Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Working Groups/Application process report

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The application form, in the first round of the application process, was open for two and a half weeks (June 13 - July 2 2018). Outreach to possible applicants was done through selected Wikimedia mailing-lists, social media groups and channels, conference participation, and other networks in the Wikimedia movement.  

172 applications were received. Many of the applications were very good, showing a high degree of motivation and interest to participate in the Movement Strategy Process as well as demonstrating a good understanding of the Wikimedia Movement and local contexts.

In evaluating the applications, expertise was a decisive criteria. Additionally, the general criteria of diversity and representation that were considered in this first round of applications were roles (staff, volunteer, etc.), affiliation (type of Wikimedia organisation), geography, and gender identity. These were the overall plusses and minuses:  

  • Good mixture of volunteer, board and staff roles
  • High diversity in terms of types of organization
  • Overly Western centered
  • Not enough women

Especially considering gender and geography, the sum of applications did not have a level of diversity that sufficiently  represents the movement; that brings in new voices and that ensures a healthy disruption of the status quo. The application form therefore remains open until further notice. You can read more about how we are working to facilitate an increase in diversity here.

The Application Form[edit]

The application form was open from June 13, 2018, to July 2, 2018, including a one-week extension.

All applicants had to answer the following questions:

  • Choose your Working Group (first option)
  • Choose your Working Group (second option)
  • If applicable, note if you have been selected by your department or organization to apply to become a member in the working groups?
  • Which of the options describes best your relation to Wikimedia?
  • What is the name of your organization or group or project?
  • What is your role in your organization/group/project?
  • How many years have you been involved with the movement?
  • Which geographical locations have you spent most of your life time in?
  • I identify my gender as…
  • What are your main languages?
  • Do you participate in any regional or thematic collaborative?
  • Approximately how many hours per week (average) would you be able to commit to participating in a Working Group?
  • What inspires and motivates you to take part in the Working Groups you have chosen?
  • Do you have any specific interest within your chosen thematic area? If yes, please provide a short description.
  • What competences, experiences and perspectives do you bring to the Working Group?
  • If there is something that we did not ask you, but you think and feel is important for us to consider, please use this field to share it with us!


To reach as many relevant candidates as possible, the open call for participation in the Working Groups was communicated through a number of different channels (below is a non-exhaustive list):

  • Wikimedia mailing lists
    • Wikimedia-l, Public policy, GLAM, wikidata, tech, and other lists.
  • Social media
    • Facebook groups: Wikimedia Conference, WikiDonne, Wikidata, and other.
    • Telegram groups: Diversity Conference, Wikimedia Conference, Hackathon, General Wikimedia group.
  • Conferences (presence before the open call to raise attention)
    • Wikimedia Conference in Berlin, April 20-22 2018 (see below).
    • ESEAP Conference in Bali, May 5-6 2018.
    • Hackathon in Barcelona, May 18-19 2018.
  • Google Hangout Office Hours
    • During the open call, Process Architect Kaarel Vaidla hosted three Q&A sessions on Google Hangouts for regional collaboratives (ESEAP; WikiIndaba and CEE) .
  • Personal contact to Wikimedia representatives
    • The above Office Hours were communicated in the regional and thematic networks.
    • In addition, Kaarel Vaidla and Nicole Ebber kept leading actors informed about the process, in order for them to also act as multipliers in their communities (e.g. The group of  Executive Directors, Chairpersons group, AffComm).

Wikimedia Conference 2018[edit]

The Working Groups process was a theme in the Strategy Track at the Wikimedia Conference 2018. The Strategy track helped clarify the thematic areas that the Working Groups should be working on, and participants were alerted to the fact that there would be an application process for the working groups coming up. See WMCON report 2018.

Distribution of the applications[edit]

Most applications were received for the Working Group on Diversity, followed by Community Health. These two application pools also had the better gender balance and representation of on-wiki volunteers. Fewest applications were received for Revenue Streams, followed by Advocacy.

Revenue Streams, which by far received the fewest applications, was separated from Resource Allocation to make sure that the theme would be discussed separately - even if this means establishing a smaller working group. It was observed at the Wikimedia Conference 2018, that when Resource Allocation and Revenue Streams were discussed in the same group, the former theme got all of the attention.

Number of applications per Working Group / 1st and 2nd priority*
Advocacy Capacity Building Community Health Diversity Partnerships Product and Technology Resource Allocation Revenue Streams Roles and Responsibilities
1st 2nd 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 1st 2nd
14 10 17 18 21 31 34 14 20 13 22 15 18 14 5 13 21 10
Total: 24 Total: 35 Total: 52 Total: 50 Total: 33 Total: 37 Total: 32 Total: 18 Total: 31
Total number of 1st priority 172
Total number of 2nd priority 138

Time Allocation[edit]

Time allocation was first set as a minimum of 5 hours per week, then changed to an average of 5 hours per week; as there will be peaks and slumps in the amount of work. The Movement Strategy Core Team decided that there has to be an indication of a minimum of time available for the Working Groups, to ensure that members are committed and their work progressing.

The answers to the question “Approximately how many hours per week (average) would you be able to commit to participating in a Working Group?” were distributed as follows:

Number of hours indicated Number of applications
Less than 5 44
5-9 88
10-14 16
More than 15 4
Not indicated 20

On average, both staff, individual contributors and board members indicate around 6 hours availability per week (staff: 6,4: individual contributors: 6; board members: 5,9). 11 volunteers indicated an availability of more than 10 hours per week, the same did 6 board members, and 3 staff members.

Diversity Criteria[edit]

The general diversity criteria that were considered in this first round of applications were:

  • Roles (Staff, Volunteer, etc.)
  • Affiliation (type of Wikimedia organisation)
  • Geography
  • Gender identity
Wikimedia Roles[edit]

The distribution of applications was relatively well-balanced between staff, board members, and volunteers. There is a majority of volunteer applicants, in their many diverse roles: movement committee members, affiliate roles, and project community roles.

Gender. Distribution of applications for MSPRO Working Groups

In conclusion, the applications reflected the many different roles in the Wikimedia movement well, although the representation of the many project communities could have been higher.

Note: The category “Other” in the Roles chart includes applicants such as Wikimedians in Residence, or staff from external partner organisations.

Applicant Affiliation[edit]

There was an overweight in the applications coming from the organized parts of the Wikimedia movement, with a third of applicants coming from Chapters. The amount of applications from User Groups are not relative to their presence in the movement in general; more applications from user group members would have been desirable.

The 10% of WMF applicants seems appropriate; the expertise from WMF is needed in the Working Groups, however the fact that it is not more shows that this is not a WMF process, but a movement process wherein the WMF actively participates.

Committees were represented with 8,7 %, and their participation is important as they work closely with a diverse range of affiliates and communities and have expertise about this.

The 24,4% of non-organized applicants is not proportional to the actual size of the non-organized part of the movement. However, nearly a quarter  of the applications is a significant amount, and show that the open call for participation clearly did reach out widely in the movement.

This application rund was not targeted towards external participants, still we are are happy to see that there are a few applications from external actors. It will be the responsibility of the individual Working Groups to define the need for additional external input and seek this.

Affiliation. Distribution of applications for MSPRO Working Groups

In conclusion, there is a good balance of types of affiliations in the applications. In going forward, there is a need to reach more user groups, ensure a higher participation of the non-organized parts of the movement, and reach out to external groups and individuals.


Applications were received from all populated continents.

A third of the applications came from Europe, which constitutes an imbalance when considering the relative size of the population. This is also true for North America, although to a lesser extent. The majority of applications from North America came from WMF staff, only a few were volunteer applications. As for Europe, it is worth noting that there were less than 10 applications from Eastern Europe (7 from Poland).

As for Europe, it is worth noting that Eastern Europe almost only was represented by Germany and Poland.

South America is well represented. There was an internal process in South America (covered by Iberocoop collaborative) for soliciting applications, which led to a high quality in the coordinated applications coming from there.

Approximately 20% of the applications came from Asia. The Geography chart shows a breakdown by region. There were no applications from Central Asia. Although 20% seems relatively high, one has to consider the vast geographical area covered by Asia, populated by more than half of the World’s population. In this sense, there is still great room for improvement in representing the diversity of Asia in the working groups.

The applications from Africa were concentrated on certain areas, with a relatively high representation of North Africa, and South Africa. To some extent, this depicts the current presence of the Wikimedia movement on the continent. The absolute number of applications from Africa does not represent the potential for qualified candidates from the continent.

Geography. Distribution of applications for MSPRO Working Groups

In conclusion, the geographical distribution of the applications reflects the current biases in the Wikimedia movement. In order to support a disruptive process, we need to make improvements in reaching out to underrepresented areas:

  • We need a better coverage of regions in Africa, many are not involved in the process.
  • We need a better coverage of the regions in Asia, the current applications does not reflect the diversity of Asia.
  • There is a need to work more closely with the Central and Eastern European network, CEE. Although this is the biggest collaborative effort in the movement, they are not well-represented in the process.

Geographical distribution of MSPRO WG applications map


There is a notable imbalance between applications from men and women, reflecting the general imbalance in the movement. Only a quarter of applicants define their gender as female. There were only a few applicants who defined their gender in the other category, while almost 10% chose not to state their gender.

Gender. Distribution of applications for MSPRO Working Groups

In conclusion, more efforts are needed to overcome the gender bias in the movement and engage women in the discussions of our future. Further, and more reflected, effort is also needed to reach out to people who define their gender as “other”.

Evaluation of the applications[edit]

172 applications were received, 91 were shortlisted by the Strategy Core Team, and 88 applicants were selected by the Steering Committee. See the Steering Committee report for a description of the selection process.

You can find all the working group members listed on the respective Working Group pages.