Grants:TPS/Ocaasi, Valeriej, The wub/Open Help Conference

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User name
User location (country)
User name
User location (country)
User name
The wub
User location (country)
Event name
Open Help Conference & Sprints
Event Web site
Event date(s)
June 15 - 19, 2013
Event location (city)
Cincinnati, Ohio
Amount requested (remember to specify currency!)
USD $3,302
The Open Help conference is a good opportunity for us to learn best practices to bring back to our communities, and to share our wiki knowledge with the rest of the documentation-oriented open source/open culture community. I was hoping we would be able to send someone and thought no one would have time; I am surprised and delighted that these three community members are willing to make the time to go! I've conversed or worked with Valerie and Jake and know they'll get stuff done. Sharihareswara (WMF) (talk) 16:05, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Budget breakdown[edit]

Total: USD $3,302

  • Travel from Beaumont, Texas: USD 300 for airfare (round trip economy class from IAH to CVG) + USD 32 for shuttle (round trip from airport to hotel [1]) = 332
  • Accommodation: = USD 89 per room per night x 5 nights = USD 445
  • Conference Registration: USD 100
  • Travel from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: USD 300 for airfaire (round trip economy class from PHL to CVG) + USD 32 for shuttle (round trip from airport to hotel [2]) = 332
  • Accommodation: USD 89 per room per night x 4 nights = USD 356
  • Conference Registration: USD 100
The wub
  • Travel from Cambridge, UK: USD 60 for coach (round trip, Cambridge to LHR airport) + USD 1000 for airfare (round trip economy class, from LHR to CVG) + USD 32 for shuttle (round trip from CVG airport to hotel [3]) = USD 1,092
  • Accomodation: USD 89 per room per night x 5 nights = USD 445
  • Conference Registration: USD 100


  • Accomodation through the conference is at Garfield Suites Hotel, using the Discounted Rate for the Conference room block:
  • The special hotel rate of $89 was negotiated by OpenHelp. It's just coincidence that it's almost exactly 75% of the GSA rate.
  • The conference starts with a reception on the 14th, and ends on the 19th, so there are 5 nights (Ocaasi is arriving on the 15th due to a family event):

Proposed Participation[edit]

Valeriej: I began contributing to MediaWiki a little over 6 months ago. As an OPW intern, I worked in bug management triaging bug reports, organizing bug days, and investigating Wikipedia and MediaWiki support and feedback channels. Currently I'm contributing to Wikimedia Commons App and helping establish a Greeters program to help new contributors to MediaWiki find and complete their first task. I want to help new contributors become part of the community by making contributing easier.

Ocaasi: I'm a 5-year editor with 25,000 edits to Wikipedia. I have worked extensively with the irc-help channel, creating help guides, and developing the Teahouse Badges program. My focus is on outreach to and onboarding of new editors. I created the Plain and simple guide for new editors. I'm currently working on a learning game for new editors called The Wikipedia Adventure under an Individual Engagement Grant from the Wikimedia Foundation. I love working on how to make our community more accessible, and friendly to new editors by creating supportive, effective, and social tools.

The wub: I have been a Wikimedia volunteer since 2005, and now have over 75,000 edits to the English Wikipedia. In 2012 I was a Wikimedia Fellow, working on a project to research and revamp help pages. This resulted in many improvements, including creating three new tutorials and an all new main portal page, backed by usability testing. However the fellowship also showed me how much remains to be done. Since then I have continued to be involved with the help system, including leading the WikiProject devoted to it. This conference would be a great opportunity to learn from others involved in collaborative help, and to bring those insights back to other Wikimedia volunteers. The sprints would also be an excellent chance to work with others on improving help pages, with all the benefits that in-person collaboration brings.

Goal and Expected Impact[edit]

More background on this project is in the IdeaLab.


  • share how Wikipedia does open help with others working on open source projects
  • bring new inspiration and learning back to Wikipedia about what else is going on in open source help world
  • improve aspects of Wikipedia and MediaWiki's help systems in a 3-day team sprint

Work sprints[edit]

For the 3 sprint days, we're considering focusing on 2 key areas:

Sprint area 1: Improvements to Wikipedia Help Project's volunteer engagement systems[edit]

  • guidelines for new volunteers
  • manual of style
  • templates to reuse
  • badges to acknowledge participation
Anticipated impact
  • By building stronger processes and systems for engaging volunteers on the Help Project, we hope to increase the number of people improving English Wikipedia's Help pages. This ultimately contributes to improving the new-editor experience, since many new editors rely on help documentation.

Sprint area 2: Improvements to Teahouse and MediaWiki Greeter's Program's participant engagement systems[edit]

  • Teahouse wishlist - page & process improvements to engage more people to build and test new Teahouse improvements
  • MediaWiki greeter’s program - framework improvements for this new Teahouse-inspired program to engage new MediaWiki contributors
Anticipated impact
  • By building stronger processes and systems for engaging new Teahouse builders, we hope to increase the number of volunteers involved in Teahouse upgrades. This will ensure that Teahouse stays strong and vibrant and can continue to help boost new editor's participation and retention on English Wikipedia for years to come.
  • By building out processes and systems for the MediaWiki greeter's program, we hope to increase the number of greeters who participate in the program, and facilitate a better experience for new MediaWiki greeters.

Sharing learnings[edit]

We will bring back inspiration to the community in several ways:

  • Co-writing a WMF blog post about the conference
  • Adding an update to the Help and Teahouse newsletters
  • Open licensing and sharing slides from the presentation(s) we have proposed
  • Sharing with the Teahouse and Help WikiProject talk pages about our experience