Meetups/Wikimania Scholarships

From Wikimania 2012 • Washington, D.C., USA

Wikimania Scholarships MeetUp

Date and time: Friday, July 13, 14:30-15:10
Location: 1st floor room with all the tables!

The Wikimania Scholarships MeetUp is a time to reassess the process for allocating scholarship funding for Wikimania so that we enable a great group of people to attend Wikimania every year!

For the general scholarships process, see the Wikimania handbook on scholarships. For information on the 2012 Scholarship process, see the WMF blog post.

In particular, we will want to discuss:

  • The composition of the Scholarship review committee
  • The process for selecting committee members
  • The distribution of scholarships
  • Communication with the local communities
  • 1st floor in the room labeled "additional seating" (the one with all the tables and green chairs)


  1. Jwild (talk) 22:58, 6 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Viswaprabha (talk) 23:26, 6 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  3. 06:33, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
  4. --Manuel Schneider (talk) 07:54, 7 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  5. --Lyzzy (talk) 21:23, 7 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Polimerek (talk) 18:32, 8 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Srikeit (talk) 16:47, 12 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Laurentius (talk) 15:00, 13 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  9. Cotton - 15:00, 13 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  10. Mike Peel (talk) 16:00, 13 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  11. Namayan (talk) 01:27, 26 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Proposals and notes

If you want to discuss something, please add your idea below:

  • I think this session is a good idea, but obviously not everyone that has been involved in the scholarships process this year will be able to attend. Therefore, I hope allowances will be made for further feedback to be received on the feedback page post-conference (like last year), and that any final decisions on changes do not occur until such feedback has been received and digested. CT Cooper · talk 16:18, 7 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I'm sure there will be a period of additional feedback, especially for scholarships, as well as all other aspects of Wikimania and how we might make things work better in the future. Cheers Aude (talk) 16:24, 7 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Yes! Absolutely we would not expect the whole of scholarships to be fixed in one coffee session :) We'll be sure to capture notes/ideas on Meta, and continue the conversation there, and we will also conduct a follow-up survey specifically regarding the scholarship process just like last year. Jwild (talk) 13:37, 11 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Minimum One scholarship per country and additional minimum one scholarship per established chapter to be determined by local chapter board (which makes it two for countries with chapter and one for no incorporated chapter). --Exec8 (talk) 14:42, 8 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Chapter Scholarships: Try to establish a fixed procedure how they work.
    • in 2011 we have had a good cooperation with the Wikimania organisers and sholarship team:
      1. each chapter received early a list of all applicable applications (those of the respective country) and did the final scoring / decision
      2. the chapters' decision was fed back to the scholarship committee so they had a chance to consider those applications which have not been choosen by the chapters
      3. the chapters took care of their choosen applications - confirmed the acceptance, handled reimbursments / bookings etc.
      4. the rejections were handled by the scholarship committee as they still had the opportunity to accept applications which had not been taken over by chapters
    • ideally the chapters receive their list of applications just a few days after the closing of the applications and the scholarship committee has filtered out obvious spam
    • if time is available it would be helpful to enhance the scholarship application tool to allow special accounts for chapter scholarship agents

--Manuel Schneider (talk) 15:11, 8 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

  • Timeline and Process: There should be a schedule and a process for the scholarship committee that is independant of the actual Wikimania organisation as the work is the same each year.
    • the scholarships applications need to start early to be able to finish early
    • the application tool should be the same and just amended if needed to avoid "reinventing the wheel" every year again. For many years the code was handled by very few people, now it is more or less public and available but still organising teams tend to do their own thing again, even after Wikimedia CH and Wikimedia Israel had a good cooperation on hosting the website and reworking the code, eg. adding translations. There is still a lot to do but this doesn't get done if we start from scratch every year. Instead the available code basis should be used and enhanced or, if there is better code around, replaced completely which will be available again for every organising team each year.
    • The team and the process should be defined on Meta (hint: Wikimania Handbook), as the Wikimania Jury the Scholarship Committee should start independantly of the organising team early each year and stick to a fixed schedule to make the process smoother and give more reliability to the applicants and make sure approvals are published early enough that everyone has a fair chance to arrange visa.

--Manuel Schneider (talk) 15:11, 8 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Meeting notes

These are as taken by Jessie. If you were in attendance and feel they are lacking or mis-represented, edit away!

Proposal - Coordinate Scholarship selection with Program selection
  • Program submission process not matching with the scholarship process
  • We want to give presenters the opportunity to apply for scholarships and not miss the chance
  • Caution: scholarships are not just for established participants - Wikimania is a highly motivating event, and there is great benefit for newer users to come!
Proposal - 2013 relationship with the Wikimania Team
  • fully backing the work
  • Incredibly important to sync the timelines
  • Combining leaders of Programs and Scholarships
    • Simon leading both programs and scholarships, and Deryk is helping
  • Moving the public repository over
Proposal - Design a new way to form the scholarship committee
  • Composition:
    • Staggered terms for members so that new people don't repeat any mistakes from the past but also so that they don't burn out
    • rotate the members
    • 8-10 individuals
  • Rating process
    • Assign individuals to review specific geographies
      • Note: 2013 there will be a lot more applications from Asia (due to location of conference)!
      • allow different people from different geographies to be on the different panels
      • Caution: there needs to be a balance of reviewers so that they aren't biased by how much they know and how much they don't know
  • Final decision (see proposal below)
    • Suggestion: the organization who is giving out the money is the one with the final decision
    • Suggestion: there be a "pre-screen" by the locals
Proposal - process for rating application
  1. Separate applications by geography
  2. Send applications to local chapters to pre-screen
  3. Send to board to make recommendations
  4. Recommendations are sent to the funding board that makes the decision
  • Cautions:
    • Chapters need to have the motivation and passion!!! You can't apply a task to a chapter directing them to "do this thing" .... they have to be willing and ABLE (time, capacity, etc.)
  • Ask the chapters at the beginning whether or not they want to participate
  • Concerns if you aren't a member of the chapter of your local group: need to be aware of chapter politics and countries without chapters
Question - Can we keep the timeline with a fixed end to make it possible that everyone make it possible to do this journey?
  • don't want to have an over-bureaucratic timeline (the more groups that are involved the more difficulties to execute)
  • We have to have this!!
Question - What is the best way to manage Chapter Scholarships?
  • This should be a much clearer timeline!
  • Ask the chapters at the beginning of the process via the official chapter contacts if they are involved
  • Maintain a unified application system (i.e., no separate application for chapters and Foundation)
Question - are we trying to attempt to judge if the applications would be able to afford the trip or not?
  • Currently, there is no real attempt to distinguish between need or no-need. The closest we get is whether or not someone identifies that they could attend based on their ability to pay the fare remaining after the Partial Scholarship
  • Be more clear in the partial vs. full scholarship: if they select they can pay the remainder if awarded a partial scholarship, that's important! (If they say they will accept a partial scholarship, then they most likely won't be offered a full scholarship...)
Question - should we revoke past scholars?
  • If you went last year, you should probably make way for someone else, and/or we should look at their history over the past year
  • In places where you can only come from with a scholarship, we should rotate
  • We want to be able to reflect the changes in the movement, but also reflect the history of it!
  • Suggestions:
    • Add the criteria: did they do anything productive in the past year
    • Add to the rating system whether or not someone got a past scholarship (for the reviewers to see)
    • Weight the application DOWN if they were funded in the past year (e.g. by multiplying the rating by 0.7)
Question - how much should the Partial Scholarship be worth?
  • should it be dependent on where you are from?
  • or...should it be uniform across the movement?
  • How to maximize those dollars?
Question - should we standardize our approach to visas?
  • Should we reimburse regardless of whether or not they get approved?
  • Should we reimburse all visas?
Concern - we don't provide any support for Carers
  • This is for people who can only travel if they have someone that comes alongside
  • We could add an option to the application so that they can indicate that they need to have someone come along
Concern - Transparency
  • It was unclear whether you cleared the first round
  • Create a more transparent system: specify the filters for the 1st round, and notify those that pass (and who do not pass)
Suggestion - ask for recommendations/references (for those who we don't know)
  • Problem: close collaboration is not common in certain cultures
  • Problem: looking at the names of those vouching for them rather than the merits (biases towards those who have been to past Wikipedians)
Suggestion - allow in-kind donations
  • overhead of transferring airmiles is pretty big, so may not be worth it...
  • ...but, it could be an interesting idea for chapters (matching air miles)!

See also