|This is a draft or part of the draft of the Wikimedia Movement Charter. These drafts are the result of extensive effort between different entities within the Wikimedia movement and we are delighted to share them with you. Help us improve them by sharing your thoughts on the talk page or at a community consultation event.|
The existing structures and workflows have been revised to delegate decision-making powers to the Global Council. The aim of this shift is to redistribute power within the movement. This action includes designing new structures and remodeling existing ones. The majority of redistributed powers move from the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) and its Board of Trustees to the Global Council.
The Global Council is a governance body responsible for development and implementation of movement strategy, including an annual report on global strategic priorities for the Wikimedia movement. This body is composed of volunteers and is supported by staff. The volunteers on the Global Council come from a diverse range of Wikimedia movement stakeholders. The Global Council improves accountability and transparency for movement-wide decision-making. It simplifies access to Movement resources and empower individuals and communities, in hopes of nurturing trust between stakeholders. The Global Council carries out its purposes by creating standards and objectives for committees across the movements, providing oversight, and limited executive decisions and directives.
The Global Council has been set up to promote sustainable work and growth within the movement. For this, the Global Council sets accountability to empower communities in an equitable way.
- The Global Council shall advise the Wikimedia Foundation on fundraising efforts to secure financial resources for the Wikimedia movement, in alignment with its mission and values.
- The Global Council shall establish standards and guidelines for the equitable dissemination of funds to support Wikimedia projects, communities, affiliates, hubs, and other movement entities.
- The Global Council shall ensure inclusive and transparent decision-making processes, providing guidance and exercising limited executive responsibilities over specific cross-movement entities.
- The Global Council shall create or modify committees for the overall governance of affiliates and hubs.
- The Global Council shall create channels to simplify access to resources (financial, human, knowledge) for individuals and empower communities in an equitable way.
- The Global Council shall ensure accountability by setting processes and reporting standards.
Responsibilities and associated Powers
[Note to reader: The below powers are broad notes from MCDC discussions. They all would require either small or major additions of detail and clarity, if implemented. Several responsibilities have notes of known WMF legal concerns.]
Approving new language projects - standards setting
- The Language Committee (LangCom) reports to the Global Council. The Global Council makes the final decisions on form and structure of LangCom, subject to the provisions within the Movement Charter.
- The Global Council may modify prerequisites for language projects to be recognised.
- The Global Council may choose to allow LangCom to directly recognise new language projects or retain that authority for itself.
- In this new structure, LangCom is tasked to verify that proposed projects are substantial and sufficiently supported.
Approving new sister projects – requires sign-off
- The Global Council holds the right to approve any new sister projects for the Movement. The decision will be based on the viability recommendation from the Tech Council and endorsement from the new project’s host. Currently the WMF is the host for all projects.
- The Global Council will consider the technical and resourcing viability considerations from the Technology Council & Project host and will also check whether the project aligns with the Movement values. The Global Council will also check if it has sufficient support in terms of potential active editors.
- [Note: the nature of this responsibility may be modified following the creation of the Sister Projects Task Force.]
Closure of lingual and sister projects
- The Global Council possesses the authority to veto decisions to close a lingual project. It may set its own standards on whether to vote on such matters. Where it does not vote, the Language Committee (LangCom) will take the decision.
- An affirmative vote of the Global Council is required to progress with closing a sister project. The Global Council may set additional criteria before voting. The viability of project continuation and necessity of closing will be extensively checked before final voting by Global Council.
- The Global Council, through LangCom, would have the authority to set standards to close an incubator project. In the absence of Global Council action, LangCom will continue to set its own standards.
[Note to reader: The Technology Council is in very early discussion. As such, it is both less detailed than some other proposals and would benefit most from community feedback & thinking.]
- The Global Council will work with the WMF Product & Technology team and tech contributor communities to set up the Technology Council. The final decision on structure and composition of the Technology Council will be made by the Global Council.
- The Technology Council reports to the Global Council. It serves as a bridge between the Global Council, the WMF, and the technical communities.
- The Technology Council will have a combined mandate, including:
- Prioritisation of areas of technical development
- Broad development plans for how to achieve these priorities
- Improving methodology for gathering and using feedback on technical development
- The Technology Council will propose its priorities and plans to the Global Council. The Global Council has the power to approve or reject the proposals.
Recognition & Derecognition of affiliates: standard-setting and controlled decision-making
- The Global Council will recognize and derecognize affiliates through a subcommittee (Affiliations Committee). It may set or modify standards for affiliates to meet for recognition, to continue to be recognised, and to receive grants. The fundamental standards will be codified in the Charter.
- The Affiliations Committee (AffCom) reports to the Global Council. The Global Council makes the final decisions on form and structure of AffCom, based on the provisions of the Movement Charter.
- The Global Council may choose to allow AffCom to directly recognise affiliates or retain that authority for itself.
- In this new structure, AffCom is tasked to verify that affiliates are actively aiding the projects’ functioning.
- Additionally, AffCom gathers and assesses evidence for derecognition of an affiliate, and submit recommendations. These will be accepted or declined by the Global Council.
- WMF Board of Trustees retains the ability to de-recognise affiliates purely for misuse of trademarks, legal, or emergency actions. Except in urgent situations, the Global Council's agreement will be sought in this decision.
- There are three affiliate categories: chapters, Thematic Organizations, and User Groups. The creation of new affiliate categories will be reserved to the Global Council/AffCom with the acceptance of the WMF Board of Trustees.
Recognition & de-recognition of Hubs: standard-setting and direct decision-making
- The Global Council may modify pre-requisites for Hubs to be recognised, to continue to be recognised, to fundraise, and to receive grants. The fundamental standards will be codified in the Charter.
- The Global Council is directly responsible for recognition & de-recognition of Hubs.
- AffCom’s scope is expanded to evaluate Hubs. The committee will be responsible for evidence-gathering and criteria review, and submit recommendations to the Global Council for recognition.
- AffCom will be responsible to review the hubs’ functioning, capacity and assess evidence before submitting recommendations to the Global Council for derecognition of a hub.
- WMF Board of Trustees retains the ability to de-recognise Hubs purely for misuse of trademarks or legally necessary actions. Except in urgent situations, the Global Council's agreement will be sought in this decision.
- The Global Council works with both the Hubs and relevant teams within the WMF to enable cross-hub co-operation and, where necessary, mediation.
Affiliate & Hubs Advancement
- The Global Council shall monitor the work of movement advancement through the coordination of AffCom and Hubs.
- AffCom will primarily be responsible for guiding organisational development and ensuring adherence to good governance principles.
- The Global Council will not raise funds in any way.
- The Global Council, with support from the Wikimedia Foundation, will develop a policy that applies to all Movement entities around fundraising. This will include rules that can be adapted to local context and needs.
- The Global Council and WMF will collaborate on processes to coordinate Movement fundraising.
- The Global Council will issue a recommendation to the WMF Board of Trustees with regards to the criteria for assigning the share of total central revenue to community general funds, regional fund committees, and any cross-regional grant dissemination.
- Regional fund committees will report to the Global Council to demonstrate activity that is effective, equitable, and accountable.
- Open Questions regarding Fund Dissemination
- What role should the Global Council have in fund dissemination?
- Oversight or review of WMF decisions
- Coordination with WMF
- Other (please elaborate)
- Should there be a committee that reports to the Global Council and handles central/cross-regional fund dissemination?
- What should be the Global Council’s role with regards to the allocation of the funds within the WMF?
- The Global Council should be consulted on the allocation of the funds within the WMF.
- The Global Council should have no role in the allocation of the funds within the WMF and only be informed.
- Other (please elaborate)
Global Site Policies - proposal retracted due to vetoing legal concerns
Summary of removed proposal: the Global Council would be a consulting partner on changes by the WMF to global policies. The Global Council can reject them unless they are legally mandated.
Reasoning leading to this proposal: during the pre-MCDC process, there was a desire for the Global Council to be able to reduce the frequency and scale of Communities/WMF disputes. The disputes happen for several reasons, and planned efforts to improve consultation and aspects such as the Technology Council should help with some areas. However, global policies and actions around them have caused past disputes, and the Movement Charter Drafting Committee felt this could prevent issues in this area in the future.
Summary of legal removal grounds: most WMF global policy actions are based on a risk evaluation/judgement call, not a brightline interpretation. There was also a concern that some policies are implemented to prevent more problematic legislation being created.
Request for: Alternative proposals that can mitigate, if not eliminate, major disputes between community and WMF regarding global site policies in the future.
- The Global Council possesses an advisory role in assisting user safety, such as through aiding training and collaboration.
- Formal authority continues to reside with the relevant body (local projects, Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee (U4C), Trust & Safety, etc.).
- The Global Council will also hold a mediating role in cases where 2 or more entities are unable to resolve significant disagreements between them. The Global Council will act as a neutral party with a goal of assisting dispute resolution and/or mediation.
[Note to reader: there are scenarios for how to structure the Global Council that we will invite community to provide feedback on during the community consultation]
- Open Questions regarding Structure
- Should the Global Council exist only as an executive body or should it exist as an executive body with an advisory board? (See scenarios below)
- If the Global Council is an executive body with an advisory board, how are the members of both entities (executive body and advisory board) seated?
- With its size, the Global Council must have adequate diversity and clout, but not be so large as to undermine effectiveness. As an executive body, how many members should the Global Council have?
- Option 1: 9-13 members
- Option 2: 17-21 members
Scenario 1: Global Council as an executive body
|Tranche 1||Tranche 2||Appointed|
|Number of Members||5 community-elected
|2 (1 of which must be a WMF employee)|
|Selection Process||Community-elected seats are chosen in an open and community-wide election. Potentially with some limitations on excessive project presence.
Affiliate seats are chosen from the same candidate list, with each chapter/Thematic Organisation and a subset of user-groups receiving 1 vote.
|Chosen by the elected Global Council members. |
WMF to propose their representatives
|Term of service||Default of 2 year term. Exceptions apply for initial onboarding of Global Council and re-balancing of tranche sizing.||Maximum and default of 2-year terms, Global Council may specify a shorter length to align with elections.|
|Representation/Purpose||Members represent the Movement as a whole. Their purposes are those determined by the Global Council’s mission and the electorates’ needs and wishes.||Primarily designed to provide specialised expertise and experience.|
|1||5 members||5 members||5 members|
|2||5 members||5 members||5 members|
|1||3 members||3 members||3 members|
|2||2 members||2 members||2 members|
|1 member||1 member||1 member|
|1 member||1 member||1 member|
Scenario 2: Global Council as an executive body with an advisory board
The Global Council will have an advisory body; this advisory body will act as a consultation body for the Global Council, as well as community representation. This body will have between 70-100 members who are selected or elected.
- Scenario 2.1 Advisory Board & Global Council both follow elections
- There will be selections or elections for both the advisory board and the Global Council executive board.
- Scenario 2.1.1
- Two separate selections or elections: one for advisory board and one for the Global Council executive body.
- Scenario 2.1.2
- One election or selection process, whereby the top 9-21 (depending on the range of seats available) candidates are seated in the Global Council executive body, and the following 70-100 members make up the advisory board.
- Scenario 2.2 Advisory Board selects Global Council executive body
- The advisory body is selected/elected first, and then nominates 9-21 (depending on the range of seats available) members from within their group to serve as the Global Council executive body.
- The Global Council core group will have a total of XX members [open question above].
- 9-13 members
- 17-21 members
- Potential limitations on Global Council membership, including no limitations (see questions below).
- The Global Council may permit up to 2 WMF or WMF Board of Trustees observing members with no voting rights. The Global Council may set appropriate conditions for these observer members.
- Global Council members can be members of the reporting committees or subcommittees. However, if any committee or subcommittee reporting to the Global Council does not have a Global Council member, they should have a Global Council liaison.
- All voting members will have 1 vote in any decision of the Global Council.
- Members are to serve Wikimedia as a whole and are not serving as a representative of any sub-group, region, or entity within Wikimedia.
- Each member serves 2-year terms.
- Open Questions regarding Membership
With an intention to ensure fair representation, power balance, and promote diversity and inclusivity within the Global Council, we seek your inputs on the following:
- Should there be some imposed limits to the membership in terms of movement representation?
Please share your opinions about potential criteria of such limits:
- Should there be a regional cap, e.g. max 3 persons from a single region? If yes, please specify the condition.
- Should there be a home project or entity cap, e.g. max 2 persons from a single wiki project or affiliate? If yes, please specify the condition.
- Should there be a specific cap for large language communities, projects, or affiliates, e.g. not more than 5 seats from between the 5 largest projects? If yes, please specify the condition.
- Should there be any other limits for Global Council membership? If yes, please specify the condition.
- All nominations for each tranche’s election are made to a single candidacy list.
- The community-elected members will be chosen at-large using a single transferable voting system.
- Selected seats will be chosen by affiliates using a single transferable voting system, with each affiliate receiving 1 vote.
- The top affiliate ranked candidates will be elected and removed from the candidacy list. Then, the top community-ranked candidates will be elected.
- Eligibility standards for community voting will match the approved movement standards.
Candidate criteria & limitations
- Candidates must meet the voter eligibility criteria for WMF Board of Trustees elections to file nomination
- Candidates may be paid WMF, affiliate, or hub, staff/contractors but must clearly disclose this information at the beginning of the election
- Members may not become paid staff during their term without resigning their position
- Members may only serve four consecutive years (equivalent to two full terms) as a global council member. A period of six months is required for a member’s terms to not be consecutive.
- Candidates must be in good community standing (meaning they are not currently suspended or otherwise prevented from participating).
- Members are expected to consistently participate in the Global Council activities.
- Members must be willing to sign and comply with the terms of appropriate private information policies, including a non-disclosure agreement.
Limitations and Safeguards
[To be written after further progress on powers and responsibilities, as the necessary level of limitations/safeguards will vary depending on these.]
- Appendix (implementation): In the original election processes, the top 6 community-elected and top 3-affiliate elected members will receive 3 year terms on Tranche 1, with the remaining members receiving 2 year terms on Tranche 2. At the end of the second year, Tranche 2 will run an election, with members then receiving 2-year terms.
- Appendix (resignations): In the event of resignation (or other removal from position) during a term, that seat will be filled in the next election. If a shift would cause that Tranche’s size to grow to 9 members, then the new seat will be a full term. If a Tranche would grow to 10+ seats, then the bottom-ranked incoming members will receive 1-year terms.
- As determined by number of active editors for projects and voting members for affiliates