[WMCEE-l] Some toughs about the scope, selection of participants and official language of the CEE Meetings.

Samat samat78 at gmail.com
Sat Sep 30 20:38:20 CEST 2017

Dear Tomasz,

Thank you for your detailed review of the situation and recommendations for
the future. I found them very useful and constructive.

Basically, I can agree with you proposal. I have only a few additional
* We could count the communities (existing Wikimedia language communities
and countries) in the CEE region, and I would recommend to make a list of
all potential participant. Would be nice to see the actual coverage of CEE
conference, and which communities we "left out" until now.
* I would recommend to consider limiting the number of externally (for
example by chapters) or self-funded participants as well, because of
organizational and balance reasons. For example to additional two people
per community.
* I understand your idea for the Russian as second official language, it
sounds reasonable. But I am personally a little bit worried about it. I am
the last generation who (obligatory) "studied" Russian language in Hungary
(without any success), people only 1 year younger than me didn't do. I know
only very few active Hungarian Wikipedians, who can communicate in Russian
language. I am afraid, the professional simultaneous translation makes the
conferences costly, the presentations (with translation) will be harder to
follow and question&answer parts will be longer/harder. But I can accept
this solution if there would be consensus about it.

Best regards,
Tamás / Samat

On Fri, Sep 29, 2017 at 11:59 PM, Tomasz Ganicz <polimerek at gmail.com> wrote:

> As I promised during the final session on CEE Meeting, below some of my
> thoughts regarding 3 key issues: scope of the conference and selection of
> participants. This is rather long, so if you have no time to read all my
> story go to the bottom of the message and read summary.
> *A)     SCOPE*
> *Geographic:* We are rather in general agreement that the conference is
> for Wikimedia communities from widely understood CEE countries (i.e.
> Central and Eastern Europe + central Asian countries formerly being a
> Soviet Union republics).  So, the northern border seems to be somewhere
> near Northern Pole, the Southern – the shores of Mediterranean and Black
> Seas, and then southern border of former Soviet Union, the Western border
> being the former “Iron Wall” + former Yugoslavia and current Austria, and
> the eastern – shores of the northern Pacific. Roughly 1/3 of the globe and
> around 1/10 th of the globe population. *Target/thematic scope:* This is
> quite an issue – originally the target of the conference was to support and
> encourage regional cooperation and sharing experiences – therefore it was
> rather meant not for (sorry for being not political correct) “general
> wikimedians crowd” but for most devoted members of the communities – so it
> is rather like regional Berlin Wikimedia Conference (executive meeting)
> than regional Wikimania (open for all maniacs about Wikimedia projects
> fun-style meeting). But – in fact – and in practice – CEE Meeting is much
> less rigid and much more inclusive than Berlin Conference, and also covers
> “non-executive” topics and even “hackathon-style” topics.  I think – for
> the future we must finally decide – what do we want? It seems that pure “
> only executive meeting” won’t be satisfactory for our needs and
> expectations – but we don’t want to make it as open and wide as Wikimania,
> still keeping this rather an internal Wikimedia meeting – which means that
> we are not going to open it for people not being a members of Wikimedia
> movement. If it is what we want – it means that we will end up with a mix
> of executive meeting + local hackathon and general Wikimedia
> movement/projects related topics. So I suggest to define *CEE Meeting as
> a conference for local part of Wikimedia Movement during which all
> Wikimedia related topics are generally allowed.*
> *Participants:* If we agree for the above definition of the scope – there
> is an issue *how to properly select the best participants for the meeting*.
> For sure we want to have as much diversity as possible – i.e representation
> of as many as possible languages/countries, but also the issue is to have
> participant which can contribute and benefit from the meeting as much as
> possible.
> The former tradition was simply to have 2 representative from each chapter
> and if there was no chapter – 2 representatives of local language/country
> related editors communities, roughly one per each country + some invited,
> external experts to provide the useful knowledge and share experiences with
> regional representatives.  However, nowadays - mainly due to creation of
> many usergroups and affiliated organizations not being the chapters – the
> situation is more complicated. During organization of CEE Meeting 2017 – we
> had to cope with this making sometimes arbitrary decisions based on our own
> feelings whom to accept as a scholars and whom not. *These wide
> territories called by us CEE are at the moment inhabited by (as I
> calculated) 37 recognized larger communities of which most have their
> incarnations in a form of chapters or usergroups, but there are still some
> not represented by any formal entity at all or  *having usergroups but
> not yet officially recognized by AffCom. Therefor it is really hard to make
> a complete list of all potential entities and communities which are allowed
> to send 2 scholars. Moreover – these 2 scholars rule – excludes sometimes
> important for the region people, who finished their terms in local boards
> or are not directly linked with them although doing many good things on
> international Wikimedia level. This year we managed to “smuggle” some of
> them as invited speakers or by using unused ones by chapters/UG  – but
> for longer the issue should be somehow resolved in less arbitrary and more
> transparent way.
> So my suggestion is to (assuming that WMF agrees to donate 80
> scholarships:)
> *Change the 2 representatives per community rule to 1 representative only*
> – so there will be around 40 scholarships for which people will be selected
> by local communities/entities – this should be enough to provide good
> diversity and representation of region
> *The 10 scholarships might be designated to invited experts* outside the
> CEE region  selected by program committee
> *The remaining 30 scholarships should be given by a scholarship committee *(this
> role might be played by program committee as well) – based on announced
> rules and analysis of the received applications to people preferentially
> from  CEE region, but not necessarily only from the region.
> Finally all local communities still will still be allowed to have more
> participants to the conference (say – up to 4 per language/country) on
> their own expense.
> Finally – I want to suggest something probably very controversial – but I
> think worth consider. This year and also several previous meetings were
> attended by quite a number of people able to speak Russian much better than
> English. There were at least several attendants who do not speak English to
> the level that let the fully participate in the Meetings.  Moreover – as
> the participants are somehow selected by their communities taking into
> consideration that they should rather speak English well – we are losing
> many important voices from the region. Actually – Russian – is the lingua
> franca of quite substantial part of CEE communities. This year I saw the
> situations that the group consisting of Armenians, Belarussians, Ukrainians
> and Albanians – switched during the coffee break to Russian – as for all of
> them it was easier to communicate in that language than in English. I know
> that using Russian in the region – is somehow political (non)correctness
> issue, but I believe that for better understanding of each other – we might
> overcome those political superstitions and be more practical.  *Therefore
> – I suggest to make Russian – the second official language of the Meetings
> and designate some money in the grant proposal for professional
> simultaneous translation of at least one track of the conference in both
> ways (English to Russian and Russian to English). *
> I suggest to define the scope of CEE Meeting as a conference for local
> part of Wikimedia Movement during which all Wikimedia related topics are
> generally allowed.
> I suggest to change/define the method of scholarship selection for Meeting
> as such (assuming having 80 of them): only one scholarship per
> community/affiliate/UG for persons selected by these groups (around 40); 10
> scholarships for experts from outside the region to be selected by program
> committee; 30 scholarships for people from CEE region to be selected by
> scholarship committee.
> I suggest to make Russian the second official language of the Meetings and
> designate some money in grant proposal for professional simultaneous
> translation of at least one track of the conference.
> Cheers,
> --
> Tomek "Polimerek" Ganicz
> http://pl.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Polimerek
> http://www.ganicz.pl/poli/
> _______________________________________________
> WMCEE-l mailing list
> WMCEE-l at tools.wikimedia.pl
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