Wikimedia Conference 2014/Documentation/21

21 Let’s make better mistakes tomorrow

aka "Let's fail better in the future!"


  • Asaf Bartov (WMF): an unsuccessful pilot program at WMF (the “Geonotice pilot” in the Philippines)
  • Tim Moritz Hector (WMDE): Experience from grant projects: Mistakes made, lessons learned and what we do better now.
  • Eva Lepik and Kaarel Vaidla (WMEE) will present "Don't try this at home" from the CEE meeting 2013.
  • Cristian Consonni (FDC member)

tl;dr: Plan carefully, state your goals, communicate precisely and don't rely on a single person, that's the advantage of a community. Give volunteers sufficient support and guidance. Don't be afraid to fail, fail better. Share your experience!


Wikimedia EestiEdit

Slides of Wikimedia Eesti (pdf)
Vision conference
  • Conference was planned including among others Estonian president
  • key note speaker was unable to attend -> conference had to be postponed three times
  • Lesson learned: Do not rely on a single person
Grant application
  • Was 'under construction' for several months
  • Collided with subsequent application
  • Lessons learned: Actually read your grant application. Communication is key. Grant applications are not purely formal
Public Workshop
  • scheduled at popular museum
  • Attendance: six people (and the museum's cat)
  • Lessons learned: Facebook likes are cheap

Wikimedia DeutschlandEdit

  1. Which grant program should I apply for - guide the applicant
  2. Too bureaucratic - guide the applicant
  3. Who should I talk to? - Clear responsbilities
  4. Stringent documentation/communication
  5. Make sure to include individual applicants into the community
  6. Make decisions transparent (e.g. by letting the community decide; forming committees)
  7. give support to the volunteer on evaluation
  • How do we support larger community driven projects?
  • Money alone does not make for a good project! Provide for comprehensive and individual support.

Wikimedia ItaliaEdit

  • Success/failure depends on perspective.
  • State your goals, invest in strategy, plan carefully.
  • Have a backup plan.
  • Do not be afraid to fail! But: Report failures so other projects (and the FDC) can learn from them.

Philippines / WMFEdit

  • Blog post about that
  • growing Wikimedia in the 'global south'
  • usage of geo-targeted central notice to reach out and improve WP's coverage of the Philippines
  • show people how to create accounts and edit -> actually worked, new accounts were created and users managed to add userboxes
  • second banner encouraging people to creating new pages (support through help page or teahouse)
  • result: not a single mainspace edit was achieved!
  • Lessons learned:
  1. Inviting contributions to a low-risk space (in this case, the user’s own page) and surfacing a simple task (creating a page about yourself) with good step-by-step instructions did encourage people to edit.
  2. Inviting contribution by surfacing geo-targeted article stubs was not enough to motivate or help users to make their first edits to an article.
  3. Providing suggestions via links to places users might go for help did not appear to sufficiently support or motivate these new editors to get involved.
  4. WikiProjects can be great sources of curated content.
  • Keep on failing! Fail better! Share your experience!