Wikimedia Conference/Program and Engagement Coordination/Wikimania 2015 report
As a part of the engagement process of the Wikimedia Conference 2015 and the strategy to make it more sustainable, the Program and Engagement Coordinator (PEC) for the Wikimedia Conference (Cornelius Kibelka), took also part in the Wikimania 2015 in Mexico City. Cornelius organised a WMCON Follow-Up Day as a pre-conference day before Wikimania (July 16th) and took part in other meetups to follow up major topics of the Wikimedia Conference.
The WMCON Follow-Up Day was hosted by Wikimedia Deutschland. It was designed to be a space not only for the participants of the Wikimedia Conference but also for other interested people to discuss topics of the Wikimedia Conference and develop them.
The Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Deutschland jointly agreed on WMDE being the host to organize and facilitate the conferences in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Starting in 2015, the conference can be organized with a long-term perspective, specific goals and with proper involvement of all affected parties. For the first time, Wikimedia Deutschland hired a Program and Engagement Coordinator (PEC) whose primary assignment is to support the program development and liaise with the participants and speakers throughout the year. The PEC creates opportunities at subsequent conferences, like Wikimania, in order to move forward with plans, activities, learnings and conversations.
As a follow-up for the Wikimedia Conference, the PEC identified seven major topics. To follow up on these topics, the PEC organised an extensive Follow-Up Day at the Wikimania 2015 in Mexico. As a second main task related to Wikimania, the PEC participated in other Wikimania meetups and sessions outside of the WMCON Follow-Up Day.
In preparation for the WMCON Follow-Up Day the PEC discussed with the thematic ambassadors what next steps are useful to be taken and where specific input is needed. In close coordination with the ambassadors, the PEC organised the space for six different thematic sessions at the Follow-Up Day, each 90 min long, in two parallel tracks.
WMCON Follow-Up Day
Movement Roles Consultation
Summary of the session: Wikimedia Conference 2015/Documentation and Follow-Up/Future roles of affiliates and WMF
Nicole Ebber (WMDE) hosted a session covering an optional “Movement Roles” consultation. Participants considered such a broadly themed consultation (as in “Relation between the WMF and the affiliates”) as not very useful. They agreed that it should be focused on a certain issue and that, as a first step, concrete needs and problems would have to be defined.
Volunteer Supporters Network
Summary of the session: Volunteer Supporters Network/Summary Wikimania 2015 WMCON Follow-Up Day Session
Raimund Liebert (WMAT), Veronika Krämer (WMDE) and Andrés Cruz (WMMX) hosted a session on the Volunteers Supporters Network (VSN). The VSN is a network which was created to help Wikimedia organizations with their volunteer support. The hosts presented their working paper on how to best support Wikimedia volunteers and gathered input how to improve the paper. You can read a short summary of the session here.
Global Advocacy Strategy
As a continuation of his session at the Wikimedia Conference, Dimi Dimitrov (FKAGEU) provided the space to collect further input and ideas for the five major policy areas of possible Global Advocacy Strategy. Based on these areas (Copyright, Censorship, Access to Knowledge, Intermediary Protection, Privacy & Surveillance), the WMF Legal Team will start to produce “policy white papers” and publish them on a dedicated site. There is no extensive summary of the discussion available, but Dimi added the main points here.
International External Fundraising
John Andersson (WMSE) hosted a session on ways, tools and possible collaborations among affiliates for external grants. Participants discussed their strengths, weaknesses and needs regarding this topic.
Anne-Laure Prévost (WMFR) hosted a session on how to achieve a satisfying partnership with an institution. Together with the participants, she elaborated eight important steps towards a successful partnership and listed important tools for each step. You’ll find a summary of the session soon to be linked here.
Wikimedia Conference formats
Summary of the session: Wikimedia Conference 2015/Documentation and Follow-Up/Wikimedia Conference formats
Nicole Ebber (WMDE), curator of the Wikimedia Conference, presented the grant report and especially the lessons learned of the past Wikimedia Conference. She gave a perspective on the program developing process for the next Wikimedia Conference. Together with the participants, she discussed ways to improve this process and identified a few major needs regarding conference formats and social exchange. for the Wikimedia Conference. You can find a summary of the session here.
Other topics beside the WMCON Follow-Up Day
At Wikimania 2015, the WMF Communications Team and members of the Communications Committee (ComCom) met to discuss the Wikipedia 15 campaign and steps how to improve the ComCom’s work. Based on the conversations, the WMF Communications team decided to take certain steps to re-organize the ComCom mailing list and to make it more effective. You can read the notes here.
Wikimedia Central and Eastern European
On Saturday, members of the regional network WMCEE met to discuss current topics, especially the planned CEE meeting in Estonia in September. By request of the network, the PEC supports them in developing the program for the meeting. You can find the notes of the meetup here.
The PEC participated in several meetings related to the next Wikimania. Especially regarding the plan to intertwine the Wikimedia Conference and the Wikimania more closely (see below under "Lessons Learned"), the PEC played an important role. By request of the Wikimania organizers, the PEC will be one of the program liaisons for the Wikimania 2016 program and will have the chance to include follow-up sessions of the Wikimedia Conference into the official Wikimania program itself.
What went well?
Good participation at the WMCON Follow-Up Day (in terms of numbers and activity)
In total, 50 to 60 people participated in the pre-conference day. This amount is higher than expected, especially for an event that was not part of the official program and wasn’t hosted in the official conference venue. The participation was not only very satisfying in terms of the numbers, but also in terms of participants’ activity: Around 90 % of the participants discussed and engaged actively.
Open day for everybody
The WMCON Follow-Up Day was designed as an open event for everyone interested. There was only a general invitation to everybody, shared via all typical Wikimedia communication channels (Meta, mailing lists, Facebook, Twitter). So already sharing this invitation by the typical communication led to a good participation. Nevertheless, for a second edition of such a pre-conference day (or similar), the PEC would ask the thematic ambassadors to specifically invite certain key persons and multipliers.
Productive and effective sessions
Depending on the WMCON Follow-Up Day session, 10 to 20 people participated. This amount of participants created a really productive and effective working atmosphere in a safe space. The latter enabled participants to express one or more of their thoughts aloud.
What did not go well? What would you do differently if you planned a similar project?
More intertwining with Wikimania itself
Despite having asked many months in advance and having hosted a joint session with the Wikimania organizer at the Wikimedia Conference, we felt the support by the organizing team could have been stronger. After a lengthy process, WMDE had to host the WMCON Follow-Up Day in a hotel right next to the conference venue and not – as we previously had it in prospect – at the Wikimania venue itself. This produced unnecessary costs and probably a lower participation rate. For the future, we would like to see the Wikimedia Conference being more closely intertwined with Wikimania. A possible way to do that would be to integrate follow-up sessions of the Wikimedia Conference into the official program. As the Wikimania 2016 organizing team asked the PEC to be one of its Program Liaisons, this idea can already be realized for the next Wikimania.
Follow-up of the Wikimania sessions
In the official program of the Wikimania 2015 many important movement issues and questions were raised. However, as there is no official documentation (as in: video and/or sound recording of the sessions, written minutes), it is hard to follow-up on those questions. Furthermore, the mandate (and time) of the PEC is currently limited to the topics of the Wikimedia Conference. One idea to improve this would be creating a similar process of engagement and sustainability for the Wikimania and intertwine it with the WMCON conversations.
Cornelius as well as Nicole are heavily involved in the WMCON Program and Engagement Coordination process. To better enable them to contribute to the conversations and clarify roles, it might make sense to work with external facilitators (volunteers or contractors) for the sessions in the future.
Calculate vacations and think about volunteer note-takers
The reporting and documentation process of the PEC’s activities took longer than expected. This was caused by the typical “post-Wikimania fallout”, where volunteers and staff members have to recover from some really intensive Wikimania days, summer vacations and the improvable documentation process itself. For the next year, the PEC should calculate more time and consider to work with volunteer note-takers for sessions.
Overlapping sessions of the Wikimania program
One of the further ideas of the PEC besides organizing the WMCON Follow-Up Day was also to approach speakers of official Wikimania program sessions. The idea was to remind them about topics or issues raised at the Wikimedia Conference and possible ways to design their sessions as a follow-up. This was hardly possible for the PEC alone, as many sessions took place at the same time. Therefore, the PEC limited himself to the existing major topics.
It is too early to provide an overall assessment of the PEC’s activities at the moment. However, it is possible to see first sparks of impact of the work of the Program and Engagement Coordinator for the Wikimedia Conference. Certain WMCON topics are followed up by Movement entities. They define next steps, produce actual outcomes, formalize conversations and create new working groups. This did not happen after any Wikimedia Conference before and/or was not tracked by anyone before.
The PEC’s contract and funding (see PEG grant proposal) end on September 30, 2015. To keep the work’s impact fire burning, to continue the engagement and sustainability around the major WMCON topics, and to further work with the thematic ambassadors, we need to ensure a gapless involvement of the PEC. On top of that, the program development process for the 2016 conference starts in October and is designed to be supported by the PEC.
We list the engagement-related metrics for the Program and Engagement Coordination below, taken from our grant proposal.
|#||Measure (as proposed in the grant)||Results||Compliance|
|16||In the time between the conference and September 30, 2015, there is a continuous exchange about at least 3 major topics of the Wikimedia Conference 2015 (e.g. in working groups, discussions, special events etc.).||Of the seven identifies major topics, for at least five of them (Movement Roles, Parternships/External Grants, Advocacy/Public Policy, Communication, Community Support) there was a continuous exchange in terms of discussions, working groups, WMCON Follow-Up Day sessions or similar.||Complied|
|17||30% of the 2015 conference participants engage in the structured follow-up process 6 months after the conference. Engaging means participation in working groups, discussions, special events etc.||Around 20 % of the WMCON participants took part in the follow-up process at the moment.||Not yet complied, but on target.|
|18||Topics of the Wikimedia Conference have a continuance at the Wikimania in a dedicated track or space (as qualified by dedicated Wikimania sessions, participation of 2015 conference participants at the dedicated sessions, etc.); this might be applied to other subsequent conferences as well.||The PEC organized a proper WMCON Follow-Up Day. Furthermore, there were special meet-ups for the Communications Committee and the WMCEE network.||Complied.|
|19||For Wikimedia Conference 2016: minimum 50% of the 2016 program activities pursue major topics of the 2015 conference or build upon related outcomes/ follow-up work of the 2015 conference.||Not measurable yet||n/a|
|20||50 % of the 2015 conference topics lead to concrete outcomes (e.g. documented next steps or wrap ups, learning patterns, established working groups, continued discussions, joined activities, binding decisions) -- either at the conference itself or between the 2015 and 2016 conference||For six of the seven major topic next steps were defined. Furthermore, concrete outcomes, as defined in this measure of success, were achieved at least for Advocacy/Public Policy (brainstorming ideas for the Global Advocacy Strategy), Governance (publication of WMDE's Executive Transition Report), Communication (Reorganization of ComCom), Community Support (publication of the research paper on Community Capacity Development; publication of the VSN working paper)||Complied|
|21||At the 2016 conference minimum 80% of participants which have also attended the 2015 conference report that the 2015 conference led to tangible outcomes for their work.||Not measurable yet||n/a|
Links & Contact
- Photos of the WMCON Follow-Up Day on Wikimedia Commons
- WMCON Follow Up Day on the Wikimania 2015 wiki
For any comments, wishes or feedback please contact
- Cornelius Kibelka (WMDE), cornelius.kibelkawikimedia.de