[Wiki Loves Monuments] Wiki Loves Monuments in Italy largely blocked by WMF fundraising

Estermann Beat beat.estermann at bfh.ch
Mon Aug 24 12:42:36 UTC 2015

Dear Luis,

Just out of curiosity, could you clarify the following two points?

-          You are saying that “they must fundraise somewhere in Europe during September” – what would be the concrete (measurable) drawback if they ran their campaign in October instead of September? (Expected loss of money? Number of additional days the banner would have to be on display to raise the same amount of funds?) – The fundraising team has been running a lot of statistical tests on the fundraising actions, so I guess there must be some figures to illustrate this claim…

-          Also, having the banners up simultaneously in more countries in October instead of displaying them in September would not really hurt, would it?

Kind regards,

From: wikilovesmonuments-bounces at lists.wikimedia.org [mailto:wikilovesmonuments-bounces at lists.wikimedia.org] On Behalf Of Luis Villa
Sent: Samstag, 22. August 2015 20:02
To: Wiki Loves Monuments Photograph Competition
Cc: Wikimedia Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Wiki Loves Monuments] Wiki Loves Monuments in Italy largely blocked by WMF fundraising

Hi, Romaine-

[tl;dr: Fundraising has a hard job. The Board has asked them to raise a lot of money, and fall in Europe is very important to doing that efficiently. We have tried to reach a compromise, but no compromise is perfect. In the long run, we would like to work together to try to figure out a calendar and other alternatives.]

Thank you for reaching out, and for working patiently with us to find a solution.

Let me explain how I see both the short term and the long term.

In the short term, Fundraising has been asked to raise $68 million this year to support the movement (including funding some parts of WLM!). This is going to be extremely difficult, given the decline in pageviews (details<https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:Wikimedia_Foundation_Annual_Plan/2015-16&diff=12692813&oldid=12650742>). They also have to coordinate campaigns around the world, with a staff that is small by non-profit fundraising standards.

For them to meet their goals, they must be effective in the fall in Europe. This means they must fundraise somewhere in Europe during September. Because of this, disrupting some part of WLM is hard to avoid. :/ This is why we started working with you, Andrea, and others to work out a compromise last month.

My understanding is that Fundraising and the Italian chapter have already adjusted their campaign dates as part of the compromise. Fundraising also cooperated with the French chapter to move those dates. No compromise is perfect, but I think we did the best we could under the circumstances. We can continue to make small changes (for example, Lisa offered earlier in this thread to add WLM suggestions in fundraising emails) but the team needs to start working now.

In the long term, WMF values Wiki Loves Monuments and the many other projects that use Central Notice. Clearly, we need a better process to help coordinate Central Notice, including WMF projects like fundraising. We would like to work on setting up such a process, but that will require more work on our side. So Lisa and I are talking about how we can trim back on other work to make this happen.

We would also love to work with WLM and other programs to figure out better ways to communicate with potential contributors. For example, if we asked potential contributors to give their email (as Italia already does<http://wikilovesmonuments.wikimedia.it/>), we could almost certainly make the process more effective and reduce banners at the same time. Again, though, helping with something like this will require cutting back elsewhere in Fundraising/Community, and so that will take some time to figure out.

Hope this helps clarify the situation. Lisa and I are happy to answer more questions if we can.



On Tue, Aug 18, 2015 at 11:42 AM, Romaine Wiki <romaine.wiki at gmail.com<mailto:romaine.wiki at gmail.com>> wrote:
Hi all,

Sad news.
The title of this thread seems a bit hard, but that is practically the situation as it looks now.
Wiki Loves Monuments is the yearly photo contest since 2010, organised by many local Wikipedia communities and local chapters. For this contest a banner is shown on top of Wikipedia pages in the specific countries to attract attention from the public to participate in enriching Wikipedia with photos of the local cultural heritage.
Wiki Loves Monuments depends for at least 99% on the banner. When there is no banner, the uploads and results drop dramatically, as possible participants are not informed and can't easily find the contest site. Also participants need time to go on location to take photos and see the banner above Wikipedia afterwards to find their way back.

What is the situation?
* The fundraising team plans to have a fundraising banner in Italy during the month September.
* The local team of Wiki Loves Monuments in Italy is organising the contest in Italy and needs a banner as well.
As there can be shown only one banner at the time, there have been talks about these conflicting banners. Result: Wiki Loves Monuments get only 37,5% of the time, the fundraising banner 62,5% of the time.
Now you maybe think that 37,5% of the time is still large, but the appearances are deceptive because of the different ways the banner is used, and because the differences in numbers of upload throughout the month September. Also the banner is not shown at all during two full weeks, important weeks to attract participants. In the end I estimate, based on the usage and issues of previous years, etc, that only 10-15% of the uploads are made in comparison what normally would have been expected.
This is what I would call a devastating effect.
And this is purely because of bad planning at WMF:
* They haven't checked which countries participated continuously the past years.
* They haven't informed which countries are likely to participate.
* And they say they can't move the fundraising banner to another month, but it is still a mystery why that isn't possible.
This same issue was originally the case in two countries, but somehow it was possible to move it for the second country.
This is really sad for Italy. Extra sad because of the difficult copyright situation in Italy, what requires the local team already to do much much much more work than in most other countries, just to have a normal contest. The Italian team does a great job this year.

My conclusion
The community is working very hard on improving and expanding the content of Wikipedia by organising Wiki Loves Monuments. I always thought that this was the number one priority of the whole Wikimedia movement. Did I made a wrong assumption somehow?

But when it actually matters, the community project bears the bunt. This is sad, very sad.

Please all, support the Italian team, they do a great job and deserve a successful contest.

PS: I am one of the international organisers of Wiki Loves Monuments this year, but this e-mail is written on my personal account only.

Wiki Loves Monuments mailing list
WikiLovesMonuments at lists.wikimedia.org<mailto:WikiLovesMonuments at lists.wikimedia.org>

Luis Villa
Sr. Director of Community Engagement
Wikimedia Foundation
Working towards a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.
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