Wikimedia Conference 2014/Programme review

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Thanks for all the valuable input! The programme team has published an outline of conference themes and topics here. Please add further ideas and comments there.

Review of previous conference programmes[edit]

Please share your thoughts regarding previous conference formats and programme. Please focus on the programme and the different phases (content design, agenda design, format design, conference, documentation, sustain), not on the logistics. This call for input addresses not only the programme team, but also everyone interested in having a great Wikimedia Conference 2014. Of course, we will take lessons learnt from the previous years (2011, 2012, 2013) into account.

What did we do that we should continue doing?[edit]

  • 2011 Graphical recording by Anna Lena was awesome
  • 2013 had good facilitators and icebreaking, this should continue
  • 2014 will see the selection of the two Chapter-selected members of the Wikimedia Foundation Board. While the process for doing this is not defined, it is likely that the Conference will play some part in the selection process.
  • State of the chapters / state of the movement: 3 minute pre-prepared presentations by each affilitate organization // -1
    • but only if slides are submitted up to 24 hours before the event. If you absolutely can't come up with even a single slide, you don't get the three minutes. Sending last-minute updated slides is okay, provided some version of the slides was submitted in advance. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 22:45, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
    • Having attended the conferences 2009 to 2012 as a volunteer, I never met anyone who got actually useful informations out of that format. One ought to put up a poster per entity (if interested) and conversation partners can follow up where they consider it helpful case by case. The time wasted blocked for the 3 minute presentations can be re-invested in actual program work, regards--Jan eissfeldt (talk) 10:25, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
      • +1 to jan! --Kulac (talk) 20:45, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
        • +1, turning this into a poster session would be a positive improvement to the conference, particularly if the posters can be supplemented by having hand-out material such annual reports available. Mike Peel (talk) 04:55, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
      • -1 to Jan. I have actually got useful information because there is no other place where one could get information about the current state of (almost) all chapters. My only grief is that many presenters won't upload the slides even after the conference. --Oop (talk) 12:29, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
        • Raul, both problems, I think, are already resolved by the proposed modification of potential presentational formats Polimerek and I have been exploring below. Those paragraphs duscissed below could simply be implemented into posters and thereby ensure you get the relevant informations early on without forcing people to upload extra slides; surely Anna Lena can come up with a fitting design offering the relevant fill-in options to entities. Best regards, --Jan eissfeldt (talk) 12:24, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
    • I agree these are not the most useful, but it would be awesome to have a wiki page pre-populated with the figures that are normally presented in depth: e.g., revenue, staff, members, activities. I was really missing a cumulative summary of all the info presented. Secondly, if we do decide that having posters is a good alternative to presenting, what if we have organizations partner up, and then each group has to create teh poster for the other group! This could be a good way of making sure the most exciting projects that are highlighted are clearly articulated. Jwild (talk) 18:58, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
      • I am not quite sure if the preparing posters for other groups might work. Maybe, the better idea would be to add some free space where people can write what they liked most from other chapter's activity, after reading posters prepared by chapters? Each chapter can prepare the A1 size poster on which it can state their achievements/problems. Then there will be 2 hrs. poster session on first day evening with some snacks etc. or 2 poster sessions if there is not enough space to present all chapters at once. Poster session should be announced in advance - to let chapters some time to prepare - for chapters which are not able to print A1 posters - we can help with printing after receiving posters in electronic way, or posters can be simply put in pdf printable form on Commons in advance and printed all in one, (we can provide such a service and then take it to Berlin in one roll or - it could be printed in Berlin, in Poland the cost of printing A1 posters is around 20 EUR each). We can make a template for poster - which could be used by all chapters, but not in obligatory way. And for most lazy chapters - there could be simply empty sheet of A1 paper they can fill before the session using markers :-) Polimerek (talk) 10:10, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
Well, the idea seems to be to make the distribution of entity developmental informations more efficient, your 4 h proposal consumes far more time even than the old solution and therefore runs in exactly the opposite direction. On the other hand, I agree that there might be other ways of documenting and exchanging informations better without allocating working slots for it. How about having every attending entity simply write three paragraphs (profile, successes, problems) upfront in their last report before the event? Most entities report monthly and quarterly anyway, so it would be not really be more effort for volunteer functionaries, those who don't report yet ought to under the guiding transparency princple anyway and who knows, maybe more people start reading those reports through it. Best regards, --Jan eissfeldt (talk) 23:28, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Continue external support by facilitators
  • Keep things flexible, be able to react upon sudden needs/current occurrences
  • Provide time and space for a lot of hall way meeting, facilitate effective networking
  • Have a preconference all day meeting for specific topics, for some global programs like education program, wiki loves monuments or new initiatives such as the board training --CDG (talk) 09:51, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
    • Things like these ought to be the focus topics of the main event >:), regards --Jan eissfeldt (talk) 10:25, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • How to survive as an active organization (giving consideration to the nature of a volunteering organization, volunteer saturation, etc.)
  • ...

What did we do that we should do more of?[edit]

  • Interaction between WMF Board and chapters (e.g. the Q&A session)
  • Cover more of the big issues (future of the movement, organisational structures and management, challenges, roles and relationships, obligations and expectations) than single topics or projects (to be different from Wikimania)
    • ...but recognize that "the big issues" are not interesting to all delegates, so make sure something else worth doing happens in parallel, so people don't just space out waste valueable face-to-face time. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 22:52, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
  • More discussion rounds, workshops, open (but of course facilitated and documented) sessions
    • ...with actual goals that then get followed-up on by at least one identified member of the discussing group. SomeoneTM should, but somehow never does. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 22:52, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Extensive documentation and sustainability of results as a working basis
  • Start thinking beyond the conference (sustainability) already during planning // +1
  • Aim for an ongoing dialogue within the movement, about the main themes that the conference covers
  • Pre-define the main conference topics early on and max. five focus issues for the entire conference format. A) chapters and other volunteer-lead entities can then hand-pick their respective experts to attend based on the actual issues in a way that helps their organizational needs best instead of sending "someone" wh is then forced into stuff without any clue on the actual topic at hand b) those experts can prepare properly by reading the relevant files to represent their entity's position in the most effective way theiy feel fit. On program best practice, for example, hand out a call for submissions in December, pick candidates and share the documentation in January at the latest with all entities. At the actual event, one can focus on tackling open questions and problems (and, perhaps, explore cross-entity coordination in real terms) instead of spending time on explaining the basic model everyone can grasp by reading the files anyway. The approach protects volunteer time - attendees have lifes, too - and is far better value for money compared to the current model, I suspect. Regards, --Jan eissfeldt (talk) 10:38, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • In general: less META, more MEAT™. This means, I'd like to see more hands-on workshop sessions around questions that are relevant to people who run programs (e.g. "What can we do to retain newcomers who participated in edit-a-thons?", "5 things you can do to make your training for new Wikipedians more effective", "Nuts and bolts of project management"). I found Lodewijk's presentation about Wiki Loves Monuments in Milan very instructive and I'd like to see more of that kind of session. --Frank Schulenburg (talk) 23:33, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Discussing activities like "inter-chapter co-operation projects", "community strengthening projects" & "project experience sharings", and the like will be enticing to our members. These kind of activities/programs in my opinion have not been talked "thouroghly" during previous conference.
  • ...

What did we do that we should do less of?[edit]

  • I've the feeling that the "State of the movement" sessions are quite ... time-consuming and not essentialy necessary for the Wikimedia Conference. Nevertheless, it might be useful to do it, maybe in another session format. Please, let us stop to unreeling 40 Powerpoint presentations of the same type. // +1 We must come up with a more effective and informative (and entertaining?) approach.
    • Agreed, as I outlined above it is a pointless format. Entities that want to present their current state of development - and they ought to take the conference as an opportunity to do that, imo - to establish the groundwork for further cooperation are far better off with the alternative model named above. Regards, --Jan eissfeldt (talk) 10:43, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Less frontal sessions and talks
  • In general I like the chapter presentations because they give you quickly an idea about a huge part of the movement. Maybe one could give the chapters more guidelines about the content and general goal of theses presentations. Often I just saw "more of the same", "we went to museum X and university Y", instead of telling us what happened on a meta level, what have been steps of the chapter towards a certain goal, the state of the organization, general challenges... So I would like to hear what I usually don't read in the chapter reports. Ziko (talk) 11:40, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Topics such as "financial compliance", "standards of accountability", "financial/peer reviews", etc. may not be considered appealing by our (Indonesian) current members.
  • ...

What did we do that we should stop doing?[edit]

  • Run the WMF Trustees meeting at the same time as the conference, thus giving WMF Trustees and key WMF staff less time to interact with the rest of the community.
    • Solved: The board meeting will not take place simultaneously this time.
      • Worryingly, it won't be taking place on the same continent. How many WMF board members will be at this meeting as a result? Mike Peel (talk) 04:56, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
        • As much as possible. It's also in the Board's interest to have the opportunity to talk and interact. Alice Wiegand (talk) 10:26, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
  • State of the chapters (or at least, if we absolutely cannot get rid of it, make it topic based...)
    • Maybe a more speedy format can be solve this, or show only big milestones in a few phrases. --ProtoplasmaKid (WM-MX) (talk) 21:01, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
      • I put forward an alternative solution above. Best regards, --Jan eissfeldt (talk) 10:44, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
        • Or replace it with poster session. Polimerek (talk) 10:12, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
  • For Global South, it was discussed about how to develop volunteer movement in developing countries, what are the challenges and what kind of implementation that would be suitable. Also what would those things affect to WMF and what WMF could do about it. Our representative to the last conference felt that the workshop was quite theoretical.
  • ...

What didn't we do that we should start doing?[edit]

  • Focus on practical steps to make Wikimedia movement organisations more effective
  • Inform all affiliate organization months in advance they are expected to give a 3 minute prepared state of the movement presentation, including suggestions for format and content, sharing example of awesome presentations and examples of approaches that do not work that well.
  • Definitely, I like the idea of having different workshops of max. 5-8 people about specialised topics, including experts from outside of the movement
  • Start early (as in 6 months before the conference)
  • Work with a dedicated team, straightforward decision making process, assign responsibilities early
  • Pro-actively request input from all involved parties about their input and feedback on the program (including WMF, FDC, AffCom)
  • Define a clear goal and desired outcome
    • +1, and give attendees time to prepare in advance to increase the chances of actual outcomes - which encludes a pre-defined method to track what impact those sessions have for the actual work by entities thereafter; preferable way into 2014-15. No point in funding a conference, talk about stuff and then no one puts findings into practice. Regards, --Jan eissfeldt (talk) 10:55, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Involve WMF staff and board members in sessions beyond frontal board Q&As (speakers, discussion partners, input and opinion providers)
  • Hire external experts for capacity building workshops (additional to experts from the movement)
  • Motivate and consult the participating organisations to send representatives according to the conference themes
  • Ask attendees well in advance to think, discuss internally, and publish who the want to meet for which purpose or goal
  • The 2014 conference could very well be the kick off meeting for the Wikimedia Movement wide strategy formation for the period 2015-2020
    • The key stakeholders of that process, the editing communities supposed to make the whole show work in the end, aren't even on the invite list (nor could they be in a meaningful way). Therefore, the current conference format is pretty much the last place I feel would be the best positioned to kick off that conversation; this isn't the 2009-10 system anymore. Regards, --Jan eissfeldt (talk) 10:55, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Social program: karaoke ;-) --CDG (talk) 14:15, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Working groups / hackathons! Three types of hackathons that could be directly linked to this group of people:
    • IdeaLab hackathon! we did this at diversity conference and it was awesome; actually writing up workplans behind new ideas emerging
    • Learning Pattern hackathon! Again, there are so many lessons learned shared throughout the conference, and it would be good to sit and document.
    • Grant applications hackathon: we could literally just sit there and write out some grant applications, if people want to get specific ideas funded! There will likely be WMF Grnatmaking staff at the conference who could help. Jwild (talk) 19:21, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
  • We could invite selected volunteers from countries where there is no chapters, but something interesting is going on - for example we can invite active leaders of the successful WMF granted projects - among others - Bulgaria, Belarus, Bangladesh, Japan, Bolivia etc. See Category:WMF_grantees. The rationale would be to extend topics regarding WMF grants and Wikimedia projects/initiatives in areas with low density of active editors + let these really active people think about how WMF and chapters really work. The volunteers could be invited by program committee after screening the effects of granted projects. Polimerek (talk) 10:01, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
    • I think this is an excellent idea. Hammer out the conference topics first and then bring the best related experts with track records we can get our hands on together - whether they represent anyone beyond themselves or not. After all, we have a program committee looking at the substance already. Best regards, --Jan eissfeldt (talk) 23:35, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Conference structured around sharing specific ideas/experiences/best practices rather than free-form discussion. harej (talk) 22:07, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Topic ideas:
    • Addressing systemic bias and the gender gap in Wikimedia projects and organizations
    • Implementing program evaluation and analysis in organizations that have no paid staff
    • Planning outreach campaigns, including Wikipedia Loves Libraries, that take place across several cities.
    • Guidelines for organizing events and requesting funds for such events
    • Addressing harassment (especially LGBT harassment) on Wikimedia projects, and developing friendly space and privacy policies to address this
    • Requirements and unofficial expectations of being a user group or thematic organization
    • Using social media to generate interest and engagement in groups
    • Designing promotional materials and educational resources
    • Networking with other chapters and organizations
    • Serious discussion of non-MediaWiki tools: "Too many essential tools are looked after by one volunteer and are not documented, developed, or maintained in the long term. The chapters could play a big part in writing and maintaining tools and ensuring they remain available."
    harej (talk) 22:07, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Be a Wikipedian, pure wikipedian for encyclopedia without politics involved (gender gap, GLAM). We should start helping small Wikipedia languages with big potential readers and filling encyclopedia information in their language, whatever it takes.
  • Replacing the state of the movement by a poster session, it would allow each entity participating to share facts and number and have a space and a moment to discuss it with the other. Charles Andrès (WMCH) 16:23, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
  • ...

What are the hot topics?[edit]

Please collect burning questions and hot topics to be covered during the conference here. Besides the programme team of course all involved parties and affiliations (Chapters, Thematic Organisations, User Groups, AffCom, FDC, WMF, Community members etc.) are invited to add their wishlists here. Please keep in mind that the conference is not a second or small Wikimania but really THE place to discuss the status and the future of the Wikimedia movement in terms of organisational development and structure.

  • Where are Wikimedia movement organisations going in the long term? How are chapters defining themselves?
    • What is the movement? Where we see us in 2020? Is our idea of chapters & more and more centralising foundation the right way?
    • Do we prefer a spider or a starfish model?
  • How can we improve knowledge-sharing and learning across the movement?
  • How can we increase capacity among chapters to deliver their goals? How can boards / staff teams become more effective?
  • How do we as a movement organize registered users to all Wikimedia project websites?
  • Make-up of the FDC (as noted for example in a blog by outgoing director Sue Gardner)
    • Future of the FDC process --CDG (talk) 09:54, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Perceived disparity in spending (as noted for example in a blog by outgoing director Sue Gardner)
  • Strategy process (within the movement, within the chapters, within the WMF)
  • Insights and results of the Chapters Dialogue; following discussions in order to define conclusions, responsibilities, and next steps
  • Organisational structures and models for the whole movement ("If we started with an empty sheet of paper again today, what would the Wikimedia movement look like?")
  • Reflections about our roles, relationships and strategies and about different chapter/affiliation development paths
  • Sustainability and future of the Wikimedia Conference
  • Relationships between chapters/affiliations and the local communities
  • Exchange about chapter board composition (selected/appointed seats) and terms (e. g. 1 year, 2 years, rotating...)
  • Burn-out of volunteers and staff
  • Challenges in the transition from a volunteer group to a properly governed organisation
  • Metrics – How to measure "blood, sweat and tears"? //+1
    • Could chapters agree to some kind of metrics amongst themselves so we could get some comparable data about the chapters? --Oop (talk) 12:26, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Diversifying fundraising models and sources
    • How to do local fundraising? How to get local money?
  • Conflict of Interest (COI) -- a practical workshop on identifying and managing it.
  • EU Policy and Free Knowledge Advocacy - how chapters cooperate to pursue strategic goals and spare resources
+1 to this. Great opportunity for wide collaboration across chapters and a big impact. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 12:14, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
Based on this project and recent developments at Creative Commons, the WMF has opened a Talk:Advocacy about a possible global advocacy position of our movement. Maybe this is more in-line with the global scope of the Conference?--Dimi z (talk) 11:39, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Capacity building
  • How can chapters support "social processes" within the local communities (e. g. introduction of VE, AFT, Echo, Flow as well as Privacy Policy and Trademark Guidelines, CC 4.0)
  • Chapter peer review --CDG (talk) 09:57, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Innovation and experimentation -> how to improve the cycle of ideas to design to experiments (funded when necessary) Jwild (talk) 18:21, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Methods and ideas of encouraging new editors from "target groups" (i.e. scientist, GLAM specialists, people from NGOs with similar to our goals, elderly people etc.). What chapters and WMF grant systems can really do about it. Polimerek (talk) 10:22, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Training, development and capacity-building
  • What are the success factors for a non-geographic organisation?
  • What challenges can be anticipated in forming a multi-lingual, multinational group?
  • How can we be using social media to generate interest in Wikimedia groups and engagement in specific projects?
  • What are the legalities involved with organization formation?
  • How can we best measure the impact that the Wikimedia organisations are having on the movement goals? Mike Peel (talk) 04:58, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Impact on a budget - how can you run a project with measurable impact for less than $500USD?
  • Wikitowns/QRPedia - issues, approaches, and best practice
  • Can we agree upon a definition and relevance of Diversity for the broader Wikimedia movement? How do we proceed?
  • Professionalization – meaning, challenges, advantages, and downsides
  • Regional cooperation. How it can help to our projects to become more visible.
  • Doing outreach to promote our objectives (in our case, to the respective communities in Indonesia). What limited time and fund that we (Indonesians) manage to set aside for Wikimedia movement, are mostly channeled into activities aimed to grow Wikipedia & its sisters' contents (in 5-ish local languages). These are our passion.
  • Why should we come? Please understand, it is due to the condition of our current membership (limited membership number, project driven activities, volunteer based involvement). We care, but it may be hard for us to be actively involved all the time.
  • (AffCom) At the conference we would be most interested in learning from recently approved affiliates about their experience with our process and their integration into the Wikimedia movement; about how existing affiliates can help new affiliates and in general, topics related to movement roles (it is a topic on the agenda of the upcoming WMF board meeting; 2 years on from the introduction of new types of affiliates it might be a good time to see how the models are accepted, seen, whether there is a NIMBY effect at play between existing affiliates and new ones cropping up in the same countries).
  • As challenges to the Wikimedia movement, I believe a big topic is how to balance the increasing complexity of our processes and expectations (accountability, ever complexer grant reviews, the evaluation initiative, etc. ) with keeping volunteering still fun and engaging and how to make sure we not only raise the requirements but also the capacity of our volunteers.
  • In the light of the demand for better governance and metrics, we should cooperate to compare our approches and to provide some measurements that could be actually compared. Currently, it is not even possible to find sensible admin/content cost ratios from the chapters' budgets, not to mention more complicated issues.
  • We could discuss content cooperation schemes between chapters that provide content in two or more languages. E.g. some CEE chapters have arranged cooperation weeks/months in which people from one country and language area write articles about another area, and vice versa. I suspect there are other similar models, like various translation initiatives, but it would be good to know what people have done, what have been the pros/cons, etc.
  • Engaging alternative local or international funding gains importance for all chapters.
  • How to avoid burnout? We really don't know.
  • I believe there was a blog post [1] by Lizzy (in German) about avoiding burn out as member of a board. Maybe we could ask her to animate a session on the topic. --PierreSelim (talk) 12:41, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
  • as the quantitative yield of large photo competitions tends to diminish in years, the problem of improving the quality arises. Are there any experiences in measuring and improving it? Any successful programs devoted specifically to quality? In engaging the professionals or, at least, the best kind of amateurs? Also, the quantitative yield tends to be geographically unequal. How could we improve the coverage of certain areas? Any good practices?
  • division of tasks and responsibilities between board and staff
  • Trends in the Education programme - there have been some innovative education ideas in the movement, new approaches that could be shared more widely. I'm not sure if that fits into the framework of this conference, however.
    • Different organisations, different approaches: What does the Wikimedia movement understand by "education"? An exchange of thoughts on different approaches between teaching Wikipedia and advocating Open Education(al Ressources).
  • Chapter selected board seats (coming up in 2014)
  • Let's make better mistakes tomorrow (and talk about them today!)
  • Good governance
  • Lessons learnt from huge Software Development projects in a chapter (like Wikidata); focus on the process, not on the technical part.
  • Which role can chapters play in Software Development? (referring to Erik's email)
  • Micro-grants. What's working, what's not, what support is needed to distribute more small local grants from organizations to individuals? Can we build a set of shared best practices? Siko (WMF) (talk) 06:40, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
  • your input here