Grants talk:PEG/Cascadia Wikimedians User Group/4Q 2015 and CY2016 grant/Final report

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Budget reallocationEdit

In various places on this report I see that some items were overbudget. I checked the grant page to see if any reallocation request was made. I did not see one. Those kinds of requests are typical for budget changes. I looked at the overspends again - they are all small and reasonable. I think that Wiki Cascadia made the right choice considering that a new volunteer organization cannot plan exactly, and the dollar amounts are low. In the future for larger amounts notes on the main grant page are preferred.

I am not looking at every bit of this but it seems like an orderly report at a glance. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:23, 23 June 2017 (UTC)

Comments from WMFEdit

Hi Pine and everyone else that contributed to this report and organizing activities for the user group. Thank you for making the effort to provide a detailed and informative report with reflections that can be useful for the group in future and for other groups in similar stages of development. We especially want to thank you, Pine, for the time and effort you put into the operational aspects. We understand it was much too high of a burden and understand the need to focus on other priorities moving forward. During the application phase on the grant, we discussed in depth about the risk of creating a formal organization and the unnecessary burden it would put on a group of volunteers. Funding this was in large part an experiment and we will be even more cautious in the future with similar situations. It was a learning process for all of us, but at a lost of cost to your time and energy.

It sounds like the most engagement the group had was during one-off editathons and with your regular highly-motivated Wikimedians. It's unfortunate that the university and GLAM partnerships did not work out as planned. It will be good for the core members of the user group to rethink what it is they want to do, and based on lessons from the last year, what seems realistic. We would be happy to have a discussion with them to brainstorm project ideas and when in the development of the user group it would make sense to have anyone part-time doing outreach.

Regarding metrics, please note that the number of articles added/improved should be those written at (or closely tied to) events/programs supported by this grant, not all of the articles written by user group members during the time period of the grant. This is likely to be a much lower number than the one in the report. Please let me know if you are able to revise this metric.

Thank you again for all your efforts. It's great to hear that the core group of Wikimedians are active and friendly and that you appreciated the opportunities to connect in person. Best, Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 21:56, 14 August 2017 (UTC)

Hi @AWang (WMF):, thanks for the comments. If I had known that we wouldn't get sustained engagement from GLAMs and that we wouldn't be running outreach events consistently, I wouldn't have recommended proceeding with a formal organization, and instead I would have checked whether the legal protections from a formal organization could be adequately substituted by protections from sponsoring GLAMs. Also, in hindsight I overestimated the willingness and availability of our board members to be engaged in organizational matters in a sustained way, probably due to their own needs to deal with work and school. In hindsight I would say that either an organization like this needs adequate funding from the beginning for a paid outreach person and someone to handle business matters (probably a contracted accountant), or that it would be best to have events with GLAMs, universities, and other institutions that commit their own resources including staff time and insurance to support events. Trying this middle way of creating an organization without funding for staff time didn't work out very well. I am hopeful that the group will continue and that it will grow, although I wouldn't recommend that other groups attempt to repeat what was tried here. --Pine 23:24, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I'm about 3 or 4 years away from retirement, at which point I am probably interested in taking a leadership role in this group and really running with it, but there is no way I have the time to do so at present. I hope we can at least keep it afloat until that time, so I would not need to start from zero. - Jmabel (talk) 00:10, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
Also, I'd strongly urge that if WMF gives any similar grants in the future, funding someone for even 20 hours a month of paid time, primarily for an outreach role, would be valuable way beyond the money involved. There definitely have been some tasks involved in this that are really likely to fall through the cracks when left to even reasonably diligent volunteers. - Jmabel (talk) 00:13, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
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