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

Ilya Korniyko intracer at gmail.com
Sat Sep 30 21:04:48 CEST 2017

Hi Tomasz,
Regarding Russian as second official language of the Meetings, Wikimedia
Ukraine has placed a bid to hold a 2018 meeting in Lviv and I'm not willing
to discuss the reasons but personally I'm almost certain that it's
impossible for Wikimedia Ukraine to organize an event with Russian as an
official language. I also believe there will be serious discussion with
strong position to boycott the meeting if other country decides for this.


On Sat, Sep 30, 2017 at 12:59 AM, 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/
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