Emerging strategic priorities

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These pages are important, as they are forming the basis for the next phase of discussion. Please edit for both content and language!

From initial research and analysis, a number of opportunities and challenges for the Wikimedia movement were identified. These were grouped into five emerging strategic priorities (ESPs), which are described here:

To tackle these priorities in more depth, task forces are being formed to do "deep dives" and create recommendations on what the Wikimedia community, chapters, and Foundations could do to expand reach, improve quality, increase participation, and optimize operations (i.e., get it all done!)

Vision

"A world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge."

This is the vision which is the foundation of Wikimedia's work. Strategic priorities are those that contribute directly to making this vision a reality

  • by helping collect all knowledge or
  • by improving access to that knowledge

or which contribute indirectly to this vision by providing the means achieve this vision

  • by recruiting and motivating volunteer editors and local chapter members or
  • by improving the software tools we use to collaborate.

Proposals which contribute to more than one of these priorities are even better.

Expanding Reach

ESP 1. Within large, well-connected populations

This emerging strategic priority has been explored in depth in the paper Expand reach within large, well-connected populations.

Determine how to significantly increase usage and participation in large geographic regions with large language populations (> 50M speakers) where the Wikimedia projects are currently under-performing relative to the opportunity. (Opportunity = large number of literate, educated, internet-connected people.)

ESP 1 Task Forces
  1. Improving performance in China - How to realize the full potential of the Wikimedia projects among the 300 million and growing Chinese Internet users, addressing challenges of openness and competition. The Wikimedia projects underperform in China both in terms of reach and participation, primarily because the projects have often been inaccessible in China, and because other sites have developed there which cover some of the same work that we do. The purpose of the task force will be to figure out how the Wikimedia projects can increase reach and participation inside China. This task force will focus solely on Chinese people who have internet access. Note this task force would benefit from a survey of Chinese readers and editors, plus non-readers.
  2. Improving performance in India - How to realize the full potential of the Wikimedia projects among the 100 million and growing Indian Internet users with all of their diversity (languages in particular). The Wikimedia projects underperform in India both in terms of reach and participation, which is in some ways surprising because many of the factors that typically are success indicators for Wikimedia are present in India: a large number of literate, internet-connected people live there, Indian culture values freedom of speech and education, and is tech-centric and tech-positive compared with many other parts of the world. There are many factors contributing to Wikimedia's under-performance in India: these probably include cultural issues, lack of awareness of the Wikimedia projects, and language issues. The purpose of this task force will be to figure out how the Wikimedia projects can increase reach and participation inside India. This task force will focus solely on Indian people who have Internet access. Note this task force would benefit from a survey of Indian readers and editors, plus non-readers.


Note: Key questions that relate to this task force and priority can be found here.

ESP 2. Within mid-sized connected and under-connected populations

This emerging strategic priority has been explored in depth in the paper Expand reach within midsize and under-connected populations.

Determine how to significantly increase usage and participation in large geographic regions with medium-size language populations (5M to 30M speakers), where the Wikimedia projects are currently under-performing relative to the opportunity. (Opportunity = number of literate, educated, internet-connected people).

Investigate the opportunity for reaching large geographic regions with large and medium language populations of people with limited or no access to the Internet.

ESP 2 Task Forces
  1. Improving performance in Middle East & North Africa (Arabic languages) - There are 1 billion native Arabic speakers in the world across a range of countries. Wikimedia has started to grow in Arabic and the question is how to reach full potential. The purpose of this task force is to identify barriers to reach and participation in the Arabic-language projects, and figure out how to increase reach and participation.
    Note this task force would benefit from a survey of Arabic-language readers and editors, plus non-readers.
  2. Local Language Task Force: There are 79 languages used daily by greater than 10M speakers representing almost 5 billion people. The Wikimedia movement has had mixed success in creating vibrant language sites. What are the approaches and models that will enable broadening and deepening of Wikimedia in these languages? This task force will focus on increasing usage and participation among widely-used languages which are underperforming relative to other widely-used languages. (For the purposes of this task force, we will focus on the highest-potential languages -- e.g., languages with the largest numbers of literate, Internet-connected people speaking them on a daily basis.) The purpose of this task force is to identify barriers-to-usage and barriers-to-participation that are common to many or all highest-potential languages, not including Chinese, the Indian languages, and Arabic, which are being covered by other task forces -- and to figure out how to increase reach and participation in those languages. Note this task force might benefit from a carefully-designed cross-language survey.
  3. Connecting Wikimedia to those without or with limited Internet access - The knowledge available in Wikimedia's projects is accessible primarily to those on the Internet. There are close to 5 billion - almost all disadvantaged - people who are unconnected to Wikimedia. Wikimedians have created a range of initiatives to take Wikimedia offline and/or into new forms. How might Wikimedians create platforms/initiatives/partnerships for accessibility at a scale that can bring billions more into the Wikimedia community? We assume that eventually, everybody will be online. The job of this task force is to develop a short and medium term strategy for making Wikimedia project material available to people who are not currently connected to the Internet. Note this task force might benefit from a survey of NGO-type organizations and individuals working with less-connected populations, and/or from some targeted deep interviews with same.

Key questions related to this strategic priority can be found here.

Improving Content Quality and Impact

ESP 3. Expansion of available high quality information

Review and evaluate the potential for Wikimedia to significantly increase the quality and educational impact of content available, and the core audiences for which it is provided. This includes implications for quality control mechanisms in these areas.

Task Forces
  1. Improve quality and quality assurance processes: How should Wikimedia both continue to ensure and improve quality of knowledge and increase transparency of quality? The scope of this work group will cover both "social" and technical ways to improve quality: for example, how can Wikimedia best engage with schools and subject-matter experts to improve quality, as well as quality-labelling/supporting tools such as Flagged Revs and article assessment/rating tools. This discussion may include non-textual contributions, as well (such as images and videos).
  2. Improving educational impact and accessibility: How can the Projects be more useful to educators and for educational purposes? What elements of community, publicity, interface design, and content influence how accessible useful content is? This discussion may include ways to make a collection of knowledge and material valuable to a variety of different audiences; the value of simple as well as complex language variants, or summary and specialist levels of detail; and accessibility in general.
  3. Quality Reference Content Task Force: The goal of this task force is to determine options for completing Wikimedia's core encyclopedic reference content.

Note: Key questions related to this strategic priority can be found here.

Improving Content Variety and Scope

Review and evaluate the potential for Wikimedia to significantly expand the variety and scope of information and knowledge services provided. This includes the evaluation of current projects that exist or new projects that need to be built, processes for engaging and supporting existing projects by potential collaborators, and processes for expanding our access to and use of major sources of media and data.

  1. Expanding Content Task Force: Adding new areas of knowledge. The goal of this task force is to determine options for quality content expansion beyond Wikipedia's core reference material. Where are new opportunities for knowledge growth (e.g., education, news, mapping, specific topics [genetics, language learning], others) that build on Wikimedia's approaches, tools and community? How should new project proposals be assessed for long-term value, and how should proposals with merit be improved into ones that will best attract a sustainable community?

Enhancing Community

ESP 4. Strengthen the community

Determine how to strengthen the health and build the diversity of the contributors to Wikimedia's projects through increased conversion of readers, increased diversity, improved community health and culture, and increased emphasis on building specific under-represented community groups

ESP 4 Task Forces
  1. Increase contributions from readers and under-represented groups: It's normal for participatory online projects to have many more readers than participants, and there are many justifications for why participation (as a proportion of readers) in the Wikimedia projects might be lower than in projects with a more social or open-ended purpose, and/or projects that target people in wealthy parts of the world. Nonetheless, Wikimedia aspires to make available "the sum total of all human knowledge," and the larger our pool of participants, the closer we will be to achieving that goal. Wikimedia aspires to collect and share the sum total of all human knowledge. This requires an open community that includes representation from all different segments. There are many groups that are under-represented within the Wikimedia community today that could add significant value to the projects. The purpose of this task force is to identify, and develop a strategy for fixing, the barriers are keeping readers from participating. The purpose of this task force is also to identify those high-potential groups that may be harder to engage (i.e., women, academics, others) and identify strategies that could be used to bring them in.
  2. Enhance community health and culture task force: The goal of this task force is to develop a strategy for retention and good community health. This task force will also identify potential solutions to simplifying and streamlining policies and examine ways that these could be implemented. This task force will look into wiki-lawyering, policy proliferation, and the picking up or cross-pollination of policies from more mature projects to newer projects and the potential that cross-pollination has of stifling growth and innovation for these newer projects.

Optimizing and enhancing Wikimedia's operations

ESP 5. Optimize Wikimedia's operations

Determine how the various Wikimedia players can best work together, and with external parties, to advance the mission in terms of: organizational structure, governance, roles between staff and volunteers.

Determine sources for financial sustainability.

Determine path forward for continuous technological improvement and advancement.

ESP 5 Task Forces
  1. Movement roles – How can the various Wikimedia players best work together to advance the mission. Key questions include: In a volunteer-driven organization, what types of work are volunteers best-suited to, and what what is the most effective role of paid staff? What is the most effective role of the chapters in advancing the mission? What practices (in delegation, defining roles, measuring results, &c) can make large-scale collaborations more effective? What organizational structures are required to advance the mission, but are currently missing, and how can they be fostered and developed? How can existing structures be supported and how should money be moved among organizational structures and individual Wikimedians, to maximally advance our shared work?
  2. Financial sustainability - What are the options available to Wikimedia, as a foundation and a movement, to generate income and other resources to support its work sustainably and forever?'
  3. Alliances and partnerships – How can the Wikimedia movement best partner up with other institutions and organizations to advance the mission (e.g., partnerships with businesses, foundations and educational/informational institutions, to increase distribution, encourage participation, or increase quality)? What kinds of partnerships will advance the mission most, and who should lead their development? What are the necessary preconditions and how can we ensure they're in place? Note this task force might benefit from a survey of current/potential partners, and/or some in-depth interviews.
  4. Technology infrastructure, interface, and innovation – What is the infrastructure and development community required to evolve Wikimedia platform for great scale, usability and format? How can the Wikimedia movement ensure continual innovation and usability so its work is maximally useful for intended recipients?
  5. Advocacy agenda – Fulfillment of the Wikimedia mission is dependent on unimpeded global access to information online. How can Wikimedia as a social and political movement best shape and influence public perception and public policy, internationally, in order to support development of an environment conducive to its work?

Note: Key questions related to this emerging priority can be found here.

Proposed Task Forces

Beginning - Task force/BLP - This task force has been formed to evaluate and come to recommendations regarding Biographies of Living People.

Proposed - Task force/Africa

Proposed - Supporting current projects - How should Wikimedia best support current projects such as Wiktionary, Wikibooks, and Wikisource, with tools, interfaces, outreach and partnerships? How can the collected Projects help one another grow and develop into a healthy ecosystem? What can be learned from the successes and failures of smaller Projects? When should be projects be closed, and are there good alternatives to closing them?

Proposed - Adding new types of media - What are opportunities for expanding the types of media and data we cover? This can include code, maps, mathematical models and graphs, chemical and biological models, charts, layered graphics, multi-track music and video, and structured data. How would changing the media we support change what is possible with our current Projects? What new projects would it enable? Does this change the interpretation of the media in Wikimedia?

Proposed - Adding new types of collaborative tools - What sorts of knowledge collaborations require interfaces and tools that aren't currently possible with MediaWiki? What possibilities are there to expand the range of tools developed or considered part of the Wiki in Wikimedia?

Add other task forces here