WIKIMEDIA CONFERENCE 2018 WORKING GROUPS REPORT
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The affiliate model, the role of WMF, purpose and internal dynamics of these structures and movement wide decision-making processes and leadership.
10 on Saturday and 11 on Sunday
From practical actions to address challenges for the movement (see Day 2, "The Way Forward"), participants of this group chose to discuss the following topics and ideas:
- Acknowledge the existing power struggles
- Acknowledge the polarity: centralization <> decentralization
- Collective impact model, or fungi networks
- Rethink the affiliate model
- Encourage different growth paths for organizations that are just as legitimate
- Dissolve the Wikimedia Foundation
- Recognize different forms of leadership that don’t manifest as edits or titles
- Create a U.S. Chapter
- Respect different opinions in the community
- Admins work in a different way
- Create a MediaWiki Foundation
- Move away from a mindset of risk aversion to one of trust
- Manifestations of power: money, staff, influence, knowledge, relationships, decision-making
- Power = Gestaltungsmacht (creative power) - needs to be more evenly distributed. Create spaces for this.
- Every organization focuses on just one goal
- Create a Movement council
- Those in leadership positions must reflect the global population
- NOT Cathedral, but a Bazaar
- Use ‘change management’ to facilitate change
- Have regional hubs of authority (resourced and with ability to make decisions)
- Use consensus to delegate authority to different groups;
- Allow small scale experiments to encourage new ideas
- Create a representative body with authority to make decisions
Structure, Leadership, Process and Strategy, Power Dynamics: These all come from manifestation of existing power dynamics that are maintaining the status quo, so we need to change the existing power dynamics, rather than creating new roles and responsibilities. There is a dichotomy between perceiving us as egalitarian, but knowing that there are imbalances - so we want to move from wanting to be egalitarian, to being equitable.
We need people that can represent new voices, but also the status quo. We need people with history of the movement, there is a set of “personas” like “the disgruntled old timer’ - but this should not be the person representing the Status Quo. Allies of change, and Devil’s advocates. There were considerations about representation as well.
We don’t know how to implement this, but we have some ideas. There is a strong need for a neutral facilitator, that brings the pieces together and manages opinions diplomatically. There should be established principles and values from the beginning. We should keep the flow loose, but start with a trust building phase. Have a research driven process, with input from inside and outside the movement, and documentation that can be transferable to others. Constant feedback cycles.
Multiple recommendations with possible scenarios, no point of view on how to do decision-making. We did not want to stall the process, but not jump into conclusions. It’s important to get together in person and be supported by good distance collaboration tools.