Grants:TPS/Gretchenmcc/Linguistic Society of America 2017 panel and editathon

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

This Wikimedia Participation Support request was funded in the fiscal year 2014-15. A report is available.

Linguistic Society of America 2017 panel and editathon
summarySpeak on a panel about linguistics outreach and run a Wikipedia editathon at the biggest annual linguistics conference.
event locationAustin, Texas, USA
event date(s)January 5-8, 2017
amount requestedUSD 535
home countryMontreal, Canada
submitted on01:54, 1 December 2016 (UTC)

Proposed participation[edit]

I am a linguist who has run over a dozen linguistics-related Wikipedia outreach events, some with the support of Wikimedia.

I will be speaking about improving Wikipedia (especially by assigning it in the classroom) on a panel about linguistics outreach, which has been accepted at the major annual linguistics conference, the annual meeting of the Linguistics Society of America. I have also previously collaborated with WikiEd on directing linguistics professors their way after other editathons and creating an editing guide for linguistics classes.

I will also be running a Wikipedia editathon at the same conference, which I have done for the past two years (without funding).

I have secured partial funding (registration waiver and accommodation) so I'm just looking for travel costs from Wikimedia and a small food budget if possible.

This project contributes to the Wikimedia missions of improving content on Wikipedia, recruiting more expert editors from targeted groups, and making linguistics professors aware of the importance of freely licensing educational material as a form of linguistics outreach. In the short term, some content will be improved directly during the editathon (previously, for example, a participant created a biography for the then-president of the Linguistic Society of America, who did not yet have a bio) and all audience members and editathon participants will have increased knowledge of how to contribute to Wikipedia and why it's important. This is the third year for an editathon at this same conference, and repeated editing events with the same group of people have been shown to be the most effective way of increasing editor retention and adding high quality material to Wikipedia. In the long term, some participants may become active editors and/or assign Wikipedia to their classes. (User:LingLass and User:TheLeaper are two active editors who began editing Wikipedia as a result of an editathon at this conference in previous years, and User:Eallynsmith worked with students to improve articles on the French Wikipedia as a class assignment.)

Goal and expected impact[edit]

As a result of my panel talk, the audience will be aware of why it's important for linguists to edit Wikipedia, what types of articles need their help (stubs, biographies of linguists, language articles - over half of language articles are identified as stubs according to WikiProject:Languages), and how to go about contributing or having their class contribute (I expect to forward a lot of people to WikiEd).

As a result of the editathon, participants will have made an account on Wikipedia, put something on their user page, and made at least one edit in the Wikipedia mainspace. In previous years, we've had around 20-25 participants in the editathon who have edited at least one article apiece (see reports on the 2015 and 2016 editathons although note that 2016 had a low survey response rate so it doesn't have as many links to articles). With a food budget and cross-promotion from the panel, I expect we may have more participants than that this year. Participants will also learn by example how to structure their own editathon events - the CC-BY editathon slides that I made for the first LSA editathon have since been reused by User:loztron and User:TheLeaper at their own editathons.

As a result of the panel talk and editathon being on the conference program, I anticipate having many informal conversations about editing Wikipedia during the conference as a whole, as I do every time I run an editathon at a conference. This conference typically has active livetweeting in the conference hashtag, so I will also put all my slides online in advance under CC-BY so that people following the conference from home can also see them and potentially participate.

Since I have not previously applied for funding for running an editathon at this conference, I have never been able to provide food at the LSA event, but at other editathons where I've been able to provide food because of Wikimedia funding, I've gotten a much higher ratio of participants. The LSA typically has over 1000 attendees, of which I can attract around 20-25 without food, but at much smaller conferences (200-350 attendees), I can attract about the same number of participants with food. As I've done at other editathons, if I end up with more people than I can facilitate alone, I will have experienced participants who are prepared to either edit or help facilitate depending on turnout. (User:Robo-Kyon will be attending and possibly also User:TheLeaper and one or two of the particularly active participants from my workshops in June.)

Since the conference will be held at a hotel, if I wanted meal-type food like pizza or cookies, I would have to buy it from conference catering which would be complicated and expensive to arrange, but the hotel can't stop me from giving out abundant free candy/chocolate (book vendors in the exhibition hall always have free mints, for example). The editathon will be held in midafternoon anyway, so this is an appropriate time for snacks. It has not been previously worth the administrative hassle of applying for a grant for the sake of $40 of chocolate, but if I'm going to apply for travel since I'm also on the panel this year, I think a food budget would be highly useful. If it's not okay to request food in a travel grant, please just strike out that part.

Budget breakdown[edit]

  • Travel (round trip airfare from Montreal, Canada to Austin, Texas: USD 455
  • Travel (cabfare from Austin airport to conference venue): USD 40
  • Accommodation (covered by other funding source): $0
  • Registration (waived by conference): $0
  • Space
  • Food (chocolate/candy for editathon participants): USD 40


Other instructions[edit]

Yes, please book flights! Hotel is already taken care of. I'm fine to wait to get reimbursed for cab and food.


  • Gretchen is amazing at running editathons, and making the most of other conference-time networking to convince often-skeptical linguists that this is a worthwhile enterprise. She's single-handedly changing the minds of an entire scholastic community. Loztron (talk) 08:46, 1 December 2016 (UTC)
  • I really learned the power of editing Wikipedia from the edit-a-thons at the LSA, and was able to bring many of my skills back home. I will be at this conference and will definitely be at the edit-a-thons; they add a great element of hands-on work to a conference and a great way to meet people. Gretchen is an incredible host for these and always available with fantastic resources, and her work at these events has really had an impact on our community of linguists. I strongly endorse this travel request! TheLeaper (talk) 14:30, 1 December 2016 (UTC)
  • I have taken part in these in the past, and found them really useful. It's a great activity to help organize people around a worthwhile task, and gets people to look at Wikipedia in a different way, as well as bringing their expertise to it. I'm looking forward to helping out at it again this year, and I definitely endorse this request. Robo-Kyon (talk) 16:26, 5 December 2016 (UTC)