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Wikimedia Conference 2018/Documentation/Movement Strategy track/Annexes/Partnerships

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of the Movement Strategy track,
 » flow of activities (and this report)
» You don't have time to read everything? Check the summary of it!
Day 1
 » The Big Picture,
» The Possibilities,
» The Challenges
Day 2
» The Way Forward,
 » Preparing to work,
 » Thematic Inputs & Conversations
Day 3
» Working groups,
 » Wrapping up
» Input documents for the working groups,
 » Micro-inputs on possibilities

Working Group Input Document: Partnerships[edit]

Extracted May 1st from Etherpads



Contact person: Chuck Roslof - croslof@wikimedia.org



  • What areas should we explore for partnerships?
  • What kind of partners do we really need?
    • Working at different levels—global, regional, national, local
      • different partners will be appropriate at different levels—if we're partnering with Google, we might want to be thinking globally
  • What are the core principles that we will apply in considering partnerships?
    • What are our hard lines? Who will we never consider partnering with? What will we ever consider doing in a partnership?
    • look for overlap in values
      • requires defining what our values are
      • Define principles; define ground rules
  • Partnerships only work if there is a value exchange. What is the value we can provide?
    • Good PR to help Wikipedia
    • We can't provide much data about users
    • What are we willing to give?
    • How do we determine that the partnership is worth what we are giving?
  • How do we evaluate the potential risk to the Wikimedia/Wikipedia brand from a potential partnership (especially if it goes badly)?
  • How do we identify partnership opportunities within the movement, among different entities?
    • How do internal partnerships differ from external ones?
      • Think of it as a dual track—internal and external partnerships will have different considerations.
      • For example, internal partnerships will not have as many PR considerations.
  • Where do the resources for partnerships come from?
  • At what level should decisions be made, and what form should those decisions take?
  • Are geographic groups threatened by thematic ones?
  • Do we have a scarcity mindset which stops us from collaborating more?
    • Do we have fewer partnerships because we feel the need to own the partnerships that we form?
  • A lot of current affiliate entities emerged as a way of running partnerships—maybe we can follow this more.
  • How much  value alignment do we need to form partnerships?
    • As an example: The Wikipedia Library, where we partner with non-Open Access publishers and platforms to get editors access to research materials.
  • Is it even clear that we want partners?
    • When it comes to technology, at least, we have tended to want to build something ourselves instead of partner with someone who has already built something.
  • How can we centrally organized partnerships, so we know what partnerships have existed in the movement?
  • What process can we use to ensure that a potential partner is connecting with the appropriate movement entity/entities?
  • What are some case studies we can refer to to help us understand what does and doesn't work in partnerships?
  • What structure should partnerships take? What sorts of partnerships documents (contracts, MOUs, etc.) should we use in what cases—how do we make that decision?
  • How do we capture our feedback about the effectiveness of partnerships in a transparent way without alienating past, existing, and potential partners?
    • Might not want to say publicly that a partnership didn't go well or isn't going well…
  • How do we bring aboard people who have already worked on and thought about partnerships in the Wikimedia movement?
  • What is our partnerships philosophy? What is our general approach to partnerships?
    • What do we want to get out of partnerships? What are our partnership goals?
  • How do we decide how Wikimedia is represented in a partnership?
    • Is the partnership with Wikipedia? With a particular affiliate? With "the Wikimedia community"?
  • How do we amplify what is happening at a particular level and share that more widely?
    • How do we spread and replicate successful partnerships?
  • What is required of Wikimedia groups in order to be able to form external partnerships?
    • Do they need to be incorporated, or otherwise have some sort of "official" status or legal entity?
    • How do we ensure that groups have what they need? What are the risks in doing so?
  • What checks are there on partnerships? Who has veto power over a partnership?
    • What does the veto look like? Who can exercise them? How are they held accountable?
  • What are the different tiers of partnerships?
    • informal partnerships that are about collaboration versus formal partnerships
  • How do we talk about partnerships at different tiers ("we have partnered with Wikimedia" versus "we are collaborating with Wikimedia" versus "Wikimedia contributed to this", etc.)
    • collaboration versus partnership versus alliance
    • There are some commonly understood levels like this in the GLAM world—contributory, collaborative, co-creative
  • How does the working group communicate out what they discuss, and hear from folks outside the Working Group?
  • How do we distinguish between a commercial relationship (paying for a company/organization/individual's services) from a partnership?
    • Can something that would be a commercial relationship become a partnership by Wikimedia receiving the services for free in exchange for something else?
  • How can the decision to form one partnership and not form another be explained to the community in a satisfactory?
  • How difficult is it currently to connect with "Wikipedia"? Do we need to make it easier? If so, how?


  • Partnership IT-COMP
    • for example, use Google for oral input to text (or Mozilla/DeepSpeech or Mycroft) [1]
  • Service input available for third party app [1]
  • a partnerships task force that will come up with the framework and key ground rules for engaging with third parties [1-C,E,F,H,K]
  • Have a welcoming culture, and highlight the benefits of partnerships in order for us to grow in areas we didn't know existed [3-B,G,I,K]
  • Wikimedia must partner with political organization(s) to fight censorship
  • Commission multimedia content on "how to" for use in multilingual context [5-A,C,K]
  • Ask the consumers of our content what change they want to see [1-J,K]
  • Speech-to-text capabilities to cater for non-Latin alphabet languages and make content input way easier
    • partner—see Mycroft & Mozilla [1]


It's hard to make these decisions without first having a list of all the actual people who could be involved in the Working Group. Then, from that list, it's possible to sort people into different roles and categories.


  • Partnerships can have implications in a lot of areas. The group should have people who can speak to those areas. Some areas include:
    • financial/fundraising
    • legal
    • technical
    • PR/brand
      • community
      • health and safety
      • diversity and inclusion
  • people primarily from other social movements
  • people from the business/corporate world
    • valuable partnerships experience, with different partnership models
    • can offer insight on partnering with for-profit organizations
      • including how they work in practice
  • Wikimedians who can bring knowledge from the Working Group back to their communities
    • capacity-building aspect to the Working Group
  • geographic diversity/people coming from different cultural contexts
    • what partnerships look like and what is expected of them can be very different in different parts of the world
  • representatives from affiliates, and Wikimedia communities that don't have affiliates
    • should have a range of amount of experience—longtime community members, newer community members, etc.
  • people who we have partnered with in the past, who can bring those experiences
    • Creative Commons
    • Mozilla
    • Google
    • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • people from organizations that we want to partner with
  • maybe some people should be in an advisory group that is lower-commitment, rather than being in the group itself
  • people from universities
  • people from governments
  • people from GLAM institutions
  • people with experience/knowledge of large tech companies

How can we ensure continuity, innovation, and disruption?

  • separate advisory group will help with continuity (avoiding burnout)
  • How static is the group in general? How do people join and leaves
    • applies to all Working Groups


  • Consulted?
    • other Working Groups


Look at what others have done—what has worked, what hasn't.

  • There may be some lessons from the Wikimedia Foundation's process in deciding how to sign onto amicus briefs.
  • World Vision went through a process of thinking about partnerships recently

Can/should also do interviews and consultations with all sorts of people—past partners, existing partners, potential partners, experts

There could be in-person events/meetings/conferences

What outcomes are possible in the next 12 months?

  • Identifying and staffing the Working Group
  • A report summarizing best practices/lessons from other organizations
  • A report on possibilities and insights with potential partners
    • and where we are now with partnerships
  • Draft set of partnership guidelines, or at least review and update existing policies and guidelines.
    • Including partnership philosophy and goals
    • Including a clear explanation of why partnerships are valuable to Wikimedia
    • Including a partnership assessment checklist/questionnaire
  • Conduct a first round of interviews with stakeholders, experts, partners (potential, current, and past)

Value exchange to maintain/advance the knowledge commons.

This is not an area where we have existing structures that aren't working well that we need to break apart; it's an area where we need to build those structures in the first place.

of the Movement Strategy track,
 » flow of activities (and this report)
» You don't have time to read everything? Check the summary of it!
Day 1
 » The Big Picture,
» The Possibilities,
» The Challenges
Day 2
» The Way Forward,
 » Preparing to work,
 » Thematic Inputs & Conversations
Day 3
» Working groups,
 » Wrapping up
» Input documents for the working groups,
 » Micro-inputs on possibilities