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Eligibility confirmed, round 1 2018

This Project Grants proposal is under review!

We've confirmed your proposal is eligible for round 1 2018 review. Please feel free to ask questions and make changes to this proposal as discussions continue during the community comments period, through March 12, 2018.

The committee's formal review for round 1 2018 will occur March 13-March 26, 2018. New grants will be announced April 27, 2018. See the schedule for more details.

Questions? Contact us.

--Marti (WMF) (talk) 01:48, 17 February 2018 (UTC)Reply



I am not sure that WikiProjects fall apart (as you said) due to lack of necessary technical features. The main reason is that participants lose interest in them. I do not think that this grant request will change anything. On the other hand it can make project design less flexible. Ruslik (talk) 18:04, 22 February 2018 (UTC)Reply

@Ruslik0: One of the main problems for WikiProjects that we discovered with our original research was that the required technical overhead for creating and maintaining projects proved a significant barrier, especially for smaller ones, and seemed often to be a major contributing factor to why many of the dead ones were in fact dead. It's not that there is a lack of necessary technical features now, it's that these features all already exist purely in wikitext and are an absolute pain to maintain - larger projects tend to mitigate the problem by spreading the project maintenance work across several people, but for smaller ones, the only thing keeping them alive is generally one dedicated person manually updating all the things and pushing everyone else along. The moment they leave, it's usually the end of the project.
What CollaborationKit aims to do is automate many of the common features WikiProjects are already using so that this level of maintenance overhead is no longer required. Larger projects that already have their own approach going probably won't gain a whole lot from it, it's true, but at this stage it's much more intended for the smaller projects so that editors can simply jump in, make a WikiProject, and gain all the benefits of a central collaboration hub and organised users without having to deal with the overhead of editing and maintaining every single detail of it by hand. -— Isarra 19:07, 23 February 2018 (UTC)Reply
I agree with @Ruslik0:
I am also skeptical of the "original research" as it relates to anything WMF, as the people queried tend to be pretty bellybutton-focused, but that's just me.
Automating content is one thing, and as someone who spent over two years wrestling with the administrative burden on outreach, I understand first-hand the issues involved. I also know how much time and effort is expounded on doing this thankless work. If administrative work is done well, people take it for granted. If it is done poorly, you just get a lot of flack.
But the implementation of Project X -- the example I know of is Women in Red's project space -- is too heavy. It should be a light framework / impact. The interface should not be a barrier to communicating information, and right now that is what I experience and curse at every time I go over to Women in Red. It is a problematic interface.
I think the idea behind this is solid, sort of like how I envisioned Wikipedia-in-a-Box, or Editathons-in-a-Box, or in this case, WikiProject-in-a-Box. But the implementation is the problem. I think that it is too shiny, developer-y focused, and not clean and lightweight and end-user focused.
I am also confused that I see no mention of James Hare here, as I thought this was a project he was active on. I would have thought his contributions would have been mentioned to give context to the work that has gone into this. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 03:21, 27 February 2018 (UTC)Reply
@BrillLyle: I'll see if I can address your points individually.
  1. The research methods and results are outlined in our reports on the previous grant iteration - querying users was but a small part of what we did, and you're right that the responses of a subset of users can only result in a subset of the overall picture. For this reason, most of what we wound up doing with our prototypes was based a lot more on what we found wikiprojects across the site to be doing in practice, or in the case of they many inactive ones, what they had been doing. While James surveyed the users themselves and worked with specific pilot WikiProjects to learn and try to address their needs and provide an overall direction for the project, I went through the contents of hundreds of other random WikiProjects in order to come up with specifics, see what they had in common, see what things they all had or were trying to do. But the thing is, the research itself really isn't done. What we did before was establish the background - the point of this part of the project is to actually test our preliminary findings. Will providing structure and automated tools for managing a WikiProject in this way actually solve the problems so many of the smaller ones have been facing? We don't know. We'd like to find out.
  2. Yes. It's also very likely we're not taking entirely the right approach with this particular automation, either. That's why we need to get it working enough to actually test it in a real environment.
  3. The implementation of the on-wiki WikiProject X prototype ultimately proved untenable, as it was too difficult for users to edit, did not allow for simple creation of new projects (requires admin editing across multiple different parts of the wiki, including the lua modules themselves), and required constant technical maintenance to even keep working at all. This is why we moved away from that implementation and opted to build the new product as a MediaWiki extension instead, CollaborationKit, which allows for a much more robust and self-contained implementation. While the mainpage structure remains similar with CollaborationKit, it should be much more flexible in practice as users will be able to change, edit, delete, and swap things around in it with ease.
  4. James Hare was the project lead, and also contributed a significant part of the development and design work for both the WikiProject X lua prototype and CollaborationKit extension. Because he has since been hired by the WMF to do other things, it's now largely up to me to complete the project at this point. That's a bit unfortunate for me as I'm more of an engineer, so the outreach, reporting, and community coordination aspects of the project that he so particularly excelled at are a lot less of my thing, so I apologise if not all of this is as clear as it perhaps should be. If it seems like I am focusing too much on the technical aspects or such, please do not hesitate to bring up or remind me of other aspects that seen neglected. Even if they're not being neglected, there is a very good chance I may have forgotten to mention them.
I'll update the proposal to try to give better context. Thank you for your feedback. -— Isarra 23:00, 28 February 2018 (UTC)Reply
  • Apologies for the delay in responding. I am very impressed and happy with the information you have provided in response to my questions. It really helps to clarify the project and addresses some of the usability concerns I had. I hope the technical work you are doing will eventually lead to refining and improving the end-user experience. Apologies if my answer is not detailed like yours is. :-) Thanks so much for this response. I really appreciate it. Best, -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 08:36, 5 March 2018 (UTC)Reply
No worries, I apologise for better explaining this in the first place! I need to get better at this. -— Isarra 03:16, 18 March 2018 (UTC)Reply
Correction, for not better explaining. -— Isarra 15:43, 24 March 2018 (UTC)Reply

Aggregated feedback from the committee for WikiProject X

Scoring rubric Score
(A) Impact potential
  • Does it have the potential to increase gender diversity in Wikimedia projects, either in terms of content, contributors, or both?
  • Does it have the potential for online impact?
  • Can it be sustained, scaled, or adapted elsewhere after the grant ends?
(B) Community engagement
  • Does it have a specific target community and plan to engage it often?
  • Does it have community support?
(C) Ability to execute
  • Can the scope be accomplished in the proposed timeframe?
  • Is the budget realistic/efficient ?
  • Do the participants have the necessary skills/experience?
(D) Measures of success
  • Are there both quantitative and qualitative measures of success?
  • Are they realistic?
  • Can they be measured?
Additional comments from the Committee:
  • The project has a limited scope and its limitation is on en.wikipedia. I see an important opportunity to end the implementation, but it seems a bit hard to export to other wikis (as noted in the discussion)
  • It would be nice to see this work pushed forward and ultimately completed. On the other hand, it’s unclear that this work is still a priority for the movement. While it makes sense to identify best practices for Wikiprojects and develop tools to support them, my impression is that the lack thereof also hasn’t proved to be a major barrier to Wikimedians self-organizing.
  • There is not an impact, it's like an extension of a previous grant.
  • The project fits with Wikimedia's strategic priorities but its scalability and sustainability are unclear. If the first prototype failed why the second iteration is going to be successful? The applicant offers nothing to assure us.
  • Moderate impact potential. WikiProjects are an important part of English Wikipedia community sustainability, and English Wikipedia is an important part of our movement, but I am not sure how significant impact will this tool make on English Wikipedia WikiProjects.
  • The project haven't clear metrics.
  • The approach is iterative. The potential impact is limited as I do not think that a lot of Wiki projects will ever use it. The success is not assured.
  • WikiProject X was an innovative project and somewhat a pioneer project in this sphere. The CollaborationKit is an innovative idea that seems to be unusable at the moment and needs to be improved to be really used. There are risks of developing something that would not ultimately be widely used, but they do not seem extreme and look rather low compared to the budget.
  • The budget seems fines. The participant has the sufficient skills to do the project and has the support from some developers to end the project.
  • The previous project lead is no longer able to work on this and I note that the new lead has stated on the talk page that they are more of an engineer and have less experience with outreach, reporting, and community coordination - I believe that grants should play a role in building grantee skills but am flagging this lack of experience as a potential risk. I also question if the applicant is able to work on this as well as the Timeless project (if both are funded).
  • The project can be accomplished in the requested 6 months and the budget is probably realistic. The participant probably has necessary skills.
  • Applicant has necessary skills, the scope is clear, the budget is good, the only question is whether the final outcome will be really usable and widely used.
  • In general appears to be positive feedback and interest in a continued collaboration from the main test case WikiProject, Women in Red. But would like to hear from other WikiProjects/groups and have some confirmation that there is interest in implementing and working with the extension.
  • The community engagement is limited for a project that will eventually need to be implemented in English Wikipedia where it must gain a consensus first, which will not be easy.
  • I think community engagement is a major concern here. WikiProject X lost James who was its main community person, and community support seems to be rather limited compared to the size of English Wikipedia community. The fact this project is scaled on English Wikipedia only and is not intended to be adopted by other wikis does not help much either. I hope it will work well but I still think this needs to be addressed.
  • Interested in learning more and so think this is worth putting through further interview/deliberation
  • I don't see here the impact that the project can generate because there is not a link to the result of the previous project.
  • I do not think that the proposed extension will be ever implemented in English Wikipedia. Its suffers from too many design flaws. In addition, I do not think that Wiki Projects fail due to technical problems. They fail due to social problems. So, I do not think that this project is a rational use of the limited resources available.
  • I will like to see a lot more community support especially when we are talking about English Wikipedia, to be convinced this will be needed by the community.
  • While there is a risk of insufficient community engagement which might lead to insufficient community usage of the new implementation, I still thinks this project is worth funding. In case the project will be considered useful but there will not be enough resources asking WMF Community Engagement for help might be useful (although I am not sure this will work well and that WMF staffers will be good at promoting the project).

This proposal has been recommended for due diligence review.

The Project Grants Committee has conducted a preliminary assessment of your proposal and recommended it for due diligence review. This means that a majority of the committee reviewers favorably assessed this proposal and have requested further investigation by Wikimedia Foundation staff.

Next steps:

  1. Aggregated committee comments from the committee are posted above. Note that these comments may vary, or even contradict each other, since they reflect the conclusions of multiple individual committee members who independently reviewed this proposal. We recommend that you review all the feedback and post any responses, clarifications or questions on this talk page.
  2. Following due diligence review, a final funding decision will be announced on Thursday, May 27, 2021.
Questions? Contact us at projectgrants (_AT_) wikimedia  · org.

Much that was unclear should now be a lot clearer, as I've now rewritten much of the proposal based on the above feedback and the general results of the previous grant, which now also has a final report. This includes precisely where we stand currently, where we left off, specific activities plans, budgets, metrics, etc, and how we can measure success, generally speaking. -— Isarra 04:35, 18 April 2018 (UTC)Reply

Round 1 2018 decision


Congratulations! Your proposal has been selected for a Project Grant.

The committee has recommended this proposal and WMF has approved funding for the full amount of your request, 10,000 USD

Comments regarding this decision:
Following the success of WikiProject X, the committee is glad to support full deployment of CollaborationKit.

New grantees are invited to participate in a Storytelling Workshop on June 5 and a publicly streamed Project Showcase on June 14. You can learn more and sign up to participate here: Telling your story.

Next steps:

  1. You will be contacted to sign a grant agreement and setup a monthly check-in schedule.
  2. Review the information for grantees.
  3. Use the new buttons on your original proposal to create your project pages.
  4. Start work on your project!

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