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Collective planning with the Wikimedia Foundation

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By Mayur Paul
Mayur Paul is Movement Communications Director at the Wikimedia Foundation.
A major crossroads road sign in Mount Isa, Queensland, Australia

This is part one of a two-part Signpost series to summarise the Wikimedia Foundation's annual planning process, priorities and next steps. The Wikimedia Foundation has released a draft of its annual plan to outline our goals for the next fiscal year (July 2023–June 2024).

In a planning process that asks us to look ahead, we must consider the changing world around us, what it needs from us, and how we must adapt to it. External trends show that social platforms continue to displace traditional search engines, and that artificial intelligence threatens even more disruption to the digital world.

Last month, we hosted a conversation with nearly 100 community members to learn more about the opportunities, challenges and experiments with new conversational AI tools happening on the Wikimedia projects, and will make this a regular series so that we can continue learning from each other on how we can respond to these rapidly evolving technologies.

To achieve our vision of the sum of all human knowledge, the Wikimedia Foundation will continue to anchor its annual plan in the movement strategy as we did last year. Our priorities will connect the Foundation's work even more deeply with the Movement Strategy Recommendations in order to make more progress towards the 2030 Strategic Direction. We remain driven to do this through collaborative planning with others in the movement who are also implementing the recommendations.

A focus on Product, Technology and Communities

As Foundation CEO Maryana Iskander has noted in past communications, this year the Foundation is increasing its focus on Product and Technology, emphasising our unique role as a platform for people and communities collaborating on a massive scale. Chief Product and Technology Officer Selena Deckelmann shared draft objectives on Meta in February, (also on Diff blog), and lots of conversations have been underway on the talkpage since.

This isn't meant to be a list of things we're definitely going to do — there's plenty of room for your questions and suggestions. The purpose of this list is to highlight the most necessary and important categories of technical work across the movement. We want to share this as early as possible, but because these are works-in-progress please be aware they may change[…].
— Selena Deckelmann (on Meta)

This week the Product & Technology department published part 2 of this process – the draft Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), which would guide all of the technical work for the next year. Selena has also shared some reflections from her listening tour. A more comprehensive, and detailed (but still work-in-progress) document, this is open for comments on the talk page about how best to prioritise, monitor, and measure what work is done.

A period of slower, more stable growth

As Maryana shared in January (Meta Wiki link and previous coverage in The Signpost), given the revenue gap from our December fundraising campaign as well as an uncertain global economic outlook, the Foundation is projected to have a reduced budget and slower growth than in past years.

The RfC raised a much wider range of issues than just fundraising banners. While anticipated revenue shortfalls made this a difficult period for the Foundation, I believe we tried to hear these broader concerns, many of which are shared across communities beyond English Wikipedia.

One concern was about the very rapid budget growth of the Foundation, which has stabilized in the last year. Given the revenue gap from this year's English campaign, we are reviewing and lowering our expenditure for the current year. And I anticipate we will have a reduced budget and certainly slower growth next year. We will have more information by April on future financial projections.

I communicated previously that I have started frank conversations with the Board of Trustees and Foundation staff about what roles the Foundation should grow (like support for technology) and what activities we should hand over to others or stop altogether. Looking ahead, the size of our budget should be driven by what the Foundation should be doing and can actually do well. The 2030 movement strategy provided guidance (and motivated much of our historic growth), but was short on specifics. I await the Movement Charter to provide further clarity, but believe the Foundation may need to make some decisions sooner.

— Maryana Iskander (on Meta)

We will reduce our expenses for next fiscal year, through both non-personnel and personnel expenses to make sure we have a more sustainable trajectory in expenses for the coming few years. These expense reductions prioritised non-staffing costs but have also included looking at vacant/unfilled roles and about a 5% reduction in occupied roles.

This year’s Annual Plan will attempt to provide more clarity on multi-year strategic issues that do not have quick fixes, and more granular information on how the Foundation operates.

Collective planning

Wikimedians have the opportunity to reflect on the Foundation’s annual plan draft on-wiki until 19 May and in various live conversations. Multiple languages are supported in the calls and on-wiki.

We want people to share their plans and intentions for the coming year with the Foundation and one another, as well as to learn more and offer suggestions about the Foundation’s annual plan.

Details here

This collaboration will inform the final content of the Wikimedia Foundation annual plan for our next fiscal year.

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Completely unrelated to this article, but I find that image interesting. It shows how really the only 2 places that are exactly opposite each other (or form a straight light with each other) are the North and South Poles. Rio and Townsville are close to being in line with each other, but are ever so slightly off... or maybe they are and the person who made the sign just made them offset to fit that many signs. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 13:32, 26 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Perhaps, but it might be better to get an updated image, one where San Francisco isn't curiously blotted out with paint. jmho - wolf 23:22, 22 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


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