This session was meant to be a sharing (learning) session about different kind of community events. Main idea was to reflect about the different ways / reasons / meanings to organize such events and why we should plan them to achieve specifically certain things.
What are the next steps to be taken?
The speakers will have a follow-up session on this topic at the WMCON Follow-Up Day at Wikimania 2017 (during the pre-conference). Furthermore, there is the idea to publish learning patterns about this topic.
volunteer supporters, community liaisons, Wikimedians involved in community event organization
presentation + discussion & sharing of experiences
Real-life community events and meetups are organized in more and more Wikimedia communities. But are we all aware of the many different purposes and effects these events have? What about the impact of real-life meetups on the online community? Why do we support real-life events at all?
In our session, we give a short input about the various dimensions of Wikimedia community events and their impact. The second part of the session will focus on sharing experiences, ideas, (new) formats and best practices in an open discussion.
Systematically looking at community events from different and perhaps new perspectives. Creating awareness for different approaches, sharing practical experiences and insights.
Next Steps and Milestones
Further work on the topic of real-life community events and present practical advice at the Wikimedia Conference Follow-up Day at Wikimania 2017.
After a short self-introduction of Veronika Krämer (Volunteer Supporter at WMDE), Raimund Liebert (Volunteer Supporter at WMAT), Natalia Szafran-Kozakowska (Volunteer Support at WMPL) and Jon Harald Søby (Volunteer Supporter at WMNO), the four gave a 20 min introductory presentation on “different dimensions” of Wikimedia Community events.
After the introduction, the stage was opened for a discussion on the various “dimensions” of community events. The participants in the session, whether there are more than the in the presentation mentioned dimensions. One conclusion was, that a dimension that was not mentioned, is the “conflict-mitigating effect”. That means, on-wiki conflicts can be solved sometimes much better offline.
Another lesson learned that was discussed is the regularity of events. Even if an event is small (like 3 people), it can (or should) be held regularly. Regularity attracts new people, as dates are easier to remember.
After that, the audience discussed that generally communities should look for open, bright, nice-looking space to not scare away new people. Sometimes even a split-up between events only for new editors and experienced ones might be useful. In the end, two further factors were mentioned for events: Create events that might not be focused on editing, but also on just having fun (games, barbecue, etc.) and communities should also invite elder people.
In the end of the session, the speakers highlighted again these events and asked the communities / participants to think about these when organizing an event. Also, they promoted the “Volunteer Supporters Network”, a loose network on (paid and unpaid) volunteer supporters among Wikimedia affiliates. At the pre-conference of Wikimania 2017, there will be again a workshop following-up on this topic.