It is interesting to know your opinion about the next situation.
We've applied a grant application  (for conference program) this February. Regarding to the roadmap (Round 1) our application had to be considered till the 24th of March. Yes, the answer could be various: support or not our idea to make Wikicamp for local wikimedians in Belarus. Sure, we were ready to any answer. That is normal for a grant proposal.
I want to emphasize on other issue. The month has gone after the date when the decision had to be published or sent us. However, we have no any answer until now. And the conference grant committee does not reply on our clarification messages.
In early last week I sent email to a central part of grant committee. Alex Wang replied that she resend our email to responsible people and they answered asap. After week passed. And I decides to join the story Trust Committee member Dariusz Jemielniak. He shared with me 2 more email addresses.
I would not be in hurry with the case if we did not plan this Wikicamp on the middle of July. It means this month we had to make a call for participants and sign a contract with a venue host. It is for smooth and comprehensive organizational process of the event. But we have already missed this time.
I would like to discuss this situation with community. Did you have such a situation in interaction with a grant committee? or may be this is just our case. even so... How to solve the moment and improve communication among an emergent user group and a WM headquarter? --Mr. Zabej (talk) 06:09, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
Hi Mr. Zabej, I am very sorry for the delay in posting comments to this request, and for not responding to your reminders and your requests for updates sooner. I appreciate your calm and kind tone in the comments you have posted here. First, I will explain why there was a delay in reviewing this request, and then I will post a few questions and comments about the request that I hope you will consider.
Reasons for delay in review
- This is the first time that we used rounds to review conference grant requests. We based the timeline on when we thought that we could get some of the review done. Because this is a new process for conference grants, we learned that some parts of the review took longer than expected. I am working on creating a better workflow so that the next round of review follows the schedule we have posted. I should have been communicating with you and other grantees about the delays in the review. In the next round, I will send applicants a weekly update on the status of the request so that we avoid this problem in the future.
- When this round of grants opened, we still had a few requests that had been submitted before the round began, and I had to resolve a few complicated payments for previously approved grants. This meant that I did not start the process of reviewing the round as scheduled. When the next round begins, I do not expect to have any outstanding applications or payments that might cause delay.
- The review period for this round was in March, when we were developing the budget for our annual plan for next year, and estimating the amount of funding we have available for the remainder of this fiscal year. In the last two weeks we have been making adjustments to plans for both years so that we can fund as many requests as possible with the limited budget we have available. I knew that we would not be able to fully fund your request, but did not have sufficient information to tell you the amount that we could fund.
- During the review period, I was out sick for almost a week and preparing for the Wikimedia Conference, which was in late March, which contributed to delays in doing the review on time. In retrospect, we will be careful to plan rounds so that they do not overlap with busy periods.
Again, I am very sorry for the delays, and for the lack of communication with you and other grantees about the status of your requests. I have learned a lot from these mistakes and hope that the second round runs more smoothly than this one. I realize my explanations above probably do not help with your frustration, but I hope they at least help to reestablish trust for future cycles.
Comments on the request
Thank you for all of the hard work you put into creating this plan and this grant application. I appreciate that you have identified clear goals, and explained how the outcomes of the event would help meet the needs your community has identified. I also think it is great that you used a Facebook poll to get input from your community about what they wanted to work on at this event. I will suggest that other communities use this tool when preparing for conference and event grants in the future. I have posted a few comments and suggestions about your request below:
- My primary concern is that this is a high-cost and time-intensive event for for participants. Half of the potential participants are either new editors or people who have been to events and are ready to learn how to edit. I think that having a 10 day event might be overwhelming for new editors - they may decide in the first few days that they do not enjoy editing enough to want to participate in the full event.
- You seem to have two primary goals for this event (1) to help new editors meet and feel part of the Wikimedia community by learning, working and socializing together and (2) for experienced or active editors to discuss issues and challenges and plan projects for the coming year. These are both things that we want to support you with, but the camp
- I recommend shortening this event to no more than 5 days, and consider inviting new editors for just two or three days over the weekend. This would allow experienced members of your community to focus on discussions about policy and planning for a few days before the new editors arrive. The new editors will likely need a lot of attention from the experienced editors to meet your goals of teaching them how to edit and use tools, and helping them form bonds with the existing community. Another alternative would be to host a few short weekend camps during the summer - one or two others for experienced editors to work on policy and planning and another for welcoming and teaching new editors.
- The maximum amount we are able to fund for this event (or a series of shorter weekend events) is about $4,000 USD. Do you think you could work within that budget to develop a plan that would still help you meet your primary goals?
Please let me know if you would like to discuss these comments on a phone call this week. I want to work with you to get a plan in place that we can fund as soon as possible. --KHarold (WMF) (talk) 20:41, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
- KHarold (WMF), thanks for the comment. I have several questions:
- Could you add the end of the sentence? "These are both things that we want to support you with, but the camp"
- What do you think about a multi levels of our interaction with participants? I mean first interaction with participants before the Wikicamp (selection process), the second is during the camp and the third is a following up meeting (when we analyse result miniprojects of new commers) in the end of autumn?
- I should clarify about "newcomers". We meant it is not "new" from scratch. They mostly have 6-24 month active experience in Wikiprojects but have a lack of some specific knowledge and usually they have ton's of new ideas but lack a contact with community offline.
- Do you feel that we need to decline a part relating to invitation of some trainers from neighboring affiliates (We thought about wiki-guys from Ukraine (tech knowledge) or Armenia (best practice of wikicamps organization)) or WM stuff (Relating to capacity building and projects planning)?
- Does your comments mean that we should rewrite the project (especially in a plan and budget section) and make again community redicussion and revoting?
- Hi Mr. Zabej, thank you for working so quickly to get input from your community on the changes that I recommended during our phone call this week. It is helpful to understand that the 'newbies' do already have several months of experience - I think it is perfectly reasonable to include them in this event. On our call we discussed shortening the event to just 5 days, and focusing on a limited number of topics that were voted by your community to be the highest priority. We agreed that after this camp, people who want to meetup to learn how to use new tools or skills (that the whole group is not interested in) could use rapid grants to fund travel and meeting space to do that work. The changes to the budget and the prioritized topics list are both great. I assume you will focus mostly on the top 3 or 4 priorities. I am going to send this to the committee today and ask for their feedback and if they are OK to approve funding. I think it that the narrowed scope and lower budget make this a very worthwhile project to fund. --KHarold (WMF) (talk) 21:56, 28 April 2017 (UTC)
Topic with priorities
The voices were collected from the most active members in community (from fb-group mostly):
- How to write good/featured article - 8
- Media literacy for working with Wikipedia and related projects? - 7
- Off-line wikimedia community work - 5
- Local wiki-expedition and how to a right way work with pictures on the Commons. - 6
- Belarussian language in wiki technologies - 4
- What is free culture? - 3
- Online (local and global) wikimedia community work. - 2 (+12 about work with on a wiki community portal)
- How to organize your first wiki project. - 2 (it willbe focussed for a neweditors (6-18 month experience))
- Templates and bots in wiki infrastructure. - 4
- Importance of small edits. - 1
- Mentorship in a community - 4
Conference Support Grants Committee comments
First, thanks for all the hard work of the team involved in this proposal! And my apologies because my feedback will be in English.
- I read a well structured proposal but I'm not at all convinced with the amount of days of the event. I ran events with three days duration and it have been really exhaustive! Of course I assume good faith that there's a rational behind a camp of five days duration and that you have a clear idea for what will be covered in all the event. A schedule with more detail about the days and how will be divided will be really appreciated.
- Water can be sufficient for all the event with 20 bottles?
- I'm a bit worried about connectivity and the use of 3G mobile cards. I'm not sure if one or two bandwidth from this cards can cover the needs of the amount of people in case of low connectivity. Do you have something in mind or a B plan just in case?
ProtoplasmaKid (WM-MX) thanks for the comments, english is ok
There are our thinking point your concerns below:
- In the initial variant, on the one hand, we chose 10 days (now it is only 5 days) because it makes our schedule more smooth and less intensive for participants. They will be mostly newcomers with experience 6-12 months. On the other hand, we need time for community building as well, and the third part of topics focuses on the community issues, not only on pure wiki-technologies. If we shrink the event more (less than 5 days) it will look like a typical weekend conference what is not the idea of the project, firstly. And the second is that we should make a very narrow schedule, what is totally destroy the idea to get together people from different points of our country.
- About water. If it will not be sufficient we will use boiled tap water or use funds from "other" category of the budget.
- Firstly, we chose the place with stable internet. 3G will be used for 1) making free channel for trainers in their presentations or 2) something happens with normal internet or 3) it was not enough. So we check it in several places (we would like to rent) now it is around 5 Mb/sec what is, in our opinion, normal for wiki activities of planned number of participants. --Mr. Zabej (talk) 06:10, 29 April 2017 (UTC)