Grants talk:PEG/Olaf Kosinsky/Wikipedians in European Parliament

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Evaluation by the GAC[edit]

GAC Members who read the grant request without comments[edit]

GAC Members who approve this grant request[edit]

  1. Go on with the project. Good luck, Olaf. Regards, --ProtoplasmaKid (WM-MX) (talk) 00:11, 5 January 2014 (UTC)[]

GAC Members who oppose this grant request[edit]

  1. MADe (talk) 13:41, 4 January 2014 (UTC) because project is ill defined (too wide scope, great unclarities on multiple fronts), and because I want to discourage the used approach for this proposal (short preparation period, using 'leverage' from WMF to secure chapter funding, unwillingness to open group bank account, no adjustments to the proposal after our comments)[]
    Some sections below, one editor complained about a too narrowed focus of the proposal which I think I have disproved. As it is too wide scoped for you, what is in your opinion the correct scope for such project? And which of your questions have not been clarified on this talk page? The short preparation time derives from the fact that we were invited by the European Parliament for this very date. Next, I don't see a big problem in an unshared bank account as Olaf had to handle a much larger amount of money for the Landtag project in which I partipated a couple of times without any problems. But if you need a surrogate, I'm quite sure that we will find one. Furthermore, the project is not intended as a leverage but as a cooperation between the Chapters involved and the Wikimedia Foundation whose scope this proposal strongly affects (as stated in my comment below). Finally, I don't think that discourage is well chosen as one can hardly discourage a proposal but only the people involved. I hope I could dispel some concern about it. Cheers, —DerHexer (Talk) 15:36, 4 January 2014 (UTC)[]
    We could ask if a chapter gives a bank account to handle that. In 2012 I applied for a 10.000 EUR grant which I got approved, it was handled through the bank account of WMAT. I am happy to ask if they would do that again for this project. They are participating in this project anyway. --Manuel Schneider(bla) (+/-) 17:54, 4 January 2014 (UTC)[]
  2. I do not believe that this project will result in significant enough benefits to the spread of free knowledge or our other goals so as to be worth pouring 40,000 euros in to it. I also find many of MADe's comments convincing. I make this !vote having read the grant proposal (and this talk page) in full. Kevin (talk) 23:07, 4 January 2014 (UTC)[]
  3. I've read over the comments of my fellow GAC members who have raised concerns and largely agree with them, especially the concerns Kevin has raised about ROI. On the highest level, this project would spend a significant amount of funds (movement funds, the fact that the GAC is being requested 10,000 Euros out of a total budget I believe is less relevant, and we should look at the project overall) for a bunch of photos. I'm also concerned about the high count of people attending. Redundancy is important, but in the end the cost for me for the project overall seems unjustifiably high for me to support it. Steven Zhang (talk) 07:24, 5 January 2014 (UTC)[]

GAC Members who abstain from voting/comment[edit]

  1. I am going to apply as volunteer in order to participate. --Manuel Schneider(bla) (+/-) 23:32, 22 December 2013 (UTC)[]
  2. In my opinion the project emphasizes the creation of new content. In my opinion it can be considered as a "wiki-expeditions" focused on Commons. Basically I would really approve photography projects whcih creates a "movement" and are able to revitalize a community. Projects on Commons created only to produce content, are more a workload for the community than a real improvement. I like the project, but I don't consider it "strategical". Anyway I would wait the comment. --Ilario (talk) 13:01, 5 January 2014 (UTC)[]


Comments MADe[edit]

Hey Olaf, thanks for your grant proposal. I'm from Belgium and I'm very much interested in how the EU works. Atm, the proposed grant actually gives me more questions than answers:

  1. Why Strasbourg? Organising the event in Brussels would be a more logical step as there are more European intitutions (5, vs 1 in Strasbourg), and hence more MP's. A lot of them even avoid going there
  2. The project has a very wide scope - not only taking pictures but also "making contacts with MP's", and "exchange among Wikimedians". These two goals seem to as a quick addition to the proposal, and I'm not sure if this activity would be the best solution resolving them. Organising a wikiconference / chapters meeting seems a better approach for an international exchange. The proposal also lacks the required "political" approach to make contact with the MP's.
  3. See point above, I'm afraid that we'll end of with a project of 'just taking pictures'. At a high cost: 40,000€, or 40€ per image. There are surely better and cheaper ways!
  4. Explain the high number of people that we cater for: 45! What will all those people do?
  5. There are some 'loose ends' in the proposal. The average return trip to Strasbourg is currently estimated at 700€ (Ryanair?), who will arrange for the 'cosmetician students'? Renting buses at 4000€ (public transport seems a better option if the traffic is as jammed as Brussels)? Where will we take the pictures (just on the street in winter)? Why should MP's stop at our booth and wait for minutes untill there pictures are taken (there are famously busy). Things 'have been arranged by the European Parliament' - how does this work?
  6. All contact with MP's will be considered lobbying activities, will have impact when the WMF funds this
  7. The current proposal is fully funded by the WM movements, while it actually might be interesting collaborating with the EU institutions. Some of the Belgian members have good connections with the Marketing Dep of the EU. They should really be interested in supporting us (eg. by giving us inside access).

I'm a bit sad that I'm so hard on your proposal, but I fear that this project firstly does not fit within our strategy and secondly overshoots in scope and budget. MADe (talk) 16:46, 22 December 2013 (UTC)[]

Dear MADe,

thanks for your comments. Actually you are very welcome and invited to participate in this project, hopefully it will answer most of your questions.

But before that I will have to answer for you and the other reviewers of this grant. First of all: We did 15 of such projects in german and austrian parliaments. I could give a long lecture on the various tasks, works to be done, needed manpower, things to do the wrong or right way and synergies such projects have created even within the small countries such as Germany and Austria. Even more to expect within the European Parliament! Since 2009 we do such projects with success.

There are 764 MEPs and four days to perform this project. We have a space assigned for us Wikimedians in the EP where we can fit two, maybe three photo stations. We want to have at least one additional videostation, if possible two. We need space for the queue of MEPs and the make-up desks. Just do the math: four days, 13 hours / day, three photo stations, two photographers per station. That makes, if you want to allow the volunteers also to have a break, 12 photographers per day just to staff the photo booths. If you want to take photos in the Parliament itself, the building, in the city and maybe allow then to have a half day where they can move around the area instead of mass-producing photos four hours, I believe our projected 20 photographers are realistic. On top of that we planned 10 make-up ladies to prepare the politicians before having their photo taken, 6 editors, 2 video people. We assume that there is some overlap because as you can see while the number of photographs is generously calculated, the numbers of editors and video people is not. Just for the records: These numbers are all already in the Grant request.

Why Strasbourg? Because it is easily reachable, especially by the people bringing the experience in this project, which is needed. Dealing with a parliament with 100 members was challenging. Here we deal with 764 members. We need the experience brought by the german, austrian and swiss volunteers who have done such projects before. This brings me to another point: Exchange of knowledge. This exchange is intrinsic. By working together, experienced and inexperienced volunteers on the same tasks and implementing this project will have the effect of a knowledge and skill transfer. When you will participate in this project, you most certainly will learn something and be able to implement such a project in Belgium, with other volunteers you will find to help you, and they will learn from you in the same way.

Another note about Strasbourg: We have to go where the politicians are. In week 6 there are the plenary sessions. At other times they are simply not available. Plus I have been talking to the EP for months now in order to check out if they would be interested, how we could work together, when this could happen etc. In the end we ended up only having exactly this week as our chance: Afterwards there is the upcoming election and then the politicians won't be ready for such a project. Therefore this grant request and the project pages had to be created in very short time after we didn't know if the project might happen or not.

This project is certainly no lobbying. We are absolutely neutral. We invite politicians to have their photo taken and a short video introduction created. We will do so for anyone who shows up, there are no boundaries concerning party, country, political wing or anything. If we weren't professional we would have been thrown out of the State Parliaments years ago. The reason why we are allowed and even invited by the EP is because we have already proven good and professional results. What we do is to improve our own content, this is the core mission of the Wikimedia projects. We need freely licensed pictures and this is an easy and efficient way to get them. At the same time we bring together Wikipedians from several countries, speaking many languages, so we can improve and translate articles across languages. Some MEPs don't even have an article in their own language!

For the potential, see these lists:

Note the red links! See their articles - mostly stubs. See their pictures and how many of them need improvement. About the half only have any pictures, of which only 46 are acceptable, of a total of 764!

The number of images has been calculated as a "worst case". We don't know how many politicians are coming to participate but certainly if we have less than 1000 pictures we would really be ashamed. Under normal conditions - based on our experience of past projects - we should have about 3000 images. But the EP is new and not just a replication of the State Parliament projects, so we were conservative. If you need a prove, simply click through the categories I have linked on the Grant request, especially

Re travel costs: As you can see in item 1 and 2 we calculated an average cost per trip of 100 EUR, that should be sufficient for a train trip, plus accommodation during the project of 60 EUR / night / person. That somes up to total costs of 700 EUR, which (in average) the participating chapters will bear. Basically you could ignore it, because in this grant request these costs are input-output items - we only add them to give the whole picture. The 10.000 EUR asked I asked for won't be used for that. It is up to the local chapters to decide how much they are going to offer to their volunteers. We tried to keep costs low and we are going to lodge outside Strasbourg, in Germany. That's just 20 minutes away from Strasbourg but much cheaper. Especially as all hotels are full in the same moment as the EP publishes the schedule for plenary sessions of the coming year, because all the politicians and their staff quickly book their rooms. Public transport is not an option, the EP is heard to reach from the station, you have to switch Tramways twice and note that we are going to leave the EP late night each day and I am not going to drag my volunteers through the city at night when they are all tired. We are, though, currently evaluating if a local bus company would be cheaper which will pick us up in the morning and the evening, instead of renting vans from a car rental as planned in the request. Obviously we will choose the cheaper option but we plan for the worst.

The cosmetic students are already arranged. As said, we did such project before, we already have the contacts, they already know what to do.

Again, please consider the past experiences. Talk to the german-speaking community or people who have been in the "coolest Wikimedia projects" session at the Wikimedia Conference early this year. This was one of the project getting most appreciation by the participants.

I am looking forward meeting you in Strasbourg and to show you what I mean. --Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 19:30, 22 December 2013 (UTC)[]

Hey Olaf, I went trough the proposal again including this discussion. I see a project with a very wide scope (pictures, lobbying, international exchange) organised by a single person. Atm I still have a lot of questions. We are talking about an important project (contact with EU) which is too important to be arranged and managed in this way. You only have one first impression.
I would advise you to set up an international project team, get concrete support of the involved chapters and relevant EU institutions, involve people that know the EU way, and more clearly define the goals of the project (KISS - keep it simple). MADe (talk) 12:47, 28 December 2013 (UTC)[]
Dear MADe, I concur to your statement that I only have a first impression or that this project cannot be managed this way. I may remind you that we have done 15 such projects since 2009, 10 in 2013 managed by me. I've been three times in Strasbourg and one in Brussels. Another visit to Strasbourg is already schedule (January 15th) and I have had extensive mail and phone contact with the EP administration as well as the parliamentary groups within the last half-year. It took just until middle of December before everyone I spoke with had agreed on the same date and confirmed their support, hence the short-notice creation of this Grant request as the agreed time is already in February. I'd also like to mention (again) that we do NOT do any political lobbying, as you repeatedly allege. Concerning the project team:
Apart from that I received meawhile mails from WMFR, WMSE and WMUK that they are groing to support this project but need some more internal evaluation what they are exactly going to do. So I expect them to sign up on the Commons project pages after the holidays / New Year. Again, we have done such projects before. There are just three focuses which are overlapping: Photography, editing and filming. The other benefits mentioned in the grant request are side-effects by the way this project is done: People will learn from each other automatically by our mixing of experienced people from Germany, Austria and Switzerland and new people from the other countries. We expect - without us as the project team doing something extra - that this kind of project will be replicated in other countries by the volunteers who bring this idea and the experiences they gained in the EP home to their community. --Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 16:06, 28 December 2013 (UTC)[]
  • "There are surely better and cheaper ways!" We simply don't know if this is true. I know that this project is not about the photographs only, but it would be nice to have some back of the envelope comparisons on how much it would cost to get such photos from a commercial service, or how much the EP itself spends to take such photos (which they publish in low resolution in their website). This way, funders can be confident that even in the worst case scenario they'll have a return of x € in "commercial value". --Nemo 19:51, 3 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Comments by Leptictidium[edit]

I think this project is important because its actual effects are likely to go far beyond the stated aims of taking pictures and speaking with the MEPs. Not all European politicians are as Web-savvy as Neelie Kroes, and our brief exchanges with them are a golden opportunity to raise awareness of free knowledge among them. This may come in handy a few months or years down the road, as European Wikimedia chapters continue their efforts to persuade the European Union to release its works under a free licence (like the US Fed government does). If this goal is achieved, then every penny of this grant will have been well spent, since the EU works are a treasure trove of images, texts and multimedia files just "waiting" to be uploaded to Commons.Leptictidium (talk) 21:23, 30 December 2013 (UTC)[]

I can completely second this. —DerHexer (Talk) 15:21, 1 January 2014 (UTC)[]
Me too! Marcus Cyron (talk) 15:25, 3 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Tony1 queries[edit]

Hi, 45 people still seems a huge number. How long will each session before the camera take? Not more than 5 minutes (12 per hour), I'd have thought, with 10 minutes' prep (BTW, I hate the typecasting of make-up ladies).

Best not to have a queue; are you scheduling them in advance? 12 times 37.5 hours, times three booths is 1350 sessions.

Why is it necessary to have editors there (do you mean video editors or text editors)? I can't image face-to-face contact would result in information that is admissible to a WP article ... only information verified in secondary sources can be included, and that doesn't include conversations with subjects. So presumably the editors can work at home using online information and by phoning their office and requesting other documents if necessary.

Why leave it until 27 January to mail out, when the sessions will start the following week? Will there be follow-up phone calls to MEPs' offices—those who don't respond, and to confirm scheduling?

Will all photographers be experienced in this type of photography?

This project can be significantly reduced, I think, without affecting the output. Tony (talk) 07:22, 24 December 2013 (UTC)[]

Hi Tony1, thanks for your comments. The duration of the flash station will be about 5 min. The pre- and post-processing if necessary, requires considerably more time. The photographers will edit and upload the photos directly on site. In team there will be 10 cosmetic students. For all projects, the photographers, have confirmed that the post was much easier. None of the participants should be present all the time. That's impossible and not wanted. Everyone should be at least one day outside the parliament. The authors are important to answer questions first to edit pages Of course, only secondary sources will be used. However, it is easier to get to know the MEP and their employees. In Parliament, the photographer will take pictures in the plenary. The project also provides the opportunity for inexperienced photographers to learn from others. The political groups are informed since mid-November and give this information to the MEP. A personal mail will be send at the beginning of the project. In addition, the political groups have asked to be regularly informed of the progress. --Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 18:42, 27 December 2013 (UTC)[]
MEPs often know secondary sources about themselves better than we do. Concerning the numbers, we should bear in mind that with about 4 photo stations we will need at least 8 (better 12) photographers to be able to rotate or take a break. MEPs cannot be scheduled for time slots as they don't know when they have to be in the plenary to vote or talk. Usually, they appear in groups. Under these circumstances, we will need a lot of assistants who will guide them from the reception via the makeup to the photo and finally to discussion/edit stations. For this purpose, 10, better 15, volunteers must be on the spot at any time. With 5 to 10 discussion/edit volunteers we easily each 30 to 40 participants, esp. when not all of them are expected to work there for 10 hours each day, five days in a row. And it indeed is hard work because you can rarely sit down (and relax) as you have to take photos or guide MEPs around. Cheers, —DerHexer (Talk) 11:24, 28 December 2013 (UTC)[]
So now I'm starting to understand: there needs to be a large redundancy factor built in because arrivals will be hard to predict and are likely to be in clumps. This could have been explained better in the application. Tony (talk) 12:11, 28 December 2013 (UTC)[]
Exactly. You don't want to burn your volunteers by forcing them to work one week 10 hours every day. It should still be a little fun and people should remain motivated and creative throughout the process. One of our photographers, User:Ailura may give a more detailed calculation she did internally when preparing this project. I'll ask her to publish it here. Note I am the guy who has the contacts to the Parliaments and does the logistics of this project, I am neither a photographer myself nor do I do the video stuff. So I am relying on my fellow Wikimedians here and their experience - we all gained hands-on experience in the often-mentioned 15 projects done in the last year. --Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 16:07, 28 December 2013 (UTC)[]
Well, no, not "Exactly": it should have been clear in the application itself. That would have saved a lot of time and effort by volunteer reviewers. And no, my point above is not about burning volunteers (the way GAC reviewers get burned), but about managing sudden and unpredictable influxes of MEPs. Tony (talk) 03:07, 29 December 2013 (UTC)[]
We are Guests there. We can not manage the MEPs. They come when they have time or want to come. Sometimes comes Nobody for a half our, then you have them waiting for their shots for 15 minutes. You can't plan this. We have to be extremely flexible. We never can tell them when they have to come. Marcus Cyron (talk) 15:32, 3 January 2014 (UTC)[]

The calculation: the MEP come by choice and will not leave until there is a handful of pictures they are content with. Therefore we do two sessions with each MEP. That leads to about 1500 sessions to do. With 4 booths we can handle theoretically 375*4=1500 sessions. Some MEPs don't show up, others come in groups, some need much more than 6 minutes, but this should work. 150 working hours for the booths with 3 instantly rotationg photographers generates 450 man hours. If every photographer does 20 hours in the booth (and rest of time leading MEPs, postprocessing pictures, uploading, taking pictures of the building or other poi in the city), we need >20 photographers. --Ailura (talk) 10:42, 29 December 2013 (UTC)[]

Previous Grant Request[edit]

Nollaig shona dhuit,

I am curious about the link between this request and a previous request you lodged that was withdrawn following an extended period where you were not contactable or participating on the talk page. Can you provide an explanation for this? I must confess this gives me some serious concerns as to whether you are fully committed to this project, especially given the considerable amount of money being requested. Craig Franklin (talk) 00:15, 27 December 2013 (UTC).[]

Hi Craig, I was last year too hasty with my Grant. Therefore I must apologize for my former conduct me. I have organized in the meantime 10 projects in Parliaments. Some dates were there for 3 days up to 70 participants. In addition, I have organized smaller projects with photographers and writers. I have accumulated a lot of experience this year. The references in the Parliaments have made it possible for me to be taken seriously in the European Parliament. I have in the meantime very many contacts with photographers and writers in order to carry out this project. I would therefore appreciate the support very much. --Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 19:14, 27 December 2013 (UTC)[]
Hello Olaf, and thankyou for the explanation. I am glad to hear that you have obtained more experience and contacts since the last grant request. May I ask if there is a secondary contact or project manager that will be able to take over if you are unable to continue. I do not mean this in a negative way towards you, but it does seem like a very ambitious and complex project for one person to manage. Craig Franklin (talk) 13:30, 28 December 2013 (UTC).[]
This Grant request has been posted by me personally as an individual because we have no formal group and no shared bank account. I wanted to post this as a group grant request but then noticed we would have to provide a bank account with co-signatories - which we don't have. Even though we are loosely working as a group of volunteers it's still not only me in this project. We currently have about 20 people which signed up and there are several volunteers who help me preparing, such as User:Ailura, User:Ralf Roletschek, User:Raboe001 (board member of WMDE), User:DerHexer (see his participation in this discussion above) and I note that User:80686 (GAC member) abstains in this discussion as he wants to participate as well (I also received his registration) and has already started writing most of the english translations of the Commons project pages and created this nice matrix of work to be done in this project: --Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 16:11, 28 December 2013 (UTC)[]
Okay, thankyou for clarifying this. Craig Franklin (talk) 00:55, 31 December 2013 (UTC).[]

My thoughts[edit]

Thanks for the submission Olaf. I really don't think that the high amount for this project matters from our point of view as it's clearly noted that the amount requested from the WMF equals 10,000 EUR or barely 25% from the total amount anticipated. But it's difficult to evaluate this request in advance since we don't know what kind of costs will have to be covered with the funds requested from the WMF. So, my only suggestion is to separate the budget into two parts with the one providing exact information about what you want the funds from this grant to be used for. Once again, inducing ruleslawyering on how much money the chapters and the other parties involved in this project are going to spend for it is not our business. Best regards.--Kiril Simeonovski (talk) 14:01, 28 December 2013 (UTC)[]

Hi Kiril! Sorry if my budget was not clear enough. I was advised to provide a "full budget" giving an overview all ALL costs and ALL sponsoring rather than just what we're requesting from the WMF. I guess it is a individual opinion on what is better to read/understand/evaluate.
Anyway: The intent is that WMF covers general project costs which are independant from the individual costs of the volunteers which can be easily covered by chapters as chapters mostly already have fitting programs / budgets in place. So with most chapters they can simply approve their participation by already existing frameworks. If we would ask for a more elaborate budget from chapters we would have to do this type of discussion as we do here on this page with each chapter in question. If we only try to find one chapter to fund all we risk that the budget is too big for an average chapter's budget or they simply (politically) are unwilling to bear the general costs from which other chapters would benefit from. I tried to discuss this WMDE, which was just briefly as they were on the verge of closing down the office until next year and the tenor was that they are happy supporting the german community to participate but that they don't intend to cover any extra costs as it would be out of the scope of their programs. After deliberations with my team we decided to split the costs into these two areas and ask for a WMF fund as WMF would be a neutral instance between the chapter who could cover these costs no chapter would want to cover by itself.
Also it is a bit of a Hen & Egg situation: Chapters are looking whether the WMF will support this project before they commit themselves (as if the WMF doesn't support it's likely to not happen), the WMF (or GAC) is meanwhile checking if the Chapters are supporting this broadly before taking a decision.
Coming back to your original question of evaluation, please check the budget table with this additional information:
  • items 1 & 2 go into item 12 (so are neutral to this grant request)
  • item 9 goes into 14
  • item 5 relates to 13
  • 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 10 are what will be left and paid by this grant
Hope this helps, --Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 16:16, 28 December 2013 (UTC)[]
Why not suggest to them, then, that they can provisionally support on that basis? Tony (talk) 03:09, 29 December 2013 (UTC)[]
Hi Tony1, but this is what we already do! See
Something I need help to understand: Since one week I keep getting asked the same questions over and over again, just slightly variated, and I keep answering them with explanations and links for references. Most answers, though, are right in the Grant request already. I need to know what I am doing wrong here. Why can't I get the message through to you guys? --Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 09:20, 29 December 2013 (UTC)[]
Thanks for your extensive answer and transparency. It's clearer know but it's definitely a little bit messy if there is mutual dependance among the funds from the chapters and the funds from the WMF provided through this grant request.--Kiril Simeonovski (talk) 16:19, 29 December 2013 (UTC)[]
Given the current sate of this project, support from the other parties, i.e. chapters, interested to fund it would be necessary. In addition, I'm also afraid with the concern raised above that it's too expensive for 1,000 new photographs. The idea behind the project is good, it will definitely enlarge the number of free photographs available, but there might be a way to arrange it in a much cheaper variant. Best.--Kiril Simeonovski (talk) 17:51, 29 December 2013 (UTC)[]
1,000 is the minimim goal. In the 12 Projects already finished in Germany (see commons:Category:Landtagsprojekt) there were 10,494 Pictures in Parliaments with 1,550 Members altogether. --Ailura (talk) 22:17, 30 December 2013 (UTC)[]
For further impact besides these ones, have a look at de:Wikipedia:Landtagsprojekt/Nutzung which contains a yet incomplete list of usage inside and outside of Wikimedia projects. Some examples: (moved to main page)
Cheers, —DerHexer (Talk) 15:36, 1 January 2014 (UTC)[]
Thanks for your comments. It's impressive to see that list along with the other navigation pages about the project. I also notice that there is fairly good support from the community and many Wikimedians involved in it, which will have to mean that acquiring support from the local chapters should not be a big difficulty. However, this whole situation needs more thorough evaluation and at this stage I think it's necessary to see more opinions from the other GAC members on it. Best regards.--Kiril Simeonovski (talk) 19:40, 1 January 2014 (UTC)[]
I'd love to comment but - as I know all of those who commented from the project team (a bunch of the most active german Wikipedians, like me), have signed-up for participation with WikiTV and have helped setting up parts of the Commons project page - I can't. Anyway from this statement you can guess what my opinion is. --Manuel Schneider(bla) (+/-) 16:20, 3 January 2014 (UTC)[]


I have severe misgivings about this grant; it calls for almost 40,000 euros to be spent on a project that seems likely to result in at best relatively modest online returns. Even though the GAC is only being asked to fund a portion of the grant, the rest of the money would be coming from other organizations within the Wikimedia movement, so I feel that it is appropriate to consider the entire project cost in assessing whether or not the GAC should choose to put money towards it.

This project only seems to hit on one of our strategic goals in a meaningful way – increasing the quality of content. It doesn’t seem likely to significantly increase the reach, participation, credibility, or financial sustainability of the Wikimedia movement. Successfully executing the project would probably set the stage for future cross-chapter coordination, increase the organizational maturity of the chapters involved, and provide the cross-pollination of ideas that always occurs at large face to face events… but most forty thousand euro projects would provide these benefits, so I’m not sure that they should be considered reasons to fund the project in and of themselves. I’m sure that there would also be some side benefits involving increased reputation with EU parliamentarians and positive press generated by the project, but again, I’m not sure that’s a big enough reason to fund the project by itself.

The content that would be acquired through this project would definitely be valuable. I have no doubt that it would result in us having a large number of high quality photographs of MEPs that we don’t currently have. That said, if the project collected an additional thousand photos (which is the minimum stated target for ‘success’,) we would essentially be paying forty euros a photo. Even if collected 10,000 photographs, we would still essentially be paying four euros a photo. Part of me wants to argue that the value of having a second high quality photograph of someone is pretty minimal compared to the value of having the first high quality of someone, and thus suggest that the value of photographs past one of each MEP drops off considerably (and if we considered one photo of each MEP the goal, that’d be close to fifty euros a pop!)

Bluntly, this seems like an awful lot of movement funds to spend taking photographs of politicians, and I’m having trouble seeing that the cost will justify the results. We have a lot of funds as a movement, but they are in fact limited, and I’m not sure that this project is sufficiently in line with our goal (and duty) in spending donor funds: maximizing the availability of free knowledge (especially via online impact.) Am I missing a significant benefit of the project, or miscalculating the value in some way?

Best, Kevin (talk)

I'm quite surprised by so many people playing down this unique opportunity.
We cannot only interact with these people who can change the political situation that affects our projects dramatically by telling them about our mission and values (which is why the text editor part is that important), we build up connections between Wikimedians across boarders working together and hence increase participation european-wide (btw. by far the region with most visitors to our projects: ), and also increase the quality (and actuality) of our projects in pictures and sources which led to this tremendous media coverage and re-use when we have only been in the Landtag (and please also keep in mind that Europe neither has fair use nor PD-Gov in as much as other regions of the world). All of these things fit perfectly in our mission, in general and not only partly. The European Parliament invites us to do this project as long as we bring our people and technics and we refuse it? Would you do the same if we were invited by the US Congress or the United Nations which are playing in the same league as the European Parliament? Each European country has to effectuate European law, thus if we could ignite a debate about our goals, millions of users would benefit from it. We will not pop off right after the project but can use our connections to be built for further projects, and we are currently planning these.
And concerning money: No person has any financial benefit from this project (instead, most of the participants will loose money as they have to take a vacation to participate), as the organizers are not paid like in IEG's (e.g. here). The money requested just covers reimburstments and few technical support which are necessary to accomplish this project with all of its benefits which do not only lie in some pictures as stated above (which is why the money per picture calculation can only go wrong). If you want to compare it with other projects funded by the WMF, its impact is highly likely much higher than for example Wiki Loves Monuments' on which we spent and spend much more money and most often only receive pictures of these very monuments, as this one is directly aiming at stakeholders in person for the sake of fulfilling our mission: free knowledge worldwide. Cheers, —DerHexer (Talk) 15:19, 3 January 2014 (UTC)[]
+1 Marcus Cyron (talk) 15:51, 3 January 2014 (UTC)[]
Thanks Martin for your support of this Grant Request. Basically you said everything ;-)
Actually we have adressed all six strategic points of the Wikimedia movement Wikipedians_in_European_Parliament#Fit_to_strategy. And I'd like to add that this is a "worst case" calculation, see more details below in the new section on updated figures. The Travel Costs, covered by the chapters, are just assumptions, and are only drafted here for completeness. So the actual money used from this grant may be lower independantly from the travel costs and therefore every $ we save will be a $ that goes right back to the WMF. We just want to keep a continguency for safety. That way you can be sure we are not going to ask for additional funds from anyone than what has been drafted. --Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 16:15, 3 January 2014 (UTC)[]
  • In answer to the earlier question, yes, if I was invited to participate in a similar invitiative with the US Congress that cost $40,000+ in movement funds, I would hands down turn down the project, no question whatsoever, in about five minutes. I'd almost certainly do the same with the UN. To be clear, my objection to the money isn't that I think anyone is profiteering: I have full faith that no one will be doing so. It's just that 40,000 euros is a lot of donor funds to be spending (which we are obligated to spend in the way that best benefits the movement, and I don't see that value proposition here. Our goal is to spread free knowledge, and this project will definitely do that to some extent - but I don't think it will be worth the 40,000 euro investment.
So far, as far as I can tell, the biggest advantage that this project has involves explicitly influencing members of the European Parliament to be more friendly to the Wikimedia projects. That would be getting dangerously close to outright lobbying (which brings in significant legal issues for the WMF,) and may or may not succeed. If we *were* to get an approved lobbying project somehow, I would want that project to be directly run by a Wikimedia chapter, and for them to engage with extensive consultations with the WMF ahead of time. I don't see the photos acquired as sufficient to spend 40,000 euros, I don't see the fringe benefits (like increased inter-chapter interaction and increased organizational maturity,) as worth spending 40,000 euros (since any 40,000 euro project would carry those same benefits,) and I see the idea of trying to influence MEP's as both more suited to a chapter driven initiative, and something that is likely to run afoul of our lobbying restrictions. I don't know how much we spent on WLM overall this year, but do remember that in 2012 the project generated around 350,000 high quality images of historically significant monuments - which to me at least, presents a lot more benefit than a few thousand photos of fleeting politicians.
I dislike opposing grants, and rarely do so, but I can't see a way that we should fund this grant currently. Kevin (talk) 23:06, 4 January 2014 (UTC)[]
As you may presume, I completely disagree per my rationales above and am very disappointed in your underestimatation of this project. —DerHexer (Talk) 23:32, 4 January 2014 (UTC)[]
You are, of course, more than welcome to be severely disappointed in me - I'm sure I disappoint plenty of people with Wikimedia related stuff on pretty much a weekly basis. However, I'm a member of the GAC, and know that several other members of the GAC have severe misgivings about this grant as well. We're an advisory body - Asaf is free to ignore our opinions - but more often than not, he doesn't. Instead of just expressing disappointment in me, you are much more likely to get the grant you desire if you actually substantively address the points that I've brought up in this section, especially if you are able to articulate a reason why this is a worthwhile project to spend 40,000 euros on that doesn't rely on lobbying-type justifications. I try to approve every grant that I can, but so far, no one has been able to articulate the non-lobbying related value of this grant in a way that makes it seem like a good investment to me. Kevin (talk) 06:48, 5 January 2014 (UTC)[]

I sincerely believe that this is a misunderstanding. This is no lobbying in the way of illicitly influencing, but a kind of PR. Members of EU parliament will hear and experience the word 'Wikipedia' in a very positive way. This might come out very useful, but of course, in public relations you can never guarantee what will happen. MPs will talk about the event. (It's more effective than sending them a flyer about free knowledge.) There will be also press coverage. People who want to repeat such a shooting later elsewhere can refer to the event. I also value highly the exchange of experience among the participants. Given the scale of the EU, and its parliament etc., and comparing it to the much smaller German state parliaments, and the time invested by volunteers... 40,000 EUR don't look excessively much to me.Ziko (talk) 23:42, 6 January 2014 (UTC)[]

I used imprecise language; you are right that it is not lobbying sensu stricto. (And even lobbying isn't necessarily illicit.) But the main concrete deliverable (photos of MEP's) isn't worth the amount of money being invested, and the main secondary (favorable connections being made with MEPs) is both uncertain in terms of value and in terms of likelihood of success, as well as being quite expensive. Olaf indicated further down the page that chapters are not wanting to commit money without a positive commitment from the WMF, which seems to indicate that the value proposition is also dubious to the chapters involved. Kevin (talk) 00:14, 7 January 2014 (UTC)[]
Please add sharing knowledge within chapters about organizing similar events and also training photographers using studio flash units (see here). Additionally, the expected tremendous usage (cf. m:Grants:PEG/Olaf_Kosinsky/Wikipedians_in_European_Parliament#Resources) would spread our mission and licences, including media coverage. Finally, instead of interaction with MEP's, their improved understand of Wikimedia, our mission, and free knowledge should be (and is indeed) the main secondary goal. Cheers, —DerHexer (Talk) 01:24, 7 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Updated Figures[edit]

I just received an updated quote of the Tourist Office of Kehl. Kehl is next to Strabourg but a much smaller town in Germany. That means that the prices are much lower than in Strasbourg and there are also free rooms. During plenary sessions most of Strasbourg all rooms are booked which adds to the already higher prices in the EU city. From Kehl we can be in Strasbourg in no time, I suspect it's timewise not even longer to get to the EP than from any suburb of Strasbourg.

As you can see in the updated table the accommodation is 25% cheaper than planned. As I know now that all participants can stay at the same hotel I have now asked for a quote from a bus company which would bring us to the EP in the morning and pick us up there in the evening. I assume that this will also be cheapter than the planned rented busses. When I have definite figures I will add them as well. --Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 16:13, 3 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Note on approval[edit]

After carefully reading the whole discussion above once again and relying on my prior understanding that the project has a big value, I decided to come up with some notes that seem to be realistic in my opinion before voting to approve this request:

  1. The number of participants should be reduced. I don't find Olaf's explanation justifiable enough on why 45 people will be necessary to carry out the project. First, you mention that the number includes 20 photographers, 10 make-up ladies, 6 editors and 2 video people, which gives a total amount of 38 people. Second, you plan to bring ten ladies responsible for the make-up, which cost a total amount of 3,250 EUR. I'm pretty sure that it'll be very easy for you to find local people to do the same with much less expenses. Third, let's assume that 8 out of the 13 hours a day will be spent on taking photographs; this gives a total amount of 32 hours or 24 EPMs per hour, which means that each of the photographers will take images of 6 EPMs in five hours. One such rate of productivity is definitely on a very low level and should be increased either by reducing the number of photographers or the days spent in the EP. Fourth, the explanation was neither convincing about the role of the 6 editors and 2 video people. I cannot judge in advance to suggest reducing these numbers, but please don't include these people if it's not necessary. To conclude the note, reducing the number of participants to 20 appears to be realistic and will, importantly, save 8,125 EUR.
  2. Reduce the number requested to a reasonable amount of about 5,000 EUR. I'm sure that you can attribute the cutoffs in the current expenses to the amount requested from the WMF. As I noted previously, it's not our business here to comment on how much the other chapters are going to spend to support any activities and I, thereby, take into consideration only the amount requested in this grant and the items for which it is assigned.
  3. Make sure that the other parties will secure the rest of the money. Olaf mentioned above that the chapters are looking on whether the WMF will support this project before committing themselves to do it and it's a good sign that the project in its current shape is observed with skepticism from the other interested parties. On the other hand, most of the comments left on this page by the organisers address criticism only to the WMF or the GAC for undervaluing the project, which is not fair, at least, because there is no confirmation that the other parties involved will commit to provide the rest of the funds for sure. I believe that this is possible because the pages pointed out above from the German Wikipedia show that the involvement of the community is on a fairly high level to expect that the chapters will like to meet the community's needs.

Best regards.--Kiril Simeonovski (talk) 01:36, 5 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Hi Kirill - I have to disagree with you on one point. I do think we should be considering how much other chapters are potentially spending on this grant in evaluating the RoI of funding it, especially because it's been indicated that many of the other chapters supporting this project may pull their support if the GAC doesn't approve this grant. I would think about it diferently if the other funds were coming from non-movement entities instead of chapters, but when it comes down to it, every euro that supports this project will be coming directly from the Wikimedia Movement's normal donors, and if we don't approve this grant, none of that money will be spent. In evaluating the worthwhileness of this project, I think it'd be a mistake to consider it a 5,000 euro project instead of a 40,000 euro projects, since it's all Wikimedia funds, even if it's not all coming in a straight line from WMF. Also, as you touched on, before I'd feel at all comfortable supporting this project, I'd like to see direct confirmation from chapter reps that they will be supporting the project as stated (although for me at least, I don't think even that would sway my !vote.) Kevin (talk) 06:53, 5 January 2014 (UTC)[]
Hi Kevin. You're right that we cannot support funding this request without previous approval that the other chapters will commit to provide the rest of the money, but we don't know it for sure whether they use money from the movement or from non-movement entities. Please note that one of the involved parties is Wikimedia Germany, which is hardly dependent on the funds distributed from the WMF. In addition, it's obvious that the other chapters are run by representatives selected from the movement and we're really not the people directly concerned with their decisions. Of course, it's possible to give them suggestions on whether this is worth supporting or not, but definitely not on this page that discovers a bad image for the GAC as a body undervaluing this project. One of my notes is clear that support from the other chapters would be necessary before approving this and given the community support on the German Wikipedia about it, I'm pretty sure that the decision from the WMF on this request is not the only obstacle to get the money from the chapters and that there are people who fear also that this is too much. --Kiril Simeonovski (talk) 11:48, 5 January 2014 (UTC)[]
Olaf indicated above that other chapters providing funds is predicated on this grant request being approved, at a minimum. So, in essence, this grant request is acting as the gatekeeper of 40,000 euros of movement funds (although there may be further hurdles in securing the chapter funds even if we approve this.) You are right that WMDE has plenty of money that they don't get directly from the WMF since they still have a fundraising agreement, but although that money may not be WMF's money, it's certainly still Wikimedia movement money - no one so far has suggested that there is an outside non-movement entity willing to sponsor a significant portion of the costs of this event. I don't see anything magical about WMF money vs WMDE money - both primarily come from donors who believe they are helping Wikipedia prosper. Given that we're put in the position of acting as the deciding factor in the disposition of 40k euros of Wikimedia movement funds (which isn't necessarily the same as 40k euros of WMF funds,) I think we need to acknowledge that and factor it in to our decision. For the GAC on this decision it's not "Is this project a good use of 10k euros of WMF funds?" - but rather "Is this project a good use of 40k euros of movement funds?" Kevin (talk) 19:45, 5 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Several ideas[edit]

Let's give more substance.

I would suggest to review some points:

  • Including in the measures the number of volunteers involved. One strategical point of WMF is to involve volunteers and mainly "new" volunteers
  • Including in the measures also the increasing reach. People will meet members of the Parliament, it would be good also to discuss with them what they think about free knowledge

All words are good, but if i see in the measures of the success, I see only "production of pictures" of members which will be substituted sooner cause the re-election of the parliament. --Ilario (talk) 13:27, 5 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Feedback from Aegis[edit]

Hello All,

thank you for your work on documenting the European MPs, it has been a long mentioned project. When I am taking a look into lists prepared by Olaf and I see some serious Wikipedian job done.
However on the financial side, prompted by a discussion on Facebook I would like to share my thoughts on this proposal. Bottom line is: I tend to agree with my GAC colleagues and in my opinion this submission needs a serious elaboration and rework to start discussion again.

  • Thanks Aegis for this really good comments and remarks! This is really constructive. We took some time to discuss your thoughts within the team, therefore my reply took a bit longer.--Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 19:50, 6 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Key obstacle - cost (up-to-bottom perspective)[edit]

As Kevin mentioned, this proposal puts a >50 Euro price tag for a photo of one MP. If we count in only MPs of whom we don't have photos (estimated for 200 - is it really that many?) we get 200 EUR per person. This is quite a lot, considering that they are public people and politicians (and one could argue that these photos should be essentially provided for free, as a parliament's service or their own/political party PR). Seeing the price tag, I start wondering what is an alternative cost of a professional vendor providing these photos.

  • MEPs should be invited to get photographed at two photo stations with flash units. Additionally we try to get a picture of each MEP in the plenary at his / her seat. That means that of each MEP who participated we will have 4 - 5 high quality pictures.--Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 19:50, 6 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Key cost driver - 45 people (bottom-up perspective)[edit]

  • When I take a look in this proposal, the reason is a large number of participants (45), which is nowhere explained in the submission. After reading a lengthy discussion I still don't find it explained well enough. Some positions (like taking 10 cosmetic students) seriously puzzle my mind: wouldn't it be simplier and cheaper to hire someone professional (a few people working these 10 hrs a day) on place? And how much do we need to provide professional cosmetic/PR services to the Members of Parliament for free to begin with?
  • Cosmetics: I doubt that a commercial make-up will be cheaper. With the planned working hours we would need at least two persons. I estimate that commercial make-up-staff would costs ~500 EUR / day. That would add up to 4,000 EUR.--Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 19:50, 6 January 2014 (UTC)[]
  • Number of photographers (20) is puzzling as well. If you are really aiming to use 2-3 photostations as you described, it means 6-10 photographers per booth which is a crowd even if they rotate. What is more, as Kiril pointed out it gives you a ~38 MPs per a photographer during 4 or 5 days = ca. 9 pictures per day. This is an outcome difficult to fund, especially times twenty. On a practical side, it is not that easy to gather 20 actually prepared portrait photographers (not people who can just press a button) so I would kindly suggest to revise this number.
  • Number of Photographers: All photographers also have to edit and upload their picture on-site. This is a huge effort which can't be calculated exactly. The idea is that each MEP which has been photographed can see his / her picture within 1 hour in his / her Wikipedia article and show it two his peers or neighbours in the plenary. This would have a great outreach effect for this project. The editing station is not right next to the photo station but ~200m away.--Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 19:50, 6 January 2014 (UTC)[]
  • Video people (2): I assume it would be a cameraman and a lightning or sound engineer = 1 small crew - this is actually an item where I could see an increase if the scope of the project is widened.
  • Editors (6): "writing articles" is a tangible outcome, however things are getting sketchy and questionable here:
    1. we are volunteers and we rather try to avoid paying for articles.
    2. you do not really need to go to Brussels or Strasbourg to compile a bio of a MP using obtainable sources.
    3. if you even want to go find some sources and connections, 45 people is a big crowd, not necessarily needed.
    4. we are talking about the main, already well supported languages, already official for EU...
  • 45 - 38 = 7 not mentioned people. Someone pointed out a need of assistants (people who should gather MPs etc.) which is certainly true. However, as I try to calculate it, I do not receive 45 people.
  • Assistants: From all the past projects I have organised we have learned that we need volunteers who act as assistants, eg. to answer questions, help the photographers, carry things around etc. I also assume that each photographer and editor would also assist.--Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 19:50, 6 January 2014 (UTC)[]
  • My reality check: As I fully agree with Tony1 that MPs probably come in bursts (long pause here, a crowd there) so a lot of redundancy needs to be provided. My back-of-envelope calculations were as follows:
    let us assume that taking a photo with waiting, a small talk takes 10 minutes; let us add some short video interview on top of that: additional 5 minutes. let us say that a booth works effectively only 6 hours a day (because of long pauses etc.) - this gives 24 MPs per a boothday. As we have 764 MPs, it gives 32 photoboothdays during 5 days = let us say 7 photobooths).
    If we use one photographer/videographer and two assistants per booth - it is still 21 people.
    This is using very generous assumptions (like every MP gets videorecorded - which is not promised in tangible goals; two assistants which can rotate etc.)
    If we go back to the submitted goals (no video of every MPs, MPs scheduled beforehand) we need far less people and equipment. Simple photography of lined-up MPs could take 2 mins per head. :)
    Summing up, even using some margin of safety, pretty far from 45. Even using Western Europe volunteers working standards (here in PL costs are _heavily_ reduced as event employees are working serious overhours).
    And if these MPs are that unwilling to co-operate that we need to send two platoons to hunt them down ;), maybe one should think of photographing poorer and more willing institutions, e.g. university professors.

These are my amateur calculations - if I am wrong, please prove me otherwise.

  • No volunteer should be exploited or burnt out. Everybody should have the opportunity to catch some fresh air or take a few hours off to make pictures outside the parliament.--Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 19:50, 6 January 2014 (UTC)[]
  • In General: I think it is great that there are people who want to take 5 days of their time / vacation to participate in this project. New photographers have time to learn from experienced photographers. Editors can exchange among themselves, new projects can be discussed. The exchange of minds within such a project is very important and on top of that it also strengthens the motivation of the participants.--Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 19:50, 6 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Return on Investment - widening scope?[edit]

One thing on a submission is working and understanding a cost side, second is improving and explaining the return side.

Perhaps GAC does not see the whole picture and there is a need to provide a better description - thus the questions.

  • The "writing articles" part (although potentially controversial) is only briefly mentioned - while it could bring some tangibles.
  • The lobbying / connections part is sketchy at best - however not only it can be controversial, but also doubtful. If we even cannot make the European Parliament to issue proper photos to the PD, I would remain skeptical here.
  • Video, audio recordings, more photos, news etc. could be an additional content noteworthy.
  • If you are thinking of community building, European co-op building, volunteer encouragement etc. - write it - because it may be the only good reason to bring all these people to one place or the best one to run the project. Revigorating and winning new volunteer base (future journalists? staff in EU Parliament?) and new GLAM-like connections can be very good goals of funding - strategically better than just content gathering.

Summing up, I think you need to rethink your numbers and provide a better rationale for the project (better explain what you are trying to achieve with all these resources)

  • There are 165 articles missing only in the english language Wikipedia. I want to close this gap.--Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 19:50, 6 January 2014 (UTC)[]
  • Until now there are not pictures from the EP under a PD license. If we want to spread the idea of PD such a project is a good door-opener. The MEPs are coming to us because we offer something great. We act at eye level with the MEPs. We also experienced repeatedly that many don't know how the volunteer work in Wikipedia / Commons works. A strong team illustrates that in the best way. --Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 19:50, 6 January 2014 (UTC)[]
  • From the past State Parliament projects (Landtagsprojekte) in Germany we got a lot of contacts for other projects. Many photographers and editors have benefited from these contacts. --Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 19:50, 6 January 2014 (UTC)[]

GAC Process and my personal side-note[edit]

GAC consists of Wikimedian volunteers which offer their time to evaluate your proposals and serve with their advisory: both to Asaf as to you, hoping to make your projects and their descriptions better.

We love your submissions and we are happy with Wikimedians activity. The overall process is set to give money. However, we may have numerous doubts and concerns and the submissions need to provide good rationale, which should be expanded and cleared up during the discussion - to save both our and your volunteered time.

Sometimes GAC feels the submission is not fundable at present state and offers its feedback and time to give the request makers chance to improve. This is time dedicated by MADe, Kevin, Tony1 and Kiril and others: I would be happy to see more trust and will of co-operation with them.

Best Regards to all,
aegis maelstrom δ 13:47, 5 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Updated Figures 2[edit]

  • We currently have 36 applications from 5 countries
  • 45 participants with 5 days = 225 "working days"
  • There will be participants whose performance remain anonymous. For photographers and writers the names are recognizable. When the helpers and the cosmetics, this is not the case. Let's look forward but about people who are willing to commit to Wikipedia.

List of countries[edit]

May I ask which countries? I think that there is a need to convince the chapters to have this opportunity to meet their own representative in the European Parliament. 5 countries are few in my opinion and Switzerland has no members in the EP and Austria is a small country with few members. In my opinion at least Italy, Spain, Poland and UK should be present because the members of these countries (+AT) covers more the 50% of members. In my opinion also the language is important, so it should be stressed that the main languages of the EP are covered (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Polish). --Ilario (talk) 14:31, 5 January 2014 (UTC)[]
However Spain and Poland are also farther and hence (probably) more expensive; the possible Italian participant mentioned below is closer to the German routes. I agree that having those languages would be a plus, multilingual participants will be valuable. :) --Nemo 08:47, 7 January 2014 (UTC)[]
  • Germany
  • France
  • Austria
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom

--Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 14:42, 5 January 2014 (UTC)[]

  • probably Italy

--Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 19:52, 6 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Comments from Piotrus[edit]

Not sure how to link the Facebook discussion, so I'll just repeat my comments: EP has enough money to sponsor this. If they don't want to - it's their loss. We should use our funds to help institutions with smaller budget. --Piotrus (talk) 14:23, 5 January 2014 (UTC)[]

One thing is missing[edit]

It would be nice to think that the investment of Wikimedia movement money was at least going to skill up Wikimedians for this kind of photographic activity. Is there a formal training goal and approach? Is someone in charge of that aspect? What are the skills, actually? Would the benefits extend beyond this event to others that might use the same volunteers (one hopes on a smaller scale) to take portrait photographs elsewhere? Tony (talk) 13:53, 6 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Each time we are doing these projects, we invite photographers from the actual region and teach them how to use the studio flash units and how to portrait people correctly. For example, Carschten is a great photographer of landscapes and has won a lot of awards for Wiki Loves Monuments but has never participated in a portrait shooting before the Landtag project in North Rhine-Westphalia. He was invited and tought what lenses he had to use, how he is supposed to interact with the politicians using the best light and positions to get the best results for our projects. Some of them can be found here. As this is a European project, not only already trained German photographers but also promising photographers and multi-language helpers across borders are invited (which of course raises the costs). Cheers, —DerHexer (Talk) 14:24, 6 January 2014 (UTC)[]
Hi Tony, actually training and transfering skills from those Wikimedians, who have experience from the State Parliament projects to new volunteers who never participated in such a project is one of our goals. As a reference please see the "Impact" Section of the Grant request: "Fit to Strategy:quality" and "Benefits".
We won't be able to do a formal training - such things are already happening on a local basis (eg. the annual photo workshop in Nürnberg and also other places) and it woul certainly be too much to do during this busy week. Nevertheless by experienced and inexperienced volunteers working together for one week knowledge transfer is automatically happening as everyone will get his or her first hand hands-on experience. Note that we explicitely mention this on the Commons project page: "Language and Participation".
We could, obviously, do this with only german participants as we have enough volunteers to cover the project and it would make organisation easier and costs lower. But it contradicts the idea of this project and the idea of the European Union we are going to observe in the EP. It is the ultimate chance to bring volunteers from several countries together for a common goal, have some meaningful work, bring in experience past projects and spread it among the international project group, being able to talk to MEPs in their local language and write articles in several languages.
I'd like to note that your question for formal training contradicts the comment of MADe saying the scope of the project is too wide. But I don't agree with that anyway. --Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 14:54, 6 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Notes upon approval[edit]

Thank you all for the extensive discussion so far. After much deliberation, I have decided to fund this proposal. I would like to offer the following thoughts at the same time. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 04:35, 7 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Goals and Impact[edit]

I agree with the GAC members above who question the expenditure of approximately $50 of movement funds (looking at the total proposed expenditure, beyond this grant) per image (taking the 1000 images minimum quantity from the Measure of Success section) of these politicians, per se.

NB: it is not any particular budget line item that is unreasonable! The budget is quite sensible. It is the total cost to the movement that is unreasonable given the immediate goal, i.e. the procuring of photos for EU politicians.

So it is the combination of other value factors, mentioned by the applicant and some of the supporters of this proposal, that together make it ultimately valuable enough to fund. These factors include educating politicians about our mission and our values, and the conditions that make our mission easier or harder (e.g. freedom of panorama), skill-sharing, regional cooperation and contact building. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 04:35, 7 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Two reports required[edit]

It would indeed be very challenging to assess the impact of these additional goals, and no doubt some of the seeds sown via this work would only bear fruit several years hence, while others won't bear any fruit at all. We shall therefore follow the results of this grant for a longer time than usual, and condition this approval on the grantee agreeing to provide an additional grant report after the standard one: thus, an interim report would be due no later than three months after the visit to Strasbourg (and the sooner the better), with a final report assessing longer-term goals like integration and usage across Wikipedias and any press coverage or other benefits, due 9 months after the interim report.

Please indicate your willingness to accept this additional requirement. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 04:35, 7 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Review Processs[edit]

It is evident the applicant (and supporters) have been frustrated with the level of scrutiny this proposal has received. That is regrettable, and I understand it is demotivating. However, I contend that the scrutiny was appropriate, given the concerns about return on investment, and that if there was an expectation to just be awarded this sum without being asked these questions, I would hypothesize it was founded on experience with funders I would deem remiss in their due diligence and prudence. I commend the GAC for its insistence on probing this request to seek justification for it.

As food for thought for us all, I encourage everyone to learn from this conversation and to perhaps revise expectations on the one hand, and the level of detail and rationale offered with proposals in the first place, on the other hand. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 04:35, 7 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Lobbying and its discontents[edit]

A point raised above is whether this project would involve lobbying, and if so, if this grant can fund it. I would like to make some clear (I hope) statements on this matter:

  1. The Project and Event Grants (PEG) program can fund lobbying.
  2. Such lobbying needs to be clearly described and approved.
  3. Lobbying as construed by the regulatory requirements we operate under consists of advocating for or against specific legislation, proposed or potential.
  4. This request does not seem to me to include lobbying. What we would hope can be achieved inter alia while taking pictures (which can take a while, with make-up, lighting, etc.) is general education about the Wikimedia mission, our movement values (e.g. transparency), the importance of free knowledge, the licenses we use and the freedoms they offer our users, and some of the obstacles we are facing. So long as the project volunteers avoid arguing for or against specific legislation, this would not be lobbying, and there is no impediment to funding this.

Do let me know if there are questions about this. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 04:35, 7 January 2014 (UTC)[]


Thanks for the note, we (myself and the project team) are grateful for this decision and support! I hereby confirm the acceptance of the given conditions. One of our volunteers already contacted the Program Evaluation and Design team, trying to set up an evaluation of this project. We hope that this will help to make the project and its achievements transparent, also it may be helpful for future similar projects if a basis for evaluation and results to compare with exist. --Olaf Kosinsky (talk) 08:17, 7 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Reporting schedule[edit]

This note has been assigned an alternative reporting schedule. The interim report is due within 60 days of the completion date list in the grant submission, or by 8 April 2014, and a final report will be due nine months after that date, or by 8 January 2015. Best regards, Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 17:57, 9 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Report Overdue[edit]

Hi Olaf. Please note that your first report is 8 months overdue. The draft report still lacks key information, like measures of success, remaining funds, and we have not received any documentation of expenses (although the draft report says they were sent). I have unsuccessfully tried to contact you almost monthly since April. Please respond here or to grants"at" Looking forward to hearing from you, Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 17:32, 5 December 2014 (UTC)[]


Hi Olaf,

I am writing to check in on the grant you got in February 2014 to photograph members of the EU Parliament. It sounds like it was a very successful project, both in terms of getting high quality images and in filling important content gaps and in coordinating a project with volunteers and funding from so many different chapters. Did you know more than half of the images of Parliament members from this project are currently in use on 3,147 pages? I'd love to hear about other ideas you might have for high-impact photography projects.

The final report for this grant was due over a year ago, on January 8th 2015, and records show you have 4,261 Euro remaining from the grant.

Please follow the steps below to close this grant:

  1. Submit receipts for 5,739 Euro that has been spent.
  2. Make arrangements to return unspent funds to the WMF as soon as possible.
  3. Add missing information to the measures of success table in the report. I have added most information, the only thing missing is the number of new articles created using project images.

It is imperative that you submit this report and return unspent funds as soon as possible, both to maintain our financial records and for you to remain eligible for future grants.

Let me know if you are missing reciepts or have other concerns about the report so that we can set up a phone call to come up with a plan to close the grant together.

--KHarold (WMF) (talk) 18:16, 4 April 2016 (UTC)[]


@Olaf Kosinsky and Asaf (WMF): Faced with a lot of uncertainty as to whether this would be sufficiently valuable, this grant was made conditional on both an immediate and a longer-term report. Were these ever produced? Grants:PEG/Olaf Kosinsky/Wikipedians in European Parliament/Report is still showing as a long-overdue draft. It's now much later, so with a lot more hindsight, do you think this turned out to be worthwhile? Has this been replicated in other countries? Should it be? What was learned doing this at a much larger scale than with the earlier Landtag ones? --NF Ford (talk) 07:33, 8 January 2019 (UTC)[]

commons:Commons:Wikipedians in European Parliament is where I found most information about the project in the past. Some files have had an unexpected popularity, for instance File:Voss, Axel (en).webm after the European Parliament vote in 2018 snafus.
As for "other countries", it's not like many other countries exist with a body similar to the European Parliament. Nemo 09:28, 8 January 2019 (UTC)[]
@Nemo: Thank you for that useful link. I can see there that approximately 42% of members were photographed, but I cannot see how to work out whether it hit the targets of 200 of those not having photographs already, with at least 1000 in total, etc. One of the goals was that "similar projects start to happen in other countries due to transfer of ideas and experience how to do this kind of project". I'm curious whether that happened, or if a similar project would get funded again. --NF Ford (talk) 20:39, 10 January 2019 (UTC)[]
Hi NF Ford. Thanks for your questions. As you can see above we have tried to contact Olaf Kosinsky both here on the grant page as well as over email many times over several years. Unfortunately, he has never responded and we were not able to get an interim or final report on this project. This is a fairly rare situation with our grants/grantees and it has been a disappointment. Beyond the links Nemo shared we don't have additional information on the outcomes. Best, Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 18:07, 11 January 2019 (UTC)[]
@AWang (WMF): thank you for the response. That is certainly disappointing. I see Olaf Kosinsky has submitted a new "Commons Photographers User Group/Conference in Iceland 2018" Grant Request since then. I am finding it a little difficult to follow the history of that request, which has been renamed twice but it looks like funding was declined for 2018, then it was resubmitted again for the 2019 conference, and declined again. But at no point did anyone raise or note the involvement of a person who previously obtained a large grant and failed to produce the final report. Instead it was suggested that they should apply again for the 2020 event. Perhaps no-one made the connection at these earlier stages, but the history would definitely become an issue should the project be otherwise selected for funding? Do grant staff look closer at the history of the participants in those cases? Or would someone's conduct with one grant be irrelevant to elegibility for future grants? --NF Ford (talk) 06:12, 15 January 2019 (UTC)[]
Hi NF Ford. Yes, during the eligibility phase of grant review we check the history of each grant applicant for incomplete past grants and reports. Olaf is ineligible for future funding until this grant is completed. Best, Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 17:52, 15 January 2019 (UTC)[]