Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Working Groups/Community Health

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Trust, Respect, Inclusion, Burnout


  • structures, practices and resources necessary for supporting a culture of trust and collaboration in Wikimedia communities and organizations;
  • the future perspective of engaging and including newcomers in a sustainable manner;
  • balancing workload and personal health;
  • critical roles in the communities and providing support to retain people with these roles and responsibilities.


Communities are the essential and driving force of the Wikimedia movement. If we are to “carry on our mission of developing content as we have done in the past”, and go even further, inviting more people to join in - the health of our communities is the critical factor for success.

Joining and participating in Wikimedia communities can be challenging. Some communities, cultures, and minorities have suffered from exclusion more than others. Toxic behavior and harassment have had a negative impact on participation in our projects. Even those operating in the best of faith may inadvertently turn potential community members away. Those who stay are faced with the challenge to balance huge workloads with their personal health, while the movement is lacking strategies to prevent burnouts.

Our success has generated an overwhelming amount of maintenance and monitoring, and we have addressed these challenges with tools and practices. These practices aim to ensure the sustainability of our on- and off-wiki communities and provide solutions for executing diverse roles and responsibilities. Introducing new solutions always comes with the risk of turning away community members – either because of change aversion or because these tools are mainly made for expert users.

We need to figure out what we need to change to be able to welcome people into our movement from a wide variety of backgrounds, across language, geography, ethnicity, income, education, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, and more to build strong and diverse communities. In order to work towards our strategic direction, we need to ensure that our communities are places that people want to be part of and participate in. We also need to ensure that our communities are sustainable, that key roles are filled, and that long-time members do not burn out or struggle with overcommitment.

We have already made some progress and conversations around Community Health are happening across the movement. We need to set a positive vision and ensure that this is continuously a part of the work that we do.

If we were to overcome some of the challenges in our community relationships and build healthier communities, it would be possible to be more inviting and inclusive to newcomers and increase the diversity of the people who contribute to our projects and the diversity of content with that.

Guiding Questions

These questions are not meant to be answered one-to-one but should help the group frame their own conversations and their consultations with movement stakeholders.

  • How do we as a movement define the term “community”?
  • How can we ensure that our communities are places that people want to be part of and participate in, and how can we make people stay?
  • How do we engage and support people that have been left out by structures of power and privilege?
  • How can we either prioritize or balance the need to bring new community members into our movement and meet the expectations of existing contributors?
  • What strategies can the movement develop for their constituencies to better balance huge workloads with personal health?

Mailing list



Name Organization / poject Role Geography
Chinmayi S K Simple APG Committee Volunteer South Asia
Jackie Koerner Volunteer North America
James Heilman Wikimedia Foundation (board) Board member North America
Jamie Lin Wikimedia Taiwan Board member East Asia
Jan Eissfeldt Wikimedia Foundation Staff member Western Europe
Kartika Sari Henry Wikimedia Indonesia Board member South East Asia
Maor Malul Affiliations Committee Volunteer South America, Western Asia
Mervat Wikimedians of the Levant Volunteer Western Asia
Pavan santhosh.s Center for Internet and Society & Telugu Wikipedia Staff member South Asia
Philip Kopetzky Wikimedia Österreich Board member Central Europe, Western Europe
Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight Affiliations Committee Volunteer North America
Sandra Rientjes Wikimedia Nederland Staff member Western Europe
Virginia Díez Wikimedia España Staff member Western Europe

Reports and documents


Please take a look at the draft recommendations (September 2019):

  1. A joint set of rules we all agree to live by (a.k.a. Code of Conduct)
  2. Redefining power structures to better serve the communities
  3. Building the leadership of the future
  4. Structure for handling conflicts- before, during and after
  5. Investing in building an inclusive global community
  6. Newcomers are a key indicator to the success of the movement
  7. “Democratizing” participation (making Wikipedia/Wikimedia everyone’s responsibility) and reducing barriers for participation
  8. Privacy and security for everyone
  9. Opening the circle: All terrain readiness
  10. Network to continually support community health
  11. Aligning resource allocation with community health goals
  12. Investing in equity-centered technologies

First draft recommendations are available as well (August 2019).

There is also an abbreviated, translated version prepared for easier engagement.

Scoping document

Activities and reports

The group conducts online calls every two weeks (usually on a Monday). In case there are no minutes published, the call has been postponed.

Wikimedia Conference Working Group Report (2018)

This is an overview of the outputs from the discussion about Community Health at the Wikimedia Conference 2018. The group discussed: 1. What the scope of this thematic area should be; 2. Who should be in the Working Group; 3. How the Working Group should work.

Focus of the conversation

The group focused on the issues of trust, safety and new users.

What? Who? How?

The group formulated questions that related to:

  • What kind of regulatory framework do we need to prevent harassment and increase accessibility?
  • How can we increase collaboration and the feeling of belonging to a community?
  • How do we relate to issues of stress and mental health?
  • What is the role of technology in improving community health?

According to the discussion group, the Working Group should include some of the following:

  • Wikimedia experts in community health
  • People who are in direct contact with issues of community health (administrators, people who implement friendly space policies, etc.)
  • External experts
  • Groups that are underrepresented in the movement

The group made the following suggestions:

  • The Working Group should stay rather small but collect a lot of input from from others
  • There should be face to face meetings in between
  • External consultants could be hired to collect input and do research

If you would like to know more details about the Working Group discussions on this theme, please consult the documentation.


Existing materials

This is a non-exhaustive list. Please add more sources that provide context, background information and insights related to the thematic area.