Grants:PEG/WikiSym Initiative/2016 OpenSym Conference/Report

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Report accepted
This report for a Project and Event grant approved in FY Pending has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
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Project status[edit]

Did you comply with the requirements specified by WMF in the grant agreement?


Is your project completed?


Activities and lessons learned[edit]


  • Run-up to conference
    • Established organizing committee
    • Marketed event, solicited research papers
    • Evaluated and selected research papers
    • Compiled conference proceedings
    • Managed event location, catering, other matters
  • Held conference at Fraunhofer FOKUS
    • Had five keynotes/invited talks
    • Had ten research and community sessions
    • Had welcome reception with poster presentations
    • Held doctoral symposium to nurture next generation of researchers
  • Post-conference work
    • Handled finances, reporting
    • Published and promoted proceedings

Lessons learned[edit]

What worked well?
  • With a lot of existing organizational memory, many things went smoothly and flawlessly
  • Support and collaboration with Fraunhofer FOKUS worked well; we hope to return
What didn't work?
  • Collaboration between general chair and rest of committee was non-existent
What would you do differently if you planned a similar project?
  • Not bring in outside people into managerial roles (we had been in a bind, what can you do)

Learning patterns[edit]

Outcomes and impact[edit]


Provide the original project goal here.


To hold a successful 2016 instance of the (by-now) long-running (12 years!) conference series OpenSym (formerly WikiSym), an annual conference for researchers and practitioners of "open collaboration", that is wikis and Wikipedia, FLOSS, open data, open education, etc. A conference like OpenSym allows

  • researchers to publish research work on open collaboration topics,
  • practitioners to present experience reports, hold workshops, etc.
  • connect researchers with practitioners to learn from each other
  • reconnect for, plan, and move forward multi-year collaborations
Did you achieve your project goal? How do you know your goal was achieved? Please answer in 1 - 2 short paragraphs.

All four major goal components were reached, even though not to its fullest, see targets.

Progress towards targets and goals[edit]

Project metrics

Project metrics Target outcome Achieved outcome Explanation
A conference that worked without major flaw (measure: nobody died) Nobody died (well, I did, but I miraculously recovered after an infusion of humor and two weeks of sleep
Had about 100 participants (measure: number of participants) 69 participants The best explanation I can offer is that there was strong disagreement as to marketing the conference. The (outside) general chair first believed that it would not need marketing, than argued that it would only need marketing after the program had been established (about two months before the conference).
Had a good overall conference program (measure: diversity of keynotes (at least 2), workshops (at least 1), tutorials (at least 1)) Five keynotes, one workshop, no tutorials but more paper presentations than expected
Had a continued strong Wikipedia research program (measure: research paper submission number = 20+) We had 12 papers submitted, of which 4 were accepted for publication Disagreement about need for marketing the conference, see above
Had a published freely accessible conference proceedings (measure: downloadable by anonymous) Woohoo! We did again, 12th year in a row:
Are set up for the year 2017 (measure: announcement for 2017 ready and performed at end of conference) Lorraine Morgan of Lero has agreed to be general chair for 2017 and host OpenSym 2017 in Galway, Ireland; Claudia Mueller-Birn and Benjamin Mako-Hill agreed to be program chairs for 2017

Global Metrics[edit]

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.

  1. Next to each required metric, list the actual outcome achieved through this project.
  2. 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."

For more information and a sample, see Global Metrics.

Metric Achieved outcome Explanation
1. # of active editors involved 10 This is an estimation
2. # of new editors ? I honestly don't know
3. # of individuals involved 89 Number of participants of event
4a. # of new images/media added to Wikimedia articles/pages None As far as I know, we did not actively work on WP content though some editing may have happened during sessions
4b. # of new images/media uploaded to Wikimedia Commons (Optional) None As far as I know, we did not actively work on WP content though some editing may have happened during sessions
5. # of articles added or improved on Wikimedia projects None As far as I know, we did not actively work on WP content though some editing may have happened during sessions
6. Absolute value of bytes added to or deleted from Wikimedia projects None As far as I know, we did not actively work on WP content though some editing may have happened during sessions
Learning question
Did your work increase the motivation of contributors, and how do you know?

Yes. We are an engaged crowd, with a lot of active discussion around the various Wikimedia topics, open source, and others. It is always rewarding to see the energy of folks to keep going and create new work that was inspired by the conference. So we know by the heat of the faces of the people at the event ;-)


What impact did this project have on WMF's mission and the strategic priorities?

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?

I don't think anyone option stands out. Mostly, OpenSym presents Wikipedia and related research. So I believe we helped deepen understanding and ultimately thereby will have helped the community and WMF to create higher-quality work (than it already does).

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.

Please note that I changed the last three rows. They are now currency, planned costs, and actual costs. Hope this makes sense.

Number Category Item description Unit Number of units Cost per unit Total cost Currency Notes
1 Venue Room rent Days 4 EUR 0 1071
2 Equipment Non-technical (chairs, tables, posters, pinboards, decoration, ...) Days 3 EUR 1000
3 Equipment Technical (A/V, wireless access) Days 3 EUR 0 937
4 Welcome reception People 80 15 EUR 1200 1240
5 Social event Event location, transportation, food People 80 90 EUR 7200 4900
6 Catering Coffee and lunch breaks Days*Persons 240 40 EUR 9600 10700
7 Travel and accomedation Conference committee People 4 1200 EUR 4800 3500
8 Travel and accomedation Invited speakers People 4 1200 EUR 4800 4151
9 Open space facilitator People 1 EUR 1000 0
10 Miscellaneous materials Printer, badges, invoices, signs, plaques, etc. EUR 1000 700
11 Event organizer Responsible for local arrangements Person 1 EUR 600 600
11 Additional Staff (student assistants) Reception / guides Person 2 EUR ? 2150
12 Conference material Give-aways, bags, program Person 80 15 EUR 1200 0

Total project budget (from your approved grant submission)

EUR 32400

Total amount requested from WMF (from your approved grant submission, this total will be the same as the total project budget if PEG is your only funding source)

USD 10000

Total amount spent on this project

USD 30014

Total amount of Project and Event grant funds spent on this project

USD 10000

Are there additional sources that funded any part of this project? List them here.
  • Ticket fees of USD 11997
  • Google sponsorship of USD 5000

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.)

None. We lost money.

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.