Discussions/Community representation

From Wikimania 2016 • Esino Lario, Italy

The Discussion Room is a space for open and facilitated discussions at Wikimania. Participation of the audience in the session is critical, because there are no speakers, and there is no expert panel!

You can find a full overview of the discussion topics on the Discussion Room main page. Please note: there is limited seating available, and we're not saving any seats! Please be on time, but feel free to join during the midway break between two discussions.

Practical facts

Rethinking community representation and its role in Wikimedia governance
Date & Time
Sunday 26 June, 14.00 - 14.40h
Fuzheado & Mike Peel
Primary School


The Discussion Rooms host discussions with a specific style:

  • Discussions of 40 minutes each;
  • Clearly defined topic for each discussion, related to Wikimedia;
  • Aiming to reach pre-defined goals during the discussion;
  • Discussions take place in English;
  • Discussions are moderated by a facilitator;
  • There is no audience as everybody is expected to participate in discussions, and everybody is audience;
  • Key lessons and points are documented live on etherpad, and may be processed later;
  • Each discussion will come with a single recommendation of maximum 120 characters.

Each discussion targets specifically online Wikimedia projects, it lasts 40 minutes and it starts with a short 2-3 minutes introduction.

To set the tone of our discussions, we have three rules:

  • Focus on YOU. We are interested in discussing and triggering individual action, things people can personally do and change to improve our Wikimedia projects and movement. We trust the discussion can be much more interesting if we do not focus on what others should do ("the others", Wikimedia chapters and Wikimedia Foundation).
  • Be constructive and polite. Disagreements animate discussions and they can allow us to unfold all issues related to a topic. Let's avoid personal attacks, let's consider that we have different backgrounds and let's aim at making everybody comfortable in sharing their legitimate point of view.
  • Be short and on topic. Let's create space for everyone to express his/her opinion.


In the past years the topic of community representation has come up on several occasions, and it was often stated that in the current functioning of the Wikimedia Foundation, the Board does not (no longer) have the ability to represent the community sufficiently, given the increased complexity of the Wikimedia Foundation. In this discussion, we will discuss how community representation could be improved in decision making levels, and what an improved model could look like. Some of the questions that may be discussed in this session:

  • What would be the purpose of community representation? What problems are we trying to solve?
  • What kind of decisions is community input critical for?
  • How can we ensure that the community input is effective and efficient?
  • What are some of the qualities a representation model should fulfill?
  • How can we avoid bureaucracy?
  • How to get there? Who can or should take ownership?

The goal of this session is not to come with a finalised proposal, but to get some good criteria and starting points for a wider discussion.

(This discussion topic is based mostly on the submission: "Wikimedia Community Council)

(See also: Training sessions/Proposals/Listening to Community Voices)

Interested attendees