On 12 and 13 June, 2021 about seventy Wikimedians convened to discuss the next steps for launching the process of the Movement Charter. Throughout two 4-hour conversations, participants discussed, filled a survey and created an outline of the future Charter. The discussion tackled how the Charter’s Drafting Committee will be set up, including the composition of the committee, the method of selection for members and means to ensure transparency and legitimacy. This page contains a summary of the verbal discussion, along with about 30,000 words of working documents, meeting minutes and chat logs.
The meeting was divided into two main parts, each focusing on a separate topic:
- Scale of the Charter: In the first part of the meeting, participants were asked to imagine how the Movement Charter would look like in practice. The participants split into three groups, discussing three different sections of the Charter on a scale: ranging from the “compass” (direction) to “map” (details), or something in the middle. After the exercise, the participants were able to fill-in a survey to suggest the best level of detail for each section in the Charter. The results showed a tendency towards the “compass/map” (middle option) in most sections.
- Drafting Committee of the Charter: In the second part, the Wikimedia Foundation presented a proposal regarding how to move forward with creating the Movement Charter’s Drafting Committee. The presentation was followed by a lengthy group discussion, which included mixed responses to the proposal and, consequently, several alternative proposals. Some of the ideas tackled how to form a representative committee: for example, by including a specific number of members from communities, affiliates and the Foundation (the 7/7/7 model and similar ones). Other ideas tackled how those members can be selected in different combinations of local elections and appointment, in order to ensure diversity, expertise and legitimacy in the group.
The discussion was not wrapped up with a definite conclusion on either topic. The discussion of the Drafting Committee’s composition and selection will be revisited on 26 and 27 June Global Conversations. Meanwhile, feel free to provide your feedback and input on Meta or the relevant discussion space of Movement Strategy in your wiki.
The Scale of the Movement CharterEdit
In the first half of the meeting, participants looked at the topics that the Movement Charter will probably cover, and they discussed how much detail should be included in each of those topics. For purposes of discussion, the content of the Charter was broadly divided into three sections:#Values and principles
- Roles and responsibilities
- Topical areas
For each section, the participants created a proposal for how that section may look on three levels of detail: ranging from “compass” (least detailed) to “map” (most detailed), with a middle option in between. Based on these discussions, the following table was created:
|Sections of the recommendation||Detail Level|
Somewhere in between
|1. Values and principles
Lay the values, principles and policy basis
|* The values belong to the directional compass side - they cannot be too descriptive.
||* An outline with definitions for values and principles.
||* An outline with definitions for values and principles.
|2. Roles and responsibilities
Lay the roles and responsibilities of entities…
|Governance structure, relationships and decision-making||* Structure & Scope of movement.
||* Core details on the movement structures responsibilities.
||* There might be legal challenges that make it difficult to implement the “map” model.
|Global Council||* Structure & Scope of Global Council
||* Definition of the Global Council’s decision-making power on behalf of the movement.
||* Clear definition of difference in responsibilities between Wikimedia Board and Global Council.
|Hubs||* Define financial relationship between hubs and existing affiliates
||* Outline the framework of operation for Regional Hubs||* Two different (quantitative and qualitative) approaches to recognising and supporting new leadership.|
|Policies and procedures and other topics||* Ensure the autonomy and independence of online project communities
||* Selection processes guidelines : Not necessarily the same for every region or entity.
||* Implementing Rules & Regulations, including the regulation documents to be created by policy-making bodies.|
|3. Topical areas
Set requirements and criteria for decisions and processes for...
|Justification for each option||Collaboration and revenue criterias must be under a compass because of the diverse contexts they apply to across the movement.||It is not practical to have a very detailed list or procedures under which collaboration must be done. It can vary a lot by context.||The Universal Code of Conduct as of now is a very detailed and separate document. Detailed is good when it comes to Community Health-related issues.|
|Ensuring safety in collaboration situations and their environments||* Reference to the Universal Code of Conduct - without including direct text from the UCOC.
||* Commitment of the movement to maintain safe and collaborative environments with general guidelines||* Detailed list of unacceptable behaviour on the movement and a detailed set of procedures to prevent it.|
|Defining how communities
work together and are accountable to each other
|* Definition of collaboration principles||* Outline of the expectations for participation and the rights of participants
||* Detailed description of the expectations for participation and the rights of participants|
|Setting expectations for
participation and the rights
|* High level outline of the expectations for participation and the rights of participants.||* Definition of collaboration principles and suggestions for procedures.||* Definition of collaboration principles and detailed procedures.|
|Ensuring revenue generation and distribution with appropriate accountability mechanisms||* An outline of responsibilities for revenue generation and resource allocation in the movement.
||* An outline of the responsibilities and general guidance for revenue generation and resource allocation in the movement
||* An outline of the responsibilities and detailed procedures for revenue generation and resource allocation in the movement
Preferences polling and discussionEdit
After completing the table shown above, participants had the chance to express their preference for the level of detail in the Movement Charter for each of the sections above. The results of the polling were the following (the table shows the results of the polling on June 12th and 13th, consecutively):
|Movement Charter’s section||Subsection||Compass||Compass/Map||Map|
|Values & principles||13+19||5+14||1+5|
|Roles and responsibilities of entities...||Global Council||2+8||11+16||6+14|
|Topical areas||Safe collaborative environments||5+18||9+14||5+6|
|How communities work together|
|Expectations & rights of participants|
|Revenue generation and distribution||2+11||13+17||4+11|
The reactions towards the polling results focused on the strong inclination of respondents to choose the “middle option” as a safer or more balanced alternative. Several people suggested using a scale with four options from “strong compass” to “strong map”, thus excluding the neutral or hybrid choice. “If there are consequences [to polling opinions]”, someone said, “you need to take out the middle option”.
Roles and responsibilities was a particular area of interest, for its tendency towards the “map” and “compass/map” options. It was mentioned that it is exceptionally important to describe the details of this area, which may otherwise create conflict or encourage power to be kept “towards the power group”.
The Drafting CommitteeEdit
The diversity and expertise of the Drafting Committee were major topics for discussion. The Wikimedia Foundation presented a proposal for a diversity and expertise matrix, where the matrix would be used to select the Committee’s members.
While the reactions towards the two matrices were mostly positive, there were also several gaps, additions and comments. One potential gap in diversity is people with disabilities. Language is also a key aspect of diversity: the majority of the community are not fluent English speakers, and many feel like outsiders when trying to join complicated conversations in the English language (for instance, this discussion). This could be mitigated by more language support, or by decentralizing the conversation across regions, although that will prevent sharing ideas across different communities.
Expertise is also critical for the success of the Drafting Committee. The definition of expertise, however, was not distinctly clear. For example, how can a certain expertise be objectively assessed or demonstrated? Some specific aspects of expertise that were stressed are in the financial and legal fields.
There was less alignment on the exact composition of the Drafting Committee. Since the suggested number of members ranged from 10 to 20 people, it would be impossible to reflect the enormous diversity of the movement in such a small group. Proposals for the composition of the group included the Following:
- Geographical basis: For example, by selecting two people from each of the “grant committees' regions”, two people from each continent or from each hub. It would be hard to use any more detailed criteria than continents or broad regions.
- Affiliation basis: Including the 7/7/7 proposal, featuring an equal number of members from online communities, affiliates and the Wikimedia Foundation. Alternatively, an adjustment to a 9/3/3 representation, of the same groups in the same order, was suggested.
- Filling expertise gaps: In either case of the above, gaps in expertise can be filled by recruiting short-term members, or by appointing additional members later.
- Two groups: Instead of limiting expertise and diversity to a single group, it was also suggested to create two consecutive drafting committees. This will reduce concerns about the particular composition of each group, while also giving more people the chance to participate in the process. As a downside, the transition between the first and second committees will lengthen the process.
Although the goals for diversity and expertise were, overall, points of agreement, the means to reach them seem to be less so. Even if the criteria are clear, the method of selecting members of the Drafting Committee still matters, with various proposals showing up throughout the event.
The Wikimedia Foundation presented a proposal with an expertise focus. In the proposal, interested candidates would self-nominate themselves to join the committee, and will then be appointed in reference to the matrices of diversity and expertise.
The reactions were mixed. Many were concerned about who will be appointing the committee’s members, remarking that no single body or entity should “own the process”, including that of selecting the committee. There were also various concerns about the “legitimacy” of this method. Arguments in favour mentioned that, if the process is well-designed to integrate feedback, it would not be so important “who are the drafters”.
Open elections were proposed as a selection method that is “in the spirit of the movement”. Many referred to the similar discussion that took place during the January Global Conversations, where there had been a broad support for “supermajority of elected seats” on the Interim Global Council. While there was some support for the proposal, it was pointed out that “Relying only on elections” can ensure neither diversity nor expertise.
The elections do not have to be global: they can take place locally or regionally, with each region electing its own representative (for example: Asian communities electing two representatives on their behalf). A response from that Foundation was that members of the Drafting Committee should be “representing the movement” with everyone in it, rather than individual communities or regions.
To balance out the need for diversity/expertise with an election process, a hybrid model was suggested. The model includes local on-wiki elections to choose geographically-distributed representatives of the community. Then, the remaining gaps in expertise or diversity can be filled with further appointments.
Other ideas for the selection process:
- Two-step process: 1. Self-nomination and selection, then 2. Filling-in gaps through outreach or appointments.
- Self-nomination: While it can apply to all of the selection methods above, self-nomination was broadly supported as a part of the process. Some downsides, however, are that many underrepresented groups may be reluctant to nominate themselves, which means that proactive outreach and support for them to participate.
- Peer-nomination: People can nominate others with the consent of those nominated.
- Elections from a shortlist: Candidates can nominate themselves, a selection group shortlists the names that have then to pass through a community’s lightweight voting process.
- Core appointment with elections: A core group is appointed who, independently, proceed to fill-in the gaps of expertise and diversity through both further appointments and organizing local elections.
“Trust” was a recurring theme in the discussion, often seen as a prerequisite for the entire process which, by itself, requires a “transparent” way to make decisions. “Transparency is not about communicating decisions transparently”, a participant mentioned, “but about a transparent decision-making process”.
Part of this process would be in holding “multiple BROAD feedback rounds” for the Movement Charter, which should include underrepresented communities (even if they have “representatives” on the Drafting Committee). But even if there is extensive feedback, there should still be an overall ratification process which, for some, should be through “Meta-wiki sign-off”, or by having “3 proposals written up” for the community to decide from.
Some proposed next steps were, generally, to come up with a “clear road map” and a “point of action”, possibly by focusing on moving forward with points of agreement. It was mentioned that the proposals should be written up and shared with the wider community, rather than the relatively small group that was present during the discussion.
Preparation and presentation documentsEdit
- Presentation slides from the event: Includes the agenda, framing of the discussion, process steps and the proposal for the Charter Drafting Committee.
- One pager on Movement Charter in general.
- Movement Charter Drafting committee set-up options.
- Detailed options on how a Movement Charter could look like.
- Summary of the May 31 preparation discussion for June 12/13.
- Note: The table is a combined version of two different tables created on Saturday (12 June) and Sunday (13 June).
- 13 June: General notes.
- 12 June: General notes.
- A participant shared more thoughts on the issue at: User:Ellif/S2030.
Saturday 12 June
Sunday 13 June