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2019 Wikimedia Summit gathers movement affiliate representatives to discuss movement strategy

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By Airplaneman
Wikimedia Summit 2019 group photo
Wikimedia Summit 2019 group photo

Wikimedia Summit 2019 was held 29–31 March in Berlin. The working conference brought together 210 participants from 69 countries to discuss the Wikimedia 2030 Movement Strategy Process, focusing on preparing draft recommendations in time for Wikimania 2019 in August. Participants included Wikimedia movement affiliate representatives from chapters, user groups, and thematic organizations; Movement Strategy working group members; members of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees; and Wikimedia Foundation staff.


This annual spring meeting was previously called the Wikimedia Conference. Beginning in 2017, the conference facilitated conversations on the 2030 strategy as part of its programming. Conference organizer Wikimedia Deutschland recognized a need to increase participant engagement and reduce programmatic breadth (see 3-year report and 2018 grant report). Accordingly, they reduced the conference size from about 300 to 200, narrowed its focus to movement strategy and governance, and renamed it "Wikimedia Summit" (2019 grant proposal).

Movement Strategy Process

Sunil Abraham provided feedback on the Movement Strategy Process to conference attendees via video message.

The full conference report is available on meta at Wikimedia Summit 2019/Documentation. The main focus of the conference was to facilitate conversation on the Movement Strategy Process among affiliate members, working group members, and Wikimedia Foundation staff. For some working groups, the Wikimedia Summit was the first time they had all convened in person.

The working groups are organized through 9 thematic areas. Each working group is working towards a set of strategy recommendations.

The conference schedule included time for working groups to workshop alone and time for working groups to solicit feedback from affiliate representatives. The scoping documents reviewed by conference attendees are available here. Affiliate representatives were encouraged to sign up as a strategy liaison for their organized group (distinct from the paid community strategy liaison position) with the hopes of increasing affiliate engagement in the process.

Summit participants from outside the Wikimedia movement included Sunil Abraham, Executive Director of the Centre for Internet and Society, and Ryan Merkley, CEO of Creative Commons. They both addressed the conference to share their thoughts on the Movement Strategy Process during its closing meeting. Abraham, addressed attendees via video (on right). Some of the feedback he provided included trying to avoid "consultation fatigue" by spreading out the time frame for online community consultation (at 1:30 in the video) and "closing the loop" on the community consultation process, making sure that working groups and board members explain their reasoning for rejecting feedback (at 3:40).

Affiliate-Selected Board Seats

photograph of 29 March Affiliate-Selected Board Seats meeting at Wikimedia Summit 2019
Affiliate members provide feedback on the Affiliate-Selected Board Seats draft resolution

Two meetings were also held to inform affiliate representatives on the 2019 Affiliate-Selected Board Seats (ASBS) election. As detailed in a February 2019 Signpost article, a December 2018 Board of Trustees bylaws proposal included user groups in the ASBS election for the first time. In previous ASBS elections, only Wikimedia chapters were able to vote. Affiliate members reviewed a draft resolution on affiliate participation in the process (approximate version reviewed at the conference). In the meetings, affiliate members provided feedback to election facilitators on the resolution and the ASBS process as a whole. Affiliate members present at the meetings raised concerns on the draft resolution, including the compressed time frame of the election process and affiliate vote weighting. Notes from the meetings can be found on Etherpad.

The ASBS resolution was finalized on 5 April and approved by the Board of Trustees on 12 April (current version). The date of this article's publication marks the last day board candidates can be nominated (with the nomination period being 15 April–30 April). The full election timeline is available on the 2019 ASBS page.

What's ahead

Suggested workshopping and implementation timeline for working group recommendations

Suggested recommendations timeline

The working groups will present modified recommendations at Wikimania 2019 in August. Continued community feedback is being solicited through venues such as the 2019 Community Conversations, open until the end of May. Final recommendations are to be implemented starting in December 2019.

Useful links


Airplaneman (talk · contribs), the author of this article, attended Wikimedia Summit 2019 as the affiliate representative for Wikimedians of Chicago User Group. Wikimedia Deutschland paid his travel and lodging costs for the conference.

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