Living Paths report, May 2013

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The original of this document (a pdf printout) is available for reference at File:Living Paths report, May 2013.pdf. This text version has been created for access purposes. -- (talk) 09:44, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

Report title
Welsh Living Path project
Jon Davies/with help from Doug Taylor, Richard Symonds and Robin Owain.
May 11th
For decision
Background to Robin Owain's project.
Short summary of the proposal
[1] archive link

There are two stages, first WMUK accredited trainers would meet local groups and show them how to add information onto a Wikipedia page. Secondly we show them how their articles can be geotagged. This would enable users of the Path to enjoy walking down the path with a smart phone, with any AR tagged articles shown through the camera, informing the User (visitors or local) about what's around them: history of that unusual building or where's the nearest Young Farmers Club? What's the name of that mountain, and where's the nearest toilet! Take a look at MonmouthpediA on Wikipedia and multiply it by 10!

Proposed involvement of Wikimedia UK

Robin has requested £33,500 from us. The total project budget is £109,000 and the remainder comes from Robin’s previous Geovation bid, and the Welsh Government’s “Digital Communities and Innovative Pilots Funding”, part of their “Digital Tourism Framework Project”. Taking part would also require management time from the Chief Executive, at least four working days per year equivalent, to cover recruitment and management supervision.

Impact on Wikimedia UK’s charitable mission

Apart from travelling costs and a pop-up banner, WMUK has not supported the Welsh Wikipedian community so far; this is an excellent platform to do so. This is an ambitious project which aims for an unprecedented level of Wikimedia-related outreach work among communities in Wales. The detailed Project Plan which Robin has submitted includes, inter alia:

  • Reaching 2,000 articles in English and Welsh (approx 50/50) on subjects related to the Wales Coastal Path
  • Training 180 “Community Champions” to edit Wikipedia articles about their local areas
  • There should be an increase in the number of Wikipedian editors; regular monthly editors at present are at an average of 120-130.
  • Publishing 6,000 bilingual guides to editing Wikipedia
  • Creating new Welsh-language “how to edit Wikipedia” resources, including 10 new videos in Welsh and 10 existing English-language videos being repurposed with subtitles.

As well as these quantifiable outputs from the project, there would be other benefits to us as an organisation. *The proposed “project manager” could in essence become a Wikimedia UK “Wikipedian in Residence in Wales” who would identify and support other outreach programmes in Wales

  • Closer engagement with the Wicipedia (Welsh-language Wikipedia) community
  • Experience of being involved in projects funded by external grant-making bodies
  • Experience of responding to community-led grants
  • Raised profile through a Partnership with the Welsh Government
  • WMUK would probably see an increase in membership
  • We would be seen by Wici Cymru (and her Patrons: the Archbishop of Wales and the actor Rhys Ifans) as well as Welsh Government Ministers as the ‘good guys’ rather than alienating the Welsh community, which could lead to a fracture. Robin has close relationship with Welsh Ministers and has been appointed one of First Minister Leighton Andrew’s advisors.
Details of project and parameters

Here are the actual numbers in the application to the Welsh Government. It envisages matching funding from WMUK. The project aims to train new Wikipedian editors in both Welsh and English. Robin has met the Board over the course of the last year outlining the unique problems they face in Wales and the solutions as outlined in the Development Plan which has been formed by the community on Wici Cymru. This plan noted two weaknesses: lack of editors and lack of high profile publicity.

For more detail Doug and Richard S collated the information onto office

Our £33.5K contribution would cover the "Wikimedian-in-Residence" salary, for 4 and a half days per week, with some on-costs, so compares with our involvement to other projects that have a WiR.

Robin's perspective

It is Robin’s feeling that without our support the project cannot succeed, owing to the essential "match funding" required to make the project work. For every pound contributed by WMUK, the Welsh Government has agreed to contribute £2 (approx) up to £78,000. He recognises that the timetable is very difficult but we came up with the following proposals:

The proposals

That the board consider whether to support the project. That the funding be split between two years, 2013-14 £24K and 2014-15 9.5K or variations therein.

Implementation methods proposed.

The project would be led by a project coordinator (up to £36,000p.a) on a fixed-term contract, who would be responsible for:

  • Managing and reporting the progress of the project
  • Identifying training opportunities with communities along the South Wales Coastal Path and producing training collateral
  • Training would be delivered by Wikimedia trainers. It is envisaged that this would include people who have taken part in Wikimedia UK’s “Train the Trainers” scheme.
Expected project outcomes and timelines
  • Timeline and expected outcomes
Project Delivery risks

1) Project delivery - Risk: Medium Our appetite for risks of this nature: Medium/High This would be the most extensive outreach project Wikimedia UK has been involved with (bigger than Monmouthpedia), and attempting to reach a large number of different communities is an innovation. There is therefore some risk that the project will not meet its goals. However, factors which give us reassurance include:

  • The project is proposed by experienced Wikimedians, who have been previously involved in outreach work (supply details)
  • Many of the techniques proposed for use (local community engagement, delivery of Wikimedia training workshops) have previously been developed through projects like Monmouthpedia and our Train the Trainers programme
  • Payments can be phased on a monthly or quarterly basis and regular reporting requested to minimise risk

2) Reputational issues. Risk: Medium/Low (Low with mitigation). Our appetite for risks of this nature: Low This project does come with some reputational risks;

  • The project may be poorly managed in terms of Wikipedia’s Conflict of Interest and Notability policies resulting in negative community attention. Our assessment is that this is unlikely; the project is likely to be delivered by experienced Wikimedians and the project leader (Robin Owain) has shown considerable understanding of Wikimedia UK’s problems with Gibraltarpedia.
  • Since the project is part-funded by a grant from the Welsh Government’s Tourism department there could be a perception that the whole project is introducing commercial interests to Wikipedia.
Mitigating steps
  • A mitigating step here would be to bring the project closer “in-house” by either using a Wikimedian in Residence contract for the project manager, or making them a Wikimedia UK employee on a fixed-term contract, providing progressively greater levels of direct control over the project.
  • Ensure there are no commercial considerations that would be at odds with our mission involved. The Project’s outcomes, however, do not seem to have any commercial attachments.
  • Ensure that we are not at risk from negative outside perceptions - we would need to ensure that any processes, especially if we fund a WiR are transparent and adhere to good practice.
  • Ensure that there are adequate monitoring processes put in place to ensure proper control of the funds.
  • The project is single point sensitive. If the WiR goes under a bus it will be in jeopardy. However, there are a regular team of 120-130 editors on the Welsh Wikipedia. One option that could be considered is to use part of the Government's funding of trainers to employ a "part-time second in command"
  • Chris and I have spoken to Robin who is happy to accept any conditions we put on the grant including making this a WiR contract.
  • Robin agrees that the post should be open to a proper and fair recruitment process , probably run directly through WMUK but hopefully involving other partners in the project, such as Wici Cymru.
  • This is a project under close scrutiny from the National Assembly for Wales which helps ensure careful scrutiny especially so as European funding is involved. We can expect good reporting standards.
Financial implications

This programme was not budgeted for. However it could be supported with an amended budget as follows;

2013-14 Budget

Welsh budget take £5,000 GLAM technical development £5,000 Predicted underspends e.g. GLAMWIKI, Scotland WiR, University outreach £10,000 Contingency £4,000

2014-15 Budget

To be agreed, £9.5K


That with appropriate safeguards agreed by the board we authorise the CE to proceed.