Opening the circle: All terrain readiness
The strategic direction challenges the movement to serve regions and people previously not at the center of the ecosystem’s attention. As we are embarking on this journey, we have to acknowledge and prepare for circumstances and situations requiring more and better tailored support to fulfill the mission. This relates to the active involvement of previously underrepresented groups as well as the way in which we gather and share knowledge concerning such groups. In this recommendation community refers to those who add knowledge as well as those whose knowledge is added.
1. We create localised resources and decentralised capacity to support contributors at risk due to their participation in the movement.
2. We adopt best practices while documenting knowledge of marginalised groups.
Here are some references around responsible data practices around collection of data from indigenous people
As noted in the recommendation “Privacy and Security for everyone”, the annual Freedom of the Net report 2018 detailed the 13th successive year of internet freedoms being curtailed around the world. The working group projects that these concerning trends will continue around the world and in this recommendation explores non-technological challenges to the movement’s ability to deliver on the mission.
The Wikimedia movement and its ecosystem depend on and are a key pillar of the free open web facing increased pressures around the world.
We currently do not have a systematic approach to support users at risk due to their participation in movement activities and lack the essential local capacity to support users as demonstrated in recent events like the political instability in Venezuela and Turkey. Support in these case could and should take various forms, from providing legal assistance to targeted publicity and financial support for those whose livelihoods are threatened as a result of their involvement in the movement
We will continue to face state and state-sponsored censorship efforts impacting the movement and currently do not have publicly available material to support contributors who are affected by such measures. Such support will have to be available at the lowest possible level.
It is not only those active in our projects that are at risk. Our efforts to provide access to knowledge about e.g. indigenous communities can inadvertently have negative consequences. Working with indigenous communities without understanding the impact of such work on these populations could be dangerous as demonstrated from previous work of other civil society organisations. We currently fund various communities to work with indigenous knowledge but we lack a guideline or best practices safeguarding the agency of communities over the projects that they are involved in.
The changing socio-political landscape around the world requires additional infrastructure, capacity and resources to support our vision of knowledge equity. This work would need careful consideration of and well-prepared dialogue with the communities we work with. Fortunately, there is a huge body of work documenting the issues and learnings from previous effort we ought to learn from. The movement needs to build in measures to prevent at least these well known issues prior to engagement with these stakeholders respectfully.
This set of recommendations would strengthen the protections for marginalized communities as well as contributors and users originating from within them to engage with the Wikimedia platform with lesser risk and enhanced agency.
WMF , project communities, affiliates, individual editors
Certain communities might need to do an introspection and changes in their established processes, project and annual plans.
The support provided by the movement to members of marginalised communities could lead to a backlash from more powerful groups against the movement and the projects.
An discussion on how to continue the engagement with marginalised groups when these introspections have been completed and improvements realized as preparatory steps.
The vision of equity needs to come from the lens of respectful collaboration and sensitivity towards an existing community’s needs and should not be guided by an incomplete or inaccurate understanding being projected onto them. Right now, the movement is more in the mode of growing without adequate inquiry into the needs and support opportunities for such communities as defined by them. This recommendation will add additional checks to our work and make us both more responsible and responsive.
Yes it is connected to the recommendation “Building an inclusive global community” and codependent on “Equity-centered technologies”.
Roles and Responsibilities, Resource Allocations, Partnerships, Product and Technology