Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2015 took place from the 10th to 13th of September 2015 in Voore, Estonia. This meeting was a platform for sharing and learning and thus improving local activities in the region, but as well for creating contacts and links and moving towards better collaborative efforts in the future. Also some activities on the meeting were related to capacity building of the participants.
The CEE Meeting participants came from 26 different countries (including Estonia). Most of the Central and Eastern European communities were represented. There was a good mix of different organizational levels, namely 13 chapters and 11 user groups were represented. There were also representatives of 4 local communities, which do not have a local organization. Wikimedia Foundation and Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU representatives were also present.
Local communities: Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Romania, Turkey
The scholarship program for the conference was continued and 2 scholarships per country were provided. The event was also promoted in local village pumps in the region. Unfortunately there was no representative from Croatia, Cyprus, Moldova, Montenegro and Slovenia in Estonia, something that can be improved in future regional meetings.
The programme of the conference was based on the needs questionnaire distributed and filled out prior to the conference. As the needs of the regional community are diverse, there were topics varying from education program to various on-wiki competitions, to tools for organizational matters, but there was also place for discussions about the future of CEE, the state of the movement and breaching the gender gap.
The programme was prepared by a broad-based international programme committee with members from 8 different countries, organizations and communities. This supported the diversity of the programme, but also made it harder to make cuts in subjects proposed.
Experienced community members were appointed as facilitators for the sessions and it was made sure that there was also room for discussions and reflections in between or after presentations. The programme was finally quite tense, but the amount of topics and issues covered was generally appreciated by the participants.
Board Member of WMEE Teele Vaalma mesmerizing meeting participants with kannel
The organizing team for the event consisted of employees and board members of Wikimedia Eesti, but also the help and support from the international CEE community. The effort of Nikola Kalchev from Wikimedians of Bulgaria was especially appreciated, because he provided Wikimedia Eesti with major support in organizing the travel for participants, as well as coming to Estonia a couple of days before the meeting to help Wikimedia Eesti with the preparations. He also composed the feedback survey and later analysed the results for a report.
As the social part is important on such get-togethers, a pre-conference dinner was organized prior to the meeting and another one after the last day of the meeting. Also Wikimedia Eesti used the occasion to introduce the local culture with a sauna evening, but also provided a small cultural program where representatives of Wikimedia Eesti performed on local instruments. This created a good vibe and was highly appreciated by the participants.
There was a continued interest in the event and an increasing number of participants (in 2015 60 participants from 31 communities);
More than 50% of the participants were highly active on the meeting (i.e. speakers, table hosts, facilitators);
Notes from all the sessions are available on etherpad for further learnings, a total of 42 presentation slides are available for further consultation;
The meeting was useful for participants (57,5% strongly agree, 37,5% agree), new information was received (of all the people who answered the questionnaire state that they have received new information in following fields: 41% project management, 33% chapter efficiency, 72,2% community building);
The meeting generated follow-up activities and increased participation in regional projects: 57,5% of people who answered to the follow-up survey stated that the conference helped them join or start an initiative;
The cultural presentation of Estonian songs and dances was well appreciated and it has been suggested that such cultural exchange could be done in bigger scale;
Better planning processes were advised by people involved, as well as participants, including:
Timely budgeting of the event, including relevant sponsorship applications, as well as the WMF grant;
Start the work of the program team earlier to create more space for discussions and decision-making;
Be more inclusive in organizing the event (i.e. make more use of the availability of wide regional collaboration).
Remarks related to the program of the event:
In general, the program was too intense and spread out over too many hours to be effective;
Some sessions would have needed a better introduction and explanation;
Lack of GLAM-related sessions was noted;
There are too many presentations about what has been done – such meeting could use more time to concentrate on next steps in each track to take this regional collaboration further.
Some suggestions related to technical solutions:
The Internet connection provided in the venue was insufficient to meet the expectations of participants – when organizing event in a remote location a better internet connection has to be guaranteed;
Online video streaming was suggested, as participation on the event is expensive and possible for only some organization or community representatives – online video streaming helps to reach wider audiences.
Some suggestions related to informal part of the event:
More time for informal discussions should be provided as to capitalize on the physical presence of people from the region;
Informal events should be announced earlier and there should be more room for them in the schedule;
Organization of sports activities was suggested.
Some remarks related to logistics and stay:
Retreat in a remote location proved to be exhausting because of the travel time;
The lodging and food felt a bit too cheap.
Comments about scholarships:
Decision about scholarships should be made as early as possible to make planning easier;
Recipients of scholarships should be better supported with various information;
Suggestion to increase the number of participants from bigger and more experienced communities (e.g. Poland, Ukraine, Serbia)
What would you do differently if you planned a similar project?
Make a better assessment of available human resources and involve more people from the international community in earlier state of organizing the event;
Start the grant application process earlier and ensure that the funds are available in time and there is more time available for constructive committee and community review of the proposal;
Finalize program committee discussions in an earlier phase so participants, presenters and facilitators can be better prepared for the event;
Limit active conference day to a shorter time and create opportunities for fruitful discussions external to the main program;
Try to make most of having people together and instead of having number of presentations about projects done in different countries, have more discussions about the future and projects that could be undertaken;
Although site visit was made prior to the conference, it would also be needed to try out the internet and get a better understanding of the food to be prepared for conference participants.
Did you achieve your project goal? How do you know your goal was achieved? Please answer in 1 - 2 short paragraphs.
Maintain and develop collaboration among Central and Eastern European wiki communities.
The Wikimedia CEE Meeting continues to perform as a catalyst in an active CEE collaboration group, providing a meeting space for effective discussions and consultations, as well as bringing people together to facilitate common projects and planning processes. Increased activity in communications channels, as well as active participation in common projects after the conference is a good proof of the success of the conference.
Increase the value of local learnings through regional sharing.
One of the main ideas of Wikimedia CEE Meeting is to bring together local experiences and share-modify them regionally and this was also the case for Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2015. Just one look on the programme of the meeting gives an insight into the amount of discussions that took place on the meeting. Increased activity levels of the community prove that these discussions were fruitful and the value of local experiences has been increased.
Provide support to regional communities lacking experience in off-wiki work.
In the programme of the event were special sessions targeted to improve off-wiki practices of the communities, including outreach, media and communications, as well as management and funding related issues. In the feedback survey of the conference many participants confirmed their new learnings, as well as increased activity levels in the region (including forming user groups, as well as creating grant proposals and, of course, number and diversity of local projects) prove that the learnings from CEE meetings have been put to practice.
Facilitate replication of local success stories in the region and support regional collaborative initiatives.
This goal was met to a certain extent. As also stated in many cases in feedback forms gathering experience, tips, answers, examples, attitudes, and practices from participants from other countries was very useful and many of them have taken them back to their local communities and implemented some good practices and ideas. Also the number of international projects has increased with addition of European Science Photo Competition. Also CEE Spring and WLE projects will continue and there is an anticipation for further collaborative efforts in the region.
Inspire and motivate Wikimedians to increase their level of participation in local communities.
There has been no proper quantitative measurement about reaching this goal, but generally the atmosphere of the event was good and also participants have stated afterwords that the meeting was motivating and has supported them in their work with local communites.
Wikimedia CEE Meeting is an important regional conference and so most of the chapters and user groups were represented, as well as bigger chapters used their own funding to send more participants to the conference. Also participants from Finland and Sweden were invited.
There were conference volunteers responsible for taking notes from all of the sessions and also other conference participants joined in. During the conference the number of actual slide presentations was not counted and so it is impossible to tell which percentage of them is available on Commons, however organizing team is not aware of any which is not there.
At least 85% of attendees find the conference useful in the post-conference survey.
57,5% strongly agree,
37,5% agree that it was useful
A total of 95% of people who responded to the post-conference survey found it useful. This does not include 33% who decided not to answer to the feedback survey.
At least 75% of attendees confirm having new ideas and/or better vision for the projects they want to work on.
27,5% strongly agree
57,5% agree that the conference "helped me join or start an initiative"
A total of 85% of people who responded to the post-conference survey state that it has created new ideas or have helped them to join an existing initiative.
At least 75% of attendees confirm having learned new information regarding project management, running chapter projects, or community building.
41% project management
33% chapter efficiency
72,2% community building
The question was not exclusive, but very probably 75% is reached.
This is an essential part to organize a successful regional conference and has become a tradition in the CEE region.
Countries without established chapters improve their organisation and the activities of their communities.
One of the aims of CEE Meeting is to support smaller entities and communities in building their structure and organizing activities. The increasing number of user groups and community activity in the region can be interpreted as a proof of successful support, but at the moment its connection to CEE meetings cannot be proved.
Improved regional cooperation, with launch of new cross-border activities or significant improvement of existing ones (related to at least 3 projects).
CEE community interaction and common projects are working better than ever.
In general Wikimedia CEE Meeting works as a catalyser in a community to improve collaboration, including on projects which have direct impact on Wikimedia content.
Designed working patterns for "standard" projects in the CEE region, such as WEP, GLAM, and article and photo contests.
There has not been a significant effort to work out patterns for standard projects in the region.
Transfer of acquired knowledge, skills, know-how from meeting representatives to their local communities.
Different organisations used different ways of reporting – wiki meetups, blog posts, onwiki reports, board reports, etc.
As only numbered community or organization members can participate on CEE Meetings, the importance of reporting back to local communities has been acknowledged and there are different practices of doing so. Wikimedia Programme Toolkits were presented however.
We are trying to understand the overall outcomes of the work being funded across our grantees. In addition to the measures of success for your specific program (in above section), please use the table below to let us know how your project contributed to the Global Metrics. We know that not all projects will have results for each type of metric, so feel free to put "0" where necessary.
Next to each required metric, list the actual outcome achieved through this project.
Where necessary, explain the context behind your outcome. For example, if you were funded for an edit-a-thon which resulted in 0 new images, your explanation might be "This project focused solely on participation and articles written/improved, the goal was not to collect images."
This includes 60 conference participants and 2 local volunteers
4a. # of new images/media added to Wikimedia articles/pages
Media files have been used on outreach wiki, meta wiki, Polish and Ukrainian Wikipedia.
4b. # of new images/media uploaded to Wikimedia Commons (Optional)
Wikimedia CEE Meeting was well documented with photos, as well as presentations. Video materials are still to be edited.
5. # of articles added or improved on Wikimedia projects
Is not relevant in the context
6. Absolute value of bytes added to or deleted from Wikimedia projects
Is not relevant in the context
Did your work increase the motivation of contributors, and how do you know?
There has been no proper quantitative nor qualitative measurement about increasing motivation in particular, but generally the atmosphere of the event was good and also participants have stated afterwords that the meeting was motivating and has supported them in their work with local communities.
Content and editing related outcomes
Upgrade of Wikimedia CEE Spring competition with better collaboration between communities was made possible via discussions held on the meeting;
Wiki Loves Earth continues to enjoy its popularity in the CEE region partly due to discussions held on the meeting;
100wikidays continues to be popular in the region and several new commitments were made during the meeting;
A Wikidojo which was introduced on the CEE Meeting 2014 in Kyiv and implemented on the CEE Meeting 2015 has become a thing in the movement;
Although CEE collaborative still lacks a clear collaborative education and GLAM project, some important discussions related to this were held on the meeting. As a result, some smaller regional events have been organized (e.g. Ethnography of the Carpathians) and regional support for some local projects has been provided (e.g. Bulgarian State Archives Challenge).
Option A: How did you increase participation in one or more Wikimedia projects?
Option B: How did you improve quality on one or more Wikimedia projects?
Option C: How did you increase the reach (readership) of one or more Wikimedia projects?
Impact of the event
As a conference Wikimedia CEE Meeting acts on meta level for the impact, not creating it directly, but indirectly. By creating a platform for individuals, representatives of local communities to come together, discuss, link and network, share and learn, as well as plan for future activities, these individuals and their respective communities are set up for future success in improving participation, quality and reach of the wikiprojects their communities are working on. So CEE Meeting supports all the strategic goals of the movement, although in an indirect way.