Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Transition/Discuss/Cluster A

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This page contains a summary of discussions from the Movement Strategy 5-6 December Global Conversations regarding the implementation of the initiatives: 22. Movement Charter + 23. Interim Global Council + 24. Global Council. Feel free to continue the conversation on Meta by adding your thoughts and comments in the talk page.

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  1. Nadzik (talk) 23:08, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
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  7. --Yair rand (talk) 23:11, 13 January 2021 (UTC)
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  16. --KlauRau (talk) 03:41, 16 January 2021 (UTC) hopefully - if work permits
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  23. Douglas --Douglaseru (talk) 02:46, 20 January 2021 (UTC)
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  25. --Frhdkazan (talk) 17:04, 20 January 2021 (UTC)
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  30. - Darwin Ahoy! 15:13, 21 January 2021 (UTC)
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  41. *•.¸♡ ℍ𝕒𝕣𝕕𝕒𝕣𝕤𝕙𝕒𝕟 𝔹𝕖𝕟𝕚𝕡𝕒𝕝 ♡¸.•*𝕋𝕒𝕝𝕜 20:15, 22 January 2021 (UTC)

Events summary

5 December

Video summary of the discussion (same as the written points, recorded during the events).

Round 1 Key actions (full notes on Etherpad):

  1. The key and crucial point in this initiative cluster is the interim global Council (IGC). There is a high workload on the IGC to put together the movement Charter as well as to figure out how to create the Global Council itself. We may need to raise questions like compensation (and other kinds of support) which may make it easier for people to balance their personal lives with their work in the IGC.
  2. Figure out what kind of people are needed in the interim Council: could expertise be more important on the Interim Council than representation (which is definitely important on the final global Council)?
  3. Provide more clarity about the timeline, as though not lose ourselves in lengthy discussions.
Video summary of the discussion (same as the written points, recorded during the events).

Round 2 Key actions (full notes on Etherpad):

  1. Provide clarity about role of IGC and about what it would entail to be a member of the IGC. This clarity is also needed around mandate, relation to other WMF bodies and the necessary time investment for members.
  2. Find a balance between (external) expertise required for the IGC and (internal) movement representation. Some expertise may not be available in the movement, but external experts could have a hard time understanding the peculiarities of the Wikimedia movement. It's also important to avoid any conflict of interest.
  3. Actively make it possible for talented people from the movement to take part in the Interim Global Council. This could be through practical/logistical support, but could also be through stipends to compensate for lost income due to involvement in IGC.

6 December

Video summary of the discussion (same as the written points, recorded during the events).

Round 1 Key actions (full notes on Etherpad):

  1. Think through the key question for this cluster: How to ensure equity and representation, and how we are going to include the voices that are missing representation at the moment? Also, how to balance out the different power structures that we have at the moment, while trying not to reproduce them in any kind of new body or in the movement Charter?
  2. The decisions need to be ratified in the communities. A lot of people said decisions need to be ratified "by the majorities", but the question remains: how do we make sure that that there's an equitable representation in this "majority" process as well? There's probably not a very clear cut answer yet.
  3. Need for clarity around the current changes in the bylaws by the Board of Trustees (which is a parallel process to the to the strategy process). The bylaws changes might conflict in many ways with the ideas of the global council, the movement charter and the next steps that are necessary here.
Video summary of the discussion (same as the written points, recorded during the events).

Round 2 Key actions (full notes on Etherpad):

  1. How to ensure equity in representation? How are we going to include those voices that are missing?
  2. Decisions need to be ratified by the majority: including affiliates, editors, communities, etc.
  3. Pause some of the changes in the Bylaws until there's more clarity from the discussion of governance initiatives in cluster A.

Detailed input

The rich input from the December Global Conversations, in addition to feedback from other discussions (e.g. WikiCon North America, ESEAP virtual meetings and Advocacy+GLAM meeting) has been further organized by the Support Team into a more coherent template. The objective of this template is to clarify the proposals that have already emerged in the discussions, and to serve as a basis to continue the conversation around the implementation of the Movement Strategy recommendations. The eventual goal is to develop it into a “draft implementation plan” that will be presented to the whole movement and the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees in February 2021. The current template is put forward to serve as the baseline for the upcoming follow-up discussions in January.

The information below has been directly taken from the minutes of the Global Conversations and occasionally edited or rephrased for clarity, so it is not necessarily verbatim.

Defining the scope

Overall
  • Identify key aspects of the body (functions, structure and composition, accountability)
  • Do not call it an Interim Global Council (IGC) to avoid confusion with the scope of the Global Council (GC) itself (maybe: [Governance] Transition Body).
Mandate
  • Clarify the mandate of the IGC
  • It is unclear whether the statements in recommendations on the Global Council should apply to the Interim Global Council.
  • If the IGC is required to fully satisfy the requirements for the GC, we may never get an IGC.
  • Clearly define relation to other movement bodies / committees, including Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) and its Board of Trustees (BoT)
  • Clarify implication of the WMF bylaw changes and governance reform to IGC
Structure
  • Define composition: One council or several functional subcommittees?
  • Drafting the Charter, oversight of strategy and setting up the Global Council are different skill sets and require different capacity, they should thus be executed by different groups.
  • Not sure if the IGC really is the best body to lead implementation
  • It is a temporary body with a focus on MC and GC. Leading implementation needs a different skillset).
  • The movement strategy implementation should be done by all movement entities. This requires funding and coordination, backbone functions.
  • IGC can be the supervisor of the Implementation, not the leading body
Learn from others
  • Learn from others with similar governance bodies (or charters) and not remake things from scratch.

Example models:

Who should be involved?

Overall
  • Define the expectations for IGC members.
  • Experiences or qualities needed
  • Hours of commitment
  • Whether these people can hold other positions in the movement (e.g. AffCom, Affiliate board member, WMF or affiliate staff, Board of Trustees, etc.)
  • This needs to be a working body with committed members.
  • There need to be strong rules to replace members who cannot fulfill the goals of the council.
  • A track record of cooperation and collaboration for membership
Expertise
  • Identify the expertise needed
  • Need for knowledge in governance; not just in the Wikimedia movement (e.g. suggested prior service experience as a board member, either in Wikimedia or in other NGOs, government bodies, etc.)
  • Leadership experience (e.g. directing or advising at least medium-sized organizations).
  • Knowledge regarding Wikimedia movement and its persistent issues within the Wikimedia Movement: Governance, resource sharing, separation of powers.
  • The IGC will require a different set of skills (e.g. community organizing, experience with large-scale on-wiki consensus building) from the execution/governance of the final global council.
  • Some legal and political experience could be useful as well.
  • Some expertise may not be available in the movement, but external experts have a hard time understanding the peculiarities of the WM movement - ensure proper onboarding when working with external experts.
  • Look at other communities in the global knowledge ecosystem and consider them as members.
  • Define clearly the gap to contract for it externally, e.g. for research
  • Balance internal and external expertise, and expertise with representation, avoid conflicting interests.
Representation
  • Make it actively possible for talented people from the movement to take part.
  • Ensure equity and diversity in representation
  • Balance current power structures rather than reproduce them
  • Explore how minorities are included in democratic systems and learn from it
  • Ensure representation for non-affiliates community members, underrepresented groups, newcomers: possibly through quotas.
  • Seat spreading could be needed. As seat-spreading occurs, larger communities increasingly lose voting share, and each editor's vote for representation reduces. These two facets must be weighed extremely carefully.
  • IGC should not require high proficiency in English and should have ample funds for translation and interpretation.
  • A lot of new editors only care about editing and not about the movement’s politics, they need to be given the right incentives to be involved.
  • IGC would need people who are really good at community consultations because no council will ever be fully representative
  • We need to create a process by which feedback can be gathered efficiently (with staff support)
  • Ensure members stand for a Neutral point of view and have no conflict of interest.
  • Proposal: 10-20 ppl, representation from all continents, genders, some staff, some volunteers * a temporary role to hand over to Global Council when they've drafted a movement charter.
  • There may be a link between size of group and time needed to reach consensus/deliver (interim) products. The bigger the group, the more complicated it may become.
  • There’s an urgency: the IGC was planned as though to be set up quickly and with a lot of flexibility. The proposal in the recommendations is not rigid.
  • Suggestion not to make a promise of being representative of movement for IGC.
  • It is the Global Council that is supposed to be diverse and inclusive. The IGC will be tasked to draft an MC with rules that guarantees such an outcome. Expertise in IGC is more important than expertise
Selection method
  • Define the process to set up membership: election, selection, appointment or a combination?
  • The process should avoid public naming and shaming of candidates like some admin appointments.
  • It could be also a cycle of election and selection
  • Step-by-step approach where some members of IGC are elected/selected by trusted members, then others selected after that (perhaps by that group) to achieve diversity and to cover skill areas.

Appointment proposals:

  • There could be some system of community endorsement that gets taken into account, but the main aspect of selection should be a track record of being able to get things done and some experience with meetings and strategic discussions.
  • Have a three person appointing committee for IGC. Allow people to apply for IGC. Appointing committee appoints
  • Set up a selection committee with representatives of e.g. AffCom, FDC, affiliate chairs,  former Roles & Responsibilities WG
  • Any member of the movement can put their name forward as a candidate for appointment
  • Identify who will be responsible for taking the decisions in the appointment, and ensure they are made equitably.
  • Who will set up the selection committee? Maybe  instead of appointing a selection committee, appoint an IGC directly

Election proposals:

  • The Global Council will likely have some kind of democratic election, the Interim Council may not.
  • Elections ensure democratic accountability.
  • Suggestion to have project-wide elections, run locally, each community electing a certain number of representatives
  • MC will not be accepted without complete legitimacy of IGC, which requires elections in perspective of online communities
  • Setting up an election is time consuming and it is difficult to define the rules for an election.
  • Suggestion: Let each community set their own rules for their own elections, using their own processes for deciding rules.

Immediate steps for next 18 months

Interim Global Council
  • Create a clear timeline for the process of establishing the Interim Global Council.
  • The areas of responsibility of a GC all need major discussion, and that doesn't even factor in the time to figure out how to constitute the GC itself.
  • Going too quickly risks delegitimizing the whole thing.
  • Identify the selection method for the IGC members
  • Explore internal and external expertise models for members (e.g. drawing from FDC and Creative Commons models).
  • Clarify the expectations from IGC future members, including: set of actions, time requirement, indicative list of stakeholders they will be dealing with (so they know if their network/experience would be relevant).
  • Identify the hours/week commitment from members.
  • Clarify what IGC members are empowered to do, and how Wikimedia Foundation or the Board of Trustees is empowering them.
  • Request the Board of Trustees to pause the changes on the bylaws to ensure representation on the Board from the community during the Interim Global Council discussions and delegation of responsibilities from the Board.
  • Global Council is NOT a substitute for board representation and governance.
  • Provide independent legal expertise for the community to make governance decisions, as the people involved in this process may not be experts in US laws.
  • Call in other organizations that have experience with issues around governance.
Decision-making / accountability
  • Bridge the accountability gap in the Global Council and its constituencies, which has not been possible in other established bodies.
  • Consider involving experts on accountability or unrepresented communities.
  • Decisions need to be ratified by the majority: affiliates, editors, communities etc.
  • IGC members to regularly connect with their constituencies
  • Decision-making should be about finding the middle ground:
  • A proposal that only can get 51% agreement is clearly not acceptable * anything good on this scale should be easily getting agreement.
  • But ensuring/requiring 100% agreement also creates deadlock.
Movement Charter
  • Creating the Charter is to be on the Interim Global Council’s primary responsibilities.
  • The process of writing the charter may be more important than writing the charter itself.
  • The charter ought to be finally approved by each of local communities, affiliates and the Board through ratification.
  • There needs to be a reasonable process for: 1. changing the proposed charter in the event that community disapproves, and 2. amending the charter in the future in a reasonable process.
  • Example process: 1) take the known ideas and drafts of a Movement Charter, combine them to create an initial draft, 2) try to build support and iterate to get to a more substantial draft, 3) amend the draft with further feedback and input to get to a final draft.
  • Explore external expertise * e.g. external consultants to write the charter according to the goals or framework set up by a volunteer committee
  • The committee would present a draft for discussion based on hard work from the consultants.
  • Define clearly the ratification process of the Movement Charter
  • Define the roles in the ratification (e.g. If the MC has community consensus for something not acceptable to WMF, does WMF have veto?)

Needs for resources and support

  • Define clearly granted support to the IGC.
  • Budget for external consultants (e.g. to interview movement members to gather input for a Movement Charter)
  • Budget for staff to help the IGC oversee implementation of strategy recommendations.
  • Allocated staff to support with organisation (e.g. scheduling meetings, note taking, facilitation, preparation of documents)
  • Ensure proper legal support to the IGC.
  • Note the independent Legal review proposal in the recommendation (Perhaps an affiliate could serve as fiscal sponsor for IGC, and thus fund this position.)
  • Explore support / compensation models for the IGC members, such as stipends.
  • Additional funding for affiliates who will work on it
  • Invest real money into translation services.
  • Volunteer model of translation on meta is not going to be effective for the Interim Global Council and the Global Council.
  • Simultaneous interpretation and translation (languages TBD)
  • Documented lessons learned from FDC, AffCom, Strategy Working Groups, and other community groups so we don't make the same mistakes

Interested communities and affiliates

Based on local, regional, and thematic priorities (please see table and map):

  • WMUK, WMFR, WMDE, DE communities, DE supervisory, WMMA (Morocco), Philippine Community, WMAR (Argentina), UG Senegal, WM Algeria, WM Indonesia, WikiMujeres, AfroCROWD, NYC, Vietnam, Nederland
  • ESEAP region, the WALRUS, Iberocoop, Arabic-speaking community

Interested in implementation

Sign below (in whatever capacity or affiliation you like) if you are interested in contributing to the implementation of this cluster:

  1. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 09:35, 16 December 2020 (UTC)
  2. Yair rand (talk) 08:11, 17 December 2020 (UTC)
  3. Anupamdutta73 (talk) 07:25, 20 December 2020 (UTC)
  4. SHISHIR DUA (talk) 10:14, 9 January 2021 (UTC)
  5. Pharos (talk) 20:07, 19 January 2021 (UTC)
  6. Laurentius (talk) 20:15, 19 January 2021 (UTC)