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Volunteer Supporters Network/Vienna Meeting 2018

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Volunteer Supporters Meeting
9 – 11 November 2018, Vienna, Austria


  • Ivana Madžarević (Program and Community Manager, Wikimedia Serbia)
  • Michelle Boon (Event Organiser & Community Supporter, Wikimedia Nederland)
  • Natalia Szafran-Kozakowska (Community Support Officer, Wikimedia Polska)
  • Raimund Liebert (Community Manager, Wikimedia Österreich)
  • Sara Thomas (Scotland Programme Coordinator, Wikimedia UK)
  • Stuart Prior (Programme Coordinator, Wikimedia UK)
  • Tamás Mészöly (Executive Vice President, Wikimédia Magyarország)
  • Ulrich Lantermann (Community Manager, Wikimedia CH)
  • Veronika Krämer (Volunteer Support, Wikimedia Deutschland)

Venue and accommodation


Wikimedia Österreich office
Wikimedia Österreich office

Wikimedia Österreich office

Wikimedia Österreich
Stolzenthalergasse 7/1
1080 Wien
Nearest U-Bahn station: Thaliastraße (U6)

Hotel recommendations

both in walking distance (among other hotels):
City Rooms City Rooms on Wikidata City Rooms on OpenStreetMap
Ruby Marie Ruby Marie on Wikidata Ruby Marie on OpenStreetMap

Restaurant for Saturday evening

Prinz Ferdinand
Bennoplatz 2
1080 Wien
Prinz Ferdinand on Wikidata Prinz Ferdinand on OpenStreetMap
Registration for dinner in German-language Wikipedia (section "I komm"; not mandatory)




6 pm
Welcome That’s WMAT's office + overview of the weekend.
Introductory lightning talks Who are we (at the moment) – one presentation with slides prepared by all participants.
Ongoing and good to know Train the trainers, internships at Wikimedia Serbia, ...
8.15 pm
Dinner snack Staying at WMAT office.


9 am
Looking back and forward Results and to-dos of last VSN meeting (“six pillars of volunteer support”), discussing where & how to share things, doing stuff together in the future.
Skill implementation cafe Helping each other face-to-face with skills we can use right away.
1.45 pm
Lunch Staying at WMAT office.
2 pm
Support guidelines How different aspects of community support are dealt with in different chapters, what could/should we have in common and why.
Community health, pt. 1 The 2030 strategy working group – video conference with a representative from the working group.
Community health, pt. 2 The metrics tool kit – video conference with WMF staff.
7.30 pm
Dinner At Prinz Ferdinand restaurant nearby (after 1 h break), during regular Wikipedia meet-up with Viennese community, please pay on your own.


9.30 am
Challenges Challenges related to our jobs and to working with Wikimedia volunteers – share your story and (if you want to) get advice from your colleagues.
We in 2019 Our presence at conferences, other collaborations, next VSN meeting (if not covered on Saturday); also: to-dos until next meeting.
Feedback Reflecting our meeting.
1.30 pm
Lunch + auf Wiedersehen Staying at WMAT office.


PROGRAM | Michelle Boon (WMNL), Veronika Krämer (WMDE), Raimund Liebert (WMAT)
Wikimedia Österreich's event guidelines apply.



The Volunteer Supporters Network (VSN) meeting 2018 was the second annual meeting specifically designed for the exchange between volunteer supporters in the movement, with 9 volunteer supporters from 8 Wikimedia chapters attending. It took place in Vienna from November 9th till 11th and was hosted by Wikimedia Austria.

The main goals of the meeting were:

  • strengthening the VSN working group
  • revising the VSN’s mission and goals
  • defining the goals for 2019 and planning activities and tasks
  • offering advice on specific challenges in each other’s daily work with volunteers
  • sharing experiences, ideas, skills and tools that are helpful for our work as volunteer supporters

The first evening consisted of lightning talks given by all participants, introducing themselves, their chapter’s work and the role and/or particularities of volunteer support in their communities. This introductory round was followed by short talks about specific topics or projects, including Train-the-Trainer programs, editor retention projects and the benefit of internships in a chapter’s volunteer support team.

On Saturday, participants engaged in the Skill Implementation Café. During registration for the VSN meeting, all participants had been asked what skills, tools or information relevant to their work they would either like to learn or would be able to teach others. The answers were used to design a workshop with different “stations” and a timetable that allowed for lots of 15-minute one-on-one sessions where one person explained or showed something to another person. Topics covered included: Visual editor for new volunteers, Qualtrics, how to explain our free licenses, Outreach Dashboard, Central Notice Banners, PetScan, advanced WikiSyntax, how to run basic Wikidata events, using the Wikimedia Google presentation template, Categories on Wikimedia Commons, the Wikimedia Style Sheet, Wikipedians in Wikidata, the attribution generator.

The skill implementation café proved to be a very helpful format. The one-to-one interview situations offered an opportunity to get in depth explanations and specific information tailored to everybody’s own contexts and needs.

Before talking about the VSN’s goals for the future, the Saturday was also used to look back at the last year and at what happened since the last meeting. Based on The 6 pillars of volunteer support, all participants shared their chapter’s and community’s highlights regarding volunteer support, editor retention and the other pillars, giving many participants new ideas for projects to adapt to their own contexts. We also revised the general “mission” of the VSN, since the hitherto existing goals dated from 2015, and agreed on the following statement:

“The Volunteer Supporter’s Network (VSN) is an open network of Wikimedians working in volunteer/community support. Our mission is to improve volunteer support in the Wikimedia movement by developing, growing and maintaining collaboration and exchange of expertise, ideas and resources.”

The group also agreed that from 2019 onwards (with the movement strategy goals of “equity” in mind), the VSN would like to focus more on actively offering support and opportunities for exchange, learning and skill-sharing to members of the Wikimedia movement who do not have staff members dedicated to volunteer support. This could include online volunteer support consultations, volunteer support related sessions at international or regional Wikimedia conferences, as well as possible support through providing other user groups / individuals with materials or services needed (i.e. graphic design for a brochure). The plan for next year is to first learn more about the needs of other Wikimedians in the area of volunteer support in order to be able to establish how the VSN as a group could have a positive impact in that area.

The program also included hangout sessions with Virginia, giving us insight on the Movement-Strategy-Group on Community Health, and Joe and Patrick presenting and discussing the Community Health Metrics Kit. Furthermore, participants exchanged information about their respective support guidelines, discussing how certain aspects of volunteer support are dealt with in different chapters and giving valuable insights and ideas on how particular cases could be dealt with. The Sunday morning session also focused on exchanging experiences, sharing stories, identifying common challenges and struggles and discussing possible solutions. As last year, it was apparent that this type of possibility for personal exchange is extremely helpful for us as volunteer supporters. Everyone’s work- or community-related challenges are similar, regardless of community or chapter size, yet most Wikimedia volunteer supporters do not have many people or colleagues those issues can be discussed with on a regular basis. Talking about these problems in a group and getting feedback and ideas on best practises from others is an excellent way of finding solutions and getting “unstuck”.

The second edition of the VSN-meeting was very pleasant and successful, with a great and productive atmosphere. Participants went home with a lot of learnings, ideas, inspiration (and some to-dos). In a group call in February 2019, we will check on the progress of our to-dos and plan the next steps for the rest of the year.