Wikimedia LGBT+/Governance/2023-11-27

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: 27 November, 2023
  • Time: 6:00pm-7:30pm UTC+0 (1:00-2:30pm 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: November User Group mtg: Wikimedia LGBT/2023-11-29
  2. Membership registration
  3. Elections
    1. Wikimedia LGBT+/Elections/2023
    2. updates at Talk:Wikimedia LGBT+/Elections
  4. Queering Wikipedia grant funds wrap-up
    1. Dec 15th is our new deadline for invoices related to the underspend
  5. WMF General Support Fund status update Grants talk:Programs/Wikimedia Community Fund/General Support Fund/Sustaining Wikimedia LGBT+
  6. Moving forward with fiscal sponsorship
    1. We delayed legal registration because of WMF advice to do so
      1. Lots of wiki orgs legally registered and had bad outcomes in meeting the obligations
      2. It was especially complicated for us as a large and global wiki organization
    2. We always had safe options for fiscal sponsorship, including offers from Wikimedia Austria, New York City, and DC. Others would have offered if we asked.
    3. WMF encouraged us to apply for non-wiki fiscal sponsorship
      1. We did. One application required 20 pages of original prose narrative. Another required about 10 pages, some of which we could reuse from the first. It also required submitting lots of typical documentation which is fine, but as an organization without staff, this is not easy.
      2. The WMF recommendations declined us. The reason seems to be that we have no history of income when they want ~US$100,000 for years.
    4. Kiwix is another WMF-compliant option and they approved us
      1. The general situation is that Kiwix as a multilingual Wikimedia project requires participants in money countries
      2. As a sideline of their being based in Switzerland and needing global service, they run fiscal sponsorship for wiki groups
      3. They are a good option because 1) proven to work for wiki groups 2) Wiki LGBT+ has already collaborated with Kiwix in the past 3) they agreed and 4) they understand us in particular
  7. Safe space complaints
    1. Human rights issue
      1. We have public knowledge of a Wikimedia LGBT+ contributor who experienced legal persecution for their LGBT+ wiki editing
      2. The Wikimedia LGBT+ governance committee has been talking with Human Rights Team about organizing a response
      3. Our response might be a Wikimedia LGBT+ editing event related to access to information and freedom of expression, or some similar topic related to the case
    2. Bomb threat at WikiConference North America in Toronto
      1. The threat was targeted to our Wikipedia event
      2. It was a hoax, but it disrupted hours of the event for hundreds of people
      3. It was not LGBT+ related, but our LGBT+ community is an essential commentator for Wikimedia harassment policy as we experience this a lot
      4. About the threat
        1. Posted to a random Tennessee gym website -
        2. Also posted to a random Twitter account -
    3. Incident Reporting System, a WMF-designed tool, in beta seeking comments
      1. Talk:Incident Reporting System
      2. WMF intends for this to be the start of an automated process for collecting and managing conduct reports
    4. Personal safety for individuals
  8. Communication
    1. Telegram
    2. Social media
    3. Meta documentation of User Group activities


  1. Safe space report
    1. Here is the general case:
    2. Wikimedia LGBT+ gets reports from Wikimedia community members from around the world
    3. We are sometimes a last resort after people seek aid from Wikimedia affiliate organizations, Wikimedia Foundation Trust and Safety, Affiliations Committee, and the Wikimedia Foundation general support service.
    4. Here is our situation: we want to support LGBT+ people in the wiki community who report LGBT+ harassment, discrimination, or persecution
    5. Wikimedia LGBT+ also has no resources. Sensitive issues cannot be crowdsourced.
    6. What should we do in response?
      1. Question to Jeffrey, as a member of Affiliations Committee: what does AffCom do, and what can Wiki LGBT+ do?
      2. Jeffrey says: first step should be confirming to WMF trust and safety that person is in contact with them
      3. Comment: Wikimedia LGBT+ frequently has more experience than WMF Trust and Safety in addressing LGBT+ issues and supporting our own community
      4. Comment: It seems like many people want peer-to-peer support and conversation. Many such people want our support in documenting their cases and expressing themselves
    7. Comment: Can we develop a standard form for people to document their cases? Maybe if we guided people in completing a form then they would find that helpful
      1. dates of issue
      2. nature of complaint
      3. help with a narrative
      4. Comment: this is scope creep. We can offer guidance but we cannot fill a T&S role
      5. Comment: I like being able to help people on where to go or who to talk to
      6. Comment: We should avoid giving the impression that we can help people, because we simply lack the resources to do so
      7. Comment: We have awareness of a present case. What should we do in response?
      8. Refer to Wikimedia Foundation Trust and Safety
      9. As a one-off for this situation, create a small group for discussion. We cannot routinely offer this for lack of capacity.
  2. November 29 November 2023 user group meeting
    1. see the agenda there
    2. everyone invited
    3. no guest speakers
    4. add to agenda if you like
  3. About the elections
    1. future membership registration process can include confirmation emails
    2. non-competitive election, 3 seats, 2 candidates
    3. some reports of ballot duplicates and difficulties
    4. board of trustees onboarding process
    5. Dorothy to draft a welcoming message
    6. We should send this before the next governance meeting, as newly elected trustees may join
  4. What expectations do we have of board members?
    1. we do not have clear documentation
    2. we want such documentation
    3. the candidates make no particular commitments to Wikimedia LGBT+ in their candidacy
    4. candidates have their own interests which may or may not align with the existing direction of Wikimedia LGBT+
    5. we do not have a process for removing anyone from the board, if there is ever a wish for us to do this
    6. we do not have clear public vetting process to apply to all board members
    7. Question: Do we have an existing board governance document from another organization that we can copy, adapt, and adopt?
      1. Answer: Yes, various
      2. Comment: Yes, we can get governance documents for several purposes, including conflict of interest
      3. Comment: Yes, if we got some documents and put this to the board as a task, then we probably could adopt by mid 2024 if that were the priority
    8. Comment: By-laws are required for incorporation. We have to talk such things through now anyway
    9. Comment: Conflict of loyalties is another model for addressing this. A usual process is declaring other interests to the board, then allowing the board to review
    10. Question: How do we judge conflict of interest or loyalty.
      1. Answer: "I have professional experience with this. It is ghastly" A simple starting point is asking board members to declare their affiliations to the governance committee. We may not want to start with developing policy about what to do with those declarations, because it varies so much.
    11. How do we feel about attendance requirements?
      1. If someone is not attending and they do not want to be part of the organization, then we should relieve them from a named governance role.
      2. We do have long-term supporters and contributors who in the past were active participants, but who have periods of life where for months they are unable to attend meetings. We may want to keep such people.
      3. Simple rules like "do not miss 3 meetings in a row" may not work for us because of the nature of Wikimedia governance.
      4. We do want some kind of regular communication with governance committee members
      5. If someone is unable to attend group meetings, then we could schedule a 1:1 meeting with them to ask them how they would react to pending issues, or if they would like a leave
      6. We have some people who are inactive in governance, but who continue to have an impact in Wiki LGBT+ programs
    12. We have draft Wikimedia LGBT+ governance documents
      1. Comment: I have a memory that we drafted a document which required that governance committee members attend a certain number of meetings per year
  5. About remaining Queering Wikipedia funds
    1. We have about US$3000 left over
    2. We have permission from grant officers to spend this on certain negotiated things
    3. Final accounting now due 15 December including this remaining money
    4. Left to do:
    5. We wanted some video presentations from the conference translated with Spanish or English subtitles. We have money only for some of this translation
  6. About grant application
    1. Our Wikimedia Foundation grant officer asked us to voluntarily withdraw our grant proposal because he did not approve our fiscal sponsor choice
    2. We have been quiet about this conversation about fiscal sponsorship.
    3. Grant review is done by a community peer review group. Some of us would like to communicate the situation directly to that group.
    4. We would like that community grants committee to review our proposal. If that committee feels that we do not meet the requirements, then we can accept that.
    5. We anticipate that the community grants committee would like to receive our application and reject it themselves if it is unsuitable.
    6. We collectively put a lot of time effort and expertise into a WMF-recommended fiscal sponsor application only to find that we were fundamentally incompatible due to being a small organization with little funding
  7. About the proposed fiscal sponsorship
    1. Stephane from Kiwix invited us and approved us
    2. Consensus: We all agree that Kiwix is a good fiscal sponsor for us
    3. What would our commitments be?
    4. we should start on-boarding immediately
    5. What happens if for whatever reason the relationship with Kiwix falls?
      1. can we, for example, end the agreement?
      2. can we ask Kiwix for an operational agreement?
      3. Would this agreement clarify, for example, what would happen with money if they ended Kiwix, or ended the relationship?
    6. Do we need to pay Kiwix to apply?
      1. No. Kiwix already approved us. The decision is ours to accept it if we want.
    7. Do we have anyone who has been staff writer, who may need to be reimbursed for producing administrative documents related to fiscal sponsorship, financial document compilation, or other related issues?
  8. human rights issue
    1. We expect to decide next steps after upcoming comment from the WMF Human Rights Team
    2. We expect to avoid things which the WMF Human Rights Team discourages
    3. comment: Nice connection that may allow this to be a broad event AND show how we can partner with other affiliates.
    4. comment: Love love love the idea of an editing event on humans rights and such.
    5. comment: We have relationships with non-wiki human rights experts who may be able to support, participate, and comment
    6. Question: What would we do exactly?
      1. Answer: Not sure. One issue is confirming whether we can do anything. The next issue is deciding what to do, only if we determine that we can do something with acceptable risk.
    7. Question:What do we want in place?
      1. Answer: Wikimedia Foundation Human Rights Team gets approval from family of accused. The approval should be for us to organize a wiki event, whatever that might be.
    8. Comment: We have a theme of doing better in managing risks to our editors. Reacting in some way could be helpful.
    9. Comment: That helps us AND helps us to collaborate with other affiliates and groups and thus take a leadership role in this.
    10. Comment: Electronic Frontier Foundation is an organization which may collaborate with us and which is ideologically aligned. They have multilingual staff in the human rights space.
    11. Comment: Wikimedia Foundation's research team seems like they may want comment.
    12. Comment: When should we react?
      1. Answer: Important but not urgent. We have months. We require comment from multiple parties.
  9. Incident reporting system
    1. comment: Consider the OTRS / VRT system we have currently. This was a semi-private system to take complaints. About 10 years ago it emphasized phone conversations with notes also. That part is de-emphasized. It still is a volunteer complaint system.
    2. WMF seeking comment on Talk:Incident_Reporting_System
    3. Comment: WMF is framing the problem of misconduct as primarily a technical issue to address with software development. There is no evidence that they have developed any social process to complement their release of this tool.
    4. Comment: The technical ability to report misconduct was never the major problem. The problem is that we have no social or community development to address the complaints when anyone makes them. The community does not have trust in Wikimedia Foundation staff addressing these complaints, nor is there any trusted community review process, nor is there any option for participation in this for groups like Wiki LGBT+ or any other vulnerable demographic.
  10. Bomb threat at WikiConference North America
    1. what should we say or do?
      1. comment: people who come to our events have a right to know of any history of protest or danger
      2. comment: Queer people are of greater risk of harassment or threat and we should disclose safety issues to our community
      3. comment: With information, LGBT+ people can judge whether they want to wear LGBT+ tissues. For swag for queering Wikipedia, we sent out Queering Wikipedia t-shirts, which may be dangerous to wear in some places and have increased meaning and risk.
    2. comment: We can pick up some of these issues in the larger upcoming user group meeting
  11. English Wikipedia anti-trans and anti-LGBT+ comments
    1. There are Wikipedia user accounts who collaborate to advocate for anti-LGBT+ positions
    2. There is not an obvious wiki process for addressing this misconduct, hounding, targetting, persecution, or whatever this is
    3. Our group is not currently doing anything in particular about this
    4. Anyone can raise a complaint to an admin or ArbCom, which is the default process