Q 1 What is your Recommendation?
The movement should invest into tools that support community discussions, decisionmaking and self-governance. There should be a dedicated team, department or movement entity focusing on providing community members with discussion / governance platforms that are fine-tuned for constructive and inclusive discussion and consensus-building, both technically (e.g. an easy-to-use discussion interface, translation tools, summarization tools, voting tools, community moderation features, flagging...) and socially (e.g. codes of conduct or constructive criticism norms).
Q 2-2 What is your thinking and logic behind this recommendation?
One main obstacle to building all the functionality we will need to become the essential infrastructure of free knowledge is our limited ability to build global consensus; major changes tend to be bogged down in controversies. We posit that a shared vision of how we need to achieve our goals can only be built on a more open and engaged communication between movement actors than the current system of “liaisons” and “ambassadors”, and the reason such communication did not emerge organically (e.g. on our existing mailing lists) is that our current communication channels do not provide the social and technical tools that would enable effective discussion and decisionmaking at scale.
Q 3-1 What will change because of the Recommendation?
It will enable honest and productive discussion between movement entities, thereby preventing major fallouts between the WMF and project communities, allowing participatory decisionmaking of editors in product roadmaps, improving transparency and empowering communities to improve their governance and policies. It will also make discussions more inclusive and harassment and abuse harder.
Q 3-2 Who specifically will be influenced by this recommendation?
The WMF (or maybe some other large chapter) will be directly influenced by having to take on the task.
The project communities and the whole movement will be influenced by the results (being able to have better discussions, which will lead to more participative and transparent decisionmaking).
Q 4-1 Could this Recommendation have a negative impact/change?
It requires a significant investment, which might end up being wasted if the goal turns out to be unrealistic.
It might be seen as an attempt by the WMF to manipulate, bias or censor discussions; or might actually end up doing that.
Q 4-2 What could be done to mitigate this risk?
Establish a wide consensus for the goal, use an open development process where affected community members are active participants; develop the new platform in parallel to current key discussion spaces so that people can fall back to those in case of problems.
Q 5 How does this Recommendation relate to the current structural reality? Does it keep something, change something, stop something, or add something new?
It adds a new structure around product decision making.
Q 6-1 Does this Recommendation connect or depend on another of your Recommendations? If yes, how?
It is complemented by the Open Product Proposal Process recommendation which deals with the other half of the development process.
Q 6-2 Does this Recommendation connect or relate to your Scoping Questions? If yes, how?
It answers the scoping question “Which are the structures and processes to assure the required level of inclusion in decision making and planning of the community at large in their full diversity?”
Q 7 How is this Recommendation connected to other WGs?
It suggests changing movement-wide decision-making processes, which is also in the territory of Roles and Responsibilities.