As a community, we've talked a lot about values in the past year. The
core values of the Wikimedia Foundation were first formulated in
2007−2008 and have not really been discussed in depth since then. In
2013, we also developed Guiding principles, a list of more practical
norms and expected behaviors that guide our day-to-day work at the
Foundation. Combined with our vision and mission statements, those
documents represent the core facets of our organizational identity.
Both staff and volunteers have expressed concerns that there isn't
currently a shared understanding (among the staff and other
constituents) of what our core values are, and how we express them in
our work. We've also talked about a need to revisit or reinforce them.
A few months ago, a working group formed to organize a series of new
discussions about the WMF's values. The goal is to reflect on what is
bringing us together, identify the core beliefs that motivate our
vision, refine our list of values, and clarify our organizational
Discussions about values in nonprofit organizations are usually done
internally. Given the open and collaborative nature of the Wikimedia
movement, such a closed, internal process wouldn't make sense for the
WMF. The Foundation is part of an integrated ecosystem of individuals
and organizations that contribute to defining its identity. Input
should be collected not just from staff and Board members, but also
from volunteers, affiliates, and partners who wish to participate in
On behalf of the Values working group, I would therefore like to
invite you to this discussion on Meta. There, you will find more
information about the process, as well as a page to share your
perspective on the Wikimedia Foundation's values. The framing that
we're using for this discussion is one that considers values as the
core intrinsic beliefs that drive our participation in the movement.
The discussion will be open for a month, i.e. until November 20.
Comments added after that date will still be welcome, but may not be
included in the summary process.
I hope many of you take this opportunity to help define (or refine)
the Foundation's organizational identity.