Submissions:2023/Pushing the Envelope: Writing to Your Elected Representatives

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WikiConference North America 2023 unfortunately could not accommodate this submission in its program this year.


Pushing the Envelope: Writing to Your Elected Representatives


Legal / Advocacy / Risks

Type of session:



This workshop will develop the community’s capacity for written advocacy and will focus on letters regarding anti-surveillance reform. Constituent letters can have a powerful influence on elected officials, but for many voters, the process of when, where, and how to send letters can be murky. Many Wikimedians may have never written a letter to their elected representatives. Others may have some experience with letter writing, but want to improve their impact. Wikimedia Foundation’s Global Advocacy team would like to support Wikimedians in their efforts to participate in democratic processes and engage with their representatives.

The workshop would consist of a brief presentation, a tabletop exercise, and an extended question and answer session with the Foundation’s North American public policy specialist. Because the US Congress is poised to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act (FISA)--a key statute enabling electronic surveillance–at the end of this year, the workshop would use this as an advocacy topic. Participants will receive practical guidance on drafting letters as well as sample language to include in anti-surveillance advocacy.

Participants will be guided through a team-based exercise to compose advocacy letters using provided materials and sample language. Participants will be divided into teams that will be each asked to compose a different type of advocacy letter, including form letters, individualized letters, and group letters. A short, interactive discussion to contrast the teams’ styles and approaches to written advocacy and a longer question and answer segment regarding advocacy strategies, practical considerations, and other related topics will follow.

The workshop would also be an opportunity for the Foundation to learn more about Wikimedians’ interest in and capacity for advocacy so that Foundation staff can better support those in the community who want to engage with law and policy making.

Author name:

Stan Adams

E-mail address:

Wikimedia username:


Affiliated organization(s):

Estimated time:

45-60 minutes

Special requests:


Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?:


Okay to livestream?

Livestreaming is okay

If your submission is not accepted, would you be open to presenting your topic in another part of the program? (e.g. lightning talk or unconference session)