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Grants:Conference/Wikimedia Polska/CEE Meeting 2017/Report

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Report accepted
This report for a Conference Grant approved in FY 2016-17 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/Wikimedia Polska/CEE Meeting 2017.
  • 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?

We believe that we met our goals. The conference was attended by higher than expected number of people and, at least according to the participants who filled the after-the conference survey, it met their expectations.

Target outcome Achieved outcome Explanation
to promote, develop, strengthen, and support the collaboration between various Wikimedia chapters, thematic organisations, user groups, projects, and other communities in the region; Several new partnerships and instances of cooperation have been established (see below), uncountable friendships and connections have been made The conference was attended by 104 people instead of planned 90. See List of attendees. Not only all planned user groups and chapters from the region were represented but also some new groups and chapters attended the meeting. Altoghether there were representatives of 31 local chapters/user groups from 25 CEE countries + invited speakers from WM The Netherlands, WMUK, Wikidonne and the WMF. The higher number of attendees was an outcome of the representatives of Wikimedia DE and new user groups from Macedonia, Greece, Belarus and Albania. According to the survey, 93% of the participants agree that meeting people during the conference helped them to make a new friend, and 75% - that it helped them to join a project or start an initiative.
to support the sharing experience, good/bad practices, and valuable learnings among CEE wiki communities, as well as to offer a place for the wiki-communities to gain new skills, discuss and analyse shared stories and work; 20 lectures / workshops during the conference were devoted to the above-mentioned topics. Out of 26 lectures and workshops at least 20 were devoted to the sharing experience/skills, and good/bad practices. Out of 104 attendees 41 provided lectures or workshops, of which 38 were people from the region. See: Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2017/Programme. According to the survey 87% of participants agree with the statement that the conference did provide information useful for them. 73% approve that it contributed to the understanding of the future of the open knowledge and 75% that it increased their understanding of the Wikimedia movement.
to document and track current projects and developments carried out by the CEE Wikimedians; extensive documentation from the conference has been published in a form of etherpads and video recordings Almost all - except few, which were not recorded due to controversial nature or privacy issues - sessions during the conference were video-recorded, and the recordings are published on Commons: Commons:Category:Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2017 video recordings. There are also detailed etherpad relations from the sessions. See: master etherpad.
to interconnect CEE Wikimedians working on solutions to similar challenges; The outcome has been achieved Many sessions during the conference were meant to gather in natural way people working on similar challenges. Among other: GLAM session, session "Wikipedia & education", "Content Contests", "Real world events organization" and several others were a good platform to focus together on similar projects and issues related to them. 90% of the respondents agree that the conference gave them an opportunity to exchange ideas with others and 68% state that it helped them to gain new practical skills. Some of the survey participants pointed out that the program could use more practical sessions and discussions instead of the one-to-many presentations, nevertheless the overall evaluation of this conference aspect was positive.
to connect Polish Wikimedians to the CEE community, thus both strengthening the Polish Wikimedia community itself and promoting its ties to the international wiki-movement The outcome has been partially achieved Out of 104 participants 21 were from Poland (the Polish community is much larger than 21 people - around 200-300 people at least - but limited budget as well as capacity of venue limited number of Polish attendees). All of them were part of the organizing team and/or lecturers. Roughly, for 1/3 of them it was the very first international Wikimedia conference. Although due to their duties they had limited time to participate in the conference as such, the event proved to be very valuable for them. Our volunteers gathered new skills and were quite enthusiastic about working hand in hand with the board members and paid staff during an important international event. Some of them engaged in the direct chapter work for the firs time. Others had never before worked with such a large project. We on the other hand are now better aware of the strengths and skills of the community members who worked with the conference. We expect this experience to strengthen our community by motivating our volunteers to engage more in the chapter (see more in the "Learnings" section)

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 6 months after the conference
Strategic Discussions:

Were any significant issues your community discussed at the conference?

There were 3 sessions regarding strategy direction( 1,2,3 ), mainly focused on better understanding of the document and possible next steps of Movement Strategy 2030 preparation. Among others it was shared how Wikimedia Netherlands is about to proceed with endorsing process, and how to tailor local strategies to the movement strategy direction. It was also discussed if there is any need for common CEE strategy, but it was decided that due to huge diversity of the region it probably does not make sense as it won't be very different from main movement direction. Just after the conference several local chapters and users groups started their internal procedures regarding endorsing decisions. It was finally, officially endorsed by 14 CEE affiliates, who were represented during the conference. As our report is due to 3 months after the event we are not able to provide such information at the moment
Capacity Development: Please list capacity building sessions or workshops. Several sessions were focused or had as a side effect capacity building.
  • two sessions "Wikipedia & Education" were devoted to sharing experiences both in teaching potential editors or using Wikipedia in education or both.
  • during 2 sessions "Management practices" - participants could learn best practices from the most successful chapters regarding general management, organizing new projects and grant reporting.
  • two sessions about Volunteer Support and Recruitment hopefully helped to share experiences regarding various methods of engaging and supporting volunteers willing to organize and conduct real-life projects within the framework of Wikimedia affiliates.
  • There were several workshops and sessions regarding Wikidata - from "Wikidata for beginners" to advanced workshop about LUA.
Thank to face-to-face communication with WMF and WMDE employees several people from the region joined international capacity building teams:
  • Serbian representative - joined the Volunteers Support team
  • Representatives of Poland, Germany and Austria joined the freshly established team "Voices under threat".
See above
Projects or Working Groups:

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

  • CEE Spring 2017 had a summary and lessons learned session which helped to determine learnings for the project report as well as improvements to make and issues to address in the next year edition. The feedback gathered on this sessions and the plans how to work on it can be seen in the CEE Spring 2017 grant report
  • The idea of Wikimedia CEE Newsletter was introduced and a working group was established. The first issue of the newsletter is expected at the end of October or at the beginning of November
  • Other regional projects - among other common photographic contests and expeditions were presented and discussed during 2 sessions
  • two GLAM/Partnership session gathered people interested in establishing and expanding various types of partnerships with external institutions, among others - Estonian and Ukrainian participants found interesting PatyPan software and are planning to use it for their own GLAM projects
  • CEE/Newsletter editorial board has been created and October 2017 inaugurated the opening of the newsletter.
  • The new ideas of collaborative GLAM projects of Wikimedia Eesti and Wikimedia Polska has been discussed during the visit of Estonian Wikimedians in Poland and Polish in Estonia.
See above


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?
    • High participation The number of attendees exceeded our expectations. They formed a very diverse group, however cooperation during the event went quite smoothly and friendly. Also we were happy to invite some new faces - according to the post-conference survey it was the first CEE Meeting for at least 15 participants.
    • Intense and interesting program We wanted to have a conference program which would fit the needs of the participating communities and which would benefit from the experience of the past CEE Meetings. To provide that an international program committee was created consisting of great Wikimedians with good knowledge about CEE communities and with expertise in different areas. Some of them were members of past CEE Meeting program committees which helped to integrate the learnings from the past into the present conference. In order to create a program close to participants' needs the committee created a survey which helped them to gather voices from all the CEE communities and identify the most important topics. As a result, a quite extensive program was created, consisting of two parallel lecture tracks and one track mostly dedicated to workshops. According to the survey 78% of the participants were satisfied with the topic selection and 82% with the quality of sessions.
    • Very good technical facilities on main venue: The quality of the two main lecture rooms in POLIN Museum in terms of technical facilities - such as the sound system, lighting, projectors and WiFi - was exceptionally good and there were no complaints regarding the technical side of the conference (for the very first time in the history of CEE Meetings).
    • Good documentation of the conference sessions We wanted to make sure that the conference sessions and learnings would be available not only to the conference participants. This is why we put special attention in documenting the sessions. All the sessions from the two main tracks were video recorded (except for the situations when the speaker or the audience requested otherwise or when the topic of the session was of a sensitive nature) which brought 34 videos available on Wikimedia Commons and on YouTube. About one third of the sessions were live streamed through social media and our volunteers were prepared to pass to the speaker questions asked by the viewers. In order to be sure that all the sessions are very well documented on the Etherpad each session of the two main tracks has a volunteer whose task was to take notes.
    • Engaging Wikimedia Polska volunteers in every aspect of the preparation process The recruitment of volunteers was organised very early in the process. All but one WMPL Board Members and our Annual General Meeting Chairperson (all of whom are volunteers) were part of the core team from the very first day of the preparation of bid. Short-term volunteers, required only for the conference days, were recruited several months ahead of the event. Many of the them were people who, despite being active editors in the Wikimedia projects, had not been active volunteers in WMPL activities off-line. Recruitment was announced on Polish Wikipedia's notice board, on WMPL Members' mailing list, as well as on main Facebook group for Polish-speaking Wikimedians. Registration of volunteers had three stages. First, they informed (by e-mail or FB message) the volunteer coordinator about their willingness to help. He then replied by sending a short Google form, which asked about things like preferred dates and types of work. Finally, a shifts table was created at WMPL's wiki and there the volunteers could sign up for specific shifts. Some shifts were additionally assigned to WMPL Board members and staff. Shortly after the conference, all short-term volunteers received a CEE Meeting barnstar, accompanied by thanks from the coordinator, with the text being altered for each volunteer, to make sure it feels more personal and relates to this person's work better.
    • Good assistance with the visa process: We were aware that many of our participants would need visas for entering Poland and that our good assistance in the process may be crucial for attendance of some people. This is why we assigned the task of helping with the visas not just to one but to two of our volunteers (one of them with great experience in handling visa issues for Wikimedia Polska). This is why (despite some reluctance with the required paperwork and keeping deadlines by some of the participants), we managed to support all who cooperated with us with the procedure. It required in several cases direct interventions via our personal contacts with Polish consular officers. Only one potential participant did not arrived due to visa problems, but the reason was his reluctance to provide needed documents on time.
    • Creating a good team with good responsibility distribution Organizing a conference of this size is not an easy task. It needs to go smoothly, professionally and at the same time not to interfere with the regular chapter's work and not to take away our attention from all the other WMPL projects and activities. To ensure this the conference logistics and preparation was handled by a quite a big team consisting of paid staff, board members and chapter's volunteers. From the beginning we had a very clear task distribution based on the members experience and skills so that at every stage of the process everyone knew exactly what their responsibilities are and how should they fit them in their schedule. Good team organisation was also appreciated by the participants - 82% of people who filled the survey stated that they were completely (61%) or mostly (21%) satisfied with the help of the team with any problems they might have had. 87% were completely satisfied with the WMPL help before the conference and 95% were satisfied with the support they received during the conference (85% were completely satisfied and 10% - mostly). Creating a quite large team also helped us to establish a good and regular communication with our participants - in the survey 92% of participants noted that they were satisfied with the contact with the organising team (80% completly, 12% mostly)
In order to connect the CEE Meeting with our chapter activities and to bring Polish culture closer to the participants we invited Wikimedians to have a tour in the State Etnographic Museum, our GLAM partner. More than 20 CEE Meeting participants took part in it
    • Connecting CEE community with other chapter activities - we wanted the CEE community to get the feeling of what we are doing as a chapter and to get them involved in our projects. This is why we invited conference participants to participate in two events connected to our work - a visit in the State Ethnographic Museum and a WikiVacations walk through Warsaw. The first gave them a chance to meet our GLAM partner institution, hear about our cooperation and see the museum exhibition. The museum staff was also moved by the opportunity to meet with the international Wikimedia community, especially because they have already had a chance to work with some of the CEE Wikimedians during the Carpathian Ethnography project. The WikiVacations photowalk connected a sight seeing tour (guided by the POLIN museum specialist) with a chance to take part in our photographic contest. Both events were a way to introduce our projects in a very direct way, different and better than through a presentation or a talk. An opportunity we had thanks to hosting this conference.
    • A truly useful conference package - it is a Wikimedia tradition that from every conference participants bring some swag to help them remember the event. We wanted to give away not only great souvenirs but also something that can be truly useful during the conference. The volunteer responsible for choosing and designing our conference package devoted quite some time to choose the items. All the participants received umbrellas (which proved to be very useful due to Polish Autumn weather) and paper notebooks, which we seen being used during the conference sessions by many participants. And this effort was noticed by them - we received some nice comments regarding this packages during the conference.
    • Local Wikipedians as tour guides - from the start we knew that we want our guests to have a real feeling of Warsaw - the beloved city of many members of our organizing team. So guided tours were a must. And we decided that instead of hiring professional guides we will give the task of organizing Warsaw walks to our volunteers. Thanks to that the participants could have a good Warsaw experience based on knowledge and passion of local community members exceeding an experience of a regular tourist.
    • Museum as a venue - although some problems occurred because of venue being separate from the hotel (see the What did not work well? section) we are glad with choosing the POLIN Museum as the place to host the conference in. The Museum saw the movement mission as meaningful and it engaged in the conference by giving us a significant discount and helped to organize the WikiVacation photowalk. Also POLIN - with the exhibition telling the story of two nations sharing culture and history made a good place to invite people from many different countries. And our participants had a chance to see one of the most interesting museum in Poland.
  • What did not work so well?
The venue lacked some good space where people could have informal talks without interrupting the sessions, especially those which were held in the opened corner room
    • Some minor organizational problems were due to physical separation of venue from accommodation; also due to the number of attendees exceeding our original expectations, some of the self-funded participants had to be accommodated in other venues.
    • The idea of early registration of participants - which was intended to decrease the costs of air-plane tickets and accommodation - partially failed, as many chapters and user groups were unable to select their representatives according to the deadline, and many participants were very slow with contacting the organizing team.
    • There was not enough time and space for informal late night sessions / meetings - the room provided by MDM hotel wasn't very practical due to noise.
    • Organizing the conference in the capital city of the country - although convenient in terms of travel (two nearby airports etc.), sightseeing and many other side activities such as visiting GLAM partners - does not provide a "retreat" feeling and makes it harder to concentrate on conference work. It also substantially increases the cost of the meeting, as the capital is usually the most expensive city in the country.
    • There were shortages of coffee breaks, and according to at least several attendees there was not enough food, especially in the evenings.
    • The venue lacked space where the participants could talk without interrupting the sessions (especially the corner session) or take some rest
    • The possibility of online interacting with the speakers during the sessions which were live streamed was not promoted enough so it was not used by the audience. In order to provide people who are not present at the conference possibility to participate in the sessions in an active way we had our volunteers checking social media if there are any questions/comments under the live streamed sessions. They prepared to pass those questions to the speaker. But no questions or comments came. Probably because lack of information about such a possibility.
    • There were some aspects of the program committee work which could be improved. Assigning facilitators from the within the attendees was good in a terms of including the international community in the organisational process but at the same time (because of lack of information) some of them were not aware of the role they were appointed. Also for some the facilitation interfered with attending the parallel sessions which were interesting for them. Although 80% of the people who filled the survey were satisfied with the communication with the program committee (29% mostly, 51% completely) this aspect of the conference could have been improved.
  • What would you do differently next time?
    • Rather to try find one place for accommodation and venue to avoid transferring the participants which took some time out of the conference everyday, made it difficult for people to go back to their rooms (if they forgot something) and added the cost of renting buses to the conference expenses
    • Workshop sessions have to be organized in a separate room - the "corner" in the hall did not provide a very comfortable space for such activities. On one hand the corner location made it easy for people to join easily, even during the session, and gave a very informal atmosphere to it. But on the other - the noise from people talking on the corridor interrupted the sessions.
    • We should somehow overcome a language barrier. 48% of the participants Estated in the postconference survey that English was not a barrier in understand the conference sessions and for 41% it was rarely a barrier. But for almost 10% it created a problem sometimes or all of the time. In the future we should put stronger emphasis on chapters and usergroups to select people who are able to communicate in English. On the other hand this would exclude many very active members of our communities. Alternatively, some form of live translation could be provided
    • For the next conference - it must be considered to better screen the chapters and other affiliates from the region to better estimate a potential number of attendees

Financial documentation[edit]

This section describes the grant's use of funds

The overall budget was almost as predicted. Some costs appeared a bit higher than expected, but several others were lower, so suma summarum the overall cost was a bit lower than estimated (2.25% less than planned).

Budget table

Column 1 refers to budget table points in grant application (see: Grants:Conference/Wikimedia Polska/CEE Meeting 2017). Exchange rate PLN/USD is based on the amount of money which really reached WMPL bank account, i.e: 149,020.62 PLN / 41,027.03 USD = 3,6323 PLN for 1 USD.

Budget table 1: Costs paid from WMF grant funds:

NO Description Classification Cost PLN Cost USD
1.1. Airplaine + other international tickets Travel 52910,51 14566,67
1.2. Visa fees Travels 2389.69 657,90
1.3. Local transport -100 tickets for public bus Travel costs 440,00 121,14
2.1, 3.3, 3.4, 4.2, 4.3 Hotel MDM overal costs Accomodation + Venue 44269,44 12187,72
3.1, 3.2 Besamim (restaurant in Polin Museum) - catering on venue Catering 20330,00 5597,00
3. Catering on venue - water catering 101,96 28,07
4.1. Polin rooms hire Venue 3690,00 1015,89
5.1. Video recording of the conference - work for hire Borys Kozielski other 2950,00 812,16
5.1. Video recording of the conference- equipment other 241,48 66,48
5.2. Puzzle 3D - small gifts for program committee Gadgets and stationery 199,95 55,05
5.2. conference bags Gadgets and stationery 1261,98 347,43
5.2. conference lead Gadgets and stationery 228,78 62,98
5.2. notebooks with pens Gadgets and stationery 662,97 182,52
5.2. badges covers Gadgets and stationery 148,83 40,97
5.2. Printing of bages and program of the conference Gadgets and stationery 240,00 66,07
5.2 Statonery for the conference (paper etc..) Gadgets and stationery 225,00 61,94
5.5. Harenda Sunday dinner others 5571,00 1533,74
5.7. Bus hire other 3888,00 1070,40
5.8. Tickets to Polin exhibition other 1080,00 297,33
6.1. Film for Fuji Instax Unforeseen 294,95 81,20
6.1. postal costs other 478,20 131,65
6.1. Internet in MDM Hotel technical costs 1845,00 507,94
6.1. Internet in POLIN museum technical costs 2214,00 609,53
SUM 145661,74 40101,79

Budget table 2: Costs paid by Wikimedia Polska:

NO Description Classification Cost PLN Cost USD
5.6 Friday Polish Wikipedia Birthday celebration Wikipedia Birthday 105,22 28,97
5.6 Friday Polish Wikipedia Birthday celebration-time capsule box Wikipedia Birthday 69,99 19,27
4.3, 5.4, 5.6, 6.1 Hotel MDM - Friday dinner + room and catering for Birthday + room and catering on Saturday Various 12396,72 3412,91
5.3 Domestic travels of local team and other local team operational costs Costs of team 2570,26 707,61
5.4 Saturday dinner - pizza & others Food 1027,54 282,89
5.2 Gadgets and stationery - umbrellas (100) Gadgets 3523 969,91
SUM 19692,73 5421,56
Summary of funding

Total project budget (from your approved grant submission):

176,644.74 PLN (46,845.43 USD, according to the exchange rate of the date of grant approval)

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

41,027.03 USD (we got 149,020.62 PLN)

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

45,523.35 USD ( 165,354.47 PLN )

Total amount of WMF grant funds spent on this project:

40,101.79 USD ( 145.661.74 PLN)

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

Yes, see Budget table 2 above
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.)

924.73 USD (3,358.88 PLN)
Remaining funds from this grant have been returned to WMF in the amount of 3,358.88 PLN.

Anything else[edit]

Disclaimer regarding survey results
The survey was performed using google forms. We started collecting answers around 2 weeks after the Conference, and due to low response, we advertised it several times via facebook group, E-mail list and direct mailing. However the response level remained relatively low. Out of 104 participant we got only 41 answers which is 39%. So, the sample of opinions we gathered from survey is not representative - is it nor random sample, neither majority one. One can expect that such a sample might be strongly biased with impossible to evaluate level and direction of bias.