CEE/Newsletter/October 2017/Contents/Regional report

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Regional report[edit]

CEE Meeting 2017[edit]

By Natalia Szafran-Kozakowska, Krzysztof Machocki, Polimerek
The meeting was attended by 104 people from 25 countries

On 22-25th September 104 members of the CEE Community took part in the 6th annual conference of the Wikimedians from Central and Eastern Europe - CEE Meeting. This year the event was hosted by Wikimedia Polska and held in Warsaw.

The conference truly represented the diversity of the CEE. It was attended by representatives of 31 regional user groups and chapters from 25 countries and speakers from Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia Deutschland, Wikimedia Netherlands, Wikimedia UK and Wikidonne. And their presence contributed to the interesting and intensive program prepared by the international program committee.

The programme was organised in 3 parallel sessions which covered a wide scope of topics - from GLAM collaborations and editing contests to community health and Wikidata.

The conference atmosphere of international collaboration was strengthen by the very special venue - the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, a modern historical museum founded on the ideas of inclusion and collaboration between cultures. Conference participants were invited to see the museum exhibition. Also they could take part in the GLAM activities consisting of a visit to the State Ethnographic Museum (our long-time GLAM partner) and the Wikivacations Photo Walk in the historic Jewish district of Warsaw guided by the POLIN Museum specialist.

For the very first time in CEE Meetings history - vast majority of lectures and discussion panels were video-recorded (see: commons:Category:Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2017 video recordings. There are also a detailed summaries of most of activities collected in Etherpads. See: master Etherpad.

The end of the meeting wasn't the end of the work of organizing committee as we are now collecting feedback from participants and calculate the final budget in order to submit the Report.

The event was also an important moment for the Wikimedia Cuteness Association who received their brand new passports which will serve them in all their future travels.

CEE Spring 2017 final report completed[edit]

Vassia Atanassova, on behalf of the international organizing team
CEE Spring 2017 at a glance
  • Articles: 8497
  • Articles with Wikidata items: 8269
  • Female biographies: 1782
  • Articles with 300+ words: 6629
  • Total words added: 6,300,454
  • Total bytes added: 52,409,221
  • Number of CEE editors: 445
  • Number of non-CEE editors: 39
  • Newly registered editors: 46 (10.34%)

Mid October was the deadline for the preparation of the CEE Spring 2017 final report, and thanks to the input of the local organizers this was done in time and with the expected level of concreteness and precision. While writing (and reading!) long and detailed reports is generally not considered fun, a project with the size, complexity and diversity of CEE Spring requires a lot of attention, teamworking and shared responsibility.

The face-to-face meeting between international organizers, local organizers and contest participants, which took place during the Wikimedia CEE Meeting in Warsaw, helped a lot in the mutual understanding and acknowledging the differences in the local organizational approaches and community needs and attitudes, and how the generic contest rules are being customized and implemented locally. Feedback received from the organizers in Bulgarian, Croatian, Hungarian, Latvian, Macedonian, Polish, Romanian, Serbian, Turkish and Ukrainian Wikipedia helped with the particular details about the use of different communication channels in announcing the contest, efforts in recruiting new editors, approach to delivery of prizes to contest winners.

One of the important discussions in the project's post-mortem analysis concerned the contest duration: some communities reported that the 10-week period is too long for them, and this was visible in the numbers of articles by date, which does show a certain decline in the second part of the period. Next year’s CEE Spring organizing team may want to launch a preliminary discussion about the desired duration of the contest.

The other major learning from this year's contest was related to the problem of statistics generation. The over-reliance on the bots from last year resulted in no backup plan in place this year. Although the international organizers were lucky to receive a helping hand from the Polish volunteer User:Masti, one of the conclusions in the report is that next year's edition requires redefinition of the measures of project success, and remodeling the talk page templates to be analysable by reliable and non-human-dependent platform, possibly PetScan.

Interested readers can view the rest of the report from the Meta page and consider joining the international organizational team. CEE Spring 2017 may have finished months ago, but CEE Spring 2018 is approaching! :)

"Wiki Loves Monuments" photocontest winners in CEE[edit]

By Vassia Atanassova

End of October many national organizers of "Wiki Loves Monuments" have already finished with the selection of their local winning photos, and some are almost ready with this pleasant obligation. See below a short report of the nominated CEE photos who will take part in the international phase of the photo competition (The list is updated as of 12:48, 1 November 2017 (UTC)).

Announced Pending announcement
  • Greece
  • Latvia
  • Poland
  • Russia
  • Sweden
  • Ukraine

Strategy discussions in CEE[edit]

By: Kaarel Vaidla

WMF ED Katherine Maher speaking about strategic direction on Wikimedia CEE Meeting
Discussing future of strategy process and Phase 2 on day 2 of Wikimedia CEE Meeting
Late night strategy discussion on day 1 of Wikimedia CEE Meeting

During Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2017 in Warsaw, Poland various strategic discussions were held as part of the conference main program, as well as off-program. These discussions included feedback on Wikimedia Strategic Direction, conversations around possible endorsement by Wikimedia affiliates, as well as brainstorming around Phase 2 of the strategy process.

Although CEE collaborative has proven to be an active and notable part of Wikimedia movement in general, CEE communities had been somewhat underrepresented in global discussions during Phase 1 of the strategy process. This lead to the decision to use CEE Meeting as a platform to collect further input from CEE region, which may prove to be of high value in shaping strategy process and its outputs in the future. The importance of CEE input was highlighted by the presence of Executive Director of Wikimedia Foundation Katherine Maher, as well as Board of Trustees members María Sefidari and Natalia Tymkiv and Track A lead Nicole Ebber in the strategy discussions.

Generally participants of the meeting were open to speak their mind when discussing the strategic process so far, direction and future process. Although there was significant amount of criticism, there was generally good faith and willingness to continue with the process.

In more concrete terms, the process of Phase 1 was commented as following:

  • There has been a lot of information available, which is positive, but on the other hand it is hard for smaller communities to stay up-to-date with the strategy process, as well as translating and mediating tasks have been somewhat exhausting;
  • When the direction was published, the first reaction in some communities was disappointment, because there were feelings that the direction does not reflect what they were writing in their comments and sharing during Phase 1;
  • Many community members are more interested in their day-to-day work on the Wikimedia projects and their interaction with other individual contributors. *Abstract, high level topics are often seen as less important, and language and translation issues make this even more challenging. This is why a lot of them wished for concrete technical improvements;
  • There was a gap between cycle2 and cycle3 which broke the logic of the process and caused disengagement. Although “new voices” tracks provided essential input, this info may have been introduced earlier in the process, and with more context to build upon.

The main points that were brought out regarding the direction itself included:

  • Generally the produced document is rather easy to agree with, but this also means that it is rather abstract and not really giving a concrete direction;
  • There is not sufficient emphasis on the communities that form the backbone of our movement and WIkimedia as it is;
  • Some people said that the direction text seems to be too Wikipedia centered and overlooks other projects that may have a much bigger impact in future perspective, others claimed that other Wikimedia projects are sufficiently included;
  • The direction does not seem to apply to community members who are not really into strategic thinking and declaring this direction as movement direction, which should also speak to them is somewhat alienating.

About the endorsement process it was stated that:

  • Timeline is quite tight to get a good community support and board decision for the document and because of that it may be difficult for the affiliates to endorse the direction on the Endorsement Day;
  • Generally participants of the CEE Meeting were, however, willing to endorse the direction as a step forward in the movement strategy process.

During brainstorming for Phase 2 it was said that:

  • Input from Phase 1, especially 5 themes could be used in phase 2 discussions. This would be also important to show participants that their phase 1 input is well appreciated and valued;
  • It seems that although people are exhausted by phase 1, we have to continue to be participatory. We have to find ways how to proceed in engaging way, but a participatory process will actually give the mandate to implement what we come up with;
  • Let’s take the direction as a mountain and discuss what the 10 steps towards the mountain top are. Also affiliates are asked to think about how they want to work on these, and how they want to be involved. Phase 2 should clarify the stairs and should have commitments on what organisations, groups, and individuals want to contribute to;
  • Many of the questions around roles, resources and responsibilities will most likely be addressed to the organizations, and only some to the communities;
  • Reaching out to communities with specific questions and prioritization exercises seems like a good idea which reduces time we use on translations and maybe reduce people wearing themselves out.

As there has been interest of CEE community members in concrete technical improvements on projects and that has caused understanding that their comments have not been really taken into account during the strategy process, it is important to point out that on the 16th of October 2017 a cycle 1 report on product and program recommendations was published, which gives a better overview of how community input has been integrated and heard.

October 26th marked the Endorsement Day and end of Phase 1. All affiliates and individual contributors are invited to are invited to express their support and commitment to the direction. Signatories commit to participating in the next phase of this discussion in good faith. So far already around a dozen of CEE related affiliates have endorsed the strategic direction. An initial draft for the setup of Phase 2 is currently being developed on Meta.

CEE Meeting 2018 host announced[edit]

Lviv, CEE Meeting host city 2018

By: Philip Kopetzky

In the last month, a committee consisting of previous CEE Meeting organisers and volunteers from Armenia, Estonia, Poland, Iran and Germany evaluated the two bids submitted by Wikimedia Serbia and Wikimedia Ukraine. After deliberating on the matter, the committee came to the decision to have Lviv host the CEE Meeting 2018. The full reasoning behind this decision can be found at Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2018/Bids#Committee decision. We all would like to thank Wikimedia Serbia und Wikimedia Ukraine for their efforts in making this an interesting and challenging process. Please don't forget to support the grant application as soon as it is ready! :-)