Grants talk:IEG/Targeted recruitment of contributors

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This project has not been selected for an Individual Engagement Grant at this time.

We love that you took the chance to creatively improve the Wikimedia movement. The committee has reviewed this proposal and not recommended it for funding, but we hope you'll continue to engage in the program. Please drop by the IdeaLab to share and refine future ideas!

Comments regarding this decision:
Thanks for participating - we hope to see more of your ideas in future rounds!

Next steps:

  1. Review the feedback provided on your proposal and to ask for any clarifications you need using this talk page.
  2. Visit the IdeaLab to continue developing this idea and share any new ideas you may have.
  3. To reapply with this project in the future, please make updates based on the feedback provided in this round before resubmitting it for review in a new round.
  4. Check the schedule for the next open call to submit proposals - we look forward to helping you apply for a grant in a future round.
Questions? Contact us.

Aggregated feedback from the committee for Targeted recruitment of contributors[edit]

Scoring criteria (see the rubric for background) Score
1=weakest 5=strongest
Potential for impact
(A) The project fits with the Wikimedia movement's strategic priorities 4
(B) The project has the potential to lead to significant online impact. 3
(C) The impact of the project can be sustained after the grant ends. 3
(D) The project has potential to be scaled or adapted for other languages or projects. 4
Ability to execute
(E) The project has demonstrated interest from a community it aims to serve. 2
(F) The project can be completed as scoped within 6 months with the requested funds. 4
(G) The budget is reasonable and an efficient use of funds. 3
(H) The individual(s) proposing the project have the required skills and experience needed to complete it. 4
Fostering innovation and learning
(I) The project has innovative potential to add new strategies and knowledge for solving important issues in the movement. 3
(J) The risk involved in the project's size and approach is appropriately balanced with its potential gain in terms of impact. 2
(K) The proposed measures of success are useful for evaluating whether or not the project was successful. 4
(L) The project supports or grows the diversity of the Wikimedia movement. 4
Comments from the committee:
  • We support the idea of reaching out to experts and asking them for their opinions, references, and important materials for content and think it would be great to develop a set of best practices that editors can refer to when they want expert input on a subject.
  • Measures of success are a good start but there may be room for even more improvement.
  • Project plan feels overly broad and could be improved with more specifics, including a timeframe.
  • While the success rate of one-to-one outreach might be high, it is also appears inherently limited in scale as currently designed. We'd like to see further thinking on the scalability issue to determine how article content would continue to be improved after the life of the grant.

Scope and focus[edit]

Hi Elekhh! Thanks for submitting this idea, looks like you're off to a good start drafting your proposal. I've got a question about the focus of your project, which feels a bit broad to me at this point if I'm understanding it correctly. Focusing on a specific topic area may be one good way to help you test the kinds of strategies you're aiming to use to see what works best, and it looks like you're headed in that direction. But I also wonder if you intend to focus your scope on 1 or 2 specific strategies for engaging with your potential contributors, and identify from the beginning who you are going to target for outreach for this project. Having that specified in the plan may also help you get more concrete about how you would measure the success of the approaches you're going to take, and distinguish your approach from other outreach initiatives.

I also have a more general observation that I'm curious to hear your thoughts on: I've had and seen others have good success in the past too asking people to donate images, especially if you offer to upload them for them (or provide other help). This is how many of the GLAM projects work, after all. If getting more one-time content donations were the main goal of this project, it would probably be extra important to clarify how/why funding for your initiative is particularly needed, a topic-based focus would probably be extra important to hear about, and I would also have questions about the sustainability or scalability of the approach you would be piloting. For example, what happens after the grant, when you're no longer funded to call people up? How do you build structures or processes that help encourage new one-time donations after the life of the grant? If, on the other hand, your intention is to ask experts to contribute (edit/upload) themselves directly, and to keep doing it even after you stop calling them (ie turn them into Wikipedians or Commoners), I'm curious to know what you might see this project doing specifically to help facilitate this. My impression from past projects that involve outreach to experts is that retaining them as contributors is really difficult, so it would be interesting to hear more about what approaches you might test for this.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and seeing this proposal develop further! Siko (WMF) (talk) 20:43, 1 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks Siko, much appreciated the feedback. I agree that the proposal should better articulate the difference to GLAM projects. In fact I've been involved in categorizing images from various institutional donors such as the 50K image donation from Tropenmuseum and the 20K image donations from the State Library of Queensland. The problem I see is that these are not targeted donations, that is at the time the donation is initiated, is unclear how useful it is. For example after about a year the SLQ donation started, less than 5% of the images were in use. I imagine that it can frustrate the donor seeing the donation not being used, editors having to sort floods of material not used later, and readers having a harder time to find useful info in the ever growing sea of data. My approach would be a curated one, that is only requesting donations and contributions which are most badly needed, and therefore immediately used, appreciated by the editorial community and readers. I would expect that would lead to a much greater satisfaction of the donor/contributor as well, hopefully increasing the chance of a longer term engagement. My aim is that 100% of contributions should have positive and visible impact.
The same principle applies to outreach to experts. If they see no fruit of their valuable time being spent on editing Wikipedia, will be obviously hard to retain them, as some of the WEP experience shows. The way to avoid that is I think again targeted requests, that is: we know which articles have high reader impact but need improvement, and have editors interested in improving the topic. Therefore ask the experts to provide a quick feedback, and encourage them to do direct improvements. That can start with a review of the article, with feedback posted on the talk page, and suggestions of best literature. I imagine many editors would be much more happy to see such feedbacks from Prof.X or Y rather than the current type of reader feadback. All this needs to be facilitated so that it does not take too much of the experts' time, and results in a visible impact on article quality.
In terms of focus, my strategy with an explorative project like this is to start broad and narrow down the scope as the project advances, focusing towards those areas which prove successful, rather than start with a narrow focus which might miss obvious opportunities. In terms of topical focus, as each topic is different in its nature (copyright issues, availability of data, literature) again I perceive it risky to start with only one, hence two or three different topics would be better.
Regarding post-grant sustainability, if successful, I would hope that (a) some of the participants would remain active editors (i.e. non-one-time-contributors); (b) there would be a list of lessons learnt, of what works and what doesn't, and (c) the idea of targeted outreach would be more broadly embraced and practiced by Wikipedia editors.
Please let me know if this clarifies the issues you raised, and any other questions or concerns you still have. --Elekhh (talk) 02:29, 2 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If I've read your proposal correctly, I think I was trying to come up with a solution a couple of years ago for the same problem :-) This was my proposal at the time As you can see, it's not the same solution, but I think it gets at the same point - how to target the best people for key importance topics.

But, I think I agree with Siko (if I understand Siko's point), that no one is going to give you 15k without a specific plan for who you are going to contact, for what articles, and on what timeframe. If your plan is to go through the list of "vital" WP articles, then trawl university staff pages to see who would match the relevant expertise, then ring them up and try to convince them to edit... that's not a sufficiently structured plan. Moreover, it's kinda what has been happening for years in a more ad hoc manner with the Education program (which I see you're a member of) and Chapters in general. Wittylama (talk) 01:35, 8 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for the feedback, and the link to your quite elaborate WikiJournal idea. This will help me amend the proposal to better explain the approach. --Elekhh (talk) 07:20, 9 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for the followup, it is helpful to understand more where you're coming from. The idea of targeted image donation does make sense. Have you considered creating any sort of re-usable framework/materials for other volunteers to follow on your successes besides simply a list of lessons learned about what works or doesn't? I'm picturing something like a step-by-step set of wiki pages, with the best request materials and process that you found over the course of your project, or something equally self-serve for other volunteers who want to do as you did. It seems like a 6 month project that tried to build a successful method which other volunteers could easily pick up and do themselves afterwards without devoting as much time or having funding as you'll have had would be ideal. Just a thought! Siko (WMF) (talk) 06:04, 23 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's precisely what I had in mind, but obviously haven't detailed enough. --Elekhh (talk) 06:53, 24 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Feel free to update your project plan as needed based on these discussions where it becomes clear that info is missing. Thanks! Siko (WMF) (talk) 19:29, 25 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Submitting for round 2?[edit]

Hi Elekhh! I see you recently updated your email contact address on this proposal and wonder if that edit means you're thinking of re-submitting this proposal for round 2 :-) If so, can I suggest doing the following before you re-submit?

  1. Please have another look at the feedback from round 1 and make updates to your project plan etc - the committee is quite happy to re-review proposals that have made updates based on feedback from an earlier round, but will not re-review proposals that do not appear to have taken prior feedback into account. Feel free to ask clarifying questions on the talk page if anything in the committee's round 1 feedback feels unclear.
  2. Update the infobox to round=2 and status=PROPOSED if/when you're ready for the proposal to go to review. Deadline for round 2 proposals is Sept 30.

Cheers! Siko (WMF) (talk)