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Submissions/Beyond anarchy. Options for a Wikimedia government

After careful consideration, the Programme Committee has decided not to accept the below submission at this time. Thank you to the author(s) for participating in the Wikimania 2015 programme submission, we hope to still see you at Wikimania this July.

Submission no.
Title of the submission
Beyond anarchy. Options for a Wikimedia government
Type of submission
Author of the submission
Peter Gallert
E-mail address
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Polytechnic of Namibia and Namibia Knowledge Portal
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)
With Wikimedia's erstwhile monarch only sporadically active a number of groups are competing for the mandate to govern the encyclopaedia and its affiliated projects. Among the actor groups are Arbitration Committees, special rights holders, WikiProjects, and the WMF. All of them have restricted pockets of responsibility but none has the mandate to govern. Even where they work together they cannot completely fill the power void. Vast areas are not governed at all, and as a result certain important decisions are never made.
In my talk I shall show that the current state of Wikimedia is best described as anarchy, not in the negative sense of lawlessness but in its slightly more positive meaning of opposing authority. While theoretically guided by principles of grassroots democracy, the organisation of the site and the size of some communities prevent the implementation of these principles in practice. There is just no place where the complete editor community can congregate, and there is no obvious and easy way to divide singular, large Wikimedia projects into some sort of "constituencies". As a result there are many open questions on which we cannot achieve consensus and will thus never reach any decision.
Most governments require a hierarchy of their citizens. An introduction of any type of new hierarchy onto the editor community would no doubt create unsurmountable opposition. Existing hierarchies already are a source of discomfort in some communities. However, there are several options to introduce a governing structure without developing a new hierarchy among editors. I will thus outline a few forms of government that might make sense for Wikimedia projects, and what that would mean for decision making, representation, and how they are run.
  • WikiCulture & Community
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 minutes (20 minutes presentation + 10 minutes discussion)
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Yes, I got a scholarship again. Thanks a lot!
Slides or further information (optional)
I will develop slides should the proposal be accepted.
Special requests

Interested attendees

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  1. Sage (Wiki Ed) (talk) 00:18, 25 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Adamw (talk) 01:20, 28 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 02:52, 28 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  4. CT Cooper · talk 17:31, 1 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Man77 (talk) 21:15, 16 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Лорд Бъмбъри (talk) 10:57, 30 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Saintfevrier (talk) 21:15, 3 April 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Add your username here.