Commons:Wiki Loves Monuments International Team meeting 2017/Day 2

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Day 1 Wiki Loves Monuments International Team meeting 2017
Day 2
Day 3

Welcome and thanks for coming. Everyone is so excited. Let's plan for 2017.

Why are we here? Our goal is to find our direction. We aim to figure out what we're doing for 2017, plus we'll also need to think about a few years into the future. We need to figure out where we will focus. The International Team met yesterday to define their mission. We will discuss this later. Which things are within our mission? You'll find out soon!

WLM retreat 2017 4473.jpg

What do we want to achieve? (1) Arrive at a shared understanding of how 2016 worked. (2) Plan for 2017.

AS we begin, let's revisit the rules for the meeting that we discussed yesterday morning. First, please remember that none of us is a genius. We know some things, and we don't know some things. We have a lot of potential, but we need to work together. Hiding is considered harmful. We need to lose the self-ego. We should criticize without questioning character. We should be patient. We should be open. This boils down to three basic pillars: humility, respect, trust (HeaRT).


  • Lily
  • Stephen
  • Paweł
  • Romaine
  • Martin
  • Cristian
  • John C
  • André
  • Ilario
  • Isla
  • Lodewijk
  • Jean-Fred
  • Ido
  • Seddon


Slide deck for the day

Lily starts the second day by welcoming everyone and giving an overview of the two days ahead. We go over Why we are here? what do we want to achieve by the end of the day? the schedule and rules of the game.

History of WLM[edit]

Let's start off with why we can pitch Wiki Loves Monuments to partners. Wikipedia is an awesome project that we can support with this competition. There are several different goals, but Wikipedia has big part of the project. Wikipedia is what makes us different.

20170211 Offsite history WLM.pdf

It started with windmills. Some people on Dutch Wikipedia wanted an article for each windmill, and then they wanted to get a photograph of every single one. What happens when you're done? The group was ready for a bigger challenge. That was the inspiration for Wiki Loves Monuments.

People took a list of monumental structures, including all sorts of monuments from palaces/castles to a simple electricity distribution house. In the first year, there were 60k monuments in the Netherlands. This was possible because of lists and structured information. We collaborated with governments and NGOs to run this first campaign. Because it was structured, we could keep track of our progress.

Success, initially was 12.5k photos. Initially, France wanted to join, but the Netherlands group was unsure if it would be an annual thing. Very quickly, it became obvious that there was wider european interest. There were connections to the European Commission and the Council of Europe. We had contacts with other European organizations. In 2011, we organized in europe -- 18 countries and 160k+ photos. When we started to look at the results, we realized that we were becoming the world's biggest photo competition. The next year, Wiki Loves Monuments got even bigger. The competitions were national, and there was an international level for prizes. At this point, it required hundreds of volunteers including each of the local teams.

We backwards engineered the concept of Wiki Loves Monuments. What did we do, and why did it work? The basic idea was to keep it easy.

These were the elements:

  1. run for one month (not longer),
  2. stay community focused,
  3. make it easy to upload, and
  4. provide a good overview.

The first International Team turned out to be very Dutch heavy, mostly because of the Dutch/EU roots. The team was made of mostly specialists, with a few generalists. We noticed that there was high turnover. After the world record, people wanted to work on something else. The team started off with around 6 members, and then went down to 1 one member (in 2015), and now up to 10 people.

Why did it work? We had observed five pillars:

  1. Make it easy
  2. Make it fun
    1. This includes both organization and participation.
  3. Provide a local component
    1. This is very important -- it's often difficult to hold the competition if it's too much space between monuments.
  4. Help wikipedia
  5. Quick & visible results
    1. It works best when participants can immediately see how their photo is integrated.

There were a few challenges to running the project each year:

  1. Each country is different
    1. This makes it complicated.
  2. Legal challenges in some countries
    1. Italy, Hungary, Greece, Egypt
  3. Success is unexpected
    1. What happens when 150 people show up to a photo safari event unexpectedly? It's good, but complicated.
  4. What is a monument? Where does a country end?
  5. Distances
    1. In large countries, like Australia and Russia, this proves to be a difficulty.
  6. Completeness
    1. How do you encourage places where you have covered the monuments on the list?

There are some answers, but we have not addressed these items completely.

International challenges:

  • Finding partners was a difficult challenge, and we have done work to solve this finding connections in our network for the national teams.
  • It's really tricky when you don't have an existing community in a country.
  • Each country is different
  • Tracking success is a tricky thing. How do you define success?
  • Technical coordination is difficult. It's important to keep the ecosystem alive. Depends on the small group of volunteers.
  • Keeping the team together. Also, keeping it fun.

There is a lot of documentation on wiki, but mostly from 2011 and early years. After that, we have focused on keeping the project operating.

We have done a lot over the previous years. We now have over a million photos, and (maybe) the largest database of monument data. We don't have a lot of data on the participants, but think that Wiki Loves Monuments is more diverse.

There are some awesome and encouraging stories. People have joined because of Wiki Loves Monuments, and then stayed in the community and made significant contributions, in some cases, tens of thousands of photos. There was a Dutch editor who joined because of Wiki Loves Monuments, and recently came to be because he wants to build collaborations with museums. It is encouraging to see how people get organized. Get amazing when national collaboration ships. The Erasmus prize was in part referring to the success of Wiki Loves Monuments.

Approximately 5% of Wikimedia Commons comes from Wiki Loves Monuments. We have the impression that people who contribute also make an edit afterward within a year.


  • How is structured legally? How do we get money/partnerships?
    • The local competitions may be organized with a chapter, user group, or may be run by a small group of volunteers. Every year there is one group that serves as the fiscal sponsorship for the International Team. There are maybe some benefits to having a group at some point, but we focused on running the campaigns and keeping things informal.
  • Say I'm in a country that doesn't run WLM, is there a standard workflow? What are the major sticking point?
    • This is a topic that we will talk about later today. There is a basic guide that we put up each year (see the 2016 guide).
  • How often are photos from the competition used on Wikipedia?
    • I don't know them by heart. Note that approximately half the photos are geotagged.

Reflecting on 2016[edit]

Wiki Loves Monuments 2016 timeline.svg

Here is a schedule of the 2016 campaign:

  • January - August: Preparation
  • August - September: Focused work
  • End of September: Campaign ends
  • October: National jury starts
  • November: International jury starts
  • December: conclusion (results, surveys...)


We got a list of all the past organizers, and a list of high priority countries (including countries who had not participated). We checked against the list that had signed up. We sent an email to past organizers, and reached out to village pumps. If the response was positive, went to onboarding. If it was negative, they proposed a downside. Usually, people did not want to do it alone. We asked for a person who could help, and recruited them. If they were undecided, pitched them for 45 mins. Most of the people who were undecided were convinced through this process. It was time intensive. If there is no response, then go through personal networks more and more.
Question: Can people organize WLM outside of a country where I live? No, formally it's not a strict requirement. Practically, there a lot of reasons to do it locally.
Question: Is this step scaleable? No. We should talk about this more.
Question: What is the value for people doing this one more time? There is a concept that some countries have finished, or that they are doing something more important. We need to define what is more important.
There are two cases, either they have participated in past years, or this is the first time the country has participated. If it's their first time, there are two parts: technical and organizational onboarding. Basically, we provide consultation. We explain the concept of a landing page, the banner, send examples/samples, talk about the rules (suggestions and requirements). Quite a few countries have difficulty with timelines. They will need more time. When do they start and when do they end? When will this timeline work? Figure out prizes and working with the international competition. How do they get a jury? What are the best practices for the jury? What kind of prizes work, how do you get partners? Local barriers, usually legal. Freedom of Panorama, antiquity laws, copyright for database, things that get in the way. Sometimes you need to talk to a lawyer. Preparing the monuments list, why you need it, what kind of information, what kind of organization to reach out to in that area. We provide some pointers to different organizations. Many people appreciate knowing where to start. At this point, we need a CSV file with monuments names.
Question: Do local teams apply to the Wikimedia Foundation for funds to run WLM? Some countries do, but some organize WLM out of own pocket. Many countries don't have a budget at all, so they do in-kind prizes etc. Entirely up to them to decide.
Request of grants
Earlier in the year, we apply for grants. (More on this discussed below)
Structured lists
On the local wiki, there are templates. These templates are built from a spreadsheet with lists of information about monuments. There is an infographic that explains this process.
Question: Is there a way to improve this process? There are some issues with managing the templates. They can be complex to edit, and there are loading problems if you go beyond 300 monuments (depending on complexity) per page.
Monuments database
There are two parts: (1) the database can be mostly dumped into wikidata. (2) bot framework is intertwined. There is a lot of improvement possible in the bot framework. The way you add you qualifiers for quality images. There are a lot of possibilities. We have a page with detailed documentation on the monuments database and structured lists. How do these lists go into a format that can be understood by bots? This is done with the monuments database. It's a general framework where you can add countries easily. Add a template for a country, and the bot will take care of it. The tool maps the fields on the database to the template. Basic info we need: mapping of things, and reports for organizers. Bot can tell you things, like stats about geotags or monuments with IDs. The database lists starts with monuments lists. You can automate a lot of grunt work to reduce work for volunteers. It's not mandatory for running the contest, but highly recommended because it's easier to maintain statistics.
Question: Are we eventually moving all the lists to Wikidata? Short answer: yes. Longer answer: not yet, there's work to do.
Question: Did you do any onboarding of users who wanted to use the monuments DB? The number of tasks to connect data was dozens. We onboarded Iran, Nigeria, Georgia, and Bulgaria. The process could be frustrating at times. We need to get the reports pages, and this is difficult to set up. They have to fill out complex templates. One thing we did in 2016 was to make it harder to break. 1,500 lines of python code in the database.
Question: Is this part of another project? Is it part of Wiki Loves Monuments? It's part of Wiki Loves Monuments to serve all campaigns that use it. We have an API on top of the database, so you can have eg a maps tool for free.
Question: Who are the maintainers? It was built by Multichill, and now maintained by Andre and Jean-Fred. Partially supported by Wikimedia Sweden. Switzerland is interested in structured data for their country. Curious if there is a larger project.
Question: Did we use Wikidata in 2016? In general, we did not do any full scale migration to Wikidata. We made the monuments database aware of wikidata. Starting from Wikidata is probably the way to go for new countries, since it's going to save future work.
Setting up infrastructure
Romaine has a guide with an overview of the different areas of infrastructure. It's all about the flow of the user. A user sees a banner on Wikipedia, and so that needs translations. Romaine can set up this translation. The next step is to set up a local website. The minimal setup can be provided by the international team, but the rest is set up in the national team. Local websites point to the local repository of monuments lists from commons. There are different ways to represent moments. There are upload wizards and uploads campaign, you have to set up a different campaign for each country or even state, and the upload adds a category for monument identifier if the image is uploaded within a certain period. The upload wizard can be linked to a banner in a local language, and using the right upload campaign inserts the right templates upon uploads. This is all set up by Romaine, and this includes early/late pages. When it all works well, images will be added to the correct category.
Questions: How do people set this up? They reach out to Romaine, or he reaches out to them if necessary. Some of these things require a Commons admin to set up.
Question: In 2016, which part of this were the hardest part? The translations are difficult. Upload wizard is also a challenge.
Connected to Wiki Loves Monuments, there is a budget, for things like prizes (see the 2016 grant). The grant this year is closed 28 feb. We can delay for one month, but it doesn't make sense if we want to submit for 9 march. The new format has changed. The next grant will be more challenging. There will be a series of projects and a competition for the amount. The committee will evaluate if there is content and decide the first collection of grants. From the group of projects not granted. The third group of projects will require some additional discussion. There could be an additional evaluation of the project. If we finance only the prizes, we could wait, but if we want to fund anything before we need to focus. We provided consultation to three countries that wanted to apply for a grant. We gave them feedback. If some other countries wanted to apply for project grants. We need to communicate this 9 march deadline. If they want less then $2,000, they could submit for rapid grants which can happen anytime.
Question: How can we communicate this to community? We should start to write the proposal as soon as possible. Want to share some of these documents at the end.
Question: How many people applied in 2016? How many unsuccessful? All were successful. This was a change to the rules. Every local community knew how to do the grant, what was accepted. Every grant was accepted. 14 countries out of 42. Then there were some got their money through chapters.
Question: Has the international team funded local prizes? In 2014, there was a budget dedicated to local prizes, because there was not enough time for local organizers to apply for a grant independently. In 2011-2013 we sorted money through the international team. In 2016, we did not include local prizes in the International Team budget, and the local organizers worked more independently. Local teams should be informed that if they want to use small amounts for prizes (< 2000$) they should apply for a rapid grant. It's something that wasn't frequently used (mostly a backup method).
Partnerships and sponsorships
A partnership has two sides of mutual benefit, sponsorship has one side one side that pays. Why do we want them? to have different sources of income, so we don't need to rely on the foundation; for the foundation to spend that money on other projects. We would like more things like the relationship with UNESCO. They encourage us to do things we may not have intended to. Wiki Loves Monuments can lead to surprising partnerships. What we intend to do from today to when the partnership starts. In 2016, we approached long-time and past partners. We approached a few companies as well. We didn't get what we wanted, which we think may have been related to talking to them so late in the process. People wanted logos on the website for prize money. We approached this hastily last year, and hope to take more time to do it properly this year..
Comment: UNESCO promoted the WLM competition and WLM winners on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as part of Unite4Heritage. We asked UN to promote it, they posted 3 times about WLM to its 7.2M Twitter followers. Some of the most popular Instagram posts of the year were WLM posts. In the last 3 months of 2016 the 3 most popular images on UNESCO Instagram account were all WLM winners. Armelle Arrou (head of Unite4Heritage) was a judge in international competition, too. An overview of this is available of UNESCO visibility report (p22).
Comment: Here are a few suggestions, from the perspective of a partner organization:
  • Internationalization: From the perspective of UNESCO's mission, it's important to have material that is internationalized. In 2016, the international portal is only in English, but UNESCO promoted in 5 languages. Lots of people complained they couldn't take part because their countries we not listed, as well. There are lots of opportunities for collaboration in the future, both promotion and infrastructure (getting registers, partnerships).
  • More international: We should promote Wiki Loves Monuments in countries where it currently isn't run, especially in Arabic speaking countries and China.
  • Partnering in infrastructure: We can help getting built heritage registers that may be hard to get hold of for other people (we currently doing this), Connected Open Heritage. No one has a list of built heritage registers, ICOMOS use the Wikipedia article.
  • Photo exhibition of WLM photos: UNESCO wants to provide on their website a way for the public to explore and reuse open access photos of built heritage on their website, we have the components, Pawels tool as the front end, something like Protected Planet with photos
Comment: Europa nostra has been a partner since 2011. They have provided a jury member, and helped promote Wiki Loves Monuments to other organizations under their umbrella. This helps get the message into those channels. They sponsored one prize. The European best prize gets a printed photo signed by Maestro Placido Domingo, president of Europa Nostra.
Comment: Some employers may not sponsor, but have an employee matching program. An employee can set up a campaign to raise money for Wiki Loves Monuments international prizes.
Question: Can we track local sponsorships so we don't interfere with national sponsorship processes? This may be difficult since local organizations may not know their sponsorships until late in the schedule as well.
Question: What was the main value to partners? UNESCO's mandate is access. We are the largest open access photography competition. This was a first test. There is a big alignment in mission. Having something that shows the photographs, such as a world map, will show a lot of value to potential partners.
Question: Could we use UNESCO to help get monument lists where we need them? We've already imported all the heritage sites. Other organizations actually use the Wikipedia articles and other data that is collected by Wikipedians. The main thing is that we could pool this knowledge and make it easier to access. At one point, we had considered running a Wiki Loves Monuments campaign based on UNESCO's global list of heritage sites. We found that many of the big sites were already well covered.
Question: What was the main value for Europa Nostra? They want to popularize heritage to a broad audience. One generic value is connecting heritage to a popular audience. This is a value that many partners see.
Question: What do we need to do better to improve partnerships? We need a mission. We are missing materials to give partners. It takes a lot of time. Finally, appearance matters. This is an amazing example of what can be done.
Question: Have you ever had any support from the Wikimedia Foundation Advancement Team? If so, talk to Seddon.

While the national competitions are running[edit]

There are a few things the international team did during the month of september, including monitoring, troubleshooting, and tool development.

Monitoring and troubleshooting
We noticed a few things on Commons. You can monitor it really well, but there are always things you don't expect to break. Pages move, it happens. We had to make some changes to local campaigns, including categories breaks. It may be the local organizers fault, but the Commons community still wants it fixed and should be able to turn to the International Team if need help. We had to file some bugs. Users on Commons may get concerned about problems, like categories. It's not the most fun thing to do, but it's valuable given the current design of the competition. We should do a postmortem on what happened with FOP Russia. Because of Freedom of Panorama, some things are not free enough to have on Wikimedia Commons. Local organizers may need assistance or time to move things to their local wikipedia. Everybody agrees that monuments belong on Commons, and the organizers generally understand FoP.
Question: Are there problems with copyright violations? These come up. We should check if the metadata could be suspicious. In some campaigns, we checked things that could be flagged.
Montage (beta, source code) is a tool to help local organizers deal with judging imaging. It handled 16,000 images from 13 campaigns. It was built in 2 month -- processes seemed simple at first, but practically turned out to be complex. The team was Stephen, Mahmoud, Paweł, Lily. If other software projects are to be started, we learned a few important things from Montage. We should start with clear requirement and people who take clear responsibilities are something good to take away from the process. We are now running Wiki Loves Africa in Montage. Having different types of campaigns will help improve it.
Question: What are your feelings towards toolserver? Tool labs have has some performance issues, so it's difficult to have time-sensitive software on it. Also, there have been some important changes recently. We had a backup plan. But it's easier to use the Wikimedia Commons database directly through the Tool Labs. We eventually decided to run montage on Tool Labs, but it there's a significant downtime we'll consider moving away.
Note: Jurors enjoyed using Montage.
Question: Why build another jury tool? There were already six tools. Had to decide whether to put weight behind existing tool or work on a new one. Did survey with users of past and current year, figured out requirements and expectations, then put together some requirements, evaluated the different tools with the help of the maintainers, collected data and insights. In the end we decided that none of the existing tools met the requirements (including maintainability, etc) and it was decided to start Montage.
‘’Question’’: Are there additional tools that are still used for juries in 2016, in addition to Montage? Yes. Did we explore why? We haven't asked in detail, but we believe it's mostly because of social reasons -- another jury tool may work for the existing workflow in that campaign. If other software works, there is no need to encourage them to change. Also, Montage doesn't allow judging on the go (while images are being uploaded). Another reason people may use other jury tools: Montage is English only at the moment. This might be a barrier for some countries. Montage and WLX are the most heavily used, I believe. The German and Austrian campaign use custom software. It was surprising (in a good way) that so many countries chose Montage, due to the fact that it was still under development during the competition.
Tool development
There are three different buckets of tools that we look at. (1) We have other tools built on top of the monuments database. (2) Tools that are not built on top, but available for everybody. (3) Tools that are designed just for one country. There are a lot of maps tools, but many do not work. The Wiki Loves Monuments tool ecosystem does not often have requirements before they are built. They are usually built in a garage. We could build one stats tool, or one maps tool. We could start with the question, what kind of tool support do people need? Tools get abandoned, which is a challenge. Tools also have people who depend on it. We should discuss this in 2017.
Infrastructure questions
We get a lot of questions about tools. Is there a map tool? What happens when a tool is broken? We tried to hunt down these tools, and bring them into the heritage tool labs account. Main problem is that if a tool doesn't have documentation, it doesn't bode well. We want to build up better memory of tools that are important. In Hey's tools, there were only 9 tools labeled.
Question: Should we support tools broadly, or focus on just a few? We should surface good tools. Yesterday, we discussed maintaining core infrastructure, so we should have a responsibility somewhere. We may want to have a system for handling abandoned tools. There is now a process starting to do this on Tool Labs.
We did a little bit of communications this year. Most of the communications happened at a national level. We did not do a press release at the start. We did do several blog posts about the competition started. It's the job of the village to make this happen. We did some social media. We were fairly active on social media. The response was not big, but it was decent. We have been talking with Jeff (from Wikimedia Foundation Communications) about other channels. This requires some volunteer to do it more.
Comment: UNESCO did a blog post as well. Communications through partnerships is very valued.

When contests ends[edit]

There were a few types of works that we had to do: handle the international jury and prizes, ensure countries who were going to use montage were on the tool and knew how to use it; coordination and communication knew the timeline; and finally we did surveys.

Prizes and jury
We followed the international jury process. We offered travel to wikimania as a prize, but the winners found this less exciting or practical. We have a detailed timeline: (1) get jury members together, (2) make sure they have all the instructions, (3) check they are active (we tend to have one or two jury members who are less involved or miss emails), (4) make sure it stays on schedule, (5) make sure the nominations come in (you may need to search out a few people), delivered on time and everything is working, (6) do manual checks to guide the process, and (7) write the jury report (this explain the jury process and explain it was followed, show the process was fair -- having a good jury report may lead to fewer questions about the process and fairness of the competition). We did some documenting as well.
Question: Are the winners Wikimedians? It may be a less appealing prize to attend Wikimania. It could be that it's not exciting, and it may also not be something that is interesting. We did consider camera equipment. How do you get a prize that works for every country, and with every photographer set up. We ended up with five prizes only.
Question: Is there a plan to add description to Montage? Currently considered optional, we don't want to include subjective information that biases judges. Maybe if an item connected to Wikidata.
Comment: We may want to consider offering mentioning or featuring the winning photos in UNESCO (or other channels) as a prize that's not geographically limited.
There are a few things we did for communications in 2016. We worked with the Wikimedia communications team on this strategy to create attention through stages of communication. We shared the stories of Wiki Loves Monuments, and we reached out to organizers in countries to get these stories. We did a press release, a Wiki Loves Monuments blog post and social media post.
Question Do we have numbers on how many people reached through the blog? We can collect that.
There were three different type of surveys: a mid-process check-in, a final evaluation, and the international team's internal survey. To prepare the 2016 survey, we collected the surveys from previous years. We should consider including some standard questions to get comparable results in future years. One challenge was getting all of the organizers to participate in the survey.
Question: Is there something to improve regarding timing? If we had prepared better in advance, we could improve number of responses. We should explain that a survey is an important part of the process.

Surveys results for 2016[edit]

We ran two separate evaluation surveys at the end of 2016. One survey was provided to people who organized Wiki Loves Monuments 2016. Another survey was provided to people who did not organize Wiki Loves Monuments in 2016, but were involved in previous years. Today, we will look at some of the results with this question in mind: what should we change in 2017?

For the first survey, we received 28 responses. This is not a significant number of responses from the activity as a whole, the survey should be read as suggestive rather than conclusive. Approximately 80% of the people who organized in 2016 were returning, and 20% were organizing Wiki Loves Monuments for their first year. Most of them were active contributors (65% said they have 5+ edits/month). Of the organizers, 15% identified as women, and 85% identified as men. They came from a variety of roles, including coordinator, jury member, sole organizer, leader, communications leader, etc. The top three motivations were to help Wikipedia or Commons (75%), increase the discovery of local heritage or natural sites (70%), and expanding the Wikimedia community (60%).

Organizers left comments that generally focused on three themes: improve coverage of monuments, improve the collection of photos on Wikimedia Commons, and expand the community. No one said that they did not achieve their goal. They described success in a variety of different terms, including reaching a target number of contributors, receiving more photos, getting more users, adding photos that were used in more articles, building a stronger community, creating new partnerships, being included among the international winners, and accepting drone images. Many responses focused on the numbers they achieved, as well as getting photographs of previously unphotographed monuments on Wikimedia Commons.

The organizers shared feedback on what worked well and what did not work. Overall, most of the feedback was positive, with only a few years with notable negative responses. The respondents were generally satisfied, and thought there was excellent internal communication. The communication with the general public was mostly good, and communication with news and media was more mixed (approximately 30% identified this as poor or very poor). The responses on participation showed some evidence of volunteer burnout. Organizers identified partners and sponsors as an area for improvement. Tools were rated overall neutral. Coordination with the international team was mostly positive, and coordination with other countries was overall neutral (with slightly more positives than negatives). People said they liked in-person events, participation and photos, and partners.

The response to the prizes was mostly positive, in that they thought monetary prizes are good. Organizers agreed that Wiki Loves Monuments improved Wikipedia.

Note: If our focus is to bring in professional photographers, it may be a bigger challenge to engage these people with the community beyond their contributions during the competition. This is something to consider changing.

The response on Wiki Loves Monuments' long-term benefits was mostly positive, as well as raising awareness of local historical sites. Most people agree that Wiki Loves Monuments has long-term benefits, most people think it's fun, organizing is easy (although discussion around this happened in the room that suggested it's not clear if respondents answered on behalf of their participants or on their own behalf as an organizer). Most organizers agreed that they had all the resources they need to run Wiki Loves Monuments, and most people agreed that other Wiki Loves Organizers were helpful. There was agreement that Wiki Loves Monuments recruits new people, and that it brought quality photos to Wikipedia.

When asked if they would organize Wiki Loves Monuments in 2017, it broke down to: yes (82%), no (3.6%), and maybe (14.3%). One response explained that they feel they have reached the break-even point between the value of Wiki Loves Monuments and the effort required to run the campaign. It's interesting to think about how to reduce the cost to change the break-even point, and think about how to signal the benefits and value.

There were a few common themes in the challenges that the organizers identified: it's difficult to get volunteers, it's difficult to get a list of monuments, some organizers faced technical trouble, some organizers found it difficult to work with Wikimedia Commons, and some organizers needed help finding sponsors and partners. What should change? More partnerships, more help for beginners, and more focus on valuable photos. From the International Team, organizers asked for a guide for new participants (or organizers?).

Comment: How can we support organizers who are doing things they don't have experience doing? For example, it's intimidating to approach the head of the heritage group in a country, especially in some countries where hierarchy is harder to navigate. The International Team can use the network of individuals in the team, as well as providing documentation of best practices. However, some local issues can't be solved with the international team's help. Basic guides exist on how to approach governments and other partners. We should investigate why people felt they were not doing good in terms of partnerships.

Did people get the support they need from the international team? Most people were positive, but 1-2 were dissatisfied.

Comment: This may not be a significant issue, since usually one person from every team was very involved with the international team, and quite a few people responded to this question naturally. We can follow up with survey participants (who gave us permission) if we need to know more about why they were dissatisfied.

How can the international team help? We can help local teams get prizes, technical tools (stats, jury tools), resources for organizers (guides, collateral), statistics!, certificates, and help with interacting with administrators on Wikimedia Commons.

Many of the organizers would consider recommending organizing Wiki Loves Monuments to a friend. We had 90% rate 5+ on a scale of 1-10.

In addition to evaluating the campaign, we gathered some basic information about how local campaigns were organized. For their home page, most groups identified a Wikimedia Commons page, followed by a custom website, a chapter page, or a Facebook page. For social media, organizers are using Facebook, twitter, Instagram, and Wikivoyage (!). The team size had a wide range, from 2 to 6 people. In 2016, local teams organized a variety of offline events, including photo walks or safaris, uploading parties, edit-a-thons, and awards ceremonies. They encouraged uploads mostly through CentralNotice banners, but also through photo walks, newsletters, and Facebook. From chapters, organizers received grant funding, prizes, direct organization, and some did not receive support from a chapter. The winners received publicity through press, social media, and other types of attention. Sponsors provided prizes, travel, publicity, and venues for events.

When asked what they plan to change for 2017, organizers aim for bigger goals and find more volunteers, and one mentioned they would organize something local instead of participating in Wiki Loves Monuments (mentioning the diminishing returns of the competition).

Their final advice to someone organizing Wiki Loves Monuments in the future:

  • Brace yourself
  • Check and double check your lists
  • Write down your thoughts during the campaign, and read them next time
  • It's a learning process project

We also asked a series of questions to people who did not participate in 2016. These responses identified burnout, the trouble obtaining a monuments list, the diminishing returns in a country that is already well photographed, and the trouble interacting with some users on Wikimedia Commons. They suggested a few ways that the international team can help: sharing ideas, supporting them with logistics, helping them get more volunteers, and helping them figure out the monuments list. Generally, people were open to getting involved again.

Question: Did you see anything that signaled that surveyees thought Wiki Loves monuments is fundamentally problematic? No, I did not see anything suggesting that at all. Most responses were positive or neutral, with a few clear challenges ahead. The most fundamental question was the issue of burnout and diminishing returns, which is possibly a factor of how people see the value of the competition, combined with the complexity organizing it given the current tools and processes.

So, what should we change for WLM 2017?

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats[edit]

We are going to go through an analysis of the threats, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) to the project. It's useful to think of these as a table of good and bad things we face, which are either internal or external:

Good Bad
Internal Strengths Weaknesses
External Opportunities Challenges

We will submit individual responses, and then discuss the results, which will lead to a ranked list of our SWOT assessment.


  • Good photos: This is a fundamental part of the project
  • Many volunteers: There is such a large base of volunteers that makes Wiki Loves Monuments possible
    • Question: How many campaigns have staff? Most do not. Of the 40 countries that run a campaign, maybe 10 have staff from a chapter involved.
  • Wikimedia funding, Wikimedia volunteers, and Wikimedia brand: Every Wikimedia project benefits from these
  • Formula: The Wiki Loves formula has been repeated for a few years now, and copied by other non-monument campaigns, which indicates its strengths
  • Track-record: Wiki Loves Monuments has performed well over many years
  • Global diversity: People are involved from a variety of places; it's global and diverse


  • High diversity is a challenge: We risk fragmentation among countries, and people not sharing things; Wiki Loves Monuments relies on an unknown number of complex bespoke workflows
  • Global but not worldwide: We are in many countries, but not everywhere, with some notable gaps in the map outside of Europe
  • Not enough sharing: We are missing was to share knowledge, like documentation and case studies
  • Diminishing returns: Some campaigns feel like they are losing value when they do the same list year-after-year (we should address this perception)
  • Lack of innovation
  • Lack of quality infrastructure
  • Lack of clear and shared goals
  • Difficulty with Wikimedia Commons: We have heard a few reports about bad experiences with files being deleted from Wikimedia Commons
    • Media being deleted is harsh and demotivating. This is because a photo feels more personal than a text contribution. The deletion processes, and rules, are complex on Commons, too, so it can lead to more frustration.
    • On the other hand, we choose Wikimedia Commons because it is an easy first step into the Wikimedia universe.
    • We should consider providing resources and support to campaign organizers so that they can interact better with Wikimedia Commons users. We should be good citizens of Commons! We have some Commons organizers on the international team who can help in specific cases, but there is more we can do here.


  • Partnerships: There are a lot of natural partners and partnerships for our kind of work
    • We should find global partners and sponsors in particular.
    • It can be a two-way relationship, too. A lot of institutions would love to have our collated and maintained lists of monuments data. In some senses, Wiki Loves Monuments is miles ahead of other similar institutions, technologically speaking.
  • Participation without local teams: We should consider allowing people to upload files where there isn't a local team to organize the competition
    • We should make sure this doesn't discourage local people from organizing, since there is a significant advantage to having a local group. If done right, these uploads could provide encouragement or incentive for locals to organize.
    • We should consider providing some assistance from the international team
  • Wikidata: We can solve a lot of frustration and complexity with Wikidata
    • This is not to say it isn't a threat as well, but it's a big opportunity
  • Outreach: So we can reach new kinds of users
  • Brand: We should build more awareness of the brand
  • Retention of new users
  • Marketability: Photos look great, so we should market them more
  • Funding: We should plan for the long term
  • The Wikimedia Foundation: We should discuss more ways to work with the Foundation


  • Loss of funding: If we lose Wikimedia Foundation funding (such as due to a change in timeline or schedule), that would pose a significant challenge
  • Wikimedia Commons difficulties: Files can get deleted
    • We have a responsibility to engage properly with Wikimedia Commons
    • We can improve our coordination with users and administrators on Wikimedia Commons
  • Volunteer burnout: This is a threat
    • This may be the biggest threat
  • No redundancy: There are still a few areas where a small number of people specialize in work that is crucial for the project
  • Complexity: Having a bespoke workflow makes it hard to do things
  • Copyright and laws: There is a chance that new EU rules are helpful (around freedom of panorama), but it's also possible that this gets more complicated
    • The law matters for photography -- freedom of panorama, heritage rules, and other things
    • The law matters for data -- some campaigns struggle to convince the government to provide a list of monuments under a free license


The following is a summary and ranking (highest priority listed first) of the items from the previous discussion:

  • Attractive brand: connected to Wikimedia etc (inside the movement and outside the movement)
  • Visual attractiveness (cool photos :-) )
  • Global (international, decentralized, diverse, diversity in terms of new countries)
  • Focused attractive stable concept
  • Output (great pictures, new editors)
  • Easy participation
  • Long experience (staff, tools, solid infrastructure, institutional knowledge)
  • Momentum
  • Financial stability
  • Sustainability (in terms of content usage, retention, documentation mentioned a couple of times [low, bad poor])
  • Volunteer burnout
  • Wiki Loves Monuments is underestimation/undervalued (particularly in terms of database -- both under appreciated and underutilized)
  • Conflicts in the Wikimedia projects (infighting)
  • Scalability (we are open to new countries, but provide few resources for new projects)
  • Unclear circumstances (not on the list, different definitions of monuments)
  • Workload (for organisers, reinventing the wheel, country differences, lack of time and distance)
  • Strategy is not long term (financing is not secure)
  • Little innovation (particularly for countries that have at least one photo for most of the monuments on their list)
  • Outreach (not that present in public media, not great support from partners)
  • No brand management (Wiki Loves Monuments brand)
  • Lack of goals
  • Not leveraging our new contributors
  • Wikimedia Commons (we are relying on an user outside of Wiki Loves Monuments, not enough media types are supported)
  • Lack of WLM in your own country can be a problem (lack of ability to contribute -- we are not everywhere)
  • Misunderstood rules (unclear you can upload more than one image; communication), Tools are not very attractive
  • Prizes (small prizes are not attractive)
  • Few main organizers, lots of changes
  • Wikidata (visualization, easier process of making lists, getting better at data)
  • Partners (gov, press, sponsors)
  • Building a comprehensive project (biggest database, all monuments, uniqueness for outreach and advertizing open licenses)
  • Wikimedia Foundation (potentially providing project management, tools, workload, scalability, outreach, prizes)
  • Build organization for funding, long-term strategy)
  • Easier participation (making upload easier, Involving more under represented people [more elderly people], allowing participation without local organizers)
  • Legislation and goodwill (FoP, ECHY)
  • Spread infrastructure of Wiki Loves Monuments to facilitate more events
  • Awareness (countries with not a lot of interest in monuments, New countries)
  • Build brand for goodwill
  • Better visualization (Wikidata, tools)
  • Investments in infrastructure
  • Flexibility (in terms of goals, platforms (instagram), social media, formats [video, audio, drones])
  • Build movement for learners
  • Legislation and laws (freedom of panorama and copyright)
  • Loss of attractiveness (bored people, loss of world record, volunteers interested in other stuff, domino effect, bad images, Commons loses its status, competition from the outside)
  • Wikimedia Commons (losing photos due to deletions, bad interactions with other users on Wikimedia Commons)
  • Access to CentralNotice/banners
  • No access to monuments lists (new lists, old lists)
  • Low interest (from people outside, as well as of volunteer organizers, lack of tech support)
  • Loss of institutional knowledge
  • Burnout due to conflicts
  • Bad reputation (loss of awareness; pro photographer community may complain about it, bad sponsors)
  • Running out of funds (incl timelines, process at WMF)
  • Low impact
  • Time
  • Inflexibility
  • Loss of mission (no content and no new folks)
  • Censorship
  • Wikidata (not yet known to organizers)

Day 1 Wiki Loves Monuments International Team meeting 2017
Day 2
Day 3