Water cooler

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Welcome to the water cooler
This is a place to find out what is happening and to discuss our external projects and activities. Feel free to suggest ideas that could help our charitable mission or ask questions about how you can help. To discuss the inner workings of the charity, head over to the engine room.
WMUK Grants programme - a piece of cake?
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Applying for a grant is easy.

If Wikimedia UK can help you improve Wikimedia projects, check out our grants page.

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2015

Pelican Books donates reference E-books for Wikipedians[edit | edit source]

We are delighted to announce that Pelican has given us 50 free Ebooks for Wikimedians to use. Applications are open now, details are on a page on the Wikipedia Library. Giving reference books to Wikipedians is one of the most practical ways to improve Wikipedia, and we are delighted to have Pelican's support in this. Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 15:01, 26 November 2014 (GMT)

The charity's plans for 2015[edit | edit source]

The WMUK board's regular two-day strategy overview meeting was held in Cambridge last weekend. This is the time of year when we focus on future plans and we were joined by our interim CEO, D’Arcy Myers, who provided us with fresh perspectives from the point of view of a relative newcomer.

The minutes of the meeting are being prepared, and should be available within the next week, but the board felt that it would be useful to publish a guide to the broad challenges that face us, and how we are tackling them.

One of the tasks of the meeting was to review the third quarter financial report, which included a consideration of the full impact of Wikimania. The WMUK office ended up playing a larger role than had originally been anticipated, and the charity's costs on both staff and Wikimania-related programmes in the third quarter of the year has been significantly higher than anticipated. At the same time, the Funds Distribution Committee of the Wikimedia Foundation has indicated that it will not recommend granting WMUK the full amount we requested for the 2015-16 financial year.

These factors mean that the board needs to review our plans for the coming year in the light of the reduced funds available to us, and to ensure that in spite of financial constraints our reserves are not allowed to drop to an unacceptably low level.

It is inevitable that over the next year the charity will need significantly to reduce its direct expenditure, both on overheads and on programmes, and over the next few weeks our CEO will be working on his recommendations for a detailed action plan to achieve that. The focus will be not on 'business as usual' and salami-slicing our existing expenditure, but on the opportunity we have to re-direct our energies towards those programmes that are most able to provide us with high charitable impact when weighed against the resources required (direct costs, staff costs, number of willing and skilled volunteers available and so on).

We need to prioritise, and to accept that we no longer have the luxury of being able to support highly-resourced programmes that do not provide a commensurate level of direct charitable impact when measured against our strategic goals. There are an almost infinite number of useful free knowledge projects we could be involved in, including many which are directly aligned with our goals.  But we have to have the courage to turn projects down and acknowledge that our charitable aims are best met by doing a limited number of projects exceptionally well than accepting a multitude of ideas that we don't have the resources to follow up on.

Of course, the resources available to us are not fixed, and we will be making significant directed efforts to increase both volunteer resources and also locally-sourced finance via UK-based fundraising and gifts in kind. The extent to which we are able to accept and support project ideas for which we have insufficient core funding is likely to depend on whether the project has a sufficiently large and skilled group of enthusiastic volunteers who are able to lead and run it with minimal staff help, and whether it is of interest to external grant-makers who can be persuaded to cover the non-core costs.

Once the CEO has a draft action plan and 2015-16 budget prepared, they will be shared with the community for comment and suggestions before coming to the board for approval of a financially sustainable package of activities geared to achieving our agreed strategy. We are happy to accept general questions on this, but of course we can't discuss anything relating to internal HR or staffing issues. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 07:19, 17 December 2014 (GMT) for the board.

Volunteer Strategy Gathering Data[edit | edit source]

During the Volunteer Strategy Gathering, John Cummings led a workshop where participants provided all sorts of information on post it notes. This information had been collated and put into some sort of order. This now available as JPGs here. It would be great if you could look through the data and join in the discussion on the talk page. The more people who help with this, the clearer we can get about what we want out of the follow up Volunteer Strategy Gathering/February 2015. Fabian Tompsett (WMUK) (talk) 16:49, 8 January 2015 (GMT)

Harassment and Gender Gap: looking for a solution at the IdeaLab[edit | edit source]

"While Wikimedia projects are rightly criticized for failing to achieve gender diversity, it is less recognized in Wikimedia discussions that other online communities are similarly having gender diversity problems and that editors perceived as non-male in any online volunteer collaborative project also experience heightened risk of discrimination and harassment. To some extent, the problem goes beyond Wikimedia projects and is inherent in the act of groups meeting in virtual spaces."

This is from a contribution to the IdeaLab on Meta Human resources sharing in the open movement. Making the Wikimedian community more welcoming, particularly to female editors, is one of the strands to emerge from the Volunteer Strategy Gathering 1 (VSG1). I think putting the issue in the broader context of other online communities may be useful.

Another initiative on the IdeaLab is WikiProject Women: "There is currently no space on Wikipedia where a woman can go and be sure that she'll be able to participate in discussions without being dominated by men's voices. Wikipedia needs a place where women can feel safer and not always overwhelmed by male advice, criticism, and explanations." There is quite a long discussion, particularly on the talk page, which anyone interested in this topic would benefit from having a look at. Fabian Tompsett (WMUK) (talk) 14:32, 15 January 2015 (GMT)

Looking for feedback on my funding proposal to work with UNESCO[edit | edit source]

Hi all

I’m looking for feedback and endorsement for my Wikimedia Foundation PEG grant to be Wikimedian in Residence at UNESCO. I’d very much appreciate if you would have a look, the most relevant objectives to Wikimedia UK are:

1. Train UNESCO and its partner organisations to contribute to Wikimedia projects: Provide UNESCO and its partners with the skills, tools, resources and connections to contribute to Wikimedia projects in a meaningful, measurable and sustainable way. To integrate into the Wikimedia community both online and by matching them with local Wikimedia organisations and volunteers for in person support and collaboration. The project will create and improve content receiving 100,000,000 views per year on Wikimedia projects, educate 1000 people in over 200 organisations to learn more about Wikimedia projects. This will include 500 newly registered users trained to contribute to Wikimedia projects and 500 articles formally reviewed by experts.
2. Make content from the archives of UNESCO and its partners available on Wikimedia projects: This project will facilitate the upload of 30,000 images, audio files, videos, data and other content to Wikimedia projects from UNESCO archives (24,000 images), UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and other sources including 10 organisations changing their content license to be Wikimedia compatible, a completed pilot project is outlined in the Goal section.

I ran a pilot project that resulted in the images found in the Wikimedia Commons category Images from the archive of UNESCO, here are a few examples:

If you think this is a worthwhile project please click this link and then click the endorse button.

Many thanks

Mrjohncummings (talk) 22:06, 25 January 2015 (GMT)

Postponement of volunteer strategy day[edit | edit source]

Wikimedia UK has reluctantly decided to postpone the volunteer strategy day which was scheduled for Saturday 28 February. This will now happen later in the year. The primary reason for this postponement is that there is more value to the charity and its volunteers in holding the event later in the year when a budget will be in place, when the charity has a new CEO and any pending structural or other changes to the staff team have taken effect.

The event represents a significant investment of volunteer time and effort and so it is appropriate that we value that time respectfully. Like all other resources, volunteer time is limited and we do not wish to leave anyone feeling that their time was wasted because the event took place too soon.

Please do be assured that conversations that may have happened at the gathering will still take place. The charity is still very keen to consult with the volunteers and members on the proposed topics (and any others, of course) but for the time being these will be focused online rather than in person. We are looking at hosting regular group conversations online, either by Google Hangout, Skype or conference call. More information about the practical details will be made available presently.

Q: Why was the event postponed when it is only three weeks away?
A: We feel that the event will be more helpful later in the year. There will be more substantial matters upon which volunteers can have a meaningful influence. Furthermore, the new chief executive will be in post and they will welcome the chance to engage with as many members of the community as possible.
Q: When will the new event take place?
A: We are working on the basis that the next volunteer strategy gathering will take place in September. This will give the new CEO plenty of time to establish themself in the new role and have an understanding of our community and the charity's needs.
Q: What about the topics up for discussion?
A: The postponement will allow these conversations to be developed, with the Wikimedia UK Wiki, being the primary channel for this. We are also piloting using the Education Program Extension at the Cinema Museum editathon, Saturday 7th March and are looking at other opportunities to gain some experience. If you would like to participate piloting the Education Program Extension, or have some other innovation that you would like to see tested please contact: fabian.tompsett@wikimedia.org.uk
Q: I have already booked my travel. What happens to my ticket?
A: If you are able to get a refund, please do so. However if a full refund is not possible, please send us the documentation and we will ensure that you are not out of pocket.

For all inquiries regarding the ongoing development of our volunteer strategy, including the future gathering, please contact fabian.tompsett(at)wikimedia.org.uk

From Vietnam to Aberystwyth[edit | edit source]

(Edit-a-thon at the National Library of Wales)

Just a heads-up please to all admires of the Magnum Photographer Philip Jones Griffiths' work, one of the few Welsh Internationals in this field. Jason Evans, the new Wikipedian in Resident at the National Library, will host an edit-a-thon of Welsh photographers whose work are held at the Library; this includes Philip Jones Griffiths and John Thomas. More details can be found here. Images unavailable to the public will be available for Wikipedians. Can anyone suggest a way to bring Griffiths' worldwide admirers into the fold, maybe using video conferencing on the day? Other suggestions would be appreciated. Robin Owain (WMUK) (talk) 21:08, 14 February 2015 (GMT)