Grants talk:IEG/Women Scientists Workshop Development/Final

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Hi Keilana,

Thanks for submitting this thoughtful final report. Combined with your midpoint report, it feels like a useful record of what you've accomplished with this project to-date, which is great! Some feedback:

  • I can see that you've met the most crucial goals of your project, by refining a model for social editing that works for this group of women. Congratulations on the 72 new articles, and the 9 women who kept coming back to edit at Loyola! Kudos to you too for building a kit that may empower others to do the same - I have seen lots of interest around the wikis from various folks in using your kit, and it will be interesting to see what uptake looks like over time. Agreed that more proactive work could be done to encourage this uptake - we'll be considering your renewal request next, so I'll be posting further comments there as well (and as always happy to discuss further on a call if that's useful)
  • In terms of uptake: when do you expect to have a sense of the impact on Wikipedia (editors, articles) resulting from the train-the-trainers event? I can see that participants enjoyed the event, and understand that much useful-knowledge-transfer occurred there. I have less of a sense, though, about how this will ultimately play out in terms of more content & contributors to Wikipedia, based on how many other social-editing setups will ultimately be put on by those new trainees. Is WMDC tracking trainee-led workshops as a longer-term outcome of these events? Of course this will take time to measure fully, but I'm curious to understand how you guys are thinking about it.
  • Do you think "workshops" still accurately describes this fun social gathering type thing that y'all do? I still wonder if a rebrand is in order, though this is a minor detail :)
  • Your "what didn't work" section of the report feels pretty empty still - is that brief bullet point a placeholder, or supposed to link to somewhere else you've described what didn't work in the train-the-trainer events? If WMDC has a report on this somewhere, it would be fine to cross-link, but I know you learned a lot from this project and it would be good to flesh that section out with at least 1 or 2 more detailed examples of what you'd do differently next time, so we can keep learning along with you.
  • Once you've added that in, we can accept this final report. We won't move towards marking the grant completed until a decision has been made on the renewal and remaining funds though. More on that end shortly...

Thanks for all the hard work you put into addressing systemic bias on Wikipedia! Best wishes, Siko (WMF) (talk) 22:05, 16 October 2014 (UTC)[reply]

@Siko (WMF): Thanks so much for your comments! I'll take a look at your comments on the renewal request as well. We expect to have a sense of impact at 6-month and 1-year benchmarks. WMDC has already planned to follow through at those timepoints and see what our participants are up to, and see how successful they've been in implementing this model. As for your rebranding comment - we've been trying to come up with more fun names and are trying things out! Suggestions welcome. :)

The "What didn't work" was definitely supposed to have something there and it may have been eaten by computer gnomes. I've added what's supposed to be there now! There's a lot more that's going in the PEG report from the facilitator training, so I'll link that as soon as it's finalized. Thanks so much, Keilana|Parlez ici 19:34, 18 October 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Would like to see Keilana try this again[edit]

Hello Siko, I'd like to see Keilana try this again, now that she's getting a sense for optimum size of an editing event, how to get new editors going, and what sort of articles to write. She's smart, positive, and enthusiastic, so it's a good motivator to keep the rest of us going!

Holding these public workshops for women is important because it makes it clear that there is backup for women editors, and that the WMF feels well-informed, polite women editors have an important role to play in this organization-- a concept which is not accepted in all parts of our community. We need the precedent set by this program if we want more students, professionals and academics to participate, because both genders benefit from a more civilized editing environment.

The workshop definitely helped me maintain my affiliation with this organization while going through a rough patch ... Right now I'm feeling that having experienced editors present when women are starting out is probably a really good idea, at least until we get a little farther down the road on community reform (such as an ANI process where women can participate without wading through torrents of sexual profanity). I'm still rather hesitant about open participation here, even after 4 years, with all the hostility, trolling, attack sites, etc. (and am not the only person who feels this way 1, 2) ... so I'd urge you to consider women editing productively at public events a successful outcome in and of itself, even if participants do not continue to edit openly.

Regarding production, creating 72 articles with citations is not a trivial task! Although a skilled full-time editor could do this quantity of work on their own in less than a year, we don't have very many full-timers available. Most of our volunteers are part-timers, and don't have the access to university-level materials needed to fully develop these topics. You can only go so far with web-based information. At some point you need proprietary databases or a good library on most topics; access to these resources is one of the strengths of promoting a student-oriented editing series. Another advantage of having a large number of editors participating instead of one power editor cranking the material out is that many sets of eyes uncover more diverse sources and perspectives. This provides patterns, sources, and ideas that editors can transfer to other articles.

We need to get students thinking about doing their own research and creating their own content even outside of class assignments, and that's what a theme-based editing series does. Because Wikipedia is not a traditional student publication/media outlet, it will take a while to make the concept of contributing your piece of the world's encyclopedia into a standard part of how young freelance writers and scholars develop. The "Women in Science" theme is a good theme for this purpose because biographies turn out to be relatively easy to write.

When we do a "Women in Science" editing series, we're also doing a public service that helps society adjust to the Facebook-era, first by getting people thinking about the difference between reliable sources and gossip when writing a biography, and secondly, by discussing with each other what is acceptable material for a biography of a living person. Getting clear on better social norms online is a very important thing in all our lives right now!

As for the workshop, there is a lot of synergy when experienced editors get together in person, which impacts their understanding of the overall organization and how to navigate it. You discover people to work with who you'd never be able to find on your own. Afterwards, it's way easier to communicate and collaborate with them. Certainly I wouldn't have had the confidence that I could write up a grant proposal without attending the workshop.

And finally having an established, active editing series to point to makes it easier to pitch the idea of holding regularly scheduled editing events to other organizations. People and institutions need an injection of energy and enthusiasm right now. Please don't underestimate the value of buying folks lunch! They work better when they're well fed, the hungry students appreciate it, whether they're rich or poor, because they're not really through their growth spurt yet, and there's an example of hospitality and community service being set which will carry on through other parts of their lives and in years to come. Lunch makes it clear that we value the work of attendees, that we're not just trying to exploit people, and that we really want to bring people together in this task. We want folks to grow up and be people who feed others lunch, and who can get a group together for constructive purposes ... there are way too many examples out there of poorly socialized individuals who can't do this stuff, in many cases because they have never been around people who made food and hospitality a habit. As we get more socialized, collaborative people interested in our encyclopedia project, it gives us a base of folks with friendly working relationships in real life to build on.

There is much more I could say, but for now, I hope you'll keep Keilana on track with what she is developing, as I think it can grow into something which both creates useful content and helps lay the foundations for a more hospitable community. -- Djembayz (talk) 01:05, 1 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Hi Djembayz, Thanks for sharing your thoughts and support here. I agree this project has demonstrated great value and potential to go even further! We are indeed renewing this grant for another 6 months, and I hope you'll continue to be an ally for the project as it grows. Good luck with your own workshops as well :) Best wishes, Siko (WMF) (talk) 18:10, 3 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Report accepted[edit]

Hi Keilana, Thanks for the additions and clarifications made to this page. I'm accepting your final report today. As we're renewing your IEG for another 6 months, I'm also here approving the rollover of your remaining funds to the next 6 months, for use at your Loyola workshops in 2015. Cheers, Siko (WMF) (talk) 18:12, 3 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]