Who contributes to Wikimedia projects? What helps new contributors feel more empowered to succeed? Who is more likely to experience harassment or discomfort on-wiki? The answers to these questions can help the Wikimedia movement better support a diverse, inclusive, and sustainable community.
In late 2019, the Global Data & Insights team (formerly Learning & Evaluation) collected data from more than 2,500 Wikimedians from all over the world through the 2020 Community Insights survey. These data help paint a picture of our Movement’s demographics and Wikimedia communities’ social and technical experiences. They also tell us whether we are progressing towards the Wikimedia Foundation’s Medium Term Plan goals and the 2030 Strategic Direction.
Here is what we have learned:
If we want to increase our Movement’s geographic and gender diversity, we must focus on attracting and retaining newcomers.
- Almost half of Wikimedians live in Europe and one-fifth in Northern America (as compared to 9.7% and 4.8% of the global population). 87% of Wikimedians we surveyed are male.
- Compared to more tenured contributors, those who started editing in the last two years are three times as likely to live in Africa, twice as likely to live in Asia, and twice as likely to be women. They are also more socioeconomically diverse.
- New volunteer developers are half as likely to live in Europe as tenured ones.
Our growing diversity is at risk if we do not improve our social and technical environments, especially for those who often have worse experiences.
- Contributors who joined the movement in the last two years feel significantly less empowered to succeed on Wikimedia platforms if they are women, live in Eastern Asia, or are not fluent in English.
- Almost half of women and of contributors living in Eastern Asia said they felt unsafe or uncomfortable in Wikimedia spaces in the last year.
- Youth, newcomers, and contributors living in Africa and Southern Asia indicate more positive technical and social experiences in Wikimedia spaces than others, including feelings of belonging and engagement in their communities. Youth in particular are more satisfied with their technical experiences than others.
Though highly aligned with the Wikimedia Foundation’s vision, communities are less enthusiastic about the actions and processes in place to achieve those goals.
- Most respondents feel aligned with the Wikimedia 2030 strategic direction, but slightly fewer feel the Foundation has the right strategies and abilities to support the global movement. Confidence in the Foundation is higher in Northern Europe, Southern Asia, and Africa; and lower in Eastern Asia.
- On-wiki admins, and to a lesser extent movement organizers, feel moderately empowered to succeed in their roles, and most see their communities (and not the Foundation) as a source of support.
- Communities are confident in the quality of the software that the Foundation produces, but less confident in the Foundation’s collaboration and prioritization when creating that software.
To learn more about these findings, as well as information about our methodology, please visit the full survey report here! If you have any questions, please reach out to the Global Data & Insights team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This data is graciously provided by our committed communities, keeping the Wikimedia projects alive, providing free knowledge to the world.
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