WMAT sent 9 scholarships holders and additional 2 board and 2 staff members to the Wikimania 2014 in London. Wikimania sessions conceived and presented by WMAT volunteers and staff were the pre-conference on Volunteer Support and the second edition of the board training, the presentation of the Open Data Portal Austria and the sessions on Liquid Lobbying - How could Wikimedia change EU copyright? and Liquid Lobbying - How should Wikimedia advocate for free knowledge?. There were panelists from Austria at WMF Grants Showcase: Funding Diversity and Education Programmes: Organisations and Practices. (For the second edition of the Board Training, see program Organisational Development.)
Precise reporting requirements were discussed beforehand with the community and introduced with the consent of the participants. Most scholarship holders delivered their reports completely and on time. Nevertheless a few volunteers – especially those with a wide experience on chapter support – have not published the required reports until now, way after the deadline and despite many reminders. The following summary is based on the reports of almost all Austrian Wikimania participants.
- Versatile and interesting sessions
Many participants highlighted the thematic variety of the Wikimania sessions. It was easy for them to find topics they deal with in their regular online and offline Wikipedia activities (e. g. legal aspects of Wikimedia projects, GLAM activities, administration, gender gap). Terms for describing the overall high quality of the sessions included “informative“, “great“, “felicitous“, “interesting“ and “worth listening to“. Some participants criticized the high percentage of WMF and chapter staff members given the opportunity to present sessions (being contrary to sessions led by volunteers) and the recurrence of topics presented at previous Wikimania editions.
- Language barrier
For some participants, many English/American native speakers did not bear in mind the presence of non-native speakers and rushed through their hardly comprehensible presentations.
- Highly praised premises
Many participants were impressed by the conference premises. They agreed that it would be difficult to find a more suitable Wikimania location. In particular, they mentioned the well equipped rooms, the amply central meeting points and the fancy recreational spaces.
- Impact of organisational problems
For those Austrians who proposed sessions the program coordination appeared to be chaotic and unwordly. Some proposals were accepted or declined only some days before the Wikimania started, others never received any feedback. Almost all participants were annoyed by the catering. Some had to leave the conference premises because drinks were available only within restricted time frames and dinner was not enough for all.
- International exchange as major benefit
Even more valuable than the program sessions were the social contacts in between, according to many participants. The networking opportunities (e. g. the international Wiki Loves Earth meeting) on such an international level were one-of-a-kind. Many conversations led to new insights and perspectives on photo projects, software development and other topics relevant for German-language Wikipedians. Meeting renowned Wikimedians for the first time also added to the emotional experience which took the personal commitment to the Wikiverse to another level. It was also good to see how far projects and/or ideas that were born during last year's Wikimania got during the last year (chapter effectiveness cabale, Wiki Loves Earth), it shows how such international events can serve as catalysts for our work.
WMAT staff involved: 2. – WMAT board members involved: 4. – Active volunteers involved: 7. – WMAT support: travel grants, assistance on location, communication infrastructure on location.
- → Wikimania reporting page in members wiki (in German)
The WikiDienstag (“WikiTuesday“) is a weekly meet-up in the WMAT office. Volunteers share their knowledge and work together on improving the content of Wikimedia projects.
- Topics in August:
- August 12th: Wikimania participants report to the stay-at-homes
- August 19th: New organisers for the monthly Wikipedia meet-up in Vienna
- August 26th: Last preparations for Wiki Loves Monuments in Austria
WMAT staff involved: 1. - Active volunteers involved: 6–7. - WMAT support: infrastructure, co-organisation, promotion.
Workshop on conflict resolutions by non-admin actions
The first Guide Camp on conflict resolutions by non-admin actions in the German-language Wikipedia took place in the city of Kassel in Germany from August 29th to August 31st. The participants – 14 Wikipedians from the German-speaking regions – discussed and planned various new and revised measures on dealing with problems and conflicts within the context of social relations.
Active volunteers involved: 14. - WMAT support: 2 travel grants for Austrian participants.
Reach / Free Knowledge Awareness
Upper Austrian Townscape Fair
The Upper Austrian Townscape Fair (Ortsbildmesse in German) is an annual highlight of the (Upper) Austrian Wikipedia community. For the third time, WMAT was present with a fair stand. The one-day Townscape Fair took place in the Danube village of Engelhartszell this year.
95 communes and communal associations as well as 100 other exhibitors presented their projects on innovative improvements of the region. The visitors came from all over Upper Austria and near Bavaria. The Wikimedia volunteers talked to the visitors and 140 exhibitors about Wikimedia, Wikipedia, the Regiowiki.at project, Wiki Loves Monuments and free knowledge in general. Several different handouts were prepared for this purpose. Personal contacts for possible future collaborations included the Upper Austrian state parliament, the Association of Upper Austrian Museums and the Catholic Educational Institute of Upper Austria.
WMAT staff involved: 1. - Active volunteers involved: 8. - WMAT support: travel grants, equipment, information material.
Board Training (Second Edition)
In context of the Wikimania Pre-Conference WMAT supported the second edition of the board training focussing on chapter effectiveness. Compared to the first edition in March, the event was compressed into one day instead of two this time. Although the general feedback was quite positive again, we realized that some parts of the concept don't work equally good when the event is conducted in one day and would need adjustments in future.
WMAT staff involved: 1. - Active (international) volunteers involved: 2. - WMAT support: attendance fee for two Austrian board members and participants from non-APG chapters.
WMAT staff and board met in Graz on August 23rd in order to prepare the 2015/16 budget and program planning for our upcoming FDC proposal. With the last two years as a baseline it became easier to formulate SMART goals based on the global metrics for our future activities. We also changed the focus of some of our longstanding projects to better meet their true strengths. One example are our photography projects whose main priority in future will be to gain new contributors, whereas the generation of free content will be more of a downstream goal in this context. A major challenge was the short-term nature of the information what information will be needed for the next round of FDC, especially the proposal form which is only available one month prior to the deadline and detailed information concerning the multi-year funding pilot. To have enough time to discuss our budget and plans with the community, we needed to start the preparation earlier and based on incomplete information.
WMAT staff involved: 2. - WMAT board members involved: 5.