Learning patterns/Travelling Wikimedians report to the stay-at-homes
What problem does this solve?
It is common for a lot of Wikimedians to travel to conferences, workshops, and other real-life meet-ups. Many Wikimedia organizations support this by offering travel grants. The participants seem to benefit from the flexibility and dynamics of real-life meetings and from meeting other Wikimedians and Non-Wikimedians in person. There is an obvious demand from Wikimedia communities to meet not only online.
Nevertheless, the immediate outcome in terms of experiences and learnings is limited to the participants, to a few individuals. In order to share this outcome with a wider community the participants can publish written reports. The reports try to comprise the purpose of the travelling, the results and experiences. They can focus on certain aspects or they sum-up the event as a whole. They can be more of a documentation or they can built upon the event and create something different and new. In any case a written report of a real-life event is a transfer to abstraction. It cannot reproduce many of the advantages felt by the participants. In addition, reading lenghty texts is not very appealing to many volunteers.
What is the solution?
In order to get out more of travels to events don't stick to written reports alone – provide small-scale meetings on important topics for the stay-at-homes afterwards. Groups of 5 to 10 people are fine. Create an informal atmosphere. The Wikimedian who travelled to an event and reports to the local community does not need to prepare an elaborate presentation (that's something for the more rigid written report). It is useful to have the possibility to show something on a screen if necessary and to have internet access. The Wikimedian tells about his or her experiences and responds flexibly to the interests and demands of the attendees. The real-life discussion can lead to a knowledge transfer which is really useful to serve the specific needs of others and can also lead to more engagement on the side of the stay-at-homes in the respective field.