Strategic Plan

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Introduction

Welcome to the strategic plan for Wikimedia Australia. This plan was developed over a weekend workshop in Sydney by the strategic planning subcommittee in consultation with the chapter's management committee. It was then submitted to members and other community stakeholders for a period of public consultation, before being unanimously approved by the members of Wikimedia Australia at the 2011 AGM. As an approved document, this page and plan cannot be edited, but you are still encouraged to leave feedback and suggestions either on the talk page, or by emailing contact-at-wikimedia.org.au.

See also:

Acknowledgements

It would be remiss not to acknowledge the tremendous amount of work that has gone into preparing this plan. I'd like to thank the other members of the strategy subcommittee, namely: Anne Frazer, Jutta von Dincklage, Kerry Raymond, Gnangarra, Liam Wyatt and Angela Starling, for the massive amounts of work that they have put into getting us to where we are today. I'd also like to thank John Vandenberg and Charles Gregory from the main committee who participated in the weekend workshop.

I would also like to thank those who have already provided feedback and ideas towards this process, I hope that you like what you see in this document and that it meets your expectations; and Matt Moore of Innotecture for the excellent work he did in facilitating our workshop, and especially for keeping us on track and on time!

Who we are

Vision

In accordance with the Vision of the Wikimedia Foundation, our goal is:

“A world in which everyone can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.”

Mission

The mission of Wikimedia Australia is to support the Mission of the Wikimedia Foundation in Australia in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity.

We will undertake outreach activities, develop resources and build systems that empower and engage people to collect, develop, share and promote Free Cultural Works. In recognition of Australia's role in the Asia-Pacific region, we will assist in building the capacity of the Wikimedia and Free Culture movements internationally.

See also our Statement of Purpose.

Values

Wikimedia Australia subscribes to the following values, and does its best to live up to them in everything that we do:

Freedom: gratis and libre
Openness: accountability and transparency
Empowerment: individuals and society
Community: volunteers and readers
Collaboration: respectful and partnerships
Knowledge: education and access

Programmes

All Chapter programs are in strategic alignment with Wikimedia Foundation 2010–2015 strategic goals, summarised at: http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Movement_Strategic_Plan_Summary

Part 1: Core

"Core" programs are plans that are absolutely essential to the future functioning of the chapter. Implementation of these programs, starting immediately, is considered to be non-negotiable.

Core: Improve and professionalise communications with stakeholders

Effectively communicate and respond to media and stakeholder inquiries to foster community engagement, advocate on behalf of Free Culture, give visibility and improve the understanding of the Wikimedia movement, its mission and the role of the Australian Wikimedia chapter.

Communicate events and campaigns through different communication channels (online, social media, typical Wikimedia communication channels [IRC, mailing lists, The Signpost, project pages], media) to generate maximum reach and increase information accessibility.

Strategic communication priorities for specific areas:

  1. Websites
    • create a strong online presence for common information under appropriate cc licenses.
    • use the online space to create strong WMAu community cohesion and keep the community informed about chapter activities.
  2. Social media:
    • use social media to foster community engagement.
  3. Internal communications:
    • professionalise internal communications to keep internal stakeholders informed of relevant activities and provide opportunities for collaboration. Examples of internal stakeholders are members, other Wikimedia chapters, WMF, relevant projects (e.g. “WikiProject Australia” on several language Wikipedias).
  4. Donor communications
    • develop a single donor communication strategy with one consistent voice to engage with donors (previous and potential) and achieve maximum donor support and satisfaction. This includes developing measures for communication success and enabling donor feedback as well as liaising with the WMF.
  5. Free Culture advocacy
    • become an Australia-wide recognised organisation for Free Culture advocacy.
  6. Media relations
    • engage with media and build strong media relationships to increase understanding and coverage on free culture, WMAu and Wikimedia movement.
  7. Publications
    • develop informative publications to support Wikimedia Australia’s projects and campaigns (e-newsletter, strategic/annual plan, WMAu project info material).

Alignment with WMF strategy:

  • Stabilise infrastructure: build internal capacity to better support the movement and achieve its strategic goals.
  • Stabilise infrastructure: expand public awareness and support for the Wikimedia movement.

Core: Support volunteer initiatives

Building on a proportion of chapter total funds set aside for community-initiated projects (15–20%).

Volunteers are the very reason that Wikimedia has been such a success. Wikimedia Australia recognises the importance of supporting volunteer initiatives and will do this through:

  1. retaining and expanding the existing “small grants” program;
  2. developing a grants program for initiatives that are above the “small” threshold but do not require board approval;
  3. promoting local events to allow Australian editors and volunteers to build local community networks; and
  4. supporting the creation, approval, follow-through and reporting/accounting of major community-initiated projects.

Alignment with WMF strategy:

  • Encourage innovation: promote the adoption of great ideas.
  • Increase participation: expand Wikimedia’s global footprint through catalytic investments and chapter support.

Core: Professionalise WMAu operations and fundraising

As Wikimedia Australia has grown from a small volunteer-driven organisation with limited funding opportunities to a larger and more complex operation, conducting the organisation's affairs in a professional and legally compliant manner has become both more important and more challenging. However, getting this right is a critical factor in the continuing growth and success of the chapter. We will achieve this by:

  1. employing professional staff to assist with tasks such as fundraising, financial accounting and communication, where not meeting our obligations can result in serious adverse consequences;
  2. developing new procedures and improving existing procedures around common tasks such as operational procurement, travel allowances, grant disbursement and use of technical assets;
  3. fostering a culture of accountability and reporting, especially where chapter or donor resources are concerned;
  4. examining the policies and procedures of other comparable organisations (such as the WMF and other chapters) to determine if any of their ideas are applicable in the WMAu operating environment;
  5. investigating existing management frameworks (such as Prince2, ITIL, etc) to see if any value could be gained by adopting these methodologies in the chapter.

Alignment with WMF strategy:

  • Stabilise infrastructure: Build internal capacity to better support the movement and achieve its strategic goals.
  • Stabilise infrastructure: Expand public awareness and support for the Wikimedia movement.

Part 2: Important programs

"Important" programs are those that the chapter considers to be both achievable within the next three years, and that will offer substantial benefits to the community, to our members, and to the movement as a whole. They are further divided into two categories: "Consolidate" and "Grow".

Consolidate: Discover and keep new Australian users

Statistics show that while Wikimedia projects are currently gaining new users at an increasing rate, they are also losing new users at an even faster rate. The WMF has identified this in their "product whitepaper" as a critical issue that needs addressing, and the chapter agrees with that assessment. To do our part towards reversing this unwelcome trend, the chapter will:

  1. participate fully in the "-1 to 100 edit experience" project being run by the Wikimedia Foundation;
  2. seek technical assistance to identify both new and existing users within Australia with the aim of reaching these users and making them aware of the various editor support programs that exist;
  3. assist the foundation in its campaigns for increasing participation, by providing local knowledge and expertise to reach Australian users;
  4. look at programs to focus on the recruitment and retention of key target groups who are under-represented on Wikimedia projects; for instance; women, those over 55, the disabled, and ethnic minority groups established within Australia.

Alignment with WMF strategy:

  • Increase participation: Encourage the health and growth of Wikimedia communities and the projects they sustain.

Consolidate: Organise and support "real life" events

As anyone who has attended a meet-up with real life Wikimedians will know, face-to-face contact can often provide for a flow of great ideas and relationships that on-line communication just can't replicate. Wikimedia Australia is in a strong position to encourage such events by:

  1. providing grants (such as the Wiki10 grants program) to facilitate community-led meet-ups and reduce the "barrier to entry" that often exists when trying to set up such an event;
  2. organising our own meetups in cities and regional centres to bring Wikimedians together and seed local community groups;
  3. supporting technical events such as MediaWiki hackathons and other existing events such as RCC and LCA;
  4. offering opportunities to Australian Wikimedians to attend real-life events that they would not normally be able to, such as through travel grants and scholarships.

Alignment with WMF strategy:

  • Encourage innovation: Promote the adoption of great ideas.
  • Increase Participation: Encourage the health and growth of Wikimedia communities and the projects they sustain.

Consolidate: Identify and improve key Australian content

Wikimedia Australia, along with WikiProject Australia, is the natural body to take the lead in making sure that key Australian content is well covered. We will achieve this by:

  • supporting volunteer initiatives to create new Australian content, and improve the standard of existing content;
  • working with educators to make sure that the core concepts of the new Australian National Curriculum are well covered in Wikipedia and sister projects, and identify content that can be improved;
  1. working with subject matter experts to improve content where the existing editor community does not have the capacity to do so;
  2. providing resources to make sure that Australian content that reaches a high quality standard stays at a high standard;
  3. investigating the feasibility of providing selections of reviewed Australian articles as offline content for situations where live access to the full projects is not possible or appropriate.

Alignment with WMF strategy:

  • Improve quality: provide excellent service to our audience through clear quality labeling and the development of highly effective response systems.

Consolidate: Recognise contributions

Many Wikimedians have worked tirelessly for many years, creating great quality content in relative anonymity. Wikimedia Australia believes that these editors deserve to have their efforts highlighted and be recognised for their efforts on behalf of the movement. We will do this by:

  1. Developing an annual prize or series of prizes for high quality content contributions to Wikimedia projects;
  2. Highlighting high-quality work by Australian editors on the Wikimedia Australia website;
  3. Creating WMAu-specific content for the "Wikilove" tool and promote its use.

Alignment with WMF strategy:

  • Encourage innovation: promote the adoption of great ideas.

Consolidate: Take responsibility for Foundation resources in Australia

The Wikimedia Foundation currently maintains a number of resources within Australia. The chapter could take over financial responsibility for these resources, while still permitting them to continue on with their work as usual. This could result in significant cost savings for the movement as a whole, as funding for these resources would be done locally, and all the expenses involved in maintaining the resources from another country (such as transfer and currency conversion costs) would be eliminated. The chapter will:

  1. investigate whether the cost savings involved would mean that it makes financial sense to offer to take control of these resources;
  2. use our own organisational infrastructure, once developed, to ensure that the resources are correctly managed in a manner that is acceptable to both the chapter, the WMF, and any staff who are transitioned.

Alignment with WMF strategy:

  • Stabilise infrastructure: make technology investments to guarantee the permanence of projects and support ongoing growth.
  • Stabilise infrastructure: build internal capacity to better support the movement and achieve its strategic goals.

Grow: Develop regional Australian outreach

While there are parts of Australia that are well covered by established Wikimedia volunteers, other areas, especially regional and rural, are poorly covered. These areas remain an untapped resource, and engaging in outreach activities in these places can both bring in formerly unrepresented groups (countering systemic bias on the projects), but also introduce our content to a new audience. Wikimedia Australia will do this by:

  1. using programs like recent changes camps and other workshop initiatives to build the membership and contribution base from outside the major metropolitan areas;
  2. retaining the existing regional WikiAcademy program, and expanding it beyond regional Queensland;
  3. empowering and supporting the existing user base to develop opportunities through their networks (like the recent State Library of Queensland donations).

Alignment with WMF strategy:

  • Increase Participation: Encourage the health and growth of Wikimedia communities and the projects they sustain.

Grow: Digitise key Australian culture works

Ten years after the first edit to Wikipedia, there are noticeable gaps in our content and community. Wikimedia Australia will work to close some of these gaps by:

  1. investing in the provision of freely licensed cultural works related to topics and languages which are under-developed or under-represented in our content and contributor base (for instance, dictionaries of Australian Indigenous languages), and are thus far unavailable as free content.
  2. providing public domain and out of print works cheaply to our community, to reuse, revive and share. This unique content will attract new people to our community.

Alignment with WMF strategy:

  • Improve quality: support our volunteer community through technology improvements to article assessment, by community members, readers and experts.

Grow: Maintain GLAM momentum

Working with the cultural sector (including, but not limited to, museums and libraries) as been an area where Wikimedia outreach has been particularly successful and where Australia is a leader – beginning wih the GLAM-WIKI 2009 conference in Canberra. Wikimedia Australia can build on this momentum by:

  1. maintaining existing good relationships with GLAMs, building more, and supporting initiatives/activities led by either Wikimedians or the cultural sector.
  2. providing access to competitive grants set aside specifically for innovative GLAM activities.
  3. looking for synergies with the other chapter priorities of "support for Wikimedia volunteer initiatives" and "digitisation of key Australian cultural works" to see how these can be applied to GLAM-related activities.

Alignment with WMF strategy:

  • Improve quality: provide support to the Wikimedia movement in the development of institutional partnerships and alliances.

Grow: Support key Asia-Pacific language groups

Recognising that the Wikimedia vision is to enable the sharing of the sum of all knowledge in every language, Wikimedia Australia will identify and support language communities in Australia and our neighbouring countries, fostering a collaborative approach to increase participation, content, and accessibility for languages other than English. We will do this by:

  1. increasing participation, content and capacity for language groups in the Australian region (for example, Indonesian and Maori);
  2. identifying language communities in Australia (particularly immigrant groups), and encouraging them to contribute Australian content to the wikis of their own languages;
  3. assisting in the localisation of software;
  4. supporting the Wikimedia community and chapters in nearby countries (such as Indonesia and New Zealand).

Alignment with WMF strategy:

  • Increase participation: expand Wikimedia’s global footprint through catalytic investments and chapter support.
  • Increase reach: enhance the quality of the core user experience regardless of geography.

Grow: Outreach to universities

Tertiary education institutions are a key place to recruit new contributors as well as improve content quality by accessing experts. Wikimedia Australia will engage in the following activities within this space by:

  1. piggybacking on the Wikimedia Foundation's "Global University Program" to introduce "Wikipedia campus clubs";
  2. assisting academics and other educators to use Wikipedia (and sister projects, especially Wikiversity) as an educational tool.

Alignment with WMF strategy:

  • Improve quality: support our volunteer community through technology improvements to article assessment, by community members, readers and experts.
  • Improve quality: provide support to the Wikimedia movement in the development of institutional partnerships and alliances.

Part 3: The future

Programs included in this list are ideas that the chapter would like to implement but which are considered to be beyond the scope of what can be achieved by Wikimedia Australia within this strategic plan. If spare capacity or new resources become available to the chapter, these programs will be looked at again. Alternatively, supporting other groups undertaking these or similar projects remains a possibility.

Future: Develop relationship with open government movement

Both the Open Government and Open Research movements are important and growing fields in Australia that are relevant to Wikimedia Australia. However, at its present capacity the chapter is unlikely to be effective in either as they require long-term and “slow-burning” investment. However, the chapter will participate and support initiatives in these areas when they are led by other groups.

Alignment with WMF strategy:

  • Encourage innovation: support the infrastructure of networked innovation and research.
  • Encourage innovation: increase access to information that drives community, decision-making and action.

Future: Invest in local caching and archiving

Hardware investment is important for improving stability and access to Wikimedia projects. However the cost/benefit of this investment within Australia is relatively low given the legal complexities, generally good national infrastructure, and high cost of installation and maintenance of such projects. Nevertheless, partnering with organisations such as AARNET to provide research access or mobile telephone providers to provide free access may be undertaken if this does not take away resources from higher priorities.

Alignment with WMF strategy:

  • Stabilise infrastructure: make technology investments to guarantee the permanence of projects and support ongoing growth.
  • Encourage innovation: support the infrastructure of networked innovation and research.
  • Increase reach: enhance the quality of the core user experience regardless of geography.

Future: Build Australian developer community

While WMAu will not focus on the technology community specifically in this period, developer-focused activities are considered to be supported by the aforementioned priorities of “real life events” and “volunteer initiatives”.

Alignment with WMF strategy:

  • Encourage innovation: promote the adoption of great ideas.
  • Increase participation: encourage the health and growth of Wikimedia communities and the projects they sustain.