If you are active in the international Wikimedia community, there is a good chance that you have participated in one of the movement’s annual campaigns: #1lib1ref, Wiki Loves Monuments, Art+Feminism, CEE Spring, Wikipedia Asian Month, Wiki Loves Africa and so many more short term or long term campaigns. These events inject energy, focus and new content onto Wikimedia projects and are often one of the first activities that helps a group of organizers to come together and form affiliates.
However, if you closely who runs most of the large campaigns in the movement, they frequently include very experienced organizers. These organizers have a very complex set of skills and experiences: understanding of our technical tools, a wide network of organizers in the Movement, understanding of general communications practices, deep insight into our onwiki communities and experience teaching new organizers. Folks with this complex of a wiki-resume are not a large group of people.
Yet at the same time new organizers and contributors to the Wikimedia movement often learn about the movement through campaigns, and more experienced organizers and contributors often “level up” their involvement becoming more deeply invested and learning new skills as they support campaigns. Quite simply campaigns strengthen the movement.
If the movement is serious about it’s 2030 direction – to become “the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge, and anyone who shares our vision will be able to join us” – then we need to design more intentional, directed approaches for inviting and supporting new contributors while collaborating better with partner institutions who share our Vision. In my mind, this means that more organizers in the movement need to be able to run content campaigns.
My colleague Satdeep Gill and I have been working the last few months to identify and document the major practices and tools used by campaign organizers in the movement, and with that documentation to draft a framework describing the activities involved in each campaign. With this framework, we hope to be able to write better documentation, better support and orient new campaign organizers, build tools more focused on key stages in campaigns, and, perhaps, one day, support a continuous calendar of campaigns that speak to the many motivations and kinds of content in the Wikimedia movement.
Yet, our framework is still a draft! As with many things in the Wikimedia movement, the expertise and experiences that people have developed running their own contests and campaigns are spread out throughout the movement. We need your help in refining what we have learned so far, to help us make the framework helpful!
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