Welcome to this project's midpoint report! This report shares progress and learnings from the Individual Engagement Grantee's first 3 months.
In a few short sentences or bullet points, give the main highlights of what happened with your project so far.
- Two regular editors on minor/minor projects (Greek language/Wiktionary & Wikiquote)
- One group project engaging all participants in progress
- Roughly 400 substantial edits so far (330 Wiktionary + 60 Wikiquote + 10 Wikipedia) plus 200 minor edits on Wikipedia
- One public presentation already completed (slides available), another being planned for next month
- Number of mentions in local media, one mention in national
- Fifteen posts on Facebook page
- Two mini-guides completed in Greek (adding word translations to Wiktionary, entering a quote under the right thematic category in Wikiquote)
- Discussions under way for GLAM partnership with local library and archives
- Wikitherapy poster at Wikimania 2016 in Esino Lario, Italy
Methods and activities
How have you setup your project, and what work has been completed so far?
Describe how you've setup your experiment or pilot, sharing your key focuses so far and including links to any background research or past learning that has guided your decisions. List and describe the activities you've undertaken as part of your project to this point.
Wikitherapy sessions held twice weekly for two hours each time at the Argostoli Mental Health Day Center.
- The venue is on a busy street in the center of town (easy access);
- its lounge is furnished with sofas, chairs, a whiteboard and a center table (casual setting)
- excellent cooperation and interaction with psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker and nurse (welcoming and friendly ambiance)
- Wifi access provided by Center
- Two laptops brought in by participants
- Full-size projector in first few sessions (borrowed from collaborating agency), pico projector bought with Grant funds thereafter.
Although we started out with 10 individuals, only 4 participate regularly. Reasons for leaving the programme: one participant abandoned because of family pressure; another is going through a difficult period and needs time. The rest "come and go" depending on their schedules (e.g. some are from nearby villages and transportation is not always available).
The teaching schedule has roughly followed the initial plan given in the proposal. We started by exploring Wikimedia Commons and taking part in the Photo Challenges. After we got to know each other, emphasis was placed on identifying the talents and preferences of each individual member so that he/she may be guided to the most suitable project (see learning pattern below). As a result, one has become a very active Wiktionary editor and also makes minor edits to Wikipedia; another is moderately active on Wikiquote. The initial plan to include Wikisource in our activities was abandoned due to lack of equipment (see below).
What are the results of your project or any experiments you’ve worked on so far?
Please discuss anything you have created or changed (organized, built, grown, etc) as a result of your project to date.
The impact of this project lies more in the meaning-making aspect of Wikipedia; this has been successful beyond expectations. Wikitherapy at the Day Center has helped us to build meaningful relationships as equals: that is a major accomplishment, and I can't think of any other setting (other than Wikimedia) where this could be made possible. All long-standing editors are well aware of the fact that everyone is a peer: even admins are no more than ordinary editors when it comes to creating content. This is precisely the inclusive ambiance that these patients needed. Even the difficulties we experienced from certain members of the Greek Wikipedia community were used as a tool to help them develop social skills in overcoming daily obstacles in real (as opposed to online) life. We talked a lot about these issues, and I should definitely mention that my advisor ManosHacker and his serene and positive attitude - which he manages to maintain even when he is under attack - has functioned as a "role model" in this aspect.
In terms of number of editors and edits, our progress most likely will not compare to that made in other similar projects. Notwithstanding, the fact that our two regular editors Dimitris and Evangelia work primarily on minor - or even "dormant" - projects lends extra gravity to their contributions: Evangelia for example has often been the only contributor to Greek Wikiquote on a number of days. Dimitris is constantly adding translations of Greek words in 5 different languages to Wikitionary, aspiring to add more as he gains access to more dictionaries.
- All major accomplishments listed here have been posted as we progress on our Facebook page (bilingual posting always, sometimes Greek first and sometimes English to help keep our local and international friends informed). Engagement and outreach constantly on the rise.
- See also the draft Wikimedia Blog post (and please feel free to copy-edit the article to reach publication standards: the blog team has said that it is difficult to understand and needs editing by a third party)
Please take some time to update the table in your project finances page. Check that you’ve listed all approved and actual expenditures as instructed. If there are differences between the planned and actual use of funds, please use the column provided there to explain them.
Then, answer the following question here: Have you spent your funds according to plan so far? Please briefly describe any major changes to budget or expenditures that you anticipate for the second half of your project.
The external costs have generally been spent according to plan; the difference will be allocated to remaining printer consumables (will be needed to print material for event). I spent $30 more than planned on WM merchandise but this was compensated in savings from other ext. cost items (projector+cables).
There have been changes to the original plan, as different needs emerged in practice.
- Training was held in 2 two-hour sessions per week: I realized early on that one-hour sessions were too brief to get our work done. At present a total of 31 sessions have been held, i.e. 62 hours of training.
- Follow-up went according to plan, i.e. one hour per set of two sessions = 15 hours of follow-up. The time was used mainly to write Wikitherapy posts on the dedicated Facebook page, monitor participant contribution and deal with clashes with certain users on Greek Wikipedia (see learning pattern)
- As for developing material, the 10-hour forecast at start of program was spread over a longer period to accommodate the emerging needs of the group; the only material I prepared before the first session was the questionnaire. Within the first month I had prepared the Wiktionary mini-guide and the Wikiquote mini-guide, and in February I prepared the slide deck for our first presentation. Since then I have not worked on development, i.e. total 10 hours at midpoint report. I do however anticipate to engage in intensive development of material that will be distributed to the public at our upcoming event (i.e. posters, flyers, slide-sets and hopefully a guide for uploading to Commons and a Wikitherapy factsheet).
The best thing about trying something new is that you learn from it. We want to follow in your footsteps and learn along with you, and we want to know that you are taking enough risks to learn something really interesting! Please use the below sections to describe what is working and what you plan to change for the second half of your project.
What are the challenges
What challenges or obstacles have you encountered? What will you do differently going forward? Please list these as short bullet points.
- Not-so-friendly reaction to some of our edits on Wikipedia. Even though editing Wikipedia was not in the original plan - for good reason, as I am well aware that the community can get hostile and here I am dealing with a sensitive group of people - it was inevitable in two cases: an article reflecting the personal interests of a participant, and our group project on the Bell Tower Square and Cafe. Keeping a low profile, avoiding conflict and protecting my participants are of utmost priority and I have learned to disengage from editing warfare (see learning pattern). Wiki-friends have helped in this direction.
- I allocated a small amount for the projector in the budget; this was not wise. Our sessions take place in bright daylight and the luminosity of the pico projector is not satisfactory in the current conditions. I will amend by installing dark shades and curtains in the lounge (donation in memory of my mother).
- The fact that training sessions are being held in a lounge rather than a computer lab makes for a casual and relaxed setting; the fact that not all participants have their own computer - either in sessions or at home - means that some are plain spectators for some portions of time. This can be tolling on both instructor and participants, as some have a short attention span and the instructor needs to keep discovering ways to keep them engaged while others are working on their computers. This may be rectified by holding some of the future sessions in the nearby municipal library, which has a computer lab with free access.
What is working well
What have you found works best so far? To help spread successful strategies so that they can be of use to others in the movement, rather than writing lots of text here, we'd like you to share your finding in the form of a link to a learning pattern.
Next steps and opportunities
What are the next steps and opportunities you’ll be focusing on for the second half of your project? Please list these as short bullet points. If you're considering applying for a 6-month renewal of this IEG at the end of your project, please also mention this here.
- Expand the article on Greek Wikipedia about Kambana ("Bell Tower") Square and Cafe
- Have the #wikitherapy hashtag activated and inserted in edit summaries
- Encourage the Municipal Library to donate old images of Argostoli to Commons, and perhaps help them set up a GLAM project
- Organize an event (May) themed around the heritage of Kefalonia at the Library to present our work; this shall be held jointly with schools that have worked on projects related to Kefalonian history and heritage.
- Invite former employees of the Cafe to the event and invite them to join Wikitherapy
- Hold outdoor event (June) at the Bell Tower Square; the event shall be built on the concept of an editing workshop using wifi from neighboring business but may also include other highlights (e.g. on-the-spot cooking by the Center's volunteer cooking group)
- Take Wikitherapy to the next level, which would be to introduce the concept into other health settings (i.e. general hospitals). This is a challenge I am very eager to work on and I have arranged to attend the WikiProject Med meetup in the context of Wikimania 2016: interacting with the medical content editors will help me shape my new Wikitherapy idea into a new IEG proposal.
We’d love to hear any thoughts you have on how the experience of being an IEGrantee has been so far. What is one thing that surprised you, or that you particularly enjoyed from the past 3 months?
It has been a pleasure! My one favorite part has to be interaction with Marti Johnson: so inspiring and encouraging! But also, the interest of the international community in using Wiki editing as a therapy tool, and their eagerness to provide support (e.g. Alex Stinson and our GLAM efforts) or hear about Wikitherapy and even encourage to try editing medical content (e.g. James Heilman from WikiProject Med). It's been very rewarding... looking forward to the next three months: we have exciting plans:)