Wikimedia Conference 2013/Documentation/Day 3

Wikimedia Chapters Association/Meetings/2013-16a

Introduction Edit

Markus Glaser, the chairman, has to leave after 15 minutes. Ziko will replace him.

Task list of the previous meeting Edit

Chapters Exchange Edit

That's a page on Meta( ) where we want all entities to put up what they want and can offer.

  Needs to be monitored: Charles volunteered to lead this.  He will rearrange the page as he sees fit.
  Please share the burden!  Charles is responsible, and he will informally work in the name of the WCA, but it's our task to get this going: we need volunteers to help out. We'll put the names of the action team somewhere on meta, and we will get a report from the action team in future meetings.
  If you wish to participate in that, think about it: if you can dedicate some time and/or ideas, approach Charles and offer your help.
  If some entity is seeking advice, we need our whole network to say where they can get this.  We have a strong network that can come up with ideas.

Chapters Manual Edit

It's a manual of best practices. Kept as a page on Meta ( we can all edit! Ziko is willing to lead this, unless someone else wants to take the burden off him. Need to know what the questions are that we need answered. There is a leaflet (at the desk) with infos. We can use info from the mailing list to populate the manual, to keep it from being lost.

Peer Review Edit

The exchange page has a few offers of Peer Exchange. The WMF is very keen to see progress on peer review. Want to have a workshop in Hong Kong, so we want about 5 strong peer reviews before then. We have about 6 people who claimed to be confident to do peer reviews, so please put your names up. This should take only about 2 days of volunteer time per review. Have published an induction process on [1]. Would like all chapters to adopt that as a matter of principle, so that if the chapter is challenged on competence, they can point to that training. Shared training event would be cheaper. Should be about €200-300. Travel expenses are reasonable: one or two members could get trained. Andrii (WMUA): Want to share experience on wikiexpeditions, Wiki Loves Earth, music projects etc. I found a proposition from LGBT Wikimedia which looked strange to me. What do they popularise? Fæ (LGBT thematic org): we have very little data on what editors face when they make their sexual orientation public while editing on topics like transsexuality. It's an i ssue for them.

Help on funding, how to make that practical Edit

What can the movement mean for you when you're dealing with the WMF/FDC,  etc.?
More likely to go to the WCA when you have problems, because they're groups like you.
Asaf: Would like you to come to the WMF to discuss funding, but recognize that you would want to talk to people in your position. The non-FDC grant programs are based on dialogue: you're not expected to craft a perfect proposal the first time around. Instructions are in several languages, and they say that you are encouraged to share draft proposals beforehand.
In FDC, your proposal should not change after submission, so help will be more useful.
[2] is the landing page for grants programs, which summarises what the programs do; when you can apply, etc., and has links to instructions.
There is some time for dialogue in the FDC, but after the cut-off date, it can't be changed.
Eligibility for FDC: Only given to incorporated, recognized groups. Only given to groups that have had two successful, executed, grant applications that you have reported on.

Karthik (WMIN): Our chapter is a charity, but not tax exempt. Will this risk the application? Answer: it may affect the grant - might lead to partial funding for example. Raul (WMEE): By the time that people find out whether they're getting money, it might be too late to go for external sources of funding. Answer: True, it's not easy to do planning in uncertain circumstances. Josh (WMPH): In Phillipines, one of the reasons we didn't apply for FDC funding, we found the process inflexible. Answer: the FDC gives you unrestricted funding based on your plan, and you can change how you spend it according to circumstances. So if you need to change how you use the money, no problem, just report it and explain reasons.

Further activities Edit

WCA Journal Edit

This is to make one place to find info on what's going on in the WCA.  draft, need some template and formatting to make it fun, and obviously we need to choose content in terms of interest, impact and easiness to fill

Wikimania HK Edit

Chapters could have a lounge with booths in HK for ideas exchange.

Your ideas.. Edit

We will need to change the name to include thematic organisations, perhaps not usergroups because their relationship to the WMF is different.

Goran (WMRS): When we started planning WCA, the motive was to have a body to represent chapters in talks with foundation. Are we still planning to do that, or is it not on the agenda any more. Answer: Not clear that this will happen any more: WCA started during the funding debate, but since then the requirement has changed.

Temporary substitution of council members: We need half the council members to vote, or it's invalid. Sometimes the council members might not be available. We want continuity, so the members need to make the time to be there as much as possible.

Karthik (WMIN): Time zone problems mean that bad timekeeping causes problems. Manuel: phone conferences need to be in a reasonable time zone, but no problem with email vote that are open a week or more.

Lorenzo (WMIT): We need a generic e-mail address which will always be the same to contact council members. Answer: Should it be public or not? You cannot prohibit that people send private e-mails to another. Need one communication channel, and standardized way to connect to a chapter.

Discussion about mailing lists, if closed or not closed. We don't want the WMF to listen. Watchlist on Meta: You can get e-mails when something changes on your watchlist.

Michal (WMPL): In a couple of weeks we will try to deliver something for HK: a press kit for the movement with infographics, etc. How large are the chapters? and other questions. They are already somewhere on Meta, we try to collect the data.

Michal: Delivery of case studies for knowledge sharing as requested on Thursday: This will require all of us to take our local documents and translate them and provide them on the meta page. Required to give case studies for grant committees.

Ziko: As said by Frank Schulenburg: WMF will be more serious about evaluation. Important to know whether we had success; what can we learn, etc. FDC will take that into consideration. Evaluation is very important for the movement and your own chapter in future.

Ziko: Who is going to HK? Answer: many of us. It's very worthwhile if you can go.

Non-movement funds Edit

(Notes not existing or lost in shutdown.)

FDC feedback session Edit

  • FDC attendees: Dariusz, Anders, Ali, Sydney, Yuri, Arjuna, Mike
  • Board: Patricio
  • Staff attendees: Winifred, Anasuya, Katy, Adele, Garfield, Jessie
  • Entities represented: WMDE, WMFR, AffComm, WMRS, WMCZ, WMNL, WMIL, WMUK, WMAT, WMCH, WMSE, WMAU, WMIT, WMAR, WMNL (Ad Huikeshoven), WMHU
    • 3 didn't apply to FDC: WMIT (probably not a target), WMPL ("not a target"), WMRS

Introductions from Chair, Dariusz Edit

  • Purpose of the session: feedback
  • Comments on the process from Dariusz: time-consuming process taking hundreds of hours
  • Discussion about disagreements within the FDC: disagreement leads to consensus, disagreement indicates strong views, commitment
  • Sydney: background editing en.wp since 2005, administrator on en.wp, member of ArbCom, interested in medical topics and GLAM, Strategic Planning group, FDC
  • Anders: most productive editor on se.wp with 155,000 edits (edits 8-10 hours a day), founded WMSE, part of chapcom 2008-2010, part of audit committee
  • Dariusz: academic background, management background, wikipedia, start-ups including popular Polish online dictionary, served on several committees for different NGOs, steward on en.wp
  • Arjuna: co founder and first president of WMIN
  • Ali: Bengali Wikipedia since 2008, founding member of Wikimedia Bangladesh, FDC advisory group
  • Yuri: one of the 20 most active editors on Ukrainian Wikipedia with 50,000 edits and 2,000 ariticles, founding member of Wikimedia Ukraine, ED of Wikimedia Ukraine, worked for NGO, adminstrator on Mediawiki sites
  • Mike: Manchester, reseach astronomer, editing since 2005 (en.wp, commons), active on WMUK’s board (founding member), separates WMUK role and the FDC role
  • Patricio: WMF Board representative/observer on the FDC (with Jan-Bart)
  • Introductions for WMF Grantmaking staff: Anasuya, Jessie, Katy (Senior Program Officer, FDC), Winifred, Garfield, Adele
  • We have participants in the session from several countries.

Process Edit

  • Advisory group, but also conducted a survey
  • Survey was conducted after the end of Round 1 because the FDC wants the process to be continually evolving
  • Goal of FDC is to make decisions about how to effectively allocate movement funds to achieve WM’s mission, vision, and strategy
  • Summary of findings:
    1. The process is satisfactory, and deemed fair, transparent, and not overly time-consuming.
    2. The process is not inhibiting the ability to reach the goals, though there are areas to be improved.
    3. Strengthen communication (between FDC / staff and applying entities).
    4. Need to tighten application requirements. The “open question” is if the FDC is a good mechanism for achieving impact– results TBD!
  • 2 surveys:
    1. Process survey and
    2. Cost/Benefit survey - main contact person from each applying entity. Try to calculate time spent and any money spent on application. No survey questions were mandatory, so there are different numbers of respondents.

Jessie Edit

  • Several channels for feedback, an anonymized survey with 2/3 applicants participating.
    • Generally considered good and transparent.
    • Not overly time-consuming.
      • Statistics: 3-150 h for applicants, median 70.
  • Issues
    • Hard to use portal and forms
    • Communication
    • Measures and evaluation
  • How satisfied were survey responders with the FDC process?
    • Majority were at least "satisfied" with the process, if not very satisfied. 2 were dissatisfied, one said that it was time-consuming and requirements were not communicated. Another said that it feels like jumping through hoops but that ultimately it was based on the feelings of the FDC and the WMF ED.
    • Very satisfied are not all staff/FDC. :)
  • Average time was 68 hours spent on application
  • Survey participants largely see the process as fair and transparent, though there may be ways to tighten the requirements and lay out the expectations.
  • Areas commonly identified: portal, application/proposal form, communications and impact.
  • FDC impact
    • Summary of movement goals
    • Survey respondents emphasize participation and infrastructure as strategic goals FDC funds can help achieve (getting funds to build an office, hire staff, etc)
    • Least agreed: reach, quality.
  • There appears to be agreement (6/8 agreeing, 1 strongly) that the FDC process helped achieve greater clarity around annual plan and goals.
  • 5 of the 8 respondents agreed that "Increased our transparency within our entity and members about our annual plan and budget."
    • Conjecture: perhaps the entities were felt as being already mostly trasparent with little room for improvement.
  • Achieving impact and using funds in the most efficient way
    • Most think it's working (with some not having enough information to answer), those who strongly disagreed thought most chapters are doing the same things and FDC is useless overhead.
  • A few questions brought up by survey--for continued discussion:
    • Are the movement entities evolving their program plans to have the most impact?
    • Is the overhead required for the FDC process greater than the value (both impact and compliance) it provides?
    • Is the process stifling innovation and/or limiting new participation in the movement?
  • Some proposed questions for breakout sessions: impact, process, proposal form
  • Discussion on whether to split in groups and how many. Not splitting.

Information flow Edit

  • Peer review could help the process or could be considered as part of eligibility in order to balance the process. [Community participation very low.] Some concerns about a good model for exchanging feedback balancing openness and frankness.
  • Another opinion is that staff assessment is "too violent." The staff assessment was insulting: the volunteers feel that hearing non-specific critical feedback is de-motivating for volunteers: more details are needed in order to improve.
    • Can we say 'critical' rather than 'violent"?

Community involvement Edit

  • Community review: differences between program feedback and administrative feedback
    • Community review is less important?
    • [More on this] Q: Does the community even care "about what we do"? Most comments are not coming from the community outside of staff, board, and others deeply involved in the process. It's important but not yet relevant.
  • Don't do assessments two times.
  • How is community involved originally, during the plans definition/drafting?
    • Annual plans are developed differently.
    • The problem is that community gives feedback on budget, not administration components. They care about small details.
    • One chapter says that they develop annual plans online and offline more or less at the same time as the FDC.
  • The community was complaining that the FDC was in English.
  • Difficulty for community: process is difficult to understand, hidden: comments come from pre-established (?) opinions on whether an entity is doing well or bad in general ("please continue/stop").
  • The FDC proposal form is horrible for the community, even for those who are used to reviewing annual plans and budget. They wouldn't understand from the form what their own chapter is doing. Current process designed to make comparisons and nothing else, redesign it from scratch. Proposal form is not easy for entity staff and is extremely hard for editors and community members to review.

FDC docs and their processing Edit

  • Suggestion that no proposal form is necessary at all (entities should submit an annual plan publicly on Meta)
  • Response from FDC: Comparing proposals is critical for the FDC, especially as the volume of proposals and amounts of funds requested increases and to force people defining goals.
    • Dariusz: important goal-setting abilities across all Round 1 organizations. (It is interesting to hear that WMF did not satsify the FDC.) Donors have a choice, no desire to follow corporate standards. Initially this could be a struggle.
    • Goal-setting structure within the form is supposed to help entities improve the projects, entities may be unlikely to do this if not required
    • FDC makes large grants, sets higher expectations in terms of understanding the plans of entities and ability to fill forms.
  • The form is rubbish and will be improved, but moreover the FDC form is not important to the community (it should be populated with what's been agreed and discussed with the community through the annual planning process).
    • It's also not important for a chapter which would be doing annual plans anyway. The form should help entities structure their annual plans, but it doesn't.
    • Thoughts from CFO: level of detail in annual plan and budget is not detailed enough. It's difficult to understand the financials from budgets and annual plans alone.
  • The FDC application process occurs early in the planning process, which makes it difficult to include detailed project plans
  • Form should be more relevant to annual plan. What is the expectation for data?
  • Wiki-based, text-based process applied to entities without English as a first language, suggestion for interviews to clarify the programs and questions that have emerged.
  • Anders: About half of FDC applications are not sound, in the process of applying money there are all kinds of proposals and entities, community members comments and the process is needed
  • Arjuna: Discussion was covered in the FDC, transparency in the text-based process, should be multiple ways of communicating, perhaps documentation of interviews could be shared on Meta in order to maintain transparency
  • Comments about goal-setting in the context of the movement, whether / how goal-setting and metrics are appropriate in the context, difficult to compare to other NGOs, how to define goals in a volunteer-based movement
  • Expectations of the FDC may not be clear to all entities, clarifying terminology, not enough discussion around expectations when preparing reports
    • Expectations at the beginning of the process are less well-defined
    • WM movement may not be as diversified, there is competition with other organizations for donations / funding, in Internet time we are an old organization and the time when we could do anything we wanted (e.g. the WMF didn't even exist) is gone. Accountability has increased, responsibility has increased. We must adapt to different systems and frameworks.
  • Charles: Sharing knowledge is an old mission, not a new mission. Millions of people are working on it since ages, we're not so special. Kurt: true but problem is rather not reinforcing existing differences in development of entities (big ones surviving, the others dying prematurely).

Overhead and process costs Edit

  • Comments from WMFR
    • FDC process is taking a really heavy toll on volunteers and boards and staff. Volunteers ands employees are spending months on this process.
    • Some entities would be advised to apply through the GAC instead. If GAC works for your size of organization, then probably you shouldn't go to the FDC if you don't have good reasons to do that. GAC is an option for entities not applying to the FDC; it is an easier process.
    • It's an important point to hear more "violent" feedback on the proposal to help improve. It needs to be very clear what needs improvement in the proposal.
    • The bureaucracy of the process kills innovation
    • Allow some flexibililty within bids? (e.g. 5% non specified for innovation and opportunities?)
    • Request for mentoring from FDC entities to the applying organizations, request for detailed feedback. Mentoring can help to grow the movement.
  • There is a ladder for small chapters to grow and mature - not all chapters are meant to grow exponentially, this ladder is still in progress.
    • The FDC is HATEFUL, It's HORRIBLE! :) It's the last step of the ladder. The last thing you would EVER want to do. :)
  • The FDC should not be considered a "final step"; the FDC should be providing funds, but orgs should also diversify their own funding.
  • pro bono staff is an option instead of paid staff
  • Garfield suggests looking for help from qualified volunteers / pro bono support.
  • Whenever a bureaucratic process is created / question is raised, you have to remember that most of the chapters are filled with volunteers--no staff. WM Hungary had a backlog in fulfilling the needs of the FDC. The backlog was due to lack of time.

Group breakout conversations Edit

Group 1 Edit
Grant systems lookback Edit
  • The FDC said: there was a lot of controversy on proposals; what were the areas of controversy?
    • Response: One is how much context (from outside the proposal) to use to assess a proposal. We want to be fair. There were intense discussions within the group. Some proposals had more controversy than others. It take a lot of time, but consensus was the end. The FDC makes funding allocation that is general funding.
  • It was good that there was no project by project assessment.
  • Our satisfaction is changing every week. Over time becoming more satisfied.
    • Response: We want to encourage the chapters to figure out what is good.
  • What is the minimum size of the chapter to participate in the FDC? The annual plan is a formality of what we do; the living thing is in the chapter--is this good or bad?
    • Response: This is a natural process for a smaller / entrepreneurial phase of organizations. It's boring to go into tables and numbers. Bureaucracy is not fun, but some stage it is necessary.
  • Apply to FDC when no other funding is available. We do activities and have specific needs for things only the FDC can fund. Where do we fit?
    • Response: in the case where organizations are bringing on staff, they will need to grow more than 20%. Part-time staff, interns, accounting services, students, etc all can be hired through the WMF Grants (GAC) program. You cannot hire someone fulltime 365 days with benefits - but almost anything else can be funded under grants program. There's no limit to the number of projects that can be done. This should not be used as a substitute for hiring full time staff. Otherwise, project-specific work can be done through the Grants program.
    • The FDC / Grants team need to communicate about this, most don't know. This is being refined over time and communicated more and more (WMF is working on this).
Volunteers or staff Edit
  • There are questions around what can be done by volunteers versus paid staff.
    • There can be fuzzy lines sometimes. It's not just a question of whether volunteers CAN do the work but whether it is normally done by volunteers. It's important to note that volunteers can be scaled but staff are more time consuming to invest in. Staff and volunteers play different roles.
  • There is a bias in the conversation about communities and volunteers. It's the English model. The English Wikipedia community is the one exception.
  • It can be challenging to grow the number of volunteers. Sometimes that's OK; there may not always be a way to add volunteers.
  • There is a question about active volunteers in the chapter; this is important. It is critical to have active volunteers and the staff then empower the volunteers to do that.
    • There is a limited number of dollars to give out in the FDC. It's not going to be possible to staff up all chapters; there is more
Internal and external processes Edit
  • When you are a mature organization, you don't need someone to tell you what should be done and what shouldn't, we can do that ourselves.
  • After the staff assessment we had a board meeting to predict our allocation. If we have to cut which programs, we need to decide that--not the FDC.
    • Response: There are some things that the FDC may step in and say "don't do this" (e.g. pay WCA fees). But if projects are reasonable and sensible
  • Compared to the European Commission, the FDC is straight forward, easy, and friendly - but if you've been part of the WM movement for a long time, and used to a different way of working this can be a huge culture shock. The process can be improved, but considering the amount of money, it is good.
  • Coordination with entities' internal processes
    • The FDC application is based on the annual plan so the General Assembly is taking place in August and not ideal (in middle of summer--this is problematic for one chapter).
    • Some other chapters hold their membership in the middle of the FDC process.
    • Another entity changed their fiscal year to meet the FDC. It was not hard for them to change this, and the solution was to have a 6 month year. It was one solution.
  • Question: should FDC applying entities have GA's approve their plan before the FDC or after the FDC application? There are some legal restrictions depending on the country where the entity is incorporated. It will be very difficult to meet the needs of all FDC applying entities.
  • It felt strange to have budget for the association and for the FDC. But at the end it felt clearer and was a nice activity in the end.
  • It is not ideal to have a staff costs separated out away from programs costs.
    • Response: Two approaches: one is to treat staff as overhead, and the other is to dedicate all staff time across programs. From a chapters point of view, it's usually good to account for people's time across programs because it allows chapters to justify their staff. It's good practice, but it should not be enforced.
  • FDC staff should note that organizational structures from country to country as laws, regulations, labor laws, finances change. That conversation can happen with FDC staff.
  • The FDC staff said to ask questions, but it wasn't clear WHAT to ask and there was hesitancy. There were thousands of questions, but it's important to not influence the proposals (there's a power relation between grantees and WMF including FDC). The FDC staff focal point (Katy) can coordinate the questions. There is a bit of separation between FDC and FDC staff, but that border should be made sharper.
  • In some grantmaking contexts, you submit a letter of invitation/intent/inquiry, and then an abstract follows. So then the jury can say to the applicant "you should not apply." Could there be an initial first step to remove a few that should not be applying?
Stability of funding Edit
See also: the question to WMF board about multi-year funding on previous day
  • It could be interesting to do a "core" budget like the WMF did--but this concept has been abandoned after narrowing focus. This because it's a really complicated question. It's up to each organization to plan for reserves. This could be prioritization of projects to understand what the entity would do with less funding than requested.
  • It's important for the FDC to understand what are the main activities and how the entity operates and plans. It's also good for the FDC to follow year after year the prioritization.
  • WMF granting programs, including the FDC, are not an easy way to get money, rather an extrema ratio: there's more outside. It's really a last step to applying to WMF, although it has many grants options, and it's no longer necessary to become a chapter to get grants (see e.g. individual engagement grants).
  • Microgranting is something we may need to understand from region to region.
  • Diversification of funding is good though not all entities will be able to apply for funding in their country.
Summaries Edit
  • Group 2: What to stop/continue
    • FDC member to mentor entities [see above on questions without influence on requests]
    • Make it possible to have feedback and two-ways conversation
    • Continue with the FDC and its evolution
  • Group 1
    • FDC is not the only way, not for all entities
    • Volunteer vs. staff
    • How FDC relates to internal processes: FDC can be flexible, there are solutions
    • Could be useful to break down expenses into programs and "operating costs"/overheard; or core and non-core
    • There's a need for neutral help facilitators

Next steps for this learning Edit

  • The FDC staff appreciates this sharing of learning so we can continually ensure this is a meaningful process there is not wasted time.
  • Further surveys will come to learn about the process
  • The months of May/June/July will be spent taking the time to refine the process and forms.
  • FDC staff have worked with a number of other grantmakers / funding models.
  • There is this experience in the chapters too. There are people with lots of experience in chapters. It would be interesting to see if some of those who are in the chapters
  • FDC Advisory Group will reconvene in May after second round and then again in 2014 to review the full two year period.
  • It would be helpful for WMF to know who is requested to attend the Wikimedia Conference to ensure there's not too many unneeded people and/or perceived lacks; any requests could help them to ensure that the most helpful representatives are attending.
  • Both the FDC and the FDC entities are interested in feedback on their activities.
  • Question as to what is the best form for the proposal?
    • WMF visits to entities are going to happen as a part of the grants process: a chance to do due dilligence, meet with community etc. If there are preferences, let WMF / FDC staff know what is the best way to do that, for it it to be a helpful process.
  • In the past, some visits were nice and others were accusations. Everyone wants these visits to be nice and helpful to all.
  • The FDC and the FDC staff want to keep the lines of communication open and ask that people continue to share their feedback, thoughts, and suggestions with them.

Future of the conference Edit


Barcamps Edit

How to present Wikimedia related topics Edit


Science GLAM Edit


Accreditation coordination Edit

See #Chapters dialogue.

Chapters dialogue Edit

(Notes not existing or lost in shutdown.)

How to keep volunteers active Edit

See Day 2

Wikinews, Wikiversity, Rapa Nui and other lost causes Edit

Asaf trolling Edit

Of course all personal opinions.

  • Not about closing, just saying we're not going to invest on them because they have little or no impact.
  • For instance a Rapa Nui Wikipedia has no secondary sources and not a single speaker needing to read Wikipedia in that language (and no others). Other reasons may be contingent (no time surplus). Rejected a grant from esperanto community last week (see below).
    • It may be a language preservation project via a wiki, but it's not what we do.
  • Not suitable for the wiki model: Wikiversity, failed in all languages with very very few examples of actually used courses.
    • Wikiversity is not part of the massive online courses trend.
  • Harms?
    • People request funds and time to help these projects
    • Topic of useless debates
    • Efforts to revitalize take a lot of time from a newbie leader and his acolytes.
    • "We don't really do these things" - These are failed projects. We are hypocritical if we claim to support these (with donor money).
  • Wikisources are obviously useful even for tiny or extinct languages as a linguistic corpora
    • Moderately fits to wiki paradigm, texts not meant to be collaboratively edited but rather static. Almost no collaboration at page level at least in Hebrew and English.
    • Project gutenberg vs. wikisource? What is the relation? What should Wikisource include? Nice to spend time on thinking of the future of Wikisource (a granted IEG by Micru and Aubrey).
  • Wikinews: never made good on its promise -- to be an alternative and complement to traditional, commercial or state-owned media. It mostly synthesizes items from several traditional sources, adding no value. It makes no sense to spend 30 k€ for a news-gathering wikiexpedition.

Discussion starts Edit

  • Wikinews in Serbian has some success thanks to their partnership with a news source and its news are taken up by others. With a lot of people and money investment it can work.
  • Wikiversity is a good place to organize courses material and linking to Wikipedia.
  • WMUK: might work somewhere but then people waste time trying to imitate. Charles: think if it's worth it.
  • B1mbo: they sometimes attract people that then move and help somewhere else. Michal: it's like the deletionist drive to delete half of Wikipedia, the "useless" articles, to make everyone work on the important ones; but the effect would just be to lose them forever.
  • WMAR: university which doesn't want to edit articles; they were suggested instead to publish their courses (on Wikiversity); it's a way to have a partnership. -- and how many universities have done so? Can we point at three examples?
  • Polimerek: dead, 3 news in a week. The border between useful and useless Wikipedias is difficult to find; Hebrew was an extinct language but now makes sense. Same may happen with Kashubian Wikipedia. (Asaf: revival of Hebrew is considered a miracle by linguists; most comparable "revival" attempts fail.)
  • Asaf: Incubator must be improved (it is too difficult to work on it), but to create new wikis is easy and can be done any time. Estonian speakers are few but there's internet connection and secondary sources etc., so is viable and is flourishing.
  • Latin Wikipedia is a hobbyist project, not even the cardinals need it. "Write-only Wikipedia", "Serves no-one". (Asaf: "I have studied Classical Latin for years; nevertheless, I have no interest to contribute to LAWP, because on Wikipedia I want to spread knowledge, not to practice my Latin".)
  • Daniel M.: Where to draw the line?
    • Ziko: so no grant for creating content on esperanto wikipedia, but... Asaf: but for example for a meeting of esperanto speaking wikipedians, such as in slovakia recently. They were occupied with wikipedia in general, and as ziko said, the esperanto wikipedians are often multilingual and edit several wikipedias.
    • What about Wikiquote or Wiktionary [2nd and 3rd most visited content projects]?
    • Asaf: this session is not about grants, just about how this hypocrisy harms the movement. Quotes are not free knowledge (legal concerns), Wikiquote and Wikispecies were made just because some enwp contributors felt strongly they want to "get rid" of people adding quotations or red links to Wikipedia.
    • David Richfield: When you attribute some quotation to Einstein on Wikipedia you can then go to Wikiquote and see that discussed and this helps.
    • Asaf: Wikiquote works with the wiki model and has value, but not for our mission and we shouldn't host it.

Conclusion Edit

There are lots of projects that are not useful or viable and we should accept the fact, but there are a handful of exceptions.

Visual editor Edit


  • Nicole: how to make the visual editor better. We need a soft landing.
  • Philippe: Our work is to work with communities to handle massive changes and ensure the landing is soft as possible. VE is an opt-in feature. We are few people, we alone can't do it over all almost 300 languages.
  • David: I do not fear an influx of new editors. Much more concerned about any syntax breakage.
  • Nicole: The fact that VE is opt-in should be clearly communicated to the community. We posted a note to our village pump.
  • Philippe: it's already on Brian: only, opt-in?
  • Nicole: Some community members have not used bugzilla? How to cater for them? Is there a feedback page?
  • There will be a feedback page that will also? allow people who are comfortable with bugzilla to log bugs correctly
  • Some people fear it: will we really lose a large part of the community? People are used to the way they edit, and they will be unhappy if they are changed to Visual Editor.
    • A: You can switch back and forth. Also, even if you have visual switched on, you'll be able to click "edit source"

David: It must remain opt-in for old editors, and the "edit source"should remain obvious, because the ability to edit the source is a key advantage!

  • Community feedback? Answer: PB hasn't yet seen the survey data.
  • Ziko: the impact of VE may be lower than we expect, because of the rules and practices existing in Wikipedias. Philippe: it's still one of the major issues
    • On there is a policy proliferation issue [glossa: is this proven by facts? we just saw a paper by Halfaker saying the contrary].
    • Could jump-start growth in some communities that don't have active communities yet.
  • Announcement recently on sv.wikipedia: people generally thought it was good, with some dissenting opinions.
  • Is anyone planning more public announcements from the chapters?
    • PB: Don't know what our media team is doing yet: so far focussed on internal communication.
  • [?]: Great opportunity to make this as public as possible, to encourage new people.
  • Opt-in phase: want it to be used by people who are familiar with the wikitext or by others (externals); and what feedback is useful?
    • Want to talk to media; but then people might be disappointed.
  • [Comes up multiple times] PB: Some issues with transclusion and refs; will give updates (repeated later).
    • Default will change to Visual at some time; "edit source" tab will eventually be hidden in some way probably a year after the initial deployment.
  • Nicole: Most of the existing editors will likely not adopt the new editor at this stage. Any strategy to use it as a promotional tool? PB: Believe that the comms team is working on that. Nicole: Would you suggest to define a process or communications plan/medium? Need to work hand in hand with communities and tech. ambassadors [+1'ed]. How can we make this work? Any chapters interested?
  • This will also show how many people give feedback; how many stop using it after starting.
  • Kirill: Why are we only doing this now? Answer: didn't have the money. Bence: some think it will never arrive.
  • Will people mess with fonts and colours and will it change our style?
    • PB: Our communities are very good at enforcing stylistic guidelines. Absurd to think that we'll become myspace.
    • Federico: Article feedback tool went close to that. PB: Wasn't involved, but he would have done it differently if he were doing it today.
  • Nicole: Fabrice was involved with article feedback tool: didn't do advocacy, but did [what now?] It also shows we have a problem processing feedback.
  • Brian: there wasn't space for ideas? How does the feature request get fed to developers?
    • PB: Most of the things that the tech team works on come from feature requests from the community. Brian: what if I have a specific idea now? How to get it implemented? PB: demonstrate community consensus for it. PB: Put it into bugzilla or send it to Howie or PB or Erik.
  • Timeframe for project? PB: There will always be improvements to the interface. Attention will shift after Visual Editor is working properly, but there will still be constant development.
  • Nicole: anything else? PB: Good that chapters also talk back to WMF. If we don't get feedback, we'll guess and guess badly.