Proposal: Wikimedia Australia Meetups
- This page is a proposal being developed by our members. The proposal was moved by Steven Zhang and seconded by Anne Frazer. If you are not a member of the organisation, you may request an account on this wiki using special:RequestAccount, and discuss this proposal on the discussion page.
To hold regular meetups in eight Australian cities on a quarterly basis. At least ten meetups with at least ten attendees in at least four different cities should be held.
Holding "real life" events like these, while sometimes not providing any direct benefit in terms of new content or contributors, can often act as a "multiplier", encouraging community members to increase the volume and frequency of their contributions, improving editor retention, and providing a medium for the rapid transfer of ideas among the community.
Since the inception of the Wikimedia movement, meeting each other in person has been commonplace. It's an opportunity for Wikimedians to come together and celebrate our movement, learn new things and meet new people, but also presents an excellent opportunity for community outreach. Wikimedia Australia is no exception. There have been regular meetups in Melbourne and Sydney, with more sporadic meetups in Brisbane, Canberra, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, and Newcastle, and one meetup in Bathurst. There have also been three unconferences in Canberra.
This proposal addresses an innovative step of formally creating Wikimedia Australia meetups to be held on a regular monthly basis for WMAU members, active wikipedians and the general public who by their attendance demonstrate an interest in becoming active wikipedians and demonstrate in good faith an interest in learning about Wikimedia Australia and the Wikipedia projects. It is envisaged that WMAU meetups should play an active role through the analysis of participants needs in terms of training so that participants of the monthly meetings gain knowledge and develop the skills to participate through Wikimedia Australia effectively explaining the function and practices required to produce Australian content for Wikipedia.
It is envisaged that Wikimedia Australia meetups would be held in addition to the usual practice of the movement's community meetups which traditionally are held in various venues across the country and that a formally held WMAU meetup in no way supersedes the traditional community meetup. This proposal for a Wikimedia Australia meetup does not refer to WMAU committee meetings or special or general meetings as outlined in the Chapter's Rules of Association.
In 2012 Melbourne hosted frequent meetups - once a month until August, and initially these were well-attended, but dropped off over time. The same holds true for many other state locations, while community meetups initially had good attendence levels, they declined over time.
WMAU has gained members due to meetups, editors have become more active in the movement and the general public has become more aware of the purpose of Wikimedia. Even with all this effort, our membership numbers remain low, and some states are more lacking in members than others.
Alignment with Strategic Plan
WMAU Strategic Plan: to be completed
WMF Strategic Plan:
- Increase participation
- Support the recruitment and acculturation of newer contributors
- Encourage diversity by conducting outreach
- Support offline and social events
- Facilitate community efforts
- Support volunteer initiatives
- Improve quality
The chapter will provide funding for community events in each city, coordinated through a Local Meetup Coordinator. This person will be responsible for identifying a location for the meetup, arranging any activities, notifying the local community that the event is to occur, and providing a report and metrics back to the chapter on the attendees, activities/discussions, and expenditure. The Local Meetup Coordinator would be given a budget for expenses of $150 per meetup. This may be used for venue hire, catering, advertising, or whatever else is required to maximise the success of the meetup.
Initial cities targeted are the capital cities Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Canberra and Darwin. Any other city that wishes to hold regular meetups will be considered, provided that they can find a Local Meetup Coordinator who is acceptable to the WMAU committee and a Wikimedia community exists in the city to attend the event.
One of the challenges is to reach local editors and inform them about meet-ups. We need to use both on-wiki mechanisms (user categories and location-specific banners), social media and mailing lists of other communities to actively promote our events. Advertisements could also be placed in local newspapers.
Another challenge is to devise event types likely to appeal to a more diverse range of editors. For example, through our recent involvement with the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) conferences, we learned that many librarians (predominantly female) are at least occasional Wikipedia editors, yet relatively few women editors are currently attending meetups.
While members of WMAU and others are free to make private arrangements for gatherings, only those meetups called by members of the WMAU committee or Local Meetup Coordinators are official "WMAU events"; this is an important consideration for public liability purposes.
- Possible benefits
- Increase in membership size; retention of existing members. - In the past, community meetups have resulted in an increase in the membership size. Having more regular meet ups could increase this effect, but also help mitigate the attrition rate of the membership - if members are more engaged in the Wikimedia movement, they may be more likely to remain active.
- Increased presence of the chapter in the Australian community - through an increase in active Wikimedians brought about by regular in-person meetups, we would have an opportunity to work on more projects like GLAM and HOPAU - more manpower could allow us to get stuff done faster.
- Possible risks
- Public liability-the organisation will need to obtain public liability insurance to cover these events.
- Brand-the autonomy granted to the local organisers while operating under a 'Wikimedia Australia' program means they could cause damage to the worldwide Wikimedia brand or the Wikimedia Australia brand. Wikimedia Australia will need to assert some oversight over meetups where it is unfamiliar with the local organisers. Wikimedia Australia will encourage and support local Wikipedians to apply for 'Wikimedia User Group' affiliation status to also allow international oversight.
Key activities or milestones
- call for and select Local Meetup Coordinators (LMCs) in each capital city
- with LMCs, come up with a range of different ways to run a meetup (different types of event may attract different attendees), e.g. advanced edit training, behind-the-scenes at a local GLAM, photography expedition, unconference, barbecue, morning tea
- LMCs establish list of possible venues for events (different venues may be required for different types of meetup)
- draw up a annual event calender with LMCs to be published on-wiki
- use geo-targeted banners to identify more local editors
- use social media and non WMF/WMAU mailing lists to reach more local editors
- throughout the year, provide "topics for conversation" to Local Meetup Coordinators (news, issues, advanced editing techniques) for use at next event
- roster of committee members to travel to meetups in locations without local committee members (goal: at least one per year)
- 8 cities x 4 meetups per year x $150 subsidy = $4.8K per annum, say $5K to cover miscellaneous minor expenses
- public liability insurance estimated $1K per annum (note it would cover all WMAU events, not just meetups)
- How will your entity measure and track success of this program?
Local Meetup Coordinators will be required to keep a track of the number of attendees, and the expenses incurred (for the purposes of reimbursement) for tracking the success of this initiative. The primary criteria of success would involve:
- Holding at least the minimum number of meetings as described above
- An upwards trend in the number of meetings being held and the number of attendees
- feedback from attendees
- number of cities getting direct access to committee members through meetups
A secondary criteria of success is:
- Established members of the community choosing to become members of the chapter through attendance at these events