> Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2013 07:31:59 +0800
> From: Josh Lim <jamesjoshua...@yahoo.com>
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org>
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Are chapters part of the community and
>       board   seats for affiliates?
> Message-ID: <56a3c552-d6ed-47ba-8ea2-e56f9a1b8...@yahoo.com>
> On Feb 23, 2013, at 4:27 AM, Fae <fae...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> The vast majority of volunteers like the idea that there is a Chapter
>> they can turn to to ask for help, or to get their idea for a project
>> reviewed, funded and looking "official". If a volunteer came to a
>> wikimeet with a brilliant idea for a project, but said they could not
>> stand the stupid bureaucracy of chapters, I'd say "excellent mate, you
>> go for it and I'll see what I can do to help with funding if you need
>> it."
> I'm inclined to believe that bureaucracy exists despite, not because of, 
> chapters.  As it is, volunteers, especially those from the Global South, can 
> be classified into two types:
> 1. They're "detached": they're part of the community, but they don't know 
> about the support options open to them
> 2. They're so involved in the community, they could care less about the 
> "bureaucracy" (in my university, this is called "going down the hill", as my 
> university is on a hill)
> Chapters aside, I'm in fact curious to know how many volunteers do know about 
> the Foundation's grants system, or the research program, or heck, Wikimedia 
> User Groups or Wikimania scholarships.  Granted, it's a good thing that 
> volunteers have options open for them whether or not they want to deal with 
> the bureaucracy, but it's all for nought if they're left unaware of those 
> options.
> Josh

I just wanted to follow up on this and reinforce Josh Lim's point.

Yesterday, I spent several hours chatting with volunteers, seasoned and
new, at the Wikipedia Day that the New York City chapter put together:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/NYC/Wikipedia_Day (thank
you, volunteers of New York City!).  I was dismayed at how few people
knew about the Participation Support subsidies that they could apply for
to help them do outreach (more on that & related opportunities at
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:Start ).

In my role helping MediaWiki sysadmins and developers, I often ask
whether they've heard of our conferences, our paid internships, our
online events, and so on.  More and more of the undergraduate students
have heard of Google Summer of Code
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Summer_of_Code_2013 , but graduate
students often don't know that they're eligible, and students in North
America and Europe often haven't heard of it.

I don't know the answer.  Like Josh, I don't know how well our publicity
about these things is penetrating our volunteer communities, and I don't
know what level of penetration I would be satisfied with.  I suspect
that others have better answers regarding what we've tried, what works,
and what we're doing next, and I'd love to hear them.

Sumana Harihareswara
Engineering Community Manager
Wikimedia Foundation

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