The Movement Charter and its resonance in the Brazilian community

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The Movement’s Charter Ambassadors program has contributed to expanding access and dissemination of the Charter, promoting debates about its contents, translations, expansions and improvements in consultations and spaces within the community.

Barra de Ibiraquera – Wikimedia Commons

Today, April 30, ends the most recent public consultation campaign and requests for community feedback on the newest version of the Movement Charter, an initiative of the Wikimedia Movement that seeks to define roles and responsibilities of the community and Movement bodies, such as Wikimedia hubs, as well as proposing the creation of a Global Council.

The Movement’s Charter Ambassador program encourages Charter ambassador leaders in their local communities, whether through translation work or by organizing community consultations and conversations with the community. This was the case organized by me for the second time this year. I had already had experience as an ambassador for the Charter in one of its last published versions, and this time the content was much larger and more substantial.

Thus, double consultation work was carried out via an asynchronous consultation form (survey), as well as making myself available to schedule conversations and carry out group debate activities about the new contents of the Charter. My concern and greatest interest in being part of the Movement Charter ambassador program is my understanding of how deeply important the formation of this document and the discussions and resolutions formulated by it is for the direction of the Wikimedia Movement. The Charter sets out to say who is responsible for what, in what way, and under what values, which is very strong in a global, plural and multilingual movement such as the Wikimedia Movement.

In the first initiative I took as an ambassador for the Charter, I did so together with another colleague, and on a smaller scope, addressed to WikiMulheres+, a group of Portuguese-speaking editors. This time, the scope was expanded in terms of scope of action, but reduced in terms of location, focusing especially on the Brazilian community and its relations with the Charter.

The choice to create a survey to consult the community comes from the understanding that an asynchronous contact can contribute to the response rate, as respondents can make their best choice. For the group conversation, it was decided to build a partnership with the Calibra project, Capacitação de Lideranças Brasileiras, which brings together Lusophony wikimedistas, mostly Brazilian people, to hold a virtual meeting to present the Charter and debate its contents. The meeting lasted around 1h 45min and was attended by 11 people, with support from food vouchers for attendance at the event.

In quantitative terms of community engagement, a result well below expectations was obtained. There were 9 responses to the survey, one individual meeting and one group conversation. In total, around 15 people were reached, as some who responded to the asynchronous form were also in the group conversation. Posts were made on the Village Pump and on several user discussion pages, which did not have much effect. However, this seems to be a bigger movement than simply a problem with the Brazilian community, but it demonstrates that there is a gap between the agendas that are dear to the Movement and the communities themselves.

This can be demonstrated by the lack of knowledge that the majority of the community has regarding the Charter. Few know it, and those who do do not understand its purposes and content very well, which in terms of governance and dissemination of content, is a serious problem.

This point definitely shows how important the Charter Ambassadors program is and how important the mobilization effort should be regarding not only the Charter, but the debates on the governance of the Wikimedia Movement. The conversation with the Calibra members proved to be very rich, mainly because it presented the debate on the Charter and the discussions on how the logic of administration of the Wikimedia system and the Wikimedia Foundation itself takes place.

There seems to be a real demand for more formative debates on governance topics with the community, seeking to reach users who are interested in these topics but do not yet know them, as stated by one of the participants in the conversation at Calibra.

I feel very grateful to have been able to play this role and I hope that the Charter’s drafting committee takes advantage of the contributions that will soon be published here, in addition to the comments already present in this text.

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