WikiProject remote event participation/Documentation/Wikidata birthday 24-hours meetup 2020

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Wikidata 24hours meetup rules document.pdf

Format of the event[edit]

Context
This event was part of the distributed Wikidata birthday in 2020, that gathered plenty of virtual and onsite events from the Wikidata community all over the world. Because the Wikidata community is international, the idea was to offer an event where anyone could join at the time they please, depending on their time zone and their availability.
Main format
Partially structured meetup
Duration
24 hours
Main goals
Gather the Wikidata community, celebrate the birthday, provide a space for discussions and skill sharing, provide an alternative to the IRL meetups that didn't happen in 2020
Main target audience
Wikidata community
Total number of participants
Unfortunately, we don't have the number of unique participants of the meetup. We know that 160 people registered (which was a necessary step to join the meetup), and we noticed that the number of participants in the call stayed quite constant during most of the meetup, between 28 and 33 participants. These were not the same people during the 24 hours. Therefore, an estimation of unique participants could be 60.
Number of organizers
1 main organizer, 3 contractors for the moderation, 24 facilitators from the community
Language(s) spoken during the event
Mostly English, a bit of French
Tools used
We used the software BigBlueButton for the meetup, combined with Pretix for the registration. The infrastructure was provided by a company based in Germany, Rami.io, that is developing Pretix but also Venueless that we used during the Wikidata Wochenende.
Methods used
Participants had to register on Pretix to get access to the call (a step to prevent spam and to allow identification of participants). People could join at any time during the 24 hours. It was an interactive session: participants anyone could speak or use their camera. They could also discuss in the text chat or share their screen.
The 24 hours have been split in 1-hour slots, where facilitators could sign up to lead the discussion on a specific topic (see schedule). Without being a formal program, this allowed to drive the meetup, keep the discussion flowing, and cover various topics. The main theme of the event was "what makes you feel enthusiastic about/with Wikidata". Some topics were related to Wikidata's birthday (demo the birthday presents).
The result was a mixed format between an informal meetup and a live-stream: people could speak out at any time, but most of the participants remained passive and were only listening, or writing in the text chat.
Moderation
While facilitation (lead the discussions, propose topics) was ensured by volunteers, we also needed moderation (make sure that the Code of Conduct was respected, take care of edge cases or react in case of an issue. We wanted to have one available moderator during the entire event. We hired contractors for this purpose and we split the 24 hours in slots. The contractors received an introduction to the software and a briefing document indicating the possible issues that could happen and the different steps to take in reaction. In case of a problem, the participants could contact the moderator with a private message, or directly follow the report process of the Code of Conduct.
The main rules of the event were displayed for all participants.
Communication
Communication was mostly done on the Wikidata community channels: Project Chat, mailing-list, Telegram groups, Facebook, Twitter.

Lessons learned[edit]

Success[edit]

  • People reacted well to the idea of an online meetup
  • Most of the time, there were enough people in the event to keep the discussion flowing
  • The meetup was active during most of the time, including times that were out of the Europe and North America "convenient" times (only a short break happened around 6:00 GMT)
  • No major technical issues with the software
  • No major behaviour issues happened
  • Interesting discussions happened, some participants mentioned that they discovered new tools or learned something
  • Most of the time, the atmosphere was positive and friendly, with a focus on excitement and celebration

Challenges[edit]

  • Choice of a tool that would be accessible for everyone, open source, GDPR-compliant, hosted in Germany, providing the moderation features we needed, etc.
  • Choice of a registration process that would not add to much constraint, but would still prevent spam/allow to kick a participant out if needed
  • Organizing the moderation shifts and finding people who would be available to support us with moderation
  • Keep people engaged in discussions and avoid the effect of "passive live-stream" where everyone is listening but no one talks
  • Some minor technical issues like connection, BBB being quite resources-consuming, chopped sound, issues with screensharing, etc.
  • Some minor behaviour issues like someone ranting about a specific topic for a long time without realizing that others wanted to speak
  • Lack of participation from people on some specific slots where questions were asked / difficult to find the right facilitation format

Possible improvements[edit]

  • Ease the registration process
  • Improve the roles and features attributed to participants, eg allow screensharing for all participants
  • Improve communication and engaging the community, to have more diversity in the participants

Documentation[edit]

Questions & discussions[edit]

If you want to talk to the the organizers, ask further questions, feel free to use the talk page.