Global Open Initiative Strategic Plan Report On Ensuring Equity In Decision-Making
This is a strategic document prepared by the Global Open Initiative Foundation, which entails the report of research work, concerning the implementation of the Wikimedia movement’s strategy initiatives, namely; ensuring equity in decision-making at the community level.
This research work was sponsored by the Wikimedia Foundation’s Movement Strategy rapid grant initiative, and a detailed report on the breakdown of finances and activities can be found here.
Introduction and background edit
In 2017, a strategic direction was developed to guide the Wikimedia movement to attain its goal; the 2030 vision of becoming the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge by the year 2030. Following discussions amongst members of the movement across the globe between 2018 and 2019, ten recommendations were realised as the underlying principles for guiding the movement in its mission of attaining this vision. One of these recommendations was ensuring equity in decision-making.
We are currently in the implementation phase of the Movement Strategy, and this document seeks to focus on the implementation of the aforementioned recommendation at the community level. Ensuring Equity in Decision-Making is paramount in achieving the vision of the movement when we consider the rate of growth and diversity in the movement, and the importance of representation of the various communities as far as decision making is concerned.
The scope for this recommendation is indeed broad, and this research seeks to focus on the Global Open Initiative Foundation community in an attempt to add to the already existing knowledge covering this recommendation, and also provide a framework for the implementation of this recommendation, especially in African Wikimedia communities. That notwithstanding, we do encourage that research work be done in the various communities if possible with regards to this recommendation to provide a larger spectrum of information, and also, highlight the peculiarities and similarities of the various communities as far as this recommendation is concerned.
This work highlights the research work done by the Global Open Initiative Foundation’s (GOIF) research team concerning how the recommendation can be successfully implemented. It begins with an introduction and background to the recommendation in focus, followed by a discussion of the scope of the research work. The methodology and choice of methodology are then explained, including how information on the research work was obtained, and the results and suggestions are subsequently analysed. Following these analyses, conclusions were drawn based on the findings and recommendations were made. Limitations and suggestions for further and related studies in the future ends this report.
Ensuring Equity in Decision-Making edit
In psychology, decision making is a cognitive process resulting in the selection of a belief or a course of action among several possible alternative options, and group decision making on the other hand is a situation faced when individuals collectively make a choice from the alternatives before them. Group decision making in any setting encourages creativity and consensus-building. Decisions made collaboratively have a tendency of resulting in higher performance outcomes compared to decisions made individually.
The Wikimedia movement is an ever-growing global community of diverse membership, representing various national and socio-cultural backgrounds. There is therefore the need to empower and represent all stakeholders in the movement by ensuring equitable opportunities for participation in decision-making and resource allocation, and by doing so, sharing accountability and responsibility amongst movement stakeholders, to ensure higher performance outcomes.
Historically, under-represented communities like many communities in Africa (which includes the community in focus; the Global Open Initiative Foundation), have not been adequately involved in decision making and conversations regarding the movement. A good example is a conversation involving the establishment of the Movement Charter and Regional hubs. This lack of involvement has resulted in a huge gap in participation in movement activities and also resource allocation. Should this trend continue, the potential of benefiting from the diverse perspectives from a diverse community will be lost in the movement. Also, decision making in the movement will be generally poor, and this assertion is supported by a study by Katherine Phillips of Northwestern University, which concluded that; teams with diverse members are more likely to outperform homogeneous teams in decision making because decisions in heterogeneous teams are taken more carefully.
To mitigate this situation, we intend to introduce; Let’s Talk Strategy 2030, a weekly meet up with African Wikimedians to inform and discuss ongoing activities by the Wiki communities which relates to the Implementation of the 2030 movement strategy. We believe having such talks about what other communities are doing or plan to do could inspire members from the Sub-Saharan region to also take interest or be inspired to get involved.
GOIF and African Communities edit
African communities in the Wikimedia movement refer to the various associations, organisations and User groups involved in contributing content in the various Wikimedia projects in varying capacities. In Africa, Wikimedia communities exist in about forty countries, and in Ghana, there are about four communities actively involved in Wikimedia activities. With the considerable spread of Wikimedia communities in Africa, there remains few associations due to a paucity in membership.
The Global Open Initiative Foundation is a non-profit organisation in Ghana actively involved in Wikimedia activities as one of the four known Wikimedia communities in Ghana. The organisation wields a considerable amount of influence as far as membership is concerned, however, like many other African communities, community members have been out of the loop in discussions and matters concerning the movement. It is believed that the implementation of the recommendation aforementioned will renew the interest of already existing community members and also entice potential members to volunteer their efforts to the course of the Global Open Initiative Foundation, and the Wikimedia movement at large.
Research Objectives edit
Main Objective edit
The objective of this research is to determine the best channel, topics, among others to be used when conducting the Let’s Talk Strategy 2030 meet up.
Specific objectives edit
- To find the best channel to host the Let’s Talk Strategy 2030 meet up.
- To identify the topics to be discussed.
- To determine which people to invite as panel members.
- To identify how to reach our target audience.
- To determine the frequency and duration of the Let’s Talk Strategy 2030 meet up.
Research Questions edit
- What is the best channel to host the Let’s Talk Strategy 2030 meet up?
- What are the topics to be discussed that will be relevant to the purpose of Let’s Talk Strategy 2030?
- Which people will be invited as panel members?
- What would be the best approach to reach our target audience or let community members know of the meet up?
- What should be the duration and frequency of the Let’s Talk Strategy 2030 meetups?
Secondary data was used for this research work. The data was obtained through articles, books and websites on the internet.
Channel to host the Let’s Talk Strategy 2030 edit
After analysing similar programs run by other communities we found that these communities mainly reach their participants through text, audio and video. Audio content as compared to text and video is easier to use for interactions because audio content can be consumed without necessarily having to focus on what is being listened to unlike text and video, therefore, people tend to spend more time consuming audio content. Audio content also helps in building emotional connections. Audio is one of the most ‘personal and intimate’ types of media available, allowing people to connect on a much deeper and more meaningful level. With little time to spare people are opting for more audio content to achieve more with less. Due to this, Podcasts have increased in popularity.
Video content is very successful as compared to textual content since our eyes send the most amount of information to our brains. It is the fastest way to get into the minds of audiences because visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text. Moreover, video content is easier to remember. An average user consumes about 206 videos per month. Video content consumers are able to retain about 95% of the content or information as compared to text consumers who are able to retain just about 10% of the information. There are a lot of platforms to host text, video and audio content, however, when it comes to video content, though there are many platforms, many content creators are forced to host their content on YouTube due to its market share.
It is less costly and easier to create textual content than it is to create audio or video content which requires huge capital, equipment and more time creating.
Video and audio content is quicker to create once all the needed resources (human and material resources) have been acquired. There is more distraction when consuming video and textual content due to the high probability of consumers taking action after sighting ads which causes a break in attention.
There are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to picking a channel to host the LTS on. Research was conducted through comparing other similar projects to LTS. Most projects use YouTube as a host due to its larger market share, though it has lots of advantages, it lacks one critical feature which is important to us. That is the ability for the audience or participants to call-in and have their views heard or questions answered in real time and not in a Q&A section after the program.
In view of that, a channel with a feature that allows interactions during the program is preferred. Such channels include zoom, Facebook live, Instagram live google meet etc.
Even though Facebook as a platform provides users the opportunity to post video and textual content, Facebook is yet to provide a feature that allows users to post audio content.
With over 2.8 billion users across the globe, Facebook has the highest number of users compared to all the other social media platforms. The largest demographic group of Facebook users are between the ages of 25 and 35 years. This demographic group represents the second highest age demographic of the Wikimedia movement (22 to 29 years).
With a market share of about 7.12% in the last twelve months (October 2020 to October 2021), twitter is the third most patronised social media platform in Africa. Twitter provides its users a platform to post audio content (through twitter spaces and audio recordings), textual content (with limited characters), and video content (limited length). The largest twitter demographic group falls between the ages of 25 and 34.
YouTube is the second most patronised social media platform in Africa with a market share of about 10.96%. YouTube as a social media platform provides an avenue for posting video contents for public consumption. With over 2 billion users globally, YouTube is the most patronised video-only social media platform in the world.
Podcasts platforms host audio (mostly audio) contents. Podcasting is a rapidly growing form of content consumption globally. About 100 million people listened to a podcast each month in 2020, and this figure is expected to reach about 125 million in 2022. There are different formats for podcasting. These formats include; interviews, conversations, solos, panels and repurposed contents. Interview format accounted for the largest market share with about 30% of the total podcast consumers.
Relevant topics to be discussed during Let’s Talk Strategy 2030 edit
The topics to be discussed on the show depends on the relevance of the topic to the show and the audience. To determine a good show topic, one must consider its ability to engage an audience and also its capacity to positively impact an audience.
Panel members (Speakers) edit
The guest for an episode is dependent on the topic to be discussed. The guest speaker can positively or negatively affect a show. The higher the profile of the guest, the higher the audience. To determine the best guests for a show, one can search for books, videos and podcasts discussing topics that the show discusses. One could also attend events in the industry, in this case; Wikimania, and Wiki Inada. Finally, following content of potential speakers can help in accessing speakers relevant to the show.
Communication/Promotional Channel edit
Using emails enhances access to the target audience directly and there is a higher probability of the target audience taking action to participate in the event. An emailing list of African is an efficient way to reach out to an audience with little or no cost.
The Wikimedia Telegram group is made up of 748 Wikimedians from every corner of the world and in this group are Wikimedians in Sub-Saharan Africa. No capital is needed to execute this also.
Using social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is another efficient method of reaching the target audience since the largest age demographic group of the African Wikimedia community is similar to the largest age demographic group of social media users in Africa. Advertisements on social media platforms attract the attention of both Wikimedians and non-Wikimedians. These platforms can also be used to engage participants or audience (on what to expect in the next episodes, what they liked about previous episodes, what topic or question they want us to discuss and the people they want to see on the program). This will grow and maintain the loyalty of participants. Capital is needed to execute this.
Also, getting featured on TV and radio stations and news websites with many consumers in Africa such as Africanews.com (a news website that operates in both English and French) will help us reach more target audiences in Sub-Saharan Africa. Capital is needed to execute.
3.5 Frequency and duration of the Let’s Talk Strategy 2030
Frequency of a show can determine the length of the show. Shows created at shorter intervals (eg. more than once in a week) can have shorter time lengths compared to shows created at longer intervals.
The average duration of a podcast is about 43 minutes. The duration of a podcast ranges from 30 to 70 minutes. The duration time for a podcast however depends on the content of the podcast. For short stories, daily news, and trending topics, podcasts usually last for 15 to 30 minutes. Podcasts lasting for 30 to 60 minutes are mostly for story telling, interviews, and investigations. Podcasts lasting for more than 60 minutes are for podcasts that include more guests and are usually live. That being said, a podcast may have varying time lengths. It is possible to have a show last for 20 minutes for an episode and the same show last for 60 minutes for another episode.
As mentioned earlier, the frequency of the show can determine the duration of an episode. More importantly, the frequency of the content can be determined by the demand for the content. The frequency of the show however should not affect the quality of the content negatively. If content can be published once in a week, it should be considered over a twice-in-a-week demand for the content.
Based on our findings, the following recommendations were made;
- A podcast channel that has the call-in feature was suggested as a channel that can be used to engage an audience. In choosing a channel, factors like accessibility, effectiveness, ability and readiness of participants to subscribe to the particular channel is important to consider. Thus, we propose that Let’s Talk Strategy 2030 (LTS 2030) should be hosted on Podbean, a podcast application that meets the aforementioned requirements, and also streamed live on YouTube. As a recorded media file, the content can be uploaded on other podcast hosting sites such Spotify, Apple Podcast , and Google podcast. It is recommended that the project be piloted for the first six months.
- Topics to be discussed for the show should include programs that update the audience on the various initiatives other communities are working on to achieve the recommendations. Sessions should be held for participants to be quizzed on issues relating to the recommendation and also Wikimedia projects in general as well. This approach is expected to increase engagement. Discussions on trending issues in the Wikimedia community must be held through interviews and discussions. For instance; people with experience in wiki conferences to be held at a specific period of time (eg. WikiIndaba) can be interviewed to help the audience know and understand the importance of these conferences. This is expected to help make the show relevant for listeners. A segment of an episode or an episode should be dedicated to Q & As, where our audience send in their questions which will be read out and answered by panelists. This episode could be done after three to four episodes. Polls can also be used via the various social media platforms, to let the audience choose what program they will want for a particular episode. This is expected to make the audience more involved in the show.
- The speaker for each episode should be solely dependent on the content (what will be discussed). In addition to that, priority must be laid on proximity (in this sense; the local community or a community geographically closer to the local community) in selecting a speaker. There is a higher propensity of listeners gaining interest in discussions with speakers they can relate with (as far as background is concerned) than speakers they may not be able to relate with due to their geographical background. That being said, speakers with a considerable amount of knowledge in the topic of discussion should be considered first and if there are multiple options available, geographical location will be considered. It is also suggested that high-profile speakers are invited as guests. The higher the profile of the guest, the higher the potential number of listeners. Moreover, these personalities share their interviews with their fan base on their social media, and this is expected to potentially translate into higher listenership since some fans may want to listen to more episodes after their first listen. To discover high profile guests, it is recommended that the show organisers regularly attend events in the industry (in our case, Wiki conferences, programs, and meetings), search and listen to podcasts, watch videos, read books in the field of the content, and also following the contents of people deemed as potential speakers. Conclusively, guests with ample knowledge in the field of discussion should be considered first, and profiles can be considered in instances where there are multiple options to choose from, and finally proximity of guest in terms of geographical background, that is, if one of the potential guests belong to our community or a community close to our community.
- On campaigns, promotions should be via social media using hashtags, and asking questions through polls, this is because, a number of the target audience are social media users. Also, wiki campaign banner should be utilised since the target audience is expected to be dominated by Wikipedians. Other outlets such as the African mailing list, and Wikimedia chat pages should be used as well.
- The duration of the program should be based on the type of content being shared. Interviews can last 30 minutes, news 15 minutes and panel discussions an hour. Due to the nature of the program, which will demand ample research and organisation prior to every episode, it is recommended that it is hosted once every month.
This section will detail the cost of the various equipment, and the cost of the services of personnel who will be involved in the programme directly and indirectly. The discussion regarding budget can be segmented into three areas; audio equipment, video equipment, and personnel to be involved In the project.
Under audio, we discussed the prices of audio equipment and audio improvement software, and they include; headphones, microphones, computer, Reefer, Adobe, Audacity, and Podbean. According to our findings, some headphones have microphones connected to them and it will be best that we purchase such headphones to reduce cost and also improve convenience. Under software, audacity was preferred because it was free and easy to use. We discussed the prices of Podbean packages in case we would want to access some restricted features in the near future.
With regard to video, we discussed the prices of video equipment, and video editing and streaming software used to edit and improve videos, and they include; camera, Adobe, Hitfilm Express, XSplit, Stream Lab, Lightstream Studio, and Wirecast. On cameras, we settled on Logitech Webcam because it was relatively cheaper than the other cameras that we discovered, also, it was more efficient. We also decided to settle on a streaming software since our videos will be streamed live. Based on our research on streaming softwares, our parameters for choosing a software were; quality, cost, and ease of application. Lightstream Studio was the choice after deliberations. Lightstream Studio was relatively easier to use, relatively less expensive, and of higher quality.
On issues of personnel, we considered the cost of services of personnel who will be involved in all areas of the programme. We discussed the cost of the services of facilitators, the cost of the services of researchers, the cost of honorariums for guest speakers, and also the cost of promoting our programme. With regard to promotions and campaigns we looked into the cost of social media ads, and the cost of SEOs (Search Engine Optimisation). Upon deliberations, we concluded that there will be no need to spend on social media ads and SEOs. Reason being that, social media ads and SOEs give firms a competitive edge over its competitors, however, we as an organisation are not competing with another organisation in the industry we intend to venture.
|Segment (Area)||Equipment/ Service||Cost (GHS)|
|Podbean (Podcast platform)||Free|
|Guest Speaker (Honorarium)||2,400|
Please note that emoluments for the services of personnel presented in the budget are yearly. The cost of the Lightstream Studio application is a monthly cost that has been converted to a yearly cost.
Summary and Conclusion edit
This study was conducted to determine the best channel, topics, among others to be used when conducting the Let’s Talk Strategy 2030 (LTS 2030) meet up. Secondary data was collected with the aid of articles, books and websites on the internet. According to our findings, communities mainly reach their participants through text, audio and video. However, with little time to spare, people are opting for more audio content to achieve more with less. For this reason, Podcasts have increased in popularity. Of all the channels through which LTS 2030 could be hosted, it was discovered that podcasts were the rapidly growing choice of the general public. On the relevant topics to be discussed, it was discovered that the best topics for the show depended on the relevance of the topic to the audience and the relevance of the topic to the goal of the show. The ability of the topic to engage the audience and also positively impact the audience must be considered as well. The guest speakers will depend on the topic of the show, and the profile of the guest could affect viewership and listenership. Furthermore, with regard to promotional channels, social media platforms such as Telegram, Whatsapp, Twitter, and Facebook were identified as the most efficient platforms for promoting content to reach the target audience. The duration of the show depended on the frequency of the show and the nature of the show. However, duration could vary from show to show. Moreover, the frequency of the show could be determined by the demand for the content. However, demand could affect quality of content and quality should not be compromised to meet demand.
Researchers had to rely heavily on information on the internet and tests they have carried out on their own without knowledge from experts. The time frame was limited, hence the researchers had to work with a tight schedule. Researchers also relied heavily on internet services since the meetings to discuss findings were virtual, and these internet services were sometimes unreliable. That being said, the quality of data collected was not affect by these challenges.
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