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Posts Tagged ‘Individual Engagement Grants’

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…)

Using social media to engage Wikipedia readers and editors in China

This post is available in 3 languages: English  • 简体中文 正體中文


Addis Wang’s postcard project

Wikipedia editor Addis Wang has developed an approach to spreading awareness of Wikipedia in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). He and several collaborators use an account on Weibo–a Twitter-like social media platform that is the 7th highest trafficked website in China–to promote both Wikipedia’s content and its global community to Chinese readers.

This is no small challenge. For the 20 percent of the world’s population that live in the People’s Republic of China, Wikipedia is a distant runner-up to Baidu-Baike, a for-profit Chinese encyclopedia that hosts 6.7 million articles. Like Wikipedia, Baidu is collaboratively written. But its policies on content licensing, censorship and review are not as open as Wikipedia’s (Wikipedians have also noted that several of its articles are copied from English Wikipedia without attribution).

Baidu’s dominance may be due in part to Wikipedia’s limited availability in the PRC in past years. The domain could not be visited normally in Mainland China from 2005-2008. Today Wikipedia is approximately the 150th-most trafficked domain in China (according to comScore, Wikimedia projects are the 5th most-visited globally; according to Alexa, Baidu is the most-visited site in China). Many Chinese citizens aren’t even aware that Wikipedia exists in their language, which obviously makes contribution more difficult.

Addis’ idea, which is funded by a Wikimedia Foundation Individual Engagement Grant, aims to tackle these problems using social media to reach China’s huge online audience. Weibo is an ideal platform for giving people a taste of what Wikipedia has to offer. “In Chinese you can fit a lot more information into 140 characters than you can in English,” says Wang. And like Twitter, Weibo allows users to upload images. In April 2013, Wang and his colleagues began posting abstracts for a different Wikipedia article every day through their dedicated Weibo account.


Gamestorming: Making of The Wikipedia Adventure

Could learning to edit Wikipedia be engaging and fun? I set out to answer that question this spring with the support of an Individual Engagement Grant from the Wikimedia Foundation. I wanted to figure out a way to turn frustration and confusion into confidence and enjoyment by drawing from game design and onboarding methods to create a game that will train new editors in an easy and immersive way.

The notion of turning Wikipedia into a game may sound like an inappropriate idea to many, so I was sure to draw a clear line between the Wikipedia Adventure game–which exists in its own world–actually in the user’s own user-space, and the rest of Wikipedia articles.

Inspiration and research

An early mockup

The idea originated in 2011 when new editors kept asking me the same questions and over again, convincing me that there had to be a better way to get new editors through the gauntlet of common problems during the initial months. I wrote a 12-level script during a long summer, then set out to find a coder to develop it. (Derek Coetzee took a good crack at it). When the Wikimedia Foundation’s Editor Engagement Experiments team released Guided Tours in 2012, I suddenly had an engine for the script to take off.


Visualising Edits

This is a post by Jeph Paul, recipient of a Wikimedia Foundation Individual Engagement Grant (IEG)

A visualisation of the first 20 edits of the English Wikipedia article “Metal umlaut“, using the prototype of the new tool

The way an article grows has always fascinated me.

No article is ever complete. Wikipedians constantly tinker with articles. Sometimes mistakes are made, the articles are visited by friendly vandals, or at other times the information changes. The point is, one way or another, articles evolve.

Take for instance the Heavy Metal Umlaut page. Started on April 15, 2003, the page was a single sentence, linking to the articles for Motörhead and Blue Öyster Cult. One year later, it had gone through thousands of edits, some pesky vandalism, various themes and eventually became an exhaustive treatise on the subject.

By 2005, the editing history of the Heavy Metal Umlaut page was made into a short video by blogger Jon Udell (“Heavy metal umlaut: the movie”), which went viral at the time, and now enjoys cult status among Wikipedians.

If you check the revision history of the Heavy Metal Umlaut page today (now just titled “Metal umlaut”), chances are high it is still being edited. (The last edit was August 26 as of this post.)

Because there are many benefits of watching a page like “Metal umlaut” change and develop, I’m developing a tool visualising the changes made to an article, as part of my IEG grant.

Visualisation could be used to fight vandals, to track changes over long periods of time or simply to see how the article evolved and ended up being the way it is today.

This can already be done by comparing the revisions under the history tab, one by one. But what you see there are the changes in Wikitext.

With the new visualisation tool, Wikipedians can instead look at the changes in the rendered text, i.e. the format that readers would visually see. It animates the changes by making the content that was added appear, and content that was deleted disappear, and disappear and reappear again and again in the case of articles like the Heavy Metal Umlaut. When Udell made his video back in 2005, he wrote that it “was technically challenging, but I think it suggests interesting possibilities”. With the new tool, exploring these possibilities is becoming much less challenging for everyone.

The tool is currently a work in progress and has a live demo. Give it a try.

Would you use it regularly? Why or why not? Are there ways of improving it? You can write your feedback or feature requests here.

One upcoming feature still in the works is a slider to allow you to scroll through revisions. I’m also looking for a UX designer to help with this and other design challenges – drop me a line at jephpaul at if you’d like to get involved!

With your help, every page can be a Heavy Metal Umlaut.

Jeph Paul
(With contributions by Joshua Errett, Wikimedia Foundation Communications volunteer)

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.


First release of the Miga Data Viewer

Screenshot of Miga

I’m one of the recipients of the first-ever round of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Individual Engagement Grants for a project that I initially titled the “MediaWiki Data Browser“. The project started about three months ago, and we’re now just a little past the halfway mark. I’m very excited to announce the first release of the software I’ve been working on, now called the Miga Data Viewer, or Miga for short.

My website has information about the code and usage of the software, and I have a longer description of the project on the WikiWorks blog, but in brief:

Miga (pronounced MEE-ga) is a generic framework that can be used to browse and navigate structured data in a (hopefully) user-friendly way. The core of the software is not actually MediaWiki or Wikipedia-specific; it reads data from arbitrary CSV files (and it is open source). However, the code also contains “importer” scripts that can extract data from Wikipedia, Wikidata and other MediaWiki-based wikis, and turn them into CSV files. In this way, users of Wikipedia and other MediaWiki sites can hopefully easily create their own Miga apps, for whatever subset of data they want users to be able to navigate. There are a few demos on the site that illustrate this: apps for browsing information about fictional nonhumans, jazz musicians, public parks and sports cars using information from the English-language Wikipedia, and one for browsing information about countries using facts from Wikidata.

When a user first accesses a data set, the data is all imported into the browser itself, using a technology called Web SQL Database. The downside is that Miga apps will not work on Firefox or Internet Explorer browsers (and possibly some other minor browsers), because those browsers don’t support Web SQL. The upside is that, on all other browsers, Miga apps run quite fast, and can keep working if the network connection is spotty or nonexistent, a difference that really makes itself felt when browsing on a mobile device.

There’s another demo app I created that holds schedule information for the upcoming Wikimania 2013 conference in Hong Kong. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the demo that gets a lot of the initial buzz, and it could be that its use as a lightweight framework for creating conference and event apps will be the “killer app” (to the extent that there is one) for Miga to start with. I’m not aware of any other tools that allow for creating a conference app in this sort of lightweight way. Personally, I find the Wikipedia-accessing stuff a lot more compelling, but you never know what will really spark users’ interest.

I’d like to thank the IEG project and team (especially Siko Bouterse) for their support. And I hope people try out Miga for themselves. I think it could lead to a lot of interesting discoveries, as people “unlock” the data contained in Wikipedia infoboxes and elsewhere.

Yaron Koren
Founder/CEO, WikiWorks

Defining the Wikisource vision

This post is available in 3 languages: Català  •  Italiano  • English

(This is a post by Wikisource volunteers Andrea Zanni and David Cuenca)



There was an Indian librarian who once wrote five laws on what libraries should be. The fifth and last law read: “A library is a growing organism.“ Wikisource is a wiki digital library that doesn’t grow by itself. Volunteers like you, like us, make it grow everyday, digitizing books from the public domain, proofreading OCR text and recently also transcribing sheet music.

Almost 10 years have passed since Wikisource started, on November 24, 2003. It began as a support project for Wikipedia. While we cannot tell you what dreams are made of, we know that the Wikipedia dream is nurtured by many of the sources, books and first-hand knowledge that populate Wikisource.

Wikisource users Andrea (Aubrey) and David (Micru) were recently named recipients of a Wikimedia Foundation Individual Engangement Grant, and we intend to periodically keep you updated about the progress of our work. We are sharing the progress we have made during the month of April and we invite you to participate defining the Wikisource vision for the future with us.

During the first month of work for the grant, we have been focusing on writing the first draft of the Wikisource values and ways of applying them. The suggestions are based on a Wikimania meeting last year, on our experience with the wiki, and on volunteer wishes. If you expect more of Wikisource, help us expand our list and comment on the suggestions.

That is not only a “wishlist,” but a list of specific proposals that can be transformed into action. As part of this commitment, we are giving support and formally endorsing the GSoC[1] proposal: Book upload customisation (candidate 1, candidate 2). The reason for this endorsement is the high importance that such a project could have for the Wikisource community, enabling users to import external book metadata and spread it to the relevant pages to avoid redundant work.

There are three other candidates that are additionally applying for the Outreach Program for Women with proposals that, if accepted, will also be of paramount importance:

We expect that once we have reached an agreement on what the other important tasks for Wikisource’s future are, we can keep offering more volunteer projects.

Another task we are tackling is the relationship with external organizations. It is useless to have an amazing digital library if it is not well connected with other libraries, websites, users and the world. It will take time to develop partnerships with other related organizations, like the Open Library, or free knowledge organizations, such as the Open Knowledge Foundation. We have started developing these connections and exploring possible ways of collaboration.

And finally there is Wikidata, a new member of the Wikimedia family that will also be a key for resolving one of Wikisource’s long standing issues: book metadata management. As a first stage of this ongoing work, we have started the Wikidata books task force to define the necessary properties for having reusable data about books in Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia and Wikisource.

In May, we are looking forward to interviewing core users from the different language Wikisources. Special thanks to Haitham for his aid in visualizing the activity data in Gephi.

If you have any suggestions, requests or feedback, please reach out either via email or our talk pages. All Wikimedia users are invited to join and build a better Wikisource together. It’s your call too.

Andrea Zanni and David Cuenca, Wikisource


  1. Google Summer of Code 2013:


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