Wikimedia Conference 2018/Program/43

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43. Centering marginalized knowledge: 7 questions to ask yourself[edit]


Siko Bouterse (Whose Knowledge?)

Length (min)


Audience / Target group

Wikimedia affiliates and community organizers working with marginalized communities

Session Format

Facilitated discussion using 7 key questions


This session will build upon our Learning Pattern and use the questions we ask ourselves as an entry point to share and learn from each other about strategies for supporting marginalized communities to share their knowledge on Wikimedia projects. We’ll share stories of how these questions have been helpful in the Whose Knowledge? context, and look forward to hearing your stories and questions as well. This session may also help us discuss how this work advances our newly minted strategic direction!

Desired Outcome

We‘d like to

  • a) celebrate what affiliates are already doing as allies of marginalized communities
  • b) discuss the most respectful and effective ways of doing this work and
  • c) brainstorm some possible next steps for doing this kind of work in each affiliate’s context.

The session was a talk about the process of doing ‘Whose knowledge?’, program focused on marginal group/minorities, and share the questions that Siko asks herself when she works on the project.

  1. Why do you want to do this? (good for Wikipedia?) Just because we love to do it/ You can see that it is unfair (Because of biases)
  2. Who do you ask? (You are motivated to do it, but who do you ask/know/build relationship with?). Building partnership.
  3. How do you ask? (To build trust/relationship) Transaction. Accepting the new expertise. It is okay for the potential community to say no (Rejecting the opportunity). We need to prepare for all kinds of answers.
  4. Where do you begin? (What is the first priority? What should we work on first? Wikipedia is the priority? What fields should be considered as the first priority?) (Supporting the community to recognise their first priority)
  5. How do you design a process that shares power? (We have to think about the time/resources, and we have to respect the community. It could take years to build up the relationship. It is a challenge.) (Respect different styles)
  6. Who else do you bring in? (Alliance is important, but who should we bring in? Contributor/listener/observer/?)
  7. What does successful look like and for who? (We have to think about the scale, maybe we have less participants, but we build up a deeper relationship with other organisations at the same time) (We also have to think about the strategy, should we focus on the quantity or quality?) (At the same time, people have different standards about being successful) (Power structure)