Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost/2014-04-23/Special report

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  • Thanks for the write-up Tony! It's always interesting to see how these events seem from the outside. I agree that there ought to be a greater focus on learning and development in the movement (certainly, at least, among and between movement organisations). I felt that this Wikimedia conference did that better than many previous ones, but there are still a number of problems to overcome. First is that it is not currently any one person or organisation's role to make sure this happens; second that people are not necessarily sure enough about "what the right answer is" to put their heads above the parapet and offer their knowledge or experience to others.
  • Also I'd observe that it is difficult to judge an interactive training session from its documentation. As one of the people delivering the "Your organisation and hiring staff" session, I felt it was actually a big step forward in terms of developing the participants' understanding of the issues that actually happen when hiring staff, and better than any previous equivalent discussion I'd seen. I haven't yet seen the participants' feedback but I doubt many would describe it as "egregiously inadequate" ;-) However, creating good written documents is very a different (and in many ways a bigger) challenge to running a good 75-minute session on a topic. I would love it if there was a "recipe book" for setting up a Wikimedia movement organisation that covered all of this stuff in adequate detail, but we aren't there yet. Regards, The Land (talk) 11:32, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
  • hmmm... Seems there's not been much progress on how to hammer out programs for a large, disparate movement since the 60s (that would be the 1969 SDS convention, say, in the US). The rotating groups at Wikimedia 2014... deja vu all over again. I hope the resulting statements point to a more successful path (SDS split).
Further, and more incisive, coverage by The Signpost of world-wide Wikipedia movement meetings can help provide sorely needed institutional memory. The size of the budget for ~ 100 person conference is, well, a shock. How much of that went to bring greater participation from the less rich countries? And other outreach? Please make that part of your follow-up! (And thanks for your good start.) - Neonorange (talk) 00:11, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
  • People came from all over the world -- 40ish countries, if I recall correctly. -- phoebe / (talk to me) 02:58, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
  • From having recently been involved in developing budgets for and organising international conferences of about this size, I can attest that they don't come cheap (and the conferences I've been involved in don't require us to meet travel, accommodation or out-of-meeting meal costs for delegates, which get really expensive very quickly). The Wikipedia/Wikimedia community tends to not understand how much these kinds of things actually cost to conduct. Nick-D (talk) 23:41, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Yeah, well, hundreds of thousands of volunteer editors contribute millions of hours of editing (and donate money). On the other hand, careerism is a constant danger. Upwards of $200,000 USD divided by 100 > $2000 USD per participant; show us the line item budget for that mini-conference. Overall, Wikipedia is a huge value for the money spent. But some details I find troubling, and counter to the volunteer ethic. - Neonorange (talk) 02:17, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
  • This appears to be the budget for which the WMF provided funding. Most of the funding appears to have been allocated for delegates' travel and accommodation (presumably economy class flights, with delegates staying in hostels or single rooms), and the estimated costs for the meeting itself look pretty low for a four day event involving 100 people. The total WMF funding sought (and presumably granted?) appears to have been "117,600€ (~$162k)". Was there other funding received to take this into the hundreds of thousands? I note that Tony1 scrutinised (his word) the budget on the talk page in December last year, and the organisers explained their estimates, so you might find that useful as well. Whether the event delivered worthwhile outcomes is good question to consider, but the costs do seem to have been kept to a reasonable minimum given the requirement to pay for delegates' travel and accommodation. Nick-D (talk) 02:47, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Jumping in on the budget point: the description of the grant says that "This grant funds some of the hosting and organization expenses for the Wikimedia Conference 2014 in Berlin." (my emphasis) Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 02:54, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Note, the "meet the board of trustees" session was structured in the following way: each of the attending trustees hosted a table on a different topic. My topic was communication, Sam's was technology, Alice's was movement structures, Jan-Bart took on strategy, and Stu's was money. We did this so people interested in that topic could discuss it at our tables and ask us questions (we each took on a topic that we are personally interested in, as well). So what was reported in the documentation is a summary of the conversations that we had, rather than necessarily our personal views. -- phoebe / (talk to me) 02:57, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
  • As one of the volunteers that created the documentation (under the supervision of Jcornelius), this was a very interesting read for me. I was previously unaware that my records of Hiring Staff included truisms ;-) Thanks, --Gnom (talk) 07:51, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
  • I'm really grateful contributors such as Tony1 are writing these kind of pieces. As Neonorange says there is a bit of a lack of institutional memory within the movement, and this helps provide some. It's important that conferences such as these provide as much value as possible, and although it's very hard to even measure something like that, it's vital to look at these events critically, with an eye to improving them in the future. -- Shudde talk 00:44, 27 April 2014 (UTC)