There was a request for comment regarding proposals to change the name of the Wikimedia Foundation to use the name Wikipedia. The use of Wikipedia as a name for the Foundation was thoroughly rejected by the community.
The Wikimedia Foundation Board of trustees has resolved to pause the Movement Brand Project until March 2021. Read the full resolution on the Wikimedia Foundation Governance Wiki.
Our free knowledge projects are created by a global movement. Since 2003, we have used the term “Wikimedia” to refer to this movement. However, after 15 years, the name “Wikimedia” remains unknown and confusing to the outside world. This may make it an ineffective tool for explaining who we are, demonstrating the impact of our work, and inviting new people in. The 2030 Movement Brand Project is creating a proposal for movement names and designs based on our best-known brand.
The proposed movement brand will consist of a naming convention and design system for the movement, affiliates and the Foundation. All communities and affiliates are invited to get involved in its development. If the proposed brand system is approved by the Board of Trustees for use, it will be adopted by the Foundation and it will be available for affiliates to opt in based on their needs.
A list of the most recent project activities and updates. For a complete list, see the Timeline.
- 2020-10-30: Requests for comment: Should the Foundation call itself Wikipedia closed, with a significant majority of the community expressing it is not acceptable for the Foundation to call itself Wikipedia.
- 2020-10-06: Naming survey feedback report was published on meta and the full report on Wikimedia Commons.
- 2020-09-30: Board update: The Board made public a resolution decided on 2020-09-24: Resolution: Pause of Brand Development Work through 1 March 2021
- 2020-07-28: Foundation board reviews Project history and Timeline, created by the Brand Project team. (Concerns related to the misleading nature of these documents at the talk page discussion)
- 2020-06-22 and 2020-06-26: Board updates on Branding and on next steps released.
- 2020-06-23 and 2020-06-26: Brand office hours. See the report.
- 2020-06-23: Ongoing: A community open letter on renaming has been published and is accepting signatures. For related discussions in the projects see here.
- 2020-06-18: Brand project executive statement released.
- 2020-06-18: Report released on the naming convention proposal presentation.
- 2020-06-16: Ongoing: A community-initiated informal poll on naming issues.
- 2020-06-16 - 2020-07-07: Movement-wide call for feedback on naming convention proposals. Details on the the naming page.
- 2020-06-16: Live presentation of naming convention proposals.
How do you capture an ecosystem of people, projects, technology, content, and values? How do you do that in a single name? Or a design?
In 2003, we started using “Wikimedia” to describe the interconnected knowledge across projects as well as the communities and affiliates who make that knowledge available. But we learned, based on research, that “Wikimedia” is not a name that is well-understood or recognized by many people around the world.
This disconnect impacts our ability to fulfill our 2030 strategic direction: if the world does not know who we are, how can we guarantee that anyone who shares our vision can join us? If the world does not understand our movement’s interconnected projects and communities, how can we become the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge? Creating a compelling, unified brand will communicate who we are and what we do, inspiring people of all backgrounds to join us and helping us reach our shared movement goals.
This project has the objective of evolving our movement brand in order to clarify who we are, simplify entry points for newcomers, and grow participation. The development of this project is informed by the qualities for good movement branding that emerged in the 2019 research and consultation (see below), and integrates new feedback as the project advances.
The brand system to be proposed will consist of a naming convention and brand design. The brand design is expected to include logos and design styles such as typefaces, colors and ready-to-use templates. This brand system, if approved for use, will be adopted by the Foundation and will be available for affiliates to opt in. It will not propose changes to the content projects.
This project supports the Brand Awareness priority in the Wikimedia Foundation's medium-term plan.
The qualities of good movement branding (Movement Branding Criteria)Edit
In 2019, the results of the 2030 research and planning community review presented six qualities/criteria surfaced by the community review that should guide the 2030 Movement Brand Project.
These qualities are also being referred to as the seven Movement Branding Criteria.
- Branding should reduce confusion about the distinction between organizations and projects, clearly identifying what roles platforms, volunteers, affiliates, and the Foundation play in the movement.
- Branding should protect and improve the reputation of the movement, increasing trust in our content and contributors.
- Branding should benefit all projects, so that Wikipedia's international popularity and centrality to our movement are used to improve usage and participation in related projects.
- Branding should mitigate legal and government risks to movement participants and affiliates, so that volunteers are not blamed or punished for project content in places hostile to project content and our policies of free speech.
- Branding should grow our movement by appealing to new users, contributors, donors, and partners around the world, and inviting them to join us in our 2030 direction.
- Branding should be adaptable and adopted gradually, allowing community groups to opt-in to the system in a way that is personalized and localized, at their own pace, with support from the Foundation.
Several of these points have been reinforced in 2020 by the volunteer-initiated RfC Should the Foundation call itself Wikipedia, with a seventh quality being added at the conclusion of that RfC:
- The Foundation should not use the name Wikipedia, as a significant majority of the community has found it unacceptable for the Foundation to use the name Wikipedia to refer to itself.
We invite everyone to get involved. We encourage especially the participation of all movement affiliates because they are the target users of the evolved brand system being developed by this project.
- Join the Brand Network on Meta or on Facebook.
- Bring the conversation to your affiliate organization and consider becoming a Brand Project Affiliate Liaison.
- Participate in the movement-wide calls for feedback, as outlined on the Timeline.
This is an open branding process. The process is iterative, meaning that we will create, get feedback and refine as we go. There will be many open questions to answer collectively. We expect and welcome divergence before converging on any solutions.
These are rough project milestones and may change.
- Concept development - completed (January to April)
- Naming conventions for discussion (June - July)
- Foundation participation paused through at least March 2021
Every step of the process is documented in the project timeline.
Roles and ResponsibilitiesEdit
- Brand Network - Guides brand concepting and design process in collaboration with Snøhetta (the project design partner) and Foundation staff.
- Volunteer communities across the movement (cross projects, community lists, and village pumps) - Comments on proposed naming, design, and brand elements to highlight concerns, needs, and suggested improvements.
Wikimedia Foundation (Participation paused through at least March 2021)
- Steering Committee - Informs brand development. Representatives from Fundraising, Legal/Policy, Technology, Product, Finance & Administration.
- Brand Project team - Leads project development and documentation, and coordinates between movement, Foundation, and Snøhetta.
- Executive Leadership and Board of Trustees - Vet and review brand proposals.
Snøhetta (project design partner)
- Leads design work. Crafts brand proposals for Movement review.
- Project blog in collaboration with Snøhetta
- Wikimedia 2030 brand research (2017)
- Wikimedia 2030 Brand strategy proposal (2018)
- 2030 research and planning, project summary, community review, and results for details of this phase. (2019)
- New Readers awareness research & activities
- Community initiated Request for Comment (RfC) from early 2020 titled "Should the Foundation call itself Wikipedia"
- Foundation board minutes regarding this project
- Project history for board review
- Project timeline for board review