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News from the Wikimedia Foundation and about the Wikimedia movement

Posts by Siko Bouterse

Call for Individual Engagement Grant proposals: community experiments wanted

IEG barnstar

Do you have an idea for a project that could improve Wikipedia or another Wikimedia community?

The Wikimedia Foundation and the Individual Engagement Grants Committee are seeking proposals for community-led experiments to have online impact in the Wikimedia movement. Individual Engagement Grants support individuals and small teams of Wikimedians to lead projects for 6 months. You can get funding to turn your idea into action with a grant for online community organizing, outreach and partnerships, tool-building, or research. Proposals are due by 31 March 2014.

Past grantees have been testing new ways to encourage women to edit Wikipedia, improve workflows for Wikimedia’s cartographers, raise awareness of Wikipedia in China and Africa, coordinate a global Wikisource strategy, increase free access to reliable sources for Wikipedians, and more. Proposals for up to $30,000 are considered; most grantees are awarded between $300 and $15,000 to support a wide range of activities and expenses, including project management, consultants, materials, and travel.

Grantees say that participating in the program has helped them build confidence and expertise in experimental setup and execution of community projects. As a grantee from the first round put it, “IEG gave me the opportunity to work in a more professional way on projects I really like, and in the end it gave me more expertise and experience and hope that issues can be solved. It offered solutions, and it taught me that solutions can be built, if you work on them.”

What’s new for 2014

The Individual Engagement Grants program is now available in more languages thanks to the efforts of volunteer translators! To celebrate this broader global reach, and in honor of WikiWomen’s history month, we hope you’ll share even more ideas for projects aimed at increasing diversity in the movement.

Ideas for all new projects are always welcome in the IdeaLab, and throughout the month of March, we’ll be hosting proposal clinic Hangouts to help you turn your idea into a grant proposal in real time. Please stop by to say hello, ask a question, or share some advice during these IdeaLab Hangout hours. We look forward to seeing your proposal by March 31st.

Siko Bouterse, Head of Individual Engagement Grants

Individual Engagement Grants demonstrate their potential for impact

This post is available in 3 languages: English  • Zh-hant 正體中文 Zh-hans 简体中文

Round 1 IEG projects


A year ago, Wikipedia didn’t have a social media presence in China. With the support of a $350 Individual Engagement Grant, today 10,000 Chinese readers follow the Wikipedia account on Weibo, China’s most active social networking site. Chinese Wikipedians are able to use the channel to share Wikipedia’s knowledge and organize events in China like Wiki Loves Monuments. A year ago, there were no guarantees that a few one-off donated accounts to paywall journals could be grown into a digital hub providing free access to reliable sources for Wikipedians and pioneering new models of collaboration between Wikipedia and libraries. With the support of a $7500 Individual Engagement Grant, today 1500 Wikipedia editors have access to 3700 free accounts and The Wikipedia Library is laying plans to go global. Grantees like Addis Wang and Jake Orlowitz were clear about their goals, eager to engage with the community to understand their needs and priorities and willing to take risks and experiment in search of pragmatic and scalable solutions. They incorporated experts and mentors into their process to build platforms that are larger than any one individual.

The Individual Engagement Grants program was launched a year ago with the idea of supporting individual Wikimedians like Addis and Jake to lead projects focused on experiments driving online improvements. This program, too, began as experiment with some risks and no guarantees. And so as the first round of grants come to a close, with the help of an assessment by WMF’s Grantmaking Learning & Evaluation team, we’re taking a look at the impact of these projects and what we’ve learned so far.

Early indicators of impact

The first round of IEG funding distributed about US $60,000 to support eight experimental projects led by community members in six different countries. Half were focused on online community organizing, the rest either built tools or conducted offline outreach. More time is needed to determine the full impact of these grants on their target wikis or as scaled programs across wikis, but early indicators suggest that these grants can have a direct impact on the strategic goals of the Wikimedia movement.


New Individual Engagement Grantees to engage community with tools and outreach

Today we’re announcing the second round of Individual Engagement Grantees!

These grants from the Wikimedia Foundation support individuals and small teams of Wikimedians to experiment with new ideas aimed at having online impact on Wikimedia projects. We’ve learned a lot from the first round of IEG grantees over the past 6 months, and are delighted to see what this next group will share with the world.

Mbazzi Village writes Wikipedia: Paul Kiguba and Mbazzi villagers

7 projects have been recommended by an IEG committee of volunteers and approved by WMF for this round. These selections represent a broad range of projects focusing on activities from outreach to tool-building and are all aimed at connecting and supporting community. Grantees are trying out new ways of engaging with women and young Wikipedians, fostering participation in Africa, and supporting cartographers, researchers and developers to better engage with projects like Commons, Wikidata, and Wikipedia.

The selected projects for 2013 round 2 are:

  • Wikimaps Atlas, led by Arun Ganesh and Hugo Lopez, funded at $12,500.  Hugo and Arun will be building a system to automate the creation of maps in standardized cartographic style using the latest open geographic data. With new workflows and scripts, they aim to make it easier for Wikimedia’s cartographers to generate and update maps for use in Commons, Wikipedia, and beyond.
  • Mbazzi Village writes Wikipedia, led by Paul Kikuba with collaboration from Dan Frendin, funded at $2880.  This project is a collaboration between Mbazzi villagers, Wikimedia Sweden, and the Wikimedia Foundation to build a Wikipedia center in Uganda where volunteers can to contribute to Luganda Wikipedia, particularly focusing on articles related to sustainable development. (more…)

Diversity Conference brings Wikimedians to Berlin

Documenting Diversity Conference

This November, Wikimedia Deutschland hosted over 80 Wikimedians in Berlin for the first ever Wikimedia Diversity Conference. For two days, we talked about the need, challenges and solutions for bringing more diversity – in terms of gender, geography, and beyond – to our community and to our content, in order to fulfill our vision of sharing the sum of all human knowledge with the world.

We left with a hopeful sense that there are lots of enthusiastic people concerned about diversity in our movement, and that interesting initiatives aimed at broadening our community are cropping up all over, even while being reminded that we don’t yet have a blueprint for how to accomplish these goals.

Netha Hussain discussed some of the barriers involved in engaging more women to edit in India, where only 3 percent of Wikipedians are female, and she shared outreach methods and support systems that they’ve been using in order to encourage more women’s participation. Regular in-person gatherings for women to edit Wikipedia together were a common theme in several talks. Silvia Stieneker talked about gathering women in a computer school in Berlin for monthly “women edit” meetings, and Emily Temple-Wood discussed holding regular edit-a-thons in American universities to create biographies of women scientists.

Participants gather

In talks ranging beyond Wikipedia’s gender gap, Dumisani Ndubane discussed what’s working and what’s not with efforts to build editor communities in Africa. Gregory Varnum shared strategies for LGBT outreach, and Katie Chan called upon the community to better educate itself about transgender issues both to improve content related to transgender topics and to be more inclusive of transgender participants in our movement. Tim Moritz Hector reviewed a German effort to internationalize the Wikipedia Teahouse to enable more Wikipedia communities to provide better help and support to a wider set of new contributors.

The Ada Initiative’s Valerie Aurora and Alyssa Wright from OpenStreetMap each shared information from other open source communities they’ve participated in, calling upon participants to lend and borrow strategies across communities grappling with similar issues. Many attendees agreed that proactively inviting diverse groups of contributors and then providing social support to encourage participation can be a meaningful way to foster increased diversity in our communities. This theme was explicitly raised in a presentation by Jake Orlowitz and Siko Bouterse, and it reverberated in several other conversations and initiatives discussed throughout the conference.


Individual Engagement Grant learnings and a call for new proposals

Today, we are launching the second round of Individual Engagement Grants with an open call for a new set of project proposals. If you have an idea for a project that will improve a Wikimedia community or website, you can share it in our newly revamped IdeaLab or submit an Individual Engagement Grant proposal. Proposals for grants of up to $30,000 to support 6-month projects are due by September 30th.

To give you a sense of what could be possible for a grant, we invite you to consider what’s been accomplished by Individual Engagement Grantees so far. It’s the midpoint for five of our first round of Individual Engagement Grants, and grantees are beginning to report back on all of the things they’ve tried, created, and learned from the first three months of their projects.

What’s been achieved

Micru at Wikimedia Amsterdam Hackathon

Several community initiatives are underway to catalyze an active Wikisource strategic vision, including a Wikidata Books task force, the start of a Wikisource User Group, and four Google Summer of Code projects offering improvements to the Wikisource workflow.

The Wikipedia Adventure, an onboarding game designed to teach new editors how to successfully contribute to Wikipedia, has grown from script to storyboard, to interactive prototype, to an on-wiki design. A first version of the completed 7-level game on English Wikipedia will begin alpha testing at Wikimania in Hong Kong this month.

Students participating in the WikiArS program at schools in Catalonia and other regions of Spain have published more than 70 graphics and animations, ranging from portraits of historical figures to geology infographics and scientific illustrations. These images are used on Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia, Wikibooks, and Wikispecies.

Replay Edits, a gadget to visually display the edit history of an article over time, is in development with a code repository on GitHub. The project will also begin demoing the prototype at Wikimania this month.

The first version of the MediaWiki data browser, Miga, has been released. This open-source software allows non-technical users to easily display structured data, like that found in Wikidata or in Wikipedia infoboxes.


Wikipedians go to Open Help Conference

Ocaasi, Valeriej, and the wub sprinting at Open Help Conference 2013

What do thoughtful, well-designed, engaging community help systems look like for Wikipedia? What do our help systems have in common with other open source projects, and how do they differ?

In June the Wikimedia Foundation sent a team of four Wikimedians to the Open Help Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio to find out. Ocaasi, the wub, Valeriej, and Seeeko spent a week speaking and listening to helpers from open source projects like Mozilla, Ubuntu, GNOME, WordPress, Drupal and RedHat.

Over two days of talks and three days of work sprints, attendees explored and improved a wide set of systems for helping contributors and growing communities of users and helpers. The WordPress team embarked on a large project to decouple their help pages for developers from their help pages for users. Jorge Castro of Ubuntu considered the ways that different kinds of communication tools support different kinds of conversations online: forums facilitating water-cooler discussion, Q&A boards that promote sharing answers efficiently, mailing lists with their ongoing arguments about top-vs-bottom posting. The Gnome crew grappled with the decision of whether improving an ever-growing number of existing pages was better than just starting fresh with new pages. Mozilla’s Janet Swisher shared how she gathers contributors together in “doc sprints” (edit-a-thons for documentation) to collaboratively write help documentation and build community connections. Michael Verdi spoke about Mozilla’s “Army of Awesome,” which helps hundreds of Firefox users per day on Twitter.

Team Wikimedia was excited to learn about the challenges that these other open source projects also face. As Wikipedians, we have coordinated edit-a-thons, organized help documentation to better support different types of users, set up a Q&A forum with wikimarkup, and answered many OTRS emails; we also appreciate the work that goes into well-orchestrated help systems. The results of these explorations at Open Help for Wikimedia projects include the development of a few new documents to support the thoughtful design and growth of Wikipedia and MediaWiki’s help systems.

The wub and Ocaasi focused on the Help Project, the WikiProject that creates and organizes thousands of help pages on English Wikipedia. Starting with a talk titled “Wikipedia:Too much documentation,” the wub addressed Wikipedia’s ballooning number of help pages and the lack of consistency between them. As a 2012 Wikimedia Community Fellow, the wub had already spent time redesigning the most-used pages in the help system, but his learnings from that effort had not yet been distilled into a clear statement of design principles to help guide future volunteers.

During the Open Help sprint days, the team updated the Help Project’s pages to better engage helpers. Ocaasi and the wub crafted a best practices guideline for improving Wikipedia’s help pages. In clear and simple language, the guidelines set goals like “focus on users and use case,” “keep pages simple,” and “make navigation clear and apparent.” The wub also developed quality and importance scales and templates for assessing help pages mapped to the guidelines. In the coming weeks, the Help Project will start a regular collaboration drive to increase participation, beginning with assessing all help pages according to the criteria developed in the sprints.

Another area the team focused on was the Teahouse, Wikipedia’s many-to-many support space for new editors. In their talk, “Can Help Be Fun? Wikipedia Experiments with social help,” Seeeko and Ocaasi introduced a collection of techniques for creating supportive spaces that build community in playful ways. They emphasized playful design, surfacing people, the power of invitation, a welcoming tone, social mobility, and acknowledgement as important elements for a “Fun is serious business” approach that has worked well for the Teahouse. They also noted that this approach has influenced the Grants:IdeaLab and an upcoming grant-funded game The Wikipedia Adventure.

Seeeko and Ocaasi applied many of these principles to a new Teahouse document that sets out design guidelines for contributors aiming to make improvements to the Teahouse. The guidelines distill goals and practices that have made the Teahouse successful from the start, like “build for new editors” and “show recent activity,” and encourage volunteers to make data-driven decisions to grow the project and keep with its spirit. Valeriej and Seeko also paired up to improve the workflow for requesting and creating new features in the Teahouse. Playing with the theme of a wishing well that users might find in the Teahouse garden, they defined attributes and workflows for “wishing” and “granting wishes” (requesting and developing features), they created a build plan, and they worked on a module to make identifying key information easier. The Teahouse’s new Wishing Well is the initial result of that work.

Valeriej also devoted time to considering improvements to help contributors who are new to MediaWiki. Focusing on a Starter Kit, she decided to begin with a survey of MediaWiki contributors to determine the effectiveness of the project’s current help documentation. She plans to use the results of the survey to refine and focus the documents used to orient new contributors to MediaWiki over the coming months.

The team was inspired by learning from other open source communities and it hopes that gathering together to improve the design of our own community’s help systems will encourage more efforts like it. Travel for three of the team members was funded by the Participation Support Program. Wikimedians looking to share wiki-learning by participating at conferences or other convenings like this one are encouraged to apply.

(Many thanks to WordPress attendee Siobhan McKeown for blogging her amazing notes from the talks!)

Siko Bouterse, Seeeko, Wikimedia Foundation
Jake Orlowitz, Ocaasi, Wikipedia editor

What we learned from the English Wikipedia new editor pilot in the Philippines

English Wikipedia’s contributors are scattered across the globe, and this diversity of geographic representation gives us hope that we’ll someday fully realize our vision of making the sum of all human knowledge available to everyone.

People from some regions are editing the encyclopedia more than others, however. The majority of editors to English Wikipedia today are from Europe, North America and Australia. Contributors in Anglophone Global South countries like India, Kenya, and the Philippines are underrepresented, compared to the total number of English speakers and English Wikipedia page views from these countries. Looking for simple ways we might boost contributions from a country like the Philippines, a small team of staff from the Wikimedia Foundation’s Grantmaking and Learning group recently decided to run an experiment to attract new editors.

The pilot was not a success – there are no more active editors from the Philippines than when we started – but the team learned several things that may be useful for future experiments. In the spirit of fearless (and humanly imperfect, and interesting) experimentation, and because we think that there is just as much value in talking about what doesn’t work as what does, we offer here some highlights of what we learned.

Banner aimed at readers from the Philippines

Philippines pilot landing page, getting started with articles

The team selected the Philippines for this pilot because English education is high and there is a large readership of English Wikipedia (93,200 page views/hour) compared to other language versions. Editors from the region are underrepresented on English Wikipedia (less than 400 active editors/month). We also picked it because we understand that online communities tend to grow best when they can build upon themselves, with new people being supported by experienced editors, and English Wikipedia already has a small but active community of editors from the Philippines to build upon, including a WikiProject Tambayan Philippines.

The team started with some background research: A quick survey of readers from the Philippines showed that 81 percent of readers know that they can edit Wikipedia; 86 percent rate their English proficiency to be more than “good,” but only 36 percent of readers had actually attempted to edit Wikipedia. The most common reason given for not editing was that they didn’t know what to edit (38 percent) and the most common request for support given was having specific, easy tasks to do on Wikipedia (63 percent).

Philippines pilot landing page, getting started with user page

Based on this, we hypothesized that having a call to action that asked people in the Philippines to help improve content related to their country might encourage more editing. We ran banners encouraging Filipino readers to get involved by creating an account and a user page identifying themselves as part of the project. We then directed them to a list of stubs (short articles in need of more information) on various topics related to the Philippines that had been collected by WikiProject Tambayan Philippines. For new editors in need of extra support, we offered links to Wikipedia’s help documentation and to the Teahouse, but we otherwise did not interfere with the standard new-editor experience on Wikipedia.


Announcing the first Wikimedia Individual Engagement Grantees

Individual Engagement Grant Barnstar

Today we’re announcing the first round of Individual Engagement Grantees. The Wikimedia Foundation makes a variety of types of grants, many of which focus on groups and organizations. Individual Engagement Grants exemplify our commitment to increase support to individual contributors to Wikimedia projects, with a particular focus on making online improvements. These grants will support eight Wikimedians working individually and in small teams for 6 months to complete projects that benefit the Wikimedia movement, serve our mission and strengthen our communities.

For this pilot round, which began in February 2013, Wikimedians submitted over 50 ideas and drafts from around the world. WMF grantmaking staff narrowed these down to 22 complete proposals meeting the eligibility criteria for review.

18 Wikimedians formed a volunteer committee, with participants from 12 countries and from Wikimedia projects in 14 languages. Committee members reviewed each proposal carefully, scoring them against a rubric of pre-defined selection criteria and making recommendations based on available funding for this round. WMF grantmaking staff shared aggregated scores and comments with the community, while the committee continued its deliberations to finalize a recommendation to WMF to fund eight projects in total.

All eight projects have been approved for funding by the WMF. In examining the recommendations, we were struck by how varied these projects are in terms of grant size, project methodology and engagement targets. A central aim of Individual Engagement Grants is to foster innovation, with a particular focus on online impact. We think that innovative ideas and the skills that various contributors bring to Wikimedia projects can lead to better online environments for everyone, and we hope to learn a lot from these grantees about how we can support more of this across the movement.

The round 1 selected projects are:

Build an effective method of publicity in PRChina, led by Chinese Wikipedian User:AddisWang, funded at $350. Addis and a small team of volunteers based in mainland China will be experimenting with social media campaigns to grow awareness of Wikipedia in China.

Replay Edits, led by User:Jeph paul, funded at $500. Jeph is building a MediaWiki gadget that creates a visual playback of the edit history of a Wikipedia article, allowing users to see an article changing over time.

The Wikipedia Library, funded at $7500 and The Wikipedia Adventure, funded at $10,000, both led by User:Ocaasi. For the Wikipedia Library, Ocaasi will be building and consolidating partnerships with reference providers donating access to reliable sources for Wikipedia editors, and improving the systems for managing these programs. The Wikipedia Adventure is an on-wiki game that will be piloted on English Wikipedia using the Guided Tours extension to determine whether this type of interactive learning is an effective engagement strategy for new editors.

Consolidate wikiArS to involve art schools, led by Catalan Wikimedian User:Dvdgmz, funded at 7810 Euros. The WikiArS outreach program builds partnerships with art and design schools to teach students to create images for donation to Wikimedia Commons and for use in Wikipedia articles. This grant will support focused experimentation in the existing Catalan program’s models that can allow the initiative to scale and to be sustained as an international program.

Elaborate Wikisource strategic vision, led by Catalan Wikisource User:Micru and Italian Wikisource User:Aubrey, funded at 10,000 Euros. This project brings together the global Wikisource community and other stakeholders to define a vision for the project’s future. They’ll begin work on near-term goals that can be accomplished by volunteers on-wiki, and investigate paths forward for longer-term improvements to Wikisource.

MediaWiki data browser, led by User:Yaron K, partially funded at $15,000 in order to pilot the initial concept. Yaron’s project will create a framework to allow any user to easily generate apps or websites to browse sets of structured data that exist on Wikipedia and other projects running on MediaWiki.

Finally, we’ve provisionally approved an 8th project — MediaWiki and Javanese script, led by User:Bennylin, funded at $3000 — provided that a couple of dependencies can be satisfied. This project will provide technical support using a “train-the-trainers” model that teaches volunteers how to use Javanese script online, facilitating the transcription of Javanese texts to projects like Javanese Wikisource. The newly developed Universal Language Selector extension for MediaWiki makes the use of this script online increasingly possible.

The new grantees will begin work on their projects in the coming weeks and they’ll be sharing progress and learnings with us all along the way. Please visit their project pages for complete project information and updates.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this round!  We look forward to seeing even more of your ideas and input in preparation for round 2, which begins on August 1st.

Siko Bouterse, Head of Individual Engagement Grants, on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation and the IEG committee

Wikipedia Teahouse Celebrates its First Birthday

Teahouse First Birthday Badge

Teahouse was launched on Wikipedia one year ago, with the hope that building a warm and friendly community space for new editors to connect with experienced Wikipedians might help decrease Wikipedia’s gender gap. The goal was to measure the impact of a many-to-many support system targeted at newbies. Would inviting newcomers to participate in a welcoming, social learning experience encourage more of them to continue on their journey from making that first edit to their 1000th?

One year later, the data shows that Teahouse indeed has a positive impact on the new editor experience for English Wikipedia, and demonstrates some promise as a gender gap strategy. New editors who visit the Teahouse make nearly 3 times the number of edits to Wikipedia articles than a control group with similar early editing patterns. They edit twice as many articles. They have twice the number of talk page discussions with their fellow editors, and they return to edit Wikipedia every week for nearly twice as long.

But Teahouse is about people and experience as much as numbers, and so to celebrate Teahouse’s first birthday, we spoke with Teahouse hosts and guests to learn about what the project has meant for them and what it might signal for the years still to come.

Gtwfan52 is a Teahouse host who first started editing Wikipedia on the day the Teahouse launched. He was invited to visit the space by Rosiestep, a long-time Wikipedian and one of the first hosts who brought hundreds of new editors to participate in the project’s early days. Gtwfan52 remembers coming for help with the Goshen College article. “I asked for an honest critique. I got a great one. They offered constructive criticism and specific instruction on how to do some things I had no idea how to do. This was followed up by some copyediting from Teahouse hosts once I put the addition in the article, and finally, by a very encouraging “atta boy” from Sarah [Stierch] at the Teahouse.”

Sarah Stierch’s gender gap fellowship at the Wikimedia Foundation sparked the Teahouse project in collaboration with Teahouse team members Heather Walls, Jonathan Morgan and Siko Bouterse.  Sarah also served as Teahouse’s first host and maitre d’. Gtwfan52 reflects that “without Teahouse and especially the kind words from Sarah, I probably would be long gone.” Today, he has made over 11,000 edits to Wikipedia and gives back to the project by hosting. “Teahouse is always friendly, and completely adopts my Dad’s favorite saying, ‘The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.’”

Gtwfan52 now has his eye on the next generation of hosts-to-be. Among them is Anne Delong, a librarian and computer programmer who started editing just Wikipedia 2 months ago. She told us, “I am used to material that is logical and arranged according to a preset plan. Wikipedia is more like a village where the roads have grown in random directions because that’s where the first people happened to walk. The Teahouse helped me get past that until I could see the underlying infrastructure and the people that are gradually article by article pulling it toward a cohesive whole.” What does Anne wish for Teahouse’s birthday? “I hope that the Teahouse hosts keep up the good work, and attract more super-friendly people to help out. What goes around comes around!”

Over the past year, about 2000 questions have been asked and answered, 669 editors have introduced themselves, 1670 guests have been served and 867 experienced Wikipedians have participated in the project. 137 Wikipedians have served as hosts at some point during the year.

Edit counts by Teahouse visitors compared to control

Participants say the lively atmosphere of the space has been a key to its success. Host TheOriginalSoni said, “while most projects and groups had only one or two dedicated editors working endlessly to make things work, the Teahouse always had a steady stream of a bunch of cool and helpful editors who keep lurking around. Even when one of these editors is not here, there is always someone else to fill in.” Guest BeatrizBibi commented, “I’m glad to read words from real people, I always thought Wiki was about writing and reading alone.”

Last month was the most active month on the Teahouse so far: 46 active hosts answered 263 questions in the Teahouse, and 11 new hosts joined the project. Go Phightins! said, “I love it when a couple of hosts team up to answer a tough question and the proverbial light bulb goes off in the inquirer’s head.” Guest-turned-host Doctree agreed, “Yep, that happened to me. Thanks to Teahouse hosts, I began to really understand Wikipedia.”

What motivates these Wikipedians to give back to each other in the Teahouse, when there are so many other ways to spend their time? Gwickwire shared, “Teahouse enables me to empower other editors.” Yunshui reflected, “Helping new editors to build articles that meet the requisite guidelines and will improve Wikipedia is probably the most useful thing I can do here, and the Teahouse provides a tool to enable me to do just that.”

As Teahouse enters its second year, it continues to evolve. Ocaasi and Anyashy recently launched a new experiment with Teahouse badges, micro-awards to recognize hosts and guests for their participation. 11 different badges acknowledge contributions like asking a great question or giving a clear and helpful answer, and in total 250 badges have been given out so far.

To celebrate Teahouse’s first birthday, we’re giving out tasty cupcake badges, so, please drop by the Teahouse for a cup of wiki-tea and a birthday badge. In the words of Doctree: “The Teahouse is a model of civility and collaboration, an example of how Wikipedia should function. Keep up the good work…Wishing all a great Teahouse birthday. May there be many more.”

Jake Ocaasi, Wikipedia editor

Siko Bouterse, Head of Individual Engagement Grants

Wikimedia IdeaLab is an experiment in user-friendly grantmaking

Applying for a grant can be an intimidating process. There are forms to fill out, rationales and explanations to give, project plans and budgets to lay out. This process can be particularly intimidating for individuals who may have great ideas for exciting new projects that can improve Wikipedia or her sister sites, but who may not necessarily have lots of experience with project planning or grant proposals.

We want to find ways that make it easy to get started in the proposal process in a friendly, collaborative learning environment. We also want to create more opportunities to ask what might be the most important question for grantmakers in the Wikimedia movement. That question is not “what is the best way to spend this money,” but rather “what are the best ideas and what support is needed to turn them into action?”

IdeaLab is a new space we’ve built to help answer this question by crowdsourcing ideas, connecting projects with potential collaborators, and offering a pathway to funding in cases where financial support is needed to turn ideas into action. In the IdeaLab, Wikimedians are invited to introduce themselves and offer up their skills and interests as collaborators, to share new ideas, and to help each other turn good ideas into project plans and grant proposals.

Do you have an idea for a project that might be eligible for an Individual Engagement Grant? Need help turning it into a grant proposal? Or do you just want to help other’s ideas succeed? Wikimedia grantmaking staff are present in the IdeaLab, as are volunteers from around the world. Come visit us and let’s turn ideas into action.

The Wikimedia Foundation is currently accepting proposals for Individual Engagement Grants, due February 15th.

Siko Bouterse, Head of Individual Engagement Grants