Grants talk:APG/Proposals/2015-2016 round 2/Wikimedia Armenia/Proposal form

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The community review of this proposal runs until the end of 30 April 2016.

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We welcome speakers of all languages in this discussion. Please comment here in any language you wish; staff or other volunteers will translate your comments to English if possible.


Согласен[edit]

Symbol support vote.svg За Выступаю за выдавание денег западным Армянам. П.С - Если я не прав или написал не туда, разъясните куда надо писать.

Questions and comments from FDC member Risker[edit]

  • It appears from the proposal that there will be five (5) staff members of Wikimedia Armenia in the next year. This is a very significant increase from last year's plan. It appears all of these staff will report to the WMAM Board of Trustees. This does not seem to be very workable or efficient for routine manager-employee discussions such as requesting a day off, arranging vacation schedules, performance appraisal, managing payroll, new staff orientation and so on. The complexity of these tasks increase exponentially with staff growth. What alternatives have you considered? How will the Board remain effective in managing these routine employment issues? It appears that much is dependent on the current president, who is currently a candidate for the WMF Board of Trustees and would have to resign her WMAM position should she be selected; as well, it is possible that another person could be elected by the WMAM general assembly at some point.

I may have some further questions as we continue our reviews. Thanks for your submission. Risker (talk) 05:02, 18 April 2016 (UTC)

Hi Risker, thank you for your question. At this moment WM AM has 4 staff - 2 of them are funded by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation to work only on the "Western Armenian Wikipedia" project which is wholly financed since the beginning of 2015. Both of them are already very well experienced in their work and successfully report to the WM AM Board and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. All the other activities concerning Wikimedia Armenia's projects and the organization itself (including reporting, grant making, running the programs, organizing different events) are carried out by me and David whose funding are approved by WM AM APG 2015. As you can see the amount of the work is huge, that's why we need the third staff. As you have noticed WM AM president is successfully managing the current staff and their activities. We also periodically report to the Board during the Board meetings or via email list. The reporting process effectively work for 4 of us so far (although I think it’s the Board who should confirm the effectiveness). If Susanna is selected to the WMF Board of Trustees, we will continue to report to the Board and get managed by it, and I am sure the Board will elect another dedicated person to run the organization.--Lilitik22 (talk) 21:38, 20 April 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for your response, Lilitik22. I remain very concerned with the idea of five staff reporting to the Board president; it is not an inherently stable situation, with the president not only responsible for the effective leadership of the board, but also acting as an unpaid manager for the organization. We were a bit concerned last year, when the proposal presented was for two part-time employees. Now you already have four employees and are looking to add a fifth. I will note that last year's application did not include the two part-time staff already being funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation grant at the time the proposal was submitted; there is no mention anywhere in last year's proposal that indicated there were staff positions associated with that. The management of a group that large requires just about 0.5 FTEs of work, and that is a lot to demand of a volunteer board president. There are few enough individuals who have both the skills and the time to be a board president/chair even when there are no employees (or only one employee) reporting to the board; the number of candidates who can take on both roles simultaneously is even smaller, and could have a serious effect on the development of both the board and the chapter. Risker (talk) 03:16, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
Hi Risker. I agree that the management of a volunteer could really be considered as concerning if not our case. Susanna almost every day comes to WM AM office to take the responsibilities of President and executive director. And I want to note that it was Susanna’s initiative and wasn’t an obligatory responsibility. Whenever she refuses this role the Board will think about Executive director position. I would also like to address the second issue raised by you. At the time of APG proposal submission the staff funded by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation was passing a probation period and WM AM wasn’t sure of her approval in that position. The contract made with Gulbenkian Foundation was sent to WMF FDC staff where there was mentioned about 1 staff to be funded. As to the second staff it was mutually decided and funded long after APG submission because of the amount of the work to be carried out. --Lilitik22 (talk) 10:55, 5 May 2016 (UTC)

Questions and comments from FDC member Itzik[edit]

Hi,

  1. There is almost no doubt in the movement about the success of your WikiCamps, and the immediate achievements are high and great. But I wonder more about the long term results - how many of the participates remain active after the camp? Considering that WikiCamps costs are almost half of the organization's budget - it's important to look also at the long term results of this program.
  2. You mentioned you are tracking and assessing the WikiClubs activities. Can you share with us some of the numbers such the number of meetings and their outcomes?
  3. In-kind donations are great proof of good chapter work and I'm happy to see that your government supports you by giving office space. But I would be happy to know why you need such a big space (that many other medium chapters don't even have). In the end - it incurs costs (about $16,000 a year). I also have concerns about the costs to renovate the new part that you got. Is there a contract that indicates for how long this space will be given to you? So you will not invest $14,000 on it and a year later the government will ask it to be returned.
  4. In your budget it mentions Wikimania 2015 - I believe you meant Wikimania 2016? And WMCONF 2016 is meant to be 2017, right?
  5. I wonder about insurance - many of your activities, espcially the WikiCamps, involves hosting children at the camp - is there insurance or some other legal protection for the chapter around these activities?

--Itzike (talk) 10:45, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

Hello Itzike, thanks for your questions.
  1. We recently did a metrics of the Summer 2015 WikiCamp (see the last answer) participants to track how many of them are active. We found out that almost half of them edited one of the wiki projects in last 6 months. For 2014 WikiCamps see Grant talk of the WikiCamp 2015 (the second answer to WMF comments). Camp participants actively participate in our off wiki events, organize their own wiki events thus spreading wiki projects locally and helping us a lot to organize the next WikiCamps. If you want more detailed metrics, I can do it again.
  2. Of course. Here's the overall stats of Wiktionary editing WikiClubs divided into months. Each WikiClub has its own page and more detailed stats on its own workpage. See for example Lernapat WikiClub stats section. You can choose the month and get individual metrics. The same is done on Wikipedia. Here's the overall stats page and its archive. You can again choose the month to get individual results. I'm sorry they are all in Armenian. But I'm happy to translate anything that'd be incomprehensible when machine-translated.
  3. We've got a contract with the Government which states that the space is given for 15 years. We described the usage of every room in the APG proposal. The last room which is going to be renovated will be the WikiClub Yerevan. We plan to have it open 6 days in a week on working hours, so any editor and person would freely come there and edit in a nice atmosphere.
  4. Yes, you are right. I'm sorry, I'll correct them both.
  5. Before the start of WikiCamp we sign a legal contract with the parents of each student under 18 and with the student him/herself if he/she is over 18. The contract includes the responsibilities of campers, WikiCamp rules, medical aid, usage of photos/videos materials and many other points. If you want, I can provide the original Armenian form. We also always have a doctor in WikiCamps. We don't do insurances because it is more expensive than to cover possible medical costs.
Thanks again. --David Saroyan (talk) 09:58, 5 May 2016 (UTC)

Questions and comments from FDC member Mike Peel[edit]

Thanks for the time and effort you've put into your proposal. :-) I have a few queries about some of the items:

  1. With your activities in Portugal, are you in contact/working with the local chapter, and non-Armenian community members there?
  2. It's good to see your work with different Wikimedia projects. I'm curious about which language wikis your work is aimed at contributing to - is it just the Armenian language wikis, or is there also a wider impact on the other language wikis?
  3. I'm surprised by how low your staff costs are for this number of staff compared to other countries, but I'm not sure how they compare locally - are they typical for Armenia?
  4. I see that most of your videos are on Youtube, rather than Commons - any chance they could be copied over to Commons, or is it difficult to do that?
  5. I also share Risker's concern above about the management of so many staff by a single volunteer, and also Itzik's about the extent of your office space.

Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 21:49, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

Hi Mike Peel. Thanks for your comments and questions.
  1. We haven't contacted to Wikimedia Portugal because the WikiCamp is organized for Western Armenian speakers. The organization of the camp is entirely supported by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation the head office of which is located in Lisbon.
  2. Yes, our main goals for now are Eastern and Western Armenian wikiprojects. There are some reasons why our work is aimed at Armenian language wikiprojects. The two main reasons are the following: Armenian is the only major language spoken in Armenia, and we need to contribute to the preservation of our language. We lack Armenian online and offline educational content and that's why we are now focused on enriching Armenian online educational free content in order to make it available for everyone.
  3. To tell the truth we were also surprised seeing that in some APGs the staff costs exceed the projects expenses. The money requested for staff are considered neither low nor high. They are based on the staff previous experience and salaries.
  4. We’ll upload all videos on Commons for sure, except those which music is non-free. There were some technical difficulties concerning the video sizes before which are now fixed.
  5. I hope that my answer to Risker’s comment will be helpful. As to the office space, we have already mentioned in the APG for what purposes we are going to use it. If our community was smaller or we had less programs the office space would be smaller.
Thanks again for your comments. I hope I could dispel all your concerns :) --Lilitik22 (talk) 10:59, 5 May 2016 (UTC)