On Sat, Apr 13, 2019 at 12:42 PM phoebe ayers <phoebe.w...@gmail.com> wrote:

> 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.
> regards,
> Phoebe
> (former WMF trustee)

This is the most persuasive perspective I've read so far, thank you Phoebe.

I also wonder why it makes sense to pursue a WMF rebranding project (which
is expensive in terms of time, money, volunteer effort and in other ways)
at the same time as the strategy process is questioning  whether the WMF
(or chapters, UGs, etc.) are the right vehicles for the movement goals. If
the strategy process is honestly holding open the possibility that the WMF
might not be the right organization to lead, then rebranding before the
process is complete is a strange decision.
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