Grants:APG/Funds Dissemination Committee/Complement to Standard Grant Approaches/Project list

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Suggested by West.andrew.g[edit]

In my academic research I study the security properties of collaborative applications and Wikipedia in particular (and have implemented a somewhat popular semi-automated anti-vandal tool for en.wp, STiki]). I am indirectly paid for my efforts via academic grants. However, a good case-study for what brings me here is ClueBot NG (CBNG). These developers do not get paid for their efforts, yet their bot has 800,000k vandalism reverts. Without CBNG, I can only imagine how much manual human effort, OTRS requsts, and other mess would have been required to track down all this damage. CBNG is not perfect yet serves a critical role, with its developers ocassionally dissappearing for periods (completely justified). I wonder if small financial incentive could spur/incentivize/reward the development and maintenance of such tools. There are many tools in existence across many domains -- but security would seem an acute issue. More broadly, I would be interested in advising most types of quantitative research that don't simply "measure for measurements sake" but have the goal of producing artifacts that benefit the community. I have many smaller ideas, most with the goal of improving editor efficiency. I apologize for not having a more focused description here, but these are my thoughts. Thanks, West.andrew.g (talk) 17:26, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

This sounds like an exciting project, I would consider flow funding this, as it has tangible deliverables and can be documented and evaluated. As the community grows, we will need more and more of bots to make editing easy and less time consuming. --Thuvack (talk) 19:13, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Suggested by Thuvack[edit]

The table below is an example of a project, I would consider funding as a flow funder. It is easy to manage and hold people accountable. It is also possbile to measure project outcomes by tracking performance of students who were exposed to the program.

Initiative country volunteers budget
Winter Classes South Africa 10 University students $5000
Duration 1 week of school winter breaks
Estimated reach ± 100 high school students in grade 11 & 12
Partnerships Government department of education
Comment Winter classes are the best way to help grade 11 & 12 students to catch -up on their studies in areas where education levels are very poor. Getting University students to volunteer to teach winter classes has been done before with great results, yet not always possible to reach as much of SA poor student population as possible. When organised and followed through properly, it can become the difference between high school students performing well or dismally in their studies.
Why a grant/funding * Help provide transportation and lunch boxes for the duration of the week
* Hire out projector materials and laptops / PCs
* Volunteers use articles selected from wikipedia/Wikiversity to run workshops, thus exposing students to Wiki learning environment.
Project Frequency Can be done on an annual basis and if model is approved after test with department of education, can be rolled out to remote areas of the country.

I my self went through a similar project some ten years ago during my high school years, but the project was stopped due to lack of funding. -- Thuvack (talk) 19:07, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Suggested by Daffy123[edit]

I have mostly dealt with uploading historical images in Wikipedia since I have been interested in history for a long time (recently, an academic paper that I wrote on the Arab Spring won a prize from the University of Cambridge.) Although copyright and other issues that relate to images from the United States and the European Union are rather firmly controlled and overseen by many volunteers, I must say cooperation with different agencies regarding uploading more historical images in Asia (such as Korea and Japan) is quite slow. The upload of Bundesarchiv images was a great success in uploading historical images, but that kind of triumph can be less seen in uploading historical images that are under Korean or Japanese copyright laws. This, I believe, could be solved by allocating more funds to Korean and Japanese wikipedias. The current situation of the Korean wikipedia, still trying to develop its own chapter, does not allow Korean historical images to be put under care and supervision (that is, being reviewed by volunteers who verify whether they are considered okay to be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.) By allocating some funds to Wikipedia Korea and Japan would definitely help the situation, thereby preventing future copyright issues and encouraging upload of more historical images from Korea and Japan through cooperation with Korean and Japanese archives, just as Wikipedia got images from the Bundesarchiv. --Daffy123 (talk) 13:49, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Suggested by Lpagola[edit]

I have been working on the idea of "Wikisprints" since the end of 2010: workshops where a group of "experts" (not in an strict scholar sense), people who knows pretty well about one topic, could understand how Wikipedia works, learn how to edit, and contrinute to the quality of the articles of their interests. Running this kind of workshops at libraries (ideally topic related) will be the perfect place to gather people, with diverse information sources, a mentor explaining how to edit Wikipedia, and helping them in "real time" with the first steps, and also generating the time to devote to editing, with the extra boost of doing this with partners from whom you can learn and share information. Main problem involving new people in editing Wikipedia, on specific topics, is how to gather the right people, regarding not just to people who know about the topics, but also interested about collaborate with others and sharing knowledge. I'm convinced the closest "enviroment" we would want to build for such a workshop, is similar to this of some meetings (with scholar profile or not) who gather people from different places, and tend to discussion of ideas and production, rather than just communicate findings. For instance: Libre Graphics Meeting, or, Options of funding workshops like this (with experts gathered on one place, with time enough to learn about Wikipedia and contribute) would be proposing some kind of association with this experts meetings, in order to add the workshop as a proposal for the participants. If we can pay this extra effort initially, we could advance from the very first obstacle (clear interest and time to devote), for giving a chance to the experiment, gathering the right people, and not just the people who is available and convinced to do it... because probably this people is already editing Wikipedia :) An example done experimentally in Arequipa, Perú is:

  • Initiative: Wikisprint.
  • Country: Argentina.
  • Volunteers behind: editors from Wikimedia Argentina with experience in edition workshops, working as facilitators.
  • Description: Gathering 10 "experts" from 3-4 cities of Argentina, and 1-2 international Spanish speakers guests (ideally) during 2 days, for editing Wikipedia on one specific topic, for instance: gender topics, history of photography in Argentina, or other topics better represented in not digital sources (if we can work in the library where this sources are avalaible).
  • Budget:
  • Transportation: 600usd aprox. (4 roundtrip bus ticket, average) + usd700 for one air ticket for a guest of a Latin American country.
  • Accomodation and meals for 10 people: 1300usd aprox
  • Fees for participants: 1500-2000usd (150-200usd each one)
Total aprox: Maximum: usd 4600, Min: usd3400

This is one idea I feel like to support as a flow funder. From Wikimedia Argentina, we are about to test a similar version in the city of Mendoza, Argentina on next June 15 an 16, with gender as a general frame for contributions and improvement of Wikipedia articles, and co-organized with a representative of RIMA (Network of information for women in Argentina) and from the University of Cuyo. Of course, main difference is we could gather there the people interested enough in the workshop, living in this city and with time enough to get involved.--Lpagola (talk) 20:12, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

It is generally not a good idea to pay people for editing Wikipedia. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 23:50, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Suggested by Solstag[edit]

For my part, I would like to support initiatives like Wikimedia Fellowships/Project Ideas/Convidando o Brasil, which does not fit the grant's program very well and was refused by the fellowships program in a way that makes me conclude the people running the fellowships program are not prepared to understand the issues surrounding this kind of proposal - given the questions they asked and the fact that they only bothered to ask questions after the selection was over.

I think we all agree that Brazil, as many other developing or unequal countries, have huge latent growth potential. But tapping that potential would take some expert and devoted Wikimedians to run through the country, literally in pilgrimages, through cities that, although lacking infrastructure in many ways, have at least the minimal to participate in the movement, but will never ever feel included if not personally in touch with somebody.

This also implies a different approach in ever city, as the pilgrim will have to adapt his ideas to the local realities - sometimes it will make sense to involve school teachers, other times culture workers, universities or the city's administration.

It also means working together with other country wide cultural and educational networks that are available to us, which fortunately, through years of work of the Wikimedia Brasil movement, we have excellent credit with.

Maybe it seems unlikely that anyone would become a Wikimedia pilgrim, but we do have a few Wikimedians who would like to do just that, but the grants program does not seem adequate for this kind of request, and the fellowship program, which I believed was, seems incapable of understanding the value and timing of this kind of activity. And perhaps that's natural, since most accountability structures cannot figure how to cope with situations like this, as they are inherently dynamic, unpredictable and "now or never" scenarios.

I already explained the need for adaptability in the program, but it usually goes unnoticed that this is also not something you can back down and say "sorry, wish you luck next year". Willingness to dedicate his full time and abandon his whole life to promote Wikimedia projects around the country in places that lack infrastructure, and sometimes even sanitation, is something that won't ever happen to most people.

Being able to do something like this is usually completely beyond one's control, and is always the outcome of fortune - or misfortune. There is no "try again next year", next year life has taken you far far from being able to commit to something like this - which just means closer to everybody else.

At the same time, this kind of activity represents, in my opinion, the prime fruits among outreach activities, particularly in highly unequal countries like mine, as they go beyond getting museums and universities involved - which just involves those who already had access to the knowledge system and in a certain sense still reinforces inequalities of participation, even if it reduces inequality of access to the contributed materials.

Finally, this is simply one example of activity that has these characteristics. Several other opportunities are missed because somebody really wants to engage more with the movement outside of the common place of wealthy cities and universities, but can't do so as it is essentially uncertain what is going to happen when you get out there.

Even because sometimes in reality you just have to set all wiki stuff aside and approach the community from a different angle. This goes beyond the example above, since that example still talks mostly about wikis, but I feel like this may be the right place to say something.

In doing true good you cannot assume you come with the right tools or the whole truth. That is not good, that is submission. If the Wikimedia Movement plans to really fulfill its mission of contributing to a world where every single human being joins in the sum of all knowledge, it must have ways to reach those human beings that are not yet in a position to use the tools we're used to, but who can understand the ideas of free knowledge and apply them in a variety of creative and productive ways which, in the end, improve their lives and may one day lead to them using Wikipedia.

As an example that is closer to this second reality, I have been in the past contacted by institutions in Brazil working with indigenous people to help them organize, most times for the first time ever, their native knowledge in ways that are both recognizable by academia and respectful of their traditions. There are so many fucking hard anthropological and epistemological issues involved in this that only an alien would suggest that any of the Wikimedia projects has anything to do with it at first.

However, it is directly and deeply connected with the Wikimedia mission, and being absent from these crucial moments, when the hardest and most expensive - both in money, effort and emotions - work is being done, radically detracts from the ability of the Wikimedia movement to engage it with credibility on a later stage.

There are known wikimedians interested in assisting these processes and there are activists and scholars involved who abide by the values and mission of the Wikimedia movement. Why shouldn't we support their work towards making these critical knowledge construction processes, that will shape entire civilizations, more collaborative and open and socially driven.

But any sensible project towards that would make little mention of wikis at first, and would most certainly not have predictable outcomes - seriously, some times these people can't even predict whether they're leaving alive, be it for the terrible transportation conditions or the accidental dispute among communities that gets in the way. And this last point is not only true for indigenous communities, but also for activities that involve favelas in big cities or small cities dominated by armed elites. (Outside of a Wikimedian context, I have friends who have had their lives threatened in all three scenarios while simply doing their jobs, which are in many ways similar to Wikimedian activity.)

In the end, all this boils down to one issue: inequality.

Which the Wikimedia movement has a really really hard time coping with. (Be it from how we treat people who find it difficult to understand or edit wikis, or the English language for that matter, to, for another example from my personal experience, all the issues wikimedians in Brazil continuously face trying to interface with the chapters superstructure, just because we chose to organize locally in a way more conscious of the need to counter inequality).

Concluding, we need ways to fund these activities that strike directly upon inequality and, given the rationale above about why it's hard to fit them in a more typical process, this is the kind of activity I would support as a flow funder in my position.


--Solstag (talk) 02:32, 9 June 2012 (UTC)