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Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/2019 Community Conversations/Strategy Salons/Reports/MA UG

Date and locationEdit

Participant ListEdit

What happenedEdit

The Strategy Salon 2019 organized in Mohammedia was first an occasion to gather members of Wikimedia MA User Group, as it covered travel and accommodation costs for active Wikimedians coming from different regions of the Kingdom. Given this context, the Salon started by presenting the User Group and getting general feedback in relation with the national activities and internal work. After the usual presentations and an introduction of the strategy vision of 2030, the two chosen themes "Advocacy" and "Capacity Building" were discussed. The first theme "Advocacy" was introduced by Anass before opening the floor to a general group discussion and debate. The same process was followed to discuss Capacity Building. Lunch at a local restaurant happened between the two discussions. It was a good occasion to debrief, network, and to foster the relations with the team, as well as to explain that everyone can work offline, and participate in our common effort to advocate free knowledge in Morocco.

Summary of the discussion pointsEdit

Discussion Theme 1 (Advocacy)Edit

Marketing/BrandingEdit
  • Before starting the branding, there should be a proper study and statistics to know what advocacy type should be targeted
    • Affiliates should provide information about profiles using currently Wikipedia in their region.
    • Research team should produce papers with different statistics from the globe about the use of Wikimedia projects.
  • WMF should make efforts in media to raise awareness about “products” it develops such as Wikipedia Zero and Kiwix.
    • WMF should also consider finding other alternatives similar to Wikipedia zero in order to give access to free information.
  • WMF and affiliates should consider using Boots in public station and share Kiwix USBs in different parts of the world to advocate Wikimedia and inform people/raise awareness.
  • WMF should consider advertising Wikipedia and its sister projects in the media/streets.
  • WMF and affiliates should be encouraged to partner the maximum possible with friendly environments such as universities and libraries.
    • A concrete example is to include biographies from Wikipedia in different events/concerts, which gives more visibility to the content and the encyclopedia.
  • Wikimedia should be simplified in order to attract more people
    • Some articles should use simpler words.
    • Some users need to be more friendly and less arrogant.
    • Governance model should be simpler to grasp, or at least made clearer.
  • To be closer to more people, gamification should be used in Wikipedia
    • Add concept of ranking users in different levels to encourage them reach high levels (Can however affect neutrality).
    • Can be very useful especially for children and train future generations (through Wiki Kids for instance)
Policy/LegalEdit
  • WMF should hire legal experts/lawyers in different countries to be representing the Foundation in these regions.
    • These experts should be local and have knowledge of the local laws and culture.
    • They should also have a part of their working time in supporting the local affiliates.
  • Proper legal and administrative status to offer more action margin for advocacy purposes
    • In order to have a better advocacy, affiliates (especially user groups) should have a legal status in their area.
    • WMF should support this effort by providing the necessary support, in terms of capacity (expertise) and resources (consultants - lawyers).
    • In “unfriendly” environments, where members have difficulties to have a legal status, it is better to have an affiliation ID provided by the WMF allowing the User Group leaders/volunteers to act on-site and simplifying the processes for establishing partnerships/advocating.
Capacity Building (for advocacy)Edit
  • WMF should provide more capacity building for advocates, especially in terms of communication and legal
    • This can be achieved through different ways, such as hiring experts teaching the affiliates, or organizing conferences about the theme, or even creating online MOOCs and tutorials about advocacy.
  • There should be more face-to-face activity within the affiliates in order to strengthen the groups
    • This will be very powerful for reinforcing advocacy (more active affiliates means more advocacy everywhere).
    • WMF should fund these initiatives and meetings.
    • WMF should support groups to organize regular meetings with each other.
      • WMF can fund coworking space for meetings and workshops between contributors.
Partnerships (for advocacy)Edit
  • Affiliates should collaborate more with schools and universities in order to give a better and broader impact (private schools are a good start to enlarge the scope of education in terms of partnerships if the public/governmental ones are more difficult to partner with)
    • Explain to universities and academics that Wikipedia is a good tool for research through its way of working, as it encourages critical thinking.
    • To solve professors/teachers hostility and fears about Wikipedia, they should be integrated in the editing process
      • WMF and affiliates should sensitize more about Wikipedia through a collaboration in educational areas and providing training of trainers.
Recruitment/choice of advocatesEdit
  • Advocates should be well chosen, not because someone is a notable editor/community member that they need to be/will be an advocate.
    • How will be advocates chosen? who will select them? Is it the local affiliates? The WMF? Based on which criteria?
  • There should be a WMF representative (responsible of advocacy) in each region/geographical zone/linguistic zone.
  • Selection of people who will lead the advocacy campaigning (matching the profiles with the positions)
    • Volunteers Selected for Advocacy work should be well trained before starting their work.
    • Do the advocates represent WMF when performing their advocacy?


Discussion Theme 2 (Capacity Building)Edit

  • WMF should encourage sending experts/foreign Wikimedians to countries in need of a given capacity or inversely sending a Wikimedian to be trained in a partner organisation (case of Wikimedia Deutschland: Visiting Wikimedian)
  • Advertising capacities of each Wikimedian in terms of languages/technical skills.
    • Create a worldwide database showing capacities known by every Wikimedian (who wish to share them) so that they can be shared with each other.
  • Online tutorials sponsored by the WMF.
    • There should be more guides and tutorials (not in Meta) teaching the users about WMF and its different departments and governance.
  • WMF should hire experts in different regions and organize regular workshops and trainings in these regions depending on the specific needs of the community.
    • WMF can survey community members before hiring these experts to target the needed areas.
  • WMF should consider buying MOOCs/ involving MOOC creators in building capacity.
    • WMF should buy MOOCs in different capacities (management, organisation) and grant access to community members interested in them.
  • Is learning how to edit (for people external to the movement) a capacity that the movement should include in capacity building strategy?
  • Do all community members need capacity building?
    • Some trainings are very specific (and might be expensive to provide). How to decide on who should take them? And who makes this decision?
    • Suggestion: WMF asks groups to choose members to be trained in different capacities. (under the condition that the groups fulfill local democracy requirements).
  • Admins should be trained in soft skills and communication/pedagogy
  • WMF should allocate financial resources for affiliates to organize events with experts/pay professors to reinforce capacities.
  • WMF research department should provide a statistical map of Wikimedia projects users/viewers around the world in order to target those who are in lack of capacity in order to support them and identify the reasons behind this lack (whether technical, political, etc.)
    • Creation of a list of the top topics and areas of interests (most viewed articles) of each linguistic version of Wikipedia (or by country) in order to enhance the quality of the content as well as the expertise needed to write about it.
  • In terms of leadership within affiliated groups (mainly UG), adopting the rotating system for positions (e.g. president, project leader, communication manager) would be beneficial to evaluate the performance of everyone in matters of strengths and weaknesses in order to improve the management of the group, and work on the weak points.
  • In order to diversify the offer in terms of content (especially Wikipedia), WMF should produce videos explaining/defining some articles (following the example of audio articles).


Other AreasEdit

Roles and ResponsibilitiesEdit

  • WMF should address more surveys to all community members to evaluate the performance of their local affiliate and confirm that it is well governed.
    • Currently surveys are sent to some members of the affiliates who will naturally judge their work positively.
  • Representativity of different continents within the Board of Trustees
    • WMF should clarify election tools and how the choice of members is done.
    • Why do chapters vote more than user groups? And why many User groups are not allowed to become Chapters?
  • In terms of leadership within affiliated groups (mainly User Groups), adopting the rotating system for positions (e.g. president, project leader, communication manager) would be beneficial to evaluate the performance of everyone in matters of strengths and weaknesses in order to improve the management of the group, and work on the points to improve.

Community HealthEdit

  • There should be a “safe space” for new users so that admins see that they are new and they behave with them in a more welcoming way.
    • there should be guidelines for a special treatment of new contributors by admins.
  • There should be regular check-up about admins and community should have the ability to revoke their status, the same way the vote for them being administrators. “
    • Community should give their feedback (give a ranking-mark) for the behavior of the administrator in managing different issues.
  • WMF should offer more freedom and “anarchy” for users to resolve their conflicts, especially in the linguistic domain
    • The community can even be encouraged to have their own linguistic rules (model of an online linguistic academia) as they are not obliged to follow any rules imposed by a given state or organism over the others.
  • Facilitating the liaison between the online and the offline
    • There should be more linking between both spaces.
    • Currently, community members are either active online or offline, there should be more events (conferences) to bring both communities closer since their work is connected.

PartnershipsEdit

  • WMF should have a clear strategy for collaborating with universities and partner with them.
    • WMF can offer for example a standard template/guide about how to start a partnership with a university, because currently, everything is done separately and independently by different affiliates, which is a lot of repeated work.
    • WMF can take responsibility of such partnerships, as even universities are sometimes partner with each other, and WMF can be considered as a “university” in this regard.
  • In “unfriendly” environments, where members have difficulties to have a legal status, it is better to have an affiliation ID provided by the WMF allowing the User Group leaders/volunteers to act on-site and simplifying the processes for establishing partnerships/advocating.

Reflections from participants or partnersEdit

The strategy Salon in mohammedia meant a lot to the user group as it is one of the rare occasions to meet for the members. Besides strategy, the event saw active discussions related to the User Group, which were very relevant to Wikimedia 2030 work. Some of the points are also mentioned in other parts of this report:

  • The question of a legal status of the User Group (urgent point)
  • Questions related to grants and scholarships to fund projects.
  • How to initiate GLAM projects and establish partnerships on a local level.
  • How to bring in a judicial expert within the group
  • What are the possibilities of having a Wikimedia chapter in Morocco in the future?

Photographs or videosEdit

Our great photograph Brahim took amazing pictures of this event, which can be found at the category Strategy Salon Morocco 2019 at commons.

Statement on your budgetEdit

The total budget for this event was 1200 USD, covering accommodation, transportation as well as meals, catering and t-shirts. An amount equivalent to 65 USD remained after ending the event.