Grants talk:Programs/Wikimedia Community Fund/Annual plan of the Centre for Internet and Society Access to Knowledge

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Feedback from the SAARC Regional Grants Committee[edit]

Based on the application, the South Asia Regional Grant Committee would like to share the following feedback and suggestions for your consideration. If the feedback and suggestions are unclear or would require a deeper discussion, the committee members would be available for an online meeting.

It has been observed that the current proposal details quite thoroughly and compellingly the broad and lasting impact CIS-A2K wishes to make in the fields it has chosen to focus. CIS-A2K is engaging with projects such as Wikimedia Commons, Wikidata, and Wikisource; since these projects are not well resourced at a global level, engaging with these projects furthers knowledge equity in the local context. It has been noted that Wikisource has been identified as their focus project, and this would lead to addition of otherwise inaccessible information and thus there will be a net increase in knowledge equity.

South Asia GRC notes that the language communities represented among the CIS-A2K team and institutional partners appear to be on board with the activities proposed in the application. However it would have been helpful if some elaboration regarding the way the proposal has been drafted, methods of collection of community input and integration into the plan explained. This information would have been useful to understand the contribution of projects/communities outside the current focus of CIS-A2K.

The set of partnerships proposed to be taken up in the upcoming plan is geographically and topically quite diverse, suggesting that the impact of this year's activities will be quite broad. There may be factors complicating the depth in which these partners will engage the Wikimedia communities and projects. It remains to be seen whether the partnerships will turn to be long time partners or event level collaborations.

With a decade-long association with the Wikimedia movement and WMF CIS-A2K has built up the necessary capacity to ensure that the proposed activities will be successfully implemented.

While most of the activities suggested are not 'innovative', they do not deviate from how other annual plans of the organisation have gone, these activities are consistent and have been successful and are scalable.

South Asia GRC suggests that:

  • CIS-A2K team provide more information on the risk mitigation strategies. Not only concerning the Covid-19 pandemic but also other institutional and programmatic risks that they have identified.
  • Quarterly interim updates must be provided to the community along with the required progress report to monitor and evaluate the progress.
  • Details as to how newcomers would be welcomed into the movement, retaining them and ensuring their feeling of safety and inclusion should be elaborated.
  • CIS-A2K should focus on retention of existing editors with follow up programs and try to understand why they fall inactive and what measures can be taken to ensure their active engagement.
  • GRC would like to understand if the strategic partnerships are being built on observations by the CIS team or if there has been an intent to collaborate expressed on behalf of institutions as well? Eg: ‘...“ During visits to some of these institutions, we realised the need for urgent digitization of old books, documents and artefacts as they are in a state of decay.”
  • ‘...potential partners would be identified through mapping exercises’ The mapping exercise will be time / resource intensive. Such mappings already exist: from IIT Bombay, from IGNCA, from Abhilekh Patal. Is there a plan to use existing data?
  • CIS should try and build a community for Wikivoyage project and host a national level activity for identifying contributors to the project.
  • Would like to see learnings from the partnerships vertical of the CIS-A2K engagement. Partnerships provide an opportunity for learning and these lessons should be shared with the wiki community as well. Holding partnership clinics across communities, conferences or open dialogues would be helpful.
  • A closer evaluation of activities such as TTT and Wikimedia Wikimeet should be taken into consideration before planning the next iterations. Topics such as effective follow-up, identifying the right level of engagement for the participants, curating the content for the participants, identifying both big and small opportunities to contribute should be integrated into the design of the event.

For the Committee, Medhavigandhi (talk) 19:58, 30 April 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Hello Grants Regional Committee (SAARC) members, thanks for taking time to go through the proposal and thanks for sharing your views and suggestions on different aspects and areas. This is very helpful. We'll discuss these points, and observations, and the team will get back with a detailed response in next 3–4 days. Regards. --Tito (CIS-A2K) (talk) 02:49, 2 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Hello Grants Regional Committee (SAARC) members and Community Resources team members, we have discussed the suggestions and observations and we sincerely thank you for your inputs. The suggestions and feedback definitely help us to plan future activities and workplan. Yes, as you noted Wikisource is a project where we propose to continue to focus this year also. Other than Wikisource, we also propose to concentrate on like-minded institutional partnerships. Continuing from our past work, we would like to take forward digitization work.
However it would have been helpful if some elaboration regarding the way the proposal has been drafted, methods of collection of community input and integration into the plan explained..
Thanks for asking the question. We conduct a set of needs-assessment and survey before preparing the plan, and they take place over the year. There are generally two-types of feedback we seek: a) about specific program/event/activity, b) about over-all program. The feedback often help very much to design individual programs and activities. Some of the feedback and surveys we have conducted in last one year or so are: A2K Request Page Feedback form, Mini Edit-a-thon Feedback Form, International Mother Language Day 2022 edit-a-thon, Wikimedia Wikimeet India 2021 Feedback form (presenter/moderator), WMWM Logistics-assessment form, Infrastructural Needs of Indian Language Wikisource Communities - Survey Form, Needs assessment of Wikisource Communities for 2022-2023, Proofread-thon Feedback Form. We conducted/supported online sessions such as Stay safe, stay connected (Wikisource session) or Grants Strategy Relaunch 2020–2021 India call. These (or similar) interactions are often very helpful in the process of making a plan. Other than the forms, or events/online sessions, our program persons try to regularly communicate with Wikimedians to know about their project's/community's necessities.
The set of partnerships proposed to be taken up in the upcoming plan is geographically and topically quite diverse, suggesting that the impact of this year's activities will be quite broad. There may be factors complicating the depth in which these partners will engage the Wikimedia communities and projects. It remains to be seen whether the partnerships will turn to be long time partners or event level collaborations.
Thank you for the observation. In the last couple of years because of pandemic-related travel and other restrictions, and also limitation in different institutions' activities, we could not take forward a few institutional partnerships. However, as things are improving this year, we are hopeful that we can take forward some of the partnerships. Before starting partnership activities we try to put considerable effort to shape and design the partnership structure. We will continue to attempt to establish long-time partnership relationships.
CIS-A2K team provide more information on the risk mitigation strategies. Not only concerning the Covid-19 pandemic but also other institutional and programmatic risks that they have identified.
— COVID-19 pandemic is a different scenario and we'll continue to follow Wikimedia Foundation's, central and local health authority's, and the organisations' own guidelines and SoP.
Transition in the team has been a problem for quite sometime. For this reason, we try to depend more on the process than a person. Here "institutional knowledge" plays a very important role. In the upcoming year, we would like to further focus on institutional knowledge documentation and knowledge transfer process.
CIS monitors and attentively follows the legal or regulatory changes those are related to the program. CIS regularly seeks legal advice and communicates with CR team of WMF to provide service following the relevant regulations.
Quarterly interim updates must be provided to the community along with the required progress report to monitor and evaluate the progress.
— Thanks for the comment. We will submit an interim/progress report, and a final/impact report. Regular updates are posted in form of Newsletter or different event-specific report. Please let us know if this works.
Details as to how newcomers would be welcomed into the movement, retaining them and ensuring their feeling of safety and inclusion should be elaborated.
—This is really important to welcome and bring newcomers to a project, or the movement in general. In order to ensure retention, we need to be supportive and listening and we need to provide necessary support such as skill-building initiatives. "Assuming good faith" is a Wikimedia guideline we also follow. In many of our programs and activities we work with new Wikimedians, and we'll continue to do so to ensure best participation and retention of new Wikimedians.
CIS-A2K should focus on retention of existing editors with follow up programs and try to understand why they fall inactive and what measures can be taken to ensure their active engagement.
—Thanks for raising this point. When we talk about "retention of existing editors" possibly we are talking about "sustainability" also. Post COVID-19, this is possibly a very important area to work on. There are several factors such as socio-economic condition of an emerging country, lack of social security etc, which make the editor retention topic different, and possibly difficult also here (you might have a look at this post as an example). We are very interested to collectively work on this area (both in our programmatic and volunteer capacity), and we'll continue to work on planning programs (and followup programs) to improve editor retention.
GRC would like to understand if the strategic partnerships are being built on observations by the CIS team or if there has been an intent to collaborate expressed on behalf of institutions as well? Eg: ‘...“ During visits to some of these institutions, we realised the need for urgent digitization of old books, documents and artefacts as they are in a state of decay.”
The short study on the GLAM mapping and digitisation project with Public library was shared with several institutions which do not have significant online display of content. We have been sharing the opportunities for involvement in Wikimedia projects such as thematic WikiProjects on Commons, campaigns like WLM & 1lib1ref with potential GLAM institutions regularly. As a result of these consistent communications, many organisations have expressed interest, invited us to collaborate with them in the past 2-3 years. Therefore the initiatives are from both sides.
‘...potential partners would be identified through mapping exercises’ The mapping exercise will be time / resource intensive. Such mappings already exist: from IIT Bombay, from IGNCA, from Abhilekh Patal. Is there a plan to use existing data?
— Thanks for sharing the links. We would do desk survey and online interviews, not the physical mapping. In this we will definitely use the previous works and database.
CIS should try and build a community for Wikivoyage project and host a national level activity for identifying contributors to the project
— Thanks for this suggestion. In the past we have had Wikivoyage sessions at different programs such as TTT2020, Wikimedia Wikimeet India. We can continue to support Wikivoyage plans and initiative as per the community need.
Would like to see learnings from the partnerships vertical of the CIS-A2K engagement. Partnerships provide an opportunity for learning and these lessons should be shared with the wiki community as well. Holding partnership clinics across communities, conferences or open dialogues would be helpful.
— We'll put additional effort in process and learning documentation this year. Partnership clinics is an interesting idea and we'll try this this year. Thanks for the suggestion.
A closer evaluation of activities such as TTT and Wikimedia Wikimeet should be taken into consideration before planning the next iterations. Topics such as effective follow-up, identifying the right level of engagement for the participants, curating the content for the participants, identifying both big and small opportunities to contribute should be integrated into the design of the event.
— We generally conduct detailed evaluation before conducting another iteration of a large-scale program like Train-the-Trainer or Wikimeet. We'll ensure to continue to do closer evaluation of activities as the GRC suggested.
We once again thank the Grants Regional Committee (SAARC) for their suggestions and inputs. We'll be happy to discuss further or provide addition information, if needed. Thanks, on behalf of CIS-A2K. --Tito (CIS-A2K) (talk) 11:43, 8 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Funding recommendation from South Asia Grants Committee[edit]

Hi @Tito (CIS-A2K): The South Asia Grants Committee recommends a full funding to the application put forward by the Centre for Internet and Society and Access to Knowledge team (CIS-A2K).

CIS-A2K has played an important role in shaping and sustaining Wikimedia related activities in India. Their work during Covid-19 pandemic shifted from programmatic engagement to volunteer support, building of spaces to connect and offering support in ways that was possible.

The South Asia Grants Committee would urge CIS-A2K to think deeply about the approaches they will use to build long term relationships with the outlined partners. If these approaches and strategies can be documented they can become a rich resource for the User Groups within India and other affiliates across the Movement.

The programs outlined by CIS-A2K in this proposal plan continues to build on its experience and has a proven record of yielding rich dividends on both the community building and creating content initiatives. The Grants Committee would like to encourage the A2K team to think of new and innovative approaches to learn from its successful programs, reflect on ideas and initiatives that have not been successful, build concrete initiatives based on the research conducted by the team, create and facilitate pathways to retain editors and attract newcomers from all sections.

It has been noted that CIS has responded positively to suggestions and feedback offered by the grants committee. Regular updates of the activities taken up by CIS-A2K via newsletters and community conversations will be appreciated. Utilisation of the existing resources and contacts while building new partnerships, planning new activities can help CIS-A2K in saving time and resources.

CIS-A2K is a prominent and active institution in the Indian context and carries the responsibility of providing an overall picture of the Wikimedia activities along with the major milestones, learning and challenges. For these reasons CIS-A2K’s approach of giving importance to ‘institutional knowledge and knowledge transfer process’ are very important and the South Asia Grants Committee will be happy to support such an initiative.

We look forward to continuous communication and engagement with CIS-A2K.

On behalf of the South Asia Grants Committee THasan (WMF) (talk) 04:43, 26 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Hello THasan (WMF) and Grants Committee, thank you for the review, suggestions and the support. We have noted your suggestions and we'll try our best to work on those. On behalf of CIS-A2K, regards, --Tito (CIS-A2K) (talk) 04:50, 26 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]