Draft recommendations published
In August 2019, just prior to Wikimania, each of the nine thematic working groups published their first draft recommendations. This offered a first look at ways to adapt our Movement’s culture and organizational structures to help us advance in our strategic direction and strive for knowledge equity and knowledge as a service. The draft recommendations were designed to be the starting point for conversations about what kind of future we want to create together. They were in a very initial, work-in-progress state, a draft for people to build upon.
Community conversations that had been running since March started to shift focus from thematic discussions to the draft recommendations. With something more concrete to react to, Wikimedians were invited and encouraged to share their thoughts on what these draft recommendations would mean for their unique local or thematic contexts. The purpose was to collect input that the working groups could use to revise their recommendations. The amount of feedback received online, particularly on Meta, took working group members and the core team by surprise and quickly overwhelmed the information flow. It proved difficult to respond to questions and concerns from the community and to acknowledge the great amount of input provided while also running a strategy space and related events at Wikimania 2019. This was an important lesson for the core team to be better prepared for community consultations in the future and to ensure that feedback is acknowledged and appropriately used, that communications channels remain robust and open, and a timely response is provided.
Movement strategy at Wikimania 2019
The recommendations were shared in their first draft iteration in August 2019 just before Wikimania in Stockholm, where the core team hosted a space for Movement Strategy. The entire program was dedicated to discussing the draft recommendations. Representatives from each working group held dedicated 90-minute sessions to discuss their draft recommendations. The sessions were well attended, and each drew between 30 and 70 participants. Each session started with working group members providing a general overview of their draft recommendations and then went deeper into the content. Participants were asked to form groups to discuss particular recommendations or areas of thematic relevance, ask questions, and provide input and fresh ideas to working group members to further develop the recommendations.
Wikimania also provided an opportunity for working group members to meet fellow members, some for the very first time, and to work together in-person. This was also the first time when different working groups started to work with each other, discuss overlaps in their content, and collaborate on common ideas.
Community strategy liaisons were also present at Wikimania to facilitate and support discussions in different languages and surface information shared on other projects and wiki platforms. They also hosted a Movement Strategy table in the community village that people could visit to ask questions about the draft recommendations and find out about strategy sessions happening at Wikimania.
What we learned
- The core team should have better anticipated the high level of feedback (in person at Wikimania and online) and put in place a more targeted plan to engage, support working group members in responding, better collate feedback, and synthesize the input received.
- Having a dedicated space at Wikimania to discuss the draft recommendations was immensely helpful and allowed working group members to have honest discussions with community members and work with fellow colleagues and other working groups to cross-pollinate and progress ideas. Even though Wikimedians usually operate and interact in virtual spaces, in-person events can catapult a process forward.
- Sometimes even the loud angry voices in the movement become constructive allies in person when space is provided for alignment, engagement, and frank discussions.