Wikimedia Fellowships/Project Ideas/Project Support - Enabling projects to be bold
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I propose that the WMF should create a fellowship that will provide support for emerging wiki-projects. The wiki-project is a useful device for creating collaboration, supporting editors as they mature and creating both quantity and quality in a specific subject area. My own experience however is that many projects are not achieving their potential. Projects that are doing “Quite well” could be achieving more, if they were given the right encouragement and guidance. Editors should be allowed to develop and bring on apprentices.
Derby Museum is the only museum in the world that you can easily use in over twenty languages. The Derby project took a museum that was ten times smaller than the British Museum and created more articles that had been achieved at the British Museum (in more languages). It is currently, probably the only museum in the world that updates the information on its artefacts every day using volunteers it has never met. I’m not sure this project can be taken any further without restructuring it.
The project should be based on projects that the fellow feels can achieve more. The MonmouthpediA project went from “someone's idea of what Wikipedia might do” to finding a project leader who now feels able (with support) to lead a town with no previous Wikipedians to becoming a Wiki-town. This is well above the general expectations of a wiki-project. However in this case the town will be transformed in between six to nine months and is likely to resist further change.
I think that it would be possible to take on three or four disparate projects like this that would concentrate on supporting emerging projects. Documentation yes, but more importantly the confidence to achieve. Wikimedia provides a level of support that allows individuals to feel empowered to act.
What would the WMF receive
The foundation would obviously receive some successful projects that would demonstrate the possibility of achieving its vision, but more importantly
- it would demonstrate to other emerging projects who would see the possibilities of achievement and support
- it would show how wiki projects can create new editors (Monmouth has taken no editors and created 12 so far)
- it would show a tight intensive collaboration can create a project that inspires its members that can deter wiki-lawyers and wiki-police (who are sometimes over enthusiastic in protecting the project against new entrants and new ideas).
- Some project leaders who were ready to inspire others (see scalability below)
It may be possible to also use this approach to save Wiki-projects that are imploding. However this idea is untried and may resist external assistance.
Decision points would be included at 3 month intervals when the possibility and opportunity of creating parallel initiatives in other areas, languages or countries could be considered. Ideally this expansion would take place at the 6 and 9 month points but opportunities may not be scheduled. The measures of this work would be in new editors created and by measuring the level at which existing editors felt they were contributing. It is implicit in this proposal that efforts on the English Wikipedia would spill over into the top thirty other languages.
What kind of projects? What kind of Project leader?
This is a judgement call. Projects that demand funding are probably not the right ones. Projects that want to do something new. Projects that own a meme. Projects that can break through into uncharted areas for recruiting new editors. Projects are likely to be based in a country where English is the first or second language.
Funding has been requested for only a percentage of the fellows time as it is anticipated that other funding can be attracted depending on the subject area and the potential partners. (In some cases it benefits cultural institutions to contribute funding as that is classically there internal demonstration of commitment) An important reason for the WMF’s contribution is to establish credentials for collaborating. It is obviously important that chapters should also agree with the projects aims and potential.
Idea submitted by
Victuallers 23:55, 15 January 2012 (UTC) My qualifications are outlined on my user page on the en:project.
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- That sounds good, just I would not limit the needs of projects and project leaders. Some needs funds to something, others not. One have to be able to determine, what are the real needs of such group or seedling.--Juandev (talk) 19:06, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
- Seems like something worth pursuing. There is synergy with my proposal at Wikimedia Fellowships/Project Ideas/Wikiprojects Success, Failure and Impact on Content and Community. --Piotrus (talk) 21:38, 3 April 2012 (UTC)