Here are some of the developments at WMCON:
We discussed volunteer burnout, and how affiliates can prevent it among our
volunteers. Some of us have raised this subject with WMF as needing their
attention as well. I am told by Community Advocacy that they are working on
this issue, as well as civility.
We discussed the need for better and easier tools to evaluate the impacts
We asked for a learning pattern about how to increase affiliates' human
We discussed the recruitment and retention of students, professors and high
school teachers in Wikipedia education programs.
We discussed how to use data and storytelling in written communications
like grant reports, blog posts, social media, and press releases.
We discussed how we can recruit good quality board members, and keep boards
functioning well with low drama and an atmosphere of public service.
We discussed government and WMF bureaucracy and how they affect affiliates.
We learned some of the finer points about Wikidata.
We talked about how projects can fail in good and not-so-good ways.
Learning from failure is good; doing pilot projects with managed risk is
We talked about storytelling, which would be applicable to various kinds of
grantmaking reports as well as press releases and outreach efforts.
Storytelling can include numbers, and narrative context for those numbers.
We learned that for editor retention, the projects with the highest rate of
3-month retention appear to be writing contests. Photo events like Wiki
Loves Monuments and Wiki Loves Earth engage many more people, but the
activity of those users appears to be low outside of photo events; it may
be possible to engage such high numbers of photo event participants that a
reasonable number, even if a small percentage, of contributors would remain
active throughout the year.
We discussed communications with the press. WMF Communications is
developing resources for affiliates to assist with this. Also, Dorothy said
that she'd be willing to consult with us about press releases and other
tools that we can use to recruit for our events.
We are discussing the creation of a new mailing list for thematic
organizations and user groups, and/or expanding the existing Chapters email
list so that it is open to board members of thematic organizations and user
The Wikimedia Affiliates Network page on Meta (
) appears to be
an abandoned draft. Some of its ideas appear to be similar to ideas that
got support at the conference, such as affiliates networking and supporting
each other. I created a logo for the Wikimedia Affiliates Network, by
modifying a logo that User:Sonia created awhile back. People may modify the
WAN page in accordance with discussions at WMCON.
Community Resources, formerly known as Grantmaking, is considering
providing more support for user groups
Community Resources and the FDC are considering a new grantmaking track for
annual plans that are too complex for GAC but fall below the current
bright-line thresholds for APG applications
Community Resources is planning to have a community consultation about
grantmaking processes later this year.
WikiAmericans have discussed ways in which we can collaborate this year.
* National campaigns for themed events, e.g. Wiki Loves Pride, Art &
* Peer reviews of each other's grants
* Share media contacts on a private list with designated people at each
affiliate. Particularly noteworthy: BBC, NPR, PBS, C-SPAN, WMF
communications staff for the blog, etc
* GLAM-Wiki US Consortioum Coordinator, to be hired by WMUS-DC but will
have a national scope
* Camera and accessories loans and insurance
* Press credentials
* Public policy coordination
* Creation of a mailing list for US board members and officers
* Language preservation programs for Native American languages
Particular suggestions and ideas for Cascadia Wikimdians that were
discussed at the conference or came to mind:
* Expand our human resources capacity by using press releases and other
tools to recruit new participants
* Expand our human resources capacity by hosting editing contests, because
those have a relatively high 3-month persistence rate for new contributors
* Expand our human resources capacity by creating new partnerships, such as
with education and GLAM organizations.
* Expand our human resources capacity by holding events on a regular basis
at the same location
* Document our outcomes more holistically and with greater detail. This
includes individual outcomes achieved by Cascadia members.
* Document the in-kind support and benefits from partnerships that we
receive, such as through UW and OHSU. Bringing resources into the movement
is viewed favorably by WMF, including shared and partnership resources.
* For dealing with our current challenges regarding WMF's present
unwillingness to fund staff time, and our position that we need part-time
staff in order to sustain and grow, we have at least 3 options:
:* Continue to negotiate with WMF
:* Distribute work among more officers, volunteers, and board members
(though this may conflict with the concept of the board as a governing
group rather than a working group)
:* Recruit more people to volunteer. See ideas above. There were a number
of suggestions at the conference regarding how to increase human resources
capacity, although many of those have questionable long-term sustainability
:* Expand our financial capacity through outside funding
:* Crowdfund for specific stories, events, or projects
Many photos and some of the presentations for the conference are available
on Meta in the category
The "official" notes from conference sessions will hopefully be available
by early next month, after they have been reviewed by presenters for
Let's discuss our potential next steps when we meet on Monday.