This is a proposed decentralized review process for aspiring hub pilots. In the absence of a Movement Charter defining hubs or any process officially established to approve hub pilots, it is important that the first hub proposals start their piloting phase with strong movement support. Hub pilots are useful to experiment and learn as a movement about this new type of organization. However, we need to collectively avoid the risk of hub piloting implementation rushed without consensus, a possible source of future problems. Concluding the research phase and moving to pilot set up needs:
Is this the intent? To exist, hubs need approval from a team which is only WMF staff with no community representation on that particular team? Bluerasberry (talk) 16:48, 4 June 2022 (UTC)
Response: There are multiple layers to this assessment and this is a draft proposal. Happy to discuss the details and options (including online project community and affiliate representation in approval processes).
The first layer that you are highlighting is about technical assessment of the proposal, i.e. whether it has 1) needs assessment, 2) publicly available plan, and 3) outline of a governance model. As it is technical assessment work, the current proposal is indeed that it will be done by the Wikimedia Foundation staff members to reduce administrative overhead on the movement side.
Regarding the engagement of the communities, it is suggested to have a necessary condition of “proof of public discussion and general approval from the related communities.”
In addition, there is a suggestion of a review by the existing committees that have community representatives. It is proposed that the Movement Charter Drafting Committee, Affiliations Committee and regional grant committees could partake in the assessment. There needs to be discussion with these committees and we need to see what options will be proposed in the review process, yet the general idea is that the MCDC could provide a review of the coherence of the proposal to the Charter drafting, AffCom to existing affiliate structures, and grant committees can provide a regional review perspective. --KVaidla (WMF) (talk) 18:13, 4 June 2022 (UTC)
As I could have the opportunity to lifted up during our SWAN discussion this evening, is important to understand how the process of creating these criteria was designed, and who was involved in discussions. Even if Validation by the Affiliations Committee is one of the bullets (so supposed to be one of the steps of the process), AffCom has not been consulted and has not been engaged in any discussion on this front. Which I think is problematic not having done it. –Camelia (talk) 18:37, 5 June 2022 (UTC)
Response Camelia, thank you so much for bridging this conversation from the June 5 SWAN meeting to this public meta thread! This is really helpful and good practice.
The criteria were developed by Wikimedia Foundation staff responsible for documenting the hub events. I personally have had leading role in this. I am happy to clarify any procedural or content shortcomings of the draft to get us to a better place.
The draft criteria have been pulled together from different conversations held regarding the implementation of hubs, including Global Conversations held end of 2020, beginning of 2021 and more focused discussions around the Hubs in November 2021 and in March 2022. This was the direct follow-up task from the March 12 event. It was communicated at the event that this task will be performed by the Wikimedia Foundation staff and then open this preliminary work to public review. With publishing of the criteria, this initial task is now completed and we have entered the phase of discussions and review with the communities. As also stated on top of this talk page “The initial draft has been published as a basis for conversations on June 3, 2022. It might go through significant changes and amendments during the review.”
The mention of Movement Charter Drafting Committee, Affiliations Committee, and regional grant committees is a derivative and summary of different conversations that has NOT been consulted with any of the forementioned committees. This is a theoretical proposal for the gap that was created by decision not to set up Interim Global Council with a mandate to oversee initial phase of Movement Strategy implementation. Movement Charter Drafting Committee would fill a gap of overseeing connection of hub pilots to the drafting of Movement Charter, Affiliations Committee would fill a gap in overseeing the connection of the hub pilots to existing affiliate structures, and regional committees to provide a review for the regional hubs based.
Regarding the next steps, there would need to be 3 conversations: 1) discuss whether validation criteria for pilots make sense overall, 2) discuss whether involvement of movement committees is reasonable, 3) converse with respective committees to manage their expectations in terms of potential engagement or non-engagement in the process. The 2 first steps need to happen in a public way here on meta and other proposed channels, for the third, I will reach out to committees separately to start the discussion.
I hope this is helpful and makes sense. –KVaidla (WMF) (talk) 09:13, 6 June 2022 (UTC)
More generally, I have an observation about how feedback on projects that are already in progress is dealt with in this process.
What seems to have happened here is that someone in a recent SWAN meeting raised a concern about whether it was a good idea to go ahead with Hub pilots before the Movement Charter is complete, and that this was taken as important feedback in the development of this process.
This is a reasonable point - there are in fact risks to going ahead with Hubs before the Charter is written. (To my mind there are more risks to trying to finalise the Charter before any Hubs are up and running - it needs to be based on actual experience of how Hubs work, before anything final is created. But this is beside the point.)
More importantly, this decision has already been taken. I cannot point to exactly where. But sometime in summer 2021, after one of the many exhaustive meetings about how to move the strategy forward, the Movement Strategy and Governance team decided to move ahead with 1) the MCDC and 2) the pilots for Hubs. These things would move ahead in parallel.
I appreciate that the entire process is set up to be as consensual and as welcome of opinions as possible.
But at some point there has to be a point where decisions are actually made and stuck by. If people query them, then we should explain the decisions and the rationales. Not make proposals that represent a ‘middle ground’ between the decision that has already been made and acted upon, and the thoughts expressed by a handful of people in one call.
What I was specifically referring to was this point:
“There have been advocates for starting the implementation only after the ratification of the Movement Charter, while others have supported piloting that is needed in the complexity. As a middle ground, this proposal of minimum viable criteria for pilots has been created based on different hub conversations that have happened.”
are you saying this “don’t do hubs until the Charter is complete” point was “advocated” in the Hubs event in March? (Was that March 2021 or March 2022?)
The point being missed is that most of the hubs are already well established and have been operating for many years providing for the differing community needs with out any formal approval. Its actually going to be big backwards step that will create disillusionment in communites if they have now beg for approval by jumping through many unnecessary bureaucratic hoops.
Some of the hub projects are well established, and for them meeting the piloting criteria should be much easier indeed. ESEAP is a good example. However, that is not the case for all the proposed hubs now, even less in the future. This draft aims to offer common criteria for all projects.
The draft piloting criteria include two types of checks:
Project management checks. If someone is going to e.g. constitute a new legal entity or hire staff, they better have a plan in place. Do we agree on this?
Scope and boundaries. Hub projects coexist with other hub projects and also with chapters, users groups, thematic orgs, the Foundation… Do we agree that some coordination is needed?
@Gnangarra , in the draft proposed, which points do you consider unnecessary bureaucracy?
A very casual and imperfect summary of this topic, which is the hottest among the different sections of the draft:
Thre has been a bit of discussion about the role of the MSG team. @KVaidla_WMF has explained that this role is purely technical, saving volunteers the time to assess requirements and checking boxes. All in all I have the impression that this role is understood? Do you agree?
Has this point been discussed directly? It is an important point to agree upon because different hub proposals are taking different approaches here.
There has been quite a bit of discussion about the involvement of these committees. They are also meeting to discuss their position, and we are also expecting to hear from these committees at the Global Conversations on Hubs on June 24, 25, and 26!. Hopefully, the early discussions right after the publication of the draft have helped everyone to understand the different perspectives, and we can find an agreement this week.
The role of the Grants Regional Committees didn’t seem to be challenged, at least for regional hubs? It would be useful to hear opinions about this.
Also, what about thematic hubs? Would the thematic hub proposals go through regional review for the regions where the promoters are based?
If the hub is using Wikimedia movement funds, involving the relevant grant committee makes sense. If not, I’m not so sure. Different grantmakers have different expectations, and bringing in “extra” funds is valuable in itself – if that comes with cutting corners in ways that we wouldn’t consider prudent for movement funds, that’s not necessarily a problem. Many rules exist because movement-funded projects are competitive with each other (in the sense that choosing to do some of them will mean no money is left for the rest) and aren’t justified for non-competitively funded projects.
I’m not sure where is the best place to discuss this, but I want to strongly pushback against adding the review of hub pilots task to the MCDC. It is simply not within their mandate and they already have a difficult and demanding job of coming up with the first charter for a 21 year old movement.