Wikimedia Foundation Board noticeboard
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September 2022 Meeting Outcomes from Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees
Beginning work on a Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy + AffCom elections update
The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees believes that Wikimedia affiliates are a key and integral part of the Wikimedia movement, and affiliates’ success is vital to the Wikimedia movement’s success. To that end, it is crucial to develop a clear vision regarding the affiliates, making it possible to assess whether the Foundation’s investment in, collaboration with, and policy towards affiliates is promoting the right goals. The Board will be embarking on building a Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy in collaboration with the Affiliations Committee (AffCom), the affiliates, and the broader communities. This strategy will help guide the Foundation’s immediate work in supporting affiliates for the next few years. In order to ensure that there is continuity and institutional memory during this process, there will be a delay of the elections for AffCom until after the strategy is complete, and the terms of the current AffCom members will be prolonged (in a separate resolution) to December 31, 2023. While the strategy is under development, AffCom will continue its current responsibilities, in addition to collaborating on the Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy. Once the Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy is ready, there would be clarity on what is expected from the Wikimedia Foundation for supporting affiliates, and what is expected from affiliates. As the weeks progress in the new calendar year, a plan of the process will be released, including opportunities for communities and affiliates to engage. You can find some FAQs below to assist further understanding of the Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy. Best regards, Nat & Shani Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees Liaisons to the Affiliations Committee
1. What are Wikimedia movement affiliates? What is AffCom?
Wikimedia movement affiliates are "independent and formally recognised" groups of people intended to organise and engage in activities to support and contribute to the Wikimedia movement. Currently there are three active models for affiliates: chapters, thematic organisations, and user groups. The Affiliations Committee (AffCom) advises and makes recommendations regarding the recognition and existence of Wikimedia movement affiliates.
2. How is the work with affiliates at the Wikimedia Foundation organised now?
As of now, processes are fragmented across different teams at the Wikimedia Foundation, and some decision making regarding affiliates is happening at different levels. A unified and consistent process is beneficial to all parties, hence the start of the work on the Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy.
3. What is the Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy? Is this an update of some existing document or something brand new?
Until now there has not been any unified vision regarding how the work around affiliates should happen, as there was no affiliate-specific strategy developed before. The Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy is to be a blueprint that will guide the Foundation’s immediate work with affiliates. This strategy will be in place to inform and guide the Wikimedia Foundation budget and support to affiliates, until some kind of Movement-wide Affiliates Strategy is developed.
4. Why do we need a Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy?
The Affiliates are a key part of the Wikimedia movement as mentioned in the Wikimedia Foundation mission, and their success is integral to the success of the whole Wikimedia Movement. As the affiliate ecosystem has grown in size and complexity, it is increasingly important to review existing approaches and ensure that the focus is on the right areas. The Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy will help to strengthen and advance the work of the affiliates.The Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy will take into account Wikimedia 2030 Movement Strategy recommendations.
The Strategy will direct Foundation attention to the needs of affiliates and focus resources on those needs towards impact by affiliates.
5. Does the decision of developing the Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy change the role of AffCom?
There are no immediate changes in the role of AffCom, which is continuing doing its job. However, the Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy will direct the future work of the Wikimedia Foundation in support of the affiliates, which could result in revising the role and scope of AffCom.
6. Why are the AffCom Elections delayed?
Traditionally, AffCom had elections at least once every year to select (not elect) and appoint members who will serve in AffCom for a period of two years. This year AffCom elections will not be held. Instead, the elections will be delayed as AffCom is a key input for the Board in developing the Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy, and adding the burden of selecting and on-boarding new members will encumber the committee and make it difficult for it to discharge its regular duties as well as collaborate on the strategy. If the number of voting members falls below five (per the AffCom Charter), elections will nonetheless be held.
7. Will the Movement Charter also have an "Affiliates Strategy" and/or define affiliate roles?
While it is reasonable to expect that the Movement Charter will have prescriptions on affiliates and their recognition, and some of these responsibilities might shift to the Global Council once it is formed, it is currently unknown how this will unfold, and it will bear consequences only in years to come. Accordingly, this work is worth doing now so that the available resources are having the impact needed and are best serving the current Wikimedia movement and the affiliate ecosystem in the interim.
8. Is AffCom being asked to propose a Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy?
No, AffCom is not expected to propose a Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy. AffCom has been invited by the Board to collaborate and give an expert opinion. While the Affiliations Committee is an advising committee to the Board, the Board is responsible for this strategy and will lead the community and affiliate conversations around it.
9. What is the timeline for this project?
The target is to have a draft of the Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy for the Board’s approval at Wikimania 2023 (August 2023).