Developing Advantageous Partnerships Through Thematic Weeks
In the first half of 2020, thematic weeks were on the front ranks of our content enrichment activities.
For more than a decade now, Ukrainian Wikipedia has a continuous community-driven project called “Thematic Weeks”, which encourages editors to organize short-term (up to one month) editing challenges on a specific topic. Anyone is welcome to announce the topic, determine the timeframe, and invite users to start cooperative work. Since 2015, Wikimedia Ukraine (WMUA) supports the project by proposing to thematic week organizers an opportunity to apply for funding souvenirs to most active participants of the week. Apart from souvenirs, we also promote thematic weeks/months via WMUA blog and social networks. Organizers of thematic weeks can find information about possible support from Wikimedia Ukraine on the landing page of the project. In 2020, we have already successfully supported several such initiatives (see details in our full midpoint report).
Besides welcoming applications from the community, we found that the project’s format also fits for running editing activities proposed by our partners. As we pointed out in this year’s grant application, “thematic weeks are a light version of [article] contests, yielding less long-term results but requiring fewer resources and thus providing greater flexibility”. Holding a thematic week together with a partner organization is often a good way to develop partnership and benefit from our partner’s efforts in promotion, while also advancing our general goal of bridging content gaps on Wikipedia.
In 2020 so far, we organized three big thematic weeks & months with partners.
- 1) Antarctic Week
In January, we were approached by the National Antarctic Scientific Center of Ukraine, a government agency in charge of Ukrainian Antarctic activities. When working on the topic list together with partners, we discovered that Ukrainian Wikipedia had a noticeable content gap on the topic, many articles either being missing at all or lacking information about Ukraine.
Thus, in the latter half of January, we held the Antarctic Week on Wikipedia. Thanks to our efforts and the Center’s help in promotion, we saw good results — almost 250 articles on the topic were created or expanded by 36 participants.
In mid-February, we held a small award ceremony in our office. Attended by the Center’s head Yevhen Dykyi, the ceremony helped us draw attention to the topic. As of now, we are keeping ties with the Center and might hold a similar campaign at some point in the future.
- 2) Ukrainian Diplomacy Month
In April, we started cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. We work on a joint project which would help enrich different language editions Wikipedia with content on Ukrainian-centered topics, most likely to be completed in the second half of 2020.
As the first stage of this project, in May we held the Ukrainian Diplomacy Month on Ukrainian Wikipedia. 24 editors joined it, with almost 250 articles created & improved. In April, we also held two lectures on Wikipedia for Ukrainian diplomats abroad; some 130 people participated.
The MFA (as well as any other our partner) does not have any impact on the content of articles being developed by the community. Importantly for us, it has access to a wide audience on social media both in Ukraine and in other countries, which is highly valuable for promoting Wikipedia and particularly our joint projects.
- 3) Journalism Month
|“How to read the news critically”, a webinar for the Wikipedia community, YouTube video
In the first half of 2020, we developed a partnership with nonprofit organization Detector.Media, a Ukrainian media watchdog.
As part of the project, we held Journalism Month on Ukrainian Wikipedia (from mid-June until mid-July). The results are due to be announced and will be included in the annual report, but we have already seen positive results in terms of content, with roughly 250 articles created and improved.
Even more importantly, this partnership has allowed us to jointly hold five webinars for the Wikipedia community on the media and information hygiene, as well as for journalists on Wikipedia (in June and July).
Thus, the “Journalism Month” project has been a good way both to provide training instruction to our community members and to reach out to outside audiences so as to raise awareness about Wikipedia.
Overall, we see that thematic weeks is a useful format for developing partnerships, in several important ways. It allows us to quickly organize an editing challenge without significant time and financial investment, partly thanks to the flexible format and partly due to the large community of volunteers that has developed around the project of thematic weeks. Because of that, we are able to accept partnership proposals and not to lose good opportunities because of the lack of resources. Also, this format fits well for combining efforts with partners; both Wikimedia Ukraine and a partner organization can provide unique resources and expertise to achieve good results.