Ongoing support of community-run events, both internally focused and outreach-focused; a more proactive WMF and WM chapter role in ensuring successful event management by community volunteers.
Continued and increased Wikimedia Foundation support for community events, perhaps through a formal body like an "Events Committee", including but not limited to:
- Wikimania (funding for the conference, scholarships, general support as detailed below)
- Chapters meetings (funding, scholarships, general support)
- Regional meeting support (grants, general support)
And in general:
- Building an "events kit" of banners, swag, etc. that can be given or loaned to community groups who wish to have an event and would like to have professional-looking materials
- Developing and providing resources about the projects (flyers, a press kit) that can be reused at various kinds of events
- Using WMF resources (staff, advisers) to:
- Train volunteers to better manage events on their own
- "Step in" and provide additional support when needed
- Provide technical support and infrastructure as needed/requested
- Wikiprojects to develop standard templates for different types of events, and to check in on and provide online mentorship for organizers of even the smallest of meetup events
- Goal of annual Wikimedia regional conferences in diverse areas
- Doing more to publicize Wikimedian participation in events related to the mission
- A centralized listing and RSS feed of upcoming events in Wikimedia
Wikimedia Community members have run a large number of successful events over the past years, ranging from the informal (community member meetups at a pub) to the formal (Wikimania, Wikiconference Netherlands, the Wikipedia Academies) and a wide range of events in between (Wikiconference NYC, Wikimedia-SF at the Maker Faire booths). Most of these events have been developed and run by community volunteers, often either as part of an international group of volunteers (e.g. Wikimania) or as part of a local or chapter-based group of community members. Some events have been run with partner organizations, as well (e.g. Wikis take Manhattan, run with NYC Free Culture groups). Events may be internally-focused, such as Wikimania, which aims to bring together the international Wikimedia community, or externally-focused, such as the Wikipedia Academies, which aim to teach outside experts how to work on Wikipedia.
Events, meetups and in-person outreach have a number of benefits:
- bringing Wikimedians together helps build interpersonal ties between volunteers and communities;
- volunteers can learn about community goings-on, and develop their own project skills further;
- an event can provide a space for concentrated planning, idea-generating and building content and resources (such as with open meetings or a hackfest);
- events can help showcase the projects to outsiders, either through exhibiting at a larger event (such as Wikimedia Italia at the Festival della Creatività) or by holding dedicated events designed for the public (such as open classes or Academies).
Events are one way to support and strengthen the volunteer communities, and as such are an important part of providing meta-support.
Although community members have run excellent events to date, and the main motivation for events can and should come from the community, there are a few ways in which the Foundation can support these activities, as detailed above. The act of planning and holding events is an important way that dedicated volunteers can help out the community, and often requires a great commitment of time and effort that should be supported. Some of this Foundation support is already being given, or is in the process of being developed, and as such this proposal is simply to continue these activities, while augmenting them. There is some danger in not supporting events adequately through having other priorities; for instance, funding for Wikimania went down in the 2009-2010 budget compared to the year before.
- What are the best ways to support the community?
- What are the best ways to do public outreach about the projects?
Major costs include:
- Wikimania support [need WM budget over time here]
- Wikimania scholarships [need scholarships budget over time here]
- Chapters meeting costs
Smaller costs include:
- Swag manufacture (buttons, tshirts, pencils, etc) for distribution at events; should be available for the asking by volunteers who are wanting to run events (small materials should be available to any active volunteer; several small meetups in public places have failed simply when Wikimedians had no buttons or stickers for recognizing each other)
- small "events grants" for chapters or groups who are wanting to run regional conferences
- costs of producing leaflets, etc; see "Bookshelf" project
Other relevant proposals
Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal Talk:Events (Ongoing support of community-run events).
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