Decentralized administrative structure for resource allocation
Q1. What is your Recommendation?
By 2030, we envision a movement where we prioritize resources in order to increase diversity in different aspects of the movement by investing in different initiatives. By making funds available for such work (both in large scale and small scale), this would greatly add to our mission in the open knowledge movement.
This recommendation would require the following:
- The Wikimedia movement needs a decentralized administrative structure for resource allocation. Creating regional Wikimedia Foundation offices (eg. at continent level) with roles dedicated to bureaucratic processes, partnership establishment, among others will help the growth of the local communities, agilize processes and gather knowledge on each particular world context. It should also make review and project monitoring easier. Communication channels need to be more fluid and processes need to be evaluated for automatization.
- Changing the resource allocation structure to secure diversity and simplify processes at bureaucratic level will support a more inclusive and dynamic system. For example, the actual grants system prevents the realization of initiatives that are not in line with major campaigns (eg in August only events for Wiki Loves Monuments can be financed by some grants). Some grants are distributed one per country, and the sum must be divided between different subjects.
- For any event related to growing the Wikimedia movement, funds and other resources should be available to stakeholders to cover the organizational costs, providing grant stipulations are met.
- Wikimedia events should incorporate methods to diminish barriers of participation in order to guarantee effective and equal participation by all attendees. This includes funding travel for presentations and collaboration during events, providing translations or visual and audio aids, etc.
- Policies and resources should be put in place to encourage and guarantee the participation of underrepresented voices and minorities, especially at Wikimedia events. For instance, awarding scholarships not based exclusively on edit counts, that excludes other participants who are event organizers and help the growth of their own communities. Also a system of alternating the participants, to avoid having the same people at the events.
- That the Wikimedia movement fund stakeholders and external partners who can help develop new networks for including people and knowledge. For example, identifying stakeholders who can evaluate which records are the most critically vulnerable to loss, weighed against those that are likely to bring different perspectives and points of view which close content/knowledge gaps would be beneficial.
- Wikimedia funding needs to be dynamic enough in a changing system to adequately support technological adjustments to existing platforms or develop new projects.
Previous related recommendations:
- Diversifying Resource Allocation for Securing Diversity in International Collaboration
- Changing the scholarship system for Wikimedia events
- Deploying technologies to increase diversity at Wikimedia events (i.e. translation, visual aids, etc)
Q2. What assumptions are you making about the future that lead you to make this Recommendation?
Currently: parts of the world are not included or involved in the Wikimedia movement. If allocations of resources are not made more flexible, people will continue to be excluded. We also assume that both international collaboration and national partnerships as part of diversity projects are an important way of including underrepresented groups and their viewpoints. This needs to be stimulated by flattening the path.
Wikimedia events usually bring together the same voices (or very similar) voices, mainly based on the criteria to select participants and scholarship recipients. In order to guarantee a space where many diverse voices are represented, policies should be put in place to encourage and guarantee the participation of underrepresented voices and minorities. For instance, awarding scholarships exclusively on edit counts excludes participants that would enrich the event and allow the growth of their own communities.
Since we do not limit ourselves to stakeholders in the wiki movement, but as a global shareable knowledge movement that intends to lead in distributing free knowledge, we must act not only in terms of enriching content, but also in terms of developing people, skills in the community, safeguarding languages and traditions, and growing the territories with which we have outreach.
Q3a. What will change because of the Recommendation?
The current structure for resource allocation, whether is funding, people and human resources, technology and equipment, etc can come at the cost of diversity and reproduce homogeneous environments. A decentralized administrative structure for resource allocation will enable more stakeholders and underrepresented communities to take part in the Wikimedia movement.
One of the changes anticipated is the creation of a wider base of sourcing to facilitate scholarships, affiliates programs, partnerships, and events, as well as editing. For example, by targeting reference materials to digitize in women’s and gender archives, or ethnic studies programs, or disability organizations, etc. there will be more opportunity to include more diverse knowledge in the wikimedia projects.
Q3b. How does Recommendation relate to the current structural reality?
Access to resources within the Wikimedia movement can be difficult, time consuming and the allocation itself needs to be discussed and adapted to where we want to be in 2030.
For example, the grant system changes have resulted in more restrictive requirements. Travel expenses for Wikimedians and experts to participate in Wikimedia events like Wikimania are not covered. This creates a detachment from our partners. We aim to include a wider network of people to give more opportunity to participate in our events, bringing more diverse skills, viewpoints and cultural references into the movement.
Q4a. Could this Recommendation have a negative impact/change?
Monetary resource distribution is based on prioritization goals with some receiving and some not receiving funding. There is often competition between different stakeholders in the same region. The main problem we can foresee with decentralizing the Wikimedia resource allocation structure and utilizing the processes of grants for local activists is the risk of misuse of resources. Clear policy direction defining roles and responsibilities will need to be defined.
Q4b. What could be done to mitigate this risk?
Having decentralized offices on each continent could help with better understanding regional needs, behaviors, situations, and complications. Decentralizing the structure should make analysis and project monitoring easier, because it can help in establishing contextual criteria with which to evaluate each partnership or grant.
Q5. Why this Recommendation? What assumptions are you making?
In the Wikimedia movement, there are already a lot of diversity projects that benefit from international collaboration. However, these projects face administrative problems when trying to include diverse contributors, because resources can be restricted by the funder of resources or local laws. This has been reported by community feedback and has happened to many stakeholders and community leaders.
Q6. How is this Recommendation connected to other WGs?
It is tied specifically to Resource Allocation. Investing in initiatives links it to Partnerships. There are also ties to Product & Technology, Advocacy, Capacity building and Community Health.
Q7. Does this Recommendation connect or depend on another of your Recommendations?
In some points, this recommendation is connected to the Partnerships Diversity Recommendation and all other recommendations of the Diversity Working Group.
Q8a. What is the timeframe of this Recommendation in terms of when it should be implemented?
The earlier the better. It should be deployed during two years. The implementation of the recommendation depends on the recommendations of the other working groups and when and how they will be implemented, particularly the recommendations from the Resource Allocation Working Group.
Q8b. Who needs to make a decision on this Recommendation?
Wikimedia Foundation, affiliates, partners