Grants talk:Conference/WCNA/WikiConference North America 2018

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Community input[edit]

On 25 March 2018 user:SuperHamster posted the results of a community survey. I was not involved in any part of creating or administering the survey. I did participate in submitting survey responses. I did not direct anyone else to take the survey.

My experience with the survey was that I thought it was well formed in selecting and presenting questions. In looking at the results I find no surprises, and based on my own experience, the results match what I would expect the target audience to report based on my experience as one of the conference organizers in previous years. If I had to name a surprise, it would be that the survey led people to report interest in "tools". I recognize that tools can be many things, including software, social infrastructure, documentation, or any usable process, but there is a tendency in the wiki community to assume that tools are software. In the case of this survey and this community, I interpret the interest in "tools" to be interest in the addressing the challenges which the tools are meant to solve, and not necessarily always in participant interest in using the conference as a hackathon to design code, documentation or actually work and create during the conference time.

Great survey, encouraging results! This is progress and validates much of what in the past we had assumed. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:36, 26 March 2018 (UTC)

@Bluerasberry: Thanks for the feedback! This was our first survey of this kind (I believe), and I think we got some nice results and thoughts to work off of to improve the conference. Nothing too surprising, but always good to have data and see what people think. As the primary creator of the survey, regarding tools: your interpretation was my intention, as well as seeing what tools people want to learn more about (people really liked our tool demos last year, for things like Wikidata, Education Dashboard, etc.). That could be something we make more clear in future surveys (and perhaps we can have a separate question to gauge hackathon interest, given that we're planning to host one). Cheers, ~SuperHamster Talk Contribs 05:13, 27 March 2018 (UTC)

Why no catering funding?[edit]

Is funding catering no longer a thing? Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:03, 28 April 2018 (UTC)

Hi Bluerasberry, WMF has supported WCNA team to request in-kind support from the event venue for catering, they are likely to get at least part of the catering donated. We did not fund the catering because we had a limited budget for this round of grants. Several proposals were not fully funded. I hope this helps. --KHarold (WMF) (talk) 18:07, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:12, 31 May 2018 (UTC)

Grant committee questions[edit]

The conference grant committee had a few questions about this proposal. We hope that these questions will help you continue to build on the success of this conference.

  • Please clarify the audience. How the 200 participants will be selected and approved? How will the local community in Ohio engage? Will you be inviting participants from regions other than North America?
  • What can the organizing team (or North America affiliates) do to plan in advance for post-event follow up? What kind of commitment would this look like? Can we identify leaders to commit to these roles in advance?
  • What are the most important ways that documentation needs to be improved?
  • What are the most important parts of the Friendly Space Policy that the WikiCon North America participants need to be aware of? Alternately, can you tell us if there are behaviors or common ways that you have seen people violate FSP in the past? The purpose of these questions is to find out if there is some part of the FSP that either needs to be publicized more clearly, or if there need to be stronger consequences for violating the policy.

Thank you for all of your hard work organizing this event. You did a particularly good job with the community engagement surveys. Cheers, --KHarold (WMF) (talk) 18:12, 31 May 2018 (UTC)

  • I will speak to one aspect of the Friendly Space Policy issue. The problem is that some - too many - radicalized critics develop an anger about Wikimedia projects and the Wikimedia Foundation. In the past such people have used community organized Wikimedia events as a protest target. Community volunteers are easier to disrupt and more vulnerable than paid WMF staff. The 2014, 2015, and 2016 WikiConference events all experienced disturbing harassment events which disrupted conference organizers' lives and consumed other Wikimedia community resources. I expect that the Wikimedia Foundation has its own records or danger documentation because there was staff involvement in all cases.
Friendly space policies originated in this conference to address this kind of danger. Some people have the opinion that designated visible event security makes an event friendlier. Others have the opinion that seeing event security makes an event seem less friendly.
I appreciate anything that WMF staff can do to draw negative attention to themselves as WMF staff and away from community organizers. While I do not anticipate any particular protest this year, and I am not aware of any brewing stalking activities, somehow unexpected people who are unknown to the Wikimedia event organizers can appear with the most inexplicable and hostile behavior. Somehow people can get the idea that a volunteer-run Wikimedia event is the place to protest any topic which is the subject of a Wikipedia article. I would welcome any WMF involvement in event security at any conference. Volunteers do their best, and volunteers can handle many aspects of a conference, but no one ever imagines that developing free online educational resources means being the target of danger. It is beyond the ability of volunteer conference organizers to address radical Wikimedia criticism with a basis unrelated to the conference itself. Reasonable protests are fine; scary anger, creepy threats, and people coming with intent to do the sorts of things that would lead to their ejection from the event are beyond the norm of a conference experience. Ohio seems like a peaceful enough place so maybe this year can be normal by the standards of other people's conferences. Blue Rasberry (talk) 02:07, 8 June 2018 (UTC)