Talk:Movement Charter/Content/Roles & Responsibilities

Latest comment: 9 months ago by RWeissburg (WMF) in topic Access to info

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Draft statement of intent (2022)

Please comment!

Hi, good to meet you here!

Please let the Drafting Group know what you think of the intentions mention on this project page. Since R&R will be a big chapter and at the same time will be a work in progress while other chapters of the charter are still being developed, the R&R drafting group decided to start with the intentions of this chapter. So we know we are on the right track, and that the basis that we work from is agreed by the reviewing community and the groundwork for our chapter is clear.

  • If the MCDC has missed a certain point for this draft, or something needs a different or additional perspective please let us know!
  • Also please know that our drafting work has not stopped and we are following the developments around the pilot-hubs and will start working on the Global Council in the new year. We are happy to take on comments and research on these (and other) topics, but have not reached a common agreement on these topics within the full committee yet.
  • Another thing we'd love for the drafts is to get your feedback on the translations. We want to make sure that the charter will be written in understandable English, but also that the translations are correctly reflecting these English drafts. Our translators greatly appreciate (constructive) feedback on their translation, and even though the drafts have gone through a readability and translations review, please share if you have any concerns.

Happy weekend everyone! Ciell (talk) 17:50, 18 November 2022 (UTC)

Feedback user:grijz

The intentions seem okay to me, please, please start writing the proposal of the alternative governance structures and fill in your ideas regarding the new roles and responsibilities, so that we can comment on something tangible.Grijz (talk) 15:09, 20 November 2022 (UTC)

Thanks Grijz! Ciell (talk) 16:44, 20 November 2022 (UTC)

Delegation of responsibility

What are the requirements of the US-Law regarding the Board of Trustees. What decisions is the Board of Trustees allowed to delegate and what decisions are proceeded at the Board of Trustees. Can you please tell what you know about that topic. It is from my point of view important to know what changes in the governing structures of the Wikimedia Foundation are legally possible.--Hogü-456 (talk) 19:59, 21 November 2022 (UTC)

@Hogü-456 When drafting the recommendation Ensure Equity in Decision-making (in early 2020), the Board of Trustees point out at least two major responsibilities that were difficult or not possible to transfer to a different body due to legal restrictions. Those were: 1. overseeing trademark, and 2. overseeing funds disbursement. In the Movement Charter drafting, the legal review, so far, has been limited to the text of the drafts you can see on Meta (note: the Roles & Responsibilities text wasn't reviewed because it's only an intentions statement so far). As you may have seen, the texts are more about principles and grounding, and I don't believe there was a non-negotiable legal constraint regarding them raised yet. There is a WMF-independent legal review planned for a later stage in the drafting process --Abbad (WMF) (talk) 11:30, 1 December 2022 (UTC).

Steering principle within and between entities

Wikipedia way of working is unique in its all non-hierarchical mode of decision-making and resolving conflicts. This has been deemed as impossible but is actually working extremely well and a key reason of the success of Wikipedia. It has also worked well as a base when we have individuals with different set of tools (like admins) and for simple support organizations like most affiliates. But this has been a reason for the many problems we have had to create well working and entrusted organizations on higher levels (some arbcoms have though promising mechanism to resolve this). And I see this as a seemingly impossible demand here to organize a hierarchical over structure for communities affiliates and hubs, them being basically non-hierarchical in culture.

I see nothing in this document on how to approach this issue (or if it should be in the "culture and value document"). If no effort is made in this pre-phase to address this issue, this will certainly make the acceptance of the real org proposal to bog down, as all earlier attempts have done.Yger (talk) 14:37, 28 November 2022 (UTC)

Two other good examples of organizing steering entities I see in the way bodies like m:Grants:Regions/Northern and Western Europe and user group Wiki Editoras Lx are setup Yger (talk) 06:54, 30 November 2022 (UTC)

Comments from WMDE on Roles and Responsibilities


We commend the MCDC for not rushing into creating language, but rather taking the time to gather input, evidence base, and study the previous work and research that has been done on this complex chapter. The listed intentions, if carried out, will help assure an open, intelligent and evidence-based process and product.

Starting with an overview of the current roles and responsibilities in the movement will be helpful to examine each function to see if it aligns with the principles of the charter and the strategy, in particular subsidiarity and equity. However, roles and responsibilities are interlinked with governance (Global Council) and decision-making - especially about funding -  so these chapters will have to be drafted synchronously and in a coordinated manner.

The chapter on the Global Council will have to be written after a few major questions have been asked and answered by the communities that the MCDC consults: Will we create the Global Council as the highest governing body of the movement, or will it be a volunteer advisory body to the WMF BoT? These are two fundamentally different paths, resulting in different decision-making structures and different roles and responsibilities among the actors of the movement. Before writing these chapters of the charter we need to know which path we will take. Here it will be crucial to have the conversation with the community before writing in detail.


We are glad the MCDC’s intent is to review “alternative” governance models, although it is worth pointing out that the Wikimedia Movement as a whole currently has no governance model. The communities have their own, as does the Wikimedia Foundation.

We appreciate that you are considering all the work done by movement stakeholders already, in particular, the research done by the Movement Strategy Roles and Responsibilities Working Group in 2019, and the two recent papers published by WMDE (linked below so that others interested in these topics can read):

The Future of Wikimedia Governance - in which we present the governance models of major INGOs and distill standards and variables, and discuss the implications for our governance deliberations.

Decentralized Fundraising, Centralized Distribution - in which we present primary research on the resource generation and distribution models of eight large INGOs, summarize standards and variables, and relate it to the big questions around money facing the movement as we develop the charter.

We are looking forward to a participatory, iterative process with continuous conversation and community consultations, and with thorough research, leading to a charter that will finally bring about the changes to keep our movement thriving, open and relevant. Thank you for your important work.

(this is part of a complete WMDE statement on the charter language which can be found here.) Nicola Zeuner (WMDE) (talk) 12:29, 1 December 2022 (UTC)

Thanks WMDE for this. It would be very useful if the main page actually listed the resources and research into best practices that WMDE has provided here. This way more people could discover it and get familiar with it. - Fuzheado (talk) 01:15, 6 December 2022 (UTC)

Feedback deadline is 18 December

Thank you for all the feedback! This is an acknowledgement that all comments here are being monitored. A summary of them is being compiled and will be shared back here in January 2023. The MCDC will refer to the same summary when refining this draft and others early in the new year. As a reminder and as mentioned in the community consultations page, the deadline for this round of consultations is 18 December, so please share your feedback by then. There will also be more feedback opportunities in 2023 Abbad (WMF) (talk) 13:15, 14 December 2022 (UTC)

Feedback report published

Thank you, again, to all who participated in the community consultation. We have published a summary of the feedback, to give a brief idea of the sentiments about the published drafts. The summary is based on an extended list of all the feedback received, which the Movement Charter Drafting Committee (MCDC) is looking through in detail in order to refine the current drafts.

The MCDC will share responses to the feedback in March 2023 (including what changes they are making and, if no changes are being made, the rationale/response to it) --Abbad (WMF) (talk) 12:47, 31 January 2023 (UTC).

Revised draft chapters published

The Movement Charter Drafting Committee has shared the revised draft chapters: Preamble, Values & Principles, and Roles and Responsibilities intentions statement. These revisions are based on the community feedback received in late 2022. Please note that the drafts are subject to change based on future reviews and will not be finalized until the full Charter is published. --AAkhmedova (WMF) (talk) 13:21, 19 May 2023 (UTC)

Draft chapter (2023)

Share your feedback on the Roles and Responsibilities draft of the Movement Charter

Hi everyone,

As we continue our collaborative journey toward shaping the Charter for the Wikimedia movement together, we are excited to invite you to contribute your insights to the Roles and Responsibilities draft.

This draft chapter both proposes changes aimed at strengthening subsidiarity in the Wikimedia movement and also acknowledges certain processes that could remain unchanged due to their established efficiency. The draft encompasses the roles and responsibilities of volunteers, communities, movement bodies, and the Wikimedia Foundation. Your input and insights are crucial to this endeavour as we collectively work to shape a movement that embraces innovation while remaining grounded in its proven successes.

We look forward to your valuable feedback.

On behalf of the Movement Charter Drafting Committee,

Anass Sedrati (talk) 08:56, 12 August 2023 (UTC)

Comments from The Land

Hello MCDC. Thank you for this document. It strikes me as very largely a description of the current roles and responsibilities within the movement, and does not really show any evidence that the MCDC has considered how things should be different in future. Has the MCDC read and engaged with the final Movement Strategy Recommendations or the various recommendations that led up towards them? If so, please can you explain how this document aims to fulfill the recommendations? I cannot see any real sign that it does. Many thanks, Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 13:08, 13 August 2023 (UTC)

Questions from schiste about the design of the R&R proposal

Hi, a couple of questions for the MCDC:

  • Did you enter that process with the will to challenge the status quo?
    • if you did, what are the 5 key rationales you had in designing that proposal?
      • “Centralization of power has proven efficient over the years, but lacked clear place for collaboration” it’s an example but those would the core things you came up with to structure your design.
    • if you did not, why did you not feel entitled to challenge it?

Thank you schiste (talk) 09:25, 15 August 2023 (UTC)

French translation

Hi the translation in French is totally in masculine form which is not at all inclusive for women and non binary persons. Nattes à chat (talk) 23:03, 15 August 2023 (UTC)

Roles and responsabilities of employees of the movement

It strikes me that no precise role nor responsability is defined for employees of the movement (WMF, chapters and affiliates) although this part to me seems to be growing constantly over the years. There is also no formal distinction between volunteer editing and organisation and administration of events and community management, although many women in the movement have complained that at least the organisation and facilitation of workshops and events should be a paid activity in order to enable equal opportunities to participate in governance and leadership responsibilites in the movement (otherwise only rich people from privileged backgrounds can participate in the governance and organisation of the movement).

There is also the question that employees are very often targeted by incivilities from volunteers who do not appreciate their work (and sometimes vice versa) and this leads to professional positions that are very risky in terms of public exposition and mental health. We all supposedly follow a universal code of conduct, but many issues are not really covered given the lack of moderation in a spirit of free speech on the projects and a lack of human ressources dedicated to trust and safety.

I think there should be a paragraph devoted to people who are staff of the movement and their relations with volunteers to build a caring infrqstructure wheer each role is valued and deeply respected (and not only WMF staff) as the development of hubs and thematic UG is leading to more people being employed in organisations that do not have the same capacity to protect their employees from harrassement by members of specific communities.

It also strikes me that although there is a lot of paid editing in the movement, the subject is not even mentionned. Focusing on the role of volunteers is giving IMO an incorrect image of the movement : not all people are volunteers, there are issues of paid editing, and many volunteers would like to have compensation for the part of their engagement that is not pure contribution (especially this subject has been tackled among issues surrouding the gender gap, and geographical representation, I remember assisting to a presentation in Esino Lario concerning the potential need to pay african contributors to bridge the content gap in underrepresented areas).Nattes à chat (talk) 23:24, 15 August 2023 (UTC)

Hello Nattes a chat. Thanks for your comment. Would employees not be covered under their employer? Paid editors are employed by someone, who should carry responsibility for their employees. (Not to mention that a lot of paid editing is a violation of the Terms of Use of the projects.) I think that I might be missing the thrust of your comments, and also feel a bit uncertain what you'd feel we should include. Please remember this is only one of the many chapters of the charter, so the point you might be concerned about may be covered elsewhere (including the Values or Preamble sections that were released quite a while ago.) I will look forward to your thinking. Risker (talk) 05:53, 17 August 2023 (UTC)


Humans can read and comprehend at a nine-year-olds comprehension. It serves no one to make drafts long and complex. Simple is the only way. Petcentric (talk) 18:59, 18 August 2023 (UTC)


I think we should include 'Rights': "Any volunteer shall not get severe verbal attack, harassment and discrimination, in reason of their edit or thoughts seems to be wrong or different with other editor's thought." - Ellif (talk) 18:49, 19 August 2023 (UTC)

That would never be clear, what one culture considers a verbal attack is not something another culture would consider an attack. A good example is that of racism, many white people find it offensive to deal with the topic of racism or that there was race related bias regarding decision making. They would may consider it to even be an attack, this shuts down discussion of the topic entirely and becomes unproductive. Afterwards all the other cultures have to tip toe around the topic so as to not offend. Deathmolor (talk) 11:42, 20 August 2023 (UTC)
Just noting that nothing in the Charter impacts current policies such as the Universal Code of Conduct. You may also find the draft Preamble to be relevant. Risker (talk) 02:22, 29 August 2023 (UTC)

Money to volunteers

Charter draft says, "In some circumstances, volunteers are eligible to receive compensation for their efforts such as expense reimbursement, prizes, gadgets, support packages, or stipends" and "To maintain a supportive and rewarding environment for our volunteers, there can be a monitored provision for compensation, in terms of expense reimbursement, event prize, gadgets, support packages, allowance, etc."

Propose to strike these sentences because they presents a misleading view of the relationship between Wikimedia Movement funding and volunteers. For about ten years and until and unless there are major new plans, in most countries and representing most Wikipedians in the world, most compensation to communities is travel sponsorship to Wikimedia Foundation events. There are probably 40 countries where there majority of money to Wikimedia community members is in the form of travel sponsorship.

If I were to propose an alternative to the above first statement to remain concise but increase it correctness, then I would change to "In some circumstances, volunteers are eligible to receive travel sponsorship to Wikimedia events or other benefits" because the other benefits in practice are much less common, visible, or known than another financial benefit.

Travel sponsorship is also fantastically beyond the economic norm of the others. In lower and middle income countries were a given stipend would be generous, the travel sponsorships are often 10x that. There is a whole weird cultural phenomenon where according to United States customs and ethics it is socially acceptable to sponsor US$5000 worth of travel to communities where that amount is an annual salary. There is some hard-to-discus, mind-blowing colonial wackiness tied in up in not mentioning the global travel awards and how weird it is to grant these things out as the primary expenditure for community funding. Like, Americans would rather have the money, but a lot of Wikimedia community groups would much rather have the cash if that were an option, which it is not. Imprecision about how volunteers access money is loaded with undue story telling bias from the power brokers.

It is currently super taboo to talk about how much money goes to various countries, and what form that money takes! The evidence is that there are no year by year financial records which should how much money goes to various countries, and what form that money takes. Despite our grants being all public and published, we have no accounting sheets matching grants to regions. On top of that should be travel sponsorships. The minority funding will be those prizes and gadgets which the draft charter is emphasizing, but which are the smallest slice of the money. Bluerasberry (talk) 15:54, 1 September 2023 (UTC)

Demands on volunteers

"Care should be taken not to make excessive demands on individual volunteers. Volunteers always have the right to refuse requests for additional contributions or feedback."

Remove the passive voice here. Who should not make excessive demands?

This would be a very different statement if it said "The Wikimedia Foundation should not make excessive demands...", or "Other Wikimedia editors should not make excessive demands...". If the passive voice stays in, then all sides are going to squabble saying that the burden of care is on the other side.

My recommendation: "No one should make excessive demands on individual volunteers. In case of dispute, Wikimedia community organizations should be empowered to mediate and speak for individual member peers from their community." Bluerasberry (talk) 15:54, 1 September 2023 (UTC)

Lack of definitions

We need some clear definitions here.

Roughly, some of the groups mentioned here are "communities", "individuals", "hubs" "affiliates", "Wikimedia Foundation", and "staff".

If no one has a better idea, then set these as definitions:

  • Wikimedia community member - anyone who participates in Wikimedia projects as a volunteer
  • Wikimedia Foundation staff - anyone regularly paid by the Wikimedia Foundation as staff or consultant
  • Wikimedia community organizations - WikiProjects (the online projects), Wikimedia Movement Affiliates (user groups, chapters, thematic orgs, hubs)

The current draft sections "Communities" and "Movement bodies" imprecisely name drop different groups then assign responsibilities to them, but because of the imprecision, it is still uncertain what roles anyone has. For example, the text indiscriminately uses the terms "project communities" and "communities", and I am not sure if these are different groups. Also, the text says that "Project communities are groups of people contributing on Wikimedia online projects", then does not mention communities in the context of Wikimedia Community Affiliates. I expect that the membership of affiliates would be "communities", but this draft does not communicate that. Also, most people in most affiliates do not contribute in Wikimedia online projects. In Wikimedia New York City for example, most people who come to events, programs, and conferences would be better described as readers, non-editing subject matter experts, friends of Wikipedia, or otherwise offline participants. The Wikimedia Foundation awarded Nigeria with the second-most community grants in 2023 (after the United States), and almost all of those grants go to support readers whom no one expects to edit or contribute user content. The current phrasing does not acknowledge those people as community or otherwise assign them for a role.

There are other problems that I could articulate but here is one way to solve the problem in favor of democracy - Definition of community:

  • individual who registers a Wikimedia account
  • meets requirements to participate in Wikimedia Movement democratic processes
  • by default, has the highest right to Wikimedia Movement governance through democratic process, except where the charter explicitly assigns a right to another defined group

If we by default give all roles and responsibilities not otherwise named to the democratic Wikimedia community, then I think that will inspire everyone to use the right amount of precision for defining and assigning the other roles and responsibilities. Bluerasberry (talk) 15:54, 1 September 2023 (UTC)

Failure to mention money comprises democracy

In discussing the drafting of the Movement Charter, representatives of the Wikimedia Foundation have repeatedly claimed that they will not speculate or discuss the sharing of Wikimedia Movement funds until there is more clarity from the charter on responsibilities. The argument is that it would make no sense to propose giving a budget to the Global Council until there was agreement on what the GC would do. Upon assigning responsibilities to the GC, then the presumption has been that the GC would get whatever Wikimedia Movement funding is necessary to execute those responsibilities.

I am going to put a claim out: as best as I have heard from Wikimedia discussions and online talk over the past few years, I think the popular expectation is roughly

  • Wikimedia Movement Fundraising brings in US$150,000,000 a year
  • 1/3 of this is expected to go to the Wikimedia Foundation
  • 1/3 of this is expected to go to the Global Council / Wikimedia International organization
  • 1/3 will go to Wikimedia community organizations

This budget may not be what others expect, but I am putting it here because I feel that having any budget on the table is much more clarifying than trying to talk through all this while keeping a taboo on talking about money.

The taboo on mentioning money does not benefit democracy, global participation, equity, or diversity. Avoiding discussion of money is a hostile tactic which colonizers use on the colonized, union busters use on laborers, corporations use to capture the public commons, and which even can tempt middle managers and staff to capture nonprofit resources which donors give freely with intent to support the Wikimedia global community. Talk about money without end! Money is the power that the Movement Charter allocates. Bluerasberry (talk) 15:54, 1 September 2023 (UTC)

Access to info

Draft says "The WMF makes sure this information is open and easy to access."

I would love for the WMF to independently draft and share its own commitment to providing information.

I would especially like better financial reports, including

  • grants by region
  • a calculation of how much of its budget includes Wikimedia community consent, versus how much is staff operations
  • diversity metrics in the budget
  • options for special requests, like the standing requests from the Sustainability Initiative for reporting of money and carbon, the routine short term requests like the present talk about the Knowledge Equity Fund, and scared and brave requests with odd silence like about the Wikimedia Endowment.

I can support the WMF saying "We decline to answer", but it is confusing to not have a channel to know if the request is even received or when an answer might be forthcoming. Bluerasberry (talk) 15:54, 1 September 2023 (UTC)

Hi @Bluerasberry - here is the regional grants report we published last month. Previous annual reports are published on the linked pages. Here is a brief summary of this year's report:
  • WMD distributed 29% more in USD to communities and partners than in the previous Fiscal Year (21/22). Since the grants relaunch of July 2021, funding has grown most rapidly in ESEAP, SSA, and LAC.
  • We are bringing in new grantees and moving established ones to more stable funding models.
    • 23% of all grants went to new grantees.
    • 26% of General Support grantees received this flexible operational support for the first time.
    • 23% of General Support grants are now for multiple years.
RWeissburg (WMF) (talk) 22:43, 5 September 2023 (UTC)
Typo alert! WMD = WMF (I'm currently wearing a wrist brace and am prone to typos). RWeissburg (WMF) (talk) 22:49, 5 September 2023 (UTC)

Wikimedia Enterprise mentioned twice?

The Wikimedia Enterprise is mentioned twice here.

This is supposed to be a long lasting charter. Why mention this minor project twice? The mention is odd because this is one of the most controversial WMF projects ever.

Among other undiscussed affects, Wikimedia Enterprise has offered its paying client Google invitation, entry and access to the Wikimedia Foundation for the purpose of making friends and collaborators. I trust Google to be friendly like I trust the 19th century British Empire to share the benefits of technology with indigenous people around the world. While I agree that everyone needs railroads and development with Britain/Google is the norm, the text of our Movement Charter is no place for granting rights to an external colonial power with global domination ambitions.

Strike everything about Wikimedia Enterprise from the charter, until and unless there is some Wikimedia community consent, support, and democracy in it. I am not here to protest Enterprise but it has no place in this charter and everyone should know that the reason why is that it is controversial. Bluerasberry (talk) 15:54, 1 September 2023 (UTC) Bluerasberry (talk) 15:54, 1 September 2023 (UTC)

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