Jump to content

Talk:Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Transition/Global Conversations/Report/January

Add topic
From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki


  • I am surprised to see this report say that there is support for quotas, which I thought were opposed. Obviously I was not present for everything, so it's very possible that my understanding of community opinion is incorrect. Alternatively, a possibility is that those writing the report are defining things differently than I understand these words. Is this report conflating quota systems with separated language/project/region-based constituency systems? Because these are very different things. The latter is "Japanese Wikipedians electing a Japanese Wikipedian to represent the Japanese Wikipedia, without input from other communities", the former is "The global community electing someone "from the Japanese Wikipedia", with little input from the Japanese Wikipedians themselves, with the numerical requirements sometimes simply overruling the global community's choices in a way that's undemocratic". If the report is using "quotas" to mean both, it should say so. (Or better yet, use a different term.)
  • (Again, I'm not sure which parts of the report relate to discussions I took part in, so I may be confusing things.) Re the sentence "Two thirds of the members of the IGC will be selected in an open community process, defined by respective communities." Is this a reference to the supermajority bit? I vaguely recall the conclusion being that supermajority would mean 75%. Might be misremembering; I see the notes say "two third or more", which still doesn't specify two thirds as a maximum, so it may have been fuzzy.
  • Also, "supermajority" is one word (not "super majority"). It's not a term we made up, it doesn't need to be in quotes every time.
  • "One third of the members will be appointed to add expertise and manage representation gaps in the assembly. These seats will be appointed by the selected members of the Interim Global Council." This seems to imply zero representation for affiliates (2/3 elected, 1/3 expertise/gaps, none left over). I had thought support was for supermajority elected, remainder split between affiliates-appointed and IGC-appointed (and possibly appointments from some other groups). Is this assuming that affiliate representation would come from "expert" affiliate members? (Or worse, that affilate representatives would take some of the elected seats without being elected?) Or maybe this just came from a different discussion that concluded against affiliate representation?
  • The report says "While one of the discussion groups (January 24) had clear support for a “super majority of elected seats”, the other group (January 23) did not explicitly reach this conclusion." The report should clarify that the other group didn't have the opportunity to comment on the supermajority proposal, as it wasn't given as an available option. The current text may incorrectly imply that the group was equivocal or even opposed.
  • I'm not sure how to take the business with the subcommittees. The options given were basically "no subcommittees" or a rather bizarre division of "entire charter"/"GC" (which depends on charter, so...)/"entire strategy" (which has loads of mutual dependencies on the charter and is deeply tied to the work). Given this, I don't think concluding "the community supports a two-subcommittee model in particular" is accurate.
  • Are the full results of the quadratic-voting survey available, with distribution between vote intensity and such?

(This is from a quick skim through the report. Sorry if some of the complaints don't make sense as a result.)

Thanks for writing this, I imagine it's quite difficult to synthesize the opinions of so many into a coherent document. --Yair rand (talk) 00:04, 19 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

@Yair rand: Thank you for taking the time to write these thorough thoughts. I will try to capture the points related to content, and perhaps @KVaidla (WMF): can then tackle any remaining points regarding the proposed design options:
  • Quotas are a tricky point where I definitely would look to hear feedback, either from people who were there or from the community in general. Quotas were not mentioned a lot of times explicitly, but from the notes I have read (I was not personally present in the "representation room", but here are some of the notes that I encountered: [1], [2], [3]), they seemed to be unanimously supported whenever they were mentioned. The main need for quotas, though, seems to emerge more implicitly. As you are probably familiar with, there were numerous voices at the event calling for "underrepresented communities" (and other marginalized groups) to be present in the IGC, which seems to require dedicating quotas to these groups, at least as the most common method to achieve this and the desired diversity overall. Since you appear to have interpreted the discussion differently, I'm curious to know what led you (and possibly other participants) to that.
  • For the second part of your first point, regarding the "language/project/region-based constituency systems", there seems to have been general support for "locally oriented elections" (at least for some of the "quotas" or local seats). Thus, in your example, The Japanese community would select their own "representative", and so will each community or a group of communities with dedicated seats. This is referred to in a different part of the report (under the "selection" section), so it is not exactly under "quotas". Do you think it is confusing, though?
  • In the selection discussion on Jan 24 (when the "supermajority elected model" first came up), the participants that asked to add the model to the poll explicitly defined it as "two thirds or more". I do not believe I have seen other definitions across the notes, but let me know if I have missed any (I can also double-check it myself).
  • Kaarel kindly fixed the "super majority" -> supermajority issue. Thank you for flagging it!
  • I am not honestly sure if there has been any discussion of how the appointed seats (the last third of seats, in this case) would be allocated. Since you are referring, as I understand, to the Support Team's proposal for design options, I would leave it to Kaarel to further clarify this.
  • I have added a sentence further clarifying that the Saturday group (23 Jan) did not have that option beforehand. Let me know if you think it is not unclear or should be rephrased.
  • Reaching a clear conclusion on the structure of the IGC, based on the minutes alone, was very challenging: which is probably why the "structure" is the main point of different between the two provided design options. Generally speaking, though, the first proposed option for structure (i.e. "One Council for all tasks") obviously got the least support, if any support at all. The main discussion shifted to the other two options, and some suggested to add a higher "representative" committee (referred to in the report as the "general assembly") in addition to the subcommittees, which do not seem to have received opposition. Again, if you think this is not an accurate interpretation, I would be intrigued to hear your thoughts behind that.
  • Unfortunately, I do not believe the voting site provides any results that are more detailed that the ones shown in the report, but I will double-check on that.
I'm awfully sorry for writing such a lengthy response. I realize it is not easy read this on a volunteer capacity, but I wanted to answer as many of the points I could. Feel free to follow up on any of them at your convenience --Abbad (WMF) (talk) 15:06, 22 February 2021 (UTC).Reply

Proposal for IGC built on community experience and expertise[edit]

The following idea was generated during the recent February 2021 Strategic Wikimedia Affiliates Network (SWAN) meetings; the participants felt it should be shared with the community. -- Fuzheado (talk) 06:04, 25 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Summary: In order to build a diverse and representative interim global council (IGC) in a timely and efficient manner, call on members of the nine strategy working groups (WG) and the design group for implementation (DG) as a starting point for the council membership. Their expertise and institutional knowledge of the Wikimedia movement and the strategy process can help provide a basis for the IGC while using the selection of members from the Wikimedia community to complete the council.

Challenge: The creation of a new representative body always faces the same problem – how to set it up when there is no established election system. Establishing the IGC has to begin with a starting set of people with confidence and trust. Inability to solve this problem will delay the IGC creation, the Movement Charter, and the Strategy 2030 process.

Solution: There is a group of people that have been working on the movement strategy and movement governance for the last few years: the members of the nine strategy working groups (WG) and design group for implementation (DG). These groups drafted the initial set of recommendations and the strategy implementation plan while engaging the community during the entire process. They have shown their ability to collaborate across time zones, languages, and cultures, as well as work effectively with the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) staff and board.

When the working groups were originally established, anyone from the movement could volunteer to serve on the WG. Decisions on these applications were made by a reviewing committee of community members and WMF staff. When a working group lacked diversity, extra effort was made to bring in Wikimedians from underrepresented groups.

Proposal: Members of the working groups and the design group would be asked to form a selection committee, which will also be the nucleus of the Interim Global Council. This selection committee and core group would be elected by the WG and DG members and would hold no more than 50% of the total number of seats for community and affiliate representatives on the IGC.

The selection committee/core group would then construct a process for adding further community and affiliates members to the IGC. This could take place via local appointment processes or election from the greater community. The Core group will also work with WMF to further develop the IGC, including the representation of the board, staff, and possibly external partners.

This approach would kickstart the process of establishing the IGC, allowing us to move efficiently while still emphasizing representation and equity. Actions of the IGC would still be accountable to the community, such as the ratification of any future Movement Charter. This proposal has the potential to be the best balance of efficiency, representation, and accountability for the creation of the IGC.

Comments on community experience and expertise[edit]

Please refer to Remarks_from_Wikimedia_Deutschland_on_the_Interim_Global_Council further down on this page for a commentary from Wikimedia Deutschland related to this proposal. -- Fuzheado (talk) 14:31, 26 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Objections: (delivered after the SWAN meeting) [citation needed]

  1. One of the key ideas of the recommendation Ensure equity in decision making is to prevent established powers retaining their positions of power.
  2. This assumes all Working Groups did a terrific job. It was commented that the first set of recommendations by the Working Groups wasn't intelligible to native speakers of English. It is hard to see that as a recommendation to continue with the same teams.
  3. Does this proposal address the issue of underrepresented voices? It is hard to see it does.
  4. Does this proposal bridge the gap between the Wikimedia Foundation and the active Wikimedia content project wiki contributors? It is hard to see it does.
  5. Does this proposal guarantee their process of drafting a Movement Charter will lead to sufficient support in the Wikimedia Movement at large, including support fot the Movement Charter by the active Wikimedia content project wiki contributors? It is hard to see it does.

— The preceding unsigned comment was added by Ad Huikeshoven (talk)

This is a reply to objections above. Some of these are observations of mine, but also points gleaned from recent SWAN meetings and discussions:
  1. Response to "prevent established powers retaining their positions of power": The objection appears to be that the Working Groups, or their members, are an established power. While it is true that most members were experienced Wikimedians, many are seen by their own communities as leaders, even if they hold no formal office or position. This is exactly the profile for an IGC member already suggested by the community. Most importantly: it is not intended to fill the IGC entirely with Working Group Members. There will be every opportunity to bring in new voices with more than 50% of the new group being selected. The WG members will use their experience to kick-start the process.
  2. Response to "This assumes all Working Groups did a terrific job": There is nothing in the above proposal that assumes working groups "did a terrific job." That the text of the recommendations is complex to understand means a better job must be done in simplifying it, which is a problem we see across the movement, not just in this instance. The lesson to be drawn is that the Movement Charter process will need to build in more time for editing a text drafted by an international and culturally diverse group, most of whose members are not native speakers of English.
  3. Response to "address the issue of underrepresented voices": This proposal does have the capacity to address underrepresented voices. A lot of time and effort was invested in expanding the working groups to include a wide variety of community voices, especially including groups whose voices are often overheard. In addition, the benefit of a hybrid model is that a selection/election process for at least half of the IGC can be designed to address any shortcomings and take this into account.
  4. Response to "proposal bridge the gap": This proposal focuses on finding the community and affiliate representatives in the IGC. It stands to reason that WMF staff and BoT will want to have their own representatives. Bridging the gap between WMF and the project contributors will be one of the main challenges for the IGC once it starts operations, whichever way it was established.
  5. Response to "does this proposal guarantee": Neither this proposal nor any one put forward can "guarantee" any particular outcome. Whichever model is chosen, to ensure legitimacy the outputs of the IGC will need to be put through a ratification process, to give the Wikimedia community and the wiki contributors a direct say on the Movement Charter. In short - the IGC is empowered but not all powerful.
Thanks. -- Fuzheado (talk) 15:53, 21 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

Support When looking at the different proposals I think that this is the best alternative because it gets us a running start. If we expand the group by people who felt that they were not able to participate (lets see how many people really want to put in the time and get involved). And by making sure that the results of the IGC have to be approved by the whole movement we are able to ensure that it does represent the views of the movement. Relying on hubs which are for a large part non-existent is going to cost too much time, and forming an association with membership is an even more complex challenge with many barriers to entry for several parts of our movement. Jan-Bart (talk) 14:13, 1 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

  • I oppose this proposal. The broader communities must have a solid connection to the process from the start, and that requires elections. The ability to accept or decline the final product is not an adequate substitute. --Yair rand (talk) 14:21, 1 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
    FYI, this concept has a space for elections in the process of forming the IGC - it would be a hybrid of WG members and "election from the greater community" as stated above. -- Fuzheado (talk) 16:17, 17 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

Oppose Strong oppose The WG model was, IMO, a model of failure, greatly disconnected from the onwiki communities and, in our case, never ensuring representation of the Portuguese language - 5th in the world and almost entirely located in the Global South - community members in the Strategy discussions. The disconnection and lack of notion was so giant, that at some point a WG member told that he would gladly accept a Portuguese speaker in his group, given that he would be African and black, because they needed to fulfill that quota. From this suggestion it was quite obvious that what mattered on WGs was showing off fake "diversity" (unfortunately, our African communities continue to be quite residual), not expertise, related skills or any kind of community representation. The model of placing paid staff working in pair with unpaid volunteers also seems to be a probable source of trouble. I therefore strongly object to this proposal.--- Darwin Ahoy! 18:36, 3 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

Bit ironic that you describe working groups as great failures while taking part in a discussion based on the work of those working groups. ;-) I do agree though that the time component of such a task as working on a global council structure would be an issue, which can be solved by offering financial compensation. Braveheart (talk) 00:41, 8 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Braveheart: O'RLY? Just for starters, where are the 3 models presented in Roles & Responsibilities, hmm? Wasn't it for the "final sprint" which managed to build something meaningful out of all that mess, and we most probably wouldn't be here discussing this.--- Darwin Ahoy! 23:30, 8 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
Nah, the global council was always present in the preparatoin, no matter the model, which is a step after defining an interim global council. I guess you can see how unwieldy and tedious this process becomes if you add elections. I doubt many would stick around until autumn, effectively killing off the whole process. And then good luck trying to convince the new ED of the WMF of the continued relevance of all of this. Braveheart (talk) 12:16, 11 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
In any case, the 2030 strategy process continues to be greatly disconnected from the onwiki communities (almost totally disconnected from the ones I am in), as the 2010 already was, bringing such catastrophic debacles as the cataliser and Wikipedia Zero programs (the first one was a direct implementation of Strategy 2010, and the second one apparently so). Both of them implemented in total disconnection with the online communities, and both of them with tragic consequences to the Brazilian and Angolan communities of editors. Brazil seems to have recovered, but Angola never did.
The WG model basically followed that script, resulting on widespread lack of attachment between Strategy 2030 and the online communities. If the IGC follows it too, an huge deficit of credibility and authority, if not an active boycott from the online communities, is probably inevitable - and rightly so (see Strategy 2010 consequences above).--- Darwin Ahoy! 13:15, 10 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

Proposal for IGC built using hubs[edit]

The following idea was generated during the recent February 2021 Strategic Wikimedia Affiliates Network (SWAN) meetings - the participants felt it should be shared with the community. Posted by Sandra Rientjes (talk) 07:03, 25 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

We currently have regional hubs as an upper-level representatives of the Wikimedia affiliates. What is proposed is to have an election for each regional hub:

  • WikiFranca (Two members)
  • Iberocoop (Two members)
  • Wiki Indaba (Two members)
  • Wikimedia CEE (Two members)
  • Wikimedia Northern Europe (Two members)
  • Wikimedia United States Coalition (One member)
  • Wikimedia ESEAP (Two members)
  • Others: Regional affiliates that are not affiliated in a regional hub (Four members)

I also propose to create thematic hubs for thematic affiliates. This can be done in a nutshell. An election will be done for the members of each thematic hub:

  • Language Hub (Three members)
  • GLAM and Heritage Hub (Three members)
  • Feminism and Minority Hub (Three members)
  • R&D and Science Hub (Three members)
  • Medicine and Community Health Hub (Three members)
  • Project and Responsibility Hub (Three members).

Just concerning the definition of hubs, hubs are meant to be a group of coordination between Wikimedia affiliates within the same region or topic of interest. They do not have an administrative power on affiliates. Their functions are to share projects across affiliates or to coordinate a common task including the task of organizing Wikimedia conferences. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Hubs

This model can be applied to the Interim Global Council and to the final Global Council. But, it will be sustainable if applied to the real council as the real council will work for several years.

Comments about regional hubs[edit]

Hello, Sandra Rientjes, I have just a scope question related to what you have called the "regional hubs" that we have currently. Is there a specific list/place where you found these group names? I am specifically thinking why WikiArabia was not included in the proposal? It is an active group and has organized any conferences for MENA affiliates, the same way other groups in the list do. Is there a rational or metric deciding about which groups are considered regional hubs? Maybe this has to be clarified so that no community or existing group feels out of any discussion :) -- Thank you and regards -- Anass Sedrati (talk) 14:07, 26 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Indeed, there are a number of shortcomings as it applies to this "hubs" concept as the organizing principle. That is, we don't currently have a good definition of what represents a hub. This is no one's fault, as hubs were never designed to be representative bodies, or to have coherence as a group. So while they may be useful as clusters to start some logical groupings, the absence of WikiArabia and others from this is a significant issue. -- Fuzheado (talk) 14:39, 26 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Objections: (delivered after the SWAN meeting) [citation needed]

  1. Does this proposal address the issue of underrepresented voices? It is hard to see it does.
  2. Does this proposal bridge the gap between the Wikimedia Foundation and the active Wikimedia content project wiki contributors? It is hard to see it does. Most of the the active Wikimedia content project wiki contributors aren't active in offline activities, and aren't involved with affiliates.
  3. Does this proposal guarantee their process of drafting a Movement Charter will lead to sufficient support in the Wikimedia Movement at large, including support fot the Movement Charter by the active Wikimedia content project wiki contributors? It is hard to see it does.

— The preceding unsigned comment was added by Ad Huikeshoven (talk)

Oppose Oppose I can't imagine how Iberocoop, which not even includes Brazil - which alone has 1/3 of the population of Latin America - can work as an hub for that region. In the specific case of Portuguese community, I don't think we both regionally and linguistically belong to a community dominated by the Spanish language and centered in Latin America, not even including Brazil, our main partner. If this proposal is going to move forward, I'll recommend the chapter to step out of that hub, since I don't think it represents our community. In the whole, at least in the case of Brazil and Portugal, I don't think the regional model, as it is designed, represents and serves the interests of our communities, and therefore oppose it.--- Darwin Ahoy! 18:21, 3 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

Oppose Oppose, per DarwIn. We should not include Iberocoop as an instrument for regional representation for Latin America. It has major governance issues and has representation issues. It encompasses more than just one region; it does not include Brazil. --Joalpe (talk) 15:26, 10 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

Remarks from Wikimedia Deutschland on the Interim Global Council[edit]

First of all, a huge thank you to the support team for analysing and documenting all the different strands of input in this coherent document. Right now, getting the initial Movement Charter written as the basis for establishing the ultimate Global Council needs to get done with the utmost urgency and care.


This is why we strongly support the focused working groups model for the IGC. In our view, this is the most viable option if we want to leave the current limbo of rounds and rounds of conversations and instead drive decisions and change. From our perspective, Wikimedia cannot afford spending months and months on discussing and setting-up election processes before the actual work can even begin. Our suggestion is to set up these working groups immediately.

We are confident that the needed legitimacy, inclusion, and representation across affiliates, the WMF, and communities can be assured through carefully designed and executed consultations. The design and planning for a ratification process for the initial movement charter should start as soon as possible, but can be done while the groups do the drafting. Consultation and ratification will give a lot of room for movement constituents to represent their interests in the absence of perfect representation on the IGC.


We consider the IGC not a governance body with any decision making power, but a working and drafting committee – a well composed group of people from different parts of the movement, who bring expertise in Wikimedia movement dynamics, international nonprofit governance, and cultural competence. To ensure that the group is functioning, members will need to commit to be reliable, available and have the time to actually do the work. To make the set-up of the group inclusive and to enable participation from any member of the movement, a system needs to be in place to compensate these individuals for their time and effort.

It is our understanding that the WMF must be part of the IGC. In order to affect change to the current system of decision-making, the current decision-makers need to be included.


We support the suggested selection process. We also endorse the suggestion of tapping into the expertise of the former movement strategy working groups and drafting group members (as proposed during the last SWAN meeting) which will allow us to move efficiently while still emphasizing representation and equity.

We hope that our remarks help the conversations to advance and to create a path towards making implementation happen together. Alice Wiegand (talk) 11:10, 26 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Proposal for developing the Movement Charter[edit]

The following idea was generated during the recent February 2021 Strategic Wikimedia Affiliates Network (SWAN) meetings - the participants felt it should be shared with the community. Posted by Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 11:54, 26 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

There needs to be some sort of guerantee there is support for the final draft of the Movement Charter. Proposed has been for the IGC to hire external consultants to interview hundreds of Wikimedians about what the perceive should be in the Movement Charter or not. The IGC acts as steering committee, and doesn't write a Movement Charter behind a desk without contact. See Talk:Strategy/Wikimedia_movement/2018-20/Transition/Discuss/Cluster_A#Immediate_steps for further details.

At the SWAN meeting this idea was rejected by someone who proposed to have a committee seated fast, let them write, and do consultation at the end.

Proposal for growing an entity organically[edit]

The following idea was generated during the recent February 2021 Strategic Wikimedia Affiliates Network (SWAN) meetings - the participants felt it should be shared with the community. Posted by Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 12:01, 26 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

The idea was to have say two people establish an association, and start recruiting members. The General Members Meeting can act as Global Council, a governing board or Executive Council could act as Interim Global Council. (Not detailed during the meeting: the association could have both natural persons as members, and have (legal) entities as members.

The idea was rejected by someone during the SWAN meeting. To go with the trend away from liberal democracies and towars authoritarian and oppressive regimes, we should not grant anyone the right to assembly or the right to associate. Already in many countries people are not free to join an association, so this becomes a problem in growing the assocation. People can comment on meta without becoming a member of an association, so having an association, or a structure with legal entity is not necessary.

Proposal to resolve the IGC bootstrap problem[edit]

So far no consensus has appeared how to select, appoint or elect members of an Interim Global Council. The following idea was generated after the recent February 2021 Strategic Wikimedia Affiliates Network (SWAN) meetings. Posted by Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 12:39, 26 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

People in the movement prefer elections over appointments and non-transparent decision making. There is an Interim Global Council bootstrap problem. Without a Movement Charter detailing the structure of a Global Council, and how a Global Council is elected, it is hard to decide how to create an Interim Global Council. The main task for the IGC is to write a Movement Charter. The initial structure of the Interim Global Council might well determine the structure of the first Global Council. In previous Global Conversations the number one concern was about underrepresented voices. People especially from small wikis, or small language communities feel underrepresented in the current governing structures. Others perceive a wide and growing gap between the Wikimedia Foundation and the active Wikimedia content project wiki contributors. Most of those on wiki volunteers do not participate in offline activities organized in the Wikimedia movement. The Global Council should be a bridge between the Wikimedia Foundation and those active Wikimedia content project wiki contributors.

The idea has been elaborated on a separate page. The idea is to have a bicameral Global Council. Chamber One consisting of 40 seats, each seat elected by a different language community, plus two multilingual seats. Chamber consists of 60 seats, elected from a single list of candidates by all active Wikimedia content project wiki contributors. Decisions are made by majority vote in both chambers. As shown in the proposal this balances the interests of the people contributing to languages versions with a small number of active contributors with the interests of the vast number of people contributing to the big languages. The balance comes from understanding that Chamber One will be dominated by small language wikis, and Chamber Two will be dominated by big language wikis.

This proposal is also designed to bridge the gap between the Wikimedia Foundation and the active Wikimedia content project wiki contributors, by having the active Wikimedia content project wiki contributors elect the members of the (Interim) Global Council.

Organizing an election now for the Interim Global Council has the side benefit of communicating to all wikis:

  1. the progress in the Wikimedia 2030 Movement Strategy process
  2. the recommendations from this process
  3. the outcomes of the prioritization through the Global Conversations
  4. that there will be an (Interim) Global Council
  5. that there will be a Movement Charter

and instead of doing a consultation round up front

  1. will have candidates campaigning on different platforms, or different ideas about what should be in, or out of the Movement Charter
  2. and thereby embody the preferences of active Wikimedia content project wiki contributors in the election of IGC members tasked with drafting a Movement Charter
  3. which will hopefully lead to sufficient support for the final Movement Charter in the Wikimedia Movement at large.

Thoughts from L235[edit]

I would like to express some thoughts that I have developed over the course of trying to engage over the course of the last few months on the strategy process.

I'm not entirely sure where the most appropriate venue for sharing these thoughts is – and this is actually one principal concern I have with this process. I applaud the Foundation's Global Conversations etc., but no amount of video discussion is a substitute for the canonical method of Wikimedia governance: a community discussion and consensus-forming process. I have recently been told on the SWANN call that apparently this is the talk page to provide comments, but I could not in a million years have just discovered this on my own.

Wikimedia community members are not apathetic about governance issues. In my home community, questions that are relatively far less important than the IGC formation see hundreds upon hundreds of well-reasoned comments and discussion points in a transparent, on-wiki discussion, all with actual debate and compromise. So it is a major concern when pages like this see only a dozen or so comments. For me, engaging on any talk page like this often feels like shouting into the void, with no guarantee that my thoughts will be taken into consideration or even seen.

On the substance of the report: if the interim global council will be viewed as merely an advisory body, and the movement charter written by the IGC be subject to genuine community review, amendment, and consensus approval, I am fine with either mechanism proposed by the report. However, if the IGC will have any authority beyond that (for example, if IGC will be able to approve the charter themselves, or reject amendments supported by global community consensus), that is another matter entirely. My view is that such an interim global council should not exist. However, if the IGC will have those powers, IGC must at minimum be selected only by the Wikimedia community without pre-approval by WMF, quotas for affiliates, reserved seats for WMF staff or staff-selected community members, etc. My hope is that the interim global councils authority will be circumscribed in the way that I mentioned above, and that's why I don't like the idea of community "ratification". The movement charter will purport to define the role of the Wikimedia community, and so it must be approved by the Wikimedia community: this means the opportunity to have community amendment, to have the community ask for revisions, and for the community to have the actual ability to make a considered reasoned decision to reject a proposed movement charter entirely if the outcome is not in line with the community's opinion.

Ping to Abbad (WMF); I'm not sure which staff member is running this process but I see you created the page. I'd love to have a chat with you here or offline about strategy discussions.

Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t) 23:21, 21 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

I have one more thought about the role of a committee affiliates in the strategy process. Wikimedia affiliates are an important part of the movement. They provide opportunities to organize impactful in-person events and lately, virtual events; they engage in outreach with outside stakeholders; they provide an opportunity for the news media and the broader world, to communicate with a local organization about Wikimedia related topics. However, of course, they are but a narrow slice of the community. WMF affiliate organizations themselves do not generally write content. The editors recruited by them are but a small proportion of editors on Wikimedia projects and anecdotally, most of our contributors were not themselves recruited through WMF affiliates. The work of the affiliates is generally on the relative periphery of the work of the Wikimedia movement.
That is why it is so surprising to me that affiliates have had so much influence, relative to the rest of the Wikimedia community, in the entire strategy process. Many community members do not engage with affiliates, either because they are spending their volunteer time contributing to the projects directly or because it is much more difficult to engage with affiliates than it is to edit Wikimedia project. Simply being a Wikimedia affiliate should not grant an organization an outsize role in deciding the future of the Wikimedia projects, and especially foundation community relations, because the vast majority of members of at least my home community on the English Wikipedia, even those who engage on enwp governance issues very frequently, are not active participants in an affiliate. Please do not entrench this in granting to affiliates reserved seats on the IGC or any IGC selection committee. KevinL (aka L235 · t) 23:28, 21 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
@L235: The SWAN thing is an organized way for affiliates to have a voice in the process, which is something IMO only to praise, and not question. That's what should be expected from the structured part of the movement. What seems to be missing in the picture is the communities awareness of what is going on, which is not at all SWAN fault - quite the opposite, indeed. SWAN meetings have been transparent and open, including being open to non-affiliated volunteers, and they have contributed positively to fill a role which is not theirs, raising awareness of the process among the movement in general.
I could be wrong, which would not be difficult, due the incredible complexity of this process, but who is at fault on this seems to be the Strategy team, who has not facilitated, AFAIK, the kind of debate that SWAN is facilitating. I suspect that onwiki communities are missing almost entirely what is going on with the IGC, or what is the IGC and the movement charter at all, and the implications this would have for them in the future. Notably, they are certainly not aware that there is a specific IGC constitution proposal on the table, with a considerable and quite vocal lobby behind, which consists in reviving the former WMF-appointed Strategy Work Groups as the IGC itself. This not only seats directly at the IGC WMF-appointed people, often with huge COIs involved, but again disengages the whole process from the onwiki communities, as largely happened before with those Strategy Work Groups. This IGC-definition process is something people should be very aware of, and IMO there is little question when the options are placing yet again WMF-appointed persons there, or persons validated by the communities through elections or other legitimate approval process.--- Darwin Ahoy! 17:52, 22 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
@DarwIn: I'm not criticizing SWAN; indeed, I've attended nearly all the SWAN meetings at least in part . What I mention above is reluctance to have affiliate selection of IGC members baked into the structure. KevinL (aka L235 · t) 18:16, 22 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
@L235: Thank you for the ping and for taking the time to tell us (and others here) your thoughts about the process. I'm not technically "running the process", but I do create most of the reports and I'm happy to chat about them, or the process, whenever you like. In fact, it could prove very helpful for the upcoming steps.
First of all, I completely understand the point about getting lost between the multitude of Strategy pages. I'm trying to think of a way to cluster them or provide a "map" of where to go, but for the time being, the simple gateway for these pages is Wikimedia 2030, where you can get a quick glance of where the process is and what are the latest updates (we should probably be sharing that link more effectively).
I can fairly agree that outreach to online editor communities may have well been the single biggest challenge throughout this process. The problem is not necessarily in where to reach these communities (for which the typical "Village Pump" is only slightly effective), but also how to make them interested in a governance process that seems very "structured". As you have rightfully pointed out, the Interim Global Council's engagement is coming through the structured affiliates, as these affiliates, particularly ones from certain developed regions, seem to be the ones most interested in the changes that the IGC may bring around. On the other hand, attempts at inviting online communities to the discussions often end up in a dismissal of the entire process rather than providing feedback to its content (recent example). I'm sure there is or are better ways to get more engagement, but as a long-time community member they do not seem so straightforward to me as I would have expected.
As for the substance of the report and for next steps, we probably need to facilitate an engaging conversation about the two big options presented here, then we can be in a better position to move forward with building up the IGC and proceeding with ideas like you have suggested. While we have many great proposals for moving forward on this talk page already, you may notice that there is not a whole lot of engagement. We are still thinking about how to get more engagement (e.g. by launching a conversation on Meta, an RFC as has been requested, another set of meetings, etc.). If you have any ideas regarding that or if you would like to discuss broadly some of the points above or the process overall, I would be delighted to have a chit-chat here or off-wiki about it: whichever you prefer.
Apologies for the long reply and I'm really looking forward to hear more of your thoughts--Abbad (WMF) (talk) 13:56, 23 March 2021 (UTC).Reply
@Abbad (WMF): Thank you for your detailed reply. I would love to have a call with you about this. Could you send me an email via this? Looking forward to chatting. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t) 20:57, 24 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

Proposal for expeditious 7/7/7 committee and community ratification of Movement Charter[edit]

To do things most expeditiously and with representation from all stakeholders, I propose an IGC of 21 members, with the sole purpose and power of drafting an MC text:

  • 7 chosen by all affiliates together
  • (This would not be a full ASBS-style election, but by general consensus-based discussion through SWAN and similar channels, and could include several members with WG experience.)
  • 7 directly elected by the community on Meta
  • 7 appointed by the Wikimedia Foundation

These members should all be selected by May 1, and would then work together to draft the Movement Charter. After one or two months of collaborative writing, the text will then be submitted to the community on Meta for proper ratification of the various articles.--Pharos (talk) 03:43, 22 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

@Pharos: Community representation should be way larger than the other two. See L235 points above, with which I entirely agree.--- Darwin Ahoy! 16:32, 22 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

Comment Comment We might want to discuss the number of members on and the mechanism of selection for each of the three groups in more detail, but in my view this is more democratic than what was proposed before and is going into the right direction. Thanks for this, Pharos. --Joalpe (talk) 00:21, 23 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

I concur with Joalpe.--- Darwin Ahoy! 00:56, 23 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • I too concur. Also, a deadline that's in the relatively-near future is definitely a good thing; 1 May 2021 feels achievable and sensible. — OwenBlacker (Talk) 16:46, 29 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • While I would like to see greater community representation (say, 11/5/5 instead of 7/7/7), I enthusiastically support Pharos's proposal for the selection of the MC drafting committee (what is being called the IGC above). I like the proposal because: (i) We must have a portion of the committee elected directly by the community, for the community's buy-in is essential for the MC to have any chance of success. (ii) Inviting affiliate members is appropriate given that they have been most active in contributing the time and labor necessary for the strategy process to work. (iii) Inviting the Foundation to contribute members is a worthwhile gesture towards community-Foundation collaboration, knowing that the Foundation is a key partner in achieving movement goals.
    This proposed body will not be representative of the community (nor is any other suggested committee composition). Therefore, it must be viewed only as a drafting committee which cannot itself approve a final movement charter: the movement charter drafting process must include a meaningful opportunity for community amendment before final approval as well as community ratification. In order for a community amendment process to be meaningful, the MC must be subject to a global RfC at which amendments can be proposed (either explicitly, e.g. "remove section 5 of the charter", or in terms of instructions to the MC drafting committee, such as "the MC drafting committee is directed to amend the draft charter to add more globally-selected seats on the global council"). The MC should be ratified as a condition of final approval; I would support establishing a minimum support threshold of both projects and editors for ratification. This community amendment and ratification guarantee should be agreed to before the MC drafting committee first meets, because without it, pretty much any drafting committee that includes non-community-selected seats would seem illegitimate. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t) 08:11, 31 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • Support The plan has always been that the Wikimedia Community would produce the Wikimedia Community Charter and this is a workable process by means of which we may do this. Many good things come when the Wikimedia Community is free to describe the ethics and values of the Wikimedia Movement, and there is no substitute for community leadership and its recommendations. The source of trust in the Wikimedia Movement is volunteer governance and oversight, and the Wikimedia Movement Charter is a highly visible public platform for the community to share its expectations for justice and progress in the Wikimedia ecosystem. With the various other sweeping changes happening in Wikimedia Movement governance right now, I feel that now is also the time for the Wikimedia Community to draft the Wikimedia Movement Charter and more clearly communicate our common values. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:13, 31 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • Oppose with various major changes needed for support.
  1. Perhaps most critically, the IGC cannot be allowed to form and start work until there is acceptance on what ratification will look like. This charter is supposed to codify broadly accepted community positions, not bring in major change. As such, acceptance should be 2/3, both of total editors participating in what will probably be a true vote, 2/3 of communities (or communities participating), and 2/3 of Board. I'm okay with that also having an affiliate support requirement added if people think it beneficial. But we must not progress a single step until we know we aren't going to have to trainwreck it to avoid issues at the far end.
  2. I still don't see why affiliates should have representation, and it certainly should be no more than 50% of what the Community at large representation is of. WMF clearly needs representation but again, way less than community. 13/5/5 or 11/4/4 would be acceptable.
  3. Kevin (L235) is right that simply giving to Community for ratification is too minimal. At least a 10 week process afterwards must be allotted for Community amendments to it. Failure of IGC to provide answers within 4 days to any question automatically must add 4 days to that timeline - there have been repeated issues in the past where the "clock has been run-out", to use a sports metaphor, forcing pressure on a yes/no viewpoint. That must not be allowed to happen. Anything that poses a delay automatically must add time to the end game.
People are so eager to move fast, but something like this will be a monumental 5-year event to significantly change. It cannot be allowed to go wrong, even if it that does make it more ponderous than some might wish. Measure twice, cut once. Nosebagbear (talk) 18:48, 31 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • I think I disagree with (1) because 2/3 needed for ratification would make sense only if we were talking about a couple of dozen people, and everyone could know each other and have a coherent conversation; this would not be possible with ideally thousands of community voters participating. However, I do think that 2/3 might be a good rule of thumb within the drafting committee itself, which would help ensure that narrow ideas don't emerge out of it. For (2) I agree the distribution of stakeholders should be flexible and the subject of further conversation. I also agree with (3) and L235's point about ensuring an amendment process that goes along with the ratification process.--Pharos (talk) 02:10, 1 April 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • These are supposed to movement principles that are widely agreed on already. If 2/3 can't agree on them, they shouldn't be going in. On en-wiki major policy changes require a fairly strong consensus, very roughly something like 60% if the policy backing is even. This is a principal document, so the highest criteria should stand. If we can't get 2/3 agreement then we should concede that perhaps we are too diverse to be able to put down on paper what our binding principles will be. Nosebagbear (talk) 13:26, 1 April 2021 (UTC)Reply
    I am unsure... The MC has multiple jobs. For something to be acknowledged as a fundamental principle of Wikimedia, I would say it should require a stronger consensus than would be necessary to approve organizational minutiae like the precise responsibilities of thematic hubs as they relate to technology development or some detail of an inter-organizational relationship dealing with reporting obligations. But it looks like the MC will have a fair bit of both types. I don't think we could reasonably treat different components separately, though, so perhaps we should just go with the strictest for the whole thing. --Yair rand (talk) 08:42, 5 April 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • I disagree with much of this.
    • Representation: Having only one-third of the members directly elected is far from sufficient, in my opinion. The IGC should be minimum two-thirds elected, as was concluded in the 1/24 event's discussion.
    • Size: I feel that having a larger IGC would be preferable. I put forward some arguments on that on the Cluster A talk page, specifically around the very large number of critical tasks that this group will need complete, and the importance of limiting the per-member workload. There are, of course, also considerable negatives to having a larger group. (I don't feel very strongly on this point, it's a complicated topic.)
    • Methodology: The recommendations describe the IGC as working "openly, transparently, and in close collaboration with the broader movement and communities" when overseeing Charter development. By my understanding, this should imply open development (presumably using wiki norms) from the start, and not, say, a couple months of behind-the-scenes writing followed by a consultation period and maybe an amendment-proposal process afterwards.
    • On the timetable... I don't think it's realistic. I don't think we can run elections (including figuring out the rules, calling for candidates, questions, and voting) in any less than 2.5 months minimum. (1 month determining the rules (standard minimum RfC length), 2 weeks call for candidates and questions, 1 month of voting, and even that would be rather quicker than I expect.) The writing is also likely to take much longer than a couple months.
  • A very important element that I do agree with:
    • The MC must go through a proper community ratification process, such that it's clear that the document has wide support from the community.
  • One more point: There's a certain subtext in some of these discussions, that the WMF/Board may demand things be one way or another, and we should prepare to go along with their expected requirements, and try to reach compromises in advance to ensure that the most critical things get done right. I've worked partly under that assumption as well (including around my proposed distribution formula), but does anyone know for sure if it's actually correct, and if it is, what would they actually want? Does the WMF want such large direct representation in the IGC? They're not really participating directly in the discussions, so it's hard to tell, but I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't care one way or another. If they do have priorities (which may turn into demands if we handle things badly), then in our pseudo-negotiations we should (imo) prioritize direct elections, a means of (in-advance) amendments ("meaningful opportunity", per L235's description), and a reasonable community ratification process. Other things are secondary. But if they're willing to go along with community consensus whatever it may be, that would change a lot about how we should go about these discussions. --Yair rand (talk) 08:42, 5 April 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • Part of the reasoning behind this proposal is that the original large-remit conception of the IGC was an overly broad one, and that it would be better and more practical to do a smaller task with a smaller body, focused solely on the Movement Charter. Of course the timetable is ambitious, but I think it is helpful to at least have a target in mind, and see what steps we can accomplish by May, with the understanding of flexibility based on circumstances. You may also be right that it would be helpful to have a more structured conversation with WMF and others to determine exactly what their wants and needs in this process may be.--Pharos (talk) 16:08, 5 April 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • I think this proposed composition is fine. We will never agree on what the best composition is, and this proposal is a reasonable mix, with two-thirds of the seats selected by the community. I think a smaller group would be better, but it's not a big deal.
    The expected timeline however is far too optimistic. There is no way an IGC could complete its task in one or two months: six months is a more realistic estimate, I think. Just one round of community-wide consultation needs at least one month.
    Moreover, there are a few things that should be defined besides the composition: most importantly, how the ratification works: e.g., the movement charter is ratified when approved by a majority vote in the community, by a majority of the affiliates, and by the WMF board. - Laurentius (talk) 19:04, 5 April 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • I've started a dedicated Meta page for this concept: Movement Charter/Committee.--Pharos (talk) 04:25, 6 April 2021 (UTC)Reply

Movement Strategy update[edit]

Hello, below is an update directly quoted from Mdennis (WMF)'s message on Wikimedia-l mailing list, where some of may have seen it a few days ago --Abbad (WMF) (talk) 15:16, 5 April 2021 (UTC).Reply

I’m Maggie Dennis, Vice President of Community Resilience & Sustainability a division of the Legal Department at the Wikimedia Foundation. I oversee the functions of Community Development, Trust & Safety Policy, Trust & Safety Operations, Human Rights protection, and, now, Movement Strategy.

That last point is the purpose of my outreach. Many of you are aware that our Chief of Staff, Ryan Merkley, has recently chosen to depart the Foundation. Movement Strategy was housed with him. A long time Wikimedian myself - Moonriddengirl; pretty dormant right now but still very interested! - I am delighted to step in to do all I can to keep the momentum of this critical work going and to support however I can the movement and the Foundation in meeting these strategic goals. Kaarel Vaidla, with whom many of you have connected during this process, will be part of my division, reporting to Quim Gil.

The transition phase was wrapped up last quarter, and it is time to start the implementation phase, looking at which projects can move forward first. Among these, the Movement Charter is an essential tool for the implementation of the Strategy 2030, and it is important to begin its draft. There is also a lot of curiosity around regional and thematic hubs, and also many questions, and we are ready to support resolving some of these.

It has been my goal to do quarterly community meetings, but because of this and other transitions, I’m a little behind. I had hoped to be able today to invite you to meet me on Saturday, April 17, and I may be able to do that in just a few days! If not that week, soon thereafter. There are some details still being worked out. In that meeting, I will be available to talk about all matters related to the work of Community Resilience & Sustainability - which includes Movement Strategy and the Universal Code of Conduct, among others. You can send your questions now (in any language) to answers at wikimedia.org. Please use the term “CR&S” in the subject line so that it is identified as a question for me. :) We will be inviting people to join the meeting via multiple platforms to ask “live” as well. After the event, we will release a video recording and a written summary of the meeting. You can find details of our office hours past, including links to videos and summaries, at the bottom of our Meta page.

I’m very excited about all the implementation work ahead of us!  :).

Proposal: Drafting a Movement Charter[edit]

A group of movement strategy veterans have published another proposal to create a movement charter drafting group as a first step to drive the conversations and process forward. They also scheduled two public video calls to discuss questions around this proposal tomorrow and see where the different proposals can align. Please join the conversation. --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 16:25, 19 April 2021 (UTC)Reply

Summary of Movement Charter discussions[edit]

This is a summary of the proposals and conversations regarding the Interim Global Council > Movement Charter Drafting Committee. Hopefully, this summary can keep us on the course of making progress in creating the charter for the movement.

There seems to be agreement on these points
  • Start with the Movement Charter Drafting Committee and get it set up as soon as possible
  • Keep the size of the group reasonable to keep it functional
  • Ensure that there is diversity in the group to have perspectives from across the movement
  • Ensure transparency and review opportunities for the communities
  • A movement-wide ratification process will be required to approve the charter
There seems to be a need to agree on these points
  • Detailed roles and responsibilities of the Movement Charter Drafting Committee.
  • Structure. Do we envision a whole group working on all tasks, focused working groups, or a mixed model with focused groups but bigger decisions are being made by the whole group?
  • Composition of the group. Start with a core of appointed members and then expand the group based on the representation and diversity criteria or do we go for clear allotments and election systems?
  • Compensation for participation. There are suggestions to compensate participation to ensure diversity of backgrounds experiences, but many implementation details are open. Also, there are concerns regarding unintended effects of this compensation beyond this committee, in other areas of work in the volunteer movement.
Proposal for next steps
  • Commit to have a drafting committee formed by the end of June, 2021
  • Use the convergence points as a basis for continued conversation
  • Continue tackling all the open points one by one in a designated space on Meta aiming for broad agreement
  • Use the MS Telegram group and online calls as needed to gather further input and ensure that this input is plugged in to the Meta discussion

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts regarding this summary and proposed next steps as well as being available to support this process moving forward. --KVaidla (WMF) (talk) 14:25, 20 April 2021 (UTC)Reply

Hi Kaarel @KVaidla (WMF) you wrote me in an email six weeks ago that the current idea was to set up a Movement Charter Drafting Committee as soon as possible. What has happened to postpone this until the end of June? You also wrote me about sorting out cómpensation for participants to ensure diversity. You needed clearance. What are the hiccups, or haven't you started yet on sorting this out? Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 08:09, 25 April 2021 (UTC)Reply
Dear Ad, thank you for following up regarding this!
  • Regarding the fast set up of the drafting committee - it seems that even though there seemed to be good progress regarding the conversation six weeks ago, we have not resolved couple of key questions and hence more time is needed. As a result, extending the deadline to the end of June seems like a reasonable choice. During this time period we will help facilitate the convergence around open discussion points and hope to be in a position to set up a committee with wide community support.
  • Regarding the compensation for participation - we continue to explore options with a focus on clear scope of the compensation and risk / implications assessment. The decision regarding compensation has not been made yet.
I hope this response is somewhat helpful! --KVaidla (WMF) (talk) 18:11, 26 April 2021 (UTC)Reply