On Mon, Feb 25, 2019 at 10:14 PM Zack McCune <zmcc...@wikimedia.org> wrote:

> :: Apologies for cross-posting to multiple mailing lists. We want to ensure
> we spread the word about this opportunity to as many people as possible. ::
> Hi all,
> We are writing today to invite you to be a part of a community review on
> Wikimedia brand research and strategy.
> Recently, the Wikimedia Foundation set out to better understand how the
> world sees Wikimedia and Wikimedia projects as brands.[1] We wanted to get
> a sense of the general visibility of our different projects, and evaluate
> public support of our mission to spread free knowledge.

Dear all,
I haven't weighed in before. But it seems to me there's a simple question
underlying all of this: do we actually want, or need, to increase public
awareness of the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia chapters/affiliates (as
opposed to the projects themselves)?

Having Wikimedia be a more recognizable entity or brand does not seem to me
like it would help us in our core goals, of recruiting editors and content
to the *projects*. We do not typically use the Wikimedia name to do
outreach, or to talk about the projects; the handful of us that are
insiders and give presentations about the WMF is small, relative to the
number of educators and librarians and editors talking about Wikipedia. (I
give many trainings on editing Wikipedia every year; talking about
Wikimedia is irrelevant for this purpose). Perhaps a rebrand would make
fundraising easier -- but we already use the project brand for that, as
most fundraising is directly off the projects, and the fundraising that
isn't (grants and large donations) has a lot of communication around it. So
I'm not sure how a rebrand would help here either.

The premise of this whole exercise is that people knowing about Wikimedia
as an entity will somehow help us. But we are not trying to recruit
contributors to the Foundation, or to the chapters; we are trying to
recruit them to the projects, and if the infrastructure of our network is
invisible, I am fine with that. I think to increase the centrality of the
*organization* is a distraction that misses the point of both our mission
and the role of the organization, which is to provide infrastructure. We're
not selling shoes here; more brand awareness of the Foundation does not
translate into a direct furthering of our mission, and more focus on the
organization is at best a distraction for overworked volunteers.

Like Andrew, I might have been excited about naming it the Wikipedia
Foundation ten or fifteen years ago. But now, I think there is a wide world
of free knowledge that we want to imagine -- including a future of our
projects remixed into something new, beyond Wikipedia. So for that reason
too, I am skeptical.

(former WMF trustee)
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