Grants talk:Project/Rapid/Jacob Lawrence Gallery/Art+Feminism Edit-a-Thon (Seattle, 2017)

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Answering Alex Wang (WMF)'s questions:

  1. It looks like you organized a similar event in March at the University of Washington. It would be great to hear your reflections on how that event went. Are there any learnings from that experience that will influence how you organize this next editathon?
  • The edit-a-thon held at UW in March was the first event I organized. It was a great to learn about event planning through a feminist lens. That know-how is definitely influencing how we organize this edit-a-thon: from providing childcare, to having computers available for those that do not have access to laptops, to having food that accommodates different dietary restrictions, to supporting local businesses... the list goes on. Having it on campus meant most of our attendees (but not all) were from the UW community, so this time even though we are still hosting it in the University, we want to reach a wider net, engaging artist, librarian and general public that are not affiliated with the university in any way. The first event anticipated that not everyone would be affiliated to the university, so we created a resources page of databases and research materials that didnt not require a UW id to access. The first event also didn't take into consideration the academic calendar - it happened the week before finals, which might have influenced the lack of undergraduate students present. Partnerships and collaborations were crucial to its success, and we're hoping those bonds will continue through this one. Some of those partnerships include support from Art+Feminism, the lists created by the Women in Red project, and institutional help like the Research Commons who allowed us to use their space and the art librarian who compiled an amazing list of books that we had available for reference and research on the day of the event. One thing that we want to do differently is have one or two guest speakers up front to talk about Wikipedia as activism, and representation of queer and women artists of color on the internet - not having one central speaker for people to focus on meant that people were a bit confused and scattered on where to start, and I had to sit with them individually to show the basics of Wikipedia editing, how to use the Outreach Dashboard, what to edit, etc. For the first event, we really wanted to engage editors that were not going to be able to physically attend the event, but were unable to get IT support for live streaming/chat/etc - hopefully we can do it this time.
  1. It's great that you will be holding a pre-event workshop for folks to learn editing skills before the editathon and we are curious to know what kind of engagement you receive.
  • I tried hosting a pre-event workshop for the previous edit-a-thon but no one showed up. Conversely, the pre-event workshop hosted by Shameran81 for the Black History Month Edit-a-Thon they hosted was extremely well attended. In my view, the pre-event workshop serves as a way to engage people who may not be able to attend the "big" edit-a-thon, as well as those who already want to get a head start on editing. It would consist on a brief history of Wikipedia, it's 5 pillars, guidelines for writing biographies of living people and basics of editing, as well as some library instruction on finding good, verifiable resources.
  1. You say in the proposal that depending on the level of interest and attendance you hope to do this event quarterly. While one-off editathons can be successful in terms of awareness building and also generating high quality content if there are a lot of experienced editors participating, regular events are much more successful in engaging new editors. We'd be happy to talk with you more about setting up regular events if there is interest in it.
  • That would be amazing, AWang. I'd love the help. The director of the Jacob Lawrence Gallery is really excited about having these be quarterly events - not only do edit-a-thons tie in with the Jake's overall mission, but they could be themed around specific exhibitions, bringing more people in. There are two main factors that make this not be a "done deal": one is that I'm leaving the University of Washington in June and would need to make sure that the ball would be picked up by other Wikipedia enthusiasts; another one is that I've heard from other edit-a-thon organizers that people lose interest over time when doing a series of edit-a-thons (the context here was doing edit-a-thons in Library Special Collections to engage with the collections)
  1. Offering childcare is very thoughtful and supports inclusivity. Will you be getting a sense of how many folks may need childcare before booking their services?
  • For the last event, we had an RSVP form that indicated the need for childcare for 6 kids with ages ranging from 2 to 7. Given the range in ages and amount of kids, we hired two childcare providers. In the end, we only had 2 kids show up, but thought it was a good idea to have both care providers in case more showed up "unannounced" (that is, without indicating the need in the RSVP form). Parents of two different children thanked us for proving this service, as they would be unable to attend otherwise.

Let me know if you need any further clarifications! And thank you for your consideration :) Louize5 (talk) 15:53, 14 April 2017 (UTC)

Hi Louize5. Thanks so much for the detailed responses. We really appreciate the considerations you've made in this grant based on your experience from the previous editathon. We understand that this time you would like to invite guest speakers to ground the editathon around the idea of contributing to Wikipedia as a form of activism and the importance of filling content gaps and addressing bias on the projects. While this is an excellent idea and we have seen it work very well at other editathons to increase motivation and provide focus, we unfortunately cannot pay for a speaker's time or award honorariums. We traditionally rely on volunteer speakers and want to encourage you to make the asks to see if you can find speakers that can come as a volunteer. We're happy to cover any expenses they incur in terms of transportation or food. Please let me know if this is possible. For reference, Shameran81 wrote a really great learning pattern about engaging non-Wikipedian academic experts to help address content gaps. It's not directly related to an editathon-type event, but is helpful information.
Depending on how the event goes and your and the Jake's enthusiasm for continuing to organize these events, we'd be happy to talk with you about how to design a more continuous program. Best, Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 04:44, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
Hi Alex. I understand the position on funding for guest speakers and will try to get volunteers speakers for the event. Would it still be possible to get support to help pay for refreshments and childcare? Thank you again for your time and consideration. Louize5 (talk) 07:36, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
Hi Louize5. Of course, the rest of the expenses are fine. If you want to update the budget I can go ahead and approve. Cheers, Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 13:34, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
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