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Talk:Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Working Groups/Roles & Responsibilities/Recommendations

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The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it.
Most likely, new comments will not be taken into account by the new three Working Group members in their work of developing the final Recommendations. You are free however to continue discussing in the spirit of "discussing about Wikipedia is a work in progress". :)

Different formatEdit

Hi, the format of the recommendations of the Roles & Responsibilities working group differs from the recommendations of the other working groups. What is the rationale for this difference? What assumptions are you making about the future context that led you to make these recommendations? What will change because of your recommendations? Who specifically will be influenced by these recommendations? Could these recommendations have a negative impact/change? What could be done to mitigate these risks? Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 08:42, 10 August 2019 (UTC)

It's pretty simple, we just didn't fill in the recommendations document provided by the core team at this point, because we've not published anything that doesn't have almost-complete consensus within the group. There is plenty of work continuing within the group about further developing and iterating these recommendations, and all of it will end up being complete before the 'harmonisation' of recommendations across groups in September. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 19:21, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
Obviously, after the public feedback closes ~September 15. Winged Blades of Godric (talk) 19:28, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
Are there any Roles and Responsibilities recommendations you actually disagree with, or are concerned about? if so please do say which and why, we would be interested to hear from you :) (Hopefully, there is enough rationale in these recommendations for people to understand them - looking at other groups' recommendations and the responses to them, I am unsure that a much longer document would necessarily help...) Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 19:34, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
I will leave a note, soon. FWIW, I heavily appreciate you making a genuine attempt to engage with the feedback, in a constructive manner. For reasons unknown to me, folks from other groups are yet to appear and explain/clarify any stuff; despite receiving a barrage of criticism/queries and getting pinged. So, Thank you :-) Winged Blades of Godric (talk) 09:24, 12 August 2019 (UTC)

Dealing with opposing interestsEdit

Decentralizing decision making also has a downside. You don't appear to address that different distributed decision makers can have opposite interests, and how that is dealt with in Power and responsibilities. Or am I misreading/barking up the wrong tree? I could see it related to recommendation #3, but not that explicitly. Siebrand (talk) 20:53, 11 August 2019 (UTC)

Also from a more meta-level view, many/most of the recommendations made by other working groups conflict with the core premise of decision-making at the lowest level and empowering individual communities to govern themselves. Most models discussed, particularly relating to community health, have been done from a top-down perspective. – Ajraddatz (talk) 22:13, 11 August 2019 (UTC)

The starfish or the spiderEdit

Title of a book about the internet. Positive about Wikipedia for being a model for radical decentralization. Once upon a time everybody knew Wikimedia was about empowering individuals. Somehow the offline side has gotten too centralized, and that can be remedied. However there remains a rift between autonomous online communities and offline organizations. How will this movement strategy process ever gonna ompact online communities? Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 19:44, 12 August 2019 (UTC)

Welcome... caution... concernEdit

Here are my responses as I read through the "recommendations":

  • I broadly welcomed 1&2, as they acknowledge part of the problem with the WMF and indicate a move away from the centralisation of power and decision-making.
  • Welcoming became caution at 3, which introduces the notion of a "charter", without addressing the key question: what would the status of this charter be? Would it be binding, like the terms of use? Would it be advisory? Something else?
  • Caution had turned to concern by 6, which states: "expectations with respect to diversity will be one of the principles that will be included in the charter". This sounds a lot like the '40% female, 40% male, 20% various' proposal at Diversity/Recommendations/4, which is both a bad idea and unenforceable.
  • After reading the whole thing, and having read most of the other working groups' "recommendations", my overall feeling about the Roles & Responsibilities "recommendations" is confusion. The other working groups largely advocate greater centralisation of power, less subsidiarity, more top-down enforcement. This working group starts by seeming to oppose that (1&2), then, as a little more detail is revealed, it appears to support greater centralisation (not explicitly, but the proposals would require it). Overall, these "recommendations" are the most level-headed of the ones that I've read, as they appear to be based on the 2030 strategy without having been hijacked by special interest groups pushing an agenda... but their contradictions and lack of clarity make me at least cautious, and leaning towards concerned. Expanding on the nature, not just the scope, of the proposed charter is necessary. EddieHugh (talk) 11:26, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Broadly, I agree with EddieHugh. I'm really not sure what even is being proposed here, or what things would look like afterwards if this proposal were to be implemented. It could do with a great deal more detail. Seraphimblade (talk) 12:51, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
Hi @EddieHugh! Thank you for the comments. Broadly, our recommendations are shaped by the observations that organisations which have a high level of trust and independence for individual actors also have a common shared understanding of values, principles and expected behaviours, and that everyone in this kinds of organisations holds everyone else accountable for how well they comply with those values, principles and behaviours. At present there is not really a shared statement of those values and principles, let alone a shared understanding or an active commitment to them, within the movement - which underpins many of the tensions within the movement at the moment. Hence the need for the charter.
Re point 6: There is some overlap here - what we are saying is that we as a movement should expect that any movement organisation should take steps to ensure that its governing body (or equivalent) is diverse and representative of the communities it seeks to serve. We haven't gone as far as the Diversity recommendation you refer to, because there will be many different entities with a range of size and maturity, and operating in very different contexts where diversity means different things. Speaking personally, I think something like a guideline that mature movement organisations (the size of the WMF or larger chapters) should aim to have at least 40% women on their boards would be helpful, as part of an overall set of expectations - but the recommendation as drafted is simply that these kinds of expectations should be created and mutually agreed on. And our recommendation is more limited in scope as it does not apply to online communities, only movement organisations. [I mean, I'd also encourage people to think about how to encourage more diverse groups of administrators and functionaries, but that isn't among the R&R draft recommendations]
And @Seraphimblade - yes, our current work is developing this in more detail. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 12:57, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
The Land: thank you for responding. I noticed that you didn't mention the nature of the charter, so assume that there is no agreement on that within the working group. A question: you say that "our recommendation ... does not apply to online communities, only movement organisations"... does that apply to the whole set of "recommendations" here? If so, I suggest making that clear and spelling out what "movement organisations" covers. EddieHugh (talk) 20:35, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
When you say "nature", can you expand on what you mean? I'm not quite clear. And Recommendation 6 is the only one we have explicitly limited in scope to movement organisations, though I think it's fair to say our thinking is that many of the other recommendations have different meanings (or at least different influence on) project communities as compared to organisations. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 21:04, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
"Nature"... as I wrote above: "what would the status of this charter be? Would it be binding, like the terms of use? Would it be advisory? Something else?" In other words, would everyone be obliged to follow it, with repercussions for not doing so? This looks like the crux that will show whether you're really going down the subsidiarity/local autonomy path, or the centralisation of power path. EddieHugh (talk) 22:53, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
Ah, thanks. In short, it would be a deeply embedded, guiding document - think the equivalent of a constitution, or the Pillars of Wikipedia. What we have in mind is something with sufficiently broad acceptance that anyone taking part in the movement can hold anyone else to account if they aren't reflecting it. It would then provide the framework to enable the level of trust that decentralising decision-making requires. Some corollaries of this are that - firstly the document will be written at a very high level, secondly, that the process of creating it might well need to be another step broader and more collaborative than the whole strategy process already is. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 07:06, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

A new charter?Edit

I was under the impression that the Wikipedia projects have already fundamental principles which can be considered as a charter: five pillars (en:wp, goes back to 2005 when they were announced as five unchangeable pillars – which in turn were based on the statement of principles which was first published on 27 October 2001), Grundprinzipien (de:wp, goes back to 27 May 2003 as translation from en:wp), principes fondateurs (fr:wp, goes back to 16 April 2004), and many more. These foundations are universally accepted among all Wikipedia projects, they are easy to read, to understand, and to communicate. They are the foundations which not only made the tremendous success of the Wikipedia projects possible but where also the volunteers trust that they remain indeed unchangeable. Please do not attempt to replace this. --AFBorchert (talk) 15:23, 13 August 2019 (UTC)

Personally I see the movement charter as probably supplementing, rather than replacing, those statements of principles. For example, the Pillars of Wikipedia don't provide much guidance about how to handle a discussion between the WMF and the English Wikipedia, or between the English Wikipedia and Wikidata, or between the Foundation and the affiliates. IT's no accident that these are the conversations that are often difficult and sometimes verging on catastrophic. So the need for something at a broader and deeper level. (Also, I find it very hard to think that Civility is one of the fundamental principles of Wikipedia, or that Wikipedia has no fixed rules.... really? I had not really seen Jimbo's original 8 principles, thank you for sharing them - also I don't believe the English Wikipedia currently follows his principles 1,2,3, 7 or 8 at the moment and 4 has scarcely been widely observed either...) Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 15:42, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
It is quite natural that the fundamental principles or a charter do not address everything. They provide something like a constitution where changes are hard or impossible. The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, for example, includes an eternity clause (article 79 (3)) according to which articles 1 to 20 must never be touched in any way. I think that we should treat the five pillars in a similar fashion and we must make sure that any recommendation which is possibly to be introduced as policy will not be in conflict to these pillars. Statements like [t]he classic notion of an encyclopaedia and ‘universal knowledge’ needs to be discarded (recommendation # 2 of the diversity WG) let many volunteers wonder in which direction we are heading here ([1], [2]). It is surely helpful to consider how to handle the relationship between WMF and the individual projects. A proposal was made by Tinz beginning with [t]he WMF must respect the fundamental principles of the projects which found a lot of support so far. The civility pillar titled Wikipedia's editors should treat each other with respect and civility should provide the foundation for strategy discussions in regard to community health and diversity. I really wonder why the role of these pillars appears nowhere to be recognized in these recommendations (beside the infamous recommendation to discard the classic notion of an encyclopaedia). The pillar Wikipedia has no firm rules – or more traditionally ignore all rules makes sure that we stay pragmatic (we are not wiki lawyers) and have no problem with beginner's mistakes. This is an important part of the welcoming culture where we help but do not bite newcomers. I still think that from Jimbo's old list 3 should still apply even if this has been restricted in the past (IPs and beginners can no longer create articles at en:wp, reviewing of pending changes at de:wp, protected pages) but this recommendation would effectively kill this principle if every edit by an IP has to begin with the formal acceptence of a lengthy code of conduct. This would put the principles of our pillars upside down. Until now, we raise as few barriers as possible for newcomers and provide an explanation or warning if a policy is violated with a reference to it. This practice follows IAR and Jimbo's principles #3 and #4. The recommendation would raise the barrier (by having to read, to understand, and to accept the whole CoC) and provides a different background in case of violations: “You did this despite having formally accepted the CoC before.” I do not think that this helps in the regard of a more welcoming environment and I do not think that we should transfer safe space rules which are important for real-life meetings to our virtual collaboration. I agree that Jimbo's principles 7 and 8 should indeed find more consideration than lately. --AFBorchert (talk) 16:53, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
I think this risks straying off the topic a little. I did see the proposal that there ought to be "terms of use" for the WMF or whatever, and am sort of scratching my head about it. I (speaking personally and not at all for the working group) would certainly agree that the Foundation has often not been great at working with the community. But also I do not see a future where different Wikimedia projects continue to work in this kind of splendid isolation where they never talk to each other or to the WMF or whatever replaces it. I think what everyone should be aiming to work for is a kind of active, mutually respectful partnership.
Also I have to say I really do not recognise anything in the English Wikipedia at the moment that is welcoming to newcomers, and I do not see very much of anyone being treated with respect or civility, and only the faintest hints of Ignore All Rules in amongst tonnes of bureaucracy and wikilawyering. I would treat the argument that we should use the five pillars of Wikipedia as a starting point much more compelling if the English Wikipedia collectively seemed to be paying much attention to them. But, as someone who's edited the English Wikipedia for over 15 years, one after the other seems just to have been forgotten. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 19:00, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
Sorry for straying further off, but not talking to each other is not at all what I meant. Interwiki communication is hard, not everyone can and wants to discuss in english. Reading something like this is really interesting, but in svwiki and nlwiki most people speak english very well.
I would love it if the WMF would invest some resources (especially translators) into some kind of major community survey where regular editors (not so much the people active in the chapters) of say the largest 30 Wikipedias are asked to describe their communities, what they think is special about them, what do they perceive as their largest problems, what were important moments in their history, how do they rate the level of civility in their Wikipedia, maybe also some fun stuff like the weirdest editwar in their history. If the results would be consolidated on meta that would be extremely interesting for many people to read, maybe even for the community teams at WMF. And this could trigger change, which I do think has to come from within the communities, not in the form of rules imposed by the WMF. --Tinz (talk) 11:06, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

Editors have donated a large amount of labor to produce works that generate $100 million per year in donations, and donors have made a financial investment based upon certain assumptions regarding commitment to quality and to fairness. "Equity" means many different things to many people, but it must mean fairness to the people who have made these investments and have sacrificed to get the movement to this point. What provisions in the proposed charter will address equity toward the existing stakeholders? Hlevy2 (talk) 07:23, 17 August 2019 (UTC)

What is the timetable to publish this draft?Edit

This is one of the Working Groups whose reccommendations I've most interest in reading. is there any proposed timetable to publish them, so that discussion can start? Also, how does this agree with the timetable already set by the core team, where a final set of recommendations is going to be published by October? Will there be any space for discussion for this WG recommendations?--- Darwin Ahoy! 11:53, 15 August 2019 (UTC)

Some thoughts on a global governance bodyEdit

In the past, one of the working group members highlighted how inconsistent participation on volunteer bodies across the movement is. Have best practices or options for addressing this deficiency in a global governance body been explored? (This is potentially at a more operational level than what is currently being presented) – Ajraddatz (talk) 10:19, 17 August 2019 (UTC)

Models now available and one question answered.Edit

I've just added the three draft structural models that we are looking at - these were still being workshopped on Thursday, hence the delay to uploading them.

One question we have already been asked off-wiki is:

"Where do existing movement organisations (WMF, chapters, user groups, Thematic Organisations) fit within these models? Will they continue as currently, or be disbanded, renamed or have different roles? What will they be called?"

This answer comes with some caveats as we have not much discussed how any of these models would be implemented - the path to reaching any new structural model would be complicated and require a lot of detailed thought, but that is not our current focus.

We envisage that existing organisations will find a home in the new structure and provide an important contribution to the future success of the movement, though possibly organised in quite a different way to the present. Abandoning them would be an obvious waste of expertise and commitment.

Of the 3 models Elgafar is closest to the status quo and is the least specific about the role and nature of future movement organisations. It's pretty easy to see existing affiliates continuing in this model in much the same form, though not necessarily with the chapter/thorg/UG distinction, and working in a different environment for recognition, resource allocation which might prompt affiliates to redefine their own purpose and scope.

Situla and Quotiel are more prescriptive about the nature of movement organisations and existing affiliates would need to define how they would evolve into that structure. It's easy to see many UGs being "teams" in Situla, or chapters becoming 'support structures' and chapter networks becoming 'Regional Hubs' in Quotiel. But there would not be a 1-1 match between existing and future organisations, there would inevitably be a complicated set of transformations as existing entities merged or split or changed scope and new ones were created.

It's also clear that in any of these models there would be significant changes to the scope of the WMF. All models include an entity that does many of the things that the WMF currently does, but also many areas of the WMF's current work would in future be performed by different entities. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 10:53, 18 August 2019 (UTC)

@The Land: how are we supposed to answer questions like, "The Charter lays out the fundamental purpose, rules and processes that govern the Movement. ( )Agree ( )Disagree ( )Other:______," when we don't even know what the proposed Charter says yet? And that is just the first question when every single one of them are in the same format. These are hopelessly specific for plans which have not yet been implemented. Why not ask people's opinions of the structures themselves, their implications, and suitability, instead of impossible true/false questions speculating on specific parts which have not yet been described? Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate and have a great deal of respect for the charts, as org charts, and I would be very happy to see a survey which can actually be answered. But there is simply no way anyone can honestly respond to any of the questions that you have posed about all three. EllenCT (talk) 00:20, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
@EllenCT: - Hi Ellen - I think we're looking for the feedback that you want to give, we've just tried to set this up in a way that will help us focus on the parts of each model that are most controversial or challenging. Using the "Other" sections to highlight complexities, risks or dependencies you see is really valuable input. Or if you find the survey format entirely offputting then feel free to post here and we can consolidate that with the feedback that's coming through the forms. Thanks! Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 15:01, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
@The Land: First, let me suggest the survey that I think you want. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I dug a little further and I'm pretty sure someone just copied headings and propositions from the three proposals, and made each of them into those Agree/Disagree/Other questions. Even if it were possible to answer questions such as whether some TBD document fulfilled its proposed purpose, which again it is not, that would still not provide information about how to evaluate and improve the proposals. Here's what you want:
For each of the three orginizational structure proposals:
(I-III A) How would this organizational structure improve the Movement?
(I-III B) How would this organizational structure limit the Movement from achieving its mission?
(I-III C) How could this organizational structure be improved to better achieve the Mission?
(I-III D) What unintended consequences might this organizational structure entail?
(I-III E) On a scale of 1 to 5, what is your opinion of the suitability of this organizational structure?
(I-III F) Which specific parts of this organizational structure do you like the most, and why?
(I-III G) Which specific parts of this organizational structure do you like the least, and why?
(I-III H1-H16) [Sixteen likert 1 to 5 response questions:] Please indicate on a scale of 1 to 5, whether you believe this organizational structure will help or hinder {improvements to the Projects, technology maintenance, technology development, resource allocation, revenue generation, contributor diversity, conflict resolution, community health, capacity building, volunteer development and recognition, community organization, affiliate support, partnerships, outreach efforts, event support, and education efforts}.
As for my opinion, I will gladly fill out such a survey if you make it, but for now I will just repeat what I wrote on WP:JIMBOTALK: I like Situla because it elevates ombuds to highest echelon status, far better than disparate line worker community liaisons. I don't like Quotiel because it doesn't and therefore isn't worth the re-org. EllenCT (talk) 04:17, 20 August 2019 (UTC)

Survey requires a Google accountEdit

The surveys appear not to allow responses except from those signed in to a Google account. Presumably this wasn't intentional? --Yair rand (talk) 18:29, 18 August 2019 (UTC)

So it does. No, our intention is not to only gather feedback from people with Google accounts. Apologies, I will pass this on!! Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 19:04, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
I came here to make the same point so I will make it. I have managed to a avoid a centralised Google account for many years and don’t want to have to create one to participate. Thanks. Mccapra (talk) 04:38, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
@Yair rand:, @Mccapra: - sorted now, thank you for pointing this out. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 08:34, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
Great thank you. Mccapra (talk) 08:45, 19 August 2019 (UTC)

To establish a framework for decision-making, there will be a charter of principles, values, and governance behaviours. The charter will be developed through an equitable process with broad and diverse participation.Edit

I dont't believe a single word of this. There was no "broad and diverse participation" in the strategy process from its very beginning on. Rather there was a sort of fake participation. You could say something, people could agree, on the next level "summary" nothing was to be found. The whole strategy process is fundamentally flawed and should be stopped at once.Mautpreller (talk) 08:32, 20 August 2019 (UTC)

Elected vs. appointedEdit

I'd like to see more of a rationale for how governing bodies will be composed. I see this text,

In practice the method of accomplishing this will depend on the nature and context of the organisation In many cases we expect a mixture of elected/appointed members will be a workable solution

but "will be workable" doesn't justify this very general statement. A "mixture" can obviously range from 100% elected to 100% appointed. Democratic governance requires that the authority structure is elected, which is why Wikimedia chapters are organized this way[citation needed]. A self-appointing Board like the Wikimedia Foundation is autocratic. Let's try to refine this recommendation. Adamw (talk) 13:36, 20 August 2019 (UTC)

@Adamw: - Thank you for this comment! To expand on our thinking a bit further:
Wikimedia movement organisations will normally have a complicated set of stakeholders of various sorts, including (for instance) Wikimedia communities, partners, and their beneficiaries (the people who ultimately make use of and benefit from the knowledge we are sharing). It's important to make sure that any movement organisation includes perspectives from everyone affected by its decision-making in that decision-making. This is important to ensure effective decision-making, decisions taken by a group of people with very similar backgrounds tend to be less effective. And secondly it's important to ensure representation and make 'knowledge equity' a reality.
The context each organisation works in will be very different so we are trying to avoid being prescriptive. For instance, I know Wikimedia UK would not be an effective organisation if none of its Board had ever contributed to a Wikimedia project. Equally, it wouldn't be particularly effective if all of its Board were Wikimedians, because their perspectives would be too similar and they wouldn't challenge each other enough. Similarly it wouldn't be effective if all of its Board were men. Those axes are probably relevant across the movement, but there are also specific things to consider for the UK's context: Wikimedia UK does a lot of work with the cultural sector, so it is useful to have some Trustees who have perspectives coming from that sector; the UK is a multi-ethnic country so it would be strange if there were no trustees who weren't white; and also one where there are significant differences of perspective between different nations and regions within the UK, and it would also be a bit odd if all our Trustees were from London. And this list if far from exhaustive. It would be almost impossible to create a set of rules that captured all that complexity, even for one specific organisation.
So our recommendation at present is about principle: Movement organisations should be expected to take steps to engage who they need to engage, and make sure their Board represents who it needs to represent.
I think it's our view that usually a straightforward election process will not deliver this result, as the people doing the electing will themselves only represent part of the world in which the organisation operates. Equally, I think that the practice of holding elections is a very useful way of ensuring accountability to that part of the community. Of course it's also possible to think about election methods that encourage a diverse group of people to be elected, but our 'standard' Wikimedia approval voting is not very good at this. I hope this helps clarify our thinking! Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 14:30, 20 August 2019 (UTC)
@The Land: Hi, I appreciate the response. Reading WMUK's Articles of Association, I see that 7 Directors are elected and 3 can be appointed "to achieve a balanced set of skills and experience". I've also heard the outlines of this argument during my time as a WMF staff member, that elections are bad for diversity and appointment is a countermeasure. In practice, the WMF Board and WMUK Director appointments are made by the current Board members, so I fail to understand how this can correct for electoral underrepresentation. All that a self-appointed body can do is perpetuate its own biases, since we have a small number of people making this decision rather than a larger number that would participate in elections.
Do you know if there's any reference behind the theory that elections are bad for diversity (apologies if this is an unfair summarization)? The closest parallel I can draw is perhaps Plato's philosopher king, which justifies that a small group or people or a single person with superior integrity and education will know better than the masses what is best for the organization. In my opinion, if we believe in democracy then we need to go all the way, rather than this business of appointing the few WMF Board members who are nominated by what look like elections, but where the electorate has no actual power.
A healthy precedent to bring up would be the voter registration drives like Freedom Summer. If we think voters have such skewed demographics that we can't trust them to make healthy group decisions, then we need to find more voters and hope we can fix the skew. I like that you brought up the question of election methods, that would be a productive place to investigate as well. Adamw (talk) 15:09, 20 August 2019 (UTC)
@Adamw: - actually my experience is that it's pretty easy for a Board to act to identify how it needs to diversify itself. You make a list of what skills and experience and backgrounds you want, and then compare that with the composition of the Board as currently, then go out to find people who fill the gaps. Of course a Board could hypothetically then only appoint people agree with everything they want to do and stuff itself with yes-men and yes-women, but in practice I have not noticed this happening. By contrast I have seen many Wikimedia elections where an electorate of Wikimedians puts a very very high weight on being a Wikimedian - not always but usually - but equally a movement organisation with no accountability to the movement will not really work either. Incorporating both methods helps incorporate the strengths and mitigate the weaknesses of both.
Democratic politics is not necessarily a great model for thinking about nonprofit governance, because in democratic politics you have more or less an identity between the electorate and the group affected by the decisions being made, while you will never really have an identity between the members of a Wikimedia organisation or the participants in a Wikimedia project and the community that ultimately uses that knowledge. Even in developed countries, people who join/participate will always be a relatively narrow slice of society, and the problem becomes even more intractable in places where civil society is less well ingrained and there are significant legal, social or political barriers. Thanks, Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 11:51, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
"the WMF Board and WMUK Director appointments are made by the current Board members, so I fail to understand how this can correct for electoral under-representation." - This is something that always puzzled me as illogical and deeply flawed. When a majority of cats elects 5 cats to a BoT-like body, which then appoint 4 other cats, dogs are doomed. Those board appointments really look like some kind of appease to the masses, so that something apparently is being done to bring in diversity, when in practice nothing is actually being done.
"All that a self-appointed body can do is perpetuate its own biases" - while the BoT has a tradition of respecting the wish of the community/affiliates, expressed in the votes, other WMF entities, like so called "community-run" AffCom, are absolutely shameless when it comes to recklessly ignoring the community and appointing whoever they want. The result has been not only the perpetuation of biases, but an increasing and very worrying lack of competence - which is not unexpected, since their "electoral basis" is not any community, but the group itself, so they only have to comply with the very minimum the group expects one to do, which may be simply keeping one's mouth shut and not making waves or contesting other member's decisions. Even if someone is competent, when something is wrong, they're much better served by ignoring it, as calling someone's attention to a mistake would diminish their chances of being reelected; this way competence is avoided, and incompetence is privileged. On the perpetuation of biases, it is also worth noting that a diverse ethnic background does not imply diversity of opinions. A self appointing body - like AffCom - can have an appearance of great ethic, gender, etc. diversity, while being very monolithic in the way it thinks, as the body has an innate tendency to self preservation and to chose those who think the same, so as to avoid internal problems. This is really something that has to change in the Movement. We need entities with more critical abilities, and with better competencies and capacities when it comes to quick and proper answering to developing crisis. This awful habit of a body self-appointing itself should be extinct for good.--- Darwin Ahoy! 15:47, 20 August 2019 (UTC)
There are different ways in which the mix of elected and appointed members can be done; one current example is the FDC, where it's a 5-elected/4 appointed committee. Much of the technical expertise would reside in the staff that support each committee, who would be carrying out day-to-day work, while the committee sets policy and process. It would be reasonable to assume that one of the roles of a capacity-building committee (and its staff) would be to identify movement members (in the broad term) and help them to develop the appropriate skill set to become appointed members of these committees; I can envision them having lists of people with certain interests or skills, and the decision-makers on the appointments (possibly the committee, possibly the movement governing body) drawing from that list of willing and skilled individuals to fill appointment seats. We don't have all the answers - this is intended to be a fairly high level document, and the precise means of putting bodies in seats is likely to evolve over time, as well - and we certainly haven't come to final conclusions on a lot of the details. Risker (talk) 04:27, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
@Risker: I think the model of X volunteers elected and Y staff/technical/advisory ppl appointed is really great and functional. It has not necessarily anything to do with "bringing more diversity to the board" as it is so often paraded, however. When this model is abused/hijacked to force "diversity", it risks becoming dysfunctional. This doesn't mean that the diversity bit shouldn't be there, but the focus must be primarily on competence and capacity. Even as a mater of respect to the competency of the candidates: Sometime ago we had a president of the board stating that he had chosen the candidates to the board - two scholars - because they were women, without any reference to their competences and capacities. I find this kind of attitude truly awful, and actually insulting.--- Darwin Ahoy! 10:50, 22 August 2019 (UTC)

ComprehensibilityEdit

I don't find these to be particularly comprehensible. First off, the names seem to be nonsense words that mean nothing at all, rather than using titles as an outline of what the proposals would entail. That should be fixed. If they're acronyms for something, what the acronyms stand for should be explained. Phrases like this: The Charter specifies how decision-making will be made (including other non-consensus models that draw upon best practices and precedents from successful open organization models.) look like corporatese gibberish. From what I can understand of them, they all appear to be attempts at takeover, so...I think I oppose them? But I'm quite honestly not even certain what any of them would actually look like if they were to be implemented. I know they're already in English, but a version in plain English would be quite helpful. Seraphimblade (talk) 04:33, 21 August 2019 (UTC)

The names seem to follow the scheme of IKEA products, but the rest, I don't know. EllenCT (talk) 04:57, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
I wasn't quite sure if you were referring to the models or the recommendations, Seraphimblade, but I think on re-reading it is probably the models. When we drafted them, we originally used animal names, but decided they weren't quite neutral so changed them to names of stars, specifically so that they wouldn't have any assumption of a preference. Risker (talk) 05:32, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
Risker, I was specifically referring to the recommendations. The titles should reflect what they actually do. And apparently, the summaries need to be summarized, because quite honestly, like I said above, reading these proposals gives me no idea what they would do if implemented. (And where is the "leave it the hell alone and quit picking at it" proposal?). Seraphimblade (talk) 08:06, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
There isn't a "leave it alone" proposal because we don't think "leave it alone" will work. The existing movement structures do a great job of doing what movement structures needed to do in 2008 or so, which is to raise money to keep servers running and defend trademarks. The strategic direction is significantly more ambitious than that and we think it will need different structures to deliver it.
I agree the models are very high-level and for that reason can be difficult to engage with, and clearly they would need much more detail before they could be implemented, and the conversations about adding those details will also be very important. Really, it would have been much easier for us to create recommendations at the level of "abolish Affcom and replace it with something better", but the more we have gone through the process the more it's turned out to be important to be thinking at such a high level. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 09:28, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
@The Land: I must say I'm quite disappointed with the outcome of this WGs, if all we will have to discuss is those 3 cryptic models. I was hoping that at the end of the Strategy process we would have some orienting lines and general principles we could already work on, such as "no body should be self-appointed, as that has proved to be counterproductive and pass the wrong image", "all bodies should answer to someone (WMF, community, etc,) and they must clearly indicate who they answer to and how that is governed", so that we could already start improving the current state of things, which in some cases appear to be something close to anarchy, and actually do something useful on the way to 2030.
I also don't understand how "we don't think "leave it alone" will work" and "we think it will need different structures to deliver it" translated into "you have no other option than change to one of those 3 models we came up with". Wasn't this Strategy process supposed to be a joint effort and brainstorm with the community? Why are those specific models being forced upon us? Why can't we discuss more practical and useful stuff, such as general principles and orienting lines, and adapt them to our current structure, and instead are stuck with those precooked models?--- Darwin Ahoy! 10:36, 22 August 2019 (UTC)

Comprehensibility/understanding might improve if a link to the current structure, displayed in a similar way to the proposed ones, were provided. With that, people would be able to make comparisons more easily. EddieHugh (talk) 12:58, 21 August 2019 (UTC)

That's an excellent suggestion. If we had a known quantity to compare them to, that might make them easier to understand. Seraphimblade (talk) 20:14, 21 August 2019 (UTC)

The end of the volunteer community?Edit

I noticed that 2 of the models (Elgafar & Quotiel) seem to basically ignore the existence of a volunteer Wikimedia community. I was told by a member of the group that for the production of these models the WG was divided into 3 subgroups, and each proposed a different model. Does this mean that 2/3 of this Working Group is recommending the WMF to end its volunteer basis, or to define it's own strategy independently of the Wikimedia volunteer communities?--- Darwin Ahoy! 09:38, 26 August 2019 (UTC)

@DarwIn: Based on a quick reading through of models, I don’t see that the volunteer community is ignored?
  • Quotiel has a section “The volunteer communities”:

    The volunteer communities will retain their autonomy as today.
    They will continue to run the Wikimedia projects as per their respective community policies.
    The volunteer communities is free to create internal governance bodies or independent ‘clubs’.
    Each volunteer community will keep a close connection to one or more support structures.

  • Elgafar has them as part of the concept of “Content CDM Communities” (CDM=contribution, development and management):

    The Content CDM Communities are the online volunteer communities that work on the Wikimedia projects.
    The Content CDM Communities include the communities of the existing Wikimedia projects, such as Wikipedia, Wikisource, Wikidata, and Wikimedia Commons, in their various languages.
    The Content CDM Communities may include new types of communities, such as communities that work on capturing oral histories, folklore, and cultural practices.

Hope that helps, Jean-Fred (talk) 11:56, 26 August 2019 (UTC)
@Jean-Frédéric: In Quotiel that appears on the text, but not on the scheme. "Each volunteer community will keep a close connection to one or more support structures" - This in particular seems to have been messed up in the scheme ("local project community" under a regional hub is total nonsense if you're talking about WIkimedia Project communities).
Thanks for the input. In Elgafar I have not noticed indeed that the cryptic designation of “Content CDM Communities” referred to the Wikimedia Project volunteer communities. Apparently the WG believes those communities will ever accept to become subject of a BoT style body, answering to it. Good luck with that.--- Darwin Ahoy! 13:13, 26 August 2019 (UTC)
I don’t think this is non-sensical: to invoke currently existing examples, there are currently many such “local project community” (eg, the Welsh editors community), many of which do have close connections to support structures (eg, the Welsh Wikipedians with Wikimedia UK) ; of course not all existing online communities can be described as “local” ; but do note that on the Quotiel diagram, there is also “thematic project community” (at the same level as “local project community”) − again, to invoke currently existing examples, that sounds similar to the relationships between, say, “Wikipedia editors on health-related topics” (as “thematic project community”) and Wiki Project Med Foundation (“thematic support structure”) ; or “Wiktionary editors” and Tremendous Wiktionary User Group.
Do you feel that there are online communities which would not fall under either umbrella term?
Re:Elgafar: the WG makes it clear that Each Content CDM Community is self-governing within the framework established by the Movement Charter. (emphasis mine) − so not to quibble on words but I don’t think “answering to” is the exact word for it, in the sense that there would be some accountability, but not a hierarchy.
(Also, wouldn’t you say that the online Wikimedia communities are already « subject » to the Terms of Use?)
(Disclaimer: I don’t have any particular insights into the reasoning of the working groups ; these are just my personal understanding based on the reading of the models).
Jean-Fred (talk) 13:57, 26 August 2019 (UTC)
@Jean-Frédéric: Elgafar: Yes, we all do indeed agree to the ToU. Looking at the scheme, the CDM Community is not under the chart, but under that governing body, which in turn defines and is being defined by the chart. The communities, however, do not seem to have any access to that chart.
Quotiel: For the sake of an example, and bringing in a true situation, (though not my case), imagine I'm an Angolan volunteer, editing wiki.pt. I live in Huambo. I only have another Angolan fellow editing there, from Luanda, with which I don't have that much contact. All my wikifriends are from Portugal and Brazil, which are on different regions. Where do I fit?--- Darwin Ahoy! 17:55, 26 August 2019 (UTC)
Well, I imagine you could be active in a “Portuguese-speakers group” (which would sometimes be supported by Iberocoop on some initiatives) ; let’s say you are into aircrafts, modeling them on Wikidata and taking pictures on Commons, you may also be part of a “Aircraft enthusiasts user group” (who one day may seek support from Wikimedia France to cover the Paris Air Show), and be interested in the “Wikidata-aficionados user-group” and the “Commons Photographers User Group”. Or something like that :) Jean-Fred (talk) 20:29, 29 August 2019 (UTC)
@Jean-Frédéric: Iberocoop is mostly concerned with WMF/affiliate communication in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian, and as far as I know has no relation with editors that do not belong to any of the affiliates it includes. And even then it follows an hierarchy and bureaucracy, so that members of affiliates are expected to communicate the situation to their representative on Iberocoop, which in turn would communicate it to the inner group of representatives (it's a mostly non-functional system, BTW). It really isn't a good example for that model. Unless you redefine those regional groups and affiliates entirely, so that they would be forced to accommodate those kind of independent initiatives by design, I don't see how that model can fly.--- Darwin Ahoy! 05:25, 30 August 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying, I guess that particular example was not the best then :-) (I assume the rest of the example does make a certain level of sense then) Jean-Fred (talk) 18:00, 30 August 2019 (UTC)
DarwIn raises an important issue that our working group will continue to examine: how best to ensure that the majority of global community members who do not officially become members of any formal(e.g., chapters), informal (e.g., user groups) or localized (e.g., Wikiprojects) groups continue to be enfranchised and supported. Speaking personally, I would be very concerned with any model that did not directly support non-aligned editors or completely informal groups that have no recognition; I think the current models that have been illustrated provide at least some degree of support, but we still have work to flesh out what will ultimately be recommended going forward. Just remember our current Principle #5 - if it can't be linked to creation, development and management of content (directly or indirectly) then it probably won't get recommended by this group. Risker (talk) 21:08, 29 August 2019 (UTC)

Quality Control and Reputational ManagementEdit

Discussion seems to focus upon power structures and more local autonomy. In a live-and-let-live perfect world, every volunteer will be left alone, with adequate resources and support to produce "knowledge" within a self-governed community. In a resourced constrained world, there are two basic causes for potential friction between these autonomous groups: 1) competition for money and resources and 2) credibility/reputation.

Today, people want to contribute and to volunteer because Google tends to assign a high ranking to Wikipedia pages and Wikipedia content has credibility with most users. If one editor vandalizes or adds biased point-of-view to an article, some other editor or bot in theory will come and correct the article. People take this task seriously, because there is a general belief that if Wikipedia misinforms the public, ultimately our donor base, google ranking and credibility will be harmed.

If the volunteer community of existing projects become convinced that there is no quality control or reputational management built into the structure, they will quit editing. Why should an English Wikipedia admin block a POV-pushing editor, if the natural result would be that the POV content can be moved to a different WMF-sponsored project where it will have an equal impact on the community's reputation and credibility. For example, suppose WikiProject Medicine works hard to police coverage of herbal remedies, but another group starts a new independent project called "wikiherbal" to document the medical practices of indigenous people without regard to any clinical data regarding safety or effectiveness. What if another body having jurisdiction over machine translations or Wikidata then autogenerates English Wikipedia content based upon "wikiherbal"? What if "wikiherbal" becomes captive to the existing herbal industry? What if a reader tries an herbal remedy based upon "wikiherbal" and gets very sick? How do these questions get answered under your proposals?

I would suggest that the Working Group address not only resources but also overall quality assurance across projects. Obviously, we can predict that both will be a cause for tension and disputes, so the final set of recommendations should anticipate such concerns. Who will have responsibility for quality assurance within each entity and across projects? Hlevy2 (talk) 07:03, 30 August 2019 (UTC)

From Catalan SalonEdit

1: WMF cannot influence communities because they are far away from them. Product innovation fails because communities feel that those developments have been done without them in mind (...)
3: Agree. It is compatible with all the demands of clear rules and clear marks in all other WG (...)
4: We don't understand the expression 'owned by'. We want a fully elected body everywhere (...)
5: We agree and We're hahpy to know that somebody has our goals in mind
7: If staff is needed, that means that the day that there is no longer money, that project would't be self/sustainable (...)
Comments about Situla Model, Quotiel Model and Elgafar Model

Wikimedia FranceEdit

What is the role of the charter of principles, values, and governance behaviours?

  • a values or governance charter?
  • who is in charge of its application, its surveillance, point of contact in case of suspicion of non-compliance? The Movement governance body?
  • is it binding?
  • should affiliates ratify this charter? or add to the bylaws?
  • how the charter will be elaborated?
  • validation or vote?
  • the order should be: first, deciding of the charter, then, of the new organisation of the movement
  • the charter should contain what Wikimedia is not / doesn't want to be

Appointing members is not always authorized locally. For example, if Wikimedia France obtains the label "Reconnaissance d'utilité publique", the appointment of board members is perceived as non-democratic and should be limited.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees of Wikimedia France, Pierre-Yves Beaudouin (talk) 11:24, 14 September 2019 (UTC)

Basque WikimediansEdit

Along the lines also pointed in the above comments, the Basque Wikimedians think that Government governance should be fully elected. We support a horizontal model. The formal and informal OMG adapts to local context, as was demanded by the community.

We think that from the three models in the recommendations for Roles and Responsibilities ELGAFAR shows the advantages of Quotiel and Situla, but it is more decentralized, providing a more effective and operative framework in relation to the local context, also avoiding unwanted bureaucracy. Iñaki LL (talk) 21:14, 15 September 2019 (UTC)

Return to "Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Working Groups/Roles & Responsibilities/Recommendations" page.