Recommendation # 9: Recognizing Individuals
Note: This recommendation is not based on full consensus among the members of the working group yet. We are looking forward to discussing the nuances of this topic at Wikimania.
Q 1 What is your Recommendation?
Wikimedia Movement needs a system for recognizing and supporting organizers and leaders who are contributing to Capacity Building in their own communities or for other communities in the movement. This is critical for increasing diversity and avoiding a situation where only the most privileged people can volunteer their time for such efforts. The recognition can come in many ways, such as online and offline barnstars, unique symbol and monetary support - honoraria and other forms of support such as scholarships, equipment, internet access and more.
There is a need for a good system to select who is participating in paid trainings, and having a more selective system may have benefits.
Recognizing individuals will enable more people to take part and lead more online and offline activities. The monetary support will enable new volunteers from less privileged and underprivileged communities to be more active in our movement and will increase diversification. The new organizers will enjoy professional training, coaching, among other tools, and this will benefit them not only in their Wikimedian’s role but in their professional lives.
Q 2-1 What assumptions are you making about the future context that led you to make this Recommendation?
There's constant volunteer contribution to Wikimedia projects and volunteers are facing challenges. Communities count on individuals' capacity to address these challenges. This is not sustainable as these people who volunteer in Capacity Building among the communities are not adequately compensated for their efforts. Supporting individuals who help communities achieve their goals within a structure will bring diversity and equity.
Q 2-2 What is your thinking and logic behind this recommendation?
- Why do we recommend to recognize individuals? Because we need more leaders and organizers from various backgrounds in our movement.
- Why don’t we have leaders and organizers from various backgrounds in our movement? Because many of our volunteers are already volunteer as editors. Being organizers or leaders are their 2nd volunteerism. It is very hard to commit to so many hours of unpaid activities.
- Why is it hard to commit to so many hours of unpaid activities? Because people need money to live. Intensive volunteerism is a privilege that very few people can afford. We need to build a system that compensate people.
- Why do not we have such a system today? Because there is a bias in the movement toward paid participation and idealizing non-paid contributors.
- Why is there a bias in the Wikimedia Movement? Because the first volunteers of the Wikimedia Movement were editors and developers of Wikipedia and the idealization of non-paid contributors came with them. But Wikimedia is not Wikipedia and if our vision is to become the infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge, we need to build a system for recognizing and supporting organizers and leaders.
Q 3-2 Who specifically will be influenced by this recommendation?
All key movement stakeholders providing and receiving capacity building.
Q 4-1 Could this Recommendation have a negative impact/change?
Although this is merely a recognition of individuals' efforts to help build capacities with their expertise in subjects such as leadership and organizational skills, monetary compensation for volunteer work is not well regarded within the community at large.
Establishing a system that "works" while maintaining diversity will require continuous improvement as the movement evolves.
Q 4-2 What could be done to mitigate this risk?
We need to establish a transparent community structure to identify the individuals that are meritorious for recognition in the movement, and base in this structure ideally track potential individuals worthy of recognition.
Q 5 How does this Recommendation relate to the current structural reality? Does it keep something, change something, stop something, or add something new?
Adds a new recognition process that didn't exist and that shifts the relationship between volunteers with the stream of revenues.
Q 6-1 Does this Recommendation connect or depend on another of your Recommendations? If yes, how?
It connects to all other recommendations as it is designed to ensure their implementation and sustainability.
Q 7 How is this Recommendation connected to other WGs?
Resource Allocation: Funding will have to be provided for this recommendation in the form of an annual budget and a quota (number of individuals) to reach per fiscal year.
Q 8 Do you have anything to add that was not covered with previous questions, yet essential for understanding the recommendation?
Not at this moment.
Q 13 What are the concerns, limiting beliefs, and challenges for implementing this Recommendation?
This is part of the larger, movement wide discussion around paying 'volunteers' or rather, which types of volunteers eventually turn into paid staff, because they choose to take on tasks beyond editing. This disucssion is also refelcted in some of the other working groups' recommendations, and will have to be brought up when harmonizing recommendations.
Q 15a What is the timeframe of this Recommendation in terms of when it should be implemented? 2020, 2021, etc.
Q 15b Does this Recommendation have an urgency or priority? Does the timeframe for implementation depend on other Recommendations being implemented before or after it?
Q 16 How should the implementation of this Recommendation be monitored and evaluated? By who?