Community Engagement Insights/2018 Report/Community Resources
The Community Resources team in the Community Engagement department at the Wikimedia Foundation increases the quantity, quality, diversity, and reach of free knowledge by providing funding and other resources to mission-allied organizations and people around the world. We support communities (individuals, groups and organizations) that want to:
- build healthy communities and effective organizations that deliver on impactful, mission-aligned programs,
- innovate new ideas for programs and technology in the service of Wikimedia’s content and communities and
- grow, sustain and scale the most successful ideas.
In the survey, the Community Resources team wanted to answer the following questions:
- Which community audiences are aware of and attend the various Wikimedia events in the movement?
- What outcomes are most prevalent as a result of attending each of the various Wikimedia events?
1. Which community audiences are aware of and attend the various Wikimedia events in the movement?
In general, Wikimedia affiliates and program leaders reported being more aware of Wikimedia conferences and events (CR01). Among contributors, 44.4% of low-activity editors (AE in the graph) were unaware of any Wikimedia conferences, while 27.1% of high-activity editors (VAE) were unaware of any Wikimedia conferences or events. Wikimania was reported as the conference that all audiences were most aware of. Regional events were less well known and thematic events were generally less well known.
Among editors, awareness of the various conferences when divided by region, do not show any clear trends. Contributors who reported living in Sub-Saharan Africa seemed to have a higher awareness than other groups, but it is important to note that the sample size is quite small for this particular region. Among editors with high activity levels, 24% reported not having heard of any of these events, while 42.7% of editors with lower activity levels had not heard of any of these events.
In general, female participants in the survey reported being more aware than males, although this data would need to be divided by audience to determine whether there are differences, since women have higher representation among some smaller audiences (affiliates & program leaders).
Wikimedians who are aware of regional, national and thematic events were more likely to report participating in those events than in Wikimania or the Wikimedia conference (CR02). When examining participation, we used those who were aware of the conference as a denominator, so we can calculate percentages. Women were more likely to report attending conferences if they were aware of the conference. But this data needs to be divided by audience in order to understand if there are differences by audience.
Not everyone is able to attend Wikimedia events, and we asked why participants did not attend (CR05). From those who were unable to attend, 54% of 1,778 participants reported that they were not interested in attending the conference. The second most commonly selected answer (26.5%) was being unable to afford to attend. The regional breakouts are listed below:
2. What outcomes are most prevalent as a result of attending each of the various Wikimedia events?
Participants were asked what was the most important thing that happened as a results of attending conferences (CR03). Based on previous evaluation forms, one main value from Wikimedia conferences is the opportunity to connect with other Wikimedians, but the main goal of this question was to understand what else happens beyond those connections. This information was broken down by conference, which helps to demonstrate which conferences are better suited for certain outcomes compared to others.
While survey participants reported experiencing all five outcomes for every event, certain events seemed to have higher reporting of specific outcomes:
- Discovery at Wikimania: While all conferences had a high proportion of participants that reported discovering new projects or ideas as the most important outcome, Wikimania had the highest proportion of them all, as the best conference for discovery.
- Getting work done at all types of events: Across all the types of events, it appears that a high proportion of participants reported that they were able to start or improve a project because they attended the conference.
- Resolving conflict at Wikimedia Conference and national/local conferences: While all conferences reports some ability to resolve conflict or change policies, Wikimedia Conference and other national or local conferences seemed have more reports of this kind of activity. Furthermore, Wikimania seemed to have a very low proportion of respondents who were able to resolve conflict or policies there.
- Learning at thematic and national/local conferences: Participants who attended thematic events had a higher proportion who selected learning or improving a new skill as the most important result, which was followed by national/local conferences and regional events.
- Feeling recognized is less frequent at conferences: Across the different outcomes, it appears that participants who attended Wikimania and Regional events were slightly more likely to select feel recognized or appreciated as the most important result from attending the conferences. Across all the conferences, feeling recognized or appreciated seemed to be on the lower end.
Most useful findings
- Conferences are facilitating a lot of discovery, collaboration, and cross-pollination. The large conferences are much more valuable for discovery. More focused conferences are more valuable for learning new skills or more focused activities.
- Skill building and learning seems to be happening more at local or regional events instead of larger global conferences. Meanwhile, discovery happens across all conferences, though higher at Wikimania.
- Wikimedia conferences might be serving a small group of people who are already leaders in the movement. This seems to show a need to create opportunities for new community members to engage and learn with the existing Wikimedia community.
- There seem to be many obstacles for new people from participating or even attending events. The most important factors that could have solutions include cost of attendance, scholarship distribution, awareness of the events, and language barriers.