Volunteer Supporters Network/Online Meeting 2020

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VOLUNTEER SUPPORTERS NETWORK

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Volunteer Supporters Meeting
19–20 November 2020, Online

The Volunteer Supporters Network (VSN) is an international network of individuals from Wikimedia organizations dealing with volunteer/community support. Every year, the group meets to discuss volunteer support-related issues and learn from one another.

This year we will meet online 19-20 November. During this meeting we will be discussing our current work, go over Wikipedia20 celebrations, share our challenges, and help each other gain new skills. And - spend some time together!

The meeting will take place on the Zoom platform. The link will be shared by email before the sessions start.

If you have any questions write to: natalia.szafran@wikimedia.pl

Registration[edit]

Participants[edit]

Schedule[edit]

Thursday[edit]

12.00–14.00 UTC

13.00–15.00 CET

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Getting to know each other

Where are we now? How are we in 2020? What is the state of our work and communities?

14.00–14.30 UTC

15.00–15.30 CET

Latte - The Noun Project.svg
Break. Get up from the computer, have a snack!
14.30–15.35 UTC

15.30–16.35 CET

Class room icon.svg
How to handle online meetings, part. 1

Workshop with Christine

15.35–15.50 UTC

16.35–16.50 CET

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Break. Sitting so much in front of the screen is not good for you - take a stretch! ;)
15.50–16.40 UTC

16.50–17.40 CET

Class room icon.svg
How to handle online meetings, part. 2

Workshop with Christine

16.40–17.00 UTC

17.40–18.00 CET

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Check-out of day-one

Friday[edit]

12.00–14.00 UTC

13.00–15.00 CET

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Good morning + skill implementation caffee

Saying hallo! Learning new we can use right away (working face to face in small groups)

14.00–14.30 UTC

15.00–15.30 CET

Latte - The Noun Project.svg
Break. Have a glass of water, move a bit! ;)
14.30–15.45 UTC

15.30–16.45 CET

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Wikipedia 20th birthday - what can we do together?

Brainstorming

15.45–16.00 UTC

16.45–17.00 CET

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Break. Check-in - do you need a snack? A stretch? A coffee?
16.00–17.00 UTC

17.00–18.00 CET

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Challenges related to our jobs and to working with Wikimedia volunteers

Share your story and (if you want to) get advice or support from your colleagues

17.00–17.30 UTC

18.00–18.30 CET

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Reflecting on our meeting
17.30–19.00 UTC

18.30–20.00 CET

Latte - The Noun Project.svg
Break
19.00–20.00 UTC

20.00–21.00 CET

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Informal evening hangout - chatting and being together

Report[edit]

About the event[edit]

The Volunteer Supporters Network Meeting 2020 was the Fourth Annual Meeting of the international network of individuals from Wikimedia organizations working with the Wikimedia communities. It was organized by Wikimedia Polska with the support of Wikimedia Deutschland.

The goal of the meeting was:

  • strengthening and broadening the collaboration and connections within the VS network
  • exchanging knowledge and skills needed in our work
  • gaining and giving support to each other
  • talking about challenges related to our work
  • brainstorming joined activities related to Wikipedia 20

The most difficult challenge of the event was the question of how to bring  the sense of collaboration and being peers which has always been the great value of the VSN meeting into the online environment.

Overall 17 people took part in the meeting. The fact that it happened online made the event accessible for people from different places of the world and opened us for exchange in a wider, global context. The event was diverse in geographical terms but also in terms of experience of participants: some of us were longer, some shorter in the movement, some work specifically with the community, others combine it with other responsibilities in their organizations.

Activities[edit]

The event started with an opening session during which we have exchanged how 2020 has impacted our life and work. We talked about the changes the pandemic situation has brought, the learnings we have gathered and the most important projects we have organized. 2020 made us rethink the way we work with our communities. We have all made an effort to bring community meetings, training, workshops and conferences online, while at the same time managing the difficulties of adapting ourselves into a totally remote work. That brought some giveaways - we have found that online activities need less financial resources and let us invite guests and community members who would have not been able to join otherwise. We have also discovered some new ideas and formats that will continue even when the in-person meetings are safe again. But there are also some downsides - these types of meetings need more time allocation on the organizer’s side. And it is still difficult to to replace the spontaneity, and social connections which happen at in-person meetings.

To help us in that our moderator Christine Oyeman has conducted a two-hour long training on remote events facilitation. We have learned new tools, practices and gained a lot of helpful tricks and ideas. All of which will help us to bring our remote events to the next level.

The second day opened with a skill implementation cafe. This is a format of practical knowledge exchange invented during the second VSN Meeting (organized by Wikimedia Ostreich). During the registration process participants had provided information about the skills that are needed by them and the skills that they can share. And then a schedule of person-to-person trainings were created. During the cafe we have learned about (among other things) creating friendly space policy for online events, groups and networks in the Wikiworld, tools for videoconferences, GapFinder, supporting other open communities and how to best support Community Wishlist Survey (the last one provided by our guest - Szymon Grabarczuk from WMF).

Then we had brainstorming sessions about Wikipedia’s 20th birthday. Our task was to think of the ways we can do something together on a global level. We worked in two groups - one was searching for ideas for a totally online project and the other - for a project which can partially take place in-person (but with some covid-related restrictions still in place).

Ideas collected:[edit]
  • global editing campaign in which there are no personal prizes. All participants work on reaching joined goals (related to the number of articles or quantity of content added to Wikipedia projects). Every time a goal is “unlocked” something fun happens. The articles should be related to the last 20 years (people who were born, events that happened etc.). The idea should catch the spirit of Wikipedia - working on a joined goal while feeling joy and bringing knowledge
  • on January 15th we join for 15 minutes on video conference to celebrate and congratulate each other (this should be a part of our online community meetups)
  • article time machine - showing how articles have changed in time
  • videos and materials sharing interesting stories from the movement

After that we had a session during which we talked about the challenges related to our work. Those conversations helped us to build a sense of connection and see the common elements in the things we deal with in our work. And since we all face similar challenges we could give each other feedback and advice and work together on solving those issues.

While we miss seeing each other and collaborating in person we brought a lot from this meeting. The participants enjoyed spending time together, gathered useful ideas and tools and motivation for future work.