Photo by Stellapark025, CC BY-SA 4.0.

We are excited to announce the successful grantees from the final round of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Individual Engagement Grants (IEG) program.

IEGs provide funding to individuals and small teams to take on projects with potential for online impact and that advance the Wikimedia Foundation’s mission and strategic priorities. These projects can take on many forms, from building and improving online tools or social processes, to creating new types of partnerships with organizations or conducting actionable research about Wikimedia content and contributors.

The IEG committee typically scores two rounds of grant proposals a year according to specified selection criteria. This year, however, IEG will be replaced by Project Grants starting July 1, 2016 and will transition to quarterly, rather than biannual, rounds.

Our volunteer committee is made up of 16 Wikimedians who come from over 15 different wikis and collectively speak over 10 languages. Outside of our IEG committee work, members edit, review, and translate content; help govern local chapters; write software; organize off-wiki events; facilitate workshops; work as sysops and bureaucrats; verify copyright and licensing permissions; draft and discuss project policies; and recruit and welcome new users to Wikimedia projects. Many members also serve as advisors to new IEG grantees, helping to answer questions, connect them to relevant resources, and comment on monthly and midpoint reports.

In this latest round, a total of 28 eligible proposals were submitted for the committee’s review. The committee recommended that 8 projects be funded to receive $87,332 overall, divided into two themes:  tools and online community organizing.

Online community organizing: two projects funded

Photo by Hellerhoff/Anka Friedrich, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Photo by Hellerhoff/Anka Friedrich, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Tools: six projects funded

Photo by Ramwik, CC BY-SA 3.0
Photo by Ramwik, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Improve ‘Upload to Commons’ Android App:
    • This project will further enhance ‘Upload to Commons,’ making the Android app more user-friendly by improving categorization tools and providing tutorials to help new users create more useful content for Commons.
  • Enhance the ProveIt gadget:
    • The ProveIt gadget is a reference manager that creates a visual interface for easily adding and editing references to a Wikipedia article.  This project will optimise the gadget by connecting it with Wikidata to allow for autocompletion of references with existing data.
  • Wikiscan Multi-wiki:
    • This project will expand the Wikiscan site, currently focused on French Wikipedia, to include all Wikimedia wikis with more than 100,000 edits.  It will provide many  daily-updated statistics, such as most active pages and users for each day and month since a project was created.
Diagram by Epantaleo, CC BY-SA 4.0.
Diagram by Epantaleo, CC BY-SA 4.0.
  • A graphical and interactive etymology dictionary based on Wiktionary:
    • This project will extract etymological relationships from Wiktionary to build a database designed for integration into Wikidata.  A second goal of the project is to build an interactive visualization tool to represent the extracted etymological relationships as well as the associated lexical information using trees (see photo).
  • Alt text tools:
    • Alternative texts provide in-context descriptions of images to increase accessibility for vision-impaired users.  This project would create a collection of tools to allow volunteers to efficiently add and improve text alternatives on English Wikipedia.
  • Lua libs for behavior-driven development:
    • This project will create an extension to support testing of Lua-modules in a behavior-driven development style using spec-like tests.

Analysis

This round, we see two trends that reflect the recent Inspire Campaign focus on Content Curation and Review.

As in the last round of IEG, improving accessibility continues to be a prominent theme, whether by creating new user interfaces to make interpretation of statistical data more intuitive, offering tools to make it easier for volunteers to support access for vision-impaired users, or organizing existing data into systems that increase its potential applications.

Several projects funded this round will focus on making existing volunteer efforts more effective, by adding tutorials to an existing app to teach new users how to avoid common mistakes, by helping Wikipedians to participate in organizational partnerships that will magnify their efforts, and by designing clearly defined workflows that make strategic use of volunteer expertise.

Two projects will take a multi-phased approach to raising the quality of medical information on Wikipedia.   Both projects are led by seasoned Wikipedians with a demonstrated record of successfully leveraging volunteer efforts and improving health coverage on Wikipedia.  Given that Wikipedia is one of the most frequently referenced sources of medical knowledge in the world, the potential impact of these projects is outstanding.

We received many compelling proposals this year that the committee decided not to fund because of concerns about the feasibility of the scope.  We encourage applicants who were not successful in this round of funding to refine and resubmit their proposals in upcoming rounds.  Return proposals that have been revised in response to community and committee feedback are warmly welcomed.

At the close of this round, IEG and Project & Event Grants (PEG) will be redesigned as Project Grants. Project Grants will support both new experiences and proven ideas across the Wikimedia movement. Open call for the first round of Projects Grants start July 1st, with proposals due by August 2nd.

You can read more about the new grants structure on Meta (main page, IdeaLab).

As we prepare to launch our new program, Project Grants, this summer, we invite feedback about how we can improve our grantmaking process. Our goal is to support the enthusiasm and vision behind every proposal we receive, whether or not we are able to fund them.  We welcome participation at every level.  We’re currently seeking volunteers to serve on the new Project Grants Committee.

We look forward to reviewing your suggestions and future submissions, but for now we say congratulations to the successful grantees and encourage you to follow their progress as they begin work in the coming weeks.

Marti Johnson, IEG Program Officer
Wikimedia Foundation

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