Volunteer Supporters Network/Summary Wikimania 2015 WMCON Follow-Up Day Session

Volunteer Supporters Network session at the WMCON Follow-Up Day

Veronika, Raimund and Andrés led the VSN session

Since the Wikimedia Conference in May 2015, the Volunteer Supporters Network (VSN) has been working on a paper refining the network’s goals, approaches and future challenges. This working paper was presented and discussed during the first half of the session.

The VSN working paper, which can be found here, explains who the network is aimed at and what its goals are, as well as the next steps planned in order to achieve the goals and help the Volunteer Supporters Network grow.

The discussion following the presentation of the paper showed how important it is that the working paper explains who the VSN is, what its aims are and what we mean when talking about “volunteers” and “volunteer supporters”.

It was pointed out that it would be good to more clearly define the activities of the VSN, what the Network helps with and what it cannot help with. In the next couple of weeks, we will update and restructure the VSN page on Meta, filling it with more information and including the input we gathered during the session at Wikimania.

The second part of the session presented a paper titled “Landscapes of Volunteering”. It was developed from the findings of the workshop during WMCON and more closely describes different types of motivations for volunteering in a Wikimedia context and how the understanding of these motivations can help in designing support accordingly.

During the discussion, it became apparent that the “Landscapes of Volunteering” were perceived as a little too abstract by some. In the next months, we will use attendees’ contributions and input to further refine the paper and make it a useful resource for volunteer supporters.

One of the VSN’s short-term goals was to motivate more people to join the network - many of the attendees did actually subscribe to the mailing list during the session. We will also pursue the next steps described in our working paper to hopefully gain even more active participants and help the Volunteer Supporters Network grow.