Chief Executive Report 2017-03-11
Board Meeting March 2017 Chief Executive's Report
The 2016/17 financial year came to an end on 31st January and we are in very positive position both in terms of delivery against our programmatic targets and in ending the year with a financial surplus. I think we can feel proud that in the last year, Wikimedia UK trained 900 new Wikipedia editors, involved over 600 active editors, worked with 4000 individuals, and supported the creation or improvement of nearly half a million articles on the Wikimedia projects. Volunteers contributed a total of 20,000 hours to our projects and programmes last year and 82% of volunteers who responded to our annual survey reported feeling valued by the Chapter.
As well as programmes activity, the last quarter of 2016/17 has been particularly busy in terms of advocacy, HR (with the appointment and induction of both Nicola Furness and Richard Matthews) and our engagement with the global Wikimedia movement.
2016/17 has been a highly successful year in terms of activity against our quantitative targets, as illustrated by the Quarterly Performance Report circulated with these board papers. Key achievements for the year in terms of the Foundation’s global metrics include:
- The number of editors actively involved was over 600, compared to a target of 200
- There were just under 900 newly registered editors, compared to a target of 300
- There were over 4000 individuals involved; more than double the result for 2015/16
- Nearly half a million articles were improved or created against a target of 10,000
- Over 45,000 images/media were added to Commons, against a target of 20,000
- Nearly 1.5 billion bytes were added or deleted, compared to a target of 6 million
In terms of additional metrics identified and recorded by Wikimedia UK and reported to the Foundation as part of our Impact Report (due at the end of March), some highlights include:
- Our total reach for the year is over 70,000. Digital engagement forms a significant element of our total reach, and has also increased significantly throughout the year
- Volunteers played a very significant role in our work, with 20,000 volunteer hours compared to a target of 4600
- We exceeded our advocacy targets in terms of responses to consultations and evidence taken into consideration, with our best results in the past three years
- According to the recent Volunteers Survey, 82% of volunteers who participated felt valued by Wikimedia UK, compared to 70% in 2015/16 and a target this year of 80%
None of the performance metrics are significantly under target with a small number ending the year showing ‘opportunity for improvement’. These are all volunteer related including the number of lead volunteers (at 203 against the target of 260, but an actual of 70 in 2015/16); the percentage of volunteer hours contributed by women (23%, although the proportion of female lead volunteers was 35%); and the proportion of volunteers that would recommend Wikimedia UK (72%) and had developed new skills during the year (68%).
Our impact report will provide lots more information about these targets, and will disaggregate some of the content metrics to show what was achieved through work on Wikidata compared to Wikipedia (for example).
We will share highlights of our qualitative outcomes for the quarter at the meeting, as well as an overview of programme plans for 2017/18.
Staff and Board Update
Nicola has settled in very well to the team and has been confirmed in post following a successful probation period. In January, Davina and I recruited for the new Finance Assistant and appointed Richard Matthews, who joined at the end of the month working Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Richard is studying towards an accountancy qualification and has another part time role in finance.
As part of her induction to the role, the new Gaelic Wikipedian, Dr Susan Ross, visited the team for two days in February and met with various staff members to discuss her plans.
Conferences and Events
I have been invited to give one of the keynote speeches at the Open Education Resources Conference in April (OER17: The Politics of Open), which Josie is co-chairing. This feels like a real honour for the charity and an excellent opportunity to communicate our messages to a key target audience of people working at the nexus of open and education.
In Wales, Robin will be presenting at CILIP Cymru’s conference in May, focusing on opportunities for partnership with academic, research and public libraries. I have also been asked to give a presentation on equality and diversity in a high-level briefing session on audience engagement at the CILIP annual conference in July.
We are currently considering submitting papers - or encouraging members of our community to do so - to several other conferences including Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities (DCDC), the first Government Data Science Conference and the International Symposium on Open Collaboration (OpenSym 2017).
UK and EU Advocacy
Following my attendance at the Ministerial Roundtable regarding the EU’s proposals for copyright reform in October, I responded to the IPO’s call for views on behalf of Wikimedia UK in December. We have also recently submitted a response to the government’s Fake News inquiry, drafted by John (and reproduced on our blog).
I have been in increasing communication with a group of organisations from the open movement including Open Rights Group, Creative Commons, Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance and the Ofcom Communications Panel. We have met several times about work we can be doing within the UK about the proposed changes to copyright law, and are trying to schedule a joint meeting with Jo Johnson, the new minister with responsibility for intellectual property.
Towards the end of April I will be attending the annual Wikimedia public policy and advocacy meeting (known as the ‘Big Fat Brussels meeting’) organised by Dimi Dimitrov, the EU Policy Director whose post is part-funded by Wikimedia UK. I will be scheduled another meeting of the WMUK Advocacy Working Group in March or April, following the various activities highlighted above but prior to my attendance at the Brussels meeting.
I recently had a phone meeting with the Head of Public Policy at The Guardian about the proposed inclusion of ancillary copyright in the proposed new copyright framework. Whilst it was a friendly conversation, we had different points of view as while The Guardian supports the introduction of neighbouring rights they could be highly damaging to Wikimedia. I have also pointed The Guardian to Dimi, who has a more detailed understanding of these issues.
With the agreement of the board, I added Wikimedia UK’s support to the joint letter on copyright reform for education produced by Communia in partnership with a range of individuals and organisations (including Josie). It is proposed by the Chair that decisions regarding this kind of support could appropriately be delegated to me and the board is asked to approve the following at the meeting:
The board hereby delegates to the Chief Executive power to append the charity's name as an organisational signatory to open letters, public statements and the like. Any exercise by the Chief Executive of this delegated power shall be reported promptly to the board by email. This power is personal to the Chief Executive and may not be further delegated.
Press and Media
You are now all aware of the recent editorial decision by the Wikipedia community to recommend that the Daily Mail not be considered a reliable source. This story was covered by the media worldwide and particularly in the UK, with some taking the view that this represented an inappropriate level of censorship and others essentially agreeing with the community.
My understanding is that the lead Wikipedia editor involved leaked the story to The Guardian, who asked the Foundation for comment who then shared a statement with them, resulting in The Guardian publishing the story on their website on the evening of 8th February, quoting from the statement. Unfortunately, the Wikimedia Foundation communications team didn't share the statement with me and by the time I was taking calls from The Times, The Huffington Post, the BBC and many others the following morning, all the communications staff in the States were offline.
A few weeks later, as the board are also aware, the Daily Mail contacted the Foundation with a long list of questions and and asked for a response from them before publishing an in-depth article on 4th March about the ‘ban’ on Wikipedia. This focused primarily on the lead editor mentioned above but also delved into the Foundation’s finances and their significant turnover, reserves and spending on staff salaries. We did receive a heads up about this story from the Foundation however despite three requests we have not received a copy of the short statement they provided to the Daily Mail.
In addition to the question of shared briefings and lines of communication between the Foundation and the UK Chapter, the Daily Mail situation also raises the question of having reliable, available and media trained volunteers who are willing to respond to the media on community issues. We are now creating a more up-to-date list of community spokespeople who we can call upon in this kind of situation, and will also consider the need to run further media training for volunteers.
Somewhat ironically, the week after the Daily Mail incident I attended a two day CIPR course on Media Handling and Crisis Communications, arranged pro bono by Alastair McCapra. This was very useful and I hope will stand me in good stead for a future incident of this nature.
On a more positive note, we are receiving far more media enquiries than I believe we have done previously, including some where it has not been relevant for us to comment but others where we can usefully offer our perspective. My interviews for #100womenwiki have led to a number of other media connections including an interview with me for the new webzine she-files.com in February, and interest in a documentary about the Wikipedia community from Red Sky Productions, which has now received support from Channel 4.
Digital outreach and Wikimedia UK brand
As highlighted earlier in this report, our digital engagement has increased significantly over the past year and we now have over 5000 followers on Twitter and over 2000 on Facebook. John and I have working on the creation of the Wikimedia UK visual identity and brand guidelines, which will be shared with the board once they are finalised within the next few weeks. After this, John will be commissioning new printed materials including a new membership promotion leaflet, as well as new merchandise for distribution to volunteers, members and event participants.
I have been working on my chapter for Feminism and Museums: Intervention, Disruption and Change, with a deadline of the end of March. The publishers accepted my proposed changes to their standard Copyright Consent Form to ensure that I can freely share my article, as discussed at December’s meeting.
Engaging with the global Wikimedia movement
The Chapter continues to engage positively with the global Wikimedia movement, partly through my regular calls with international colleagues, and a recent visit to the office by Katherine Maher and Juliet Barbara (Executive Director and Director of Communications from the Wikimedia Foundation), and my more recent involvement in the global steering group for (more on this below).
In January I spent two days meeting with other Wikimedia chapter Executive Directors and several people from the Wikimedia Foundation and the recently appointment movement strategy team. This was a great opportunity to consolidate international connections as well as contribute to the emerging discussions around the strategy.
I have been asked to lead a workshop on the relationship between staff and board at the Wikimedia Conference in Berlin, alongside my colleagues from the Dutch and Austrian chapters. Daria and Michael will also be involved in the capacity building strand and/or pre-conference learning days.
Josie, Daria and I will be representing the Chapter at the Wikimedia Foundation’s annual fundraising event in London which this year is at the ICA on Wednesday 15th March. Several members of the team will also be volunteering at the event.
A few months ago I left a message of support from Wikimedia UK for Wikimedia Ireland’s grant proposal to the Foundation. The application has now been successful and will involve the appointment of the first paid staff posts for Wikimedia Ireland, which is an active user group aspiring Chapter.
In February, Daria and Stuart attended a two-day Wikimedia GLAM Co-ordinators meeting, organised by Liam Wyatt and held at UNESCO in Paris.
Movement Strategy Update
At the beginning of the year I was invited by Katherine to be part of the Community Process Steering Committee to design tracks A and B of the movement strategy process; representing organised groups (track A) and individual contributors (track B). This has involved weekly Skype meetings since January with fellow steering group members, Wikimedia Foundation staff and a designated strategy team to design a process to gather input from all voices in the Wikimedia movement to define the strategic direction of our movement over the next 15 years. It has also required the review of, and input into, emerging strategy materials and documentation in between meetings.
The process until Wikimania is divided into three discussion cycles, with cycle 1 running from 10 March to 10 April. I am therefore now planning the UK’s involvement in the discussions, and how best to support and facilitate this in order to ensure maximum participation and contribution from the Chapter and the UK Wikimedia community. I will give an oral update on my plans for this at the meeting but it is likely to involve a series of in-person meetings, supported by the office but ideally facilitated by volunteers.
Key meetings and events attended
- Wikimedia UK and London meetup Christmas drinks
- Two-day Executive Directors meeting/movement strategy planning in Switzerland
- Interview and meeting with Katherine Maher
- Media interview with She-Files.com
- Staff meeting with Gaelic Wikipedian in Residence
- Good Things Foundation reception event
- Partnerships Advisory Board meeting
- GovCom meeting
- Call with Matt Rogerson, Head of Public Policy at The Guardian
- Two day CIPR training course on Media Handling and Crisis Communications
- Wikimedia UK Education Summit at Middlesex University
- Calls with Red Sky Productions re the potential for Channel 4 documentary
- Planning meeting for capacity building session on staff/board relationship at WMCON
- Meeting with UK advocacy organisations including ORG and Creative Commons
- ARC meeting
- Leadership dinner organised by Prospectus
- Weekly movement strategy Skype calls from January to March
- Regular TELCO meetings with other Executive Directors
- Monthly call with Nicole Ebber, International Advisor at Wikimedia Deutschland