Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Transition/Follow-up events/Cluster H
This page contains raw minutes from the discussion of the initiative cluster H: Prioritize Topics for Impact, which took place on 5 February 2021. The minutes were cleaned up and merged from across different documents by the Strategy Support Team, and a summary of them can be found in the follow-up events report. The discussion followed a structured template (as shown below), which was also created by the Support Team.
Key indicator and objectives (WHAT)
What are the objectives of this initiative for the next 18 months?
- +++++Define a process for identifying, reviewing, and approving areas of high impact
- (whether local or global) - workload, not pushing down regional priorities
- Defining high impact: Impact is not necessarily the same as a “popular topic”. (not rigid, but a framework to focus energy)
- Extend our analytics capabilities to less crude measures than pageviews, including: the time spent / scroll depth, references interacted with, readability scales, and especially reader feedback.+++Pilot with a clear set of partnerships (i.e. SDGs)
- The content is influencing the decision making in the society in day to day challenges they are facing in the sectors like - water scarcity/quality, women’s issues, health, science etc.
- Consider topics with short-term impact (pressing political and social challenges in a society now) and topics with long-term impact (such as women health, SDGs).
- Evaluate previous understanding of impacts. 
- Avoid “deprioritization” because it leads to controversy and may contradict the freedom of editing.
- A clearer sense - backed up by data - of where there are significant gaps in the world’s knowledge on Wikipedia, and what some of the tactics are to address these gaps
- Suggested approach:
- Identify the steps of a reader processing and acting on our content (e.g. discovery, access to the text, looking at the text through their specific cultural lens, being able to derive actionable knowledge)
- Conceptualize it as an “impact funnel” and identify bottlenecks.
- Success means having a clear picture of which steps result in the biggest loss of potential impact (e.g. is offline access or readability of the text the bigger problem in practice?)
- Contextualize the meaning of impact
- Clarity of content gaps in each regional list to understand what is missing
- Identify, categorize and prioritize current and future trends (+1) for high impact topics from a regional perspective (static/dynamic)
- Do (quick) experimental research activities in focused target groups that are underserved
- Mapping of tools that are already available
- +- Evaluate external sources against our processes (is this in the next 18 months)?
- There should be data based stories/engagement about the utility of working on High Impact topics. What changed, how did it change, why is this important, what can be improved.
- ++Assure processes for high quality content for high impact topics. (readers)
- Support efficient and effective patrolling of content
- Increase the longevity quotient (resilience, lasting value) of high impact topics. (High impact topics often come with a limited period of engagement. They are topics that catch the beat of the moment so to say. In smaller communities where the number of editors/Wikimedians does not vary significantly, stubs that get created often pose a challenge than constructive work) (pressure on editors vs. Importance short-lived)
- Pilot initiatives that demonstrate topics for impact strategies outside of where we already have success (i.e. Gender gap, Medicine)
- High impact topics speak and interact with strategic goals identified by govts, aid organisations, civil societies 
- Conduct a pilot project on a small wikipedia (and/or other type of wiki) to try implementing a topics coverage tool
- Standardize impact measurement tools to improve the data and support better research
- Need to expand abilities of the wikis to do annotations that make it easier to pull the data together: such as the PageAssessments extension and comparison tool
- Enable visualizing the data as an important aspect of the tools.
- Map of tools/features that are needed for different stakeholder groups
- Examples: clear quality assessment of a page made visible to all readers, better categorize articles / taxonomy / data, suggested topics tools, analyse research trends, tools for expert editors, etc.
- Capacity building for communities, enabling them to identify gaps and adequately respond
- Build a central system for capacity building in different regions, to empower communities to identify and work on their own understanding of “impact”.
- This research should be through a distributed model between different affiliates and communities rather than sitting with the WMF alone.
- Regional hubs and capacity building could take on this growth. They could be drastically different across geographies, and they may lead to different implementation of the high impact topics.
- Decolonization can be a very powerful frame for some of this work and our global distribution is perfect for it.
- Bring cultural institutions into a direct conversation with source communities that are asking for cultural restitution.
- Align the partnership strategy to the needs of the content in the different contexts
- Outreach to partners is as important for the impact
- Reduction in misinformation
- Build Support for structured citations, to deal with misinformation related to quality of references
- Map out key organizations and potential partners worldwide that can help ensure dissemination and use of the information on high impact topics
- Tools around disinformation and misinformation needs a conversation between the Foundation research team and project functionaries so the tools can be built together
- Wikimedia projects may not cover what we need to combat disinformation beyond “fact-checking”.
What are some anticipated obstacles or barriers to a successful implementation?
- Clear communication and coordination of efforts within the free knowledge movement
- Mapping pipelines of potential contributors for topics -- it does us little good to pursue an impactful topic, if we have a hard time recruiting contributors
- Creating communities of concern, little beyond interest, more serious and committed
- How to measure the impact on society? Is there some value addition in the decision making process?
- High impact should not limit to increased site visits (+1 -- it should also map against transformative impacts as well i.e. should change someone’s life if well shared)
- Being too ambitious in planning
- How to work on content gaps when these may be different for different communities (geographic and thematic)
- Gaps in content usually usually originate from gaps in the community of contributors and readers (no-one has chosen to add content on this topic). Who will fill the gap?
- How do we know when a gap is filled?
- Framing Wikimedia projects as tools for activism (increasing representation in the internet without compromising safety and sovereignty) rather than re-colonisation/re-oppression
- Decolorization could not sum up all of the content gaps: The Decolorization-like methodologies are maybe applying all of the content gaps, but not account for all gaps.
- How to pass this “message” to the Wikipedia community and editors that do not participate from these discussions and that do not want a “content framing” or specific content promotion from Wikimedia structures?
- Freedom of Panorama policy as a hindrance to sharing visual content in some high impact topics
- The Free of Panorama policies are based on a Western concept that needs to be contextualized.
- Lack of sources is the origin of the problem for creating content, especially for marginalized or unrepresented communities or languages
- Most of the “indigenous” knowledge is not written but oral. This content could be connected by using Commons or other Wikimedia projects.
- Diversity of priorities and capacities in different contexts
- Comprehensive tools (to map all topics in all languages and all projects) might be very hard to build and take more than 18 months / technical difficulty
- Language barriers / differences in implementations in different languages
- We need better analytics capabilities to understand impact better, but we also want to keep ourselves to high privacy standards.
- Addressing a vast issue in a really short time. Lack of measurements and tools of what we are going to achieve.
- Lack of sources and reliability.
- Spectrum of licences that would be needed to include partners in covering topics.
Implementation steps (HOW)
- Identify a framework and process for selecting topics
- Research what does “Impact” mean for different communities
- Start with topics that external groups find “impactful” (such as the SDGs).
- Discuss how local communities respond to that kind of action
- In smaller communities, interest isn’t always comparable to the number of editors. Many newcomers would create stubs in topics that are exhausting for experienced editors to go back to later.
- Define priorities on two different levels: global and local
- For example, “women rights” could be a wide global priority, but may not be prioritized by every community in their local context.
- Develop a flexible process that responds to the constant change in priority topics over time. It should provide a framework for the movement to prioritize on either a global level or a local level.
- Categorize priority topics based on their longevity
- Some topics have effective short term impact (e.g. politics), others are more resilient (e.g. science and health).
- There is some research and knowledge about readership and the importance of certain topics, but there are a lot of missing pieces and unknowns.
- Prioritize resourcing against some areas
- Develop a decentralization strategy that promotes this work in more parts of the movement
- Pilot an area of impact (new, ie not gender gap)
- Increased participation of state/ national institutions (for example cultural, copyright agencies) in identifying content gaps & form a strategy / program to address it
- Start Initiative online meetings and Focus Group Interviews for un/under-represented groups
- Maximize virtual meetings since global or intercontinental conversations became more possible rather than in person conversations
- Sharing information and experience among Wikimedians from other regions
- There are a lot of research projects and initiatives going on, it’s important to connect 
- Specific content gap follow-up meetings
- Define the tools and/or skill-sharing mechanisms we need / the technical architecture we aim at:
Who would like to take part in this initiative’s working group?
- Regional Hubs
- Online community members, affiliate, relevant foundation staff
- Librarians, researchers (tools)
- Wikimedia Argentina
- Wiki Education
- Wikimedia sister projects’ communities
- Affiliate or foundation hired staff to facilitate discussions
- Experts on high impact topics
Who is/are interested in having additional responsibilities to coordinate this working group?
- Regional/ thematic hubs
- Online communities (local or global thematic)
- Wikimedia UK
- Wikimedians for Sustainable Development
- Wiki Education
- WM CEE, LGBT+ UG, GLAM Croatia in founding
Is anyone missing who should be part of implementation?
- Foundation staff (legal, public policy, campaigns, behavioral research)
- CreativeCommons, OpenStreetMap, UN agencies with which we have previous work
- Educational institutions
- Disinformation experts
- Experts to think about potential harm / ways things could go wrong (sociologists? Cultural critics?)
- Notes from room 1: Support Systems.
- Notes from room 2: High-Impact Topics.
- Notes from room 3: Knowledge + Content Gaps.
- Room 2: High-Impact Topics
- Room 3: Knowledge + Content Gaps
- Room 1: Support Systems