Grants talk:Project/Wikipedian Effectiveness Training

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Suitability of face-to-face skills[edit]

Given that most Wikipedia activity happens online and in writing I find it doubtful that communication training that focuses on face-to-face skills will be optimal. ChristianKl (talk) 22:03, 4 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for reading the propasal ChristianKl. The idea is to give a face-to-face training in communication skills. The application of those communication skills will indeed be primarily in online communication. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 20:21, 5 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do you have an idea of how well the skills transfer to online communication? Wouldn't it make more sense to seek a framework that actually focuses on online communication? ChristianKl (talk) 21:29, 5 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The training will be tailored to the environment of Wikipedians and specific attention to how to use these skills in an online communication environment. I'm willing to integrate specific framework for online communication. Do you have a suggestion? Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 14:40, 8 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't have a specific suggestion, but seeking the keys under the lamppost is still no good idea. One way to demonstrate, that you have something worthwhile to teach about solving conflicts in Wikimedia projects is to get out and put whatever skills you have to practice. If you succeed in developing a reputation of being effective at helping to resolve Wiki-conflicts in a way that the participants of a conflict like, then you are at a place at teaching others about what you are doing. ChristianKl (talk) 13:13, 3 June 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is true, on the other hand most wikimedians exercise their conflict resolution abilities in local language wikis or local groups. For Ad it might have been WMNL or some of the committees he's been a member of, so the general public cannot judge much (even if everyone was happy in the end). Maybe you'd like some additional endorsement from people who experienced this ability?
From the point of view of the "marketing" of such an initiative, the typical editor would maybe respond well to "qualifications" such as being a steward or local administrator, but there are other ways to gain trust and raise interest. I agree the proposal is a bit lacking in this regard: perhaps a couple sentences should be added on how the pilot participants will be found/selected. Nemo 14:18, 3 June 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

October 11 Proposal Deadline: Reminder to change status to 'proposed'[edit]

The deadline for Project Grant submissions this round is October 11th, 2016. To submit your proposal, you must (1) complete the proposal entirely, filling in all empty fields, and (2) change the status from "draft" to "proposed." As soon as you’re ready, you should begin to invite any communities affected by your project to provide feedback on your proposal talkpage. If you have any questions about finishing up or would like to brainstorm with us about your proposal, there are still two proposal help sessions before the deadlne in Google Hangouts:

Warm regards,
Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 03:16, 6 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks, Alex. I've updated the details, and I'm going to solicit feedback. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 14:40, 8 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Building on other similar efforts[edit]

Thanks for your efforts in this regard Ad! During this year's CEE meeting Asaf (WMF) presented a short version of a really cool workshop he developed together with WMUA. I think it adresses many of the issues mentioned in this proposal. I would recommend that any new initiative should build on exisiting know-how, experiences and resources where possible. --CDG (WMAT staff) (talk) 08:47, 10 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Vielen Dank, Claudia. The Gordon-model is over fifty years old, and has been well tested in many environments. I followed the CEE meeting remotely, and have seen the Elephants and Mahouts presentation. That is a great source. I've submitted a proposal for Wikimedia Conferentie Nederland to mix that presentation, with this Wikimania presentation by Kritzolina, and with some material from the training in online communication given at WMNL last spring. So, I'm working on it. Conflict management is part of the Gordon-model for communication. The presentation by Asaf can be used to be embedded somewhere in the training. Thank you for encouraging me to use that source. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 17:47, 10 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Eligibility confirmed, round 2 2016[edit]

This Project Grants proposal is under review!

We've confirmed your proposal is eligible for round 2 2016 review. Please feel free to ask questions and make changes to this proposal as discussions continue during this community comments period.

The committee's formal review for round 2 2016 begins on 2 November 2016, and grants will be announced in December. See the schedule for more details.

Questions? Contact us.

Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 17:15, 14 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Pilot first[edit]

I've been asked by the applicant to read this proposal and share an opinion on this grant. I have read the proposal, and I think it is premature to support it as it stands. I think there are two assumptions that would be better tested before funding the proposal:

  1. that the Gordon Method is useful and palatable to Wikipedians and to the mostly-online environment in which both conflict and leadership happen.
  2. that the applicant is effective at delivering such training

While I am not explicitly doubting either assumption, neither am I prepared to treat them as proven. It seems to me that it would not be difficult to conduct a test run of the training, at least of that first module that the applicant has already been trained in, with local Wikipedians, to gather some feedback. We will be that much wiser in assessing the value of investing in paying for further training.

I am generally in favor of experimentation, but I think we need to be particularly careful when funding what are essentially personal benefits -- like this professional, career-advancing training for an individual, and two Wikimania scholarships -- and to ensure that it is also a good investment for the movement. If the grant was seeking to fund logistics or other expenses related to experimenting with this locally, I'd have been more supportive.

To reiterate, this may very well be an excellent idea, but I think it would be better to decide how worthwhile it is after the applicant gathers a bit more evidence of the material's applicability to our communities and his own ability to effectively deliver it. Ijon (talk) 17:57, 18 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi Asaf. Thanks for sharing your insights from the Conflict Management training in Ukraine and your feedback on this proposal. I have just started a first module of a training of a three module training to become a certified trainer, after which I will be qualified to deliver the training. The idea is to develop a pilot training tailored to the needs of Wikipedians, especially with respect to on line character of the communication. The grant proposal has been updated to clarify some points. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 19:34, 31 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comments by Joalpe[edit]

Hi. Thank your for your proposal and for considering taking seriously the challenge of establishing communications as a strategic area within our community. I agree with the comment above that risks associated to this grant proposal appear to be high, since the metric of success for the community is not clear. Moreover, I am concerned that an external training might not be able to take into consideration specificities in our interactions within the diverse, global, intense community we are part of. I would have also enjoyed more connection with existing resources the community has made available, such as what is available under the rubric Community Capacity Development. We have experienced a training for communications that was very inspiring for our community and effective in making us a better strategy to deal with internal and external communication. There are other community capacity development that deal with conflict management and community engagement, that might interesting too. Are you familiar with these trainings; if not, eventually they might be a good starting point to effectively improving your community's ability to deal with other trainings? (Sorry for poor English.) --Joalpe (talk) 02:08, 26 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment by NickK[edit]

Hi Ad and thank you for this proposal. Sorry for writing a late comment on the last day of Q&A period, so this will be more of a suggestion than of a question. I really appreciate the idea, but I have significant concerns that it is ready to be presented as a training for Wikimedians as is. The Gordon training model you have copypasted might be a good method in itself, but it is taylored for leaders of real-life teams. No matter whether this grant will be funded now, funded in a later round or not funded at all, if you are really interested in this idea please think of the following:

  1. Is Gordon model the most appopriate one? Personally I have followed a training in another conflict resolution method (also paid by my employer) which is good in real life but only partially applicable to Wikimedia. Are there are any models that work better in online communities?
  2. Is the "team leader — team members" an appopriate model for our community? I see both arguments why it is a good idea (taking leadership in resolving a prominent conflict is generally appreciated in our community) and why it is a bad idea (many Wikimedians don't really like when someone wants to speak to them as a leader and reject this idea by default)
  3. How to reflect differences between online and offline communities? In particular I would like to know how you would define listening, silence or feelings in the online context. I find that is hard to guess emotions from a bare message: a message like "I am tired of you, f### ###" can be written both by someone very angry and aggressive and by someone desperate at the point of bursting out into tears.

Personally I think that in the current form it would be more appropriate to make such presentation to people who are in true offline leadership positions in our board, i.e. chairpersons of our affiliates. I would really welcome an adaptation of such course for Wikipedians, but I am afraid this might need more effort than you expect.

In any case thank you very much for this idea! — NickK (talk) 01:39, 17 November 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Aggregated feedback from the committee for Wikipedian Effectiveness Training[edit]

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?
4.6
(B) Community engagement
  • Does it have a specific target community and plan to engage it often?
  • Does it have community support?
4.4
(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?
5.1
(D) Measures of success
  • Are there both quantitative and qualitative measures of success?
  • Are they realistic?
  • Can they be measured?
4.4
Additional comments from the Committee:
  • I see a weak alignment with Wikimedia projects, because the editors are people with different perspective and cultural problems to be analyzed before make a certification in some "soft skills". I don't see how this pilot project could be adapted after ends.
  • Project fits with the Community Capacity Development initiative and potentially broader WMF efforts to address harassment. It's unclear how much online impact this project will have, particularly because the training model proposed is not specifically designed for online communities (and it does not appear that the applicant has experience in adapting this type of training for online environments).
  • Skeptical on the capacity to scale
  • Potential online impact is unclear as it is not clear how effective the proposed training is..
  • This proposal is one that addresses one of the critical issues of emerging communities. Communication is an instrument that can break and make, hence I have some appreciation for this proposal. However, I am not sure how proven this method proposed is and if it will work effectively in our setting.
  • The proponent did not make a strong case why we need this training as a community. Diagnosis on communication pitfalls remained vague. Not sure how this project would actually improve what we already know and innovate on what we already do, i.e., Community Capacity Development modules.
  • It's an innovative way to attack the problem, but it is not clearly demonstrated that the problem exists. The project don't have a measurable metric, so, we can't estimate if the project is successfully or not.
  • Measures of success are vague and are unlikely to enable us to evaluate impact. No details are provided as to how the training will be replicated. The applicant seems to be framing the project as innovative and experimental - but I would prefer to see this work build on previous efforts by the movement related to communication training/conflict resolution. The applicant does not provide a strong enough reason for going with the Gordon model and to me the choice seems self-serving.
  • There is something innovative in this project but risks appear to be relatively high. It is not clear if those training modules are suitable for the wiki environment. There are no quantifiable measures of success.
  • Once it’s proven that this training is highly effective, extending its reach and work will be put into place as people get trained to affect the communities back home.
  • Metrics are unclear, so commitment to this project would be more based on the strong record of activities in the projects by the proponent than on an actual assessment of risk. This is an issue for iteration and learning potentials.
  • The time -I presume 24 months, due Wikimania participation in 2016/7- is too long for a pilot (as applicant describes in the project). The budget seems fine, but I don't feel comfortable paying for education to someone, especially if the community haven't a way "to recover" the grant. The applicant doesn't have the necessary skills to do the project -is asking for money to finish the training.
  • The applicant does not seem to have experience either in adapting training for online contexts or delivering training. The applicant also does not budget for any time spent adapting the training (the budget only covers becoming certified).
  • The budget is realistic but there is question about skills.
  • Am neutral about this as the grantee has not proven either by certificate, experience or even referrals, that he is good at training someone in the proposed area
  • There a few endorsements from the community.
  • There is no specific target community nor much in the way of community support.
  • The target community is unclear.
  • The grantee has shown proof of sharing this on several channels and has had some amount of community support, however responses suggest trying the project on a pilot scale first.
  • There are endorsements, which is an evidence that such a training could gather some attendance, but no strong organizational support from already existing groups.
  • The problem exists, but the community is dynamic in its composition: ethnic, religion, race, gender, etc. The possible training for Wikipedians is too small compared with the size of the community.
  • The applicant needs to demonstrate why the Gordon model is best suited for this type of training and/or build on previous work done by WMF projects in this area. I'd also like to have more information about the applicant's background/experience with this type of work as well as more thought given to the overall sustainability and impact of the project.
  • I don't see a big impact except to inform people about projects in a more efficient way. This a pilot but it considers that it will have a duration of more than one year (why asking to cover a scholarship for wikimania 2017 and for wikimania 2018?. Proposal needs further development. Inclined not to fund.
  • I think that funding this project is premature. A small pilot would be more appropriate.
  • The quest of the project certainly addresses a problem in the movement. Once the grantee has proven their ability to train on the subject and confirmation from the community that module of the training works (during a pilot phase), we could go ahead and fund.
  • I am sympathetic to the goal of improving communications within our community, but the key part of this is to have a strong understanding of the community. The case for why the community needs this project was not clear enough.

This project has not been selected for a Project Grant at this time.

We love that you took the chance to creatively improve the Wikimedia movement. The committee has reviewed this proposal and not recommended it for funding. This was a very competitive round with many good ideas, not all of which could be funded in spite of many merits. We appreciate your participation, and we hope you'll continue to stay engaged in the Wikimedia context.


Next steps: Applicants whose proposals are declined are welcome to consider resubmitting your application again in the future. You are welcome to request a consultation with staff to review any concerns with your proposal that contributed to a decline decision, and help you determine whether resubmission makes sense for your proposal.

Over the last year, the Wikimedia Foundation has been undergoing a community consultation process to launch a new grants strategy. Our proposed programs are posted on Meta here: Grants Strategy Relaunch 2020-2021. If you have suggestions about how we can improve our programs in the future, you can find information about how to give feedback here: Get involved. We are also currently seeking candidates to serve on regional grants committees and we'd appreciate it if you could help us spread the word to strong candidates--you can find out more here. We will launch our new programs in July 2021. If you are interested in submitting future proposals for funding, stay tuned to learn more about our future programs.