This page proposes a high-level overview of what we know about the future and about our movement today. For more information on a given topic, follow the blue links.
This page is kept for historical interest. Any policies mentioned may be obsolete. If you want to revive the topic, you can use the talk page or start a discussion on the community forum.
Goals: Why are we here today?
Our Goals (DRAFT):
- Identify as a movement a cohesive direction that aligns and inspires us all over the next 15 years.
- Build trust, goodwill, and alignment within our movement. Participate in a legitimate, transparent, open process based on shared power, not hierarchy.
- Better understand the people and institutions that form our movement, those we are not yet reaching, and how their needs may change over the next 15 years.
- Build a shared understanding of what it means to be a movement, how others outside of us can take part, and what it will take to increase our movement’s impact. Unite around how to grow to achieve our vision.
- Build relationships to expand and enrich our movement and prospective partners.
Process: What are we doing today?
This discussion is one of many that will happen across different groups and channels. You will have several opportunities to share your thoughts and discuss the future of the movement with others.
We will first discuss general ideas, then converge on themes and their implications.
After Wikimania, we will discuss the roles and resources needed to implement what we have agreed on.
Movements are purposeful & powerful ecosystems
Mobilized groups, noticing inequity, organizing & taking action to seek change
Some good examples include:
We're starting a movement-wide discussion. But what exactly is a movement? What are some examples of well-known movements of different types (political, social, local/global, empowerment-based)?
Transformative Movements v. incremental change
Collective Impact Framework
Social Movement Theory
Here are 3 different approaches for evaluating movements. They are each grounded in research and experience but with different lenses.
The 1st is from the Movement Strategy Center (Oakland, CA, USA) and has a very local, community-oriented approach; it is interested in inspiring participants to push for big transformative approaches (as opposed to smaller, more incremental activities) in order to disrupt and potentially eliminate systematic exploitation.
The 2nd is a very current approach among established organizations for looking at - and harnessing - the value of their separate (and potentially isolated) activities in order to coordinate efforts and have a much larger collective social impact.
The 3rd is a somewhat more academic approach for evaluating common aspects of social movements, with the notable political angle called out. All 3 of these “models” of movement evaluation can help us see important elements of our own “free knowledge” movement and help inspire ways to potentially optimize it.
What we know about the future: 2030 and beyond
Probabilistic Population Projections based on the World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision
The most significant demographic trend of the 21st century will be rapid population growth in Africa.
For example, Lagos (Nigeria) is expected to grow to 24 million by 2030, which is the population of present-day Shanghai, the largest city in the world.
The median age of people in the world will decrease to 33.1, with a quarter of the world's youth expected to live in Africa.
In other countries, the population will grow more slowly or shrink, and will become older.
Many countries will have disproportionately large populations of senior citizens.
Por exemplo, a proporção de cidadãos chineses acima de 60 anos crescerá de 16.1% para 25.2% em 2030.
The 8.5 billion humans who will inhabit Earth in 2030 still have to live on the same planet. As a movement, we can't ignore our environment and larger ecosystem. We have to be conscious of the other challenges that we face as a global population, and how they impact our movement.
This isn't to say that the Wikimedia movement should try to solve global warming or social injustice; that is not our primary focus.
There is however an urgency in our quest to share free knowledge; complacency is a privilege that most of the human population can't afford.
The solutions are connected.
According to the Movement Strategy Center, many movements seek to solve problems that are interconnected, with solutions that are connected as well:
|Transition from systems based on:||to…||Systems based on:|
Experts in social movements recognize common symptoms of systems that serve to accumulate wealth and power in the hands of a few.
The Wikimedia movement exemplifies many of the solutions proposed to solve those problems. Sharing knowledge for free inherently shifts power from elites to the people. The way we currently create and disseminate free knowledge through wikis is radically inclusive and cooperative.
The wisdom, generosity, and kindness demonstrated across our communities can also be seen in other social movements that seek to improve our collective future.
5% more young people are enrolled in primary school than were enrolled in 2000 (89% and 84%, respectively).[e 1]
50% of out-of-school children of primary school age live in conflict-affected areas.[e 2]
85% of the global population is literate, up from 82% in 2000.[e 1]
- ↑ a b World Bank, 2014
- ↑ United Nations
15 years is an eternity in the world of technology; the always-connected, touch smartphone now ubiquitous in established markets didn't exist 15 years ago.
Predicting technology 15 years ahead is difficult, but some trends are likely to continue.
One such trend is the growth of internet penetration across the world, and in particular in emerging centers of high population.
Another strong trend is the continued rise of mobile access, devices, and practices. In 2015, mobile traffic surpassed traffic to the desktop Wikipedia site for the first time. Mobile significantly changes access for emerging countries. Many users are getting information online, then consuming and sharing offline.
Messaging platforms grow rapidly, evolving from simple conversations to expressive communication
Smartphone usage increasingly means sharing stories as they happen.
Our movement and ecosystem: Who are we today?
What do we mean by "movement" in the context of Wikimedia and its vision? There are many different perspectives on what the movement is.
We're a large and diverse group of people doing a lot of different things, playing a lot of different roles, at different levels of involvement.
Our movement is also part of a larger ecosystem of movements, organizations, and individuals. Some of them have interests similar to ours, and others work against our efforts.
Individual contributors today
Almost 75,000 individual editors currently make more than 5 edits in a month. Of those, almost 13,000 make over 100 edits in a month.
The work of contributing to Wikipedia and its sister sites is complex, so contributors tend to specialize in the roles that they fill. These roles range from content-focused (actual writing of content), support (templates, building tools/bots), administrative, social work (e.g. mediating disputes) and quality control (vandal fighting & new page patrol).
Newcomers tend to enter via content-creation roles and move to social and technical roles as they gain experience.
Individual contributors also include developers, designers, and others who create and improve the tools and software platform that runs Wikimedia sites.
Organized groups and affiliates provide a structure for groups of individuals to organize activities that advance the movement. As of March 2017, there are 40 chapters focused on specific geographies, 75 user groups, and 1 thematic organization.
There is a wide variety across affiliates in terms of models, levels of activity, and finances. Some have paid staff and others are entirely run by volunteers. Some can provide support to individual contributors and others focus on events and outreach.
There is no single model of what an affiliate should become; it depends on their capacities and external circumstances.
The Wikimedia Foundation is currently the largest organization in the movement. It was created in 2003 and has around 290 staff and contractors based around the world and in San Francisco.
One of the Foundation's main activities today is to provide direct support to websites and improve the technical platform supporting Wikimedia sites.
The Foundation also runs programs and grants to support individuals, communities, and affiliates across the movement.
This movement strategy process will notably influence what the Foundation focuses on in the next 15 years.
Movement growth and tensions
Over the last 15 years, our movement has grown and become more complex. Along the way, there have been disagreements, mild and strong. There have been decisions involving power, money, and breaches of trust that have hurt relationships across the movement.
Many of us in the movement have felt wronged. Some have made mistakes that we might feel we can't ignore. Instead, we would ask that we acknowledge our shared history and learn from what we could have done better.
We can take a moment to reflect on the past, air any grievances, and heal before we can make plans for a future that we build together.
What do we do today in the movement?
We create content, we consume content, we support content creators and consumers
This section is currently Foundation-centric. Please help improve it to reflect finances across the whole movement, or propose improvements on the talk page.
More than 5 million readers around the world donated $77 million USD in the Wikimedia Foundation’s 2015–2016 fiscal year. Donations were about $15 USD on average.
While the Foundation raises funds all year long internationally, the bulk of the revenue (almost 50%) comes in during the December English campaign.
Wikimedia's email fundraising program continues to grow significantly, doubling email revenue for the second year running. Readers opt-in for future email communications when they make a donation, and a year later the fundraising team sends a few reminders to donate.
Por que nós somos parte deste movimento?
Rationale: Show the diversity of motivations and also the common values shared across the movement. Understand what the members of these groups get out of being part of the movement.
Points to convey: See Research:Codex/Motivations of contributors and related links, Research:Necromancy, Studies on motivations of volunteer Wikipedians?, Research:Newsletter/2013/November#What drives people to contribute to Wikipedia? Experiment suggests reciprocity and social image motivations
- People are motivated by both personal and social factors. Group identity and perceived value of contribution to the group is critical beating social loafing.
- Fun, Learning and Social-seeking reasons seem to dominate high contribution editors. Ideological alignment seems to be less predictive of high contribution rates
- Feelings of self-efficacy and positive feedback are critical to sustained contribution
- The motivation of new editors is strongly negatively affected by negative feedback and the rate of negative feedback for good-faith newcomers has been rising.
English Wikipedia is read in a wide variety of use cases that differ in their motivation triggers, the depth of information needs, and readers' prior familiarity with the topic.
[For more details about the study and results, please refer to https://arxiv.org/pdf/1702.05379.pdf. For a more detailed summary of results, please refer to section 4.3.]
Some interesting user behavior observations based on the Wikipedia reader study: Users who intend to use Wikipedia for work or school (19.5% of the participants, left table) are more frequently observed for specific topics of articles, namely war & history, mathematics, technology, biology & chemistry, and literature & arts.
For the first two of these topics, users are more than twice as often motivated by work or school motivations when compared to the average Wikipedia user. While these topics cover a wide range of different areas, all of them are more related to academic or professional activities than for leisure.
Additionally, this type of motivation is more often reported by users accessing Wikipedia’s desktop version. This could be expected since many work/school activities are performed in office settings.
Furthermore, we can see that this motivation occurs more often for users who are referred by external search engines multiple times in a session, and by users who stay longer on an individual page, which can be seen as a potential indicator for intensive studying.
By contrast, users who describe their motivation as bored/random (right table), are more likely to use internal navigation within Wikipedia and to spend only little time on the individual articles.
Also, they tend to switch topics between the individual articles more often (as indicated by the subgroup with a high average topic distance).
These are telltales for less focused browsing behavior. Bored users also view more articles on Wikipedia both within the survey session and overall during the study period.
Finally, this motivation can also be observed more frequently for articles that cover specific topics, such as sports, 21st century, and TV, movies, & novels.
Clearly, these topics are more leisure-oriented and are in stark contrast to the previously discussed topics favored by users who use Wikipedia for work or school.
Points to convey: See [Wikimedia-l] Fundraising Update - Japan - Focus Group and Survey Findings, File:Wikimedia Survey 2014 English Fundraiser.pdf , File:Report.WikimediaJapan.f.071916.pdf
A few quotes from donors
Some information from surveys: do people know we're a nonprofit, how much are interested in contributing content, etc.
Contact: Caitlin C., Lisa
A living movement: How we're evolving
Rationale: Build understanding of the dynamics of the main groups within the movement
Points to convey: Contributors to the wikis are the most visible part of the movement. What do we know about them? Wiki-wide trends e.g. Rise and Decline, different dynamics across wikis. A summary of Research:WMF Strategy document: Research about contributors. Community health, civility, metrics about harassment
Microcontributions, offline events
Gender bias on Wikipedia, Gender gap, Research:Gender gap
Diversity improves quality: it is important that some editors are highly experienced while others are more green. It's important that few editors contribute a lot to an article while most others contribute only a little.
To newcomers, the rules are complex and often non-intuitive. This causes difficulty and often leads to frustration for good-faith newcomers. It also results in power disparities where experienced editors are more empowered by their "process literacy" to "win" disputes.
Format: A few charts (if applicable) and a few sentences summarizing what we know (and possibly what we don't know)
Contact: Guillaume, Aaron
All large Wikipedias appear to demonstrate a pattern of exponential rise starting in 2004 and slowing in 2007. While most wikis' active editor counts held relatively constant since 2006, the English Wikipedia has experienced a substantial and sustained decline.
At the root of this decline in English Wikipedia's active editors appears to be a sudden decline in the retention of good-faith newcomers due to the negative environment caused by counter-vandalism tools that "view newcomers through a lens of suspiciousness".
Points to convey: Number of languages, levels of activity and growth rates. Comparison of the amount of content in languages. Map of geotagged articles.
Diversity of content. Place and dynamics of sister projects. Content gaps.
Contact: Asaf, Leila, Katy/Chris S.
There are significant knowledge gaps in Wikipedia today. If Arabic is the only language you know or you prefer to read in, a language with 467M native speakers, you can only learn about 87K geographical locations in the world using Wikipedia.
If you speak all the languages for which we have a Wikipedia project, you can only learn about 2M geographical locations using Wikipedia. While this example is focused on geo-taggable articles, it clearly shows the gaps of knowledge in one specific area.
Significant gaps exist in many Wikipedia languages across many fields and the future editors will need to close these gaps for access to sum of all knowledge to become a reality.
Wikimedia sites provide knowledge to hundreds of millions of readers, and we don't track them.
A third of them come from Google, a third from internal links, and a third from other places (social media and other search engines).
Many readers consume Wikimedia content through indirect reuse, like syndication and knowledge panels. This audience is estimated to be in order of magnitude of one billion but it very difficult to measure.
Global north, global south. Wikipedia very well know in some parts of the world and not in others offline, education. Kiwix, Wiki Med
Placeholder for Suzie's updated metrics from the 2010-2015 strategic plan:
- Number of people served
- Number of Wikipedia articles
- Increase percentage of very high quality material
- Number of editors doing 5+edits/month
- Number of women and Global South editors
Looking back, we seem to have made some progress on the main priorities that emerged from the 2010-2015 strategic plan.
However the metrics that we’ve been using to measure our success don’t always reflect the progress that we're seeing.
Are we really measuring what we want to measure? What would be better ways to measure the progress of the movement as a whole, not just that of Wikimedia organizations?
The future of our movement in 2030
Questions & prompts: What is the future we want to build together as a movement in the next 15 years?
- Who do we want to be?
- What do we want to do?