Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Transition/Proposal: Drafting a Movement Charter

Let’s talk about drafting the Movement Charter on Tuesday


To take this conversation forward and to see where the different proposals can align, let’s talk! We have scheduled two video calls on Tuesday, please join!

Movement Charter and Global Council


As the Wikimedia Movement is evolving, the various stakeholders often think there is a lack of communication, and because of that, find it harder to feel other people are trustworthy. When we cannot trust each other, nothing works.

Our communities and organizations need clarity. The Movement needs a minimal framework that allows us to develop successful Movement-wide initiatives and collaborations. We need to safeguard the unique bottom-up community-driven character of the movement that makes it strong.

Creating and agreeing on the Movement Charter is key to initiating the core recommendations agreed on in the Movement Strategy. The Movement Charter will establish a solid base from which the future Global Council will be built, ensuring that it is representative of the Wikimedia Movement communities and organizations, and that it will facilitate a more distributed, aligned, and equitable decision-making mechanism.

The creation of a Movement Charter will bring clarity to the roles and responsibilities of people in every area of the Movement and create a stronger sense of trust. This is vital for the implementation of the Strategy 2030 recommendations, and in addressing other future challenges.

That’s why we, as a group of Movement Strategy veterans, think we need to focus on a reasonable process to create the Movement Charter first. We are Christophe Henner, Alice Wiegand, Claudia Garad, Anna Torres, Marc Miquel, Chris Keating, Nicole Ebber, Francesc Fort, Alek Tarkowski, and Daria Cybulska.

We acknowledge the lack of diversity of the group behind that text. This work started as a friendly discussion and we were too far off in the work to include new people without tokenizing them.

We think we can only break the current deadlock by addressing the factors at the heart of the lack of progress and take over the responsibility to make it happen.

Let's do it!

The situation


According to the Wikimedia 2030 Movement Strategy Recommendation 4: Equity in decision-making, the first step is establishing an Interim Global Council.

We see brilliant progress in the implementation of specific Movement Strategy initiatives such as the Universal Code of Conduct and the Enterprise API. Also, there are many other initiatives implemented at local or regional levels. However, there is stagnation concerning the implementation of Recommendation 4: Equity in decision-making. There have been productive conversations, but progress has halted.

This is caused by:

  • unclarity about the scope, responsibility, and duration/life span of the Interim Global Council;
  • unclarity about the process for ratification of the draft Movement Charter;
  • unclarity about who is in charge to drive this forward.

Summarising, there is an overall unease within the community about losing control and handing over responsibility for crucial decisions to an as yet undefined, unknown, and therefore untrustworthy, group.

Way forward


1. Limit the scope and responsibilities of the IGC to being the Movement Charter Drafting Group


Setting up the IGC creates a Catch 22 situation: how can the movement decide on establishing a movement decision-making process when there is no process for making movement decisions?

We suggest that the solution is to limit the remit of the IGC fundamentally. It will only be responsible for drafting the Movement Charter and developing a process for its ratification by the Wikimedia movement. The drafting group will not be a decision-making body and will invest a lot of time, work, and expertise in negotiating and creating the Movement Charter.

It will have no other responsibilities outside of these and will cease to exist as soon as the Movement Charter has been ratified and adopted, and the creation of the ultimate Global Council has been initiated.

2. Provide certainty at the start of the process that the draft Movement Charter will be ratified by the community


The process of community consultation and final ratification will be designed by the Movement Charter Drafting Group in consultation with all stakeholders, including, but not limited to, the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia Affiliates, and the wider community. The Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation will formally approve this process and allocate the necessary resources before drafting starts.

3. Define the roles and responsibilities of the Drafting Group


We expect the Charter Drafting Group to:

  • Design the process for the Movement Charter’s ratification (see above)
  • Explore different potential models available for the Global Council, create scenarios for their implementation and determine which would be most suitable for the Wikimedia movement to achieve the goals of the recommendations.
  • Develop the Movement Charter, again in consultation with communities, affiliates, the WMF, and subject-matter experts
  • Identify which areas in the current decision-making structure must be transferred to the Global Council.
  • Facilitate the design of an independent and transparent process, along with an independent legal assessment, to transfer responsibilities and authorities to the appropriate Movement-led bodies.

Composition of the Movement Charter Drafting Group


Legitimacy, inclusion, and representation in the drafting process will be assured through carefully designed consultations and the ensuring of movement-wide ratification of a proposed Movement Charter. Our proposal builds upon this suggestion made earlier as it will remove the pressure of having the perfect representation of the movement within the Drafting Group.

We strongly suggest moving forward with people who have proven that they can do that work and are also willing to do it. We support a suggestion made earlier to start with a core group of people who were active in the Movement Strategy Working Groups and the Design Implementation Group.

The full group should be diverse, but not be bigger than 20-25 people in total. We see potential in the principles of the 3x7 option put forward by Pharos as a way to expand the initial group but would recommend starting with a core of appointed members to kick start the work as early as possible.

To ensure that the group is able to function efficiently and effectively, members will need to commit to being reliable, available, and having the time needed to do the work. This work will, for example, entail designing, reading, and analysing research, setting up, facilitating, and consolidating negotiations with different stakeholders, attending many meetings, as well as reading and collaboratively creating many documents and emails. To make the group’s set-up inclusive and enable participation from any member of the movement, a system needs to be in place to compensate these individuals for their time and effort.

Our commitment and our request


We, the following initial signatories of this paper, are ready to serve, lead and support the immediate process of creating the Movement Charter Drafting Group and moving that process forward. We ask the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees and staff to continue supporting Movement Strategy with logistics and the appropriate resources and consider the proposed path.

Initial signatories/authors:

Further signatories / endorsements: If you agree, please add your name!

  1. Mervat
  2. Seddon
  3. ProtoplasmaKid
  4. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 15:56, 14 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Jan-Bart (talk) 17:15, 14 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Astrid Carlsen (WMNO) (talk) 17:40, 14 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Islahaddow (talk) 07:36, 15 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Anass Sedrati
  9. LucyCrompton-Reid (WMUK) (talk) 14:25, 15 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  10. -Theklan (talk) 16:44, 15 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  11. Alhen (talk) 22:11 15 April 2021 (UTC)
  12. MarcelBuehner (talk) 22:22, 15 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  13. dwf² 15:45, 17 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  14. Tiputini (talk) 10:39, 18 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  15. Mardetanha (talk) 17:43, 19 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  16. Caleidoscopic (talk) 21:45, 19 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  17. Emha (talk) 22:56, 19 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  18. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:34, 20 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  19. Douglaseru (talk) 18:41, 20 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  20. Skvjold
  21. Biyanto Rebin (WMID) (talk) 02:47, 21 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  22. Kayusyussuf (talk) 12:52, 22 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  23. Rtnf (talk) 02:07, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    I agree with this, if it is combined with Brandon's proposal during MCDG Composition meeting on June 27

    Proposal for an 'advisory group' who are representative of different interests in the movement (such as regions, languages, etc), who would advise a 'writing group' that works to narrow down the advisor's perspectives and put them into a document. Finally, there will be a 'consultative group' that reviews the writers' work and builds an iterative process to reach consensus. In an advisory group, there's no certain prerequisites in terms of expertise - but only in being a part of an underrepresnted community. The writer's group do not need diverse perspectives themselves, their task is to reflect on and consolidate perspectives from others. As for the consultative group, the need is to reach convergence in some way (for example, by going question by question).

    The main point is to make sure that underrepresented communities are heard. They dont even need to become the writer group.

  24. --Sm8900 (talk) 17:08, 4 July 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Add yourself

Disagreement and critics

  1. --Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 11:40, 15 May 2021 (UTC) (Very elitist and exclusivist group: see here)[reply]

Meeting notes


You can read the meeting notes.