WIKIMOVE/Podcast/Transcript Episode 7

Nicole: Welcome to episode 7 of WIKIMOVE, our podcast where we discuss the future of the Wikimedia Movement. I'm Nicole Ebber and with me is Nikki Zeuner.

Nikki: Hi!

We are both working in Wikimedia Deutschland's Movement Strategy and Global Relations team. And after seven episodes of you hearing from us, we want to hear from you, from our fans and from our listeners. We would like to know more about your listening preferences, about your perception of the show and the topics, and also hear what we can actually improve. So please participate in that survey. You can find the link, as always, in our show notes.

Nikki: This episode was recorded at December 1st at 18:00 CET. Things may have changed since we recorded the show, but what we still know…

Nicole:... is that by 2030, Wikimedia will become the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge and anyone who shares our vision will be able to join us.

Nikki: Our home base is not only this podcast, but we also have a meta page and a web page and all the relevant links are available in the show notes. Talking about home base, we recorded the previous shows in a podcast studio and today is the first time where we record with our own audio equipment from home. Let us know how that works out for you. On today's show, our guests are two long standing community members from emerging communities. We will talk about the future of the Movement through their eyes, what are the challenges that emerging communities are facing, and how can they be addressed through the charter or other changes that we're making.

Nikki and Nicole: But first, news from the Movement.

Nikki: The Wikimedia affiliate Wikimovimento Brasil is happy to share with the Movement the strategic manifesto for the next few years. There are versions in various languages on Wiki, and it's open to further translations. The cool thing about this is this is the result of a one year long collaborative process where they redefined their priorities and goals. And it reflects how their community and organization have appropriated the 2030 Movement strategy. So they did research, community consultation, and the actual writing has had the direct involvement of 65 people. So they have also documented their process. So if others are interested in creating a strategy that aligns with Movement strategy, you can find out about their methodology and you should definitely read their strategic manifesto. So isn't there another organization that's about to review their strategy, Nicole?

Nicole: And now that you say it, I think there is one and I think it's called Wikimedia Deutschland. So we are actually going through a strategy review at the moment to review our own strategy and also to review how we can better align it to Movement strategy. And while we're doing this, we are inviting people, members of our Movement to charging sessions, where they come and talk to staff about how they aligned Movement strategy or their own strategy to Movement strategy or their work to Movement strategy. And Joao was a guest in one of these charging sessions. And I cannot really say it was one of maybe my one of the favorite charting sessions because it was just so exciting to hear from them how they have gone through this process. So I can really recommend check it out. What we've also talked about here in the podcast is Wikimedia Europe and there's more news coming in from them. They have in the meantime, 24 European affiliates who joined Wikimedia Europe as founding members and they had elected a board and the president of the board who is Claudia Garald from Wikimedia Österreich. And Claudia has just recently announced that they have appointed Anna Masgal as the executive director and Dimi Dimitrov as policy director. And they both have represented Wikimedia's interests in Brussels and have really advocated for our cause for many years in an excellent way. Yeah, we can really congratulate those two and keep up the great work.

Nikki: Congrats Anna and Dimi. That's so awesome. So now we're getting to events. There is an event called RightsCon, which is hosted by Access Now. And it's a summit that brings together people from around the world to discuss human rights in the digital age. And I think it would be awesome if the Wikimedia movement could be represented there. So you can submit proposals. Deadline is January 12. The actual conference is next year in June in Costa Rica. It's a free event. Everyone can apply and everyone can register to attend. Check it out. RightsCon.

Nicole: Talking of events, there is another event coming up next year. Please mark your calendars. Wikimania 2023 is actually happening in Singapore. So on site, in person, and also online. The theme will be diversity, collaboration, and future, which is, I think, really an excellent theme and could even be the theme for our podcast here. And especially the future theme will be about discussing implementation of Movement strategy, and also discussing other future thinking topics. So I think, or not only I think, I'm actually quite sure that you can expect to hear more about this event in our future episodes.

Nikki: And then the foundation just announced the award of nine research grants. Research grants, you say? Yes, there is a funding line where the foundation now funds people to do research about the Movement and about our projects mostly. So anyway, check their interesting projects out. There's nine of them. Many of them relate to movement strategy and to knowledge equity. And they're also launching the next round. You're in a hurry for that one because submissions are due December 16th. So by the time you hear this, you have like four days left to write your first iteration of a research proposal. You can also follow all that stuff on the Wiki Research L mailing list. Finally, one more event coming up, but not for another year, but you can support it. The GLAM Wiki conference, Wikimedia Seste Uruguay, are trying to get a grant from the Wikimedia Foundation to run that event, and they need your input on how they can build a useful program that makes a good use for our in person time. So fill out their form and help them get that grant so we have a good conference in Montevideo. Who doesn't want to go to Montevideo, Uruguay? Right? And that was the news.

All right, let's start with our interview. Today, we ask the question, what can Movement strategy do for emerging communities? Our guests today will share their perspective both as community members and affiliates from emerging communities. And then they also report on their work as members of the MCDC, which is the Movement Charter Drafting Committee. So I want to introduce Pepe Flores. He has been a member of Wikimedia's Mexico's board since 2013. He's also currently the president of the chapter since 2021. He defines himself as a digital rights activist and is involved in policy discussions regarding privacy, freedom of speech, and free culture. And Pepe is calling us today from Puebla, Mexico. Welcome to WIKIMOVE, Pepe.

Pepe: Thank you. Thank you very much. I'm very glad to be here.

Nicole: And our other guest is Anass Sedrati, Wikimedian from Morocco. He's a co founder and board member of different user groups, like, for example, the one from Morocco or the Arabic Wikimedians user group. And he's also an editor in several of the online projects and admin on the Moroccan Wikipedia. I've known Anass for quite a long time because also he has participated in many, in basically all the stages of the Wikimedia 2030 strategy. For example, he has been a working group member in phase two in the advocacy working group, also strategy liaison for the Arabic language and also a member of the group who was writing the final 2030 recommendations. And he continues to be involved and engaged and is now also a member of the movement charter drafting committee. Hi, Anass and welcome. And maybe you can also say where you're calling in from today.

Anass: Absolutely. Hello, Nicole and hello, everyone. It's really a pleasure to be here with you. And today I'm calling you from Stockholm in Sweden. And today is a historical day because Morocco qualified to the second round in the World Cup. I have to say it. Thank you.

Nikki: Just one. So, Anass is going to be very happy today. So, let's start. Nicole, you want to ask the first question?

Nicole: I wanted to ask you both to talk a little bit about yourself and about your communities and your work in the Movement. So, let's introduce yourselves and Pepe, maybe you want to start?

Pepe: Oh, thank you. Yeah. Well, my name is Pepe Flores. I'm from Mexico. I have been a member of the Movement since 2012. And I started serving in the board of Wikimedia Mexico in 2013. I started working with my local community. I'm not from Mexico City. I'm from Puebla, which is a city that's like a two hour drive from Mexico City. And we started with a very small community here. We started doing some Adidathons. I started working with Glam projects, with museums, with universities. And since 2015, I am working in the digital rights community. So I started joining the movement more from a policy or a copy left advocacy standpoint. So most of my work is on that, from that place. I do a lot of things about outreach. I do a lot of things about speaking to government agencies to other stakeholders about what is the Wikimedia Movement, what do we stand for? And last year I was elected president of my chapter and I was overwhelmed because we have been steadily growing for 10 years and now I face this challenge of how do we renew ourselves? How do we find more voices? Diverse voices, how do we open spaces that in a country that tends to be very centralized. I do not come from the capital. I understand this. That's why one of the reasons I was selected. And it's because we want to go all over the country. Because for us, it's very important that we help extend the Movement all over the territory. So yeah, that didn't mean a nutshell.

Nicole: Very impressive. Thank you. And I discovered like something that you then you two have in common because Anass has been in that advocacy working group and you've been very engaged in advocacy work as well. So that's maybe another thing that you share and that you have in common. And Anass, maybe you want to speak a little bit about like yourself and what are you doing in your communities and your and our movement.

Anass: Yeah, sure. So my name is Anass Sedrati. I'm originally from Morocco, although I live in Sweden now. I've joined the movement in 2013. And when I say join the movement, I mean, I created an account on Wikipedia because I was editing before but as an IP address. Maybe it counts also as being in the movement, but it's from another perspective. But yes, I joined in 2013 and I started editing. So I started firstly as an online editor. And the reason was because we didn't have an offline community at the time. So it's slightly different than Pepe who mentioned that maybe he started with an organization. While for us, we didn't even know there were organizations. We were just editing Wikipedia. And then one day I went to a conference and then I understood that there are things called user groups. And then we started to gather with other volunteers from the same countries and then we created our own user group. And then we tried to, as volunteers, to see what kind of activities we could do, learning from other countries like pioneer countries. And we started with very small events like editathons and raising awareness about what is Wikipedia, maybe trying to teach people how to edit. And we still try to grow steadily. I would say that's one thing that I'm really proud about that we did in Wikimedia Morocco user group is first that we managed to organize Wiki Arabia in 2019. For us, it was really a turning point because it went from having this very small group of volunteers that meet maybe once in a year to just do some small edit a thons to being able to organize a big event inviting people from different areas. And we try to build on that. So now we have applied for our first annual grant this year. Last year we had a grant but it was a project grant but now we try to be even more let's say structured. So we have applied for an annual grant, we have staff and we're trying to grow slowly but in a very structured manner. And maybe we will be able to discuss this later but for us it's important to discover these paths from going from fully volunteers who are scattered, who just do things on their leisure time to have something really professionalized as a structure. I also edit online pretty often. It takes a lot of time. So I have to always make a balance between online and offline. But yeah, basically, that's mostly what I do. I have been also very involved, as you mentioned, Nicole, in the Movement strategy. And I was part of the advocacy working group and now I'm part of the Movement Charter Drafting Committee also together with Pepe.

Nicole: Thank you. I wanted to say one thing because you said I'm not sure if I can already be counted as a member of the Movement when I do edits as an IP address. My personal answer to this would be yes, absolutely. Because the Movement is everyone who contributes to our mission and to our project. Yeah, you don't need an account to be part of our movement from my perspective. So thanks both for your introduction and over to Nikki now.

Nikki: The Movement strategy was created in part so that our movement can grow in numbers and in diversity towards the end of this decade. And so when we wrote it, and we is not just an us and me, but a whole bunch of other people were involved in that. We tried to right it in a way that would enable our movement to have that type of growth and that type of development and the type of capacity building and moving towards structures that you talked about on us. So since you both come from emerging communities, can you share just a little bit, what are some of the challenges that you see in your communities, some of the barriers to growth maybe and to getting better organized?

Pepe: I have been reflecting a lot on this because right now what Anass said, it's true, it's like, we, I think we all started having this scattered efforts. And even though we already had an, a chapter, it was very young when I joined, um, we had like one or two years working and it's, um, one of the challenges I think is that we are start to grow in old, which is a good thing. I think that a lot of volunteers that came here like seven, eight, 10 years ago, we are still here and that's something good for the Movement. But also it, um, creates new challenges about how do we transfer this knowledge? How do we make possible that other people, it's going to take advantage of this path that we have been opening for them? I think that one of the things that Anass said was that through developing the structures and through creating these methodologies and creating these learning patterns among peers, on how we can improve each other. So I think that's one of our main concerns because I think sometimes we start with a lot of enthusiasm and we start doing like these events and contributing individually or collectively and everything seems to be a really great place that is fostering innovation. But then you start facing another another trouble like, oh my God, I just have the weekends to do this and I want to do more and how. Am I going to do this in a sustainable way? I think that's the key point that the strategy is going to answer. How do we do a sustainable Movement? Because when you start looking into your own communities, but also with the other emerging communities, so the other communities in the world, you start to see a lot of ugly things like burnout or chapters or user groups disappearing because enthusiasm is a very powerful fuel. But it's also easy to burn out. It's really easy to stop feeling that enthusiasm that you don't have the right incentives. And these incentives, they are not necessarily economic. Those are also incentives of seeing that the things that you are putting out there, they're having results. And this is great because sometimes you just go, for example, to a small community here you show them that Wikipedia exists, it's not that it seems little, but it's very huge for them. And that was one of my main questions when I was speaking with other more developed communities or developed countries. Here it's about teaching people that we exist. Right now it's not necessarily about creating more editors. That's going to be a very long term result. Right now, it's about creating readers, for example, and to transform lives. Because I think that accessing free knowledge is quite transformative. And learning that you can be part of this knowledge society, that you can actually actively contribute and do something from behind the monitor to help others achieve this knowledge. I think it's super, super grateful. So for me, that's the main challenge. How do we build something that's going to be sustainable in the long term while we still foster innovation, while we still foster participation and diversity?

Nikki: Do you see some of the same challenges in your communities, like sustaining enthusiasm and creating something that's lasting on us?

Anass: Yes, definitely. I think I would. I'd like to endorse everything that Pepe has mentioned because we have very similar challenges. I maybe can add some other related challenges such as the status of volunteerism maybe in our context. So volunteerism is considered somehow as a luxury and it's very difficult to convince people to be volunteers. And maybe even if people want to become volunteers, they would do it online. So they would write articles because then they see that they have impact. But it's very difficult, for example, to convince someone to organize an event as a volunteer or to host a conference as a volunteer, especially that they see that in other contexts or other communities, it's staff who does that. So this is also one of the challenges that we have. We have, related to that, there is also the socioeconomic situation, of course, because this doesn't come just out of nowhere. It's because, of course, people have needs and they cannot just have the privilege to take time to be volunteers. So this is an important challenge that we have and this is why I was talking that in the group it's important to consider this more structured approach and application for grants because we know that there is support from different parts, from different organizations for all the emerging communities. So it's just that the emerging communities need to know about it and this need to know, for me it's another challenge. So the fact of knowing the information, if you remember in the beginning, I mentioned that I was an editor, but I didn't know anything. I didn't know there was a Wikimedia foundation. I didn't know there were affiliates. And I'm pretty sure that a lot of people, even now, they create accounts, they are very active, but they don't know about these other parts of the movement. So this is also a challenge that we have. We have very active editors in our countries, but we don't know them and we don't know how to reach out to them and they don't know us. And this is for us something that needs to be addressed and we know that the strategy is actually going to help in that.

Nicole: So for all these challenges we need to find some ideas or solutions and so on. But of course it's not up to each individual here of you or of us to find them but it's up to us to create a Movement that supports you and these emerging and growing communities in that growth. And how can this Movement, how can we create such a Movement and what is also required from the growing communities? And how can we actually address those challenges that you mentioned? Maybe Anass, you want to start and then we'll hand it back over to Pepe.

Anass: Yeah, sure. So I think that there are already a lot of efforts that are being made in that regard. For example, if you think about maybe this is not a new concept, but it has been very helpful. If you think about the concept of rapid grants, it was very helpful. I will talk about Africa because it's the context I know best. So the fact of providing rapid grants or micro grants for some communities have helped to spread the word a lot about the Wikipedia and about the Wikimedia community. And maybe one very successful example could be Nigeria. So if you think about Nigeria, they have several user groups. They have a lot of active people that became active just because of these small grants where they were able to organize competitions or contests and that attracted a lot of people. So now a lot of people are aware about about Wikimedia through that. So I think that this was a very successful model. And if groups are then continuing to work and then they can grow and they can become bigger groups, maybe even chapters in the future. So this is this is a way actually to think about it. So try to provide resources and the word will be shared quickly for those who are interested. Also for volunteering, I think that there are different ways of tackling that because to be able to write online, you have to be a volunteer, but offline, it's not possible. It's not always possible. So we have to maybe show to communities that there are resources. So for me, the solution is more in communication because resources are there. Sometimes people just don't know about it and they just keep on volunteering offline until they burn out, like Pepe said. But if they know that there are solutions, even in the legal matters, because some countries or some communities have legal challenges, there is always possibility to have a fiscal sponsor. And all this is available. So it's only connecting the dots, letting people know that there are available resources and there is help out there. So for me, the key word would be communication. Because the solution is there. It's just that people need to know about it and be made aware.

Pepe: I also endorse everything that Anass said. We have a lot in common when we talk about these issues. But I think that for me, it's all about learning how to build a global movement, but understanding local contexts. And sometimes that is not happening right now. I think we are trying to actually make this thing happen. But this is a change of how do we see things. Because sometimes, for example, it's not just about assigning resources or how do you apply to these microgrants. Those are great. But if you need to fulfill certain metrics that are not achievable for your context, it defeats all the purpose. And if we try to make these things one size fits all, it defeats the purpose because you are lacking the understanding of how this global movement is going to operate in different communities. For example, in Latin America, the Iberian Cop initiative that was this regional initiative, one of their first struggles was to talk with the foundation about, we need to have everything in Spanish because that's our lingua franca. We all, this country speaks Spanish. And we want things in Spanish and we are wasting a lot of time and a lot of resources just translating these things. And it's not because we are lazy. It's because a lot of editors do not have English as a second language. And if you start with this default thinking of English should be the default language, English should be defaultl language, you are losing a lot of interesting voices out there you need to do the go the extra mile on how do we go and talk with a lot of other languages. Right now it's now a problem that we are still facing with how do we foster participation in this strategy discussions because it's also about, okay, I have always been against this, the community as a whole thing because I think we are built from a lot of communities. And we should be talking about the Wikimedia communities, not just the community, because sometimes if you do that, you are silencing other voices because it's like, oh, the community is saying this. No, no. The people who can't write in English in meta is saying this. Those are not the community or the whole community. Those are a very important, a large part of the community. Yeah. But we also need to go with other communities. And those communities, and as Aniss said, sometimes they don't even know that the Wikimedia Foundation exists or these software structures exist because they do not have the time. They are not simply interested. And that's a really great challenge for us. How do we make them want to participate? How do we lower the bar for participation? Because sometimes you want to do that. And you face a lot of obscure and cryptic terms about how do we, are we built? And it's super, you need like to take a class just before posting something in meta. So yeah, I think that it's really important for me, let's try to understand local contexts and let them take decisions at their own pace and respecting their autonomy because sometimes we tend to be so we're willing to help that much that we can reproduce some paternalism toward those communities. And I think we are making a mistake there. We need to be open and let them know that we as a structure, we are open for all their needs. But we are not here to impose anything. This is something, for example, that we in Mexico, we learned working with indigenous communities. You need to let them know that Wikipedia exists. You have to build those capacities for them to edit. But you cannot just go and force them to edit and create articles. That's not OK, because you are not helping their voice. You are putting your own interests above those voices. It's about how do we build capacity? And I think that the strategy has a very good take on this. How do we build these capacities so local communities can by themselves build these blocks of participation?

Nikki: Thank you, Pepe. There was so much in there what you just said, especially when you said let's build a global Movement while understanding the local context. I think that's so central to a Movement strategy and also to, I don't know what verb to use, allowing diversity or letting diversity within our movement thrive is accepting the different contexts that exists and not doing one size fits all. I'm really happy you talked about that. Maybe you guys can talk a little bit more about diversity. So what does it mean in practice? What, other than having flexible structures and flexible grant programs and but how does diversity in practice work and what maybe do we still need to do in our Movement? What still needs to change in our Movement so we can enable that? Particularly thinking about some of the formats we're using that might not be working for all groups of knowledge.

Anass: You have just mentioned a very enormous huge area which is diversity and we can talk about it for hours but I will try just in a nutshell to give some ideas that maybe are relevant to the context where I'm from. And I'm sure that Pepe also will recognize many of them. So when we talk about diversity, it can be either in the format, it can be either in the people, it can be either in the content, it's so many things. And we have had a lot of discussions inside the movement about diversity. We talk about the gender, we talk about geography, we talk about maybe opinions, the diversity in ideology. So all these are elements or criteria that you can use for diversity. But there is also what you have mentioned about the format. And this is very important because one thing that we have in the movement, but not only in the Movement, this is how the world works, is that sometimes if the loudest voices are not impacted by something, it will not be mentioned that much. So as you know, usually in the global north, the way of documenting was in a written way. And this is also how Wikipedia started and many other projects have started. But it's not the case in other parts of the world. So in many parts of the world, the knowledge was transmitted, for example, in oral traditions. And moreover, we have languages that are not even written. There are people who speak languages that are not written. So the only way how they can transmit their knowledge is by mentioning it, mentioning it from one generation to the other. And this is, of course, a big challenge that needs to be addressed. If we think also about the strategy and about how we want to be one of the biggest ecosystems in free knowledge in the world, we have to include these sorts of knowledge, these new formats. There are also other areas that maybe we don't talk that much about, but that we see a lot in our context. For example, in Morocco, I will mention just two of them. For example, the nature of people who participate in the project. As I mentioned earlier, volunteerism is kind of a luxury. So most of the volunteers that would participate in our context are people with a high socioeconomic standard. So they are mostly coming from a certain background. They speak some languages and they will write about some topics because this is their background, which is good because it means that this background is well covered. But then other sorts of backgrounds or groups that are really underrepresented do not have their knowledge represented there. So this is also some sort of diversity that we are lacking for the moment. And also in terms of content itself, we are noticing this in our own context. So if we have an editathon, for example, a lot of people will come, but they will not write about local subjects because it's difficult to find sources. It's difficult to start everything from scratch unless you're a researcher. So they will write about some person from Europe or someone from the USA because there are so many sources and it's so easy to write about that person. So this is also diversity in the content itself, to have a diverse content. So many aspects in terms of diversity. I told you, we can take hours.

Nikki: Absolutely, yeah. I'm also sometimes wondering whether this diversity in sort of history or maturity with the Movement sometimes hurts us more than it helps us. So you were mentioning earlier, Pepe, the more established communities have been around for a long time. They're aging. And they've established sets of rules that may now make it harder for for new community members to enter and join the movement. Maybe you can talk about that a little bit.

Pepe: Yeah, sure. I think that when we talk about diversity in the practice, it's like, and I said, it's first to recognize that there are a lot of gaps and different gaps of participation. So for me, one of them is about the age. It's like we have been here a lot of time. We have been working a lot right now we know how the Movement works, how are the processes, and we have all this knowledge. And it becomes really, really hard to find how do we transmit this? How do I create some ways that new editors, new people arriving is going to absorb all this knowledge? And I love what Anass just said. One of the problems right now that we are facing with Wikimedia Mexico, for example, is that we don't have a lot of these things documented. That we did not have our first meeting, for example, documented in a written form, but we relied on this oral transmission. Sometimes we may make a meeting and some of the elders of our chapter will talk about this thing, but you lose a lot of context. So right now it's how do we build these mechanisms where you can, for example, have all these meetings or half of these agreements in a written form that somebody can consult them across the time. But at the same time, you recognize that this happened because you didn't have the resources at the time. You don't blame yourself. You don't say, oh, I should have done this. It's like, okay, I was doing the best that I could with the things that I had at that time. So for me, I think that's very important about diversity in practice. It's to recognizing those gaps and recognizing that you were doing the best you could at that time. But right now you have this responsibility of doing better. You need, if you look, for example, at your board and you see that there's no and equal gender participation, or if you see that you're hosting a lot of events, talking about the gender gap, you're having a lot of events, and always there's a male representing you. You first need to recognize that there is a gap there. And how are you going to take measures if you can to go from point A to point B? How are you going to foster that participation in an organic way? How are you going to do the extra effort to go over there. So yeah, it's really, really important to recognize that the Movement is growing older, that the Movement as an asset sometimes is represented with people that has been well educated and how do you go to other spaces. It's really, really important to see those holes, see those problems, do not try to deny them, but instead do something about them.

Nikki: I was told to kick my cats out of the room. So you're making up for that now. You can hear a cat on this podcast. Nicole, over to you. Let's talk about governance.

Nicole: Yeah, let's talk about governance. So we will also talk a little bit about your role in the MCDC. But before that, I wanted to, or we wanted to ask, like, how can we actually create a global governance model that provides a voice to emerging communities to what we just talked about? What would an ideal global governance model look like?

Anass: I will try my best. This is really a difficult question. Well, I don't intend maybe to give a roadmap or full answer or a comprehensive answer, but maybe I have been brainstorming about some elements on how to have at least an idea about this governance system. Well, we can just think about the challenges that were mentioned now. And, you know, I personally believe that communication is key. And this is also an important part of the strategy itself. We have one recommendation about managing the internal knowledge. We have also recommendations about sustainability. And this, they're all coming together. So for me, I see that resources are available. And when we talk about resources, it's not only money, it can be capacity building, it can be many other things. And emerging communities and voices maybe that are underrepresented just need to know about it. I can give a simple example. For example, when the Movement strategy started and the working groups were created, there was a proactive effort to have people represented from different regions or from different contexts. And this allowed these voices to be heard. So in terms of global governance of the Movement, I think that this is a way to go. There are a lot of new structures that are going to be taking place. For example, the very well known global council and also hubs. And we believe that there is a big opportunity, a big chance to have a good representativity from the diverse voices or the diverse groups that are not well represented to take place there. But I think it would be a good step to have a sort of global council that is well diverse and that can, let's say, represent different voices. For me, that would be a good first step for a good global governance, to have this sort of let's call it global council that is there and that has some sort of decision making power at least on some matters and that this will enable the underrepresented voices to be heard. But this is of course my personal opinion.

Nicole: You said the global, the very well known global council that's interesting because the term is very well known, but I guess if you ask 20 Wikimedians, what will the global council look like? You get probably 30 different responses. I'm looking very much forward to continuing those conversations about this in the future, very really in practice, very well known global council. Pepe, you had some time to reflect on that question now. What do you think?

Pepe: I think this is a very complex one. I'm going to divide my answer into what can be done in the future. It's a work in progress. And what can be done right now? I think that there are two levels. First, I want in the future, in a very near future, we want all these new structures to work. We want the global council. We want the movement charter. We want the hubs to work to help us do this governance. And right now it's the time to imagine how this world is going to look like. I think that there's nothing wrong with asking 20 Wikimedia and how this is going to look like and have 20 different responses.

Nicole: I think that's... 25 even.

Pepe: Sorry.. But I think that's okay with imagining new futures. I think that sometimes we are afraid of dissent and we want everyone to think alike and that's not the case. That's what makes us so powerful as a Movement to have all these different perspectives and all these different standpoints and knowing that in the same place we can be three people from three different continents. For example, right now talking about the thing that passions the most to all of us. So I think that's great. And I think in the future, the first step is to imagine things. But right now, there are structures that are working. And I think that those structures can make their work right now. For example, I think one of the main problems is that in the paper, things seem to work well. But in the practice, you go and you see a lot of people that, as Anass and I have been saying, doesn't even know that these structures exist. And for example, that's a very important thing that the movement can do right now. It's how are we going to foster this participation? I think it's also about creating these links between the foundation, between the affiliates, between the editors or the contributors of the project. How do we link ourselves? For example, events are a great way to do this. But also how do we create these spaces? And as I was saying, this understand the local context on how is the best way. For example, I applaud all the efforts that the foundation and the community is doing right now with the strategy with building, for example, spaces when you can post online and keep the discussion but those are fostering still the same way of participation that we have been doing all the time. But there's also innovation here. For example, these and other podcasts in the Wikimedia Movement. That's an excellent way of engaging people because it's not the same to sit down and read a lot of pages in a language that you are not familiar with or that it's not your main language. It's totally different than having something in your own language when you're hearing the inflections and the changes of the voice and the tones and you can participate in that way. You can at least consume things in a way that it's more understandable for you. And I think that exploring those efforts is something that we are failing short. It's not that we are not trying, but at least we need to do this and iterate and evaluate, taking some things from the Movement strategy. Do you need to iterate and evaluate on this? And how do we participate and understand that there's going to be people that they don't want to participate in? It's okay. They might feel really well just being online contributors in a project, but there's also going to be persons that you're going to get interested in this and they're going to say, okay, tell me more. How can I do this? It's not about not having bureaucracy. It's like having the exact amount of bureaucracy on this process because you need to balance this. You need to balance how do we document? How do we have proof of that these things happen? How do we create and collect evidence? But at the same time, it's let's not give them a lot of new tasks and a lot of work and increase their workload more than it's essentially needed. And that's something very important to understand in this context, because in here, at least, I think it's the same in Mexico and it's the same in the Middle East and it's the same in Southeast Asia and in a lot of countries in Africa. I think it's the same thing about having these other challenges that are outside of our reach, like digital divide, for example, like having a lot of work, having lower gauges, wages, and all of these things that are not part of the movement, that we, they're outside of our reach, but we need to understand. And I think it's that, for me, that's the model of governance. It's about how do we create these links on the things that are working right now? And how do we ambition, the things that we are going to build. For me, just to end this participation, Hubs really, really illustrate this tension because there are a lot of folks trying to do things right now and they're experimenting. At the same time, there are folks waiting on, but how are we going to do this? Where are the rules? Where are the and those are the tensions right now. And I think that's a very interesting tension. It's not necessarily bad. I think it's something that we need to find a balance on. How do we keep the things going on?

Nicole: We've shifted over a little bit already, but now in official terms, I introduce you again as you are both members of the Movement Chartered Drafting Committee. And we are recording this episode in early December. You've published your first drafts of some chapters of the Charter and you're now reaching out to a lot of people and you're gathering a lot of input and context from all around the world, basically. So we would like you to talk a little bit about that. So who are you talking to? Also, what are you reading? What sources are you looking at for? The next steps in your work?

Anass: Yeah, sure. That's an easier question than the one before. I can start on this one. Thank you very much. So as you rightly mentioned, the Movement Charter Drafting Committee is currently at this moment having a lot of community conversations with different communities, but not only communities. The Movement Charter Drafting Committee is, of course, working with the different stakeholders that are going to be affected by the Charter, which is basically the whole Movement. So it can be affiliates, it can be the Wikimedia Foundation, it can be the Board of Trustees. So we have engagement and there is engagement with all these stakeholders. But currently at this specific moment, the Movement Charter Drafting Committee has shared a first draft of three chapters that are preamble values and roles and responsibilities and has scheduled with the support of the Movement and Strategy and Governance team from the Wikimedia Foundation, several calls with the different communities or with whoever who is interested to be able to provide their feedback. But it doesn't mean that you provide your feedback only in that call. You can always provide your feedback on a written way, on meta, for those who like, on the Movement Strategy Forum, and even on Telegram or by reaching out directly to the Movement Charter Drafting Committee. So we as Movement Drafting Charter or Movement Charter Drafting Committee, we are really seeking to get feedback from everyone. And here I really want to stress something that is important that we have noticed in already in the beginning of these discussions, which is that the movement charter drafting committee is not going to prepare something 100 % ready, and then we'll ask for feedback. We want to do this in a collaborative way. So this means that if anyone from any type of stakeholders has an idea, they can always proactively come to the Movement Charter Drafting Committee and present it. And we know that this has happened already. For example, Wikimedia Germany has already started some work. They presented some scenarios and this is very useful for us. So you have mentioned the material that we are reading. So we read in the material that we receive in from all the interested parts that have prepared material. And we're also reading a lot of historical background. So work that was done from previous working groups, such as the Roles and Responsibilities Working Group. There was even a committee that was about roles and responsibilities long time ago, I think in 2011. So we have a research committee in the drafting committee that looks for this information and tries to put it all together, analyze it and summarize it for the members. So we basically are gathering as much information as we can from the background in order to provide our drafts. But again, just to mention, don't expect, and this is for everyone, don't expect that we are delivering something ready and you just have to say, I agree or I disagree. We are very much forward looking even for new ideas. So our drafts, even if they might appear as very basic in the beginning, especially this first one, they are just meant to trigger feedback and to trigger engagement. But we will have other opportunities for deeper community conversations in the future.

Pepe: It's hard to follow that intervention because Anass has basically said everything. I just want to highlight that we are now in this community consultation tour and we are going all over the world, hearing people from all over the world. And we understand that even though we are opening these spaces. Participation is not going to be limited just for the people that connect, that hours and talk with us. But it's also open through email and through other mediums of participation. I think that's really, really important. What Anass just said, it's like, if you have an idea, don't be afraid of reaching us. We are not this unreachable committee, we are basically we have their image.

Nicole: We have your email addresses. We invite anyone wants to reach out.

Pepe: We are open to that. And I think something I would like to add and small thing is we are not reinventing the wheel here. We are in a learn. We are in a in an everlasting learning process because it's all about understanding this Movement in a global reach. It's understanding how are people in the US doing things, how are people in Europe doing things, how are people in Africa doing things, which are the best practices they got there, which are the needs that they have here or there. And understanding all of this takes a lot of time. We have this research committee that's reading, but we also have our ears, our eyes and our hearts open to all things. Because I think that's really important. Also, the last part, it's really important to have sensitivity. It's because we are not just talking about a website or we're not just talking about something. We're talking about passions here. We are talking about here about people that had invested a lot of time of their lives, personal things on growing this great project. And, and this charter should reflect also the things they love and the things they want. We all want to defend and we all want to keep this thing growing. So, yeah, basically we are now in that phase. We want you to participate. We want to trigger the questions. We want to have these new answers, to have these new perspectives. And I don't know, probably it's not going to be the thing that you are used to, like there's this text and just a note. But we believe in the WikiWay and we think this is the best way to adapt the WikiWay of doing things into the movement chart.

Nikki: I feel like this process is in very good hands with you guys and the rest of the committee. We also submitted comments today on the drafts and on the process and one of the things that we emphasized was that we like that the process is going slowly, that you start with small sections, you are open to questions and to changing things. And it's not like this huge wall of text that people have to react to. But even doing all these things, I feel like, I don't know, Anass and I were at WikiIndaba a few weeks ago, both trying in our own ways to engage community members there in conversations about governance and about money and about the Movement Charter. I feel like we barely scratched the surface because there's so many, every time new people are coming, new community members are joining, they're barely at the point where they're, like you said earlier, they don't even know there's a rookie media foundation. And then some of them do, and some of them are barely starting to understand the weird structures we have right now, let alone think about how those can be reformed or changed or amended. New people are joining every day. So it's like every day we have to start over with onboarding. It's like Groundhog Day or something. Do you have thoughts on how we can address that? How we can take those people along? I mean, maybe we don't need to take everyone along, but I think I also love the idea that we have fresh peoples joining the Movement and then taking advantage of their thinking and their experience that they're bringing. So any thoughts on continuous onboarding.

Pepe: There are different ways of engaging with the newcomers, if we can call them newcomers. First of all, these calls that I have mentioned are open for everyone. And usually these calls adjust the level of discussion, depending on who joins. So and then they have breakout rooms also. So if it's maybe a bunch of experts, they can join a breakout room where they will discuss very deep areas while if it's newcomers or beginners, they can always have another room where someone can just explain to them what is going on and this very basic concept of what is the Wikimedia Foundation. Also, another important thing is that we need to manage the internet knowledge. I know that I mentioned it, but it's a very important recommendation. And we at the Movement Chartered Drafting Committee are still trying to do that. So, we want to have a very simple list of roles and responsibilities of the current situation. And we're still trying to, let's say, gather this information and write it. So I'm not talking about the future and how it will change, but just about the current stage. And here, everyone can help. So if there is, for example, an affiliate, an experienced affiliate or an experienced user who can do this work,that would be amazing. For example, in Wiki Arabia, I tried to do it, but unfortunately the session was not recorded. So I had the sessions about roles and responsibilities. I just summarized what are the roles and what are the responsibilities. So this could be a very helpful material for onboarding. Yeah, we can discuss this maybe in the MCDC. If we manage to get all this information and produce it, then we can share it. It will not be part of the charter because the charter is about the future but it's a material or a background that is useful to write the charter. But I'm also inviting whoever who has experience and resources to do it, that they're very welcome to do it. So this is maybe my input into that. So we are always welcome to onboard or to explain in our different calls the current situation on structures. But if this will be documented and let's say saved somewhere, it will be much more efficient because then you can just guide people and tell them look at this one hour video then you will have a very good introduction to the Movement.

Nicole: Yeah, it's also a bit funny that this recommendation managed internal knowledge. No one's touching it, kind of. People are probably afraid of doing that. It's really a bit ironic because we are a Movement built around knowledge and we don't manage to manage our internal knowledge that well yet.

Nikki: Yeah, somebody take that on. Somebody call us and talk on this podcast about that, please. Pepe, do you have additional thoughts on newcomers?

Pepe: Yeah, I think that newcomers, it's great to have these fresh perspectives. It's great to have people that it's thinking of outside the box because sometimes you just have this perspective that's has been well -sculpt through the years and right now you see things in a certain way and sometimes it's coming here and letting you detect these blind spots that you lost. I think that here we also need the communities to step up and to help them get to these conversations well prepared because it's not the same to be a newcomer in Deutschland like being a newcomer in Morocco or in Mexico. I think that that's quite different how you are, even in newcomers, you have this level of new coming to the Movement and also to participate. And here, I think communities and affiliates, both virtual communities or online communities and offline communities play a key role on how do they help people to get through this induction to the movement. Because this tends to happen a lot, for example, in the online projects somebody is very enthusiastic about editing and starts doing things. And then the first thing is they hit the wall with a lot of editors and because they don't know the rules and we don't want that feeling to happen. We don't want people to feel like, oh, okay, I did this and somebody took it down and it's over for me. And it's the same, but exponentially when you're talking about the Movement, because it's like, okay, I want to do some I want to change things. I want to apply for a micro grant. I don't know. I want to do a lot of things. And then I'm facing with a lot of rules and bureaucracy and things that I don't even understand what those words are meaning. So you need communities online and offline communities to support them. So I think that that's a very first good step for newcomers. If they're newcomers that wants to advocate for something into the Movement charter, for example, I think it would be wise for community to please to first support them and ask them and help them how to develop those ideas. Because probably there's going to be some redundancy there. There's probably some things that are going to resonate with others. And that's I think that's a very way of channeling things. I do think that these structures are meant for something. And for me, that's a way of organizing things to take advantage of this enthusiasm without just being all over the place with the things. Just to channel this enthusiasm into something that's more structured. And it's for example, okay, I have these doubts, okay, come with me, I'll provide context because some maybe this thing you're thinking has been proposed before and has been accepted or rejected before, and you need to know that. And then you can do something and we can iterate, iterate, iterate. And then you are going to create a proposal that's going to be more solid than the idea you had before. I think that communities can help us workshop all these ideas and then bring in some solid things into a table.

Nikki: That's a very hopeful way to end this conversation. I think we've gotten a really great impression of what the thinking is, both in your heads and in your communities and also how that translates into your work and your attitude in MCDC. And I want to thank you for being here today. And I want to thank you for the great work you're doing.

Nicole: Thank you very much. It was really, really nice speaking with you here. So that's a wrap of the seventh episode of WIKIMOVE. Thank you all for listening.

Nikki: WIKIMOVE is a production of Wikimedia Deutschland and its movement strategy and global relations team. Eva Martin pulls all the strings in the background so that we can create excellent content like today. Our music was composed and produced by Rory Gregory and it's available under CC by SA on Wikimedia Commons. Thank you to our wonderful guests Pepe and Anass again. It's been such a pleasure and such an interesting conversation and we'll have you back.

Nicole: We release new episodes every month and we hope that new ideas are born from these conversations in WIKIMOVE and that collaborations are being kickstarted. Please visit our WIKIMOVE meta page and react to our podcast and also connect with other listeners or subscribe to always be notified of new episodes and releases.

Nikki: Based on the feedback we received from our evaluation survey, which, by the way, you're still encouraged to participate in, we have now decided to also notify listeners directly per email when a new episode is being released. So if you want to be added to that mailing list, our newsletter list, please send us an email at You'll find that in the show notes too. So if you want to get nice emails from us saying, hey, here's the next episode of Wikimove, don't miss it. Get on that list.

Nicole: And if this is the first episode that you're listening to, there are six other previous episodes, so check them out on our Meta page. You can also email us at to continue the discussions and share your suggestions also for the next episode. Bye! Ciao for now!