Grants:Project/Wiki Loves Monuments international team/2017 coordination/Midpoint
Welcome to this project's midpoint report! This report shares progress and learning from the grantee's first 3 months.
In a few short sentences or bullet points, give the main highlights of what happened with your project so far.
Wiki Loves Monuments international team’s mission has been the focus of activities and the outcomes and objectives we have strived for in the first half of the 2017 campaign. To that end:
- Federated: We have worked with some of the local organizers of Wiki Loves Monuments to find solutions that empower them to run a successful campaign in their region/country.
- Global: We have onboarded more than 50 campaigns who participated in this year’s contest. While some of these campaigns are quite experienced with Wiki Loves Monuments, some needed more assistance to organize it for the first time, or after a few years of lapse.
- Low-barrier: We have continued to reduce the workload for local organizers to make this not only a low-barrier competition for participants, but also something the local organizers can manage more easily.
- Raise awareness: We raised awareness about the contest, about Wiki Loves Monuments, and about the importance of documenting built cultural heritage through a series of talks, partnerships, and empowering local communities to organize a contest in their locality and amplifying the message of protecting and documenting built cultural heritage through their networks.
- Partnership: To amplify the work of the local organizers, we worked with Flickr on an international level collaboration where the month of September was dedicated by Flickr photowalks to Wiki Loves Monuments.
Methods and activities
How have you setup your project, and what work has been completed so far?
Describe how you've setup your experiment or pilot, sharing your key focuses so far and including links to any background research or past learning that has guided your decisions. List and describe the activities you've undertaken as part of your project to this point.
The organization of Wiki Loves Monuments at the international level focuses, partly, in empowering the local organizers to organize a successful contest. To this end:
- Onboarding new and old campaigns: Sometimes we have new countries joining Wiki Loves Monuments, sometimes we have countries joining after a few years. In both scenarios, onboarding of the new local organizing team is needed. We helped these countries understand the timelines, expectations, what needs to be communicated to their audience, the must-haves and the nice-to-haves. We worked with the communities on special cases and communications around Wiki Loves Monuments running as part of another contest (WikiDaheim in Austria, for example) or earlier or later than usual start or end times.
- Setting up campaigns: Campaigns were set up for the start of Wiki Loves Monuments. While this sounds like a trivial step, a non-negligible amount of time went ot this section to make sure campaign messages are set up, central notice is set up correctly, etc.
- National jury and the international jury: Communications around national jury expectations and timelines were done. Nominations by each campaign are now received and the international team will start the international jury process soon. The international team also put together the international jury.
On the technical end and to make the human cost of organizing Wiki Loves Monuments lower and provide the project with more opportunities of innovation and improvement in the future:
- Jury tool (Montage): Extensive extensions have been added to the backend of Montage, the jury tool. The Frontend changes are ongoing.
- Wikidata migration: The migration of Monuments Database and all future monuments datasets to Wikidata is one of the big goals that while the international team cannot fully take on its own, has supported substantially. 13 datasets (there may be multiple per country) are migrated or the code is running right now for their migration. Around 8 more datasets are awaiting bot approval. 3 new datasets were directly introduced in Wikidata (without having lists on Wikipedia).
What are the results of your project or any experiments you’ve worked on so far?
Please discuss anything you have created or changed (organized, built, grown, etc) as a result of your project to date.
Below, we summarize some of the outcomes of the project so far:
- Global participation: Wiki Loves Monuments has been organized in more than 50 countries this year. The number of countries participating is a signal for the work that the international team and the local organizers do at a global scale to create and maintain communities that are active and aware of built cultural heritage. We are humbled by the effort of the countries who stood up to make the contest happen in 2017. Some had to organize it against all odds due to the uncertainties of the regions they are in. 5 countries or local groups participated for first time, several countries organized WLM after one or more years of not organizing the competition.
- Newcomers welcomed: More than 70% of the participants were newcomers to Wikimedia projects (as measured by accounts created). This means that the project has managed to empower more than 7'300 people to be aware of their built cultural heritage, discover it, explore it, and share it with the world through Wikimedia Commons.
- Wikidata migration: As mentioned earlier, 13 datasets have already migrated to Wikidata or the code for which is running at the time of writing this report. 8 more are under bot review, and 3 more datasets were directly created on Wikidata. Needless to say: moving monuments data to Wikidata will empower Wiki Loves Monuments community and the built cultural heritage within and outside of the Movement to make use of the data in ways that we can and cannot imagine today.
- Jury tool: The backend of the jury tool received extensive expansion and improvement. The frontend work is ongoing. The jury tool served 33 campaigns . The tool has become a central part of facilitating the jury process for Wiki Loves Monuments (and other Wiki Loves contests).
- An international jury is selected, and ready to start its process (as planned).
- Awareness: While Wikimedia banners are strong in helping the Wiki Loves Monuments community with raising awareness about built cultural heritage and the work this community does, raising awareness did not stop there. We gave a series of talks at Wikimania, Wikimedia Taiwan, Zugang gestalten in Germany, WikidataCon, and beyond.
Please take some time to update the table in your project finances page. Check that you’ve listed all approved and actual expenditures as instructed. If there are differences between the planned and actual use of funds, please use the column provided there to explain them.
Then, answer the following question here: Have you spent your funds according to plan so far? Please briefly describe any major changes to budget or expenditures that you anticipate for the second half of your project.
Nothing has been spent until now.
The best thing about trying something new is that you learn from it. We want to follow in your footsteps and learn along with you, and we want to know that you are taking enough risks to learn something really interesting! Please use the below sections to describe what is working and what you plan to change for the second half of your project.
At the international Wiki Loves Monuments team, we are at a privileged position of continuous learning, about the different cultures, countries, their needs, and their ways of working. We are also empowered, thanks to grants similar to this one, to experiment, and learn further. Here are a few examples of the many things we have learned this year:
- Wiki Loves Monuments has a lot of potential for further presence and recurrence in different countries. Of course, this requires understanding the ever-changing needs of the communities (local organizers) we serve. The message and empowerment that Wiki Loves Monuments brings to many of our local communities is not an old message. :)
- Many communities would want to organize Wiki Loves Monuments but they need more support to do this. They need to feel that the international team is there to support them and if something goes wrong they can go to someone for help. We have heard this repeatedly from the new organizers (whether their country had organized Wiki Loves Monuments in the past or not). International team carries a lot of responsibility for being in the position of empowering the local organizers.
- The federated model is key in our environment: Running an international and (may we say) truly global contest primarily with volunteer capacity requires rethinking how projects should be managed. There is no way that a small international team can do the job of running the contest effectively (or at all) at a global scale. The local organizers are the blood of Wiki Loves Monuments. They are the people who know the local context and know how to make the contest happen. In the international team, we have learned to repeat this to ourselves: what can we do to empower these individuals and groups to do more and better? This will be a life-long learning for all of us and we hope to do better and more.
- The Wiki Loves Monuments model is a repeatable model in settings outside and inside of Wikimedia Movement. Sharing this model with other like-minded organizations can create more capacity for the work we do, and the work they do.
- One of the things we are looking forward to do in the second half of this grant period is to work on the international blog. The work is documented in Phabricator. We are aiming to give an upgrade to the international team’s blog and also empower the local organizers to have access to a blog template that they can easily fire up and use in their context. You can see some of the proposed designs of the blog in the Phabricator link. Communications is a key component of Wiki Loves Monuments at the international and national level and we look forward to this upgrade and also to giving the gift of a communications platform to the local organizers who would like to use it.
What are the challenges
What challenges or obstacles have you encountered? What will you do differently going forward? Please list these as short bullet points.
No project goes without challenges and that is how we all learn as a community. We list a few below:
- Wikidata migration is a very big project which touches on many aspects of the work we do: developer support, licenses and their compatibility with Wikidata, local resources for quality assessment of codes and outputs prior to the migration. While the international team would love to take more part in this effort, the reality ahead of us is that our resources on this front are limited when compared to the size and variety of the datasets that need to be migrated. The question ahead of us is: how can we empower the local communities more in this space to take more of the migration work? This of course, needs capacity building at the local communities.
- Design resources are very limited (almost non-existent) in our (at least immediate) community. It has been a challenge for us to bring design to the center of what we do, simply because of this limitation. This, of course, affects the tools we develop but also hinders some of the work we know we need to do: for example, landing pages need a user-centric design and many of them currently miss that. We have tried hard for the past year to bring more design resources to this space. While we have some ideas how to try a few more directions, it is not clear at all if those efforts can be successful.
- Communications resources are very limited and the challenge there, of course, is not about broadcasting what we do, but empowering the local teams to do better, too. We need a strong communication component and this resource has been very hard to secure. (We are very thankful to the couple of volunteers who stood up this year to help the international team to maintain some level of social media and communication presence, beyond the presentations we have given.)
- Funding remains a challenge for the project with very limited volunteer resources. We are thankful for the funds we receive from Wikimedia Foundation, but we also acknowledge that a non-negligible specialized and limited volunteer time we have available is spent on grants discussion. That, of course, has its impact on other projects we pick up, in terms of the breadth, depth, and quality of work we can deliver. Finding more sustainable and long term funding arrangements can help us move to the next level and save some of our resources for the ground work we need to do more of.
What is working well
What have you found works best so far? To help spread successful strategies so that they can be of use to others in the movement, rather than writing lots of text here, we'd like you to share your finding in the form of a link to a learning pattern.
- Federated model works.: As mentioned earlier, the federated model of Wiki Loves Monuments is key to its success.
- Low-barrier pays back.: Low-barrier contests continue to engage people from around the world with Wikimedia projects.
Next steps and opportunities
What are the next steps and opportunities you’ll be focusing on for the second half of your project? Please list these as short bullet points. If you're considering applying for a 6-month renewal of this grant at the end of your project, please also mention this here.
- International jury definition
- Selection of winners
- Deliver of the prizes
- Submissions of presentations to some Wikimedia conferences (to be defined)
- Planning for the international meeting(s)
- [Stretch] Upgrading the international blog and creating templates for regional blogs.
- Closure of the project 2017 and definition of the the project for 2018
We’d love to hear any thoughts you have on how the experience of being an grantee has been so far. What is one thing that surprised you, or that you particularly enjoyed from the past 3 months?
The stories of people who participate in Wiki Loves Monuments and those who empower these people are truly amazing and what keeps many of us in the international team motivated. The emails that we receive and the verbal conversations we have indicate that we can connect to people and empower them to contribute more joyfully to Wikimedia projects. We cannot put the joy of those learning and experiences in words.