It has been a few months since I have been able to post. The end of the school year got rather busy. From submitting articles for publications, ending programs, writing reviews, writing new grant applications, and so much more- well, I have finally had a chance to breath and think about this blog again.
The final review for the Wikimedia Foundation grant has been submitted and is currently under review. If you want to review what I have posted before, feel free. Here are some WIkimedia links:
In previous posts I have expressed a concern that we may not reach the goals we had set. Our main goal was:
- To train 20 people to be Wikipedia editors thereby increasing local participation in Wikipedia and the WikiProject Massachusetts – Lowell.
We thought this was an easy goal to achieve. We though, over 4 sessions, it was not too much to expect 5 different people to show up among repeat attendees. We thought we would have more new editors than experienced editors. It was an attempt to measure something that is very difficult to predict. Given that both Win and I had, on our own, never had a successful edit-a-thon, we may have over estimated. In reality, until we completed this series, we had no idea what a successful edit-a-thon would be like. In the end, we achieved 75% of the goal. We had a total of 14 different people attend at least 1 of the sessions. The break down in terms of experience was: 10 active editors and 4 new editors.
While this was just our main goal, we found a deeper review very enlightening:
- All of our new editors were women who were local editors.
- The majority of our participants were women: 9 women and 5 men.
- Most of our local editors returned for a second or third event, continuing the work they started at previous events.
- Three of our participants were students at UMass Lowell.
Considering the effort Wikimedia puts on recruiting women, this was pretty impressive. To bring 4 new women editors to the table was exciting. To have more women than men attend was even more exciting. Knowing that local editors came back for multiple sessions suggests a growing local investment. That we got students to attend was a big step forward on my end.
While this was not a perfectly reached goal, we did amazingly well and in no way failed.
The review covers many of the lessons we learned. We did more positive things than negative. Only two things didn’t really work well for us. A number of lessons were in things to do differently. It was primarily regarding promotion. Since promotion is only something you can learn by doing (in my experience), it was helpful to see what worked and didn’t work in our community.
Personally, I thought this program was a huge success, especially compared to previous attempts. I don’t care that we didn’t reach our official goal. We really tried our best to pick something we could achieve, but we had no idea how to pick a goal.
What is next? We need to keep going. I am talking to people on campus about organizing a group of faculty, staff and students to talk about Wikipedia on campus. There is interest and people are ready to do more than complain. We are going to do at least one more edit-a-thon next year in relation to some other programs going on. We are going to focus on building investment in the community. This was just the first step in a much bigger plan.