Grants:PEG/Cascadia Wikimedians/WikiConference USA 2016 + WikiProject Medicine Conference 2016

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Cascadia Wikimedians
Cascadia Wikimedians will be the host organization for WikiConference USA 2016 in Seattle. This is a regional Wikimedia conference for the United States and Canada.
targetEnglish Wikipedia
strategic priorityIncrease participation
start dateApril
start year2016
end dateDecember 31
end year2016
budget (local currency)110,000
budget (USD)110,000
grant typeOrganization
non-profit statusYes
contact(s)Peaceray• Wikimedia New York City
organization• Cascadia Wikimedians User Group and Wikimedia New York City
created on12:58, 11 December 2015 (UTC)


Statement of purpose:

WikiConference USA 2016 serves as the premier conference space for building and extending collaborations in the US and Canada between Wikipedia editors, Wikimedia chapters, Wikimedia contributors, free knowledge practitioners, higher education students and their faculty. Building on momentum established through two consecutive annual meetings in New York (2014) and Washington D.C. (2015), Wikimedia 2016 seeks to facilitate a partnership between Cascadia Wikimedians and the University of Washington to host the third WikiConference USA. In addition to building and extending the relationships between online contributors through sustained social interactions, WikiConference USA will introduce new contributors to more experienced editors, highlight innovative new projects, and offer focused community attention toward solving enduring problems for the editing community. (User:BobCummings)

Cascadia Wikimedians will host a regional Wikimedia conference for about 300 attendees in Seattle in August 2016.

  • Schedule will be similar to the 2014 schedule or 2015 schedule for WikiConference USA, with one or more dedicated tracks for topics of interest to WikiProject Medicine
  • Scale, format, and focus will be similar to previous years
  • The likely location of the conference is the en:University of Washington's Seattle Campus.



  1. This grant is related to a Wikimedia NYC grant request for a scholarship program for this same conference. See Grants:PEG/Wikimedia New York City/2016 WikiConference USA scholarship program#Activities. Both of these grants need WMF funding for the WikiConference to proceed as in the past two years.
  2. The WikiProject Medicine Foundation may pursue a separate funding scheme for travel scholarships for its attendees
  3. Wikimedia DC will oversee conference programming.
  4. In consultation with Cascadia, WMNYC will lead the contract negotiations with the event coordinator and other service providers.
  5. The event coordinator selected (possibly University of Washington Conference Management) will provide paid staff to do things which volunteers ought not do.
    1. Negotiate rates
    2. Hire and coordinate with essential paid services including catering and venue cleanup
    3. Pay bills
    4. Do accounting
    5. Manage contracts
    6. Centralize communication among volunteers
    7. Publish the planning schedule
  6. Other stakeholders can join planning as they like in the usual wiki way
  7. Cascadia Wikimedians will do the following things:
    1. Select and reserve the venue (likely a building on the University of Washington's Seattle Campus for the "content" sessions, and possibly UW dorm space for at least some of the visitors who need overnight guest accommodations)
    2. Do local in-person advertising
    3. Provide on-the-ground volunteer staff support during the event (probably augmented with UW events staff)


Target readership[edit]

  • English Wikipedia
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Wikidata
  • Other Wikimedia projects of interest to contributors in the United States and Canada

Fit with strategy[edit]

  • Increasing participation

Measures of success[edit]

Resources and risks[edit]


  • Institutional memory of 2014 and 2015 national WikiConferences. Many of the same organizers are overseeing this one.
  • Cascadia Wikimedians have a good relationship with the likely venue, the University of Washington, and my be able to secure institutional support or sponsorship from within the UW
  • Other local organizational partners in the area include other free culture community meetups and GLAM institutions
  • The backing of Wikimedia community organizers in the United States confirms community interest and support
  • UW has an experienced Conference Management department.


  • Lots of things can go wrong with conferences
    • In 2014 the conference organizers had a stalker. Volunteers were clueless and the WMF was embarrassed by this, not that it was anyone's fault except the stalker's own.
    • There is little worry about problems with community participation - things worked well in previous years, even though this is a usual risk with volunteer-run conferences
  • Multiple stakeholders must confirm investment in the conference simultaneously to proceed
    • WM NYC has to confirm scholarship funding
    • Wikimedia DC + others have to confirm online organization, particularly for conference programming
    • Our nonprofit affiliate with staff has to confirm paid staff support for event organization
    • Cascadia Wikimedians is the smallest and least experienced organizational presentation partner - they need the support of these others to fully commit, but the others cannot commit until and unless funding from this grant is available


Please provide a detailed breakdown of project expenses according to the instructions here. See Budget Guidelines. Grantees are subject to line-item scrutiny of expenses. Changes to the approved budget beyond 10% in any category must be approved in advance.

Project budget table[edit]

See sample expenses published for the 2014 NYC conference at Grants:PEG/WM_US-NYC/WikiConference_USA_2014/Report#Expenses. The budget for this year will be comparable with two major exceptions. Those exceptions are that scholarships are in another budget at Grants:PEG/Wikimedia New York City/2016 WikiConference USA scholarship program, and that we need to pay venue costs whereas in 2014 and 2015 we had donors provide the venues for free.

Estimated costs are as follows:

  • Scholarships - 40,000
  • Venue - 30,000, which is 10,000 for each of 3 days (This is a very preliminary estimate based on past conferences. Note that we might be able to get a discounted rate if we get institutional sponsorship from a department within UW. In case of discount, unused funds will be returned.)
  • Event coordinator - 10,000, paid professional at University of Washington venue. In 2015 Wiki Education Foundation was generous to donate this and do accounting, legal, negotiation, etc. Must be paid staff.
  • Venue staffing
    • Security: $1,000
    • A/V: $2,000
    • Porter: $2,000
  • Catering: $10,000
  • Video: $5,000
  • Coffee: $2,000
  • Printing: $2,000
  • Incidental: $6,000
Number Category Item description Unit Number of units Cost per unit Total cost Currency Notes
1 venue physical meeting space 1 day 3 10,000 30,000 USD Venue is University of Washington, including auditorium, conference lobby, and classrooms for breakout sessions
2 event coordinator a person who coordinates non-volunteer duties event duration 1 person 10,000 10,000 USD One option for hiring this person is Wiki Education Foundation, which provided this service in 2015. Another option is the university itself, Conference Services. Still another option is a local nonprofit incubator which provides these services.
3 security a security officer provided by venue 1 hour 40 25 1000 USD security officer patrols event
4 audio/video support A/V support provided by venue 1 hour 40 50 2000 USD tech support for microphones, projectors, and on-site video
5 facilities support doorman, janitorial 1 hour 80 25 2000 USD cleanup, doors
6 food catering meals 1 meal 600 16.67 10,000 USD includes lunch (3 days) and dinner one day, for each of 150 people. 150 people * 4 meals = 600 feedings, each costing ~16.67
7 video record as many sessions as possible 1 hour 100 50 5,000 USD recording will be ~20 hours, then ~30 hours processing. We will call for bids or ideas for more efficiency. 50/hour is much less than the 125/hour local market rate and the demand for this is loud and pervasive.
7 coffee 1 coffee break for one person 900 2.25 2,000 USD 150 people, morning and afternoon, on each of three days. 150*2*3=900 coffee breaks
8 printing paper 1 conference - - 2,000 USD Various costs, including pre-event advertising, signage at the event, reusable Wikimedia banners for Wikimedia Cascadia, and project highlighting with posters
9 scholarships scholarships 1 funded attendee 64 625 40,000 USD average scholarship cost in 2015 was 625 per person, with 32 awarded (20k). Because this city is ~10% of the size of past conferences, we request twice the scholarship funding.
10 incidental ~10% of total event cost, not including scholarships 6,000 USD What could possibly go wrong?

total 110,000

Scholarship budget details[edit]

  • 40,000 - travel and lodging for grant recipients
    • 5,000 will be fees to the travel agency which books this, effectively making 35,000 in travel scholarships
    • 20,000 will be the same scholarship funding used for the NYC and DC conferences
    • 15,000 will be for regional scholarships in Cascadia. This additional scholarship funding is necessary because the conference is in a metropolitan area 1/10 the size of the past two conferences. Particularly, this conference needs to fund group travel by bus from the nearby cities of Vancouver and Portland.

In 2014, 22,000 was the scholarship budget granted by the WMF for WikiConference USA in New York City. This conference will be in Seattle, a city with 1/10 of the population of New York, so an increase in scholarships funding from 2014 is requested, as more participants will need to travel.

In 2015 the scholarship budget was 20,000 for the conference in DC, organized with the Wiki Education Foundation.

The Wiki Education Foundation has an existing relationship with a travel agent in the United States and they will mentor WM NYC in using a travel agent to book trips for scholarship recipients, perhaps with their own travel agent

Total cost of project[edit]

USD 110,000

Total amount requested[edit]

Total amount requested from the Project and Event Grants Program. USD 110,000

Additional sources of revenue[edit]

Additional sources of revenue, other than the Project and Event Grants Program, that may fund part of this project, and amounts funded.

We may be able to negotiate these kinds of donations.

  • Perhaps the university will give a reduced venue rate.
  • Perhaps we can solicit funding from other sponsors.
  • It is much easier to solicit donations when a conference is viable. Lots of people will support a conference that will happen, even when they would not give anything to a conference which is not confirmed.

Non-financial requirements[edit]

See a description of non financial assistance available. Please inform the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) of any requirements for non-financial assistance now. In past years Wikimedia Foundation staff have attended this event. It would be nice to have interested WMF staff attend again.

Budget comparison[edit]

A budget for a comparable event with at a less expensive venue, Seattle University, was examined. The comparable event cost was $85,000, which had more participants, but only included $10,000 in scholarships (it had a more professional target audience).


The following discussion is closed:

Thanks to everyone who supported. I have to give the news that the team planning this conference has decided to cancel plans to go forward. Here are some reasons -

  1. Conference planning is hard and there still are not documents to easily request funding from the WMF. At this point, we did come to a good agreement with the WMF about funds, but it is late in the season and preparations would be rushed. There are wrap-up reports to write and already the volunteer planning team has put ~300 hours into this. There is not organizational labor to go forward.
  2. The documentation and research which was created will make it easier to propose a Seattle conference in the future.
  3. There will be an international Wikimania conference in Montreal in 2017. It is sad to skip 2016, but the conference in 2017 will be a good introduction to allow local organizers to host and present at a conference as a test run without the burden of doing the accounting, legal documentation, event management, and other administrative tasks which are unrelated to typical wiki-engagement.
  4. 2018 seems like a more favorable year for a conference instead of rushing this year. The new ideas is to have a budget reviewed and approved by the end of 2017, confirm the venue reservation by early 2018, run the scholarship program to wrap up a bit later, and finalize programming ~3 months in advance of the conference in 2018. This would be the more normal pace for organization, and this year, the organizing team is far beyond this and has missed every deadline it set for itself.
  5. A lot is changing in wiki-organizing the US and beyond, and there is good reason to believe that there will be more geographical diversity in organizing the conference wherever it might be in 2018.

Other people might have their own reasons for not going forward. Remember that this conference has historically been volunteer organized. For the next iteration of the conference, planning will start sooner, or it can even start right now if anyone wants to take initiative and collect what is need to present the conference at a point in time when there can be the right amount of advanced planning. Thanks to everyone who contributed. There is a lot of support for having this conference and it will continue in the future. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:12, 25 April 2016 (UTC)

Community notification

You are responsible for notifying relevant communities of your proposal, so that they can help you! Depending on your project, notification may be most appropriate on a village pump, talkpage, mailing list. Please paste a link below to where the relevant communities have been notified of this proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions. Need notification tips?


Do you think this project should be selected for a Project and Event 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.

  • I am the president of the board for the Cascadian Wikimedians User Group, and it is my fervent hope that WikiConference USA 2016 will be a nexus between Wikimedia affiliates in the US and our user group that will benefit and further support and collaboration on Wikimedia projects. Although small, Cascadia Wikimedians has four members in the top 5,000 English Wikipedia editors and another two in the top 10,000. We also have had members attend WikiConference USA, Wikimania, and the Wikimedia Conference. Peaceray (talk) 22:39, 19 December 2015 (UTC)
  • As part of the Wikimedia DC and WikiProject Med Foundation boards, I would also like to see this conference reflect the collaboration and achievements of the US affiliates. Keilana|Parlez ici 18:20, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
  • seems worthwhile and a great idea, I therefore endorse it, thank you Ozzie10aaaa (talk) 18:01, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm glad to support and volunteer for this conference, as a member of the Wikimedia NYC and Wiki Education Foundation boards. I'd like to help with the program committee and unconference aspects, and can also help interface with broader planning. I can also probably come to Seattle a week early to help out with preparations in-person.Pharos (talk) 22:50, 15 April 2016 (UTC)
  • I am happy to endorse this proposal. As an academic, and a Wikipedian, it is my hope that this conference will continue to further the trend of hosting presentations on the intersection of higher education and Wikipedia. I plan to participate and to help others. BobCummings (talk) 00:22, 16 April 2016 (UC)
  • I endorse this proposal. I am both an academic and chair of the board of the Wiki Education Foundation. I would love to see this conference further engagement among academics and Wikipedians. I look forward to participating and to being helpful. DStrassmann (talk) 01:21, 16 April 2016 (UTC)
  • As a member of the Wiki Education Foundation Board and an academic having done research on Wikipedia, I see this conference as providing a wonderful opportunity to collaborate and learn with others, and I'd be keen to help and participate. Willinsky (talk) 01:36, 16 April 2016 (UTC)
  • As another Cascadian Wikimedians User Group board member I, of course, endorse; sadly, I won't be able to do much myself, because I'm up to my eyeballs in a shoestring startup. - Jmabel (talk) 22:21, 19 April 2016 (UTC)
  • Last year's was informative and productive. Looking forward to another. Quiddity (talk) 21:10, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
  • I endorse this proposal with great hopes of being there and able to contribute! We've got great editathon activity growing in San Diego and SoCal now. Looking forward to connecting with other community organizers! DrMel (talk) 19:21, 25 April 2016 (UTC)
  • I endorse this proposal and intend to attend. We are nurturing editathon activity in SoCal with the aim of linking small wikigroups and increasing participation. This conference is right up our alley. Swedam (talk)


Is it usual to have a security officer?--Kopiersperre (talk) 19:49, 31 December 2015 (UTC)

Kopiersperre It is sometimes required by the venue, and when it is, they require their own to be hired. The US WikiConferences in 2014 and 2015 had paid staff uniformed security. The decision to use security is mostly in the hands of the venue. If the venue does not require it, then the plan is to confer with community participants to decide whether to seek security anyway or return this money to the Wikimedia Foundation. There has been significant community demand for staff security in past events, to the point that multiple unrelated persons used security for unrelated reasons. It is difficult to document this on-wiki but a little more could be said, if need be. In this city no one would be surprised to see security, but also, not everyone would expect it either. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:14, 31 December 2015 (UTC)