Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Recommendations/Create Cultural Change for Inclusive Communities
Connection to other recommendations
This recommendation proposes the idea of making our ecosystem a welcoming, safe, and collaborative environment to ensure growth and sustainability. It shares commonalities with ‘Improve User Experience’, ‘Evaluate, Iterate, and Adapt’, ‘Provide for Safety and Security’, ‘Ensure Equity in Decision-Making’, and ‘Promote Sustainability and Resilience’.
Based on that consultation, we must create reporting processes and enforcement mechanisms for those standards, which respect community autonomy as much as possible but include safeguards for when a community consistently fails to apply the standards. These mechanisms need to be evaluated to test their effectiveness in bringing equitable opportunities for participation and diversity.
Our communities generally do not reflect the diversity of profiles of our global society and suffer from a lack of renewal in the most active contributors and positions of responsibility. The alarming gender gap in contributors can be attributed to several causes, among them the lack of a safe environment, as evidenced by numerous reported cases of harassment over the past years. People feel isolated when facing problematic behavior issues because our systems do not readily provide for incident reporting and follow-up in easily-findable procedures.
This lack of safety in the current culture of many Wikimedia projects limits the work of the existing community and is a barrier for new people to join. Diversifying requires different types of contributors and different innovations in collecting and creating free knowledge. These may not be entirely aligned with today’s projects, but still have a place in the Wikimedia Movement. We must ensure that we have a welcoming and usable environment where contributors and new communities can safely flourish. The effects are not restricted to the online communities, but reach into external social media channels, off-wiki communities, workgroups, and organizations: more often than not there are the same conflicts and biases with the same people and views missing from the table.
To make the cultural change to become inclusive and welcoming to larger and more diverse communities, we recommend an approach based on several actions. We must create a Movement Charter that lays out the shared values and principles of the Movement and from which other governance documents will derive—for online and offline governance alike. Establishing a unified baseline from which nobody can fall below enables us to set ground rules which can be contextualized according to specific use and enriched with local requirements.
In addition to the Charter, we must have a universal Code of Conduct setting standards of behavior for all stakeholders and a Movement Governance Document for all offline Movement bodies and organizations. These documents should align and reinforce each other in our shared values. Designed with consultation and based upon existing best practices, the documents will also specify adequate structures for conflict management and measures for situations where the basic values and principles are breached. These and all Movement policies and procedures need to be routinely evaluated to ensure that they provide equitable opportunities for inclusion and participation in the Movement, create frameworks for accountability, and counterbalance existing biases, both direct and systemic.
In order for the cultural change to be effective, there needs to be continual improvement in the editors’ user experience in the platforms that lowers the technical knowledge requirements, capacity building to learn the skills to enable safety and security for new and existing editors, and access to decision-making in an equitable way. By focusing on the unique needs and challenges of the stakeholders, which reinforce the values of inclusivity, we will make effective change to ensure our sustainability. However, we should not only take into account the needs and views of the existing communities but also those of future contributors in order to ensure equitable opportunities for participation.
- Create a Movement Charter of shared values and principles to sustain and grow a welcoming, safe Movement, through a consultative process of all stakeholders.
- Create a clear and transparent Code of Conduct for Movement-wide behavioral standards and enforcements to establish basic community responsibilities for safeguarding and maintaining a healthy working atmosphere, along with procedures to be followed for reporting and follow-up.
- Establish Movement Governance Documents for all offline Movement bodies and organizations.
- Develop a process of evaluation to test the effectiveness of existing policies and procedures at every level of the Movement to ensure equitable opportunities for participation concerning diversity and inclusion efforts for existing and future communities.