The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees believes that Wikimedia
affiliates are a key and integral part of the Wikimedia movement, and
affiliates’ success is vital to the Wikimedia movement’s success. To that
end, it is crucial to develop a clear vision regarding the affiliates,
making it possible to assess whether the Foundation’s investment in,
collaboration with, and policy towards affiliates is promoting the right
goals. The Board will be embarking on building a Wikimedia Foundation
Affiliates Strategy in collaboration with the Affiliations Committee (AffCom),
the affiliates, and the broader communities. This strategy will help guide
the Foundation’s immediate work in supporting affiliates for the next few
In order to ensure that there is continuity and institutional memory during
this process, there will be a delay of the elections for AffCom until after
the strategy is complete, and the terms of the current AffCom members will
be prolonged (in a separate resolution) to December 31, 2023. While the
strategy is under development, AffCom will continue its current
responsibilities, in addition to collaborating on the Wikimedia Foundation
Once the Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy is ready, there would be
clarity on what is expected from the Wikimedia Foundation for supporting
affiliates, and what is expected from affiliates.
As the weeks progress in the new calendar year, a plan of the process will
be released, including opportunities for communities and affiliates to
engage. You can find some FAQs below to assist further understanding of the
Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy.
Nat & Shani
Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees Liaisons to the Affiliations
== FAQs ==
1. What are Wikimedia movement affiliates? What is AffCom?
Wikimedia movement affiliates are "independent and formally recognised"
groups of people intended to organise and engage in activities to support
and contribute to the Wikimedia movement . Currently there are three
active models for affiliates: chapters, thematic organisations, and user
groups. The Affiliations Committee (AffCom) advises and makes
recommendations regarding the recognition and existence of Wikimedia
2. How is the work with affiliates at the Wikimedia Foundation organised
As of now, processes are fragmented across different teams at the Wikimedia
Foundation, and some decision making regarding affiliates is happening at
different levels. A unified and consistent process is beneficial to all
parties, hence the start of the work on the Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates
3. What is the Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy? Is this an update
of some existing document or something brand new?
Until now there has not been any unified vision regarding how the work
around affiliates should happen, as there was no affiliate-specific
strategy developed before. The Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy is
to be a blueprint that will guide the Foundation’s immediate work with
affiliates. This strategy will be in place to inform and guide the
Wikimedia Foundation budget and support to affiliates, until some kind of
Movement-wide Affiliates Strategy is developed.
4. Why do we need a Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy?
The Affiliates are a key part of the Wikimedia movement as mentioned in the
Wikimedia Foundation mission, and their success is integral to the success
of the whole Wikimedia Movement. As the affiliate ecosystem has grown in
size and complexity, it is increasingly important to review existing
approaches and ensure that the focus is on the right areas. The Wikimedia
Foundation Affiliates Strategy will help to strengthen and advance the work
of the affiliates.The Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy will take
into account Wikimedia 2030 Movement Strategy recommendations
The Strategy will direct Foundation attention to the needs of affiliates
and focus resources on those needs towards impact by affiliates.
5. Does the decision of developing the Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates
Strategy change the role of AffCom?
There are no immediate changes in the role of AffCom, which is continuing
doing its job. However, the Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy will
direct the future work of the Wikimedia Foundation in support of the
affiliates, which could result in revising the role and scope of AffCom.
6. Why are the AffCom Elections delayed?
Traditionally, AffCom had elections at least once every year to select (not
elect) and appoint members who will serve in AffCom for a period of two
years. This year AffCom elections will not be held. Instead, the elections
will be delayed as AffCom is a key input for the Board in developing the
Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy, and adding the burden of
selecting and on-boarding new members will encumber the committee and make
it difficult for it to discharge its regular duties as well as collaborate
on the strategy. If the number of voting members falls below five (per
elections will nonetheless be held.
7. Will the Movement Charter also have an "Affiliates Strategy" and/or
define affiliate roles?
While it is reasonable to expect that the Movement Charter will have
prescriptions on affiliates and their recognition, and some of these
responsibilities might shift to the Global Council once it is formed, it is
currently unknown how this will unfold, and it will bear consequences only
in years to come. Accordingly, this work is worth doing now so that the
available resources are having the impact needed and are best serving the
current Wikimedia movement and the affiliate ecosystem in the interim.
8. Is AffCom being asked to propose a Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates
No, AffCom is not expected to propose a Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates
Strategy. AffCom has been invited by the Board to collaborate and give an
expert opinion. While the Affiliations Committee is an advising committee
to the Board, the Board is responsible for this strategy and will lead the
community and affiliate conversations around it.
9. What is the timeline for this project?
The target is to have a draft of the Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates
Strategy for the Board’s approval at Wikimania 2023 (August 2023).
FYI, I asked WMF Communication Team about any plans of using Mastodon in future.
Here is their response  "The Digital Communications team has been researching Mastodon and considering our potential involvement with the platform in the future. At this time, we have no plans to create an account for the Foundation or Wikipedia. This is mainly because our observations show us that Mastodon is not yet reaching a large audience, which is one of the key objectives of our communications activity on social media. We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our recommendations and practices to keep within our objectives."
The WMF appears to have made contradictory statements about the Wikimedia
Endowment. Earlier this week, Rai 3, a channel of the Italian national
broadcaster, aired a program about Wikimedia and Wikipedia. On their
website, they also link to responses the WMF gave to various questions the
programme makers asked.
One of these questions concerned the Endowment. I quote:
*Q: The Endowment has reached $33 million and passed them reaching $100
million today. Why the Wikimedia Foundation didn’t move it to a separate
501e3 entity? Being entrusted into the Tides Foundation is not available to
the public any financial report about Wikipedia Endowment. Don't you think
there is a lack of information and transparency about a fund that is
created through worldwide donations? *
*A: Your information is incorrect. The Wikimedia Endowment was established
as a separate entity and received its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status in 2022
following a 2021 board resolution. *
This answer was given to Rai in November 2022. Now I do recall an October
2022 blog post from the WMF reporting that the WMF's application for a
501(c)(3) non-profit had received approval and that the WMF was "in the
process of setting up the Endowment's strategic and operational policies
Has the money actually been moved from the Tides Foundation to this new
At the time of writing, the Endowment website continues to tell its readers
that the funds are held and administered by the Tides Foundation.
Is the information on the Endowment website obsolete? If it isn't, and
the money is still with Tides, wasn't the answer given to Rai last November
refers to the "fact that we met – and even surpassed – our expected
timeline for the Endowment’s maturation into a 501(c)(3)."
As presented at last year's WikidataCon
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_VxTlBNkyk>, Wikimedia Deutschland has
set out to find new ways for collaboration around Wikidata software
development to enhance the diversity of our movement, increase Wikibase’s
scalability and robustness and breathe life into our movement principles of
knowledge equity. With a grant from Arcadia
<https://www.arcadiafund.org.uk/>, a charitable fund administered by Lisbet
Rausing and Peter Baldwin, we will be able to implement such a
collaboration in the next two years.
Today, we are happy to share an exciting update on the progress of this
project with all of you. After spending the last few months with
conversations with the movement groups who were interested in joining such
a partnership, we have now reached a point where we can spread the news
about the future partners and projects that will shape this Wikidata
Wikimedia Indonesia, the Igbo Wikimedians User Group and Wikimedia
Deutschland will be joining forces to advance the technical capacities of
the movement around Wikidata development and with this, make the software
and tools more usable by cultures underrepresented in technology, people of
the Global South and speakers of minority languages.
Wikimedia Indonesia, a non-profit organization based in Jakarta, Indonesia
and established in 2008, is dedicated to encouraging the growth,
development & dissemination of knowledge in Indonesian and other languages
spoken in Indonesia. Since then, Wikimedia Indonesia has supported the
development of 14 Wikipedias in the languages spoken in Indonesia, 12
regional Wikimedian communities spread across the country, and two
Wikimedia project-based communities.
For this project, in collaboration with Wikimedia Deutschland, Wikimedia
Indonesia wants to build up a software team of their own in the course of
the next 2 years. The tools will hopefully help under-resourced language
communities contributing to the flourishing of their languages online
through lexicographical data, and also involving the local language
communities in contributing to lexemes in Wikidata.
Igbo Wikimedians is a group of Wikimedians that are committed to working on
various wiki projects related to Igbo language
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igbo_language> and culture. The user group
is organizing projects around community building in the Igbo community,
content improvement for Wikipedia and its sister project and has
established its own Wikidata hub in 2021.
The Igbo Wikimedia User Group and their program of the Wiki Mentor Africa
<https://m.wikidata.org/wiki/Wikidata:Wiki_Mentor_Africa> is aiming at
building up technical capacity in African Wikimedia communities by
mentoring African developers for Wikidata Tool Development. Wikimedia
Deutschland will support the user group in the implementation of their
project and mentoring program.
Wikimedia Deutschland has been founded in 2004 as a member’s association
and is located in Berlin, Germany. Wikimedia Deutschland support
communities like the Wikipedia community, develop software for Wikimedia
projects and the ecosystem of Free Knowledge, and wants to improve the
political and legal framework for Wikipedia and for Free Knowledge in
Specifically, Wikimedia Deutschland has been working on the development of
Wikidata since 2012. Since then, an active and vibrant community of
volunteer editors and programmers, re-users, data donors, affiliates and
more has formed around Wikidata.
Wikimedia Deutschland will be responsible for the administrative setup of
those collaborations and the communication with Arcadia. We are also happy
to share our experiences and knowledge about establishing software teams,
software development in the Wikidata/Wikibase environment, the Wikidata
community and providing support for emerging tech communities.
If you want to find out more about the partnership, you can read up on this
on our project page on Meta
where we will keep updating the community on the progress of this
collaboration. If you have any comments, suggestions or questions please
use the talk page there to get in contact with us.
We are all excited to see those collaborations coming to life!
With kind regards,
Igbo Wikimedians User Group
Wikimedia Deutschland e. V. | Tempelhofer Ufer 23-24 | 10963 Berlin
Tel. (030) 219 158 26-0
Unsere Vision ist eine Welt, in der alle Menschen am Wissen der Menschheit
teilhaben, es nutzen und mehren können. Helfen Sie uns dabei!
Wikimedia Deutschland — Gesellschaft zur Förderung Freien Wissens e. V.
Eingetragen im Vereinsregister des Amtsgerichts Berlin-Charlottenburg unter
der Nummer 23855 B. Als gemeinnützig anerkannt durch das Finanzamt für
Körperschaften I Berlin, Steuernummer 27/029/42207.
The Wikimedia Foundation Elections Committee
(Elections Committee)  is, from today until April 24, seeking an
additional 2–4 members to help facilitate the Wikimedia Foundation Board of
Trustee (Board) selection process.
The Elections Committee oversees the Board Community- and Affiliate seat
selection process. This is a volunteer role, and the appointment is for
three years. Please note that while you are a member of the Committee, you
will not be able to run for any election overseen by the Committee – this
includes the upcoming 2024 Wikimedia Foundation Board elections and any
other election for 18 months following the end of your term on the
Committee. You will also be restricted in your ability to publicly advocate
for community members running in those elections. You can read more in the
Elections Charter , recently updated by the Wikimedia Foundation
Governance Committee (GC) based on the lessons learnt from the previous
Elections and the feedback received.
The term of the previous members of the Elections Committee expired on
March 31, 2023, and some of them confirmed their willingness to continue.
After their paperwork is done (if needed), they will be reappointed by the
GC along with the new members.
Please read carefully the information below before applying or recommending
that somebody applies.
== Duties and time commitment ==
The purpose of the Elections Committee is to assist with the design and
implementation of the process to select Board Community- and
Affiliate-Selected Trustees. The Committee may also assist with similar
community-selected positions as determined by the Board.
The Committee has responsibilities throughout every phase of the selection
process for Community- and Affiliate-Selected Trustees, as established
IV, Section 3(C) in the Foundation Bylaws
Timeline – Work with Foundation staff to determine and communicate
election timeline specifics, based on target end date set by the Board.
Candidacy – Working with Foundation staff and in consultation with the
Board, design the process for collecting and reviewing candidate
Outreach – Work with Foundation staff to reach the various Wikimedia
communities with information about the election, including voting and the
call for candidates.
Volunteers – Determine whether additional volunteers are needed to
assist with election administration, and work with Foundation staff to
recruit and coordinate those volunteers.
Communications – Review communications about the election drafted by
Foundation staff and collaborate in determining when communications should
be issued by the Committee, by staff, or by the Board.
Evaluation – Assist in reviewing candidates based on criteria set by the
Campaigning – Set and enforce rules regarding how candidates can
campaign, and oversee the process of asking candidates to answer campaign
Voting – Determine the voting method and voter eligibility criteria, and
work with Foundation staff to determine the voting platform and review
voter eligibility requests.
Results – Review and announce vote results.
You can see a more detailed matrix of responsibilities for different groups
organising the Elections here .
Elections Committee members sign up for three-year terms and will be asked
to sign a confidentiality agreement. Members can expect to contribute 2–5
hours per week before the selection process and 5–8 hours per week during
the selection process.
As an Elections Committee member, you will be responsible for:
Attending online meetings between now and the next election (mid-2024)
Attending onboarding and online training in May–June 2023
Working with the Committee to fulfill its other responsibilities 
The wider Wikimedia community votes for candidates to be considered for
community-and-affiliate selected seats of the Wikimedia Foundation Board
. In 2024, the Elections Committee will oversee this selection process
for the four community-selected seats with expiring terms. This process
will be supported by the Wikimedia Foundation.
== Requirements ==
New members should have the following qualities:
Fluency in English
Responsiveness to email collaboration
Knowledge of the movement and movement governance
== Application Process ==
If you would like to volunteer for this role, please submit your candidacy
by April 24, 2023, at 23:59 AoE (anywhere on Earth) on Meta at
After this the shortlisted candidates will be asked to participate in an
interview with members from the Governance Committee. The interview will be
approximately one hour, and a member of Foundation staff will likely be
present for note taking purposes. The Governance Committee (GC) will most
likely appoint new members at its meeting on May 15, 2023.
Given the private information that committee members handle, you must be 18
years of age or older, and be willing to sign the confidentiality agreement
for nonpublic information  if you haven't already. You can view
information on how to sign this on Meta-Wiki . You will need to submit
proof of your identity and age to the Wikimedia Foundation at
secure-info(a)wikimedia.org. You would be able to hold this position on the
Committee under a pseudonym, but the Foundation needs to confirm your age
To sum it up:
Please carefully read the information in this letter, and follow the
links in it, pay attention to the time commitment requirements
Submit your application by Apr 24, 2023 at 23:59 AoE (Anywhere on Earth)
on Meta at
Submit proof of your identity and age to the Wikimedia Foundation at
If you are shortlisted, please attend an 1 hour interview with the GC
Sign the documents needed if appointed
Thank you in advance for your interest! If you are not interested, but know
someone who might be, share this message with them. Please let me know if
you have questions.
antanana / Nataliia Tymkiv
Elections Committee Board Liaison
Chair, Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees
*NOTICE: You may have received this message outside of your normal working
hours/days, as I usually can work more as a volunteer during weekend. You
should not feel obligated to answer it during your days off. Thank you in
In 2 months from now Queering Wikipedia 2023 Conference
will be held (in hybrid mode online with offline 'nodes')
as trans-local events on 3 days of May:
Friday 12th, Sunday 14th and Wednesday 17th
- known for International Day Against Homophobia.
Abbreviated as QW2023 the event is following efforts
and events in 2020, 2021, 2022 in hope
that future will bring more diverse incarnations
for queering not only Wikipedia, but also Wikimedia
and conference making itself...
...in one week we are closing the #2 round
of Calls for Content Proposals for QW2023 and
start publishing first fixed program details.
After the #2 round QW2023 will only exceptionally
consider proposals in the areas recognized
as gaps that need urgent addressing.
For more details check out
...and consider to join us for live chats online on Mondays
For QW2023 organizing team Z. Blace
I joined the Wikimedia Foundation on August 1 of last year in a newly
created role as the Chief Product and Technology Officer (CPTO). (For the
first few weeks, some of the staff called me C3PO as they got used to the
new title :) The role was created to bring both the Product and Technology
departments back under a single accountable leader for the first time since
about 2015. Like Maryana
I decided to spend the first few months of my time at Wikimedia listening
and learning. Although I come from the open source technology field, and
have worked with volunteers and communities in prior jobs, it felt
important to start here with curiosity and openness about what’s working
well and what needs to change.
Since then, I have met one on one and in small groups with more than 360
people, who spoke with me from 38 different countries. I also attended 22
large and small convenings and events which included about 3,150 people.
This includes members of the Foundation’s product and technology teams,
other Foundation staff, editors, functionaries, affiliates, movement
organizers and open internet partners. I tried to approach every
conversation with curiosity, openness, and eagerness, letting go of any
preconceptions I may have had (intentionally embracing beginner’s mind
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin>) about the Foundation, the
Wikimedia projects, and communities worldwide that contribute to creating
and sharing free knowledge. I can confirm that I quickly found myself awash
in details, experiencing a firehose of information from all sides! My
husband and two young children have also learned a lot more about this
movement in the last six months than you might expect.
To provide myself with some structure, I asked everyone the same kind of
questions about: (1) the impact our product and technology organizations
have had on the movement and/or the world in the last five years, and what
people were most proud of; (2) the current vision and strategy and if they
will take us where we need to go; and (3) the most promising opportunities
that people see in our work, and what is needed to realize that potential.
I want to thank everyone who took the time to share with me, and I’ve
included some direct, anonymized quotes in this letter from the
conversations I had. And I want to confirm that the listening continues — I
will create more spaces in the year ahead for dedicated conversations about
some of the important topics I have highlighted below. I will also be
posting this letter to Meta.
Pulling in the same direction: More visible and shared metrics
On a page of the first notebook I had for my onboarding, I quoted a person
who said they just wanted "meaningful common goals." This was a theme
repeated over and over — a clear desire from everyone to do work together
that was linked by common purpose, and with all the volunteers that have
created all Wikimedia projects. I got to hear so many different voices, and
I heard the details from every side — what’s working, what hasn’t been
working for a long time — some of the problems we face are over ten years
old. People shared what’s missing, what’s extra, who’s fighting to be heard
and who’s feeling lost at sea.
"I think there are lots of promising opportunities to incentivise people to
pay off technical debt and make our existing stack more sustainable. Right
now there are no incentives for engineers in this regard."
"Are we really having impact?"
How can we unite behind meaningful common goals? And which metrics matter
the most? We have so much data, but we really need lodestar
<https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/lodestar> (or some refer to this as north
star) metrics across the whole Foundation, a system for reviewing and
reflecting on what we learn from them, and then a way to connect those
metrics with the day to day work everyone is doing.
To get at that, we’re doing two main things — one is deepening our
understanding of volunteer activities and the health of the volunteer
communities. This will be through working closely with volunteers using
existing processes and sharing what we’re learning, as well as qualitative
and quantitative research workstreams, including reviewing existing
research of volunteer activities and typical work profiles. The other is
working to establish a set of Foundation-wide lodestar metrics. Shared
metrics help everyone understand how we’re measuring success across the
Foundation, and we’re sharing these publicly as part of our Annual Plan.
Over time, we plan to bring our measures of success for important
initiatives to communities for conversations and debate to help everyone
align what success might look like. Shared metrics and data will empower us
to make more effective and better decisions, along with collaboration with
those who are working on changes and those who may be directly affected by
What does our open source strategy look like for today’s world?
"I strongly believe that Wikipedia will be obsolete by 2030 if we don’t fix
What is our open source strategy?
We have to make some harder choices about what it means to be an
open-source organization, and shift the conversation to resolve historic
debates that prevent us from making important, strategic choices.
Two big areas to resolve are:
What is our strategy for MediaWiki support? Today there is a tug of war
about whether we should support MediaWiki for third-party users, even
though their use cases have diverged significantly from those of Wikimedia
projects. I’m planning a MediaWiki convening in late 2023 to begin tackling
What is our strategy for third-party re-use of Wikimedia content? There
are a lot of nuances around rate limiting and updating the existing API
policies in line with our values around open access. How can we coordinate
more across the Foundation and technical volunteers to build greater
understanding and alignment? Wikimedia project content also has become a
cornerstone of artificial intelligence (AI) products. Wikipedias have long
used machine learning (ML) to improve content and detect vandalism. How can
we help support the use of ML and AI that is a public good? We have
about this but need to go further.
What will it take to have impact at scale?
"Before we can think about strategy, we need to answer ‘do we want to
change this culture to work with a unified strategy, or do we want to
change the strategy methodology to work with a decentralized culture? Or
some combination thereof?’"
What is our strategy for scaling that will allow us to have the most impact
with limited resources?
Today we support over 750+ distinct Wikimedia projects, with over 300 of
those including language versions of Wikipedia, Wikisource, multiple
language versions of Wiktionary, and many other free knowledge projects.
What is an efficient and responsible way to steward the limited resources
we have towards Wikipedia and/or the sister projects? And similar to the
earlier conversation about Foundation metrics – we must do this in a way
that can have an impact on our mission of bringing free knowledge to the
Some of the big questions that came up included consolidation of projects
and the technology underpinning them where it makes sense, and from a
prompt given to me by the Commons community – how can we think even bigger,
and question elephants in the room, which in part would be to examine the
long-standing and seemingly unquestioned assumption that MediaWiki is the
best software to solve all problems we face. And if we do solve big
problems in different ways, what does that look like? What can we learn
from projects like WikiLearn, which uses free software not made by the
Foundation, as well as people and organizations outside our movement? This
is definitely a multi-year, rich problem space to explore.
Everyone’s relationship with English Wikipedia, including the Wikimedia
"For various reasons, the Foundation and some parts of the communities are
stuck in an uneasy relationship where the Foundation admires but fears the
communities’ power, like a beautiful but dangerous animal – the tiger might
attack you – and the communities, not least English Wikipedia, distrust the
My experience so far has been that we have a very contentious relationship
with English Wikipedia. The Foundation raises most of the revenue to
support a global movement from English Wikipedia, and it’s often where
volunteers raise most of the concerns and objections to the Foundation’s
It's painfully affecting volunteers and staff that are trying to maintain
content and code, and make important improvements to all the websites, as
with the launch of Vector 2022 this year. It has made product and
engineering teams very conservative in their approach to rolling out
features, making each change take 12 or 18 months, or years!, to get
valuable features to users. And it impacts our ability to collaborate with
communities on and off English Wikipedia on big goals like knowledge equity
and the movement strategy recommendations. As Yoda noted
<https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Fear#L>, fear is the path to the dark side.
This is a bummer, and I’d like it to change.
So how do we break this cycle? What I’m doing now is directly engaging.
Today, for example, I participated in an office hours session to talk about
Vector 2022. Some of the product senior leadership in the recent past have
specifically avoided talking directly with people on English Wikipedia, and
this approach will no longer be applied. Engaging human to human is the
best way I know to help resolve some of the mystery, fear and anger that
are present. However, that will absolutely not fix what’s wrong here. We
need systemic solutions. Today, there’s no way to make lasting and mutually
binding agreements with volunteers, and that isn’t a sustainable way to
create and maintain infrastructure software. My hope is that, with a more
open and direct approach to engage and also through the work of the
Movement Charter Drafting Committee, we will chart out a path for more
lasting, productive collaboration.
Being more intentional, and also clear, in our technical support for
"We lack clear governance and communication for most of our tech
components, squandering a lot of the opportunities we have for more and
better participation from long-time and new volunteers."
How can the Foundation be more intentional about our relationship with all
Today we have few and incomplete policies about what volunteers can do in
technical spaces. We need to chart clearer boundaries, and move more toward
rational and practical policy instead of precedent guiding our work.
Similarly, the technical spaces where the Foundation "stays out" have felt
ad hoc, which led to volunteers stepping in to do important work. The
Foundation needs to exhibit better accountability in maintaining essential
services (e.g. 2-factor authentication), and to be explicit about the
technical tasks that it is definitely leaving for volunteers to own.
Finally, we really need to embrace a product development model that’s more
collaborative and efficient. This calls into question feedback tools like
RfCs, and takes into consideration movement "technology council" proposals.
What will really make us better together? I’m really interested in finding
an answer to this question.
Three Priorities for the Coming Year
What I have identified above are complex issues that cannot be solved in a
single year. We all need to take a multi-year view, especially in order to
define the precise issues that need to be solved more carefully.
For now, you have seen the draft annual plan priorities for the
Foundation’s Product/Tech teams and they include:
- *Volunteers*: We need closer connections, with a focus on making all
time spent volunteering fulfilling and productive. I will continue to talk
directly to volunteers, on-wiki and in person. I am making a shift in our
Annual Plan to support the work and improve the experience of "editors with
extended rights" (inclusive of admins, stewards, patrollers, and moderators
of all kinds, which are also known as functionaries). The work done by this
group on mis- and dis-information and on enforcing our Universal Code of
Conduct is crucial to the functioning of all Wikimedia projects. Success
requires that we are able to have metrics to guide our progress, identify
ways of measuring the health of communities, and that we do this work hand
in hand with volunteers.
- *Maintenance*: Staff and volunteers have both identified that we have
far too many unfinished technical migrations. This means that we continue
to support both old and new tools and ways of doing our technical work.
This increases the workload of everyone, without necessarily adding
features or improving our technical systems overall. Challenges include
issues with Foundation staff and volunteer community decision making,
accountability for that decision making and the best projects to pursue,
and, on the Foundation's side, a desire to not cause upset among
volunteers. As a result, we have many abandoned or poorly maintained tools.
We must be able to choose maintenance and technical migration areas for
prioritization, and then be ok with not doing work on others in order to
complete some of these big projects. For example, we have big work to do on
our data infrastructure, which is aging and made up of more than 40
distinct and fragile systems supported by a tiny team. We also have big
work to do on MediaWiki to ensure it can support our projects for the next
- *Decision making*: From the very start of my time with the Foundation,
a common theme that kept coming up was the confusion that internal teams
had around decision making structures and accountability. I heard stories
about teams being indefinitely stuck, unclear decisions from the past, and
an inability to make and keep a decision. I view decision making like
lifting weights: you get good at it by doing it, incrementally and
consistently, over a long period of time. To start, I am making decisions
around the structure and organization of the Product and Technology teams
within the Foundation in order to make decision owners more clear, direct
and transparent. We’re collaborating better together internally, and
raising long-standing unresolved issues between teams in order to resolve
them, one by one. As I look ahead, clarity of decision making and how we
align our work towards our three objectives will be a core part of how I
In addition, I believe that decision making and achieving lasting positive
results needs to be rooted in data. We will identify essential metrics to
evaluate progress and assess impact on the three objectives of our work.
This allows us to stay focused on our most important goals, make
adjustments as needed, and track our progress over time.
I am committed to promoting transparent and accountable decision making at
all levels of management and individual contributor leadership. As I wrote
earlier in this letter, I also welcome ideas on how to build well-defined
processes for engaging with communities and making decisions that endure.
These changes to how we make decisions will allow us to move more quickly,
be more responsive, and create a larger impact for our goals over time.
During my listening tour, some staff asked me an "elephant in the room"
question: why should they trust me? Given the number of different
executives who have come to the Foundation and left within a year or two,
skepticism about yet another new leader is high. My answer was: I believe
the problems we face, as a Foundation and volunteers striving to bring free
knowledge to the world, are complex puzzles that cannot be solved by one
person, and I’m committed to a multi-year approach to collaboratively solve
Success requires more than a product roadmap. We need deep and effective
collaboration between the Foundation and all volunteers and communities,
shared ways to learn and be successful together, and constant adaptation to
changes in the internet and world, so we can solve the big puzzles we face
Trust is built over time and through consistency, so I don’t ask for trust
as I begin my work. I ask that people be open to working closely together,
learning as much as we can about the important problems we face, and that
we regularly review our work in a data-informed way.
I would like to be direct about how difficult I know some of these topics
are, even for a discussion. But it is our job to tackle the most difficult
questions, especially where inaction due to fear has led to stagnation and
demotivation amongst both our staff and communities. This is not going to
be a quick turnaround. None of these issues will be a quick or easy fix.
Building and improving systems will be a lot of work, and will take a lot
of patience. But the payoff for solving each of these puzzles will be that
we’re able to engage more fully, and maybe even more joyfully, in our work.
My listening tour was an invaluable opportunity to get candid information
about what exactly is working, what isn’t, and what ideas everyone has for
creating something great together. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but
I’m encouraged by the energy and enthusiasm and I know we’ll be able to
tackle this together.
Next time you’ll hear from me is August to share the outcomes of community
discussions related to annual planning
and where I think we’re going to have impact in the coming year. In the
meantime, I want to share a few questions that I’ll be returning to
regularly: Are there examples of big issues that we've tackled well as a
movement? Where would you suggest I draw inspiration? What's worked well?
These are the complex issues that will guide my priorities over the coming
years. What elephants am I missing?
As I shared when I joined
I came to work for the Wikimedia Foundation because free access to
knowledge is the most important thing I can be doing right now. Our work
empowers the people who have knowledge to share. By involving youth, women,
and underrepresented identities to contribute their unique knowledge, we
will continue our journey to share the sum of all human knowledge. And this
kind of mission cannot be accomplished by any one person alone; we are
called to – and I feel strongly committed to – collaborate and truly be in
this mission together.
Dear Wikimedia Foundation Trustees and all,
The Universal Code of Conduct (UCoC) has been in force for some time. The
Enforcement Guidelines have now been endorsed by the community. But as with
any new document, shared understandings and clarifications must develop
over time. Until then, practical enforcement is anything but routine. Here
is an example.
Section 3.1 of the UCoC states that the following is harassment:
*Disclosure of personal data (Doxing): sharing other contributors' private
information, such as name, place of employment, physical or email address
without their explicit consent either on the Wikimedia projects or
elsewhere, or sharing information concerning their Wikimedia activity
outside the projects.*
As you are no doubt aware, a Wikimedian and a non-Wikimedian co-author
recently published an academic essay criticising aspects of the English
Wikipedia's Holocaust coverage. In their essay, the authors mention the
legal names and the places of employment of two longstanding Wikipedia
contributors who, as WMF Trust & Safety will confirm, have suffered years
of egregious harassment because of their Wikimedia participation. I
understand this has included threats to their children, calls to their
workplace asking for them to be fired, etc.
Given this history, the authors' decision to share precise information
about these contributors' workplaces in their academic essay struck me as
ill advised. It is hard to justify on scholarly grounds – the Holocaust
topic area is unrelated to the academic positions held by these two
Wikipedians. And surely it must have occurred to the authors that providing
information on their workplaces might exacerbate the harassment they are
already experiencing, of which the authors were well aware.
Needless to say, neither of the two contributors gave their consent to
having their names and workplaces shared in the essay, which criticises
them severely – and in at least some cases very unfairly.
Given that explicit consent is what the UCoC requires for sharing of
personal information, sharing details of these Wikimedians' workplaces –
especially in the context of harsh and inflammatory criticism of their
editing, and a long history of prior harassment suffered by these
contributors – struck me as a bright-line violation of UCoC Section 3.1,
*Disclosure of personal data (Doxing): sharing other contributors' private
information, such as name, place of employment, physical or email address
without their explicit consent either on the Wikimedia projects or
elsewhere, or sharing information concerning their Wikimedia activity
outside the projects.*
The reason I am mentioning this here is that the English Arbitration
Committee, which opened an arbitration case soon after publication of the
essay, appears largely to have taken a different view to date, preferring
to apply the most charitable interpretation of a local English Wikipedia
policy instead of the UCoC definition.
Local policy on English Wikipedia says that sharing a contributor's
personal information (on Wikipedia) is not harassment if said contributor
has voluntarily posted their own information, or links to such information,
on Wikipedia at some time in the past. In this specific case, one of the
two contributors once, over a decade ago, posted a link to a Dramatica page
containing their name and a previous place of employment (different from
their current place of employment as shared in the essay). I understand
they tried later on to have that edit oversighed but were refused. The
other contributor is open about their legal name and workplace on
As we can see, the English Wikipedia's local policy is not aligned with the
UCoC. The UCoC – which we are told defines a minimum standard that takes
precedence over any and all local policies and must not be ignored or
circumvented – demands that Wikimedians wanting to share other
contributors' personal information obtain "explicit consent" from the
contributors concerned. "Explicit consent" is generally considered to be a
much higher standard than implied consent. "Explicit consent" is telling
an author, "Yes, it is fine for you to mention my name and workplace in
And unlike local policy, the UCoC says that it covers conduct outside of
Wikimedia spaces as well. It says it applies to –
*all Wikimedia projects, technical spaces, in-person and virtual events, as
well as the following instances:*
*Private, public and semi-public interactions*
*Discussions of disagreement and expression of solidarity across community
*Issues of technical development*
*Aspects of content contribution*
*Cases of representing affiliates/communities with external partners*
On the face of it, "public interactions" and "expressions of disagreement"
would seem to include writings a Wikimedian publishes about another
contributor in a journal, a newspaper, a blog, etc., or statements they
make about them in press interviews.
ArbCom on the other hand appears to have taken the view that the UCoC only
applies to places "like Wikimedia listservs, affiliate zoom calls, and
Wikimedia in-person events. But that doesn't include peer reviewed papers."
So, the question I am now unclear about is: Are Wikimedians communicating
about Wikipedia outside of Wikimedia spaces – from academic journals,
newspapers and TV interviews to blogs and discussion forums – bound by the
UCoC (and specifically Section 3.1) or not? Very specifically, are they
permitted to share contributors' private information such as their
workplace address in these various venues, without obtaining explicit
consent to do so?
Clarification would be very welcome. I feel we do need some guidance as to
what the words in the UCoC are intended to mean in practice, and how much
leeway local projects should have in interpreting its intent.
 See e.g. the GDPR-related explanation here:
Voting is now open in the seventeenth annual Picture of the Year
contest: <https://w.wiki/6bcP> - please vote! The first round of voting
will be open for 2 weeks. There are over 1,100 pictures being considered
this year and several new categories.
Any user with more than 75 edits before Jan. 1, 2023 is eligible to
vote; if you're not sure the voting tool will automatically check for you.
If you have any questions, please see the help page: <https://w.wiki/6bcQ>.
-- POTY Committee
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Some months have gone since I started this topic in this list, and still, we can't know how much engagement we have at Wikipedia, because data is not available. Twitter is now owned by Elon Musk, things are changing, there are more accounts in Mastodon daily, but still Twitter matters. I have been looking at the Twitter activity in the last days for @Wikipedia and I'm still very worried about the (lack of) strategy followed here. A full team, with staff members, which only produces one tweet per day, a lonely message in the vastness of the ocean, and gets really poor engagement numbers.
A couple of weeks ago Pelé, one of the greatest football players of all time, died. (English) Wikipedia Twitter account needed 7 days to tweet about it, even if the article was changed in a few minutes after the death (https://twitter.com/Wikipedia/status/1611363972174778368). The tweet had 13.729 impressions (now we can know the number of impressions), 14 RTs and 129 likes. Wikipedia account has nearly 644.000 followers. If we divide these two numbers, we get a rate of 2,13% of impressions per follower.
The same day Pelé died, Basque Wikipedia made a tweet. Not a week after, just when it was news (https://twitter.com/euwikipedia/status/1608541274491211776). The tweet had 964 impressions, 3 RTs and 2 likes. Basque Wikipedia account has 7,956 followers. This is a rate of 12,11% of impressions per follower. x5.68 times larger, relatively than (English) Wikipedia Twitter account.
(English) Wikipedia Twitter account has nearly 81 times more followers than the Basque one. English Wikipedia is more visible, because it has a (now golden) verified account symbol, so tweets are more often promoted. English has 1.500 million speakers around the world. Basque has fewer than one million. English Wikipedia should have around 1.000 more followers than Basque Wikipedia. English Wikipedia article about Pelé had 2,5 million pageviews in the two days after his death. Basque had 250 pageviews. This is 10.000 times more pageviews.
@Wikipedia has 644.000 followers, and @euwikipedia has nearly 8.000. Audience of English Wikipedia is 10.000 times larger for the same event. Why Wikipedia is not 10.000 times larger? Why doesn't Wikipedia account have 80 million followers? YouTube's Twitter account has 78 million followers. "By 2030, Wikimedia is to become the central infrastructure for Free Knowledge on the Internet.". How could we if Youtube's account has 100x more followers than we have? How can think that we are in a good shape if our tweets are only seen by less than 2% of our followers?
I hope that 2023 comes with a change. A change to open these accounts, have a fresh way of thinking on social media ,and building engagement, both with momentum, not losing opportunities, and promoting good content.
From: Galder Gonzalez Larrañaga <galder158(a)hotmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2022 3:21 PM
To: Wikimedia Mailing List <wikimedia-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Re: @Wikipedia losing opportunities in Twitter
Some weeks ago, we had a discussion here about the different approaches we have for the @wikipedia account at Twitter. We don't know yet how many interactions does the account has, but as I said in the discussion, we try to find ways to measure our work at @euwikipedia. Today I want to share with you that this account was ranked last week as the most influential social-movements account in Basque language (https://umap.eus/ranking/gizartea) and the 10th most influential account in all categories (https://umap.eus/ranking/orokorra). This is a good metric we use to know if we are doing fine or not.
From: Andy Mabbett <andy(a)pigsonthewing.org.uk>
Sent: Friday, August 5, 2022 8:50 PM
To: Wikimedia Mailing List <wikimedia-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Re: @Wikipedia losing opportunities in Twitter
On Mon, 18 Jul 2022 at 18:48, Lauren Dickinson <ldickinson(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
> Also, Andy, we will follow up this week regarding your questions
> about the @WiktionaryUsers and @Wiktionary accounts.
Three working weeks have passed since the above was written; I've seen
no such follow-up. Have I missed something?
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