Grants talk:Simple/Applications/Wikimedia New York City/2016-2017

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Creating draft application[edit]

I created this draft version of an annual plan grant application for Wikimedia New York City. We've asked them to draft an annual plan to complement their several PEG applications, but I also want to give them the option to use this application form instead. This isn't yet a formal application. Cheers, Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 02:08, 12 January 2016 (UTC)


Hello, Wikimedia New York City colleagues:

Thank you for submitting your eligibility form on January 18, 2016. After reviewing your past grants we've determined that you are eligible to apply for a Simple Process Annual Plan Grant. We appreciate your focused plan and the work you do (and plan to continue) to support volunteers and activities that extend beyond your chapter. We think this cooperative model is special, and we're excited about the opportunity to support the chapter and the regional services you provide. We appreciate that the chapter intends to remain a lean, volunteer-driven organization, even as you grow your capacity, and we are enthusiastic about your strong commitment to increasing diversity (in terms of content and participation) on the Wikimedia projects. We appreciate the level of detail and thoughtfulness that you have already put into developing your plans so far.

WMF and WMUS-NYC have discussed some serious concerns about the chapter's past compliance record together. In the past WMUS-NYC has not submitted timely grant reports or annual reports required by their affiliate agreement. We appreciate the energy that the chapter's current leadership has applied to resolving past reporting gaps and improving the chapter's capacity in this area, and so we are hopeful that this will not be an issue with future grants.

Wikimedia New York City has received 12 grants since 2009, including:

Wiki-Conference and Other Event Support
Internship Program

Wikimedia New York City has supported some outstanding projects funded independently of the chapter, including:

Wikimedia New York City is proposing to bring on two part-time staff people as part of this proposal. One will be serving as a project manager for the AfroCROWD program, while the other will be focusing on metrics and reporting. Having a staff person focused solely on metrics and reporting is unusual in the Wikimedia movement, but Wikimedia New York City believes having this staff person will provide benefits not only for the chapter, but also for related projects and volunteers who need more capacity in this area. Transitioning to a model with two staff will be a significant change for the WMUS-NYC board, although a project manager has been included as part of the AfroCROWD model prior to this grant application.

If Wikimedia New York City receives an annual plan grant, they may seek funding for WikiConference USA through a separate grant, although as a significant organizational effort it should be considered as part of their annual plan.

Best regards, Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 00:58, 18 February 2016 (UTC)

Speaking on behalf of WM NYC, I would like to formally thank Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) and Sydney Poore aka FloNight for their kindness, support, patience, smarts, and assistance to the chapter leadership in navigating this grant project.
Re: Prior grant funding -- I hope it was okay but I did a bit of summarizing of our prior grant funding above, as I believe all of these activities pre-dated my involvement in the chapter and I was curious to learn more. Also I would like this information to be as transparent as possible, so I added amounts and a bit more detail. I will transfer this information to the WM NYC Wikipedia Meetup space if it doesn't require any further corrections or updates.
Re: Reporting and compliance -- As far as concerns about the chapter's past record of compliance, since this was before I was involved, I can't address that. I think the overarchingly clear recognition is that this annual grant exists in part to address the lack of infrastructure and resources we need to properly report and comply in a timely manner. I know that making sure we do this will be a top priority from my perspective.
-- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 15:27, 18 March 2016 (UTC)

Requests from WMF staff[edit]

Please add percentage breakdown for your metrics staff![edit]

Hello, Wikimedia New York City colleagues!

The percentage estimates for the amount of time you expect the metrics person to be spending on different types of activities is not included in the application form yet. Please do add this information so the committee may better understand the nature of this person's work and where their time will be focused. Note that if this person will be spending 100% of their time collecting and reporting on metrics, you can indicate that with 100% :)

@BrillLyle:, @Pharos:, @Bluerasberry:

Cheers, Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 03:20, 15 March 2016 (UTC)

@Wolliff: -- Hi Winifred! Thank you for catching this! Apologies for the delay. I think if you don't tag us first the ping doesn't work so I didn't see this. I added the percentage breakdowns for the Metrics info and conformed the formatting for the two sets of data. Please let us know if you need anything else. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 15:59, 18 March 2016 (UTC)
Thanks :) Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 02:15, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

Clarification about venues[edit]

Hello, NYC team! On last week's calls the committee brought up the issue of payment for venues. Our impression is that in the past you received many venues for free (donated by other nonprofit organizations) and that now you are proposing to pay for these venues (at a heavily discounted rate), so that you can contribute something to these organizations in exchange for use of the venues. It would be helpful to have some more background about how you came to these new agreements about the venues and how and why you are increasing your expenses in this area. I figured this could be best explained by you in your own words :)
I know there have been a lot of questions, and we very much appreciate the quality of your engagement here on the discussion page. Please bear with us. We are working to meet our deadline for a decision and I think we are almost there! Cheers, Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 21:36, 25 March 2016 (UTC)

  • The only venue that is covered under the budget item for venues is Babycastles in Manhattan, where we hold our monthly WikiWednesday salons and skill sharing meetups, organizing meetings, and board meetings. They are a non-profit organization that has provided donated venue space since late 2014 based on the chapter not having sufficient funds to pay in the past. - Becksguy (talk) 14:00, 26 March 2016 (UTC)
I added Babycastles to the description for the venue line item in the budget spreadsheet to clarify there that it's the only venue so included. - Becksguy (talk) 02:08, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Wolliff I have some old notes republished here, mixed with updates that I just added.
Options for regular meetups -
In the beginning Wikipedians in New York continually had to scramble to get a space donation for every meetup. This was problematic because we had no stability and it was difficult for people to plan their schedules for a regular meetup because there would continually be the hassle of tracking where it would be and how people would get there. Some places became regular meetup spaces, and it was nice that the chapter was hosted, but as membership grew the tension with some hosts also increased as the chapter pushed the limits of their generosity. We never were able to pay. Some chapter members are relatively wealthy professionals, while others are at the lowest income levels. Space rental in NYC is crazy expensive so all meetups were hosted by donors and it was always a favor.
It was desired that there could be one place where regular meetups were held. These were the desired characteristics:
  • Central accessible location.
  • Stability - we could repeatedly meet there
  • Friendly hosting - chapter members wanted to actually be welcome, and not imposing, and the place has to promote diversity. "Promote diversity" cannot be taken for granted.
  • Non commercial - the chapter did not want to accept commercial sponsorship from banks, consultancies, or otherwise people with unaligned values
  • Not rich - chapter members wanted a place that projects a scrappy underfunded image and casual atmosphere
  • Cheap or free - it has to be affordable
  • Wifi
  • Ideally, has an aligned mission
Here are some options considered
Keep using a changing set of free spaces
The problem with free spaces has been that negotiating spaces that are "free of financial cost" actually comes with great expense to volunteer time. Using rotating free spaces requires continual communication with the hosts, and then continual migration around the city. This is what the chapter did for 5+ years, and it was difficult for organizers and attendees. Wikipedians are good at presenting Wikipedia but less good at professional level administration of nonprofit offices. Until now, there has been an event bottleneck in that the only Wikipedians who can have events are those who can negotiate for a venue in which to host them. The investment of volunteer time in this has always been shaky and out of scope of the chapter goals. The point of WM NYC is supposed to be presenting Wikipedia, and not managing back end administration.
Rent the usual sort of space for a group of our size and demographic
An organization like Civic Hall is the obvious choice for a Wikipedia meeting space in New York City. It is inexpensive, has aligned values, is used by partners including Internet Society, Beta NYC, Open Knowledge, and OpenStreetMap. On occasion contributors to Creative Commons or EFF present there. Wikimedia directors Sue Gardner and Lila Tretikov have both given keynote talks at Public Democracy Forum, the conference associated with this space. It would be natural for Wikipedia meetings to be in this space and mingle with other members of organizations that also congregate here. A major attraction of this space is its location - it is in a place that the fewest number of New Yorkers would call inconvenient. Location matters a huge amount here when doing outreach in NYC and is a factor to consider when planning respect for volunteer time.
The cost to have a WM NYC meeting at this space 15 times a year would cost about US$7,000/year. This place has all the amenities we need - wifi, projector, restrooms, tables, water - all the basics that people would expect in a good meetup space. There is nothing luxurious about this venue except the location and that they would allow evening (6-8pm) meetings. There are some perks that come with joining this space, like access to nonprofit incubator services, and those are sold in a package with access to the space. Still, this amount of money for a space that would only give limited access with appointments for a few hours on a few days was more money for less flexibility than the chapter wanted. This is the kind of space that society recommends that small nonprofit tech collectives meetup, but still, Wikipedia at its most formal is less orthodox than most other tech activism at its least formal. Civic Hall is a fair choice but it would be nice to have something less expensive and formal than even this low-budget option.
Stay in a trashed out art space
This is what WM NYC has been doing for a year for free. The relationship is nice but it needs to be renegotiated because the chapter is at the limit of what this space can provide. I mean "trashed out" as a complement because it matches the style of the venue, but definitely, the place is not hiring cleaning staff like other art galleries and objects placed in corners may remain there for months without notice. WM NYC helping with the bills here for the time and use would perhaps keep soap in the restroom and fund the cleaning of the toilet every few weeks, which might be more than the current schedule. This space works. Attendees accept it. It matches the public image we want to project of the Wikimedia movement - a little dirty, really creative, and making due with limited resources in a collaborative environment. Babycastles, the current art space where the group meets, is I think the most loved meetup venue by the most chapter participants. It meets the need, consumes less resources than alternatives known to the chapter, and as a nonprofit crowdsourcing collective of artists, there is a history of positive communication between the venue and Wikipedians which has never existed in more traditional meetup spaces which the chapter has used.
Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:56, 26 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Using Babycastles as a venue has been both an active discussion as well as a silent sigh of relief that the chapter has found such a centrally located, supportive space that is usually available if we plan far enough in advance. Our chapter is GRATEFUL for this partnership because as Lane very clearly illustrates, this is is a huge luxury in New York City. I have really liked the general consensus when there has been discussion about the venue, and seeing if there was a way to try to express that thanks somehow. The thought behind the grant amount requested here is that in return for their kind and welcoming hosting that we might be able to possibly donate funds if we receive this funding. I think there was a recognition that we did not want to take this dear thing for granted, as well. Finally: I honestly don't think our chapter would have the same level of consistently strong activity and leadership if we didn't have a safe space like Babycastles where we could gather regularly. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 23:22, 26 March 2016 (UTC)
  • While it is possible to have edit-a-thon events at very fancy museums without paying for space, that is not appropriate for actual meetings. We could find "free" spaces for meetings only if we expend quite major volunteer resources on this space-hunting activity every month; this is something we have done in the past, but is a distraction from actual programmatic work. And being a community-based nonprofit, we are substantially strengthened by a strong and consistent, safe and like-minded space like Babycastles,.--Pharos (talk) 00:53, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
Agree with Pharos on this, and it's importance. - Becksguy (talk) 00:49, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Hosting us costs Babycastles, as one of their collective members has to be present to staff each of our meetings — so there is a real cost to them having us there. Also, I second the comments from others that consistency has improved efficacy. We need to have a consistent, centrally located space. And consistent central space in Manhattan isn't cheap.--Theredproject (talk) 01:06, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, team! Awesome detail, here :) Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 19:27, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

Questions from the SAPG committee[edit]

Questions from Kirill

Hi Wikimedia New York City! I have some questions about the proposal; some of them are simply to confirm that I understand what's being proposed, while others are a bit more open-ended. For ease of reference, I've organized/numbered them by section:

1. Background:

  • 1A: You've included a link to the 2011 strategic plan. To what degree do the contents of that document still represent your overall strategic direction/thinking? Are there particular areas that are still relevant to the chapter's current plans (or, conversely, areas where you've significantly changed your approach since 2011)?
    • It has been several years, but a focus on outreach and community-building remains. We would probably place less emphasis now on independent fundraising and chapter website-building.--Pharos (talk) 12:23, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
      • Pharos, a follow-up question regarding fundraising: looking forward to the next three to five years, do you anticipate pursuing any significant degree of diversification in your funding sources, or do you anticipate that most or all of your budget will continue to come from WMF grants programs? Kirill Lokshin (talk) 02:32, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
        • In the past we had actually been discouraged by WMF from seeking significant independent funding, but if the WMF recommendations in this area have evolved, we'll be glad to work toward diversifying funding sources more in the coming years.--Pharos (talk) 00:42, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 1B: You mention that you don't currently have an annual plan. Are you planning to develop one for the upcoming fiscal year?
  • Yes, and certainly the current application will be the basis on which we will build our actual annual plan.--Pharos (talk) 12:23, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

2. Program 1: 2016 Meetups:

  • 2A: The graph of events per year (which is a very nice touch, by the way!) shows 46 non-education events in 2015; however, the metrics spreadsheet only lists 37 events. Are there events which are included in the former but not the latter (and, if so, which ones), or is there some other reason for the different counts?
    • Thank you! I was going to update the graph because one of the events was inadvertently listed twice, so the grand total should actually be 59 events. Apologies.
      The breakout of event metrics would only be done for Events due to the fact that WikiEdu/Edu events are using the WikiEdu dashboards. At least that was an assumption I made, which might need to be corrected.
      You've pointed out a mistake in the preliminary metrics -- I need to add data for the nine (9) 2015 Supported events, internal workshops, and partnership outreach listed here. I was going to continue working on the metrics info now A+F is done, to make it better. Thanks for shining light on this. Not sure if it would be helpful to change the graph to reflect this breakout. I was going for a bit of a big picture here. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 17:31, 18 March 2016 (UTC)
    • Hi Kirill -- to follow up, I updated the graph to correct the inadvert mistake. The new version of the graph also includes a granular breakout of the events for 2015, which has data that comes from the WM NYC Event Archive page. This graph will be maintained on an ongoing basis. It is in Excel and can be attached to our application if you think that would be helpful. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 15:35, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 2B: You've listed a target for new editors of 12+ edits per month, which is higher than the WMF's "active contributor" threshold but lower than the "very active contributor" threshold. Can you share your thinking around why you've selected this particular number?
    • One could make an argument that a place exists in the middle, but I think for accounting purposes we will stick with the standard "active contributor" threshold.--Pharos (talk) 11:52, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
    • I changed this to 5. The universal definition in Wikimedia metrics is that 5 monthly contributions means "active editor" and 100 monthly contributions is "highly active editor". There is no precedent for talking about anything between. The intent here was always to develop the base of active editors. Blue Rasberry (talk) 12:11, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 2C: Your target for new editor retention uses a twelve-month period of interest; are you also planning to collect retention metrics at intermediate points during that period (and, if so, when)?
    • The 12-month period is in service to this APG and would be used for annual review, reportage, and compliance. The actual metrics numbers would be collected in an ongoing, rolling basis. So as we hold events, the data would be collected and added to a centralized metrics spreadsheet. At least this is what I envision as being practical. For larger, marquee events with large attendance figures, it might make sense to have post-event releases of metrics.
      Which brings up a point that was discussed this week after our monthly WikiWednesday: This metrics information could and should be regularly reported at our WikiWednesdays. And we could and should do similar reporting of our finances including detailed accounting (IMO transparent accounting that is publicly available) as a regular matter of course, also at WikiWednesdays. We are already doing event reviews and planning discussion at WikiWednesdays, which are mission critical. So these things could/should be formally added, too. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 18:13, 18 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 2D: You've listed a target of 30 "meetups of any sort" in 2016; does this correspond to the "Events" on the graph, or to both "Events" and "Wiki Edu / Edu"? Can you share your thinking around why you're targeting a lower number of events for 2016 than you had in 2015?
    • As mentioned below, this was deliberately meant to be a conservative estimate. It's designed as a minimum baseline that we know he have to achieve, even if we go put relatively more resources into "non-event" activities this year, as suggested by WMF. The number corresponds to actual events we directly lead or co-lead, including training workshops in-person at universities, but not pure online activties.--Pharos (talk) 12:04, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
      • Pharos, a follow-up question: can you share your thoughts regarding what effect, if any, the proposed reduction in the number of events might have on (a) the total impact of the meetup program, as measured by the WMF global metrics, and (b) your existing and/or planned partnerships with GLAM and other institutions in New York? Kirill Lokshin (talk) 02:32, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
        • I don't see it really as a proposed reduction - this number is about what we were informally planning for 2015, but in the course of the year we responded to a strong spike in institutional demand. This is quite likely to happen to some extent again in 2016, and we will continue to be responsive to institutional demand, but we didn't want to overpromise when the number of institutional requests is still unclear.--Pharos (talk) 00:58, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 2E: Do the targets indicated for this program include events and editors involved in AfroCROWD (and, if so, how much overlap is there between the two sets of targets)?
    • The AfroCrowd targets are separate, as has been requested by the WMF. Obviously, though, a goal is that AfroCrowd-recruited editors will also participate in other events.--Pharos (talk) 11:56, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

3. Program 2: AfroCROWD:

  • 3A: You've listed a target of 100 articles generated or improved. Do you have a specific definition/threshold for when an article has been "improved", or is this just referring to any edits made to an existing article?
    • By "improved" we mean that any number of bytes were added. Aliceba (talk) 19:03, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
    • I think as a movement it would be good to better define the concept of improvement. Other people in the chapter might have other opinions. My own concept of improvement, and what I am expecting, is that users edit an article in a way that passes Wikimedia community review. When an article is changed more with fewer reversions or objections, then an article is considered more "improved". Also, if a change is reverted and that leads to constructive discussion about the article, then I think that also would be an improvement. Blue Rasberry (talk) 12:15, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
    • I agree with Lane here. There is much need to define and quantify the concept of improvement. Currently during editathons with such a high percentage of new editors, the excellent goal that Alice from AfroCROWD always recommends during her presentations is to make at least one edit to a page before new editors leave. Many new editors do much more than that at events; however, some editors don't even make one edit. Ideally the improvements would be -- if starting a new page -- to create a solid stub that has at least five well-sourced citations, have an experienced editor review the page before submitting to confirm notability and any technical issues, and then build the page from there, probably after the event is over. Improving work of an existing page -- the more ideal situation -- would be to add one or two citations to previously un-referenced materials that are unique to the location / institution where the editathon is being held (or available in-house databases), learning how to support work properly. Or adding boilerplates like Infoboxes, Images, and/or Works & Publications and Further Reading sections. This should be an active point of discussion going forward. Would be a very helpful breakout of edits, if granularity is possible. That said, a statistician is not going to be able to make these granular evaluations: the experienced WM NYC Wikipedia editors are the ones who can do this.... :-) -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 15:48, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 3B: You mention creating "special roles" for returning editors. Can you share more about what you have in mind?
    • By that we mean that we would like to encourage returning editors to help out beginners at editathons. Aliceba (talk) 19:03, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 3C: You've listed "100 people edit Wikipedia with us" as a separate metric from edit-a-thon attendance. Do the two metrics overlap, or is this a completely separate group of editors?
    • The metrics overlap. Aliceba (talk) 20:50, 24 March 2016 (UTC)

4. AfroCROWD Program Manager:

  • 4A: The job description for this position lists the compensation at $25/hour, while the budget lists it as $26/hour. Is this a typo, or an increase from 2015 to 2016?
    • Yes, this is an intended raise. Aliceba (talk) 19:03, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 4B: The job description indicates that the outreach is focused on recruiting women, while the main program description doesn't specify this. Is the program going to (continue to) have a gender focus in addition to the cultural one, or is this changing for 2016?
    • The job description was written in the context of the Aspire grant which was focused on decreasing the gender gap. In our Annual Planning, our focus is on recruiting editors of African descent of all genders, all of which are currently under-represented. (For grant purposes, please give this answer precedence over the below as I am the founder of Afrocrowd and the designer of its programs.)Aliceba (talk) 19:03, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
    • I think that generally AfroCROWD has performed a general outreach to the African diaspora community. In practice that has meant a large percentage of women have participated. I don't believe this has been a purposeful outcome, but an incidental one. From an anecdotal perspective, the numbers are wonderfully stunning in their gender imbalance (i.e., more women editors engaging cf. the typical Wikipedia editor gender imbalance with small women editor engagement numbers). So I think that might explain what seems like a disparity in the description. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 16:06, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 4C: The deliverable targets listed in the job description don't seem to match up to the ones listed in the program plan (for example, 3-4 edit-a-thons in the former versus 12 edit-a-thons in the latter). Is this because the description hasn't been updated from the 2015 targets, or are there program targets the project manager won't be responsible for?
    • Yes, the description was written in July of 2015 when we were first hiring the Project manager and has not been updated. It was written in the context of the Aspire grant. Aliceba (talk) 19:03, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

5. Metrics & Reporting:

  • 5A: The staffing plan lists AfroCROWD, Art+Feminism, and NYC meetups as target events for which metrics would be reported. AfroCROWD and Art+Feminism are currently collecting and reporting metrics under their individual grants, so would it be correct to say that the NYC meetups are the only subset of events that have no current metrics reporting mechanism in place?
    • WM NYC essentially supports and/or does current collection and reporting of metrics alongside and with these partners. So that is in addition to the NYC meetups. It is clear to me that when trying to get preliminary metrics generated for this grant, the need to gather user names and manually go through event pages to view edit contributions is something that is beyond the scope of volunteers. With the recent release of the exciting new global metrics "magic button" the technical barrier has been reduced, but there needs to be a consistent best practice created that is clear and usable so it is somehow possible to share this manual work -- and do a better job collecting information that both A+F and AfroCROWD are still not able to collect. My opinion is that we really need more data, better data, precise, focused, and consistent data, but there's no concerted approach and organizational system in place. And this type of great metadata is beyond the scope of the grants A+F and AfroCROWD receive, even if funding was built into their individual programs. That's what the Excel document was attempting to start to do in a collocated way: have great metadata.
      Also: a stated objective of WM NYC that I would like to stress I am advocating strongly for: We want to share this knowledge with smaller and/or less active chapters so others don't have to re-create the wheel. This functionality would be a cornerstone of the "Editathon-in-a-Box" concept, as a potential "Metrics in a Box" template / structures idea I just came up with today.... :-) -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 18:00, 18 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 5B: The staffing plan mentions "current and historical" metadata. How much of the position's time would be associated with historical metrics? Can you share your thinking regarding the value of such historical metrics?
    • Possibly 25% of the position's time might be associated with historical metrics from the start, but hopefully once established, would be reduced to 2-3% at most? Historical metrics will provide baseline data, so it is very valuable information. The historical information can be used to help us conduct events, make decisions about partnerships in a proactive manner, and better meet goals like editor engagement, retention, etc. if we can see successes and challenges from the past. The recent exponential growth in number of events provides relational data that we can use to better establish WM NYC's history as well, which would be both interesting and instructive to other existing and future Wikimedia chapters. Also, when meeting with cultural partners, it is important that we have some sort of data-based fact sheet that establishes our chapter's work and track record, so this info is key. Having both current and historical metadata will allow us to work in a more organized, professional manner, and will make reporting and compliance become a structured thing. Which is very important to us. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 17:42, 18 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 5C: The staffing plan mentions "a university to administer the hire of a graduate student", which suggests that this position would be subcontracted rather than hired by the chapter. Is this the case (and, if so, can you share your thinking on why this approach was selected)?
    • Yes the position will be subcontracted. No, the position will hired as a independent contractor by the chapter. Hiring an employee involves financial, legal, and labor regulations, issues we do not wish to get involved in at this time. SubContracting provides more flexibility depending on needs and workflow. - Becksguy (talk) 12:08, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
      • Becksguy, a follow-up question: as far as I can determine from the application, the AfroCROWD project manager position will continue be a direct contract/hire, not a subcontractor. Can you share your rationale for treating the two positions differently? Kirill Lokshin (talk) 12:34, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
        • I talked with Pete about this last night. I will answer, but he might have more to say. About subcontracting - this is an option with which the chapter has been presented, and one that will be considered among others. The rationale for treating the positions differently is that it is more difficult to hire a program manager than a data manager. Globally in the Wikimedia community there have been many staffpeople and volunteers who organized Wikipedia events. I am still looking for an example of a Wikimedia community volunteer which collates a chapter's activity logs and publishes reports based on Wikimetrics data. So far as I know, this role has historically only been taken by paid staff. The complexity of the position has led the chapter to discuss a partnership with a research institution or nonprofit incubator to assist with establishing a workflow that external organizations could respect as valid. Blue Rasberry (talk) 12:25, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
          • I disagree with hiring someone outside the Wikimedia community to improve workflows that are so focused within Wikipedia interfaces. I don't believe this position needs to be a subcontractor or have different status than the AfroCROWD position. I believe that this position needs to be someone with an advanced skillset as an editor, who can bring organizational management and innovative practices to the chapter. I don't know of any incubator or research institution that fits this bill. I think the position should come from within Wikipedia and ideally from within the active members of the chapter. We have so many librarians with graduate level degrees and a broad array of skillsets. NYC is full of librarians who can do this position. I am obviously biased here from my perspective and interest in the position, but I don't think looking outside the community is going to solve the issues that the Metrics position is going to need to solve. I think it's rather a bad idea. So straight hire, from within Wikimedia community, background in information science and deep abilities to manage data. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 12:44, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
            • @Becksguy, Bluerasberry, and BrillLyle: I'm hearing very different things from the three of you. Please provide an official WMNYC response as to whether this position will be subcontracted (and, if so, why). Kirill Lokshin (talk) 02:42, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
              • Kirill Lokshin In the context of Wikimedia community conversations "official response" is an odd concept. Anyone might speak up. If you want an official response, then only Becksguy is on the board, and neither BrillLyle nor I can speak on behalf of the chapter.
              • A more official response might be that subcontracting is considered but for a position of this complexity it is difficult to predict what source will provide an ideal candidate. Everyone is in agreement that there will be an open hire process, and that no candidate is pre-selected, and that it would be desirable to get more applications from potential candidates, and that candidates themselves are encouraged to present their own ideas for how the job function might be fulfilled with their own skill set. If it happens that it seems the best candidate for the role would need to be subcontracted, then that candidate would be hired. If another candidate seems better, then the answer is no. Before advertising the job position it is not possible to predict who might apply for the role. Subcontracting is not a priority, but only an option. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:19, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
                • Bluerasberry, to clarify: I am indeed looking for a response "on behalf of the chapter" regarding how the funds being requested here would be spent. I'm not sure if you intended for your comments here to serve as that response; but, if you did: can you share your thoughts regarding how the uncertainty regarding the hiring mechanism affects the budget, both in terms of the labor cost difference between a direct hire employed as a 1099 contractor and a subcontractor staffed through an institutional subcontract, and in terms of the viability of executing a subcontract with an institution which is yet to be determined on the basis of a pre-defined target labor rate? Kirill Lokshin (talk) 16:59, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
                  • Kirill Lokshin I am unable to say how tax rates and nonprofit law will affect the hiring process. I understand your question to mean, "If the candidate who can do the best job is only available if they come with complicated bureaucracy, then would you still hire them?" I am not sure what the answer to that question is - there are too many variables. The intent behind the request is to make a conservative hire at the local market rate for 10 hours a week using the least surprising hiring strategy while minimizing risk and maximizing chance of success. I hope that the grant request has conveyed this attempt. Do you have any ideas to share about how the ideal hiring process might proceed? Your questions suggest that you have expertise in this space and perhaps you have advice. The point of the request is not to execute the hire in a certain way, but to gain the benefits of the hire. You asked "how the uncertainty regarding the hiring mechanism affects the budget" - yes, of course, it is uncertain. Other Wikipedia job offers have been made in NYC on the order of 30/hour, 20 hours a week and gone unfilled, so it is not certain that a pool of applicants would step forward for this one which is more complicated to fill. I want the process designed in a way that there would be multiple applicants to consider - at least 5 reasonable options for hire would be nice. Blue Rasberry (talk) 17:40, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
                    • Bluerasberry, I think I was unclear in my question. I'm not concerned with bureaucracy or its effect on your hiring decision; rather, I'm concerned purely with the financial and budgetary ramifications of the different arrangements being discussed here. To be more explicit:
                      1. My interpretation of the proposed budget for this position—which is perhaps not correct?—is that $60/hour is intended to be the labor cost (i.e. the amount WMNYC will pay for each hour of work) rather than the hourly pay (i.e. the amount that the employee will receive for each hour of work). When the labor cost is fixed, a subcontracted position is compensated differently than a directly hired one: a direct hire (working as a 1099 contractor) will be paid $60/hour, while a subcontractor will be paid less, since the subcontracting institution will keep some portion of the money (perhaps as much as half of it) to pay for its own overhead. This means, among other things, that it's difficult for us to evaluate either the reasonableness of the proposed compensation or the reasonableness of the overhead costs without knowing whether the position will be subcontracted.
                      2. Separately, the labor rate will affect your ability to hire staff differently depending on whether you're subcontracting or hiring directly. In order to successfully subcontract the position, you'd need to find a subcontractor willing to staff it at $60/hour; this is necessarily different from finding an individual willing to do the work for $60/hour, and may leave you with a very limited pool of candidates if your target rate is below the price at which some or all of your potential subcontractors are willing to bid. Again, this makes it difficult for us to accurately evaluate the benefits and risks associated with the proposed staffing plan without knowing whether you're subcontracting the position.
                      Kirill Lokshin (talk) 19:15, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
                      • My apologies for the confusion. We had thought at one point that we might subcontract this to a university, but that is definitely not what we are doing. This will be a direct hire, no subcontracting.--Pharos (talk) 03:26, 25 March 2016 (UTC)
                      • Kirill Lokshin, now that Richard has clarified the position of WM-NYC, this eliminates the contractor vs subcontractor issue. The Metrics & Reporting position structure will now parallel that of the AfroCrowd Program Manager position. - Becksguy (talk) 04:05, 25 March 2016 (UTC)
              • Please note that I have been told that I am an Appointed; non-director officer -- of the Board I believe. So I am not able to vote but I have been included in Board activities since my appointment. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 17:09, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
              • Please also note that I have an issue with subcontracting this work and position to those outside the community -- especially to those without Wikipedia experience. I don't understand this perspective at all. Other initiatives have used this approach and I think have been less effective because of it. We are trying to get more engagement with Wikipedia, not less. How does going outside the Wikipedia community create this?!? Also, sending WM NYC tasks to other chapters in England and the Far East is outsourcing a task that I believe should be done by our chapter. I am firmly against this approach as well, if simply from an ethical perspective on outsourcing and also past experiences with outsourcing and domestic insourcing in a professional environment. The cost of labor would be cheaper but the quality is degraded and it has local and international impacts I am not comfortable with. If the Committee wants a unified approach to this question then there is definitely a problem because I do not endorse this approach. I can see how my opinions might be discarded as I am applying for the position and am not a Board member. I would also say that if this position became outsourced I would have to reconsider my activity and participation with the chapter. I find this perspective and approach to staffing deeply problematic and troubling. I have to draw a line in the sand to be aligned with my personal principles. - Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 17:09, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
                • Erika has a great opinion. Other people have other opinions. As Erika said, outsourcing to other Wikimedia chapters is another hiring consideration. The world is full of options and I presume that everyone supports having discussion about any options the board and position advisors wish to consider. I have never indicated a preference for any option to anyone, nor do I feel I have any strong opinions on the matter of hiring process. Blue Rasberry (talk) 17:40, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
                • Bluerasberry Thank you Lane for taking my comments in the way I intended. I really appreciate the constructive approach you have here.
                • To play devil's advocate here -- and this is definitely NOT to my benefit in any way -- but because the Metrics position is such a new thing conceptually and practically, what are the consensus thoughts about having the newly proposed Metrics position mirror the Program Manager position in type and rate? I believe that the fact that the Committee is considering a paid position is in itself very important and constructive, so at this point, it could be seen as a probationary, fact-finding, more gradual approach. The WM NYC chapter has had at least one full year plus of positive experience with having the AfroCROWD position. To add a parallel position seems like it might be more workable -- instead of starting from this higher reaching and more difficult to define position. If implemented, this position could be re-evaluated from all points for the next year's APG. Thoughts? -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 19:44, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
                  Erika, thanks for bringing up this idea. The committee and I would be very interested to know what other members of the NYC team think about this suggestion. Best, Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 21:28, 25 March 2016 (UTC)
Wolliff In a private email thread the chapter discussed this. I have some notes on the matter and will post them later today. The chapter has reached a consensus by listing areas of agreement and other points for debate. I think everyone agrees that the points for debate are details compared to the consensus. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:49, 30 March 2016 (UTC)

@Wolliff and BrillLyle: Please see Grants:Learning patterns/Hiring a metrics processor for a Wikimedia outreach project. I have attempted to adapt the chapter's discussion into a learning pattern on the matter. There is ongoing discussion, but here are the resolved points and here are the unresolved points.:

  1. The chapter wants to report better metrics
  2. The goal is to meet WMF "global metrics" reporting requirements. Whatever else happens, if this goal is not met, then we get a failing grade, a mark of noncompliance to the grant, and nothing else done has any value.
  3. The chapter is asking for funding for 10 hours per week of paid labor to manage metrics
  4. 10 hours a week is not enough time to do everything, because the chapter is making a request for less time than the actual need, and will have to prioritize
  5. metrics person does metrics for A+F, AfroCROWD, and WM NYC chapter events.

Here are debatable points -

  1. pay rate is potentially negotiable
  2. method of hire is undecided
  3. skill set is undecided - there are multiple ideas for how role can be fulfilled
  4. additional desired work roles are undecided. Global metrics must be done. The chapter may or may not wish to hire someone with intention of asking them for more than that.

Information about those debatable points is in the learning pattern.

In other discussions which I think have gone around in email, I think that the subcontracting option is now seen as unfeasible, which is I think what Erika was suggesting. There is increased interest in either a direct hire, parallel to the AfroCROWD position, or considering an option which buys the service as consulting without hiring anyone. The direct hire is the preferred choice, all things being equal, but there is also a desire to have at least 3-5 candidates or options considered for hiring or buying the labor. Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:35, 30 March 2016 (UTC)

Thanks, Bluerasberry. This background is extremely helpful. Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 23:57, 30 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 5D: The staffing plan indicates that this position would require 10 hours of work per week. Can you share your basis of estimate for this number?
    • "10 hours a week" is the minimal amount of time that would need to be funded for any individual to stay current in a routine for doing this kind of labor. Estimates for the time it would take to do the amount of work in this space ranged from 20-40 hours a week. So far as I know, there are no published records in the Wikimedia community logging how much time it takes to process metrics data or what is sensible to do, so it is difficult to judge. If 10 hours weekly is allotted, then the expectation is that the person will not conceivably be able to do all the work that needs to be done, and instead, the chapter will have to prioritize which metrics are reported and to what extent. After first considering that 10 hours is the least amount of time a person can spend doing this and stay current, the chapter judged the Wikimedia community's mood in funding staff for chapters. That judgement led the chapter to request the minimal number of weekly hours that could plausibly demonstrate a positive impact. This is intended to be a humble request. Blue Rasberry (talk) 12:39, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
      • Bluerasberry, a follow-up question regarding the 20–40 hours/week estimate: can you share any details regarding the process by which this estimate was developed? In particular, I'd like to know (a) how many individual estimates were provided, (b) what the range of those individual estimates was, and (c) what level of experience, if any, the individuals who provided estimates have with the Wikimetrics tool and/or other methods of preparing event metrics. Kirill Lokshin (talk) 02:42, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
        • Kirill Lokshin "can you share any details regarding the process by which this estimate was developed?" - WM NYC seeks to match its time investment with the norm in the Wikimedia community for per-event metrics processing. The estimate imagines that reporting each event will take some amount of time, and that there are enough events to be processed to take more than 10 hours of time in this space in a week. Beyond 10 hours a week WM NYC has no estimate, because regardless of the need, the chapter did not want to manage paid labor beyond a part time role of about that many hours.
One might ask, "What is the normal amount of time to spend on metrics processing for an event in the Wikimedia community?" There is no public estimate of the time that this sort of work makes, and almost no community discussion about how much time should be invested in this space and in what ways. Documentation is lacking in this space. Perhaps WM NYC doing this will contribute to the establishment of a global norm, and anyone else developing an estimate can join discussions about norms with WM NYC.
In response to your questions - (a) I will only speak to my own experience and not on behalf of the other chapter participants who would have their own stories to share. For me, I guess 30 people over 3 years. Among those, I spoke with 4 individuals who had spent more than 50 hours each doing metrics processing. (b)2-8 hours per event for 3-hour events of 30 people, average 5 hours (c) Range was none to "expert", to the extent that anyone can be an expert in this space.
It would be worthwhile to get more community discussion about metrics. I would like to establish norms for time investment, and assert that right now, norms are not established. I expect that WM NYC will be aligned with the global Wikimedia norm on a per-event time investment. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:01, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 5E: The staffing plan lists a $60/hour labor rate. Can you share your basis of estimate and justification for this rate?
    • The rate of $60 is apparently the going rate for graduate students with the skill set and experience. - Becksguy (talk) 12:08, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
      • Becksguy, to clarify, I am looking for (a) evidence that this is in fact the market labor rate and (b) justification for why someone with such a labor rate would be necessary to perform the tasks allocated to this position. Kirill Lokshin (talk) 12:34, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
    • Although I was not party to discussion on the rate when I looked today out of curiosity, the $60/hour labor rate was made based on estimates of data and statistical work done by graduate students at institutions like Rutgers ($80/hr), UCDavis ($95/hr), Franklin College @ U Georgia ($60/hr), U Akron ($75/hr), etc. I think the $60/hr rate was seen to be what is the going rate for this type of focused digital labor. Lane might be able to clarify this better. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 20:29, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
    • And to address your other question Kirill, I believe WM NYC recognizes that this position is going to require the accumulation and/or implementation of knowledge skills and abilities that will include research and a somewhat deep understanding of data visualization and/or data manipulation -- ideally coupled with an understanding of Wikipedia-specific data and information at an intermediate to expert level -- in addition to a focus on usability and interoperability within the larger Wikimedia community. This role would be either expert or able to become practically versed in as many of these areas as possible. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 20:37, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
    • There is a disparity between the hourly rate of the AfroCROWD position and the WM NYC metrics position because the envisioned work is quite different, and requires a much deeper and more specialized skillset. AfroCROWD's program manager is doing event planning and massive community outreach towards the African diaspora community in New York City -- which is deep and wide and requires a focus on social media and personal interaction that takes time and effort. This position is not focused on and does not require a high level of expertise with Wikipedia interfaces, metrics-based statistics, workflow, or information methodologies. The WM NYC metrics person would require a deep skillset in Wikipedia page management and editing, including a deeper interaction with Wikimetrics probably beyond the magic blue button, will include setting up systems and working as a consultant to improve workflows, establish best practices, and provide outreach services to satellite events as well as larger organized efforts WM NYC works as a partner and "on the ground" support for. So the requirements are different because the focus encompasses a broad technical skillset. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 12:33, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 5F: The staffing plan indicates that "administration of this person [will be] done by volunteers". Do you have a specific reporting structure in mind? Can you share your thinking about how this position will be managed?
    • An officer/board member will be the first point of contact, with overall position management done by a committee on Metrics/reporting. - Becksguy (talk) 12:08, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
      • Becksguy, some more follow-ups: will this committee be composed of WMNYC board members, other individuals, or some mix of the two? Who will be the ultimate decision-making authority regarding the tasking of the position and the acceptability of its work product? Kirill Lokshin (talk) 12:34, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
        • A WM NYC board member will be the direct manager of this 10-hour weekly position. That person will confer with a the WM NYC board, Alice the AfroCROWD manager, and a representative from Art+Feminisim. Blue Rasberry (talk) 12:39, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
    • My intention is to ask for a board resolution creating a volunteer position of Director of Reporting or VP of Reporting, Chairperson, or some such title. That person would be penultimately responsible (since the board is ultimately responsible) for tasking and the work output. As to to the committee members, most likely they would be board members, and therefore volunteers, but not necessarily so, depending on level of interest, level of experience with the associated skill set, and availability. - Becksguy (talk) 21:20, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
      • While one person should be supervisor on a day-to-day basis, but overall the structure of the position will be overseen by a committee with three representatives, from A+F, AfroCROWD, and WMNYC.--Pharos (talk) 03:31, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 5G: This position appears be one that will involve a new hire (rather than one with an incumbent to be retained, as is the case with AfroCROWD). What employment and hiring policies do you (or will you) have in place to support thOtis hire? Can you share your thinking regarding how the hiring process will be conducted?
    • There will be an open hiring process, and the applicant eventually hired will chosen by a joint determination of A+F, AfroCROWD, and WMNYC. We are also open to recommended employment policies for the administration of the actual job.--Pharos (talk) 12:11, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
      • Pharos, a follow up question: can you share your thoughts on how an open hiring process might be conducted if the position is subcontracted? Kirill Lokshin (talk) 02:49, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
      • This subcontracting question is now essentially moot, since there will be no subcontracting. - Becksguy (talk) 20:37, 25 March 2016 (UTC)

6. Budget and resource plan:

  • 6A: Line 1.1.2 of the budget covers catering for 25 events (20 meetups + 5 AfroCROWD events). Are the remaining 5 events not catered?
    • Many of the AfroCROWD and other editathons (like the recent event at NYPL Schomburg) are in archives and/or computer labs where no food or drink allowed. So not all events include food. Also some events are very short, sometimes 2 hours long, which means there is a significant time crunch to do the training and editor engagement so due to that food is not always included as part of the programming. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 12:23, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 6B: Line 1.4.1 of the budget indicates a cost of $200 per trip for meetups and $24 per trip for AfroCrowd; meanwhile, line 1.4.2 of the budget indicates a cost of $10 per trip for meetups and $75 per trip for AfroCROWD. What is the reason for these differences? Can you share more details about what these travel grants cover, and your process for issuing them?
    • I know that in the past WM NYC has provided micro-grants to Wikimedians in Boston to come to Wikipedia Day and other larger events -- this $200 covers transportation via bus and/or train I believe. The other costs are subway and/or bus fares, I believe, which are $2.75 each way depending on the MetroCard. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 12:38, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 6C: Line 2.1.1 of the budget lists $1,500 in legal fees for AfroCROWD. What are these fees associated with?
    • Since I added this line item to the Afrocrowd budget, please go with this answer and not the below. (No offense to those who contributed their best guesses.) The legal fees are for the drafting of contracts as needed, including an independent contractor agreement with the project manager, a task which requires careful legal research. The contracts below might arise as well although that is not what I had in mind when I entered this line item. Since our project manager is a direct hire, legal research into staffing issues may arise in addition to the independent contractor agreement. Aliceba (talk) 21:02, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
    • I believe these legal fees consultation regarding providing child care at events. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 12:23, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
      • BrillLyle, do you have any more details? Is there something in particular with regard to AfroCROWD providing child care that will require legal consultation? Kirill Lokshin (talk) 02:49, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
      • Kirill Lokshin - Erika got that from me, but It's not for child care. My error. It's for drafting the independent contractor agreement with the program manager, based on budget info from Alice. I added the line item description. - Becksguy (talk) 16:41, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
        • I did NOT get this from Pete. Legal fee consulting was mentioned in at least two WikiWednesday discussions, and if my memory is correct, it was about liability issues which is what I thought this was referring to. I am obviously not party to details of the AfroCROWD program. I believe this information should be more transparent and available -- especially if we are going to serve as a model for other chapters to possibly do similar types of initiatives. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 17:09, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
          • Becksguy, I was under the impression that the AfroCROWD position would be staffed by an incumbent. Is there no independent contractor agreement in place as part of this existing work? Are there new elements to the contract that would require this level of legal consultation? Kirill Lokshin (talk) 19:22, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
          • Kirill Lokshin, that is my understanding also. On contracts: The WMF and I sign a fiscal sponsorship agreement covering each grant, WM-NYC and AfroCrowd also sign an agreement. As to any existing contract covering the project manager position, you will have to ask Alice, as that is between them. - Becksguy (talk) 02:16, 25 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 6D: Line 3.2.3 of the budget lists $4,000 in training and development costs. Can you share more details regarding what training and development activities these costs would cover?
    • Kirill Lokshin - $3,000 of that amount is from the AfroCrowd budget and it's for Afrocrowd training kit costs (including video), based on budget info from Alice. This budget line item seemed the most logical place for that particular cost. The other $1,000 I added, which is a guess for anticipated training costs relative to the roll out of the Metrics & Reporting program. - Becksguy (talk) 17:12, 24 March 2016 (UTC)

Thank you in advance for your responses, and please let me know if any of the questions aren't clear, or if I missed some information that you've provided elsewhere. Kirill Lokshin (talk) 18:55, 15 March 2016 (UTC)

Thank you for your questions. We are working on responses that hopefully will answer your questions satisfactorily. - Becksguy (talk) 02:47, 18 March 2016 (UTC)
Also FYI, SAPG means Simple Annual Plan Grant, grants under $100,000. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 17:00, 18 March 2016 (UTC)

Questions from Alleycat80 - Metrics[edit]

Hi WM-NYC! Thank you for a thorough and detailed request. I know I'm a bit late on schedule, but I wanted to highlight something that became apparent for me during the review. Since I don't have your consolidated metrics (they are scattered across programs), this is more-or-less what I can tell your sort-of "global metrics" should look like for 2016:

  • Existing (retained) recurring editors, (12+ edits) - 36 (GLAM)
  • New recurring editors (12+ edits) - 36 (GLAM)
  • New editors (non-recurring) - 50 + 100 (educational programs in schools + AfroCROWD)
  • Veteran editors recruited back - ? (no number)
  • Images uploaded - 12
  • articles created - 50 + 50 (meetups + AfroCROWD)
  • articles improved - 150 + 50 (meetups + AfroCROWD)
  • new participants in events - 500 + 300 (meetups + AfroCROWD)

I'm noting that if the picture described above is complete (and I might be overlooking or misunderstanding), I'd remark that the impact you're seeking to achieve is relatively low, and measured mostly by the number of people in the events, and less so in content contributed and new editors retained. And I find this low impact target a concern, for the amount of funds requested. Would you care to elaborate a bit more on your targets? Are they "conservative" and you hope to achieve more, but don't want to run the risk of missing targets, or are these based on past averages?

I would encourage you, for 2017+, to think about innovative ways to not increase the number and variance of events but achieve more editor retaining and articles created/improved.

Would love to hear your opinion on this, Alleycat80 (talk) 07:27, 18 March 2016 (UTC)

Alleycat80: Thank you for this impressive collection of numbers! I think others in the chapter can speak to the conservative estimates that were made, which like you I agree we will probably hit and exceed as targets.
I wanted to follow up and ask if you had time to open up the Excel document linked to in the third blue box at the top of our grant? I tried to create a cover worksheet tab that collected some of the information, but it is VERY preliminary. And we have not done any metrics pulls from Wikimetrics, as we were trying to start with an overall framework (collected on individual tabs) first before pulling Wikimetrics with any semblance of organization. Basically, yes, this is the plan for 2016 and 2017 events, be be more innovative once we can rely on metrics, understand what are realistic targets, and integrate more innovation in what we do. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 18:40, 18 March 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I did see the Excel, I thought it's an excellent start. I think that for the amount of events you're holding, I should encourage you to allocate specific resources to measurement, until you feel comfortable with the tools, and develop some work processes around them and translate this work to "reliable" targets. I still think that your targets are too low for the amount of events you're planning. My approach (at home in my own organization) is trying to push the limits every year, at least on some targets, rather than be conservative. If the targets are too low, it's easy to make a little less effort in reaching them. But I get your current situation. I promise you I'll be following up on this :) good luck Alleycat80 (talk) 09:00, 20 March 2016 (UTC)
One more note, I want to elaborate on what I meant by "specific resources to measurement". I know the grant requests a specific FTE amount for reporting and metrics. This is a step in the right direction, but it should be accompanied in at least taking some "summary notes" by volunteers at the end of every event, capturing (roughly) what went well, what didn't, how many people attended (roughly) etc., to guide that person in her/his work (assuming she/he isn't attending each and every event!). Your volunteers should know that it's their primary responsibility that metrics and reporting of the event is done accurately. Alleycat80 (talk) 09:06, 20 March 2016 (UTC)
While I agree that it would be ideal to have a summary by volunteers at the end of each event, this has not been something that has been organized or conveyed or do-able currently. And I suspect that it would be very difficult to request something amorphous from event facilitators given how much work these events require before, during, and after the events. However, in line with what you are proposing, I do envision some sort of automated summary that could be done by the metrics person and/or with the event facilitators. It would need to be something very easy and quick to fill out. I am not sure how many event you are holding with how many partners, etc. The issue WM NYC has is there are so many events and partners -- and we have only recently seen an increase -- we are scrambling to address this. And with volunteers who are busy focusing on and supporting events it is difficult to expect a lot of metrics and follow through via unpaid labor. The idea is the metrics person would prioritize this reporting and create the infrastructure that could be implemented.
As far as what you describe, and the low expectations, yes they are conservative. Again this was on purpose. WM NYC does not want to over-promise any numbers that don't seem feasible, especially until we have a better handle on how this shift towards more organization will support and/or enhance our goals. So the idea is to be conservative and obviously keep track and show growth ideally, year over year, in engagement, etc. Which I think we all believe will happen. We don't want to aim too high and come crashing down... -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 19:59, 21 March 2016 (UTC)

Notes about 2017+ (not actionable for this grant)[edit]


This is not a comment directly on this grant proposal, but a "future note" that you might find useful. The two main "strategic" things I think you should keep an eye up for future grants are better defined and better achieved impact, the way you perceive it, and resource diversification.

  • Impact: The main weakness of this proposal in my very humble opinion is the relatively low impact, in terms of Global Metrics, the proposed plan offers. As explained to me before - the reason is you can't really commit to higher numbers so you're cautious. That's okay. But, moving forward, 2017+, you should be able to explain what's working (what kinds of events bring more people and/or create more content), or, if impact needs to be defined outside of the Global Metrics system, you should be able to explain how you achieve results that are commensurate with the level of funding you're requesting.
  • Diversified funds: Having staff that's responsive and "always there", should also encourage you to think about how you diversify your funds so that not 100% is requested from WMF. I'm talking about actual funding from partners (and even experimenting with writing grant proposals from other funds). I encourage you specifically to do so, because in NYC there should be ample sources of other income (relative to other parts of the world where other funding for wiki work is scarce). I also think funding from more sources pushes you to achieve more, while freeing you to form plans that are sometimes out of the box.
So there, two things I look forward to seeing in your next grant :)
Good luck in realizing the current one! Alleycat80 (talk) 22:29, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Thank you so much, Alleycat80! This is very useful information for WM NYC's future strategic thinking. What you describe is really the plan that we are trying to implement with the APG and specifically with the Metrics position. Until we have some sort of comprehensive historical and current metrics that we can look at over time I would not be comfortable having aggressive growth numbers. I was the one responsible for creating the Event Archive because I was curious about what we could learn from past work as a way to look towards the future and identify strengths and weaknesses. With organized systematized metrics we can definitely focus on what you describe.
  • As far as other funding sources, we have just recently agreed to partner -- tentatively, in a support & loosely advisory capacity only -- with OCLC for a Knight Foundation Grant, which in my opinion is something that might be one of these options that we could consider for direct funding. But again without proper metrics applying for funding & grants from partners will be much more difficult. I am personally working in a support capacity for an application for a grant from Howard G Buffett Fund for Women Journalists, which is small and is still in consideration stages, but yes, types of funding like this are on our radar. We really need to form a committee to address this over the next year. It has been a regular point of discussion....
  • Thanks again for your thoughts and assistance with this! - Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 15:21, 25 March 2016 (UTC)
  • In the past we have actually been discouraged by WMF from seeking significant independent funding, but it is something to reevaluate as we semi-professionalize, and if the WMF recommendations in this area have evolved in a different direction.--Pharos (talk) 02:16, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
Hi Pharos, I daresay times are changing... while I don't think there's a formal policy on this (at least not one that I'm aware of), it's certainly useful to reinforce some relationships with diversified resources. And what Erika is describing definitely sounds promising. Alleycat80 (talk) 09:09, 29 March 2016 (UTC)

Questions from Addis Wang[edit]

I'm also wondering about the $60 hourly rate, especially another position is $26 per hour. I looked discussion above, but I think the hourly consulting fees may not be proper to use to estimate this 10 hour per week position, and I think we are thinking about the value of position rather than degree. I would like to know more about how this rate is set.--AddisWang (talk) 18:32, 22 March 2016 (UTC)

Hi All. I think that I am the source of the $60 number. I was asked if I had any grad students of mine at the CUNY Graduate Center who had solid statistics expertise and the ability to run SQL queries directly against the database via Labs, and what kind of rate is normative in NYC for such a person. I told Richard and/or Lane (I forget) that I do have GC PhD students with statistics/SQL backgrounds and that 50-60/hr is what they make when they work at foundations or not for profits. --Theredproject (talk) 03:29, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation.--AddisWang (talk) 14:12, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

Questions from Nataliia Tymkiv[edit]

Hello. I have a few small questions concerning the budget lines:

  • 1.2.5 Brochures, notices, handouts this line is planned only for AfroCROWD?
    • WM NYC does not have a brochure, though we plan on developing a one-sheet to provide to potential institutional planners -- not sure it would necessitate anything beyond regular printing. I have been printing non-AfroCROWD (and one AfroCROWD) handouts, sign-in sheets, signage myself with no cost to me. The cost to do this commercially (or buying a printer with ink) would be expensive; I do not foresee this cost changing. Richard can speak toward the other incidentals like painters tape, construction paper, and other sundries. He probably has a great historic view of these associated costs -- before my involvement in the chapter. Apologies, this comment is covered under Office Supplies line item. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 20:42, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
      • Thanks, BrillLyle. Does this mean that you are planning hand-outs only for AfroCROWD ? :) --アンタナナ 21:06, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
        • Hi アンタナナ -- Sherry and Alice do their own hand-outs for AfroCROWD. From our recent NYPL Shomburg event I figured out a great implementation of handouts and how they can be used so for WM NYC events that are not specifically managed by AfroCROWD -- especially the larger ones -- I hope to work on implementing these types of hand-outs. For an example see this event PDF, which can be used as a printed document, an electronic document, and is a document that was uploaded to Wikimedia Commons: Black Life Matters Editathon 02-06-2016 (ideal). The document is full of hyperlinks and entity links & resources. :-) But back to your question, these handouts would NOT be for the AfroCROWD events, but for other partner events.... -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 14:37, 25 March 2016 (UTC)
    • That said, I have been advocating that Jeremyb work on purchasing swag that would be both marketing-savvy as well as practical -- items like hats or buttons could denote different levels of assistance during editathons. Tshirts or other items like this would also be great. Plus I love stickers, buttons, etc. So I think this should be added to the budget if it doesn't already exist. Would that go under the line item for Merchandise? Apologies if this was not listed. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 20:47, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
      I do not see such a line in the budget, and yeah, I think that hats/buttons/pins etc are nice for motivating people :) --アンタナナ 21:06, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
      Merchandise would seem to be a logical line for WikiSwag, unless that item refers to merchandise the chapter buys and then sells at events for a profit. Anyone have any idea how we should cost this out? - Becksguy (talk) 06:01, 25 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 1.3 Equipment you do not need any equipment? laptop(s) for staff?
    • I think the assumption is No. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 20:42, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 1.4.2 Travel grants (international) is travel to/from Wikimania 2016 included here?
    • It is not although it should be from Afrocrowd. We missed the scholarship deadline in January and Afrocrowd would like to add Wikimania costs to our budget for 2 people (Sherry and me). I apologized for the omission. Aliceba (talk) 21:09, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
      @Aliceba: I see. Then what was included here? you have requested 1734 USD and there are no details --アンタナナ 21:49, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
@Antanana: What is included here are costs for travel to Wiki Conference USA for Sherry and I. Aliceba (talk) 23:36, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 2.1.1 Legal fees Kiril has asked above about it, it is okay to answer once :)
    • I answered above where Kirill asked.Aliceba (talk) 21:09, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 2.2.1 Accounting services have you got this covered by some other means?
    • Yes, thank you. - Becksguy (talk) 05:38, 25 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 2.3.12 Brochures what kind of AfroCrowd brochures are included here?
    • Just a general (potentially glossy) folded brochure about Afrocrowd to hand out when we table at conferences and possibly at editathons.Aliceba (talk) 21:09, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
      I thought that AfroCrowd brochures are included in 1.2.5. (880 USD) --アンタナナ 21:49, 24 March 2016 (UTC)

Thank you --アンタナナ 20:26, 24 March 2016 (UTC)

  • Thank you to everyone from Wikimedia New York City for your engagement on the applications talk page. Your responses to questions helped the committee to better understand your application and plans. Sydney Poore/FloNight (talk) 22:21, 1 April 2016 (UTC)


Before the discussion around WM NYC's Annual Grant advances further, I wanted to disclose that I am planning on applying for the Metrics & Reporting position.

  • I have been doing a significant amount of work to create preliminary metrics and have worked hard to collocate and gather historical & current chapter event information and create a solid centralized Meetup space. So in essence I have been doing many functions of the position -- in addition to others -- for the chapter. Also I have a lot of ideas that I foresee will ideally be part of the position, structures that would hopefully create interoperability and info exchanges -- if not actual templates and best practice guides -- between our chapter and others within the U.S. and abroad.
  • I have discussed the fact that I am going to apply for the position at our WikiWednesday / Board Meetings and in conversations both public and private.
  • I am currently Secretary of Wikimedia New York City, and serve as a non-voting Board Member, as I was appointed after elections, was not part of last year's election process.

Just wanted to mention this and be as transparent as possible from the get-go.
Please let me know if you have questions or concerns.
-- Erika Herzog aka BrillLyle (talk) 16:39, 18 March 2016 (UTC)

BrillLyle, thank you for the disclosure. Since you've played a significant role in preparing this grant application, I'd like to ask two follow-up questions:
1. To what degree, if any, were you involved in defining the scope and responsibilities of the position?
a. Bluerasberry & Pharos wrote the initial PEG grant(s) as well as the descriptions of the scope and responsibilities of the position. This originated / came from their vision. The majority of the information and more specifically, specific definition & scope of the position, was written by them.
b. Some formatting and/or cutting and pasting info.
c. I added nits and detail about the collection of metrics -- dif is here. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 17:14, 18 March 2016 (UTC)
2. To what degree, if any, were you involved in defining the labor rate proposed for the position?
a. None. I was not part of the discussion about the rate or number of hours the position would require. I believe Bluerasberry & Pharos did research and came up with these figures. -- Erika aka BrillLyle (talk) 17:14, 18 March 2016 (UTC)
Kirill Lokshin (talk) 17:00, 18 March 2016 (UTC)

Committee recommendations and decision[edit]

Committee recommendations
Funding recommendations:

The committee recommends funding this proposal in the amount of 74,000 US dollars, which leaves the current plan and budget intact, but reduces the hourly rate of the metrics position to $38/hour. This grant amount is conditional upon having a review mechanism in place to closely monitor the ongoing efficacy of the metrics person throughout the grant period.

The committee recognizes that Wikimedia New York City has led or supported many successful and innovative programs, and appreciates the chapter’s steady growth in program work over the past several years. In particular, the committee appreciates Wikimedia New York City’s strong emphasis on diversity through programs like AfroCrowd and support to the Art+Feminism initiative.

The committee appreciates that Wikimedia New York City has identified and is seeking ways to address its reporting gap. While hiring a staff person to focus solely on metrics is an unusual model in the Wikimedia movement, since work for collecting and reporting on metrics is generally done by volunteers or program-focused staff, the committee is still interested in funding this experimental approach. At the same time, the committee had concerns about the $60/hour rate for this position, and so recommends funding at a reduced rate.

The committee has some substantive concerns in the area of organizational effectiveness, and hopes that this annual plan will be an opportunity for Wikimedia New York City to put in place a better track record around reporting, gain more experience successfully hiring and managing staff, and begin to plan more strategically for the future.

Strengths identified by the committee:

Program effectiveness

  • Wikimedia New York City has had proven success with programs like AfroCrowd.
  • We appreciate the attention to diversity issues and inclusion of voices less heard.
  • Wikimedia New York City is developing its expertise in GLAM, including successful collaborations with GLAM institutions; there are significant opportunities for GLAM work in the New York City area.
  • Wikimedia New York City is building expertise in event creation, and has a history of developing innovative events such as wikinics and Wiki Takes, and innovative programs that include events, like AfroCrowd.
  • Wikimedia New York City has shown a consistent, long-term growth in core programs, and a corresponding growth in impact that may be clarified once the chapter is able to better measure its work.

Organizational effectiveness

  • The size of the population in the New York City area, as well as the notable opportunities for GLAM partnerships and university collaborations, may indicate high potential for impact.
  • Regional leadership includes supporting the WikiConference USA and playing an active role in the community of US chapters and user groups.
  • Wikimedia New York City supports the core organizing functions of programs that are organized outside of the chapter such as Art+Feminism, an initiative with global impact.
  • The plans and targets in this application seem realistic and achievable.
Concerns identified by the committee:

Program effectiveness

  • The chapter is requesting a steep 68K increase in annual funding, and at the same time activity seems to be decreasing, and targets for events are low. Lower targets may make sense for some programs that focus on working with groups not yet active on Wikipedia.

Organizational effectiveness

  • The proposed metrics and reporting position may be problematic: the proposed hourly rate is very high, the number of hours devoted to these tasks seems high with respect to the number of events planned and the impact targeted.
  • A staffing model with two part-time people working less than 100% may be difficult for the chapter to manage, and the board does not yet have sufficient experience managing staff or have good practices in place. This area will need to be closely monitored.
  • Wikimedia New York City has poor track record with reporting and compliance, which may not indicate a strong foundation for future success, and may not fully do justice to the efforts and achievements of the chapter and the community.
  • Wikimedia New York City is not yet thinking strategically or doing long term planning. The Annual Plan Grant process may be a good opportunity to work toward improving this.
  • Efforts to raise non-Wikimedia funding should be increased in future years to accompany such large increases in Wikimedia funding.
  • Wikimedia New York City may not have accounted for key budget items, such as promotional items and travel.

For the Simple Annual Plan Grant Committee Sydney Poore/FloNight (talk) 21:59, 1 April 2016 (UTC)

Decision from WMF
Funding decision:

Many thanks to Wikimedia New York City for your work during the application process, and many thanks to the committee for this thoughtful recommendation. WMF will fund this grant as recommended, in the amount of 74,000 US dollars for twelve months, with a grant term of 1 April to 31 March.

In line with the committee’s recommendations, we recommend that you adjust your budget by reducing the hourly rate for the metrics position to $38/hour. Per the committee’s recommendations, we will implement a lightweight quarterly review mechanism for this position to ensure that it continues to be effective so long as it is funded.

No further budget adjustments are necessary.


-- JTud (WMF), Grants Administrator (talk) 22:30, 8 April 2016 (UTC) (on behalf of Winifred Olliff)

Budget change approved[edit]

Wikimedia New York City has requested to move $867 from the budget for attending Wikiconference USA, $233 from unforseen costs, and $200 in babysitting costs for events (which is likely to remain unused based on previous events where participants did not request babysitting), to supplement attendance at Wikimania for Afrocrowd staff. This request is approved by APG staff. Cheers, Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 13:30, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

Grant Extension Request[edit]

We'd like to formally request a three month extension to the WM-NYC 2016-2017 APG which currently will end March 31, 2017. If approved, this will extend it to June 30, 2017. More details on the reasons behind the requested change, and a financial projection from our treasurer, will be posted below. --Pharos (talk) 03:22, 3 March 2017 (UTC)


Thanks for this, Pharos. The extension until 30 June is approved. We will need to approve your revised budget for the remainder of the grant term once you have those figures ready. Let's make sure we get this done before the end of your old grant term (31 March). Cheers Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 00:28, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

Justification for extension[edit]

The main justification for an extension is that it took the chapter so long to hire a Metrics and Reporting staff position that we feel that an additional three months is needed to, hopefully, show the effectiveness and utility of this position. The current M&R position was filled in December 2016, giving us only about 14 weeks until March 31, 2017 (the end of the original grant period) to explore and document how this new paid position was working out. And there was little work output done during December due to the holiday period and training for the M&R person. The concept of having a paid M&R position has not been done before in any chapter, so this is a learning experience for all involved. The development of search and hiring criteria, responsibility, and processes within a non-profit Wikimedia context was a difficult learning curve for us and took significantly way more time that expected. Which was one of the lessons learned. Potentially this experience can be of use to other organizations within the Wikimedia movement.

Another reason is to align the grant period with the fiscal years of the chapter, making accounting and fiscal reporting much easier. With the extension, the current APG grant period (2016-2017) will now expire with the end of our fiscal year on June 30, 2017, and any potential future APG grants will expire on the same date of each year.

Becksguy (talk) 06:35, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

Revised Budget[edit]

The main source for funds to cover the three months extension is the unused M&R budget item for essentially nine months of the original 12 month grant period, or almost $10K.

The following are the recommended reallocations: *

  • M&R Assistant position: Originally budgeted for 10 hours per week at $38 per hour for 520 hours over 52 weeks. Would have been $19,760 for the 12 months of the original grant period. Position filled in December 2016, with 10 hours per week budgeted at $35 per hour for 28 weeks (280 hours) until June 30, 2017, or $9,800 including the extension. Budget: $19,760 - $9,960 underspend = $9,800.
  • Venue: Remove one Babycastles venue payment, resulting in 9 events, instead of 10 for the 15 months, saving $500. There have been six events so far, and there will most likely be three additional events, one each in April, May, and June. Budget: $5,000 - 500 underspend = $4,500.
  • Wikipedia Day 2017: Spreadsheet amount at $1,678 based on 2016 actual. Should have been budgeted at $3,000 per written request. Actual for 2017 was $3,523. Budget: $1,678 + $1,845 overspend = $3,523
  • AfroCrowd Program Manager: Originally budgeted for 16 hours per week, or 832 hours at $25.50 per hour for the original 12 months, a total of $21,216. Changed budget to 1132 hours at $26 per hour for 15 months (65 weeks), or $29,432, based on invoice history of about 17 hours per week so far. Budget: $21,216 + $8,216 likely overspend = $29,432.
  • Board Retreat: There is $4K budgeted for Staff Training and Development ($1K chapter and $3K AfroCrowd). I propose using that, or part of that, for a one day board training in NYC. The Ace Hotel will provide the venue for $250 (the Boardroom, probably on a weekend day) leaving the rest to hire a facilitator, although that cost is just a guess without further research. This will allow the board to have training sooner, rather than after a new APG request is submitted.
  • Video Documentation: Budgeted for 1 event days at $1,200. Actual cost at A&F in March was $700. Proposed increasing to $1,400 to allow for an additional event. Budget: $1,200 + $200 = $1,400.
  • AfroCrowd: Budgeted activity and institutional costs $3,461 (excluding staff and contractor costs) plus additional $1,000 to cover potential overspend. Budget: $3,461 + $1,000 = $4,461
  • Change total contingency from $811 to $899.

Total budget requested: $74,000
No change in total funding, but with reallocations

-Becksguy (talk) 09:43, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

  • Support Support I have gone to meetings of the NYC board. All of these issues were raised conversation in December and have come up again in other meetings since then. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:42, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support As mentioned above, these issues have been discussed extensively by the Board. We are eager to continue work with the Metrics & Reporting Assistant, and to work with a facilitator as part of our strategic planning process. Megs (talk) 19:51, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support Ditto. --Doctorxgc (talk) 21:25, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support These reallocations will allow the NYC board to effectively continue its ambitious planning and event series, as well as document its activities. Mozucat (talk) 19:50, 7 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support These revisions to your budget are approved. Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 19:14, 24 April 2017 (UTC)

Interim Report Extension Request[edit]

We'd like to request an extension to the WM-NYC 2016-2017 APG interim report to Monday of next week. If approved, this will extend it to April 24, 2017.--Pharos (talk) 01:00, 17 April 2017 (UTC)

Sorry for not seeing this sooner. You can have an extension until 1 May. Best, Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 19:12, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
Where is the interim report, because I see nothing labeled as an interim report. Also, where is the metadata and hard data? Whatever has been added in the last month is fluffery and does not have enough specifics to suffice as an actual report. There is no explanation of the work of the Metrics & Reporting position and/or the progress made with this position. And AfroCROWD has been essentially dormant for the last half of the year, only participating in events, not initiating events. There is also no mention of the loss of one of the more active members of the chapter -- Me -- and the impact of that loss. There was no transparency as to what happened to the chapter regarding my position and ouster. And the lack of follow up on the friendly space accusations are not mentioned. None of the initial concerns that the WMF had with the chapter's ability to manage have been addressed. Those concerns were well-founded and are continuing. The chapter is in a crisis of leadership but that crisis of leadership is the continuing status quo. I see no forward momentum or action plan. All new information is simply a summary of events, nothing concrete or forward thinking. -- BrillLyle (talk) 20:28, 7 May 2017 (UTC)