Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy/Implementation

Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy

Following the feedback process on proposed requirements for affiliates and user groups recognition changes on Meta-wiki as a part of the Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy process started in November 2022, the following requirements for all affiliates and changes to user groups recognition process were adopted.

June 2024: Affiliate health criteria and changes to User Group recognition process


originally posted by Board of Trustees chair and liaison to the Affiliations Committee Nataliia Tymkiv to Wikimedia-l on June 12, 2024

Affiliate Health Criteria


Affiliations Committee (AffCom) is a volunteer committee responsible for making recommendations to the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees on the recognition, approval and de-recognition of Wikimedia movement affiliates, and for facilitating the creation of those organisations or groups. It is tasked in its charter with “promoting community health and growth”, including by “monitoring affiliates' continued compliance with affiliate rules and criteria” and by “provid[ing] support to affiliates as they attempt to grow in membership, build programs to further the Wikimedia mission, and improve their governance practices”.

In 2023, insights from AffCom members, affiliates, community members, and Foundation staff, reflected in a report with immediate recommendations, surfaced a number of ways to improve how the Foundation works with affiliates, how collaboration can happen, and which criteria can help to ensure that all affiliates are healthy.

Since that point, AffCom has been working with the Board of Trustees, Foundation staff, affiliates and wider community members to enable them to provide appropriate guidance to affiliates regarding what it means to be an active and healthy Wikimedia organization. As a result of those conversations, AffCom has voted to adopt the following 10 criteria for affiliates, grouped into four main areas:

Affiliate Health Criteria
Goal Delivery Organisational Development Leadership & Inclusion Engagement & Collaboration
Goal Delivery
Good governance & communication Diverse, skilled, and accountable leadership Internal (membership) engagement
Financial & legal compliance Diversity balance (especially gender) Community connection
Affiliate health & resilience Universal Code of Conduct compliance Partnerships & collaboration

There are more details around each of these criteria here, including guidance on how each criteria can be met. All criteria will be tracked for all affiliates, except for the criteria around financial and legal compliance, which only apply to those affiliates receiving funds and/or that are incorporated.

Staff and AffCom are working on streamlining affiliate reporting requirements, responding to feedback raised during the community feedback period about the reporting burden. The new requirements of data collected in reports would be useful also for different Foundation teams and departments, and allow for the creation of detailed regional or global reports that demonstrate affiliate health and impact.

In July 2024, AffCom will work to finalize the implementation plans. In August 2024, updates will be made to Meta-wiki and other supporting platforms.


Changes to User Groups recognition process


2023 insights from the process also included recognising a need to strengthen AffCom processes for evaluating potential User Groups’ furtherance of shared movement goals, sustainability, and general ability to be healthy and active movement participants. According to its charter, AffCom is charged with “establishing recognition criteria and processes for different models of affiliation”. AffCom adopted the revised process for User Group recognition, adding to the recognition process:

  1. a live interview (by video call) with AffCom;
  2. the requirement that user group applicants publish a public letter of intent to affected wikis/projects and affiliates
  3. the creation of a one-year trial period for applicants to demonstrate their activities and effectiveness

In order to implement the new requirements, AffCom finds it necessary to pause new user group recognitions. This does not include those already in the pipeline as of 12 June 2024.

During this pause, AffCom will share documentation about the new criteria with the community and emerging User Groups, and ensure streamlined reporting systems. Even after the documentation is released, AffCom will remain sensitive to needed adjustments that may become clear during the implementation process and will take any necessary steps to update the documentation to elaborate on the criteria.

AffCom currently expects to resume recognition work in September 2024.


Questions and next steps


Questions regarding these decisions can be posted at the main Meta-wiki talk page. Alternatively, you can join Open AffCom office hours on June 19 at 14:00 UTC or request a conversation as a part of Talking:2024. You can use the Let’s Talk feature to sign up for a time to speak with trustees or staff.