Wikimedia has changed the way knowledge is created and used, and has been a pioneer in keeping the internet a space for collaboration and learning. In the light of our new strategic direction, we need to reflect whether the structures that got us where we are now will be able to get us into the future – a future where Wikimedia will be the essential infrastructure in the ecosystem of free knowledge. The organizational structures in the Wikimedia movement have often grown randomly, non-strategically, or were developed in contexts that are no longer present or relevant; there has never been a master plan for the distribution of roles and responsibilities of Wikimedia organizations and groups.
- there is currently no global body that has the mandate to lead decision-making processes for the movement and no process to implement these decisions and iterate the changes together;
- power is centralized in a few organizations;
- we are lacking a clear definition of leadership in the movement;
- we don’t have a shared understanding of which organizational model can best serve our mission, and have never defined a clear path of development for the organizations and groups.
The role of the Wikimedia Foundation itself ranges from a grantmaker, platform provider, over a global fundraiser, to a community supporter and coordinator.
If we would start the movement from scratch, how would we structure ourselves and how would we distribute the work that we do to best serve our mission?
These questions are not meant to be answered one-to-one but should help the group frame their own conversations and their consultations with movement stakeholders.
- What is the definition of the “Wikimedia movement”—who is in it and what roles do they play?
- What are the changes we need to make in our organizational structures, global decision making processes, and power dynamics in order to live up to our strategic priority of equity?
- How do we share responsibilities across the global movement so that people, organizations and groups are empowered to best serve our mission and advance towards our strategic direction?
- What are the roles and purposes of the Wikimedia Foundation, of its affiliates and committees?
- What processes do we need to initiate to manage future change in an inclusive, participatory, but yet effective way?
|Name||Organization / project||Role||Geography|
|Anna Torres Adell||Wikimedia Argentina||Staff member||Latin America and Western Europe|
|Anne Clin||Funds Dissemination Committee||Volunteer||Northern America, Europe|
|Bodhisattwa Mandal||West Bengal Wikimedians User Group||Volunteer||South Asia|
|Butch Bustria||ESEAP||Volunteer||Southeast Asia|
|Chris Keating||English Wikipedia||Volunteer||Western Europe|
|Claudia Garád||Wikimedia Österreich||Staff member||Central and Eastern Europe|
|Kirill Lokshin||Affiliations Committee||Volunteer||Northern America, Central and Eastern Europe|
|Lukas Mezger||Wikimedia Deutschland||Board Member||Central Europe|
|Margeigh Novotny||Wikimedia Foundation||Staff member||Northern America, Oceania|
|Natalia Tymkiv||Wikimedia Foundation||Board member||Central and Eastern Europe|
|Erina Mukuta||Wikimedians of Uganda||Volunteer||Eastern Africa|
|Zeinab Takouti||Wikimedians of Tunisia||Volunteer||Northern Africa|
- Abraham Taherivand (ED Wikimedia Deutschland) - stepped down Jan 2019, replaced by Lukas Mezger
- Georgina B. Fields (Wikimedia Foundation) - stepped down June 2019 on leaving the WMF
Reports and documents
- 1. All of this exists to support our primary purpose: free knowledge and its distribution (Original)
- 2. & 3. Decentralisation and self-management
- 4. & 5. Establish a Movement Charter
- 6. Wikimedia movement organisations will be governed by inclusive, diverse, and accountable boards
- 7. Capacity building
- First draft recommendations are available as well (August 2019).
- There is also an abbreviated, translated version prepared for easier engagement.
- July 2019: Blog post Roles and Responsibilities Working Group meets in Utrecht
- Summaries of our meeting minutes are available here.
This is an overview of the outputs from the discussion about Roles and Responsibilities at the Wikimedia Conference 2018.
The group discussed: 1. What the scope of this thematic area should be; 2. Who should be in the Working Group; 3. How the Working Group should work.
The main points from the Roles and Responsibility group discussion at the Wikimedia Conference 2018 were:
- It is necessary to see the organisational structure of the Wikimedia Movement in all its complexity and not as a structure with WMF as its center; WMF is one of the agents.
- There is a need to openly consider the current power dynamics in relation to future organisational development.
- Focus on developing into an equitable organisational structure.
The group formulated a list of questions that relate to
The group mainly focused on the process design itself. 3 preconditions for a successful process were identified:
- Possible concrete actions for the Working Groups
|Step 1||Step 2||Outcome|
If you would like to know more details about the Working Group discussions on this theme, please consult the documentation.
This is a non-exhaustive list. Please add more sources that provide context, background information and insights related to the thematic area.
- Movement Roles Matrix
- Wikimedia movement affiliates
- Interchapter groups
- Movement roles project
- Chapters Dialogue/Insights
- Development of organisations of the_Wikiverse – what do we need to evolve?
- Chapters Council
- Wikimedia Chapters Association
- strategy:Wikimedia movement
- strategy:Wikimedia stakeholders
- Strategy 2030 - Wikipedia's role in shaping the future of the information commons (pdf)
- Essay on tensions between accountability, independence and equality
- Timeline of governance development in the movement, work in progress
- Summary of working group interviews insights