Welcome to this project's final report! This report shares the outcomes, impact and learnings from the Individual Engagement Grantee's 6-month project.
Part 1: The Project
The WOW! Editing Group created a pilot program with the goal of creating a nurturing, safe, and fun environment for new Wikipedia women editors. We did this by using a variety of stratagems: placing high school and college women in small editing clusters (2-3 people), giving each group a college-age mentor with research experience, and hosting fun editing socials where participants could check in and connect with their peers and address editing challenges. We also had an experienced Wikipedian (Thanks, Britta!) provide training and ongoing support for the group. Additionally, we hosted exciting speakers who are affiliated with our host institution, University of California, Berkeley. We exceeded our goal of creating or improving 100 articles.
Methods and activities
See our Midpoint Review for a list of activities.
• We hosted 1 information session and 4 Socials (i.e. editing parties) where our participants came together for food, editing, and socializing. At our socials, we had guest speakers from a variety of fields, in addition to editing support from a Wikipedian. Socials were held in the Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM) Commons on the UC Berkeley campus.
• Information Session - Our team hosted an info session at Barney’s Gourmet Burgers in Berkeley, with 12 attendees from Bishop O’Dowd, 5 from College Preparatory, 5 from Berkeley High, 3 from Albany High, 1 from Bentley High, and 4 from UC Berkeley (mentors). We had group introductions, presented briefly on the program, girls discussed potential topics they were interested in editing and voted on potential T-shirt designs.
• Social 1 - 13 mentors from UC Berkeley and 25 high school students attended our first social. Our Wikipedia expert, Britta Gustafson presented a general tutorial to the participants on basic Wiki editing techniques. Afterwards we carried out a Q&A style discussion. As the editors began to experiment with editing on their own, they “flagged” their computers with post-it notes with questions written on them for Britta to answer out loud for the entire group by performing live editing using our projector and her laptop. This method permitted a fluid and interactive group dynamic and efficiently kept track of everyone’s questions. After the meeting, mentors and mentees formed small groups (of 2 or 3), with whom they planned to meet before the following social.
• Social 2 - 10 mentors from UC Berkeley and 20 high school students attended. Abigail De Kosnik, an Associate Professor at UC Berkeley for the Berkeley Center for New Media and Department of Theater, Dance & Performance Studies presented on Women in Media and in fan fiction and afterwards answered many questions from the participants. Britta Gustafson, our Wiki expert, taught the participants how to upload photos to Creative Commons and how to use Flickr to check copyright. Mentors and mentees worked in groups, formulating lists to work on individually and also in their groups.
• Social 3 - 5 mentors and 16 high school mentees attended. Our planned speaker, Grace Gipson an expert on Women in Comics and Black Superheroes, had to cancel, so we took the extra time to focus on working through challenges mentoring groups had experienced thus far. Together, we worked through common technical problems, such as figuring out how to customize information boxes in articles. To help the groups with the most common challenge of figuring out what to write/edit about, we led the group in creating a sample flow-chart, a brainstorming mechanism. Mentors and mentees then worked in groups on their editing projects. (Note: Due to SAT exams, we had a smaller group of participants.)
• Social 4 - 5 mentors and 15 high school mentees attended. Justine Sherry, a PhD student in Computer Science at UC Berkeley presented on women in computer science and her personal work in computer networking, and then opened up the discussion to Q&A. Justine shared her Wikipedia talk page where she keeps a running list of women in computer science who need Wikipedia pages. WOW! staff then guided an open discussion on the WOW! program (what worked, what didn’t, and what could be changed). Mentors and mentees then worked in groups on their editing projects.
SMALL GROUP EDITING
• Between each Social, editing groups were asked to meet at least one time in person to work on some edits. We held open sessions on the UC Berkeley campus in our regular meeting place, the BCNM Commons. Groups could sign up in advance to use our room as a meeting place, or they could opt to meet at cafes on their own.
• Some groups opted to communicate their editing plans via email and text rather than meet in-person.
• In addition to our public Facebook page, we created a private facebook group for the WOW! participants to post Wiki articles they edited and challenges/successes in the process. Users also shared articles and web content relating to women and technology.
• We emailed the groups about 4 times between each Social, sending reminders about upcoming Socials, open editing slots at the BCNM Commons, and words of encouragement.
Outcomes and impact
• Established relationships with Berkeley High School, Albany High School, Oakland Technical High School, Bishop O’Dowd and College Preparatory School.
• Recruited 14 mentees from Bishop O’Dowd, 5 mentees from College Prep, 5 mentees from Berkeley High, 2 mentees from Albany High, and 10 mentors from UC Berkeley.
• Fostered an online community of new Wikipedia editors using a private facebook page (28 of our total participants are members of the group), onto which girls posted various articles they had edited.
• Assisted participants in researching and editing Wikipedia articles that reflect their interests. Participants featured approximately 30 of their favorite articles they had edited on the private facebook page, including articles on Margaret Johnson, punk-rock band Bikini Kill, women in Sikhism, and political scientist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann. This collection of articles featured on the facebook page was just a sample of the 100+ articles participants have contributed to overall.
• Helped educate, shape, and encourage a group of young women editors on the culture and practices of Wikipedia, which will hopefully create a generation of editors who feel comfortable editing articles they are passionate about on a regular basis.
Based on the final survey administered to WOW! participants, 19 people completed the survey. Out of the 19, 18 participants want to continue the WOW! Editing Group program. Here are select responses from the participants reflecting about their favorite experiences. These are quotes copied from the survey:
- Learning how to edit on Wikipedia
- Learning the ins and outs of the editing process and listening to speakers who are passionate about their respective fields.
- both meeting with my advisor and the socials (and hearing the speaker!)
- The lectures/ learning experiences
- Feeling productive, saving edits that stuck!
- meeting my WOWgals!
- Learning to edit! And bonding with my group.
- I enjoyed meeting new people and delving into material we all collectively shared a passion about. Personally, I feel like I'm very locked into the routine I have - go to school, see those people, go to dance, see those people. WOW provided a great way to break out of that routine and to bond with others.
- Both my mentor and I are into computer science and I love learning from her. She is so informative and is doing some amazing things. It's great that she mentors me not just on how to edit wiki articles but also on one of my interests.
- Food and learning about Wikipedia
- Definitely (sic) the guest speakers. They were all so intriguing.
- learning more about Wikipedia (and the work that goes into it)
- I really enjoyed listening to the speakers' different topics and stories.
Progress towards stated goals
|Planned measure of success
(include numeric target, if applicable)
|Create a minimum of 10 editing pairs/trios during this pilot by recruiting 20 participants.||With over 30 participants, we had 15 editing pairs/trios.||The project generated wide interest.|
|Improve or add 100 articles by the end of our pilot program.||We exceeded this goal by approximately 20%.||We had more editors than originally projected.|
Think back to your overall project goals. Do you feel you achieved your goals? Why or why not?
We feel that we achieved our goals, and in the process we identified new goals that could be addressed. We were able to form a pilot group that was larger than expected. We were able to identify challenges as they came up, and we worked with them or around them to keep our original plan intact.
|1. Number of active editors involved||4||This number includes total participants (leadership, guest speakers, mentor) who had existing, active accounts prior to WOW! formation.|
|2. Number of new editors||34||34 of our participants didn't have a Wikipedia account at the beginning of our program. 5 participants (leadership, guest speakers, mentor) had existing accounts.|
|3. Number of individuals involved||38||This reflects the total number of participants involved in the WOW! Editing Group.|
|4. Number of new images/media added to Wikimedia articles/pages||Approximately 14||Although adding new media to articles wasn't a part of our goal, we noted approximately 14 photos added to Wikipedia by the WOW! Editing Group. There could be more that the group leadership is not aware of.|
|5. Number of articles added or improved on Wikimedia projects||Approximately 120||This number is based on reports received from our editing pairs/trios. It is possible that there are more created since our December survey.|
|6. Absolute value of bytes added to or deleted from Wikimedia projects||0||Tracking this data was not part of our goal.|
Our work increased the motivation of contributors. Prior to the WOW! Editing Group, most of our participants did not have a Wikipedia account and did not participate in article creation or improving. By the end of our project, individual editors were able edit independently. It should be noted that teaching someone how to edit an article is not enough to create motivation. Our socials were a time for groups to check in and discuss problems (like having content removed) and share experiences. By working in groups, our editors were able to have constant peer support.
The WOW! Editing Group helped create 34 new female Wikipedia editors by: teaching participants how to create and edit articles, educating them on the culture of Wikipedia (i.e. how to avoid having your work removed, how to determine subject relevancy, etc), and providing a safe space for peers to find support in the challenges of joining the Wikipedia community.
Facebook Group WOW! Women of Wikipedia Editing Group
- Call for Mentors (college students)
- Call for Mentees (high school students)
""WOW! Editing Group Recipe""
What worked well
What didn’t work
- Local public schools were closed for the summer, and we had challenges reaching the student body. Private schools were more responsive. We had to move our information session back by one month to ensure we were reaching a broad socio-economic group.
- Recruiting college students for participation was a challenge. Students were very enthusiastic about the cause, but this does not guarantee their participation. To combat this, we called all interested participants personally and make sure they understand the exact time commitment (which we kept very manageable) and our devotion to making sure this is a worthwhile volunteer experience for them.
- Some groups had trouble meeting outside of the Social Events due to scheduling conflicts. In the future, we would create flexible editing groups where participants could attend at will rather than assign them groups.
- Groups requested more direction for choosing articles that required improvement or creation. In the future, rather than give the groups freedom to choose their own articles, we would give them a list of articles to choose from. We would also spend more time teaching them to do research rather than focus on the "how to" mechanics of using Wikipedia.
Finding a host organization for the formation of an editing group can be beneficial. We were able to draw on the UC Berkeley community for co-sponsorship (free meeting space with computers and wifi), as well as locating guest speakers with university affiliation, which exposed our participants to exciting presentations by women in leadership roles.
Next steps and opportunities
Our participants have learned the basics of editing and are ready to move onto leadership roles, which will help them become active, independent editors. We have applied for a grant extension with a focus on making our editors into leaders. Here is our plan for continuing this group:
- Building on the momentum of WOW! Editing Group (34 new editors!), we have created a plan for the next phase of this successful pilot program.
- We will continue the Social Events that include guest speakers who provide inspiration and motivation to our editors.
- We will empower our new editors to take on a leadership role in the WOW! Editing Group by: having them run the monthly Socials which drives the content and schedule of events, and hosting a "Bring a friend" event, where they bring a friend along and teach them how to edit Wikipedia articles.
- We will solidify our new editors' skills and foster confidence by continuing to meet in our safe space where women editors work collaboratively to create and improve articles.
- We will deepen our relationship with local schools by assisting in the formation of 1 Wikipedia editing club at a local high school.
YES! We applied for a renewal here.
Part 2: The Grant
Please copy and paste the completed table from your project finances page. Check that you’ve listed the actual expenditures compared with what was originally planned. If there are differences between the planned and actual use of funds, please use the column provided to explain them.
Do you have any unspent funds from the grant?
Please answer yes or no. If no, include an explanation.
Currently in progress.
Confirmation of project status
Did you comply with the requirements specified by WMF in the grant agreement?
Is your project completed?
We’d love to hear any thoughts you have on what this project has meant to you, or how the experience of being an IEGrantee has gone overall. Is there something that surprised you, or that you particularly enjoyed, or that you’ll do differently going forward as a result of the IEG experience? Please share it here!