Talk:Task force/Alliances and Partnerships

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Thread titleRepliesLast modified
Proposed Strategy Task Force008:48, 3 February 2010
Partnership with nasa218:28, 2 February 2010
Wikipedia Commercial005:24, 22 January 2010
Some misc. notes re: partnerships and alliances001:17, 20 January 2010
Partnership with Engineers without borders510:42, 4 January 2010
academia and student groups117:44, 23 December 2009
first recommendation - alliances?213:56, 20 December 2009
less than a month to go111:33, 20 December 2009
interviews needed?507:32, 19 December 2009
Question for discussion: partnership types406:36, 16 December 2009
difference between partner and alliance122:40, 15 December 2009
mergers and aquisitions122:36, 15 December 2009
Interview w/ Mozilla Foundation418:51, 15 December 2009
Question for discussion: Assets214:45, 15 December 2009
Who forges the partnership?923:44, 13 December 2009
Critical partnership408:52, 12 December 2009
Partnership Best Practices107:03, 9 December 2009
What support is needed?103:04, 9 December 2009

Proposed Strategy Task Force

Hi everyone,

Over the past few weeks, there's been some great discussions about the task force recommendations. There's some great energy here on this wiki, and I want to start moving toward completion. That includes:

To get this work done, I'm proposing the creation of a Strategy Task Force. I hope that you all will read and help refine the proposal, and I especially hope that many of you sign up for the Task Force. Let's also move the discussions there so that we can have a central place to discuss next steps for strategy. Thanks!

08:48, 3 February 2010

Partnership with nasa

Wikimedia should consider forming a partnership with NASA. Most of nasa's works are already in public domain, and so copyright wouldn't be a big problem. NASA currently maintains activity on other sites such as youtube and scribd. I'm sure they wouldn't mind adding there tens of thousands of diagrams and other related media to wikimedia commons.

14:30, 23 January 2010

For those of you interested in this thread, there's been further discussion on Philippe's talk page. Also, those interested in pursuing this might be interested in this proposal.

18:09, 2 February 2010

Actually, in the interests of keeping things in one place, why don't I bring that thread over here? :) No, that was a dumb idea. The thread over on my talk page has a lot of other topics as well.

18:26, 2 February 2010

Wikipedia Commercial

Has anyone considered having a Wikipedia commercial, say, on an educational channel, so as to put the public's eye on Wikipedia as a commercial foundation, rather than just a normal website. Not only that, but more people would find Wikipedia, and certain corporations and companies could finance Wikipedia as well.

05:24, 22 January 2010

Some misc. notes re: partnerships and alliances

Below are some general notes from a conversation w/Liam regarding a few topics from these threads; plus a few additional thoughts that were not included in proposal/recommendations that I submitted.

The difference between the terms “Alliance” and “Partnership”:

  • Possible Definition of “Alliance”: an ongoing relationship with another organization or group of organizations, that serves to strengthen the greater culture of open source, free culture, etc., and is continually built upon. (An example of this would be Wikimedia-OSM).
  • Possible Definition of “Partnership”: a relationship that is forged to create specific outcomes, where measures of success are well defined in advance. A “Partnership” would be a relevant term to use for funded projects involving two or more organizations, on which we are accountable to report progress and milestones to the funder. An example of this would be wiki-to-print. The Greenspun illustrations project as an example as well, although the fact that WMF could not successfully facilitate this speaks to the limitations of WMF's capacity to play a role in smaller-scale partnerships, and whether funding or one central entity is really the best means towards improving specific community-led projects. This, vis a vis a massive content donation, for example, which is something we know WM-DE and others are very good at facilitating.

Questions re: the Wikimedia Foundation's role in partnerships and alliances:

  • Should WMF spearhead multi-party alliances in OS, OER, etc., or simply participate in them?
  • What is WMF's role or responsibility to advocate alliances of which it is a part, given Wikimedia's broad reach and impact, and communications platform?
  • What can the community and chapters “not” resource or do on its own, and how can WMF facilitate its work based on this knowledge?

Miscellaneous Notes:

  • When we have a stronger basis, support, and general plan for partnership development, should there be an outreach aspect/RFP for partners, or do we let the relationships evolve organically?
  • General parameters for partnerships must be defined, and perhaps given a committee (and/or WMF board) stamp of approval. See, for instance, the general guidelines for partnerships for Room to Read Such general parameters/guidelines might serve as an MOU or statement of principles that would be the basis for all partnerships and alliances.
  • It seems energy and resources devoted by WMF to partnerships should be in proportion to the priority that a partnerships program will take in the overall scope of the organization's work, post-strategic plan, and that facilitating volunteers is a the best path to success (see my proposal/recs).
  • Immediate priorities for partnerships: 1) Follow-through with already existing projects, such as OSM, and prioritization of longstanding relationships. 2) Outreach/work with Educational and research institutions (this is work that is already taking place, as discussed).
01:17, 20 January 2010

Partnership with Engineers without borders

Has anyone thought about partnership with Engineers without borders ( They share the knowledge spreading philosophy of wikimedia and are cloesly tied to technical work, probably making them very able to understand the usefulness of the wikimedia projects.

Collaboration with them could bring wiki usage and editing into both universities and new regions of this world. Maybe they could help with the developement of the mediawiki software, support translators and spread the word about wikimedia in developing regions.

22:37, 22 December 2009

Could you please explain how WMF and ewb benefit from a partnership.. The fact that there are commonalities does not mean that they would benefit from a partnership. Thanks,

16:10, 23 December 2009

EWB International is an international association of national EWB movements. Many of these national organizations are very young and I actually think many of them are strugling with what they could do at all. The national organizations have many members that are students and have much will to help, but may have less clues about how they realy can help. Going to developing countries and inventing cheap water cleaning and energy production systems probably is on many of the members minds, even if they don't know how to actually do this. And probably many imagines that once they have completed their education this will magically all happen in some way. But I think they might be less aware of the impact they actually can do right now at the moment by helping to develope the mediawiki software, support translators that finds markup languages troublesome. They could also help spreading the world about Wikimedia in developing countries in any educational programs they have there. Maybe students that studies technical subjects can help students studying languages to translate articles. Because I think their is a great will among many students to actually work on things that are for the better good of the world, but many have no clue about how.

This kind of work might be as much in line with their mission as any other project they undertake. All that is needed is that EWB International takes a stance that it is and actively encourages their members to do such work. EWB benefits from it because their members get a projects they can work on and wikimedia benefits from it becuase more volunteers works toward their goal.

17:21, 23 December 2009

I like EWB and their work is great. They also have, as you say, commonalities with what we do. I would like to see the two communities working together in some capacity at some time. However, as far as my understanding of "strategy" I don't think we should make recommendations to such a precise level of specificity. I think a strategic recommendation needs to be broader like "alliance with aid organisations" rather than "alliance with xyz specific organisation".

Do you think you can broaden out your suggestion to a more strategic-level thing?

00:19, 4 January 2010

I think the main idea is to make partnership with organisations that has a good understanding of the importance of knowledge, is technicaly oriented, has a large possible volunteer basis and that currently are using technological solutions to problems in developing countries. But I also think that it is important to list and contact possible candidates as early as possible to have something concrete to work with.

00:31, 4 January 2010

yes, for implementing any such partnership it would be necessary to have a good working relationship and contacts and planning early on - but here at the strategy level we only need to "recommend the broad direction" and, if that recommendation is accepted, then the people actually implementing it would work out the specifics at that time. It would be inappropriate for a strategic recommendation to be proscriptive to the level of saying we should ally with a specific organisation or on a specific project.

10:42, 4 January 2010

academia and student groups

Not sure if you guys have talked about this... but there could be a lot of potential support in the academic community. The key will be finding some sympathetic allies who "get" what Wikipedia is about. Especially when it comes to improving weak articles into quality content, we could really use some knowledgeable people.

17:23, 23 December 2009

I think the thread about partnership with Enigineers without border that I started yesterday might be one such solution.

17:44, 23 December 2009

first recommendation - alliances?

Ok, so if we've differentiated between "an alliance" and "a partnership" (in the "difference between partner and alliance" thread below), and the mandate of this taskforce is to create 2-4 recommendations for this topic - I suggest that the first recommendation should be specifically aimed at the "alliance" aspect.

As distinct from "a partnership", an alliance with any one (or multiple) organisation needn't be for a specific task or timeframe but an ongoing thing. That's what alliance means - long term and open-ended. Furthermore, an alliance is a two-way thing, not a seller-buyer arrangement like a partnership might be. There are only a certain number of organisations we should/could ally with - because "common values" is a key element of alliances - then the question is Not "who to ally with" but instead "what does an alliance mean/achieve" and "how to create an alliance".

Basically, if the WMF was to have some form of formal alliance with another organisation there are only a limited number of organisations that we have enough shared vision with - the EFF, CreativeCommons, Linux, Mozilla, OpenStreetMap, OLPC...

So, what do you think an alliance should achieve for the WMF? What does an alliance with the WMF achieve for the other organisation(s)? And finally - what do you think of the idea of having all of these organised with each other as a group - effectively a "free-culture alliance"?

13:10, 13 December 2009

I very much hope we can move toward some sort of "free-culture alliance". It would probably be worth getting input from Wikimedia Poland on this issue, because I believe they have achieved an alliance of this kind in their country.

23:30, 15 December 2009

I've started "recommendation 1" along these lines. Thoughts appreciated.

13:56, 20 December 2009

less than a month to go

Ok - less than a month to go. We need 2-4 good recommendations! Unless anyone has any better ideas - here's the rough breakdown of where I think the discussion has led us,
Recommendations regarding: 1) "Alliances" - general (overarching all partnership)

This is looking something like a "free culture alliance"?

2) "Partnerships" - general (overarching all partnerships)

not sure what this would look like yet

3) "partnerships - specific to a particular aspect (e.g. projects, issue)

This is looking like a "what is the biggest need for your project that you can't complete locally"?
15:06, 17 December 2009

I've taken the liberty of starting to flesh out number 1 - Alliances (general) in the broad direction of a 'free culture alliance'. Please see what you think of the assumptions and sub-assumptions so far [[1]].

I've also added in a fourth recommendation so that we can have two for alliances and two for partnerships - one each for a broad level recommendation about the idea of partnerships/alliances whilst the other can be about specific types of things for alliances/projects (e.g. assistance for chapters could be a partnership 2 type thing).


11:33, 20 December 2009

interviews needed?

Are there any organisations or individuals that we really should interview for this taskforce? I was thinking that it might be good to get thoughts from the people behind the internet archive. What about some of the people in organisations that we already have some form of alliance with (e.g. CreativeCommons, EFF, OLPC...)?

02:28, 12 December 2009

It would be very interesting to exchange ideas with CC, plus a interview/overview of one academic alliance, perhaps the National Library of Germany/WM Deutschland or even the Bundesarchive/WMD. For example, in Spain, the Biblioteca Nacional, invite us to a alliance of this kind, but we still don't have a proper chapter.

08:48, 12 December 2009

What about including online organisations and communities:,

21:13, 15 December 2009

Does craigslist really have a community, per se?

21:48, 15 December 2009

It might be good to talk to some people in Students for Free Culture ( I think we can learn a lot from their model of on-the-ground activism in university settings.

23:35, 15 December 2009

yes, but isn't that more for the "movement roles" or "community health" taskforce - unless you're suggesting that they're a good organisation to partner with?

Basically, I don't think any of the recommendations from here should name any specific organisation as "we should partner with xyz group". Rather, any discussions with other groups should be about what kind of partnerships they've done.

07:32, 19 December 2009

Question for discussion: partnership types

What types of partnerships has the Wikimedia movement formed to date re: content sources, technology infrastructure, revenue streams (included in-kind), outreach, innovations (e.g. mobility), and contributors?

17:17, 4 December 2009


  • Content: Bundesarchiv, Deutsche Fotothek, TroppenMuseum
  • Technology: PediaPress, Kaltura, Wikia, Metavid, OpenStreetMap, Kennisnet...
  • Philanthropic: Omidyar, Sloane, Stanton...
  • Business: Orange, Google?
  • Educational: Library classes (NYPL) to general public, Wikipedia Academies to universities and academics

Alliances ("friends of the family"): EFF, StatusNet, Mozilla, CreativeCommons, OLPC...

01:44, 12 December 2009

I find it interesting that almost all of the Wikipedia:School and university projects have come about through professors acting on their own, rather than through specific partnerships with the WMF or chapters, or even with individual Wikimedian volunteers. Perhaps we can enhance this type of activity with greater organized partnership efforts.

22:45, 15 December 2009

I look at recent changes on the smaller meta wikis like the Outreach wiki and saw I don't know any further details, but this seems relevant.

04:09, 16 December 2009

Yeah, the stuff they're doing with public policy is fascinating!

06:36, 16 December 2009

difference between partner and alliance

My understanding is that an alliance is a long-term relationship that is characterised by a agreeing with each others values (e.g. WMF and the EFF), whilst a partnership is a specific relationship around a particular project for mutual benifits (e.g. WMF and Orange). Witty lama 20:33, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

Agree with this basic definition. Alliance implies joint efforts to advance in the same direction, implies a common forward momentum and a broad set of things exchanged. Partnerships are usually more narrowly defined, with a definite timeframe. Delphine (notafish) 01:25, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
Should this taskforce therefore make a specific difference between alliances and partnerships. Should we deal with them differently?
02:17, 12 December 2009

I agree with this basic differentiation.

I think it might also be worth looking into structures for establishing establish some kind of long-term alliances with educational/cultural/academic groups, that are less tied to a specific project.

22:40, 15 December 2009

mergers and aquisitions

There has been a thread on recently where FanWiki asked to potentially join as an official Wikimedia project. This discussion resulted in an awareness of there being no process for deciding on "acquiring" existing projects (or even if that was a good idea). Should the WMF have an acquisition strategy?

02:00, 12 December 2009

Yes, I believe that in the future most of the best candidates for new Wikimedia projects will probably be existing wikis that originated outside of our structure.

See also meta:Proposals for new projects/process

22:36, 15 December 2009

Interview w/ Mozilla Foundation

Wanted to share some thoughts from an interview with Mozilla:

  • Mitchell and John noted that business partnerships that Mozilla has entered into (e.g., Google) have been successful and acceptable to the community largely because they have chosen partners closely aligned with Mozilla’s mission.
  • John also noted that Mozilla's business deals do not impose a large number of obligations on the Foundation.
  • Both also noted that many of the business agreements that arose came out of community desires. (For example, the community asked for a Russian search engine, and now, that search engine is the default instead of Google in Russian language builds.)

Please take a look at the notes for additional details, and let me know if you have any questions.

21:15, 10 December 2009

Thank you for this. Can we say then that the important thing is:

  • Chose partners on the basis of mutually held principles between the organisations.
  • Make obligations clear, and with a time-limit
  • First find the need, then find the partner (not the other way around)?
01:41, 12 December 2009

"Business agreements that arose came out of community desires": very important, we can never forget the communities.

08:55, 12 December 2009

certainly, but I find it unlikely that the community will ever actually come to a decision that "we need to make a business deal with a telecom company" (or equivalent). Rather, it the community might decide "we need more people to see WP in Latin America" - It would be up to the WMF to decide what the most appropriate deal for that outcome would be.

01:26, 13 December 2009

Makes sense to choose partners on the basis of mutually held principles between organisations. Perhaps a way of identifying partners is to search for organisations that are undertaking a similar goal or project for example: to archive digital material, and then to set up a partnership with clear objectives and sign off on a timeline, and share resources to achieve all goals.

18:51, 15 December 2009

Question for discussion: Assets

What assets can Wikimedia leverage to form alliances and partnerships to further its mission?

17:16, 4 December 2009

Could it be that each project has a different need and the WMF gives the community of each project the chance, once a year, to come up with its "most important thing" that it needs to get better. Then, with the result, the WMF is charged with finding an organisation that might be able to help with that? This addresses the issue raised in the Mozilla example of "find your need first, then find the partner".

01:55, 12 December 2009

Wikimedia can leverage its offline version and its official partnership through the use of its trademark for use with other products, projects like the Kindle or other e-readers and widgets and tools for mobile platforms etc. that use Wikipedia for source. The Foundation can also use its large image repository for use by other organizations.

14:45, 15 December 2009

Who forges the partnership?

What types of partnerships should volunteers, the Chapters, and the Foundation be responsible for launching and sustaining?

17:18, 4 December 2009

Internal: Partnerships between task forces to pool resources and knowledge sharing. External: Partnerships with other non-profit organisations (online), to form partnerships with other organisations for work that is needed by both organisations, thereby sharing knowledge between organisations. Partnerships with non-profit legal organisations, to pool resources for the benefit of both organisations.

00:46, 9 December 2009

We have 6 kinds of partnerships, Is there a difference of who should look after them:

  • Academic - Chapters only
  • Business - Chapters and WMF
  • Philanthropic/non-profit - Chapters and WMF
  • Technology - WMF only
  • Media/Arts/Culture - Chapters and WMF only
  • Political/legal - Chapters only

Is this a correct assessment?

01:57, 12 December 2009

Can you give examples of what you mean by each kind of partnership? I wonder where organizations like the Library of Congress (government/archive) fit, or the German Federal Archive? In some way, I suppose they are political/legal as government, but not sure they should fall in that category.

03:37, 12 December 2009

I see in another section, archives are considered "content" partnerships. Content is what I'm interested in in reaching out to government and other organizations in the DC area.

03:39, 12 December 2009

archives (as well as the other "GLAM" organisations I had assumed were part of 'media/arts/culture'. Perhaps it should be renamed to "cultural" to be more clear?

04:18, 12 December 2009

Cultural sounds okay. Though, I wonder about the open government and open data initiative... It's obviously tricker to take in data, but I wonder about establishing some process to maintain census data where it appears in Wikipedia. This is the sort of thing that I am working on with/through OpenStreetMap, to import map data and keep it updated. Is there a place for some partnership between Wikimedia an organization as the U.S. Census Bureau or NASA on setting up channels for getting data, keeping it updated, and us to make it available in a useful way for Wikimedia projects? they are government, so perhaps are political/legal, yet I look at them in terms of being content providers like GLAM.

05:17, 12 December 2009

Also, the census data issue for the U.S. is a very real one (with all the rambot articles, as well as many uses for the census bureau's geodata). Issues with census data is something OSM has to deal with too, having imported a lot of their geodata into OSM. As step #1, I am working to setup a spatial database with some census geodata, and work with it in similar way as using osm data to make maps.

I'm not sure what role Wikimedia can play, but more support for the OSM-Wikimedia infrastructure work (both hardware and developers) is probably needed. Since we are getting into content issues, the foundation does not necessarily deal with content, so perhaps some of this should be handled through a chapter? (we don't have a U.S. chapter, just the NYC chapter which i doubt is interested at this point, nor has the capacity)

05:23, 12 December 2009

well, the lack of community organising in North America (i.e. there's no movement so far to a US chapter) is certainly a problem in my opinion, but it's not something we can address in this taskforce.

OSM certainly is an organisation we should be working with (and are, to a certain degree) but don't have any resources allocated to it. Same thing with getting access to/integrating Census data etc. This work is done ad-hoc, by people if/when they find the time.

A possible solution is that there be some form of value placed on alliances with organisations we "support" (e.g. OSM) and as a result the WMF/chapters allocates resources (time/people/money) to specific support projects?

01:35, 13 December 2009

Additional support from the WMF/chapters for such projects would indeed be helpful, specifically for developers/tech support.

We had some resources (from Wikimedia Germany) to put towards buying a few servers to support OSM work and integration with Wikipedia. But to make the project really work, there needs to be someone dedicated to provide technical support and development. It's hard to find people with the technical expertise + enough spare time to do the necessary work. So, there's quite a bit that's just not getting done right now that could/should be.

If the basic work is done to get the ability to add OSM maps to Wikipedia, then the potential for further maps and data integration (e.g. census data) is huge. With that comes, the ability to approach governments/organizations about sharing data/content and working with what's already being released. (e.g. the Open Government Initiative in the U.S.)

23:44, 13 December 2009

Critical partnership

What types of partnerships are critical to advancing Wikimedia's mission?

17:17, 4 December 2009

Partnerships that would further the aims of all stakeholders. Partnerships with non-profit organisations, to pool resources for common goals. Partnerships with online organisations. Internal partnerships between task forces.

03:18, 9 December 2009

Are there critical partnerships for each project (e.g. OCR for WikiSource, video for Commons), and are there critical partnerships for the whole community (e.g search engine). Should we differentiate between these kinds of things. e.g. a project specific thing is called a "partnership" whilst something that is across the whole community is called an "alliance"?

01:48, 12 December 2009

I agree with the idea that there are "critical partnerships for each project", but also are somo critical ones for al WM projects. For instance, a academic alliance it's important for all: we will gain a lot of reliability for the media if some well-known academic institutions collaborate with us.

08:52, 12 December 2009

Partnership Best Practices

What can be learned from our past experience in forming these partnerships? What are best case examples of effective partnerships that could serve as models in the community?

17:17, 4 December 2009

Wikipedia Selection is a DVD selection of articles taken from Wikipedia. The dics were produced by SOS CHildren, and distribution occurred through partnerships with the Shuttleworth Foundation and the Hole in the Wall. These partnerships were successful and it would be worthwhile to learn from those experiences.

The Outer Southeast Community Project (OSECP) is a partnership involving nine organisations. The framework and formal partnership agreement includes: Clearly defined membership, Resource sharing, Linked service provision, Elimination of service duplication, Mutual accountability. The emphasis on mutual accountability and cooperation within OSCEP's agreement enables the partners to pursue levels of collaboration generally unheard of among community organizations. This partnership and collaboration is highly successful and can be used as a model.

An important part of the partnership building process is understanding and dealing with the many challenges: time demands commitment how to include new partners within existing partnerships

07:01, 9 December 2009

What support is needed?

What tools, governance, and supports are needed from the Foundation to make it simple for volunteers and Chapters to create and sustain partnerships?

17:18, 4 December 2009

After completion of a project a long-term task force should be identified and set up to ensure sustainability, with a member of staff overseeing the task force. The Foundation could assist this process by helping to identify volunteers with specific skills to cover shortfall areas. A goal of task groups should be to ensure transfer of knowledge between volunteers in a task force and across task groups. This would help to achieve sustainability of projects. The Foundation could assist in this by pooling resources and skills of volunteers to set-up long-term task groups. A tool in assisting the task groups in achieveing their goals could be to set up conference calls so volunteers in a task group could work on projects together, identify solutions, provide feedback. A volunteer could be appointed to develop: a glossary of terms, with the purpose of defining the terms in the context of the task force, and to develop a timeline for the project, to ensure deadlines are met. The Foundation could assist this process by developing (with the aid of volunteers) an archive that contains information on previous task forces, the goals, the glossaries, the timelines, lessons learned etc. This would assist future task forces.

03:04, 9 December 2009