Wikimedia CZ-PL-SK Meeting Ostrava

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Wikimedia CZ-PL-SK Meeting was a three-day meeting of representatives of Czech, Slovak and Polish Wikimedia organisations (chapters/user groups). It took place in the city of Ostrava between 25th and 27th of November 2016. During the meeting we exchanged experiences and plans regarding some of the most pressing matters, including education, GLAM cooperation, PR&Comms strategies, chapter governance and future project. We also discussed Czech involvement in organisation of Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2017.

Detailed minutes of our meeting are available on Etherpad, below a short summary.

Participants[edit]

Education[edit]

The education panel was limited to Gabriela and Krzysztof (me), as our Slovakian counterpart Dávid Štefan didn't make it.

First WMPL shared the results of its' work on workshops (available on outreach wiki in the form of this syllabus (Polish version here; it's more... polished) and this list of classroom assignments (wandering posters and draw me a hamster as useful tools during workshops).

Then Gabriela shared the experiences of WMCZ in working with senior citizens. WMPL's experience with such project is mostly negative, so we'd like to replicate the Czech Senioři píší Wikipedii project (here a detailed timeline). We're particularly impressed with new users' survivability. WMCZ is basing most its' education activities on a list of volunteers available as both on- and off-line trainers, as well as press contacts (to some extent akin to Polish Wikipedia's Guides). Since the list is too short, the WMCZ is focused on training the trainers. The activities are based on a wide network of public libraries, as well as senior centres and high schools (partnerships with 3rd Age Universities are not so successful). The partners help with organisation of the courses, promotion and all the mundane tasks. The promotion is also carried out by project's ambassador, prof. Jan Sokol who used to be a dissident, a minister of education and is still a well-known public figure in the Czech Republic. The funding is always external: foundations, municipal authorities, a WMF-supported grant and sponsors. The tutor is reimbursed for his or her time (6.5 euro per hour, incl. travel).

The courses are small, 6 attendees per tutor at most. After each 2-hour meeting (usually 6 such meetings in a course) Vojtěch Veselý sends them homework and maintains contact with the seniors through on-wiki messages, emails and a newsletter.

While WMCZ's experience in teaching teenagers is also promising, we'd like to focus on the seniors for the moment. What was particularly useful was Gabriela's remark that it's easier to start cooperation with high schools if we advertise Wikimedia workshops as digital literacy training. It might be beneficial to gain a formal certification (WMCZ is working on it).

Chapters management issues[edit]

First, the group regarding chapter management issues (Yargo, Polimerek, Kuboff) discussed the process of hiring staff. Polimerek presented how this process was maintained by WMPL, what problems it created and how it was solved. Yargo talked about similar experiences in WM CZ. Czechs plans to employ ED, continue to hire edu coordinator and resident at the Masaryk University in Brno. The process of hiring staff is very similar in both chapters - a job offer with the list of duties, announcement, selection of CVs and interviews with members of boards. We also discussed the problem with good job descriptions and demarcation lines for paid work and volunteer activities of the employees who are also active wikimedians.

The next issue was methods of reporting and evaluation of employees. Polimerek described WMPL experience with this. WMPL employees publish their reports on chapters wiki publicly and then it is internally evaluated by the Board in monthly periods. However this system is tiresome by both employees and Board members, who tend to have delays quite often. Yargo presented the system introduced in WMCZ which is based on Redmine. Redmine automatically forces the employees reporting what exactly they were doing on daily manner and how long it took them to finish various tasks.

KuboFf presented problems of WMCSK, which are mainly associated with limited financial and manpower resources, which limits employment to part time only, so the engaged people have limited time they can focus on wikimedia related tasks.

Another thing, which we discussed - was workflow of paper and financial tasks. Yargo presented the system for submitting project application, reporting results and calculating costs called tracker: https://tracker.wikimedia.cz/tickets/. The submitter should first place there the description of the project, expected results and costs. Once it is accepted by the Board the same system let them to upload scans of bills and semi-automatically creates the real budget. Then the Treasurer has the ability to accept or reject the bills and to inform organizer and reimburse the organizer. For example ff the project is (in the opinion of the Board) made in 50% - the leader of the project gets only 50% of the costs which he/she documented.

The final topic in this group was 1% tax deducible system which is the main source of income of WMPL. Polimerek described how it works in practice, presented landing page and the banners broadcasted in Wikipedia. Also, described how negotiation regarding banners with WMF looked like and the first attempts to perform 1% fundraising via social media.

GLAM and partnerships[edit]

Workshop attendees shared information about currently ongoing collaborations and activities around GLAM projects planned for 2017, particularly the set-up of Wikipedians-in-Residence in Czech Republic and Poland, the process of setting up new collaborations with cultural institutions, funding projects, communicating with potentially interested local community members and creating sustainable and scaled GLAM partnerships.

Participants agreed to share some working methods and documents related to establishing partnerships (information materials, letters, agreements of cooperation, project description templates) between Polish and Slovakian Wikimedians working on GLAM.

Selected partnerships discussed[edit]

Poland[edit]

  • National Museum in Warsaw
  • National Ethnographic Museum: Carpathian Ethnography Project
  • Senate of Poland
  • State Archives and the 'Odkurz dokument!' competition

Czech Republic[edit]

What we can fix together[edit]

  • Technical solutions: Mass upload from the Slovak National Gallery - contact Yarl to adapt BursztaBot or adapt GLAM-MNW
  • Carpathian Project: WikiConference in Brno - looking for local volunteers for Carpathian Ethnography Project
  • Carpathian Project: Link the Carpathian project with WikiProjekt Masarykova univerzita
  • Carpathian Project: Some help by Patrik (WMSK) in sorting the proposed article subjects on Carpathian Ethnography Project ("articles by location")
  • General issues: Share the template for contacting new partners (correspondence, system) with Wikimedia SK-Patrik (Armin)
  • Other ideas: Central european project about heritage conservation? (perhaps establish a wikiproject)

[to be continued shortly]

Media, PR & Outreach[edit]

The talk concentrated on joint evaluation of various tools used for Outreach, media and public relations.

Gabriela recommends Mailchimp (other possible tools suggested: CiviCRM - libre, Active Campaign - very expensive)

We also talked through various strategies relating to media releases (prioritisation!), maintaining relations with journalists (person to person contacts) and keeping tabs on who is who and how to reach them (WMPL uses a Google Spreadsheet for that). We also discussed press conferences (not really useful in case of most projects we advertise), and alternative ways of reaching out to the public (such as the ngo.pl portal visited by volunteers and NGO-friendly people).

As to the social media, we discussed how our chapters are handling the various profiles/pages of our projects (details in the Etherpad). WMPL also suggested using the dedicated Wikipedia app and its' share-a-fact function, it works wonders on Twitter and such. Doesn't work as good on FB though. WMPL also suggested to contact foreign embassies or cultural institutes if there's a thematic week or some other similar activity, it has worked for us in the past.

WMPL also suggested to prepare publish-ready galleries of winning photos from our photo competitions, web pages love such content and it's extremely clickable (WLM gallery on gazeta.pl was one of the highest-clicking gallery they had - ever). The galleries with the attribution lines and captions have to be prepared by hand though as there is no tool for that.

WMSK recommends a dedicated media starter kit, WMPL should update its' own.

In terms of outreach, we briefly discussed possible gamification strategies and also the possible role of the Content Translation engine. It's not mature enough to be used for outreach or by newbies, but we might get there. KuboF also noted that there already is a Polish<=>Czech library for Apertium, worth evaluating.

Common projects[edit]

During the meeting we discuss about future and existing common projects which could be organized together:

Carpathian Ethnography Project
Polmerek and Marta from Poland introduced two persons from Czech (Jaro Zastoupil) and Slovakia (Patrik Kunec) into project and explained what are expectations for participants. They both found it interesting and asked to join. Polimerek added them to project discussion list in order to keep further contact.
Europeana 15-18
The attendands briefed their knowledge about the project and discussed that it should be organized in a way to bring new editors from reconstruction groups, museums, archives. Let's make it accessible to newbies rather than focused on established wikipedians who write articles anyway. All 3 chapters confirmed their interest in joining the program.
CEE Spring
The discussion was focused on evaluation of the past editions of the contest and its potential future. WMCZ representatives stated that the contest produced moderately weak results in relation to the effort it needed. The organizer of the project from last year don't want to continue, therefore there will be a problem to find a new one. Kuboff from WMSK stated that he ran ten contest for the second time in the Slovak Wikipedia and the first time in Esperanto. The results were, however, rather weak. Lots of poor substabs were created, which were quickly deleted. It was discussed that the centralized prize system did not added to much value to the contest and the more important than small prizes are good lists of articles really filing the gaps in local Wikipedias. The problem with the contest is that it is mainly focused on devoted Wikipedians who would write articles anyway. It was suggested to check if the contest contributors increased their editing activity or not really. There were also suggestions to shape somehow the contest towards new editors - by combining it with workshops and edithatons.
Thematic weeks
At the request of Yargo and Kubofa Polimerek and Halibutt described how Polish thematic weeks work - both in its original form in the Wikipedia and its part maintained by chapter regarding prizes. Kuboff suggested that we might organize parallel thematic weeks in Polish Czech and Slovak Wikipedias which could last for 2-3 weeks. Polimerek supported the idea but suggested to start organizing it as soon as possible - due to the process of selecting the topics by the Polish Wikipedia community which is time consuming. It was also discussed the idea to ask ​​Polish Institutes in Prague and Slovakia to somehow join the contest.
CEE Meeting
WMPL WMCZ i WMSK discussed potential fields of work for volunteers from Czech and Slovakia. Suggested membership in program committee and help with maintaining rooms at venue during the meeting. Yargo accepted preliminary invitation to program committee but said that WMCZ is not interested in helping with maintaining rooms at venue. WMCZ wanted to have a "shadow observer" working with WMPL organizational team - but it is subject of the cost and language barrier. Polimerek suggested to add one person to the fb chat where organizing team is coordinating and discussing issues.