CEE/Newsletter/Newsroom/Offline Community Meetup - the Best Way of Engaging Community Members

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Offline Community Meetup - the Best Way of Engaging Community Members
By: Mari Avetisyan

On December 7-10 2023, Wikimedia Armenia organized an offline community meetup with 30 participants. The purpose was to summarize the activities of the passing year and to receive new suggestions and ideas through brainstorming and discussion for the next year.

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During 2023, Wikimedia Armenia organized several online meetups which were aimed at presenting the current activities of Wikimedia Armenia, as well as discussing possible suggestions and new ideas with the community. However, the online format has its limitations. Instead, the offline format of community meetups provides an opportunity for face-to-face interactions, allowing community members to build stronger personal connections. Moreover, participants can work together on projects, share ideas on a or engage in hands-on training sessions more effectively than in an online environment. Most importantly, in-person meetups allow for focused and in-depth discussions and practical workshop and training sessions.

Always taking the above-mentioned advantages of an offline community meetup into account, Wikimedia Armenia organized an offline community meetup on December 7-10. Being at the end of the year, the meetup aimed at summarizing the works that Wikimedia Armenia has been doing during 2023. Meanwhile, it was also a good opportunity to receive feedback for the previous activities, as well as suggestions about the projects and initiatives for the next year. There were 30 offline and 8 online participants to the meetup. Wikimedia Armenia prepared an engaging agenda for the two days of the meetup ranging from presentation of the CEE Meeting 2023 outcomes to brainstorming on new ideas.

The president of the organization shared the developments within the Armenian wiki community, what was done during the whole year, which projects were especially successful, what are the challenges that Wikimedia Armenia is facing and how the community can help with that and so on. There was also a special session for new tools and most common mistakes during translations.

Two sessions were dedicated to the CEE region, the latest news and the meeting with the CEE Hub Coordinator Barbara Klen. The president talked about the CEE Meeting 2023 which was held in Tbilisi presenting the outcomes, the new ideas and decisions on collaborations that were reached there. Considering the fact that half of the participants were young individuals, a special discussion and presentation was prepared on the CEE Youth Group, how it came about, what was the purpose of the group, its recent meeting in Prague, the set goals and the ways of joining the group. The meeting with Barbara Klen was organized using the office hours provided by the CEE Hub without a set agenda which allows Wikimedia community members to get to know about the CEE news and raise questions and express opinions.

The last two sessions of the meetup were designated for brainstorming. The participants formed five groups, questions were prepared for everyone and each group’s task was to brainstorm and present their ideas on each question. The questions were about the methods of increasing community engagement, especially targeting new members, collaborations ideas, etc. All five groups had very interesting ideas which will be considered for the next year’s plan.

During the whole meetup, community members also had the opportunity to raise questions about the topics of their interest and receive answers from Wikimedia Armenia. Overall, the meetup had its anticipated outcome and once again proved to be the most efficient method of actively engaging community members.