Grants talk:PEG/WM ZA/Wiki-Indaba-2014

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Archived comments from previous Application are kept here. Please do not edit Archived comments.

GAC Members who read the grant request without comments[edit]

  1. .

GAC Members who approve this grant request[edit]

  1. .Such event should be executed on small scale before going for such huge event. however i hope this event is well planned considering no of participant and this will increase awareness about wikipedia.--Mayur (talkEmail) 12:23, 28 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  2. Solstag (talk) 19:27, 9 March 2014 (UTC), given Dumisani's answers to my comments here. Though I'd still like him to formulate his reply as a proper section in the grant proposal.Reply[reply]

GAC Members who oppose this grant request[edit]

  1. Please see my thread below. Tony (talk) 12:34, 24 July 2013 (UTC) Specifically, I want to know roughly who is being invited and who is likely to accept (if not names, at least locations and their background related to the goals of the WMF ... why is each person being invited, and what might they contribute?). Can we have a rough idea of the themes that might be among those discussed at this "expensive" conference? And I'd like to see physical trinkets such as even badges and t-shirts off the budget: these ephemeral things are not what donors should be paying for—I suggest you pay for those from local funds if you want them. Who is doing the "project management" for nearly US$3,000? It says "This project will benefit local small African chapters"—but there are none. Tony (talk) 05:11, 3 August 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Will the conference schedule be published on Meta well in advance of the date? Tony (talk) 15:20, 9 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

GAC Members who abstain from voting/comment[edit]

  1. .

Comment by Tony1[edit]

Is this re-application live? $61,000 $67,000 is a lot of money for a two-day event without knowing the structure and personnel.

I'd like to see:

  • a list of actual people, where, which country, what relevant background/interests/skills—even if only by expression of interest in response to an email with brief questions you'd ask them if they're interested;
  • a list of proposed themed sessions, and who would run/moderate them or present papers at them.

Why is there a model of asking two people from each country? I'm unsure why nation states are the determinant, rather than themes (read proto-thematic-organisations rather than proto-chapters). Africa's mess is very much because European colonists divided the continent up weirdly into illogical, dysfunctional nation states on their own 19th-century European model. Why build it in every case into the Wikimedia structure?

What relationship would this have to francophone Africa, in particular the French chapter's efforts under the Francophonie project?

Measures of success: each needs to be removed or tagged with numerical estimates.

Tony (talk) 08:59, 21 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi Tony. This grant is not submitted yet. We are still working on it and it will be ready in a couple of days.--Thuvack (talk) 18:29, 21 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi Tony. I belive that we have now we have now provided answers to some of your questions above. Herewith summary of our response here:
  • List of actual people we surveyed and have endorsed the project, as well as shown interest in attending can be found here.
  • Proposed preliminary program/schedule for the event can be found here.
  • I believe this event/project will supplement the efforts of Afripedia and the Francophonie projects, as until now these have been run in isolation and thus is has been difficult to see actual impact and to support such. Unfortunately with regards to colonial regions, these are now a fact, however illogical. We plan not to be bound rigidly by these as we create regional working groups to support local efforts, however its a good place to start.
I trust that you will find the above responses satisfactory. Regards --Thuvack (talk) 10:31, 22 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Done homework, looking forward[edit]



I'm glad to see you guys did your homework ;D This is looking much better than last year's proposal, from text to context. I will, however, insist on some observations because the investment on this is really big.

I think the main thing that's still missing is a plan for further action - besides someone with better local knowledge and/or more time to evaluate the values presented, which I don't feel like I can.

I know we tend to think that follow ups will develop by themselves, and of course you've got to leave room for new and unexpected ideas to flourish, but it's also necessary to have a plan to build a structure that is organized in such a way that promotes further action. If you have that, then they will develop by themselves in greater number and quality.

The main issues here run through documentation, communication and responsibility.

  • Who's responsible to remind discussions to go for concrete follow up actions whenever possible?
  • Who's responsible to document those in a way that makes it easy to communicate and start working on them later?
  • Who's going to make sure people have appropriate channels to keep in touch and start working on those ideas?

You've already got the wiki-indaba website, which might - or might not, perhaps meta is better - be a good place to build this action-oriented documentation.

Perhaps you also need to think about some aggregate conversation spaces, maybe a mailing list or discussion pages if they're well set-up.

I did notice that the spirit of these goals are already present in your measures of success. You know you've got to follow up from the meeting - after all the goal is not the meeting in itself.

But you've got to further think ahead what you've got to do to make the most out of it.

This has to be figured out, at least an outline of this stuff, before the conference.

(Never mind that we might be putting the yearly budget of a small NGO into this!)

I suggest you think about what I've discussed here and include one more section in the proposal regarding the plan and actions to be taken to facilitate and ensure following up from the activities of Wiki-Indaba.

Be flexible but objective, think of how things are likely to happen. Then be ready to adapt to how things actually turn out. hehe


--Solstag (talk) 19:00, 21 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hello Abraços. Thanks for reviewing our submission. Yes, indeed this whole project will be useless if we do not have a follow through plan. In fact, I dare say that most previous interventions into Africa have failed because there was no consistent follow up and evaluation/adaptations in order to plan for future interventions. We at Wikimedia ZA, take this seriously. We are now at a better position as a chapter to do the required follow ups. We intend to do the following:
  • Formulate regional Action groups at the conference with specific individuals assigned. Each group will have one WMZA-Member.
  • Our full time staff will be facilitating follow up meetings for each groups every trimester at the very least.
  • We will compile a Bianual report on the state of each working group, this way we are able to evaluate successes and offer further support.
We do not intend to have just one event that fades from memory after the fact, no we intend to create lively groups that will be tasked with specific targets which we will monitor.--Thuvack (talk) 10:41, 22 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Haha, "Abraços" is just the word for "Hugs" in portuguese. ;) This is Ale, from Brazil. I still think you should write your reply above as an actual section in the proposal, like I suggested, but otherwise I consider this proposal worthy of approval. Abraços! Ale --Solstag (talk) 19:30, 9 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My comments[edit]

Thanks for the submission. I agree with some of the concerns raised by Tony above, but orginising a conference in Africa fully complies with our strategic goals, so we have to be more prudent when valuating the amount of US$67,000 spent for something in Africa compared to the other regions. My questions are the following:

  1. Do you have any insight on some specific topics of particular importance among the Wikimedians in Africa that they are willing to discuss at the conference? The survey you conducted surely yields some helpful results, but on the application page I see only comments underlining the significance of the conference with no details beyond it.
  2. Can you give us more details about the item "Conference documentation"? What kind of press kits the amount will be spent for? How many media you plan to contact for this event? How many press conferences will be held?
  3. How many people will be engaged in organising the conference? Did you select members of the organising committee? Do you plan to engage people from abroad in creating the programme or conducting other pre-conference activities? My opinion is that it would be much more helpful for the conference and generally for the global community in Africa, as it increases integration and encourages Wikimedians from other countries in Africa to start working on similar activities.

I'd like to give you additional suggestion to set a measure of success that will measure the number of countries represented at the conference. It will definitely give a nice insight on how the things are going across different countries in Africa. Best regards.--Kiril Simeonovski (talk) 12:49, 2 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi Kiril, thank you for the comments. Herewith my response.
Topics of particular importance among the Wikimedians in Africa
Yes, we gave this a careful thought. We first short listed pressing topics from African delegates at Wikimania Hong Kong. Then we refined this from community survey response, and ended up with the following schedule that we posted on the Wikiindaba website/Wiki.
Conference documentation
The conference is planned to coincide with Africa Day, we are therefore working to get maximum media exposure, local and continental. Part of documentation will include live streaming of the conference. We are looking for sponsors for this item and might end up not using the funds. Hopefully. Our program facilitators will be responsible of daily summaries of conference, upon which paper documentation of conference will be drafted from.
I followed the link you posted bellow and now it looks fine. Thanks for your answers.--Kiril Simeonovski (talk) 17:05, 15 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Organising Team
The Organizing team is made up of Dumisani Ndubane (Wikimedia ZA - Board member); Isla Haddow-Flood (Africa Centre PM and Wikimedia ZA Board member); Rexford Nkhasah (Africa Centre Intern and Member of Planning Wikimedia Ghana) and Theresa Hume (Wikimedia ZA Staff).
I trust that the above meets your approval.--Thuvack (talk) 13:40, 2 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for your comments. I think this should be approved because of the outreach it provides in a region that is essential for our movement, but it would be nice if you can give us more information about the people who are going to attend this conference.--Kiril Simeonovski (talk) 01:03, 6 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for your question, Kiril Simeonovski. We have answered a similar question below. Please let me know if this answers your question, or if you would like further clarification. Islahaddow (talk) 13:52, 14 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Feedback from WMF[edit]

Thanks for your engagement on this grant request so far. We have two main concerns at this stage:

  1. Active Editors vs. Endorsements: The number of active editors that participate in the conference is the most important factor that decided the previous grant and is what will impact decisions on this grant request. Endorsements are not a helpful measurement of success. We would like to see a list of usernames and contribution records for the proposed participants, showing that they are active editors. If there are a substantial amount of active editors that will attend the conference, we can move forward. Once this group is defined, we expect the budget to be downsized accordingly. Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 00:15, 11 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Dear Alex Wang (WMF), thank you for your question. A full list of potential participants is available on the Wiki Indaba website. This does not include members from the aligned movement, and other mission-aligned speakers that we are still discussing and determined to secure for the conference. This list is based on active editors that we know. If we worked through the contributions of each of these potential attendees, several could be considered 'newbies' by 'Global North' standards. An intention of the conference is to skill-up editors and to strategise for and collectively drive community activation across Africa. This would be done by ensuring that content speaks to both the newbie and the advanced delegate.
As you can see from the Travel Scholarships section of the grant request, the types of scholarships are allocated across different categories. The categories that I understand that you are querying are those relating to 1. South African based Wikipedians = 10 (5 national travel), 2. Usergroups and other African delegates = 14 (regional travel), 3. Africa-based Wikipedians= 6 (regional travel).
The strategy around selection is to split the scholarships (15 / 15) between invited experienced editors that are active according to the agreed active editor criteria, and an open call to all editors (of which we expect a fair amount to be considered newbies). The invited editors would include, but not be limited to, the following examples of editors:
An open call is going out to the rest of the continent on the 17th March 2014. The deadline for application is the 31st March 2014. Applications will be vetted according to:
  • the number of edits and length of involvement in Wikimedia projects,
  • a motivation for inclusion,
  • demonstrable experience in the aligned movement or experience with community activation, and
  • future intentions for Wikipedia in their country.
It is true that there are very active editors on the continent, but they are few and far between and rarely get together. In addition, due to the specific problems that exist with regards to contributing to Wikipedia in Africa, the conference will inspire and equip eager and invested individuals with the skills to build communities of editors and plan localised outreach as delegates return to their home countries. As you can see from Thuvack's response to a question above, we fully intend to follow up with all delegates as to on-going activities on the continent as a direct consequence of this conference. Please be assured that nobody will be invited to the conference for a free ride. Every single delegate will be chosen on their ability to show personal investment in Wikimedia projects and plans for the future of the movement. Islahaddow (talk) 13:49, 14 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have compiled a list of prospective participants for this conference here. I still want to add a few names from the local South African Community as well as follow up on Active African Wikipedians we reached out to. But it is about it.-- Thuvack (talk) 15:41, 15 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  1. Conference Program: The proposed program seems very tailored to the concerns of a young chapter. However, WMZA is currently the only such chapter in Africa. Issues such as funding and accountability are not relevant to most of the active editors that will attend. A more appropriate program should be devised based on participant needs. For example, training on the variety of available tools or training on how to write a bot. We could also provide funding for 1-2 international guests to support this type of capacity building. I realize you have conducted a survey on what participants would like to accomplish and cover during the conference, but we want to be sure you are targeting the right audience -- active editors. Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 00:15, 11 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Again, thank you for your question. Apologies for the confusion. When tabulated onto the website, mistakes were uploaded in the schedule. This has since been revised. On the middle day - Saturday - there is a clear division between tracks that will appeal to experienced editors, Wikimedians and those interested in hosting or participating in outreach and activations. On the last day, the tracks divide according to best practice or competition-based activations. The focus on funding and accountability are considered relevant for those delegates who are part of a usergroup or planning group. Learning how to work with the WMF and how to evaluate and report on their projects, and outreach activities are essential skills for attendees. These are vital to the success of all the current efforts to plan Wikimedia groups in all countries. However, so are other skills, including writing bots and working efficiently with the current set of tools.
We will be specifically asking invitees to feedback on the current proposed schedule and will definitely alter the content to ensure that experienced editors are benefitting from the conference and not just sharing their experiences with the new generation. We would definitely welcome the attendance of international delegates who are skilled in specific areas. In the Travel Scholarships section of the grant request we did include the line item: International attendance (from WMF))= 5 (not included in the budget). This could incorporate both Wikimedia Foundation staff and those with niche skill sets. Islahaddow (talk) 13:49, 14 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Great work![edit]

Congrats to the team for putting together a much-improved grant proposal! In response to the WMF's concern about 'active editors', I understand the concern but I also think that, as long as there is a core group of those who are active in attendance and that the schedule is well thought through, then the event will do well to catalyze more enthusiasm and awareness of Wikimedia on the continent. Having organised similar events around Creative Commons in South Africa (e.g. 'Commons-sense: Towards an African Digital Information Commons' in 2006) I know that, although the numbers who might be already active in the movement are a lot lower in Africa than in other places, one of the most important benefits of an event like this is symbolic: the goal should be seen as catalyzing support rather than consolidating it. I also feel that since catalyzing support and encouraging others to join is such an necessary task in African countries where numbers of Wikipemedians are still low that there are many people who focus on this type of work rather than editing. Advocacy, training (and developing proposals like this!) are *as valuable* as editing, perhaps more so, and need to be recognized as such. I am so looking forward to hearing what comes out of this (and especially excited about a possible streaming video link since I will sadly be at another conference at this time and won't be able to join in person). Good luck! --Hfordsa (talk) 12:25, 18 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Conference program ideas[edit]

Thanks to the Indaba organizing team for our discussions around revising the proposal. We appreciate your work and commitment to making it a successful event.

We agreed that in order to develop a useful event program, the most important step is soliciting input and feedback from the attendees. Other ideas we discussed include the following:

  1. Best practices in how to conduct effective editing workshops
  2. Introducing Visual Editor to new editors
  3. Dealing with the more challenging aspects of the editing community -- What to do when your edit is reverted? What to do when obscure policies are being used in argument against your edits, etc.?
  4. Showcasing high-impact off-wiki programs conducted worldwide -- writing contests, photowalks, GLAM, Wikipedia Education Program, etc.
  5. Tools
  6. Project planning, reporting, and evaluation

This is not an exhaustive list, but a start in thinking more deeply about what will inspire attendees and give them ideas for concrete ways they can engage their local communities in the Wikimedia movement.

We look forward to your revised proposal. Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 22:32, 25 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi Alex. We have updated the budget to the lower total number of 35 attendees. We await your comments.--Thuvack (talk) 19:59, 30 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Feedback on revised proposal[edit]

Hi Thuvack . Thanks for the updated budget. Please see our comments below:

  1. Conference Program: Please update the dates. We hope the team will continue to work on refining the program with input from invitees.
  2. Travel Scholarships: Please update so the total is 35.
  3. Please consider deleting the line item for Program Facilitators. We would expect a conference of this size to self-moderate and have note-taking done by participants.
  4. Who is part of the local organizing team in addition to Dumisani, Theresa, Douglas, and Isla? The budget allocates for 5 members of the organizing team traveling to Johannesburg.
  5. Who will receive the 8 local scholarships? We expect them to be actual active editors from South Africa or influential networkers with the potential for contributing to the project. It looks like they will receive full funding instead of partial funding as noted in the Goals section. Please confirm.
  6. Track conference rooms: Please confirm that you only need 2 rooms (2 tracks) for 2 days (Saturday and Sunday) = 6,000 Rand.
  7. Wiki night out: You should only need 2-3 buses for 35 people.
  8. Should footnotes #2 and #3 under Travel Scholarships be revised?

Thanks for your attention to these questions. We look forward to your response so we can move forward. Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 03:55, 1 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi Alex. Herewith response to above observations.
  • Yes the conference program is being continually updated and should be at an advanced refined condition closer to the conference dates.
  • Travel scholarships have been updated to a total of 35, including cost implications for this.
  • Program facilitators items have been omitted. This is regrettable as from past observations at Milan Chapter's conference (2013) and Berlin Diversity conference (2013), program facilitators were used to focus resolutions of the conference.
  • The LOC is comprised of Dumisani(JHB), Isla(CPT), Douglas(CPT), Theresa(CPT) and Rexford (CPT).
  • Yes the 8 local scholarships will be reserved to active users. We also want to offer about 3 travel scholarships to thermatic orgs (Creative Commons); a representative of OSF and HWC from Cape Town as important GLAM partners of WMZA.
  • We have allowed for two track rooms for friday and saturday and one track room for pre-conference and one track room for sunday winding up. This works out to average of two track rooms for 3 days.
  • Buses for Wiki Night out reduced to 3.
  • Footnotes 2 & 3 under Travel Scholarships has been revised.
I trust that the above will meet your approval.--Thuvack (talk) 20:29, 2 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi, you should perhaps also consider having an additional $1000 travel contingency, given that the tickets would be probably be booked one month from now, and most likely at higher prices that they are right now. 10:01, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
Hi Abbas, thanks for the note. We are mindful of this. We will await guidance from WMF if we should apply for variation approval on line items or once we have confirmed the actual individual ticket prices.--Thuvack (talk) 14:25, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi Thuvack. Thanks for all the revisions. Please clarify when the LOC will be arriving in Johannesburg for coordination and set-up. 3 days prior? Thanks. Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 23:24, 3 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi Alex. Yes, the LOC will be in town at the beginning of the week to oversee conference planning and follow ups with all stakeholders. --Thuvack (talk) 14:25, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi Alex, I have updated the number of LOC to travel up to JHB for one day before conference days as discussed.--Thuvack (talk) 21:21, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you Thuvack. Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 21:57, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]