Grants talk:PEG/WCUG Wikisource/Wikisource Conference 2015

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GAC members who support this requestEdit

  1. --DerekvG (talk) 14:53, 5 September 2015 (UTC) this conference will help me with some of the projects in planning and cencept stahe at WMBE

GAC members who support this request with adjustmentsEdit

GAC members who oppose this requestEdit

GAC members who abstain from voting/commentEdit

  1. Wikimedia Switzerland probably will assign some scholarships, I feel better to abstain. --Ilario (talk) 00:25, 12 September 2015 (UTC)

GAC commentsEdit

Polimerek commentEdit

I am a bit worry about the scope and program of the meeting. As I understand it is mainly focus on exchange and discuss Wikisources related issues among devoted editors. This IMHO does make sense, especially it is the very first such meeting. However you also plan topics for newbies. So, how do you want to select newbies? Who they you think they will be? People from GLAM institutions? How do you want to reach them? What proportion of participants do you expect (ie. newbies/users) ? Polimerek (talk) 21:49, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

Hi Polimerek, the main focus of the conference will be the exisiting Wikisource communities. The newbies we try to adress will be mainly from GLAM institutions or other like-mindend organizations and we would reach out to them through the networks of chapters, communities and indivdual volunteers in the respective countries. We expect the proportion of newbies to be around 15% of the participants. --CDG (WMAT staff) (talk) 09:59, 7 September 2015 (UTC)

Ilario's commentEdit

I would apply here the same parameters I use for similar conferences. Wikisource is one of the projects of my personal interest but some comments are due. The impact is unclear, in my opinion, it seems to be more a conference for existing user than an "open" conference to attract newbies but it remains unclear to me reading the proposal. The measures are mainly based on communication and on chapters providing support, but this impact is not relevant. I suggest to strength these points. The main focus is that to "Increasing Participation, Increasing Reach" but there is an unclear strategy how to reach these points. For a conference a minimum number of attendees is a fundamental measure, but it seems that this point is missed in the measures, I have calculated around 150 attendees calculating the beds. In my opinion these measures have been created to have a success in any case: be bold. The same program is weak, these points can be covered in one day of pre-conference in a Wikimania, for instance. --Ilario (talk) 00:24, 12 September 2015 (UTC)

Thanks Illario - the number of participants we plan for is 50. The point of an enhanced participants profile is taken, we think we came up with a viable strategy, we have a call with Alex tonight and will be able to elaborate on this afterwards. As soon as this question is settled, we can start tailoring the program to the needs of the target group in detail. Concerning Wikimania: As mentioned before, this has been tried before but very few Wikisourcians attend Wikimanias and even if they would: a one day pre-conference might just be enough to showcase a few good-practices and exchange experiences, to work on common strategies for partnerships, software extensions and global projects that's just not enough time. Independent from this specific case, I would also be careful about overloading pre-conferences: in Mexico we could already see that there was a proliferation and the increased number of pre-conference events caused a certain cannibalization. Re-directing every conference proposal to Wikimania & Co is not a viable strategy in the long run. --CDG (WMAT staff) (talk) 15:40, 16 September 2015 (UTC)

Community commentsEdit

Tony1Edit

I feel distant from Wikisource. But I know that it's a hugely admirable project and doesn't receive the recognition or support that it deserves. At stake are some of the bedrocks of human culture and history, many of them currently hidden or inaccessible—and here I refer to the global south in particular. It's a potentially exciting and powerful project.

However, as you know, I believe physical meetups—especially large ones with international participation—require special justification. This is because they tend to be a costly charge on donors' money, carbon-intensive, typically not well planned or supported by prior discourse among stakeholders and participants, and typically hard to directly justify in terms of impact on the WMF Board's priority areas. The current form of this proposal is not specific enough to allay these concerns, and thus my concern is that there might be much more impactful ways of allocating the requested funding than this. It also looks very Euro-centric, whereas we have such great and pressing opportunities to get more source material into the project from outside the euro-anglo world. An additional concern is that named institutions don't seem to feature in the plans. A physical meetup seems like a good place to forge close ties with powerful people from those institutions, by getting them to address the meetup.

If the proposal can be greatly strengthened, it might pass the special justification benchmark. Either that or resubmit to re-allocate the money to specific technical- and global-south-related projects that are easier to justify in terms of the Board's priorities.

Some concerns:

1.The team looks good—keen, complementary skillbases, and capable of much better than this—but no one from the global south or non-roman-script language projects?

Well, not in the team.
There have been people in the “global south” and non-roman-script Wikisource involved in Wikisource-l, in the (recent) past, and of course we hope them to join us for the conference and submit sessions on their programs.
We kept the organizing team small and lean in order to be effective, as we could see from other conferences that big teams and committees not always work that well (in terms of finding dates for calls across time zones, people being more likely to take on less responsibility on bigger teams etc.). :We think it is possible to have a diverse conference without necessarily having representatives of all different regions in the core team. --Aubrey (talk) 22:59, 29 August 2015 (UTC)

2."as the time has passed, it has been clear that these group of volunteers alone cannot guarantee that the project keeps up with the speed of times."—(a) Is there evidence that the proposed conference would alleviate this problem beyond what could be gained from online contact, especially one-to-one or group audio conferring with representatives of likely affiliates and other stakeholders? (b) In any case, to make such a conference strong in terms of the stage of planning, collaboration, and coordination at which it occurs, it would be essential to have significant discourse beforehand, with intending participants. What's the plan for that? For example, holding a conference to "[empower] volunteers who want to run or activate dormant communities" seems to jump the starter's gun—horse before the cart. Have the right people been identified, and the hurdles and best support determined, to re-boot the Spanish-language project?

We already started the dialogue within the community with a survey on their needs and expectations. We also included the question on whether they would find a conference useful in order to make progress and the answers were predominantly positive.
Also, we would like to stress a very important point (to reply to question (a), which is very important).
In these years, Wikisource projects have been mainly left alone. Wikisource communities work on their own, with little coordination, almost no software development, and little cooperation.
There is of course the great community at wikisource.org, but they are focused on bootstrapping new communities, and the rest of language communities stay on their own.
The Wikisource mailing list does help, but is not enough. A bigger effort was made in 2013 with the Individual Engagement Grant directly focused on Wikisource community (David and Andrea were on the grantees), but that did not suffice. We manage to create the Wikisource Community User Group, because we believe that a “formal” group could be of help, also in terms of advocacy towards institutions and the WMF.
At the end of the day, we believe that a dedicated conference for Wikisource editors is due because it can help us, as a community, to coordinate and build a shared identity.
Wikisource, as a whole, still needs that. We need that in order to show the WIkimedia Foundation we are a project with an enormous potential, but for showing that we need to be a community first. The conference itself will be the place to discuss important topics (as the identity of Wikisource, especially related to other projects like Gutenberg, Internet Archive, Europeana, DPLA, etc.), that will be anticipated via mailing list before.
We think that few days, in person, are necessary to boost the “feeling” of being a community, and to smooth the discussion which gets stalled online.
We don’t have evidence that it will work. We do have evidence to have tried before, with online discussions, and failed. :-) Aubrey (talk) 22:59, 29 August 2015 (UTC)

3."There is a huge technological debt that cannot be repaid by the volunteer community alone, who needs assistance from other organizations that can help providing resources to execute projects."—to clarify, do you mean not "debt", but "deficit"? I'm genuinely unclear as to your meaning here. I don't see specific technological issues in the activity list, and I've heard on a number of occasions that tech is a major hurdle (and opportunity) for Wikisource. Please build in specifics to your "Activities"—aren't there social–tech–linguistic interfaces that would bring up matters needing intensive discussion and the building of personal trust? If you want lots of money, we want to know these things now. The program page gives little more than what's in your activities list here. I must say, topics like "What is Wikisource" sound most unsuitable for an expensive meetup: if you people don't know what it is, why are you holding a conference? That sounds like a prescription for the kind of brain-storming that goes nowhere. Please work it out on Skype or by email, and replace that vague theme with something much more conceptually advanced. Personal audio contact is great for building trust and collegiality, and if you need help on that matter, please ask Alex to skype or phone you—it's part of her job. The same goes for the other "Discussions" list: "Gap between Wikisource and other projects problems and solutions workshop" sounds very vague. If there are specific problems that seem insoluble without meeting, please take them forward as much as possible now, online, and make the purpose of the proposed discussion more likely to result in future action/impact. "Talks with external organizations"—which ones, please, and which languages?

Yes, we are talking about deficits here and we have been in touch with the WMF on this issue already and we also hope that representatives of the Engineering Team will come to Vienna to discuss this further. The reason that the program is not very detailed yet is that there is always the dilemma to start the grant making process early in order to have some predictability in terms of planning or rather whether we will be able to host the conference in the desired scope. Hence, we decided to work on the program part parallel to the PEG process. Again, the results of our survey are a first important input to elaborate the topics of the conference. As for external organizations we mentioned Europeana, the Gutenberg project and the Internet Archive as well as partner organizations from various countries with WikiSource projects.
Moreover, in the previous response I hope to have addressed a bit of your point here. It is true that Wikisource, as an international community, has important issues to work with. "What is Wikisource" is one of them, and one explicitly asked by Asaf in personal conversation: as the WMF has never supported Wikisource (as stated previously, there is no paid development of any kind, neither other staff remotely dedicated to the project), we think that a shared, detailed and clear identity (also related to other similar projects on the web) is the first step to be "taken seriously" as a community, and convince the WMF to work with us to "make Wikisource scale". If you think about it, it's incredible the potential for a crowdsourced digital library is simply *huge*, and we think proper support is due to make it happen. --Aubrey (talk) 23:09, 29 August 2015 (UTC)

4.Would the conference best targeted to beginners as well as advanced users? I'd be more comfortable if efforts were directed towards building better instructional support for beginners, with translations; this would involve on-wiki text and images, and well-produced videos, with subtitles. Such infrastructure would be a long-term, sustained improvement, whereas "Beginners' walk-through", really? Come all the way to Vienna from Vancouver or Mumbai for that?

The main focus of the conference is to promote and support the existing communities and put the cooperation between them on a new level. We also plan to cater for newbies, especially when it comes to capacity building for successful partnerships. Once we know who will be attending, it will be easier for us to evaluate the most useful topics for them. Moreover, there are likely to be librarians and other GLAM professionals from Austria, who would benefit from a beginner walk-through. --Aubrey (talk) 23:12, 29 August 2015 (UTC)

5.Participants page—could you include a space for their languages and Wikisource projects, please? How many people would you expect? How would you advertise this? 6.My biggest concern is that if the goal is to increase Wikisource in languages other than en, de, fr, etc, why is it being held in a German-speaking country? Perhaps it should be held in a country with a large number of WMF contributors but a small Wikisource community. If it must be in the EU, the Netherlands would be more suitable, given the size of the active Wikipedia vs active Wikisource communities. Vietnam, to take another language area, has a "top-10 Wikipedia" where Wikisource has yet to become popular. The travel page looks decidedly Euro-centric, complete with Schengen zone. What's the plan for targeting at least a few global south projects? Moreover, have you thought of recasting the whole thing as a significant theme in the next Wikimania/hackathons? That would get very large numbers, lots of publicity, and would save a heap of money. Wikimania organisers might indeed be delighted at including this as a thematic core.

There are several reasons why Vienna is a suitable location for this conference: From a strategic perspective it is located in Central Europe which makes it easier to expand the audiences to Central and Eastern European Communities with which WMAT entertains close ties and which also represent emerging communities and smaller, often underrepresented languages. You should also not regard Austria as an isolated entity, we are an integral part of the German-speaking Wikimedia communities. On- and offline collaboration across borders and chapters is our daily business. In this regard there is a large number of WMF contributors in our communities and there is potential for a stronger Wikisource community in and around Austria. Wikimedia Netherland already hosted an international (GLAM) conference this year and could not host an additional one (we actually checked and thought through various options). Hosting such an event is a huge responsibilty and a lot of additional work even for communities with an organization and staff - not least because of the administrative and burreaucratic workload that comes with havin to handle two grant schemes at once (APG and PEG in the case of WMNL and WMAT). In communities without organizational support through chapters or other affiliates the risk to burn out volunteers by organizing such gatherings is even higher. So the question is not only where would we want to host such a conference but also where do we find the respective infrastructure and willingness to do it. If you look at the participants list you can see that there are interested participants from Africa - from the Wikisource community survey David currently conducts we also see interest from Asian communities. In fact, we need this grant mainly to be able to bring these people in so that they can share their experiences and exchange with others. If we wanted to create a Euro-centric conference we could have just thrown together some funding from interested European affiliates and organize the event at a smaller scale. So, we are targeting emerging communities. The information on the travel page is also designed to explain to people from outside the Schengen area what it is and what it means - I'm sure that this is also the reason why one of the volunteers included the map. People living in this or bordering areas usually don't need this information. --CDG (WMAT staff) (talk) 09:09, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

7."showcasing tools, projects, experiences in order to learn from one another"—my concern is that this is just one-off, presented to a small proportion of people you need to have an impact. Better would be to get funding for a semi-regular international newsletter to showcase these things. Videos, please?

We already have an abundance of mailing lists, blogs, newsletters and wiki pages in the movement and we doubt to increase the number of those will in itself lead to more impact for WikiSource Communities. Creating good and useful videos is a considerable effort that also requires technical infrastructure and skills. We doubt that this can be done in a manner that will actually generate sustainable impact on a volunteer basis. Most people want to invest their time into WikiSource projects not into creating elaborate video documentation. We plan to produce a sound documentation of the conference that can be useful for people who were not able to attend. --Aubrey (talk) 23:14, 29 August 2015 (UTC)

8."fostering exchange with chapters representatives to discuss projects that can be done now"—I'm going to be narky and say: why aren't exchanges going on now? Why wait? That's what the internet is for. 9."creating a sense of belonging in the sparse international community"—really? Just once, happened to be in late 2015? Results never heard of again, but there's that pesky report to write six months later for the WMF? Hardly any participants went on to engage with their own potential communities/projects? Sorry to be cynical, but make me think otherwise. Over to you!

Tony (talk) 07:12, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

slowking4Edit

face to face meeting important to brainstorm strategic plan for wikisource going forward. efforts tend to be ad hoc. annual event with monthly podcasts not unreasonable for user group.

need to brainstorm tool development; need to plan future ingestion of documents; need to reactivate inactive workflows; need to share best practices to improve productivity; need to motivate volunteers.

wikisource is a key reference foundation for wikipedia, i.e. there are >10k articles cut and paste from PD encyclopedia with endnotes & no link; medical articles will be linking to open source references ingested to wikisource for wikipedia zero reading. Slowking4 (talk) 01:15, 2 September 2015 (UTC)

Hi slowking4 - thanks for your input. Just to avoid misunderstandings, because I'm not 100% sure, whether I perceive this correctly - this is not meant to be a question directed at us, but rather a statement, right? --CDG (WMAT staff) (talk) 10:02, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
yes, more of a general agreement with the strategic plan. is there a process, timeline for panel submittal, scholarship submittal? Slowking4 (talk) 12:19, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
The timeline is a bit tricky, as it depends highly on the how fast we can wrap up this proposal, and the time this can take seems to vary hugely between proposals. As soon as we get the financial confirmation that we will be able to provide scholarships, this will be our priority, as visa processes can be long and tricky, especially for participants from the "Global South" and the current political situation concerning refugees in Europe. In best case, with a really quick decision about the grant, we can get started on these things in early October (registration, scholarship application, call for papers etc.) I would say. --CDG (WMAT staff) (talk) 12:27, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
ok, great. if i might suggest a plan a & b. plan a = self funding (or chapters), plan b = grant accepted. proceed with plan a : set up event page with panel submission, and a scholarship submittal process. these could be started with a big hold, until funding decided.
getting a little pre-work done might save some scrambling later. Slowking4 (talk) 13:24, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
Sure, we try to prepare as much as possible in the meantime. We also have a plan a and b in place, similar to your suggestion, only that we won't be able to fund oversea scholarships without the grant. This plan b would be a smaller conference for participants who can get funded by their local orgs or are willing to pay for the travel themselves. --CDG (WMAT staff) (talk) 13:47, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
great, i suspected this, but being out front tends to minimize the confusion. if i might suggest something like the http://wikiconferenceusa.org/wiki/2015/Submissions either on meta or your own website. Slowking4 (talk) 20:45, 8 September 2015 (UTC)

WMF commentsEdit

Hi Micru, Aubrey, and CDG (WMAT staff). Thank you for this grant request and your engagement in the discussion so far. We are excited to support the Wikisource community and do believe there is benefit for meeting in person to push forward concrete projects for the user group. We did discuss a number of the below issues over email, but we still have outstanding questions. We look forward to your responses.

  1. Goal/Outcomes: I am copying one of my questions from a previous email here: We would like to see more concrete outcomes included in the Measures of Success. For example, we are not concerned with the number of photo views from the conference, but we are very interested in what type of workplans are created as a result of the discussions. What are issues you want agreement on? What technology issues are you hoping to solve or create a strategy for solving? Will you agree on a shared curriculum for the global Wikisource community? This relates to the questions about the program below. In your answers over email you stated that the ultimate outcome you're seeking is a commitment from the WMF to support more software development. Have you been in conversation with relevant staff from WMF about attending the conference? This is definitely an important topic, but there are also other important outcomes and we hope you can develop more specific measures of success. We also understand that community building is hard to measure. For the Wikisource context, what you would believe a good outcome would be in terms of community building? Would it mean more engagement on the different communication channels, another 2-3 volunteers who actively participate in the user group management? Please help us understand how you would view success. ::::
We have 2 (not scientific) surveys made in a 2 years timespan about what the Wikisource community wants.
You can see the raw results of the 2015 survey here: https://wikimedia.qualtrics.com/CP/Report.php?RP=RP_br6De9vSuIRTaYd
At question 27 “Rank the following features in order of preference”, the community ranked first “Visual Editor for Wikisource (Proofread Page Extension compatibility)”which is consistent from the results of the 2013 survey.
You can read a detailed report about 2013 survey here: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikisource_Community_User_Group/Wikisource_community_survey_2013_report#Technical_platform_.28Q9.2C_10.2C_11.2C_15.29
Only the EPUB exporter is a reality now, thanks to the very same volunteer developer. Wikidata integrations is possible, but left to community, and it’s much more complicated than expected. Visual Editor for Wikisource, integrated with Proofread Extension, is just a dream for now.
As per Pyb comment, it’s important to notice that Wikisource “use intensively a specific Mediawiki extension and it is developed entirely by volunteers. Even statistics and metrics are specific! We should meet together to talk about the development of the software, what should be Wikisource in 2020, what are the consequences of the development of the mobile on our project”.
The 2013 IEG led to the survey and a user group, but we’ve seen this is not enough. At the time, we directly asked for WMF staff time for software development, but it was not possible. Still, in 2015 we are in the very same spot. Proofread extension is used by dozens of Wikisources and it’s maintained roughly by just one (heroic) volunteer.
VisualEditor is pretty useless for us if it’s not inside that extension.
We do not have a proper metadata management system: integration with Wikidata is hard. Wikimedia Italia is facing the very same issue with professional librarians and even for them it’s difficult to cope with this complexity.
Another Google Summer of Code project, the BookManager extension, has been abandoned.
In the end, we would view as success a the beginning of real, concrete conversation with the WMF about software development time for Wikisource. We can discuss priority and allocation of resources, but our aim is for Wikisource to succeed as a project, and we do believe it will be impossible without proper attention from the software infrastructure point of view. The community is to small to take care of this by itself, we know that much. :::From WMF, we spoke with Asaf, and Sam Klein when he was still in the Board. Also, we just spoke with Asaf, and people from Internet Archive that could eventually attend. We also have interested parties in the DIY Bookscanning community. --Aubrey (talk) 16:54, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
  1. Participants: As raised above by both GAC and community members, organizing a conference targeting both experienced Wikisource editors and newbies is very challenging and not advised. We are supportive of a working conference for active editors of Wikisource who can effectively discuss technical issues, workplans, project ideas, training resources, and develop follow-up plans. From our experience, having newbies at a conference like this only dilutes the conversation and wastes the experienced users time. Bringing together GLAM professionals from Austria for beginner training can be done by the chapter or local, experienced editors. This is the kind of training and partnerships development that can and should happen locally after the conference. In terms of scholarship recipients, we would request that we review the final candidates together.
We do appreciate this feedback and the learnings in this regard from other conferences. Hence, we developed the following alternative to incorporate this in our plan without completely abandoning the chance to use the momentum such a conference provides for attracting local partners: :::We would like to dedicate the first day of the conference to newcomers from partner organizations, such as libraries and archives. (As this is a Friday this means that this is also a regular working day for them, which increases the likelyhood of attendance). The plan is to showcase models and good practices of partnerships in the various Wikisource communities (which can also be interesting and inspiring for our experienced attendees) and to provide information on how to get started. The other two days will be dedicated to the existing community and their interests and topics. --Aubrey (talk) 17:03, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
  1. Program: We understand the user group ran a survey to collect the interests and needs of Wikisource editors, which is great! We assume the draft program is a reflection of that survey. However, as Tony1 mentioned above, it is essential to have significant discussion on program planning by the community in order to create a successful program and to prepare participants to engage quickly and effectively once they meet in person. The discussion on the mailing list shows support (as do the endorsements on the grant request), but it does not look like there has been more in-depth discussion of the issues to cover, project ideas to discuss, or other concrete outcomes you're hoping to conference will deliver. We understand there can often be a chicken-and-egg issue with applying for conference grants and that you are planning the program in parallel with requesting funds. Since the grant request has been opened, have you made progress in detailing the program or moving forward the discussion with the community?
We are definitely behind in that. As people are still not sure about the funding of the conference, we think that they don't want to engage in a discussion on a programme that may result useless. After "closing" the grant application, we can then concentrate on just making the conference happen, discussing with the community about all the important topics.
There is no shortage of topics and issues to discuss, for example the integration of bibliographic data into Wikidata (related and not to Wikisource), or the setting of a roadmap with the WMF on Wikisource priorities. --Aubrey (talk) 17:03, 16 September 2015 (UTC)

Please let us know if you have questions about the above or want to arrange a call early next week to discuss the outstanding issues. Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 23:27, 10 September 2015 (UTC)

Notes on approvalEdit

We are excited to support the first conference for Wikisource editors and thank you for your tireless efforts at building this community. We believe the timing is right for the community to come together in person to create an action plan for the project. However, as discussed, more support from WMF Engineering cannot be the main element of any future plans as we do not control their priorities. We do however support the community’s efforts to better advocate for their needs, to both the WMF and the movement more broadly. We do expect concrete projects and plans as a result of the conference and look forward to learning how the Wikisource community plans to move the project forward. Cheers, Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 21:50, 23 September 2015 (UTC)

technical developmentEdit

Hi,

First of all thanks to all the people involved in organization. It was a very productive and useful event. Despite being a long-time editor and very active in my chapter, I do not attend to a lot of international events, considering a lot of theses meetings not enough productive.

A lot of development was realized during the conference. For example :

  • rewrite the template Auhor in LUA to use Wikidata (French Wikisource, s:Module:Auteur2)
  • fix a lot of bugs caused by Right-to-Left (Hebrew Wikisource)
  • fix the configuration of the templates (Arabic Wikisource, see log of Tpt)
  • deploy new instances of Wsexport in Wikisources still using the old link.

The list is probably not complete. If you need it for the final report, I can try to complete the list of things done during the informal talks of the conference. Pyb (talk) 12:56, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

Hey Pyb - having a complete list for the reporting would indeed be very useful! Thanks in advance for your support on this matter --CDG (WMAT staff) (talk) 15:39, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
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