Generation Wikipedia is a pilot, week-long summer conference for young Wikipedians and Wikimedians from around the globe to develop skills, leadership, and community.
total amount requested:
2013 round 2
According to the 2011 Editor survey, 11% of our editors are under 18. That works out to approximately 9,000 active editors not yet out of high school. These editors rarely attend in-person events, travel to conferences, meet their peers, or speak openly to and relate closely with editors facing the same generational opportunities and challenges as they are. They are the future of our community, but they are isolated and stigmatized. It’s essential that we reach out to these editors, mentor them, connect them to each other and their global peers, and give them the tools to engage with our movement both safely and transformatively. The community benefits from having more engaged, competent youth editing who don't see Wikipedia as a game--as opposed to the common stereotype of "kiddie admins" or "button-mashing kids". Meanwhile, our younger editors benefit from becoming part of the community in a safe and guided way.
Our idea is to take the most active, diverse, and promising of those young editors and bring them together for a week of global leadership, community-building, and safe, supportive activities. Somewhere with both beautiful nature and robust WiFi. A summer conference for younger editors called Generation Wikipedia.
The pilot event would last a week, bring together 10-15 attendees with 4-6 staff, and involve Wikimedians from around the globe. It would be part conference and part outdoor retreat, designed to give these editors a unique, positive experience and help them grow as Wikimedians.
Generation Wikipedia will be an educational, fun pilot event that will help young editors build their Wikipedia and Wikimedia skills and build community in a safe environment. For the parents of our young editors, Generation Wikipedia would be an opportunity for their children to brush up on internet safety and to experience personal growth. For the editors themselves, it would be a chance to meet peers, build community, share knowledge, and gain leadership skills. For Wikipedia, it is an opportunity to build up the next generation of our community’s pioneers and organizers. Young editors are often maligned within the community, and this program presents an opportunity to teach these editors skills that will help them be more competent and productive members of the community.
Ensure privacy and security
The foremost concern of this project will be safety, privacy, and liability protection from beginning to end. For privacy, we would use usernames and/or first names only at the conferences (depending on the preferences of each individual attendee), and a secure application process routed through the Wikimedia Foundation staff. Information that identified users as under 18 would never be published publicly. For safety, we would host the event in a secure and non-public location with fully-vetted volunteers or employees who have submitted to a background check and are already known to our movement. For liability protection, the entire process would be conducted with parental informed consent, proper insurance waivers, and Wikimedia Foundation legal counsel and approval. This is a model similar to that used by other tech-focused or specialty summer camps.
Improve skills for contributing to our projects
The centerpiece of the event will be interactive sessions on the key social, technological, and policy issues facing our community. Our experienced staff will lead discussions on diverse topics and give editors opportunities to share thoughts and explore challenging situations with clear guidance. In addition to internalizing and engaging with the philosophy of our movement and projects' core policies, attendees will have guided practice researching a subject properly, learn about how to handle controversial subjects and conduct themselves in a dispute, engage the technical side of toolbuilding, learn the nitty-gritty of copyright law (often an issue with younger editors), and get the tools to help guide other editors their age. Too often, young editors who don't know what they're doing try to teach others, in a situation often likened to "the blind leading the blind". By both teaching our attendees to be competent, skilled editors and giving them the knowledge to mentor others, we gain a small and growing pool of clueful, productive young editors and they gain the confidence and skills to contribute in more varied ways.
Develop confidence, leadership, community and vision
Surrounding the content sessions will be group discussions and activities designed to help younger editors share about their experiences and build confidence in taking on leadership roles. These will include group discussions on issues affecting younger editors and their vision of the Wikimedia movement in 10 years, as well as workshops on how to safely participate in the movement (including offline events like local chapters and outreach), and creating diversity in the movement.
Through a variety of creative and exploratory activities, younger editors will have the opportunity to come together to work on tasks that challenge their minds and lead them to collaborate to take on challenges. These team-building exercises will help the attendees understand the dynamics of planning, delegating, leadership, support, and seeking help--skills that will easily transfer over to their time on Wikimedia projects.
Some activities will be indoor and involve creative pursuits and quests, modeled after a typical youth conference. Some activities will be outdoor and involve navigating, building, and exploration, like a traditional summer camp.
Highlight strengths and talents
Younger editors will also have the opportunity to present lightning talks on topics they are interested in or with which they are particularly talented. We want each editor to bring a subject they are passionate about, whether that’s photography, template-building, graphic design, or deletion discussions, and share what they have learned with the broader group. This will help boost young editors' confidence in what they do know already, allow them to share skills with each other, and build community and networks.
Scope and activities
- Privacy and security research and legal advice on youth conference/camp best practices
- Venue selection
- Community promotion
- Signups for interested applicants (handled through WMF for privacy/security reasons)
- Event-planning (travel primarily)
- Conference-planning (Wikipedia related talks, presentations, and sessions; recreational and team-building activities)
- Hosting the conference
- Following up with conference attendees to evaluate quality of experience, desired improvements
Tools, technologies, and techniques
- Forms for applicants to apply
- Review of private information by WMF staff
- Legal department approval and support with appropriate disclosures and waivers
- Wikimedia merchandise for attendees
Total amount requested
Total: $20,000 USD
- Venue, lodging, food, and activities: $6,000
- These costs will go towards renting an appropriate venue for 1 week. We’re looking for an all-inclusive venue that has meeting space, sleeping areas, meals, and inexpensive activities on-site.
- Travel support for 12 attendees and 4 staff: $8,500
- We expect that attendees will contribute to the costs of the project, but we want to have travel assistance available, especially to encourage more participation from less commonly represented areas.
- Project organizing, event-planning, and conference management: $5000
- These funds will be split 2 ways between the project organizers, Keilana and Ocaasi, for the time it will take to design, set-up, and manage the event.
- Materials and merchanise: $500
- Incidental costs for t-shirts, buttons, stickers, pencils, and printing
The target audience of this is editors under the age of 18 who are consistent contributors to at least one Wikimedia project. We intend to bring young editors from a variety of projects in several languages to the conference (though the conference will be conducted in English). The Wikimedia communities that those editors participate in will benefit from having a new group of competent, community-focused editors capable of contributing on the highest level and sharing their skills with other, less-clueful young editors. The editors themselves will benefit from having a chance to build community in a safe environment, with none of the paranoia that accompanies those efforts online for most young editors. They will also have a chance to learn new skills that they can use on a daily basis on their home wikis.
Fit with strategy
Increasing Participation is the primary fit that this project has with strategic priorities. Younger editors are an often silent part of our community, due to safety concerns, yet in many ways represent the future of our movement. Exploring how to guide and develop these editors in a positive, safe way has broad impact for Wikipedia globally. This is especially important when trying to attract the next generation of editors from under-represented countries and areas that are rapidly coming online in the next decade. Younger participants are growing up as digital natives, using Wikipedia as a starting point for all kinds of research. We want to ensure that these contributors are mentored and supported. We also want to help them network with their peers across borders and learn how to safely get involved in the community.
We hope Generation Wikipedia will become an annual event, a much smaller version of Wikimania for younger contributors. Events could continue to be held in one location once per year, or regionalized if there is demand and benefit from reducing travel costs.
Measures of success
- 50 applicants
- 10-15 attendees
- Quantitative and qualitative survey feedback from attendees stating that the conference was a positive experience for them
- Continued positive contributions to Wikimedia projects from attendees (no warnings or blocks, increased edits, activity, and retention)
Keilana - I’ve been an editor on English Wikipedia since April 2007 and an administrator there since November 2007 - about 6 years tenure. I was a young editor myself - I started editing when I was 12. I primarily work on quality content and improving coverage of areas that are subject to systemic bias. In November 2012 Sarah Stierch and I founded WikiProject Women scientists, which has created substantial quality content and begun to organize the large coverage gaps in that area in only 9 months of existence. I am working on an initiative to bring regular Wikipedia workshops to Chicago universities, and have experience in running workshops for scientists at professional conferences. I am currently a sophomore molecular biology major at Loyola University Chicago where I am involved in the Women in Science and Math group and work in a developmental biology lab. I am identified to the Wikimedia Foundation as an OTRS agent.
Ocaasi - I’m a 5-year editor and now administrator on English Wikipedia with nearly 30,000 edits. One of my core focuses in that time has been outreach to new editors through irc, Teahouse, help guides, and onboarding tutorials. I work on partnerships with organizations, companies, and cultural institutions. I also help develop projects that add welcoming, social support and playful design to our community--in the interests of attracting, retaining and expanding a diverse set of contributors. My professional background is in academic teaching and tutoring at the K-12 level, where I developed a private company in Colorado over 4 years after college and taught in public high schools. I regularly give talks on Wikipedia’s culture and projects, and participate in open-source conferences and editathons. And, I gleefully attended summer camp from age 4 to 18. I am identified to the Wikimedia Foundation as an OTRS member and an Individual Engagement Grants recipient for The Wikipedia Library, and The Wikipedia Adventure.
Please paste a link to where the relevant communities have been notified of this proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions, here.
- English: Village Pump Proposals,Village Pump Idea Lab, Adopt-A-User, Teahouse, Teahouse Hosts
- Global: Wikimedia-l
Do you think this project should be selected for an Individual Engagement 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.
- Community member: add your name and rationale here.
- Endorse - This project seems to be an appropriate action in editor retention, particularly as individuals under the age of 18, if properly encouraged, could conceivably stay with the project much longer than retirees or older individuals. Also, on-wiki communities tend to be hostile towards younger editors (though not overtly) and thus a central place where they can discuss issues they face is a must. I must note that younger editors can contribute much (the Minang Wikipedia was spearheaded by a 13-year-old, if I'm not mistaken) and cultivating such dedication is overall a net positive for the movement and projects.Crisco 1492 (talk) 01:50, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
- Endorse - I concur you all! -- ɑηsuмaη «Talk» 10:11, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
- Endorse. I've found it disappointing whenever I see flare-ups and general tension between minors and other editors on Wikipedia. I believe this is a step in the right direction to not just help younger editors integrate themselves in the community, but also to identify and develop younger leaders and strong contributors in content, project proposals (maybe even more IEG recipients!), and in behind-the-scenes discussions. I JethroBT (talk) 05:18, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
- Endorse. The proposal seems to fit a wide range of participants (of all wiki-experience levels), and has been planned in a way that can adapt to the people who signup. The 2 proposers have exactly the experience and qualifications necessary to see this project through. Quiddity (talk) 02:27, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
- Endorse—Knowing that young editors already comprise a significant portion of Wikipedia's active editorship, and considering the issues Wikipedia has had with editor retention in recent years, these contributors really are Wikipedia's future. An organized program to promote their role in the community, to help deepen the knowledge of some, and prepare them to become leaders in the community for years ahead is well worth doing. WWB (talk) 14:12, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
- Endorse -- As someone who taught teenagers for 10 years, and knowing how many teenaged editors we have, this sounds like a great idea. Good luck! :) Msannakoval (talk) 15:55, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
- Endorse conditionally - I started editing Wikipedia at age 14, and in this day and age, it will really help if we equip younger users not only with the tools to allow them to realize their full potential as Wikipedians, but also to realize that in their quest to bring more information to everyone, they are not alone. However, my endorsement of this project comes with a single condition: I hope that those who will be selected for this project will be representative of the diversity of the Wikimedia movement as a whole, and that the selection process be rigorous enough to take into account underrepresented Wikimedia communities so that young editors who may be from underrepresented communities will be in a better position to help increase the visibility of their communities on the Wikimedia projects in the medium-to-long term. --Sky Harbor (talk) 09:51, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
- Sky Harbor, I can assure you that although an English-language event, we would promote applications broadly across all language projects, encourage diverse applicants to apply, and subsidize travel for underrepresented communities. Keilana and I--and the Individual Engagement Grants team under Siko and Anasuya--are highly motivated to bring in new voices as you suggest. We want to connect peers from around the globe, so I take your conditional endorsement seriously as something for us to aspire to meet. Ocaasi (talk) 14:22, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
- Endorse – I began editing Wikipedia when I was 12, and I can't even begin to imagine how much better my experience would have been if I had access to this kind of resource. These kinds of outreach efforts will help improve Wikipedia literacy among youth and could serve as an interesting pilot project in further youth outreach of this type. I really look forward to seeing what happens as a result of this event. harej (talk) 01:19, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
- Endorse - I began editing Wikipedia when I was very old, and I would like the gender gap to be solved. This idea would be a step in the correct direction to the solution. Geraldshields11 (talk) 21:59, 19 December 2013 (UTC)