Restructuring the Education Office Hours

The Education team at the Wikimedia Foundation have been holding Office Hours for the past 11 months, and have engaged with more than 40 Wikimedians during that time. We’ve enjoyed chatting about topics ranging from the usefulness of Wikiversity to how best to support students who edit on mobile phones. Though Office Hours have been reasonably well attended, we’ve noticed that it may be more useful to slightly restructure this time. From July, we’ll be hosting only one open Office Hours event, while experimenting with a way to deep dive with individuals who need more 1:1 consulting. 

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Chatting with African wikimedians at HUHEZI — Wikipedialari afrikarrak (40569170323).jpg () by HUHEZI (Mondragon Unibertsitatea), CC-BY-2.0.

While the monthly Office Hours event will remain the same, we are excited to introduce Office Space. Our goal for Office Space is to provide 1:1 consultation to Wikimedians involved in education activities. As a result of Office Space, we hope individuals and groups interested in Wikimedia in education will have better capacity to make their initiatives strong, results oriented and scalable.

Office Hours will be an open platform for The Wikimedia Foundation Education Team to hear from the community, share what we’re doing and answer questions in an open forum where we can learn from each other. The platform provides an opportunity to share your work with others and learn from them, get updates from activities happening around the movement and look for opportunities to collaborate.

Office Space will be a platform where you can schedule a 1:1 consultation with one or more members of the education team. We’re setting aside 4.5 hours of team time a month for ½ hour or 1 hour consultations. This will help you get answers to specific questions, and tap into the various expertise of the Wikimedia Foundation Education Team. We will start hosting Office Space events from the month of August. We will triage incoming requests based on when they were received, and the nature of the request. We hope that through this mechanism our support to the community is fair and productive. 

From August, the Education Team will host one Office Hours and one Office Space each month for the Wikimedians involved in education activities or are interested in them. We will be announcing Office Hours events on the Wikimedia Space and will update the Office Hours events and the minutes of meeting there. 

You can sign up for a 1:1 Office Space consultation for August by filling out this form.

Do you have queries related to this? Feel free to reach out to me via email (spatnaik [at] wikimedia [dot] org) or start a discussion here on Space. 🙂


Support for our communities across India

Hello everyone,

Wikimedia projects are supported by you—a network of generous individual volunteers, groups, and organizations around the world. Together, you collaboratively enrich, grow, and advance the Wikimedia projects and free knowledge mission.

You may have heard about the Affiliations Committee’s decision to recommend the de-recognition of Wikimedia India. Some community members have asked what this means for the future of WIkimedia communities in India. We want to share more information about the AffCom decision, and reaffirm our commitment to and support for our many communities across India.

The Affiliations Committee is a community-run body of volunteers that represents and supports Wikimedia affiliates. After several years of working with Wikimedia India to bring its activities in line with chapter requirements, the Affiliations Committee recommended in June 2019 that the Wikimedia Foundation not renew the chapter agreement.

Wikimedia India was first recognized as a chapter in 2011. In 2015, it experienced difficulties meeting chapter agreement obligations. Working with the Affiliations Committee and the Foundation, the chapter developed a plan of action and returned to good standing by 2017. However, between 2017 and 2019 the chapter was unable to secure a license to act as a fiduciary organization, and is not currently legally registered as a charity in India to accept funding from the Foundation. The Foundation and Affiliations Committee both hope that this licensing and registration can be secured, and that the chapter will take all the steps needed to be eligible for recognition.

We are grateful for the vibrant, growing community in India who has shown great leadership and created significant impact within our global movement. The Foundation currently supports eight Indic language community user groups, and we expect two more to be announced by AffCom in the coming weeks. We receive more than 700 million pageviews to Wikipedia every month from readers in India, and the growth of the Indic community is a top priority for the future of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects.

The Republic of India is of great importance to the Wikimedia movement. The Wikimedia Foundation remains committed to supporting volunteer editors, contributors, readers, and donors across India. We’re grateful for all of your continued and growing efforts to support Wikimedia projects and our free knowledge mission. We look forward to continuing our work with you together.

On behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation,

Valerie D’Costa
Chief of Community Engagement
Wikimedia Foundation

You can help translate this message on Meta


Coming to Wikimania Stockholm? Sign up for Learning Days!

How do we make knowledge creation truly participatory for every community on our planet? The Wikimedia movement has been growing steadily, with more volunteers joining, and new affiliate groups created every year. Affiliates represent our movement at the local level and are charged with organizing activities and events to get people and organizations involved in the creation of the sum of all knowledge. In the years between 2014 and 2019, Wikimedia movement affiliates tripled: we went from having 50 affiliates to 151 (and we keep growing!). It grew more in this last five years than it did in its first 11 years of existence.

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English: Wikimedia Conference 2018 Learning Days
WmCon2018 LearningDays 26.jpg () by AWang (WMF), CC-BY-SA-4.0.

How do we ensure that this growth is sustainable? In 2013, we started the Wikimedia Learning and Evaluation initiative to build a culture of accountability and learning within the movement. After 5 years implementing Learning Days, we are now also offering a new, evolved curriculum: Training of Trainers, in-person training that incorporates our communities’ higher levels of experience. The next opportunity to receive this training will be at Wikimania Stockholm, on August 14 and 15. Learn more and sign up!

Piloting structured training: Learning Days

We at the Wikimedia Foundation had observed for several years how communities took on to adapting initiatives that were successful in different parts of the world. A good example of this is the program Wikipedian in Residence. In 2010, Wikipedian Lyam Wyattsuggested this role at the closing speech of GLAM-Wiki congress: a person that would be in charge of training the staff group in a museum, archive, library, or gallery (GLAM) on how to use the Wikimedia projects to promote their collection or archive. The idea of this program was so attractive that several Wikimedia communities replicated the model, and today, there are more than 125 Wikipedians in Residence all over the world.

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English: Wikimedia Conference 2018
Wikimedia Conference 2018 – 017.jpg () by Jason Krüger for Wikimedia Deutschland e.V., CC-BY-SA-4.0.

While replication has always played a big role in our collective learning as a movement, it wasn’t sustainable or necessarily yielding the desired results for local communities. This is why in 2013, we started the program Learning Days, with this foundational question: are your activities and events helping you reach your goals? These two days of professional training included workshops on program design and evaluation, how to create a theory of change and logic models, how to measure success, and how to do storytelling for engagement, among other topics. In the course of 6 years, through 11 implementations of Learning Days, and with other learning resources developed, we have seen affiliates’ proposals and reports improve significantly in terms of setting clear program goals and targets and then executing and measuring the impact of those goals.

Throughout this journey, we identified some Wikimedia communities had more advanced learning than others, and we incorporated this knowledge as part of the curriculum: in the last iteration of Learning Days, half of the sessions were facilitated by community members. These were more experienced Wikimedians that were stepping up to share their skills with their peers.

An evolved curriculum: Training of Trainers

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English: Wikimedia Conference 2018
Wikimedia Conference 2018 – 012.jpg () by Jason Krüger for Wikimedia Deutschland e.V., CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Today,  our movement finds itself at an interesting turning point: we now observe multiple specialized skills within the movement and higher levels of expertise. How can we make room for experienced movement organizers? It is time to evolve our capacity development proposal to support these needs, too. This is why we developed Training of Trainers, an in-person training curriculum to develop Wikimedia movement organizers into skilled trainers within their home communities. This new curriculum seeks to increase capacity for structured, reflective, and effective training of learners, to improve understanding of and confidence in community members’ own role and style as trainers, and to create a global network of trainers who share knowledge and best practices. The goal is to develop community leaders into skilled trainers, that can share their skills with others, in order to scale the movement in a sustainable way.

The first implementation of this new curriculum took place at the Wikimedia Summit, a conference held in Berlin earlier this year. After the training, over 71% of participants increased their confidence in their mastery of all of the training’s core skills.

These outcomes encourage us to explore the possibilities of this new proposal even more, and we have been working to improve this curriculum in several areas. This is what we hope to offer at Wikimania 2019 in Stockholm: a combination of enhanced curriculums that can apply to a variety of  Wikimedians, and find better ways to collaborate. To participate, register to attend Wikimania, including the pre-conference days. Find more information and register by July 31st!

Originally posted on Wikimedia Foundation News by María Cruz on 2 July 2019


An updated design for the Wikimedia Foundation website

Today, we are thrilled to share an updated visual design style on the Wikimedia Foundation website (wikimediafoundation.org)!

This updated design was developed by the Wikimedia Foundation’s Product design team. We worked on feedback from Meta-Wiki, emails, Phabricator, and hundreds of conversations paired with user testing with people in the target audiences for the website. We are incredibly appreciative of the great care that team has taken in making strategic, data-led design decisions and really helping us amplify the website’s ability to convey our story to people generally unfamiliar with Wikimedia.

We have also expanded on the information about the website on its Meta-Wiki page, and updated the public mirror of the code base to reflect the technical changes made to the site for this updated design.

Thank you to the now hundreds of people that have been involved in helping us build a website for the Foundation which we can be proud of!

-greg & the Wikimedia Foundation Communication team

A bit more about the site

How is the site doing?

Since the site’s soft launch in July 2018, traffic has continued to increase. There has also been a significant increase in donations collected via this website. Two key audiences, potential staff and partners, have shared positive feedback on the site’s content and organization, enabling them to find jobs and contact key teams respectively. Additionally, user testing has shown a positive response to the content and overall architecture of the site.

What brought us here

The Wikimedia Foundation Communications department has been collecting feedback on the Foundation’s website since late 2016 and beginning in early 2017 has been working on addressing the backlog of issues related to the website. The original Foundation site, launched in 2004, did not have a clear audience, and as a result was not effectively serving any of the hundreds of uses people saw for it. Maintaining the site’s content beyond English had become a growing problem – leaving visitors with different information, depending on which language they were using, on basic details like our address and executive staff. Additionally, the site had over 17,000 pages – a vast majority of which were either out of date or no longer in use.

In 2017-18, the Communications department ran a “Discovery” process to help inform our decision making. This process included reviews of methods used by other organizations, assessment of our current communication channels, collecting feedback at Wikimania, and interviews with dozens of volunteers, donors, contractors, and staff. The resulting report and recommendations helped identify the objectives and audiences of the website, and were utilized throughout the initial design and development of the new website.

Shortly after the soft launch, the department began working with the Product department’s design team to perform user testing, process feedback collected in the weeks following the soft launch, and collect additional feedback to help us make informed decisions. They helped us collect and process feedback from hundreds of individuals within and outside of the movement.

Based on feedback, they conducted user testing and developed the updated design we deployed this morning. We will continue to use a data and feedback informed decision making in managing the site. Given the external audience nature of the site, it has consistently proven important to take the time to collect feedback and data from a wide variety of sources – including volunteers, press, donors, partner organizations, and readers of the projects.

What comes next

More languages! The Communications department will continue to work on content development and expanding translations to additional languages. If you are interested in our plans for translations, please check out the information shared recently about the Organization communications translators group.

Providing feedback

The Communications department will continue to monitor the talk page for the Foundation’s website on Meta-Wiki. Additionally, I will be attending Wikimania in Stockholm and available to chat with folks.

Originally posted by Gregory Varnum to Wikimedia-l on 9 July 2019.