[Wiki Loves Monuments] Thinking about the future

Maarten Dammers maarten at mdammers.nl
Sat Sep 28 13:23:18 UTC 2013

Hi Beat,

I've been thinking about the future too. I wanted to send something in 
October, but it looks like we already started. As you know I was one of 
the people who started Wiki Loves Monuments a couple of years ago and I 
organized it for three years (Netherlands 2010, Netherlands/Europe 2011 
and worldwide 2012) and this year I got dragged in to fix some technical 
issues. We've been thinking why we are doing this long before the whole 
program design and evaluation started.

Back in 2009 we did Wiki Loves Art (see 
We enjoyed doing this and it was quite a success. We didn't want to 
repeat it at that time because it took a lot of staff time and that was 
something we didn't have at that time. We did like the concept of a 
photo competition.
Somewhere at the start of 2010 the Dutch windmill project achieved their 
goals of having an article for every windmill. That project had been 
running for a while and one of the first steps was to create lists of 
all windmills in the Netherlands. We really liked the concept of lists 
because this meant we had clearly (measurable) goals.
After negotiating with the Rijksdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed we got the 
dataset of all 60.000 Rijksmonumenten in the Netherlands. These were put 
online by volunteers as lists.

Those three factors were the basis for Wiki Loves Monuments. We did a 
photo competition to get these lists illustrated. We're at 80% 
illustrated now by the way :-)

 From 2011 we started organizing this in a federative fashion. I really 
like this way of organizing something. This way everyone is going in the 
same direction, but still have plenty of freedom to do things on a local 
To make it clear to everyone why we're doing this and to help making 
(though) decisions we wrote down 
On top of that Wiki Loves Monuments helped to start or improve 
wikiprojects about cultural heritage. Wiki Loves Monuments and Wiki 
Loves Art are excellent instruments to establish or improve relations 
with GLAMs.

At this point in time I think it's good to not do Wiki Loves Monuments 
next year. We accomplished a lot and the effects are wearing off. So 
what's next? I like photo competitions but we might have a bit of tunnel 
vision here. Everyone seems to be focusing on doing one or more photo 
competitions next year. We don't have to do anything related with photos 
and we don't have to do anything this big. Bigger doesn't mean it's 
better. If we keep focussing on photo competitions we become one trick 

Some lessons learned over the years:
* Clear goals and philosophy are important
* The 5 pillars (easy, fun, local, help Wikipedia, quick and visible 
results) work
* We are very bad at communication as a movement, extra effort should be 
invested in that
* Having lists of what we want works much better than a vague goal
* People have a hard time sticking to a timeline
* Project management is new for a lot of people. Learning some basic 
project management skills help a lot
* Federative approach make it scalable
* In person events are fun!
* Copyright laws can make it very difficult

So the question for next year is: What are the goals we want to achieve? 
I'll list some possible goals based on WLM:
* Help Wikipedia/wikiprojects (could be your local heritage project or 
* Attract new users
* Increase (photographic?) coverage of a certain subject
* Connect online and offline (increase the social coherence of your 
* Make people aware of the fact you can edit Wikipedia
* Capacity & community building (organizers learn how to work together 
on a big project)
* Establish or improve relations with cultural heritage organizations/GLAMs
* International cooperation (work together with people from different 
countries to achieve the same goals)
* Break a world record

So let's be creative. For example: We could continue with cultural 
heritage. Let's organize a writing competition. You can score points by 
writing or improving articles about historic buildings (monuments) in 
any of the participating countries in any language. Extra points for 
quality. Every country submits the n most important monuments in their 
country. If you write something about one of those you get bonus points 

You can do a bit of brainstorming to see what else you come up with. All 
these ideas and the Wiki Loves * ideas should be evaluated based on the 


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