Grants talk:TPS/Analysis

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All ideas, input, feedback, suggestions, concerns, etc are welcome, so please share your thoughts :) We'll use this input to start building a plan for changes to the program in early 2014. Thanks! Siko (WMF) (talk) 23:54, 11 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Stronger support for small requests[edit]

I would like to see many more $200 support requests. I know that this is often the barrier to entry for participants in useful cross-community gatherings. There are very few wikimedians who would even dream of asking for or looking for an international $2,000 grant for travel+accomodation -- and fulfilling such requests, while it may be welcomed by the other paerticipants in those international meetings, has a stratifying effect on the editing community... particularly when this is the only class of support that any editor in that community gets.

It's nice that we can support thousand-dollar requests and hundred-dollar per diems, but I think we can have a broader, more sustainable, and less stratifying impact on community gatherings if we focus on building a strong base of smaller participation support. Since overall we are hoping to attract more such requests, this can amount to an outreach push for small regional participation requests (no need to reduce the number of other reqs). SJ talk  01:02, 12 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'd like to see us support more small requests as well, and agreed that focused outreach is one piece of the puzzle. I expect that doing things to make it easier to submit and process these requests is also part of the solution - hoping to experiment on all these fronts :) Thanks for sharing your ideas here, SJ Siko (WMF) (talk) 18:51, 12 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Lovely :) SJ talk  23:10, 16 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

More structured reliance on communities of hosts[edit]

There are many global communities of volunteer hosts and supporters of global intermingling, on websites such as couchsurfing and airbnb; and through volunteer networks such as wikimedia, okfn, openstreetmap, <foo> without borders, and more. We should invest in building easier ways to connect with those networks: they are natural partners with our movement, and engaging with a local movement-supporter is in itself a valuable form of networking -- with the side benefit of generally being cheaper and more friendly than a hotel with impersonal service, forgettable food, and bad wifi.

Some of these participation grants note that some person or another is trying in a bespoke way to find housing for the traveller. Instead we might improve this process by having a standard place to go looking for hosts. A couchsurfing group for Wikipedians, for instance, would be a nice start. Likewise, we could ask wikipedians in major cities around the world to add a "wikipedian" tag to their profiles on couchsurfing and airbnb. SJ talk  01:02, 12 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've always liked this idea but didn't comment earlier because I don't have concrete suggestions on how to make this not a nightmare. Iolanda's energy with Esino Lario bed management gives me some more hope, though! How to avoid organisational nightmares? Is there a platform like couchsurfing or whatever which we (us and like-minded groups) could all jump in, offering accommodation just/preferably to each others or for specific (kinds of) events, in order to involve also those who are not already into couchsurfing? If yes we could achieve some critical mass and focus on the fun rather than logistics, otherwise I don't know. --Nemo 19:08, 14 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thinking about rolling Wikimania scholarships under this program's umbrella[edit]

Some of the current scholarships process for Wikimania needs to stay as it is, regardless of where it sits, for various reasons, and that's fine - in order to roll scholarships into the TPS fold, I don't think we need to develop a 1-size fits all approach to funding travel and events. However, it does seem like a welcome opportunity to try a few new things with scholarships in the coming years. I'll start listing 2 ideas here, would be happy to have others do the same! Siko (WMF) (talk) 21:21, 13 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  1. Publishing a list of Wikimania scholars (usernames only, or as the scholar prefers). We recognize there have been some concerns around this in the past, depending on the degree to which one sees these scholarships as need-based, and so forth. For consistency with our grantmaking across the boards, though, it seems like it is time to test out a move to greater transparency, while honoring our scholars.
  2. Asking scholars to share something back to their home communities, so that the value of attending goes beyond the life of the conference and the individual alone. We've been thinking about asking people to 1) create or endorse Learning Patterns (sharing learning back with the movement), and 2) blog, speak at a meet-up or in some other way share outcomes with their local/language community after the event (sharing back to their home wikis, local community, etc). This would be something we'd ask all TPS grantees to do, rather than writing the current narrative-style report (which doesn't seem to be that useful either to those who write it, or the movement who doesn't read it).

I agree that both are worth doing and it's fair to stress, as one reason, how this is standard for TPS etc. I think however that bringing Wikimania scholarships under TPS may unnecessarily complicate things rather than making convergence on such principles easier (the scale is currently just too different). We also don't want to "just merge scholarships to TPS" and reach those two goals as an understatement, we should proclaim them. :) --Nemo 19:01, 14 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi Nemo! Glad we agree on these goals, as a starting point, and agree they are worth proclaiming :) FWIW, I don't see rolling our Wikimania support under the umbrella of TPS as a simple merge - ie, ending up with 1 entrance point / size to fit all is not what I've got in mind here. It would mainly be the WMF back-end processes that we'd be rolling into this program (things that WMF is already involved in for both cases - acceptance and signed paperwork for scholars, travel booking and tips, reporting on outcomes, staff point people who facilitate committee work, etc). We'll be better able to support Wikimania volunteers to handle the more interesting stuff (scholarships criteria, open calls, etc), if we don't have several different kinds of WMF-funded travel grants following very different setups/protocols on the back end. To be clear, I don't see a need to change how the scholarship committee, selection, etc works, as part of this change, though, and I agree with you that we don't want to unnecessarily complicate things. The aim here would be to merge what is simple/useful, and leave flexible that which needs customization. Does that make sense? Siko (WMF) (talk) 20:37, 14 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I like this idea very much. It addresses two of my concerns about the Wikimania scholarships process. I would add my comment above, that we can encourage hosting of guests rather than hotels. This is particularly true for Wikimania: since the local team has a year or more to prepare, they can identify a network of potential hosts. Not only are those hosts sometimes convenient to the venue, they are going to attend on their own in any case, so their guests can travel to/from the venue with them. SJ talk  03:59, 8 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]