User:Bidgee/WMCON 2018 report

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WMCON 2018 was my second WMCON, this year I was selected to attend the pre-conference which was valuable to just to myself but also the WMAU committee and the Australian community.

Pre-conference Day 1

The Plenary Opening Session on the first day highlighted the involvement and gender gap of Women on Wikimedia projects and in the movement itself. One of the highlights was to be trying to attract more women to leadership and board positions, by actively seeking, including mentoring them. This is something that WMAU needs to work on with only two women out of the seven committee members during the 2017-18 term.

For those who hasn't done any event planning, Planning & Testing New Projects Facilitators showed that starting small with new and untested project/event/competition by starting a pilot that is small and very focused. Pilot allows any issues to be addressed, seeing it the event would work, what needs to change (subject scope or the targeted audience for example).

Communication Plans session was more suited to those who deal with communications, looking what what it is, the framing, explanation, theory of change and requirements that helps to focus on ways to developing a effective communication plan.

Tools Demonstration, there were a few new tools I had not know about that maybe useful for members or those in the Australian community.

Structured Data on Commons, work underway to have Wikidata and Commons integrated (was hoping to get more details during the main conference, as the time for the presentation was limited but my time ended up being limited during the main conference.)

Pre-conference Day 2

Financial Planning, we (WMAU) need to start doing budgets twelve months in advance (e.g. start planning for the 2019-20 financial year in WMAU's case) by tracking expenses expected for each month with a buffer to allow for increased costs, along with the expected income. For a chapter of our size, there should always be a minimum of one year in reserve. We do need to look at how we can improve our cash flow, as expenses greatly outweigh the income we receive. However this has since changed after being successful in receiving a simple APG from the WMF.

Partnership pitch, when we (WMAU) is looking at forming a partnership, having a mutual benefit for both the chapter and partner is a must, define the scope of what it is and what it isn't, look at any issues that could arise and how to deal with them, what we (both chapter and partner) are wanting from the partnership. Most of the build up work should happen before going to the press or publishing a PR, to ensure success. Any issues that arise during the partnership, address it directly with them as soon as possible but with care. Reporting internal data with the partner, which will help drive the partnership, be it the good and/or the bad. Unfortunately I had to leave the Survey Design early for the meeting with Delphine.

Main conference

Community Capacity Map workshop, I've now have a better understanding of how the M:CCM works and how we (WMAU) can rate our capacity and robustness. Example using the guide within the guidelines ( we have a medium capacity, since we regularly use our social media account but we don't have a communication plan in place but we a high robustness, with more than one person having access and we can recruit more if required.

One of the key things was each of the speakers from How to grow an editing community, that they highlighted that forming partnerships (e.g. schools, GLAM sector) has helped to increase new editors and participation for their language projects, one of them has also organised free library cards to hand out to students.

How to build a movement in 3 days: What we’ve learned from #goatification, was interesting on how it was created and turned viral during Wikimania 2017, but one thing I did come away with was to make our events/workshops more fun and remove anything that could be overwhelming for new contributors.

In the Exploring privilege through autobiographies, we were shown how to create our very own autobiography as part of an effort to self-explorer, which can be used as a way of doing a team building excises but also use to create profiles of contributors to find where they’re struggling and need support.

From passionate chaos to more or less grown-up session I choose to attend since Wikimedia Australia fits within the definition of “small affiliate”, since we do not have staff, a have less than US$120k annual budget. An important highlighted was that board members were typically elected because they do stuff (edit, part of workshops, events ect) and not necessary have experience nor fit into the role. Recommended that if the affiliate has a lack of experience is to have them fit into the role by training them with the required skills for the role, or if you have a budget, hire people who can do the role (e.g. financial, secretary).

Transition between committees was mentioned, one item that stuck out was that you want to have the new broad members to be trained and transitioned before taking the role but understood that in some affiliates that they go into caretaker mode and elected at the time of the results of the election being announced but mentoring should be done. The workload also needs to be shared, since not one person can do all the work and stated that micromanagement shouldn’t be used. Documentation (e.g. handbook, a place for Q&A discussion) is important to have, even if it is boring to write or read, for anything that went wrong, what to avoid, what went right. Team building is important! Thankfully we have already had some of the recommendations, having Google Suits for email, documents and position email addresses.

Going to the working with consultants session was interesting it see the viewpoints, highlighting why you may want them, the advantages and disadvantages in hiring, for example no understanding of the movement, taking advantage of the affiliate. Look for a pro-bono consultant if you require one and do not hire the cheapest consultant, as they may not act in the best interest of the organisation.

How can affiliates without staff support their volunteers was interesting since it isn't just WMAU as chapter/usergroup who struggles with different aspects from running the affiliate to organising and running events. Other affiliates also have issues with technical infrastructure and retention. For WMAU, we have already done our best to support our own community volunteers with support programmes, we could do more to promote that we need new volunteers to be on Committee for fresh ideas and solutions but also look at other people to help assist the committee (for events and workshops for example), and also forming partnerships with other affiliates.