Grants talk:PEG/Wikimedia Levant/WikiArabia 2016 Conference

Active discussions

GAC members who support this requestEdit

GAC members who support this request with adjustmentsEdit

  • ...

GAC members who oppose this requestEdit

GAC members who abstain from voting/commentEdit

  1. --DerekvG (talk) 21:58, 10 December 2015 (UTC) for potential COI but i do support this event

GAC commentsEdit

Thanks for the submission. This is really a great conference with high potential of mutual cooperation among the communities in the Arab world. My questions, however, regarding this request are the following:

  1. Can you please give us more information about the WikiArabia 2015 Conference? I have seen the pages for it but was not able to find any report documenting the programme of the event.
>>> WikiArabia 2015 was the first conference held for participants of Arabic Wikipedian/wikimedians. It was held in Tunisia with about 50 participants. I can say that the most valuable outcome was establishing and approving 3 new user groups after the conference among others. Please find herein the link of the report:

  1. What are the countries included in the regional cooperation of the Arab-speaking countries? Can you make a comparison with Iberocoop and Wikimedia CEE? What are the countries that will be invited to send participants in the conference?
>>> Arab word consists of 22 countries, with Arabic is the official language. Among these, there are active wikipendians/wikimedians in no less than 12 countries. Many Arab participate from Europe, Canada, Asia, etc. We'll take into consideration inviting participants from the different Arab regions based on registration and other selection criteria.

  1. How many participants per country will be invited? How the participants per each country will be selected? Do you plan to create a committee that will select the participants or let the communities in the participating countries decide? In case of the latter, how are the communities going to decide considering that the Arabian Wikipedia is home wiki to most community members in the region?
>>> Yes, we have established a committee for the selections. We'll directly invite some participants to represent Arab User Groups, Education Program, Levant Countries, wikipedians with technical knowledge. Others will be selected based on registration. Selection criteria will mainly include:
  • How valuable and effective the suggested presentation/training/workshop are.
  • How active the participant is in Wikipedia and effect on the Arab community.
  • Geographical coverage
  1. What do the travel agency expenses include? Is it a fee that the travel agency will charge per person? How many offers from different travel agencies were taken into consideration? Is it possible to see a detailed budget for travel costs? I think there might be a possibility to reduce these expenses and I may check for some better offers in order to help you. Also, the total amount of 28,208 USD requested for travel costs and visas coincides with that for international travel costs. Does this mean that includes the amount of 2,285.70 USD for the travel agency?
>>> I was hoping that the traveling team in WMF can handle the traveling reservations, but then I was told it's not possible because there are other arrangements. So we added an amount for the agency. For now, I got one offer, but we can try others. The total amount also includes the tickets pricing based on guesses (we still didn't finalize the participants lists). So it's a rough estimate.

Any help would be appreciated.

  1. What do the management expenses include and how did you project this amount?
  1. How did you project the emergency expenses?
Based on Derek's advice, this was changed that to "Budget contingency". So this is might be needed for any unexpected expenses, such as paying for unplanned Visas, taxes, variations in the different expenses, like raises in ticket's prices, need to equipment such as a camera, etc.

Best regards.--Kiril Simeonovski (talk) 12:33, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

Salam Oualaikom friends of arabophone Wikiworld.
There is a lot to do in the Levant, and i'm glad you decided to organize this conference to promote Arabic Wiki.

Fit with strategy
  • you write that " 1. Improving editor diversity by encouraging new editors from target groups (e.g. women, students)" is an objective of your conference, although commendable new editors will not show up at the conference, as a matter of fact the objective isn't an objective actually, but you DO want to "Collect ideas and suggestions for the affiliates to improve editor and off wiki volunteer diversity, to encourage current contributors to welcome, train and mentor new editors and to recruit volunteers and contributors from target groups like women, students, scholars and non-digital natives (older people)."

:: >>> True. We will invite students from Jordanian universities to attend, who in tern will communicate the experience to their colleagues. As a success factor, we may monitor what they do then.

  • items 2 and 5 are actually unfinished phrases, you started well but itś kind of an anti climax , so please complete those sentences

:: >>> Fixed.

  • As a matter of fact 1/2 of your budget is travel expenses, which might be covered by WMF directly I would suggest that WMF and the organising committee get around the table perhaps with Jordanian about these travel arrangements and get this out of the budget.

:: >>> I really wish get get help in that. Kacie already informed me the traveling team is busy with other arrangements and hence I contacted an agency at the last moment. So traveling expenses are a bit rough.

  • I changed the wording of the item "emergency expenses" , to "budget contingency" perhaps that answers Kirilś last question, as for the amount of this item it's 10% of the budget (without travel expenses) seems to me like an acceptable contingency for such an organisation. Make sure you don underestimate the expenses that you put in the budget, you only have a 10% margin .

:: >>> Thanks for considering fixing this. --DerekvG (talk) 21:57, 10 December 2015 (UTC)

@DerekvG and Kiril Simeonovski:: Dears, please consider my replies to your questions. Thanks. --Mervat Salman (talk) 11:30, 12 December 2015 (UTC)

Comment of IlarioEdit

Hi, my concern is connected with the question that I don't see a clear commitment to assure that the best offer has been selected. In general I am not so much strict, but in this case the amount request is really high.

I worked several years for an airline company and I can assure that an airline company can give a large discount (in some cases 10%) in addition to some advantageous conditions (like the possibility to re-book or to change the passenger), if an event can assure a minimum number of bookings. I can understand that for larger conferences it would be difficult to have a single airline, but this is a regional one and this possibility is concrete. I would see below how many airline companies you have contacted to have an offer. WikiArabia is not an extraordinary event but it's recurrent, please sum how much money you save with an agreement like this each year. The organization of an event means also good management of the budget and the project manager should assure to have requested several offers to display that it has been selected the best one. My vote will be negative without a clear commitment that this request is done because at the moment the event costs much more than similar events in other regions and a discount of 10% means a considerable cost saving. I know that it would easily that anyone organizes his own trip, but honestly this solution is very expensive, the best would be to release tickets by the organization team in agreement with one or two airlines companies. --Ilario (talk) 18:11, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

@Ilario:: Thanks Ilario for your comment. I really understand your concern. My preference was to have the organization team do the flights reservations for us, at least I wouldn't have to worry about the payments, but I was informed that they are busy coordinating for other events, so we have to do it ourselves. Until now, I can say the amount is roughly estimated, but as we are finlizing the list of participants, We'll have a better number.

--Mervat Salman (talk) 07:26, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

Community commentsEdit


أقترح إضافة جميع المشاريع والنجاحات التي أنجزت بعد مؤتمر ويكيعربية 2015 --Touzrimounir (talk) 21:30, 30 November 2015 (UTC)

WMF commentsEdit

Hi Mervat Salman, thank you for all of the time and energy you have put into writing this request, answering questions, and planning the WikiArabia 2016 conference. We heard excellent feedback about the conference from attendees last year, and in the report we learned how valuable the event was for the Arabic Wikimedia community. It is wonderful to see how your organizing team used surveys to gather feedback from participants last year, and to develop your program for this year. Below are some notes from a phone call we had a few weeks ago, and comments and questions about some parts of this request.


From our phone call and your request, we understand that the conference has the following goals:

  1. Admin policy review and discussion
  2. Share program ideas, so that programs get replicated elsewhere
  3. Capacity building for program planning, grants, evaluation etc
  4. Improve technical capacities, increase Arabic participation in WikiData, Wiki Source and use of bots
  5. Increase Arabic community engagement with global communities

Would you say that this is an accurate reflection of your current goals for the conference? What are the top three goals?

>>> True. these items summarize the goals. Yet, the top are Improving technical capacities, capacity building, and Community engagement with global communities.
  • Please clarify how many local students will be attending the conference, and how you will select these students? Do you think that there will be a sufficient number of sessions that they will find useful?
  • During our phone call, we discussed limiting participation to experienced Wikimedians. You may consider planning the sessions that are most useful for students/new editors and potential partners during one half-day of the conference, and only invite them for that portion of the conference. This will allow you to limit costs while still using the event for local outreach.
>>> No less than 15 students, and will be selected by their teachers who currently run some initiatives in the Jordanian universities.
Noting here that there has been discussion about inviting a select number of active students from the Egyptian Education Program, one or two from Birzeit University's initial pilot program in neighboring Palestine, and several local students from Jordan. Jordan has a small network of universities and schools associated with the Jordanian Education Program, and there is also the Bel Arabi initiative at the University of Jordan, so socializing the opportunity should be easy. In sum, selecting a group of active and engaged students should be quite straightforward, as far as I understand it. Tighe Flanagan (WMF) (talk) 15:49, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Measures of success

We want to see what kind of effect this conference will have on participants, their user groups, and in the wider Arabic Wikimedia community. In your measures of success section, it is clear that you have plans for how you will evaluate many different parts of the conference. It would be helpful to make estimates of what success in the following areas will look like:

  • We understand that you want to see an increase in bots created or number of people creating bots, or an increase in the number of people contributing to WikiSource or Wikidata. How many people are currently doing these things, and how many do you hope do this after the conference?
>>> Very few. with the increment of editors, it's important to establish a good base of users who are familiar with other projects such as Wikidata. Many editors even don't know what these are. Considering lectures about Wikidata and WikiSource will open eyes on other areas to work with.
@KHarold (WMF): are you looking for more specific estimates here? @Mervat Salman: Maybe we could put together some estimated numbers even if we don't have exact ones readily available? Tighe Flanagan (WMF) (talk) 15:49, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Do you hope to see an increase in number of user groups and individuals applying for grants as a result of the event? If so, how many user groups/individuals have applied for grants in the past, and how many do you hope will apply for grants after the conference?
>>> Absolutely. It would be great if more user groups are established. Moreover, as representatives of each Arab User Group will attend (and will attend other international events as well), this will shed some light on the importance of organized work internally and externally through the user groups and will increase engagement of wikipedians with the other communities.
@KHarold (WMF): Would a list of regional user groups and their grant history be useful? Would a list of places that are not covered by user groups also be useful? Just trying to flesh this out a bit more. Tighe Flanagan (WMF) (talk) 15:49, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
  • What kind of evidence will you look for to know whether participants either improved outcomes in existing programs, or began new programs as a result of the conference?
>>> We'll schedule follow ups with some participants to check how they better enhanced and started their programs. Such details will be reported to you as well.
Perhaps a list like the one mentioned in the above comment could be used as a rubric to track progress? Tighe Flanagan (WMF) (talk) 15:49, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Has your community identified policies or issues that will be discussed during the admin meetup session? When and how will you determine if the admin meetup was successful?

We understand that might be difficult to get some of this information now - you might consider sending out a survey to confirmed participants before the conference to collect some of this information. Another option might be to ask your community to help answer these questions by posting them on a village pump.

>>> Yes, a survey about this item specifically would be good. However, I am discussing this with at least 10 admins who will be attending, and the most policy to consider is notability.
If any discussion has happened in public forums (on-wiki or public Facebook groups, for example), you could link to the discussion as a citation? Tighe Flanagan (WMF) (talk) 15:49, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Workshop planning
  • From the survey last year, we understand that people are really asking for more hands-on workshops and trainings instead of lecture-type presentations. It sounds like you have incorporated this into your plans so far.
  • I understand that you are working with Maria and Tighe to identify global community members who can be invited to lead sessions on both technical and program focused topics. I have some suggestions to add to the list. We can finalize this list in January. It is a good idea to invite speakers who could lead sessions on more than one topic so that more of the travel budget can be used by Arabic Wikimedia community members.
  • In our comments on the WikiArabia 2015 report we suggested that organizers create a plan to document the action items at the end of each session and identify volunteers who will be responsible for following up on those action items. This was a strategy that WMDE tried this year in the facilitation of WMCON2015 that they have found was useful for making sure good ideas from the conference led to action.
  • It is wonderful to see that you have used surveys to find out what kinds of sessions people are most interested in at WikiArabia 2016. Once you have determined who the speakers will be, it will be important for them to focus on planning sessions and reviewing presentations before the event. We suggest that you set a deadline for presentations at least one week before the event, and consider asking presenters to create a one-page (or less) summary with the most important details that participants should focus on after the event.
  • One way that workshop participants can engage with the global community is to file Phabricator requests for other volunteers to work on at the Wikimedia Hackathon, which will take place the weekend after WikiArabia.

We hope that these comments and questions are helpful for you to continue to develop this proposal and your plans for the conference. We can discuss these comments and answer any questions you might have during the first week of January. So far, we are pleased to see how the plans for WikiArabia 2016 have developed and we look forward to working with you to choose speakers and refine the program agenda. Cheers, --KHarold (WMF) (talk) 23:24, 22 December 2015 (UTC)

I added a few follow up thoughts that might be helpful. I would love to help move this forward, please ping me if I can be of use! As I understand things (correct me if I'm wrong), quantifying some of these goals with numerical estimates would help make them clearer, and will be useful in seeing how the goals are met in the evaluation and reporting phase. Tighe Flanagan (WMF) (talk) 15:49, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

Funding decisionEdit

Hi Mervat, thank you for your patience and diligence in preparing this request and in planning WikiArabia 2016. It is wonderful that you and other volunteers have used surveys to identify conference topics, and have applied lessons learned from last year to improve the planning of sessions. We will continue to work with you to identify members of WMF and the global community who can lead technical and program planning workshops. We are pleased to support this request with $54,450 in funding and look forward to learning about how the conference helps the Arabic Wikimedian community meet its goals. Cheers, --KHarold (WMF) (talk) 19:17, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

@KHarold: Thank you for your cooperation. --Mervat Salman (talk) 20:59, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

Data for measures of successEdit

Country Education Programs in 2015 New Education Programs
Egypt 2
Jordan 2
Algeria 2
Saudi Arabia 1
Palestine 2

students/programs tracked through the education extension

Above all I want to congratulate holding wikiarabia for this year 2016; the trust given to the team of wm Levant UG by WMF
@KHarold (WMF): I have a question while reading this table

how did you deduce that there are two education programm in Algeria? --Mohammed Bachounda (talk) 15:07, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

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