Grants talk:Conference/Diversity Conference 2017/Report

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Comments from I JethroBT (WMF)[edit]

@Sara Mörtsell (WMSE) and John Andersson (WMSE): Hi Sara and John, I'm Chris Schilling, a program officer at the Wikimedia Foundation. I've recently stepped into this role in relation to Conference Grants, so please accept my apologies on the wait for my review. Thanks for preparing this report on the Diversity Conference 2017, I enjoyed reading it over! Here are some comments and questions I had about the report and about the event generally:

  • I wanted to congratulate you on several achievements and successes you had with this event. For instance, that members from 39 emerging communities and that you received scholarship applications from over 50 countries make clear your efforts to promote the conference not only widely, but that you were thoughtful of what communities would benefit the most in being able to attend and participate. Furthermore, all survey respondents reported that they expected to continue to work with at least one person -- and frequently many more people -- that they met at this conference. These outcomes are neatly tied to one reason in your proposal for why you wanted to organize this conference: to work together with other movement leaders and develop thoughtful approaches to issues related to diversity in Wikimedia projects.
    • Thank you! Having the support from all the awesome ambassadors was of great value.
  • Thank you for providing the the post-conference survey and a summary of feedback in the report. That attendees were unanimous in their approval of the conference overall and that the survey revealed a lot of confidence and satisfaction in the work of the conference facilitators are both really important achievements-- in the context of conference sessions, meaningfully addressing topics like diversity amongst a wide audience is difficult work that requires planning and attention. It seems very likely that an important factor in overall satisfaction with the conference was because attendees had a good experience with the facilitators.
  • I appreciate you inviting feedback on specific projects and endeavors that benefited because of participation in this event, such as Wikipedia Asian Month, a collaborative academic publication between two attendees, and implementing a policy on user conduct in a Wikimedia project. Attendees engaged in very different kinds of work all related to increasing diversity in Wikimedia projects clearly found the conference valuable in getting a new project started or improving existing ones.
    • Indeed, it is fascinating to see what is being worked on after the event.
  • A few questions I had:
    • I saw that you setup Connect/Wikimedia_diversity_group, and also understand there is already an established Facebook group for attendees of the conference. What sort of cases do you want the Connect group to be used for? Do you expect the Connect space to be used differently than the Facebook group?
      • Yes, we expect it to be used differently, even though there certainly will be some overlap. The Facebook group is intended for the participants of the conference to have an ongoing discussion (it is a closed group) while the Connect/Wikimedia_diversity_group has a wider focus than the specific conference. Furthermore, not everybody are happy to use Facebook and the Meta page is a way to reach those people.
    • We recommend that future thematic events are planned well in advance and take advantage of other Wikimedia events. We suggest that this should be reflected in the grant application process as we believe this to be more crucial for a successful Wikimedia event, than to limit the evaluations of the grant applications to online endorsements or community surveys. I wanted to ask a little more about this recommendation, specifically around the "take advantage of other Wikimedia events" aspect of the recommendation. In what ways did you and other members of the organizing team use other Wikimedia events to help plan and execute this conference? Finally, I agree that evaluation of Conference Grant proposals should not be limited to endorsements on the proposal page and the Community Survey. I would say the latter of those two is a much more important factor than the former, but as you note, there are certainly other considerations regarding preparedness and making sure applicants are using relevant available resources in planning their conference application.
      • Yes, that was perhaps not very clearly phrased. What we mean with “take advantage of other Wikimedia events” is that there are a number of Wikimedia events each year where it is possible for the organizing team to meet with active volunteers or staff from WMF or affiliates to discuss the event that is being prepared. We organized meet-ups at other Wikimedia events to gather ideas and create interest by promoting the event. These preparatory events were important, we believe, for the success of the conference as we early on could integrate a broad spectrum of views and ideas for the conference and engage people in the discussion.
      • Yes, the Community Survey can be a tool to use to gather suggestions and ideas and to start engaging the participants. However, a limited interest to participate in the early organization of the event (not the least in a survey) should perhaps not be taken as an indicator of a lack of interest to participate at the event, or indeed to engage at a later stage. To give you a concrete example, we saw a rather limited interest in answering the survey for Wikimedia Northern Europe Meeting 2018 (with the need to send a few reminders etc.), but there was a great interest for the event when we’d discussed it in person with representatives from the Nordic chapters (that also discussed the events internally).
    • When you're able, could you send documentation for the items listed in your budget? These documents should be sent to both myself (cschilling(_AT_)wikimedia.org) and to the grant administrators (grantsadmin(_AT_)wikimedia.org). To the extent that it's possible, could you identify expense documentation based on the way they are summarized in your budget table? This will allow us to more quickly approve your expenses and ultimately, this report. Once we've received this documentation and reviewed it, I can formally approve this report.
      • Absolutely, I sent you an email about the documentation.

When you're able, feel free to follow up to my questions. Congratulations on a successful event and thank you for your work to facilitate new and continued work to increase underrepresented voices in our movement. I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 21:50, 30 July 2018 (UTC)

Thank you very much for your feedback and questions! Please see my answers/comments inline. Best, John Andersson (WMSE) (talk) 11:21, 1 August 2018 (UTC)