Submissions/Engineering Volunteering - How to best design volunteer support in the Wikimedia movement

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2015.

Submission no.
Title of the submission
Engineering Volunteering - How to best design volunteer support in the Wikimedia movement?
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)


Author of the submission

Rebecca Cotton

E-mail address

Rebecca Cotton
Country of origin
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

Volunteers are the heart and soul of the Wikimedia movement.

While a lot of the amazing contributions can be realized without any support some projects need some extra help to lift off.

Support can come in many forms and sizes.

Sometimes it's a book, someone to help with the logistics or just plain old cash. Flying cameras, Editathons, squirrels encyclopedia, aiming for scientists involvement, documenting the world - worldwide people are contributing with big and small projects that all have found a place in the Wikimedia movement.

In this talk I want to share experiences I made in the 14 months redesigning the volunteer support at Wikimedia Germany (from March 2013 to July 2014), as well as my more recent experiences on the Grant Advisory Commitee (GAC). As volunteer member of the GAC I try focussing on helping the project managers with measuring impact and finding scaling opportunities for their projects.

Some of the questions that keep reoccurring when doing and designing volunteer support are:

  • What kind of support helps, what methods scales with limited resources? What wouldn't despite best efforts?
  • How to design volunteer support for a wide audience with very different needs and still be fair to everybody?
  • Community decision making - what are the pros, cons and in between? And what are good working models for community involvement?
  • How can Wikimedia organizations help volunteer projects to grow without taking them of the volunteers hands completely?

And the everlasting question:

  • What will/should the support look like in the future?

This talk will try to answer some of those questions from experinces gained so far.

I believe this to be a topic where many people from the movement will be able to pitch in and would love an active audience involvement. So my favoured way of doing this talk would be a short intro with some data and provoking thesis and a lively discission after.

But I am also fine with talking longer presenting the work itsself and leassons learnt. So if you would attend this talk I would also apprechiate you taking a quick vote on what format you would prefer. (If you don't care, just sign both. :-))


WikiCulture & Community

Length of session
30 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?

I will try, but it depends on getting a scholarship.

Interested attendees

If you are interested in attending this session, please sign with your username below. This will help reviewers to decide which sessions are of high interest. Sign with a hash and four tildes. (# ~~~~).

I am interested this talk with a longer discussion part

  1. Ariconte (talk) 22:16, 12 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Add your username here.

I am interested in this talk with a longer presentation part

  1. --Gnom (talk) 10:28, 26 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  2. --Jcornelius (talk) 20:58, 27 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  3. KrystleChung (talk) 20:32, 1 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 06:23, 23 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Andycyca (WMMX, Wikimania 2015 Staff) | (Any questions?) 06:14, 29 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  6. --アンタナナ 23:34, 22 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  7. --Olimar (talk) 20:58, 12 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Add your username here.