Wikimedia Conference 2018/Documentation/Movement Strategy track/Annexes/Roles and Responsibilities

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Reports, Reviews

of the Movement Strategy track,
 » flow of activities (and this report)
» You don't have time to read everything? Check the summary of it!
Day 1
 » The Big Picture,
» The Possibilities,
» The Challenges
Day 2
» The Way Forward,
 » Preparing to work,
 » Thematic Inputs & Conversations
Day 3
» Working groups,
 » Wrapping up
» Input documents for the working groups,
 » Micro-inputs on possibilities

Working Group Input Document: Roles and Responsibilities


Extracted May 1st from Etherpads

Roles and Responsibilities (aka Power Dynamics)



Margeigh Novotny YES
Sati Houston MAYBE
Ben Vershbow MAYBE
Christoph Henner YES
Dana McCurdy MAYBE
Elena Sanz MAYBE
Harald Krichel
Alice Wiegand
Frank Schulenburg MAYBE
Guillaume Paumier
Lukas Mezger MAYBE
Oscar Costero MAYBE
Kurt Jansson MAYBE
Filip Moriau
Daria Cybulska
KuboF Hromoslav Natacha Rault
Jamie Li-Yun Lin Yes



Power Dynamics

  • What are the power structures that exist today?
  • What are the power structures we would like to see exist?
  • there is always the polarity between being to centralized and being to distributed (too much of one or the other/over-correcting)... this dynamic must be consciously managed
  • Who are we doing this for? Who are we trying to change the roles/responsibilities for? (for us? for us and everyone else? for everyone else?)
  • Frank: for the people who benefit from what we're doing
  • Sati: How can the structure we propose enable enable us to come together  we're doing this because we know the status quo, we need to go beyond where we are today, were the ones that are going to have to make that possible
  • There are power dynamics in the way of "Sati getting to Alice"
  • Visibility: it prevents us from seeing each other... the power dynamics obscure our relationship
  • How do we make "space"
  • Alice: language is key, reinforces the power structure or revealing
  • How do we design roles and responsibilities that are understood across cultures and languages?
  • What does we mean by power? who has the power to shape or design our vision? Who has the agency?
  • how do we ensure the equity of

Movement Structure:

  • Roles have boundaries - what are the boundaries between roles? What's within the the boundary/outside?
  • What are the roles we need to define?
  • How to we ensure the stability of this (high value) entity (WMF)?  
  • The two key original purposes of WMF: someone has to manage the trademarks (legal) and someone has to provide tech stability (servers)?Ask Harald to clarify
  • How do we make the Foundation's money the Movement's money?
  • Do we need affiliates? Do we need the foundation?
  • Encourage different growth paths for organizations that are just as legitimate (corsets)
  • Should affiliates become specialized? Should we build centers of excellence? (user group models can be specialized/chapters aren't)
  • Should we be organized in a centralized way or a more distributed way, Cathedral vs. Bazaar
  • Should we have regional centers, regional centers?


  • What are we trying to fix?
  • Finding a way to make a more resilient and effective structure? a Center of Excellence
  • D: like distributed leadership model, movement needs to move more toward being more learning-oriented orgs
  • Where does an org have the authority to to make decisions and where does this authority stop?
  • How does context impact the answer to this question?
  • If there is a lack of clarity about the roles even at the foundation, it is an even bigger concern for Affiliates
  • How can we be bold when we're not clear?
  • How does this lack of clarity contribute to our ability to progress/move quickly?
  • How do we define roles and responsibilities?
  • What do equitable (fairness) roles and responsible look like? [equality vs. equity]
  • instead of equal distribution of power so that its fair and corrects for imbalance (by making it equal you're not shifting power dynamics)
  • "e.g. putting more toilet paper in the women's bathroom"
  • revelation: issues translating "equity" and "service" into other languages, or they have negative connotations in other languages... what are the neutral positive equivalents?
  • How do we define roles and responsibilities so that we balance value and pragmatism?


  • What are the roles and what are they responsible for?
  • How are we defining leadership? what are leaders responsible for?
  • There're are different forms of leadership are visible, but there are other forms that aren't as visible, creates a bias


  • How can we use "change management" theory/methods/consultants to facilitate the evolution of roles and responsibilities in the Movement?
  • What does Trust look like? How can I trust you so that I can get my work done, and trust that you are doing yours...
  • Collective impact model - Fungi network (nutrients come from wherever, and get to wherever they need to go)  
  • How big is this WG going to be?

Themes from clustering exercise:

  • Leadership
  • Processes/Strategies: Explore different means/methods of tackling the problem
  • Org culture
  • Power dynamics (Self-reflection, self-analysis, self-examination (the unexamined movement is not worth leading : ))
  • Movement/org structure
  • Concepts/Constructs



How many reps:

   10-15 core group

   working for (six) months

General characteristics:

  • a mix of structured thinkers and organic thinkers,
  • people who map/think visually
  • people who have time
  • important to be able to form alliances, shared points of view so it's not just one person upholding a particular POV
  • people who have more than one of the following traits...

Representation : criteria/qualities of the people in the working group. Ideally each person would have more than one of these characteristics

  • It might be possible to think of this group in terms of personas?
  • disgruntled old timer: like ex board member (Larry Sanger - straw person)...
  • this "old timer" has to be someone like Asaf as example of a bridge character between old timer and the new change movement)
  • people who think in structures
  • someone with a history of the movement - who will help avoid the mistakes of the past
  • (relative) newcomers
  • someone who has experienced restructuring an organization (more than once? more than one opinion/method)
  • more disruptive/strong voices (e.g. let's not talk about improving WMF, lets get rid of WMF)
  • strong neutral facilitator (who will design the process to get things done)
  • someone from earlier in the movement whose ideals/ideas were left behind for some reason
  • the super wikipedian who doesn't care about "this kind of bsh*t", who don't care about the "political" part of it (the argument: it's your responsibility, you can't dismiss)
  • shouldn't shut the community out
  • people from other countries, languages, genders
  • e.g. reps from  Asia they don't form active chapters (i.e. they don't organize?)
  • someone familiar with cultural change (we're really talking about changing the status quo, which is a culture. The effect of a culture is
  • we need people who understand the role of culture/sociology
  • anasuya- understands the boundaries of cultural change- how much
  • someone who comes from a place where the ontological orientation is different from "ours"
  • someone who naturally gravitates who planner/organizing/logistical person
  • a staff person whose job it is to manage this process (to monitor the state of the WG, to ensure the flow of information, progress)
  • someone from
  • who has different approaches/mindsets
  • someone who represents TEAL organization/evolutionary model (bottom-up organization, vision is filled the evolution)- reinventing organizations
  • someone from orgs that have gone through this cathedral to bazaar
  • draw from movements that have changed over time (e.g. women's movement)
  • Green Party: as an example of an open movement
  • i.e. learn what we can from other similar/related orgs, take what we can
  • We are more like a government than a philanthropic organization.. if we are moving away from this we need people who have experience with philanthropy (because of money aspect)
  • right now the Movement now is very similar to people complaining about their government
  • People who have worked with marginalized groups (including those who have gotten it wrong, learn what not to do)



General points:

  • how the community is included in the decision making on who is included in this WG
  • how can we empower/create agency within this work?


  • start by deciding how decisions get made
  • research - looking beyond us, current status (pain points)
    • sharing of outcomes of research is a way to share beyond this group, sets the narrative
    • a really clear mapping of the movement now
    • consulting company?
  • ongoing: the community feedback - sharing out and collecting feedback, chance to gather input
    • agency: we need to be careful that we don't incite resistance from constituencies that could derail the process
  • more than one concrete proposal for the Movement,
    • e.g. at the level of "we will change x in the bylaws" (super specific)
    • each proposal at the same level of resolution, detail
    • all actionable
  • Manifestos - a summary set of values that each of these concrete proposals represent (as an entry point to communicating the different proposals)
  • getting people together F2F is essential, for at least part of the process
    • important for trust building, bonding
  • good collaboration tools ( or live board) that produce good artifacts
  • we need professional facilitation help
  • we need a selection committee that have experience reaching out to marginalized people, those who are really living the situation)
  • people who will force us to take a step back (devil's advocates... two or three people whose role is to prevent an echo chamber)
  • suggest strong set of functional roles (communications, facilitation, etc.)
  • Record of how we got here - so that the outputs don't come from out of the blue
  • no one consulting vendor would have all of the specific expertise that we'll need...
    • coalitions of subject matter experts, sourcing from the experts rather than hiring
  • decision making process - what is it?
  • when we get to a recommendation that's verging into another space how do we sync up
  • there needs to be a very clear process up front defining each phase
    • 1. building trust, relationships/bonding
    • 2. research: looking to external experts, doing original ethnographic research
    • 3. check in / feedback (cyclic)
    • 4...
  • counterpoint: it may be impossible to have a plan, we don't have a precedent
    • reconciliation toward convergence may take a lot of time,
    • WG might have to be comfortable with open process/exploration/processing
    • agile methods?
    • flexibility: structured and organic thinkers have different needs in terms of process
  • finding a way to get research on social structures around the world (and political structures)
  • WG, first step, guidings principles/values/parameters two or three sentences, high level statements that are common to all the WGs
    • principles of interaction
  • outcomes: not solving the cathedral/bazaar would be a poor outcome
    • this is a polarity, we need to come to an answer to where we should be on this spectrum
    • bazaar inside cathedral? (bible example doesn't end well)
  • roles: movement structure/leadership/processes
    • starting with roles doesn't make sense because power is intrinsic to roles discussion
    • we should start with the Power-theme questions
    • power IS resource
    • language could be seen as language/inclusion but it may also factor into
  • naming of the group is very important, and perhaps should be explicit about that it is a discussion about power (e.g. name the group "Power Structures")
    • power is a daunting word, menacing and perhaps polarizing
    • if you want participants to be active, and be empowered then it is less about power structures... because I have agency and I feel secure with the outcomes
    • counterargument: there are ALWAYS power dynamics at play (eg. high edit count = status is an example that doesn't even relate to money)
    • not talking about underlying power dynamics means that we may return to the same place because you haven't dealt with the underlying issues
    • opens up more possibilities by discussing it openly
    • to address issues you have to face power head on, in order to make sure the outcome isn't just corporate speak
    • we should "name a cat a cat"
    • our wikipedians are egalitarian
    • if we don't make people uncomfortable we aren't doing our job
  • Measurement
    • ?


  • interdependency between 1, 2, 3, 4
  • do we have second thoughts about putting 1 and 2 together?
  • how do we process interdependencies between WGs?
  • it can't be
  • our group should be working in such a way that money isn't influencing the discussion
  • interdependent
  • we should assume everyone has the resources they need, what is the structure you need to manage an org of that kind
  • how do we make resource decisions so that everyone is satisfied with the outcomes of decisions? (super structural in the sense of risk-management/success)
  • Power is an interdependence (Ben: +100, Christoph +100)
  • * If we really want to see a "disgruntled oldtimer" in the WG, please let her or him be disgruntled because of the right reasons - the ones we are trying to fix here. --Kurt
  • tools for visualizing flow charts, organizational charts etc.
    • Lucidchart:
    • Microsoft Visio, web app: (part of Office 365)
of the Movement Strategy track,
 » flow of activities (and this report)
» You don't have time to read everything? Check the summary of it!
Day 1
 » The Big Picture,
» The Possibilities,
» The Challenges
Day 2
» The Way Forward,
 » Preparing to work,
 » Thematic Inputs & Conversations
Day 3
» Working groups,
 » Wrapping up
» Input documents for the working groups,
 » Micro-inputs on possibilities