Wikimedia LGBT+/Governance/2023-08-03

This online video conference is focused on the tasks of governance and the LGBT+ User Group. The meeting is intended as an opportunity for core organizers to discuss shared opportunities, challenges, and ideas.

  • Date: 3 August, 2023
  • Time: 4:00pm-5:30pm UTC+0 (9:00-10:30am PT/12:00-1:30pm ET)
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Location: Zoom link, Meeting ID: 857 0006 1207

The Wikimedia Universal Code of Conduct will be followed for this meeting.




  1. Reminder: August User Group mtg: Wikimedia LGBT/2023-08-09
  2. Programs
    1. World AIDS Day
      1. Bishop's Gate Institute has various outreach programs starting now
      2. this is a major LGBT+ nonprofit organization in London
      3. World Aids Day editathon idea (Owen)
      4. Owen could get grant to have this organization do a workshop
      5. Owen requests Lane and Dorothy assistance with a WMF rapid grant application for this
      6. one-time event; low cost; money would go to staff at Bishop's Gate according to their usual service model of supporting this kind of community event
    2. Wiki Loves Pride in Sport: EuroGames Bern 2023 (Owen, and Z?)
      1. Z and Natacha put together a grant request to Wikimedia Switzerland
      2. they want to organize an editing event to develop content related to this event
  3. Wikimedia Summit 2024
    1. Who do we know that wishes to go?
    2. Usual people attend governance meetings
    3. we have growing numbers of new people participating in Wiki LGBT+ admin / governance the past year
    4. Do attendees of this event want to go
    5. no, no, no, no, no, no... Owen says yes
    6. What are the requirements for anyone who wants to go?
      1. New Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Deutschland requirements, including online training, forums, and mandatory attendance at virtual group discussions
      2. Wikimedia LGBT+ requires an event report
      3. These are linked or included in annual reports
      4. people present want those reports
    7. should we vote for this?
      1. we do want democracy
      2. we use consensus also
      3. we cannot report the results of a vote, because we have people who need security so must always obscure the count of people
    8. Should we discuss in the mailing list?
      2. answer: few discussions happen here now
      3. there are lots of people signed up and silently standing by
      4. our other forums are more active
  4. Board elections: Wikimedia LGBT+/Elections/2023, drafts up
    1. Lane and Dorothy have been developing a proposed board process
    2. desire to have seated board members soon, whatever "soon" means
    3. lots of issues to discuss
    4. membership requirements
      1. planning communication about this
      2. Review doc and post on Meta - how we define membership
      3. Membership registration window timeline and "get out the vote" communication strategy
    5. discussion of membership requirements
      1. should we require Wikimedia engagement? - yes somehow
      2. should we check LGBT+ community engagement? - yes somehow
    6. How should people apply?
      1. Lane has preference for directing people to complete a Google form
      2. Lane wishes to avoid socializing with applicants in a freeform way; would like to constrain the application process to a form
    7. Who will manage membership?
      1. Lane can this time
      2. Lane mostly imports and adapts the membership process from Wikimedia Medicine
      3. ideally, in coming years, Wikimedia LGBT+ establishes a "membership manager"
    8. What is Lane's role?
      1. propose: Lane is advisor on governance committee
      2. not elected, casual position
      3. Lane can serve as election coordinator and membership coordinator
      4. Lane not voting on things
    9. What happens to the current ad hoc Wikimedia LGBT+ governance committee after a board election?
      1. proposal: the governance committee should convert from an ad hoc, unelected group into a group managed by the elected board members
    10. Minimum age requirement
      1. New York state says must be 12 years old
      2. there are global child protection requirements which we can avoid by setting minimum age to 13
      3. we want to be inclusive; famously Wikimedia organizations are known to have members and active editors who are minors
      4. desire to balance option for youth participation with our capacity to meet requirements for youth security
      5. We already know that young people use Wikimedia LGBT+ content and do not want to exclude people who want to join
      6. (criticisms)
    11. (group lists all kinds of reasons why this election is problematic)
      1. we have talked about these problems for years
      2. they have been a barrier to development
      3. Wikimedia LGBT+ is subject to historical and present years of trolling; there will be major complaints from trolls no matter what we do
    12. (Owen showed a budget; it looked like the routine budgets that Owen routinely drafts)
      1. the group still has no money - chicken and egg problem
      2. hard to develop infrastructure without resources
      3. WMF does not allocate resources without infrastructure
      4. Wikimedia LGBT+ is quite well developed as compared to other Wikimedia organizations who have established elections; we get more scrutiny but also we have much more than the normal development of our process
    13. scheduling an election
      1. how long should we advertise the election?
      2. what should be the term of nominations?
      3. proposal: nominations be half a month, and the voting period be the next half-month
    14. where can voters ask questions?
      1. election page currently directs people to post in public on the wiki talk page
      2. for privacy, people can contact the election committee
    15. Should we invite questions to candidates?
      1. voiced concern: seems likely that we will get homophobic hostile trolling if we invite questions
      2. do we have a process for previewing questions
    16. How to respond to hostility?
      1. Board candidates should expect online harassment, including doxxing, stalking, personal life and workplace harassment, violent threats, legal threats, and attacks of any kind
      2. Wikimedia LGBT+ has no ability to protect anyone and we know that running for board is almost certain to cause harm to candidates. Candidates should expect harm as a result of candidacy and participation.
    17. Can we permit board members to be anonymous?
      1. yes
      2. how would that look? We are not sure
      3. Can we protect people? No. Members join the organization at their own risk. Candidates stand for board at their own risk.
    18. What about diversity?
      1. The Wikimedia Foundation encourages diversity, inclusion, and equity. Wikimedia LGBT+ simply has no reasonable way to offer this because those values are expensive.
      2. A major expensive is protection for persecuted minority groups, who probably will get extra harassment, and probably are unable to endure or tolerate it
      3. If anyone wants support, then they can request it from the Wikimedia Foundation Trust and Safety department. Wikimedia LGBT+ offers no support.
    19. Should we accept candidates who wish to join when they have expressed that they would do so at great personal risk of violence and legal harm?
      1. Wikimedia LGBT+ does not have words and is unable to explain how powerless it is to support people in such cases.
      2. There is high chance that activists may misunderstand that Wikimedia LGBT+ will support them in case of danger, or otherwise take on risks that others feel are unwise
      3. If anyone claimed to be harassed / shaken down for bribes / physically threatened, then Wikimedia Foundation may well blame Wikimedia LGBT+
      4. Wikimedia Foundation does not talk with Wikimedia LGBT+ about safety risks for LGBT+ issues; Wikimedia LGBT+ is on its own as an organization
    20. Where are we?
      1. we agree with membership requirements
      2. we agree with election timeline
      3. we neither agree nor disagree about options for supporting board nominations from dangerous regions where LGBT+ identity is illegal or otherwise dangerous. There is a desire to support such people, but no clear agreement about what Wikimedia LGBT+ should do to support such people.
    21. How do we recruit LGBT+ editors in Wikimedia projects to consider joining Wikimedia LGBT+?
      1. We have talked with more people lately about standing for election
    22. Requests for Wikimedia LGBT+ support
      1. All kinds of people request Wikimedia LGBT+ support for all kinds of reasons
      2. Wikimedia LGBT+ has no resources - all support would come from volunteers
      3. administering volunteers is itself a resource commitment, and we lack those resources
      4. one response: if we respond at all, direct requests for support to the Wikimedia Foundation.
      5. The expectation is that the Wikimedia Foundation will ignore all such requests, just as they do not communicate with Wikimedia LGBT+
      6. another response: We could organize a listening session. Who wants to join? Possibly someone from the Wikimedia Foundation.
  5. Mass Messaging on Talk pages
    1. Dorothy getting help from editor organizers about mass messaging on talk pages, more complicated than anticipated. Anyone have expertise here?
    2. Owen: we have a multilingual community and the current practice is to send notices through Meta only and not in mutliple languages
    3. Owen says time consuming beyond volunteer capacity to manage multilingual communication across multiple Wikimedia projects; not a usual Wikimedia community practice
    4. Owen has expertise; will talk over options with Dorothy
  6. Conversation series
    1. Grants talk:Programs/Wikimedia Community Fund/Conversation series - LGBT+
    2. Friday 4 August meeting with WMF Program Officer CS - what is our desired approach?
    3. everyone invited to join this meeting
    4. Lane's explanation: Lane wants clarity from WMF on whether WMF is mandating the collection of certain metrics, or if Wikimedia LGBT+ can design its own metrics collection process
    5. Lane wishes to avoid the situation where WMF mandates collection of metrics, but also wants Wikimedia LGBT+ to claim that our community desired the WMF collection process. That is - the WMF process is for the benefit of WMF, not for our community, and carries risk to our community.
  7. Safe Space Requests Process
    1. We applied for Open Infrastructure Fund Pilot Funds for "Wikimedia LGBT+ Conflict Transformation Assessment and Conflict Management Workshop". Awards announced in September. Grant timeline is 12 months.
    2. Can we discuss setting up a simple and secure way for documenting safe space requests? This would help us to understand baseline
    3. Dorothy will meet with Michelle (New School) and Skye (John Jay, NYC) (Conflict Transformation specialists named in recent grant app) to brainstorm about additional funding opportunities for a "Conflict Transformation Assessment" and "Conflict Management Workshop" for the community
    4. Besides the actual application for this funding, Wikimedia LGBT+ has a great need for safe space practices
    5. Many people affiliate with the group request mediation support
      1. we get continuous harassment reports
      2. we have no process for responding to them
    6. There are professionals out in the world whom we could hire as consultants
      1. consultants could address individual cases
      2. alternatively, consultants could help us to develop scalable processes
      3. there are academic credentials at the level of graduate school for professional services in mediation, arbitration, peace, conflict resolution, reconciliation, and other approaches
    7. Wikimedia LGBT+ has both recurring problems with individuals and groups, and a continous inflow of problems from new individuals who appear to cause trouble in the short term
      1. Wikimedia LGBT+ also has a problem which is familiar in the Wikimedia community in which we have contributors who some view as making sincere positive LGBT+ contributions, while also being conflict prone with a pattern of toxicity in their interpersonal relationships
      2. Wikimedia LGBT+ has partnerships with other Wikimedia community organizations. There is friction in all Wikimedia collaborations. Causes of friction include reliance on volunteer contributions, the absence of functional staff administrative structure, and pressure from Wikimedia Foundation and community expectations that Wikimedia volunteer organizations provide commercial corporate standards of service
    8. Some of us share the belief that the administrative challenges which Wikimedia LGBT+ is facing are representative of administrative challenges present in all sorts of organizations. Perhaps we as a socio-technical community can design solutions which others can adopt.

No time to discuss these