The MCDC is currently working on a Movement Charter draft, a Global Council may rearrange authorities, responsibilities and resources in line with the Movement Strategy recommendations. How do you imagine the Wikimedia Foundation in 5-8 years? What does it look like, what’s its role, what does it do, and what does it not do?
This is one of the Affiliate questions selected for the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees election 2022. Only candidates can post their replies here. You can read these answers on Meta.
As a trustee I took part in our jointly created vision for 2030. WMF is aligning its strategic goals and annual planning process (APP) to the 2030 vision and recommendations. I am therefore expecting WMF to:
- Be a more stable and healthier organization
- Prioritize and address challenging issues and topics that were not dealt with historically and/or empower others to do so
- Work on supporting the implementation of the strategic direction
- Actively fight external threats to our movement
- Engage in innovative work needed to remain relevant for users and achieve our mission and vision of serving humanity.
In 5-8 years, I imagine the Wikimedia Foundation providing a true and essentially believable infrastructure of free knowledge. Every single human being can find and share knowledge, in the language of his/her choice, without barriers, like language barriers, technical barriers, etc. The Wikimedia Foundation will look like an educative framework on which people around the world connect to contribute knowledge, and share it with others around the world, it educates and sources the skills and; it doesn’t provide disinformation.
We would like affiliates in 5-8 years to be able to contribute effectively to the establishment of a solid community, which will contribute to the popularization and promotion of free knowledge.
Reply by Mike Peel (Mike Peel)
With the establishment of the Global Council and the implementation of the movement strategy, the WMF will have a different role on this timescale, with activities involving a lot more stakeholders across the movement, and devolved leadership and decision-making. What exactly the WMF does and doesn’t do depends on how the discussions go over the next few years, but I would like to see WMF to be more focused on delivering products that stakeholders and the community agrees are important, and engaging with and supporting the global movement much more.
In 5-8 years, I imagine that the WMF will lead an even larger, more diverse organization than it does now. Given the rapid changes in the world (especially politically & environmentally) people’s need for accurate, unbiased information will only increase & the work of the WMF will become more important, better known, possibly even more risky. It may become more difficult to remain apolitical, to maintain a neutral point of view.
I envision more awareness of WMF in various corners of the world where everyone is empowered and can freely contribute what they know in their language. Where the government and policy makers are more educated on the importance of free and open internet to avoid further harassment of editors like we’re seeing today.
In the next 5-8 years, I do envision the Wikimedia Foundation as an organisation in which every individual across the globe is able to share the sum of all knowledge and being able to understand the concept of the Wikimedia projects in other to contribute and use it effectively and appropriately without barriers.
I’ve partly answered the question in the previous one. But I can add that the foundation has to decrease in terms of the number of employees and stop marketing activities of Wikimedia projects. Wikimedia’s projects should not be considered as market products and all the assistance for volunteer will be more efficient if it comes from local associations that can organize thing in local languages, habits, banks, tax administration, etc. That’s why the decentralization is a good idea.
Global Charter and multiple specialized hubs and quasi-hubs shift the role of the Foundation. While still maintaining core activities (e.g. central trademark and hosting), and being able to act as the host to multiple competence centres, it could have an unique role of a governance/organisational hub, facilitating, coordinating, supporting global volunteer bodies, assuring proper services and standards are kept.
In 5-8 years the WMF has stopped growing. Staff are unionized, have had a stable CTO (as well as majority of C-levels) for more than 2 years, and report reasonable scores in engagement surveys. Community members don’t feel like the WMF is profiting off of them, they see and understand the benefits of working together with WMF staff in a transparent and collaborative manner. Finally, the WMF doesn’t act as a leader, rather it follows the lead of communities, including the Global Council.