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Grants talk:PEG/WM EE/CEE Meeting 2015

Active discussions

Dear representatives of Wikimedia Foundation and Grants Advisory Committe, as well as others interested in current proposal,

Hereby I invite you all to actively participate in this discussion related to current proposal, as to make sure that the meeting will provide the best possible support to one of the active regional collaborations in our movement, as well as to ensure that the budget is in accordance with probable outputs and outcomes.

As a representative of Wikimedia Eesti I apologize for the delay of submitting this grant proposal. We understand that this makes the reviewing task of the voluntary Grants Advisory Committee much harder. There are several reasons for the delay: 1) We worked really hard to secure local funds to support the event and hoped that there will be no need to ask for further investment from Wikimedia Foundation (unfortunately we have not managed to inspire external funders to the extent as to secure their funding), 2) there have been several drawbacks for us in Estonia, which has caused some problems with time and human resources this summer, 3) consultation with the most partners in CEE region has taken time, but hopefully will have a positive effect on the conference program and will make it relevant to most of the participants.

Part of the problems we have encountered on the local level are of administrative type and as a result there have been some reporting issues in Wikimedia Eesti lately. We are working hard to overcome them and hopefully all the reports will be posted during the review phase of the current proposal.

As of August we have entered an active phase of organising the event and so we invite you all to consult the meta page for the meeting for the most updated information. We will also try to answer to all of your questions, comments and observations as swiftly as possible! We appreciate your effort and thank you all in advance for your input!

On behalf of Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2015, --Kaarel Vaidla (WM EE) (talk) 15:55, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

GAC members who support this requestEdit

  1. --Ilario (talk) 09:21, 10 August 2015 (UTC)
  2. -- generally, support the project. --MikyM (talk) 20:42, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

GAC members who support this request with adjustmentsEdit

GAC members who oppose this requestEdit

GAC members who abstain from voting/commentEdit

  1. I refrain from evaluating this grant request because of my involvement in the discussion and preparations about the programme of the conference.--Kiril Simeonovski (talk) 22:00, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
  2. As a participant (likely) --Packa (talk) 17:13, 8 August 2015 (UTC)
  3. I also want to refrain from voting on this request because I am from CEE country and will participate in this meeting as a participant and Programme committee member. But I want to notice that this is the 4th in a row such conference, so I think WMF has good understanding of goals, impact and outcomes of this meeting.--Wertuose (talk) 22:16, 8 August 2015 (UTC)
  4. Part of CEE countries, and could be participant -Violetova (talk) 11:35, 9 August 2015 (UTC)
  5. Me as well, Polimerek (talk) 19:23, 15 August 2015 (UTC)

GAC commentsEdit

Fat budget and no clear goals (again??)Edit

Thank you Kaarel and the team for submitting this. Sorry if I sound grumpy, but I'm detecting a pattern: a grant that has to be approved in a hurry, for a hefty sum - with a big organizing committee (9 people!), and support from the CEE community, and still - -

  • More text is devoted on the grant request to tell us about what was good last year, then what's happening on this one
  • I have no clear justification regarding why 5-6(!!!) days of retreat are needed, and why not (for example) achieve the goals within 3-4, reducing the budget significantly.
  • Is there a thematic focus? Is there a programmatic focus? How are needs of organizations reflected in the survey going to be answered during the sessions?

I guess, what I'm asking is - why can't this be achieved (at least in part) in Wikimania / WMCON? This seems very expensive, and I don't mean only in dollars, but in WMEE's time and efforts.

Maybe I'm too outspoken about this; but I want to see an effort to be more frugal in those kinds of events - - and at least show clearer justification of why we are meeting (including length and # of attendees), and what content and goals are strictly tied to these meetings. This seems to be a grand social event - one I'd event want to attend! - but I still find it hard to justify the budget coming out of donors' pockets.

Alleycat80 (talk) 05:37, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

Indeed. Let's be frank: WMCEE region hosts mostly little and insignificant wikis that by any measures show an abysmal of readers per dollar. Yes, Polish and Russian are probably exceptions, but really, you can't even compare the results you can get from Arabic or Hindi to, say, Estonian or Croatian. This is a ridiculously inefficient way to spend donors' money. The whole region is hopelessly far from the focus of WMF's strategy. Of course, it is a nice hobby to build Wikipedias in small, dying languages, but it should not be funded by GAC when money can be spent usefully in the Global South where it makes an actual difference. --146.255.183.171 18:52, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
Also: most of this meeting is centered around chapters, again. Chapters in Global North should not be funded, unless they engage at least an equal amount of money from the local sources. It is understandable if poor societies in the South are unable to support local Wikipedian communities, but if they can find no support in the wealthy societies of their own countries, they're quite obviously doing something very, very wrong. --146.255.183.171 18:59, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
Just a thought Alleycat80, you cannot compare meetings on Wikimania and CEE Conferences, or whatever other part of the world conferences. If so, there is no need for any regional meetings at all.
A thematic focus? Of course, the first one is about CEE countries Wikipepedians and Wikimedians and their collaboration. Meeting in life is the most precious, that is how the ideas and new projects come out.
The budget coming out of donors' pockets - could be for part of the expenses, but not for the whole event.
Regards, --Violetova (talk) 22:56, 12 August 2015 (UTC)
Only small remarks for 146.255.183.171:
  • CEE is (in some criteria) like "Global South of Global North"; it is something between. Although most people can live, ration of people on the limit of poverty is relatively hight. Although public education system is generally (or only mostly?) available, its quality is often not good. There are remains of socialistic era, which still lives in minds of many people. The region really needs better education and higher freedom, partly to more open minds of its citizens.
    • On the other hand, work done by CEE communities can be reused for helping to Global South - e.g. it occurred in the beginning of this year when representative of TEJO donated computer with off-line version of Esperanto Wikipedia (which big part is written by CEE volunteers) to Burundi. Yes, it is small step, but it helped and was fully driven by non-Wikimedia donors.
  • There are many languages in the region, what makes the particular wiki-projects smaller. But if the language versions of wiki projects wouldn't be supported, millions and millions of people would have complicated access to libre knowledge. There are many nearly-monolingual people, so consulting education resources in another language would be so useful.
  • Some affiliations contribute financially to the meeting. E.g. Wikimedia Slovakia pays 2 scholarships for its attendants (although it would need only 1). I can imagine that more affiliations pay for its representatives.
Hope, that now you more understand CEE and the possibilities of the meeting :) --KuboF (talk) 17:16, 18 August 2015 (UTC)

Alleycat80, the participants will definitely not be there for 5-6 days; it's more like 3-4 for most of us. However, considering this and last year's program, perhaps a 2 day conference (with 3 nights on the place) could be considered for future editions.

I'd like to understand why you say the work done here could be done at Wikimania and/or WMCON. Could you please elaborate on your proposal a bit more?--Strainu (talk) 21:05, 23 August 2015 (UTC)

WMEE answer to Alleycat80Edit

Dear Alleycat80, thank you for reviewing the grant proposal and presenting your thoughts! Criticism on the organizational side of the event is completely understandable!

Firstly, considering the organizing process of the event and also the system PEG works in, the grant proposal should have been most certainly presented in an earlier time, to allow a more thorough discussion, as to improve the proposal and the event. Also the costs of the event could have been smaller with earlier planning. A series of unfortunate events has somewhat Estonia to organize the event in a more effective manner and also international discussions have taken some time, as we tried to get input for the conference from as many people and communities as possible.

Secondly, I understand that the proposal concentrates perhaps too much on the past of CEE Meetings and not as much on the current one. The reason for this that work on the current meeting is still being done. You can acquaint yourself with an insight to the work of programme committee below in the answer to the 3rd comment from WMF.

Thirdly, there will be a social meet-up on Thursday evening, which will hopefully be a good introduction to the main event, which will last for 3 days. 3 days are needed to share experiences and learnings of the past, but also to create new collaborations out of these. It is good to have some physical meeting time to build project teams and create connections, as it increases sustainability in implementation of new ideas.

Yes, Wikimedia CEE is a grand social event, as is any Wikimedia conference or meeting, but this is not a bad thing. Social activity is something that brings motivation and inspiration to participants and supports their high level of performance. Wikimedia CEE is an active community, which works on common projects and tries to scale up success stories from the region and an annual meeting is an essential part for the activity. There are CEE meet-ups on Wikimedia Conference and Wikimania, but this does not answer to the needs of this big 25+ communities collaboration. E.g. in Berlin we needed to find a quiet corner late evening in the office of Wikimedia Deutschland during the dinner snack to continue discussing important questions related to our collaboration, which is probably not the most effective way to fuel the regional collaboration.

Wikimedia CEE meeting is there to share experience and learnings, to provide support to emerging communities and user groups, but also to give life to wonderful projects that cross borders of communities and countries and also have a direct on-wiki impact. Wikimedia CEE Spring 2015 collaborative event is just an example what this regional collaboration can do and hopefully there will be more impactful projects carried through in the future.

Thank you once more for your kind attention! We will be available for further questions, comments and specifications! --Kaarel Vaidla (WM EE) (talk) 17:39, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

TimelineEdit

Dear Kaarel, first of all let me congratulate all of you for the organization of the CEE Meeting this year. I know you are working hard and great work. I would like to mention a few thinks about CEE events in global. In general a lot of grant request for CEE Events come in very short time for GAC and sometime we do not have enough time for all. Also there is a possible participants too who would like to have more time for planning. I know nobody of you want to write request in "last minute" that but it happens. I would suggest to take a few minutes of your program and share with participants experiences in organizing CEE event. I am sure it can be helpful for future events and better planning. Early submissions will save money (e.g.for plane tickets), will avoid the uncertainty and you will avoid stressful period created by time sensitive things and GAC/WMF will have more time for grant review. If you will need some help for it, please ask WMF/GAC and I am sure someone for us can help. I have one question about location. How you choose it? Would it be easier for you to organize it in the capital?--MikyM (talk) 21:08, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

Dear talk, thank you for reviewing our grant proposal and thank you for your comments! I apologize for the delay in responding to your insights and question!
Firstly, of course we understand the PEG process and are sorry that once again there is a proposal from CEE region that does not leave enough room for thorough review process on the side of WMF and Grants Advisory Committee. We understand the importance of such review process, especially its input to improving the grant proposal and event, as well as possibility to reduce event costs with early planning/booking. We are trying to have input from as wide part of the CEE region for the conference as possible, and unfortunately it takes time. We will most certainly try to improve the process in the future!
Secondly, we will take our time to share our experiences and will also provide support to future meeting organizers, as Wikimedia Ukraine has supported us this year! Also there has been a very significant input from Wikimedians of Bulgaria, as well as Wikimedia Polska, so there is already lots of communication at the moment and we will continue that during the conference, as well as after the event.
As to location, it is not necessarily easier, neither cheaper to organize it in the capital. The main idea was to have the conference in an environment, which supports active participation on sessions, as well as discussions outside the sessions. It seemed that gathering people together in the countryside of Estonia supports the effectiveness of the event. The concrete location was chosen by evaluating price and quality levels of various offers and finally Voore Guest House] seemed the most reasonable one.
We will be available for further comments and specifications! Best regards, --Kaarel Vaidla (WM EE) (talk) 17:06, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Community commentsEdit

On Alleycat80's objections: The event is planed for 3 days. I do not see 5-6 days. Organizers are paying for no more than 4 nights accommodation, most will use 3. There are goals which can not be reached in Wikimania. There are countries without a chapter and it is impossible and ridiculously expensive to get 2 people from each country to Mexico (for this year). --Papuass (talk) 08:24, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

Again on Alleycat80's objections:

  • On last year: The results of last year's CEE Meeting exceeded all expectations and led to a very well connected regional community, as well to two hugely successful outcomes - CEE Spring and 100wikidays. We will build upon them.
  • On frugality: The event is planned for Friday to Sunday (11.-13. September) which is three days. The budget is tightly balanced - sleeping in a room for up to five people in the Estonian province is cheap, opposing to a double room in a Hilton, which is outrageous. Donating people do not want conferences to take place in Hilton or even 4-star hotels. I, personally, liked the catering in Kyiv 2014 (including lunch in a university canteen) better than catering at WMCON15 with all its fanciness. We, in Eastern Europe, understand frugality very well, because we have lived or still live in our economic crises.
  • What exactly is bad about a big organisational committee? The Estonian board members are in the lead, of course, and there are four international helpers, who gladly invest their time in order to create the best conference possible. Two of them, Antanana and Cornelius Kibelka have experience in organising conferences recently, and Asaf is, well, Asaf. Shall we do a planning without the best, only in order to have statistically less people in the organisational committee? No.
  • The qualitative aims have been set. An excerpt with personal comments:
  • Countries without established chapters cannot learn how to improve their organisation and the activities of their communities at the worldwide conferences - especially when only one person per country is invited (like at WMCON for User Groups) or gets a scholarship (like at Wikimania, because Eastern European countries are in the Global North, and therefore it is expected that Wikimedians would pay 1300 Euro for a plane ticket, while their average monthly salary is between 150 and 800 Euro). The right forum for this is a regional conference, where people who will eventually meet as friends during the next months, can exchange ideas, and where there are as many parallel sessions, as participants, so that no community misses anything.
  • Regional cooperation can be planned at best at a regional conference - Bulgaria participated for the first time in Wiki Loves Earth this year, with huge help from our regional partners. The results were mind-blowing - over 1600 new high-quality images - as much as in Switzerland, or Morocco, or Portugal. Budget - zero, as in frugal. Would we have done it if we had not learned from and had not been helped by the best (in this case, the Ukrainians) in Kyiv and during the preparation, implementation and evaluation of the photo contest? Never!

--Lord Bumbury (talk) 11:31, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

WMF commentsEdit

Hi Kaarel, Adeliine, and everyone who has been working on this proposal and organizing the CEE meeting. Thank you for this request and engaging in the discussion so far. We appreciate all the preparatory discussions that have gone into planning the meeting and starting to develop the program. We're happy to see that CEE 2014 was instrumental in launching a couple of great projects over the last year, including CEE Spring and energizing the community around #100Wikidays. There has been a considerable increase in communication and networking within the region and we hope to support this in the future.

We realize that WMEE has had unique organizational challenges leading up to the meeting and that happens, but we do want to point out that the CEE proposal is again coming in too late. It does not give WMF or the GAC enough time to adequately review the proposal. More importantly, it does not give potential participants enough time for discussion and preparation beforehand to make sure time in-person is spent as effectively as possible. Next time, we will not accept a proposal this late and we plan to work with the community/grant seekers on establishing a better timeline. We also hope to develop even more specific guidelines than those outlined in the conference program resources in regards to planning and timing, as well as provide more hands-on support with facilitating the planning process. After the meeting, it would be great to hear from your team and past organizing teams on how we can support you better.

Please see our additional comments and questions on the request below:

1. Please confirm that you will be covering up to 4 nights hotel stay.

There is no strict rule about covering up to 4 nights hotel stay. There are 2 main principles regarding the accommodation on the meeting:
a) We would like people to participate in an active way and therefore we would like to create them possibilities to stay in Estonia 1 night before and 1 night after the event. For this reason we would like to pay for the stay in hotels for Thursday and Sunday. The stay on the venue for Friday and Saturday night is guaranteed for all the participants with a rather good price. In general we would be happy to pay for accommodation for 4 nights for participants.
b) The organizing team of the event tries to keep the costs of the event as low as possible. As the flight rates for Sunday evening and Monday morning are usually quite high and may also vary during the week, it may be in some cases reasonable to opt for 1 more night of stay in Estonia (if it will be possible for the participant). In this case only the cost of the hotel stay will be covered and this option will only be used if the total of plane ticket and night in hotel will be cheaper than taking the plane on a more expensive day.
Thank you for the question, we will be available for further specifications! --Kaarel Vaidla (WM EE) (talk) 16:02, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

2. Scholarships should be available for up to 2 people per country. Looking at the Google spreadsheet provided, this should be around 20-25 people since Estonia, Austria, Serbia, Armenia, Macedonia, Poland, and Ukraine (?), already have funds for participating in CEE. This does not match the proposed budget, which accounts for 50 people who need travel and accommodation funds.

The budget of the grant proposal was created in a way that it would not be augmented during the process of aligning the budget to actual costs. As we did not have any confirmation from participants about their possible needs, the number 50 was added to composed draft as to equal with the number of expected international guests.
Official registration form was opened on the 3rd of August and during 3 weeks we have been provided with following data:
Number of registered participants per country:
Country Participants Scolarships Comment
Albania 2 2 Including Kosovo
Armenia 3 1 2 participants of Wikimedia Armenia will be funded from APG. As a big chapter in the region, Wikimedia Armenia has requested for a scolarship for its 3rd participant.
Austria 2 0 APG funded chapter that will participate with its own funds
Azerbaijan 2 2
Belarus 2 2
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1 1
Bulgaria 3 3 2 scholarships per user group + external expert Dimi_z from FKAEU group
Czech Republic 2 0
Estonia 6 0 This includes board members and employees.1
Finland 1 1 An observer of the neighboring country with relatively low travelling costs and possible high impact in Nordic collaboration (WMF will pay for travel)
Georgia 2 2
Germany 1 0 Program and Engagement Coordinator for Wikimedia Conference
Greece 2 2
Hungary 2 1 Wikimédia Magyarország will pay for one of its participants and other has applied for scholarship
Kazakhstan 1 1
Latvia 2 2
Lithuania 1 1
Macedonia 1 1 Macedonia does not have funds for participating in CEE meeting this year, because the annual grant has not been yet submitted.
Poland 6 0 Chapter with local sustainable sources of funding
Romania 1 1
Russia 3 2 One participant is funded by himself.
Serbia 2 0 APG funded chapter that will participate with its own funds
Slovakia 3 1 Slovakia will provide funding for 2 participants. Scholarship is asked for a representative of Esperanto kaj Libera Scio user group, which is rather active in the region.
Sweden 1 0 APG funded chapter that will participate with its own funds, An observer of the neighboring country with relatively low travelling costs and possible high impact in Nordic collaboration
Turkey 2 2
Ukraine 5 2 Wikimedia Ukraine will fund participation of one of their members. As a big chapter in the region, Wikimedia Ukraine has requested for 2 scolarships from WMF and 1 from Wikimedia Polska.
Wikimedia Foundation 4 0 Funding for participation of Wikimedia Foundation will not be presented as part of scolarships.
Volunteers 10 0
TOTAL 72 30
1There is special category for conference volunteers who need accomodation and meals during the conference. Adeliine (talk) 16:42, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

3. Last year, we pushed the organizing team to develop the program ahead of time so participants could be well-prepared. We agreed each submission should include clear questions to cover, specific expected outcomes, a clear format, roles, and audience, and a plan for follow-up. We do see efforts to develop the program, but this has been slow to take shape. However, we do realize the challenges in this model. Specifically, participants need to know if they are attending before they will submit session ideas and the program cannot speak to the needs of the participants without knowing who the participants are. As mentioned above, we hope to work more closely with the next meeting's organizing team to create a step-by-step plan so the program planning can go more smoothly. On last year's tight timeline, the organizers worked to create a firmer selection of talks and speakers after the grant was approved. Hopefully this team can do the same.

On behalf of Spiritia:
This year, in the end of May a Meta page with ‘Questions & Needs” was created (https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_CEE_Meeting_2015/Questions%26Needs), where country representatives were invited to add their local communities’ Strengths, Weaknesses, Questions and Needs, as well as short proposals with their Inputs to the conference, belonging but not restricted to the following three suggested categories: “Valuable learnings”, “Tools” and “Low-cost projects”. Of all listed countries, 22 (20 countries, 2 other thematic groups) provided feedback, filling in at least one of the slots, and 8 did not respond. Of the 20 countries that provided any feedback, 17 have provided particular Inputs to the conference. These tangible inputs, proposed by people who have already proven their capacity to contribute with their local experience and inspire the CEE community, have made the process of designing the meeting programme a much more realistic task.
Initially, the records were grouped in the most natural way, per thematic direction. On the first iteration, 14 thematic directions were proposed by one member of the programme committee, and – independently – another member of the committee had proposed own list of 13 thematic directions, with a very slight variation from the first one. On the second iteration, the final list of thematic directions was agreed upon, based on both the quantitative and qualitative criteria - number of countries that would benefit from a topic, number of country representatives that would be able to contribute to a topic, relevance of a topic, as compared to the programmes of last year CEE Meetup in Kiev, and this year’s conferences WIKICON in Berlin and Wikimania in Mexico City.
Furthermore, the leading principle in designing the programme was to help matching providers and seekers of local experience, knowledge and technical skills. For this purpose, a careful analysis was made of all countries’ feedback, and the different input items in each thematic direction were grouped in two groups:
  • records of strength or inputs to the programme (valuable learnings, tools, low-cost projects) classified a country as a provider of experience,
  • while records of weaknesses, questions or needs classified a country as a seeker / beneficiary of experience.
The table (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1aJ4YksVhq9sHvbK4EaDzbyJ1clHwXf4_Gi2x1Ik8Etg/edit#gid=0) which matches providers and beneficiaries was placed for discussion both on the meta talk page, and the facebook group of WCEE.
On the programme talk page, there came a kind proposal from Jamie Anstee from the Learning & Evaluation team from the WMF to deliver four workshops. The proposal was taken into consideration, and the final version of the programme was designed in a way to include all of them, in their maximal proposed durations. Moreover, these four slots in the programme have the features of plenary sessions, with all participants gathering in the same room in order to boost the effect and ensure that all country representatives will learn about the proposed good practices and program toolkits, and will be able to adapt and adopt them for the benefit of their local communities. Placing these four workshops between other panel sessions, featuring one-to-many lectures, will additionally serve as attractive “breaks” making the programme more diverse and easy to follow during the day.
This said, building upon previous experience from other wiki-related and other events, a long list of considerations (guiding principles) for designing the programme were initially formulated on the meta talk page (https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikimedia_CEE_Meeting_2015/Programme#Suggestion_for_guiding_principles_in_designing_the_programme) and discussed among programme committee members and other volunteers. This list of considerations concerned the general timeframe of the programme, duration of sessions and coffee breaks / meals, evening sessions, and the diversification of the activities during the conference in order to keep participants’ attention during the whole meeting. Most notably, among these principles were:
  • To avoid more than 2 parallel topics, given the regional scope of the conference and the fact that no more than 2 people per country will be funded (and thus avoid unnecessary frustration).
  • To avoid overlapping of sessions with identical profile of the audiences.
  • To ensure that linked panel sessions will follow in a consequence in the same premise, in order to have the least possible relocation of audience.
  • To avoid monotony by alternating the types of activities throughout the day. Thus, panel sessions with lectures alternate with WMF workshops, and evening sessions are more relaxed, aimed at open discussions and sharing (Lightning Talks on Day 1, and Fail Fest on Day 2).
The first iteration of the general framework of the programme was offered on 13 August for discussion, and after collecting several critical remarks, further considerations and arguments for extending some of the sessions and adding new ones, a second iteration of the programme was proposed on 14 August. After few cosmetic changes this version was agreed upon, and officially announced in the WCEE mailing list, meta page and facebook group. In this form of the programme we had provided workload of 22 astronomic hours, or, if taking into consideration the total duration of all parallel sessions, 9 hours of plenary sessions and 26 hours of parallel sessions.
Finally, once the general framework of the programme has been set up, the programme was open for submissions of presentations, talks, workshops, etc. which fit in the generally formulated thematic directions (panel session slots). Country representatives were asked (including invitations in person) to give their initial one-sentence inputs a more detailed shape of a meeting submission. The submission template includes:
  • Name(s) and/or username(s)
  • Type of submission
  • Lecture (one-to-many)
  • Problem solving (work in groups)
  • Open discussion (many-to-many)
  • Summary (100-300 words)
  • Preliminary preparation (if necessary) (list of examples in comment)
  • Expected outcomes (list of examples in comment)
  • Duration (without Q&A)
  • Specific requirements (list of examples in comment)
  • Slides or further information
  • Interested attendees
As of 24 August 19 submissions have been delivered by representatives from Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Latvia, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia.
More promised submissions, at least from Austria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Ukraine, are expected to come by the deadline, 26 August.
Selection and arrangements of these presentations/talks/workshops within the general framework of the programme, will again be made after discussions, argumentation and search for the widest possible consensus within the programme committee. Small changes in the programme framework are possible after all submissions have been made and reviewed. --Lord Bumbury (talk) 16:49, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

4. We are also curious to know how this year's team is addressing (or plan to address) some of the challenges listed in last year's report. Specifically, around session preparation (by both speakers and attendees) and outcomes.

What did not work for CEEM 2014 (just to remind):
  1. A few sessions were poorly structured or organised and did not have concrete outcomes.
    This year we have started with creating a strong international Programme committee, and we have discussed the matter of them actually helping the participants (both speakers and attendees) by coaching them. As you can see from the our submission template, a speaker is to think about the expected outcomes at the very beginning, and formulate them in advance. We believe that it can help.
  2. A few sessions did not have enough speakers.
    We are doing our best to plan the programme in such a way, that this problem will not occur at all. The panel sessions which form the general framework of the programme were outlined relatively early and strictly with respect to the recorded strengths, weaknesses, questions and needs, and the input to the conference, as declared by the country representatives. This said, we have tried to match Countries-Providers of experience (strengths, inputs) with Countries-Beneficiaries, which have declared the respective topic as a weakness, need, or relevant question of theirs.
    We can especially comment on the following scenarios for the sessions, depending on the actual number of submissions for talks or presentations in them:
    • There are some panel sessions, like the “Low-cost projects”, “Photo contests” or “Organization of wiki meetups, wiki conferences, wiki camps”, where many speakers are expected. Thus, such sessions will be specifically aimed at sharing diverse local experience in the format of one-to-many lectures.
    • There are some panel sessions, like “Educational programme” or “Tools” where some of the submissions are in the format of one-to-many lecture and others require work in groups. Hence, even smaller number of speakers in such sessions will not be a problem, as the attendants will spend certain time getting and practicing some personal hands-on experience.
    • Finally, there are also panel sessions, like “Bridging the gender gap”, where we anticipate to have very few speakers for one-to-many lectures, but we expect to conduct a well facilitated free discussion and brainstorming, as the session addresses a widely spread, yet generally unsolved and discussible problem.
  3. Some people attended sessions they were neither prepared to nor interested in
    This matter was discussed at Wikimania 2015 CEE Meetup. We believe that not only speakers should be ready for discussions but also attendees. They should know what the sessions will be about and have questions, ideas, etc. For this reason, in the submission forms there are two envisaged ways of interaction between speakers and listeners:
    • Speakers are asked to describe the audience’s preliminary preparation, if needed, e.g. materials for reading in advance, tools for installing and testing, etc.
    • Interested attendants are requested not only to list themselves in the provided final slot of the submission (an idea learned from the Wikimania submission forms), but moreover to indicate if they have any questions to the presenter.
  4. Low participation rate in the survey (33%), probably due to the launch in the middle of Christmas holidays
    We won’t have this problem this year, as the event is in September. And we are going to have the survey launched during the first 24 hours after the event ends, which will be guaranteed by Lord Bumbury.
    We will make heavy use of Etherpad, and this will serve not only as a note-taking instrument, but also a form of real-time feedback from country representatives to their local communities, and to the conference organizers and WMF. The CEE community has already gained experience from the Kiev’2014 CEE Meeting, when Etherpad was promoted and used with enormous pleasure (e.g. on the closing brainstorming session about the “Future of CEE”, the Etherpad protocol has been developed by 16 people in the room! https://etherpad.wikimedia.org/p/ceem14-future/timeslider#4167)
    This said, there was a proposal for "TakeAway" at the end of each session, as an alternative (auxiliary) form of collecting feedback from the participants, and generating tangible outcome of the conference. This was suggested to happen in the following format (if time allows): In a 1.5-hour session, 1 hour goes for presentations and Q&A, and half an hour goes for the listeners’ personal reflection on what has been just heard and systematization of the lessons learned. This reflection is usually supposed to happen after the end of a conference, but we can experiment to perform it in real time, in situ. Participants will be asked to note how would they make use of others' experience, adapt others' solutions to their our own community’s problems. The "TakeAway" can take the form of a shared document on Etherpad, where everybody can take their own notes, and simultaneously keep track of what other people in the room share as takeaways. Spiritia and アンタナナ 17:03, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

We look forward to hearing your responses on the above. Thanks, Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 22:13, 18 August 2015 (UTC)

Although is has not been asked which means of transport are reasonable and will be covered, we answer it:
  • For most participants we will buy the cheapest possible plane tickets for reasonable flights. We define reasonable flights as flights, which do not include overnight stay at a stopover airport, and which have at most one stopover, if possible.
  • Since flight prices are very volatile we can only guarantee that at the time of booking, the price was the cheapest one.
  • For some participants it is reasonable to arrive by train, e.g. from Riga or St. Petersburg. Then bus or train tickets for second class will be reimbursed. --Lord Bumbury (talk) 16:49, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Ping Alex Wang (WMF) :).

Hi All. Thank you for all the detailed responses. They are very appreciated. We understand the steps you've taken and are taking to build an effective program, engage participants before the event, and make follow-up on outcomes as successful as possible. Our last request is to update the budget based on the numbers that Adeliine posted in the above chart. In terms of scholarships, they look fine except that Armenia should fund all their participants from their APG and not receive additional WMF funds. So that means the number of scholarships is 29 and total participants remains 72. Please update the budget accordingly and then we will be ready to move forward. Thanks, Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 21:19, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Dear Alex Wang (WMF), we thank you for reviewing our comments and specifications in such a rapid manner! This is highly appreciated and extremely helpful! I announce hereby that respective changes have been made to the project budget! As always, we will be available for further specifications! Best regards, --Kaarel Vaidla (WM EE) (talk) 17:38, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
Hi Kaarel Vaidla (WM EE). Thank you for the quick response on these last comments. I have made a couple of calculation corrections on the budget and we are ready to move forward with approval. Before we do, we still need the two draft PEG reports from WMEE as agreed upon. Please send us an update and let us know if we can support your more with submitting them. Thanks, Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 19:03, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

Grant approvedEdit

Thanks to everyone from the CEE community that has participated in this grant request. It was obviously a group effort and very appreciated. The grant is approved. Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 23:54, 2 September 2015 (UTC)

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