Movement Charter/Community Consultation/Summary
This page includes summaries of the Movement Charter community consultations. The summaries are compiled by the Wikimedia Fondation's Movement Strategy & Governance Team, and are reviewed by the Movement Charter Drafting Committee. In addition, the full detailed feedback from the consultations is shared along with the summaries, for transparency purposes.
April 2023 ratification methodology community reviewEdit
November-December 2022 consultationEdit
This is a brief summary of the overall impressions on three Movement Charter drafts: the Preamble, Values & Principles and Roles & Responsibilities. It highlights only the most recurring and emerging points according to the analysis conducted by the Movement Strategy & Governance Team. Please refer to the full feedback for more context.
Readability and clarity:
- While some parts were praised for clarity, language overall needs more simplification, especially to be more translation friendly. Particular points highlighted:
- Avoid acronyms
- Avoid long sentence
- Avoid vague terms and phrasing
- Relatedly, there was a common request to add a glossary defining some of the more ambiguous terms. Definitions were often requested for the following:
- “Wikimedia movement “
- “We/us/our” pronouns
- Since most of the text is abstract, readers need more tangible examples to elaborate what the Charter may mean in practical cases related to Wikimedia (e.g. how it would impact a particular language Wikipedia).
- The text is commonly expected to include a visual representation of the new structures that the Movement Charter describes/will describe.
- A very frequent question is about the consequences (e.g. for an affiliate or a community) not agreeing or adhering to the Movement Charter, and whether it will be mandatory or not. This is often assumed to belong in the Preamble.
- There is a divide about whether to cite the 2030 Movement Strategy in the Movement Charter text (especially the Preamble):
- Many commenters are surprised that MS 2030 isn’t explicitly mentioned in the Charter, and expected a clear commitment to it.
- Some established communities seem to reject MS 2030 altogether and, therefore, reject any reference to it.
- Some emerging communities don’t seem to be aware of what MS 2030 itself means and, therefore, of how it relates to the Charter.
- The section may be missing a more focused and concise explanation of:
- What is a ‘Movement Charter’?
- Why is the Movement Charter needed?
- Who is drafting the Movement Charter, and who is it for?
- There is a recurring expectation that the Movement Charter would or should be described as a “binding agreement” instead of a “social agreement”.
- It is a bit confusing why “technical spaces” are singled out (in the phrase: “applies to all members, entities and technical spaces”), and whether that intentionally excludes other kinds of spaces.
- There are several proposals regarding the clause: “The projects are largely self-governed”, including keeping it as it is, accepting Legal’s rephrasing or using various suggested rephrasings. The clause was also the topic of a significant dispute about the scale and type of self-governance, including when and how the Wikimedia Foundation can intervene in the projects.
- For the clause “with respect to content creation and management”, it is proposed to elaborate more which content responsibilities the Foundation can handle and when (e.g. legal cases), and which are exclusively managed by the community.
- The term “knowledge repositories” caused considerable confusion, especially in translations. Some suggested replacement with “wikis”.
- The term “infrastructure” may need a definition, and all sentences referring to it may need rephrasing, as it seems to have made the entire paragraph difficult for a very significant chunk of readers. The fourth paragraph, overall, appears to have caused the most confusion.
Values & PrinciplesEdit
- Privacy (occasionally combined with safety and/or security) is the most-cited missing principle. This is especially in terms of protecting anonymity, and, therefore, often the safety of users.
- Transparency is perceived by some to require its own principle, independently from “Accountability”.
- There are about a dozen more suggestions for possible additional principles.
- In the opening sentence, the term “fact-based” was consistently requested to be replaced with “source/evidence-based”, as “facts” cannot be objectively defined.
Free Knowledge & Open Source
- More clarity may be needed about the potential commitment to open source software, of where it may be required, and of how it may be applied to Wikimedia contexts.
- “knowledge that has historically been marginalized” appears to be one of the most controversial sentences in the entire draft. It received almost as much praise by Global South communities as rejection by the larger / developed communities. It may need to be very specific about the changes and/or commitments it aspires to make.
- There are some questions about the commitment to independence and what it may mean in practical contexts.
- Various comments about how inclusivity is applied in practice: for example, what a “people-centered vision” may mean. The “codes of conduct” reference also generated a bit of resistance.
- The term “Subsidiarity” doesn’t seem to correspond to a universal or a translatable concept. It’s perhaps the least understood principle.
- The sentence “We entrust authority to the most immediate or local level that is appropriate” may merit a significant elaboration (e.g. when is a local level “appropriate”?). It is one of the passages with the most feedback and questions in the Charter drafts.
- Somewhat similarly to “Subsidiarity”, the term “Equity” doesn’t seem to translate well between languages, nor even between individuals. A lot of feedback is about elaborating how it applies in practice.
- A few tweaks are suggested, in addition to the question about whether transparency should be its own principle.
- A few tweaks are suggested. There are some questions about what the scope or meaning of “Resilience” is.
Roles & ResponsibilitiesEdit
- There is very little feedback on the exact content of the statement, and a significant frustration by the lack of more content on this topic.
- Some commenters wondered why there were no specific questions asked on the topic to invite feedback, even if content is still lacking.
Expectations for the chapter:
- While the chapter is, of course, expected to define future roles and responsibilities, feedback stresses defining the need or the “How” for any change.
- There are various questions about the possible chapter contents, including:
- How much bureaucracy is resulting from decentralization? (e.g. by creating more structures like the Global Council and Hubs)
- How much can the Wikimedia Foundation’s structure change?
- How much will the Charter affect affiliates definition and the AffComm?
- Will informal organized groups (non-affiliates) be included?
- How will underrepresented communities be included?
- What will the Global Council and Hubs constitute? Both of those concepts turned out to be almost unknown to the smaller communities that are not involved in governance in regions like Africa, South Asia & ESEAP.