Project grants/Awaken the Dragon

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Basic information

Flag of Wales
Project Title (If applicable)
Prize and book fund for a national article contest for Wales in March 2016
Proposed by

Dr. Blofeld.

Are you currently a member of Wikimedia UK?
Yes

Project description

Briefly describe the issue or problem that motivates this application. What needs are you meeting?
The number of quality articles wikipedia has for Wales is shockingly low, and there's many stale articles and new articles needing starting, especially on listed buildings. I want to do a trial contest to see if we get results with prizes and better publicity. Something which will literally produce a lot more content for Wales which may even "Awaken the Dragon", a reference to the national flag. There is already significant support for this contest at WikiProject Wales on wikipedia, even from those who might not be swayed by an incentive to edit. The couple of editors who weren't positive seem to worry more about it being another Monmouthpedia than really assessing its possible constructive benefit, which I think can be avoided by placing higher value on core articles. If more points are given to core articles/photographs and quality than any article in general, more participants are less likely to create an abundance of the lower notability articles.
Describe project activities. What will you use the funding to do?
The main prizes are £250 in total, with up to an extra £100-125 needed to get the books for the special prizes section (though not all prizes might be scooped and not all books will cost the maximum cited), so roughly £375 in total: Requesting £250 in Amazon vouchers to cover the giving out of the main prizes for the contest, £150 for first place, £50 for second, £25 for third, £15 for fourth and £10 for fifth. I would strongly advocate a pure points system as we can place a value on certain articles and photographs more than others and the whole contest would be based on number of points and be easier to judge. Extra funding will be needed for the following "bonus" prizes which I believe might motivate editors to go that bit further. The special prizes I propose would be like this:
  • Whoever expands the most articles (minimum 3 kb of readable prose expansion) which contain a stub tag at the time of expansion will be awarded with the 1200-page Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales.
  • Whoever creates the most new articles (minimum 1.5 kb) on Listed buildings in the Missing article hotlist will be awarded with a Pevsner Architectural Guide of the Welsh county of their choice, worth no more than £30.
  • Whoever creates the most new articles on missing Listed Buildings of Pembrokeshire wins the book The Castles of South-West Wales , worth £1.99 on Amazon
  • Whoever photographs the highest number of different Listed buildings in the Missing Photograph hotlist will be awarded with a book about photography or Wales of their choice worth up to £20.
  • The producer of the most start class articles (minimum 1.5 kb) on women biographies in the list will be awarded with the book 100 Great Welsh Women.
  • Get Welsh cuisine to Good Article status and create a reasonably comprehensive List of restaurants in Wales with some brief info about at least 20 of the most notable restaurants and you will be awarded an extra 20 points on top of what you would get for contributing a Good Article and tackling a Level 1 core article and have the choice of a plate of 10 freshly homemade Welsh cakes (UK residents only) or a Welsh cookbook (£0.01 on Amazon), which will be arranged to be sent to your door.

I believe decent prizes are essential for this to lure in new contributors and motivate some of the older editors who have been pretty idle of late, though no doubt a number are happy contributing anyway without reward. The prizes and points system are designed to really target our weak areas in important articles and get them improved. We will draw up banks of articles, core articles and missing articles/articles badly needing improvement and probably devise a points system which will give more kudos to editors who produce work of quality, particularly on core topics. The most points would be given to editors who improve the quality of articles assessed as "Level 1 Core", those core articles on Wales which would highly benefit the site with expansion. The other part of the contest though will be raw content creation and expansion, a destubbing and new article drive, so we basically have a core and stub contest in one. The new articles would have to be minimum 1.5kb of readable prose to stop people creating tons of useless stubs to scoop the prize! To be fair to newbies though who don't yet know what we're looking for for a "good article" we'd need to still make it possible for people to win without contributing good articles or featured articles, giving value to mere expansions of important articles too.

Because the project places highest value on getting articles to Good Article status, and the current backlog is already around 500 articles, I would think an extra £25 or something in Amazon vouchers for the editor who does the most (quality) GA reviews throughout the month, especially on Wales contest entries would also be a good idea. User:Jaguar has expressed an interest in judging or being involved in that, but the issue is that the GA cup also starts in March I think. I really do think we'll need to get articles reviewed fairly quickly after nominating because a month isn't a long time to be able to write multiple articles and wait for them to be promoted.

Describe your plan for evaluating this project. How will you measure success? What types of things will you measure (e.g. content, participants)?

At the beginning of April I would assess the articles produced given during the contest and evaluate what has improved and judge the contest myself. I have a wealth of experience as a reviewer on wikipedia as it is with over 200 good articles and over 100 featured articles reviews and peer reviews to my credit aside from my own similar article output, and am often asked for advice on articles. The success of the project will be assessed by the number of articles which improve during the month, and by the number of participants who produce articles for Wales which might otherwise not bother.

Identify key people involved in this project. How will or could the wider Wikimedian community be involved?

Dr. Blofeld. I would hope that Robin Owain at WMUK, Jason and Ham might also help with the publicity side of things, but the articles would all be judged by me and I would also be given the responsibility to help newbies produce articles on the site.

If applicable, identify partnering organisations for this project (not essential)
NA at present, but always possible Robin, Jason and Ham might attract certain libraries, museums or local councils/press and potential editathons. I think we'd stand a better chance of success the more people who know about it, though there is always the possibility of attracting the wrong sorts and negativity through that. One of the fundamental weaknesses at wikipedia at present I think is the expectation that people will just arrive and produce the quality work we need without compensation. In 15 years the quality of the articles prove that this generally doesn't really happen, so I think we need something which might give people more reason to edit, aside from love of knowledge and building up resources on their local landmarks.

The drawback to publicizing it too much I guess though might be attracting the wrong sorts of contributors and n

What targets have you set? What will you measure?
Ideally to get some of the core articles on Wales up to at least GA status and getting stale old articles improved in general.
What contribution will the project make to our strategic goals?
As above, improving the quality and bulk of content all around, a central mission of Wikimedia.
Who will be recording/measuring the project metrics, and writing up a project report?
I will judge the contest and survey progress but I may need assistance from WMUK members to reduce metrics and a report
What staff support is being requested?
Assistance from Robin Owain in publicizing the event.
How can you get other volunteers involved? What roles could they have?
We might be able to get some assistance in publicizing it and helping quickly train newbies but that's pure speculation at the present. I think we can attract a few editors to produce content for this though.
What meeting or other space is needed?
NA
Are other resources needed (such as computers, books, camera equipment, food, contacts, infrastructure)? How will they be sourced?
Strictly, no, you'd not be expected to freely hand out books and cover travel costs to editathons, everything I would be personally doing myself to run it would be online. However, it would be up to you if you were willing to fund more on top of requested but I think £375 would be a very decent fund as it is.
If any partner organisations have been identified, have they been contacted and are they committed?
Not yet. I did manage to get through to the Heritage lottery Fund and ask them if they were interested but I believe they have a requirement for text licensing and I don't think really understand the nature of this project.
Does this project require more extensive funding? What would any WMUK funds be used for?
Nothing other than possible books which may be requested for use by editors and editors possibly who may need assistance for travel to any physical editathons should they be a part of this, but it's intended to be solely online from my perspective at least.
Are external funds needed that we can apply for? If so where will they be sought?
NA
Are there any resources that you can contribute? Such as equipment.
I will contribute my own article assessing expertise and experience in running the contest but can't see how I could help with books or equipment. I of course would make the cakes for the Welsh cuisine one though LOL.

Aside from this of course I have an ongoing Golden Hollywood project grant which has already had success with the Frank Sinatra article lot and Maureen O'Hara, but I intend that to be long term and numerous biographies addressed. I will try to resume with the Cary Grant biography which I currently have three books for during the next month. With a well-organized contest I believe we can really get the content that we badly need and it's worth doing a trial to see if it's attractive or not. I believe that the central mission of wikimedia is to make quality information freely available to the public, and that anything which might improve the quality and coverage of the resource on articles which are deemed "core" or get significant traffic this will really benefit a lot of people long term. Of course the overall idea is to get articles improved and to give people some sort of motivation to do it. Obviously everybody who participates can't "win" the contest but it might make editing fun and exciting during the month.

Discussion

A week has passed. Anybody?

Hey Blofeld, there might be potential for some overlap here with my war memorials project. I'm writing lots of articles about war memorials and Chris and I are looking at putting in a grant request to drive round and photograph some of the most significant. I've mostly been focusing on England, partly because it's an extension of my interest in Lutyens and the vast majority of his memorials are in England and partly because Historic England's database is online and searchable. I'm certainly not averse to expanding the scope to cover Wales, and a project to go out and take photos of significant memorials in some of the more remote parts of Wales could get you a lot more photos than otherwise. It would be great if we could get hold of Cadw's database though, or better still get them to put it online like HE's. Harry Mitchell (talk) 16:27, 4 February 2016 (GMT)

Hello HJ Mitchell. March is going to be a very busy month for everybody on there haha! I've included a women's history focus but I can certainly include a war memorials focus. Perhaps WMUK could give a book prize for whoever photographs the most war memorials in Wales/writes the highest number of quality articles? Things like this are great I think when projects and editathons mutually support each other. The book prize for war memorials for Wales could be a book of the editor's choice up to £20 on Amazon or something. I think encouraging people to buy books is good because it encourages content creation at a later date. You and anybody you know is welcome to participate in the editathon, even if prizes are not your thing. Perhaps we could combine grant requests and overlap on Wales with this? Something which support editors driving through Wales and photographing war memorials and monuments? If there was funding to cover travel costs travelling England/Wales for war memorial photos it could also cover listed buildings when in Wales, so whatever village you pass through we'd also benefit with a few photos on listed buildings too?Dr. Blofeld (talk) 20:54, 4 February 2016 (GMT)

@HJ, I've started mentioning photographing war memorials at here. Feel free to elaborate there on what is needed and try to do something which may get us a lot of war memorial photographs! If there is a list you've compiled on wiki of needed photographs linked it there too.Dr. Blofeld (talk) 21:13, 4 February 2016 (GMT)

OK, we're now 18 days in and only 13 days left. I had expected some discussion to unfold already about the budget and the bonus prizes and all that. We do need some time to publicize this!Dr. Blofeld (talk) 10:45, 15 February 2016 (GMT)

I'm going to run the contest anyway now, we have 15 odd participants already, and a lot of work has gone into drawing up article banks by a number of people who want this to happen. So even if WMUK feel unwilling to support this initial one it's not a big problem, especially as half the people who have signed up would rather not win anything for their efforts anyway. There's a lot of interest for this sort of thing across wikipedia, beyond myself. But I do think we would get better results with a good prize and bonuses and it would give it a fair chance as just a trial to see what works and what doesn't. If WMUK would feel better just stepping back on this initial one and see how it goes then I'd be fine with that. I'll come up with some prizes myself, like Welsh cakes ;-) If you genuinely need a few more weeks to get around to discussing this and making a decision we could possibly put it back to April, as I don't want anything to feel rushed or pressured. I had thought a month was enough time, but I appreciate that people are busy. We'll see where things are this time next week anyway.Dr. Blofeld (talk) 16:00, 16 February 2016 (GMT)

This proposal seems well founded to me. I like the creativity behind the prizes i.e. offering books as well as vouchers. I do wonder if a £375 budget may be a little excessive and some trimming here and there may be appropriate e.g. I think a £100 voucher for first place is sufficient. However, as you point out, the books can probably gotten for a lower price than indicated and not all prizes may be won, and the outcomes for this contest could be very strong, so the budget doesn't really concern me. I'm not sure what's happening right now in regards to Wikimedia UK approval, but this proposal has my support. CT Cooper · talk 01:59, 17 February 2016 (GMT)

Input much appreciated CT Cooper. Basically I wanted to do a trial with a fairly decent amount to attract possible new contributors and give things like bonus prizes for doing certain things to make it more exciting. I thought £150 might be attractive enough to get more people to contribute, that bit more than £100 to start to make people start to notice this. What I want is to see what attracts people and what doesn't. It may be that the majority aren't lured by the Amazon voucher and would do it anyway. We can lower it to £100 and allocate the other £50 to books but I want to see how things work with a decent first prize first. It depends how the contest goes and what motivates and what doesn't. Possibly it needn't even be a points contest but just a few dozen smaller prizes for doing certain articles or tasks. I do think a larger reward and a points system with higher points given to certian core articles will maximise the chances of them being worked on though. It's a trial and error, we might need another contest and do it the smaller prize way and see how that works. Either way I think this could really be productive, and even now editors have begun contributing to things, the Roald Dahl bibliography was started and is now a featured list candidate.

These things are indeed hard to gauge, so I'm happy to accept the current prize allocation as it is to see what happens. CT Cooper · talk 21:11, 22 February 2016 (GMT)

This has taken a lot longer than I thought it would need. Also more time is needed to really draw up the missing article lists and publicize this with reasonable time in advance. I think we'll set this back to April now. Ideally this will be approved by mid next month to allow time to publicize it. Do you think you can manage that?Dr. Blofeld (talk) 15:05, 22 February 2016 (GMT)

I can't say when exactly this project will be approved as I don't have control of that part of the process. However, most panel members have now commented (whether here or by e-mail), so a final decision shouldn't be far away now. CT Cooper · talk 21:11, 22 February 2016 (GMT)

Approval

Based on the recommendation from the Grants Committee, the budget holder has approved £250 to support this grant.

15:56, 23 February 2016 (GMT)

Feedback from the evaluation panel

  • "Sounds really good in terms of investment in time and resources, and the person proposing seems to have gone ahead and done most of it already so definitely worth supporting."
  • "This is great, very much a yes from me, although would suggest an alternative to Amazon vouchers if possible."
  • "This proposal seems well founded to me. I like the creativity behind the prizes i.e. offering books as well as vouchers. I do wonder if a £375 budget may be a little excessive and some trimming here and there may be appropriate e.g. I think a £100 voucher for first place is sufficient. However, as you point out, the books can probably gotten for a lower price than indicated and not all prizes may be won, and the outcomes for this contest could be very strong, so the budget doesn't really concern me. I'm not sure what's happening right now in regards to Wikimedia UK approval, but this proposal has my support."

Prize fund of £250

That;'s great guys. The reason why I think Amazon vouchers are important is because it gives editors the chance to buy a book of their own choice which potentially could be further used to build content on wikipedia. OK, here's what we'll need for the prizes.

  • £100 Amazon voucher 1st place
  • £50 Amazon voucher 2nd place.
  • The 1200-page Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales for whoever expands the most articles (minimum 3 kb of readable prose expansion) which contain a stub tag at the time of expansion.
  • A Pevsner Architectural Guide of a Welsh county of choice, worth no more than £30, for whoever creates the most new articles (minimum 1.5 kb) on Listed buildings in the Missing article hotlist.
  • A book about photography or Wales of choice worth up to £20 for whoever photographs the highest number of different Listed buildings in the Missing Photograph hotlist.
  • The book 100 Great Welsh Women for whoever produces the most start class articles (minimum 1.5 kb) and expansions (minimum 3kb) on women biographies.
  • A £20 Amazon voucher for the person who does the most/best quality Wikipedia:Good article reviews of Wales contest articles during the month.
  • A plate of 20 freshly homemade Welsh cakes (UK residents only) or The Little Welsh Cookbook to whoever gets Welsh cuisine to Good Article status and creates a reasonably comprehensive List of restaurants in Wales with some brief info about at least 20 of the most notable restaurants.

That should work out roughly £250, though depends on the Pevsner book, most seem to be between £20 and £25. Might be slightly more if postage is put up or whatever though of course not all prizes might be claimed. The two set book prizes are the Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales and 100 Great Welsh Women which you can get as soon as you can (the prices vary a bit over time). I think it would be more productive for the building contestants to have the choice of county they want a book for, and for photographers to have their own book choice, which will be sorted out after the contest. Oh and I'll make the Welsh cakes of course ;-) Dr. Blofeld (talk) 16:32, 23 February 2016 (GMT)


Final report

The Awaken the Dragon project was formally created on January 29, 2016. After weeks of gradual preparation, including the drawing up a core article list, it gained momentum in March with several WP:Wales members contributing some fine material. The contest began on April 1 and ended on May 2, extended slightly to include the Bank Holiday. Though the initial contest has ended, it was so successful and such a positive thing for Wales that we want to keep it running even in the "off season", to allow people to continue to add articles to the list, albeit at a slower pace. I believe all of the prizes have been accounted for now, which in total amounted to slightly over £250 as agreed in the WMUK proposal.

To put it mildly, the grant directly achieved a tremendous amount for Wikipedia. In little more than a month we saw 1,065 new and improved articles, 150 core article improvements, 61 Good Articles, and 4 Featured Articles and Lists. Once the contest got underway I gradually gained an insight into what works best and found that some of the planned prizes, such as one for photography, were best put into prizes for most GAs and for destubbing articles. We had very few photographs being uploaded so that was one of the main reasons for altering the distribution of the funds slightly. The use of the some of the funds towards destubbing articles proved successful, with well over 100 articles destubbed throughout the entire contest. As the contest proceeded I came up with new ideas for creating and improving content, inventing some "games" such as "Stub Obliteration" for destubbing, "Wales in Red" for a weekend of new article creation and "Core Attack", directed at improving articles on the core list. All of them were successful, though the complex scoring system devised to get editors to tackle the really important articles at times seriously tested the contestants who often had to rethink their contest strategies to obtain the maximum amount of points. Having tested a few mechanisms for producing content I have gained a great insight into what works, and to be more efficient in running future ones. Everything ran well, but for future contests I would strongly lean towards a simplified scoring system, if none at all, one which is based more on article count in each field of editing. It makes it easier for everybody, though I think some of the more exotic scoring methods are still needed on certain core articles to really get editors to tackle them, and the scoring did make it more challenging.

We've never seen anything of the level of sophistication that Awaken the Dragon has on Wikipedia before in terms of content improvement. It really was the first contest on Wikipedia to produce such a range of high quality content from all subjects and from across Wales. This model for content improvement proved to be an enormous success given the relative lack of numbers participating, and I think demonstrates that if you provide the right setting and give an incentive through a financial reward and points it can make cleaning up even the most mundane of articles enjoyable for people.

I strongly urge other people to replicate what has been done with Dragon. We're already seeing this developing for the West Country. Eventually I can see contests like these running more globally in countries like the Philippines and India. I would like to run ones targeting the project's weakest areas in terms of area like Africa and Brazil and on a range of subjects, including a "Golden Hollywood" one, for subjects which personally interest me. Through such a system, given time, I genuinely think we could make a vast difference to the overall quality of Wikipedia and literally devise a way to improve the whole site if you had enough contests. But to be successful I think Wikimedia needs to start funding more into schemes like these for direct content-related projects and doing something to increase editorial participation. With more people on board, and scaled to the rest of the UK, Europe and globally, this sort of project has staggering potential, and I do hope that it's something that Wikimedia will start to embrace and be a bit more adventurous with.

Stats

No. of participants/contestants = 52

No. of core article improvements = 150

No. of articles created = 675

No. of articles improved = 390, of which 228 were originally stubs

No. bytes added = 10,243,036

No. of edits = 9,402

Featured articles = 4

Good articles = 61