As of August 2011, Mediagrant is slowly moving towards full operation.
Media collection topics
As of beginning of August, there are ten proposed media collection topics, of which:
- Four have been approved by the "Mediagrant eye" and are accepting photos from the volunteers (none have arrived yet). We believe there is significant room for improvement in community promotion of Mediagrant projects. We have started new page about Mediagrant on cs.wiki for better and easier communication between chapter and community. We hope so it will help pull more attention to Mediagrant and exceed only members from chapter. The "approved" topics include:
- Czech Folklore and Czech Folklore Architecture
- The famous "Municipalities of the Czech Republic" photo project, which is now in operation (3rd period: 1819 photos of 159 objects with expenses of 4.746 CZK). Work is being done on fully integrating it into "Mediagrant framework".
- Documentation of protected landscape areas of the Czech Republic and protected (remarkable) trees.
- Three are either finished or developing topic proposals which either have to be discussed and approved by the "eye" committee, or need more information from people who have proposed them.
- Three are mere ideas that need someone to develop them into topic proposals.
Mediagrant is also intended to support activities other than "continuous media collection". This consists mostly of developing proposals. Most notable of these is the proposal to buy more specialized camera equipment which is now prepared by several volunteers, and the proposal to document an out-of-order railway that supposedly contains a lot of unique technical equipment.
For the coordination of the "eye" decision-making, we have settled on using Basecamp, which is easier to use for tracking to-do lists and discussion with e-mail notification option that the default MediaWiki. For the trip and expense overviews, we have not yet started with development of the ultimate grant tracker due to mentioned delays and also because the situation of funding of such development by WMF is not very clear at the moment (we're hoping this will get clarified at Wikimania). To prevent further delays, we have chosen to create and use a preliminary web tracking application until this matter is resolved.
Having the preliminary tracker in place, the project is able to collect information about all volunteer trip and expenses, although this process still has many rough edges. What remains to be solved is the "collect the receipts and send the money" part of the workflow. Per the original Mediagrant proposal, most of these administration tasks should be handled by a paid employee. WM-CZ board plans to start a selection process for this employee in the coming weeks, and we hope to have candidates to choose from by the end of August.
Overall, the start of Mediagrant is much slower than we expected in 2010. This has been caused by a communication issues in the Czech chapter, mainly regarding the introduction of Mediagrant over existing grants operations and structures in the chapter. The way Mediagrant (as well as P&O) has been implemented has caused polarization of Czech chapter. These communication problems and resulting lack of will to move forward was one of the reasons that delayed full operation of Mediagrant for several months until now.
After chapter's general assembly, some members of the "eye" has been replaced in an effort to improve this situation and now there are 3 new people and "eye" has 5 members now. We believe that these personal changes will allow "restart" of Mediagrant activity and improve communication between chapter’s members and the Czech wiki community.
The resulting recommendation for any chapter that has working grants projects and wants to move to grand unified structure similar to ours is that the communication among members, especially with those who are running the original activities which are supposed to be merged into bigger operations, is vital for success of such projects. Additionally, it's important that the communication between the chapter and WMF is held in open manner, so everyone is aware of what has been agreed upon.