Talk:Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy/Review

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This is a community review of the progress of the Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy. This review will be open from 7 February to 20 March. Participants are asked to read the information and guiding questions and share thoughts below or in live sessions.

Live sessions[edit]

Participants are invited to attend live sessions to provide input into this process. These sessions will be conducted in groups and the language will be English. The calls will be supported by Wikimedia Foundation staff, as well as the Board of Trustees liaisons to the Affiliations Committee (AffCom) and AffCom members subject to availability.

If you are able to attend, please sign up for your preferred call time below by adding your signature. You will receive an email with the meeting link at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.

Participants are also welcome to request a conversation and share their thoughts during Talking:2024.

Call 1: 14 February 2024 at 14:00 UTC[edit]

Etherpad notes:


Extended content

Call 2: 28 February 2024 at 14:00 UTC[edit]

Etherpad notes:


Extended content

Call 3: 20 March 2024 at 14:00 UTC[edit]

Etherpad notes:


Extended content

@LucyCrompton-Reid (WMUK), Tiputini, RightCowLeftCoast, Windblown29, Ballardmaize, Elisabeth Carrera (WMNO), and Lexy Tchuileu: hi all, thanks for signing up. I have sent a link to your email. Cheers, RamzyM (WMF) (talk) 16:22, 19 March 2024 (UTC)Reply

Bonjour. Où se trouve le lien ? Baname LARE (talk) 18:48, 19 March 2024 (UTC)Reply


Please read the information and guiding questions and share thoughts below.

Proposed requirements for affiliates[edit]

Writing here as an individual contributor. While most of the criteria are in line with the WMFs own governance, some seem quite problematic:

  1. affiliate growth - I see no reason to have a requirement for growth. There are many cases (e.g. a narrow scope with limited external interest, a stagnating underlying community etc.) where growth is very hard to achieve and might displace the attention of the group from whatever it is that it does best
  2. Diverse, skilled, and accountable leadership - this does not apply to all affiliates, as some take decisions collaboratively.

Also, the criteria named offline engagement sounds (based on the description) to rather be off-wiki engagement.--Strainu (talk) 18:31, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply

Strainu re affiliate growth -- we might think of how to better name this requirement in the future, thank you, but it is not only about size, as growth can be also professionally, and even a stagnant organisation can try to encourage its members to grow individually, and do projects better. and try to be welcoming for new users (maybe a new social media channel, maybe better wording on the main page, maybe a mentoring programme for new people to join their projects etc). then, of course, having a better understanding of why the group cannot develop (like a stagnating underlying community) would help to make a better decision with what can be done here to support the group's work.
re Diverse, skilled, and accountable leadership -- this would still apply to some extent; in the case of consensus or general-assembly decision-making, the make-up of the whole group can be taken into account, as even the whole group probably cannot attend all the courses needed for an organisation, some members of the group may be assigned different roles within the organisation, and they might be encouraged to develop their capabilities. Also, even when the actual decision-making is done by consensus or by all members, there are usually specific people driving the work or instigating discussions.
re off-wiki engagement good point, sounds about right to me, thanks --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 20:20, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
I agree with Strainu that off-wiki engagement is a more accurate term than offline engagement ("offline (online or hybrid)" is confusing wording), and that growth is not a helpful concept or term here. Perhaps health, vitality, or vigor? Libcub (talk) 01:17, 9 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
Libcub thanks for the suggestions! other suggestions we had in our internal conversations were continuity, sustainability, resilence (just documenting here to have all in one place) --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 17:54, 9 February 2024 (UTC)Reply

Questions about requirements for affiliates[edit]

  1. How exactly is "non-compliance" defined? Who decides if an affiliate is compliant or not?--Strainu (talk) 18:31, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
    Strainu compliance for the purposes of affiliation -- as of now "monitoring affiliates’ continued compliance with affiliate rules and criteria" is one of the responsibilities of AffCom (per Committee:Affiliations Committee Charter), the requirements now depend on the type of the affiliate per agreements they sign. for example, reporting requirements are tracked here, and this data is usually used when checking if an affiliate is "in good standing" (for example, as eligibility criteria for upcoming Wikimedia Summit 2024) --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 19:51, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
    Right, but how will the current process change with the new requirements? Strainu (talk) 19:56, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
    Strainu well, as it is written now in the proposal -- these requirements should be a part of the annual report. it would be a bit more work doing it for the first time, and then just updating when there are changes. the case studies i did for Ghana and Wikimedia Ukraine took me around 45 minutes each to find the public information needed (including updating some outdated pages for WMUA). so i would imagine this as having a unified reporting template / form to fill in only relevant fields (no funds = no financial reporting, etc) --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 20:33, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
  2. Can the WMF state typical expected time and labor costs for compliance reporting, perhaps comparing groups with low, mid, and high resources? The clarification that I want is whether the WMF is designing this as a 1 hour, 10 hour, or 100 hour annual commitment. It is conceivable that for some groups, they will spend hundreds of hours putting this together, and may have several hundred members read parts of it totaling 1000+ hours of attention. This may be time well spent, but I want to know that someone has estimated how much of a time draw this is supposed to be. As a general rule, I wish that the WMF would add expected time costs to all requests to volunteer communities, in order to demonstrate awareness of labor consumption and to set norms for typical labor investment. The problem I want to avoid is WMF expectations that this should take 5 hours to complete, when 50 is common. Volunteer attention and labor hours are scarce and I want them requested only thoughtfully, and with recognition that time for this will take time from other things. Bluerasberry (talk) 14:48, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
    Bluerasberry thank you for the questions, and for the care.
    what is written now in the proposal would not take a lot of time to fill in – to document the current state of an affiliate, like an infobox of sorts. i actually filled in the two case studies mentioned – for Wikimedia Ukraine (the affiliate i know quite well as a member), and for Wikimedia Ghana UG (just based on the public information I could find). it took me around 45 min per affiliate to fill in that tab; i did ask for some clarifications from both affiliates, and i updated some outdated pages on Wikimedia Ukraine’s site while working on the table, as i wanted to link to them, but even so the exercise did not take more than 2 hours per affiliate
    on one hand a bigger organisation might mean more work… on the other hand they probably have staff, and they probably should have more policies developed already, and then the exercise is just to put the links needed in one place
    i would assume it can take longer if people filling it would want to publish some of the internal policies or put some processes together – but (in my book at least) it will not be a bad outcome, and it is up to them. i mentioned in my reply to Strainu on this page – as the proposal is now, this information will be asked as a part of the annual purporting, and it might take more time to fill in for the first time, but later on it might require only updates, and changes (hopefully for the better) --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 22:21, 9 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
    Thanks Bluerasberry for this question. It leads me to another question - if an affiliate receives WMF funding is it possible to somehow tie those together to help simplify the reporting burden? The funding reporting is already an extremely heavy lift (the progress report Art+Feminism_User_Group just submitted is 18+ pages) and adding even more reporting seems very daunting for our very small team. --Kiraface (talk) 20:05, 12 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
    Replying here so that I get notifications of future discussion. I agree, @Kirafaceand plan to take this proposal or any future version of it into account as we think of how to reduce grant reporting for established affiliates. Thanks for linking the two here! RWeissburg (WMF) (talk) 20:57, 20 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
    Kiraface thank you for highlighting this issue. Building on what Yael said above - certainly we understand the reporting requirements for affiliates can increase with also having to report back to funding organisations and want to make sure the process makes sense from both sides: the people creating the reports and the people reviewing the reports. After this public feedback round the appropriate Wikimedia Foundation teams will need more discussion on the exact implementation --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 15:53, 15 March 2024 (UTC)Reply
  3. What commitment can the WMF make to using this data if the community produces it? Can WMF publish an analysis plan of what it intends to do with this data before asking the community to produce it? I am unaware of much WMF reaction to annual reports currently, and if the process is going to be revised, I would like investment commitments from the WMF to be comparable to the cost to the community. If 100 groups take 30 hours each to produce this dataset, that is 3000 hours. If a trained wiki labor hour is worth $25/hour, then this is a $75,000/year dataset. To what extent can the WMF commit resources to analyzing this dataset in justification of the cost to produce it? Bluerasberry (talk) 14:48, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
    Bluerasberry thanks for the question. having this data publicly available has three main goals:
    1. to enable AffCom / relevant Foundation staff in making better decisions about which support is needed more across the board, or for a specific affiliate (for instance, a report may surface information about an issue that needs addressing by the Grants team / Trust & Safety / AffCom / Legal, potentially before it erupts into urgency);
    2. to enable any community or affiliate member to see this information, and work with it – either by improving how their own affiliate works, or getting involved in work on improving governance overall, by organising more focused sessions of Let’s Connect, or conducting trainings for affiliates leadership etc.
    3. to demonstrate and achieve accountability to the group’s own membership and to the wider movement. Your question only views this information as something Wikimedia Foundation requires and is going to use, but our view is that this information is necessary ‘’also’’ as a measure of transparency, for volunteer (e.g. of the Global Council) decision-making, peer learning, etc.
    overall, reports can serve as valuable indicators of community health within the Wikimedia ecosystem. These reports sometimes offer insights into various aspects of community dynamics, including participation levels, collaboration patterns, and areas of strength and improvement. The current format of reports varies widely across affiliates, making it challenging to assess their health comprehensively. this standardised approach (hopefully) will facilitate more accurate assessments of affiliate health, enabling the identification of trends, patterns, and areas for improvement with greater clarity and consistency
    re committing resources – indeed there is no assigned staff to read the annual reports now (and I am not talking about grant reports here) -- it usually happens when specific information is needed. The issue is that the data in the reports is usually more activities oriented, whereas governance issues are less visible. Hopefully this round of feedback will improve the criteria proposed, and once implemented it will give data useful not only to the Foundation staff or AffCom, but also to affiliates themselves, future bodies such as the Global Council, and the communities overall --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 12:50, 28 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
  4. Can the WMF name 1-3 WMF teams who will also participate in this reporting process for their WMF activities? The old annual reporting processes had years of problems that I think would have been prevented if in-house at the WMF there were people more familiar with what was requested and how it worked. The ideal teams to participate would be those that have higher interaction with the public and Wikipedia community. Bluerasberry (talk) 14:48, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
    Bluerasberry thanks for your question. there is no intention to make Wikimedia Foundation teams participate in this reporting process; the Wikimedia Foundation team reporting is already sufficient as part of their quarterly goals tracking and evaluation process, which is already more onerous than what is requested here.
    i am reasonably confident that what is requested is reasonable: as i mentioned above, i drafted two case studies to see if it makes sense, and if it is possible to do, and what time is needed for this kind of information. in some cases affiliates would just need to adjust the reporting they already do, for example here quite a lot of governance related information is already presented, it just needs to be structured – a unified form would help read, compare, and make use of the information. but a method of presenting a grants report as an annual report like here would not be possible most likely, as these report have different goals and audiences, and cover different ground (not all activities may be grant-funded) --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 22:25, 9 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
  5. Before this begins, can we establish consensus about the audience for this? By default, the audience is only the WMF and we have no established consent that the Wikimedia community is demanding this. I regret that with past annual reports, there was some belief that the process was designed by and for the community, and parts of it grew into unwanted bureaucracy with expensive reporting that had no audience. I do not want to be in a situation where compliance is required but there are not obvious stakeholders who are enthusiastically using this data. Bluerasberry (talk) 14:48, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
    Bluerasberry I reject the notion that the Foundation needs to get movement consensus before it can require information from groups that desire affiliation with it or funding from it. the Foundation has the mandate to do this, and we are exercising this mandate based, as mentioned, on extensive research, interviews, and design work.
    that said, by default everyone is the audience, as the information would be public and presented in a readable format. it would help the leadership of the affiliate – to see what other affiliates are doing, and check themselves (as these 10 proposed criteria can be viewed as a check list of sorts). it would help the membership of an affiliate – not all members are as active and aware of how things are being done in their own affiliate, so seeing how their affiliate is faring, and being able to also see how other affiliates are doing things – it is a lot already. it would also help communities to hold affiliates accountable. and, of course, it is supposed to help AffCom / Foundation to see the baseline, progress, and if there are common topics or issues to work on with capacity building related activities. this feedback round is intended to check if there are other useful things to check for before it is implemented
    if, despite the thought that went into designing this information requirement, it emerges that it is not as useful as we had hoped, or that something is still missing, we will certainly revise it --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 00:40, 10 February 2024 (UTC)Reply


"Actively delivering on mission goals, e.g. content creation." seems like it is required to be successful and not be failing. That would incentivize very low goals and discourage experiments. Rather than "delivering", perhaps "working" would be better? Ainali talkcontributions 08:00, 10 February 2024 (UTC)Reply

Ainali thanks for this suggestion to clarify the language to encourage experimentation. Indeed we are raising a bar for affiliates “to be successful and not be failing”, but we are also trying to create a space where hopefully more transparency about the right areas can encourage more collaboration, sharing of best (and worst!) practices, and offering help in “underperforming” areas before there is a huge issue no one knows how to approach correctly. I would be cautious to put here just “working”, as “delivering” is more concrete, and creates a better feeling of ownership for the results. To address your concern we might consider adding a more detailed description of this requirement, as lessons learnt or evaluation from a failed (or semi-failed) project shared publicly might be a valid outcome of trying to reach the mission goals (in line with the Monitoring, evaluation and learning initiative). In other words, affiliates actively trying to find ways / innovating how to deliver on mission goals are okay, even if their efforts are failing for now, but affiliates who are repeating work not effectively delivering mission goals, stagnating, while seeking funding, would be encouraged to start working on improving their performance over time --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 15:49, 15 March 2024 (UTC)Reply


こんにちは、私はWikimedians of Japan User Groupのメンバーです。 日本語と英語は文法や発音が非常に異なるため、日本語ユーザーにとって英語の習得は難しいです。特に「聞く/話す」は非常に難しいといえます。そのためライブトークに出席できないことをお詫びします。 私を含む日本語ユーザーの多くは英語「読む」ことは可能ですが、読むためにはたくさんの時間を使わなければなりません。 このような言語バリアのため、例えば、メタの動きやWikimedia運動に関する知識は日本語コミュニティにはほとんど伝わっていません。 例えば、UCoCについて、日本語版参加者のほとんどは知っているとは言えない状況です。その状況で、以下のような条件を求められるのは難しいと言えます。(私たちはユーザーグループなので、これを守る必要はないようですが)

evidence of preventative steps, and addressing UCOC complaints in an effective and timely manner (or seeking external help).

言語バリアやその他の理由でウィキメディア運動その他、メタで話題になっていることをよく知らない言語版があることをご理解いただければ幸いです。私たちはまず、UCoCのパンフレットを作ることから始めたいと考えています。--Kizhiya (talk) 16:20, 19 March 2024 (UTC)Reply

Kizhiya thank you for the question, and for leaving the comment here! As a non-native speaker of English I can relate to the language barrier being a real obstacle, and indeed, reading and writing is easier.
UCoC is a universal policy for our projects. It “defines a minimum set of guidelines of expected and unacceptable behaviour”, so it is important to share about this policy in our communities, as it “applies to everyone who interacts and contributes to online and offline Wikimedia projects and spaces”. That is why we have translations into different languages, including Japanese. It is linked from the bottom of every page on every Wikimedia project, including Japanese. It is, of course, true that a lot of community members might not notice this, so it is important to make sure they do know about it by learning about it in other places. And this is not something that the Foundation can do easily, and that is a very important role affiliates can play -- help get the core message in the language people understand, explain using the relatable examples etc.. Soon, there will be a committee to coordinate providing "resources for communities on UCoC best practices". Input was invited in a Diff post and at Universal_Code_of_Conduct/Training (where there are two draft modules for review) - so providing these thoughts or being willing to participate there would be helpful also.
The proposed requirements are not meant to limit activities of the affiliates, but they do mean to check / create a framework that helps affiliates (irrespective of their “type” -- user groups / chapters / thematic organisations) to pay attention to some important issues, and the awareness / implementation of the UCoC is one of them.
Now, a more established affiliate might need to provide “evidence of preventative steps, and addressing UCOC complaints in an effective and timely manner (or seeking external help)”, a newly formed or developing one would be reporting on starting a translation of the UCoC into the language(s) of their community, or copy-editing the existing translation, or creating materials helping the community members to understand UCoC better (or hosting a call / meetup?) etc. So I think you are on track in thinking about what this requirement would mean for your affiliate in practice at this stage.
Also creating a UCoC brochure sounds like a great idea. If you would like support in doing this, please contact ca(_AT_) This will reach the Trust & Safety team at the Foundation. While they cannot supply material in Japanese, they can help you in English.
Hope it helps! --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 20:18, 19 March 2024 (UTC)Reply
@NTymkiv (WMF) 情報ありがとうございます。UCoCの研修/勉強会は、先日提出した来年度の企画に入れました。私はおそらく研修材料を作るのは難しいだろうと考えていました。サポートをしてくれる人たちを教えてくれたことに感謝します。 Kizhiya (talk) 11:46, 20 March 2024 (UTC)Reply

Gender balance[edit]

Could you please clarify this aspect?

It's often noted when women are underrepresented, but what about scenarios where men are less represented? For example, I've observed in parts of the Wikimedia movement, committees that are gender-neutral but staffed solely by women at WMF. Does this scenario still align with the concept of gender neutrality?

Additionally, how do we address gender-specific groups like Wikimujeres?

Perhaps shifting the focus from gender to "Diversity Balance" might be more inclusive, encompassing age diversity among other factors for instance, to ensure a broader representation. It parallels the point of "Diverse, skilled, and accountable leadership," which emphasizes a multiplicity of viewpoints. This approach acknowledges that diversity extends beyond binary gender distinctions, aiming to incorporate a wide range of visions and opinions for a richer, more nuanced dialogue not just limited to the men-women dichotomy.

The same definitition "Gender balance" is discriminatory as it focuses traditionally on the representation of men and women, and may not fully encompass the diversity of the LGBT+ community. This is because gender balance typically addresses binary gender representations, potentially overlooking the nuances and spectrum of gender identities within LGBT+ groups. To truly embrace inclusivity, discussions might extend beyond gender balance to consider a wider array of identities, ensuring all voices are represented and acknowledged within various spaces and initiatives. --Ilario (talk) 15:03, 9 February 2024 (UTC)Reply

Ilario Thank you for raising this point. Indeed diversity includes much more than just gender (like age, for example), but it is also so huge, that it would be difficult to address in its entirety in a measurable way all at one time. Accordingly, we propose to focus on one aspect which is measurable now as we expand to include others meaningfully moving forward. As mentioned in the FAQs -- this is the Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy to “guide the Foundation’s immediate work with affiliates” now, “until some kind of Movement-wide Affiliates Strategy is developed” (“now” in our case most likely means 3 to 5 years, the nearest future).
And though the work of the Wikimedia Foundation on the highest level is guided by the 2017 Movement Direction where we “focus our efforts on the knowledge and communities that have been left out by structures of power and privilege”, these high level goals have to be broken down into specific efforts and smaller milestones, to actually let us focus. The current Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan does focus on Gender as a thematic goal specifically, so while there are no barriers to people and affiliates ‘’also’’ working on all other aspects of diversity (by all means, do!), we are choosing to focus on the gender aspect as a core expectation from affiliates, to match the Foundation’s own focus, so that the Foundation’s investment in relevant staff support, resources, and grants be as useful as it can be. You can read more here and here.
Your question about what gender diversity means in a group that is, for instance, largely composed of women or primarily focuses on gender-connected topics is an interesting one. Focusing on the inclusion of a historically marginalised group is typically done to recognise that group has been underrepresented in positions of power and decision-making roles historically. In the case of gender, this underrepresentation isn't simply a matter of individual choices but is tied to systemic barriers and societal norms. These systemic barriers and societal norms have limited women's access to these roles.
A recent survey of affiliates had reported leadership as 59% men and 32% women. When a group is asked to actively seek to include more women, the group is encouraged to work towards correcting the long-standing exclusion and marginalisation of women from these kinds of spaces (it does remind me of a famous quote by the US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ‘When will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court]?’ - ‘When there are nine,’ people are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that).
I also want to distinguish between equality and equity. Equality means treating everyone the same, but equity involves recognising differences in circumstances and providing the necessary resources and opportunities to achieve an equal outcome. A lot of progress has certainly been made in the world and Wikimedia has many places where women in positions of leadership are seen as typical and healthy. This is still not universally true, and we hope to get there.
While this may not be explicitly tied to LGBT+ roles, the movement by default allows individuals to self-identify their gender. We need to consider carefully how we can encourage public support for non-binary individuals as well and recognise that currently there are safety reasons for not disclosing one’s gender. Sadly, publicly identifying may be criminal in some jurisdictions, and we cannot ask our users to put themselves at risk.
The proposal also calls for diverse leadership as a separate consideration, reflecting the importance of creating inclusive structures in the movement. We might want to think if it would make sense to track here the work overall on “diversity balance”, with “gender balance” being a subtopic, but having the phrase “gender balance” is deliberate, and the intention is to emphasise gender as a current priority. Thank you for highlighting this for clarification and consideration in the next steps --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 14:20, 14 March 2024 (UTC)Reply

Proposed trial period[edit]

  • I have a very generic about the reasoning behind the proposed changes. The document states "An application triggers a lot of work for AffCom, staff, etc., and volunteers who want to start working together". However, the proposed changes add more work to a single category: the volunteers. Nowhere in the published documents is there a mention of any discussion on other possible solutions. If there is a lot of work, maybe the process is too bureacratic and adding more work in the hope that some of the volunteers will be discouraged seems like a counterintuitive solution.--Strainu (talk) 18:18, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
    Strainu you are right, this proposal does raise the bar, and thus will discourage some of the less mature and less organised groups from applying for a recognition. we think this would ensure greater chances of success for new groups that do meet that bar, and it would allow us to support them better, and it would be net reduction in the amount of bureaucracy faced in the Movement. this proposal is not intended to discourage volunteers to collaborate, but actually to try to make sure they can get the support they need for the goals they want to achieve, rather than start doing something extra (like submitting annual reports to receive a chance to get a scholarship to some events). if people want to do something together, they can have a whole range of opportunities to do so even without creating an affiliate: trademark permissions can be requested, pages created, grants awarded etc. if they want to do something together for a long period of time -- forming an organisation might be a useful tool. but might be not -- depends on people, on projects, on a given situation. i understand that investing a bit more at the beginning seems like more bureaucracy (and definitely translates into more work), but if done right, it can help people to avoid mistakes -- or make better ones.
    as a note: this whole page is a place to offer solutions and raise new problems we have not thought about before --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 19:31, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
    I hope that this will also be taken into discussion at the upcoming Wikimedia Summit where as of now only recognized, compliant affiliates can participate. I do know that the who affiliate gathering model will be changed, but with a step towards fewer but more reliable affiliates, we shouldn't forget about the individuals and groups who want to use the “range of opportunities to do so even without creating an affiliate” but still want to be included into relevant discussions. In my private capacity, with some thoughts coming from WMSUG. Best, —DerHexer (Talk) 16:43, 9 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
    DerHexer thanks, indeed, an event including only compliant affiliates would exclude not just non compliant affiliates, but also unaffiliated Wikimedians, however dedicated or interested.
    i think it makes sense to have a type of event restricted to compliant affiliates, where they can discuss aspects of organised programmatic work, share experience with grantmakers, etc. such events may also touch on strategic questions. even then, unaffiliated volunteers may be invited to the event based on specific expertise or involvement with a topic being discussed.
    however, i expect events focused on movement strategy questions that are not specifically relevant to affiliates (for example, the challenge of interactive content being discussed on Wikimedia-l these days, or global on-wiki enforcement of the Universal Code of Conduct) to be discussed at events that are open to participation by relevant individual volunteers, regardless of their affiliation status --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 00:25, 10 February 2024 (UTC)Reply

Questions about the trial period[edit]

  1. How exactly will a newly formed group prove expertise, per the new requirements? Will there be requirements of real-name sharing for all the members?--Strainu (talk) 18:18, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
    Strainu thanks for the questions! i might not get to all of them tonight, but i shall try my best to do it as soon as possible :) re proving expertise: so, for example, if there is a group of users who want to start a user group, and they decide that they would like to start organising editing workshops in a country XXX on Wikipedia XXX, they would need to either have an experienced editor among their group, or have an experienced editor in that language Wikipedia supporting them (now in the world of hybrid being a thing, it can be imagined). as of now this is not being checked when approving a user group or even when approving a grant application. re real-name sharing for all the members -- no, this is not being requested. if there are phrases or words that made you think this as possibility, please tell me, so we can rewrite to make it clearer --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 19:09, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
    @NTymkiv (WMF) thanks for the response. The example from the page says "must demonstrate it has expert editors with training experience"; the experience can be either on or off wiki. Since on-wiki experience for a new geo-based group is rare, it implies the experience must be off wiki, and that in order to be proven, real names must be used. Strainu (talk) 19:35, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
    Strainu thanks, i see, well, wikitrainings are implied here, as when a group is forming in the Movement, it is mostly about the content (thus trainings on editing or content donations through partners) and/or community support (like conducting events) or advocacy of some sort (freedom of panorama, free licenses). i guess adding the word "wiki" to the text might help --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 10:20, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
    I've had similar thoughts—but when I was reading “Public information on who are the people making decisions. Public information on what is being done to encourage gender diversity.”. When I read this, this implied to me that leaders of the affiliate must know personal data of their members. However, as of now, there are a couple of affiliates where membership starts with an onwiki signature (members will be notified onwiki, on talk pages, through mailinglists, etc.). With policies like en:WP:ANON in mind, such affiliates (including one I am co-contact of, WMSUG; but also CPUG and WCS where I'm just a regular, active member and nobody knew anything about me [if people wouldn't know me from other contexts]) would not be able to answer this questions, simply because of the fact we never intended to collect such data nor would ever do so because of the given policies. Would we have to do membership surveys within our group to be compliant with this or similar points? Right now, a couple of proposed changes strongly implies an association-like, classical-membership-based model which is not congruent to many current affiliates. Please check the current draft about these implications, thank you. Best, —DerHexer (Talk) 16:55, 9 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
    DerHexer thank you, a very good point, this needs to be clarified -- of course it is only possible if the people are going to reveal some of their personal information publicly (like in the case of asking preferred pronouns candidates for stewards) or to the leadership (usually a board or some other governing structure). whereas survey is a good idea, it might be too revealing if a group is really small.
    the main point here (which probably needs to be made clearer) is “encouraging actions”, so, when full data is not available, leadership/group can use whatever sample size is available to extrapolate a presumed gender gap and base some actions on that (e.g. if you only know the gender of 20 of your members, and of those, only one is a woman, assuming 20 is a representative sample of your total membership, it is safe to conclude there is a significant gender gap in your group). for example (and i understand that it might be a wild example), get in touch with Wikimedia LGBT+ or/and Wikimujeres, and check with them if they would like to share some information within their membership and circles about, say, the Wikimedia Steward role and how to become one. There is a bigger chance that there might be interested people there (maybe non-admin editors now, who might be motivated to become admins locally, as a step toward stewardship) or bigger chances that people who do not want to out themselves too much by becoming a member of these groups, might be just passively following these groups’ channels and attending online events. a group taking such actions and reporting about them might not achieve optimal results (for example, perhaps an overwhelming majority of the people who submit steward candidacies report their preferred pronouns as he/him again in 2025), or Wikimedia LGBT+/Wikimujeres did not have the capacity to create an opportunity to share such information that year (say, no events, no volunteers to write a blogpost, create slides or videos etc), but a message inviting such collaboration would be enough to show the intent of your group to address the gender gap (and again, this is just an example).
    the proposal is not to judge affiliates on how much progress they make on these truly complex challenges; the idea is to encourage affiliates to spend time thinking about how they might approach them, to experiment, and to share back --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 00:22, 10 February 2024 (UTC)Reply


The phrase "have demonstrated competence to execute its stated plans" clearly implicates that every affiliate must have plans. If that is the case, perhaps that also should be an explicit requirement rather than an implicit one? Ainali talkcontributions 21:30, 9 February 2024 (UTC)Reply

Ainali thank you, i think this is a good point. plans (like an outline of why people are joining together, rather than doing things alone) are mentioned in the section of what affiliates should have; also in different requirements as a part of reporting, and when a group wants to start as a group. but it is more like a clear statement of purpose is needed, as plans are smaller, operational sections one lays out to get to that purpose (goal). thanks for prompting us to think how to make it more explicit --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 00:27, 10 February 2024 (UTC)Reply

Which is the blueprint for compliance?[edit]

It is not clear, once data are published, which is the reference line to state that an affiliate is compliant or not.

E.g. in the case of "Offline engagement", it is asked to publish "a record of regular meetings with a measurable outcome(s), and not only annual meetings"; which is the number of meetings to be compliant? one, ten, 100?

Similar questions can be done for each of point in the proposed list of criteria.--Ysogo (talk) 16:24, 11 February 2024 (UTC)Reply

Ysogo thank you for the question and thinking about how this might look in practice. It is a new process, not yet fully formed, so the timing of asking this is just right. The fact is the responses will look different for each affiliate - some affiliates might need to meet very often, while others need to meet less frequently. As long as the mission goals are being met, and the reporting accurately shows the ways the affiliate is meeting the criteria, they will meet this compliance requirement - so with an adequate stated rationale even one meeting might be enough --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 15:52, 15 March 2024 (UTC)Reply

Next steps and other open questions[edit]

Clarification on "leadership"[edit]

Hi! I have a question around "leadership" here. It is not clear to me whether the text refers to "leadership" as governing bodies, or "leadership" as the staff (such as Executive Directors, middle management, etc.). If it's the first one, I don't see much of a reason to require from a member of a Board to be "skilled at managing funds (if it has any)" (while it is desirable, it's definitely not a legal requirement in most countries to have such skills). This might set up the bar a little bit too high for compliance in certain contexts where such skills are hard to come by, or even train. Scann (WDU) (talk) 23:31, 15 February 2024 (UTC)Reply

Scann (WDU) thanks for this response and clarification of the meaning. Overall “leadership” here is defined as broadly as possible: “its board (if applicable), or other relevant decision-making body (like a committee or some other executive body)”, as not all affiliates are legal entities or have boards or have staff. While not explicitly mentioned, these criteria do not mention that every person who is in a leadership position of an affiliate must be skilled in managing funds and so on. Leadership is a collective of skills and knowledge. But in some cases, board members can also fulfil positions like a treasurer (or be a budget holder), and then, depending whether this is a more operational board or not, (not) relying on volunteers or (not) having professional staff or contractors, it might mean a need for more intimate understanding of grants, local requirements for NGOs, accounting, laws etc. Of course this practice should be cleared with local rules around organisations, however, in case the affiliate wishes to seek formal status in their local jurisdiction. Though I might say that making sure people of the governing body (if they do not need to manage the funds themselves) know how to read the financial reports of the organisation (if any are provided) is in line with good governance.
For example, the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees has a Chief Finance Officer (CFO) as a Treasurer now, but the Chair of the Audit Committee needs to work with the Treasurer very closely. And for now we have been able to search for the trustee seat fitting a certain profile, namely: to “bring financial experience necessary to execute the role’s fiduciary responsibility, offer counsel to the Foundation’s talented finance team, and shape the organization’s financial narrative to its many stakeholders. Ideally, candidates will have expertise in both strategic and operational finance and will have held financial leadership roles in organizations of significant size and complexity, with evidence of managing diverse stakeholders”, but in case we had no “ready person” to do that, we would have had to make sure that at least one of the trustees is able to fulfil those functions via trainings, onboarding etc.
It is understood that a young small affiliate might not yet have a collective leadership developed, so this requirement is connected to the resources asked by an affiliate (=the more resources asked from the Movement, the more important it becomes that the affiliate have these skills among its leadership, collectively, to be compliant). This proposal is not meant as a “yes or no” framework, but rather an approach helping to connect affiliate development to resources requested and goals delivered --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 15:58, 15 March 2024 (UTC)Reply

Policies for affiliates grants[edit]

(IT) Ciao. C'è una situazione che non risulta tra le proposte di modifica, ma che secondo me va presa in considerazione e discussa, perché legata alla strategia degli affiliati e estremamente importante per la loro vita: l'impossibilità per un affiliato di ricevere grant nel momento in cui la presidente è bloccata a tempo indeterminato su un progetto. Anche se spesso il blocco dei leader viene usato come arma per ostaccolare progetti sgraditi, non metto in discussione il caso individuale (un utente bloccato NON può ricevere alcun tipo di grant, né rapid, né project), ma la situazione in cui l'utente bloccato a tempo infinito copre un ruolo importante nel board e nemmeno altri membri dell'UG possono chiedere fondi per conto dell'affiliato. La spiegazione è la seguente: in quanto Presidente della legal entity, la persona ha accesso al conto bancario dell'associazione. Questo è un dato di fatto, ma non saprei a quale policy faccia riferimento. Però, la Presidente, oltre ad essere stata eletta in seguito a processi comunitari democratici, di certo non agisce individualmente, ma segue un preciso mandato datole dai membri, tutte le spese vengono approvate dall'intero board e tutte vengono rendicontate attraverso ricevute revisionate dalla Tesoreria e che per la legge italiana vanno conservate per un periodo di tempo dopo la compilazione del bilancio. È una situazione anomala che non lascia scampo, diffatto impedisce all'affiliato di essere considerato idoneo per la richiesta di grant a WMF e di avere le risorse per sopravvivere. Questo costituisce extra carico per i nostri membri del board, che non solo svolgono una molle immensa di lavoro volontario, ma devono anche sostenere economicamente l'affiliato/l'associazione. Non è solo ingiusto, non solo crea disparità - anche di crescita e di raggiungimento degli obiettivi - con altri affiliati della regione, ma va contro la nostra filosofia e lo spirito di equità che ci distingue e che abbiamo fatto nostro con il processo di strategia 2030 e con il disegno delle 10 raccomandazioni. L'ho fatto presente la prima volta che era successo (quando ho dovuto restituire un grant per un blocco applicato DOPO la ricezione del grant, cosa mai successa), l'ho fatto presente alla pubblicazione del report WikiDonne nel 2023, in una call con la Grant Officer e in un'altra con la Vice Presidente per la crescita della comunità, sperando di sbloccare la situazione. E spero di avere una risposta anche da parte del board WMF. Grazie.

(EN) Ciao. There is a situation that is not among the proposed changes, but which in my opinion should be taken into consideration and discussed, because it is linked to the affiliates' strategy and extremely important for their lives: the impossibility for an affiliate to receive grants when the president is stuck on a project indefinitely. Even if the blocking of leaders is often used as a weapon to hinder unwelcome projects, I do not question the individual case (a blocked user CANNOT receive any type of grant, neither rapid nor project), but the situation where the indefinitely blocked user covers an important role in the board and not even other UG members can ask for funds on behalf of the affiliate. The explanation is as follows: as Chair of the legal entity, the person has access to the association's bank account. This is a fact, but I don't know what policy is referring to. However, the President, in addition to being elected following democratic community processes, certainly does not act individually, but follows a precise mandate given to them by the members, all expenses are approved by the entire board and all are accounted for through receipts reviewed by the Treasury and which by Italian law must be kept for a period of time after the compilation of the financial statements. It is an anomalous situation that leaves no escape, in fact it prevents the affiliate from being considered eligible for the grant request from WMF and from having the resources to survive. This places an extra burden on our board members, who not only carry out an immense amount of volunteer work, but also have to financially support the affiliate/association. It is not only unfair, not only does it create disparities - including in terms of growth and achievement of objectives - with other affiliates in the region, but it goes against our philosophy and spirit of equity that distinguishes us and that we have made our own with the 2030 strategy process and with the design of the 10 recommendations. I pointed it out the first time it had happened ((when I had to return a grant for a block applied AFTER receiving the grant, which never happened), I pointed it out when the report WikiDonne in 2023, in a call with the Grant Officer and in another with the Vice President for community growth, hoping to unblock the situation. I hope to have a response from the WMF board as well. Thank you. Camelia (talk) 18:59, 19 March 2024 (UTC)Reply

Camelia.boban thank you for the interest in this topic. First of all -- the Board does not weigh in on operational procedures, so I cannot give you a Board’s position on grants dissemination procedures. And it seems to me that you have already raised this issue via the relevant channels at the Foundation.
Affiliates are a part of the ecosystem, and have very important roles to play -- helping with content donations (as we know some partnerships are possible only when there is a legal entity), advocacy, community support etc. Affiliates are also supposed to be bigger than individuals who founded them or even bigger than just a sum of its members -- they are supposed to have an added value as an “institution”, otherwise there is no real need to go through all the reporting and hassle of bureaucracy.
In my opinion, it is a very important factor for an affiliate to be connected with its community or communities, so I would say a rule of not giving grants to users blocked on the projects makes sense, as the Foundation is not in a position (and does not have a capacity) to review all locally decided cases of bans, and to the extent possible should trust that community governance procedures work. In the case of a chair being blocked -- well, when a chair is able to legally represent the organisation for the bank (it is not always the case, sometimes it is the ED), this chair has access to the money, so the direct solution is for the Foundation not to distribute grants to that organisation. If a chair does not have a way to appeal the ban (or finds it a matter of principle not to), and their affiliate is not one-person-affiliate in practice, they should think of developing future leader(s) for the affiliate, and resigning or not running in the democratic elections after that, so that the affiliate can grow, receive fundings etc. Being blocked by the community the affiliate operates in / or works with is basically an “indication of serious concern” by that community, and the resignation of the current chair is actually necessary for the health of the affiliate. When the affiliate seeks partnerships, it cannot have a blocked ‘persona non grata’ as its figurehead; when the affiliate trains newbies or makes public campaigns for donations or for content contributions, it can be quite damaging for it to be revealed that the person heading the affiliate has been expelled by the served community.
Not speaking of any particular case, but if a great injustice has been done, and the ban is actually “weaponised” against the said chair / affiliate by an admin with a grudge or a small fraction of the community pursuing an agenda, rather than being a real “indication of serious concern” from the community, the wronged chair should consider going through usual channels: appealing the block to the wider community; checking with Trust & Safety, etc. (it is conceivable that there has been a hostile takeover of the community, and then the usual community mechanisms will not work, and external help might be needed, but this is quite rare).
Overall, the proposed requirements and conversation here are aimed at actually making sure that affiliates are treated as a useful systems that can help the Movement in a longer run that any person’s lifespan or volunteer’s passion for doing things, so whereas this case is interesting, it actually proves the point why we need to change the approaches -- affiliates are not meant to be “clubs by interests”, and they should be approached as “helping to reach the mission or not” type of entities --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 21:30, 20 March 2024 (UTC)Reply
Thank you for the response @NTymkiv (WMF), as I can see is more a question of opportunity, as affiliate's interface for partners and an affiliate's growth test instead of a WMF written policy. Camelia (talk) 09:15, 21 March 2024 (UTC)Reply
@Camelia.boban thank you for opening this topic...I think it is part of a larger theme of power/resource relations.
But I understand you only wanted to focus on what is urgent for Italian Wikipedia relations, though similar situation is in other medium and smaller size Wikipedias.
@NTymkiv (WMF) thank you for your input. This is interesting to read...however:
  1. I do not agree on your suggestion of sticking to the (dysfunctional) protocols and certainly not that WMF has no way to act proactively (think it certainly can and should have as a big publisher that legally represents and technically carries the Wikimedia platform, in EU it will have to eventually), but at least you are aware that Wiki projects can be weaponised, as it certainly is in enough cases (cross-lingual and cross-project phenomena) as many progressive content contributors and organizers experience. Trust and Safety has done almost nothing too many times to be The only place to go to for on-wiki issues.
  2. I am also not convinced that you can imagine how big is the need for multiple approaches and in many different contexts in terms of scale and issues facing, with and what are their unique dynamics (in many Wikipedia language communities there is literally no one for a decade or more among contributors who want and have skills to do coordination and administration work for an affiliate). Pushing a single model (any model) is IMHO super wrong in approaching complexity of the world and Wikimedia realities and its ecosystems.
I would be curious to hear if anyone else from WMF Board has different position that @NTymkiv (WMF) and is willing to share it here? Zblace (talk) 09:37, 15 April 2024 (UTC)Reply