Wikimedia Conference 2018/Program/44

44. How to build a movement in 3 days: What we’ve learned from #goatification


Birgit Müller (Wikimedia Deutschland), Rachel Farrand (Wikimedia Foundation)

Length (min)


Audience / Target group

Everyone who is interested in Movement Strategy, building up new partnerships, growing and maintaining communities

Session Format

Presentation and discussion


At Wikimania 2017 the most productive collaboration that has ever happened at a Hackathon took place: Goatification. Within a few days, many people within and beyond the Technical Community contributed ideas, art and code, set up new projects and conducted an editathon. At the end of Wikimania, everyone was talking about goats.

Goatification is a fun project for everyone who wants to be a part of it. But it is much more: A case study about how to invent new ideas and build a movement in 3 days.

In this session we want to share what we’ve learned by organizing goatification. We will distill the main lessons learned and apply them to core questions of the Wikimedia Movement and the Movement Strategy: How can we attract new contributors and retain experienced contributors from diverse backgrounds? What makes collaboration fun for everyone? How can we build new partnerships, experiment with new approaches and formats and get ready for the ecosystem of Open Knowledge?

No goat knowledge is required to attend this session.

Desired Outcome

Participants gain new ideas for community- network- and movement building.


Birgit and Rachel started with explanation of goatification; this is an outreach and awareness for goat inclusion in the Wikimedia technical spaces and beyond. The topic is -simple and complicated at the same time, it is an interesting, catchy idea, which provides endless options. Goatification started as an event at the Wikimania Hackathon 2017 and it worked for people from all over the world, staff and volunteers alike, people who have hardly ever used Phabricator before (Goatification made them enter a technical space), both for developers and content contributors.

The point is in keeping project simple and appealing, allowing flexible time for socialising, making project fun, making it fun to discuss — making it memeable. “Cakeification” can be another instance, cakes can be a simple way to make things better. Make things fun, fun can have no budget.

The session continued with discussion in groups.

  • Have you seen anything your communities/outside of Wikimedia that follow a similar model?
    • College and high school sports mascots; Wikidata started and Wikivoyage; Wiki loves Monuments; A+F; Editatona; Women’s March; Poetry FLARE; Uncommon women
  • How can we as organisations and organised groups make space for bottom up initiatives? How can we focus more on projects and spend less time navigating power structures?
    • Organizational culture must allow this, be open to this
    • you can't control how it grows beyond the group that started it, be open/expect evolution of concept
    • Take context, relatable to lots of things
    • Maybe we can use these kinds of group activities at Wikicamps, as a way of deepening engagement
    • etc.