Comments from WMF
Hello, SuperHamster; thank you for submitting this grant request and for your work in organizing WLM 2019 in the United States. We have received greater demand than we expected for this edition of WLM, and we decided to use the budget to fund all the initiatives, rather than fund a select few. Because of this, we are asking all organizers to edit down their budgets to under 1000 USD.
- I support the general attitude to lower costs and rethink prizes a bit from that perspective. I do want to note that personally I think that this budget is not unreasonable for a country the size of the US. For a competition on this scale, I think a significant prize is necessary to be taken seriously by semi-professional photographers. Given the competition, the amount seems reasonable.
- At the same time, I do see that there's a significant amount of money reserved for shirts, and I'm not sure what the added value of the shirts is from a winner perspective. If anything would have to be cut, that may be the most sensible one (perhaps together with the advertizing). The certificates are an item I wholly support though: we know from various competitions that there is a segment of photographers that values it a lot. Effeietsanders (talk) 12:25, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
- Hi MMontes and Effeietsanders - thank you for your responses!
- We've done our best to reduce our budget to what I feel is a reasonable minimum to run the contest at a quality that is similar to previous years.
- I've removed the social media ads, as while they're nice to have, they don't drive a significant amount of traffic to our contest.
- For the t-shirts, I have removed shirts for contest winners, but have kept 15 shirts for our jury members. Our jury members are volunteers who each spend hours going through hundreds or thousands of photos (depending on the round). It's a big commitment, and we've heard from jury members that the t-shirt is a great token of appreciation. We'd like to keep these on as both a motivator and appreciation for our jury, and to help ensure we can continue to recruit adequate help each year.
- For the prizes, expanding on Effeietsanders' statement: In 2017, as noted in our report, we received complaints about our low prize offering (1st place being $200), especially from semi-professional and professional photographers. These complaints weren't unreasonable given the scope of our contest (over 1,400 participants that year, the most out of all countries) and the market for professional photos in the US. As a result of these complaints, in 2018 we increased the prize levels (1st place going from $200 to $500). We received no complaints, and actually saw a rise in the number of semi-professionals and professionals who joined the Commons and contributed to the contest (several of which won the US competition, and one of which went on the place 9th internationally - the first time since we re-booted the contest in 2016 that the U.S. had a photo place in the top-10 internationally). For these reasons, I worry a major reduction in prizes will compromise the quality of photographers and entrants we receive. That being said, we've cut first place from $500 to $400, and 2nd place from $350 to $300. Together with prizes for the next 8 placements, I think these are still reasonable prize values that participants can feel motivated by to participate.
- With these cuts, our grant request currently sits at $1,445. We hope that this is acceptable given our contest's size and scope. If $1,000 is an absolute hard requirement, please let us know. Thank you! (cc Quercusechinus) ~SuperHamster Talk Contribs 00:13, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
- Hello, SuperHamster; thanks for making the adjustment and for explaining the rationale behind the prizes. We had a discussion about it within the Rapid Grants team, considering your and Effeietsanders's points; we will ask you to reduce the prizes further, with some flexibility on our side. The difference in cost of living is covered to a great extent by the fact that other countries are organizing activities, award ceremonies, as well as giving prizes, with the 1000 USD; the grant for the USA competition is entirely for prizes. Moreover, one of the ideas behind contests like Wiki Loves Monuments is to address representation gaps on Wikimedia projects, and content from and about the United States is arguably already better represented than content in many of the countries participating in this initiative. Finally, we have asked all grantees to scale back on ambitious and well-planned competitions to allow us to support all the initiatives. We think that the best way to reduce the budget for this grant without erasing incentives for professional participation in the contest is by forgoing the prizes for 4-10th places.
- I am in the process of going through your past reports to try and close grants in order to be able to move forward with this review. I will email you separately about this. MMontes (WMF) (talk) 04:00, 23 August 2019 (UTC)
Grant request approved
Hello, SuperHamster; thank you for your work in adjusting the budget and for organizing this edition of WLM in the United States. We are approving your request and wishing you a successful contest! WJifar (WMF) will be the point of contact for this grant going forward. Best regards, MMontes (WMF) (talk) 08:00, 24 August 2019 (UTC)