Wikimedia LGBT+/Wikimedia Conference 2018

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The Wikimedia LGBT+ User Group was recognized as a Wikimedia user group in September 2014. This report outlines the accomplishments and activities organized by the group in 2018 related with the Wikimedia Conference 2018. The Wikimedia LGBT+ User Group has not applied for funding, so no financial reporting is required.

Wikimedia Conference 2018, Berlin - Summary Report[edit]

Summary Report: LGBT+ User Group Representation at the Wikimedia Conference 2018.

This is FULBERT’s summary of attending the Wikimedia Conference 2018 as a representative of the LGBT+ User Group.

Thursday, April 19[edit]

What happened?

I Attended Learning Days, Day 2:

  • Working Better Together: Developing Wikimedia Affiliate Partnerships for Programs with Christel Steigenberger
  • Program Partnerships: From ideas to action with Alex Stinson & Jake Orlowitz
  • Survey Design with Dana McCurdy
  • Plenary Review Session with Maria Cruz

What did I learn?

  • There are enormous opportunities and possibilities that are captured in the Wikimedia notion of Assume Good Faith and these may translate to valuable life lessons for working with others in that people act as a result of what they believe will be good for them.
  • Single point of contact = single point of failure
  • The SPIN (Start, Prepare, Implement, and Now What?) Partnership Model; good partnerships send a signal to others that we are good to partner with.
  • The survey Survey Design Process includes 7 steps: Goal, Sample, Write, Test, Send, Analzye, & Share

What implications does this have?

  • There are enormous opportunities and possibilities that are captured in the Wikimedia notion of Assume Good Faith and these may translate to valuable life lessons for working with others in that people act as a result of what they believe will be good for them.
  • Single point of contact = single point of failure. This has implications for all volunteer work related with Wikimedia efforts and the Wiki LGBT+ User group; more a reason to discuss future opportunities together, report out on our activities and metrics of success, and plan for the future.
  • Per the SPIN Partnership Model, partnerships have a life cycle and should be fostered and seen in a holistic way. What partnerships do we in the LGBT+ User Group have across Wikimedia / Affiliations Committee, etc. and externally (for events, communication, funding, strategy guidance, etc.)? Which ones should we foster? What do we need to do to get there?
  • We may want to survey those who are members of the LBGT+ User Group to better understand who is here, what we offer them, what they can offer our community, what directions should we pursue, and what does success look like?

Friday, April 20[edit]

What happened?

I Attended:

  • Orientation for Newcomers to the Wikimedia Movement with Delphine Ménard
  • The Big Picture with Nicole Ebber and Cornelius Kibelka (+Katherine Maher et al.)
  • The Possibilities (of the Strategy) with Nicole Ebber
  • Lightning Talks:
    • ART+FEMINISM: The Year of Intersectionality. Updates on what we've accomplished in five years since our campaign was founded and how we are working to dismantle the gender gap through a lens of knowledge equity and anti-oppression.
    • Wiki Loves Monuments 2018: Learn how to get involved in the world's largest (and most free) photography competition in 2018
    • An update on the Sustainability Initiative
    • Three concrete ideas toward reconciling our desire to get a broader group of editors/contributors (in several demographic dimensions) with Wikipedia's quasi-academic citation requirements.
    • Possibly: Community Telecommunications/Broadband) Networks and surprising learnings from working in very rural areas
    • VisibleWikiWomen challenge: The Visibility Gap. #VisibleWikiWomen's campaign for visual knowledge. A talk about what we are learning about women notability and visibility on Wikimedia projects.
    • What I've learned from organising weekly edit-a-thons for four years.
    • Wiki Loves Earth: project you should have in your portfolio
  • WALRUS user group (Wikimedia North America) Meetup
  • LGBT+ User Group Meetup (report shared separately, below)

What did I learn?

  • The best 30 minute overview of the history of Wikipedia / Wikimedia.
  • Habemus Papam 2005 showed how many people turn to Wikipedia when something happens in the news. We all became aware of it at that point.
  • An overview for the Wikimedia 2018 Conference in Berlin and some of the opportunities and expectations for what to expect.
  • The conceptual level on the Wikimedia Strategy will explore the next 3-5 years, as that is more workable than 12 years from now. This involves the change process and what / how we need to change for the ecosystem of free knowledge.
  • The lightning talks were chock-full of information and generally presented by those who were experts in their areas. I only wish they were recorded as they would have been useful for many who were not able to attend.
  • Great to see the group that turned up to the WALRUS meeting, as I did not know there were so many North American groups given there is not a US National Wikimedia Group or resources.

What implications does this have?

  • Organizational memory is still strong if you know where to look, though as a result of volunteers and new people becoming involved, many do not know how we got here. We could benefit from some knowledge management to try to bring some order / indexing to our work. This can show how we have challenges communicating our work with national or language-based local Wikimedia LGBT+ groups.
  • This conference involved a focus on how to achive the 2030 Strategy, so there would be a track spanning the entire conference on those implications and how to move forward on the strategy itself.
  • The LGBT+ User Group can play a role in the strategy — from diversity to its strategic implementation. If we do not stand up and have our members volunteer to assist, we will miss an opportunity not to be repeated in the near future.
  • I think we should plan for a lightning talk based around activities of the LGBT+ User Group at the 2019 Wikimedia Conference. Perhaps something related to prepping for the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall?

Saturday, April 21[edit]

What happened?

I Attended:

  • Exploring privilege through autobiographies with Dana McCurdy
  • Centering marginalized knowledge: 7 questions to ask yourself with Siko Bouterse
  • Group Photo for the Wikimedia Conference 2018!
  • Preparing to Work (session related to the Wikimedia Strategy): Discussion on Advocacy
  • Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees Q&A
  • Diversity discussion (from the Diversity Conference):
  • WMCON Party at CRCLR (with dancing, though I did not dance)

What did I learn?

  • Some really useful resources related to areas of privilege and often hidden assumptions about who / what we are and how that influences how we act or interact with others.
  • There are some useful autobiographical exercises and activities involved in this work, and I can imagine it being useful as workgroups and user groups try to gather and become units that work well together.
  • The 7 questions on Centering Marginalized Knowledge were quite interesting and useful.
    • Why do you want to do this?
    • Who do you ask? Who have you but trust with, who have you built trust with
    • How do you ask?
    • Where do you begin?
    • How do you design a process that shares power and leadership? — Respects different styles
    • Who else do you bring in? — Allies
    • What does success look like and for whom?
  • I took notes for a small workgroup the discussed potential area and reasons for the Wikimedia Strategy as related to Advocacy.
  • The Wikimedia Board of Directors seem diverse and engaged, and I appreciated their taking scripted and unscripted comments.
  • Diversity and the role of diversity clearly means different things to different people. I did not know there was a Wikimedia Diversity COnference. Did anybody from the LGBT+ User Group attend? If so, I would love to see the report. If not, then why not?
  • There are so many interesting people to talk to that we need more time and opportunities for those connections to be made.

What implications does this have?

  • Organizational memory is still strong if you know where to look, though as a result of volunteers and new people becoming involved, many do not know how we got here. We could benefit from some knowledge management to try to bring some order / indexing to our work. This can show how we have challenges communicating our work with national or language-based local Wikimedia LGBT+ groups.
  • I really valued an opportunity to process my thinking and my meaning-making about my experiences during one of the activities, and think having a facilitated activity during a live User Group meeting we may want to have would be useful. Perhaps we can discuss having one of these to help our disperse group have a sense of an “us” beyond online-only communication?
  • The work of Whose Knowledge has already partnered with LGBT communities. I saw some clear partnership opportunities, both for projects as well as with some funding possibilities.
  • There were many assumptions related to how people understood the role of the Wikimedia Foundation as related to Advocacy, and it was clear that acknowledging assumptions and then working through what or how they can be challenged can be understood in different ways. Challenging assumptions can mean being open to new ideas or it can be cover for convincing others to share the same meaning. I saw some times when this was done without it being realized, and it gave useful glimpses into group process when people are passionate about our work. Very useful lesson for our LGBT+ User Group, as assumptions may influence what or how we do things, especially as we do not often discuss these ideas in person.
  • There are many discussions that are happening across the movement, and while I am very glad they are happening, I wonder why they are not communicated better (unless they are and I have simply missed them). The movement is filled with passionate and dedicated volunteers, though LGBT+ representation should not be assumed; we need to have a more active and organized presence so we are part of the conversations, report back to our group, and get represented (included funded) as we deserve.
  • We are clearly missing funding opportunities, and this speaks to our LGBT+ User Group needing to face this and have some difficult conversations of what, if anything, we should or can do about this.

Sunday, April 22[edit]

What happened?

I Attended:

  • The 6 pillars of community support with Rémy Gerbet (WMFR), Raimund Liebert (WMAT), Veronika Krämer (WMDE), Natalia Szafran-Kozakowska (WMPL), Jon Harald Søby (WMNO)
  • How can affiliates without staff support their volunteers with Rémy Gerbet (WMFR), Raimund Liebert (WMAT), Veronika Krämer (WMDE), Natalia Szafran-Kozakowska (WMPL), Jon Harald Søby (WMNO)
  • Affiliations Committee meeting (I requested)
  • Reporting Back (final session about the strategy and wrap-up)
  • Guided Berlin City Walk with Martin Rulsch

What did I learn?

  • I did not know there was a Volunteer Support Network. Great resources they make available to all in the movement.
  • The Volunteer Support Network has an annual conference in the Fall; perhaps this is something for us to consider applying to attend or otherwise having some other form of presence?
  • I learned that the Affiliations Committee agreed with the next steps we discussed at our meet up (from Friday night) and agree we are missing opportunities by not organizing a bit more. They indicated that we need to have more accurate contact information on our site for them to communicate to, as they were unclear who our representatives are and thus communication with our User Group may not be as consistent as optimal.
  • I learned that a lot of thinking has gone into the development or and planned next steps for the Wikimedia Strategy.
  • In the final conference session, it became apparent in a “move over one seat to advance the strategy” that there was nobody with a mobility issue or physical handicap. Interesting. Otherwise, it was a powerful way to close the session as the Strategy is now out of the conference and about to advance across our community.

What implications does this have?

  • There are a lot of resources for our User group to reach out to and use. Related to this, it appears there are funding opportunities if we decide to organize a bit more and apply for them.
  • We need to identify 2 representatives for the LGBT+ User Group as points of contact with the Affiliations Committee. I volunteer to be one of them unless anybody has any objections.
  • I was glad the Affiliations Committee agreed with our discussions at the meetup on the Friday evening; this indicated we are aligned with our thinking about how to advance the needs of our User Group.
  • We all have a lot of work ahead of us, though insofar as we believe in the vision, it will be worth the efforts.
  • The LGBT+ User Group has enormous opportunity to be part of our historic work in the Wikimedia 2030 Strategy, and I hope we take this seriously and engage with it especially as we do not appear to have endorsed it as a User Group during the period when it was being formed.

LGBT+ User Group Meetup[edit]

There was an LGBT+ User Group Meetup scheduled during the Wikimedia Conference 2018, and these are FULBERT’s notes. Others who attended are invited to make edits or corrections. It is hoped these notes will be useful for the broader LGBT+ User Group and will spur discussion and next steps.

This meetup occurred on Friday, April 20, 2018 in Berlin, and an invitation and information page was created as part of the conference site.

Attendees[edit]

There were 8 attendees:

  1. FULBERT (facilitator and User Group representative)
  2. Josie Fraser
  3. Imacat
  4. Maria Sefidari
  5. Pam Drouin
  6. Amir Sarabadani
  7. Person A (name anonymized as did not confirm how to list them here)
  8. Person B (name anonymized as did not confirm how to list them here)

Discussion about Successes / What was working well[edit]

The following items were shared:

  • Successes related to efforts promoting transgender rights in the worklplace
  • Several Wikiwomen meetups were held, with related content being promoted
  • A discussion around how Wikimedia editing is being promoted as an opportunity to engage communities related to empowerment; edit in topics related to your experiences as a way to engage new editors in topics that are not well represented
  • There is value in taking a position and standing as a leader to help others in the community feel safe. If we do not stand up and support our communities in an open encyclopedia, we will have little other voice
  • The notion of coming out via Wikipedia editing events was raised, and while this was not promoted as an activity, it was discussed as part of our intending to create a safe and welcoming space for our events.
  • There was discussion around how several people wanted to attend the Meetup, though there were time limitations and conflicts as a result. This also related to the perception that there are many people involved in Wiki chapters and the movement who are LGBT, and while they do not always make a big deal about it, without having some public presence then there will not be enough visibility and thus there may be a gap between the real size of the LGBT user group base and who engages in discussions about it

Opportunities and Challenges related to the User Group[edit]

  • What do we as a user group communicate about ourselves and our work? How we answer this will help determine how we move toward meeting these goals within the movement.
  • There was consensus that as a User Group, we need core group to help us organize, set short and long-term goals, and help us move toward meeting them. This relates to a perceived gap between the information on the site that documents how and why we formed, and where we are now / our current direction. In a related conversation with the Affiliations Committee, they agreed with the overview notes from this Meetup, which FULBERT and imacat shared with them during the meeting. They suggested we need to have 2 representatives listed on the User Group site as the main contacts for AffCom.
  • It was discussed that we may want to better understand and potentially use the Wiki NYC model of Afrocrowd for how to organize, schedule events, and report out on what we learned and how we can build upon those successes.
  • This is especially a timely discussion as the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots are coming up next year. We should discuss this with the larger user group to make plans and rally around this as an issue, such as with editathons or an international user group gathering, such as for World Pride.
  • This work is difficult to do without dedicated people to do this work, and we may want to consider seeking funding for a part-time position to help us with our organizational efforts. While this likely cannot happen without clear plans to support such an Ask, it was clear that some nations and other groups across the Wikimedia movement have dedicated staff for many areas of support, so we should be able to build a business case for it to if we choose.

Next Steps[edit]

  • There are numerous channels, and not everybody in the User Group is connected on all of them. As a result, FULBERT will post a notification across all the channels once this report is posted and focus ongoing discussion specifically within the LGBT email distribution list lgbt@lists.wikimedia.org as it is the most accessible list and discussion medium across national boundaries and technologies.
  • We do not know how many people are members of our user group, nor do we have any current data for what this group wants or to what extent the members want to be more or better organized. This led to a discussion about a fact-finding survey, which is something we hope to discuss as part of the next steps follow-up. FULBERT offered to assist with this if there is wider agreement in its value.
  • We realize there are likely events happening nationally or within specific language Wikipedias that are not being reported or tracked on our Meta page. We may want to explore this as a tangible, and not labor-intentive, next step.
  • The Wikimedia Strategy work is proceeding, and we need to have an active presence. We believe when the call for participants goes out in the near future, as a User Group we make sure we have representation and a voice who can report back to us related to issues of concern and updates.
  • As another tangible idea, we discussed something around the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall, such as an editing event to add 50 articles on LGBT issues, or one related to each of the 50 US States, or something creative (ideas, anybody) to help us rally ourselves as a user group in connection with LGBT rights.
  • We may want to explore a remote Editathon, such as a remote Shut Up And Write session, but something on an LGBT theme that could help gather us across a 24 hour period or the like and through uniting us, add related content that is needed.
  • We may also want to be sensitive to those who live or work within conservative cultures, where related Editathons are often even more needed as they provide for some people the only content related to LGBT issues at all.
  • Another idea for for us to gather information may relate to listing or generating a current list of news on legal concerns / prohibitions / successes of the global LGBT community, so our portal can help track or link to these in the name of open knowledge and free information
  • Future User Group Meetups would benefit from stickers or buttons; keep this in mind for whomever represents us next year!!

See also[edit]