Grants talk:TPS/AbhiSuryawanshi/NASA LARSS program

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Invitation Letter[edit]

Invitation letter shared on participation at wikimedia dot org AbhiSuryawanshi (talk) 18:30, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

You can also read brief info about me here.

Availability of Travel Assistance from the hosts?[edit]

Hi, Abhishek.

I note the hosts are covering accommodation and food. Have you inquired about the availability of (even partial) travel assistance from the hosts? If not, please do ASAP. Thanks. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 23:12, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Hi Asaf,
"Only" U.S Citizens are eligible for Scholarship at LARSS Program.Its first time they have invited Indian Student(Non-US Citizen) to participate and "speak" at LARSS Program, and As of this year,there is no travel assistance. AbhiSuryawanshi (talk) 04:29, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

Outreach activities during your stay[edit]

Hi, and thanks for your proposal! Can you give some details on what kind of outreach activities you plan to have during your stay? As I read your request, your invitation as a keynote speaker is not related to your Wikipedia / Wikimedia activities. Have you been talking to the hosts about your intention to use your stay for Wikimedia related outreach activities? Are they providing time and space for you to engage in Wikimedia related outreach? --Johannes Rohr (WMDE) (talk) 09:58, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

One Full session will be of Wikipedia and Wikimedia Activities.I will be speaking about my innovations in one slot and in another slot, I will be speaking about Role of Wikipedia in scientists life, and how it helped me and how it can help others.AbhiSuryawanshi (talk) 15:45, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for your response!! So, this one session is agreed with the organisers? Can you say a little about your methodology, i.e. what are you trying to achieve through this session and by what methods? When you say that you will be talking about your innovations, are you referring to innovations related to Wikipedia? Judging from your experience as a campus ambassador, you expect that your presence will be effective in terms of editors recruitment? --Johannes Rohr (WMDE) (talk) 08:55, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes,and during stay also, I will be interacting with LARSS Scholars and will be encouraging them use and contribute to Wikipedia.
Innovations - I will be talking about my own innovations from past and current research in separate slot.
I started my research life when I was 14 years old in rural India, and Wikipedia was my teacher,and As per your last query - From my experience as Campus Ambassador, I believe my presence will be effective in terms of editors recruitment also. AbhiSuryawanshi (talk) 10:05, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

Chapter consultation?[edit]

Asaf, I am quite surprised by your approval of this participation grant request. Can we please know whether the local chapter (Wikimedia India or Wikimedia DC) was consulted regarding this effort? The participation support page highlights that requirement at the bottom of the page. So far, we have not seen any commentary from the concerned chatpers. I am afraid this is a rather arbitrary dispensation of movement funds. The primary purpose of the grant application is not the furtherance of the goals of the Wikimedia movement, but a secondary initiative undertaken as an attempt to secure travel funding. You have also not taken the past experience of the applicant on Wikimedia projects into consideration while calculating their eligibility for conducting specialized programs on the behalf of the community. I am certain that the United States is in possession of more suitable candidates with qualification in aeronautical sciences (rather than claimed expertise in mechanical engineering and suction irrigation techniques).

For your information, the name of the event is not "NASA LARSS Program" but "Langley Aerospace Research Students Scholars Program" (LARSS) – [1], organized by the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA), a non-profit organization based in the same town as NASA's Langley Research Centre. This program should not be confused with the course which NASA organizes every summer called the "Langley Aerospace Research Summer Scholars Project". Therefore, there is no direct association of the program which the grant applicant wishes to attend and the "National Aeronautics and Space Administration" (NASA). I would expect that you would apply the same standards to each and every grant request. — Nearly Headless Nick {C} 23:02, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

Hi, Nick.
Indeed, this was a case where we were supposed to consult the chapter, and I'm sorry we did not. It was an oversight. Should I take your opinion to be speaking for the chapter EC?
I can allay at least your concern about the NIA and NASA relationship. The program is run by (or at least with) NASA personnel, and I have personally spoken with a relevant NASA employee at some length to assess the value of the opportunity here, and to ensure there will indeed be adequate time to conduct outreach. I am satisfied that this is precisely the kind of opportunity this program was created to support.
I will be sure to involve Wikimedia India in future requests. Of course, you should feel free to make concerns known on these talk pages before a request is approved as well. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 06:17, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
So you have confirmed that this program is not in fact run by NASA as the applicant represents on the grant request page? Run by a NASA employee or with a NASA employee is not the same as run by NASA, is it? For instance, I could be working with JP Morgan and do something completely different in my private time, though that would not entitle me to claim that what I do in my private time is actually on the behalf of JPM? Apart from the gratuitous misrepresentation by the applicant, this in itself negates the entire rationale behind the exercise which is to have a "Wikipedia Club at NASA". Have you taken a look at the applicant's ~750 edits on the English Wikipedia? They do not demonstrate either a proper understanding of our project policies and guidelines or sufficient experience within the Wikimedia movement. This page only came to my attention last night and I think the approval of the grant sets a bad precedent. — Nearly Headless Nick {C} 10:15, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
It is my understanding that this is a program affiliated with and facilitated by NASA. Are you perhaps a little too eager to find a conspiracy here? Like I said, I have personally spoken to the NASA employee who invited Mr. Suryawanshi, and this is a legitimate program, and it is not incorrect to use NASA's name in connection with it, whatever the actual technical division of labor between NASA and NIA.
Further, I reject your suggestion that an edit count is the sole criterion by which to judge the suitability of a Wikimedian for an activity.
More relevant, it seems to me, is the fact the LARSS program is interested in Mr. Suryawanshi delivering two talks for this summer's group; that they are acquainted with Mr. Suryawanshi (having met in person at TEDxPune); and that Mr. Suryawanshi has a compelling and inspiring Wikipedia experience to share -- in this case, mostly the experience of a consumer of Wikipedia who went on to apply knowledge gained from Wikipedia to good effect -- that could be quite effective in outreach, in inspiring bright young folks to appreciate the importance of Wikipedia globally, and therefore quite possibly to encourage them to contribute.
I understand you disapprove of this particular decision, and I am glad you made your concerns known, and hope I have managed to convey the background and thinking behind my decision, even if you would remain ultimately unconvinced.
Finally, if your concerns are more systemic and you would like to influence decisions around grant-making, may I point out we are accepting nominations for the Grant Advisory Committee, whose members are notified of new Wikimedia Grants requests (but not Participation Support requests) and are encourage to discuss and opine about open grant requests, a discussion which informs the Foundation's decision-making about such grants. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 05:59, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Hi, let me register my complete shock on the approval of this grant.

//The primary purpose of the grant application is not the furtherance of the goals of the Wikimedia movement, but a secondary initiative undertaken as an attempt to secure travel funding. You have also not taken the past experience of the applicant on Wikimedia projects into consideration while calculating their eligibility for conducting specialized programs on the behalf of the community. I am certain that the United States is in possession of more suitable candidates with qualification in aeronautical sciences (rather than claimed expertise in mechanical engineering and suction irrigation techniques).//


I have already stopped donating to Wikimedia seeing such insane grants. Do you want us to run a "Do not donate to Wikipedia" campaign?

If posisble, please recall the grant.--Ravidreams (talk) 11:15, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Hello, Ravi. I'm sorry to hear you are shocked. Please see my response to Lord Porpington above for some context about this decision. I would respectfully suggest that it is inevitable that some grant decisions would not be precisely the decisions you would have made, and that it is perhaps an overreaction to immediately call for boycotts etc., though you are of course free to do so, if you think one bad decision (assuming it is one) about grants is enough to invalidate all the rest of the Foundation's work and to warrant advocating against supporting it.
To you, too, I offer to join the GAC and have a chance to make your views heard before decisions are made (again, about Wikimedia Grants and not about Participation Support).
Whether or not you join, you are always welcome to express opinions about open requests, and they will certainly be read and taken into account in the deliberations before decisions are made. Technically, we might facilitate it by creating a Participation Support Request Log page, which you and others interested in monitoring new and open requests can add to your watchlists on Meta, and which we (WMF) shall update whenever a new Participation Support request comes in. If you (or anyone else) would express interest, we are happy to do this to help the community notice requests as they are opened.
Also, as stated above, we should have consulted with the Wikimedia India chapter before approving this request, and have not done so due to an oversight on my part, for which I have apologized. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 05:59, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Asaf, thanks for your response though my concern is still valid. The grant applicant is clearly using Wikipedia for his own promotion than doing genuine work. It pains me that so many genuine community members do not get a scholarship for Wikimania every year while stand alone grants like these are possible. There should also be an absolute measure for the kind of impact and the cost involved for each grant. I also want to make it clear that my outburst is not related to this grant alone. So, it is nothing personal against you or the applicant. Recently, I have not been very happy seeing the very generous way grants are allowed for various projects. So, I will certainly apply for GAC but there should be a better process for participation grant approvals.--Ravidreams (talk) 14:56, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Hi, Ravi. I understand your concern. Like I said, it is inevitable, in grantmaking, to disappoint people -- either by approving proposals you think of little value, or by not approving proposals you think very valuable. I still think there is a valid outreach opportunity here, and that the applicant is suitable to perform it, despite some people's suspicion of his motives. Let us all assume good faith.
It may encourage you to know that we are working on making our grantmaking more data-driven, in that we are looking to create precisely some measure of impact, as you say, to assess the relative value of programs, grant proposals, fellowships, etc. We are still at the beginning, but the Foundation is already working on an outreach assessment tool (software), that would allow long-term data analysis of the fruits of outreach efforts such as editing workshops; additionally, we have hired a new director with deep experience in grantmaking and development, to be our Director of Global Learning and Grantmaking, a role that would seek not only to systematize our grantmaking, but to make sure we make the most out of the learning opportunity each grant, through its execution and reporting, offers.
I think it is safe to say you will see the Foundation's grantmaking become more data-driven, and clearer assessments of potential impact brought to bear on grant proposals in the coming year.
As for this particular participation support -- let's give it the benefit of the doubt, and meet here on this talk page once the report is available, to review it and see what the impact was.
Finally, I am happy you consider volunteering with the GAC. We need more active voices in the GAC. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 03:27, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Asaf, your response is encouraging. So, let me conclude my discussion with this. Thanks.--Ravidreams (talk) 18:05, 10 July 2012 (UTC)


For the record, this was cancelled due to a denied US visa application. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 01:11, 18 July 2012 (UTC)