Investigation of platforms for the annual meeting

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Digital meeting

Decision basis to Wikimedia Sverige's board from the office

In this document we present different alternatives that can be used to carry through a digital annual meeting. As an introduction this 15 minutes long film (in Swedish) on what it is good to think about for a digital annual meeting is recommended. It can be seen also without an account on Facebook:

Except making clear instructions for how to connect to the meeting procedural rules are proposed for the meeting, that are specifically adapted to the choice of video conference system. Such procedural rules would for example include how to ask for the permission to speak, put forward requests or proposals and how to vote, and also hygiene factors for a video conference.

Video platform

Proposal 1: Zoom

Zoom is a popular solution for video conferences for small to big meetings. It can host up to 100 video participants and 10 000 listeners.


  • Possibility of recording and livestreaming, also for non-members
  • Functions like asking for permission to speak, creating polls, and "yes" and "no" buttons for voting.
  • Can be protected with passwords
  • Pre-registration of participants (for checking against members register)
  • Possibility of breaking down into smaller groups
  • Possibility of private chat between participants
  • Can be opened in e.g. Chrome without downloading the app
  • App can also be downloaded
  • Doesn't take much bandwidth
  • Administrators can change name of participants and mute their microphones


  • Cost (reduced price via Techsoup)
  • More advanced to start and administer recording
  • Not open source
  • Potential integrity aspects


Proposal 2: Big Blue Button

An open source solution for video conferences with many integrated functions. About 100 people are maximum for video on own server.


  • Open source
  • No client to download
  • Possibility of livestreaming also for non-members
  • Notes in etherpad as integrated function
  • Functions for creating polls, raising hand etc. integrated (also secret voting)
  • Possibility of breaking down in smaller rooms
  • Possibility of private chat
  • A viewing mode everyone can have access too at the same time as all participants are seen, and that many participants also can edit in (if they are allowed)
  • Good administrative rights
  • Relatively easy to set up and start


  • Requires work with setting up an own server, which the office has limited competency to do
  • The recording function and the possibility to have meetings longer than 60 minutes is limited due to high strain atm*


*Meetings can be longer on our own server

Proposal 3: Google Hangouts Meet

This is the system that the office usually uses for its video conference calls and is included as a part of G Suite. It is a tool that can take up to 100 participants where all participants can participate with audio and sound. A simple system, for good and for bad.


  • No additional costs
  • Simple to connect to
  • Easy to create recording and streaming
  • No client to download


  • No possibility of recording or saving stream*
  • No possibility of automatically saving chat
  • No function to ask for permission to speak, create polls, name participants or break up in smaller rooms


*Seems like we have a more advanced version in times of Coronavirus, with the possibility of recording and saving to Drive.

Not chosen systems:

  • We also tried the open source based solution Jitsi Meet, which we didn't feel had the sufficient functionality for a digital annual general meeting. Hence, it didn't qualify to be a proposal on its own.
  • Skype is a product that doensn't work properly or at all for Ubuntu, which the office uses. It doesn't have the same functionality as other systems either.

Systems for documents / votes

This is how we propose the decisions to be taken before and under the meeting, if we want a separate system for that.

Proposal 1: VoteIT

A system which enables documents to be published before. Anyone can read and discuss documents, only members who are logged in can comment, propose and vote in the system.


  • Discussions can start before the meeting, which allows people to get used to the system and they can also prepare their proposals at home by themselves.
  • It is clear how descisions are taken and where on the agenda you are.
  • Order of speakers
  • Electoral roll
  • Advanced possibilities for decision making
  • Open source (and the possiblity to engage in the organization VoteIT that works with the platform and spreading digital meeting functions)


  • Cost, an annual cost of 10 000 sek that is to be seen as a membership fee
  • A system that many participants are probably not used to (especially in combination with doing the first video meeting)
  • Not sure if it brings added value as we don't expect that many participants and nothing in the statutes require, for example, secret voting.
  • Takes time to start and prepare


Proposal 2: Notes in Google Slides together with the video conference

The point that is in focus, and proposals for voting, is prepared in a presentation that is shown through a shared screen in the video conference. Voting is made through acclamation, by writing "yes" in the chat or by using a polling function in the video conference system.


  • Easy to follow
  • No additional system for participants
  • No added cost
  • Less work to prepare


  • Less organized preparation among participants before the meeting
  • Can be hard to get a clear overview for where the meeting currently is

Proposal 3: No system except the video conference

All participants have access to their own documents. Voting is made through acclamation, writing "yes" in the chat or using a polling function in the video conference system. The person speaking is at all occasions in the camera.


  • Minimal work effort required for preparations
  • No added cost


  • Can be hard to follow
  • It can lead to less involvement among participants and people not following


From this investigation we recommend the following solution:

Zoom in combination with presentation

We have gone through and tried several different solutions to explore what would work best for the annual meeting of Wikimedia Sverige. Our judgment is that a license with Zoom is the solution that to the highest degree guarantees that we can carry through the digital meeting.

As basis for this judgment, there are several different criteria. The most important criterium is that the meeting can be carried through. To ensure that, the conference system need to be able to manage a high load: if the server is overloaded the entire meeting might need to be remade. IT also requires integrated solutions for an annual meeting. A final important criterium was if there is a video conference system built on open source, in line with the ither priorities of the organization.

The only video conference system of those that we have tried that is built on open source and that we think will fulfil the criteria that the meeting can be carried through is Big Blue Button. It is a good solution technically, with many smart functions. There is however no way of paying for a service to make it stand a higher load, and there are, due to the high demand, strict limitations in how many can take part in their demo version at the same time. Hence, their demo version is not suitable for an annual meeting.

The alternative would have been for the chapter to create a server solution on our own and run the system there. With the limited time for preparations, and the uncertainty in what it takes technically to run an annual meeting, our judgment is that the uncertainty for this is high. There is a risk which is not negligible that the server solution is overloaded, and in that case, we need to redo the annual meeting.There is a large potential to use Big Blue Button in the future, but a more thoroguh risk analysis is needed, more tests and preparations than what the office has the time to do before the meeting. Zoom has another stability as it is a global platform where we don't need to run the servers ourselves. The open source solution is simply to vulnerable for us to carry through the annual meeting with.

A large problem with Zoom is the question around security and integrity. Wikimedia Deutschland has chosen by principle not to use Zoom due to the integrity aspect. Zoom has also been criticized for hijacked meetings, and where installations of Zoom's client have meant entrances to private computers. We are aware of these problem, and share the concerns. We work hard to get around them as much as possible. One first step is to protect the conferences with password. That will minimize the risk of hijacking. The office will also perform a simulated test to see how to handle being hijacked. We will also not spread the link to the annual meeting publicly and will check all participants against the members register. That means that we are as prepared as we can to manage a potential but unlikely hijacking.

The office are developing a series of questions and answers around integrity and Zoom, to be able to answer questions from members. The answers are partly concerning what actually is the case around Zoom and integrity, partly what someone who is concerned over lack of integrity on the platform can do themselves to maximize integrity protection. For anyone who doesn't want to use the app the annual meeting will be streamed to an unlisted link on YouTube, so that members can at least follow the meeting without zoom. It is also possible to call to the meeting, even if the functionality when it comes to polling is low.

Concerning not using a dedicated system for managing documents and polling our conclusion was that the functions that are integrated in Zoom guarantee that we can carry through the meeting without an additional system. The conclusion is that the annual meeting is not that extensive that a separate system is needed.

We also recommend to contract a chair for the meeting with experience from digital meetings. We have asked for a quota from Ulrika Eklund.