Grants talk:PEG/Cascadia Wikimedians User Group/4Q 2015 and CY2016 grant/Midpoint report

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Thank you for submitting an interim report on the work you have been doing as part of this grant. We understand that many members of your community have been busy with work and school for the last few months and have been been as active in planning events and meetup as in the past. It is good to see that your community has still been active online and has managed to hold monthly meetups, Art+Feminism events and some events outside of Seattle despite the lack of time. It is wonderful that you have been able to maintain an active community despite being busy with other projects. We have posted a few questions and comments below to learn more about your plans for the future:

  • Has the community discussed the kinds of events, trainings or meetups that they would like to take part in during the next six months? You might consider using a survey for this.
  • This will likely be discussed at Wiknic in July. There is a great diversity of interests but in practice our members are mostly self-motivated to pursue projects in individual areas of interest, such as transportation, Commons photography, biographies, history, medicine, and Wiki Loves Pride.
  • Have members of the user group been encouraged to use the camera that was purchased as part of the grant?
  • It has been offered for use, as has the camcorder. In practice one person (Pine) is the predominant user of the camera; many photos have been taken and are awaiting upload to Commons. The camcorder will almost certainly be used at WikiConference USA this fall, and it has been offered for use at Wikimania at the end of June.
  • We understand that you would like to use some of the grant funding to hire an outreach coordinator because volunteers in your community do not have the time to do outreach work. Within the PEG program, funding for staff time is restricted to short term projects that require specialized skills such as legal or accounting work. Given the geographic distribution of your community, and the lack of time that volunteers seem to have at this time to plan events, you might consider hosting more online events in the coming months. Some communities have reported that hosting 'WikiClubs' or 'WikiSaturdays' where a few volunteers meet at a regular time and place to edit together and welcome newcomers has been a successful way to increase the number of active editors in their community.
  • We tried that "WikiClub" model at the UW Reseach Commons, and while it was enjoyed by some of our members, it was a resounding failure in terms of recruiting new editors. I have had discussions with other editors in the US, and the consensus among them was that this kind of model works in Europe but not in the US; it also works if there is a current undergraduate student at the university who recruits their friends, and we do not have such a person currently. According to the people that I consulted, outreach to institutional staff (such as museum volunteer coordinators, university professors, and archivists) is the most effective approach to growing numbers of volunteers in the US. We need an outreach coordinator for that to happen.
  • The report notes that the education program done at UW did not lead to students editing outside of class time. Our understanding is that this is a standard outcome of education programs, where the main benefit is to engage professors or teachers who will use Wikimedia in the classroom year after year as a way to add content to the projects rather than engage new active editors. Are you planning to work with UW on education programs in the future?
  • Collectively, we would like to continue to collaborate with UW. However, that does not seem to be a focus of interest by individual volunteers, who largely are focused on contributing content in their areas of interest, rather than doing outreach. It is likely that an outreach coordinator would be beneficial in this area. The UW is a very large and prominent institution in the region, and if we can establish momentum with UW it is possible that the scale of impact would be significant. There are many GLAM+STEM and Wikipedia Education Program opportunities with UW that an outreach coordinator could develop.

Thank you for all of the hard work you have done so far this year. We have accepted the report, but look forward to your responses to our questions above. --KHarold (WMF) (talk) 18:54, 13 June 2016 (UTC)[reply]