Other areas to flesh out
- Average overall scores from the different regions, for those accepted and not accepted
- Categorical breakdown of those recipients who could not attend Wikimania and why
One of the big issues that affected large parts of the world in 2012 was visas. I know that some people applied but couldn't get a US visa, I suspect that some people didn't apply because of the difficulties of getting a US visa. Factoring this in will be difficult, but unless we do it will be impossible to fairly compare a Wikimania in say Alexandria or Tbilisi with one in Washington DC or London. WereSpielChequers (talk) 23:07, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
- +1. Theo10011 (talk) 02:17, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
- Support ₫ӓ₩₳ Talk to Me. Email Me. 05:34, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
- We are able to look at what % of those who received a scholarship had to decline due to Visa issues -- so that's one way of starting this sort of research. Finding who "didn't apply" due to pre-anticipated complications is obviously a bit harder; I have access to most of the information from last year (it's messy, but if I had time I could try), and we could start comparing breakdown of applications from different areas year-to-year. For example, I know that there was no one that applied from Arab States in 2011 due to the location in Israel, which we could directionally assert given the increased applications from the region in 2012. Hong Kong - which has limited visa restraints - will hopefully be able to set a better benchmark for comparing future years.
- The implications of visa requirements when choosing a Wikimania host is an important concern which should should probably be raised to the Wikimania selection team. They would probably be able to come closer to determining the effects of visa restraints on Wikimania by looking at the comparative geographic breakdowns of attendees. I am not really very aware of how that selection process works; is there a venue for feedback there? Would one of you who just expressed that you think this is an important consideration be willing to raise it there? Jwild (talk) 21:04, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
- Thanks Jessie . I made a suggestion at the bottom that one way that WMF can improve this process is including the visa issue as a criteria for selection. I admit it would be hard to evaluate that just from the application, but you control the application form. It would be possible to add fields about visa requirement or questions about past travel, that might help gauge a candidate. These points can then be figured in to the eventual evaluation the scholarship team does. I know this isn't the best possible solution but its a start. There can also be a bit tightening of the timeline, for example, if a person is unable to get a visa prior to x week of travel, can have that passed to the wait-listed candidates.
- About your question related to venue selection, the location is selected each year by a jury. I served on the last jury for the most recent Wikimania and have been involved in the documentation process for a while now on Meta. From what I know, we gave very special consideration to ease of travel/visa issue after Haifa and US, and I believe its a factor for selection every year. Each bid accompanies a chart of visa requirements and travel costs that the jury weighs, the process and guidelines arent very refined yet but it is definitely something that the jury evaluates. You can add explicit mention of this to the jury after on the wikimania mailing list after it is selected, I believe that would be the most direct approach, there isn't exactly a proper page for this, there is a new wiki each year for wikimania and things get messy to follow. In the mean time, I would be happy to help in any way I can. Thanks. Theo10011 (talk) 00:43, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
- Got it - thanks for the info and offer to help! I'll be sure to elucidate some of the scholarship-refusals-due-to-visa constraints on that mailing list. For the scholarships specifically, some of your visa recommendations could be included in the discussion on the scholarships page going on now - there are some other suggestions for new questions, so this could be up for consideration. I definitely agree that stating upfront a deadline about visa acquisition would be a good change ("visa prior to x week of travel...") - we have striven to be really flexible and adaptable with the recipients, but in my eyes this was to the detriment of the broader event in 2012 with so many last minute cancellations. Jwild (talk) 00:05, 22 September 2012 (UTC)
JFI - WMIL gave 4 scholarships (not including 2 board members delegation) for people from Israel (based on the international committee recommendations), if you want to include it --Itzike (talk) 14:48, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
I updated WMHU numbers: we gave support up to a given amount (same for all) which was able to cover the costs included in a full scholarship, provided that people bought their tickets early (one person moved during the year, so with a change of airport and other issues, his scholarship was more like a partial one – the second partial scholarship supplemented a WMF scholarship to the same level we gave to the otehrs). The originally planned amount for scholarships was merged with the amount set aside for board member travel, all travellers were awarded the chance to go based on the WMF-ranking and the available amount in the budget. --Bence (talk) 15:06, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
Criteria for selection
There is little information about the criteria used for selection. It would be helpful to analyze how the winners are selected. Basing my opinion on conjecture, I would assume the criteria includes activity level/edit count, and previous attendance as a couple of the leading criteria. It would be highly advisable to include a criteria for Visa solely in the top 3 risks, I recall the application form did indeed have a box if a visa would be required, or if it would be easy to obtain, perhaps a question or two can be added to the application form from next year, to better evaluate the risk with a visa. There was nothing more disappointing than to learn that the handful of selected winners from such a large pool of applicant, couldn't even make it and the scholarships might have been wasted that year while so many others could have benefited. Thanks. Theo10011 (talk) 21:23, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
- Chapters, of course, are able to select winners better, because they're closer to them and they can be stricter (also for what follows the selection). For this very reason, there are also less random requests. The global scholarshiop request review, on the other hand, is surely a big challenge. --Nemo 20:28, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
The WMAU scholarships can be found at wmau:Special:prefixindex/Resolution:Wikimania_2012_travel_grant. Steven Zhang didn't use his half scholarship. We approved 100% of applicants, which will mean the "Asia & Pacific" acceptance rate needs to be updated. John Vandenberg (talk) 03:29, 22 September 2012 (UTC)
- Should we include or exclude chapter board members in this table of scholarship recipients? John Vandenberg (talk) 03:39, 22 September 2012 (UTC)
- Were they funded as scholarship? Or, would have sent them anyway, as representatives? --Nemo 15:42, 22 September 2012 (UTC)
- They are not considered scholarships (but they should be included on the other page recently set up for 2012 Wikimania budget. Jwild (talk) 21:38, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
- Thank you both, and my apologies for WMAU not providing more information sooner. <insert random excuses here> I have separated our reps vs scholarships; its easier that way, and provides better granularity & visibility anyway. John Vandenberg (talk) 11:05, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
My apologies for WMAU not providing more information sooner.
The funding for the two WMAU board members came out of the WMAU budget for Wikimedia scholarships (wmau:2011-2012_Budget#Wikimania), part of which was reallocated to fund WikiWomenCamp. There was no selection process for these two scholarships. On 17 January I recommended that Graham and Charles should represent our committee so that international travel would be spread evenly among the chapter board members (we also sent a board member to WikiWomenCamp and two to the Wikimedia Conference), the recommendation was endorsed quickly by the committee so that movement funds would be conserved as they could plan/book early and leave more money available for half scholarships (The two WMAU committee members recused on these discussions, of course), the board informed the community of our intended strategy in the 5 February 2012 public meeting (the log of this public meeting is not public; we started publishing the logs a few months later; I can provide the log if you are interested), and the resolution was made on 12 February 2012.
Regarding the remaining amount, used for half scholarships, I must admit that our process wasn't as good as it could have been, but it was our first time and we were mindful that we had limited scholarships available within our budget, and, and, and... . I believe the results were acceptable, but we'll have a better process in place next year. The first call for applicants wasn't very well advertised publicly, but the second call for applicants can be found at http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaau-l/2012-April/003292.html and in the log of our public IRC meeting a few days later in May (wmau:Meeting:Public_(2012-05-06)/Log - timestamp 17:04). The second call was especially seeking unsuccessful SRC scholarship applicants who had already made financial commitments to go to Wikimania, as we felt it was important to prioritise those who may have been put in a tight financial position as a consequence of their decision to proceed with bookings while waiting for the SRC decision. We also wanted to close the second call promptly, as travel costs were skyrocketing.
The selection was made by the WMAU committee. There were some general principles in place for our selection, but these were not clearly articulated, and we didnt need to use them. We were lucky in that we had a limited number of applications, all high quality, and we could approve all half-scholarship applications. Four people applied; four were approved; three used the awarded funds (Steven Zhang didnt use it; he secured other funding). John Vandenberg (talk) 15:37, 13 November 2012 (UTC)