A message from the Wikimedia UK Board

Wikimedia UK’s Board of Trustees met on Tuesday 8 October to discuss recent events, review strategy and evaluate where we … Continue reading “A message from the Wikimedia UK Board”

  • Stevie Benton
  • October 13, 2012

Wikimedia UK’s Board of Trustees met on Tuesday 8 October to discuss recent events, review strategy and evaluate where we want to be in the future. Following the meeting, and subsequent discussions, the Board wishes to make the following statement:

“It has been almost a year since Wikimedia UK achieved charitable status. This is a sensible checkpoint to use to assess the progress we’ve made in the last year as a Board, with our community and our staff.

“We have had a difficult few months which have resulted in negative attention. Some of the coverage has been inaccurate, and much of it has been ill-informed, but we know our community deserves better. Collectively, we have made mistakes. Here and now, we apologise for these mistakes.

“We are determined to learn from our mistakes. We are equally determined to heal the wounds that recent events have opened.

“We welcome the independent review of our governance that we will be undertaking jointly with the Wikimedia Foundation. By looking closely at our governance policies and procedures, and how those have been acted on, we expect the review to have clear recommendations which will help us follow best practice in every area of governance. We are certain that the review will lead to our charity and our movement being in a much stronger position. The results of this review will, of course, be made publicly available and we reaffirm our commitment to transparency and openness.

“Bearing all of this in mind, it is crucial that we do not lose sight of the many excellent achievements of our community and our staff during the same period. We have led the way in our relationships with GLAM institutions. Monmouthpedia was voted the year’s coolest Wikimedia project at Wikimania. Our Wikimedian in Residence programme continues to bring benefits to our movement. Our ground-breaking EduWiki conference highlighted the important role that Wikimedia projects can have in higher education. We are continuing to work hard to grow our volunteer and editing communities, particularly within under-represented groups. We have even taken over the city of Coventry for a day.

“These efforts are continuing every day. Take a look at just some of the activities we have planned for the month of October:

“That these events are happening at all is a result of the hard work, determination and motivation of our excellent volunteers, our dedicated and committed staff and our generous donors and supporters.

“This has been a difficult few weeks for us. We must learn from it, and we must not let it prevent us delivering our mission. We will continue to work hard for our community and we will continue working to make the sum total of human knowledge available to everyone, everywhere, for free.”

3 thoughts on “A message from the Wikimedia UK Board”

  1. Thanks for this statement. There are lots of people in Wikimedia UK who have put a lot of effort into the chapter and have been very frustrated – angry even – at recent events and the damage it appears to have done. It means a lot that the board is willing to acknowledge that mistakes have been made and understand that damage has been caused and it is most appreciated.

    I’m glad you also “reaffirm [your] commitment to transparency and openness”. In that spirit will you now publish the terms of reference of the review?

  2. Andrew, it may well be unintentional, but your message frames this as though the problems were solely with the Wikimedia UK Board. I agree that people are frustrated and upset with certain negative coverage and certain rumours, but that does not equate to being upset by events. Some media outlets and individuals have jumped to conclusions without even basic critical thinking or fact-checking (and that’s assuming good faith). Criticisms in the on-wiki discussion have gone far beyond conflict of interest allegations about one particular person, and even challenged the ideas of collaborating with outside entities, of promoting Wikipedia, or of having “Wikiprojects” to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of specific topics. Some users are trying to portray successful projects as embarrassments and punish new, enthusiastic users for adding to free knowledge. Those opinions may be coming from an extreme fringe, but that the debates are even happening at all shows the rest of us need to reaffirm our belief in what we’re doing. Those of us who believe in what Wikimedia is trying to achieve and its transformative power, and know that we can’t achieve it fully without collaboration with many different people and organisations, need to speak up and take pride in the outreach work that is happening. That seems to be the intention behind this statement from the Board. Looking at the events calendar, Wikimedia UK is doing much more actual work now and having more impact than it ever has. It’s easy to lose that big picture.

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