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Grants talk:Programs/Wikimedia Community Fund/Wikimedia Sverige – Supporting an equitable free knowledge movement by expanding our global initiatives and local fundraising

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Latest comment: 2 years ago by John Andersson (WMSE) in topic Funding recommendation

Committee feedback[edit]

Hi @John Andersson (WMSE):, @André Costa (WMSE): and colleagues from Wikimedia SE!

Thank you for your grant proposal - The Northern and Western Europe Regional Committee has made an initial review and here is our feedback:

From this proposal,  we could see you are focused and know exactly what your plan is. We acknowledge as well your extensive experience in the activity for which  you are seeking funding.

We would like further clarifications on the proposed thematic hub and the Wikispeech project. We found reducing your local activities to focus on a hub without getting community consensus as risky and not well thought through.

  1. We would like to see information describing each of your main activities, and how they compare to your list of projects. This is substantial information that is missing from the proposal;
  2. Concerning metrics, we have the following questions:
    1. We found the metric of 1 million Wikidata edits somewhat unclear, and would like to have more information on its meaning;
    2. What was the number of participants each year, in 2020 and 2021?
    3. What was the number of editors each year, in 2020 and 2021?
    4. What was the number of organizers each year, in 2020 and 2021?
    5. How many Wikipedia pages were edited, in 2020 and 2021?
    6. How many media file pages or data pages on Wikimedia Commons have been created, in 2020 and 2021?
    7. How many unique content Wikidata pages were created or improved in 2020 and 2021?
    8. We would like to have a clarification on why the number of volunteer hours was stated to be zero, when we expect that there are indeed volunteers working with WMSE;
    9. We noticed that focus seems to be in content, rather than community engagement, and would like a clarification if this is in line with the current state of a Wikimedia community building and sustainability in Sweden;
  3. We noticed that the objectives aren't really objectives, but metrics. We would like to see more qualitative/overarching objectives, and then see these metrics being used to assess their impact, rather than the other way around;
  4. Membership:
    1. What is your vision of the membership model (in the context of the target to double membership) and its effects on the governance of the chapter?
    2. We understand there is a natural limit for any community size, above which we may be getting people who have limited interest in the Movement. How do you plan to deal with (or avoid) this potential situation? We would also like to know?
  5. Budget:
    1. In order for us to properly evaluate and understand the budget request, we would like to receive the total budget that Sverige received from the Wikimedia Foundation for the years 2021 and 2022;
    2. We found the budget hard to understand due to insufficient level of detail and lack of split between Sweden-specific activities and future hub activities. While the overall magnitude of expenses seems reasonable, not all projects are presented. Could you please provide some details on the projects mentioned in your activities (e.g. there is no explanation of what is ‘MP – Samsyn 2022’)? A one-sentence description of each project should be fine. Eventually some document with an explanation of what are the 2022 activities and/or a better split of this budget would be quite useful;
    3. We would like the clarification if those main activities match your budget lines, and more information on the activities;
    4. We would like more clarity and examples of what “access” means in the budget, specially when this is the item where most of the money seems to be spent;
    5. You are applying for a multi-year funding, could you please provide an estimate of budgets for following years?
  6. You mention a program to engage underrepresented areas of Sweden relying on an external grant. How do you estimate a likelihood to obtain it, and do you have an alternative plan if you do not get it?
  7. Content Partnerships Hub
    1. We would like more information and clarifications around the Content Partnerships hub. In particular, we noticed the lack of community engagement around it - we would expect a proposal like this to have at least half a dozen other affiliates signing up for it and taking part. However, the hub, in its current state, shows a clear absence of community engagement. We would like to see more broad discussion about it, as well as the WMF position on it, as it seems to be a  multi-year funding request (in multiple FTE) in a very uncertain context,  and you seem to have quite big plans for this;
    2. Leading the Content Partnerships hub is a serious development, however, it is not even mentioned in your strategy, while it seems to already take multiple FTE. How do you envision the future of this hub over the following years? What is the target staffing structure (you mention in the white paper that you hired additional people but you also mention in the grant proposal that you need to restaff people from national projects)? Is the ‘special grant for Content partnerships support’ you mention already confirmed by WMF?
  8. Wikispeech: It is not clear to us how it compares to existing screen reader tools, or even if this is really needed at all. Additionally, though we have the impression that Wikipedia generally fares quite well with screen readers, it still needs technical and social work in some cases - like adding alt tags. We are unsure, therefore, that this development is in the right direction;
  9. Grand Tour of Wikimedia: What is your approach to identifying pairs for the Grand Tour of Wikimedia? Do you want to make it 1:1 exchanges (1 affiliate engages with 1 other) or many:1 (1 affiliate hosts people from multiple others)? Would you prefer a shorter distance or a closer match in affiliate contexts?
  10. Covid-19: We noticed you seem to be the only chapter not providing a Covid-19 assessment. Even if this is not really something mandatory, we would like to be sure you will follow Covid-19 guidelines, even in the cases where national guidelines could be very lax.

We are looking forward to hearing from you, and we will make our final decision towards mid-January upon receiving your feedback.

On behalf of the NWE regional committee - - Darwin Ahoy! 20:05, 1 January 2022 (UTC) ~Reply

@John Andersson (WMSE): Please could you split your answers from the questions on this page, so they are easier to read, rather than having a mix of the questions that Darwin posted with your answers? Ideally there would be the list of questions followed by the list of answers. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 13:13, 12 January 2022 (UTC)Reply
Hi, sure. If that is what you prefer. I am making the change now. John Andersson (WMSE) (talk) 13:02, 13 January 2022 (UTC)Reply

General comment:

I think that the general comment made, before your list of questions, needs some additional context to clarify what seem to be a serious missunderstanding. We couldn’t fit this background into the application because of the word limits. We have spent the last few years, in close cooperation with the Swedish communities and members of the association, in developing means and strategies for scaling up Wikimedia Sverige’s work on a national level. This has involved substantial work done by working groups to develop our new strategy (linked in the application); developing guidelines for sustainable association involvement; and toolkits and projects for local engagement. This has laid the foundation for future national growth, but this growth is dependent on additional funding, which is partly covered by the funds from the Wikimedia Community Fund, but mainly this work is intended to be covered with the funds that we have applied for from a Swedish funder, but not yet secured. But this is additional work, not replacement of the existing national activities – which we by no means plan to stop carrying out. To put it clearly: we have not slowed down any local or national activities, but due to lack of funding, we have not yet been able to reap all the fruits of the labor of the last few years.

I want to acknowledge the poorly phrased sentence that I think has created this confusion. When writing "which has slowed activities in Sweden" we did not mean to say that the focus on international work itself has reduced or removed any current activities in Sweden. But it has slowed the growth of new activities in Sweden, as we have prioritized the work with the hub as we believe it to be important to solve long-standing issues for the Wikimedia movement globally. As we have prepared and planned for an expansion for a long time now, we hope to increase both national and international work in the coming year (see also the answer about the large grant application for a multi-year project to grow our national presence).

In the application we sent to you, we aimed to highlight the changes that are of most interest to the international Wikimedia movement. With the limited characters available, there was simply no place to mention all the projects that we are running or plan to run on a national or international level.

Regarding the work to engage the international community for endorsements, please see answer below under the questions about the hub.

Answers to your questions:

  1. From our meeting with staff from WMF we got the understanding that we, with the limited amount of characters available, were not to outline all activities in short, but instead focus on explaining a selected few key initiatives from each of our four programs in more detail. The four programs, Access, Use, Community and Enabling have been identified as part of our new 4-year strategy. Per your suggestion, we have now added a short description of each project in the budget document. We have also added some information under the third budget question you posted. I hope that it provides the information you need.
  2. Metrics:
    1. We are expecting to make improvements to around 30,000 different Wikidata objects and to the structured data of 500,000 media pages on Wikimedia Commons. On each of these multiple new statements will be added. For example we might create a new Wikidata object about a protected cultural heritage site, and in the object there will be statements regarding what country it is located in, when it was built etc.
    2. 2020 we had 4,276 participants. 2021 we had 2,921 participants.
    3. 2020 we had 634 editors. 2021 we had 248 editors.
    4. 2020 we had 170 organizers. 2021 we had 232 organizers.
    5. 2020 we had 23,005 Wikipedia pages edited. 2021 we had 16,132 Wikipedia pages edited.
    6. 2020 we had 45,434 media file pages or data pages on Wikimedia Commons created or improved. 2021 we had 434,083 media file pages or data pages on Wikimedia Commons created or improved.
    7. 2020 we had 29,366 unique Wikidata content pages created or improved. 2021 we had 17,486 unique Wikidata content pages created or improved.
    8. We have had around 60 or so unique volunteers engaged in our work the last few years. As we wrote in the description we are using 0 as a proxy as we have not systematically collected the numbers of hours previously and we are hesitant to guess. Instead, we would like 2022 to form the baseline. We will of course aim for the number to be as high as possible and expect it to be hundreds of hours.
    9. We are not sure if we understand this point correctly, so please excuse us if the answer misses the point you are trying to make.
      As stated above, we have worked meticulously during the last few years to build a stronger and more resilient community in Sweden. This has involved developing a new strategy (through working groups in the community), developing guidelines for a sustainable community involvement, and developing concepts for as well as carrying out members’ meetings, to engage the community and deepen the possibilities for involvement. If we receive the funding we have applied for here and externally, we will be able to scale up the work with community building greatly across Sweden. Please note that the dedicated budget for the Community program is sizable (in fact it is the largest it has ever been in the organization’s history) with 2,181,600 SEK dedicated for community building and engagement.
      A significant amount of our focus when we are working with content partners to bring their valuable knowledge to the Wikimedia platforms is that this should not be done in isolation, but we work closely with the communities to integrate the material into the Wikimedia platforms in different ways.
      Furthermore, we don’t see any direct conflict between focusing on content and community engagement. Rather, we believe these to be closely intertwined. One example of this is the mass upload we did of new data on Swedish nature reserves, together with the Environmental Protection Agency. This data was used as the foundation for a Wiki Loves Earth map that we developed that made it easier for participants to see their closest object in the competition. This, in turn, dramatically increased participation and the number of photos in Wiki Loves Earth. In this way, content leads to community involvement and engagement.
      We also believe that community involvement is important for the creation of new content. For many years, we work to provide accreditation for volunteers to large events, such as sport events, the Eurovision Song Contest or political press conferences. This has led to tens of thousands of photos on Wikimedia Commons, showing how community involvement leads to the creation of new content.
      The WikiGap campaign, where we are the global coordinators, is another important example of this. WikiGap also shows how content and community building go hand in hand. For a few years, UN agencies and other IGOs have proposed names of women missing from Wikipedia. These names have been used to create a list for the WikiGap participants to focus on, especially in the WikiGap Challenge. This, in turn, has increased participation in the challenge, and has led to communities closing important gaps on Wikipedia.
      All in all, we work closely with the communities to enable new content, and work hard to find ways to use content as a way to make it easier for communities to engage on the Wikimedia platforms.
  3. The main objectives of our work in the upcoming years are found in the 4-year strategy, which we link directly under the question. These objectives have been developed by our members, and approved by them during our annual general meeting. This means that they are firmly established by and in our communities, and in this way, they are the central guidance for our work in the upcoming years. For us it is important that the strategic direction of the association is developed and approved by our members, according to democratic principles. The central objectives in the strategy reads as follows:
  • Access:
    • The chapter shall work to ensure that information that is of broad interest is made open and easily accessible, linked together and refined.
    • The chapter shall work towards a societal change, where increased access to free knowledge is facilitated by practical means and thus becomes the norm.
  • Use:
    • The chapter shall provide volunteers and users with tools and opportunities to contribute to and ensure qualitative information.
    • The chapter shall contribute to improving the user experience on the Wikimedia platforms.
    • The chapter shall work towards giving all volunteers equal opportunities to contribute to the Wikimedia platforms.
  • Community:
    • The chapter shall support existing communities.
    • The chapter shall help create new communities.
  • Enabling:
    • The chapter's work shall be operationally sustainable.
    • The chapter's work shall be financially sustainable.
    • The chapter shall collaborate with new partners and actors.
    • The association's work shall be based on and contribute to learning and monitoring what's happening in the world.
The SMART goals provided in the proposal starts our work in this strategic direction, and all of the key objectives under “some identified key objectives”, in our belief, work towards some of these strategic objectives.
The reason for why we linked to the strategy, and provided SMART goals in the proposal, was the following description in the application guidelines: “A project objective is what you plan to achieve by the end of your project. Objectives should be attainable, time-bound, specific goals you can measure at the end of your project. Discover more references about developing project objectives by clicking here".
4. Membership
4.1. Previously in our response, we have mentioned the thorough work that we have made during the last few years, to enable members to deepen their influence on the association and their involvement. We believe that Wikipedia is one of the most successful social movements of the digital era, but Wikimedia Sverige is yet to become a social movement as an association. For this we need to lower barriers for becoming a member, for becoming active and for deepening one’s involvement. We need to engage more diverse groups, and show the diversity of tasks and projects that can be run in the association.
We are developing education material, concepts and strategies for opening up the association to more members and more involvement. We think that this is crucial, for the long term sustainability of the association – and for scaling up the work with free knowledge across Sweden.
Our belief is that an affiliate benefits from a large membership base in many ways, which is why we are keen on working on a significant expansion in the coming years. The benefits include, but are not limited to:
  • A more diverse membership base, which is crucial for better informed decisions, more diverse knowledge on the platforms and diversification of the projects run by the association.
  • Members that can work in different roles, on different levels and in different geographic and thematic areas. The smaller the association, the more work is required by each member. When we grow, it is easier for members to dedicate their time to their passions and wishes, together with other like-minded people. We have members today that are primarily interested in organizational questions, in helping out with advocacy, in working with GLAM contacts, in working with mass uploads, etc. We want to enable more people to work on what they are passionate about, and a growing association lays the foundation for that.
  • Members might also want to work on different levels – some only as supporters, some as future leaders. We work hard to make sure that members can be active to the extent they want, without overburdening the ones who are already active. Volunteer burnout is unfortunately a real problem, the most important means to mitigate this problem is by increasing the membership base and enabling involvement on different levels, to the extent that works for each member according to their possibilities and situations in life.
  • Increased influence in society. Sweden is a country with a very active civil society, and a large majority of the population is active in one or several associations. With more members, our influence increases, which is important in relations to other civil society organizations, in talks with politicians, stakeholders and other actors.
It is crucial for us that a membership is a gateway to deeper engagement with the free knowledge movement in general and Wikimedia in particular.
4.2. We want to reiterate that we don’t believe that there is one kind of member for our association, one kind of volunteer in our movement. According to our statutes, anyone who shares our goals and pays the membership fee can become a member in the association. We also don’t believe that there is one community for the Wikimedia movement, but a great many and that we have only scratched the surface at this point. Even if they overlap they are distinct and to have them join the organization as members has different challenges, opportunities, risks and rewards associated with them.
Thus we don’t really agree with the concept of a natural limit. You might want to be a member because you want to support our work pushing for better freedom of panorama legislation. You might want to be a member because you want to organize Wikimedia camps. You might want to be a member because you want to learn more about how to do mass uploads. Or you might want to be a member because you want to contribute to Wikipedia and want to take part in the different types of support that the association provides. Our role as a chapter is to provide the possibilities for involvement that the members require, during annual meetings or in their communication. We are actively working to make sure that new members get a deeper understanding of and interest in the Wikimedia movement.
We believe that we need to provide support to the different groups and deepen their engagement over time.
5. Budget
5.1. In 2021 we received a dedicated project grant of 3,344,000 SEK from the Wikimedia Foundation to experiment with forming a Thematic hub for Content Partnerships. This project grant can be used until June 2023, but we are expecting to use the majority of the funds during 2021 and 2022. In addition to this we received APG funding for 2021 (of 3,038,500 SEK).
5.2. We were previously asked to simplify our budget which is why we provided you with one that does not contain a line per project, but groups these by the strategic area they are working towards.
Based on your requests we have prepared an updated budget that you can find here: Budget 2022 - WCF Application, v.2.
Please note that this is the budget that we are working based on until our General Assembly at the end of April. Since the strategy is new for this year there is a possibility that the General Assembly will ask for changes to be made to the budget to address some particular part of the strategy implementation.
5.3. In our project proposal we are highlighting a few selected key activities divided per programmatic area. This is not encompassing the full range of our activities but are meant as highlights of interest and relevance to the global Wikimedia movement.
These activities are organized through one or more projects.
  • The activities described under Access, that are connected to our Thematic hub work, are organized under the project Content partnerships support 2021.
  • The activities listed under Use are organized under the three Wikispeech projects: Wikispeech for AI 2020, Wikispeech – Maintenance and Support 2022 and Wikispeech – Speech Data Collector Tool 2022.
  • The two activities listed under Community are organized under Wikipedia for All of Sweden 2022 and A Community for Everybody 2022 respectively.
  • The activities listed under Enabling are organized under the projects Organizational Development 2022 and Association Involvement 2022. Also, part of the costs for local fundraising are covered by the Content partnerships support 2021 and Wikipedia for all of Sweden 2022 projects.
5.4. Wikimedia Sverige work is centered around four programmatic areas, one of them being Access. The Access program includes all projects, including the hub work, that are focusing on delivering more content to the Wikimedia platforms in the short or long term. Below you find a definition of what they encompass (from our 2021-2025 Strategy):
  • Access – Wikimedia Sverige shall work for a societal change in Sweden and globally, where increased access to free knowledge becomes the norm and practically possible, and where high quality material benefits the Wikimedia platforms.
  • Use – Wikimedia Sverige shall contribute to a feeling of safety on the Wikimedia platforms, so that people are motivated to use the knowledge on them, and to contribute to it themselves.
  • Community – Wikimedia Sverige shall support existing communities, as well as help create new communities.
  • Enabling – The work of Wikimedia Sverige shall be financially and operatively sustainable. It shall be possible to re-use and build upon by the broader free knowledge movement.
Each programmatic area is in turn addressed by two or more strategies. Each budget line that we sent you is for such a strategy.
5.5. Our understanding from the conversation with the staff at the WMF is that checking the multi-year funding box was only intended as an indication of interest on our part.
As our chapter receives a significant part of our Budget from external grant applications, so the total Budget cannot easily be estimated at this point. However, we expect a significant part of the WCF funded activities to continue in one form or another as they target key audiences outlined in our new strategy.
6. As with any application there is always uncertainty. We have had initial conversations with the funder and they have stated that they want to fund a large project from us. It might be this exact project, a version of it, or something completely different. It is an open application process so we are able to decide the focus ourselves and are not forced to adjust our priorities to fit the funder's goals. We sent in the application in late December 2021 and expect an answer by the end of February.
We also have an alternative funder identified where we could reuse large parts of the application.
We estimate that the likelihood that we receive funding during 2022 is very good.
7. Content Partnerships Hub
7.1. We are exploring this increased focus on international work as we have strong support from the Swedish community, and have been directed to do this by our membership and the chapter’s elected board.
We could have continued doing more of what we have been doing for the past years and scaled the amount of local partnerships – while we and the rest of the movement continue to struggle with the same limits regarding tools, methods and material. As we believe that our organization is in a healthy state we believe that we are ready to tackle some fundamental challenges that our community and the global Wikimedia community are facing. We believe that as a mid-sized affiliate we have a responsibility to try to support smaller Wikimedia communities to develop. We also believe that this shift is in spirit with the Wikimedia movement's 2030-strategic recommendations.
We are in an exploratory phase to find out better what the hub should and could be doing where we try to clarify what the scope of the hub should be and how the work should be organized. As such we have not been collecting signatures of endorsement at this point.
That said, in the process of developing the different parts of the thematic hub we have had hundreds of conversations and have seen strong interest and support from stakeholders across the movement. We believe that through these conversations we will soon be reaching a level of clarity on what should be prioritized for the hub. The next step after that is to engage affiliates in both the practical work and with endorsements. We believe that the results of the exploratory phase will help affiliates make a more informed decision when considering endorsement. We aim to reach that point by March and April this year.
We have also worked very closely with a number of teams at the Wikimedia Foundation to develop these experiments and plans. We have together with them presented this initiative at numerous Wikimedia events over the last years. The response from the participants has been very positive. Furthermore, Wikimedia Foundation has financially supported the work.
Worth noting is that we have designed our work so that these efforts are delivering real results. They are not intended to be a desk product, but create value ongoingly. Also, the focus on international activities does not mean that we have done activities that are irrelevant to the Swedish community, as the efforts are what has strong support and interest from them.
The cost of the hub experimentation is currently covered by the project grant from Wikimedia Foundation. Our understanding is that a separate application process will be launched in late 2022 by the Global Council for funding of regional and thematic hubs and other implementation activities connected to the strategic recommendations. Our understanding is that this will be outside, and on-top, of this application to the Wikimedia Community Fund. We intend to propose a plan and a budget for the thematic hub to the Global Council, and this year's experimentation and following endorsements will form the basis for that proposal.
7.2 Our new strategy is intentionally not specifying operational choices and the strategy is intentionally not specifying if the work should be done on the national or international level.
The work to prepare for a Thematic hub has been detailed in our Annual plans since 2019, which are a key point of each Annual General Meeting. It is in the Annual plan the FTE etc. are specified. (Due to personal reasons the board has approved that the Annual plan for 2022 will be prepared during the first quarter of 2022, and not in Q4 2021, as we usually do.)
Depending on the outcome of the current experiments we will define a clear scope for the hub’s work in 2023 and forward. Based on this, and on available resources, we will develop a staffing structure. We believe that creating that plan without the knowledge gained from the exploratory work would be a missed opportunity.
That said, if the proposed plans of the hub are supported by the global community then we have the organizational structure in place to be able to scale the team significantly in the coming years. For example, together with Wikimedia Foundation’s Product Department and Wikimedia Deutschland we have already prepared a detailed breakdown of what a larger development team would entail so that the hub could help to improve tools needed for content partnerships.
8. There are several limits with existing screen reader tools. Some key issues include the fact that the commercial solutions only support a small part of the languages that have a Wikipedia version, and limiting our use to them means that we are therefore not fulfilling our vision of delivering free knowledge to everyone. That the commercial solutions are not open source, and therefore cannot be integrated onto the Wikimedia platforms, means that our users' data are less secure (as the companies now can track what they read).
Therefore we think that we, as a movement, need to invest resources to solve this. Wikimedia Sverige has been fortunate enough to receive a number of external grants that have allowed us to develop the Wikispeech extension as text-to-speech solutions for Swedish, English, Arabic. The tool is currently activated as a gadget on Swedish Wikipedia.
We have managed to fund this work as a number of major organizations have acknowledged the value of this initiative, as the text-to-speech solutions are suboptimal for many small languages, including Swedish. Worth noting is that the Basque User Group has managed to secure funding to add Basque to Wikispeech, which highlights the importance that many stakeholders see with this work and to ensure that text-to-speech works also for smaller languages as well as that the commercial solutions are inadequate. Not surprisingly the same problem exists for most African languages – this is well documented in the academic literature and has also been confirmed in multiple conversations that we have had during our involvement with UNESCO's work with indigenous languages.
In 2022 the funding from the Wikimedia Community Fund will be used to maintain the existing text-to-speech tool. If an external grant is secured we will add functionality that allows for crowdsourced improvements of the text-to-speech solution. We are in talks with organizations such as Mozilla, Google, the European Commission and different universities to ensure a high quality service in as many languages as possible.
Please see the rationale for Wikispeech here: Wikispeech/Background#What_is_unique_with_Wikispeech
9. Our ambition is to create many:1 bonds, where the affiliates host people from multiple others. Or rather even many:many, as there are also several affiliates acting as hosts within the project, receiving the same group of participants.
Even though we aim to make the tour environmentally sustainable, we think it is important to put a heavy emphasis on matching the affiliates within the theme of that specific tour. During the course of time, there will probably be tours that travel both long and short distances, because of the interest of the hosts and travelers as well as the goals of the Movement. If a great program can be created within a short travel distance, of course this is the best solution (also because of time efficiency). But the content of the program is what is most important.
For your convenience we have now published our concept paper about the exchange program here: File:Concept_paper_for_The_Grand_Tour_of_Wikimedia.pdf
10. Beginning in March 2020, we took several steps to ensure a safe environment for both staff and volunteers. During the last two years, we have barely had any physical events. AGMs, members meetings, WP20 celebrations and so on have all been digital. The few physical events we have organized very recently, when the infection rates, rates of vaccination and national guidelines so allowed, have been organized according to the guidelines provided by WMF. We also have a board decision to not support physical events organized by volunteers, this is regularly revised based on the developing situation.
As the question was not mandatory, we did not know that an answer was expected, but we can assure that we are following the WMF and the national guidelines as long as they are applicable, and the situation requires it. The wellbeing of staff, members and volunteers is of course the most important. John Andersson (WMSE) (talk) 13:02, 13 January 2022 (UTC)Reply

Additional question by the commitee[edit]

@John Andersson (WMSE) Dear WMSE, can you please share more details about the funding you received by WMF since 2021 concerning the development of a GLAM thematic hub, and to what extent - with some detail - the current grant request covers/applies to that project? - Darwin Ahoy! 09:38, 21 January 2022 (UTC)Reply

This is an unrestricted grant that we received in 2021 from the Wikimedia Foundation. Even though the 2021 grant is an unrestricted grant the intention is that the funds should be used to support the implementation of the strategic recommendations and to continue experimentation on forming a Thematic hub.
The grant was paid out in full during Wikimedia Foundation’s 2020-2021 fiscal year. It was provided to us at a unique time during profound and swift changes at the Wikimedia Foundation that significantly could have affected our already started work in a negative way. We are grateful for the Foundation’s flexibility and willingness to continue to work with us with the hub amidst all the changes. The unrestricted grant was in no way intended to replace the general support we are applying for now and is not used for the same work as the Wikimedia Community Fund is providing in 2022. There are of course synergies between the work in the hub and with the work done using the Wikimedia Community Fund grant, but the way we are structuring our work there won’t be any direct overlap.
Our hub work is intended to provide insights to the rest of the Wikimedia movement, which will hopefully speed up the implementation process of the strategic recommendations and lower the thresholds for other thematic hubs to form. The funds are intended to cover the cost of our hub work until the Global Council starts providing funds for Thematic hubs.
Originally we had discussions with WMF and the movement around developing a dedicated software team at Wikimedia Sverige, but as the large multi-year funding opportunity never materialized (due to changes at WMF) it was not possible to move ahead to establish a dedicated developer team in Sweden in 2021. (That said, detailed plans for how to form a developer team in Sweden have been created and are ready if funding opportunities exist in the future.)
When it was clear that the multi-year funding for the hub was off the table, we quickly refocused our plans to start experimenting with a number of hub activities to support content partnerships in other ways. Through a large number of conversations, starting in 2019, we had identified a number of possible activities that affiliates and community members from across the movement had argued needed more support.
The work with this hub grant started in July 2021 and can last until June 2023, even though we expect to use most of the funds by the end of 2022. Between July and August 2021 we developed our new plans and launched the work in late August 2021. The activities we are in the process of developing are intended to help make the discussions in the Wikimedia movement more concrete while also providing concrete outputs in the first year.
By the end of 2022 we hope to have a well developed plan for the hub, based on real-world experimentation, ready to be proposed to the Global Council. Knowing that the funding structure for thematic hubs might not be in place by the end of 2022 we are also actively looking for external funding opportunities to continue the work. We hope that many of the experiments we are running in 2022 will be possible to turn into multi-year initiatives in partnership with organizations across the free knowledge movement.
Our Progress report outlines some details on the background to the grant here.
Also, the White Paper provided some details about the background (in the last paragraph) here.
During the call we had today you also asked me to add more information about the engagement of movement stakeholders in the hub work that we are doing with the unrestricted grant we received in 2021 from the Wikimedia Foundation.
The first thing we did after receiving the hub grant was to launch the Content Partnerships Hub portal on Meta to provide a go-to-place for anyone interested in engaging with the initiative. We are also developing a number of concept papers together with different stakeholders in the movement to clarify the activities.
To identify what activities to focus on we have had dozens of semi-structured interviews with affiliates to understand their needs and interests and how we can work together. On a biweekly basis we are revising our activities based on the knowledge and insights gained from the interviews. These conversations are continuing in 2022.
For each of the hub activities we are developing, we are engaging different stakeholders from the movement. To give a few concrete examples:
  • Regarding the small scale software development we are in contact with volunteer developers, with teams at WMF and WMDE and with other affiliates that are working on tool development. We are also discussing with other affiliates on how joint funding and prioritization of software tools can be done in a shared way.
  • For work with the Helpdesk we are in the process of launching an expert committee to help guide what we should focus on. For us this is the first international committee we have organized and we are learning a lot from the process. We believe that more expert committees and working groups are likely to follow to provide guidance on different aspects of the work.
  • For the capacity building we have engaged multiple affiliates to support the Wikimedia Grand Tour initiative and we have already agreed with a few affiliates to take part in organizing the first Tour and many more have shown interest to either host the people traveling or take part themselves.
  • For work with international organizations we are working with a couple of teams at Wikimedia Foundation and have initiated discussions with a number of affiliates that have experience in establishing partnerships with IGOs as well as with different community organizers that might have use of the content from the IGOs and therefore might want to work with us.
We are still early in the project and expect this work to scale significantly.
To create engagement and support for the initiatives we are also actively participating in meetings around the strategic recommendations organized by the Wikimedia Foundation to engage people in the work with hubs, we have meetings with different executive directors at affiliates, with GLAM staff etc.
We will continue to work together with affiliates and volunteers on developing these ideas during 2022. We expect that we actively will start seeking endorsements for the proposed plans by mid-year.
Best, John Andersson (WMSE) (talk) 17:46, 21 January 2022 (UTC)Reply

Funding recommendation[edit]

Hi Wikimedia SE and @John Andersson (WMSE):,

Thank you again for your proposal and for your detailed answers. Congratulations, We are happy to recommend your grant for approval. The committee recommends the approval of full funding in the amount of 3560000 SEK for the grant term 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2024 to Wikimedia SE. However, this recommendation does not include the use of the Wikimedia Community Fund for the Content Partnerships Hub. While the work being invested on this hub looks impressive, it is currently funded by a separate grant from the WMF, and the committee still has reservations about how well other Wikimedia affiliates have been (or will be) incorporated into WMSE's hub work. Additionally, we consider that since the concept of 'hubs' is still being discussed in the Wikimedia movement, it is important to ensure that no single model has unfair advantage. The committee further recommends WMSE to publicly provide a consolidated summary of the ‘hubs grant’ project development before the second instalment of the multi year grant takes place.

We would have liked to have seen much more detail about your plans for the second year of the grant, but understand that this will come with the reports and metrics as this grant progresses. Thank you again for your proposal and for your involvement and we wish you all the possible successes for your work over the next few years!

On behalf of the NWE regional committee — Hanay (talk) 16:43, 25 January 2022 (UTC)Reply
On behalf of the NWE regional committee — - Darwin Ahoy! 16:48, 25 January 2022 (UTC)Reply

Thank you for the good news and for the committee's hard work! Best, John Andersson (WMSE) (talk) 13:55, 30 January 2022 (UTC)Reply