A message from the Wikimedia UK Board

Wikimedia UK’s Board of Trustees met on Tuesday 8 October to discuss recent events, review strategy and evaluate where we want to be in the future. Following the meeting, and subsequent discussions, the Board wishes to make the following statement:

“It has been almost a year since Wikimedia UK achieved charitable status. This is a sensible checkpoint to use to assess the progress we’ve made in the last year as a Board, with our community and our staff.

“We have had a difficult few months which have resulted in negative attention. Some of the coverage has been inaccurate, and much of it has been ill-informed, but we know our community deserves better. Collectively, we have made mistakes. Here and now, we apologise for these mistakes.

“We are determined to learn from our mistakes. We are equally determined to heal the wounds that recent events have opened.

“We welcome the independent review of our governance that we will be undertaking jointly with the Wikimedia Foundation. By looking closely at our governance policies and procedures, and how those have been acted on, we expect the review to have clear recommendations which will help us follow best practice in every area of governance. We are certain that the review will lead to our charity and our movement being in a much stronger position. The results of this review will, of course, be made publicly available and we reaffirm our commitment to transparency and openness.

“Bearing all of this in mind, it is crucial that we do not lose sight of the many excellent achievements of our community and our staff during the same period. We have led the way in our relationships with GLAM institutions. Monmouthpedia was voted the year’s coolest Wikimedia project at Wikimania. Our Wikimedian in Residence programme continues to bring benefits to our movement. Our ground-breaking EduWiki conference highlighted the important role that Wikimedia projects can have in higher education. We are continuing to work hard to grow our volunteer and editing communities, particularly within under-represented groups. We have even taken over the city of Coventry for a day.

“These efforts are continuing every day. Take a look at just some of the activities we have planned for the month of October:

  • We are celebrating the achievements of women in science and technology on Ada Lovelace Day (in partnership with the Royal Society) and hosting an editathon to encourage more women to edit
  • We are working with Parkinson’s UK to teach their volunteers and staff to edit Wikipedia, helping to improve the encyclopaedia on a critical topic for many people
  • We will deliver a workshop at the British Library for groups that have received funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • We are teaming up with The Equiano Centre at University College, London, to host an event for Black History Month, improving coverage on Wikipedia and encouraging the participation of new editors.

“That these events are happening at all is a result of the hard work, determination and motivation of our excellent volunteers, our dedicated and committed staff and our generous donors and supporters.

“This has been a difficult few weeks for us. We must learn from it, and we must not let it prevent us delivering our mission. We will continue to work hard for our community and we will continue working to make the sum total of human knowledge available to everyone, everywhere, for free.”