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Grants:PEG/WM US-NYC/WikiConference USA 2014/Report

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Report accepted
This report for a Project and Event grant approved in FY 2013-14 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • You may still comment on this report on its discussion page, or visit the discussion page to read the discussion about this report.
  • You are welcome to Email grants at wikimedia dot org at any time if you have questions or concerns about this report.

Compliance and completion[edit]

Did you comply with the requirements specified by WMF in the grant agreement?
Answer YES or NO.
Is your project completed?
YES. WikiConference USA 2014 was held May 30th - June 1st, 2014.
Did you use any of the grant funds?

Activities and lessons learned[edit]

This section describes what the grantee did, and what the grantee learned from implementing the project. This section should be useful to others implementing similar projects and is an opportunity for the grantee to reflect on the project's performance.


Provide a detailed list of activities performed to complete this project, descriptions of these activities, and the amount of time spent on each activity. This section should also include a list of participants, or a link to pictures, blog posts, or videos from the project or event.


  • Conference Planning Meetings (17 total)

October: 10/05/2013, 10/21/2013. November: 11/03/2013, 11/23/2013. December: 12/17/2013, 12/30/2013. January: 01/12/2014, 01/26/2014. February: 02/16/2014 (Conference Call). March: 03/01/2014 (Conference Call), 03/16/2014, 03/30/2014. April: 04/08/2014. May: 05/13/2014, 05/20/2014, 05/27/2014, 05/29/2014.

  • Development of: wikiconferenceusa.org and WikiConference USA on Meta-Wiki.
  • Use of social media prior to and during the conference to increase participation and sharing. Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook.
  • Coordination with speakers and presenters on conference logistics through e-mail leading up to the conference.
  • Coordination of Registration and Scholarship program.
  • Negotiation and liaising with New York Law School to secure venue, AV, and other amenities.
  • Negotiation with catering and supplies vendors.


Internet and Technology Report[edit]

Wifi - The internet and wifi "just worked," in the words of one conference participant, which was a success in itself. The venue provided a unique password for each day of the conference. Wifi log-in information were printed on stickers and placed on all conference attendee badges. Additional information on connecting to the internet were provided as handouts placed on each table of the event center.

Audio/Visual Technology - The projection and video recording technology worked mostly without. On-site A/V technicians assisted conference speakers and staff with projection and audio/visual presentations, and were available on call. Conference staff members were also strategically placed in each break out session to handle any potential technology complications and assist speakers with presentation set up. Video recordings for the main 2nd floor event center where the keynotes were held were scheduled prior to the conference. Video capture for the classrooms in which the breakout sessions were held were scheduled on the first day of the conference.


We had approximately one dozen volunteers during the conference itself, in addition to the organizing committee, who were almost all volunteering on site as well. Tasks were scheduled and rotated and included:

  • Registration and information booth.
  • Introductory remarks for speakers and Q&A mic duty.
  • Food ushers.
  • Runners.
  • Technical support and room set-up.
  • Social media volunteers. (Twitter, Facebook).
  • Unconference scheduling (day-of).
Media, Reportage and Social Media[edit]

Conference staff and volunteers reported on the conference on the above social media outlets. Prior to the conference, two individuals reached out to the organizers with the specific interest of reporting on the conference on social media. Having social media and conference reporting volunteers proved to be an effective way of engaging with conference participants in real time. For future conferences, organizers should carve out specific volunteer roles for social media and reporting for more effective and comprehensive coverage.

Images, Videos, or other online documentation[edit]



Relevant episodes of the Wikipedia Weekly, created by Andrew Lih:


Program and Sessions[edit]

Sunday June 1st - Unconference[edit]

Lessons learned[edit]

What lessons were learned that may help others succeed in similar projects? Consider the following questions and respond with 1 - 2 paragraphs.
What went well?
We succeeded in creating a multi-stakeholder national WikiConference for the United States, with a strong participatory focus, and drawing in a fairly diverse group of attendees by affiliation, geography and gender. Overwhelmingly, participants had a positive experience of knowledge sharing throughout this conference, and we are most proud of that.
Partnering with the venue (the conference head was an employee) had a great impact on the effectiveness of the conference. Not only were fees waived but many services were rendered as a result, relieving the conference organizers of a great many details.
What did not go well?
Roles in the organizing committee were not well-defined enough, and too often responsibility for undefined tasks went to the top. As such, the organizing committee experienced some management and communication difficulties more generally. In addition, social media and reportage tasks were not assigned, as might be ideal and food was plentiful but not particularly healthy or full of options- these components might benefit from being tended to earlier in future conferences.
What would you do differently if you planned a similar project?
If we planned a similar project, we would develop a broader organizing committee with more clearly-defined and distributed roles and responsibilities. This includes creating more roles for general conference volunteers and assigning these tasks earlier on. To ensure attendee satisfaction, we would also put more effort into providing nutritious food to attendees. (We would include on the Eventbrite an option for dietary restrictions).
There were many variables that made us unsure of attendance which--among other things--made ordering food in advance particularly difficult. For a future conference we would suggest a nominal contribution which would help commit attendees to attending.
We did not have a promotional/marketing plan but depended on those familiar with the Wikimedia movement to attend. 250 attended, and we could have accommodated 300. The limitations of the venue would have made about 325 the maximum we could have handled easily. For future conferences, we need to decide on what kind of group we want to attract and--depending on the venue--how many can we accommodate. We were fortunate that everything worked out very well.

Project goal and measures of success[edit]

This section should reference the project goals and measures of success described in the approved grant submission. See Grants:PEG/WM US-NYC/WikiConference USA 2014 to review the goals and metrics listed in the approved submission.

Project goal[edit]

Provide the project goal here as provided in the Grant submission.

Our goals for the conference:

  1. To have 300 conference attendees
  2. Fund approximately 30 attendees from throughout the United States through scholarships, with an emphasis on areas that do not have regular in-person Wikimedia activities
  3. Enliven coordinated national outreach campaign programs, such as GLAM-wiki, Wiki Loves Monuments, and Wikipedia Loves Libraries.
  4. Create stronger partnerships between local Wikimedia communities and outside interdisciplinary organizations and institutions.
  5. Identify areas of improvement for future national conferences.
  6. Maintain detailed accounts of keynotes, workshops, and panels for public viewing through film, media, and published conference presentations and logs.
  7. Deepen local Education Program activities, GLAM / institutional ties.
  8. Create 30-40 conference workshops and panels divided into five tracks: GLAM; Community Issues; Technical; Legal/Policy; and Education
  9. Train interested attendees in community leadership skills
  10. Curate a forum for sharing best practices, and encourage discussions about larger breadth of Wikimedia projects in the Open Access Movement.
  11. Lay groundwork and encourage discussion about new tools, technologies, data platforms, and tecnological applications within Wikimedia.
Did you achieve your project goal? How do you know your goal was achieved? Please answer in 1 - 2 paragraphs.

We met our main project goals by creating a national WikiConference for the United States with a strong participatory focus. By drawing in a fairly diverse group of attendees by affiliation, geography and gender, we were able to foster deeper engagement among attendees with multiple facets of the Wikimedia movement, while creating a positive atmosphere for personal connections and interactions.

There were a total of 25 scholarships provided. The WikiConference USA 2014 Scholarship Program recruited conference participants from ten states, the District of Columbia, and one Canadian province. No majority of the 25 recipients came from any one region, but there was a high concentration of recipients from the San Francisco Bay Area (6 recipients), the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area (5 recipients), and the Pacific Northwest excluding Canada (4 recipients). The remaining 11 recipients were geographically distributed throughout the country.

With 250 conference participants overall, 10% of the conference attendance consisted of scholarship recipients, as anticipated. As most of the attendees were from the New York area, the scholarship program allowed a more nationally representative attendance. Of note, the scholarship recipients played a strong role in the program, with almost all of the recipients holding sessions.

There was a livery diversity of programming, with approximately 80 individual workshops and presentations. This gave a large number of community members the opportunity to introduce their projects, crowdsource ideas with participants, and improve their presentation and leadership skills. Although our original plan of having Adrianne Wadewitz as a keynote speaker had to be altered as a result of her tragic death, we were particularly happy with our keynote speakers. Both Christie Koehler and Sumana Harihareswara not only reinforced participation in the Wikimedia movement, but provided ample personal connections showing that one's participation can be seen as part of a broader personal and public strategy.

Among the more notable presentations were two sessions devoted to the issues surrounding paid editing. Many professionals (not active Wikipedia editors) were in attendance wanting to learn about the issues involved. Many of the sessions addressed best practices in the community in a variety of topics areas, like GLAM-wiki, library engagement, and Wikimedia Commons. A panel of librarians brought in at least 35 librarians/archivists in attendance--evidence of the increasing relationship between the Wikimedia movement and the library/archives world.

Conference documentation took the form of descriptions for each session on the website, and video recording of each presentation. The conference plans to edit this video footage and release it CC0 on Wikipedia in the near future.

Measures of success[edit]

List the measures of success exactly as provided in the approved grant submission, and evaluate your project according to each measure listed there.

Throughout the conference, we will be asking participants to fill out comment forms and surveys that will be available on paper and online. We hope to compile participant comments as a quantifiable measure of participant engagement, as well as a measure of effectiveness of each curated session.

Following the conference, we will have obtained the following important datasets. The results will be published in a formal conference report which will also include a comprehensive financial report:

  • Conference attendance
  • New editors, as analyzed through Wiki Metrics
  • Geographic representation
  • Organizational and institutional representation
  • New projects started by attendees over the year following the conference
  • Reports from scholarship recipients post-conference, and 6 months after
Provide an overall assessment of how your project went according to these measures.

Conference attendance: There were approximately 250 conference attendees over the three-day event, with a high percentage presenting or otherwise actively participating in discussions. Some of the attendees were only able to participate for one or two of the days due to work concerns, which is why we distributed the event over three days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).

New editors, as analyzed through Wiki Metrics: This was not really possible to measure, as we had only planned to measure this directly for participants in the Sunday editathon, which was a lighter day with few newbies, and also somewhat overshadowed by other gender-related sessions during the Sunday unconference. Better would have been to try to measure new editors over the course of the whole conference and afterward, as many accounts were created or revived informally during this time.

Geographic representation: The 25 scholarship recipients from outside our region represented about 10% of total attendees, and we also had a substantial non-scholarship participation drawn from farther parts of the United States and Canada. The increased geographical diversity brought in new voices with different experiences, and had a positive exchange with both the New York area community and the more established Northeast Corridor communities generally.

Organizational and institutional representation: WikiConference USA drew institutional representation from organizations in Technology, Technology Development and Technology Education, Open Access Projects, Libraries and Archives, GLAM and Cultural Heritage, Students and Educational Institutions, Government and Legal Professions, Science and Medicine, and Journalism and Reportage. Official sponsors included New York Law School, Consumer Reports, the Institute for Information Law and Policy at NYLS, and the City University of New York Libraries. In addition to the Wikimedia Foundation, the Wiki Education Foundation was well-represented, with most of its current staff and many education program participants joining; there are also tentative plans for increased collaboration with the Wiki Education Foundation for next year's WikiConference USA. Wikimedia volunteer groups represented included Wiki Project Med, GLAM-Wiki US Consortium, Wikimedia LGBT, Cascadia Wikimedians, New England Wikimedians, and a number of more informal efforts.

New projects started by attendees over the year following the conference: Many Wikimedia projects were given the opportunity to talk about future project and goals. On the third day of the conference, an Unconference, two Wikimedian volunteer groups (Wikimedia LGBT and Cascadia Wikimedians) discussed moving to Wikimedia usergroup status and began discussions of gathering founding members and moving forward with Usergroup creation. Since then, both projects have taken formal steps to contact the Affiliations Committee and move to usergroup status; the pace of other U.S.-based new usergroup proposals has also increased since the conference. Tentative plans were started for next year's WikiConference USA to be held in the Boston area with the New England Wikimedians usergroup. We also saw a spontaneous spurt of the production of encyclopedic videos at the conference itself, setting a precedent of a new activity type for future Wikimedia events.

Reports from scholarship recipients post-conference, and 6 months after: Technical issues prevented the distribution of an immediate post-conference survey. However, we are planning on distributing an impact survey approximately one year following the conference.

If you were to plan a similar project, would you measure it differently? If yes, please explain how.
We would not again use a new editors metric, unless a much more central emphasis was placed on an editathon during the conference. It might make sense, however, to quantify new movement participants energized versus older ones in general. It would be useful to more thoroughly detail new projects arising out of the conference if possible.


This section ties this project to Wikimedia's broader goals, and shows what the project accomplished.

What impact did this project have on WMF's mission and the strategic goals? Please answer in 1 -2 paragraphs and include specific measures of impact such as the number of readers or editors reached by a particular project, or the number of articles edited or improved.
Stabilize infrastructure
Increase participation
Improve quality
Increase reach
Encourage innovation

The impact of WikiConference USA in supporting Wikimedia's broader goals can be grouped in two main categories (1) Creating a platform for U.S. Wikimedians to converge, present and discuss projects, and discuss the future of Wikipedia/Wikimedia and (2) to provide a setting where new editors could be introduced to Wikipedia projects and learn more about how they can be involved.

We developed the repeatable model of a multi-stakeholder WikiConference for the United States which can serve as social infrastructure for the national community. We increased participation and encouraged innovation by fostering a productive dialogue among established Wikimedians, academic and culture sector professionals, and in general new people offering diverse perspectives, with the goal of fostering improved quality and increased reach in the future.

Reporting and documentation of expenditures[edit]

This section describes the grant's use of funds


Did you send documentation of all expenses paid with grant funds to grants at wikimedia dot org, according to the guidelines here? Answer "Yes" or "No".


Please list all project expenses in a table here, with descriptions and dates. Review the instructions here.
These expenses should be listed in the same format as the budget table in your approved submission so that anyone reading this report may be able to easily compare budgeted vs. actual expenses.
Note that variances in the project budget over 10% per expense category must be approved in advance by Project and Event Grants program staff. For all other variances, please provide an explanation in the table below.
Total project budget (from your approved grant submission)
Total amount requested from WMF (from your approved grant submission, this total will be the same as the total project budget if the Project and Event Grant is your only funding source)
Total amount spent on this project (this total should be the total calculated from the table above)
Total amount of Project and Event grant funds spent on this project (this total will be the same as the total amount spent if the Project and Event Grant is your only funding source)
Are there additional sources of revenue that funded any part of this project? List them here.
Consumer Reports US$2,000, Eventbrite donations US$1,469, NYLS beverages US$475.88

Remaining funds[edit]

Are there any grant funds remaining?
Answer YES or NO.
Please list the total amount (specify currency) remaining here. (This is the amount you did not use, or the amount you still have after completing your grant.)
If funds are remaining they must be returned to WMF, reallocated to mission-aligned activities, or applied to another approved grant.
Please state here if you intend to return unused funds to WMF, submit a request for reallocation, or submit a new grant request, and then follow the instructions on your approved grant submission.
Number Category Item description Unit Number of units Actual cost per unit Actual total Budgeted total Currency Notes
Event Administration Event Center Rental Fee 1 room x 3 days 1 9,000/room/day 0 0 USD Fees have been waived as part of sponsorship
Event Administration Medium Classrooms 1 room x 3 days 4 225/room/day 0 0 USD Fees have been waived as part of sponsorship
Event Administration Large Classrooms 1 room x 3 days 2 600/room/day 0 0 USD Fees have been waived as part of sponsorship
Event Administration Rooftop Terrace and Lounge 1 area 1 6,000/day 0 0 USD Fees have been waived as part of sponsorship
Event Administration A/V-dedicated full day techs - 5/31-6/1 1 tech staff members 2 staff members x 10 hours x 2 days 45.00/hr 1,800 880 USD -
Event Administration Security - officer - 5/30 - 6/1 1 security officer 1 security officer x 8 hrs x 3 days 29.73/hr 713.52 480 USD -
Event Administration Facilities - porter - 5/30-6/1 1 facilities porter 1 porter x 8 hrs x 3 days 49.96/hr 2,048.36 1,200 USD -
Scholarships 25 18,302.08 22,000 USD -
T-Shirts EthixMerch 1 T-shirt 250 8.72 2310.58 2500 USD -
Beverages NY Beverage 1 case 49 741.51 USD Those covered by WMF grant
Beverages NY Beverage 1 case 12 475.88 USD Those donated by sponsor - Will receive reimbursement from sponsor
Beverages NY Beverage - Delivery costs 175.15 USD -
Name Tags and Lanyards MyBadges.com & Amazon 400 369.95 USD -
Unconference supplies Paper, pens, markers, tape - Staples 75.90 USD -
Food Friday Breakfast - Culinart 976.00 USD -
Food Friday Lunch - Culinart 2212.00 USD
Food Saturday Breakfast - Culinart 976.00 USD -
Food Saturday Lunch - Culinart 2473.00 USD -
Food Saturday Evening Reception - hors d'oeuvres, staff - Culinart 1,934.75 USD -
Food Sunday Lunch - Pizza - Dona Bella Pizza 540.00 USD -
Food Linens - Culinart 418.00 USD -
Food Labor - Culinart 590.00 USD -
Food Dunkin Donuts Munchkins 33.96 USD -
Food Starbucks 162.76 USD -
Misc Wikimedia Banner 247.68 USD -