Wikimedia Summit 2019/Documentation/Day 1
|Program||Fringe Events||Registration & Participants
Session 1: Re-Connecting
- Reference: SLIDES “Session 1 - (Re)Connecting”
1.1. Welcome Words
Participants in the Summit were greeted with welcoming words from the event hosts: Wikimedia Deutschland, the Wikimedia Foundation and for the first time, a representative from the German Ministry of the Foreign Affairs.
|Abraham Taherivand, Executive Director of Wikimedia Deutschland|
Abraham opened the Summit by welcoming all participants, counting more than 210 participants from 69 countries and 98 organizations, groups and committees. He invited everyone to also think about those who were not present and keep them in mind while participating in the event, since they are as well committed to shared vision for Wikimedia movement.
Abraham expressed his pride for the Wikimedia movement and what it represents, and pride for his own involvement since 2013. Abraham called on all participants to keep their hopes for the future. He shared his concern for the global shrinking space for civil society for those protecting the right to freedom of speech and access to information, and asked “What does it mean for Wikimedia?”
|Michelle Müntefering, Minister of State, German Federal Foreign Office|
Michelle Müntefering opened her address to the audience by confession she just had a date with “Alexa”, a speech recognition system that suggesting her to read from a wide array of African folk stories. Alexa’s name was inspired by Alexandria, home of the first global library ever. Historians still search for information in the stoneshells of this library.
The Deputy Minister compared Wikimedians with Alexandria’s librarians, as the collectors of modern day’s knowledge. Unlike its antecessors, the access to this knowledge is open wide.
Michelle Müntefering established a parallel to the beginnings of social democracy, when knowledge as an instrument of power was privy to only a few. Re-distributing knowledge is the foundation of democracy. Wikimedia holds knowledge, therefore power. Quoting a famous sentence from Spider-man, the speaker said “with great power, comes great responsibility.” Wikipedia is the 5th most consulted site on the Internet by schools and governments alike. She mentioned how the recent blackout demonstration against EU copyright directive was an impressive demonstration of power. Reflecting on current times, the speaker compared the exponential increase of knowledge in the world to a huge forest that does not stop growing. Navigating is increasingly difficult, and there is a risk to get lost. Getting lost equals losing power.
The Deputy Minister confronted Wikimedia with critical questions about what it will do in order to hold and manage its power: What kind of information gets in Wikipedia, how and why? How is the information checked, and by whom? Is one intelligence reliable? Where are the weaknesses? Michelle Müntefering encouraged the audience to keep a critical eye on themselves, in particular the use of language. The Libraries in Alexandria collected the knowledge they knew existed. The way knowledge was captured, shaped perceptions of others. It is therefore important to understand the importance of diversity in knowledge society, and the consequences of when it’s not present.
Blackboards were not only used to spread knowledge, but also ideology. Today blackboards are giving way to screens, and books to internet. Wikipedia has an opportunity to shape perceptions as the new global democratic library. It’s use of language can make or break patterns of thought.
The Deputy Minister completed her remarks by inciting Wikimedians to go beyond being entry in Encyclopedia. In 2011 it was suggested that Wikipedia should receive the “world heritage” status. The speaker reassured the audience that its place was well-earned, but not to forget that “with great power comes great responsibility. And by the way, she dumped Alexa because she really does not know how to keep a secret.
|Katherine Maher, CEO/Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation|
Katherine described the Wikimedia Summit as one of her favourite times of the year, where she always meets new faces. She reflected on how you join Wikimedia for the mission, but you stay for the people, and the impact you can have.
The Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation remarked how the movement grew in importance in terms of trust and outreach, but still only reaching about 15% of the world population. If the aim is to collect the sum of all knowledge, there is a long way to go.
Katherine pointed out that structural limitations exist everywhere in terms of access to information and creating environments that support everyone to participate. That is why is more urgent than ever to have the conversations about what it means to be in our societies and connect to the world. “We are here to collaboratively decide our future,” Katherine said “because we are reaching more people and having a greater impact in the world.”
The previous year’s agreed Strategic Direction states that “anyone that wants to participate can join us.” Wikimedia’s mission is to be a support system for others, hosting free knowledge so that it becomes more accessible to people, and sometimes in surprising ways, because there are many possibilities for Wikimedians to actually share their vision and mission
Katherine emphasised “knowledge as a service” are not just buzz words, but the heart of what brings everyone together, and greatest cultural legacy that the present and future humanity can claim.
As a piece of advise, Katherine encouraged the summit participants to care of themselves and one another, and to be patient since everyone was there to talk about the movement’s strategy for the future. Katherine recognised the process took a bit longer and harder than anticipated, but stated that that’s often the best outcome. “In this movement we build things to last,” she said.
1.2 Presenting the new Wikimedia Summit
1.3 Movement Strategy Process: A Bumpy Road
1.4 Connecting with ourselves: Starting...with the end.
|Anna Lena Schiller & Rob Lancaster, Facilitation|
|Anna Lena and Rob Introduced themselves and thanked the hosts for helping everyone connecting with the purpose of the Summit. It was then time for participants to connect with each other by describing their journey to the Wikimedia Summit in short exchanges.
After introducing the agenda and the focus of each day, participants were asked to pack the chairs to free the space and as they wandered around, to connect with the nearest person and say “hello” in their own language.
Closing the session the group was asked to imagine being at the end of the Wikimedia Summit 2019, looking back on the event as a success… Within a minute of silence, everyone tried to grasp what made it successful. They were then asked to share. Below are some of their statements:
That we are here with the purpose, we are hopefully not going to multitask (as it happens when working remotely); the focus will allow us to say it was a success by Sunday afternoon.
I am working on this glossary, and I always wondered what is the difference between lobbying and advocacy?
Opposite definitions of success: listen more and talk less / … offer more
Gained more clarity about what is the strategy process and how each of us can be involved
A range of ideas got combined into a consensus
Success for me looks very simple: a finalised, finalised, finalised Scoping Document.
Session 2-3 / Onboarding Working Groups… and everyone else.
These two parallel sessions were designed to make sure the different profiles of participants had all the information they needed to contribute in the best way to the Movement Strategy in the Summit. Track A was dedicated to those who have been part of thematic Working Groups, while Track B, was dedicated to affiliate representatives. While some of the latter had been participating in previous Wikimedia events dedicated to strategy, others were completely new to the process, and some even to Wikimedia.
2A. Working Group Time I-II
- References: Slides “Session 2A - Working Groups”
2A.1 A perspective on the Working Group’s journey
Back in July at Wikimania, after setting up the beginning of the Working Groups mission to create recommendations for structural change for the movement, people were smiling. They seemed engaged and 20 minutes after the first onboarding call there was the first task delivered by the first individual delivered. Great? Not really… Many questions about what was the actual purpose of the group followed.
“August and September were spent. I am not saying well spent... I am saying spent.” — said Kaarel with bitter humour, describing how the Core Team and Working Groups tried to overcome the challenges of managing a truly international process, dealing with differences in language, perspectives and time zones.
October through November brought visible progress. First members from diversification process joined the group. But still there was confusion about deliverables that left the Working Groups questioning: “What do you want from us… really?”
Over winter holiday time, and in January the Working Groups slowly gathered their own momentum, and then realized that the deadline for the Scoping Documents to be delivered was, all too soon, in the end of February.
As a result from February to now, we have witnessed the amazing capacity of the Working Groups to put things together. There are still some big questions lingering, but the outcome is here: nine Scoping Documents for each and every thematic area ready, printed and translated into 9 languages (German, French, Farsi, Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Hindi).
2A.1 Highs and Lows
After Kaarel’s retrospective, Working Groups members were asked to reflect on their own journey from Wikimania 2018, when they received their mandate, until the Wikimedia Summit 2019. The group was asked to think about their ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ and place them month by month on a large timeline.
A high-level treatment of the participant’s input showed that there were almost as many ‘highs’ (53) as there were ‘lows’ (59), with an exponential increase on both as Wikimedia Summit approached.
Issues that represented the greatest ‘lows’ for the group were lack of clarity about process, direction or roles (14), lack of member’s own availability or availability of other working group members (13), the pacing of progress (10), and difficulties in communication (11). The latter ranged from technical difficulties in conference calls, time zone differences between group members, to simple misunderstandings. A few participants also specified that the impossibility of meeting in person was an important ‘low’ in their journey. Other ‘lows’ mentioned by participants included difficult relationships (3), unexpected and heavy workload (3), not being able to gather all the voices (2), and alignment of perspectives within the group (1).
On the other hand, participants considered ‘high’ moments when there was a sense of progress and achievement in the group (26), the experience of camaraderie and collaboration (12) and the ability to make decisions autonomously (9). Feeling the group was in a good direction (2), a sense of openness (1), support (1) and engagement (1) were also mentioned as ‘highs’.
Opportunities to meet face-to-face and gather the groups such as the “RRRR” (Roles & Responsibilities, Resource Allocation, Revenue Streams) meeting in Berlin generated ambivalent feelings. In other words, someone’s ‘high’ was also someone’s ‘low’. Similarly, joining or leaving a group by a member was also referred as an important ‘high’ and ‘low’, respectively.
The list of all statements can be read in Annex A.
Using a room polling system (Mentimeter), Rob invited the Working Group members to evaluate their experience from Weak to Strong on 6 parameters: (1) Communication; (2) Collaboration; (3) Role Clarity; (4) Accountability; (5) Supportive Relationships; (6) Quality of Output (Scoping Documents).
The results can be seen in the slide below:
After the polling exercise, the participants pointed it would have been helpful to distinguish between the relation to the Core Team and Working Groups in general, and experience within the groups, because the perception of the process so far might significantly differ depending on this context.
2A.3 Questions in the air
Based on what was surfaced by the ‘highs and lows’ exercise and the room polling, working group members had the opportunity to address some of the emerging questions with Kaarel (Movement Strategy Process Core Team) and Katherine (ED/CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation). Below are their questions and the gist of the given answers.
Addressing the poll results, Kaarel mirrored the Working Group’s perspectives and stated clarity (lowest ranking on the survey) was the biggest concern of the Core Team. He invited the Working Group members to connect with the Core Team immediately, every time there is a sense of lack of clarity. The specific feedback of the Working Groups is crucial to understand what is broken in the process, and how to improve it.
Could we have a person assigned to our group to facilitate and take some of the work that would improve the outcome?
Need to map out the exact needs and then look at the operational aspects: what is realistic, and when can it be delivered. This is part of the conversation on “What happens next” (Day 3): what are the needs in order to get things done? What are the outputs and what is expected from Working Groups.
Working Group Time
When can we go to our room and discuss? I am feeling a certain eagerness to move forward…
Facilitator will give the briefing on what is needed from the Working Groups, and then groups can split and work autonomously.
What do our outputs need to look like… and can we get on with it, please?
Need to make sure there are thematic recommendations at Wikimania.
What are you going to do with the results of the room survey? It’s unclear what is meant to be done with this…
Is used to surface what is really lacking and needs action.
Wikimedia Foundation’s role
How will the Wikimedia Foundation actually drive the change of the Movement, when historically it did not have a “driver’s licence”?
The question wanted to explore how will the Foundation move from a its usual hands-off approach in relation to actions defined by communities and chapters, into a more executive role for the Movement Strategy. The participant clarified the question was more about ownership rather than competence.
Kathrine addressed this question stating that Wikimedia Foundation follows the culture of the movement, acknowledging that there are different dynamics, with tensions about where agency lies that are never fully resolved but that everyone, including Wikimedia Foundation, reckon to balance. When the Strategic Direction was defined there was an immediate gratification coming from the feeling that we were all on board. With that milestone there was a clear mandate for the Foundation, and orientation from the Board of Trustees that the Foundation should be engaged in the development of the recommendations, as a contributor, without knowing what it will be the outcome or the detailed steps for implementation.
One participant made a request to Katherine to not to speak making assumptions that the Wikimedia Foundation is a structure that will continue in the future or at least with the same role. Katherine re-framed, stating she understood the point, and that her expectations were that the role of the Foundation might transition or evolve according to the result of the recommendations. Participation from everyone in the Movement Strategy will give the necessary legitimacy to move forward.
With this consideration in mind, another participant asked:
Will the Foundation be the implementing body for the recommendations?Katherine responded that the Foundation might be the implementing body for some of the recommendations, but there might be other bodies within the movement that might be or become responsible for implementing them.
Some people did not have the opportunity to review the different Scoping Documents, specially including those who do not feel comfortable sharing them in a collective setting?
— This question was not addressed due to lack of time.
After the process ahead was further explained and clarified with participants, several of them expressed their expectations for the Summit: getting as much feedback as possible from the Summit attendants, being able to explore the overlap between Working Groups, keeping the focus on structural questions, and having an opportunity to refine the Scoping Document including the scoping questions. Working Group members were encouraged to engage the affiliate representatives, and based on their interaction, consider whether the scoping questions needed adaptation.
Finally, one participant also expressed her concerns that strong feelings she could perceive in the room might taint the process, and the outcome. As Working Group members being the ‘recorders’ of different perspectives, the participant encouraged those in such role to either refrain or leave these feelings aside so they are not reflected in the information.
2A.4 Introducing Whose Knowledge?
Adele and Anasuya introduced themselves and the work of Whose Knowledge?. Making a connection between the conversations during the event and her own identity, Adele explained the purpose of their presence as means to raise consciousness about the dynamics of power in collecting and sharing knowledge. Anasuya described Whose Knowledge? as a space to connect, and to ask provocative questions, about different forms of knowledge. All done with tough love, respect and solidarity. Adele and Anasuya remained available throughout the Summit and engaged with the Working Group members in individual and group conversations.
With all the input laid out, the members of thematic Working Groups gathered in assigned spaces, and started catching up and preparing to host conversations with the rest of the Summit attendants around their scoping questions.
2B. Participating in Movement Strategy
The session started with the short overview of the Movement Strategy, Working Group model and Community Conversation concept and followed up with the first round of questions, that participants of this session have. The facilitator reminded the participants - almost entirely composed of affiliate representatives – that this particular session was a space for those who were not involved in any of the 9 Working Groups, but would like to know more about this process.
2B.1 A Glimpse of the Movement Strategy Process
Nicole Ebber started with a short overview of the difference between programmatic and structural levels of the Movement Strategy. Programmatic level focuses on how strategy is reflected in day-to-day practice of different organisations within the movement; structural level puts in the spotlight what enables us to thrive in our work if our ambition is to be a support system to other partners in strengthening free knowledge.
A summary of the Working Group set up process followed next. In short, there was an open application process, then Steering Committee selected group members based on diversity criterias (diversity in geography/perspective/community represented, etc) and 9 Working Groups were formed.
“Some members of the Working Groups came together for the first time at Wikimania, and for some of you it might have seemed like there was just silence since then. But in reality that's when we actually started to work hard together with people who live and work across the globe and in different time zone. We had to answer many questions, find our working rhythm and to see how do we want to work together.”
Working group members invested a lot of time, hours on emails and online meetings in order to analyse what has been already done and discussed in their thematic areas and to bring it together in more focused and structured way. This is what the Scoping Document is all about.
Participants have been also reminded that if they feel they have some valuable input and would like to join of the of the Working Groups, they are encouraged to approach any representative of the relevant group and discuss it further.
After this short introduction, participants were invited to turn to their neighbors and discuss for a few minutes “Why does it matter for me?”
Second part of the session was focused on seeing what are the questions in the air about the Movement Strategy and bringing clarity with support of:
- Nicole Ebber, Movement Strategy Programme Manager.
- Jodi McMurray, Movement Strategy Project Manager.
- Kelsi Stine-Rowe, Movement Strategy Community Relations Specialist.
2B.2 Questions in the air
Each participant wrote a ‘burning question’ on a piece of paper, and then exchanged it with another person. In every exchange, participants would have to divide 7 points between those two questions being shared, according to how relevant they felt the questions were. At the end, participants summed all the points for each question, and ranked them. Below are the highest ranked questions and their respective answers. To see all questions, check Annex B.
The three top questions selected by participants:
Q1: “How can we practically ensure that recommendation are implemented?”
Nicole: “This will depend on the nature and decision making process for concrete recommendations. The Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation will work with us on the decision making process. Commitments are there. More details will be clear by Wikimania 2019, when the content of the next steps is more defined”.
Involving more people
Q2: “How can we involve more people in Wikimedia Movement Strategy?”
Nicole: “Awesome question! This whole process is also about bringing people who have been left out. We try to set up structures to bring more people in”.
Kelsi: “This is one of the most vital questions in our movement and one of the way to tackle it is to bring it back to your communities”.
Challenges faced by Working Groups
Q3: “Which are the main common issues between the Working Groups?”
Nicole: “One of the main issues is working across time zones, so setting up on the structural level is challenging. Also the fact that they work and know each other mostly from online conversations (only). Another challenge is to synchronize the work between Working Groups and the Core Team. In terms of content, the challenge is to be future oriented. Not to focus too much on the burden of the past”.
The floor was then opened to other questions that participants wanted to address:
Mandate for the strategy
Q4:“Decision making process: what is the mandate and who can decide?”
Nicole: “I would have to repeat that it will depend on the nature of the next steps. Some decisions will need the involvement of the Board of Trustees, because at the moment that’s the body that can take certain decisions. But we can look for other mechanisms, like communities.”
Implementing the recommendations
Q5: “There were few questions in our discussion, about what happens next? Will the Core Team actively support the implementation of the recommendations?”
Nicole: “In some cases the implementation will be supported by Board of Trustees, where it concerns allocation of the resources. In some others cases it will be rather self-managed process. It depends on how the implementation process will be designed in each particular thematic group.”
Q6: “I have a question about the Scoping Document. How can I bring it back to my community? How would you recommend to do it?”
Kelsi: “Bring back to your community to make choices. Answer especially those questions, that are relevant for your conext / resonates with your community”.
2B.3 Introducing Community Conversations
The final question was a good bridge for Kelsi to offer her support in the process of engaging a wider community in the Movement Strategy through the Community Conversations. She prepared different toolkits and guidelines that over the following 3 months (until May 2019) would help engage those who were not part of the Summit. The collected feedback will be incorporated in the finalised draft of the recommendations to be presented at Wikimania. The overview of Community Conversations associated with each Thematic Area is available on Meta.
Kelsi also encouraged members to explore who from participants’ respective communities would sign up as a Strategy Liaison. This group of people will have direct connection with Kelsi and the wider team.
At this point, Katherine Maher joined the session and participated in answering further questions:
Q7: “Have you considered possible political consequences of strategy? I mean consequences for the communities, that is suppose to enact the strategy. One example would be a context of Turkey, when affiliates find him/herself being shut down by government or other power structure”.
Katherine appreciated this question, adding that many community members have similar questions on regular basis (in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Middle East). She pointed out that there are different ways in which we can talk about advocacy for the free knowledge. One can combat it within political scope, being outspoken about censorship. Another choice might be to tackle it through education.
Katherine also reminded that for all questions concerning safety Christel Steigenberger is a contact person. Christel is very motivated to collect cases from all over the world to see how good practices in the community can help other members to overcome obstacles.
Q8: “Roles and responsibilities: what if the group decide that this structure is obsolete and we need to have something new?”
Katherine recognizes, it is possible that through this process Wikimedia Foundation might play another role, or might have other responsibilities, or there might be bodies who will take over some of the current roles of the Foundation.
Last question addressed the topic of the diversity, in particular cultural bias in the content of Wikipedia in different languages. Katherine responded that she has no solution for this important issue, but she is happy to see that diversity topic is one of the priorities in the strategy process.
Concluding, Katherine thanked everyone for asking and discussing these important question. Facilitators invited participants to check with the person next to them the following: what questions would you like to take to tomorrow's session?
3B. Participating in Movement Governance
Shani Evenstein and Jeffrey Keefer hosted this session which had the purpose of making sure that affiliates would agree on a selection process and criteria for the two members of the Board of Trustees that are voted by a majority of the Wikimedia affiliate organizations, and approved by the remaining members of the Board. The result of this conversation has been the updated draft of a resolution on Affiliate-selected Board seats accessible on Meta-Wiki. The minutes of the session were captured on on an etherpad document.