Wikimedia Conference/Follow-Up

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One of WMDE’s main goals for the Wikimedia Conference is to make it more sustainable and productive. The Program and Engagement Coordinator will ensure and monitor that essential conference topics are continuously worked on and further developed.

On this page, you can read how the PEC has followed up on major topics since the Wikimedia Conference 2015. Feedback and comments are appreciated!

Movement Roles / Movement Strategy[edit]

Movement Roles 


The need to clarify roles and responsibilities in the Wikimedia Movement, especially between the Wikimedia Foundation and its affiliates, has been a constant topic – even before the Wikimedia Conference 2015. At the Wikimedia Conference 2015, Lila Tretikov suggested a possible consultation about the future roles of affiliates and WMF, and in the reflection session on her talk people expressed their wish to have such a consultation.

Also, the paid full-time chapter executive directors prepared a session at the conference called “What could local organizations bring to the movement?”. This session highlighted the value of and need for local organizations (aka affiliates). In the aftermath of the Wikimedia Conference 2015, the group of paid full-time chapter executive directors were working on a contextualised summary of the findings of the sessions, to be used as further input for the ongoing movement strategy process.

Based on Lila Tretikov’s suggestion for a consultation on “future roles of affiliates and WMF”, Nicole Ebber (WMDE) hosted a session covering exactly that topic at the WMCON Follow-Up Day 2015 at Wikimania 2015. Participants expressed that they didn’t find such a broadly themed consultation (i.e. “Relation between the WMF and the affiliates”) very useful. They agreed that it should be focused on a specific issue and that, as a first step, concrete problems and needs would have to be defined.


At the Wikimedia Conference 2016, the topic wasn’t as highly prioritized as before, due to a management conflict at the Wikimedia Foundation. During the WMCON Follow-Up Day 2016 at Wikimania 2016, Nicole Ebber (WMDE) again facilitated a session on that topic, focusing on a possible Affiliates strategy. During the discussion, people agreed that it would be great to define what kind of minimum activities a chapter (or an affiliate) has to implement to be defined as a chapter.

During Wikimania 2016, Christophe Henner (chair of the Board) and Katherine Maher (ED, WMF) announced the initiation of a Movement Strategy process in 2017.


The strategy process started in February 2017 and the Wikimedia Conference 2017 was a central event, offering an opportunity, especially for organized groups in the Wikimedia Movement, to discuss and define possible “strategic directions”. In addition to the online discussions throughout 2017, Nicole and the WMF strategy team organized a Strategy Space at Wikimania 2017. Similarly, Nicole Ebber and Kaarel Vaidla used the CEE meeting in September as an opportunity to gather input from the affiliates participating there.

The Strategic Direction was published for endorsement on October 26, 2017. The second phase of the Strategy process continues in 2018, and will be a main track of the Wikimedia Conference.

Partnerships & Resource Development[edit]

Partnerships & Resource Development 


Thanks to an initiative by John Andersson (WMSE) and Anne-Laure Prévost (WMFR), a small working group on Partnerships and Resource Development was created in 2015. At the WMCON Follow-Up Day 2015 at Wikimania 2015, John Andersson led a first session regarding external grants processes and needs among affiliates. Anne-Laure Prévost (WMFR) led a session on partnerships, partnership processes and hurdles to reach them. (slides). Based on that she published the valuable document “8 steps to a Partnership” that was elaborated together with the workshop participants. Both John and Anne-Laure, started a meta page for that topic: Partnerships & Resource Development. It mainly contains documentation of sessions, learning patterns and processes regarding partnerships.

Between October and November 2015 a survey was sent to all Wikimedia Chapters and Thematic Organizations to ask about their experiences and needs regarding Partnerships/External Fundraising. 23 of them responded. You can find the results on Meta (Partnerships & Resource Development/Survey October 2015/Results).


Barbara Fischer and Nikola Kalchev hosted sessions specifically on GLAM partnerships work. John Andersson hosted a session on external grants (funding partnerships). On more of a Meta level, partnerships (and especially their impact) was discussed in the “Movement Impact” track. Participants discussed what the Movement’s Impact is and how to measure it (see also “Impact” further down).

Based on the experience that discussing “Impact” was too broad and too abstract by itself, the Partnerships group, in several hangouts and during Wikimania 2016, discussed next steps. The group decided that it would be more useful to create more learning material and provide further capacity building sessions at the next Wikimedia Conference.


Based on the above mentioned decision, Nicole Ebber and Cornelius Kibelka chose “Partnerships” as one of the main topics of the Wikimedia Conference 2017. In preparation for that, WMDE invited affiliates’ staff members from several chapters to Berlin for a two-day Partnerships workshop. In this workshop, participants discussed how to approach the broad topic of “Partnerships” and how it could be discussed and worked with during the Wikimedia Conference 2017, and the upcoming Movement Strategy process (documentation).

Also, Julia Kirchner (WMDE) and Jack Rabah (WMF) hosted two workshops at the WikiIndaba 2017, the African regional Wikimedia conference, on Partnerships. The main learning was that participants were highly interested in Capacity Building, especially around the three topics of Community Building, Communication skills and Outreach/Awareness.

All these strands fed into the preparation of the Partnerships track at the Wikimedia Conference 2017.

At the Wikimania 2017 WMCON follow-up day, a small group (mainly WMF, WMDE and WMUK) met to update each other on partnerships and discuss how to move forward with furthering partnerships in the Wikimedia Movement.

In November 2017, a Partnerships meetup took place in Berlin, hosted by Nicola Zeuner (WMDE) and Julia Kirchner (WMDE). Here, a statement relating the to the Strategy process was drafted. The statement is planned to be published in early 2018.

Public Policy[edit]

Advocacy / Public Policy 


In preparation for a possible global Movement strategy on Public Policy efforts, Dimitar Dimitrov (Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU) gathered input in a session at the Wikimedia Conference 2015 (results here). As a follow-up of this session, Dimitar collected and gathered further input at the WMCON Follow-Up Day at Wikimania 2015.

Based on the five core policy areas (Copyright, Censorship, Access to Knowledge, Intermediary Protection, Privacy & Surveillance), the WMF Legal Team started a proper Wikimedia Public Policy ( to produce “policy white papers”. The Legal Team presented those five core areas in a special presentation at Wikimania 2015.

For a European perspective of these five core policy areas, Wikimedians interested in the EU policy met November 20/21, 2015 for the third Big Fat Brussels Meeting in Brussels (documentation).


At Wikimedia Conference 2016, the Public Policy topic was less present, Dimi mainly discussed strategies to lobby the EU copyright reform with several Wikimedians. During WMCON Follow-Up 2016 at Wikimania 2016, Dimi gathered with interested people from (mainly) European communities to discuss further steps in the fight for Freedom of Panorama in the EU. At Wikimania itself, Dimi hosted a “School of Rock(ing) EU Copyright” to train Wikimedians in efficient advocacy work. As a follow-up of this training, Dimi developed copyright proposals and a statement with the Latvian Wikimedian community, and worked together with the Ukrainian community on a statement fighting for Freedom of Panorama in the country.


At the Wikimedia conference 2017, Dimi hosted a capacity building workshop on EU copyright reform, and a roundtable discussion on WMF/Affiliates partnerships on public policy. At the Wikimania 2017 WMCON follow-up day Dimi gave an update about the state of the EU copyright reform.



“Governance”, or more in general issues around strategy and (volunteer) boards of Wikimedia organizations, is one of the smaller topics of the different Wikimedia Conferences.


At the Wikimedia Conference 2015, Christophe Henner (WMFR), Alice Wiegand (WMF/Board of Trustees), Tim Moritz Hector (WMDE), José Flores (WMMX) hold a session on learnings and experiences identifying common challenges around “Board Governance”. Based on the learnings presented, Tim Moritz Hector (chair of the board of WMDE) and Abraham Taherivand (chair of the WMDE transition committee), published a document of lessons learnt on how Wikimedia Deutschland managed its Executive Direction transition phase.


Based on the two Board Training Workshops in 2014 (in March and in November), Frans Grijzenhout (chair of WMNL) and Tim Moritz Hector (chair of WMDE) started an initiative to revive the Boards Training. During the pre-conference of the Wikimedia Conference 2016, both organized a two day Board Training workshop for a small group of board members of APG chapters during the Wikimedia Conference 2016. Topics were the international Wikimedia movement, role and tasks of board members and the handling of conflicts of interests. Based on the Boards Training workshop, Frans and Tim created a page for learning material on Board Member Support on Meta.

At the Wikimedia Conference 2016 itself, Frans held a session on strategy processes together with Mattias Blomgren (Wikimedia Sverige).


At the Wikimedia Conference 2017, the two-day Board Training workshop again took place. At the Wikimania 2017 WMCON follow-up day, Frans hosted a discussion on how to support and develop better boards.



At the Wikimedia Conference 2015, Lila Tretikov (then ED of the Wikimedia Foundation) announced a community consultation on the WMF grant programmes for Q3/2015 with the intention to analyze the current grant programs and improve them. The Community Consultation started on August 18 and finished on September 7, 2015. You can find more information about it on Grants:IdeaLab/Reimagining WMF grants/Consultation. You can find the summarized outcomes here. First new grant programs started in late 2015.


At Wikimedia Conference 2016, WMF's Resources Team held a panel session on the new grant structure. In the aftermath of the session and the conference itself, several chapters applied for the Simple APG program.

After many discussions and conversations in the movement, also among APG grantees, the Resources Team and the Learning & Evaluation team of the Wikimedia Foundation started a process to create new Global Metrics. Based on many interviews, Sati Houston and Jaime Anstee showed first results of the consultation at the Wikimedia Conference 2016. After gathering further input and analyzing it, a new set of now called "Grant Metrics" were published on July 30, 2016 on Meta.


Grantmaking & Impact


At the Wikimedia Conference 2015, the WMF Resources team held a panel session on the impact focus of the WMF grant programs. There was no direct outcome, but it was one of the first sessions within the Wikimedia Movement addressing the issue “impact”.


Based on the felt necessity of discussing the Wikimedia movement’s impact and especially ways how to measure it, Nicole Ebber and Cornelius Kibelka decided to make “Movement Impact” one of the main topics (with an own track) of the Wikimedia Conference 2016. In several sessions, especially in a longer working session, participants discussed the manifold ways of achieving impact in the Wikimedia movement. A follow-up discussion was held at WMCON Follow-Up Day 2016 at Wikimania 2016.

Already in the aftermath of the Wikimedia Conference 2016, but especially after Wikimania 2016, it was clear that discussing “Impact” was too broad and too Meta by itself (or maybe too early), and other, more practical topics had to be discussed first. The learnings and experiences of the Impact discussion of the Wikimedia Conference 2016 fed into the Partnerships track of the Wikimedia Conference 2017.




At the Wikimedia Conference 2015, Katherine Maher, Juliet Barbara (WMF Communications Team) and Michael Jahn (WMDE’s Head of Communications) wanted to enhance the international collaboration on communication among WMF and its affiliates. Based on that session, Michael and the WMF Communications team published the Movement Communications skill page on Meta, which is (was) intended to be an open library for sharing knowledge on movement communications.

At Wikimania 2015, the WMF Communications Team and members of the Communications Committee (ComCom) met to discuss several issues. One breakout group discussed better ways of coordinating communications efforts and knowledge sharing. Based on the conversations, the WMF Communications team planned to take the steps before the end of the quarter (September 30) to improve and re-evaluate this list (Mapping people on the ComCom mailing list (who are they, where are they, what projects do they work on, affiliations), Find out who wants to stay on the list, ask for needs/ levels of experience, Assess and clarify list membership criteria).

Based on the Movement Communications skill page on Meta, Greg Varnum (Communications Strategist, WMF) expanded it to a "Communications Resource Center" with further learning material.


At Wikimedia Conference 2016, Greg Varnum and Jeff Elder held two sessions on Communications skills and resources for the Wikimedia movement (How to Connect the Movement with Social Media, 10 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Communications). In the aftermath, Jeff created a Facebook group called “Wikimedia Foundation social media hub”, where movement-wide social media work is coordinated.

At Wikimania 2016, Michael Jahn and Jan Apel organized a whole day “Communications Hackathon” to expand the collaboration on Communications topics in the Wikimedia movement.

Also in 2016, Greg Varnum (WMF Communications Team) directed his efforts towards the Communications efforts at / within / among affiliates. The Communications Resource Center was further improved and in November 2016 a survey was set up to ask ComCom members on their use of ComCom. Greg published the survey results on Meta.


As a next step in this process, WMF Communications Team is also meeting with some affiliates to get a better understanding of their communications activities.

On a different strand, but also within the Communications topic, a training on communication skills was held with the Brazilian Wikimedia Community as part of the Community Capacity Development (see also “Community Support”).

At the Wikimedia Conference 2017, there were several sessions on communication, among them were "How can WMF and affiliates better work together on communication?" and making a new plan for the ComCom. At the Wikimania 2017 WMCON follow-up day Greg presented the new plan for the ComCom.

Community Support[edit]

Community Support 

Volunteer Supporters Network[edit]

Community Support (or Volunteer Support or Community Building) is a constantly present topic at the Wikimedia Conferences, throughout the years.


The Volunteer Supporters Network, mainly consisting of Veronika Krämer (WMDE), Raimund Liebert (WMAT) and Muriel Staub (WMCH), was created in 2014.


At the Wikimedia Conference 2015 (after an initial meeting during Wikimania 2014) the Volunteer Supporters Network began a more global exchange on important issues of Volunteer Support. Based on the learnings and input gathered at the Wikimedia Conference 2015, the network published a working paper and gathered further input for it at the WMCON Follow-Up Day at Wikimania 2015.

However, the impact of the network remained limited, mainly due to the reason that while many affiliates care about and work on volunteer / community support, only a limited number of affiliates have staff members dedicated to that topic. Therefore, the network mainly worked on Volunteer Support in the German speaking chapters could not expand its activities on a more international level in 2015/2016.


At the Wikimedia Conference 2016, Raimund Liebert and Veronika Krämer offered  a session on Volunteer Support again, namely on how to enable and especially appreciate volunteers and their work. At the WMCON-Follow Up Day 2016 at Wikimania 2016, they continued  to gather further input on that topic during a discussion-based session. Based on the input of both sessions, the VSN created more learning patterns, the first four were already published: Appreciation of Volunteer Work I: Give Individual Feedback, Appreciation of volunteer work II: make it tangible, Appreciation of volunteer work III: let others know and Appreciation of volunteer work IV: towards a culture of appreciation.


At the end of 2016/beginning of 2017, Wikimedia Polska and Wikimedia Norge created staff positions dedicated to Volunteer Support. Both staff members (Natalia Szafran-Kozakowska and Jon Harald Søby) joined the network. At the Wikimedia conference 2017, the network met up to plan their goals. At the Wikimania 2017 WMCON follow-up day, Veronika and Raimund hosted a session on volunteer support, specifically discussing motivation.

In November 2017, a Volunteer Supporters Network meeting took place in Berlin, among other things, the impact of volunteer support was discussed.

Community Capacity Development[edit]

At Wikimedia Conference 2015, Sati Houston and Asaf Bartov presented (the early) findings of a research on needs and ways to support emerging communities. On August 26, 2015 the report was published on Meta and the  Community Capacity Development initiative was started officially.

After having conversations with several communities, three communities were chosen for a pilot of the Community Capacity Development initiative: The Ukrainian community, developing conflict management and new contributor engagement and growth capacities, the Tamil community (India), developing on-wiki technical skills capacity, and the Portuguese community (Brazil), developing Communications and media relations capacity. More information and updates on Community Capacity Development.

After having conducted all three trainings, Asaf Bartov published the report on the initiative with the strong recommendation to the WMF Leadership that they continue and expand it. Asaf presented the outcomes and results at the Wikimedia Conference 2017.

Community-centred software development[edit]


At the Wikimedia Conference 2015, Abraham Taherivand presented WMDE’s approach on user (or community-) centred software development. Birgit Müller (Community Communications Manager at WMDE) published her "Technical Wishes" concept in English.

The Community Tech team of the Wikimedia Foundation was conducting a cross-project Community Wishlist survey, to help identify the features and fixes that are most important to Wikimedia editors. The process for the survey was developed in collaboration with Birgit Müller (WMDE), and is partially based on their existing Technical Wishes Survey, which they have been running on the German Wikipedia for a couple years now.

Quim Gil proposed to work on the Community Wish List priorities (the German list as well the international one) at the 2016 Wikimedia Hackathon in Jerusalem. (see Phabricator task T119703)


At Wikimedia Conference 2016, Danny Horn, Ryan Kaldari, Birgit Müller hold a joint session on the "Technical Wishes" project. In the aftermath of the conference, Birgit published an own meta page for the Technical Wishlist on Meta (WMDE Technical Wishes). Since May 2016, regular joint status reports on all work around the international and German Community Wishlist are published on Meta (status report May 2016, status report October 2016).


At the Developer Summit 2017, the Community Tech Team hold a session in cooperation with Birgit on the Top 10 of the 2016 community wishlist and the current work of the WMDE team. In the Q & A, they answered questions on upcoming tasks, the wishlist process and what can be learned from the wishlist approach (see video recording).

Regional Cooperation[edit]

Regional Cooperation

The topic of “Regional Cooperation” among Wikimedia affiliates is still not well defined, and is mainly discussed in informal ways, which makes a constant follow-up of this topic more difficult. However, Wikimedia Conferences always offer a chance for Wikimedians from the same region to discuss further development of their regional initiatives. Especially the CEE and Iberocoop Wikimedians use the Wikimedia Conferences to meet up.

At the Wikimedia Conference 2015, Wikimedians from East and South East Asia (ESEA) created the ESEA Hub. The group publishes a "Seasonal Newsletter" informing about projects, initiatives and actions from the respective region.

A mailing-list for user groups was created in November 2015, which had been a desired outcome of the User Group meeting at the Wikimedia Conference. Unfortunately, the user group mailing list seems to have dissolved in the meantime. Prior to the user group mailing list, a mailing list for all Wikimedia affiliates was created in mid-October.


Based on the discussion with AffCom in 2015 and 2016 as well as the session on Growth of a small chapter to a successful one a new page called Resources for New Affiliates was created providing onboarding information for new affiliates.


Follow-up poster of WMCON17.pdf