Grants:Conference/WM UA/CEE Meeting 2018/Report

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Report accepted
This report for a Conference Grant approved in FY 2018 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • To read the approved grant submission describing the plan for this project, please visit Grants:Conference/WM UA/CEE Meeting 2018.
  • You may still comment on this report on its discussion page, or visit the discussion page to read the discussion about this report.
  • You are welcome to Email conferencegrants at wikimedia dot org at any time if you have questions or concerns about this report.


Did you meet your goals?

Target outcome Achieved outcome Explanation
to promote, develop, strengthen, and support collaboration between Wikimedia chapters, user groups, projects and other communities in the region Done Several sessions in the program specifically tackled the topic of inter-community collaborations (regarding CEE Spring, Bot Requests collaborative etc.). In their feedback, several participants wrote that inspired by the example of others they want to establish/revive a chapter or a user group, and Wikipedians of Slovenia User Group, Wikimedia Community of Tatar language User Group and Para-Wikimedians Community User Group were created after the conference.
to develop capacity by sharing experience, good/bad practices, and valuable learnings among CEE wiki communities, as well as offer a place for the wiki communities to gain new skills, discuss and analyse each other's stories and work Done The sessions at the conference fall into three different formats and offered space to sharing experience, practices, and learnings (presentation + discussion format), gaining new skills (trainings / workshops format) and analysing the work (working in groups). In their feedback participants noted certain lack of time for discussions after presentations and informal exchanges after the main program, but on the other hand many of them also noted they got to know new people with whom they are going to stay in touch.
to work on shared challenges, such as community development, Wikimedia strategy and gender gap  Partly done The main space for the group work in strategic direction was Wikimedia 2030 Come & Tell - what needs to change in our movement? session, which worked well as to the minds of many. Community development was covered from multiple aspects, from community health (as in Healthy Wikimedia Communities - what do they need?) to organisational development (as in Mission driven organisations). There was, however, not enough work on gender gap, apart from the presentation about Advancing Gender Equity report (while gender gap was frequently mentionned in pre-conference survey it usually was mentionned with low priority, thus we assume no participants were motivated enough to facilitate discussions on gender gap).
to discuss the state, track the progress and consider improvement of current projects, especially development and possible evolution of the CEE Spring Done A round table about the future of CEE Spring took place at the conference, many sessions were dedicated to presenting the state and the progress of current flagship projects in communities. Each session of a presentation format included not less that 15 minutes for discussions, which were used as intended.
to connect Ukrainian Wikimedians to other CEE communities in order to develop the Ukrainian community Done 9 Ukrainian Wikimedians participated in the conference, organising team included 15 members, and parallel to the main program there was an Education program strategic session with 7 more Ukrainian participating in it (it was in the same venue; its participants attended only education sessions in the main program). All Ukrainians, when not involved in immediate organising work, spent time in discussions with foreign participants and exchanged experiences.

Next steps[edit]

Please share a brief update about the status projects, important discussions and/or capacity building that took place at the event.

Activities during the conference 2 months after the conference[1] 6 months after the conference[2]
Strategic Discussions:

Were any significant issues your community discussed at the conference?

The work on the session included as discussion in working groups that mirror Strategy working groups with representatives of each group present. In their feedback participants reflected that they now understand strategic discussions better. There was a suggestion to further work on local strategies in affiliates and later come back together for sort of strategy for CEE region.
Additionally, the will of communities to organise themselves grew stronger and three user groups were started after the conference.

Capacity Development: Please list capacity building sessions or workshops. Trainings and workshops (participants, est.)
  • We decided to do a preconference training for the speakers in order to improve their skills and to maximise the benefit for the attendees. We have discussed this idea as maybe a separate event before the conference itself, so people would have time to improve their slides, train a bit; but it did not work out because it's time consuming and costly. We understand that preconference day is not optimal, though we perceived that it helped both speakers (directly) who were more aware of things they did right or wrong, and attendees (at the receiving end of better prepared speakers).
  • As for the workshops at the conference, participants reflected that it would be better to have fewer topics but covered more substantially.
  • Attendees from multiple communities shared capacities with their local communities and got involved in new projects. We have evidence of users becoming more active in Lua, SPARQL and Wikidata, new grant applicants (e.g. Project grants have 5 applications from CEE this season), wider interest rephotography of some participants etc.
Survey participants 6 months after event -- how many people have used the skills they learned?

Projects or Working Groups:

What are the most important projects that were started or improved during the conference?

Provide an update on projects that were started, or changes that were made as a result of work done at the conference.

  1. Feedback survey finished 1 month after the conference.
  2. 6 months after the conference haven't passed yet. We intend to receive a follow-up from the participants about their achievements during this time.


Conferences and events do not always go according to plan. Sharing what you learned can help you and others plan similar projects in the future. Help the movement learn from your experience by answering the following questions:

  • What worked well at the event?
  • What did not work so well?
  • What would you do differently next time?
What worked well
  • We had a diverse event team, team consisted of staff and volunteers from different parts of country. Those in Lviv were responsible for communication with the venue and organising food; others — for online work.
  • We created a weekly timeline from the moment bid was excepted till the CEE Meeting dates, and filled it with the key points. Then we filled in the timeline with the points when each activity had to be started in order to be finished in time. We frequently consulted with the timeline in order to not forget anything.
  • Once a week several team members had a check-in Hangout call on what was done, what was in progress, what were the current issues. We kept a separate document for meeting minutes, for writing down immediate decisions and tasks. Weekly meetings were useful for checking where we were on the timeline and staying on track.
  • From Wikimedia Conference 2018 we borrowed the idea of session calls with speakers. During a half-an-hour call, organising team (and Program committee) representatives and speakers were getting closer, organisers could make suggestions on content and format, speakers clarified their ideas and needs. Sometimes speakers realised that their original idea was a poor fit, and had a chance to change course before the event. These calls have definitely prevented some sessions from making it onto the actual event in a less-fitting format. Per feedback, “the general level of CEE presenters is improving.”
  • We had a pleasant partnership with the venue. Sheptytsky Center representatives kindly responded to our needs and were open to changes on site.
  • At least one team member was present during each session to help the speaker and count attendees in the room, and take pictures.
  • Evaluation of the public transport suggested to rent buses for the event and this expense appeared to be wise given the distance between the hotel and the venue.
  • ⅓ of the feedback answers name “Wikimedia 2030” session the most useful session of the day, which defied the rumor that CEE community is reluctant to talk on strategy. Per feedback, “For the first time through this strategy process, I felt involved.”
  • We were successful in involving all CEE communities, including less active ones like Slovenia, Bosnia, Lithuania, Cyprus or Montenegro. This took some time and effort, but contacting communities via multiple channels (village pumps, mailing lists, social media, emails, talk pages) worked. For the first time we could have had representatives of all CEE communities (unfortunately we had a last-minute cancellation of a Montenegrin representative).
What worked not so well
  • Obviously, it is better if venue and hotel is in the same place, or closer together. We promised to provide just that, but couldn't (more attendees than expected, thus exceeding the capacity of accommodations close to the venue). Participants found the distance to be tiring and causing troubles in other aspects of the conference (like tough timetable, less social time etc.).
  • Organisers should have communicated with participants more, writing confirmation emails each time when needed. (E.g. we asked if a speaker can come to the preconference training, they replied yes, we never sent confirmation of participation, and so the speaker thought they are not invited; more emails would have eliminated that confusion).
  • Participants could have communicated with organisers more. (E.g. we made branded bottles for event, and some bottle caps appeared to be loose but only some of them; if participants not only discussed this issue between themselves but notified organising team, we could have replaced bad bottles with good ones and water-on-laptop incident wouldn't have happened).
  • We explicitly allocated some time for discussion in each session (if a speaker asked for 30 min, we have allocated 45 min asked for it to have 25 min presentation + 20 min discussion), but attendees still wrote in the feedback form that there wasn't enough time.
  • Some feedback answers mentioned that the names of some sessions mislead participants or the sessions messages didn't meet the expectations. (per feedback “Too much of "what I have done" instead of "what you can learn from it".”). It is worth noting that this precise advice was given by the program committee. It was not always heeded, or effective conveyed to the participants by organisers.
  • As one attendee says in their feedback, “the How can we work better together session could have been less chaotic”. This session was designed for far fewer people. We had high expectations of it, but it's just not the right format for this many people.
What we would do differently next time
  • Have people apply for scholarships / decide who goes to the conference at least 4 months in advance. This would give organising team and the program committee more time to prepare a great programme and work with speakers (and the attendees) more.
  • We would work with speakers even more. We need more preparation for speakers, and clearer session descriptions/titles and messages.
  • It would be nice to think about how to change the rules for selecting attendees. In 2018 we had two scholarships for an affiliate / country / language community. But it meant that from a country with two affiliates we had four people going from these two affiliates and probably no one from the broader language community (unless affiliates decide to have an open call and choose not only from affiliate members). It might be better to have one person from an affiliate and one person from the language community, selected through an open call on the village pump (or some other methods, like scholarship applications), but this really needs to be discussed by the next organisers with the Community Resources team as there are both advantages and disadvantages.
  • Status of attendees paying for themselves or funded by their affiliates needs to be discussed. Historically CEEM was a rather closed conference with most participants either delegated by their affiliate/community or coming by invitation. This year we had a significant number of non-scholars, and we should decide if we should encourage this (bigger venue for ~120-150 people, open possibility to attend on one's own, like mini-Wikimania) or restrict this (limiting number of attendees even if they pay for themselves, like mini-Wikimedia Conference).
  • It seems reasonable to insist on people having enough skills in speaking English and reserve a right to refuse a scholarship if this is not a case: we have had people attending CEEMs for years with very poor English, and unless we can provide translation, it seems like sponsoring tourism. For example, there were participants who themselves told us frankly that they are not speaking English and use another participant as personal interpreter (which is unfair toward this interpreter who can hardly engage in session themselves); we could at least refuse participation of these applicants. Next step would be for organisers to proactively discuss this matter with applicants of whose command of English organisers know nothing. Another approach would be organising simultaneous translation at the conference, but a suggestion of such approach had already been rejected before, because it is costly and adds a barrier to the discussions. There is, however, a problem of communities where no active members speaking English are able to attend that needs to be discussed further.
  • It would be good to have a budget for invited speakers for the program committee to invite (we had only a budget for two 'additional' attendees which was not enough), as it might be the only way to get some needed expertise to the conference attendees.

Financial documentation[edit]

This section describes the grant's use of funds

Budget table

Please list all project expenses in a table here, with descriptions. Review the instructions here. These expenses should be listed in the same format as the budget table in your approved submission so that anyone reading this report may be able to easily compare budgeted vs. actual expenses.

Number Category Item description Unit Number of units Actual cost per unit Actual total Budgeted total Currency Notes
1.1. Travel costs International travel participant 71 340.47 24173.42 22000.00 USD We have exceeded a number of planned international participants (62), and asked for a reallocation from Unforseen to this line
1.2. Travel costs Domestic travel participant 58 5.46 316.76 450.00 USD
1.3. Travel costs Visa fees participant 1 476.22 476.22 300.00 USD We had only one participant, who needed a visa, but his visa required more money
2.1. Accommodation costs Lodging participant * nights 129 * 3 20.36 7878.79 7200.00 USD We have exceeded a number of planned participants (100), and also had some last moment cancellations
2.2. Accommodation costs Catering participant 129 16.83 2170.53 4500.00 USD We were able to organise lunches and dinners in the University canteen, so it was cheeper than planned. 518 USD from extra paticipants fees were used here
3.1. Venue costs Rent day 3.5 79.75 279.13 280.00 USD
3.2. Venue costs Coffee breaks breaks * participants 7 * 129 2.13 1924.69 1750.00 USD We have exceeded a number of planned participants (100). 518 USD from extra paticipants fees were used here
3.3. Venue costs Technical support day 3 206.77 620.32 945.00 USD
4.1. Income (inc. in-kind) Venue rent day 3.5 170.00 595.00 595.00 USD
5.1. Other expense Materials and gifts for participants participant 129 10.72 1383.36 1500.00 USD
5.2. Other expense Downtown bus city tour tour 1 209.38 209.38 500.00 USD
5.3. Other expense Unforeseen expenses 0.00 USD We had this line originally (3000 USD), but it was reallocated to 1.1
Summary of funding

Total project budget (from your approved grant submission):

40,020 USD

Total amount requested from WMF (from your approved grant submission):

39,425 USD

Total amount spent on this project (this total should be the total calculated from the table above):

41,056 USD

Total amount of WMF grant funds spent on this project:

39,425 USD

Are there additional sources of revenue that funded any part of this project? List them here.

Venue in-kind donation (595 USD)
Fees from extra attendees (1036 USD)
Affiliates funding extra attendees from own costs (hotels, travel).
Remaining funds

Are there any grant funds remaining?

Answer YES or NO.

Please list the total amount (specify currency) remaining here. (This is the amount you did not use, or the amount you still have after completing your grant.)


Anything else[edit]

Is there anything else you want to share about the conference or event?