Grants talk:APG/Proposals/2012-2013 round1/Wikimedia Foundation/Progress report form/Q2
Receipt of this report
Thank you, Jonathan and WMF, for submitting a complete a second progress report on time. We look forward to reviewing it in detail in the coming weeks. Please continue to monitor this discussion page for our comments and questions, and contact us at any time if you have any questions or concerns. Best regards from FDC staff, Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 18:35, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for this report
Thank you for completing this thorough and timely report. We recognize that for an organization of WMF’s size and scope, creating these quarterly reports is a significant task. We congratulate you on the quality of this report and thank you for your ongoing commitment to the reporting process.
We encourage all entities to also read the staff summary of this quarter’s progress reports in addition to these comments.
- We recognize your achievement around launching the Visual Editor, which is an important step that may be critical to the growth of movement projects! Along with this recognition, we encourage continued reflection and reporting on this important program, although it is not included in the formerly considered ‘core’ areas funded by the FDC.
- We congratulate WMF on your progress with Wikipedia Zero. We hope you are able to expand the number of people using this resource now that access has been so dramatically increased.
We would like to learn more
- You mention, “while not all projects funded by the Wikimedia Grants Program achieved all desired goals, organizers of each completed project details, on-wiki, their successes and failures -- and successes far outweighed failures.” This is an intriguing statement! Would you tell us a little more about how WMF defines and measures the success of a grant?
- Dear Winifred, Thank you for this question. All WMF grants include a definition of success in them, proposed by the grantee (and implicitly endorsed by funding the grant). Success is defined as meeting what's listed under "goals," as measured by the specified "measures of success." This is how success is defined and measured in terms of what the grant sets out to accomplish -- largely, this would fall within our strategic goals, most prominently those of Reach, Participation, Diversity, and Quality (little is done about Infrastructure via grants).
- That said, WMF is a "sympathetic grantmaker," in that it takes an interest in the broad context and well-being of the movement organizations it makes grants to (along with the non-movement organizations and individuals it makes grants to), and consequently there are sometimes reasons to fund some projects that extend beyond their direct contribution to our strategic goals -- reasons that may well have an indirect contribution to those goals, or no contribution and yet serve as enablers of work toward the strategic goals.
- For example, inexperienced or struggling groups may well propose a project they are passionate about but that doesn't promise much progress on strategic goals; such a project may yet be worth funding for the experience it would net the group, for the positive effect on group morale and energy, and for encouraging the proposal of other ideas. In such a case, the collaborative effort and communication across the community may themselves be a success from a movement-strategic point of view, even if there are no concrete results on the strategic goals. Naturally, such grants would be on the small side, and would generally be followed by higher impact work.
- With your narrowing of focus realignment, the Catalyst programs are experiencing a big change as they transition to partnership grants. Please provide any additional information about this change and how it is affecting projects so far, whether positively or negatively. If it is too early to answer this question now, we look forward to learning more about this in future reports.
- Dear Winifred: Thank you for this question, too. Our catalyst projects were a work in progress. As noted in our Q2 report, the Wikimedia Foundation is partnering with organizations that are on the ground in countries where we are either running our own catalyst projects (through a combination of consultants and staff members) or had been running them. In India, for example, we’ve now partnered with the Centre for Internet and Society through its “Access to Knowledge” (A2K) campaign. In 2011, the Wikimedia Foundation began the Wikipedia Education Program in Pune, India -- at three universities spanning 24 courses that attracted 1,014 students -- but we stopped the project in November that year because of shortcomings that became evident during the project’s operation. In August 2012, the Wikimedia Foundation began its partnership with the New Delhi-based Centre for Internet and Society, and in June 2013 the Centre released a report that documented its work to improve the number of articles and editors on Indic-language Wikipedias. (The Centre will soon issue a more detailed report on its activities.) The results were mixed, with both decreases and increases.
- Active editors (five or more edits) on Hindi, Marathi and Sanskrit Wikipedias continued to decline, while active editors on Kannada and Telugu Wikipedias experienced what the Centre calls “a remarkable turnaround.” Kannada Wikipedia, for example, has 38 active editors as of June 2013 -- a doubling from the 19 active editors it had in September 2012 -- and in June 2013, Kannada Wikipedia went over 15,000 articles for the first time in its history. The Centre has been working closely with the Kannada community, holding workshops and doing other outreach to encourage more contributions. Besides Kannada, the Centre has had extensive outreach to the Indic-language Wikipedias of Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu. Active editors on Hindi went from 46 in September 2012 to 43 in June 2013 while Marathi Wikipedia’s active editors -- undoubtedly related to significant internal (on-wiki) conflict -- went from 41 to 21.
- Still, the article counts on Wikipedias in Assamese, Punjabi and Odia grew by 58 percent, 55 percent and 26 percent respectively in the same period, when 673 new editors joined Indic-language Wikipedias. There was cause and effect from the Centre’s involvement, but it’s still unclear how much. “It is difficult for the CIS-A2K programme to either take direct credit for the growth or direct blame for the lack of it in the Indian language Wikimedia projects,” the Centre notes on its blog. “However, we believe that we have been one of the factors — and sometimes a key factor — in impacting the growth of the Wikimedia projects and communities in India since the commencement of the project.” To increase readership and engagement in Brazil, meanwhile, we noted in our Q2 report that we were negotiating with Ação Educativa, an educational nonprofit that’s based in Sao Paulo. The potential partnership is still being formulated, and we will note in a future report about any progress in this partnership.
- Would you please summarize a few of the key learning from the E3 team’s onboarding tests? What exactly worked well about the successful test and how might those lessons be applied to the movement’s work?
- Dear Winifred: Thanks also for this question. The onboarding tests we outlined in the foundation’s progress report were designed to inspire newly registered users to edit Wikipedia. Only a small percentage of people who create Wikipedia accounts go on to edit Wikipedia articles. The E3 team’s tests incorporated a series of different designs -- and different editing options, and different encouragements -- to see if one combination was the ideal combination that spurred a large number of people to edit articles. One learning point: No one factor -- no single panacea -- prompted users in great numbers. In fact, the tests made it clear that overall encouragement is necessary to make more newly registered users aware of Wikipedia’s editing possibilities. We can’t assume that new users will be self-motivated to start editing Wikipedia from the start. We have to be proactive. And we have to give basic encouragement to newly registered users -- basic editing tasks that are rewarding from the start. People don’t learn a new language by starting with complicated grammar exercises. They start with simple sounds, and simple letters. The basics. That’s a powerful overall lesson we learned: Be encouraging with small tasks like copy editing and adding links. The basics seem to inspire editors in the beginning, which we hope will lead them to stick with Wikipedia over the very long haul.
Suggestions for future reports
- Please keep the Overview of section of this report brief. We know you have a lot of program activity to cover, but this section is intended to be a concise section to share an overview with the community at large and FDC. When longer responses to questions on this form are needed, we recommend using a list format in order to make the report a bit easier for the community to read. We realize that the reporting form itself requests answers in paragraph form, but we welcome the use of lists when it may make these reports easier to read.
- We encourage WMF, like all other entities, to be open about your challenges and failures as well as your successes in these reports. This gives the FDC and the community more insight into how WMF is learning from failures and addressing its challenges.
- Although this is not required, please consider including some insights about WMF’s internal process for reporting in a future report. WMDE did include this information in their reports and we found it helpful.