User:The Land/Movement Charter Creation and Ratification Principles

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These are a set of principles that can be used to flesh out the process of how the Movement Charter can be created and then ratified by the community. I have found it more productive to think about what will make the process a success, than to worry more about how drafting group members will be selected.

Some further framing thoughts:

  1. The selection method of the Drafting Group does not really affect the process. Even if we end up with a large group of 50 people elected from all across communities, I do not believe that will make the drafting process any easier - if community members aren't aware, aren't consulted, or don't agree - then ultimately the Charter won't work. Holding elections to the drafting group might *help* but it won't solve the problem.
  2. If the Charter drafting process is very thorough then there will be a relatively short and simple path from ratifying the Charter to holding the first set of Global Council elections. There won't be any need for a further round of outreach and consultation around the existence of the Global Council.
  3. These principles don't address the issue of technical tools/platforms. Whichever tools or platforms can best accomplish the goal should be used, and I don't know what those are.
  4. Some people will ask "Why not draft it using a wiki page which everyone with a view can come and edit?" This is a reasonable question. However 1) most people in the movement do not feel comfortable editing Meta (for one reason or another) and 2) wiki talk pages are not designed to structure the amount of discussion that will need to happen for this process to work.

Participation and engagement[edit]

Principle: The Movement Charter can only succeed if there is a very high level of participation and engagement in the process of creating the charter.

Details: The development of the Movement Charter will be the most significant change to the Wikimedia movement for decades. But most participants in the Movement have a low level of awareness of this process. The process needs to actively engage people who currently do not know about, or see the relevance of, the Movement Charter conversations. This will include:

  • communicating the benefits of the Movement Charter and Global Council to *different audiences* which may require differences of in tone and nuance
  • actively engaging communities through multilingual outreach
  • ensuring the Charter drafting process is the largest and most multilingual process yet started in the Wikimedia movement. I remember hearing that 800 people were reached in the recent conversations about the Board election process. This needs 1000, maybe 1500, contributors.

Equity and Representation[edit]

Principle: In line with the recommendation to "ensure equity in decision making", the drafting process must ensure all perspectives are heard and actively involved.

Details: The Charter Drafting Group must be broadly representative of the Wikimedia movement, but cannot be larger than 15-20 people without losing focus, so it cannot be fully representative. However the process must offer meaningful involvement to a much larger group of people. This includes extensive translation and multi-language outreach (as set out in Participation and Engagement). Processes must be structured to that voices from emerging communities are not 'drowned out' by those with existing power and privilege.

Iterative Development[edit]

Principle: The drafting process should proceed iteratively, making versions of its working documents and drafts public.

Details: To ensure that issues are surfaced and feedback can be given meaningfully, the drafting process should be iterative. "Sprints" of work will produce milestone documents - examples of which might be a scope of the Charter, or a first draft.

Generate Options[edit]

Principle: Where there are areas of lack of consensus, the process should support the generation and discussion of different options.

Details: Some of the best answers to the challenges of creating the charter may not be immediately obvious. "Divergent thinking" is key to coming up with creative solutions. The process should be open to ideas generated by the communities as well as by the Drafting Group.

Drafting Group empowered to make decisions[edit]

Principle: While the process should be very broad and consultative, the Drafting Group is empowered to make decisions and recommend a final text.

Details: Not all issues can be resolved by consensus, and not all challenges can be overcome by creative thinking. In areas where there continues to be a lack of consensus in spite of extensive discussion, the Drafting Group must recommend a final text.

Support for the agency and wellbeing of the Drafting Group[edit]

Principle: The Drafting Group should have the resources needed to work effectively, and be empowered to change the process (within a broad set of principles)

Details: The Drafting Group will be volunteers who are asked to undertake a significant and difficult task. They need to feel in control of their own work and direction, as well as supported to do the work they have signed up for.

Movement-wide Ratification[edit]

Principle: The final Charter text must be formally ratified by the WMF, affiliates, and project communities.

Details: To ensure the Charter text has the support (or at least the assent) of the Wikimedia community, there must be a formal ratification process. Cross-community ratification is unprecedented and a significant challenge in its own right. Options for ratification should be explored at an early stage - for instance, by method of RfCs on projects, or by a voting procedure where individual contributors vote as in an election.