Grants talk:Simple/Applications/Wikimedia Eesti/2016

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Eligibility discussion[edit]

After the applicant submits an eligibility form, Wikimedia Foundation will contact the applicant and evaluate eligibility.


Hello, Wikimedia Eesti colleagues:

Thank you for submitting your eligibility form on October 16. After reviewing your past grants we've determined that you are eligible to apply for a Simple Process Annual Plan Grant. Here is some of the work we looked at while evaluating your eligibility for a Simple Annual Plan Grant.

Wikimedia Eesti received a start up grant in 2010-2011, and this work was continued the following year:

Following the start up phase, Wikimedia Eesti did a series of annual plans that were supported by the Wikimedia Foundation through the Project and Event Grants program:

Wikimedia Eesti transitioned to the Annual Plan Grants program, with the following grants focusing on education, community work, partnerships work, and the annual CEE conference:

In the current plan, Wikimedia Eesti is focusing on its education program, and has laid a good foundation for this program through its past work, by gradually developing its program from a discussion phase in 2012, through its successful pilot in 2014, through its current implementation.

Wikimedia Eesti has had challenges in the past year around financial reporting. WMEE has been forthcoming and cooperative with the WMF about these issues, and has made significant efforts to get back in compliance and improve its internal systems as a result. While WMEE has had challenges with submitting reports on time, the reports submitted have been high quality and the organization has been managing grant funds responsibly. Wikimedia Eesti now has several years experience managing staff. Wikimedia Eesti has been sharing learning about its program work and its organizational practices with other organizations and groups, and has been an active leader in the regional CEE group.

We understand that the chapter is undergoing some changes as you transition from a full process Annual Plan Grant to the new simple process, and that you are using this time to continue some program work while also working to restructure and improve the way your organization is functioning. We'll have more time to talk about that as part of the application process.

Best regards, Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 18:30, 17 October 2015 (UTC)

Wikimedia Eesti has been granted several extensions on their reporting deadlines until 31 December 2015 due to these special circumstances, and so will be eligible to receive funding if the committee recommends it; however, we will create a payment schedule with three installments if the committee recommends funding, where payment of the second installment will be contingent upon Wikimedia Eesti submitting all past reports and payment of the third installment will be contingent upon timely submission of the Midpoint report for the 2016 grant. Cheers, Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 21:30, 13 December 2015 (UTC)

Application discussion[edit]

During the month of November, committee members, other community members, and Wikimedia Foundation, may ask questions or offer suggestions.

From the committee[edit]

Volunteer and editor community (Anders)[edit]

I wonder if you could share som information with us related to your volunteer community and editor community on the Wikimedia projects? How many volunteers are engaged in the activities of WMEE, besides the members of the Board, and are all of these editors? How does your editor community function, are they a constructive communtity and do they see WMEE as a valuable supporter to their work?Anders Wennersten (talk) 13:09, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

Dear Anders Wennersten, thank you for the question about volunteer and editor community of Wikimedia Eesti and Estonian Wikimedia projects. This serves as a good backround information for the grant proposal.
1) Besides board members there are few very active volunteers working for Wikimedia Eesti.
a) Most notable of them are former board members. Ivo Kruusamägi (former board member) has been engaged for a long time with education program, but as well with local photo competitions and wikiexpeditions. He is also in charge of programming activities related to Wikimedia Eesti (i.e. Minority Translate and WikiComment. Raul Veede (former board member) has been active in spreading the word about Wikimedia and free knowledge, most importantly working on establishing Freedom of Panorama in Estonia. Although part of this work has been paid, he is providing extra voluntary resources to get the work done.
b) There is a number (annually about 4-5) active volunteers who are part of the active editing community, but at the same time take part in the activities of Wikimedia Eesti (usually as voluntary jury members for competitions or leading small projects of their own). One of them is User:Võrok, who has a substantial role in developing Võro Vikipeediä and activities related to this project.
c) There are also volunteers who are not active editors, but are interested in some of the activities of Wikimedia Eesti. They are mostly involved with article and photo competitions (being part of the jury or organizing team), on rare occasions also wikiexpeditions (participating in organization). Members of this group are changing and usually their activities are related to one certain project/competition.
To sum it up, there are annually approximately 10-15 non-board volunteers helping Wikimedia Eesti with various activities. About half of them are active editors. There are different levels of activity among these volunteers.
2) Editor community functions separately of the chapter with certain activity level in the village pump and different talk pages. However, significant part (about 20 very active users) of active editor community are also chapter members, participating in discussions of the internal list of the chapter, as well as on general assemblies.
Community members enjoy the work of Wikimedia Eesti in organizing thematic competitions and are supporting continuation of chapter work in this field of activity. Community is also satisfied with having a juridical body that can handle discussions and collaboration with the government and possible partner organizations. There is also a general approval for the work that Wikimedia Eesti is doing for establishing freedom of panorama.
There are certain tensions, however, related to the education program, as some of the active members are not happy with the quality of education program related edits, as well as with some occasions, where education program participants have not integrated previous information into the new article they have created. Wikimedia Eesti is taking comments from current community seriously and we are giving more support for education program participants, as well as having discussions with community members on improving the outputs of the education program.
In conclusion, Wikimedia Eesti does have a supportive role for the community and our agenda considers opinions from different active community members. There is, however, always room for improvement, especially in communication with non-members of the chapter.
I apologize for the delay in responding to these questions and try to be availble for further questions and comments with a much shorter delay. Best regards, --Kaarel Vaidla (WM EE) (talk) 14:05, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
I'd like to point out that this unhappiness with the quality of education program related edits comes from few editors, who happen to be infamous for not liking anything that happens. Some comments there is like a gentle breeze compared to the thunderstorm, that hit, when I was founding the chapter. Statistically, the edits from education program have significantly higher quality, than the edits from other non-active wikipedians. General quality there is really very high. And as WMEE has almost not been involved with any successful education related activities with universities and hasn't provided nearly any support, then I don't agree with that statement as well. But hopefully it's about to change in 2016.
I'm doing that many things only because there isn't anyone else to get the job done. 100-180 h per month for WP isn't like a healthy volunteerism. And I've also worked with the FoP topic... for free, if that matters. Finding some volunteers the get the work done should had been something to focus on years ago. At a moment I may myself even be working with more volunteers than the chapter.
If to go back to Anders question, then this is a really small community that we have. But per capita it is huge and the ones there are, are sort like fanatics. It just happens to be the only way to get the things done in a country that has the population what is roughly equal with the population of Stockholm. It's difficult to provide short and simple overview of the topic, as with a community of that size, a lot of additional information is needed to understand how that functions. But at a same time there isn't anything special about that community and in regard of this application the details are not that important. What is important is how to bring the change that is needed, and not what we currently have. Kruusamägi (talk) 23:34, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

Questions from Kirill[edit]

Hi Wikimedia Eesti! My name is Kirill, and I'm part of the volunteer committee that will be reviewing your application. I think I've met some of your representatives at WMCON and elsewhere, and I look forward to working with you in this grants process.

To begin, I wanted to thank you for all your hard work on this application. It's obvious that you've put a lot of thought and effort into it, and the result is quite impressive. I'm also a big fan of how you've structured your annual plan and annual budget; having identical sections in both documents makes it very easy to see what budget items correspond to what parts of the plan.

There are a few areas in which I have some questions:

  1. I recall seeing in one of your WMCON presentations (I can't remember which year, unfortunately) that you were working on some programs with the Estonian Ministry of Education. Is that relationship still ongoing, or has the work with them concluded? Are there any plans to involve them in your new education program?
  2. Do you have any specific international partners in mind for the education program (and, if so, have you already started working with any of them)?
  3. Do you have any previous experience with microgrants? You mention that the grants would be approved by your members; is your membership active enough that you would be able to get their feedback in a reasonable time?
  4. In terms of specific budget items:
    1. What will be included under technological support (administration, line 10)?
    2. Is the Wikimania cost (administration, line 18) staff travel or scholarships for Estonian attendees?
    3. Are there specific types of capacity-building training (restructuring, line 9) that you have in mind? Have you identified someone who would be able to provide that type of training?
    4. What are the feedback group fees (education, line 6)?

Thanks in advance for your responses! Kirill Lokshin (talk) 17:42, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

Dear Kirill Lokshin, thank you for your kind words and questions and comments related to our plan for the next year. This is really helpful! I will answer to your questions in the order they were presented and apologize for the delay in doing so:
1) I think that you have our presentation The dark side of funds diversification from Wikimedia Conference 2014 in Berlin in mind. We also shared the progress of the collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Research in our short education panel presentation on Wikimedia CEE meeting 2014. The collaboration is still ongoing, although there have been some difficulties with implementation of the original activity plan (related to wikipedization of research work of secondary school students). The original plan has developed into creation of an e-course for the secondary school students with course supporting materials available in Estonian. Although there are number of guides already available which are created by the Wikimedia community, our experience shows that these are sometimes hard to understand for new student editors and therefore creation of good supporting documentation besides of designing the e-course is well appreciated. We have also engaged external human resources (e.g. education technologist ajd expert of academic writing and referencing) to the work group of the course.
Although collaboration is continued, we have not been able to provide the results for the original €27,000 investment that the Ministry of Education and Research was expecting and as a result they would like to see further investments from our side that will guarantee a good execution of the e-course. Our budget items related to the feedback group, as well as introducing the position of education program manager are partly (but not fully) related to the current expectations of the ministry.
2) As to international collaboration, in Spring 2014 Wikimedia Eesti filed an Erasmus+ application (nr. 2014-1-EE01-KA200-000476), which received a score 68/100, but was rejected. Wikimedia Eesti and some of its partners put a significant amount of work into this proposal and it seems that this could serve as a good basis for future education related collaboration in EU and partnering countries. As a member of vibrant CEE community, Wikimedia Eesti feels that a more extensive collaboration in CEE could serve the movement well and we do feel that having an Erasmus+ project for that is a good idea. As education program is the priority of our work in near future, this seems compatible with our strategy and we have willingness to allocate our recourses to such collaboration.
Unfortunately Wikimedia Eesti has been lately overwhelmed with its own issues and we have not been too active in international discussions. Nevertheless we are currently making progress and it seems that we may have time available for international activities rather sooner or later. Therefore, I would like to start/continue discussion about possible CEE education collaboration projects later this month. There is a high level of interest related to this program in the region and education sessions have been popular in recent CEE meetings. We will be more than happy to engage Anna Koval (Wikipedia Education Program manager in Asia and Eastern Europe) in these discussions.
3) Wikimedia Eesti issued microgrants first time this year and WikiComment is the result of the allocation of this year. This time only one application was filed and it was coherent with our strategy. Nevertheless, the problem you mention is a relevant one and there were delays related to executing the grant agreement, as it was decided that we must have a general assembly decision to do that. On the other side, the idea of microgrants was well accepted and we have heard of several ideas for applications next year and most of these align with our strategic goals. As a result, we have decided to continue with issuing of microgrants next year, even though we understand that some changes in the process may be relevant.
4) Specific budget items:
1. Technological support includes all costs (including purchases and rentals) related to computers, printers, projectors, routers, cables etc. that we need to make in order to carry out our activity plan.
2. Wikimania costs are attendance fees (travel, accomodation) for 2 representatives of Wikimedia Eesti.
3. These training activities are foreseen to increase governance capacity of board members and executive capacity of employees and volunteers. We have identified some local trainers who could prove to be useful in increasing the capacity of our human resources and it may prove to be useful to engage experts from other chapters. Thus, this line would include possible fees for trainers, but also possible travel compensation if it will be deemed practical to fly someone over to help us. It has been decided that a specific training plan will be completed with the help of an external consultant who has not been appointed yet.
4. Feedback group fees is somewhat problematic line item. Wikimedia Eesti is using voluntary feedback groups to improve the quality of articles written as part of the education program. Not all of feedback group members are wikipedians, e.g. many of them are philology and editing students. As a result, feedback group membership has been payed position and usually partner institutions (e.g. University of Tartu) have been responsible for paying to feedback group members. As it was stated before, this year Wikimedia Eesti is preparing an e-course that will be an option for all secondary school students in Estonia and we need to manage a feedback group for this course (also suggested by our partner, Minstry of Education and Research). As a result, these fees (with all the taxes) have been included in the current budget.
I hope that current answers and comments are useful in getting a better understanding about our grant proposal. We will be more than happy to answer to further comments and questions, as well as improve our plan according to suggestions made by committee. Best regards, --Kaarel Vaidla (WM EE) (talk) 15:36, 2 December 2015 (UTC)

Gender involvement (FloNight)[edit]

Hi Wikimedia Eesti, I'm a member of the committee that is reviewing your request, and I've enjoyed reading about your previous programs and your future plans.

I noticed that you didn't mention the gender of the people involved with your different programs. It would be useful to record the gender of the people participating in the education programs and the GLAM projects, as well as the more general community projects like WLM. If you do, most likely you will see that the education programs and GLAM projects will be reaching more women. As you begin to use your funds in a more strategic manner, it would be good to show that funds are spent in a way that adds more women editors or content about women which is lacking in many WMF communities.

Thank you for all of your working completing the request form and the supporting documents. I truly appreciate all of the time and work that goes into this process. Sydney Poore/FloNight (talk) 04:55, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

I'd like to mention that I'm strongly against looking that gender stuff (people here constantly ask about that, but this isn't normal). With the work we are doing (building encyclopedia, educating people, etc), it's just as relevant as what is the eye color of people contributing. Every good editor is suitable for the project and I work to get as many new editors as possible. In a normal population ~50% are women and therefor half of the effort goes (theoretically) towards them. If some topic has problems, then effort is taken to improve that topic. Everyone could help. Defining some topics men or women related goes directly against that equality you are wishing for.
With photographic events 1/4 - 1/3 of participants are women, and I'd make a guess that this is kind of similar to the proportion of women interested and active with photography in Estonian society. But the no. of women seems to rise in this field slowly in Estonia in general and might even get close to 50:50 with next 20 years.
By now nearly 2/3 of students in Estonian universities are female. On the faculties I've worked with, there are more men than this statistical average, and so it should be close to 50:50 division. But don't think they'll bring in some women perspective. If such thing exist, then that means being biased, as there can't be anything like that with things like "Organic chemistry", "RNA polymerase", "Gammarus tigrinus", "Black sand", "Lanthanide", "Hydrothermal carbonization" and other topics students (or anyone else) writes about to encyclopedia.
We do not live in a perfect world. In some topics there is plenty of information and in some topics there isn't nearly any information at all. Both in online and offline. It has fairly little to do with how much is "right" and a lot to do on what we are interested ourselves. It is almost a philosophical question on how we should describe this uneven world. In what situation we are biased? Kruusamägi (talk) 00:20, 2 December 2015 (UTC)
Dear Sydney Poore/FloNight, thank you once again for the reminder regarding the importance of dealing with diversity issues. Unfortunately we have not been able to allocate more human and time resources to this issue and our current situation is similar to the one we described last year. Diversity is not the main focus of our chapter and it seems that it can only serve as a possible sub-topic in our education program work, as well as in community engagement activities.
There are several reasons for this situation and future outlook. One of them is Estonian perception of encyclopedic knowledge - people in Estonia regard it as gender neutral (see also comments made by Kruusamägi). Yes, we are well aware that encyclopedias have been written predominantly by male editors (which is also related to male dominance in the academic field), but it seems that in any case having a neutral point of view is important for any encyclopedic writing. As a result, a large number of active female editors in our community do not want to be described as female editors, because this addition seems to be irrelevant in the context of creating encyclopedia.
This brings us to the problem of tracking gender-related outputs of our projects - many users have not specified their gender in the preferences. It may be partly because of the beforementioned understanding that gender is not relevant when creating encyclopedia, but also because Estonian does not have gender distinctions in conjugation (there is no he or she in Estonian). This makes tracking the gender of the project participants somewhat tricky and raises the question, if we should get gender data about course participants from the faculty, if they themselves have chosen not to make it available on Wikipedia (shortly, It is doable, but questionnable). What do you think?
This does not mean that Wikimedia Eesti does not understand the importance of the gender gap discussion in our movement. It has just been somewhat difficult to find the way how to introduce diversity work into our framework in a meaningful way and as we do not have a clear idea and are still searching the question of dversity has not been the main focus of the work of Wikimedia Eesti. However we have participated actively in gender gap related discussions within the CEE group (see e.g. session in 2015 meeting) and we have been engaged with some smaller diversity related projects.
On the positive side, as Kruusamägi mentions in the comment above, there are more women than men enrolled in higher education in Estonia and as a result expanding our education program work should increase female participation in Estonian Wikimedia projects. We have had different small projects related to female editors (e.g. annual lecture/workshop for librarians, predominantly female) and will continue with this in the framework of our future plans. We just have to find a way to share these stories with the international community in a better way (I strongly agree that Wikimedia Eesti has to imrpove its reporting practices).
Thank you once more for drawing attention of Wikimedia Eesti to the question of diversity and look forward for your future comments and suggestions about our activity! Best regards, --Kaarel Vaidla (WM EE) (talk) 11:54, 2 December 2015 (UTC)

Questions from Ido/Alleycat80[edit]

Hello WMEE, Ido/Alleycat80 here (from the Simple APG committee). A few questions/comments from me:

Restructuring: I see in your documentation (and *not* in your application) several references of restructuring. I'm wondering about resource allocation and possible outcomes of this process, as well as timeline/milestones of it? I think that, without getting into your specific use-case, such transitions take up a lot of management/oversight resources, and I'd like to understand motives and outcomes of the process.

Collaboration: in your proposal, you're mentioning a goal to collaborate with international partners to better achieve the goal of your education programs. Can you be more specific? Why is there a need for such collaboration? Do you have partners in mind?

Bees: I'm quoting your proposal: "2 article competitions and bees and 1 photo competition"... what are bees?

microgrants: what measures do you take to ensure that voted ideas are cohesive with WMEE's strategy?

wikicomment: since you intend to budget 3,000, a large sum, into this tool's development, I strongly urge you to aim for more than 5 active users, or at least demonstrate other communities' interests in adopting the tool.

Thanks, and looking fwd to your replies! Alleycat80 (talk) 09:51, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

I'm guessing "bees" are a type of contest - such as "spelling bees" in the US. There are also "quilting bees" in the US which are just a get-togethers while quilting (no real contest). Smallbones (talk) 03:48, 3 December 2015 (UTC)
Yup. It's an old English word that can refer to a contest or a group of people gathering to work on something together. Bee (the gathering) and bee (the insect) are homonyms in English. While bees (the insects) are pretty good at gathering together to do communal activities in a very organized way, I think that's got to bee (terrible pun) a coincidence. Based on Wikimedia Estonia's past program work, I know for a fact that it means a type of contest, and a very successful one at that ;) Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 22:05, 4 December 2015 (UTC)
WMEE answer
Dear Alleycat80, thank you very much for your thoughtful comments and questions, which draw attention to some important areas in our plans. I also apologize for a notable delay in responding to your comments! I will answer to questions in order they were presented.
Restructuring: It is true that there is not an emphasis on restructuring activities in the grant application, which is related to the form of the application concentrating on programmatic activities and resources needed to execute them. Nevertheless, the need for restructuring is important to increase effectiveness and capacity of the chapter to provide better support for future programmatic activities and that is the reason, why this has had an emphasis in our agenda and also budget.
I certainly agree that there has not been sufficient information available about our restructuring plans so far and we apologize for the delay in publishing that information. It has now been made available in Google Drive environment and hopefully this document answers most of your questions. We will be however delighted to hear your further suggestions or comments in improving our current plan.
Thanks for sharing the document, User talk:Kaarel Vaidla (WM EE), I read the restructuring plan, and even added a suggestion on your 2016 agenda. I've been part of a similar transition in Wikimedia Israel, so if you want more advice, do let me know and I'll volunteer my time, but that's obviously outside of the scope of this committee. Alleycat80 (talk) 23:06, 9 December 2015 (UTC)
Collaboration: International collaboration is important for improving our own program through exchange of experiences (sharing & learning), as well as share in a more sustainable way experiences that we have gained over the years in wiki education work. An international project is also good for increased outreach, as European projects get more attention than local ones and the content of such projects is considered more important than the content of local projects. In general we believe that having an international collaboration project in the field of education has a good potential to act as a catalyst for our own education program.
Yes, we do have some partners in mind and we are thinking about already effective CEE collaboration network where education programs have an important role and where different models that can be shared are used. In Estonia we have a very strong partnership with the University of Tartu and we hope to have a good CEE network of universities using wiki assignments as part of their curricula.
Bees: I thank Smallbones and Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) for explaining the meaning of bees. We are aware of the fact that wikiworld has already a range of innovative vocabulary and it may not be useful to add other terms. However, there is a significant and important community working together feel to this word and that is why we have used. Generally, it is a usual contest with some workshops or edit-a-thons taking place.
Microgrants: It is understandable that some of the microgrant applications may not align with our strategic goals, but this is resolved with the call for proposals, where it is stated that application should align with the goals and strategy of Wikimedia Eesti. These grants are also reviewed by employees and board, before decisions are made on general assembly. If you have any suggestions on how to ameliorate our current practice, this would be more than appreciated.
Hmm... yes, I actually do have a suggestion. Reviewing all the proposals by the board and employees seems like a waste of precious time. Have the board shortly draft a few guidelines of what kinds of projects you want to encourage proposals for, and how they are going to be assessed (hint: global metrics + innovation is a good way to assess). Then, have a subcommittee of: 1 board member, 1 employee and 1-2 volunteers review all proposals, and recommend to the board only the top 3-5. This will save everyone a considerable amount of time for board and employees. Alleycat80 (talk) 23:10, 9 December 2015 (UTC)
WMEE is not that big chapter for that to be necessary. It will never happen, that there would be a flood of microgrant applications. Like last time there was just one. So setting up some regulation for that seems like a bigger waste of time.
Last time I used this to get some funding to WikiComment, but I could have asked this money just as well directly from WMF, as I've done in past. If I'd known, that it would take that much time, I'd actually had asked that from WMF and skipped that application. I lost over half a year of precious development time as board wanted this application to be presented in general meeting, but this meeting was constantly been postponed. Board should be bold enough to make the decision and not ditch the responsibility to the general assembly, were people are far less informed about everything. So I don't get why isn't no-one here worrying about the applicants time being wasted?
If I would not ask any microgrants next year (and I'm not likely to do that with "Idea will be supported if at least one third of organization members vote for the project" approach, that could once again mean a huge delay), then I'm not sure if there would be even a single microgrant application. Getting some petite three digit number while spending 3/4 of a year to do this is just ridiculous. Kruusamägi (talk) 13:59, 12 December 2015 (UTC)
WikiComment: I understand that 5 active users of WikiComment is perhaps aiming too low, but here we speak of the results (outputs) that will be achieved by the end of the next year. These 5 active users mean that we hope that this tool will be well established in our own education program and feedback group. We do hope that there will be an active interest of some other communities also to use this helpful tool, but at the moment it is hard to speak of any international numbers (especially for the next year), as we are in the developing phase of this tool. Maybe project lead Ivo Kruusamägi has some further comments.
No need, I get it. Fair enough. Alleycat80 (talk) 23:17, 9 December 2015 (UTC)
Here are the user stats for WikiComment. Seems that this 5 is taken from the size of education program feedback group, but if my current plans with University of Tartu will come together (there is bigger cooperation under way that involves many faculties and lot of people), then even this group in Estonia could actually increase to 30+ persons. Tool is made to spare their time and so the actual user number is irrelevant. I.e. this number would just show the size of current project in Estonia, but what we are aiming for is efficiency (and it could be used elsewhere as well). This is the goal (as growing an inefficient system would be really-really bad idea). Kruusamägi (talk) 13:59, 12 December 2015 (UTC)
Thank you once more for the engagement with our proposal! If you do have any further comments or suggestions on how to improve our plans, please do not hesitate to share them with us, even when the decision on the concrete proposal has already been made. We appreciate your work in the community and your valuable comments! Best regards, --Kaarel Vaidla (WM EE) (talk) 14:26, 8 December 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for your detailed answers! Ido AKA Alleycat80 (talk) 23:17, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

Programs beyond Tartu (Smallbones)[edit]

This is Smallbones - I'm wondering about reaching out beyond Tartu, especially into Tallin. This might not be the year to emphasize this, but I think eventually if you're going to be successful in Estonia, you're going to have to be successful in Tallin. Can you outline what you're planning to do in Tallin, this year and especially in the future. Are there any roadblocks to working there that you have to overcome first? Thanks. Smallbones (talk) 21:28, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

Dear Smallbones, thank you for inquiring into geographical scope of our activity. The activity of Wikimedia Eesti is not tied to the city of Tartu and we have activities all over Estonia (including Tallinn) and beyond (e.g. leading Finno-Ugric Wikipedia collaboration, as well as actively participating in Wikimedia CEE). To some extent I agree that there has been a certain emphasis on activities in the city of Tartu, but this is mainly related to the fact that Tartu can be seen as intellectual capital of Estonia with the presence of the most esteemed university of Estonia. That is also the reason why the emphasis of our education program is related to the University of Tartu - if we can expand our activities there, then we can make the education program more appealing to other partners.
As to activities in Tallinn, we have often held prize ceremonies for our competitions there (e.g. WLM, translation bees), as to get better media coverage. We have also tried collaboration with University of Tallinn, but it has been sporadic and related to certain individuals. We do hope that increased education program activity in Tartu will lead to more enthousiastic approach in Tallinn too.
In year 2016 we will most probably hold a prize ceremony for community competition in Tallinn and maybe some edit-a-thons or workshops. A more extensive collaboration with the University of Tallinn is foreseen in the future, but not in next year.
We will be available for further questions and comments! Best regards, --Kaarel Vaidla (WM EE) (talk) 21:00, 2 December 2015 (UTC)
Another important factor is that most of the people active in WMEE (especially on board) are or have recently been students in University of Tartu, so there have been connections and resources easily available. While Estonia is a small country and one could probably find some contacts in every town it is much easier (and more efficient) to run programs in the town you live in, not having to travel elsewhere for each event. Also, the academic community is more active and influential in Tartu as a traditional university town, so students and scientists can be more easily engaged. --Oop (talk) 19:25, 3 December 2015 (UTC)

From other community members[edit]

From Wikimedia Foundation[edit]

Program story[edit]

We noticed this field was left blank, although the rest of the application looks complete now. Is there anything you can add here about something WMEE did in the past year? It can be a link to another report or blog post. Thanks! Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 21:45, 2 December 2015 (UTC)

Dear Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer), thank you for the note! I have added link to blog post about our education program in WMF blog and videos about translation bee and photo competitions. Hopefully this demonstrates to at least some extent our storytelling practices. Best regards, --Kaarel Vaidla (WM EE) (talk) 16:29, 8 December 2015 (UTC)
These are great! I enjoyed the opportunity to hear from some of your active volunteers directly in these videos :) Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 18:44, 8 December 2015 (UTC)

Budget review[edit]

Just to add a note here that I've been working with Wikimedia Eesti directly in their budget spreadsheet to clarify specific line items, which is why budget discussions are not visible directly on this discussion page. Changes included removing funding for WikiCon 2016 and other covered events, clarifying operational expenses, adding a breakdown of staff expenses, clarifying expenses for internal discussion and training (as part of restructuring), clarifying the line item for feedback group fees (addressed elsewhere on the discussion page). I'm documenting that budget work here so that the committee know about it, in case they weren't following changes to the spreadsheet :) Cheers, Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 21:45, 2 December 2015 (UTC)

Committee assessment and decision[edit]

Committee recommendations
Funding recommendations:

The Simple Annual Plan Grants Committee recommends that Wikimedia Eesti receive a grant between 57,000 Euro and 59,000 Euro (corresponding to a slight reduction in the total funding requested) for their 2016 annual plan.

We appreciate Wikimedia Eesti’s demonstrated commitment to documenting and learning from its work, and to sharing learning with the wider movement. Wikimedia Eesti has faced significant challenges in the past year, but has put together a thoughtful plan for restructuring. We note that the 2016 budget has already been significantly reduced from the current year. Wikimedia Eesti has made a clear, logical, and thoughtful application. At the same time, the application was difficult to evaluate without more details about Wikimedia Eesti’s recent work, since recent reports and metrics were not available.

We are concerned that the targets in this application are very low with respect to the amount of funding requested. At the same time, we fear that reducing staff at this stage, and further reducing the budget, may inhibit successful restructuring and stall program activity entirely. Once Wikimedia Eesti has successfully restructured, expectations at this funding and staffing level will be much higher for 2017. We believe that some moderate adjustments can be made to reduce the 2016 budget slightly, and make their plan even more focused, and so the committee recommends a slight reduction from the amount requested. For example, some committee members are skeptical about the costs involved in paying experts to give article feedback, as well as devoting significant resources to developing software that may be used by as few as five participants.

Strengths identified by the committee:

Organizational effectiveness

  • The organization understands its current challenges, is taking positive steps to address them, and has shown an ability to learn and improve, even when things don’t go according to plan.
  • The organization has the capacity to execute this plan and effectively document its work, its programs are based on past experience, and it has a history of managing staff and running programs effectively.
  • The organization has demonstrated good cooperation and interaction with communities in the past, and with the international Wikimedia community.

Program effectiveness

  • This is a strong application with logical programs and clear SMART objectives for each program, including detailed supporting documents such as a good annual plan.
  • The organization has shown good ability to measure and report on its work in the past, although the committee did not have metrics for the past year available when evaluating this proposal.
  • This plan, including the Community Support program, directly supports the Estonian community, and includes effective programs like translation bees.
  • The organization is doing some innovative work in areas like translation contests, online courses, and software development.
Concerns identified by the committee:

Organizational effectiveness

  • The organization’s restructuring phase will slow down program effectiveness, and progress may continue to slow if the organization does not stabilize.
  • The staffing plan is weighted toward administration, and staffing is nearly 50% of the budget. This makes it more difficult to draw a clear link between expenses and program results. It also seems like the roles of the Executive Director and the Assistant overlap to some extent.
  • Lack of external funding in the current year and damaged partner relationships is a concern at this funding level.
  • A small volunteer community and small overall number of people involved may make it difficult to set effective goals that capture impact for the movement. At this funding and staffing level, we need more evidence of strong volunteer engagement.

Program effectiveness

  • Targets are very low, and some targets seem inconsistent. Based on these targets, overall impact is likely to be low with respect to the amount requested.
  • The plan does not emphasize gender or geographic diversity. The organization’s impact is focused in Tartu rather than achieving national reach.
  • We have seen the organization focus on several innovative projects, but we would like to see them highlight ways in which their more innovative projects can benefit the wider movement. At this level of funding, we would like to see more impact that goes beyond Estonian language work.
  • Some programs can be reduced or approached more strategically. For example, software work is potentially innovative, and yet investing in a target of five active users for a tool may not make strategic sense. We hope to see evidence that this tool is adapted and used more broadly. Microgrants are another area that may have potential but should be approached more strategically, or perhaps put on hold until the organization has more capacity.

On behalf of the Simple Annual Plan Grants Committee, Kirill Lokshin (talk) 19:28, 14 December 2015 (UTC)

@Kaarel Vaidla (WM EE):, I want to let you know that we've received the committee's decision, but due to the large size of this grant it will take a bit longer to approve it. I hope to have updates for you soon, but it's likely to take about a week. We apologize for the delay. In the mean time, I would suggest we work together on updating your budget in order to follow the committee's recommendations. I don't have specific ideas for line items to reduce, but I'm happy to talk through the budget with you some more if you are uncertain about how to follow the committee's recommendations. Otherwise, I'll leave the adjustments up to you and you can send me a new budget to approve in advance of the official decision. This will help us speed up the process of issuing your grant agreement. Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 05:43, 15 December 2015 (UTC)
Decision from WMF
Funding decision:

Many thanks to Wikimedia Eesti for your work during the application process, and many thanks to the committee for this recommendation. We appreciate your thoughtful responses on the discussion page, as well as this high quality application and the supporting documents.

As recommended by the committee, WMF will fund this grant in the amount of up to 59,000 Euro for twelve months. We do not have specific recommendations or requirements about where you can reduce specific line items in your budget. We are happy to review and approve a revised budget after you create one, and approve these final changes. If you need some guidance in this area, however, we are happy to help out. You will need to create a revised budget before we send the first installment of funds to you.

As we discussed in detail during this grant application process, we understand that restructuring will be a major priority for you in 2016. We want to support a successful transition for your organization during this critical time, but in future years we hope to see you return to a healthy level of program activity or revise your budget down accordingly. We can discuss this in more detail at the midpoint, when we have a better idea of how the restructuring process is progressing and what you may be planning for 2017.

I believe Janice has already been in touch with you regarding the grant agreement, and we will set up a schedule for our regular check ins. As noted in the eligibility section above, there are some conditions for receiving each installment of grant funds, and this grant will be sent in three installments:

  • First installment of funds at 30% of the total grant amount sent immediately upon WMF's receipt of a signed grant agreement and the approval of your revised budget by WMF.
  • Second installment of 30% of the total grant amount sent immediately upon completion of all outstanding reports, including grant reports as well as annual financial and activity reports required by the chapter agreement.
  • Third installment of 40% to be sent after receipt of the midpoint report for this grant on 15 July.

All the best in 2016. Congratulations! Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 19:25, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

Comments from WMEE board[edit]

Dear members of the Simple Annual Plan Grants Committee,

On behalf of Wikimedia Estonia (WMEE), I would like to thank you the time and effort you’ve put into reviewing and commenting our application. We have reviewed and discussed your comments (and will, no doubt, discuss them further, especially as far as our future development is concerned). For now, though, I’ll provide some initial remarks and comments regarding the concerns you have expressed, at least as far as programme effectiveness is concerned.

  • Targets are very low, and some targets seem inconsistent. Based on these targets, overall impact is likely to be low with respect to the amount requested.
The targets were set low based on the advice of the WMF audit committee. We have had to rethink our educational efforts and while the new system is much more robust by design, it has still yet to prove itself. Thus, the plan here is to basically lay the foundations for the redesigned programme (in parallel with our general restructuring efforts) and then build on the results of this process the next year. We know that as far as pure numbers are concerned, the planned impact is low, but we hope to show that we can build a sustainable programme on these results, with increased external cooperation and external funding.
At the same time, we should be able to raise our targets once we have managed to overcome our problems with Wikimetrics and found ways to measure the impact of some activities (e.g. article competitions) that have not quite conformed to the Wikimetrics standards.
  • The plan does not emphasize gender or geographic diversity. The organization’s impact is focused in Tartu rather than achieving national reach.
As discussed above, there are more women enrolled in Estonian higher educational institutions than men. This is also the case for the University of Tartu, the current focus of our educational programme. Hence, the programme should increase female participation in Wikimedia projects. The university also attracts students from all over Estonia; after graduation, most of them will move elsewhere (mainly Tallinn, the capital of Estonia). Also, as mentioned, our eventual plan is to create a nationwide network of teachers and lecturers (who, again, tend to be female rather than male in Estonia) using Wiki projects as learning tools. All in all, then, geographic diversity is very much on our minds. We will, of course, keep track of these metrics to the best of our abilities (as discussed above, many Estonian Wiki users prefer not to reveal their gender).
  • We have seen the organization focus on several innovative projects, but we would like to see them highlight ways in which their more innovative projects can benefit the wider movement. At this level of funding, we would like to see more impact that goes beyond Estonian language work.

_Our educational efforts will serve as a testing ground for the WikiComment tool, something we hope will eventually be adopted by all Wikipedias. Feedback received from the users should help make it better for everyone.

  • Some programs can be reduced or approached more strategically. For example, software work is potentially innovative, and yet investing in a target of five active users for a tool may not make strategic sense. We hope to see evidence that this tool is adapted and used more broadly. Microgrants are another area that may have potential but should be approached more strategically, or perhaps put on hold until the organization has more capacity.
I agree that spending resources on developing a tool for just five users would not make strategic sense. If we were only concerned with plain user numbers, we would definitely have set the bar much higher – indeed, the platform already has many more registered users than that. What we are seeking to achieve is to have at least five people who use the platform day in and day out as a part of the educational feedback group and can, in turn, thus provide much more detailed feedback to the developers of WikiComment than someone who only uses it every now and then.

-Daniel Charms (talk) 06:56, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

Thanks, Daniel Charms. We appreciate these clarifications. Best, Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 18:05, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Buying laptops for employees of Wikimedia Eesti[edit]

Dear representatives of Wikimedia Foundation and funding committee,

During the site visit of Wikimedia Foundation to Wikimedia Eesti in September 2015 it was noted that employees of Wikimedia Eesti are using their personal laptops for their work and it was decided that Wikimedia Eesti should provide working equipment for their employees. As Wikimedia Eesti has experienced serious cash flow problems, it was not really possible to buy this equipment from the funds of our 2015 APG grant, as it was planned. As a result, we inquire into possibility to increase the amount of our grant by the price of purchase of these laptops and related equipment (bags, mice, card readers).

Our proposed budget for these expenses
Item Unit price Nr. of units Total price Comment
Lenovo ThinkPad L450 €775.00 2 €1550.00 Computer on sale and suggested by our consultant (chapter member) working on IT field as a good value equipment for the price
Computer bags €29.99 2 €59.98 Computer backbags currently on sale.
ID-card reader €12.99 2 €25.98 ID-card readers are essential for working in Estonia (signing documents, making bank transactions etc.).
Mouse €10.99 2 €20.98 As there is lot of work with documents and tables, having a mouse is handy.
Total €1656.94

Please let us know what to you think of this proposal! Any suggestions, comments and questions are well appreciated! Best regards, --Kaarel Vaidla (WM EE) (talk) 19:36, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Thank you, Kaarel. After consulting with the committee, I approve this request for an additional €1656.94 for laptops and equipment. According to the recommendations of the site visit, we believe this equipment is a necessary expense for your organization. This amount will be added to your total grant amount. Cheers, Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 06:21, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

Funding for lobbying for Freedom of Panorama in Estonia[edit]

Dear representatives of Wikimedia Foundation and funding committee,

Hereby I am presenting another request related to 2016 annual plan of Wikimedia Eesti. Namely, during the process of applying for funds for year 2016 it was understood in Wikimedia Eesti that activities related to lobbying should not make part of our general application and so it was presented without these activities. It has now been made clear that actually this is not the case and therefore we are presenting our current request here.

This is a continuation of our efforts from 2015 to achieve Freedom of Panorama in Estonia, which would have a positive effect on possible Wikimedia content related to public spaces in Estonia in Commons, but also is part of our efforts in increasing general awareness about copyright issues and free knowledge in Estonia. These activities are to be carried out by a local contractor Blue Ant, and its board member, who is most probably best educated in Freedom of Panorama related issues in Estonia.

As for the year 2016 Wikimedia Eesti has become one of the main spokespersons for free knowledge in Estonia, we feel that it makes sense to meet general expectations to maintain that role and continue our activity in policy making activities, as it also provides good background and foundation for our programmatic activities and creation of partnerships.

Although we have continued our lobbying activities in the first quarter of the year, we would like to continue so and even more actively with the help of additional funding for meetings with stakeholders, decision-makers, Members of European Parliament, as well as for activities related to translations, media and juridical consultations. These activities will be carried out from the 1st of April to the 31st of December 2016 and our proposed budget for these activities is following:

Item Unit Nr. Total Comment
Meetings with stakeholders €70.00 6 €420.00 Interaction and meetings with stakeholders, increasing the general supportive atmosphere for Freedom of Panorama among creators who are related with the public space (architects in general, landscape and interior architects in particular, but also sculptors, designers, lighting artists, film-makers etc.).
Preparations €15.00 12h €180.00
Actual meetings €15.00 6h €90.00
Transportation €25.00 6 €150.00
Creation of proposal €400.00 1 €400.00 Creation of amendment proposal and an explanatory note on economical and legal analysis, including international examples with the help of legal experts and key stakeholders. Forwarding this proposal to Ministry of Justice and relevant Committees in Estonian Parliament with a support letter from key stakeholders.
Legal consultations €200.00 2 €400.00
Meetings with decision-makers €70.00 6 €420.00 Interaction and meetings with decision-makers in Estonian Parliament (Cultural Affairs Committee and Legal Affairs Committee) and in the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Culture.
Preparations €15.00 12h €180.00
Actual meetings €15.00 6h €90.00
Transportation €25.00 6 €150.00
Meetings with MEPs €70.00 6 €420.00 Interaction with Estonian delegates in European Parliament, as well as position holders in European Commission, as to promote Freedom of Panorama and free knowledge in European structures.
Preparations €15.00 12h €180.00
Actual meetings €15.00 6h €90.00
Transportation €25.00 6 €150.00
Media activities €915.00 Media activities and other promotional work to promote the idea and make it visible in public. This includes writing of articles for newspapers, blogs, being visible on social media and possibly presenting our ideas in television, radio and podcasts.
Producing papers €15.00 40h €600.00
Communication expenses €20.00 12m €240.00
Transportation €25.00 3 €75.00
Translations €15.00 40h €600.00 Interaction with partners in Wikimedia movement, including making translations of some of our papers, which are useful for their activities and may give us valuable feedback for our work in Estonia.
General administration (10%) €353.00 Reporting and paperwork for this project. As all of the activities are coordinated by Blue Ant, it makes also sense to make them do reporting.
Total €3528.00

This means that the total of our planned activities in the field of lobbying for freedom of panorama in 2016 is €3528.00. You are more than welcome to consult and comment on more detailed plan of our proposed activities in the form of Google Drive document. Although we have already received some useful feedback from Wikimedia Foundation and funding committee, any further suggestions, comments and questions are well appreciated! We thank you for your kind attention and time you have taken for discussions related to our grant proposal and annual agenda! Best regards, --Kaarel Vaidla (WM EE) (talk) 21:13, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

Noting here for the record that we would like to move forward with approving this request, but are waiting on WMEE's pending grant reports, which we need before more funding can be approved. Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 10:03, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
Noting here that currently WMEE seems to prepare a report for a grant that has never been approved nor funded. I'd say this is a pretty innovative practice - reports for non-existent grants could keep pretty much everyone busy until the end of their days. Maybe that could be a universal cure for unemployment: if you have nothing to do, pick a random organization and write a report. --Oop (talk) 11:59, 26 September 2016 (UTC)

Budget change - Funding for e-course[edit]

Dear Winifred Olliff,

I am writing on behalf of Wikimedia Eesti and in relation to funding of e-course team of Wikimedia Eesti for 2016. As we briefly discussed during January on-line meetup, there is a problem that needs to be fixed related to salaries of team members of the e-course. We hoped to cover some of the costs from grant from Estonian Ministry of Education or WMF APG grant for 2015, but unfortunately, due to administrative issues it was not possible. As a result we have exceeded funding for e-course and education program and therefore need to discuss possible changes in our 2016 budget and payments now, as to cover expenses made in last periods from underspent from this period.

What we are proposing is to:

  1. Change in our 2016 budget budget item Education/Human resources/Feedback group to Education/Human resources/E-course.
  2. Allocate following underspent funds from named budget items to Education/Human resources/E-course:
  • 1000 euros from Administration/General costs/Technical support
  • 738.70 euros from Administration/Representation
  • 200 euros from Restructuring/Discussions
  • 200 euros from Restructuring/Consultations
  • 524.50 euros from Restructuring/Training
  • 300 euros from Education/Image projects/Illustration project
  • 500 euros from Education/Image projects/Rephotography project
  • 1000 euros from Community/Microgrants
  • i.e. a total of 4463.20 euros to be payed out as salaries and taxes of e-course project group.

We will be available for any further questions or specifications! Best regards, --Kaarel Vaidla (WM EE) (talk) 22:36, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

Hello, Kaarel Vaidla (WM EE). I am confused by this request since in your budget document you have listed 58,046.21 EUR spent of 60,657 EUR granted, yielding an underspend of just 2610.79 EUR. The amount you are proposing to reallocate from unspent funds here is 4463.20 EUR, which exceeds this amount. (This is not taking into account amounts awarded and spent for the Freedom of Panorama work, which was funded in the amount of 3528 EUR.)
We want to approve your request, but will need some clarification in why these amounts are inconsistent and how much of the 2016 grant you have spent. Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk
Dear Winifred Olliff, thank you for specifying this question. In your calculations you have not counted approved budget change from January 2016 for buying technical equipment in sum of €1,656.94. We have also noticed that internship of Teele Vaalma at Wikimedia Conference 2016, as well as external funding from Estonian Research Council for European Science Photo of the Year were calculated in the total and thus we created a new column for WMF grant spending. As a result we have updated budget document and also cost report document and thus have made it clear that in current state of cost report there is €5,207.34 underspend. Therefore it should be possible to approve requested change in our budget. We will be available for any further questions or specifications! Best regards, --Kaarel Vaidla (WM EE) (talk) 00:27, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, Kaarel! Your total grant amount of 60,657 Euro does already include the 1,656.94 Euro increase for equipment. Your total grant including the 3,528 Euro allocation for Freedom of Panorama is 64,185 Euro. So if your total WMF spending (including Freedom of Panorama) is 58,025 Euro, this yields an underspend of 6,160 Euro, not 5207 Euro as you report here. According to these calculations, you have enough underspend for us to approve the change, but first we need to understand why there is a discrepancy in these amounts in order to understand what your actual underspend on this grant is. Best, Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 18:48, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

Dear Winifred Olliff, thank you for this specifications and for the call today to clear things up around our 2016 SimpleAPG grant expenses - it was really helpful!

As already explained in e-mail correspondence, the difference in our calculations and actual grant budget came from the fact that after SAPG committee recommendations we cut the budget to €58,047.46, but were allocated €59,000.00. Due to being administratively overwhelmed our budget document was not changed and hence the difference. Thank you for pointing that out!

As to our cost report, not all of 2016 expenses were included in the document, as it was cash based. We would like to be given permission to pay out further expenses in addition to requested education program change (€4,463.20), which are related to 2016 grant based on accrual basis accounting, i.e. expenses that occured in 2016, but are not yet payed out. A detailed table regarding these expenses will be forwarded via e-mail.

One of the expenses for the 2016 grant was related to auditing and as Wikimedia Eesti had some structural issues related to accounting and documentation, the audit was prolonged and became more expensive. As auditor delved deep into processes of Wikimedia Eesti during the audit, we also made a request to present more detailed guidelines for improving the practices, which resulted in further expenses. These, however, have proven to be useful in the restructuring process of Wikimedia Eesti. As auditing was a requirement of our APG grant agreement, we would like to ask Wikimedia Foundation to cover the differences between budgeted auditing cost and actual costs in the sum of €529.48 €616.43.

I hope that I have included all necessary details, but will be available for any further questions or specifications! I would also like to express my appreciation for time and attention dedicated to these financial questions! Best regards, --Kaarel Vaidla (WM EE) (talk) 23:09, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

Hello, Kaarel. Thanks for taking the time to get all of this settled. It took us some time to get back to you with an official response, because we needed to get your grant re-approved at the executive level to authorize the increase for your audit.
We understand why some more detailed work by the auditor was required, given your recent financial challenges, and approve allocating the necessary funds to this purpose. Therefore, we are increasing your grant by €616.43, bringing your grant total up to €64,802 (includes additional funds for laptops, Freedom of Panorama, and the audit), and also approving the reallocation of additional funds for your audit from other areas of your budget. We also approve your request to reallocate unspent funds from other parts of your budget to the additional costs for the education program in the amount of €4,463.20, since these costs were related to your 2016 grant. The details of these budget changes are all included in your financial report.
In the future, we need to make sure that costs related to the completed grant are settled within about 60 days, and that substantial reallocations are requested well in advance. It's difficult for us to make changes to a grant after the fact, and it won't always be possible. I'm glad it worked out in this case though :) Best, Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 17:23, 23 March 2017 (UTC)