Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan/2022-2023/draft/Goals
Wikimedia Foundation Goals for 2022−2023
- Advance Knowledge Equity by bringing a stronger regional focus to our collective work.
- Deepen our commitment to Knowledge as a Service by strengthening how we prioritize and allocate product and tech support to 740+ Wikimedia projects, starting with Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata.
- Strengthen movement governance and health by supporting key priorities like the Movement Charter, the Universal Code of Conduct, and movement strategy implementation.
- Improve the Foundation’s performance and effectiveness by improving our translation/interpretation support, lifting up more meaningful metrics to assess our impact, and designing shared services to support a truly global working environment.
Goal 1: Advancing Knowledge Equity through a Stronger Regional Focus
“”As a social movement, we will focus our efforts on the knowledge and communities that have been left out by structures of power and privilege. We will welcome people from every background to build strong and diverse communities. We will break down the social, political, and technical barriers preventing people from accessing and contributing to free knowledge. - definition of Knowledge Equity in our Strategic Direction
One goal that the Wikimedia Foundation has set to advance knowledge equity is to further regionalize our support of a globalized movement. Recent calls for power-sharing and decentralization have led to programmatic structures (e.g., grantmaking) and other models that are more regionally-based, including the concept of hubs. This has been done with an equity lens to support more localized needs and differentiated contexts. How can we shift even more of the Foundation’s ways of working to support these objectives?
As a starting point, we’ll organize more of our work around 8 regions. Regional definitions can be improved and refined in future planning cycles as needed, but for now are mainly based on the current Community Resources regional structure:
- East, Southeast Asia and Pacific (ESEAP)
- South Asia
- Sub-Saharan Africa
- Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
- Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and Central Asia
- Northern and Western Europe
- Latin America and Caribbean
- North America (United States and Canada)
Starting in June, Foundation teams will begin convening more intentionally around defining the impact that is possible for us to make together in different parts of the world. We’ll start with a historical lens on lessons learned from the past, and then launch a quarterly review of activities being done now by communities, individual volunteers, chapters, user groups, thematic organizations, partners organizations in the free knowledge ecosystem and beyond. We’ll then look at planned work by various teams at the Foundation to prioritize and align resources for focused results and more impactful partnerships. We’ll improve each quarter and share our learnings on Diff.
Over the coming year, it should become more evident how our movement and free knowledge allies are working toward shared impact in different regions of the world, with the Wikimedia Foundation playing whatever role is most appropriate to collaboratively achieve these goals.
Goal 2: Deepen our Commitment to Knowledge as a Service, starting with Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata
“”To serve our users, we will become a platform that serves open knowledge to the world across interfaces and communities. We will build tools for allies and partners to organize and exchange free knowledge beyond Wikimedia. Our infrastructure will enable us and others to collect and use different forms of free, trusted knowledge. - definition of Knowledge as a Service in our Strategic Direction
With a growing list of 740+ Wikimedia projects across many languages, we must ask harder questions about how to prioritize the Foundation’s current support while we also commit to increasing our capabilities through reallocation of existing resources and/or securing new funding for our technology needs. An (imperfect, iterative) survey sought to understand how current Foundation resources were allocated to various Wikimedia projects. It confirmed that the majority of our resources remain committed to the multiple language versions of Wikipedia.
Through a collaborative agreement with Wikimedia Deutschland (WMDE), the Foundation continues to increase support for Wikidata. This is a critical project for the future of our movement, and for the future of free knowledge. In the year ahead, we’ll ensure that the Foundation is strengthening its partnership with WMDE in support of Wikidata’s goals and objectives.
Since the Wikimedia Commons/Multimedia team was morphed into the Structured Data team, there has been no formal accountability for the core multimedia infrastructure of Commons that is in desperate need of repair, a priority we will also set for the year ahead.
Each of our Wikimedia projects has a community of volunteers and other stakeholders with ideas and plans for advancing the product and technology needs for their project. In most cases, the Foundation provides support and resources, but without always being aligned on goals. We will focus in the year ahead on how to be clearer about accountability and ownership at the Foundation, make our own priorities more visible, and be more specific on the work we will tackle in the coming year and the work that will not continue.
A note on what the world needs from us now
Wikimedia is part of a multi-layered socio-technological ecosystem that spans many disciplines online and offline. It both shapes and is shaped by complex trends that define our world. There is no shortage of topics that impact our collective work, and also no clear consensus on which ones matter the most.
To advance both knowledge equity and knowledge as a service, two of the trends (among many others) that we need to watch more closely in the year ahead include the rise of government regulation alongside growing global concern about how to combat disinformation. Both of these are critical areas of knowledge where Wikimedia has something to say and different models to offer those searching for solutions and alternatives to the status quo. We see ongoing research contributions and programmatic activities already underway by the Foundation, affiliates, and volunteers around both of these areas.
We’ll begin the year with more intentional listening to align our efforts with community functionaries, affiliates, and partners in various regions of the world to support different contexts. We’ll ask how to find more coherence and alignment in these areas to make a greater impact on the world beyond Wikimedia.
Goal 3: Strengthening Our Movement’s Governance and Health
We must continue to support our movement’s governance, assessing the needs articulated by the various movement strategy working groups and crystallized in their recommendations. Since the publication of the recommendations, hundreds of volunteers have also contributed to prioritization discussions to advance these efforts. The ongoing support of these efforts is integral to how the Foundation will plan for its work going forward because these initiatives will have a profound influence on how we make decisions as a movement.
This commitment will be especially visible in the year ahead through two priorities: (1) support of the Movement Charter and (2) the Universal Code of Conduct (UCoC). The UCoC is integral to providing for safety and inclusion in Wikimedia communities, and the Movement Charter will clarify our respective roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities across the movement. This will enable us to make progress on other strategy recommendations.
This will happen alongside ongoing activities like community elections and trust & safety, engaging communities in governance conversations and skills development, and support for hub development to continue advancing decentralization and equity in decision-making.
Goal 4: Improving the Foundation’s Performance and Effectiveness
It is not unusual for rapidly growing organizations to form silos and create artificial separation in how things get done and are measured. This has certainly been true for the Wikimedia Foundation. Many departments of the Foundation solve the same problems over and over, sometimes similarly but inefficiently, sometimes in idiosyncratic ways. This scattered approach makes it difficult to assess organization-wide impact and learn from experience.
We will spend much of the next year on internal initiatives to ‘connect the dots’ with a focus on increasing effectiveness and identifying content areas where more coordinated approaches can deliver more impact without necessarily more resources. We will select a few starting points that support our commitments to multilingualism and data-informed decision-making:
- Translation/interpretation services across the Foundation: A survey of current resource allocation at the Wikimedia Foundation shows that significant language support is already being provided by most teams. Yet, this happens through an array of external vendors, contractors, and volunteers. Time frames, languages, and technical expertise will not allow for a one-size-fits-all model, but a more connected approach will enable us to identify better ways to expand our language support in line with the values of a global community.
- Foundation-level metrics that matter: A more connected approach to measuring consumers, contributors, and content will make it possible to identify key organizational metrics that can better guide our decisions. This should also help us improve investments in the wide range of people, tools, and systems that focus on data, some of which we are not using effectively.
- A more unified approach to shared services (e.g., finance, human resources, legal) to improve the Foundation’s ways of operating in a global environment: this will focus on our own internal ‘essential operational infrastructure’ as an organization as well as the needs of the movement’s infrastructure.
We’ll spend time in the months ahead identifying additional ‘connect-the-dots’ initiatives for the Foundation that require a similar mindset and approach. Furthermore, there are existing and new benchmarks that can help our staff, board, and communities assess the Foundation’s performance to identify areas for celebration and change. Some of these benchmarks represent external best practice (e.g., Charity Navigator assessing US non-profits) and others may need to be developed for the uniqueness of Wikimedia. What kinds of peer organizations would provide relevant benchmarks for us to consider and on what dimensions of comparison?
Adjacent to the annual planning process, the Foundation needs to develop better mechanisms for identifying and appropriately resourcing longer-term, multi-year initiatives that may require more dedicated resources. We’ll spend the year ahead designing an approach to assess proposals that clearly make the case for big ideas, considering their alignment with the Foundation’s mission and movement strategy; the proposed solution to the stated problem; and the reason why the Foundation would be best placed to undertake the project. This will help us determine whether to commit to multi-year investments that are not possible in an annual planning cycle.
Most importantly for HOW we plan is an adaptive approach heavily guided by Movement Strategy Recommendation #10. This recommendation calls on us to “evaluate and iterate implementation; evaluate external conditions to adapt; iterate change processes and adopt policies and procedures based on evaluations; share results widely; promote joint analysis, evaluation, and learning.” This means actively using more ‘lean’ methods to learn quickly, experiment, fail fast, and try again – a founding pillar of many of our projects as well. Practically speaking, this will take the form of more structured quarterly planning and budgeting cycles at the Wikimedia Foundation, instead of a bulky annual process.
- The Middle East and North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa will be differentiated in order to connect with the linguistic overlap of Arabic and WikiArabia in the MENA region.