On Sun, Jan 12, 2014 at 10:59 PM, Katie Chan <ktc@ktchan.info> wrote:
On 13/01/2014 03:35, Samuel Klein wrote:

I don't understand why the current scholarship criteria make no mention
of need.
Are they meant to be for newcomers, or for the same community members
each year?

Per my reply on [[wm2014:Talk:Scholarships]], there's simply no way for the reviewers or the WMF to verify someone actual needs. Unless we are comfortable and want to move down the road of asking for and checking each applicants personal financial circumstances before awarding a scholarship, there's no fair and accurate way of taking needs into account.

Thank you, Katie.  I think it would be enough to state whether the scholarships are meant for those who cannot afford to attend, or whether they are meant to reward active participants.  These are totally different goals.  Our community is generally good-hearted: those who might apply under one circumstance would not under the other.  

Nemo's proposal seems to provide a more nuanced way forward without checking financial circumstances.  It also offers partial scholarships (which I think are a good idea, for just this reason).   

I too am concerned that the current scholarship process tends to
polarize the community, and too often simply rewards long-time community
members, or those who are connected to large movement entities, with
free travel: rather than increasing the diversity of new voices and
faces at global events.

This is a discussion the community should have. However, I can say now that I know of many people who not only disagree with the above, but think the exact opposite is actually taking place. Namely, that dedicated and long term contributors are missing out in the name of balance and diversity to those who have barely contributed to our projects and unlikely to do much in the future either.

Those are not opposites, exactly.  

We have had people who barely contribute getting scholarships.  That is not healthy.
We have also had people who regularly get scholarships, and come to feel that this is deserved as a result of their contributions (and feel rejected when they don't get one).  That feels to me like the situation Fedora was in; also unhealthy.

Perhaps we can change our notion of 'balance and diversity' so that it draws from our community of thousands of enormously active contributors who would benefit from sharing experiences and learning from other parts of our shared community, but have never yet done so.  Most of those contributors do not apply for scholarships; barely know they exist; and do not think of coming to international events. 

Personally, I think a balance need to be struck between the two.