Wikimedia Conference 2018/Documentation/Movement Strategy track/Day 3

WMCON 2018 Core Conference Program Fringe Events Registration & Participants
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

Sunday, April 22nd

D3.07 / Working groups


In this second iteration of the Working Groups, participants focused on answering the questions “who should be involved?” and “how should the process take place?”.

The final output of each working group can be consulted at the end of the report, with information organised according to the template given in the “Preparing to Work” session. The original input from the Strategy Track working groups can be consulted through the respective Etherpad links: Roles & Responsibilities; Resources; Diversity; Partnerships; Capacity; Community Health; Technology; Advocacy.

01 . Status report from working groups


A short status update from all working groups was presented by a representant from each group to all participants of the Strategy Track. Below is a capture of their main points.

Roles and Responsibilities

Structure, Leadership, Process and Strategy, Power Dynamics: These all come from manifestation of existing power dynamics that are maintaining the status quo, so we need to change the existing power dynamics, rather than creating new roles and responsibilities. There is a dichotomy between perceiving us as egalitarian, but knowing that there are imbalances - so we want to move from wanting to be egalitarian, to being equitable.


We need people that can represent new voices, but also the status quo. We need people with history of the movement, there is a set of “personas” like “the disgruntled old timer’ - but this should not be the person represent the Status Quo. Allies of change, and Devil’s advocates. There were considerations about representation as well.


We don’t know how to implement this, but we have some ideas. There is a strong need for a neutral facilitator, that brings the pieces together and manages opinions diplomatically. There should be established principles and values from the beginning. We should keep the flow loose, but start with a trust building phase. Have a research driven process, with input from insider and outside the movement, and documentation that can be transferable to other. Constant feedback cycles.

Multiple recommendations with possible scenarios, no point of view on how to do decision-making. We did not want to stall the process, but not jump into conclusions. It’s important to get together in person and be supported by good distance collaboration tools.

Diversity & Inclusion

Everyone needs everyone. There was work done by diversity interest group, for example on attracting under 30s. We need to be more multilingual and inclusive -  how to ask consumers and non-consumers what they want from Wikimedia?


An intricate matrix - staff, affiliate, partners small and large, contributors at different levels, different consumers and those who are not in the movement. All social groups have been identified by the working group. About 10-15 people, but wearing “lots of hats” to cover the matrix.


Why are partnerships important for Wikimedia Movement? - We raised some key questions:

  • How to build structure for partnerships in the movement?
  • What is the difference between  partnership vs collaboration?
  • How to form partnerships?
  • Which segments are appropriate to participate?
  • What is the difference between internal and external partnerships?
  • How much control do we need to have in a given partnership?
  • Community and affiliate representatives. Invited people from around the world, since different cultures have different approaches to partnership
  • Expertise in important areas where partnerships are critical (implications legal, technical, financial)
  • Building relationships implies people from outside the movement - other social movements (existing Movements like Mozilla or Creative Common, or others), people with experience in GLAM, business world.
  • An advisory group of lower time commitment to prevent the core group not to get too large

A lot of how questions are not unique to group.

  • Look to other organizations that have thought about partnerships processes and guidelines.
  • Interviews—not everyone can be part of the group, but their input and experience are valuable.
Capacity Building

Report shows work as emerged.


Capacity building needs to be tackled on 3 dimensions: (1) Wikimedia Movement and Free Knowledge communities around the world; (2) Governance and decision-making structures; and (3) Affiliates.

  • How we build capacity?
    • Which resources communities require, and how they are delivered?
    • How do we build capacities of organizations?  
    • What are some of the methods and tools appropriate in their context?
  • movement entities are able to create spaces and environments and resources for communities and their members to do their work for free and open knowledge
  • we are able to benefit from a wealth of existing knowledge around organizational development, which includes empirical research on which capacities are crucial to make organizations resilient and able to achieve their missions

Key groups

  • Recommendation: don't forget to include external expert voices when thinking about movement level things
  • People from emerging communities
  • People from different regions, representative of community (like Asia communities), affiliate and chapter - to see whole spectrum

Generally for all three dimensions the first step should be an assessment of needs - what capacities do different affiliates/groups/people have? what are their needs?

  • The first dimension is that  of the Wikimedia and Free Knowledge communities around the world, those that exist, and those that will grow in the next decades.
    • build capacity to store information that is not texted based (oral, pictures, videos?)
  • The second dimension is at the movement level, where we need:
    • governance/decision-making structures,
    • financial and human resources that reflect and support our vision and goals.
  • The third dimension are the Wikimedia Affiliates, who need organizational capacities to implement the strategy in their contexts:
    • Improve awareness of Wikimedia and Wikipedia in regions where it is not yet a thing
    • Friendly Spaces to meet (Maithili Community)
    • Infrastructure: better tools, better interfaces, better UI
    • Regular Community Meet Ups
    • Train the trainer programs
Community Health
  • What creates feeling of community belonging?
  • Universal code of conduct?
  • Dealing with mental health issues?
  • Intervene in specific situations
  • Stewards and Admins
  • Outside input from researchers
  • Successful interventions in this space
  • Face-to-face meeting / conference
  • Collaboration with researchers on questions

Interdependence with other themes

  • Without community health, hard to achieve inclusion. Same with good partnerships outside the movement
  • Unhealthy interactions online
  • Improving our technology

Presenter spoke in Catalan and Russian and asked the group who understood what was said. He continued by pointing out that Russian is the 5th most used language, but only 2 people in the room understood.


The title ‘technology’ might not be the best because it might scare people away that must be involved. We must think of a better title that does not make them feel they need to be experts. Many questions were bold. Some of them were: Shall we switch software completely? Should we lose editors to change to technology that would attract other or more editors. What is the role of technology addressing censorship?


We need to improve representation and cover all perspectives, different profiles of users - edit, image, readers — how to get them? Maybe randomly research.. Specially people that do not know technology or English, designers, project managers…


How important it is to let “non-technologist” users know that their needs are more important than, for e.g., a new version of the software?


There was bit of discontinuity within the working group, which affected their ability to give a more comprehensive report. There were many questions largely about what advocacy for, how it changes in different places, and what resources are needed.

We are understanding advocacy in terms of lobbying, policy making/design, and influencing policy outcomes. Central to this will be building and working with governments (local and national), large national and international organisations who share our aims, and with smaller international open knowledge allies. We will leverage the policy making expertise we already have in the organisation and growing our community in this area.

02 . Next steps in Movement Strategy process

The Way Forward

Completing the session, and after the status updates from the working groups, Kaarel and Nicole shared with the participants what was set in place in order to give continuity to the Movement Strategy process, and what were the important milestones.


  • Preliminary results from the Movement Strategy track for the previous 2 days are available on a document open for comments that was sent to all participants in the conference.
  • Etherpads used for reporting on working groups are equally open for review and comments.
  • The final report for the Movement Strategy track will be sent in May and uploaded on Meta.
  • Everyone can join the Working Groups that will be established after the conference. We will invite the Movement for public review and consultation of the themes and working groups protocol.


  • There will be an open call, using the criteria given in working groups - missing voices, expertise, profiles of organisations and individuals. This will be posted on meta, and try to involve everyone from “all the corners” of the movement, and beyond
  • Groups will appoint coordinators or facilitators that can keep timely implementation and communication flow between group and movement/organisations; staff can contribute to this role
  • We are still looking for two team members: Information & Knowledge Manager - the main interlocutor for the groups; and a Project Manager.
  • The input created here will feed into the future process. Interesting to witness how working groups were imagined. Each will have some autonomy in terms of processes and tools - it all depends on what is best for the members of the group.
  • This is an experiment - not set in stone. This is a prototype, and will be taken forward. It will be iterative and will develop along the way with everyone’s input and participation.

Questions and comments from participants:

  • What is the expected timeline for working groups to start working?
    • All data will be published in May. By the end of May there will be a call for working groups; by mid to end of June working groups will be formed.
    • The next big milestone is Wikimania -the groups will be up and running and have a sense of recommendations - taken forward
  • How do we deal with the gaps - for e.g. themes like revenue streams that were not addressed and people that were not present in the WM conference?
    • We will look at the data produced and ask for comments. Maybe workgroups need to change, merge or divide. There will be a community consultation on this.
    • Katherine made a comment about the costs of events: 0.5 million cost of Wikimedia conference and 1.2 million for Wikimania. The fundraising model that exists today works, but it might not be forever. The conversation about resources needs to happen together… Raising money is hard, but this conversation already started within the fundraising team, and can also be creative and engaging.

03 . Ryan Merkley, CEO of Creative Commons (CC)


Ryan Merkley, CEO of Creative Commons (CC), joined the Wikimedia Conference once more to contribute to the reflection on how to implement the strategic direction. Below is an approximate capture of some of his key points:

Ryan expressed his gratitude for returning to the Wikimedia Conference for a second time, letting everyone know how much he feels part of an extended family that treasures free knowledge.

Referring to a recent experience of participating in a consultation process in Canada, he quoted: “You can’t give advice unless you’re speaking from an experience you had”. In this spirit, he highlighted experiences with Creative Commons which he believed were familiar to those lived at the Wikimedia Conference after three days of the Movement Strategy track.

Creative Commons grew at the same time as Wikimedia. Affiliates grew organically. In 2015 they wanted to reflect on their structures and power distributions. Community members started the a research process, and some similarities surfaced like realizing they were good at talking about resource allocation, but not revenue streams. Ryan mentioned how much they learned in the process, especially about what they did not know, based on a report which included the voices of 35 affiliates.

Ryan talked about changes made, some immediate, some long-term, but stating that their model was not working. They had affiliates with Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with institutions that could not keep up with the constant changes. Individuals would move, and institutions would forget they had agreements. At the end, they took the decision to cancel all MoUs and move to individual affiliation. Ryan confessed he was scared at the time, of being “the one holding the potato in his hands while the network was blowing up”.

Ryan ended with three things he learned along the way:

Go as fast as you possibly can, but don’t go any faster. Keep momentum and draw in those who are not here. Don’t loose, or forget people in the process.
Prove your assumptions, and your conclusions. When people tell you they’re wrong they are usually right, and when they try to fix something, they are usually wrong. What changes will do to the movement, the strategy, the community
Embrace change. Change is scary, specially for those holding power… Be willing to do that. We changed the way we do policy, now we have a collaborative model and has created new engagement.

A comment from last year: You are all really strange people. No one else does it this way because it’s crazy. We are asked to do an interpretative dance on feelings about policy, and we all did it. I did it...because it builds trust.

D3.08 / Wrapping up

Wrapping up

The purpose of this session was to offer participants a glimpse of what happened within the past 3 days, and to generate a sense of completion and enthusiasm about the future of the movement.

Wrapping up the conference happened with all participants sitting together in concentric circles. As hosts, Nicole and Cornelius invited voices from the different conference tracks to share their view on their experience. This was followed by a symbolic movement exercise that invited all the participants in the conference to move “one step further” to reaching Wikimedia’s strategic direction (represented by a flag in the room), and finally a few words of gratitude from Katherine, on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation, and Cornelius, on behalf of Wikimedia Deutschland.

01 . Spontaneous report from the strategy track


Two participants in the strategy track gave their impression of the experience:

Moving on to the frozen image on the strategic direction got harder, and a few voices dropped out. Maybe they did not feel heard or had other priorities. Or maybe it got chaotic, with more questions opening. We have produced working groups orientation for others to take on. Being involved in the strategic conversations: either you are involved, or you trust others in doing it. (Pru Mitchell, Wikimedia Australia)

The Movement Strategy track was like a journey, some people coming in and out — maybe a mirror of the movement. In spite of different viewpoints there is relative consensus on the issues that need to be tackled. The hard thing is to figure out how to do it. (Raju Narisetti, WMF Board of Trustees)

02 . Looking back...


Rob asked participants to think for a moment in silence about one thing they might have witnessed during the conference that represented what they appreciate about the Wikimedia Movement.


Below is a paraphrasing of some of the participants comments:

  • There is not only one single thing I can say: diversity - looking around; openness - soul meant subjects to strangers; courage - looking at the strategy and tackling it, asking the right questions.
  • On day 1 when I was asked to stand in relation to the strategy I found someone on the edge that told me“I couldn’t get close enough” and that reminded me of all the people that can’t be here with us.
  • We appreciate the fact that people are so passionate about what they really believe in, why they are in movement, and what inspires them.. It’s so diverse, there are people here from 79 countries, and still it’s so welcoming.. You can walk in and talk about anything, and people are happy share their stories, their inspirations.
  • Dance is a nice metaphor for what we do - these parties - we co-create the dance floor. When the music changes we adapt. Different people give the beat and we dance together to that beat.
  • I have been to a session on political freedom with Wikimedia Deutschland about how they try to involve industries that can be seen as evil and make them into friends. So smart that it blows my mind - makes me realize we are making an impact, and that makes me really happy...
  • The lightning talk was one of the best experience for me. Then we moved from lightning talk to the main conference. I reflect back to what happened in Nigeria, when the head of Wikimedia said we should organise a saloon to organise the strategic direction. Making that platform to consult, made me realize “this is me”, I have to play a role in achieving the aims of the movement.

03 . Thank You!

Katherine addressed all participants

Closing the conference, Katherine addressed all participants with an expression of gratitude. Below is a rough capture of her message:

“You are all such eloquent and passionate advocates for the movement. The impact in countries like Poland, Canada...we see the shape of our global movement.”
Katherine went on asking the audience: “Who learned something new? Who has a new project Who has a new partnership? Who made a new friend? If you didn’t I will find you and ask you why…”
“These were learning days about what passion brings, but also on how to advocate for values, how to partner, how to lobby Mercedes. The vision statement doesn’t ask us to do this alone, it asks to imagine the world, but partnering is the way we will do it.”
“We are here together to create the vision for that world and decide how.” She emphasised that everyone should be involved: “The partnerships and friendships you’ll bring is the way forward, for every single human, not just those in this room, so they can freely share the sum of all knowledge.”
Katherine reminded everyone not to get sick on their way home. “You feel connected with all the people, then you travel home, you’ll feel a bit sad... and that’s ok - use that moment to pause, to rest - and then come back, to your online communities, to wiki environment. We've got until 2030, but the work actually starts now.”
Cornelius followed, mentioning his role as program and engagement coordinator. This implies keeping people engaged AFTER the conference. So he distributed postcards to everyone to put their address, so they could be reminded of their experience at the Wikimedia Conference 2018.
Cornelius thanking

He followed with a few “Thank yous”:

First of all I would like to thank the Wikimedia Foundation for supporting us in program and logistics and for funding this conference.
Daniela Gentner and Michelle Poltier have organized everything from logistics over to the conference guide and the visa process to social events. Vira Motorko from Wikimedia Ukraine has joined as the visiting Wikimedian this year to learn about organizing such a conference. Our colleagues Anna, Henning, Tobias, Nadine and Anne have supported us throughout the conference.
Thank you to the track lead of the Movement Strategy track, Nicole, who created together with the facilitators Bhav, Luís, Rob, Kaarel, Olha this 7 course menu. And to Anna Lena for the outstanding visual that you can all see here. Thank you to Julia and the Partnerships & Global Reach team of the WMF to create the track on Partnerships within and beyond the Wikimedia movement.
Thank you to all speakers that have volunteered to host a session or speak within a session. With new session formats and support in session design and facilitation we have got 22 speakers to speak at this conference who haven’t spoken before at this conference.
Our volunteers Stuart and Venus have been taking notes for almost all capacity-building sessions. Danny has supported enormously on logistics.
I also want to thank James Alexander, Christel and Kalliope in supporting us to provide you a Friendly Space. Your constant support was really  valuable.
Such a conference would of course not be possible without all the passionate participants. Without you and your contributions! Thank you for joining us!

As one last challenge, Rob asked all participants to take one step forwards towards the strategic direction. The last person moving comes closer to the the yellow flag representing the strategic direction, shown in the beginning of the conference. This symbolic gesture represents how one simple step per person, can represent a big step for the movement.

Video: Closing Movement Activity (click).
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