Grants:Conference/WCNA/WikiConference North America 2021

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This Wikimedia Foundation grant has a fiscal sponsor. Wikimedia District of Columbia administered the grant on behalf of WikiConference North America.

WikiConference North America 2021 (WCNA)
A grant for the annual WikiConference North America conference. This year's event takes place online in October.
targetMostly English language Wikimedia Foundation projects; also French and Spanish projects and possibly Dutch projects
strategic priorityTraining, partnerships, and fellowship for North American Wikimedians
event datesOctober 8–10, 2021
nonprofitYes, through non-profit fiscal sponsor Wikimedia DC
contact• info(_AT_)

Event overview[edit]

Purpose and vision

WikiConference North America (WCNA) is the annual conference of Wikimedia enthusiasts and volunteers from throughout the continent, providing a meaningful setting for Wikimedia-related discussions and activities. Since 2014 these conferences have welcomed non-Wikipedians, such as academics, students, and activists, to engage with the Wikimedia movement through conference programming, collaborative events, cultural initiatives, discussions, and more. The conference nurtures grassroots Wikimedia communities, addresses long-standing online and local community issues, spurs the creation of new content, and facilitates partnerships with cultural and educational institutions.

  • Do you consider this to be a Regional; Thematic or Growth event? Regional
  • Is it a Remote, or in-person event? Remote

Important details

Please add key information to the table below. The dates, location and number of participants can be estimates and do not need to be finalized at this time.

Proposed date(s) October 8–10, 2021
Proposed location Online
Number of participants Over 200
Event page WikiConference North America 2021
Primary contact person Pharos (WMNY), backed up by advisors: Econterms (WMDC),
Peaceray (Cascadia), Omar_sansi (WMMX),
Lunita28mx (WMMX), and JamaicanEditor (Caribbean)


Community input[edit]

Use the results from the community engagement survey to fill in the table below. Since you cannot cover all topics or meet all needs at one event, prioritisation is important. Please rank the priority of each topic, skill, project or problem as high, medium or low. Finally, please answer the questions in the table below, if any of the questions are not relevant leave it blank.

Description Priority
Strategic discussions:

What are the top issues affecting your community that need to be discussed in person?

Representation of community on the WMF Board; Movement Charter. Development of geographic and thematic hubs. High
Capacity development:

Are there important skills that many people in your community need to learn?

  • Training, as was done in the past GLAM Boot Camps. GLAM engagement has been a crucial part of the English, Spanish and French-speaking communities of North America. The conference's Culture Crawl has helped motivate and build capacity in this area, since 2016, to Montreal, Quebec in 2018 and extending to online GLAM training in 2020.
  • Development of the "essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge" across the most common languages.
  • Editing across languages and projects (Wikidata, Wikisource, Abstract Wikipedia, and other projects)
  • Supporting a translate-a-thon to support this work.
Working groups:

Are there joint projects that need to be planned in person at the conference?

Wikimedia Commons, Wiki Loves Monuments
Indigenous cultures and languages
Community building:

Are there other in-person activities are important for community building?

We want to extend our outreach to possible Mexican and Caribbean attendees and have a Spanish/Mexican-focused edithathon. High

Survey analysis:

  1. How many people did you send the survey to? How many people responded to the survey?
Survey has been sent to over 500 people in the North American Wikimedia community, as well as related communities. Recipients include all attendees of WikiConference North America 2019 and 2020, as well as several North American affiliates. 14 people have responded.
  1. Did you see consensus around shared goals that this community wants to focus on in the next 12 months? What were the top 2 goals?
The responses cover many topics. The organizers combined several into these top two areas, which overlap with the Strategy initiatives (numbered 1-45) too:
  • Training: New tools; Wiki in education; Training and nuturing new editors, e.g. GLAM specialists; learning translation tools; Commons, Wikidata and structured data; enabling movement who want to develop the software; "apprenticeship"; building capacity of all kinds; Wikipedians as an educational community; . The same topics are mentioned in Strategy initiatives, e.g. 11, resources for newcomers; 33, Skill development infrastructure; 32, Leadership development plan
  • Partnerships: Our activity involves engaging with external “ecosystems”, e.g. GLAM institutions, professional societies, the Internet Archive, phabricator, github, and other software development tool platforms.Working with GLAM institutions; working with other affiliates, e.g. in hubs and planning conferences like this one; including underrepresented groups through their institutions; coordinating and communicating with the WMF; look at topics and discuss together to compromise and synthesize. Relevant Strategy initiatives include: #12, peer to peer spaces; #15 API partners; #25 regional and thematic hubs; #29 Enhance communication and collaboration capacity with partners and collaborators; #38 Content initiatives in underrepresented communities
  • Another area of specified interest was Sustainability, which we do not put in the top two, but it related to user safety balanced with the free exchange of ideas balanced with online admin powers; handling covid; editor retention; global governance processes such as the Movement Charter and Global Council; . These relate to Strategic initiatives: 13, Platform functionality and documentation standards; 34, Facilitate a culture of documentation ; 45, Adaptive Policies; 44, Iterative change processes
  1. Based on survey responses, what are the most important things your community should do at the conference to achieve those goals?
Based on the responses so far, the top-two activities people have prioritized are working groups and community building. We will want to ensure we set up the proper environments and infrastructure that allow people to form these working groups as well as to meet others and build community. Similar to what was done for the virtual WikiConference North America 2020, this would likely entail utilizing multiple platforms that cater to each specific purpose.


It is helpful to get an understanding of why this event is important to your community, and what experiences you have had in the past. Please answer the applicable questions below.

1. What inspired your community to begin planning this event?
WCNA is a rewarding annual conference that helps knit our dispersed editors together. Our previous events are listed below. Since November 2016, the conference has been coordinated by the WikiConference North America user group.
Past events When and where
WikiConference North America 2020 Virtual; Dec 2020
WikiConference North America 2019 Cambridge, Mass; Nov 2019
WikiConference North America 2018 Columbus, Ohio; Oct 2018
WikiConference North America 2017 Montréal; Aug 2017
WikiConference North America 2016 San Diego; Oct 2016
WikiConference USA 2015 Washington, DC; Oct 2015
WikiConference USA 2014 New York City; May–June 2014

2. How does this event relate to other activities that your community is working on?
Our dispersed editors and communities have a variety of meetings: WALRUS, Wikimedia Mexico, Wikimedia Canada, Caribbean User Group.
3. Do you have any Thematic or Regional committee or group? (Such as WISCom, CEE, Iberocoop, etc).
WCNA user group; Wikimedia Mexico; Wikimedia Canada; Caribbean User Group; WALRUS; Wikimedia New York City; Wikimedia DC; Cascadia User Group; User groups in Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston, Ohio, and more


Venue and Logistics[edit]

1. Do you have any proposed venue for the event? If so, please share details (such as: how far is it from the airport or transportation hub; how close is it to the hotel, do you anticipate any challenges with using the space for the event you are planning?)
Online, with Zoom, Telegram, and spatial chat tools as in WCNA 2020.
2. Is the event venue and hotel accessible for people with physical disabilities?
Not applicable.
3. Are you planning to outsource some of the services? For example - a travel agency, an event production service?
Yes, we will be hiring translators and employing transcription and technical services for interpretation for Spanish and French language content. We have budgeted for an event planner so the organizers can participate in the event while a pro keeps things on track.

Friendly space policy[edit]

Please link to the friendly space policy that your community will be using for this event.


It is crucial that most participants have a minimum level of Wikimedia experience so that they can engage actively in workshops and discussions. Please answer all applicable questions below.

1. Please describe the target audience for this conference or event.
Wikimedians in North America, including Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the U.S., and related thematic communities such as the Wiki women's user group and Wiki LGBT.
2. If your conference has an outreach component to also target non-Wikimedian individuals or mission-aligned institutions, can you explain your intention for this outreach (for example: how will you ensure engagement with these participants after the conference, and what impact do you see them having on the projects)?
We want to make use of the online conference format and reach thousands of people with general programming, as well as specialized focus for the Wikimedians
3. Are you thinking about collaborating with potential partners? Such as national; educational or thematic groups and organizations? If so, will this partnership be a financial one (such as sponsorship), or a visionary one (to collaborate in regards to the content of the event)? Please share some details if you have any.
Yes. Possible visionary partners: Internet Archive, GLAM partners (Smithsonian, the Met?), Wiki Edu, MisInfoCon, BanQ (the archive in Montreal). We have possible GLAM or university partner organizations in the Caribbean and in Mexico. We are inquiring about getting support from certain organizations: Hacks/Hackers, NewsQ, Credibility Coalition. We have partnered with them in the past.
4. In which ways can WMF staff support your event onsite? If you would like support, please list the different capacities in which we can support, or describe how you would like WMF staff to be involved in the event. (Some examples of WMF support or involvement might be: for outreach and communication efforts; to lead specific sessions; for legal or safety reasons, etc).
  • Support from the Events team, for videoconferencing support, and support learning days, perhaps before the conference.
  • Translation and transcription help and advice. We want to translate live or at least on video between English, French, and Spanish. We are advised that some of the Strategy meetings have had simultaneous translation, by volunteers or WMF staff or contractors. Let's use that approach. We'd like to have subtitled or interpreted videos, but this is new to us.
  • Presentations about legal/advocacy issues, e.g. Section 230
  • Wikipedia 20 packs. We can celebrate Wikipedia 20 at this event.
  • Presentations or hackathon coordinated with the technical departments.
  • Movement Strategy update.


1. How many scholarships would you like to offer and what expenses will the scholarship cover?
We will have 25 e-scholarships and 3 dev/tool e-scholarships for project-based work, modeled on the WikiCite e-scholarship program. We expect these to be associated with research or software development. In addition, there will be need-based support for those who require childcare or data plans.
2. How will scholarship recipients be selected?
They will be selected by a scholarship committee drawn from across North American Wikimedia communities.
3. Do you plan to target or prioritize specific communities or participants?
We want to especially target underrepresented topics and communities, and underdeveloped aspects of knowledge infrastructure.
4. How will you insure diversity and inclusion in your scholarship process?
We will have a diverse scholarship committee, and define diversity criteria in selecting e-scholarship recipients.

Resources and risks[edit]

Describe the resource potential for successfully executing this project and the key risks/threats.


Organizing team
Team User Names
WMF Liaison Pharos (backed up by econterms, Peaceray, JamaicanEditor)
Logistics Fuzheado
Conference Program Rosiestep, Fuzheado, Peaceray
Scholarships econterms, Lunita28mx
Communications JamaicanEditor, Lunita28mx
Volunteer Coordinators
Other team members RosieStep, SuperHamster, Omar_sansi


  • Risk: Technology platforms.
    • We will host on a variety of video and communications platforms, building on our experience with the virtual WikiConference North America/2020. This will be especially complicated with translation/interpretation, which is new to most of us, and especially new in the online/virtual context. There is also some tradeoff between inclusivity and safety. We do not known everyone. We may have to adapt technically, adjusting security levels on the fly.
  • Risk: COVID-19 uncertainty.
    • It is uncertain if the COVID-19 situation will be worsened or partially improved in relevant regions by this time. To mitigate this uncertainty we will over-provision, and plan for different contingencies. We have many volunteers and organizers across the continent. We will endeavor to have backups of volunteer roles -- a distributed workforce. In the case that it is safe to do so, and as a supplement to counter "Zoom fatigue" in regions that may be partially opening up, we will have the option of distributed hybrid outdoor picnic events of about 10 people each per the Grants:Risk assessment during COVID-19 guidelines. (As small-scale activities, we can easily put forward or retract such hybrid plans later in the year.)


This Wikimedia Foundation grant has a fiscal sponsor. Wikimedia DC administered the grant on behalf of WikiConference North America.

Please provide a detailed breakdown of project expenses according to the instructions here. See Budget Guidelines.

Event budget table
Number Category Item description Units for item Number and cost per unit Item cost Notes
1 Registration Eventbrite membership/subscription 1 $200 Subscription?
2 Platform membership/subscription 1 $500 This will be a social space
3 Platform Zoom WCNA membership/subscription 1 $750 Most presentations will be on zoom
4 Platform Streamyard membership/subscription 1 $90 We will broadcast some presentations to YouTube and Facebook, and perhaps other platforms
5 Awards 10 x $50 $500 Item + Shipping and handling
6 Wiknic / video hubs Packages of supplies and reimbursement for small in-person hybrid picnic events and video recording on model of w:Wiknic 10 x $500 $5,000 Includes shipping and handling; contingent on the safety of in-person events
7 Banners 3 x $200 $600 Includes shipping and handling
8 Accessibility Reimbursement for child care 10 x $50 $500 Apply and be reimbursed
9 Accessibility Reimbursement for Internet access/bandwidth 10 x $25 $250 Apply and be reimbursed. examples: data bandwidth; gift cards perhaps
10 Accessibility Translation (Spanish) 8 hours/day x $40/hr x 2 ppl for three days $1,920
11 Accessibility Translation (French) 8 hours/day x $40/hr x 2 ppl for three days $1,920
12 Accessibility Translation (additional languages) 20 hours x $40/hr $800 A la carte hours
13 Accessibility Transcription service $500 Possibly, possibly a translator
14 Accessibility Program technician for trilingual broadcasting using Zoom 60 hours x $60 $3,600 The Foundation has done this recently
15 General Event planning 75 hours x $40 $3,000
16 General Branding, design, and marketing 30 hours x $25 $750 Icons, banners, materials
17 General Post-event video production, introducing/framing the recordings 30 hours x $30 $900
18 General Financial and banking fees $500
19 General Subtotal of all above $22,280
20 General Contingency (10%) $2,228
Total cost of event
Total amount requested from the Conference and Event Grants program
Additional sources of revenue that may fund part of this event, and amounts funded
It is conceivable we will get support from another partner organization, focused on items not above such as scholarships or t-shirts.
Please confirm that you are aware that changes to the approved budget beyond 10% in any category must be approved in advance.




Do you think this project should be selected for a Conference Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project in the list below. Other feedback, questions or concerns from community members are also highly valued, but please post them on the talk page of this proposal.

  • Support: I am very happy to see this proposal because I think it is very important to be doing this planning well in advance. Lead time, planning, and funding, could enable people to put together a really terrific event. Mary Mark Ockerbloom (talk) 02:32, 16 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Support I have attended this conference in the past. I like it because consistently every year new users come to this event and get excited to do lots more wiki after. Community organizers, institutional partnerships, and many personal projects are a result of this conference every year. Blue Rasberry (talk) 03:52, 16 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Strong support. We had a fine event 2y ago with 2-3x this in external non-WMF funding; hosting it brought in an equal quantity of grants for ongoing wiki projects + made space for a discussion w/ major internet-infrastructure orgs in the US + WM tech luminaries. This seems like a modest budget for an impactful event. –SJ talk  03:58, 16 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Support. I am very glad to see the continuity of this conference whether virtual or in-person I believe it has a great potential to play in building communities.Rberchie talk
  • Support. WCNA is my primary connection to a broader Wikimedia community. If funded, I will attend. I would be happy to help. Jaireeodell (talk)
  • Support. I was impressed with the recent virtual event and hope to participate virtually again. - PKM (talk) 19:02, 17 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Support. world class conference on a shoe string. Slowking4 (talk) 01:43, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Support. Having to pivot to an online medium in 2020 was a big challenge, but the organizers made it happen, and there were wonderful presentations and events. This grant would enable the 2021 organizers to have the resources to put together an excellent, thoughtful, coordinated, international event with a safe and streamlined technical infrastructure that would enhance attendance. Dorevabelfiore (talk) 17:21, 20 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Support I've attended several WCNA in person, and I also attended the 2020 remote version. This is a consistently well-run and very worthwhile community effort. I've always been impressed at how much I learn from and engage with the WCNA programs. I plan to attend WCNA as often as I can in the future, and look forward to the 2021 remote version. Uncommon fritillary (talk) 20:46, 20 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Support I have attended the last six years, and presented twice in person and online during the 2020 remote conference. I plan to work with the programming committee this year and would like to help put together a "beginners' mind" track this year. I have learned as much from WCNA as I have from Wikimania, and I would like to contribute back. Peaceray (talk) 05:19, 25 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Support The 2019 iteration was the first in-person Wikimedia-related event I ever attended, and I also found time to host an open space during this past virtual iteration. I look forward to participating earnestly the next time around. Mahir256 (talk) 05:50, 25 February 2021 (UTC)