Grants:Project/Rapid/LDTC Wikipedia Edit-a-thon Series/Report

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Report accepted
This report for a Rapid Grant approved in FY 2019-20 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • To read the approved grant submission describing the plan for this project, please visit Grants:Project/Rapid/LDTC Wikipedia Edit-a-thon Series.
  • 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 rapidgrants at wikimedia dot org at any time if you have questions or concerns about this report.


Did you meet your goals? Are you happy with how the project went?

Given the time that we had and the circumstances that arose surrounding Covid-19, we are overall very satisfied with the project and how well we were able to meet our goals. Ultimately, we were able to conduct three of the four proposed edit-a-thons, and we were able to successfully livestream one of them to our participants on all seven continents! As this was our second edit-a-thon series. With each event, it was evident that our graduate student body is becoming more and more accustomed to editing Wikipedia. In addition to working with our fellow student linguists in order to reinforce the idea that we should disseminate research to the public through widely available tools such as Wikipedia, we also targeted participants outside of the linguistics program. By doing three separate edit-a-thons that targeted slightly different populations, we were able to include native speaker linguists and even a few people from other fields. As a result, we were able to broaden the types of expertises contributing to Wikipedia.


Please report on your original project targets. Please be sure to review and provide metrics required for Rapid Grants.

Target outcome Achieved outcome Explanation
Number of events: 4 Number of events: 3 We had planned to do four edit-a-thons over the course of the year. We were able to successfully conduct 3. We held one in October 2019, one in January 2020, and one in March 2020. However, because of complications around starting the Fall 2020 semester with COVID-19 restrictions, our fourth edit-a-thon which was originally scheduled for September 2020 had to be delayed.
30 unique individuals over the course of 4 events; 15 participants per event 26 unique individuals over the course of 3 events; 58 engaged with archived livestreamed edit-a-thon after official event; 10 participants per event With just three events we nearly reached our goal to reach 30 unique individuals. Each semester, we aim to involve new students in our edit-a-thons, and we believe we would have reached our goal had we been able to host a September 2020 event. However, in addition to the 25 unique individuals who attended our edit-a-thons, our livestreamed edit-a-thon has received engagement by 58 additional individuals who are graduate students and native speaker linguists of minority languages. While we have not tracked their work on Wikipedia, we hope that so much engagement with the online workshop has at least raised awareness that Wikipedia is an excellent platform for sharing linguistic information.
Number of new editors: 10 8 new editors, 10 additional participants who were trained and set up accounts At our two in-person edit-a-thons, we gained 8 new editors, nearly reaching our goal. During our livestreamed edit-a-thon, we gained 10 new editors who set up accounts and began getting familiar with navigating Wikipedia as an editor. Unfortunately, none reported actually reaching the editing stage. This may be because of the shorter duration of our livestreamed event. It is likely that of the 58 people who have engaged with the archived video, we have reached more new editors, but we do not have a system to count them unless they reach out to us.
Number of articles created or improved: 20 31 We far surpassed our expectations for the number of articles that were created or improved. We believe that since we now have many experienced editors attending each edit-a-thon, participants are able to spend more time editing pages rather than learning how to edit. Overall, some people enjoyed making several smaller edits to many pages while others worked intensely on a single page.
Number of repeat participants: 10 4 We had a surprisingly low number of repeat participants between the edit-a-thons. We believe this may be because we targeted different groups for each edit-a-thon. Though we always marketed to our student body, our Fall 2019 edit-a-thon was directed towards participants in our language documentation training workshops. Meanwhile our January 2020 edit-a-thon was marketed as a meet and greet for older students to meet new students. Finally, our March 2020 online edit-a-thon was marketed towards our global audience participating in our online training workshops. For future events, we will need to do a better job marketing to all groups.


Projects do not always go according to plan. Sharing what you learned can help you and others plan similar projects in the future. Help the movement learn from your experience by answering the following questions:

  • What worked well?

To our surprise, we think that having our event on a weeknight as one of our official workshops of the semester increased turnout. We held the event at the same time and day that we hold other LDTC events, so many people already had the time dedicated to LDTC. Further, we held the event on campus, and because the edit-a-thon began around dinnertime and included a meal for participants, people who were already on campus were motivated to join. We believe the dinner was a big motivator for people. While hosting weekend events with brunch in the past worked well, our weeknight edit-a-thon had a higher turnout this year.

  • What did not work so well?

By hosting a livesteamed webinar edit-a-thon with a diverse audience, we discovered many challenges. For instance, teaching people to set up accounts and how to navigate the Wikipedia editing platform took longer than anticipated without the personalized assistance people get during in-person edit-a-thons. As such, there wasn’t much time for people to edit Wikipedia pages during the live event, which is when participants usually do most of theri editing.

Further, planning during Covid-19 was also quite difficult. Hawaii had particularly strict lockdowns, and we were unwilling to risk the health of our participants even by hosting a small in-person event. We also found that motivation to participate in an edit-a-thon, particularly in the early months of Covid, was quite low. Therefore, while we had planned to host a welcome event for our new students in September 2020, it was not possible because people were very stressed during the first few weeks of school. We now plan to host this edit-a-thon in November online.

  • What would you do differently next time?

Next time, we hope to market a little differently. As mentioned above, we got different groups of people for each event with very few repeat participants. We were aiming to engage a broader range of participants since this was something we struggled with during a previous rapid grant in 2018. However, by engaging a broader range of people, we ended up having fewer repeat participants. We believe that more consistent and personalized marketing will allow us to engage both a broad audience along with a core group of repeat editors.


Grant funds spent[edit]

Please describe how much grant money you spent for approved expenses, and tell us what you spent it on. We spent $364.54 of the grant money. This was spent on providing dinner to our participants at our October 2019 edit-a-thon. We ordered food from a local Vietnamese restaurant and provided our editors with spring rolls, fried noodles, tofu and veggies and chicken. For our January 2020 edit-a-thon, we provided brunch to our editors. We bought items from Sam’s club such as quiches, bagels, english muffins, meats and cheeses, fruit, salads, muffins, etc. to provide our participants with a simple yet hearty meal as they edited.

We were unable to use all of our proposed money. This was largely because of Covid-19 and the inability to host in-person events as of mid-March.

Remaining funds[edit]

Do you have any remaining grant funds? Yes, $375.31.

Remaining funds from this grant have been returned to WMF in the amount of US$375.31.

Anything else[edit]

Anything else you want to share about your project? You can find reports and summaries or our edit-a-thons at the following links: 2019 Edit-a-thon: 2020 Edit-a-thons: