Question about region
Thank you for submitting this proposal. I have a preliminary question to support review of your application:
You mention that this project will take place in both Venezuela and Spain. You may be aware that we recently transitioned to reviewing proposals on a regional basis. Venezuela falls into the the Latin America and the Caribbean region, while Spain falls into the Northern and Western Europe region. For cross-regional projects like yours, we review in the region where funding would be sent. Since you have applied as an individual, this means that the funds would be sent to you, and your location determines which region this proposal belongs in. Can you please confirm that you are based in the Northern and Western Europe region? If not, and if you are in Latin America or the Caribbean, then I would just need to notify the Program Officer for the Latin America and the Caribbean region, since she would be the one to conduct review of this proposal.
Once you have confirmed the region, I or another Program Officer will follow up.
- @Mjohnson (WMF): Hi! Many thanks for the soon response and time :) Indeed, I am based in the Northern and Western Europe region, in Spain. Best regards! --NoonIcarus (talk) 02:10, 23 March 2022 (UTC)
Questions about your proposal
Thank you for confirming your location. I've reviewed your proposal and I have the following questions:
Related to the logistics of our eligibility review process:
- Can you tell me what your local currency is? Is it Euros?
- Can you also email at nwe_rapidwikimedia.org and tell me your legal name? I need to know this to complete the eligibility check.
So as not to further delay your review, I am going to proceed with asking questions about your project plan, though I won't be able to confirm eligibility until I receive your answers to the question above.
- Can you share a little more detail about what the loopholes were that some participants found in the WikiVoyage contest as mentioned in this report, and how you plan to address those issues this time?
- Your contest rewards contributors by the quantity of content they create. Sometimes, this can inadvertently be a deterrent from focusing on quality. How do you plan to mitigate this risk and support the growth of volunteers to create quality content? For example, will you provide guidelines and/or links to related trainings for participants that will help improve the quality of their contributions (see this example for the Wiki Loves Africa Photo Contest for reference in a different context)? Will you offer any drop-in office hours or other kinds of support to help volunteers with their work?
- We normally try to support prize budgets in a manner that is proportional to expected participation. We also try to avoid setting prizes so high that it might motivate people to edit for prizes alone. We ask you to reduce the total prize budget to 300 USD, and when possible, emphasize non-monetary prizes.
For future reference:
- Should you and your team decide to run a future NewsVoyage project and seek funding, we encourage you to use dates, numbers or some other mechanism to distinguish your grant requests. User:Galahad submitted a Rapid Fund request with the same title as yours in 2021, and we can't use that exact same project title a second time, so we have changed your proposal title to NewsVoyage 2 in order for our database to accept it. Thank you!
Let me know if you have any questions.
- @Mjohnson (WMF): Hello! Once again, many thanks for the soon response and attention :) Indeed, my local currency is in Euros. I will forward my name shortly after finishing.
- Regarding the loophole, it consisted in a contestant copying and pasting news hosted on sites under public domain, as well as splitting news; for example, instead of stating "Earthquake in state A, B and C", they published "earthquake in the state a", "earthquake in state b" and "earthquake in state c". The new rules will prohibit both situations, and judged will have the authority to decide on any possible irregularity that is not contemplated or typified in them.
- In the previous rules we have established higher scores for each guide that has excellent quality. While there will be points for new guides, improving existing guides will award double points. Judges review quality through the fountain system, and in the previous contest this was not a problem.
- We will reduce the amount dedicated to prizes, instead we will give $100 for one of the three judges who wishes to do weekly office hours during the contest to accompany the contestants. We have contest medals as well, although it would be ideal to be able to opt, for the first place, for something from the Wikimedia store, and also something from the store for the judges who do not accompany the office hours if possible. This is left open for the next revision. The store will be added if possible, and if this is not the case just the reduction and adding amount for office hours would be fine. --NoonIcarus (talk) 12:07, 29 March 2022 (UTC)
- NoonIcarus, thank you for your responses.
- I'm glad to hear that you have a system for evaluating quality. I encourage you to make sure that your rubric for evaluating quality is transparent to your participants, since it will help people to know how they can make their articles better and incentivize them to do so.
- As soon as you have updated your budget, ping me here and I will be ready to approve your grant request. I wasn't quite sure from your comments about the Wikimedia Store if you have a question for me about that. You are free to decide whether you want to use medals and/or items from the store, so long as the total prize budget does not exceed 300 USD.
- Dear @Mjohnson (WMF):,
- Per your observations, I have discussed the budget with Galahad and made the respective changes (), reducing the prize budget to not exceed 300 USD. Likewise, I have moved the planned start and end dates, so the contest would start on April 20 instead of April 1. We'll make any other changes if needed. As a sidenote, I wanted to thank you for your recommendation on the grant request titles, we will take them into account in the futute.
Hello NoonIcarus, thank you for reducing the budget for prizes. I want to acknowledge that I have been delayed in responding to you again over the last three weeks. This is an especially busy time of year that makes it difficult to manage all of the tasks before me, and I apologize for the impact to you of my delay. You mentioned in your last comment that you can make changes to the dates if needed, so can you confirm you would still like to move ahead? I will approve your request if you can confirm.
In the meantime I have some additional questions and feedback for you:
- On the strategic level:
- As I am sure you are aware, knowledge equity is one of the two main pillars of the Wikimedia movement's strategic direction, guiding us to "focus our efforts on the knowledge and communities that have been left out by structures of power and privilege." The critical body of work related to travel writing has made extensive criticisms about the potential for this genre to reinforce patterns of colonization that contribution to inequity, rather than equity. I am curious to know in what ways your group has attempted to absorb and synthesize the criticisms against travel writing and sought to make sure the work you do on WikiVoyage follows current thinking about the best way to decolonize travel writing? Do you include education about decolonizing travel writing in the framework you create for volunteers? In asking you this, I acknowledge that I do not have a lot of expertise personally in this area, but have seen interesting work in popular cultural sources in the last few years (for example, this article, or this course, but there are many out there) and I know there is also a more formal academic layer of critical work as well. If you are thinking about this, I wonder if you could share some of the sources you look to in order to inform your thinking about decolonizing travel? How do these sources inform your current strategy?
- With small projects like Wikivoyage, because they are less known to most people, content is less likely to be seen. Therefore, making your work impactful and effective means you need to work harder to tie your efforts to the needs of reader. As you think about where to focus your efforts, how do you attempt to identify the priority needs of existing Wikivoyage readers? And/or what strategies do you use to make sure the content you produce will make its way to readers who will value it? One metaphor I sometimes use for content creation is that if you don't tend to the readers, it can be like designing a really awesome bicycle but since nobody knows it is there to ride it, it sits in the shed and rusts. This metaphor is especially important for travel writing because it becomes outdated more quickly than many other kinds of content. For this reason, for your work to be impactful, it will be very important that you are clear about what readership looks like in Wikivoyage right now, and how you can respond to the needs of those readers. I would be interested in hearing how you are thinking about this.
- A related point, given that travel writing becomes outdated relatively quickly, how do you plan strategically for updating content over time?
On the operational level:
- Can you please provide a breakdown of how the funds you have allocated for judging will be used? If it includes people's time, please make the hourly rate apparent. My understanding is that judging is most often a volunteer activity and these costs seem high to me, so I encourage you to think about whether recruitment of volunteers who might enjoy this activity is possible as a part of your ongoing planning. Consider how you can bring these costs down.
- I see you have added funding for office hour assistance. It would be helpful if you can can also provide a breakdown of costs showing what these costs will cover. If it includes people's time, please make the hourly rate apparent.
Thank you again for your proposal!
- Hi @Mjohnson (WMF):! Warm regards :) Thank you very much for the insight; Don't worry, I can imagine how imagine your position can get, and we're happy to answer any questions necessary. I confirm that we still wish to proceed with the project, I'll discuss these questions with Galahad and seek to respond soon, tomorrow if possible. Stay safe! --NoonIcarus (talk) 22:17, 26 April 2022 (UTC)
- Hi @Mjohnson (WMF)! I'm not @NoonIcarus but I can answer some questions:
- With small projects like Wikivoyage [...]: The general problem is that Wikiviajes is unknown and therefore is rarely edited; the goal is to encourage them through these contests so that they know about it, know its modality and decide to edit. Certain data in the guides are updated directly by Wikidata, while others must be updated directly by the editors. These guides are usually outdated annually, unless there is a radical change during the year after they have been updated.
- About the funds for office hour assistance and judging: These expenses are considered a "thank you" for their support in evaluating the guides, photos and office hours. This will motivate them to continue participating in future initiatives. Each judge should dedicate five hours, evaluated at $2 during the week assigned for the evaluation and thus reduce the overload experienced in the previous contest.
- Current judges may or may not accept the stipend and, in any case, other volunteers will also join as judges. Here we are indicating the core team that will administer this contest, with no fear that others may join - and it will be well appreciated!
- The reason why it was included in this contest and not in the previous one was due to the overload experienced by the previous team, which caused the withdrawal of one of them for the next one. If the goal is to motivate, then we believe this is an important step.
- Regarding the delay, in May there is an excellent theme that we can use, so the contest will still be held. In any case, in the future we would like these questions to be asked in the first message so as not to delay the contest and the planned logistics. Regards, Galahad (sasageyo!)(esvoy) 15:00, 2 May 2022 (UTC)
- @Mjohnson (WMF): Hello! Before responding on the strategic level, I first wanted to thank you for your awareness and concern for systematic bias and cultural issues. Although part of the group is based in Spain and there are participants expected from this country, the scope of the event involves the rest of the Hispanic speaking world and we expect most participants to be native from Latin America; likewise, I expect to have participants from different races and ethnic backgrounds. We hope that this will help on focusing on offering the perspective of the host, rather than just the visitor, a concern raised by the Adventure.com article, bringing insight and representation from a local point of view.
- Furthermore, we will looking forward being particularly mindful of the economic and ecological impact that described activities have in the local communities, which is a criticism that has been made and is mentioned in the cited articles too. While we are aware that there might not be a silver bullet for dealing with systemic biases that have run deeply through decades, if not more, but we believe that acknowledging them is a step in the right direction that further helps to take the right decisions to continue improving.
Your proposal has been funded for $840 USD, with my apologies for my delay in approving this proposal.
I encourage you to continue to evolve your thinking about how your work can grow in its awareness of the intersection of knowledge equity and travel. I appreciate the thinking you have already done, and also see such an interesting opportunity for deeper integrate of ideas and discourse around this topic. There is an opportunity to lead and inspire others around various themes at this intersection. I mention this especially because I understand that the applicants for this Rapid Fund are also associated with an application in the General Support Program in the Latin America region, so I know you are preparing to do bigger picture planning.
As a note for the future, I also want to mention that in general individuals who are associated with a group that has received funding through General Support should not continue to apply for Rapid Fund requests, since the goal of General Support funding is to support longer term coordinated strategic planning by the group, rather than separate discrete efforts by individuals. So, if your group is successful in getting funding through General Support Funds, I'm assuming that you would not continue to make Rapid Fund requests. If that is not the case, we would need to have a conversation to help me understand your thinking.
I wish you the best of luck with your project!