The process focuses on potential changes on the structural level of our movement in 9 key thematic areas. Discussions about these structures will be facilitated with a Working Group model. The discussions were also an opportunity to seek input and feedback on the process and design. This was done through a series of presentations and facilitated sessions (the full program for the Strategy Space can be consulted here). In addition to the Strategy Space sessions, for two evenings the Core Team hosted a Strategy Bar for more informal activities and discussions around the Movement Strategy. As several movement affiliates are entering their strategic and annual planning processes after Wikimania, conversations around contextualizing the Strategic Direction were held among different groups, but these programmatic conversations were not part of the Strategy Space program.
In general, it can be said that in strategy sessions, there was a good engagement of Wikimania participants who have a natural disposition to participate in strategic discussions. On the other hand, there is a notable gap in reaching out to wider movement and onboarding new people, and engaging new voices continues to propose a challenge that needs to be tackled to make the Strategy Process a success. The Core Team participated in regional and thematic meetups and had many informal discussions (including strategy bar conversations) to make it easier for them to better map the expectations of people who are not yet participating.
The general feedback to the Strategy Process is positive and it seems that people understand the Working Group model rather well. As a result, suggestions evolve around the wider engagement of diverse movement stakeholders. The main points in feedback at Wikimania were:
Translation of the essential information and engagement of non-English speaking people in the movement;
Outreach to new faces and new voices, including external experts who can provide a valuable perspective;
Ways how to use existing regional networks for better engagement of local communities;
Communication about the Strategy Process and clarifying the points where it is best for wider community to get involved and provide feedback;
Learning from the past;
Addressing some of the current hot topics in our movement (e.g. advocacy, complicated affiliation situations in some regions) from a strategic point of view.
The immediate steps the Core Team is taking after the conference are:
Continuous support to the Working Groups in their diversification process and set up;
Revising Meta-Wiki materials for clarity and developing FAQ to publicly address questions that have been raised in diverse communication channels;
Develop a communication plan for engagement of wider spectrum of movement stakeholders in strategic discussions;
Evaluate translation needs and move forward in reducing the language barriers in participation.
This report captures the overview of the sessions as well as main discussion points, some comments, feedback and concrete suggestions that were made during the sessions. The data presented as flipcharts is direct and unabridged input from the session participants, other data is captured from open group discussions and is intended as a reference point regarding what was discussed and not a complete and accurate record of things said.
People who have contributed directly to this report: Anna Lena Schiller, Anne Kierkegaard, Bhavesh Patel, Douglas Ssebaggala, Jodi McMurray, Kaarel Vaidla, Nicole Ebber. It is formatted for wiki and edited by Szymon Grabarczuk. Should you have any comments or questions concerning this report, please contact the Information & Knowledge Manager of the Movement Strategy Process, Tanveer Hasan (thasanwikimediaorg) or leave a comment on the talkpage.
A note about Photo Credits
Photos shown in the Movement Strategy Space were taken during the sessions by the Core Team members: Anne Kierkegaard, Douglas Ssebaggala and Nicole Ebber, unless otherwise specified.
The first in-person gathering of the members of the Working Groups was held for members present at Wikimania 2018 as the first session of the Strategy Space. It consisted of high-level presentation about the process, the vision for the Working Group model, which is designed based on a Collective Impact Working Group Model. The role of Board Members and Wikimedia Foundation staff as participants in the Working Groups, was also discussed and clarified (see also the Board statement).
Following this, a presentation of the application, selection process, and identification of the diversity challenges took place, followed by an interactive question and answer session. The meeting was wrapped up by a short speech from Katherine Maher (the Executive Director of Wikimedia Foundation) and a group photo.
Some of the clarifications requested from the Working Group members related to:
Modes of communication in the strategy process;
Implementation and decision making of the Working Groups’ recommendations;
Support structures of the strategy, and the role of the Wikimedia Foundation.
Relation of objectives and model of the Wikimedia Movement Strategy process versus the existing affiliates model and their activities.
You are the inspiration to the strategy
— Quote of the day from Katherine on Working groups
The plenary session started with a look at the first phase of the Strategy process, followed by an overview of the current status, future timelines and the Working Group model. The participation of the Board of Trustees as members of the Working Groups was briefly explained by trustee Christophe Henner (See slides).
The second part of the session focused on discussion about the process through break out sessions in groups of 5-6 people. Groups then shared some of their key points with all attendees. The main points raised related to:
Resource allocation needs for the whole process;
Legal guidelines for consideration of the Working Groups
Ways in which local communities, and affiliates can engage in the process;
The need for continuous on-boarding of new people to the Movement Strategy Process,
The need for information exchange in an open, inclusive and transparent process, including translation of information
As a response to these points, the Core Team explained that:
Working Group members will identify their needs for resource allocation;
The Legal team of the Wikimedia Foundation has made a commitment to review recommendations as they are being developed to ensure that they are in accordance with existing legal frameworks;
The Working Group members will be in contact with local communities during the process and at the same time the Core Team will endeavour to be present on local, regional, and thematic conferences;
Liaisons will be identified for local organisations to serve, as contact points for information exchange in the process;
Different forms for information exchange were discussed, including blogs, Meta-Wiki pages, graphics, audio/visual solutions, pictorials and written materials for engagement.
Strategy Liaisons will be appointed for movement organizations to act as links to local communities and affiliates.
The Core Team wIll work on different flows of information throughout the process, including reports, blogs, translations, visuals, that capture the process to date and going forward, so that (new) people can engage in a variety of ways with the Movement Strategy Process.
The Core Team will engage with Working Groups at local, regional and thematic events.
The Wikimedia Foundation’s Legal department will be contacted to flag in a timely manner any possible issues related to legal frameworks and legislation.
A Conflict of Interest Policy needs to be drafted for Working Group members.
Session III: What are the Strategy Working Groups?
The session started with a short overview of the Strategy Process with focus on the Thematic Areas to bring everyone to the same page to provide good input to the Working Groups.
During the follow-up discussions to the presentation, there were concerns raised regarding the process of approving recommendations from the Working Groups
Keeping the Working Groups informed about the developments in other groups throughout the process
FIlling the diversity gaps in the Working Groups and in the general Strategy Process.
The conversations of the discussion groups were based on handout materials that provided guiding questions and rationale from the Working Group pages. During this session, discussions around Advocacy, Resource Allocation and Roles & Responsibilities Thematic Areas, were held.
Advocacy discussion group was interested in the intersection of the Strategy Process to the existing institutional advocacy done by various affiliates in regards to rules and regulations in their country. Another important discussion point evolved around the fears that our movement stakeholders have, in relation to becoming more involved in regional and global advocacy work.
Resource Allocation discussion group looked into the problem of having funds dissemination currently centered in and around Wikimedia Foundation, which brings about a need to map opportunities for engaging the whole movement in a better way. This group also mapped out some unclarities in the rationale text for the Working Groups (e.g. definition of leadership or the scope of capacity building).
Revenue Streams discussion group discussed the ethical part of fundraising in the context of staying true to movement values in comparison to the idea of maximization of revenue streams. As an addition, questions were raised regarding transparency of as well as equity in fundraising activities, i.e. there is a need to open discussion regarding fundraising rights in the movement, considering also legal aspects of opportunities.
Roles and Responsibilities discussion group emphasised the fact that the relationships and power dynamics between different stakeholders (WMF, affiliates, project communities) are not always explicitly clear, which also makes the discussions around the roles & responsibilities more difficult. This brings about the need for the differentiation of responsibilities between government, legal frameworks and movement affiliates. Also it was noted that in these discussions, online communities need to be considered.
Transcriptions from flipcharts
Does turning into a political movement endanger wikimedians at local/national levels?
Some groups e.g in CEE can work safely because they are not perceived as political by the ruling powers in their countries. Will they be at risk if we become more political?
What about impact of this work
What and how do we learn from experienced advocacy groups?
How do we make our issues real/relevant to people’s lives
Intersection/cross-fertilisation with institutional advocacy.
Different countries allow different levels of lobbying/advocacy using public/charitable revenue. We need to consider this here
Currently there’s limits on WMF funds.
Funding and human resources for user groups
Moving their interests forward
Paid staff for user groups
Regional collaboration grants
(e.g European Fund, e.t.c)
Accountability towards funders
Answer ‘why’ resources were allocated in a specific way
How are resources distributed and used?
Endowment or endowments
Flexibility - how resources are allocated according to contexts/realities
Equity and efficiency in resource allocation
Focus on existing efficiency
Reinforces existing powers
Does not help with capacity building
Regional and systematic distribution.
Ethics, do we take any money?
How big we want to be, we do need to maximise the revenue
Who can fundraise (Equity in the revenue Streams) aka fundraising banners
Equity in fundraising, Who shouldn't we hustle for money (donors). More $ from facebook, less from individuals
Who does the money belong to + legal framework of fundraising e.g if you raise money through Italian tax system, do you keep it there?
Should individual donations be restricted? Donors decide where their money goes
Transparency in revenue streams, how much money is fundraised in each country, (and where it’s spent)
Roles and Responsibilities
Difference between leadership and power dynamics
Inventory of current roles and responsibilities
Relation between autonomy and equity.
On wiki R&R (Roles and Responsibilities)
Developing guiding principles/frame.
Do we need a parliament? Who do the members represent?
Reaching out and encouraging participation by frontline editors/content contributors.
Why is there no Wikimedia U.S.A.?
Clarity in requirements and expectations for non-chapter affiliates.
Do we need to continue the geographic Chapter model?
As the framing for the discussions was already provided during the last session and there were people who were already onboarded during previous strategy sessions at Wikimania, this session jumped right into the discussions.
Partnerships discussion group expressed the need to align activities with core principles and values. of the Wikimedia Movement. They proposed creating a database focusing on external and internal partners, user groups, regional structures and frameworks that support partnerships. The group also brought up a specific example of a partners’ database approach in Bangladesh for coordinating advocacy work. It was also noted that individual volunteer driven partnerships should not be forgotten in discussions of this group.
Diversity group emphasised the fact that diversity gaps are not stagnant which is important aspect to note for for all working groups. There is a need to ease access for different types of minorities such as indigenous groups, old and young generations and also to think about different ways to bridge the gaps (e.g. technology). The group also addressed the specific topic of political advocacy in certain regions (North Korea, Belarus) where timely and adequate global support could enable diverse local groups to better function and increase diversity of the Wikimedia movement and knowledge made freely available.
Community Health group emphasised the need to concentrate on prevention rather than reaction. It needs to be ensured that users know different opportunities for active participation in Wikimedia and that there is a suitable environment for this. For the latter point there was a more specific discussion around tools to support, and retain editors, e.g. to develop flexible redistributable reporting systems such as the report abuse button, and other tools.
Product and Technology discussion emphasised that community relationships need to be considered before features and products are developed and implemented. This ensures that improvements and updates meet the needs and expectations of communities and also get necessary support from them. Also a federative staffing model was proposed to advance localization efforts. In order to meet the aspiration of the Strategic Direction, there also needs to be an understanding of how to relate to discounted audiences as well as how to capitalize on 3rd party uses of our product.
Transcriptions from flipcharts
Capacity where? Affiliates, individuals?
Types of capacity building
Is capacity building only about the processes?
Are you asking the right questions?
Spreading organisational knowledge
International collaboration, regional conferences?
Tools provided to people (from IT and infrastructure to counselling?)
What about other resources: brand, physical resources?, partners, research.
Work on prevention rather than reaction
Do users know they can be an active part of our community?
All communities (Internal ecosystem is part of the conversation)
Volunteers (not only editors)
Research to be done in the sister projects
Online (Let’s keep in enjoyable) and Offline (Localised recommendations)
Our recommendations can be seen as impositions
Recruitment, retention (Friendliness and safe spaces)
Why do people leave (Community reasons: build protocols, External reasons: conduct research)
Think about acknowledgement and recognition
Expectation management (What do new users expect to learn, what does the community expect from them?
What rules do we already have in communities?
New people can’t use talk pages
Tackle online harassment (offline meet up consequences)
Abuse of power within online communities (rethink role system + training for admins, evaluation or assessment)
How we recruit new admins/patrols?
How big does a community need to be in order to be healthy?
We need a report abuse system
Establishing a baseline needs more data than we have now - new metrics for users’ diversity
Identify what we can change and what we can’t in terms of access and barriers
Who can we work with (organisations, individuals)
How can we anticipate new gaps?
How can we tell that a gap has been adequately addressed?
How political should diversity be?
How to help in countries with no access to funding
How can technology help bridging content and organisational gaps?
Involving older and younger generations
How do we connect volunteers and partners on diversity globally?
Strong focus on internal/external relationships
Internal barriers to partnering
Formal and informal partnerships can be very different
Define success of a partnership - set boundaries
Don't forget individual volunteer “partnerships”
Product & Technology
Essential Infrastructure of free knowledge
Monolith vs Federation in staffing
Means to amend vs part of our sharing - 3rd party use
Community relationships in design and deploy(ment)
The session composed mainly of discussions on existing regional engagement and communication models. Each regional and thematic group provided their different engagement approaches;
Iberocoop engagement in the Strategy Process started last year in Phase I
They suggested that for good continued communication it would make sense to have a liaison or coordinator for the Strategy Process like they had in Phase I. This is someone who can sort through and keep an overview of the ongoing discussions.
As Spanish on-wiki discussions have not been productive a Telegram group was started and will continue to be used since, this is a working way to include people who don’t speak English in strategic discussions.
The Telegram group is open to everyone who works on projects related to the region and language community, with an approximation of 70 people.
This provided flexibility in conversations, taking into account long distances, and different time zones,conversations also taking place on weekends.
Last year the discussions were divided by topics focused on specific questions, so people could join conversation on topics of their interest..
After WMCON 2018, Iberocoop also started Skype meetings, and talked about who should be in which Working Group.
Another important communication channel is having In person conversations about strategy at Inberoconf. It happened in 2017 and is also planned for 2018
ESEAP has internal communication which is currently not really structured. It is mostly based on personal connections.
There are multiple chat rooms on different social platforms such as Telegram, Messenger and Facebook Groups. No one is really coordinating these discussions, and there is no follow up to the conversations.
The ESEAP 2018 2 days conference with 58 people was important as it created a momentum among group members. Unfortunately there has not been enough follow up.There was an ESEAP discussion at Wikimania 2018.
External Communication to the Working Groups also happens at the personal level through personal contacts and exchange of newsletters.
Asian meetup at global conferences takes place in English.This is the only common language in the region, although there are some bigger areas with other common language (e.g. WikiArabia in West Asia and Russian in North Asia). Sometimes discussions take place simultaneously in local languages and community people who are able to translate, are used when possible.
The Javanese Community is still new and growing - there have not been any strategy discussions.
Bahasa Indonesian is the second language used, especially when working with wider Indonesian community and people not fluent in Javanese.
Community use mainly WhatsApp
Telegram and Facebook groups are not very active.
From South Asia Bangla community was represented, but they provided a wider insight on how things work in the region.
A regional conference was held in 2016 in India
There have been few meetups after that, including at WIkimania 2018 with 12 people
There is an idea to start with monthly video meetups
In order to get more knowledge from local communities, it was suggested that maybe people could post to forums in their own language and their messages can then be translated as well as the answers.
In Africa, there was a lack of applications which highlights the need for better communication.Communication channels at the continent level include:
the African Mailing-list
monthly African Hour video meetings
the Meta page
WhatsApp in regional groups
Hangout on Air is used that also enables recording
Usually the same people are speaking up, and some of the participants on the call don’t feel comfortable speaking in the meetings.
English is the main language used for regional discussions, although francophone communities are sometimes unhappy with this.
A suggestion was made to find ways of making it possible for people to speak in their own languages or if possible to have the same kind of translation support as in Phase I
CEE group has many different communities (size and language), English is the only common language, but not all communities have input to give on all topics.
Outreach has been made through usual channels in the movement, including:
Facebook groups with 5-10 people per community.
The group faces problems with over 30 diverse language communities
People burn out in the translation and coordination roles.
There is a solution to use more pictograms and less text , although it it might not be possible for the feedback from the community, as pictures can be too ambiguus and many things can be read into them.
For Phase I Russian and Polish were translated, but all the other languages were only summarized
There is a proposal from Wikimedia RU to hold a 2-day strategy workshop with representatives from minority languages.
During the discussions there was a concern related to involvement of people in the process to ensure that they have a voice and not feel that they were excluded. This was addressed by stressing that there will be efforts made in translation throughout the process and the Core Team looks forward to work together with regional and thematic collaboratives. Also it was noted that the Working Groups were going through a diversification process to include more diverse perspectives, including regional ones.
The session was closed with a group exercise for participants to map out (on flipcharts) communication channels for the Working Groups to be in touch with their regional networks.
The session focused on ensuring clarity about Working Group timelines, milestones and first tasks for the members present at Wikimania. Also the discussion touched upon expectations of the Working Group members and communication in the Strategy Process with the Core Team, between Working Groups and beyond the Wikimedia community.
It was clearly communicated that the first task for the Working Group members is the diversification of the Working Group itself. To better support the Working Groups in this process, a general diversity matrix was provided to map the background and regional representation of Working Group members. It was discussed that there is additional need to map expertise and also there need to be ways how to bring in new people and voices to the Working Groups that could add to the healthy disruptiveness of the groups.
Conversation around the diversification lead to discussion about the process for onboarding new people to the Working Groups. It was said that the process is flexible and will work out in collaboration between the Working Groups and the Core Team. The initial step is defining missing profiles and then moving on to finding the right people to fill the gaps in the Working Groups. These profiles will be different for each groups and as a result suitable outreach channels and methods will be defined case by case.
An important point in discussions around Working Group membership and diversification was the use of applicants who were not appointed to the Working Groups. These are people who have shown interest in the process and can have a supportive role and provide their input.
The importance of good communication around the Strategy Process was noted several times. It was highlighted that it needs to be kept simple as not to overwhelm community representatives with too much information. For better engagement there also needs to be translation support, which can help to make the process be more inclusive, bringing in voices that have not participated in strategic level discussions before.
One of the themes in discussion was support provided to the Core Team. For the sake of diversification it was brought up that written translations can be used for Working Group members that do not speak English. Also it was noted that the Working Groups will be provided a guide that can support them in the process and provide solutions for specific challenges. As a remark it was noted that already in the diversification process, it would be good to have Conflict of Interest policy for Working Groups. This should also serve in the future, highlighting the fact that Working Group members are expected to take the perspective of the movement, bringing their personal experiences and perspectives to the group, but being open and conscious about their own biases and affiliations.
There should be a clear Conflict of Interest policy developed for the Working Group members
The scoping work can only start once diversity of group membership is ensured and all group members are onboarded.
There need to be alternatives for information flow and management to make sure that people have legal access to information regardless of local restrictions (e.g. problems with using Google Docs in China)
During the late hours of the conference the formal setting of the Strategy Space was transformed into an informal Strategy Space Bar where people could hang out and have (strategic) conversations. This served as a platform for the Core Team of the Movement Strategy Process to collect further input from a wider range of participants but also an opportunity to involve more people in the process and make strategic discussions more accessible, fun and engaging.
For better facilitation of the conversations some playful approaches were used, namely:
Strategy Jeopardy! to familiarize people in a fun way with previous work on building the movement strategy (see image above)
Strategy Charades to make people more acquainted with the terminology in the Strategic Direction and the Movement Strategy Process as well as to highlight the difficulties we have with translation of these terms
Visualization exercise with topics of #goatification, #dragonization, #unicornification, #trollification where people could draw their favourite ones on respective wall and compare their view with the perspective of others (please consult the gallery below)
Make it fail! exercise where people could express their views on the worst possible ways to run the Strategy Process so we can avoid the pitfalls and can actually improve the process.
In general, the participation level in the Strategy Space bar was higher than expected and also the engagement level was good. People were having lively discussions about diverse topics and chosen facilitated approaches helped to get people more involved with the Strategy Process. In general it feels that hosting the bar made the Strategy Space more comfortable and welcoming for people who are not usually contributing to strategic discussions and might be a model to use in future events for informal discussions.