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Wikimedia Foundation elections/2022/Affiliate Organization Participation/Candidate Questions/Question2

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What roles and responsibilities currently centrally held by the Wikimedia Foundation would you support being decentralized to other movement entities?

This question was proposed and selected by the Affiliate Representatives of the 2022 Board of Trustees election. Translations of the questions and answers may be found on the Movement Strategy Forum

Farah Jack Mustaklem (Fjmustak)

While I believe that the Universal code of conduct is an important document to have, bringing together a truly global community, cultural sensitivities and local nuances need to be taken into account, which could differ from one region to another. One area I support decentralization is in budgeting and grant making, where each entity can better gauge their priorities.

Mike Peel (Mike Peel)

I would like to see most WMF work shared and done in co-operation with Wikimedia affiliates, rather than solely run centrally. This includes tech work (following the success of collaboration with WMDE via Wikidata, could other affiliates do something similar?), as well as partnerships and fundraising (e.g., shared contacts and collaborations), etc. We need to recognize that the organisational side of Wikimedia is truly a network of organisations, rather than any single one.

Gilbert Ndihokubwayo (Gilbert Ndihokubwayo)

Being decentralized to other movement entities, I would support the movement mission for the benefit of movement communities through the motivation of individual volunteers, user groups and organizations, providing useful information and support needed for them to engage wikimedians to collect and to develop and share the knowledge under free license, and providing recommendations to grow up the movement entities so that to achieve the goals of the movement mission.

Tobechukwu Precious Friday (Tochiprecious)

I would approach this from the angle of tools/software development. WMF should decentralize this to the Communities to enable communities develop tools that are beneficial to them in their work. Like I usually say, tools made by the people would be more used by the people because they identified a problem prior to its development. A typical example is what Wikimedia Deutschland has just done with Wikimedia Indonesia and the Igbo Wikimedians User Group. More can be found here about the Arcadia project. This is what I encourage.

Lionel Scheepmans (Lionel Scheepmans)

As much as possible. The decentralization of roles and responsibilities is something very healthy in terms of governance, diversity, inclusion, and equity in our movement. The main rule of the Foundation, as it was in the beginning, is to be responsible for the hosting of Wikimedia Websites and assumes all administrative, technical, legal and economic issues linked to this task. For the rest, the foundation could also be concerned as a central institution which leads with International concern, similar to what can be done in the central headquarters of an NGO.

Abderamane Abakar Brahim (Abakar B)

Decentralization affecting the efficiency, equity, and stability of project funding and expenditure decisions.

Joris Darlington Quarshie (Joris Darlington Quarshie)

In light of this, I generally state that Wikimedia movement entities can take on responsibility for some issues that are not dealt with at all by the Wikimedia Foundation, particularly issues that pertain to the Wikimedia movement entities rather than waiting for the Wikimedia Foundation to resolve such issues. If such responsibilities can be decentralized it will be of good help to resolve most of our issues in shorter time-space, especially technical tools to resolve small skewed tasks which can be managed by most of the Wikimedia movement entities.

Egbe Eugene Agbor (Eugene233)

No response yet.

Kunal Mehta (Legoktm)

In the very long term, the WMF should be just another affiliate. I think it is likely that the WMF will continue to perform responsilibites like holding trademarks, managing datacenters/servers, enforcing the privacy policy and terms of use because it has a history of doing so. Other roles I could see being decentralized to other movement entities *if* those entities wanted to accept them.
Finally, I'd echo others' concerns that we must have a backup plan if relying on a U.S. non-profit is no longer feasible because of the degrading political and legal climate (hope that this will never happen but Wikimedia is too important to not plan for disasters). Which is to say that every role the WMF has must be able to be decentralized to another entity.

Shani Evenstein Sigalov (Esh77)

This is an important question that requires a detailed answer – one that requires more than 100 words to address. With this in mind, I will generally say that there are certain topics, especially those relating to the global community and affiliates, that are currently either dealt with by the WMF, or even undealt with at all, that I believe can become the responsibility of the Global Council and maybe Hubs. Some examples include: supporting affiliates, capacity building, development of technical tools required for outreach (GLAM, EDU, Medicine etc), and for the overall growth of our projects.

Gina Bennett (Redwidgeon)

I don’t know enough about the issues involved to propose anything at this point. I would need to know which movement entities are ready, willing and able to take on roles & responsibilities currently held by the WMF & which arrangements would best serve the mission of the WMF.

Michał Buczyński (Aegis Maelstrom)

Decentralization (separate aligned entities, not one with scattered employees) is a major opportunity for more equity, diversity but also innovation, robustness and efficacy. Few Movement functions must be centralized, the majority can be run locally (e.g. first line: volunteer support, communication, partnerships...) or by regional/thematic competence centres (hubs / quasi-hubs). Advocacy, education, partnerships, volunteer support, software development, research... - beg for more than one CC to avoid blind areas, stagnation and single points of failure. Services should be wider available for both volunteers and audiences, in multiple geographic, cultural areas.
Other story is the decentralization of governance and power (Movement Charter).