Grants talk:PEG/User:DrMel/Wiki Edit-a-thon Work Parties/Report

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Hi DrMel and everyone who worked on the project and submitting this final report. We appreciate the detailed documentation you have provided regarding your experiences over the last year and challenges encountered developing WikiSoCal. The scope of this report goes far beyond the activites funded under the grant. I had suggested that you report on the grant activities in this report and on the feedback regarding organizing Wikicon North America on the conference grant or a separate page, but since they are both included here, I will respond to both of the issues.

Edit-a-thon Work Parties[edit]

  1. First, congratulations on developing such an inclusive and supportive community in San Diego! It is clear that your focus on creating a welcoming and positive culture resulted in a bonded group and interest from a lot of potential partners. What aspects of your organizing and communications strategy do you think were particularly impactful in developing this culture?
  2. You mentioned having “helped recruit and teach hundreds of people how to help improve Wikipedia” in the past. How was this experience similar or different? Did you try different techniques? If yes, what was the result?
  3. As this project was supported as part of the first Inspire Campaign to address the Gender Gap, did you conduct any type of outreach or programming that specifically targted recruiting more gender diverse volunteers or focused on gender diverse content?
  4. Did you track user names or articles created/improved on an event page? If yes, please provide the links.
  5. It’s wonderful that the three initial editathons have resulted in a regular editing community in San Diego, despite the fallout after the conference. This is a significant outcome of the grant and a testament to your dedication to the mission. Do you know how many people have become regular participants in these meetings? What type of contributions to the Wikimedia projects are they doing?
  6. In terms of the ongoing activity, you write, “As part of teaching new organizational partners and volunteers how to succeed in their efforts to improve Wikipedia and its related projects, we are working hard to help prepare them for the steep learning curves and frustrations that seem inherently part of being part of this wiki movement. Ironically, being alienated last year and learning even more since then has given us a clearer understanding of how we can best help with the causes we all care about so much.” Considering your experiences and the steep learning curve, we are really curious to know in more detail what strategies you are advising partners and newcomers to take (aside from starting with WikiHow)? It would be great to have more specifics that we can learn from and see if they can be used in other communities.

Conference organizing[edit]

Again, thank you for the clear documentation of your experience building WikiSoCal and organizing Wikicon North America. We have discussed all of these issues over email and phone and I have a good understanding of what happened, the complicated dynamics with the Wikimedia community, mixed (and sometimes absent) messaging from WMF grants staff, and the overwhelming feelings of lack of support, resources, and recognition from the Wikimedia community and WMF. It is clear that there was a lot of misunderstanding and bad communication and I am disappointed that you and other community members had such a challenging time. One of our major lessons learned from the experience is the importance of setting expectations with grantees and newcomers to the Wikimedia movement -- about resourcing (for expenses and people’s time), the culture of volunteerism, how events and conferences have been organized in the past, and more. We also unfortunately were going through a major grants restructure during the time of the conference grant application and our processes were not yet in place to support a smooth or efficient grant review. In terms of the grants team, we have debriefed the experience and taken concrete feedback on both process and communication style.

In terms of working with other Wikimedians, we hope you have been able to make steps towards reconciliation. There may be differences in strategy and communication, but we are all working towards the same mission and hopefully we can come to a place of mutual respect.

We very much appreciate the efforts you, your team, and the community of volunteers and partners in San Deigo/SoCal have put towards this work. Contributing to the Wikimedia projects is essentially a volunteer endeavor and is often thankless and unseen. Unfortunately, this often makes it difficult for newcomers to feel supported or motivated and folks around the movement are trying new tools and strategies to shift this. Despite this, you have done a lot of work and we thank you for all that you have done to support the mission.

Best, Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 04:21, 6 April 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thank you, Alex, for listening and for the acknowledgement. It was far more the circumstances that threw us into this mess than anyone wanting there to be drama. Being completely ignored by Leadership across WMF staff and senior volunteers (who I had thought wanted to support the conference and enjoy working together) was truly the most confusing and painful part of all of this. Extremely surprising was no acknowledgement from Any of the Wikimedia leadership for the work we had done to make the "Inclusivity" themed conference possible. that was really really weird - it would have cost nothing. But "Such Is Life"!
The wiki movement matters more than our egos, and matters especially to me enough to persevere beyond the incredible frustration. Many lessons learned. Now time to focus forward. We want to debrief and reconcile asap with others who want to move on or even work with us again. We want to trust and collaborate again. Getting over the past and working together would make so much more possible than trying to build WikiSoCal without them. We are more eager to move on than to keep have this lingering drama and misunderstandings. At this point, we need a mediator to help us debrief and make sure all sides feel heard. None of us had the full picture of all the moving pieces.
The academic community who write case studies have people available and interested in writing our shared experiences up as a case study (given how public everything is, that's easier than ever!) - we just need someone besides us to want that. There are so many sides to the story beyond mine, and I've barely gotten any of them yet! DrMel (talk) 18:45, 19 April 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Answers to Alex Wang Qs[edit]

1. Our organization focuses on building meaningful and long lasting communication with our volunteers. We generally do must of our outreach off Wikipedia and invite recruited volunteers to participate in our meetups. For new volunteers, we focus on getting them through the adventure game and building a user page. From there, we build opportunities to participate on Wikipedia that is personally satisfying.

2. My past experience with recruiting and teaching people to improve Wikipedia was similar to what was done with the PEG grant. Outreach to professors, teachers, and the community. We work on improving Wikipedia in more than just editing.

3. We focused on outreach to Cali state San Marcos- women’s hackathon our outreach was to about 60 young women. From our outreach, we got descriptive feedback on improvements on wiki.

4. Information can be provided:. Details of their contributions are on the dashboard. https://outreachdashboard.wmflabs.org/courses/QoL_Experiences/WikiSoCal?enroll=bnajedwc

5. We have about 6-8 regular volunteers that are active in the wiki community here in San Diego. We meet to help generate ongoing volunteer outreach and receiving feedback to help grow the user face here.

6. In order to improve the retention rate of quality volunteers ongoing communication and care for active volunteers is crucial. The intrinsic motivation for each volunteer is important when it comes to the quality of work they provide on Wikipedia. If we can build a sustainable network of training, edithons, and wiknics, improvement throughout the movement is to be expected.

DrMel (talk) 18:24, 19 April 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]