Movement Charter: Values & Principles

DISCLAIMER: This post includes the draft content of the Values & Principles chapter of the Movement Charter. If you have feedback, there are many ways to participate in the consultation period.

DRAFT TEXT

We represent a fact-based, open, and inclusive approach to knowledge. Our projects serve knowledge to a global audience, and the platforms that host the projects are driven by independent initiative. Our policies and everyday practices are guided by community values that empower all Wikimedians everywhere to be able to participate on a basis of equity.

Our values and principles recognize that this approach to make knowledge available is a collaborative endeavor, and aim to keep the focus on:

Free knowledge and open source

We share, in the spirit of free knowledge, all of our content, all our software, all our platforms with the world, using the transformative tool of open licensing. We commit to making space for the knowledge that has historically been marginalized - including within our projects.

Independence

We strive to operate independently, without any favoritism that would hinder our free knowledge mission. We are not driven by commercial, political or other monetary or promotional influences.

Inclusivity

We foster a people-centered vision of participatory co-creation. Our projects are intended to be available in all languages, and accessible on diverse platforms by universal design and assistive technology. Our practices build on and safeguard the diversity and rights of our communities. To do so, we establish and enforce codes of conduct, and ensure that everyone feels valued and equally included.

Subsidiarity

We entrust authority to the most immediate or local level that is appropriate, on both our platforms and in our organizational governance. Thereby, we ensure a capable self-management and autonomy of communities that acts in accordance with the values of the global movement.

Equity

We empower and support communities through pragmatic decentralization and autonomy. Along with equity in the representation of knowledge, we enable equity of resources. We also enable equity of digital rights such as privacy to our users and all participants to the widest extent possible.

Accountability

We hold ourselves accountable through the transparency of shared editable documentation where at all possible, public notice and reporting of programs and activities, and the prioritization of voices representing community leadership for the roles and responsibilities delineated in our charter.

Resilience

We thrive by innovation and experimentation, continually renewing the vision of what a platform for free knowledge can be. We pursue effective strategies and practices driven by evidence. We promote a culture of sustainability across our structures and communities.

[end of draft text]

Guidelines for Engagement

  • Keep it focused, concise, constructive.
    • If you don’t like something, suggest improvement.
  • Stick to the text. Feedback ideas/intentions/max sentences, not single words.
  • Focus on the idea, not the people behind it.
    • Listen to others and be receptive to different viewpoints.

Prompts for Discussion

In addition to the question posed at the end of the draft text, below are other questions to prompt discussion.

  • In general or specifically, do you agree with the draft text above?
  • If you disagree with a certain section, please quote it in your response and suggest an alternative phrasing.
  • Is anything missing from the draft text that you would like to be considered or included?
  • Do you have a clarifying question about the draft text?

To feedback on the other chapters of the draft texts, check the links below:

2 Likes

I think the label “Independence” would benefit from some clarity. We do not mean that Wikipedia is independent from Commons. We mean that the movement is independent of external entities, such as governments and funders.

2 Likes

I think we should consider adding Interdependence as one of our core values. For example, the Wikipedias depends upon Commons for images, and Commons depends upon Wikidata for some kinds of structured data, and the Wikipedias depend upon Wikidata for interwiki and interlanguage links. The projects are stronger together.

Interdependence also relates to, and limits, our notion of subsidiarity. There are limits to what a local group can do. A handful of volunteers at a small Wikipedia might be “the most immediate or local level that is appropriate” for making most content decisions, but they do not have the authority to turn “their” Wikipedia into an advertising site, or to impose legal liability on other people/organizations because, e.g., they decided that copyright or libel laws were optional. If the lawyers at the WMF say that, due to a lawful court order, some material must be removed from “their” Wikipedia, these volunteers do not have the authority to refuse, even though they are “the most immediate or local level”.

As a third example, a “local” group cannot dump work on others. If, for example, the WMF’s site engineers say that a gadget/script/feature will crash the servers, then it can’t be used. The WMF’s site engineers may be “central”, but they cannot, and should not, be overruled by people who have no direct stake in keeping the sites working. The solution is to find a way to meet both group’s needs, not for one person to say “Well, I’m local, and you’re not, so I can do what I want”. That’s not what subsidiarity means.

2 Likes

The critical error to fix:

We commit to making space for all knowledge, including the knowledge that has historically been marginalized…

If you wouldn’t fix this, then the meaning of the phrase is that Wikipedia is not for all knowledge, but only for marginalized one.

I am very, very glad indeed to see this topic posted here, in this specific format and content. yes, this is what we need.

I would like to see less threads at the MS forums which pertain to specific upcoming calendar events.

I would like to see much more threads of this type, i.e. those providing a general topical area to discuss, whether pertaining to a specific document such as the movement charter, or a specific area or set of procedures at wikipedia, or a general topic of discussion, namely one pertaining to some part of the overall topic of the editing processes at wikipedia.

thank you, @NPhan_WMF , for setting up this great, truly valuable thread. bravo and well done! please do continue to develop topics of this type. thank you! :slight_smile:

1 Like

Carn, I’m not sure that “within our projects” means the same as “within Wikipedia”. The current wording could be fulfilled by creating a new, separate “Wiki-Marginalized-Knowledge” project, without making any changes to Wikipedia (or any other existing project).

1 Like

I apologize for the delay, @WhatamIdoing and @Carn. We’ve been in the throng of community calls and meetings. I have noted your feedback for the report we will produce at the end from this community consultation phase. I have also pinged the MCDC drafting group for Values and Principles about your comments, and I expect we’ll hear from someone soon!

1 Like

Agree with this. I don’t usually reply just to assent to one point, but my larger goal is to keep this thread current, as a general workspace where we can discuss this general topical area. thanks!