Critical issues presentations/Community health: what chapters can (not) do. The experiences of WMNL and WMIL

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Submission no. 94
Title of the submission

Community health: what chapters can (not) do. The experiences of WMNL and WMIL

Author of the submission
  • Sandra Rientjes
  • Michal Lester
Country of origin

Netherlands; Israel


other, Policy, Projects, Research

  • community health
  • conflict resolution
  • diversity
  • working climate
  • working with the community
  • capacity building

Community health is becoming an issue of concern in the Wikimedia movement. There appears to be a growing sense of unease about issues like editor retention, gender imbalance, working climate and conflict resolution. The question is how to ensure that Wikimedia-communities remain viable and sustainable.

The Wikimedia Foundation and affilliates are looking at ways in which they can support healthy communities. Wikimedia Nederland and Wikimedia Israel started working on the topic last year.

Their first step was to determine what community health actually is: what are the parameters for community health and when can a community be called healthy?

The next step was carrying out a ‘health check’ of the communities working on NLWP and HEWP. This was done in 2015 by a survey, asking editors to give their opinion on important parameters for community health and share their experiences. The results show similarities between the two communities, both linked to smaller language communities (Dutch and Hebrew) and based mainly in a clearly defined geographical area, but also differences.

This year, both chapters are working with the communities to develop actions in support of community health. This is very much a trial and error approach: what works and what doesn’t? And what lessons can be learned for other communities and the movement as a whole?

Sandra Rientjes (Executive Director of Wikimedia Nederland) and Michal Lester (Executive Director of Wikimedia Israel) share what they have learned about community health so far. They will discuss to what extent it is possible for Wikimedia affiliates to develop successful actions aimed at improving community health. In particular, they will go into the challenges they have encountered in working constructively with the community on this topic.


Not accepted