Message from a Trustee - Ashley Van Haeften (Fæ)
2013 Wikimedia Conference
Our Chair, Chris, Chief Executive, Jon and I were at the annual Wikimedia Conference in Milan in mid-April. Fellow trustee Mike joined the conference midway, in his role on the Funds Dissemination Committee, and our Wikimania 2014 bid team were represented by Ed and James. We found there was a lot of interest in the UK chapter experience of improving our governance and how we managed the issues last year. Chris gave a popular summary session on the results of the UK Governance review, with the feedback that many other chapters had already benefited from considering these recommendations as part of reviewing their own processes (such as thinking again about the value of co-opting trustees and whether they should have independent committees looking at governance).
I arrived a day early for the conference, needing to join a meeting as the UK representative on the Wikimedia Chapters Association Council. Having been the first Chair of the Association, this was my official hand-over to Markus Glaser (WMDE) as the newly elected Chair, and I was gratified to receive a tin of stroopwafels as my retirement gift to mark the occasion. An interesting decision was to offer representation in the Association to the developing Thematic Organizations (thorgs), something that I had been quietly pushing for in the background, as one of my other hats during the conference was as a co-founder of Wikimedia LGBT, itself a proposed thorg. I gave a workshop on the practicalities of inter-chapter peer review, which turned out to be popular and this later became a subject strongly encouraged during the WMF board Q&A session, with my example peer review with Wikimedia Estonia being seen as a significant step forward for the benefits we might expect of having the WCA. There is now an inter-group exchange page on meta where folks can offer and suggest activities of inter-group interest.
Related to the peer review initiative, I raised a well supported proposal to run a session to share governance training of interest to the Wikimedia movement at the Hong Kong Wikimania in August, though it may be a preliminary day. As we have a track record of planning the induction and training of trustees, members of WMUK may be pleased to know that our chapter is seen as one of the leaders in this area of best practice board governance.
Members can read more about the newly created Wikimedia UK Governance Committee which will advise the Board on governance best practice
Hello from the Office - Daria Cybulska
Daria joined the Chapter as Events Organiser in February 2012, and has recently been re-titled 'Programme Manager' to recognise her expanded role overseeing outreach. Here she writes about delivering the highly successful GLAM Wiki conference on the 12th and 13th of April...
It is easy to assume that people and organisations we engage with as a Charity are aware of everything there is to know about Wikipedia - in the end everyone uses it and knows what it is for! The focus of my role, though, is to prepare, run and evaluate a range of events - training sessions, workshops, conferences, camps, editing events. Why would we put so much effort into running these, if seemingly we don’t need to promote what Wikipedia is?
The thing is, most people and organisations who value knowledge sharing don't actually know how to engage with Wikipedia and its sister projects, why and how to edit Wikipedia. They may not even be aware that what they believe in is so close to what Wikimedia UK does.
I ran the GLAM-Wiki 2013 conference in April at the British Library (GLAM stands for Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums, a range of cultural institutions we are keen to co-operate with). This event brought Wikimedians and GLAMs together to share their experiences, and to inspire any representatives of cultural institutions interested in a partnership with Wikimedia UK.
Wikipedians (volunteers editing Wikipedia) who work on GLAM-related Wikipedia articles and other content are people who want to spread the information about the cultural heritage that the institutions have. The GLAMs are looking for ways of spreading their information in the widest possible way, so that everyone can partake and benefit from the openness.
It sounds like a perfect match, and indeed over the three days of the conference, with over 150 people attending, Wikimedia UK has facilitated an impressive ideas exchange. We are starting to look at the evaluation of the event, but it was clear from the start that the conference centre at the British Library was buzzing with possible projects, case studies shared, new approaches. Such a creative atmosphere would not be possible without bringing so many dedicated people together in a physical space. We will be following up on many of the ideas generated, picking up new cultural projects. I am very proud of being able to contribute to such a successful event, and looking forward to organising many more in the future.
If you are interested in knowing more about GLAM projects, why not subscribe to the on-wiki newsletter 'This Month in GLAM'?
Extraordinary General Meeting - The results are in!
An extraordinary general meeting was held on the 13th April for members to vote on proposal relating to the Chapter's governance
Members may recall in the March newsletter our Trustee Doug Taylor explaining the ways that the changes would affect the charity's governance if passed.
Through a combination of proxy voting and attendance on the day, all three resolutions were passed as follows:
- Motion 1 Increasing the number of Directors to 11: 59 For, 3 Against
- Motion 2 Changing the composition of the board to include cooped Trustees: 56 For, 6 Against
- Motion 3 Changing the voting system to elect Trustees to Standard Transferable Voting: 53 For, 9 Against.
This means that the Charity will now seek to expand the number of Trustees that sit on its board through a mixure of election using STV and co-option by elected board members of individuals thought to fill any skills gap identified in the board. The opportunity to stand for election will be issued in a notice to all members in May prior to the Annual General Meeting in Lincon on 8th/9th June. Members who would like to express interest in standing should keep their eye out for the call for nominations, and in the meantime feel free to email membershipwikimedia.org.uk with any questions.
Final note, to be involved in the AGM proceedings, either as a candidate or as a member voting on Trustee positions, your membership must be valid! If in doubt, check your membership term date and status in the footer of your newsletter email - if it is 'grace' then renew now to avoid any hassle in the nomination or voting processes over the next few months.
If you need to renew your membership you can do so quickly using our online form here or by emailing membershipwikimedia.org.uk to find out other ways to pay.
Focus on meetups - Manchester
Deskana writes about attending different meetups...
Having spent just shy of five years not attending Wikipedia meetups, in February I had the pleasure of attending the seventh Liverpool meetup in the standard venue of The Richard John Blackler. I decided to bring along a friend who had never edited Wikipedia before as he enjoys trips out. After he got talking to two of the attendees, Bazonka and RexxS, I discovered he had signed up and made his first edit! It was great to meet new people, and put some faces to names that I'd previously only ever seen online. The atmosphere of the meetup was very relaxed and welcoming.
The seventeenth Manchester meetup at the start of April proved to be much more dynamic. We all agreed to try a new venue, The Briton's Protection, near the Bridgewater Hall. I arrived at the pub eagerly awaiting my lunch only to discover that they don't serve food on weekends! After a few pints, we agreed to move on. A brief consult with the landlord of The Briton's Protection lead us to The Waterhouse near the town hall, but it was too busy for us to find a table to seat all of us. So, it was proposed that we try a nearby pub that we were familiar with: the standard venue of The Sir Ralph Abercrombie! We settled into our usual spot, ate lunch, and chatted about topics ranging from the Grand National (which was on the television) to an an upcoming training event in Oldham.
Due to the broad range of people that attend the meetups, one is able to get quite a unique perspective from attending them. The experience level of the attendees ranges from people who have never edited all the way to Wikimedia UK board trustees, Wikimedia Foundation Ombudsmen, and members of the English Wikipedia Arbitration Committee. I would strongly encourage anyone interested in Wikipedia to come to a local meetup, whatever your experience level is. There will be a first Nottingham meetup on Sunday 21st May, and for the Scots among us, the first Glasgow meetup will also be happening on the same day, and I'll be travelling from Manchester to attend it. Come along!
If you want to attend a meetup soon, have a look at our Events page, and keep people updated by emailing membershipwikimedia.org.uk to share the experience in a future newsletter!
Members micro-grant - KFC
I have always been interested in fast food brands: there’s just something about their excellent branding, international ubiquity and unexceptionally disappointing food that just fascinates me. Due to a lack of academic interest and large marketing budgets of the chains, there is a lot of misinformation as well as a basic lack of knowledge about these companies, which is something that I sought to correct with the KFC page. The Colonel Sanders mascot is one of the most recognisable images in the world. Not many people know that Sanders was a real person. I had expected Sanders to be a cynical, money grabbing capitalist, but he turned out to be nothing of the sort: the man was an artist and a perfectionist regarding the food that was served from outlets which, after all, had *his* face on them.
I was able to get KFC to Good Article status through newspaper articles and Google Books. Unfortunately progress to FA status was hindered by my lack of book sources. The books I needed were incredibly niche, and I would have had to travel to the British Library in order to read them. As I live in the North of England this wasn’t really plausible.
I can’t remember how I found out about Wikimedia UK microgrants, but it was possibly though reviewing GA/FA nominations. My application was responded to quickly. I thought the debate was reasonable and fair. There is a finite amount of grant money to go around after all and it makes sense to see it spent wisely.
I read all of the books within a matter of days. I have already updated the KFC page as much as I can using the materials, but the books I received have given me source material to improve other pages such as the Colonel Sanders page and the Jack C Massey page. So really my application is still a work in progress. I think the KFC page is now ready to apply for FA status, which I will nominate it for once my current pending nomination for a different article has been reviewed.
You can see some of the edits already made as a result of this microgrant at the diff here
We have the Technology (committee)
For some time for Wikimedia UK there had been an aspiration for the Charity to support more software development work on behalf of the wikimedia movement, but uncertainty about how to deliver this in a focused way while drawing in all the experience and knowledge in the wider wikimedian community.
Since November 2012 the Chapter has employed two technical contractors to work on the infrastructure that supports the chapter's operational delivery, but now the newly formed Technology Committee is looking to the future and ways of supporting projects with a community focus. At the most recent meeting in April discussions ranged from moving the hosting this Wiki onto the Chapter's servers, the development and implementation of the Visual Learning Environment to help people learn how to edit, and the support and longer term strategy of implementing the QRpedia software for the whole movement.
The committee is open to all, and members with experience of either software development or implementing development projects would be very welcome. Meetings are generally held by teleconference and are currently fairly informal, with a chair chosen at the beginning of the meeting and an agenda developed on-wiki in the weeks prior to the meeting. The next meeting will be held on the evening of the 8th June as an in-person meeting at the Lincoln AGM - probably with a pint of beer to hand. Do consider joining us - anyone is welcome to observe if they would just like to here more about how the Chapter is starting to support this type of outreach.
Five year plan - process continues
Members might recall in the last newsletter the update about the strategy open day held at the Wikimedia UK open offices, which was a great opportunity to get some input into the Chapter's forming five year plan. Thanks again to all who came!
However, the plan is not finalised, and there is still plenty of opportunity for members across the UK to participate in questioning, writing and shaping the future for the Chapter. A good place to start is watching the introductory presentation made by our Chief Executive, Jon Davies at the strategy day itself - you can watch it here
Following that you can share your thoughts directly on the talk page for the draft plan itself, attend a meetup in your area where copies of the draft plan will be available, or attend our members AGM which will be held in Lincoln on the 8th/9th and will include a session dedicated to discussing the final draft of the plan before presenting to the board to approve.
In short, lots of chances still to have your say and make sure the direction of travel is one you would wish to see for your chapter in the coming years.