Talk:Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Working Groups/Partnerships/Recommendations/Q2 R6
Need Capacity Building and Accountability to Prevent COI, Discrimination, Poor Quality
There is currently a widely-followed discussion on enWP regarding conflicts of interest created by partnerships sponsored by individual chapters or affiliates. Although an individual chapter could enter into a partnership with a local entity, that decision has movement-wide implications in terms of competition for volunteer resources devoted to quality assurance, content creation, and monitoring for conflicts of interest or POV-content. Capacity must be built at both the level of the sponsoring local entity level as well as at the project level to handle unintended consequences that will both flow from the partnership as well as from interaction between partnerships that are conducted concurrently.
The most obvious and urgent need is to develop clear movement-wide policies regarding 1) conflict of interest, 2) model partnership agreements, 3) HR policies to assure the selection of paid staff or grantees in a non-discriminatory fashion, 4) limitations on paid editing and 5) protections and safeguards to maintain the editorial independence of the WMF community's editors corps.
Along with the movement-wide policies should be a heightened transparency through effective disclosure on a movement-wide basis. We need a central clearinghouse and database disclosing all partnerships, who is being paid and how much. The payment criteria should be structured to avoid tensions within the community. In the case of enWP, when performance is measured in terms of the number of new articles created, the number of "Did You Know?" appearances on the main page, the number of "Good Article" clearing review, etc. unnecessary tensions are added without notice between the editors being sponsored by the partnership and volunteers policing such areas. By disclosure in a central database, a volunteer reviewing "Did You Know?" nominations could determine how to appropriately handle partnership participants who are under financial pressure to have their articles honored on the main page. If a movement-wide policy is adopted prohibiting such artificial "bounty hunting", many unfortunate interactions will be avoided. Yet, without a movement-wide database and disclosure system, such a prohibition will be impossible to enforce.
In terms of personnel management ("HR"), capacity building is necessary as more entities start hiring staff, consultants or contractors. Many nations have HR laws and policies and requirements for insurance, social security and payroll taxes. In terms of partnerships, every partnership must comply with all applicable laws, and the burden of compliance should be carefully spelled out in the partnership agreement. The community has high expectations regarding integrity, equality of opportunity, and quality/competence of the activity. All participant selections and editorial independence must reflect WMF priority and values. All partnerships goals and methods must meet the standards of the broader community. Capacity must be built to educate these expectations for: 1) the employee-consultant-contractor-volunteer recruitment plan/process 2) the funding/payment scheme 3) the partnership goals 4) the partnership assessments both during and at the end of its term 5) an independent opportunity for reflection and community-wide input at the conclusion regarding whether the partnership furthered the mission and goals of our community. Even the knowledge that the partnership will be subject to such an exercise at the end will improve performance throughout. (This is analogous to the accreditation of college and universities, where an independent assessment is made and the college is held to account for its deficiencies.) 6) a safe harbor complaint mechanism where concerns can be raised with respect to partnership deficiencies without claims of "harassment" or "hounding"
In sum, capacity must be built in an integrated holistic manner to assure optimum partnership performance without adverse impacts on the community and its overall goals. Hlevy2 (talk) 10:01, 11 September 2019 (UTC)