Talk:Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Recommendations/Iteration 3/Ensure Equity in Decision-Making

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"Enable the empowerment of local communities"[edit]

Does this mean allowing more authoritarian communities, like Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, and Turkey, to control which content is allowed and disallowed? If not, then what else does it mean? George Ho (talk) 02:43, 21 January 2020 (UTC)

I'm not aware of any Wikimedia communities that are more or less authoritarian. Do you mean governments? Then no. The recommendation is to create new structures to enable all contributors to more involved in the establishment, growth, and governance of their community. Particularly by “focussing our efforts on the knowledge and communities that have been left out by structures of power and privilege.” CKoerner (WMF) (talk) 15:11, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
CKoerner (WMF) , okay, but sorry, what does that actually mean? my point is that your recommendation above sounds fine, in its current phrasing, but it leaves one wondering as to what will actually be done in a tangible sense on this topic, in any area. I'm not disagreeing or agreeing with it; I'm simply noting, I need an actual sense of at least a few possible actions, before there is anything that I can actually agree or disagree on. thanks. --Sm8900 (talk) 18:12, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
FWIW, some wiki communities being more authoritarian has at least been posited as a problem (see for example the RfC about hrwiki issues). But I think the recommendation deals with that. (You do realize there's a whole section about community empowerment in the collapsed-by-default part, right? And another one about ensuring that some shared principles are followed, and if necessary enforced, on all wikis?) --Tgr (talk) 19:16, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
Yes, sometimes I wondered what are "local communities". The Wikipedia community of a language version? Or a real world community such as an ethnic group? Ziko (talk) 18:09, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
See Glossary --Abbad (WMF) (talk) 00:58, 23 January 2020 (UTC).
The glossary doesn't define what it means with "local". The word doesn't appear in the glossary. ChristianKl❫ 18:53, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
Ziko and ChristianKl - noted and good point. We will work on adding 'local' to the glossary for next edition and create more clarity in the recommendation. Regarding the background, I believe this has emerged from affiliate discussions and also from the conversations with 'smaller language' communities that do have geographical locality. I don't think in its current wording it captures the full meaning of the recommendation, as it has more to do with the Subsidiarity principle. --KVaidla (WMF) (talk) 15:38, 6 February 2020 (UTC)

This empowerment includes sharing responsibilities and ensuring equitable opportunities for participation in decision-making[edit]

Equitable opportunities exist when there are open RfC where everybody can give his input and decisions are made that way. It seems like it's very unclear whether or not that's meant. This formulation is quite unclear and easy to be interpreted differently by different people which makes it bad in a document that wants to describe a shared consensus. ChristianKl❫ 11:02, 21 January 2020 (UTC)

ding ding ding!! @ChristianKl: is absolutely right. thanks for your comment above. please feel free to contact me. also pinging Bluerasberry. it wouldn't be right for me to deprive others of the chance to see the comment above, in all its brilliance. Face-smile.svg --Sm8900 (talk) 18:10, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
Hmm. This section has the longest discussion "How", yet I'm honestly unable to determine if this recommendation proposes anything different, in addition to, or is just identical to what ChristianKl states above -- use open RfCs. -- Llywrch (talk) 21:08, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
Llywrch, well said. thanks. --Sm8900 (talk) 22:00, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
This recommendation is in the context of "movement-wide" decision-making. RfCs are not a good way of doing that, to be honest. They only attract a narrow slice of people who participate in the movement - the people who are most active and most confident in participating in on-wiki RfCs. So, we're going to need something different, which does not currently exist. However, if we build something that does work, then that might actually facilitate decision-making in a meaningful way. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 13:37, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
Even if RfC is very popular in enwp, it is not used all over the place. In our little community Rfc are never used. And for us it is important that we use the strengths in process from all over the place and not just copy enwp policies.Yger (talk) 14:05, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
They only work if a high enough proportion of the people who need to be involved in the discussion do get involved in it (because they're aware of it, motivated to contribute, and feel able to. The broader the issue the less effective RFCs are. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 14:14, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
RfCs on Meta have the advantage of being open for everyone who wants to participate but that doesn't mean that they are perfect. It seems like the WMF and leadership of affiliates doesn't like the decisions that come out of the process. If the people who made this consultation would believe that a majority of the Wikimedia community believes that RfCs aren't a good way to make decisions it would have been easy to ask the question explicitly.
Instead of asking that question explicitly in the consultation, the question wasn't asked. It wasn't even written explicitly into the recommendation. If it's the intention of the recommendation to get rid of RfCs that seems deliberately obtrusive. It seems like the recommendation is on purpose written in an unclear way because it's easier to hide things that wouldn't find agreement that way.
That strategy is very likely to cause huge rift in our community if there's a commitment on the side of the WMF to push it through against the community. Didn't we have enough fights in the last years? Do we really need more conflicts? ChristianKl❫ 19:53, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
I don't recall a single "movement-wide" decision that has ever been taken through a meta-RfC process, so I don't really understand what you are saying about this being a recommendation to "get rid of RfCs". To be honest, the main problem we have is that there is presently no good way to have discussions about these kinds of issues, let alone make decisions that are meaningfully binding on the WMF. One of the desired outcomes of this whole process is that there is some effective accountability for the WMF apart from the once-in-three-years opportunity for editors to vote on 1/3 of its Board. Meta RfCs do not fulfill that role at the moment, never have done, and are fundamentally ill-suited to it. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 20:13, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
In the last year there was a clear RfC over the question of the code of conduct. I do think it had a clear result. It does seem that the WMF doesn't respect decisions like this and that brought us to a huge conflicts. In any case, I think it's very questionable whether vague language like the one in the recommendation will lead to a productive followup. ChristianKl❫ 20:47, 27 January 2020 (UTC)
If I understand your point, RfCs fail to work because (1) people either don't know about them, or (2) aren't interested in them. First off, there is no solution to the second problem: you can't force people to participate if they don't want to, even if they should. As for the first, that is an old problem with the Internet, at least as old as the WWW: if two resources on the Internet aren't linked somehow, they might as well be invisible to each other. People have come up with lots of solutions for that problem, & a few of them made billions doing just that. One that could be used here, based on what we do at en.wikipedia, is to tag the RfCs so a bot will see it & add it to a list which is either copied to interested people, or posted at a central location. But both problems are orthogonal to using RfCs. An RfC is just a means for people to talk; wikis work when people talk. Sometimes the talking needs to be managed, either increased or decreased. Sometimes you can do this by software; other times, you need a live person to intervene. But the topic page is so vague, I honestly don't know if having people intervene to manage communications is covered, or if making the structures of regional organizations less hierarchical is included, or it's a justification to allocate funds for people to travel to meetings & have an agenda to talk about. -- Llywrch (talk) 22:48, 22 January 2020 (UTC)

Movement Charter draft?[edit]

Is there a draft of the proposed Movement Charter yet? If not, could someone please start one with a list of all its criteria specified here? EllenCT (talk) 17:00, 21 January 2020 (UTC)

I support and agree with EllenCT helpful question, inquiry and comment above. --Sm8900 (talk) 18:15, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
to add to the ideas above and in other sections on this page, these are good ideas, but they seem way too vague and generalized. I'd much rather see a few proposals that focus on building one or two specific processes, or groups, or resources, or something similar in concrete terms of Wikipedia.
that might be better than a group of broad recommendations that seem to seek to be all things to all people, and hence could sound like they might mean changing everything, but alternately do not actually provide any specific items or actions, and therefore do not actually build any actual awareness, discussion, or consensus for changing any specific items at all. thanks. --Sm8900 (talk) 18:08, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
I can only repeat what I said elsewhere: that's just not a viable thing to do in a strategy document. I understand it is frustrating to see the mention of all kinds of charters and policies and codes without being able to discuss them in full detail, but that comes with the territory: long-term planning for changes which take serious amounts of money, buy-in and commitment to pull through, or event to design in detail, must begin with establishing a shared understanding that those changes are important. That's what the strategy recommendations attempt to do, not doing the actual full design of these changes - there's a separate implementation phase for that. --Tgr (talk) 19:24, 21 January 2020 (UTC)

See also this edit. It's rather confusing that you cannot be sure where this Charter business should be discussed. Mautpreller (talk) 21:58, 21 January 2020 (UTC)

  • If they're not important enough to spend the effort drafting, they're not important enough to support. So, they should be scrapped until a concrete proposal can be put forth, for an up or down decision, instead of trying to slip it in the back door and then say "But you already said this was okay...". Not acceptable, Tgr. Seraphimblade (talk) 01:31, 22 January 2020 (UTC)

Yet more overreach[edit]

Much of this is so vague as to nearly lack meaning entirely. Open pathways to power positions, what is considered a "power position"? If we're talking about the stuff back here, the proposal was apparently made without any thought whatsoever:

Separation of powers: To protect volunteers better from burnout (see Recommendation: “Investing in building an inclusive global community”), and to limit the risk to privacy and strengthen community-internal checks and balances in self-governance, the working group recommends that no volunteer user holds more than two of the following roles in a given Wikimedia language community at the same time:

Administrator and

Arbitration Committee member / comparable institutions or

Checkuser or

Oversight or

Other roles that might be deemed necessary to spread out responsibilities within a community

Now, think about that for half a second. I don't know about on other projects, but on the English Wikipedia, arbitrators have to date all been administrators. So, now they've got their two positions. But...oops! Arbs need CU and OS to oversee the use of those tools, and investigate claims of misuse of them, but now no arbs can have them! If the community trusts people with a certain position, that is their call, not yours. It should be up to communities, and the community alone, who its admins and functionaries are. It is absolutely unacceptable for the WMF to attempt to horn into those processes in any way whatsoever, and that proposal alone makes clear that they are not competent to do so. Seraphimblade (talk) 01:41, 22 January 2020 (UTC)

So to me it looks like the original draft was too specific and, if implemented literally, would have resulted in obvious problems. As a result the language in this iteration is much less prescriptive and open to debate about how it gets interpreted in specific contexts. Which strikes me as sensible. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 13:30, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
But one should at least understand the general idea, which is not the case here.Mautpreller (talk) 14:28, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
How it should be implemented is easy: However a given community decides, including "Not at all". Seraphimblade (talk) 00:27, 23 January 2020 (UTC)

I don't view it as overreach. A mission statement or strategy statement like this, by its nature, supports a certain number of broad overall goals. It's a constitution, not a statute. And anything that is a broad, consensus document is going to be worded like this. There will never be a strategy document with copperplate prose, but this is a positive start and in general terms, I support it. Montanabw (talk) 01:02, 23 January 2020 (UTC)

That's fine. But when I see such basic incompetence as to make a proposal that would fundamentally prevent arbitrators from performing one of their primary functions (overseeing use of tools such as suppression and checkuser), it leads me to question whether the "working groups" have any understanding at all of how Wikimedia communities actually work. And thus far, the answer seems to be a firm "no". The Land can try to say that would've resulted in "obvious problems", but if I can see that obvious problem with a single glance, they should have had people who could have seen it too. If they didn't, they're not actually representative of the Wikimedia communities, and clearly have zero understanding of what actually goes on in them. That means they shouldn't be making recommendations on how they should do things. Seraphimblade (talk) 09:07, 24 January 2020 (UTC)

Binding? Specifics? Defining? Unacceptably vague[edit]

Some of these aspects have been covered above, but this is particularly a question to any WMF or Working Group member who drops in.

  • This is extremely vague (which after more than a year seems poor), so presumably there's an implementation stage. Why should we vote in favour of this, when we might then find later find none of the implementation options are acceptable?
  • Would this be binding on local communities (and if "not yet decided" is the current formal viewpoint, what is your preference and what is your team's preference?)
  • Where an aspect is vague, readers, editors, the Community, and the WMF may disagree on how it is to be interpreted. While I imagine that might be discussed, can you confirm if the WMF is going to reserve final defining to itself, and how this can reasonably go alongside with being an involved stakeholder? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Nosebagbear (talk) 10:03, 23 January 2020‎
    • I had nothing to do with this process, but as I see it, it's broad and a bit vague because it's a general statement of principles. More like a Constitution or Charter of sorts than a set of statutes or regulations. Interpretation is an ongoing process and probably one that will evolve and change over time. Implementation might also not look the same in every wiki. Thus a core document needs some flexibility to adapt to changing times and different perspectives. Past history clearly shows that the discussion between the WMF and various other stakeholders is already a dynamic, ever-changing process. JMO Montanabw (talk) 19:44, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
      • But in the constitution example, there are always some key specifics that everything else fluctuates. For example, they specify their highest court - my questions were specifically focused because if there's going to be lots of vagueness, I need to ask what underlying rules that interpretation of the vagueness will operate under. Because this is so vague, the WMF can functionally claim it supports anything. That's okay if the Community than had to !vote to support it, but if the WMF is getting the last word, then it's no more than a blank cheque with a mission statement attached. Nosebagbear (talk) 19:50, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
Dear Nosebagbear, thanks for clarifying question and Montanabw, thanks for sharing your take! Really appreciated and helpful.
I understand that there is a certain level of vagueness in these recommendations that give space for possible different interpretations. The reason for this has been an honest effort to try to find common ground and alignment across the projects, communities, and organizations in our movement from East Asia to Americas, from Africa to Europe. As a result, this is not a strategy of a specific organization or designated wiki community, but a movement strategy. This means that these recommendations can give us a common direction for action across all communities and support us in being a global movement with common goals. This, however, also means that there is a higher level of abstraction in outlining these goals. We need to adapt to specific local and regional contexts during the implementation to meet the needs and expectations of the communities in their specific context.
As I see it, the movement strategy is an opportunity to ameliorate collaboration and provide peer support beyond our home wikis or organizations. People and organizations can step up, take agency and accountability to be part of the development process of, for example, skills development frameworks or knowledge management systems in a collaborative way. So for me participation in implementation of these recommendations is an opportunity to contribute to a better future of our movement and ensuring that we get it right in particular local or regional contexts. However, some of the recommendations might lead to changes that are binding for stakeholders, just as a completely random example, in future there might be an obligation to abide to the movement charter to operate as an organization in the movement.
All these recommendations need further assessment and work to develop concrete implementation plans with prioritization and sequencing, highlighting key results and outcomes, and measures to track our progress. Some of the recommendations might have different implementation plans in different context depending on the community input. For that reason we are not requesting anyone to vote at this point of time, but to give a perspective on the drafted recommendations.
From my perspective, at this point of time, it would be valuable to understand:
* How well would the recommendations address the needs of your local or regional context?
* What challenges do you foresee the recommendations posing for your local or regional context?
and then also to get an understanding on what people think of the possible global impact of these recommendations in advancing our movement.
Regarding the final decision-making, this will again depend highly on the actual recommendations. Legally, the Board of Trustees of Wikimedia Foundation is the final authority regarding movement matters, as all affiliates are formally affiliates of and all projects are hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation (I understand that this statement is oversimplified and there is more to it, e.g. many affiliates being registered independent entities in their own countries, etc.). In practice, this does not mean, however, that all the decisions are being made at that level and there is a track record of project and organizational autonomy in our movement - this is actually an integral part of who we are. As part of the movement strategy also the principle of subsidiarity is put forth as one of the guiding principles for taking the recommendations forward. This means that in the implementation there will be an effort to have the decisions being made on the lowest possible level. Suitable level can be defined for each recommendation or initiative that will emerge from it, for example I can foresee something like DARCI grid as part of the implementation plan for them.
I hope that this answers some of your questions and makes the vagueness a bit more understandable and acceptable. Wishing you a great end of the week! --KVaidla (WMF) (talk) 23:49, 23 January 2020 (UTC)

We already have a "global Governance Body"[edit]

The WMF Board itself must be both diverse and representative of the Movement. This is not a responsibility to pawn off on a toothless "global" body, that is given the token role of "assisting the WMF Board" at the latter's discretion. Real legitimacy comes from real equity in giving a voice to community members in selecting the majority of the WMF Board, through considered electoral mechanisms that ensure diversity in all aspects.--Pharos (talk) 03:35, 24 January 2020 (UTC)

Hi Pharos! This is an interesting point, and as someone who was involved in the recommendations that preceded this I think it's probably worthwhile setting out where this recommendation comes from and what I think has been lost in the latest round.
The idea of a 'global governance body' comes out of the Roles and Responsibilities recommendations. Why did we suggest this new body rather than relying on the WMF Board? Several reasons. First because the WMF Board will never be large enough to be really representative of the movement. The maximum size for an effective board is roughly 11, and effective boards need a balance of skills and expertise (in my view it's not viable to e.g. stop having the appointed seats). It would be possible to take the 3 community seats, the 2 affiliate seats and maybe add another one or two and then have them elected through one process set up to ensure diverse and equitable representation. But that would still only be 5-7 people and there is far more richness and diversity in the movement than that. Secondly, the WMF Board has a particular focus - the governance of the WMF as a body - which is a big and challenging task in its own right. Overall the Movement needs more consultation, collaboration, and co-working between the WMF and affiliates and communities; the WMF Board by both its composition and nature is not the right body to facilitate that. This is what led us to proposing a new body.
That is not to say that the method of election of the WMF Board couldn't be improved. If you see this previous iteration of recommendation you will see the R&R working group suggested setting some clear expectations about how all movement entities are governed, and among those is equitable representation on Boards. If the WMF Board thought about this issue then they would probably find a way (or ways) to make their own composition more equitable. The WMF Board's method of election is unchanged since about 2009, and they do not appear to have considered this issue for 10 years. To be honest, that is a failure of the WMF Board.
It's also worth noting that the original vision for the Governance Body was not something that 'assisted' the WMF Board. I think that is the wrong language to use (and worth noting that the word 'assist' appears only once in the current recommendation) - if you look at the list of responsibilities of the Governance Body is is actually intended to be pretty powerful :
  • Setting and maintaining the strategy with community input wherever possible/viable;
  • Ensuring alignment of the strategic principles of the Movement;
  • Recommending and making changes to the Movement Charter, as needed; (note that the Charter in turn includes the framework for resource allocation, fundraising, and what is currently called affiliation).
  • Holding all Movement organizations accountable for their use of Movement funds and trademarks and ensuring they support the Wikimedia mission and vision, complying with the Movement Charter (note that 'all Movement organizations' includes the WMF!)
Hope this helps. (It's also worth noting that previous rounds of recommendations also envisaged the WMF as a body starting to decentralise and redistribute some of its own power and privilege, which this document is much quieter about). Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 09:39, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
@The Land: - regarding Setting and maintaining the strategy with community input wherever possible/viable; - what circumstances does "wherever possible/viable" mean? Strategy is by its nature, the larger, non immediate term decisions. Could some examples be provided where this exception would be needed (e.g. times in the past where a strategic choice was needed on ultra-quick notice that this governance body (not the board) would have provided, if it had existed?) If this body must exist, then I'm reticent to allow caveats without good demonstrated reasons Nosebagbear (talk) 11:26, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
Not much insight into what it's meant to mean. I think it got added because there was some concern from someone at the WMF that without the caveat it would mean they had to get the new governance body to sign off on the purchase of a new laptop, or something. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 20:17, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
and in case it wasn't clear from that post, I would prefer not to have the caveat either! I think there will be a certain amount of work to do establishing a shared understanding of what 'strategic' means in practice. There is a risk of the new body not achieving anything if it works in too much detail, and some Wikimedians' instincts would be to try to get far too detailed about things. However that's not the only risk of failure - that the scope ends up being too narrow and the approach too pre-defined by the WMF staff, or that the WMF corporately doesn't really engage with it, or that the discussions in the governance body are poorly facilitated and go round in circles, or people show up and start making rhetorical talking points about how awful everything is with no commitment to actually engaging with issues. There are probably others. Most of those problems already exist very strongly in the current structure, though, and creating this is a chance to address them. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 09:28, 25 January 2020 (UTC)

Question, is this proposed global governance body akin to the UN General Assembly, where the WMF Board is the ones with the true power and thus akin to the Security Council?--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 03:12, 13 February 2020 (UTC)

Request help with new Council for WikiProjects[edit]

Highlights from the Arabic Speaking Conversations - Ensure Equity in Decision-Making[edit]

On the first week of community conversations, 25 members of the Online Arabic speaking community engaged in discussing the fifth recommendation "Ensure Equity in Decision-Making" on the Arabic Wikipedia Facebook group. Generally, comments and reactions supported the ideas in recommendation, especially the idea of implementing Regional Hubs which received 92% of favorable votes.

One member suggests that the recommendation shall include : "A clear description of roles and responsibilities (such as diagram/chart) should be available and provided for all and easy to reach, in one of the main pages of the Wiki by default." -- ASedrati (WMF) (talk) 18:30, 26 January 2020 (UTC)

Some personal feedback below[edit]

Regarding regional hubs or emerging structures: from a small affiliate member perspective I am concerned this may be used for revanchist or irredentist ambitions of more powerful structures within the same hub. Ideally, it should allow o enhance collaboration, but if not a proper ground or culture is previously set up, it might trigger for a more aggressive power politics at the thematic or regional level. --Toniher (talk) 22:43, 28 January 2020 (UTC)

Hi Toniher! Yes, this is an important point. There are some things to reduce this risk it in the recommendations. The hubs would be accountable to the global governance body, and there would be expectations about how they behave in the proposed Movement Charter. Also, the original Roles & Responsibilities recommendations proposed that movement entities (including hubs) would be governed by Boards which reflected the diversity of the communities they worked with. The intent of this is to stop a larger or more powerful culture, language, region, class, or caste from dominating others. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 11:01, 29 January 2020 (UTC)
That sounds like you want to have a global government body that has the power to dominate the big Wikipedia communities that exist at the moment instead of a governing body that's represenative of the volunteer community while at the same time writing about the virtues of self-determination in the narrative of change. ChristianKl❫ 16:12, 10 February 2020 (UTC)

Widespread confusion on what the hub's authority will be - start again[edit]

Last week I participated in the 2nd (1800) UTC online chat forum hosted by the WMF, with a couple of dozen participants from 5 or 6 communities, 2 WMF staff, a significant number of chapter staff & officers/editors, and the rest various "standard" editors.

One of the three main topics that got discussed was this hub.

There was staggering disagreement as to what this organisation's authority was, whether it was purely a consultation body, whether it was an umbrella/alongside/subsidary organisation to the board, could it prohibit strategic decisions etc. Everything from talking shop to veto power to ability to promote courses of action were suggested as what this recommendation meant.

And that was before we got to whether we disagreed or agreed with its potential existence. We have a couple of weeks left and we're still unsure about what we're disagreeing about?! This can't go to implementation stage because everyone's basing it off different starting points. The consultation should be clarified, translated and only then reset back to it's month long timeline. Nosebagbear (talk) 11:03, 3 February 2020 (UTC)

Hi Nosebagbear - is it the "hubs" that are unclear, or the global governance body, or both? Thanks, Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 11:13, 3 February 2020 (UTC)
Focus of the discussions was the global governance body and its position, power, tasks and accountability. Alice Wiegand (talk) 15:46, 3 February 2020 (UTC)
@KVaidla (WMF) and CKoerner (WMF): - hi there, is there any indication that this is going to be cleared up before this consultation concludes? As I noted above, it isn't something that can just be left for an "implementation discussion". Nosebagbear (talk) 15:30, 6 February 2020 (UTC)
Dear Nosebagbear, thanks for the ping! As Alice notes, the discussion on the call was more about global governance body than the hubs, but both concepts have been criticized for their vagueness in this iteration of recommendations.
* Regarding the Global Governance Body - it is clearly stated in the recommendations Establish a global Governance Body with an equitable distribution of representatives from throughout the Movement as a basis for facilitating Movement-wide actions and accountability, i.e. that is definitely not an idea to create a talk shop. The problem it tries to solve is the fact that currently the responsibility of the governance for the whole movement is currently with the Board of Trustees of Wikimedia Foundation, which creates certain boundaries and complications as 1) the board needs to be the board of an organization and the whole movement at the same time, 2) the way the board is currently composed is effective and sufficiently representative for a board of an organization, but not so much representative of the global movement having online projects in more than 300 languages and network of more than 160 affiliates. The idea of the global governance body is to ensure informed decision-making and recommendations on strategic movement issues to be implemented on the executive level not only in Wikimedia Foundation, but across the movement organizations.
** The key questions for the consultation on this point would be: 1) do you agree with the problem statement OR do you think there is a different problem OR are you fine with current approach to the global governance? and then depending on the answer 2) what aspects of movement governance need to be tackled by the Board of Trustees of WMF and what aspects need to be covered in a different way, e.g. by the global governance body? In this way we can either validate, improve or invalidate problem statement and also have contextual understanding what are the different governance gaps from different viewpoints.
* Regarding the hubs, this idea is more on the execution level, as stated in the recommendation to establish coordinated, participatory, and context-based resource allocation and capacity building processes, which respect the self-determination of relevant communities, decided upon by the recipients. This might seem at the first sight a more affiliate related recommendation, but we do need to keep in mind: 1) there is a strong connection between affiliate membership and online communities for many smaller communities, 2) capacity building opportunities are something that would benefit both offline organizers as online contributors. The need it tries to tackle is contextual decision regarding resource allocation and capacity building efforts, that should also create clear pathways for people to receive support.
I hope it creates clarity regarding these 2 concepts! Thank you again for your engagement and clarifying this point!--KVaidla (WMF) (talk) 16:21, 6 February 2020 (UTC)
  • It's very unclear to me what's meant. Emergent is a word that suggest that the hub is not created in a prescriptive manner. How would you create hubs in an emergent manner? I think it might make sense to create something hubs and let minor language versions decide to sign up to various hubs. The word emergent doesn't fit that process. Instead of using fancy words, recommendations should be written in clear English, so that everybody knows what's meant. It's expecially import to use clear language when it comes to making decisions about how power will be distributed. The evasive wording and sloppiness of not defining key terms prevents people from forming an informed consensus. ChristianKl❫ 17:50, 6 February 2020 (UTC)

5 questions about the Global Gouvernance Body[edit]

Hi! Here are 5 questions about the Global Gouvernance Body :

  • Is this Body : a consultative body, a regulating body, a decision body ? Or alltogether ?
  • How will the seats be distributed : fraction of de facto seats, elected seats, selected seats ?
  • How many seats will this Body have ? About 10, 40, 200 ?
  • Will there be reserved seats for the Technology Council ?
  • Will the the Global Gouvernance Body write the Movement Charter, the Code of Conduct ?

Thx --Waltercolor (talk) 10:20, 9 February 2020 (UTC)

Is the proposed Governance Body distinct from the Board of Trustees?[edit]

And, are Florida nonprofits even allowed to delegate total budgetary control? EllenCT (talk) 20:47, 10 February 2020 (UTC)

I'd be shocked if they were - if you delegate budgetary control (not merely responsibility) then you can't satisfy a high level of audit control, and I'd be shocked if their charity & non-profit law allowed them to do that. Certainly it wouldn't in most jurisdictions. Not that I and quite a few others have interpreted it as giving any more control than an ability to replace the Community as a consultation partner. That's convenient for the WMF (quicker, at least), but if there's nothing to be gained, I'd rather keep all consultation at the literal Community level. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:20, 10 February 2020 (UTC)

The Wikimedia Wrong Concepts, topic 5 according official list[edit]

5. Ensure Equity in Decision-Making

Equity only exists if my rights are equal as yours.

There is no Equity if my correct edition is delected for Pharaoh on Top and His Dinasty.

To be equal, we must guarantee CITATIONS, STATISTICS, PROVES, LOGICS for everyone.

I understand the need to protect people and information, but protect information is COMPETENCE OF SPECIALISTS, not famous or frequent wiki-users.

The topic before mine ask: X Board is a Y Board? In fact, these boards were created to keep a casta or clergy around "the power". What is the power? Is knowledge? No! It's money for sympathy.

So a community called by itself now-comming "Knowledge Empire" has money/friendship or NO-CRITERIA center of power!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The "Board" or structure HAS TO BE sustainable by KNOWLEDGE AS CRITERIA. So, what do we know about vandalism? It's a agressive actittude against people or text: dirty words, false accusations, degradations. Everyone can delete this kind of expression: it's not necessary a casta for it.

But famous and activist people are not capacited TO INVESTIGATE a lie about a person or a fact: we need a specialist college, selected by testified curriculum, for mediation. This college will have the mission to explain the editor why he/she is wrong, by FACTS, PROVES, CITATIONS, STATISTICS, ARGUMMENTS.

All the money TO "PAY AUTHORS NOW" - I told you all since c.2010. Authors or "editors" in different functions: a) writers; b) specialist college (for each area); c) anyone to block ONLY VANDALISM.--Camillo Cavalcanti (talk) 01:45, 11 February 2020 (UTC)

Highlights from the Spanish Speaking Conversations - Ensure Equity in Decision-Making[edit]

About 70-80 present in conversations at different degrees (not everyone said something, of course).

Among the people who gave direct feedback on this recommendation, there is a strong support, with Specific support for Charter, Code and Regional Structures. An online editor stated that the important thing is that editors/community do not know where donation money goes, saying that that was a reason why he/she only gave non-monetary donations to the movement.

It is demanded more control and higher rules on how affiliates can be created and accepted, always with respect with the regional difficulties that might be found. That would be good to avoid people being member of a lot of different affiliates and having louder voice than other members. In the text, it is perceived as missing any mention to the problem of "divorce" between affiliates and online communities (even worse when it comes to WMF and editors).

A question: will regional bodies raise funds?--FFort (WMF) (talk) 12:58, 13 February 2020 (UTC)

Highlights from the Catalan Speaking (Valencian) Conversations - Ensure Equity in Decision-Making[edit]

About five people present in different ways, giving feedback via both formal and informal channels. Different backgrounds.

This recommendation mixes different issues, making it "a mess". Common system of decision-making? If it is minimal, yes. We work with tens of thousands of people, but sometimes they are small groups. Opening paths to positions of power also makes sense for this community, specially when it comes to avoid that certain people appear always in responsibility positions.

About empowering local communities, the recomendation has been understood as intended for wikimedia communities, this is: editors. There is a concern on how differents points of views about inclussion has had as a result that the different wikipedia editions work as "forks" of eachother (because there is certain content that only can be found in different wikis depending on the inclusion criteria).

Regional Hubs do not like because of the particular nature of Catalan-speaking community. It is a problem that will also be found in global communities like English edition-editors, Esperanto or Themathical/genre. The current affiliates structure "force" all non-editing activities to be tailored by this logic of affiliates and now regional hubs to fit into political logic (regional/national frontiers). Catalan speakers share problems with all Spanish editors when it comes to Advocacy, but do not share any problems when it comes to language issues (the languages are very different in size). Also, minority languages are regarded as being too small so they could fit in a minority languages hub.

People don't like the document talking about creating more documents and spending money. Amical has historically been against communities that appear when money is on the table, due to dissonance at levels of governance (and WMF is included among these communities).--FFort (WMF) (talk) 12:58, 13 February 2020 (UTC)

Feedback from Hindi Community Conversation on Ensure Equity in Decision-Making Recommendation[edit]

There has been overall support by 4 users for equity in decision making, emphasizing that decentralization of decision making and resources can bring a positive impact. Regional partnerships are valuable for affiliates and communities, and affiliates need support in languages other than English and geographically close to them. There was overall support for the idea of regional hubs for better community support and equitable representation. Overall support by 5 members for representative governance body in our movement for decentralizing power with equitable distribution of representatives from throughout the Movement. RSharma (WMF) (talk) 15:14, 14 February 2020 (UTC)

Feedback from Wikiwomen Office Hours February 4 and February 9[edit]

Overall there was support for this recommendation. It was mentioned that equal representation of voices of movement is required for inclusion of diversity in any movement charter or global governance body model. There was support expressed for hubs on grounds of improved facilitation of communication, safety and security and marginalized communities. More communication is needed between affiliates, the Foundation and the communities for the actual implementation of this recommendation. There was hesitation from one user on this recommendation on grounds that the actual existing entities may be replaced by global governance bodies and there would be no legal accountability and power centralization in dissemination of funds and opportunities. Another user mentioned there is clarification needed on representation of communities in such regional hub model. There was a question about self governance and how diversity and inclusion of marginalized community members will be ensured. RSharma (WMF) (talk) 19:42, 16 February 2020 (UTC)

Feedback from Office Hours from 2 February and 9th February with members from Emerging communities from South Asia and Africa[edit]

Anass Sedrati (Strategy Liaison - Arabic) and Rupika Sharma (Strategy Liaison - Hindi) hosted Office hours on two Sundays (February 2nd and 9th) to discuss with members of Emerging communities from South Asia and Africa. Overall, around 50 people in total participated in either of the calls, representing various areas and regions.

There was a general support expressed for recommendation 5. Overall, the idea of regional hubs was provided support.

It was added that this model can be developed after the analysis of gaps existing in different regions and communities. Participants mentioned that this body could be a liaison between the Foundation and the communities to relay their needs in a better way with support structures and resource sharing platforms.

It was also suggested that this can be a regional body for helping in dispute resolution of different users or affiliates.

Regards -- ASedrati (WMF) (talk) 21:01, 16 February 2020 (UTC)

Thanks Anass and Rupika! It's good to here this - in the previous Roles & Responsibilities recommendations those things were viewed as a part of the role of the hubs, in part prompted by feedback we were getting from emerging communities. The current draft has become less specific. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 10:49, 22 February 2020 (UTC)

My impression[edit]

I may have read too much Herbert Grundmann, but some of these recommendations make me think of religious orders. There is a central normative text (our Movement Charter, their rule etc.) and the global Governance Body could be compared to a General chapter. We should be careful not to give much room to orthodoxy and obedience (or even Kadavergehorsam). --HHill (talk) 00:09, 17 February 2020 (UTC)

Feedback from discussion in the Netherlands[edit]

There has been a discussion about the Movement Strategy 2030 during a Wiki-Saturday organised by Wikimedia Nederland. A summary (in English) can be found here. This comment relates specifically to equity in decision making:

Decision-making within the movement So far, there is only one body that can really make and implement decisions for the entire international Wikimedia movement: the WMF board. The strategy wants to organize a 'counterbalance' in movement power and organisational structures by establishing a Global Governance Body and a Movement charter. Compared to earlier versions of the recommendations, it is no longer clear what the proposed powers of the Global Governance Body are and what impact the Movement Charter will have. Is the GGB the legislature, comparable to the General Assembly of a chapter? This would mean that the GGB has control over the Movement Charter, approves annual plans, budgets and annual reports of the WMF and plays a role in the appointment of members of the WMF board. Or is it just an advisory body of the WMF board - the latter is not desirable. It is also unclear who elects or appoints members of the Global Governance Body. The possibility of introducing individual or organizational membership of WMF should be explored. This could be the basis for democratization and more bottom-up input.

Decentralization Decentralization should be the standard, unless it is clearly unwise. Although there are questions about whether all communities / affiliates can handle greater powers responsibly, the guiding principle must be to have faith in communities. Criteria for decentralization must be developed. Are we talking about decentralization based on geography, language, project? Should technology also be decentralized? Support for centralizing certain issues must also be developed at a decentralized level. You can very well delegate decision-making power to individual editors and individual communities and, for example, let them decide first to organize the servers centrally; the advantage of this is that they are involved in advance. Communities of editors must support the decision to introduce a Global Governance Body. The proposal for hubs talks about regional cooperation on activities and regional financing. That is positive. However, it is not yet clear who will decide on the distribution of the money between the various hubs, ie whether this is a genuine decentralization of powers.
Sandra Rientjes (talk) 10:51, 18 February 2020 (UTC)

global governance body dangers[edit]

I was a community-selected & elected (both!) member of the Board of Trustees for four years. I was involved in many conversations about changing the makeup of the board of trustees. Here's the issue with the global governance body: it sets up a possible dynamic of volunteers vs the grownups, i.e. the appointed experts in management, governance etc that would presumably be appointed to the Board of Trustees, perhaps even replacing the community trustees. There was already this dynamic on the board during my time on it, and it wouldn't be improved with this setup. As long as money and technical decisions flow through the WMF and the Board oversees the Executive Director, power will ultimately rest with the Board, and everyone will know it. Should there be a stronger global advisory group? Certainly. But governance carries strong connotations, and this setup seems destined to me to set up co-governing, but not co-equal, bodies, where not everyone is in the same room and power is inherently unbalanced. -- phoebe | talk 21:37, 20 February 2020 (UTC)

Respons from the Board of Wikimedia Netherlands[edit]

First of all we would like to thank everyone involved for all the work that has been done to get to the recommendations. We are a unique movement and developing a long term strategy with a very diverse group of stakeholders is an incredible challenge.

In addition to the response of the Dutch volunteer community, that is already posted on this page, the Board of Wikimedia Netherlands would like to focus on the following two issues:

  • Decision making in the movement (Governance Structure)
  • Decentralisation

Governance Structure

Over the past 19 years, the Wikimedia Movement has developed a worldwide presence through the efforts of hundreds of thousands of volunteers. A large family of user groups, chapters and thematic organisations is dedicated to supporting these volunteers and engaging with a wide range of partners who want to share in our mission. So far, we have not found an adequate democratic structure to ensure that volunteers and affiliates can engage in decision making in a meaningful and effective manner. We feel that one of the main objectives of the Movement Strategy 2030 is to ensure that we develop such a structure which will allow us to grow, innovate and experiment in the pursuit of our mission while involving all stakeholders.

We find it surprising and disturbing that the current summary of the recommendations shows significant differences from the original recommendations from the working group on this topic. Our disappointment with regards to this change is mostly due to the fact that our view is very much in line with the initial recommendations.

The Dutch chapter believes that there should be a global governance body which has a) decision making authority on issues with regards to the world wide movement and b) is responsible for the movement charter


Of course it makes sense to centralise certain activities within the movement. Some are centralised on a global level and some on a more local or thematic level (our affiliations).

However, we agree with the recommendations in that decentralisation is something that is not only a luxury but is a necessity. Decentralised expertise (and leadership), software development and certain aspects of fundraising requires a better understanding of legal, cultural and infrastructural aspects then what is currently available. Depending on a single major player (or two) does not make sense.

In conclusion the Dutch Board feels that the goals of the recommendations with regards to governance and decentralisation of the movement should have as its goal to foster our worldwide movement which not only turns our diversity and inclusion into a strength, but also ensures that every movement body and individual can contribute to our shared goals in an effective way.

On behalf of the Board, Frans Grijzenhout, - chair Grijz (talk) 13:24, 21 February 2020 (UTC)

Feedback from the Wikimedians in Residence Exchange Network (WREN)[edit]

General Feedback[edit]

Our group's general feedback for the entire set of recommendations can be found here.

Feedback on “Ensure equity in decision-making”[edit]

  • As was stated in our other recommendation feedback comments, “empowering people” sounds paternalistic.
  • The the global Governance Body sounds like a toothless body that is acting only as a subsidiary of the WMF. Ideally, the role of this board would choose the board, perhaps with mediated elections. (The current model has community-elected seats and affiliate-selected seats.)
  • How centralized are regional hubs? Hopefully they are not WMF branch offices. What exactly is a regional hub? They should be bottom-up more than top-down. The WMF should not make assumptions about what people want/need, but actually ask them. Again, the danger is in being overly paternalistic.
    • Wikipedia Zero in India is an example of the mismatch between global/foundation and local needs/views. (TL;DR - Wikipedia Zero/zero rating services rejected by local community because of net neutrality concerns)
  • Is it possible for regional hubs to be related to specific projects (e.g. WikiCite) and not just geographical regions?
  • The Movement Charter is undefined. What coverage does it have related to rights, governance, and principles? These are all different concepts, and there are different structures that would be appropriate. While there seems to be an idea that there should be a Constitution to govern the movement, that is rather ambitious, and what is in the recommendations as they currently stand are trending more towards general principles. The main danger is for something like this to be so vague as to be meaningless/worthless.
  • For budgets to be “equitable”, we have to agree on some mutually shared values. Equitable by size of general population, readership, Wikimedian population, affiliate membership, topical underrepresentation, etc? Probably some formula taking all of these into account. Equitable is a very vague term, and the danger is that WMF/others can pick and choose depending on the metrics they decide to focus on. We prefer that WMF does not develop these metrics in a vacuum - the community may be the ones to do this, or an external third party.
  • How do we select who will lead in these movements? Whoever is first to the table is often in leadership position - maybe not the best person/org. How do we decide how to partner/who leads?
  • Again, we will comment that this recommendation is in great error for omitting the Wikipedia community's wish for decentralization of power. The Wikimedia community is against greater centralization of power in the Wikimedia Foundation and in favor of more decentralization of power.
  • This is an error - "Although the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees (WMF Board) has, by default, the role of representing the whole Movement..." The Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia community are different things. The Wikimedia Community has one goal, the advancement of the Wikimedia Movement, and the Wikimedia Foundation has two conflicting goals, its own interest as a nonprofit organization and then the advancement of the Wikimedia Movement. There are frequently conflicts between the interests of the Wikimedia community and the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • We do not accept that the WMF represents the whole movement. We believe that individual community groups/projects should speak for themselves.
  • The community groups can and should be more organized - capacity building on the group/project level is important.
  • Volunteers in every region in the world should have equal access to funding through the standard Wikimedia funding process. Volunteers in LMICs should not have additional burdensome bureaucracy beyond the standard Wikimedia application process in order to access Movement funds.

Every community has the mandate, knowledge, and resources to be present in any decision-making process that affects them, make decisions and have meaningful input on related issues including opportunities to access resources in an equitable manner.

  • Every community SHOULD have these things, but they don’t currently we argue. Resources in particular. It would be great if programs like rapid grants were expanded rather than shrunk, as there is a danger in putting too much into “big” communities. We have to tolerate that small groups are more imperfect and are also vital.
  • Perhaps there are different “rules” for different parts of the world - certain regions (such as India) will not have as much success with seeking unpaid volunteers and may need to hire staff.
  • There are two roles in the Wiki community that need to be supported - project content (fun!) and administration (less fun). The WMF will get a lot of mileage from funding administration. This is a way to provide access to resources in an equitable manner.
  • It is arguably not a good use of resources to pay for outreach - especially if the outreach is in another country. If there is outreach needed for another country, that outreach should be done within that country, and not from the WMF in the US. This is not a good way to provide access to resources in an equitable manner.
  • It is important, again, to discuss the importance of regional hubs - administrative centers that can remit funds at local costs and with local administration. For example, there are not legal ways to receive money from the USA in certain countries - local participants are harassed by police if they receive out of country funds.
  • WMF should be the point of receiving funding, then it should distribute money to volunteers?/administrators? within countries, who in turn make sure that the funds are sent to the volunteer who has requested the funding. WMF handles administration, so that funds can be distributed within the countries where the requests have been made.

These structures need not begin in full force during the implementation of the Movement Strategy and can be rolled out in a gradual and emergent manner with consultation and after more involved discussions with the stakeholders.

  • The WMF should not be the arbiters of success, while at the same time they should not allow themselves to take no action and assume success. There are not enough metrics in place to measure success. WMF should not determine all of the metrics, and they should be held accountable for measurement of success. (See: Wikimedia Space - what measurements are there for success?)
  • Suggestions as to what should be reported on/measurements of success for any project, and especially for projects with more resources, for example more than US$100,000.
    • Money/Budget
    • WMF staff time
    • Volunteer hours
  • In fact, we should commit to putting developing decentralisation in at full force, and not at whim.

To build a more equitable Movement, we need to ensure that roles are clearly defined and the access to power is based on capacities and the will to contribute.

  • This one feels much further away from what is currently happening than other recommendations.
  • It does not mention decentralisation despite this being a key part of working groups recommendations, it has all been cut out.
  • Global governance body should be empowered, not just an advisory body to the WMF board.

Enable equitable representation in global decision-making

  • Easier said than done. We already had headaches with the everyone 1 vote system with the board elections with Affiliates. Overlapping constituencies and double-dipping voting?

Participative resource allocation

  • We believe this suggests a higher level of transparency and accountability than will actually be the case. It is also very dependent on how well regional hubs are organized and administered, and how representative they are of their regions.

Open pathways to power positions

  • This doesn’t seem to be a solution to fixing what I perceive to be the biggest issue - communication or lack thereof by/from WMF. It seems like a policing of community leadership.

Additional general comments

  • There has been a tendency to try to find top-down replacements of communities for the developing world, rather than support the local community in developing its own agency and ability to represent itself.
  • There should be an actual process of selecting representatives for specific projects/governing bodies, not a vague idea of future stakeholders.

Feedback from Wikimedia UK[edit]

This is a critical area but feels weakened by the description of this as a “gradual and emergent” process.

References to a common framework for decision making need more exploration. Is this possible or even desirable?

The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.