Dear Wikimedians,

Years ago, as part of the first Strategy process of 2009-2010, a
distinction entered our lives, between Global North and Global South
countries.  That distinction was borrowed from a United Nations agency
named ITU, and it was used as shorthand to refer to communities the
Foundation considered to need additional resources and help to achieve
impact on our mission of creating and sharing free knowledge.

However, the distinction was never a very good fit for us.  It was based on
UN notions like the Human Development Index, and gave much weight to
nation-wide economic conditions.  Its binary nature did not allow for
distinguishing between countries where Wikimedia work is possible and
happening, albeit with difficulty, and ones where no Wikimedia work, or
next to none, is happening, or possible.  It also looked only at geography,
whereas much of our work is defined by language communities and not by
geographies.  And it was political and alienating to many people.

In short, it was both not as useful as we needed it to be as well as
unloved and rejected by many.

The Community Resources team at the Wikimedia Foundation has been thinking
about replacing that distinction with a more nuanced one, that would be a
much better fit with our needs, would take into account the actual state of
editing communities, would consider multiple axes beyond geography, and
would be less controversial.

We began using the term "emerging communities" two years ago, first as a
replacement for the term Global South, but it has always been our intention
to define Emerging Communities ourselves.  Finishing the proposed
definition took a back seat for a while due to other priorities, but we are
ready to share the proposed definition today:

We welcome your thoughts, on the talk page (ideally) or on this thread.
The definition is already our working definition, but we are open to
incorporating changes to both wording and substance through October 31st.

Be sure to take a look at the FAQ supplied at the bottom of the page, too.


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