Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Working Groups/Advocacy/Recommendations/Nutshell

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Transparency[edit]

community decides on rules of engagement -> information is accessible and streamlined -> legitimacy of conversations and of people increases -> advocates are efficient and confident

Recommendation

A global network of Wikimedia advocates is built on community driven rules of engagement. There are established entry points for those who want to be involved or want to initiate advocacy activities. Processes for decision making are known and comprehensible.

To increase the legitimacy of decisions and people involved in advocacy, all parts of the movement have to know where and how they can partake in conversations and decisions on local and global levels of advocacy.

There is a system of checks and balances which also includes how the role of a Wikimedia advocate is defined and how it can be given or taken. Advocate who are visible in campaigns and approachable for media should be known by the movement and in the respective communities. There is a process to ensure that the active advocates have the movement’s support.

What that system looks like is created by our communities in collaboration with affiliates and advocates.

Rationale

Today the movement does not have a comprehensive  understanding about how advocacy could be structured and organized and there are different models due to various contexts and circumstances. There is advocacy on the grassroot and self-determined level whenever community members start to do advocacy and there are more formal processes when the Wikimedia Foundation or other affiliate organizations are involved.

The contributing community does not always feel represented by active advocates. And for the latter there is no established feedback system.

Sometimes advocacy decisions need more time sensitive decision making that takes into account the need of keeping the community informed and able to participate. Especially decisions which have public resonance like blackouts of Wikipedia projects need a good organization, a known structure of roles and a stable community backing when we want them to be authentic and telling.

Diversity[edit]

movement is flexible and adaptable -> people feel heard and validated -> better retention of activists -> movement diversity -> diverse impact

Recommendation

Community actively seeks and provides a good environment and tailored pathways that attracts more people (professionals and volunteers) from a variety and diversity of languages and cultural backgrounds to engage in advocacy for Wikimedia on a local or global level.

The movement has to find ways to make contribution and advocacy be less one-dimensional and dominated by the Western discourse and experience. First step into this direction is to create supportive, positive and flexible spaces, models and tools within the movement. These spaces are responsive and adaptable if we find that they do not cater to specific community needs. They make people feel heard and esteemed. It’s is a question of attitude and how adaptable our movement is to new ideas and diverse experiences.

An additional approach is to fine-tune the community information flow to be more receptive to pertinent issues that our individuals, groups and organizations face. Fine-tuning means inscribing such attention at every level of international community interaction, including the language and narratives we use to talk about changing our circumstances of operation. Being more receptive means actively seeking information and people working in those places and developing with them adequate responses that they guide and take on. Finally, showcasing these collaborations and work to encourage others by example.

Rationale

Despite many efforts undertaken up to date, our community still struggles with adequate representation of human diversity and knowledge in its projects. At the same time simply providing enabling, inviting environment is not enough if the dominant cultures and processes support the old ways and are inflexible in accommodating new problems and forms of expressing self-determination. As a result the less/non-represented communities do not feel our community is ready to support their cause and they don’t share their knowledge.

At the same time advocacy is a very Western concept and it lacks a joint understanding, even when we see it being nested in the movement’s principles. What is a simple thing to do in one part of the world may be a risk and harmful for people in other parts while those advocates and their stories are not even that visible in the entire movement.

Global conversation[edit]

movement is exchanging ideas and experiences -> there is space and rules for engaging in conversation -> there is equity of access and streamlining of results

Recommendation

There is an established communication process for community advocates to have central conversations about advocacy

Our recommendation addresses these issues by creating a specific transparent process that is based on

  • easily available information where to look for support and what the process is like
  • expectations management (what sort of support we are able to offer and path for creating non-standard solutions)
  • timely acknowledgement and response.

The forum encompasses smaller subject threads and is shaped by the community of advocates with the assistance of those tasked with facilitating and maintaining it.

Rationale

Advocacy can be done with very little resources, but there are times when community members may need or want support to run a campaign or talk to lawmakers. Negative outcomes include: expertise and experience is not being shared and community members may not be clear on where and when they can take a stand on policy or advocacy issues.

Knowledge management[edit]

the knowledge is captured and retained -> accessibility increases -> the community has active input -> learning and exchange makes the movement more resilient and better prepared

Recommendation

There is constant knowledge management about methods, cases, success stories, and failures for all advocates to access and learn from, processed and maintained by, with and for them

The repository needs centralisation in the aspect that it should be accessible for everybody without really knowing that they need to look for a specific region or dossier; it should have sufficient metadata to be searchable and materials should be actively sought, organised and also featured in a centralised manner. At the same time the community members should be able to add content and request UX modifications. Materials on best practices of doing advocacy, training and capacity building content should be designed, planned and added through a conversation with the community on specific needs and objectives.

Rationale

Knowledge management (storing, classifying and making available) of materials is essential for a global movement that runs advocacy efforts. Many dossiers and ideas developed in EU or US are then copied in various jurisdictions. A trace of how it was tackled and by whom is the basic minimum others should be able to obtain in such a repository. Also since the essence of our projects is knowledge management it should expand into all realms of our work.

Advocacy Hub[edit]

movement is exchanging ideas and experiences -> there is space and rules for engaging in conversation -> there is equity of access and streamlining of results

Recommendation

Movement advocacy efforts are streamlined and reinforced by a hub run with and for current and future advocates

The creation of a central, non-partisan but interconnected movement Advocacy hub that does not sit at nor answer exclusively to WMF, but is based on collaboration among advocates of the movement and the community as a whole.

Rationale

Community needs vary from place to place in the world. However, to serve and support this decentralised mesh of issues and advocacy initiatives, there needs to be a place that serves as a dispatch. Its role is to observe the issues different communities are occupied with, suggest people to connect over shared problems, identify people in the community that may help others and coordinate support when requested. Its role is not to replace or coordinate local advocacy activities but to enhance and support them with a mix of resources, knowledge, training, networking and identifying various opportunities (and future threats) that may not be as apparent on a local level.

Common positioning[edit]

Recommendation

The advocacy priorities of the Wikimedia movement are clearly articulated through a shared, highly visible and living document.

A living document inspired by the concepts of a letter of intent or a manifesto can declare what the movement think is its core and what it stands for (and what doesn’t stand for). It can clearly define and set boundaries about what we do, why we do it and what we want to achieve by doing this. Such a document can also shift western centric definitions by a collective intent. It allows people, organisations and entities that are not currently part of, or aware of, the open movement, the opportunity to see if their goals align with ours, or not.

On the other hand it allows us to clearly and easily decide to stand up for causes that we believe in and take action. It gives people within the movement collective purpose, and allows and legitimate them to articulate what that purpose is.

Rationale

The Wikimedia Movement is many things to many different people from many different cultures, but we are all loosely drawn to one or several aspects of what the Movement stands for - globally and locally. However, these intrinsic elements that draw us into the movement are currently implied rather than overt. That leads to situations where communities have long and exhausting discussions about advocacy activities, arguing if this is something in the scope of their community or not. Also, the question if our movement should take part in advocacy at all, arises repeatedly.