Talk:Future of Affiliate Gatherings

Comment on "Discussing the future of global affiliate gatherings"


(Repeating what was posted at: Talk:Wikimedia_Summit_2024#Comment_on_"Discussing_the_future_of_global_affiliate_gatherings" so we make sure the right folks see it.)

  • I would suggest that the group of folks listed as looking into the future of affiliate gatherings engage members of the Wikimania Steering committee (of which I am one). Other than the Wikimedia Summit, Wikimania is the effort that deals with the most logistics relevant to what might be needed for an affiliates meeting or a Global Council meeting. We consider things like travel proximity to our community, costs/scholarships, regional rotation, trust/safety issues, and visa considerations. Therefore, we are very happy to be involved with this conversation as soon as possible, and have already started discussing within the Wikimania committee how the next few Wikimania locales could possibly support functions similar to what Wikimedia Summit/Berlin has in the past few years. The chairs of the committee are Phoebe and Iopensa, so feel free to get in touch with them, or I can relay any messages. Ping to FULBERT, NANöR, SRientjes, Shahadusadik, TheAafi, Olaniyan Olushola, Windblown29, Emmanuelle Guebo (Wikimedia username?)

Cheers. - Fuzheado (talk) 02:27, 24 April 2024 (UTC)Reply

Hello @Fuzheado and thanks for the suggestion. The Summit is currently in transition as we understand the 2024 was the last of its kind and our team would be working on designing a new concept and strategy for the next Summit. Subject to the affiliate gatherings survey report and what happened at the Summit, my team would be doing a lot of evaluation and learning from other perspectives, of course, from Wikimania folks. This is so because a vast number of people want the Summit to be rotated. I assure you that we will engage with all possible stakeholders and actors who can contribute in shaping the future of this gathering. Best regards, ─ Aafī (talk) 02:59, 24 April 2024 (UTC)Reply
@Fuzheado Thanks for your helpful suggestions. We heard and learned from some representatives of other conference organizers through this process while at the Summit, and we knew that the Wikimania Steering committee would also likely be willing to share what they have learned across their own years of service. We appreciate your pinging us about this and are grateful for your offers of assistance. FULBERT (talk) 09:58, 24 April 2024 (UTC)Reply
Thanks @Aafi and @FULBERT for confirming the opportunity to work together. In case folks missed it, the next two locations for Wikimania after this year have been selected already, which is a new phenomenon for the Wikimania planning:
Full details can be read on diff. - Fuzheado (talk) 13:00, 24 April 2024 (UTC)Reply
@Fuzheado Thank you for this additional information. FULBERT (talk) 14:37, 24 April 2024 (UTC)Reply
As we ready for Wikimania in August, I'm wondering if any of the folks on the "Future of global affiliates gatherings" will be in Katowice, and whether we wanted to meetup to discuss issues, even if it's a casual lunch or drinks. Thanks. - Fuzheado (talk) 17:23, 16 May 2024 (UTC)Reply
Hi @Fuzheado, sounds really cool. I will be at Wikimania in August. Shahadusadik (talk) 15:02, 18 May 2024 (UTC)Reply
Thanks @Shahadusadik! We are having Wikimania Steering Committee meetings on August 6, will you or others be there by then so we might meet up to talk?
The WikiInAfrica show [1] with @Windblown29 and @Aafi just concluded and talked about the future of Affiliate Gatherings. It was great to hear about the current thought processes (maybe every other year for a gathering) with plans to expand the team membership. There is a big overlap in purposes and logistics for a gathering like this gathering and Wikimania. It would be a shame to work in isolation when we could be sharing experiences on visas, travel, hybrid tech platform, trust & safety, and more. It would also help us figure out as the Wikimania Steering Committee whether to encourage (or not) regions to host Wikimania if the affiliate gathering has plans for a certain location in mind.
Thanks, and keep us informed on how many folks from the committee we might be able to meet at Wikimania. - Fuzheado (talk) 17:26, 24 May 2024 (UTC)Reply
Yes. I will be there on the 6th. Some of my colleagues will also be at Wikimania. Looking forward to that. Cheers! Shahadusadik (talk) 00:11, 13 June 2024 (UTC)Reply

One of the main issues I would like to outline is the fact that the Wikimedia Summit has been traditionally highly restricted to representants of Wikimedia Affiliates. This means restricting access to many individuals, either because they are not « representants » or because their groups are not affiliates, or because they do not belong to any affiliation system. Traditionally, the Wikimania Conference host about 2 or 3 pre-conference days where a smaller crowd has the opportunity to discuss transversal topics, host small related summit, network, hack, or explore strategic topics. If the Wikimedia Summit was moved to twin with Wikimania, it could happen immediately before or immediately after Wikimania (most likely before as Wikimania is quite exhausting). In any cases, it would probably means those 2 pre-conference days would either entirely disappear or be highly crippled by the co-happening of the Wikimedia Summit. Yet, I see that the survey (answered only affiliates) as well as the results of the discussion during the last Wikimedia Summit show there is a desire to limit attendance to affiliates, pretty much in the same way it is currently happening. Those would have a super detrimental impact on all those who are not allowed to join the Wikimedia Summit. What do you suggest to mitigate that ? Anthere (talk) 10:49, 25 April 2024 (UTC)Reply

I agree we need to be careful and intentional with any type of possible combined conference or experience. Some thoughts:
  • Regarding Anthere's concern that the event may "limit attendance to affiliates" – I too wonder if this is the assumption the planning group is working with. The survey does use language such as "affiliate-only gathering" and "exclusively for its affiliates" but it's not obvious this is a direction that survey respondents chose and reflects their opinions, or whether this is simply checking the box of pre-determined language in the original survey.
  • Burnout from longer events is very real, and we need to be especially sensitive to those who are participating in a language that is not their "mother-tongue." For that reason, we need to look very seriously about upgrading and maintaining our commitment to simultaneous interpretation in major languages. I recall for some of the Berlin Wikimedia Summits when Movement Strategy brainstorming and collaboration was high, we did have simultaneous interpretation booths, but I'm not sure what the situation was in 2024 in Berlin as I was not there.
  • One unusual benefit of COVID forcing us to do Wikimania virtual in 2021 is that we ventured into multilingual interpretation support, which we have continued to do (while not always perfect, it was a big accompolishment over previous Wikimanias) with Singapore as a hybrid conference. Whatever the case, we need to make sure to resource this properly for any meaningful future affiliates gathering, and that is something where working with Wikimania may have some good logistical efficiencies.
  • That said, I think there are ways to have the equivalent of learning days at Wikimania within a longer, crowded, and combined event. As we get bigger, there are just going to be times where you cannot attend everything you want. Fortunately, with the hybrid approach we have now, most of these sessions will be recorded for later consumption.
- Fuzheado (talk) 15:44, 25 April 2024 (UTC)Reply
+ 1 to Andrew's and Antanana's. In particular, we need to ensure that many non-native English speakers can participate effectively. At Wikimania 2022 we talked about this issue and some challenges and lessons about participating in an international event and English as a tool for either inclusion or exclusion were made visible.
I also think it is a very good idea to learn more about how our colleagues behave in these environments, not only quantitatively, but also what non-statistical data can show us. ProtoplasmaKid (talk) 16:58, 25 April 2024 (UTC)Reply

Hi everyone,

Yael here, Vice President of Community Growth at WMF. On Sunday, I met with the group of volunteers who stepped up at Summit to help the movement think about the future of the Affiliates gathering. When I first met with them a few weeks ago they had asked for clarity around the role of this group and what its commitments or expectations are. On Sunday, I shared with them what I’m sharing here.

Per the purpose statement of the Summit, it was the intent of the Summit Steering Committee that a group of Affiliates would start discussing the future of Affiliate gatherings, and make a commitment to designing a new concept. It was not a foregone conclusion that this would mean establishing a formal Committee made up exclusively of individuals who were in attendance at the Summit. When WMF stands up formal volunteer committees, we hold open calls and / or elections for them (e.g., Regional Funds Committees, Elections Committee, AffCom, U4C, etc.).

Our recommendation is that instead of meetings taking place by a subset of people who were at the Summit, we continue to hold public discussion on this talk page, to gather input from the movement about the unique needs of affiliates and how we might support them. As others have noted on this page there are downsides to closed meetings restricted to limited representatives and co-locating this event with another may help open up new connections.

I think it is helpful to anchor the discussions taking place here and elsewhere in the 3 Assumptions [[2]] articulated in the Summit programme: Namely, that: 1) For the future, there may be more equitable and participatory ways to design and organize an annual affiliate gathering – in line with principles and recommendations of Movement Strategy. 2) Defining the purpose and scope of future affiliate gatherings will depend on the content of the Movement Charter, particularly the roles and responsibilities of the Global Council and the affiliates. 3) Designing the future events that will replace the Wikimedia Summit will take time and require a transition period. Therefore, we don’t expect the next event to happen before 2026.

I’m eager to continue working together to design an offering for Affiliates that responds to the needs articulated in the Survey many of you contributed to. To the group that has been gathering since the Summit, my hope is that you can share any design ideas or recommendations you have here on this page for us to collectively engage with.

I look forward to continuing to follow the discussion here, and please don’t hesitate to ping me here or email me if you have any questions or suggestions for how we could do this. RWeissburg (WMF) (talk) 19:13, 19 June 2024 (UTC)Reply

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