Hi, Doctor 17, congratulations on submitting your first rapid grant application! We have received a high volume of applications, which is delaying our review time. We will review yours as soon as possible. Please be sure to watch this for comments and questions. If you have any questions about the grantmaking process, let us know. We're here to help you with a successful grant! Best regards, LSmith (WMF) (talk) 07:53, 20 November 2018 (UTC)
- Hi, I spoke yesterday with the Executive Director of the Bhutan Media Foundation and he has identified the 8 people he would invite to this workshop and they include an equal gender mix as well as a few people who are bilingual in Dzongkha and English. This is very good news! He has advised me however, that he needs confirmation from me about the event asap to be able to lodge the necessary paperwork for me to be given a visa otherwise it will not be possible. Bhutan is very strict about allowing foreigners into the country for anything other than tourism and the process involves three different government ministries - Ministry of Immigration, Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Information and Communication. The Bhutan Media Foundation is excited about the possibilities that Wikipedia offers Bhutanese culture and enthusiastic for this workshop to proceed. They see it as the beginning of a long-term engagement that will benefit their country. I hope my application will be favourably considered. best wishes Doctor 17 (talk) 03:12, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
Hi Doctor 17. Thank you for this proposal and your interest in supporting a Bhutanese editing community. It sounds like you have a great partner in the Bhutan Media Foundation who have recruited a diverse mix of participants with skills that will support their engaging in the Wikimedia projects. However, we do have a couple of questions about the project and look forward to your response.
In our experience, it is very difficult to create an active editing community if there are not at least 1-2 local experienced Wikimedians in existence already. Without that local knowledge and support, once this one project is over it is very difficult to maintain continuity in terms of offline activities and mentorship. While Satdeep is a very experienced trainer and no doubt would provide a lot of great support during the event, it is most important to have local support. Of course, this is a chicken and egg dilemma! What we would be more interested in supporting is more of a train-the-trainers project, perhaps for interested staff of the Bhutan Media Foundation. If it is possible to arrange an online training program for them over series of weeks or months then they would have the skills to train other local editors and we would be happy to support those local events. Otherwise, we've seen great one-off training sessions that do not lead to any longer-term engagement with the new editors.
- Hi Alex Wang (WMF). Thank you for your response. This event is intended to be part workshop/part training, with the intention being to familiarise a key group in the community as a first step towards creating an editing culture. At present Bhutan has a Dzongkha edition with 222 pages which is nonactive, and they dont themselves publish on the English site. This workshop/training day is intended as a first step towards familiarisation. The group was chosen by the Bhutan Media Foundation as being the most appropriate people for this task. It is also intended as a way for me to demonstrate to the Bhutan Media Foundation the benefits Wikipedia could offer their culture. This is a first step towards developing an MOU with BMF for a longer term project, for which I am seeking funding from the Australian government, which would work to create "editing circles" across key sectors of the community for long term sustainability. It would seem your concern is that this would be a one-off with little followup, which is not the case. This is the necessary first step towards building editing communities and to creating a longterm partnership with BMF. I would be very happy to speak with you by skype asap. kind regards Doctor 17 (talk) 20:47, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
- If I may add a comment here... There seems to be a difference of expectation about what the grant is proposing to do. As the 'Impact' section of the proposal states - this is a 'pilot' to 'introduce', it does not expect to 'create an active editing community' in-and-of itself. Certainly I agree with you Alex that in nearly all circumstances the presence of the existing local community emotionally/programatically/organisationally invested in any project being initiated by a non-local or subject-expert is absolutely crucial. I have been critical of several outreach projects in the past which have ridden roughshod over any local community by simply ignoring their existence in the preparation phase, but expecting them to pick up the pieces afterwards (longer term support of those trained, fallout on-wiki with any suboptimal new page creations, IP blocks etc.). Bhutan, however, is a very special case... As a country that is highly insular and society that, with good intentions, is very cautiously and deliberately opening its culture and society up to the wider world. This is famously the only country without traffic lights (see w:Thimphu#Roads) - having installed them but later removed them after public objection to their being impersonal. The country's first internet cafe was introduced in 2000. This is a culture that is very cautions about external influences that would dilute its fragile culture - wedged in valleys between china and india. And so, in this context, I think an abundance of caution about slow, steady, based-on-personal-connection-and-trust outreach is important. Far more so than usual. Wikimedia cannot afford to be seen as rushing in and doing a hard-sell about 'free culture' and western concepts of Public Domain and Reliable Sources. We should not set our expectations too high for this - a self-sustaining community will not emerge from this grant, nor does this proposal promise such a thing. Moreover - and here's the real key - the specific attendees, the focus/scope of training, and the method/format of training must be chosen by the local group - in this case the BMF. It may be viable to suggest to them some train-the-trainer or online-training series (as suggested above) but if that's not what they want then structuring the grant around that methodology (because we do that in other countries) will not only be ineffective but would as actively harmful (IMHO) as it would seem to be us forcing our structures upon them. With respect, Wittylama (talk) 09:13, 9 December 2018 (UTC)
Hello Doctor 17, thank you for clarifying this project as a pilot to a larger program you're hoping to develop with BMF. I am approving your grant request and I look forward to learning the results of your pilot in Bhutan. Best regards, WJifar (WMF) (talk) 13:37, 10 December 2018 (UTC)
I just saw this facebook post from the Bhutan Media Foundation about the training event - thought I should post it here for documentation purposes. Wittylama (talk) 12:00, 24 January 2019 (UTC)