Wikimedia Foundation/Communications/Wikimedia brands/2030 movement brand project/Presentation naming convention proposals

On 16 June the Brand Project team presented three naming convention proposals in a live presentation. Two proposals were Wikipedia-based, and one was a Wiki/Wikipedia hybrid. The presentation was followed by a question and answer session. The team was joined by the project design parter Snøhetta, who talked about the process of creating the naming proposals (summarized in their blog post "What's in the name?").

Movement Brand Project LIVE! - Naming Convention Proposals Presentation

The review period is from 16 June - 7 July, and is taking place through surveys and discussions on Meta-Wiki.

Presentation summary


Presentation of the problem statement



"Wikimedia" is unknown and confusing to the outside world, making it hard for us to explain who we are, demonstrate the impact of our work, and invite people in.



Wikimedia movement branding is not serving its purpose. Branding is a powerful tool for organizations to communicate who they are and form connections with the outside world.



To create a unified, compelling movement brand–using Wikipedia as a central reference point–that shows the world who we are, elevates the critical work we are doing, and inspires others to join us in setting knowledge free.

What has happened so far: concept work


The branding process began with developing a concept: interconnection. Interconnection was synthesized from community feedback collected in workshops and online exercises. It encompasses and links together perspectives around the question "who are we?" This concept will not be a visible part of branding, but instead a guiding idea. It has shaped naming work, in an effort to find names that highlight the interconnectedness of our movement. More information about the concept interconnection on its report page.

Names for an interconnected movement


Movement names should highlight the way the different parts of the movement are interconnected, and draw the organizations closer together.

Names should be:

  • Consistent: Short and easy to understand
  • Clear: Reduces confusion and strengthens the brand as a whole
  • Communicative: Explains what you do

Ideas that were proposed and explored:

  • Leading with simplicity (W)
  • Leading with association (Wiki)
  • Leading with our mission (Free Knowledge)
  • Leading with our best-known brand (Wikipedia)

All options went through Legal, Board and strategic review to determine their feasibility. W and Free Knowledge were eliminated in legal review.

Market research was also conducted on Wiki, showing that the vast majority of respondents associated the word "Wiki" with Wikipedia first and foremost. However, Wiki was deemed unprotectable even in a compound form (combining Wiki with other terms). The determination was made that Wiki could exist within a movement naming structure only for entities that do not require trademark protection.

Three naming convention proposals were presented: two that are based on Wikipedia, and one that is a Wiki/Wikipedia hybrid.




Questions answered during the presentation


Movement identity

  • What is the purpose of movement branding?
  • How was the community's own identity considered in the branding exercise? Almost all of the six factors are about outward facing perceptions
  • How do these choices affect the internal identity of our community? How were the risks assessed and weighed?
  • Why is “Wikimedia” not an option in the survey?
  • Have other names not involving Wiki or Wikipedia or Wikimedia been considered?

Legal/reputational implications

  • It seems the legal team has mainly reviewed legal risks associated with US trademark laws. What about legal risks faced by affiliates if their name is more strongly associated with wikipedia?
  • Did you talk with lawyers in other countries on other issues?
  • Has the Foundation worked to define the potential repercussions in the EU, Canada, Russia and China about the protection of the brand?
  • Are there implications for chapters if their naming convention makes them sound like subsidiaries of the Foundation?
  • What if the organizational form of a chapter isn't a foundation, would that still be part of the name?



Did you study with your partners Snöhetta the naming in other languages and their repercussions or only in English? And if names are bad in other languages well "this is how it is"

The RfC clearly and nearly unanimously said it is not okay to use Wikipedia. Why are you disregarding this community input?

Feedback period/process

  • Will the team consider making the comment period longer?
  • Is there a possibility to refuse all the 3 options and make another one?
  • What if most of the community does not like the 3 options? How/where can they express it?

Questions not answered during the presentation

  • Why not Wikipedia Network Foundation?
  • How will these not cause confusion between the Foundation and the Projects? (see FAQ)
  • How will projects benefit from being tied to the "Wikipedia" name? I get that there should be a more unified identity for the movement as a whole, but how do the other projects stand to benefit? Would they lose out to Wikipedia because the Wikipedia brand will become even more prominent? (see FAQ)
  • Question about the survey for groups, do we provide one survey for the group as a whole? If so, how to deal with very different or even opposite opinions?
  • In a result-focused mind, how would you technically describe Alphabet's move? They left aside an even more famous name than Wikipedia. The opposite move, in a hunt for results
  • Have you thought about changing the visual language of all the sister project logos, and not change the name Wikimedia. So that it all looks like it's a part of the same thing?
  • We don't have time today, but perhaps in the next Q&A the team is going to describe how they are going to process all the survey input and decide a recommendation. How transparent is that going to be?
  • Before deciding to opt-in my affiliate needs a legal consult, whose outcome might be that it is not suitable for us to opt-in. Would the WMF provide financial support for that?
  • Will you commit to having a run-of survey between the favoured option and "Wikimedia"?
  • Now that is clear that all the three naming options include the word "Wikipedia" for the Foundation, how is the RFC going to be calculated in the metrics?
  • Will WMF employees also give feedback through this survey or through another channel?
  • Could "Wikimedia" go through the same professional polishing ?
  • Do you think that fully volunteer-based affiliates might consider the legal processes as a new burden and challenge as legal processes are really tough in some countries? What is your feedback on those problems?
  • Where is the option completely without wikipedia? Why was none such option included?

The Brand Project team held office hours on Tuesday, 23 June at 16:30 UTC and on 26 June at 0:00 UTC to answer the remaining questions and other questions asked live.