2021:Evaluation/Findings/Effectiveness/pl

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Wikimania 2021 - An Evaluation of a Virtual Conference
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Effectiveness: Satisfaction, Connections, Content

To create a virtual Wikimania, key stakeholders participated in a design process and developed an Event Canvas. During this process, Foundation staff, members of the Steering Committee, and other Movement organizers, reflected on past events, developed prototypes, and articulated conference goals. The Event Canvas stated key changed behaviors it hoped to achieve through the process of developing the conferences, as well as for participants at the conference. This evaluation seeks to identify the extent that Wikimania 2021 was able to achieve the outcomes articulated by the design process. This section of the evaluation will focus on the experience of participants at Wikimania - in particular, newcomers.

2.1 - Overall Conference Satisfaction and Sense of Belonging to Movement

Wikimania energized participants and helped them feel like they belonged to the Wikimedia Movement, in particular newcomers. Participants were satisfied with the conference and felt that the program content was relevant. A total of 78% of survey respondents stated that they were overall satisfied with the conference and 83% felt that the conference program included content that was relevant to them.

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The conference was experienced differently by first-time attendees vs. returned attendees. Newcomers to Wikimania were more satisfied than individuals that had previously participated in other in-person Wikimania conferences. For example, while 82% of first-time attendees were overall satisfied with the conference, only 68% of return-participants either agreed or strongly agreed with the overall satisfaction statement. While 87% of first-time attendees found the program content relevant, 74% of returnees felt the same way.

The conference experienced some technological, planning, and communication challenges that were observable by the participants. There was some confusion by some participants as to when the conference would begin and in which platform. The instructions on how to access translation services, move between buildings, and navigate Remo were not clear to all participants. Survey participants noted that the program was designed with few breaks; and, as a result speakers were abruptly cut off by the system often mid-sentence and without properly completing their sessions. During the conference, some of these issues were addressed. For example, instructions on how to access translations became clearer and more straightforward. Participants and the implementation team learned together. Some speakers learned how to book Unconference tables and direct listeners to join them for conversations at a particular building in a specific table. However, the challenges impacted some of the participants’ perception of the overall conference. A total of 14% stated that they did not agree that the conference ran smoothly or was well executed. While 13% of newcomers and 16% of returnees did not agree that the conference ran smoothly, more returnees were undecided (24%) than newcomers (15%).

2.2 - Program Content

A total of 80% of surveyed participants agreed that they were satisfied with the quality of presentations they attended. The content was appropriate to their skills and expertise level according to 78% of surveyed participants.

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A total of 70% of surveyed respondents gained knowledge and skills relevant to their position in the Wikimedia movement, and 72% intend to apply what they learned.

2.3 - Identify Opportunities, Make New Connections and Collaborate

The Wikimania technology platform created an ambiance where it was technically possible to organically talk and/or chat with fellow conference participants. The program encouraged the use of the Unconference Space, a place where participants could book unplanned meetings and discuss topics of common interest. One conference outcome behavior indicator was for participants to expand their network of like-minded individuals.

Wikimania was able to create opportunities for participants to identify tools and projects to support for almost two-thirds of survey respondents. A total of 59% of survey respondents felt that they were able to identify key tools or projects to support. In addition, 67% of survey respondents stated that they left the conference with new and different ideas about how they may do their Wikimedia Work differently in the future. While this key performance indicator was met, there is room for improvement given that 17% of survey respondents disagreed and 20% neither agreed nor disagreed with the statement.[1]

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Majority of the participants felt they were able to make a stronger connection to the Wikimedia Movement. Most of the participants (59%) felt Wikimania helped them make a stronger connection to the Wikimedia Movement, including making new contacts and meeting friends and colleagues. However, 33% answered no with 8% respondents unable to answer. This was one conference outcome indicator. A total of 29% of survey participants stated that they made no new connections, 34% shared they met one to three new individuals, 17% connected with 4 to 6 people, and 9% met more than 7 individuals for the first time. Both newcomers and returnees experienced challenges making new connections.[2] Survey findings are in direct contrast to the 2019 Wikimania 2019 evaluation that concluded that “Wikimania 2019 had a variety of positive impacts on the social connections of participants - both in increasing the size of their social networks but also improving the quality of the social connections.” Being a new participant to Wikimania or not did not make a significant impact on the number of new connections individuals were able to make.

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The conference did not provide sufficient space for all participants to share with others what they had been working on. Fifty-six percent of survey participants felt that they were able to share with others what they had been working on, 22% disagreeing, and 25% unsure. Disaggregating the data based on speakers and non-speakers, speakers felt that they were better able to share their work more than non-speakers. Moreover, 73% of first-time attendees agreed that they also had space to share with others versus only 37% of returnees.

The wide distribution of results on key statements related to contributions and collaboration on projects indicates that different participants had different experiences within the same conference.

Speakers and newcomers tended to agree more with key collaboration statements than non-speakers and returnees. For example, while 41% of participants felt that they were able to contribute to other projects, 25% did not, and 27% neither agreed nor disagreed. A total of 29% of participants did not collaborate with others on new potential solutions to an existing problem or issue, while 43% did. Once again, speakers were more likely to contribute to other projects (53% vs. 37% non-speakers) and collaborate with others on solutions (53% vs. 38% non-speakers) than non-speakers. Newcomers were also more likely to agree to statements than returnees in areas of contribution (43% newcomers vs. 37% returnees) and collaboration (53% newcomers vs. 37% returnees).

Conference spaces created to network and discuss topics of interest, such as the Unconference Space and the Community Village, did not end up working as they were originally envisioned due to technology issues or lack of self-organization. Survey respondents highlighted technological barriers to using the Unconference space. Through qualitative feedback, they shared that they were unsure how to book table space, felt speaking to a stranger through the tables awkward, and lamented that Remo was not open 24 hours to accommodate those in time zones when there was no live programming. Other individuals stressed that there were too many buildings and floors to find someone to speak to.

The programming for the Community Village was intentionally open and was meant to be self-directed by the Movement. However, annual Wikimania events such as the Women’s Lunch, Research Showcase, and the Latin American gathering were not organized by the community. Intentional networking and connecting opportunities, such as the team creation of lyrics, were short. While it is important to leave space for the community to self-organize, the organizing team may need to invite movement leaders to use the spaces provided to organize effectively. Alternatively, clearer instructions on how to use and book the space may need to be provided prior and during the event.

2.4 - Speaker Experience

The program included a total of 170 sessions that involved 410 speakers. The sessions were divided along 5 tracks: affiliate track, individual track, expanded affiliate track, expanded individual track, and keynote sessions.

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Speakers were satisfied with their sessions but did not feel that they were able to meaningfully engage with participants. A total of 116 individuals identified themselves as speakers in the survey, about 28% of total speakers.[3] Overall, speakers that completed the survey were satisfied with their sessions (72%). They felt that it was easy to submit their sessions (78%), that they had the technology support (71%), and were able to share with others their work (71%). A total of 48% of speakers surveyed stated that they were dissatisfied with their ability to engage with the audience. Moreover, 23% of surveyed speakers were not able to make future connections and 39% were neither dissatisfied nor satisfied with their ability to make future connections.

The use of Remo and streamyard (for YouTube streaming) increased barriers to meaningful participation/ Qualitative comments from the Speakers explain why they could not effectively engage with others during their sessions. The Remo platform did not enable speakers to view the chat function during their presentation. The Streamyard to Etherpad workaround did not work, according to the Speakers. The Speakers could not witness emojis of support or applause. It was difficult for them to participate in the sharing of resources or simultaneous conversation on the topic area. While the organizers encouraged participants to communicate through the Etherpad, not all participants did. A dedicated notetaker was not always assigned to each session. Similarly, the participants could not ask questions through audio and had to type their questions. As one speaker summarized “The idea of the Etherpad was to be that in-between, it really didn’t work. Not just because the volunteer couldn’t catch up live, but because as a speaker, you had to focus on either the presenting tab or the Etherpad tab.”  Other speakers felt the experience was “frustrating,” “dissatisfying”, and “not ideal.”

Speakers wish they had had prior information about the Unconference space so that they could properly prepare. Those speakers that managed to use the Unconference space, including telling the audience where to meet them, enjoyed it. For example, one speaker stated, “Having a post-session talk at the Unconference was good -- perhaps it would have been good to automatically assign post-discussion talk areas to each session.”

Another issue that was not well received by participants or speakers was the fact that the program abruptly cut off speakers and terminated their session, sometimes mid-sentence. Qualitative comments shared by both participants and speakers illustrate the frustration. One speaker noted, “Cutting off a session abruptly before the speakers were finished (was) insulting.” One speaker shared that due to poor time management by other speakers, they barely had time to speak before they were cut off. The program lacked sufficient breaks between sessions and time for participants to attend to other matters.

2.5 - Safety: Perception of Participants[4]

Participants felt safe, respected, and comfortable A total of 84% of survey respondents agreed that they felt safe, respected, and comfortable, while only 4% did not. Participants were also aware that there was a Helpdesk function to address issues related to safety or harassment A total of 76%. stated that they were aware of the Helpdesk function, while 10% were not.

Both first time attendees and return participations had similar perspectives related to safety. Those that attended the Hackathon felt slightly more safe, respected, and comfortable than those that did not attend the Hackathon (92% vs. 81% in agreement respectively). Hackathon attendees were also more aware that there was a Helpdesk button than those that did not attend (78% vs. 74% in agreement respectively).

2.6 - Technology Platform - Remo - and Technical Support

Wikimania used several technology platforms to host the conference. Registration for the conference happened through Eventbrite. The Hackathon was hosted through Jitsi, and to help coordinate key tasks Phabricator was used. The main conference was hosted via Remo, but participants could also watch the presentations via YouTube. Speakers interacted through Streamyard while presentation notes were held in Etherpad. Participants could chat directly in Remo or via Telegram chat channels: Wikimania Social, Wikimania Announcements, and Wikimania Chat.

Given the numerous technology platforms, this evaluation focuses on understanding how participants felt and used the main platform, Remo. While 47% of survey participants were overall satisfied with Remo, 26% were not. Similarly, while 44% of survey participants felt that the platform was easy to navigate and use, 33% felt that it was not.

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Over 194 individuals made specific qualitative statements on their feelings towards the Remo platform in the survey. Qualitative comments were coded based on positive or negative statements towards the platform. There were fewer positive comments than negative comments. On the one hand, for some participants the platform worked well, it was easy to navigate, and accessible. One person stated, “At the beginning everything was new and so it seemed to be uncomfortable, but then I understood the digital logic of a real building with floors, and tables, and all the details so it started to seem much easier to navigate and very cool.” Some individuals shared that there was a steep learning curve on how to navigate the platform and find the sessions.

On the other hand, and for most comments, individuals shared their frustrations with the platform. Some of the most common pain points included:

  • Difficult logging into Remo - Individuals shared difficulties logging into the system.
  • Difficulty staying logged into Remo - Remo would kick some participants out of the system.
  • Data AccessibilityPlatform was slow when roaming, and some participants would be disconnected with low internet bandwidth.
  • Data Consumption - Remo had a high consumption of data.
  • Web Browsers - Remo was not accessible though certain web-browsers, in particular Linux.
  • Navigation - Individuals felt confused with the numerous buildings, floors, and tables. Some felt that there were too many buildings and floors. They did not know how to switch between sessions and as a result had to log out of the platform every time that they wanted to switch.
  • Mobile Accessibility - The platform did not work on mobile devices and some tablets. Individuals could not log in or the program would not load. Others complained that the platform was slow on their phones. They were not able to conduct multiple tasks on their phones, such as pick up a call or check messages, without the program closing.
  • Inability to see name of the person presenting - If a participant joined half-way through a session, it was impossible to know who was presenting and on what topic.
  • Remo not optimal for Social Connections - Individuals were unsure of the discussions that were taking place at the tables and felt awkward jumping-in to discuss. Other individuals stressed that the Unconference space was too large and had difficulty finding individuals. Many stated that they were unable to network or have social interactions.
  • Table sitting too small - Participants shared that having only 20 seats “at the table” was too small. It was also noted that the virtual knocking at the table was strange.
  • Speaker interaction and interruption - There was displeasure among participants at the inability for speakers to interact in the chat. They did not appreciate that the speakers were abruptly cut off at the end of their sessions.
  • Privacy Concerns - The platform required video and audio access and some participants did not feel comfortable sharing.
  • Mute - Individuals shared that one could not mute Remo without muting the entire browser.
  • ProgramThey would have liked to have seen the program be in Remo to help with the navigation. Similarly, participants suggested that future conferences enable the program to be linked to Calendar apps, such as Google Calendar. One person noted that to navigate the platform and the program, one would have to have a high English proficiency.
Example of the Remo platform in-use

The pain-points related to the technology platform had an impact on the conference attendance. When the platform did not work, many left the conference. For example, one person stated that due to the low connectivity they could not participate. Another person stated, “I had to give up after the third try. Won’t do any more conferences or activities like this again.” Other individuals turned to YouTube to watch the sessions that they wanted to follow.

Individuals participated through YouTube and others may have engaged with only the On-Demand content. In fact, participants have continued to watch Wikimania 2021 content even after the conference. In total, the Wikimania recordings on YouTube have been watched 23,608 times with each video receiving an average of 140 views by October 13, 2021. A total of 25 individuals mentioned that they either used YouTube or appreciated having a YouTube recording. One person stated, “It was easier for me to watch the live YouTube stream than to navigate to (the session) through the platform.” While the ability to watch the recordings on YouTube was positively appreciated, one individual mentioned how it made them feel as an observant rather than a participant. They stated, “I was extremely frustrated with Remo…. I watched through YouTube despite then missing out on all the questions and chats. This made me feel I wasn’t really a part of the conference, just an observer.”

Technical support to speakers and participants: Speakers felt that it was easy to submit their sessions and that they received the necessary technical support prior to their session (68% and 71% respectively). One speaker stated, “The speaker service organization as a whole was really good!” Another individual stated “It was great attending and being a speaker at this Wikimania conference. I enjoyed the platform used (Remo) with the technical assistance prior to my sessions. I am grateful for the preparation team. Bravo!” However, other speakers shared that they would have liked to have had a test run of their presentation to iron out technical issues.

Organizers also sought to provide technical support to participants prior and during the event. Prior to the event, they sent instructions on how to sign up to Remo to all conference registrants. Organizers were also available through chat channels to troubleshoot and support. While the technical assistance may have helped some, participants were confused about (1) start time/date of the conference, (2) how to navigate Remo, (3) general accessibility of Remo (4) how to access translation services, and (5) how to book tables in the Community Village. For example, 50% of survey respondents that used the language translation services had technical difficulties.

Communication and expectations could have been clearer related to (1) speakers unable to communicate with participants, (2) prohibition of screenshots, (3) instructions on how to access translation services, (4) availability of YouTube. In addition, qualitative comments suggest that not all individuals knew about technical support and that emails were unanswered. Another individual shared, “When I kept signing (into Remo) in the comment it stated I was not a safe participant. I wrote an email to the organizers as directed and this was equally not addressed.”

From a communication perspective, the organizers during the conference made significant effort to ensure that avatars were identified as Trust and Safety. The Safety and Trust policy was also shared in every session through the chat. There was a helpdesk button in the main Remo space that individuals could report Trust and Safety concerns.

2.7 - Unintended positive and negative consequences

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Individuals recognized the potential of virtual as means of inclusion and contribution to reduce carbon emissions. One person stated “Wikimania 2021 was worth the noise.” Another shared, “I was skeptical before the event, but enjoyed it immensely and see the online gathering as a way to make our movement more inclusive and climate friendly, so I am looking forward to seeing how it develops over the years!” Another person noted, “More virtual events please. They are very inclusive and save a ton on carbon emission and travel expenses.”

One long-term participant of Wikimania shared in a forum that they “were only able to travel to Wikimania once every two years due to costs. If Wikimania continues in some virtual capacity, they could participate every year.” In fact, many survey participants shared qualitative comments congratulating the organizers, acknowledging that this was the first virtual conference, and a desire to see more and improved virtual gatherings. Another positive consequence was the availability of presentation recordings on YouTube post-conference.

An unintended negative consequence is that some Wikimedians may not return to another virtual conference. For example, one individual stated, “Remo never again.” Another participant explained “It might not be the Remo platform issue but just the online experience. I thought online was the way to go before but after this experience, I never want to do it again.”  Yet another person mentioned, “I seriously hope that they get better at doing this virtual conference thing, otherwise I won’t attend next year. It shouldn’t be this complicated.”

Other participants may not return to a virtual event because they are nostalgic and missing the in-person event. For example, one person explained, “All things considered, something like Remo is about as good as we can do for a virtual event like this. I can't complain about that. It's just the virtual part itself that bothers me. This Wikimania was fun, but nothing like the real thing when we get to meet in person. I don't see a virtual event ever being as successful and impactful as an in-person event. I realize it's not safe to do in-person right now, so we were forced to do virtual. I just hope long-term, there is full intention of going back to in-person events once it's safe to do so.”

2.8 - Experimentation: Hackathon, Wikimedian of the Year, Language, Scholarship.

Wikimania 2021 experimented with several different models and approaches. This evaluation unpacks two key events at the conference (The Hackathon and Wikimedian of the Year), one new feature (Simultaneous Language translation), and a new adaptation to the conference scholarships program. Each one of these components could have had a stand-alone evaluation process. Given the resources and time availability, this evaluation spotlights the key changes, outcomes, and lessons learned for each new model of experimentation.

Hackathon

The Hackathon aimed at gathering the technical community and providing them with an opportunity to be involved in the development of MediaWiki. Organizers hoped that the Hackathon would be a space for experimentation and developing new projects. In addition, Event Design expectations of changed behavior included: the ability of the tech community to make new connections, find new projects, and that the event met their expectations.

The Hackathon took place the first day of the conference and lasted 24 hours. This caused some confusion for participants that were only interested in the main event hosted in Remo. A total of 94 out of 456 survey respondents indicated that they had participated in the Hackathon.

A total of 68% of respondents that attended the Hackathon felt that the Hackathon was a worthwhile use of time and that they connected with new tech contributors and editors. While 45% of respondents felt that they had made valuable connections with existing contacts and they developed a new project, the survey also highlights that a portion of Hackathon participants did not feel that the event led to new or deepening connections and new projects were not developed. While 44% of participants felt that the Hackathon exceeded their expectations, 15% disagreed.

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Survey participants shared that they enjoyed meeting other tech individuals and learning more about the platforms. For example, one participant stated that they learned “more useful ways to use Wikidata.” Another learned new insights into features in the Wikipedia interface. One participant summarized the Hackathon as “the sessions were great. The virtual platform was well organized and made things pretty easy to navigate between them.”  Participants also appreciated the flexibility of the format. “I enjoyed dedicating time to work on my Wikimedia-related software projects, and unstructured time to chat with other Wikimania participants.” A total of 8 projects were showcased in the Hackathon presentation.

Newcomers or individuals that were not part of the technology community had a difficult time in the Hackathon, according to survey participants. Some participants felt that they did not understand the jargon, “I feel that for some of us first time participants, some of the things discussed were more technical and confusing and not much effort was made to get us along with those who have been with the community a long time and are very abreast with issues.”

Wikimedian of the Year

Wikimedians of the Year being informed of their award

The Wikimedian of the Year Award was expanded to include seven categories in total. The new categories included: Newcomer of the Year, Tech Innovator of the year, 20th Year Honoree, and Rich Media Contributor. Previously, awards were given to one Wikimedian of the Year, and one or two Honorable mentions. In 2021, there were two honorable mentions. The award ceremony consisted of pre-recorded video surprises of the awardees, thank you speeches, and musical entertainment.

The Wikimedian of the Year Award presentation was well received. A total of 51% of survey respondents stated that they attended the session (214 individuals). A total of 91% of survey respondents that attended the session felt that celebrations of exceptional individuals in the Movement are important. Eighty-eight percent of individuals that attended the session and answered the survey agreed that the new award categories provided an opportunity to better celebrate the diversity of the Movement.

The session was done “thoughtfully and added a special emotional highlight to the conference,” wrote one survey respondent. Another respondent summarized the energy that many perceived during the session. “I loved this part of Wikimania!! When Carmen won the award and brought the mariachis on stage, I felt very moved. It was very emotional and made me feel a beautiful feeling of not being alone. Also seeing all these amazing women across the world made me feel so empowered.” Many respondents also noted that the award ceremony motivated them to work harder. One person summarized, “This is really important, and the award is also an encouragement to any volunteer, it shows that volunteer work is being noticed not only by a few fellow editors but the Wikimedia as a whole. The newly introduced categories will also help ease the selection process and more people or projects will have a chance to have their members awarded.”

Some individuals also noted suggestions for future award ceremonies and award categories. Comments that highlighted areas of improvement questioned the length of the award show, the number of categories, and Jimmy’s involvement in the award ceremony. Individuals suggested that new award categories could be regional. Another individual mentioned that the current award categories do not capture Wikipedians that are working on regional languages or translators who are bridging information between languages to make information even more accessible. This person also mentioned that new categories could be made to celebrate sister projects such as Wiktionary and Wikidata. Finally, several individuals commented that there were no awardees from Africa and some of these individuals were motivated to continue to work hard to be recognized in the future.

Language Accessibility

To help reduce barriers of participation and to be more inclusive of non-English speakers, this year’s Wikimania provided simultaneous translation in the 6 UN languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish) plus German. Presentations were being translated in three out of the five buildings.

Total Number of Audio Translation users by days of conference
Dzień 2 - 14 sierpnia 163
Dzień 3 - 15 sierpnia 79
Dzień 4 - 16 sierpnia 41
Dzień 5 - 17 sierpnia 66

Language Translation services were very well received by individuals that used it. Seventeen percent of survey respondents used the audio translation. Of the 66 survey participants that indicated use of audio-language services, 24 individuals came from Africa, 14 from the Americas, 14 from Asia, 12 from Europe, and 2 from Oceania region. Of the 66 individuals, 44 were newcomers (66%) and 22 were returnees (33%).

A total of 91% of individuals that answered the survey were happy that they could listen to the presentation in their language of choice. That said, 50% of individuals that used the language translation services reported that they had technology related difficulties with the audio translations. This may have been related to the fact that a person needed two devices to be able to use the language translation. There was no way to “mute” Remo and allow the Translation service (which was hosted on a different platform) to play simultaneously. Some individuals had Remo running on their computer, while the translation was playing through their mobiles. This may not have been ideal for all participants. A total of 25 survey respondents indicated that they tried to use the service but were unable to.

An additional benefit to having translation services was that speakers could present in their mother tongue. There were sessions in Spanish, French and Arabic, in addition to English. Attendees that spoke those languages could also hear the presenters speak in their own languages. One survey respondent stated that “the work with simultaneous interpretation was a great initiative that should be more spread out throughout our movement events.”

For future virtual conferences, the team will need to test the platform to ensure that it is accessible to visually impaired people. Unfortunately, the live audio caption of the presentations was not possible and therefore the conference may have not been as accessible to hearing impaired people. Captions were made available via YouTube once the videos were uploaded.

Scholarship for Individuals through Hosting Affiliates

"It created some kind of fresh bonding with dormant community members. After Wikimania, we have had community members who were not active reach out and new members are showing commitment to our programs. Our WhatsApp community platform has been more active than it used to be. We have established fresh relationships and rekindled old ones."
-Hosting Affiliate

Scholarships in prior Wikimanias had been given to specific individuals. This year, the scholarship funds were distributed through Wikimedia affiliates. The scholarships were meant to help participants cover data costs, childcare, and caregiving responsibilities. A total of 11 out of 18 affiliates completed a Post-Event Scholarship Assessment Survey. The survey sought to better understand how hosting affiliates perceived the application processes, identify key challenges related to the distribution of funds, and capture anecdotally some of the impact the scholarship had on individuals and on the hosting affiliates. It is recommended that in future virtual conferences, a full evaluation of the scholarship program is conducted to better understand impact at the individual level.

Application Process: According to affiliate representatives, the application process was smooth and straight forward. They appreciated that there were only a handful of questions and received feedback from the organizing committee rapidly. One participant felt that application through Meta was cumbersome, particularly for those not familiar with editing in Meta. Another participant would have liked more clear and proper instructions on eligibility of funds.

Disbursement of Funds: One month after the conference, 77% of affiliates had disbursed all the funds and 22 % had not. One affiliate shared that they planned to provide data bundles for 40 individuals but were only able to disburse to 25 individuals. The funds could also be used to bring together people virtually or physically. At least one affiliate that planned to host viewing events was not able to due to COVID-19 health restrictions.

Distribution challenges were related to high transfer charges between the hosting affiliate and local members. Affiliates also stated that they had network challenges in sending data bundles. In addition, three affiliates shared that the timing of funds was too close to the conference. Two affiliates had to use their own funds while they waited for the Foundation to remit the funds. One affiliate had to fund some of the scholarship themselves upon hearing that the full amount was not funded. Unfortunately, awardee letters had already been sent and having to fund scholarships negatively impacted this affiliate.

Impact" The evaluation process of the scholarships only gathered data from affiliates. Anecdotally, the funds were well received by the individuals and the funds supported the individual’s participation at the conference. That said, future evaluation efforts may need to collect information from scholarship recipients, either through a post-event survey or a specific scholarship survey.[5]

The scholarship program had a positive impact on most affiliates. For example, it helped affiliates connect with their communities and learn about their member’s challenges and needs. One affiliate shared that the scholarship, “made community members understand that different people from different parts of the world also contribute to Wikipedia.”

The scholarship funds also helped strengthen the Affiliates as a group. One affiliate shared that the program helped recruit more volunteers and improve their contribution to Wikimedia projects. Another hosting affiliate survey respondent shared, “(The scholarship) helped empower our community to participate with others. It helps build more credibility and integrity of our user group.” And yet another mentioned that it helped rejuvenate their activities.

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References

  1. There was no significant difference in experience between speakers and non-speakers, or between newcomers and returnees on this key indicator question.
  2. There was no significant difference between the number of new connections reported by newcomers or past Wikimania attendees.
  3. There were 410 speakers at the conference. Speakers accounted for 26% of total survey respondents.
  4. The process of creating a Trust and Safety team for the conference will be described in Section 3.
  5. Future evaluations may have to keep in mind the privacy of scholarship recipients. The Scholarship Program was designed purposefully to ensure privacy of individuals. It also acknowledges that different individuals may have different needs based on the country that they live.