Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Transition/Global Conversations/Report/November 2020

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Online group from the Global Conversations on 21 November
Online group from the Global Conversations on 22 November

On 21 and 22 November, more than 200 Wikimedians from every region of the movement came together for the Movement Strategy Global Conversations. The purpose was to discuss global priorities for implementing the recommendations and their initiatives. Each event lasted four hours with an additional hour for socializing and mingling in virtual corridors. Live interpretation was provided in seven languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Indonesian, Russian, and Spanish). The main question to answer during the events was: “which changes and actions from the recommendations are important to be globally coordinated across the Wikimedia movement”?

Purpose of this report[edit]

The global events included multiple group discussions as well as a survey to identify the global priorities. You are invited to review these results and provide feedback around the following, suggested questions:

  1. What do you like about the priorities?
  2. What is missing?
  3. What would make you want to play an active role in implementation.

With the globally-coordinated priorities identified, the following set of Global Conversations (scheduled for December 5 and 6) will shift into “how do we proceed with the implementation of these priorities?” During the period between 23 November to 4 December, you can help discuss priorities as well as pitch initiatives that you believe should be implemented in the lightning talks space.


Main article: [[]]

The 2030 Movement Strategy recommendations contain many great ideas identified by communities in a two-year process to help us reach our strategic direction. The proposed changes and actions (also called initiatives) cannot be implemented all at once, and definitely not in the first year. Many of the initiatives build on our strengths, while others ask us to think of new ways to contribute and collaborate. In order to create a movement-wide implementation plan for 2021-22, we need to identify which of the initiatives are priorities for different communities and affiliates to be implemented first, and how to proceed with their implementation.

Since September, communities and affiliates have been holding online meetings and discussions to identify the initiatives that are a priority for them. During the November 21-22 Global Conversations, Wikimedians from these communities and many more, including active online editors or contributors not associated with affiliates, met virtually to discuss which initiatives should be globally coordinated. Global coordination refers to affiliates, communities, and the Wikimedia Foundation coming together in various constellations to work on an initiative. Global coordination could mean different communities working together, affiliates of various sizes collaborating, or affiliates and communities working with the Wikimedia Foundation. The approach will vary for different initiatives.


Below is a table summarizing the votes gathered during the Global Events. Based on the amount of votes, the initiatives were distributed into four quartiles that show how often they were prioritized compared to other initiatives. The initiatives in the table are colord-coded as follows:

  •      First quartile (most voted): 100-75%
  •      Second quartile: 75-50%
  •      Third quartile: 50-25%
  •      Fourth quartile (least voted): 25-0%

Note: The prioritization exercise highlighted the initiatives that people find important to discuss. This does not necessarily mean support for the initiatives as they are as it would be highly dependent on how the implementation of them will be taken forward and definition of responsibilities and consultations around the implementation.

Recommendation Initiatives Survey results
1. Increase the Sustainability of Our Movement (discuss) 1 Systematic approach to improve satisfaction and productivity 34
2 Funding for underrepresented communities 74
3 Increased awareness about the Wikimedia Movement 62
4 Global revenue generation policy + fundraising strategy 32
5 Developing enterprise-level API 11
6 Engagement of third party ecosystems 12
7 Revenue generation for the Movement 18
8 Align with environmental sustainability initiatives 26
2. Improve User Experience (discuss) 9 Methodology to improve the Wikimedia platform UX research, design, testing and community engagement 51
Community engagement around product design and UX
Adaptable UX to various devices
10 Compatibility with Accessibility Guidelines 13
11 Resources for newcomers 72
12 Peer-to-peer spaces 14
13 Platform functionality and documentation standards 9
14 Cross-project tool development and reuse 19
15 Partnerships to develop Wikimedia API 7
3. Provide for Safety and Inclusion (discuss) 16 Code of Conduct 61
17 Private incident reporting 18
18 Baseline of community responsibilities 15
19 Develop a safety assessment and execution plan - technical, human, and legal support processes 17
20 Advocacy - local capacity development 28
21 Built-in platform mechanisms for safety 12
4. Ensure Equity in Decision-Making (discuss) 22 Movement Charter 43
23 Interim Global Council 27
24 The Global Council 66[1]
25 Regional & thematic hubs 80
26 Flexible resource allocation framework 26
27 Guidelines for board functions and governance 11
5. Coordinate Across Stakeholders (discuss) 28 Living documents to define responsibilities for specific areas of work 5
29 Enhance communication and collaboration capacity with partners and collaborators 16
30 Technology Council (for improved communication, coordination and support) 25
6. Invest in Skills and Leadership Development (discuss) 31 Global approach for local skill development - gathering data, matching peers, mentorship, recognition 36
32 Leadership development plan 50
33 Skill development infrastructure 57
7. Manage Internal Knowledge (discuss) 34 Facilitate a culture of documentation 21
35 Establish a movement wide knowledge base 30
8. Identify Topics for Impact (discuss) 36 Identify the impact of Wikimedia projects & content 32
Identifying impactful topics
37 List of high-impact topics 35
Bridging content gaps
38 Content initiatives in underrepresented communities 24
9. Innovate in Free Knowledge (discuss) 39 Identifying policies that hinder knowledge equity 22
40 Policies for experimentation with projects for knowledge equity 10
41 Continuous experimentation, technology, and partnerships for content, formats, and devices 23
10. Evaluate, Iterate, and Adapt (discuss) 42 Monitoring, evaluation and learning at all levels with support and mutual accountability 11
43 Develop a comprehensive evaluation system for Movement activities and structures - including technology, coordination, capacity, policies and governance 15
44 Iterative change processes 5
45 Adaptive Policies (flexible policies, structures, budgeting and planning to adapt to global changes) 19


Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation
21 November (closing)
22 November (opening)

Prioritization during the November 21-22 Global Conversations took place at the level of initiatives. Overall, the results of local, regional and thematic priorities were quite similar to those identified during the Global Conversations. Funding for underrepresented communities, methodology to improve UX, resources for newcomers, the Universal Code of Conduct, regional hubs, and the initiatives under skills development are all among the top priorities.

Some initiatives became more pronounced during the Global Conversations, such as “3. Increase awareness about the Wikimedia Movement”, “20. Movement charter”, “24. The Global Council”, “26. Flexible resource allocation framework”, “37. Bridging content gaps”, and “38. content initiatives in underrepresented communities”.

Initiatives that were not highly prioritized by communities and affiliates individually, which became global priorities during the discussions include: “8. Align with environmental sustainability”, “20 . Local capacity for advocacy”, “23. The interim Global Council”, “30. Technology Council”, “35. Establish a movement-wide knowledge base, and “36. Identify the impact of Wikimedia projects and content”.

It is significant, though perhaps not surprising, that so far, “Manage Internal Knowledge” (recommendation 7) and “Evaluate, Iterate and Adapt” (recommendation 10) and their related initiatives remain low in priority. In many conversations and a lot of community input,  the need to better manage our internal knowledge has been extensively highlighted and we would like to build evaluation and learning into everything we do. However, these areas of work are not necessarily what communities are immediately interested in prioritizing. This connects with a larger rhetoric of areas of work where dedicated staff are required.

What people liked[edit]

María Sefidari, Chair of the Board of Trustees
21 November
22 November

[This heat map] reflects the interconnected nature of the strategy - it's actually much easier to focus on priorities at an initiative level, not recommendations (which are all important).

“Prioritization” can mean different things in different contexts: in a single community, in a region encompassing several ones or across a diverse, global movement. It is usually more challenging to think at the later levels, which is why participants in the Global Conversations had the chance to go through several conversations with Wikimedians from various roles, communities, and affiliations before they had to answer the question of: “Which changes and actions are important to be globally coordinated?”.

It was positively received that the prioritization during the events showed a few clear topics and areas where there was an evident interest in movement-wide coordination. It was also appreciated that the priorities were not concentrated around a single recommendation, but that, for the most part, prioritization took place on the initiative-level, thus showing a level of granularity and the need for specific priorities, rather than recommendations as a whole.

Additionally, this reflected the interconnectedness of strategy: that is, how initiatives can be interrelated outside the context of entire recommendations. Many interdependencies between the initiatives were noted, including the need for a movement charter to set up the Global Council, and the need for initiative 1, 2, and 4 — improving satisfaction, better funding or under represented communities, and a global fundraising strategy — before underrepresented communities can have a strong presence in movement governance.

What was missing[edit]

Ryan Merkley, Chief of Staff at the Wikimedia foundation (opening remarks on 21 November).

Depending on where you sit in the world the priorities look very different so we need to keep this in mind and make sure that we understand how tackling one or the other priority/initiative might or might not support global participation in the movement.

Even with the cross-community discussions taking place during the events, it is still not easy to capture the enormous diversity and perspectives in the movement, and some important things may be left out. Therefore, attendees had the chance to peek at and comment on the preliminary results of their selection during the events, and to point out areas that felt missing. Sharing live results during the event was appreciated for clarity and transparency.

As a more “process-oriented” one, the “Evaluate, Iterate and Adapt” (recommendation 10) seemed to have ranked low, possibly due to a lack of “glamour”, rather than lack of importance. “Provide for Safety and Inclusion” (recommendation 3), except for the Code of Conduct, had not been selected nearly as often as it was during local prioritization events, possibly because its implementation needs to happen locally rather than a universal approach for all.

On the initiative level, some participants were surprised that “10. Compatibility with Accessibility Guidelines” did not appear in the survey results nearly as much as it had in the open and breakout discussions. “29. Enhance communication and collaboration capacity” may have also been missed out, perhaps because its title (as in the entire recommendation 5) didn’t highlight its relationship to partnership so explicitly. Finally, “34. Facilitate a culture of documentation” and “39. Identifying policies that hinder knowledge equity” were also mentioned as missing.

Roles in implementation[edit]

Sandister Tei, 2020 Wikimedian of the Year
21 November
22 November

The Global Conversations will help plan and prepare for the implementation of Wikimedia 2030 Movement Strategy, an essential part of which is defining who will be taking responsibility for which aspect of the change in the future. Among other things, some of the attendees expressed that they would be more interested in playing an active role in the implementation if there was more empowerment, access to information, clear process and tasks, clear decision-making, transparency, accountability, communication and an improved consultation methodology. This was shared by participants during open discussions and in the chat.

Emerging questions and concerns[edit]

Below are some of the questions, concerns or requests that emerged from the discussions (taken from the anonymized minutes or the chat log):

  • There are overarching questions around sequencing some of the initiatives as one builds capacity for the next.
  • A clear mechanism for making decisions is needed, otherwise implementation can seem centralized.
  • The "priority" in this context refers to the need for “global discussion", not that it must be a priority for 2021. Some things need loads of global discussion, but implementing them over the course of several years would be fine.
  • There are a lot of people who are not here. We don’t hear their voices; we don’t know their opinions; their point of view is not reflected in the heat map. How do we take this into account as we make decisions regarding the way forward?
  • Requests from participants for updates on changes to the Wikimedia Foundation bylaws in order to be able to have concrete discussions about the movement governance and the future.

Feedback form evaluation[edit]

Summary of the post-event feedback survey results

Overall, 214 people (excluding event staff & interpreters) attended both events on November 21 and 22. We shared an post-event feedback survey with all of them, 84 participants filled out the form between November 21th and 30th (39%). You can find the summary of the evaluation as a pdf file on Commons.

Next steps[edit]

Rap speech elaborating the next steps.
  • Feel free to provide feedback on the results of the prioritization that took place at the Global events and share: "what do you like" and "what is missing?".
  • The registration for the second set of Global Conversations (to take place on December 5th and 6th) is now open.
  • Check out the 5-6 December Global Conversations report.


  1. According to feedback received during the events, the unique results for prioritizing "23. Interim Global Council" (a total of 6 instances) were merged into the results for the Global Council. This means that, when someone prioritized only the "Interim Global Council" but not the Global Council, it was regarded as a prioritization for both. The rationale for this is that these two initiatives probably both lead in the same direction and are a joint priority. The data for the "Interim Global Council", on the other hand, was left intact for reference purposes.