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Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Reports/Summary of Movement Conversations 2020/Board of Trustees

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This is great, go for it, this will support us, we need this, full support. This is good and it needs to be improved or amended, we have questions, we need clarity, we have specific suggestions.
  • The principles are important
  • This is the guideline
  • clarify: we have a history in the movement of some communities not properly assessing their needs, capacity, etc. - seems at odds with statements that communities know best what they need
  • clarify: what is an “even distribution of funds”? what is “even”? who decides that?
  • clarify: whether the principles are what govern the movement or they’re what has governed the strategy recommendation development process
  • clarify: how do we balance subsidiarity with equity - concerns about dominance in service of subsidiarity, e.g. we don’t want to further entrench ENWP
  • clarify: "why" for the principles - finetune them
1. Promote Sustainability and Resilience
  • support for recommendation: highlights the need for capacity for local fundraising, philanthropy, etc.
  • support for improving brand awareness
  • support for systems to evaluate volunteer needs
  • upgrading software platform (3 green, 1 yellow)
  • clarify: what we mean by “unrestricted funds”; language around unrestricted funding — is it just about operating support?
  • clarify: what is an “even distribution of funds”? what is “even”? who decides that?are there some documents/research supporting this statement: "In our current setting, support and appreciation is distributed unevenly"?
  • add: reference to public policy could be added here
  • clarify: what is meant by fundraising strategy
  • clarify: for brand awareness, be more explicit about the world we are trying to create - opportunity for storytelling
  • clarify: what’s meant by research editor recognition (stickies)
  • clarify: compensating for non-editing “volunteerism”
  • clarify: addressing sentiments around compensation paths for editing work
  • clarify: what’s meant for standards for multilingual professional training - people need flexibility and support (stickies)
  • add: re: “professional training for organizers and advocates” - judging from past experiences, should be reserved for promising individuals with a strong background in movement values
2. Create Cultural Change for Inclusive Communities
  • support for code of conduct
  • support for offline entities
  • Support for "readily provide for incident reporting and follow-up in easily-findable procedures"
  • add: metric that by 2030, aim to have 50% women contributors
  • add: requested language: reference minorities and marginalized communities specifically; single out harassment and gender as priorities
  • add: stress the need for renewal and permeability for roles with privileges (esp. project admins, also checkusers and stewards) to avoid exclusive “monocultures”
  • add: to CoC “and, the Board will commit the Foundation to provide the support and resources required”
  • add: CoC will be developed in collaboration with our communities
  • clarify: how compliance will be ensured in projects and communities - how to address those that refuse (e.g. sanctions, de-sysop)
  • clarify: better define what the charter is, what responsibilities it refers to
3. Improve User Experience
  • support for recommendation: the internet has changed, there's high threshold / barriers to entry
  • support for recommendation: OIC weakness especially for attracting young people
  • support for propose and create new wikis
  • support for incident reporting - technical and volunteer
  • support for training - safety and security
  • add: references to video, audio, multimedia
  • add: commitment that if/when another attempt is made to provide “official” communication channels (after Flow and Space) - (1) it is done collaboratively with communities, partners and animals, (2) it is adequately resources for the full project roadmap with milestones, acceptance tests, tuning and course-correction
  • add: to “what” re: barriers or unaddressed needs - it might imply clashes with established wiki cultures (e.g. micro-contributions, gamification) and being cut out of wiki life (e.g. discourse on talk pages, discussions, policy, governance, contact with other contributors) - can lead to frustrations with floods of newbies and not doing things the “wiki way” - systematic solutions must take this into consideration
4. Provide for Safety and Security
  • support for process, enforcement, etc.
  • support for security plan
  • add: “Where appropriate, and when it helps meet our larger goals, we strive to advocate for the legal and regulatory framework that our community needs to make our projects thrive.”
  • edit: overuse of “guarantee” - cannot actually be guaranteed, trainings can be provided, platform can be more secure, but cannot guarantee security (e.g. secret polices, oppressive regimes)
  • add / clarify: under “expected outcomes” - developing the UCoC must be done with communities that focuses on *how* to forbid behaviors, enforce prohibitions, and punish violations, i.e. focusing on what are the consequences of violating the UCoC and who is to execute once found
5. Ensure Equity in Decision-Making
  • support for regional structures
  • support for recommendation: there are a lot of decisions made in individual projects in an uncoordinated fashion that could benefit from better global community coordination
  • support for recommendation: overrepresentation of movement issues as a proportion of BoT’s time and attention
  • support for recommendation: belief that the Foundation and Board are here to serve the mission and vision more broadly, not to serve interests of communities narrowly (serving communities is part of serving mission and vision, but not the only part)
  • support for recommendation: some of the issues with wanting to have this body is having some sort of entity in the movement that the Foundation answers to
  • support for the recommendation: when people talk about wanting more power, being able to make their own decisions is about a desire to have a dialogue about decisions made by WMF
  • support for the recommendation: need something like this, because there is a vacancy in responsibility within the movement
  • support for recommendation: based on the logic it offers, it fills a gap - current there is a void in responsibility
  • support for establish conflict resolution mechanisms


  • clarify: language vague at the moment
  • clarify: Focus is needed in terms of governance - what do you want to focus on and what don’t you want to focus on?
  • clarify: especially to address community concerns with the board, representation, etc. [regarding current BoT representation, especially from emerging settings, Global South, tech]
  • clarify: how to deal with the same individuals represented at multiple levels? [the same person serving on various boards and groups, and now hubs, GC, etc.]
  • add: RE conflict management mechanisms: when they are put in place, there would need to be either commitment or some compelling force that would be able to make the sides come to the table (including WMF)

Global council

  • clarify: the relationship between the Board and Global Council - as an advisory/parallel body, rather than a parent body
  • clarify: what is meant by “equitable representation in global decision-making”
  • clarify: whether the WMF Board gives it power (and how much) or is it a body that can exact accountability from them - e.g. “most legitimate body,” “holding all movement organizations accountable” vs. “... referred by the WMF Board to this [] body” - advisory role as seen in the past (e.g. FDC review of annual plans) OR a one-time, permanent, irrevocable ceding of power - the latter has huge significance and if so, must be worded carefully
  • clarify: “global partnerships”? partnerships can be a loaded term
  • add: assurance that partnerships will not only be in the Global North -- this is support for partnerships in all communities
  • clarify: what else are they requesting that this group have authority over?
  • add: avoid creating extra bureaucracy or friction for community
  • edit: the term “governance body” suggests that it will have power to make a lot of decisions; against using anything worded around “governance” - a community advising committee, etc., is necessary; ok if renamed to “global advisory council”
  • clarify: how to prevent inequities from forming?
  • edit: support for the recommendation: there is a gap for sure, want to tweak how it would work with a good distinction between what this body does and what the Foundation Board does / what would that interaction look like?
  • clarify: what is meant for the Global Council to be in charge of / what specific areas would this committee like to focus on?
  • clarify: re: “dedicate equitable budgets for community growth …” - GGB is retaining some centralized decision-making on funding, which is a good thing, just taking it away from WMF? which is fine.Hubs
  • clarify: would these be new structures, or affiliates, or a combination?
  • clarify: who decides when these hubs are formed? and how?
  • clarify: would these regional hubs do their own fundraising? If not, who decides how much funding each hub gets?
  • clarify: the extent of what is meant by hubs providing legal protection. Representing Wikimedia in legal fronts competently with teams around the world is highly specialized with great capacity building and resourcing demands.
  • clarify: having hubs be in charge of diversity and inclusion, governance, etc. in their regions is a matter of significant capacity building. Where would all this maturity spring up from? If it won’t, what is envisioned about how this would come about?
  • clarify: who would select the country to situate hubs in (and deal with inevitable immediate jealousies/resentment etc.)?
  • clarify: who would decide when a regional hub has enough capacity to take on the stated responsibilities? And who would monitor whether, a hub is succeeding at these things, and take action if not?
  • add: how to ensure new hubs don’t unnecessarily increase the complexity of how decisions are made?
  • clarify: will we support whatever happens organically or will we be targeting via a partnerships or hubs strategy - what’s in scope and what’s not in scope?
  • add: minimal threshold for communities and groups to enter resource decision-making - resource allocation in and by people in each context presumes minimal competence (mission alignment, appreciation of norms) - it is ideal, but can be disastrous without minimal thresholds. That threshold can be decided collaboratively, within legal boundaries
6. Foster and Develop Distributed Leadership
  • support for the recommendation: there is low-hanging fruit in this area: building some of this, even with a small cohort, in connection with our existing convening times (e.g. at events)
  • support for the recommendation: focus on building leaders who are truly representative of the world
  • support for global leadership development plan
  • support for network of movement leaders
  • clarify: mandate is to consider term limits (why, if), rather than a directive to implement them (who, what, how)
  • add: desire to see potential here better defined; there’s a lot of upside to leadership development; To what end? What is the impact we want to see? Why is leadership important?
  • add: Seek opportunities to tap into leadership outside the existing movement
  • clarify/add: What is the connection between participating in a leadership program within the Wikimedia movement and developing skills that are applicable outside participation in the Wikimedia movement?
  • add: Mentorship and other programs, eventually not in the global north and anglo-centric world
  • add: serving ambitions beyond the movement - not only leadership development for the community, but from the community, what is the model where those people can then become advocates and evangelists for these projects’ values out in the world
  • clarify: make sure we don’t throw money away (like Google, Mozilla) without making sure the people entering trainings are actually going to make use of it in service of the movement
  • clarify: what needs to happen for someone to be eligible to participate? people who have already shown some work and potential (criteria in the movement in terms of who gets to be there and what happens for people to be eligible before we invest money in them) - keep it high level
  • add/clarify: call out public policy here
7. Invest in Skills Development
  • support for learning packs
  • support for skills assessment systems
  • support for skill development shared certification
  • clarify: prioritization of skills building
  • add: consider buy vs. build for platform (sticky)
8. Manage Internal Knowledge
  • support for facilitate a culture of documentation
  • support for create environment for internal learning
  • support for knowledge base
  • support for addressing years of haphazard attempts to improve “it’s on Meta”
  • add: tech request for language adaptability
  • clarify/add: need for paid knowledge “librarians” to do this work consistently and systematically - there are options for who and how
9. Coordinate across Stakeholders
  • support for capability towards joint decision-making
  • support for design a technology council
  • support for enhance communication capacity
  • add: regarding thematic hubs - local thematic work has been done for almost a decade now, we need international guidelines and structures, we need a global strategy
  • add: education and research for potential thematic hubs - but why not others? (suggestion from discussions, not consensus)
  • add: collaborating through education, research, advocacy to strengthen our brand
  • clarify: regarding hubs - will we support whatever happens organically or will we be targeting via partnerships or a “hubs strategy” - what’s in scope and what’s not in scope?
  • add: public policy could partly sit here
  • clarify: relationship of hubs with the global council
  • clarify: some reservation re: tech council becoming a drag on ability to get work done and shipped (from sticky)
  • clarify: this idea is obviously desirable, but recommendation is repetitive (e.g. channels, protocols)
10. Prioritize Topics for Impact
  • support for research and analysis to provide list of topics with greatest impact
  • support for tools for evaluating topics for impact
  • support for process to work with specialized partners to assist in prioritizing topics
  • clarify: framing and miscommunication (sticky)
  • add: climate? (sticky)[specifically mentioning climate change as a key global priority]
11. Innovate in Free Knowledge
  • support for policies and experimentation
  • support for spaces
  • clarify: notability? (comment on sticky)
  • add: indigenous knowledge? (comment on sticky)
12. Evaluate, Iterate and Adapt
  • support for evaluating diversity and newcomer inclusion
  • support for establishing criteria
  • support for plan, budget, and invest
  • add: evaluation as “checkpoints” for the recommendations - to course correct or re-evaluate need all together
13. Plan Infrastructure Scalability
  • support for technical council
  • support for create support spaces
  • support for design process
  • clarify: the relationship between technical council and CTO
  • clarify: what kind of infrastructure is meant - e.g. organizational, funding channels, etc. beyond tech (servers, code, tools)
  • clarify: improve “how” sections with regards to infrastructure (legal risks, governance decision-making, tech, etc.)
  • clarify: the suggestion to maximize participation in the design of technological scalability seems unrealistic and counter-productive: a lot of specialized knowledge is needed to make decisions about the super-professional context of technically operating a top-10 world Web site. Conducting extensive training of people who are not professional operations engineers to enable them to understand the problems would not get us better decision-making on these highly technical questions.
  • Clarify: The recommendations about three discussion spaces (technical; partnerships; and third-party developers) gives undue weight to third-party developers. Are these specific three spaces the right ones?
General comments
  • This is the right altitude


  • clarify for implementation: whether we’re doing something now or later
  • add: recommendations need to be prioritized before we can even begin to talk implementation, it will not happen all at once - this is not a strategy, these are strategic goals
  • clarify: wishlist or a strategy - cannot implement before prioritizing - some bullets on their own are major, expensive undertakings, even if worthwhile, and should include choices, trade-offs, prioritizing, exclusions, as well as budget estimates, human resources estimate, evaluation plan, and timeline
  • clarify: what is a long-term investment, what is a shorter-term goal
  • add: supporting research / footnotes to the statements in the recommendations

What’s missing

  • add: public policy as an output [also see recs 1 & 6 above] - it’s lacking in the recommendations - what is the world we’re trying to create? By 2030, where do we want to be with public policy (e.g., we want to achieve these changes in copyright law)
  • add: storytelling - recognition, a better articulation of the world we’re trying to create, our posture right now is mostly responsive and defensive, as opposed to being offensive and telling better stories
  • add: what are the things that only we can build?
  • add: timing and sense of urgency
  • add: takes time to build things that work and are sustainable
  • add: explicitly include public policy and global advocacy as part of the preconditions for the awareness we want
  • add: commitment to train local spokespeople
  • add: that the movement have storytelling tools that it needs
  • add: a movement-wide strategy regarding the environmental aspect of sustainability - see the Sustainability Initiative for green energy of servers, remote participation, and a sustainable investment strategy