Including remote events in our Friendly Space Policies

Given the impact the COVID pandemic has had on gatherings within the Wikimedia movement and beyond, we have made some changes to our friendly space policies. Both the Meta-Wiki Friendly Space Policy and the Wikimedia Foundation Friendly Space Policy now include online events. The policy on Meta wiki was updated first, and as usual communities are free to adapt it to their own needs. We then ran a small community consultation period for the Wikimedia Foundation policy to make sure we got the wording right. 

The proposed changes to the Foundation Friendly Space Policy were sent out to the wikimedia-l mailing list inviting anyone to join the discussion. All together five community members and three Wikimedia Foundation staff participated in this effort and crafting the new wording. 

These changes are just the start of the efforts of the Community Events Team to help address the new reality of our movement events. In September we will be providing additional guidelines and tips to organize remote and local events. We hope to bring funding for these events through the Conference Grants program alongside any larger in-person events that end up being possible. Moving forward, as we look for ways to keep our Wikimedia movement event momentum during this time, most in-person events will include more efforts than in the past to record, document, and when possible include remote participation.

We have also been learning a lot from organizing or following along with events like the fully remote Remote Hackathon and Celtic Knot events, as well as community efforts to document other remote events. We encourage everyone who is experimenting with remote events to add lessons from your own!  

To take it to the next level, take a look at the inspiring adapted Friendly Space Policy from the remote Celtic Knot conference where the organizers from Wikimedia UK, Wikimedia Ireland, and Wikimedia Deutschland put a lot of thought into adapting it for their remote event and directly addressing new challenges that might come up in a remote setting.

Thanks so much for reading and please contact us at conferencegrants@wikimedia.org if you have any thoughts, questions or ideas around remote events and making them safer. We would be happy to collaborate with you.