How to improve the facilitation of the Movement Strategy implementation?

Pulling a quote from another discussion…

This is a very interesting point that is worth discussing. In the name of the Movement Strategy and Governance team at the Wikimedia Foundation, let me ask:

  • How satisfied are you with the facilitation of the Movement Strategy implementation? What is working? What is not going well?
  • Would you like to see others with an explicit facilitator role? Who, and doing what?
  • If you could improve ONE thing today, what would that be?

These are just questions for your inspiration. :slight_smile: We are happy to take feedback in any form and in any language. :globe_with_meridians:

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Respons to middle point: Have at least 3 other affiliates take ‘ownership’ of facilitation for specific topics of their competence.

Respons to last point: Distribute resources (not just grant funds, as that is administrative burden) to co-facilitate specific topics with user groups of their competence.

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The opening quote is from me so it probably won’t surprise anyone that I’m not satisfied with it. I think there was very little progress outside the Movement Charter initiative, and in general global discussions organized by the WMF have been mostly ineffective, and have only been effective when someone (either the WMF or a group of volunteers) offered a somewhat concrete proposal. Open discussion / polling focused meetings never produced anything that really needed a meeting to produce.

I don’t think it’s fair to blame the WMF for not making more progress; movement-level strategic planning and execution is laregly an uncharted territory, the WMF has little experience with it, and it’s very rarely practiced by other organizations at this scale so (unlike say operating a large website, where there are all kinds of external best practices and expert communities to lean on) there is little external experience to rely on, either. When you are engaging with a complex problem with no prior experience, it’s unreasonable to expect it will go well at the first try.

Where I do think the WMF could do better is intentionally avoiding becoming a blocker or bottleneck. As I said in the other topic, I think the WMF works best as a no-friction platform provider. (You want to have a meeting? Here is a meeting software for you so you don’t need to bother with expensing subscriptions! You want to have cross-cultural discussions? Here is a multilingual forum for you.) It would be worth considering what other resources can be offered in a similar as-a-service manner. E.g. something like Tech News (Strategy News?) where anyone can get relevant news to all interested audiences with minimum effort. Some way to tap into the network of paid liaisons, so they can gather feedback on non-WMF initiatives while they are gathering feedback on other things anyway.

But most importantly, the WMF should avoid the appearance of taking a leadership position when it is not actually taking it (which is fine, the WMF can’t lead on everything at the same time, and on some topics the community doesn’t even want it to be the leader). There should be guidelines for how anyone can take leadership on any “abandoned” initiative and what the expectations are in terms of community engagement etc., and people should be encouraged to do so – form working groups and handle the initiatives other than the Charter without waiting for the WMF to do something.

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Thank you, these are very good starting points.

Distribution of facilitation and ownership

Yes, we agree that facilitation and ownership of the Movement Strategy implementation need to be distributed. Global coordination is needed for good collective impact, but nobody should be on hold for no good reason.

For this, it is important to know who is doing what, and who is interested in working on what. We are working on better documentation (on Meta) and better communication channels (on this forum) for all the recommendations and initiatives. Anyone interested in an area should be able to check what is happening, what is on hold, and how to get involved.

Supporting others facilitating

Yes, we agree that supporting decentralized facilitation is a good idea. It is also a good point that grants are one way to do this but not the only one. The Movement Strategy and Governance facilitators are already organized by region and language. These facilitators are starting to organize around recommendations too. We are already reaching out to communities and affiliates to encourage them to get involved in the MS implementation. And yes, we can be more explicit about our invitation to support facilitators contributing to distribute ownership.

Global conversations

Yes, we agree that Global Conversations alone (live events with facilitation and multilingual support) aren’t providing the results we need to advance the MS implementation. They can play a useful role in the context of ongoing conversations, decentralized and truly multilingual. This is why we reached the conclusion that Meta and Telegram are not enough to support the ongoing conversations required, and this is why we are proposing this fully-featured forum.

Not becoming a bottleneck

Nobody wants to become a bottleneck (unless you want to obstruct something; I don’t think it is our case here). Sometimes you find yourself in this situation. Sometimes others perceive you are being a bottleneck when in fact you are doing (or trying to do) something different. Please bring specific examples, and we can discuss them.

For instance, right now some people perceive we are being a bottleneck on the implementation of Hubs. Does a funnel have a bottleneck?

image

The Foundation is in a position where we hear many opinions about many topics from many players. We also have our opinions too. Everyone is trying to do their best, but sometimes the different positions are not compatible, and a good conversation is needed to converge on a common plan.

This post is long enough, so I’ll stop here for now.

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If there is basic agreement than maybe these segments are worth separating in new discussion threads?

@Zblace , hold on a second; sorry, with all respect, sorry, but I don’t think we have achieved consensus here at all. I don’t think there is any opposition to these great ideas, but I don’t think we have received enough response or input to already consider splitting these off. just want to note that. thanks.

I agree with much of @Tgr 's response. I totally can see WMF as having a highly positive role, in terms of facilitation. with that said, for now let’s focus like a laser, on setting up some resources to facilitate the community’s ability to comment; also, let’s create an easily navigable index page, at the meta site, perhaps as a “town square” page, and let’s make sure the community feels that we are truly inviting and expediting their input.

offering ideas is totally fine. working with WMF positively is fine. I think we simply need to make it easier, more inviting, and more easily navigable to do so. thanks!

@Zblace is only suggesting that we separate these topics to discuss them further in-depth. Each of the topics is quite broad, and discussing all the at once here is likely to drive away people who would other wise participate in more focused conversations.

I think this can happen naturally. Is there an appetite to start discussing any of these topics in more detail?

let me revise my answer above slightly. if you are asking whether anyone has any appetite to discuss these topics in detail, my answer is “yes”. however, I am trying to somewhat slow down my tempo of replies here in this forum, in order to keep it at a moderate and reasonable level. :slight_smile: however, I think you know that when it comes to discussion of topics, generally, I fully support that! :smiley:

My reason for replying here is simply because since you asked a direct question, and no one had written so far in reply, I wanted to provide some assent to your question above. thanks!

I think there needs to be much more active participation in this forum. I don’t see why there hasn’t been more active responses by WMF folks to the numerous community ideas being offered here. I thought that was the whole point of having this forum on the first place.

I think we’re love to hear from more people on all topics :slight_smile: Movement Strategy shouldn’t just be left up to the decisions and discussions between three people – it impacts everyone, so the more we can hear from, the better!

the problem is the utter lack of participation and response by the numerous WMF personnel who already ARE here. we already have new threads, topics, questions, and ideas, which are being posted by new ordinary users and individuals who have found their way here. now we need some WMF personnel to take an actual active, proactive approach, and take the initiative to respond to the ideas posted here.

right now, the average comments per week by most WMF personnel is either one or Zero. And most of the time, posting more than three comments in an entire week is enough to catapult an individual into the top ten commenters here, actually.

The topic is How to improve the facilitation of the Movement Strategy implementation?, and the activity in this forum is just part of it. Said that, several factors are contributing to the level of activity in the forum right now, not only by Foundation members, also by everyone else.

These factors come to mind:

  • It’s July, and many people have vacation or, generally, change their routine to spend more time outdoors, with family and friends, etc. A similar trend can be seen every year in many Wikimedia channels by these dates.
  • Many are still sitting back and waiting for the end of the community review and the consolidation of the forum, the announcement of what’s next. This is a known paradox where many are looking forward to novelty and change but they won’t drive it.
  • Adoption of new tools and communication channels just takes time. This is something many have told us.

About the participation of Foundation staff, as Nhu mentioned, “too much” is as risky as “too little” or even more. Growing the participation of a Forum is a long-term effort that takes many small steps by many different people.

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well said! I want to reiterate this point, with my own suggestion that we should all try to be a bit more proactive in using this forum. I do appreciate your point on this. thanks!

Anyone who wishes to discuss technical features, is welcome to comment at the thread below, if you wish.

As for the known paradox “.where many are looking forward to novelty and change but they won’t drive it”…that does seem obvious that most oldschool EN Wikipedians will not want to consider much change, while newer (and non-EN) would not feel empowered to drive the change that seems to be against the dominant inertia.

However I am interested in if and how-much effort was made in outreach to Outreach *(wiki) demographics? I can imagine GLAM and Education partners which to me (might be based here) are much more natural adopters of Discourse as software and Forum as method of interaction could benefit from understanding and potentially *(self) aligning with MS 2030 better…no? (OKN is using it already for their own coordination work)

Our outreach beyond the general Movement Strategy channels has focused on regions and languages that we are aware are active locally but less so in MS global conversations. The core idea was, it makes a big difference if these people respond with interest or not. Those who are already active in the global channels will come or not, sooner or later, based on many factors, but they are already connected, so the impact of the change for them is not so big.

We have also made some outreach to (let’s call them) thematic groups, especially those connected with (let’s call them) underrepresented groups. The response there has been more mixed, and I personally think that the same “oldschool” & “newer” dynamics described by @Zblace might have come into play there too.

Beyond basic announcements and some personal invitations, we haven’t reached out systematically to the larger groups of movement organizers like GLAM or Education. The Foundation teams working with these groups have been aware and supportive of this project since the beginning, but we have tacitly agreed that it was good to have the community review (which it has also been the first months of testing and polishing) before any systematic outreach. For instance, we have the list of ~1000 users who registered to Wikimedia Space, where this movement organizer profile is well represented, and we decided not to use that list for a targeted outreach of this Forum.

After the community review, two months of Forum warm-up, Wikimania, the Summit, and other events coming, we are ready to increase the outreach with good chances to significantly increase registration and participation in this forum, and therefore in the MS implementation.

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OK - that sounds reasonable timeline and strategy for the Summer. I look forward to Autumn.

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By the way, I currently have a total of five replies for the entire week. I would like to suggest that moderators perhaps might focus their efforts on encouraging on other people to get more involved; rather than telling those of us who are active that somehow we should be less active, in order to give others “more room.”

respectfully, I hope you don’t mind my saying that openly, and in a public forum. I am tagging @Qgil-WMF , @NPhan_WMF , and @YPam_WMF , please note, you absolutely have my heartfelt gratitude for all your hard work to make this forum happen. and now I propose that we all row in unison to help make sure we reach our goals as a community. I hope you don’t mind my momentary directness above. I may perhaps utilize the option to edit my existing comments, and to tone down my comments above somewhat. I felt it might be appropriate to express my thoughts openly and directly above, and so therefore I have done so. as always, I welcome any and all feedback, comments, ideas, constructive criticism, etc. etc.

and again, I am totally and absolutely sincere when I say I am truly grateful to all of you, with deepest admiration and respect for your hard work in making these forums an active resource. Thanks!