Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Working Groups/Resource Allocation/Minutes

This page contains summaries of meeting minutes for the Resource Allocation Working Group, one among the nine groups involved in the Wikimedia Movement 2018-20 Strategy process. The full versions of these minutes are accessible on Google Drive, but given their extensive length and detail, only their summaries are being shared here for the time being.

2019 edit

November edit

4 November edit

Decisions+next steps:

  • Keep communication channels open: mailing list+WhatsApp.
  • Keep the WG as a ‘standing committee’ to provide commentary/feedback in the future.
  • Daria to cancel all calendar meetings

October edit

21 October edit

September edit

30 September edit

The meeting started with reflections on Tunis from the members who were present there (Daria, Delphine and Maria shared their experience). RA members successfully represented the group and were able to support each other throughout the meeting. The value of RA recommendations and previous conversations also showed up, especially when handling Principles in day 2. Harmonization needed more time and more respect for the new mixed up group working together in Tunis.

Angelika made some final remarks about RA work and how it may reflect on the future of the Movement by changing "[its] DNA", even if the recommendations don't survive the process in their original form. Angelika's contract officially ends today (Sept 30th, 2019).

Next week's call, on October 7th, will be partially dedicated to celebrating the WG achievements, as well as to discussing next steps once more clarity has come up from the Core Team.

16 September: Call with Katherine edit

Recommendations don't have clear objectives for people outside the process, it's not obvious what problem they are trying to solve. Also, not all of these recommendations predict the end result of their implementation. Strong connection to the themes of accountability and decentralization. Making investment in the technical platform of Wikimedia projects came up in R&R and P&T, as technology has limited representation in the Movement's governance. Investing in readers doesn't spur much interest from the community, and there are no many channels available to receive their point of view (besides the survey and research). Implementation is not very clear, the conversation is going on within the WMF.

9 September edit

Reviewing reocmmendations in preparation for the Hamronization Sprint:

  • Recommendation A: Keeping or dropping the sentence on donors (all Movement resources are Movement resources, all resources belong to donors). Dealing with groups or communities that don't encourage diversity. Accountability as especially applying to staff, given the privilege of time and commitment they have over volunteers. On the other hand, some misunderstood the sentence and it was agreed to rephrase it. 'Structural decentralization or contextualization' was also highlighted, although it wasn't necessary to solve momentarily.
  • Recommendation E: Thematic hubs as existining entities, like affiliates or the WMF. The Foundation has a lot of hub functions, but some distinction needs to be made. The foundation 'could' be a hub.

2 September edit

Top down recommendations review:;

  1. Clear principles and frameworks
    1. Not yet worked upon, to be finalised/discussed next week
  2. Participatory decision-making
    1. Delphine will review, integrate suggestions, and call on other WG members to join the final review
  3. Design for Equity/Diversity
    1. Daria and Raphael will incorporate the newly shared ideas to refine this recommendation
  4. Explore structural redistribution
    1. Wikimania feedback was incorporated. Will have a further high level discussion at the Harmonisation sprint
  5. Develop long term relationships
    1. James worked on this, Raphael to provide feedback.
  6. Flexible / adaptable structures / processes
    1. Almost done, Daria and Satdeep will finish this up

Special request for everyone to provide responses to community feedback on meta (Daria will post these responses on Friday 6 September)

The next call on 9 September will be facilitated by Kayla

August edit

26 August: Call with Angelika edit

Overarching feedback of all RA recommendations. The conversation on 'the center' (decentralization) is interrelated with equity, inclusion and diversity, which are three distinct terms. Resource allocation is a narrow field, many of its concepts (e.g. defining the 'center') are shared with R&R. Concerned about too much control and of confusing the WMF (Strategy) with the Movement Strategy. The Principles document can take more work. Cross-check all recommendations for deicison-making (who, what, where? Accountability?), priorities, resources and contribution to free knowledge.

Need to include others for our sake rather than theirs, it's we who are not part of them. The next steps will be to set up the structure for implementation. The value of the thematic hubs is to move the information legitmacy from the Global North, it will also be a start to solve privilege problems (although not a complete solution) and a way to break the barriers of communication. Language and wording to be handled with care, every 'center' has a margin, and decentralization may even imply marginalization. Such problems, even if not resolved, are to be acknowledged.

26 August edit

Impressions from WIkimania.

Check-list for the recommendations (in preparation for Harmonization) begins with assumptions/intentions/impact, identifying it as structural or programmatic, incorporating feedback and seeking overlap with any recommendations from other WGs.

The design for the Hamronization Sprint is not clear yet. To prepare, conversations are to be held with several other WGs to discuss potential connections. Each RA member to be assigned 1-3 recommendations to review for this purpose.

Time limitation doesn't allow reviewing/finalizing recommendations during a group call. Rec E was pointed out to have a confusing problem statement. Rec D was also suggested as some kind of a 'role model' for others to follow. The feedback session with Angelika will also follow.

5 August edit

A reduced version of the recommendations (more concise, easier to read and more cost effective) was produced for translation for the purpose of Wikimania. The recommendation summary needs review before translating it. Review documents with a lookout for connections with other WGs.

Reviewing individual documents:

  • Recommendation C: Removing the controversial parts about paid editing may deprive it of its value. Differentiating between paid content and paid roles as crucial. The volunteer community varies from one part of the world to another. Capacity Building also proposes a concept of rewarding volunteers (overlap could be discussed). Everyone encouraged to point out criticism.
  • Recommendation D: Could be problematic for targeting the 'Global South', s sensitive terminology. Wording to be changed.
  • Recommendation E: Text and headlines don't match. Ideas of equity are gone, minimum income for organization also missing. Thematic hubs aren't affiliates.
  • Recommendation G: Community Health to add their comments.

Ensure good support for RA representatives at Wikimania, also support and listen other WGs.

July edit

15 July edit

Ann Lukens will be working with RA for their in-person meeting. Preparation for the meeting. Backing recommendations with research and community feedback. Wikimania preparation to be also discussed. Ideas to be added to the recommendatons sheet before Friday. Engaging Angelika in the in-person meeting. Getting in touch with Capacity Building and Roles & Responsibilities to explore connections. Logistics to be handled by the Core Team and the WMF.

8 July edit

Christian, the reseacher with R&R WG, preseted in reference to Buurtzorg. The process and logic of the change recommended in the Movement might not be clear. Organizational Development in different levels and stages, as opposed to conscience development. If you give people responsibility, they can ask resopnsibily. New forms of leadership and many instances of OD (e.g., in decentralization). Relation of the WMF, existing structures and affiliates to the model of organization. R&R also shared their seven principles/scenarios for recommendations.

1 July edit

Activity and recommendations update

Working Group members agreed to have a 90 minute meeting on July 8th. There will be a guest researcher from the Roles and Responsibilities Working Group to share governance research and a 30 minute conversation around recommendations

  • Working Group members will  get used to the recommendations template to find a Sequence of answering the scoping questions in Madrid, and other sections that will determine large or small scope recommendations. There will be member break outs in recommendation scenario pairs.
  • The Working Group call on July 15th will have logistical preparation for the in-person meeting.
  • There will be no Working Group meeting on July 22nd, (aftermath of the in person meeting).

The Madrid agenda

  • The highest level goal on the madrid agenda is walking out with a shared understanding on the number of complete recommendations and written documentation, with deadlines moving forward.

June edit

24 June edit

Sati isn't available to join the group (may help at a later phase), while Delphine could be joining and her coming on board is received positively. Communicating with other WGs to explore areas of overlap, including R&R (will be connecting virtually). Community Conversations to be looked out for potential integration. The CC kit was supposed to be a high level conversation starter, but RA members are not very satisfied with the questions it proposes.

Having an expert support the WG in syntehsizing the data and sensemaking is seen as useful, in order to allow volunteers to concentrate on content. Others, though, saw that WG members need to be the ones to interpret and analyze the data based on their background knowledge. Other groups opted to receive support in only specific areas.

Angelika's and Wolfgang's presentations stood out. Complexity of the Movement and bringing coherence to the process stood out in particular, influence of the WMF (as an entity situated in California, US), visible and invisible structures of power, budgeting for risk and value of democratization, to name a few. Added takeaways from the research to be integrated, or not integrated, to the recommendations. Engage with the recommendations format/template before the in-person meeting and look at examples from other WGs.

17 June edit

Research findings (Wolfgang): decision-making is a multilayered process. Look at allocating resources in big organizations, think thoroughly about power dynamics., bringing legitemacy, health and outside perspective into decision-making is key, the process and structures should be open to modification.

Response: more examples of organizational culture vs. decision-making. Benefecaries of the WMF and free knwoledge could be readers and editors alike. Moe clarity on governance and culture, and design vs. implementation. Shifting structures from evenly from the North to the South (relates to power/ability). Acknowledging the current power dynamics in the Movement. Need for some decision-making process in place. A key concern is accountability.

WG members liked the part about the audience and accountability. Appreciation for the open principle and the overall research.

10 June edit

Strategy research presentation on equity

Angelika Arutyunova and Working Group members made introductions and together agreed with the workflow to present research findings in the discussion.

  • Ten people had been Interviewed. Some of the highlights on outcomes from the interviews and research mainly revolved around the following areas;
  • Communities that have been left out and how their needs will be incorporated into the discussions and outcomes of the Movement Strategy Process.
  • Partners’ centered cooperation approach and Wikimedia acting as a decentralised satellite, rather than having Wikimedia Foundation as the Sun for the implementation of the Strategic Direction to create impact to the movement and society.
  • Innovation and risk taking to provide independent decision making and recognition to community needs.
  • Leveraging resources, distribution of knowledge for capacity building, sustainability of collaboration between the partners, institutions, and the movement.
  • Accountability, recognition, appreciation of worthy emeritus contributors and enabling current Wikimedians take Wikimedia to another level in the Strategic Direction.
  • Determination of structures for resource allocation, grantmaking and models, budgeting for risks and democratisation of resources.

Decentralisation would work once structures, processes and systems also change. Structures and strategy can be done at the same time. Equity is about accessibility, culture, ownership (how can we have cross-regional conversations of equity in every continent).

3 June edit

3 Hour meeting: Democatization and decentralization were to frequently recurring words. Many questions were about Movement structures. It was a descent exercise to visualize the recommendations. There was a strong consensus on decentralization. High energy in the meeting. Christian is to join the ICSC meeting on June 17. The next meeting doesn't need specific preparation, as it will be more of a general insight. Too many practical steps of implementation were discussed in the meeting.

20 May edit

Best experiences for RA members include research, learning new tools, teamwork, diverse pespectives and high level discussions with others. The Wikimedia Summit was a big turning point in moving to decision-making.

Designing the process for participation and drawing upon the theory of complexity. Thematic hubs will handle capacity building in very different contexts, will be adaptable/flexible. Distrubting funds is still a standing question.

RA is not being used now as a driver of change, looking for an organization that can build connections with the people and communities organically. Think about those who are not included in the discussion, as the feedback from research indicates the decentralization is felt only at the center but may not positively impact those who are already at the margin.

Some considered giving more microgrants and sharing experiences towards reallocating money (can become a competence center). Money seems to be the main focus of the group, but access to training and expertise is also a primary function of the Center of Excellence.

Deciding high potential areas. Decision-making regarding resources (handled by a separate board?). The risk and responsibility of allocating money were not discussed. RA itself is not the goal but other themes.

13 May edit

Community conversations updates

Community conversations feedback for Resource Allocation can be helpful in scenarios development, a dedicated Working Group member needs to be identified to look into this feedback, which can be sent back to the communities via contracted, language, community, and volunteer liaisons.

Work Plan and Update on scenarios

A walkthrough of the internal Working Group timeline for activities (workplan) for upcoming months was done and updated. Some of the content which was not considered in developing the scoping document is being used as background content to write the scenarios.

6 May edit

  • The Core Team shared the framing of the scenario model with drivers that can be of help in identifying, connecting, and constructing similar elements for scenarios.
    • Scenarios will help in practical, rather than theoretical thinking, as the Working Group develops scenarios for recommendations, however, there’s no need of agreeing to the variables for now, since the focus is on the different aspects of building our future, which involves many different important elements.
  • The framing questions will be used as the primary starting point for the building of scenarios, once the information (from scenarios) is available, the knowledge will help the Working Group in drafting the recommendations.
  • If the Working Group has scenarios ready by 17 May, they (scenarios) can be discussed on 20 May, and later a check in with other Working Groups’ liaisons.
  • James and Violeta created a list for decision making models that might be helpful regarding the scenario and the desk research.

April edit

29 April edit

Work allocation

  • Pairing for the development of recommendation scenarios has been done. A couple of questions/templates that would answer these scenarios would be useful.
    • Questions can be about decision making structures, resources being tied with impact, and design for the ever changing complexities of the movement.
    • Using scenarios as a guide to answer scoping questions.
  • It would be useful if people can share data that they have from the Berlin meeting, and keeping an eye on the meta page for any interesting data.
  • Liam is in touch with Michael Hedson, and he also received a positive update from an organisation he reached out to regarding  the Survey.
  • Once any work: creating content, ideas, case studies are completed, a link should be added to a spreadsheet to engage in good conversations.Scenarios may be also good conversation starters and can be shared publicly, based on the mechanics of the Cunningham’s Law.

15 April edit

Next steps for Resource Allocation Working Group:

  • International Civil Society Centre has responded, and can be invited to an in-person meeting or one of the Working Group calls. The research project will benefit the Roles and Responsibilities Working Group.
    • More organisations (which are not on the list used by WMF for its research) need to be added to the survey before the questionnaire is sent.

8 April edit

Summit Experience

  • There were moments of stress and frustration, which are expected in a transformation process. Discussions and engagement between affiliates and Working Groups, showed the importance of the Work being done.
  • The first Wikimedia Summit where people left happy, with enthusiasm and acknowledgement of frustration, but with more intense, positive outcomes than in the past.
  • Work Plan, clarity, and relief about the next steps.


The timeline shared by the Core Team is what the Working Group based on,  to determine milestones in 3 streams of Work:

  • Research on people outside Wikimedia
  • Drafting recommendations from the template shared by Core Team
  • Community consultations which was not the Core Team’s piece but the Working Group can use this if needed.

Discussion about specific ideas on developing recommendations

  • Aggregate ideas that have come up against various scoping questions by having Working Group members split in pairs and create scenarios that they can think through
  • Pairs would be working till mid-May
    • End of May: General discussions as a Working Group from subgroup ideas
      • This will get us to version 1 of the recommendations which will be reviewed with other Working Groups in June/July to produce version 2 that would be refined at Wikimania.
  • Community consultations are at the moment empty, besides talking to people who are not within the movement, this can be done end of April with Whose Knowledge
  • There’s need to review structures that will evolve over time.
  • Some of the Resource Allocation documents/scoping questions can be used as a basis for research.

March edit

25 March edit

Areas of overlap in the scoping documents of other Working Groups


  • ‘Different kind of resources’, Money, Organisational development, hand holding, training and capacity building, Access and equity.
  • Structural barriers around grants: We want to be diverse but have to be part of the community before we make them part of our grant structures.
  • Volunteering, monetary compensation for editing (Paid editing), financial subsidy for volunteers and non staff members.


  • Besides mentioning a generic lack of resources., there’s no overlap.


  • Building Wikimedia as an efficient partner in the Big Open meeting.
  • What kind of infrastructure do we create to be an efficient partner within the Wikimedia communities and for external groups, how can we be more strategic across external partners.
  • Technical capacity; Tools that are not maintained and developed, this could mean an implication of resources.

Revenue Streams

  • Point of assumption that movement funds would be distributed equitably.
  • Implementation pathway: Implication of increased amount of resources required for supporting revenue augmentation efforts.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Very high level. No overlap.

Capacity Building

  • Overlap in allocating of resources for building capacity.

Product and Technology

  • Funding section.
  • Relationship between Wikimedia movement and Mediawiki development.

Wikimedia Summit next steps

  • One of the deliverables from the Wikimedia Summit will be determined from the sessions.
  • Wikimedia Summit  participants will come to all the Working Groups to discuss the Scoping documents.
    • This is an opportunity to collect data and feedback from across the movement.
    • There is time for Working Group discussion and coming up with a plan after the summit.
  • All other meetings at the Summit are scheduled so as not to conflict with the work and discussions of Working Groups.

18 March edit

The discussion provided a debrief from Itzik’s email and Next Steps after scoping

Debrief from Itzik: Itzik appreciated the work of the Working Group, and provided context to his perception of the Strategy Process.

  • Working Group members also expressed the existence of many different levels and discussions of “strategy” in the Movement (e.g. global, organizational, brand), and the need to have these (strategies) working together.
  • The Core Team is taking forward structural discussions/reform process, which sometimes might feel heavy, as it focuses on all Movement structures. As it is Movement Strategy, there is a need for community involvement and participatory approaches. It is also difficult to focus on the big picture.Wikimedia 2030 process is an ambitious one which has rarely been done by any other organisations in a global scale. All feedback that will improve this process and make the experience of participants and stakeholders better, is welcomed by the Core Team.
  • The initial process design saw Working Group members as subject matter experts. Freedom and ownership were important design points.
  • The Core Team has stepped in to provide more guidance to ensure that there is more clarity and that things get done, but this has not always happened in the best possible way and has sometimes created confusion.

Next Steps after scoping: Among the key activities after scoping will be:

  • Preparing for the Wikimedia Summit
  • Community conversations
  • Reviewing scoping documents from other Working Groups to determine points of interaction and deviation, avoiding possible overlaps across the groups.

11 March edit

Discussion focused on scoping feedback, timeline, and next steps

A general outline and next steps after scoping were highlighted;

  • The scoping documents were submitted: Core Team provided feedback.
  • Responses from the Working Group regarding this feedback will be needed in 24 hours, if the Working Group wants to make any changes.
    • Scoping document will then be shared with WMF Legal Team, before publishing on meta.
  • Community conversations will then start.
    • Including translation to the 9 languages, feedback from Whose Knowledge, in person discussions, and community conversations .

Feedback review The Core Team had new members provide scoping document feedback to gather new perspectives. Some of the outstanding comments and discussion/responses from the Working Group members on the different sections of the scoping document were;

  • Scoping questions: Distinction between programmatic vs structural
    • Programmatic is more related to activities, annual agendas, whereas structural is focused on the movement structures and the different bodies within the movement, the structural change might need to be more elaborated.
    • Clarifying the area of inquiry, and how it relates to the current and future situation (Regarding the current situation: the scenario mapping doesn’t provide an overview, it’s Foundation centered, and not looking at the world beyond wikimedia, but only the current grant making)
    • In the point of view of Working Group members, opportunities in the current situation were expected to be determined from the community feedback, for example from the unequal distribution of resources.
    • In perspective of the Core Team, Working Group might need to define scenarios with a big picture focus about the future.
    • Why the scope and area of inquiry questions seem to be similar and can be merged or flipped. Possibly a native English speaker from the Working Group can phrase these questions better.
  • Revisiting the community questions.
    • Making the changes might be possible in the next 24 hours, but these might not be done in a procedural way since it’s a short timeframe.

Reflections from the Core Team were not prescriptive and they were meant to act as an orientation to what will come out from external feedback and community conversations.

4 March edit

The main area of discussion was the Resource Allocation Scoping document, including a high level summary, up to 10 key scoping questions and up to 3 community conversation questions.

Ideas to consider were:

  • Identifying boundaries for the discussions,
  • Map out commonalities between the areas that can be the basis for merging materials,
  • Determine equity, keeping in mind relation to perspectives from distant and emerging communities.

In addition to the scoping document a wider set of questions can be published and linked for further reading but will not be translated. These supplementary questions would be more specific and helpful for groups that might need more context about the Movement Strategy.

An overview of activities to happen before the Wikimedia Summit (scheduled from 29-31 March) was provided, which included;

  • Synchronization between working groups
  • Active participation in community conversations
  • Determining key discussion points and handouts to maximize these conversations at the summit.

February edit

25 February edit

Agenda: Scoping Workflow and Review

The current scoping document was discussed; advice was provided by the Core Team to have the text on some of the sections in three paragraphs, in order to contextualize the scoping document.

The areas of inquiry and other sections were discussed. The number of scoping questions that need to be added for community conversations was specified.

  • A suggestion was made to get a few people (who are not part of the target group, and do not know the topic - Resource Allocation) to test community questions, which are due by March 3

11 February edit

Agenda: In Person meeting preparation and Next Steps

A three day program overview, goals and expected outcomes of the in person meeting were discussed.

Key topics for the meeting included

  • Creating definitions for Knowledge equity
  • An update on members’ research
  • Definition of the resources and
  • Coming to an agreement on the scope of the Working Group.

It was noted that other groups might be interested in the Resource Allocation inquiry into the definition of equity.

  • All the 3 working groups will use the Berlin in person meeting to accomplish most of the scoping work.

4 February edit

Agenda: Aims of the in-person Meeting/Document and Research by Michał and Christian

Berlin Meeting

  • Proposals for the aim of the in-person meeting
    • Handling difficult questions in a structured format that are hard to answer online.
    • Approaches that will avoid conflicting recommendations on resource distribution.
  • Caution needs to be taken not to limit the Group to the current objectives without considering outside views, so having the other Working Groups together can be helpful to share ideas on table, and supplement them. There needs to be openness towards other groups not present at in-person meeting
  • We can look at contradictions and try to answer questions on why they exist, for example  individual perspectives versus group objectives.
  • Discussion of socializing time in Berlin

Document/Research by Michał and Christian

  • Possible materials to be shared by WMF in the future are:
    • Regulatory barriers
    • Grant making models.
    • Resource allocation for grants that have happened in the last 10 years and the changes with new Strategic Direction
  • FDC research can be done in collaboration with Revenue Streams group
  • It makes sense to have a look on current resource allocation responsibilities
  • Separate question is looking at other resources beyond finances

January edit

14 January edit

Agenda: Virtual Facilitation/Roles and Responsibilities email

Action points from previous meeting

The Virtual Facilitator for Resource Allocation Working Group, attended the meeting to understand discussions for future support when the Working Group needs facilitation on selected sessions.

A review of action points from the last call was provided, with members giving an update on key definitions, and research on the meaning of equity from different communities (In India and Netherlands), which revealed that a few communities seemed to understand these terms, since they are not translated to make it simple for them. Other discussions on this topic have been scheduled to happen

  • Due to the difficulty in defining equity, a facilitated discussion was proposed in Berlin during the in person meeting to define other terms, and data in resource allocation  beyond income sources and expenses.
  • Another definition was to determine what the resources are, and if volunteers are considered part of the resources
    • How can they be helped in terms of resource allocation for example unstructured or unaffiliated communities organising an event but in need of resources.
    • Looking at human capital: people to provide content to Wikimedia, and how they can improve from the time they joined, it could be something like Public speaking, so capacity goes beyond money to a human feeling: the Capacity Building Team can understand what these resources are then priorities allocation.
  • Or only consider financial resources like total budgets of Wikimedia affiliates, budgets, funders, number of volunteers.
    • Sharing this meta data publicly on wikidata for querying.
    • For the Funds Dissemination Committee, the data can be put together on how the money comes in and out. We can ask the Revenue Streams Working Group.
    • For big institutions this data should exist publicly to be discussed within the group and then external people.

Email from Roles and Responsibilities

The request from Chris is What in the existing structures works and doesn’t work, and for who? a topic which has not yet been discussed in the Resource Allocation Working Group.

  • It’s good to coordinate this with the Resource Allocation Working Group but discussions are not yet at structures, but moving according to the scoping plan and  timeline/document that we talked about for next steps.