This might be of interest to those of us planning to attend future
PS: Sorry if it's not related.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Mina Theofilatou <theoth(a)otenet.gr>
Date: Sat, Aug 1, 2015 at 7:38 AM
Subject: Re: [Wikimania-l] Wikimania Scholarship, Ellie Young's comments
Hi all and happy August:)
I've been watching this discussion on Wikimania Scholarships, and I'm happy
that Ellie joined in the discussion: I think her reply was the most
valuable and well-referenced in the thread.
Being a first-time Wikimania scholarship participant - I was offered a
partial scholarship in 2011 but had to decline NOT because I wasn't
satisfied with the terms, but for serious personal reasons - I would like
to add a few comments to the discussion.
1) The Wikimania experience not only met my expecations, it exceeded them.
It was amazing to live the energy, the enthusiasm of the Wikimedia
community "live" for the first time instead of online. Finally meeting the
faces behind the usernames I had interacted with for years was magical. And
words cannot describe how I loved the place - Mexico City - all the new
Mexican and international friends I made both inside and outside the wiki
commuity, people I feel as if I've known for years... memories and
acquantances that will be treasured for life:)
2) That said, I have to agree with all those supporting newcomers to
Wikimania: this experience has added a new dimension to my relation with
the community, and even if I never attend another Wikimania, its impact
will last forever. So yes, I would be willing to "sacrifice" my chance at
another scholarship if I knew that in 2016 another equally eligible and
enthusiastic Wikimedian would have the opportunity to gain the Wikimania
experience like I did at Wikimania 2015.
3) New participants want to soak in as much Wikimania as they can: they
attend more sessions, interact with more people, attend all the receptions
and parties (which means MORE interaction, more acquaintances, more
prospects for collaboration on exciting transnational projects) and do not
have the attitude "been there, done that" that I discerned in a couple of
repeat scholarship recipients.
4) I agree that this doesn't mean repeat applications should be
discouraged: just that their applications should be STRINGENTLY reviewed.
For example: for me the most important session was IdeaLab, during which
the two wonderful ladies holding the session helped me shape an idea that
was going around in my mind for months into a proposal, which I will
hopefully develop into a grant. That was absolutely amazing and it wouldn't
have been possible if I weren't there. IF however I fail to develop the
proposal further, I see no reason why I should be entitled to eligibility
for a scholarship next year.
5) Finally, I would like someone to please provide a quick link to the
Scholarship online report section for 2015, as I am eager to write about my
experience.. I don't recall having received an e-mail pointing to the wiki
for this (I've only submitted the general attendee survey).
Thanks to Wikimania 2015 for an amazing experience, best wishes from
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1. Re: Wikimania Scholarship (Ellie Young)
Date: Fri, 31 Jul 2015 16:34:55 -0700
From: Ellie Young <eyoung(a)wikimedia.org>
To: "Wikimania general list (open subscription)"
Cc: Sati Houston <shouston(a)wikimedia.org>
Subject: Re: [Wikimania-l] Wikimania Scholarship
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
On behalf of the two of us here at WMF who work on the Scholarship Program
(Ellie and Sati), we’d like to offer the following response to the various
points raised in this thread:
(1) To the point around repeat scholarship recipients: Given the concerns
about scholarships being awarded to the same people year over year, for the
2015 Scholarship Program we included a two new questions in the
application. From these new questions, the Scholarship Committee could
understand how an applicant's previous attendance had changed or improved
their Wikimedia contribution, and how attending this year would do so
again. To Stuart's previous point, the intention was to set the bar was
higher for those who had attended Wikimania before on a WMF scholarship,
but without setting an automatic or blanket penalty.
As a data point, of the 2015 Scholarship recipients ~26% received a
scholarship in 2014 from WMF. Unfortunately, we don't have data readily
available to do a year-over-year comparison for past Wikimainias.
(2) and (3) To the point around enriching home communities / countries and
selection criteria:"Enrichment" was a big focus on the revised 2015
Scholarship application and selection criteria. In previous years, the
application questions and selection criteria focused on an applicant's:
contribution to the Wikimedia movement, contribution to other free
knowledge/software movements, and interest in Wikimaina. Based on feedback
from previous scholarship applicants, recipients, the Scholarship
Committee, Wikimania organizers, and WMF staff, these questions and
criteria were changed to focus on: relevant experience within the Wikimedia
movement  as well as "Enrichment".
From the Scholarships page, "Enrichment" means: "The ability to share
experiences and information with a wider community indicates that the
applicant, if awarded a scholarship, would be able to bring those
experiences or lessons learned at Wikimania back home, thereby enriching
their home wiki community or home country. Applicants are encouraged to
write about or provide examples demonstrating this ability; a few examples
could be on-wiki reports, personal blog posts, or talks/presentations given
about what they learned from an event, conference, or discussion.
To this end, as in 2014 we have required all scholarship recipients to
create an on-wiki report. The summarized outcomes from 2014 can be found
here. Once all 2015 scholarship reports have been submitted, another
analysis and summary of outcomes will be posted here.
 Question added into the 2015 application:
Have you previously attended Wikimania on a WMF scholarship? YES/NO
Note: there is already a separate question on "Have you attended Wikimania
before? If so, in what year or years?"
If YES, please use the space below to tell us about something great that
happened as a result of attending Wikimania previously? What are your goals
for attending Wikimania again?
(4) To the point of why we do not offer partial scholarships anymore, the
overhead processing to adminster this was high. We also noted that there
were regular occurrances of people then declining the offer and partial
scholarsips going unused was also high.
If anyone would like to reach out to either one of us offlist to followup
with questions, we can be contacted at:
Ellie Young and Sati Houston
Wikimedia Foundation Community Engagement
On Jul 31, 2015, at 7:45 AM, Osmar Valdebenito <b1mbo.wikipedia(a)gmail.com>
2015-07-31 9:16 GMT-03:00 Lane Rasberry <lane(a)bluerasberry.com <mailto:
Leave the fairness of the scholarship process aside. Regardless of its
fairness, the process is generating ill-will because of lack of
transparency and poor communication. The problem might be growing to
something beyond what volunteers can manage and perhaps paid staff support
from the communications department of the WMF would be a worthwhile
investment to protect community reputation considering the seriousness of
this, the problem's persistence, and the fact that a little more
communication would go a long way to resolving the negativity.
Thanks Praveen for voicing concerns. They are worth addressing and what
you are saying is what a significant and large demographic also has been
believing for years. I first heard this in 2012. It is good that this year
for the first time the list of scholarship recipients was published and
shared openly. Regardless of whether the scholarship award process is fair
and adequate, it is definitely true that the rumor is circulating among
many countries, especially in the Global South, that some people are
getting scholarships repeatedly.
Here are some of the complaints which I have repeatedly heard, and which
are critical to address for the sake of community health:
People who get scholarships somehow become better candidates for getting
more scholarships, when ideally, new people from a region should attend
Wikimania every time
As I mentioned, this is complex. Because the option would be to penalize
the applications of some people because they attended in the past, even if
they made great presentions or where very active in the organization, and I
don't really like that idea. People that received scholarships in the past
is because they have been very active Wikimedians and that usually doesn't
change year to year, so probably they will have great chances in following
In the Global South especially, people who get scholarships actively or
unconsciously suppress the development of their local Wikimedia community
so that they retain a leadership role and remain the most eligible people
to receive scholarships, grants, attention from Wikimedia community
leaders, and other privileges.
Being a member of the so-called Global South, I think this particularly
wrong (and almost offensive). This is not an issue that only applies to the
so-called Global South, but in general in our movement. Usually, leadership
in most of our organizations are very stable, with some exceptions.
Particularly because it is something that takes a lot of time and
dedication. Saying that scholarship recipients "actively or unconsciously
suppress development of local communities" is a huge accusation, especially
when most of them work a lot trying to disseminate Wikipedia and increase
the participation. And saying that it is "in the Global South especially",
There is a tremendous amount of ignorance and lack of cultural
insensitivity about the value of scholarships among WMF staff and Wikimedia
community members from richer countries. At this year's Wikimania, we
stayed in a city where ~75% of residents make USD 160 a month, (
and stayed in a hotel where the nightly charge per room was $320 or two
month's income by local standards. The amount of money thrown around during
Wikimania is shocking to many Wikipedians and this issue is never
discussed, so far as I know.
An international conference for ~1000 participants is expensive. We don't
know the details but probably the WMF and the local organization made
everything possible to have a very good Wikimania and saving resources as
much as possible. I think WM2015 was a success and I'm very happy that
scholarships recipients were able to be in a hotel next to the rest of the
conference, when in other opportunities scholarship recipients had a lot of
difficulties regarding accomodation. I think it was a step forward.
However, I never heard anyone complaining about how much was spent in
London, where prices are much higher than in Mexico City and where it was
much more difficult for people in developing countries to participate.
Mexico has a lot of difficulties (just like many other developed
countries have), but questioning the decision to host Wikimania there and
the decisions made by the local organization is also culturally insensitive.
Just in general and beyond scholarships - there needs to be more
discussion about how money is viewed differently in different places. This
applies to grants, staffing, community engagement, and many other things.
If complaints are not pouring in about this, it is only because people are
not comfortable speaking up. Diversity creates a lot of concerns and we are
a very diverse community.
On Fri, Jul 31, 2015 at 7:49 AM, Nicholas Bashour <
nicholasbashour(a)gmail.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>> wrote:
I believe that what Praveen may be saying is that he thinks the value
that a repeat scholarship recipient can gain from coming back to wikimania
numerous times is outweighed by the value that someone who has never been
to wikimania but has nevertheless been a very involved wikimedian can gain
from attending. Therefore, given that there are limited resources,
scholarships should always go to the people who can gain the most from
receiving them, which Praveen may be arguing will always be someone who has
never been to wikimania versus someone who has. He's saying that despite
having many repeat scholarship recipients, there has not been any added
value on wiki to justify that, and therefore new recipients should be
actively prioritized over repeat ones. That's not to say whether or not
that's actually the case or that this was the point he was trying to
convey, but rather what I understood his argument to be.
Sent from my iPhone
Am 31.07.2015 um 07:39 schrieb Nkansah Rexford <nkansahrexford(a)gmail.com
I just want to know why some users were able to achieve scholarship again
and again while regular Wikimedians being
And that is EXACTLY what Stuart explained. I understood, unless you
On Friday 31 July 2015 04:01 PM, Stuart Prior wrote:
I was chair of the Scholarship Committee for this year.
It's unfortunate that you didn't get a scholarship, however there were
many high quality applications and sometimes the difference between success
and failure is very small, and I feel genuinely bad for any Wikimedian with
a good application that didn't make it, but it's very competitive.
We do take into account previous scholarship awards, and focus on
making sure new people get a chance. But consistently good applications and
excellent work can warrant repeat scholarship awards despite this.
In some cases where people have been granted Scholarships previously
but have been unable to attend the conference due to visa issues we have
considered that when receiving their applications for the current year.
I won't comment on any individual's scholarship, but "regular
Wikimedians" certainly make up the bulk of the scholars. Edit count is not
the only factor, but it still is a significant (and clearly verifiable)
factor when looking at someone's application.
However, we looked for organisers too. Some of our community are better
facilitators and community builders than they are editors, and running
events, training and building partnerships are things that were marked
Moreover, two identical applicants can make wildly differing
applications. We look for those that comprehensively demonstrate their
contributions and qualify their statements.
Please apply again next year. You have just as much opportunity as
Hope this helps.
On 31 July 2015 at 09:16, Dariusz Jemielniak <darekj(a)alk.edu.pl <>>
I've been a steward, as well as the chair of the FDC for three years,
so you may assume I've been somewhat active in Wikimedia movement. I did
not receive a global scholarship neither (although I did eventually go, as
I got elected to the Board of Trustees).
I think it is clearly an assumption of bad faith to say that there is a
bias in scholarship committee. The criteria are explicit, and obviously
with limited resources a large number of excellent candidates, even with
accepted presentations, will not make it.
I would suggest you focus on Wikimedia activity, prepare a great
presentation for the next year as well as a compelling application, and try
31 lip 2015 10:07 "praveenp" <me.praveen(a)gmail.com <>> napisał(a):
Please don't derail the actual topic of the thread. I really didnt
assume such an interpretation from quoting his words. Whenever I asked
about the issue to anybody, I generally got such a reply, which I want to
If it is need to start a new thread, I will do that. :-)
But please tell me why some people regularly get scholarships atleast
since 2008, active (in Wikimedia projects / outreach programms) users never
get a chance to share their experience and problems at Wikimania.
On Friday 31 July 2015 12:40 PM, WereSpielChequers wrote:
> Whether there was anything personal or confidential in Gerard's
> private emails to you is for him to say not for you to decide.
> On 31 Jul 2015, at 05:59, praveenp <me.praveen(a)gmail.com <>> wrote:
>> Osmar Valdebenito,
>> No offense was intended :-(. For prominent communities that may be
>> true, but could you check list of users who got scholarship from Malayalam
>> Amir Ladsgroup,
>> 1) As you can see there is nothing confidential or personal in
>> Gerards reply. He just gave a summary of "known" practices.
>> 2) Users are not asking for trophies. They also want to participate
>> Wikimania and share and get the experience.
>> 3) Wikimedia projects are community processes. I simply don't
>> understand how granting scholarship to same persons again and again for
>> five or six years help that process. I also dont understand that
>> communication and sharing of multiple viewpoints, ideas and practices is
>> possible in the above scenario.
>> 4) Yes; If clicking tick marks in translatewiki on some 500 string in
>> 5 minutes before applying for scholarship (as reviewing the translation) is
>> a prominent contribution.
>> In the beginning every body treated equal, we have multiple
>> participants (with understandable reasons) for Wikimania. It started to
>> shrink later and now people plainly believe granting scholarship is an act
>> of favoritism. I also want to prove I am wrong.
>> Praveen. P
>> PS: Mail striped because mailman held my previous reply claiming "
>> Message body is too big:"
>> On Friday 31 July 2015 05:03 AM, Amir Ladsgroup wrote:
>>> There are several issues I want to comment:
>>> 1-First of all. Do you have permission from Gerard to publish your
>>> conversation? Maybe there is something confidential in it, Did you care to
>>> 2- Scholarship is not award or trophy, bear that in mind.
>>> 3- People are expected to come here and learn, communicate, etc.
>>> that's why a same person gets scholarship,
>>> 4- No one's wife got scholarship because of being wife of someone.
>>> They probably are prominent contributors too.
>>> 5- Check my first question and answer that. (Emphasizing)
>>> On Fri, Jul 31, 2015 at 12:05 AM Osmar Valdebenito <
>>> b1mbo.wikipedia(a)gmail.com <>> wrote:
>>> Sorry, but when I read "No regular Wikimedian get any
>>> I stopped reading.
>>> It is not only a lie, but also very unfair to all the extremely
>>> great Wikimedians that attended and made great contributions in Wikimania,
>>> and also the volunteers that have helped now and in the past reviewing and
>>> evaluated thousand of applications in the Scholarship Committee.
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>> Wikimania-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org <>
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