?

Requests to pay volunteers for their contributions to the working groups have been brought to the core team’s attention. In line with Wikimedia’s overall model for voluntary contribution, volunteers will not receive payment for their input into the working groups.

What is the Steering Group?

To facilitate a smooth flow of information between the different working groups, a Steering Group was set up, featuring select representatives (called coordinators) from each working group. The Steering Group met on a biweekly basis together with the core team to share experience and discuss updates that are relevant to all working groups. You can find more info on the Steering Group here.

How does implementation of the recommendations work? Who will make the decisions about the recommendations and when?

This will depend significantly on the recommendations that come out of this process and will likely vary from recommendation to recommendation. The recommendations will influence the movement on various levels (global, regional, and local), which also implicates different approaches in relation to decision-making. As the working groups themselves are not decision-making bodies, one of their priorities will be putting forward ideas for how we make decisions on these recommendations as a movement.

The Wikimedia Board of Trustees is also active in the working groups (there is one Board member in each group). It has also committed to assisting the decision-making process and, where applicable, the implementation of recommendations. Specifically, the Board of Trustees will:

  • resolve difficult questions as required and adhere to decisions made
  • delegate approval of recommendations to an appropriate community mechanism whenever possible (such as endorsement or consensus)
  • make decisions when there is no other mechanism to make the decisions, accept the recommendations that are consistent with the movement's values, the strategic direction, as well as law and other compliance requirements
  • direct resources, budgets, and capacities for the implementation of approved recommendations.

Read more about the Board of Trustees’ role in the Movement Strategy Process here.

Writing Group

What is the role of the writing group?

Writers took on the sense-making and synthesis of the 89 recommendations developed by the nine thematic area working groups into one coherent set. This was based around overlapping themes and converging functions found in the content. In the process of drafting principles and synthesizing recommendations, writers took incoming information into account, such as new and existing conversations with the movement, and reports from earlier phases of the process. Writers used the overlaps that have been identified in the recommendations to synthesize multiple recommendations and outline where changes could be made that would address these.

How were the writing group members selected?

The writing group is comprised of former working group members. In October 2019, the core team asked all working group members to signal whether they were able or would be interested in continuing to work on the recommendations after the working groups dissolved. 15 people signed up to be writers. You can find more information about the group here.

How often does the writing group meet?

As with the working groups, the writing group adopted an asynchronous workflow. They have been meeting online approximately once per week from November to January and they collaborate on the synthesized set of recommendations online and remotely. To help advance their work, members of the writing group came together in person in Berlin in December 2019 for five days. In the lead up to closing their work, 3 final writers volunteered to review the document for layout and for editorial overview. They conducted daily calls and extensive asynchronous work over Dec. 30 to Jan. 4

Participants

How can I participate?

See the Community Conversations section below.

When and how can communities get involved in the Movement Strategy Process?

Insight and perspectives from across the broader Wikimedia community is a vital element of the Movement Strategy Process. There are a number of ways community members can take part:

Join our Community Conversations: During our Community Conversations, community members can provide direct input into particular aspects of the Movement Strategy Process via multiple formats. Initial Community Conversations were held from April to October 2019. A next round of Community Conversations will be held starting in January 2020.

Members of several language communities will also act as Community Strategy Liaisons, managing the flow of information between their language community and the Movement Strategy Process. You can connect with them to stay up to date on news and also share your thoughts about the Process.

Do you have other ideas for getting involved in the Movement Strategy Process? Contact the core team!

What role can organized groups (affiliates, Wikimedia Foundation, movement partners, committees) play in the Movement Strategy Process?

Organized groups are encouraged to actively engage in the Movement Strategy Process. They have been invited to appoint strategy liaisons who will be the point of contact between organized groups and the Movement Strategy Process. The liaisons will facilitate a two-way dialogue that brings the perspective and context of the organized groups into these global discussions.

Community Conversations

Who participates in Community Conversations?

The purpose of Community Conversations is for everyone to have a voice in shaping the future of Wikimedia. With this in mind, Community Conversations are for all members of the Wikimedia community. We welcome editors, readers, affiliates, WMF staff, or anyone who spends their time in the broader free knowledge ecosystem. We also encourage external partners and other interested groups to share feedback where they are interested. In short, this is an opportunity for the community at large to play a central role in determining what structural changes will take place in our movement.

What is the difference between “open discussions” and “strategy salons”?

Open discussions are a period of broad consultation where organized groups of our movement and members of our various language communities (in other words, anyone active on any Wikimedia project, online or offline, in any language) can enrich the conversations with their perspective on what structures and systems they would like to see changed or preserved as we design the next 15 years of our movement. During this period, we encourage you to share thoughts across as many working group themes or areas of interest as you feel comfortable.

Many organized groups and communities will also use this period as a chance to spread awareness about the movement strategy process and help people understand the importance of sharing their perspective. For both of these purposes, open conversations will take place in a variety of formats, including on-wiki, on social media channels, over conference calls, and occasionally in-person. Most open discussion events and conversations will result in notes collected by the organizer and shared back with the Core Team so that they can be summarized together and sent to the working groups.

Strategy salons build off of our work in open discussions by enabling organized groups and some regional Wikimedia communities the opportunity to meet in person and have more focused discussions around one to three working group themes. Most strategy salons were 2-5 hour meetings hosted by affiliate groups with their community members and a few external partners. In a few instances, some regional groups hosted 1-3 day events that brought in community members from a wider geographic region that otherwise might not have had the opportunity to discuss movement strategy together. You can read more about the strategy salons, including reports, here.

How will the Community Conversations feed into the working groups?

Community Conversations will be monitored throughout the process. From March to September 2019, the Core Team created monthly summary documents of the notes shared by affiliate representatives and Strategy Liaisons and presented them to the working groups. From there, the working groups reviewed and considered the new inputs as they drafted recommendations to be shared with the public. If the working groups had additional questions to the communities, they reached out with follow-up questions and specifications to fully understand the local context. The aim of the community conversations is to enrich the discussions and inform the recommendations about the local needs and contexts.

How can I or my group participate in Strategy salons?

Strategy salons were strategy-focused events held by recognized Wikimedia affiliates to host in-person gatherings to discuss movement strategy. The strategy salon application process has closed and all strategy salons were held between June and September 2019.

You can read more about the strategy salons, including reports, here.

What are the working groups doing, more specifically, with community input?

From April to September 2019, the working groups main focus was taking in external information, primarily from Community Conversations, but also through targeted research, to enrich their thinking and draft recommendations which were then shared publicly for community input. This included having working group members meet with the community at Wikimania (August 14-18, 2019) to receive feedback on early recommendation drafts.

In September 2019, working groups began synthesizing their recommendations to create one coherent set. To help them, they reviewed community input on the draft recommendations and used this, where applicable, to adapt or refine their recommendations. Community strategy liaisons provided extensive support for this process, by producing summaries of community content, by joining calls with writers, and by providing direct input into the writing process of the synthesized recommendations.

In November, the writing group started taking this synthesis work forward. The writers have continued the close collaboration with the Strategy Liaisons to help integrate relevant community input where applicable. This synthesized set of recommendations will be published for community review in early 2020.

What is the role of Strategy Liaisons in all of this?

Strategy Liaisons act as a bridge between their organized group or language community and the movement strategy process. Their purpose is to help make sure their organized group or language community understands the strategy process and has rich opportunities to discuss and share the changes they would like to see in the structures of our movement in 9 chosen thematic areas.

With this in mind, there are currently two types of Strategy Liaisons. Organizational Strategy Liaisons are volunteers who represent specific organized groups or affiliates, and lead conversations within those groups. Community Strategy Liaisons are part-time hired contractors who lead conversations in target languages (currently Arabic, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Hindi, and French) across all Wikimedia projects. The two groups operate in parallel, but also lean on each other for support and ideas in facilitating movement strategy discussions within their constituencies.

Recommendations

When will recommendations be ready?

An initial draft set of recommendations will be ready in August 2019, prior to Wikimania.

The path to the recommendations The scope of each working group’s analysis was defined and finalized in March, outlining a set of questions that guide research into our movement. The working groups spent the time following the Wikimedia Summit deep in analysis work and putting recommendations for structural change on paper. An initial draft of recommendations was published in August 2019 prior to Wikimania. These were published on Meta for communities to do an initial review of them online. Beyond this, working group representatives hosted dedicated sessions at Wikimania 2019 to discuss the draft recommendations and seek input in person.

Following this, the groups worked on refining their recommendations based on input they gathered on the drafts, both at Wikimania and online. This input includes both ideas from the communities as well as perspectives from experts beyond the movement who have dealt with change processes or certain aspects of it.

From here, the focus has been on harmonizing and synthesizing the recommendations. This means that some working group members work together to develop one coherent set of recommendations that encompasses the work of all nine working groups. A synthesized et of recommendations will be presented to the movement as well as the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation in January 2020.

Can I already get an idea of what the recommendations will be?

Please see the draft recommendations here. Another way to see what kinds of topics are being discussed within the movement strategy, we encourage you to read the scoping documents that each working group published in March 2019. These outline a set of questions that each group used to analyze the movement and identify which changes may be necessary on a structural level.

How will feedback on the recommendations be collected?

Feedback on the draft recommendations is collected in a variety of ways.

This process started as soon as the initial draft recommendations were published in early August. Working groups took the initial feedback received during community conversations and in person at Wikimania in August and used it to refine their draft recommendations.

Community conversations focusing on the initial draft recommendations were also held throughout August and September. In early 2020, the Wikimedia community will also have an opportunity to review the synthesized set of recommendations, which will be a refined, consolidated version of the initial drafts, the result of the nine individual sets of recommendations being turned into one coherent whole. These discussions will take place on a diverse range of platforms (both on- and offline). During this time, the movement will be encouraged to share their views and perspectives on the recommendations and the impact these may have in their local context.

How will feedback be incorporated into the recommendations?

Feedback will be assessed and, where applicable, integrated into recommendations on an ongoing basis. This process started as soon as the initial draft recommendations were published in early August. Working groups took the initial feedback received during community conversations and Wikimania in August and used it to refine their draft recommendations.

Community conversations focusing on the initial set of draft recommendations then continued throughout September. During this time, the Information and Knowledge Management team also collaborated with the working groups to ensure that all impressions, insights, feedback, and data was made available to them. From November 2019 onwards, the same coordination will happen with the writing group, who will then integrate the community input as applicable and close feedback loops where necessary.

Please note, while all feedback will be reviewed and considered when refining the recommendations, not all the specifics of all feedback may be taken forward and integrated into the recommendations. Please see the following question for more details.

Will all feedback be incorporated into the recommendations?

All the feedback will be considered as a whole when finalizing the recommendations to ensure that they reflect the perspectives of the wider movement as much as possible. However, not all the details of all feedback may be taken forward. The reasons for this may vary. Some of the input provided might be contradictory across the diverse range of stakeholders and communities within our movement; it might not be consistent with the movement's values, the strategic direction, law and other compliance requirements, or with the general direction of other recommendations; or it may be inconsistent or lack clarity of rationale. All input, however, will be well documented and made available for the implementation phase.

How will decisions be made about the implementation of recommendations?

This will depend significantly on the recommendations that come out of this process and will likely vary from recommendation to recommendation. The recommendations will influence the movement on various levels (global, regional, and local), which may also mean different approaches in relation to decision-making. As the working groups themselves are not decision-making bodies, one of their priorities will be putting forward a proposal for how we make decisions on these recommendations as a movement.

The Wikimedia Board of Trustees is also active in the working groups (there is one Board member in each group). It has also committed to assisting the decision-making process and, where applicable, the implementation of recommendations. Specifically, the Board of Trustees will:

  • resolve difficult questions as required and adhere to decisions made
  • delegate approval of recommendations to an appropriate community mechanism whenever possible (such as endorsement or consensus)
  • make decisions when there is no other mechanism to make the decisions, accept the recommendations that are consistent with the movement's values, the strategic direction, as well as law and other compliance requirements
  • direct resources, budgets, and capacities for the implementation of approved recommendations.

Read more about the Board of Trustees’ role in the Movement Strategy Process here.

We will update this section with further information about how decisions will be made.

What steps will take place in the next few months to put a decision-making process in place?

  • August: Working groups will be asked to deliver their proposal for a decision-making process by the end of August. Parallel to this, the global conversations will start to focus on preparing for the implementation stage of the movement strategy; as part of this, discussions will be held with various stakeholders from across the movement.  They will also provide insight into decision making on recommendations.
  • September and October: community conversations about the recommendations will be held. These will gather input from the community on the working groups’ decision-making proposal.

The feedback collected in the aforementioned three areas (working groups, implementation discussions, and community conversations) will be used to put in place a decision-making process by the time the recommendations are delivered in November.

Is the decision of the Board of Trustees or any other body binding for all?

Status as of June 2019: The movement strategy core team is working to determine the answer to this question. We will update this section as soon as possible.

To read more about the Board of Trustees’ role in the movement strategy here.  

What are the steps that will take place between recommendations being published and implementation?

Once the recommendations are delivered to the wider movement, the focus of the movement strategy will start to shift. We will begin envisioning what implementation of the recommendations might look like. As part of this, there will be a number of measures taken to allow time for the community to discuss and provide input into the recommendations and, subsequently, to then design an effective plan for implementing the recommendations.

Community conversations will be held during this time to discuss the recommendations, particularly to see how they might apply in a local or regional context, as well as gather insight on the implementation plan and the suggested process for how decisions will be made about recommendations. While this is happening, an implementation plan for putting the recommendations into action will be developed, drawing on the input that is provided during community conversations. The aim will be to deliver the implementation design by mid-November, and the next steps toward implementation will be based on that plan.

Where can I find the latest news about the Movement Strategy Process?

The core team will publish regular blog posts (a minimum of one a month) on Meta offering the latest updates and reports or presentations on the process. We will also send monthly community updates via the Wikimedia-l mailing list.

Beyond this, liaisons for both communities and organized groups are in place to help facilitate the flow of information and ensure news is conveyed to each.