Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

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Re: Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

phoebe ayers-3
(Also, one big way to increase scholarship availability is to raise money for scholarships from outside donors -- every Wikimania could use more people to help with fundraising and sponsorship efforts, both locally and around the globe. We've had luck in the past with raising special scholarship funds, but it takes a lot of work.). 

-- phoebe 

On Sat, May 20, 2017 at 2:08 PM, phoebe ayers <[hidden email]> wrote:
Over the years, people have gotten funded to go to Wikimania in the following ways: 
- by the WMF, as staff or board 
- by the WMF, as scholarship recipients 
- by various chapter grant programs 
- by various private special grant programs for scholarships, often administered by chapters or the WMF
- by outside "sister' organizations, like WikiEdu 
- by outside employers, eg academic faculty who use their university travel funding to attend
- out of pocket 

I don't have a sense of what the exact proportions are, but there is always a mix of people funded in all of these ways at all of the Wikimanias, and people do switch back and forth between funding models: for instance, I've never gotten a scholarship, but I was funded by the WMF while I was on the board, and the rest I paid out of pocket or by my university. 

IMO, the scholarship program should balance between taking people working on interesting projects around the globe and long-time participants. It's a really tough job - it's very hard to tell what someone will bring to the conference and bring back from a scholarship application, and there are always many more wonderful applicants than there are funds for (and always applicants we want to have who can't get visas in time, too). 

I'd be glad to hear ideas for how to make a fairer, better process. We've experimented with lots of things over the years, and it sounds like the current committee really tried to be thoughtful. 

best, 
phoebe 


On Sat, May 20, 2017 at 1:55 PM, rupert THURNER <[hidden email]> wrote:
Thanks for the numbers Mike! Do you have a statistic how many people were paid to attend by other means? How many people did apply and how many edits did they make? Because Risker seems to underestimate the effect of a wikimania to rather new editors. And overestimate the effect on somebody going often even if this person has a great bureaucracy talent and fills out forms and reports nobody reads afterwards...

Rupert 

On May 20, 2017 08:30, "Michael Peel" <[hidden email]> wrote:
To put this into perspective with some numbers: in 2014-17, out of 378 people awarded scholarships, 309 people have been awarded one scholarship, 55 have been awarded two, 14 have been awarded three, and 0 have been awarded four. Caveat that this is solely from the WMF lists on meta, so isn't including other scholarships/funding methods that aren't listed.

Thanks,
Mike

On 20 May 2017, at 04:07, Adrian Raddatz <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi, I'm Adrian. I was one of the organizers of the scholarship committee this year. Obviously we cannot discuss the merits of specific applications in this forum, but I wanted to clear up a couple of things.

First, what Risker said is largely true. Those who are repeatedly funded tend to bring something to the table, and need to prove to the reviewers that they have shared their past Wikimania experiences with their communities. If people are being repeatedly funded, then there is usually a reason for it. The scholarship committee is made up of mainly new people every year, and each application is reviewed by a minimum of three people. There isn't much room for unfairness or intentional bias in those circumstances. The people who are repeatedly funded tend to be highly active with the movement both on and off wiki, and write exceptional applications for their scholarships.

That said, repeated funding of the same people is a concern. This year, we introduced a rule where those who had been funded in the past year would receive a point deduction on their score this year. This has leveled the playing field a bit, and may be magnified a bit next year, though I won't be one of the people making that decision. If you are very concerned with this, I would recommend doing your own calculation of the percentage of repeat winners each year, seeing if that has gone down this year, and then use those concrete numbers to express a problem rather than comparing yourself to someone who has received a scholarship.

Wikimania scholarships are highly competitive. Only one is awarded for every 5-6 people that make it to phase 2, and every one of those applications is a serious one. Don't be discouraged if you aren't selected in any given year - there's always next year. Take a look at the reviewer's guide to see specifically how these are marked (<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:TPS/Wikimania_scholars/Reviewer%27s_guide>).

Regards,

On May 19, 2017 7:56 PM, "Risker" <[hidden email]> wrote:
Gnangarra, you missed some possible reasons for repeated scholarships:
  • the successful repeat applicants are performing at a higher standard than others, year after year (I have seen people who make maybe 300 edits in a year complain that they weren't selected over someone who's made 10,000 on multiple projects during that same year)
  • the successful repeat applicants are identified with one or more specific demographics that otherwise have significant difficulty in attending (geographic, gender, sexual orientation, language group, etc.)
  • the successful repeat applicants are bringing something specific to Wikimania, such as excellent and well-attended presentations, knowledge of some specific area of interest (e.g., one or more sister projects, Wikidata), etc.


Let's not assume that people who have received scholarships more than once have somehow gamed the system, or that there is a systemic error if someone gets a scholarship more than once. 


Risker/Anne (who received a partial scholarship once, long ago)


On 19 May 2017 at 22:35, Gnangarra <[hidden email]> wrote:
If there is a general opinion based on facts that the some individuals are the recipients of a regular scholarship, then that is something that needs to be discussed.  Unfortunately  to prove the hypothesis that this is happening there does need to be some presentation of what the basis for that theory is and that means actually naming individuals otherwise it gets dismissed as nonsense but in naming, providing the basis the person gets told  "sending emails like this one would certainly in-and-of-itself be a reason against."  ensures that no one ever questions the processes.  Well I really dont care anymore if I dont get to go to another Wikimania I'm going to challenge the process because its seen as having flaws and that to me needs to addressed.  

What I see as the potential reasons for repeated scholarships for the same person is that 
  • they are active, they apply every year
  • they are good communicators and self promoters
  • they have the time capacity to attend every year
  • previous years application arent tested against current applications for repetitions  
  • each year the applications are judged in isolation that year,...
  • theres no validation of what was claimed in previous reporting to actual outcomes
  • the same core group of people put their hand up to make the selections every year
  • the criteria isnt sufficiently dynamic between each wikimania to draw new applicants to the top

We can dismiss it as jealousy or sour grapes or some other type of gripe. Alternatively we can ask the questions, is there a basis for the perception can we do things better... 

On 20 May 2017 at 09:48, praveenp <[hidden email]> wrote:

So it is incredibly appropriate to grant scholarship to same person again and again? Usually applicant do not complain about this disparity because it would immediately branded as their desperation. If we could not speak about this, how could we ensure diversity and equality?

On Saturday 20 May 2017 01:53 AM, LFaraone wrote:
It would be incredibly inappropriate to discuss a specific person's eligibility in public like this. 

Simply put: people who get scholarships do so according to the published selection criteria. People who do not, did not qualify.

In my opinion, sending emails like this one would certainly in-and-of-itself be a reason against.

As a community, if questioning a process leads to disqualification, is not a good tendency.  I was the only one sent mails in 2015. Why none of the other applicant gets scholarship?

While discussing this without any name, it immediately rebutted as false argument. If we use any names, it is inappropriate!


On 19 May 2017 at 18:36, praveenp <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi,

I have sent a similar email on 2015 [1], but I haven't got a clear answer there yet. I simply asked why certain people get Wikimania Scholarship each year, while other applicants rejected repeatedly. I have used a comparison of User:Viswaprabha and myself (User:Praveenp) there.

Please note that this email is not about someone going to Wikimanias again and again, it is about granting Wikimania scholarships to same persons again and again. This is not personal, I am just using personalities and scholarships familiar to me. I am sure that, atleast other Indian language communities facing similar problem. I occasionally hear people from other communities mentioning scholarship by terms like   "Winkimania Scholarship" or "Wikimania Permanent  Scholarship".

From my home wiki community (Malayalam Language Community), only year I remember that User:Viswaprabha didn't recieve the Wikimania scholarship was 2016. I assume that was just because of the thread regarding this issue in 2015. User:Netha Hussain, another user from our premises also get repeating scholarships (not this year), but I am not sure that whether she represents Malayalam Language Community. Frankly, I haven't seen any of these scholarship receivers sharing anything to community in recent years. Then, what is the advantage of selecting same persons again and again for scholarship? Isn't it better to let more different people to share and experience global community?

I also wish to share a personal experience of intolerance. I raised the issue in 2015 and then in 2016 I applied scholarship. I didn't even pass "Selection Phase 1"  yesteryear. According to Phase 1 criteria, every serious application must pass to Phase 2. I asked about this to Ellie Young in a reply, which I didn't get a response yet. Ironically, a very similar application by me entered Phase 2 this year!

Could someone clarify?



Praveen Prakash

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Re: Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

ViswaPrabha (വിശ്വപ്രഭ)-2
In reply to this post by phoebe ayers-3

One of my persistent suggestions to this dilemma has always been to involve some kind of community endorsement into the selection process.

Crude Methodology:
All applicants from the particular communit(y/ies) may enlist themselves at their community village pump. All active users in that / those communities may or may not support his application. This will be considered as a score point with a suitable weightage among the broad list of criteria by the award committee.


However, this step may have some inherent negative aspects:

1. Identity of applicants (both successful and unsuccessful) will be compromised unless some mechanism is involved to limit access to such endorsement pages.

But then, instead of village pump, it could be an endorsement vote system submitted by community members directly to a destination visible only to the award committee.

2. There is a chance for nepotism, especially working against those serious editors who may be actually doing a good job of adding unbiased neutral content against the wish of a majority with biased editing culture.

What I propose is only an idea in its crude form. We may discuss the feasibility of this at length and with appropriate corrections, incorporate such terms to the next Wikimania onwards.

-User:Viswaprabha



On 20 May 2017 at 23:38, phoebe ayers <[hidden email]> wrote:
Over the years, people have gotten funded to go to Wikimania in the following ways: 
- by the WMF, as staff or board 
- by the WMF, as scholarship recipients 
- by various chapter grant programs 
- by various private special grant programs for scholarships, often administered by chapters or the WMF
- by outside "sister' organizations, like WikiEdu 
- by outside employers, eg academic faculty who use their university travel funding to attend
- out of pocket 

I don't have a sense of what the exact proportions are, but there is always a mix of people funded in all of these ways at all of the Wikimanias, and people do switch back and forth between funding models: for instance, I've never gotten a scholarship, but I was funded by the WMF while I was on the board, and the rest I paid out of pocket or by my university. 

IMO, the scholarship program should balance between taking people working on interesting projects around the globe and long-time participants. It's a really tough job - it's very hard to tell what someone will bring to the conference and bring back from a scholarship application, and there are always many more wonderful applicants than there are funds for (and always applicants we want to have who can't get visas in time, too). 

I'd be glad to hear ideas for how to make a fairer, better process. We've experimented with lots of things over the years, and it sounds like the current committee really tried to be thoughtful. 

best, 
phoebe 


On Sat, May 20, 2017 at 1:55 PM, rupert THURNER <[hidden email]> wrote:
Thanks for the numbers Mike! Do you have a statistic how many people were paid to attend by other means? How many people did apply and how many edits did they make? Because Risker seems to underestimate the effect of a wikimania to rather new editors. And overestimate the effect on somebody going often even if this person has a great bureaucracy talent and fills out forms and reports nobody reads afterwards...

Rupert 

On May 20, 2017 08:30, "Michael Peel" <[hidden email]> wrote:
To put this into perspective with some numbers: in 2014-17, out of 378 people awarded scholarships, 309 people have been awarded one scholarship, 55 have been awarded two, 14 have been awarded three, and 0 have been awarded four. Caveat that this is solely from the WMF lists on meta, so isn't including other scholarships/funding methods that aren't listed.

Thanks,
Mike

On 20 May 2017, at 04:07, Adrian Raddatz <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi, I'm Adrian. I was one of the organizers of the scholarship committee this year. Obviously we cannot discuss the merits of specific applications in this forum, but I wanted to clear up a couple of things.

First, what Risker said is largely true. Those who are repeatedly funded tend to bring something to the table, and need to prove to the reviewers that they have shared their past Wikimania experiences with their communities. If people are being repeatedly funded, then there is usually a reason for it. The scholarship committee is made up of mainly new people every year, and each application is reviewed by a minimum of three people. There isn't much room for unfairness or intentional bias in those circumstances. The people who are repeatedly funded tend to be highly active with the movement both on and off wiki, and write exceptional applications for their scholarships.

That said, repeated funding of the same people is a concern. This year, we introduced a rule where those who had been funded in the past year would receive a point deduction on their score this year. This has leveled the playing field a bit, and may be magnified a bit next year, though I won't be one of the people making that decision. If you are very concerned with this, I would recommend doing your own calculation of the percentage of repeat winners each year, seeing if that has gone down this year, and then use those concrete numbers to express a problem rather than comparing yourself to someone who has received a scholarship.

Wikimania scholarships are highly competitive. Only one is awarded for every 5-6 people that make it to phase 2, and every one of those applications is a serious one. Don't be discouraged if you aren't selected in any given year - there's always next year. Take a look at the reviewer's guide to see specifically how these are marked (<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:TPS/Wikimania_scholars/Reviewer%27s_guide>).

Regards,

On May 19, 2017 7:56 PM, "Risker" <[hidden email]> wrote:
Gnangarra, you missed some possible reasons for repeated scholarships:
  • the successful repeat applicants are performing at a higher standard than others, year after year (I have seen people who make maybe 300 edits in a year complain that they weren't selected over someone who's made 10,000 on multiple projects during that same year)
  • the successful repeat applicants are identified with one or more specific demographics that otherwise have significant difficulty in attending (geographic, gender, sexual orientation, language group, etc.)
  • the successful repeat applicants are bringing something specific to Wikimania, such as excellent and well-attended presentations, knowledge of some specific area of interest (e.g., one or more sister projects, Wikidata), etc.


Let's not assume that people who have received scholarships more than once have somehow gamed the system, or that there is a systemic error if someone gets a scholarship more than once. 


Risker/Anne (who received a partial scholarship once, long ago)


On 19 May 2017 at 22:35, Gnangarra <[hidden email]> wrote:
If there is a general opinion based on facts that the some individuals are the recipients of a regular scholarship, then that is something that needs to be discussed.  Unfortunately  to prove the hypothesis that this is happening there does need to be some presentation of what the basis for that theory is and that means actually naming individuals otherwise it gets dismissed as nonsense but in naming, providing the basis the person gets told  "sending emails like this one would certainly in-and-of-itself be a reason against."  ensures that no one ever questions the processes.  Well I really dont care anymore if I dont get to go to another Wikimania I'm going to challenge the process because its seen as having flaws and that to me needs to addressed.  

What I see as the potential reasons for repeated scholarships for the same person is that 
  • they are active, they apply every year
  • they are good communicators and self promoters
  • they have the time capacity to attend every year
  • previous years application arent tested against current applications for repetitions  
  • each year the applications are judged in isolation that year,...
  • theres no validation of what was claimed in previous reporting to actual outcomes
  • the same core group of people put their hand up to make the selections every year
  • the criteria isnt sufficiently dynamic between each wikimania to draw new applicants to the top

We can dismiss it as jealousy or sour grapes or some other type of gripe. Alternatively we can ask the questions, is there a basis for the perception can we do things better... 

On 20 May 2017 at 09:48, praveenp <[hidden email]> wrote:

So it is incredibly appropriate to grant scholarship to same person again and again? Usually applicant do not complain about this disparity because it would immediately branded as their desperation. If we could not speak about this, how could we ensure diversity and equality?

On Saturday 20 May 2017 01:53 AM, LFaraone wrote:
It would be incredibly inappropriate to discuss a specific person's eligibility in public like this. 

Simply put: people who get scholarships do so according to the published selection criteria. People who do not, did not qualify.

In my opinion, sending emails like this one would certainly in-and-of-itself be a reason against.

As a community, if questioning a process leads to disqualification, is not a good tendency.  I was the only one sent mails in 2015. Why none of the other applicant gets scholarship?

While discussing this without any name, it immediately rebutted as false argument. If we use any names, it is inappropriate!


On 19 May 2017 at 18:36, praveenp <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi,

I have sent a similar email on 2015 [1], but I haven't got a clear answer there yet. I simply asked why certain people get Wikimania Scholarship each year, while other applicants rejected repeatedly. I have used a comparison of User:Viswaprabha and myself (User:Praveenp) there.

Please note that this email is not about someone going to Wikimanias again and again, it is about granting Wikimania scholarships to same persons again and again. This is not personal, I am just using personalities and scholarships familiar to me. I am sure that, atleast other Indian language communities facing similar problem. I occasionally hear people from other communities mentioning scholarship by terms like   "Winkimania Scholarship" or "Wikimania Permanent  Scholarship".

From my home wiki community (Malayalam Language Community), only year I remember that User:Viswaprabha didn't recieve the Wikimania scholarship was 2016. I assume that was just because of the thread regarding this issue in 2015. User:Netha Hussain, another user from our premises also get repeating scholarships (not this year), but I am not sure that whether she represents Malayalam Language Community. Frankly, I haven't seen any of these scholarship receivers sharing anything to community in recent years. Then, what is the advantage of selecting same persons again and again for scholarship? Isn't it better to let more different people to share and experience global community?

I also wish to share a personal experience of intolerance. I raised the issue in 2015 and then in 2016 I applied scholarship. I didn't even pass "Selection Phase 1"  yesteryear. According to Phase 1 criteria, every serious application must pass to Phase 2. I asked about this to Ellie Young in a reply, which I didn't get a response yet. Ironically, a very similar application by me entered Phase 2 this year!

Could someone clarify?



Praveen Prakash

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Re: Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

praveenp
In reply to this post by Andy Mabbett-2



On Saturday 20 May 2017 10:24 PM, Andy Mabbett wrote:

On 20 May 2017 at 17:39, praveenp <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
I was wrong that [redacted] get scholarship since last decade 

You have already been told "It would be incredibly inappropriate to discuss a specific person's eligibility in public like this", but persist in doing so.

Last decade was 2010! It was just two years. There are people in this same thread  trying to make intentional misdirection hinting edit counts. Someone implies that my future applications will be invalidated.  Why are you not going after them? Why don't you get the whole picture? If wikimania mailing list is not the right platform to tell that we as a community don't get any advantage from wikimania, kindly show us the right place!!

I would love to see some explanation instead of harassment and threats :-(


Without wanting to comment on the merits or otherwise of your general points, if you persist in naming individuals in this context - especially as you have now admitted making false claims about individuals -  then I suggest that your posts should be placed on moderation.

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Re: Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

Lodewijk
Hi Praveen,

This thread is getting out of hand since the very first message. I tried to keep quiet, but it's getting on my nerves, sorry. 

If you want to discuss the general merits of a scholarship system, of the goals and the criteria that belong to it - great! Then do that. You could ask the scholarship committee what criteria they used, and ask them kindly to explain to you how they applied them. You could give some thought to what a scholarship system should aim to accomplish, and then consider how those two match. Might it be that you subconsciously assume different goals for the program than others do?

By the way you frame this discussion, you get very much across as mosly being jealous and that your primary goal here is that you get a scholarship next year - and that you're more than happy to drag colleagues through the mud to accomplish that. Maybe this is the case, and maybe this is just an unfortunate interpretation. 

Either way, the result is that you end up only discussing primarily personal circumstances. 

I suggest we stop this discussion for now, let it cool down, and that you try again in a more structured and constructive approach in a month or so - keeping the talking points above (or others, as long as they are strategic) in mind. In the mean time I would kindly ask the moderators of this list to take action. 

Kind regards, 

Lodewijk
(Disclosure: I received a scholarship this year from the WMF)

On Sat, May 20, 2017 at 8:46 PM, praveenp <[hidden email]> wrote:



On Saturday 20 May 2017 10:24 PM, Andy Mabbett wrote:

On 20 May 2017 at 17:39, praveenp <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
I was wrong that [redacted] get scholarship since last decade 

You have already been told "It would be incredibly inappropriate to discuss a specific person's eligibility in public like this", but persist in doing so.

Last decade was 2010! It was just two years. There are people in this same thread  trying to make intentional misdirection hinting edit counts. Someone implies that my future applications will be invalidated.  Why are you not going after them? Why don't you get the whole picture? If wikimania mailing list is not the right platform to tell that we as a community don't get any advantage from wikimania, kindly show us the right place!!

I would love to see some explanation instead of harassment and threats :-(


Without wanting to comment on the merits or otherwise of your general points, if you persist in naming individuals in this context - especially as you have now admitted making false claims about individuals -  then I suggest that your posts should be placed on moderation.

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Re: Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

Nathan Awrich
I'm pretty surprised at the number of censors in this thread. It seems more people are interested in telling Praveen to be quiet than in discussing the facially legitimate questions he has raised. I'm sure everyone has great advice - ask passive questions, compliment the scholarship committee, wait to raise the topic for a year where you don't apply for a scholarship, etc. But one effective way to point to a disparate effect of scholarship criteria is to use specific examples, as uncomfortable as that might be for some. Praveen may be wrong; it would be great if the committee of telling people to be quiet could engage with that possibility instead. 

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Re: Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

Adrian Raddatz
We're concerned with him calling out one person in particular, not with the general topic. I've also specifically pointed out how this year's committee has already taken action to fix this problem, or at least create a more balanced approach to awarding them. Has there been any actual discussion of this? Or other specific measures that could be used, beyond sweeping allegations of nepotism and complaints against specific recipients?

That said, I do disagree with some of the things that have been said here. I don't think Praveen's comments come from jealousy, nor should he wait for a year where he doesn't apply to try and fix things. But in order to fix something, we need to a) have a demonstrated, systemic problem with how scholarships are awarded, and b) specific institutional changes that would fix these problems. This thread is largely lacking both a and b. Mike Peel graciously did the math a few emails up, finding that most people have only received one scholarship, with a tiny fraction receiving them all three years examined. Of these, is there a systemic problem with them lying on their past reports and no longer being active in their communities? Or maybe is it that their activity is on other projects, through off-wiki efforts, etc. Or maybe they bring something else to the table, and that is being evaluated. This is where we need to focus if there is going to be a productive conversation here, and we need to look for specific ways to fix this for next year's committee.

Adrian Raddatz

On Sat, May 20, 2017 at 3:02 PM, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:
I'm pretty surprised at the number of censors in this thread. It seems more people are interested in telling Praveen to be quiet than in discussing the facially legitimate questions he has raised. I'm sure everyone has great advice - ask passive questions, compliment the scholarship committee, wait to raise the topic for a year where you don't apply for a scholarship, etc. But one effective way to point to a disparate effect of scholarship criteria is to use specific examples, as uncomfortable as that might be for some. Praveen may be wrong; it would be great if the committee of telling people to be quiet could engage with that possibility instead. 

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Re: Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

Nathan Awrich


On Sat, May 20, 2017 at 7:20 PM, Adrian Raddatz <[hidden email]> wrote:
We're concerned with him calling out one person in particular, not with the general topic. I've also specifically pointed out how this year's committee has already taken action to fix this problem, or at least create a more balanced approach to awarding them. Has there been any actual discussion of this? Or other specific measures that could be used, beyond sweeping allegations of nepotism and complaints against specific recipients?

Sweeping allegations of nepotism? I haven't read that in this thread. Other specific measures? I'm sure there are quite a few - you could limit scholarship applicants to no more than 2 out of 5 events, or investigate the value provided to recipients and their home communities to ensure that some benefit is being received by the latter. Perhaps some threshold for benefit, with its own point value, should be demonstrated for repeat recipients.  The scholarships could also be broken out by category, with some chunk reserved for (1) repeat outstanding recipients (2) first time attendees (3) representatives of under-represented regions, etc. 

Praveen clearly understands that using individual names to illustrate the problem isn't a perfect solution, but he used the examples he had personal knowledge of in the hopes that others would be able to see why he felt that was necessary and engage with him on the general problem. That's a reasonable approach, though open to criticism. However, attempting to shout him down is what is inappropriate. 


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Re: Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

cs
In reply to this post by ViswaPrabha (വിശ്വപ്രഭ)-2
I think it’s most inappropriate that people are being named and shamed. If this was happening on-Wiki there would be serious issues.
Having been on the scholarships selection committee twice, I can confirm that selecting candidates is an exceptionally difficult task. No decision is made by  an individual committee member although some applications get rejected which one member might have accorded and vice versa.

Rather than complain, one should be looking at ways to significantly increase the budget for scholarship funding. 

Kudpung
On 20May, 2017, at 13:47, ViswaPrabha (വിശ്വപ്രഭ) <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear All,

I am not sure if I should respond to this thread. However, it may be important for me to come forward and mention the following points for clarity:

1. I have previously attended 2012, 2014 and 2015 Wikimanias (Three in total). I believe I have earnestly deserved those scholarships due to various criteria as demanded by the system. I would not want to boast myself what noteworthy  accomplishments I have been achieving  all these years.
2. I am not an e-mail generator (as referred by an earlier e-mail (2015) by the same user and on the same topic). You may find hardly a dozen or two of e-mails, those too on absolutely essential occasions,  I have ever written to the WM threads since the beginning of cosmos.
3. I do not befriend or manipulate anyone inside or outside the awarding committees ever. In fact, I have never even cared or known who are those committee members.
4. The person who has raised this point is one of the earliest and consistent users among that particular community. I have great respect to him as an anonymous but highly responsible user.  I also believe that he should have been one of the recipient of Wikimania scholarship at some point of time. However, I do not know him as a person and whether his efforts match with all the selection criteria that the Wikimania adapts regularly.
5. Despite my being selected for the scholarships (for three out of probably ten application attempts), I myself had raised this point about measurable selection criteria of scholarship candidates in several physical meet-up occasions. I had also humbly suggested some kind of community endorsement as another score point for the selection.
6. I am sad that my name is quoted in a mail like this with such implied meanings that may create untrue impressions about me among the grand and honorable crowd of Wikimedia mission for ever.

Thanks and regards,
User:Viswaprabha
 

On 20 May 2017 at 11:38, praveenp <[hidden email]> wrote:
So, it is easy to escape an issue by stamping it as a personal desperation. People do not want to be known as desperate, jealous or failure. This type of stamping hold back most people from challenging the system.

On 20 May 2017 11:06 am, "Adrian Raddatz" <[hidden email]> wrote:
There is no manipulation. The idea that someone could have befriended all of their reviewers every year for a decade is quite silly.

How do we know? You are saying so, others never been there.

I'm sorry that you didn't get a scholarship this year

Thank you for your sympathy. But I would love to see anybody else other than regular scholarship recievers attending wikimania more than sympathy. Could you read the thread again? 


, but at this point there is not a useful conversation being had here.

If you think there is a problem, volunteer for the scholarship committee next year and help fix it!

Sigh :-( Why it is not okay to start from here? Why should I wait until next scholarship committee? 


On May 19, 2017 10:28 PM, "praveenp" <[hidden email]> wrote:
From here at local language community, we don't see any "significant contributions" from regular scholarship recievers.  As I said they are not anymore sharing their Wikimania experience to local language community. Scholarship committee may be unbiased, in that case they are vulnerable to manipulation. People are perfectly able to manipulate them because of their massive experience with them.  Or may be they befriended large number people from global community from thier exposure and experience, and thus cause incognizant bias.

I really don't want to raise usernames but user:viswaprabha get regular scholarship atleast since last decade (2007?). It is recommendable in no way, when most of other applicants never get the experience and exposure in wikimania.

Please don't  add more obscurity to an already dark process by not informing people about their application status after phase 1. As I said earlier, I was able to understand my 2016 application was okay but rejected only because of this notification culture. Such a notification will l help people retire early from planning  and preparation also.

Praveen 


On Saturday, 20 May 2017, Adrian Raddatz <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi, I'm Adrian. I was one of the organizers of the scholarship committee this year. Obviously we cannot discuss the merits of specific applications in this forum, but I wanted to clear up a couple of things.

First, what Risker said is largely true. Those who are repeatedly funded tend to bring something to the table, and need to prove to the reviewers that they have shared their past Wikimania experiences with their communities. If people are being repeatedly funded, then there is usually a reason for it. The scholarship committee is made up of mainly new people every year, and each application is reviewed by a minimum of three people. There isn't much room for unfairness or intentional bias in those circumstances. The people who are repeatedly funded tend to be highly active with the movement both on and off wiki, and write exceptional applications for their scholarships.

That said, repeated funding of the same people is a concern. This year, we introduced a rule where those who had been funded in the past year would receive a point deduction on their score this year. This has leveled the playing field a bit, and may be magnified a bit next year, though I won't be one of the people making that decision. If you are very concerned with this, I would recommend doing your own calculation of the percentage of repeat winners each year, seeing if that has gone down this year, and then use those concrete numbers to express a problem rather than comparing yourself to someone who has received a scholarship.

Wikimania scholarships are highly competitive. Only one is awarded for every 5-6 people that make it to phase 2, and every one of those applications is a serious one. Don't be discouraged if you aren't selected in any given year - there's always next year. Take a look at the reviewer's guide to see specifically how these are marked (<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:TPS/Wikimania_scholars/Reviewer%27s_guide>).

Regards,

On May 19, 2017 7:56 PM, "Risker" <[hidden email]> wrote:
Gnangarra, you missed some possible reasons for repeated scholarships:
  • the successful repeat applicants are performing at a higher standard than others, year after year (I have seen people who make maybe 300 edits in a year complain that they weren't selected over someone who's made 10,000 on multiple projects during that same year)
  • the successful repeat applicants are identified with one or more specific demographics that otherwise have significant difficulty in attending (geographic, gender, sexual orientation, language group, etc.)
  • the successful repeat applicants are bringing something specific to Wikimania, such as excellent and well-attended presentations, knowledge of some specific area of interest (e.g., one or more sister projects, Wikidata), etc.


Let's not assume that people who have received scholarships more than once have somehow gamed the system, or that there is a systemic error if someone gets a scholarship more than once. 


Risker/Anne (who received a partial scholarship once, long ago)


On 19 May 2017 at 22:35, Gnangarra <[hidden email]> wrote:
If there is a general opinion based on facts that the some individuals are the recipients of a regular scholarship, then that is something that needs to be discussed.  Unfortunately  to prove the hypothesis that this is happening there does need to be some presentation of what the basis for that theory is and that means actually naming individuals otherwise it gets dismissed as nonsense but in naming, providing the basis the person gets told  "sending emails like this one would certainly in-and-of-itself be a reason against."  ensures that no one ever questions the processes.  Well I really dont care anymore if I dont get to go to another Wikimania I'm going to challenge the process because its seen as having flaws and that to me needs to addressed.  

What I see as the potential reasons for repeated scholarships for the same person is that 
  • they are active, they apply every year
  • they are good communicators and self promoters
  • they have the time capacity to attend every year
  • previous years application arent tested against current applications for repetitions  
  • each year the applications are judged in isolation that year,...
  • theres no validation of what was claimed in previous reporting to actual outcomes
  • the same core group of people put their hand up to make the selections every year
  • the criteria isnt sufficiently dynamic between each wikimania to draw new applicants to the top

We can dismiss it as jealousy or sour grapes or some other type of gripe. Alternatively we can ask the questions, is there a basis for the perception can we do things better... 

On 20 May 2017 at 09:48, praveenp <[hidden email]> wrote:

So it is incredibly appropriate to grant scholarship to same person again and again? Usually applicant do not complain about this disparity because it would immediately branded as their desperation. If we could not speak about this, how could we ensure diversity and equality?

On Saturday 20 May 2017 01:53 AM, LFaraone wrote:
It would be incredibly inappropriate to discuss a specific person's eligibility in public like this. 

Simply put: people who get scholarships do so according to the published selection criteria. People who do not, did not qualify.

In my opinion, sending emails like this one would certainly in-and-of-itself be a reason against.

As a community, if questioning a process leads to disqualification, is not a good tendency.  I was the only one sent mails in 2015. Why none of the other applicant gets scholarship?

While discussing this without any name, it immediately rebutted as false argument. If we use any names, it is inappropriate!


On 19 May 2017 at 18:36, praveenp <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi,

I have sent a similar email on 2015 [1], but I haven't got a clear answer there yet. I simply asked why certain people get Wikimania Scholarship each year, while other applicants rejected repeatedly. I have used a comparison of User:Viswaprabha and myself (User:Praveenp) there.

Please note that this email is not about someone going to Wikimanias again and again, it is about granting Wikimania scholarships to same persons again and again. This is not personal, I am just using personalities and scholarships familiar to me. I am sure that, atleast other Indian language communities facing similar problem. I occasionally hear people from other communities mentioning scholarship by terms like   "Winkimania Scholarship" or "Wikimania Permanent  Scholarship".

From my home wiki community (Malayalam Language Community), only year I remember that User:Viswaprabha didn't recieve the Wikimania scholarship was 2016. I assume that was just because of the thread regarding this issue in 2015. User:Netha Hussain, another user from our premises also get repeating scholarships (not this year), but I am not sure that whether she represents Malayalam Language Community. Frankly, I haven't seen any of these scholarship receivers sharing anything to community in recent years. Then, what is the advantage of selecting same persons again and again for scholarship? Isn't it better to let more different people to share and experience global community?

I also wish to share a personal experience of intolerance. I raised the issue in 2015 and then in 2016 I applied scholarship. I didn't even pass "Selection Phase 1"  yesteryear. According to Phase 1 criteria, every serious application must pass to Phase 2. I asked about this to Ellie Young in a reply, which I didn't get a response yet. Ironically, a very similar application by me entered Phase 2 this year!

Could someone clarify?



Praveen Prakash

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Re: Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

Pine W
Perhaps I have overlooked something, but it seems to me that what has been offered is a specific example, which I would distinguish from "being named and shamed" in the sense that the example is used to illustrate a potential problem -- in this case with the system rather than with an individual, although it's not exactly harassment to report potential misconduct if there was public evidence of such. Let's remember that transparency is something that we value, and keep calm and civil while discussing the situation.

Pine



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Re: Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

Risker
I'm sorry, Pine....but no.  It's naming and shaming.  If Praveen had wanted to highlight the frequency of Wikimedians being granted Wikimania scholarsips, they could have done exactly what Mike Peel did - compare the relevant lists and highlight the frequency of users receiving one, two or three grants over the four years for which data is available.  That would have been - and is - a reasonable point of discussion.  It turns out that Praveen's information was incomplete at best, and incorrect at worst. 

It is unfortunate that people have to say "don't trash someone else because they got something you didn't".  But that's really what it comes down to.  There are a lot of valid discussion points about Wikimania TPS grants.  That one specific individual has received more than one of them, and someone is implying that the grantee failed to live up to their undertaken responsibilities, is not a reasonable way of discussing those points.  

I'm going to be honest - aside from the issue of multiple grant awards, I'm finding that this year's processes are a bit more clear than in previous years.  The partial grants, which are worth around 850 USD depending on room rates, are a good idea, and allow the recipients to select the most suitable means of transportation for them - especially now that so many more people are avoiding travel through certain geographic locations.[1]

It might be possible, given the number of applicants involved, to provide a bit more statistical information; for example, total applicants, number who passed Phase 1, number who passed Phase 2 and were ranked, percentage of total applicants who received a full or partial grant, etc.  It *might* be possible to provide the general information about Global South/Global North applicant ratio, but there might be a risk of de-anonymising [unsuccessful] applicants when trying to identify number of applications and scholarships from each size wiki community.  I think the WMF could probably also identify number of people who were awarded grants but could not accept them. 

Risker/Anne


[1] Disclosure - I received a set-dollar partial grant in 2013 - Hong Kong - which was supposed to pay for my airfare. However, it took so long to confirm the grant that the airfares had doubled from the time they had been calculated five months before.I'm still glad I went. 

On 21 May 2017 at 17:09, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
Perhaps I have overlooked something, but it seems to me that what has been offered is a specific example, which I would distinguish from "being named and shamed" in the sense that the example is used to illustrate a potential problem -- in this case with the system rather than with an individual, although it's not exactly harassment to report potential misconduct if there was public evidence of such. Let's remember that transparency is something that we value, and keep calm and civil while discussing the situation.

Pine



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Re: Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

Pine W

On Sun, May 21, 2017 at 3:34 PM, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:
I'm sorry, Pine....but no.  It's naming and shaming.  If Praveen had wanted to highlight the frequency of Wikimedians being granted Wikimania scholarsips, they could have done exactly what Mike Peel did - compare the relevant lists and highlight the frequency of users receiving one, two or three grants over the four years for which data is available.  That would have been - and is - a reasonable point of discussion.  It turns out that Praveen's information was incomplete at best, and incorrect at worst. 

It's possible that I misread something, but the question that I read in Praveen's original email was, "Then, what is the advantage of selecting same persons again and again for scholarship? Isn't it better to let more different people to share and experience global community?" I don't see how citing a specific example amounts to naming and shaming. Unless I'm overlooking something, there was an honest question of whether current system of selecting awardees should be modified and examples of the outcomes of the current award system were provided. I think it is risky to read negatively into others' motives, and at this point I don't see evidence that would support a view that there was malicious intent in the examples being provided. The examples may be uncomfortable, but that's a very long way from being malicious.
 

That one specific individual has received more than one of them, and someone is implying that the grantee failed to live up to their undertaken responsibilities, is not a reasonable way of discussing those points.

I disagree. If there are examples of grantees not fulfilling their obligations but being awarded subsequent grants, that would be a problem. I don't want people to be fearful of being attacked for discussing situations in which they reasonably think that there may be a problem. I think that an underlying issue may be the lack of transparency in the awards applications. If there was more transparency then venerability would be less of a challenge. I realize that this is a complex problem, and hopefully there can be constructive discussions about how to address it.


I'm going to be honest - aside from the issue of multiple grant awards, I'm finding that this year's processes are a bit more clear than in previous years.  The partial grants, which are worth around 850 USD depending on room rates, are a good idea, and allow the recipients to select the most suitable means of transportation for them - especially now that so many more people are avoiding travel through certain geographic locations.[1]

Sounds good.
 

It might be possible, given the number of applicants involved, to provide a bit more statistical information; for example, total applicants, number who passed Phase 1, number who passed Phase 2 and were ranked, percentage of total applicants who received a full or partial grant, etc.  It *might* be possible to provide the general information about Global South/Global North applicant ratio, but there might be a risk of de-anonymising [unsuccessful] applicants when trying to identify number of applications and scholarships from each size wiki community.  I think the WMF could probably also identify number of people who were awarded grants but could not accept them. 

In general I would like the process to be more transparent, and that includes the usernames of all applicants except for those in situations where there would be a security reason for withholding that information. The funds being used are donors' funds, and I would like to have as much public transparency as possible about how that money is used.
 
Pine

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Re: Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

Risker


On 21 May 2017 at 20:12, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

On Sun, May 21, 2017 at 3:34 PM, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:
I'm sorry, Pine....but no.  It's naming and shaming.  If Praveen had wanted to highlight the frequency of Wikimedians being granted Wikimania scholarsips, they could have done exactly what Mike Peel did - compare the relevant lists and highlight the frequency of users receiving one, two or three grants over the four years for which data is available.  That would have been - and is - a reasonable point of discussion.  It turns out that Praveen's information was incomplete at best, and incorrect at worst. 

It's possible that I misread something, but the question that I read in Praveen's original email was, "Then, what is the advantage of selecting same persons again and again for scholarship? Isn't it better to let more different people to share and experience global community?" I don't see how citing a specific example amounts to naming and shaming. Unless I'm overlooking something, there was an honest question of whether current system of selecting awardees should be modified and examples of the outcomes of the current award system were provided. I think it is risky to read negatively into others' motives, and at this point I don't see evidence that would support a view that there was malicious intent in the examples being provided. The examples may be uncomfortable, but that's a very long way from being malicious.

I think you may have missed some comments from the later part of the thread.  I found them highly disturbing.  Frankly, they were disturbing enough that many other Wikimedians I know would have walked away from the projects entirely; we cannot afford to allow people to be browbeaten for being able to demonstrate on a repeated basis that they're productive and valuable members of our community. 
 
 

That one specific individual has received more than one of them, and someone is implying that the grantee failed to live up to their undertaken responsibilities, is not a reasonable way of discussing those points.

I disagree. If there are examples of grantees not fulfilling their obligations but being awarded subsequent grants, that would be a problem. I don't want people to be fearful of being attacked for discussing situations in which they reasonably think that there may be a problem. I think that an underlying issue may be the lack of transparency in the awards applications. If there was more transparency then venerability would be less of a challenge. I realize that this is a complex problem, and hopefully there can be constructive discussions about how to address it.

It may be a reason to draw this to the attention of the Wikimania Scholarship Committee, or the WMF Travel and Supports grants staff.  It is not appropriate to start a thread on a mailing list that has thousands of subscribers. As it turns out, there is good reason to doubt a significant amount of what was said anyway. 

We need to stop enabling behaviour like this.  The Wikimania-L mailing list is not an appropriate place to rail against another Wikimedian.  None of the Wikimedia-related mailing lists are.  This is an excellent example of bullying, and it needs to stop. 


Risker/Anne

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Re: Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

Gnangarra
In reply to this post by Risker
​Global North/Global South is an unrealistic fallacy ​creates a poor subdivision of resources it'd be better to see support for emerging and isolated communities, given that including 2017 this will be the 4th consecutive Wikimania in North America or Europe   

Yes the question could have been better framed, but the question remains as to how what is put in an application is validated especially when it comes to community work and impact, where there is a local active community are questions being asked.  For those that have previously received and reported after being a recipient what validation processes are there, which does leave people wondering how someone who is very active isnt getting through the process while others are.  TPS value is in the sharing of experiences both while there and with the local community afterwards if that isnt happening then the TPS is just a free holiday. I've also seen lots of events with apparent zero or near zero return as well.

Dislosure - 
  • I attended Wikimania in 2012 in Washington on a scholarship, learnt about QRpedia and started two QR projects here afterwards
  • I attended Wikimania in 2014 in London funded by the WMAU, where I did the WMUK training course and spent wikimania sharing the QRpedia experience at the village booth.
  • I was invited by the WMF to Mexico in 2015, declined because I had committed to working with University students establishing the first Indigenous Australian language Wikipedia  


On 22 May 2017 at 06:34, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:
I'm sorry, Pine....but no.  It's naming and shaming.  If Praveen had wanted to highlight the frequency of Wikimedians being granted Wikimania scholarsips, they could have done exactly what Mike Peel did - compare the relevant lists and highlight the frequency of users receiving one, two or three grants over the four years for which data is available.  That would have been - and is - a reasonable point of discussion.  It turns out that Praveen's information was incomplete at best, and incorrect at worst. 

It is unfortunate that people have to say "don't trash someone else because they got something you didn't".  But that's really what it comes down to.  There are a lot of valid discussion points about Wikimania TPS grants.  That one specific individual has received more than one of them, and someone is implying that the grantee failed to live up to their undertaken responsibilities, is not a reasonable way of discussing those points.  

I'm going to be honest - aside from the issue of multiple grant awards, I'm finding that this year's processes are a bit more clear than in previous years.  The partial grants, which are worth around 850 USD depending on room rates, are a good idea, and allow the recipients to select the most suitable means of transportation for them - especially now that so many more people are avoiding travel through certain geographic locations.[1]

It might be possible, given the number of applicants involved, to provide a bit more statistical information; for example, total applicants, number who passed Phase 1, number who passed Phase 2 and were ranked, percentage of total applicants who received a full or partial grant, etc.  It *might* be possible to provide the general information about Global South/Global North applicant ratio, but there might be a risk of de-anonymising [unsuccessful] applicants when trying to identify number of applications and scholarships from each size wiki community.  I think the WMF could probably also identify number of people who were awarded grants but could not accept them. 

Risker/Anne


[1] Disclosure - I received a set-dollar partial grant in 2013 - Hong Kong - which was supposed to pay for my airfare. However, it took so long to confirm the grant that the airfares had doubled from the time they had been calculated five months before.I'm still glad I went. 

On 21 May 2017 at 17:09, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
Perhaps I have overlooked something, but it seems to me that what has been offered is a specific example, which I would distinguish from "being named and shamed" in the sense that the example is used to illustrate a potential problem -- in this case with the system rather than with an individual, although it's not exactly harassment to report potential misconduct if there was public evidence of such. Let's remember that transparency is something that we value, and keep calm and civil while discussing the situation.

Pine



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Re: Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

Kerry Raymond

This observation has been made by a few people (some of them involved in the scholarship decision-making process) is that past recipients often continue to out-perform others in terms of the criteria in subsequent years. What hasn’t been commented on is why this is so?

 

If we believe that an attendee to Wikimania benefits in terms of learning new skills, hearing new ideas, making new contacts, then we should hardly be surprised if an attendee is then in a position to “grow” as a Wikimedian and hence be more able to “out-compete” others who didn’t have the benefit of attending. (And If we don’t believe that attendees benefit or grow from Wikimania attendance, then we should stop running Wikimania). Also the scholarship recipient has an expectation to share with their community what they have learned, even that process of sharing adds to their list of activities that they can use as evidence as subsequent scholarship applications.

 

Aside. If you have read the book Freakonomics or followed their blog, you will be aware

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freakonomics

 

of their study of how professional footballers tend to have their birthdays clustered in a few months of the year and how this phenomenon has its roots in spotting football talent in very young players and then training them. Because junior sport is usually based around age limits with a specific cut-off day, the children who just exceed the age limit by a month or two will usually be less physically developed than those who exceed the age limit by 10 or 11 months. Thus, the older children in the cohort are more likely to be selected for the team and receive coaching. Next year (still with a relative age developmental advantage AND with one year of extra coaching) these older children in the cohort are again appear the most able and again selected for the team (giving them yet another year of coaching benefit over those not selected). This cycle repeats throughout their childhood ensuring the older ones within the “age year” are disproportionate represented in both junior sport and then into college and professional sport, giving rise to the observed clustering of birthdays in professional footballers.

 

This is exactly the same phenomenon as we are seeing with Wikimania scholarships.

 

How can the playing field of Wikimania scholarships be made a little fairer? I don’t think the answer lies in deducting some points from those who have had a scholarship before. I think the solution lies in having two streams of scholarships, one for the first timers who compete among themselves on criteria that assesses their *potential* to “grow” through the Wikimania experience and a second set of scholarships for those who are applying to come for a second/third/… time with criteria more appropriate  to that group, how much did they “grow” and how much did they “share” relative to the number of Wikimania opportunities they have had (note one might also want to include attendance at Wikimedia Conference and other similar movement events in this regard)?

 

Note in both streams it is still possible to include factors like the Global North/South issue, minority groups, etc in the criteria as consistent with the movement’s strategic goals. The key difference is whether you are assessing only potential for growth from attending for the first-timers as opposed to observed growth from past attending and likely potential for further growth from additional attendance for the repeaters.

 

If that approach is taken, then the only question that remains is the relative number of scholarships (or amount of funds) available in each of the two streams. Obviously there’s a range of possibilities, but I would be tempted to operate on a simple pro-rata principle at least in the first year of operation. After the weeding out of the ineligible or people who show poorly against the criteria (however many phases there are to do that), look at the size of the two remaining groups and go pro-rata. That is, if after the preliminary cull(s), there are 200 potential first-timers and 100 potential repeaters, then allocated twice as many scholarship (or twice as much funding) to the first-time group as to the repeater group. If that does not seem to produce a good mix of attendees, then tweak it whichever way seems appropriate the next year.

 

My key point is to stop comparing a basket of mixed apples and oranges and start comparing apples with apples and oranges with oranges. That should give you mix of  the best apples and the best oranges.

 

Kerry

 


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Re: Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

Richard Ames
Now that is a great contribution!  Thanks, Kerry....

On 22 May 2017 at 12:57, Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]> wrote:

This observation has been made by a few people (some of them involved in the scholarship decision-making process) is that past recipients often continue to out-perform others in terms of the criteria in subsequent years. What hasn’t been commented on is why this is so?


Cut for brevity
 

My key point is to stop comparing a basket of mixed apples and oranges and start comparing apples with apples and oranges with oranges. That should give you mix of  the best apples and the best oranges.

 

Kerry




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Re: Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

Pine W
In reply to this post by Risker

On Sun, May 21, 2017 at 5:22 PM, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:


On 21 May 2017 at 20:12, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

On Sun, May 21, 2017 at 3:34 PM, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:
I'm sorry, Pine....but no.  It's naming and shaming.  If Praveen had wanted to highlight the frequency of Wikimedians being granted Wikimania scholarsips, they could have done exactly what Mike Peel did - compare the relevant lists and highlight the frequency of users receiving one, two or three grants over the four years for which data is available.  That would have been - and is - a reasonable point of discussion.  It turns out that Praveen's information was incomplete at best, and incorrect at worst. 

It's possible that I misread something, but the question that I read in Praveen's original email was, "Then, what is the advantage of selecting same persons again and again for scholarship? Isn't it better to let more different people to share and experience global community?" I don't see how citing a specific example amounts to naming and shaming. Unless I'm overlooking something, there was an honest question of whether current system of selecting awardees should be modified and examples of the outcomes of the current award system were provided. I think it is risky to read negatively into others' motives, and at this point I don't see evidence that would support a view that there was malicious intent in the examples being provided. The examples may be uncomfortable, but that's a very long way from being malicious.

I think you may have missed some comments from the later part of the thread.  I found them highly disturbing.  Frankly, they were disturbing enough that many other Wikimedians I know would have walked away from the projects entirely; we cannot afford to allow people to be browbeaten for being able to demonstrate on a repeated basis that they're productive and valuable members of our community. 
 


I find it disturbing that there seemed to be an effort to shut down a discussion when someone raised concerns about how WMF funds are being used.

 
 

That one specific individual has received more than one of them, and someone is implying that the grantee failed to live up to their undertaken responsibilities, is not a reasonable way of discussing those points.

I disagree. If there are examples of grantees not fulfilling their obligations but being awarded subsequent grants, that would be a problem. I don't want people to be fearful of being attacked for discussing situations in which they reasonably think that there may be a problem. I think that an underlying issue may be the lack of transparency in the awards applications. If there was more transparency then venerability would be less of a challenge. I realize that this is a complex problem, and hopefully there can be constructive discussions about how to address it.

It may be a reason to draw this to the attention of the Wikimania Scholarship Committee, or the WMF Travel and Supports grants staff.  It is not appropriate to start a thread on a mailing list that has thousands of subscribers. As it turns out, there is good reason to doubt a significant amount of what was said anyway. 

We need to stop enabling behaviour like this.  The Wikimania-L mailing list is not an appropriate place to rail against another Wikimedian.  None of the Wikimedia-related mailing lists are.  This is an excellent example of bullying, and it needs to stop. 


I'm perplexed about how this discussion could be considered bullying. An uncomfortable discussion is different from bullying. If you have a concrete example of bullying in this thread (admittedly I may have overlooked one), I would be appreciative if you would contact me off-list and perhaps we can have an off-list discussion.

"It is not appropriate to start a thread on a mailing list that has thousands of subscribers" is a statement of opinion. I feel that it should be possible to have a civil discussion about this matter in public. There has been no private information leaked here (at least not that I have observed). A conversation that is uncomfortable is not necessarily the same as a conversation that is forbidden. If nonpublic information was being discussed then yes, that should probably be moved to a different venue. That is not the case here.

I think it would be fine to move this discussion onto Meta so that thoughts could be organized in a threaded, more easily understood way. I say that in hopes of keeping the conversation organized, not in an effort to stop it.

Pine

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Re: Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

Risker
I'm sorry, Pine, but I see no way to have a "civil discussion" when the initiator makes it about one single other person. If the originator, after having been redirected, had stuck to general comments instead of continuing to complain about a single user receiving multiple scholarships, I'd have given it a pass.  But the same user's name is mentioned repeatedly (a second user is also mentioned in one of the posts), and it is clear that at least some of the  allegations being made about the user are not true. (The initiator of the thread conceded that after being corrected.)  I am very sorry that you do not see this as bullying.  I am very serious when I say that, because the fact that you and perhaps others aren't seeing this as a form of bullying, specifically naming and shaming, is exactly part of the problem that the Wikimedia communities are trying to address, often with little success.  This entire conversation could have been held without the mention of a single user's name. 

Now, the more important point is whether or not anyone is putting their suggestions for improvement onwiki.  Of course, part of the problem is that it's really unclear where these suggestions should go, or for that matter which wiki it should go on; the rules for this round of scholarships is on the Wikimania wiki, while the list of successful candidates is on Meta.  So...Scholarship Committee, where do you want suggestions to go?  Link to a particular page please. 


Risker/Anne



On 22 May 2017 at 03:26, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

On Sun, May 21, 2017 at 5:22 PM, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:


On 21 May 2017 at 20:12, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

On Sun, May 21, 2017 at 3:34 PM, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:
I'm sorry, Pine....but no.  It's naming and shaming.  If Praveen had wanted to highlight the frequency of Wikimedians being granted Wikimania scholarsips, they could have done exactly what Mike Peel did - compare the relevant lists and highlight the frequency of users receiving one, two or three grants over the four years for which data is available.  That would have been - and is - a reasonable point of discussion.  It turns out that Praveen's information was incomplete at best, and incorrect at worst. 

It's possible that I misread something, but the question that I read in Praveen's original email was, "Then, what is the advantage of selecting same persons again and again for scholarship? Isn't it better to let more different people to share and experience global community?" I don't see how citing a specific example amounts to naming and shaming. Unless I'm overlooking something, there was an honest question of whether current system of selecting awardees should be modified and examples of the outcomes of the current award system were provided. I think it is risky to read negatively into others' motives, and at this point I don't see evidence that would support a view that there was malicious intent in the examples being provided. The examples may be uncomfortable, but that's a very long way from being malicious.

I think you may have missed some comments from the later part of the thread.  I found them highly disturbing.  Frankly, they were disturbing enough that many other Wikimedians I know would have walked away from the projects entirely; we cannot afford to allow people to be browbeaten for being able to demonstrate on a repeated basis that they're productive and valuable members of our community. 
 


I find it disturbing that there seemed to be an effort to shut down a discussion when someone raised concerns about how WMF funds are being used.

 
 

That one specific individual has received more than one of them, and someone is implying that the grantee failed to live up to their undertaken responsibilities, is not a reasonable way of discussing those points.

I disagree. If there are examples of grantees not fulfilling their obligations but being awarded subsequent grants, that would be a problem. I don't want people to be fearful of being attacked for discussing situations in which they reasonably think that there may be a problem. I think that an underlying issue may be the lack of transparency in the awards applications. If there was more transparency then venerability would be less of a challenge. I realize that this is a complex problem, and hopefully there can be constructive discussions about how to address it.

It may be a reason to draw this to the attention of the Wikimania Scholarship Committee, or the WMF Travel and Supports grants staff.  It is not appropriate to start a thread on a mailing list that has thousands of subscribers. As it turns out, there is good reason to doubt a significant amount of what was said anyway. 

We need to stop enabling behaviour like this.  The Wikimania-L mailing list is not an appropriate place to rail against another Wikimedian.  None of the Wikimedia-related mailing lists are.  This is an excellent example of bullying, and it needs to stop. 


I'm perplexed about how this discussion could be considered bullying. An uncomfortable discussion is different from bullying. If you have a concrete example of bullying in this thread (admittedly I may have overlooked one), I would be appreciative if you would contact me off-list and perhaps we can have an off-list discussion.

"It is not appropriate to start a thread on a mailing list that has thousands of subscribers" is a statement of opinion. I feel that it should be possible to have a civil discussion about this matter in public. There has been no private information leaked here (at least not that I have observed). A conversation that is uncomfortable is not necessarily the same as a conversation that is forbidden. If nonpublic information was being discussed then yes, that should probably be moved to a different venue. That is not the case here.

I think it would be fine to move this discussion onto Meta so that thoughts could be organized in a threaded, more easily understood way. I say that in hopes of keeping the conversation organized, not in an effort to stop it.

Pine

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Re: Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

Gnangarra
​English isnt everyone first language if there had there been no name mentioned the question would have been dismissed as nonsense. Tto quote the original email "This is not personal, I am just using personalities and scholarships familiar to me"  this made it clear that it was not directed at the worthiness of the individual but rather a point of entry to start the discussion about the process with applicants who have received prior scholarships.  

The initial responses were very clear that by raising the issue this had under lying implications. I found some of the early comments highly disturbing in that were effectively preventing what should be discussed were a lot closer to what I would be identifying bullying.

I agree that starting a fresh discussion on Meta may help but that will miss many people who could have valuable input both as experienced and inexperienced  with the process.   


On a side note hopeful one the goals from the Strategy process for the movement is bring discussion information to singular points to capture wider input, and transparency  




On 22 May 2017 at 15:51, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:
I'm sorry, Pine, but I see no way to have a "civil discussion" when the initiator makes it about one single other person. If the originator, after having been redirected, had stuck to general comments instead of continuing to complain about a single user receiving multiple scholarships, I'd have given it a pass.  But the same user's name is mentioned repeatedly (a second user is also mentioned in one of the posts), and it is clear that at least some of the  allegations being made about the user are not true. (The initiator of the thread conceded that after being corrected.)  I am very sorry that you do not see this as bullying.  I am very serious when I say that, because the fact that you and perhaps others aren't seeing this as a form of bullying, specifically naming and shaming, is exactly part of the problem that the Wikimedia communities are trying to address, often with little success.  This entire conversation could have been held without the mention of a single user's name. 

Now, the more important point is whether or not anyone is putting their suggestions for improvement onwiki.  Of course, part of the problem is that it's really unclear where these suggestions should go, or for that matter which wiki it should go on; the rules for this round of scholarships is on the Wikimania wiki, while the list of successful candidates is on Meta.  So...Scholarship Committee, where do you want suggestions to go?  Link to a particular page please. 


Risker/Anne



On 22 May 2017 at 03:26, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

On Sun, May 21, 2017 at 5:22 PM, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:


On 21 May 2017 at 20:12, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

On Sun, May 21, 2017 at 3:34 PM, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:
I'm sorry, Pine....but no.  It's naming and shaming.  If Praveen had wanted to highlight the frequency of Wikimedians being granted Wikimania scholarsips, they could have done exactly what Mike Peel did - compare the relevant lists and highlight the frequency of users receiving one, two or three grants over the four years for which data is available.  That would have been - and is - a reasonable point of discussion.  It turns out that Praveen's information was incomplete at best, and incorrect at worst. 

It's possible that I misread something, but the question that I read in Praveen's original email was, "Then, what is the advantage of selecting same persons again and again for scholarship? Isn't it better to let more different people to share and experience global community?" I don't see how citing a specific example amounts to naming and shaming. Unless I'm overlooking something, there was an honest question of whether current system of selecting awardees should be modified and examples of the outcomes of the current award system were provided. I think it is risky to read negatively into others' motives, and at this point I don't see evidence that would support a view that there was malicious intent in the examples being provided. The examples may be uncomfortable, but that's a very long way from being malicious.

I think you may have missed some comments from the later part of the thread.  I found them highly disturbing.  Frankly, they were disturbing enough that many other Wikimedians I know would have walked away from the projects entirely; we cannot afford to allow people to be browbeaten for being able to demonstrate on a repeated basis that they're productive and valuable members of our community. 
 


I find it disturbing that there seemed to be an effort to shut down a discussion when someone raised concerns about how WMF funds are being used.

 
 

That one specific individual has received more than one of them, and someone is implying that the grantee failed to live up to their undertaken responsibilities, is not a reasonable way of discussing those points.

I disagree. If there are examples of grantees not fulfilling their obligations but being awarded subsequent grants, that would be a problem. I don't want people to be fearful of being attacked for discussing situations in which they reasonably think that there may be a problem. I think that an underlying issue may be the lack of transparency in the awards applications. If there was more transparency then venerability would be less of a challenge. I realize that this is a complex problem, and hopefully there can be constructive discussions about how to address it.

It may be a reason to draw this to the attention of the Wikimania Scholarship Committee, or the WMF Travel and Supports grants staff.  It is not appropriate to start a thread on a mailing list that has thousands of subscribers. As it turns out, there is good reason to doubt a significant amount of what was said anyway. 

We need to stop enabling behaviour like this.  The Wikimania-L mailing list is not an appropriate place to rail against another Wikimedian.  None of the Wikimedia-related mailing lists are.  This is an excellent example of bullying, and it needs to stop. 


I'm perplexed about how this discussion could be considered bullying. An uncomfortable discussion is different from bullying. If you have a concrete example of bullying in this thread (admittedly I may have overlooked one), I would be appreciative if you would contact me off-list and perhaps we can have an off-list discussion.

"It is not appropriate to start a thread on a mailing list that has thousands of subscribers" is a statement of opinion. I feel that it should be possible to have a civil discussion about this matter in public. There has been no private information leaked here (at least not that I have observed). A conversation that is uncomfortable is not necessarily the same as a conversation that is forbidden. If nonpublic information was being discussed then yes, that should probably be moved to a different venue. That is not the case here.

I think it would be fine to move this discussion onto Meta so that thoughts could be organized in a threaded, more easily understood way. I say that in hopes of keeping the conversation organized, not in an effort to stop it.

Pine

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--
GN.
President Wikimedia Australia
WMAU: http://www.wikimedia.org.au/wiki/User:Gnangarra
Photo Gallery: http://gnangarra.redbubble.com


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Re: Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

Peter Southwood
In reply to this post by Kerry Raymond

Fair comment, and actionable suggestions.

P

 

From: Wikimania-l [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Kerry Raymond
Sent: Monday, 22 May 2017 4:57 AM
To: 'Wikimania general list (open subscription)'
Subject: Re: [Wikimania-l] Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

 

This observation has been made by a few people (some of them involved in the scholarship decision-making process) is that past recipients often continue to out-perform others in terms of the criteria in subsequent years. What hasn’t been commented on is why this is so?

 

If we believe that an attendee to Wikimania benefits in terms of learning new skills, hearing new ideas, making new contacts, then we should hardly be surprised if an attendee is then in a position to “grow” as a Wikimedian and hence be more able to “out-compete” others who didn’t have the benefit of attending. (And If we don’t believe that attendees benefit or grow from Wikimania attendance, then we should stop running Wikimania). Also the scholarship recipient has an expectation to share with their community what they have learned, even that process of sharing adds to their list of activities that they can use as evidence as subsequent scholarship applications.

 

Aside. If you have read the book Freakonomics or followed their blog, you will be aware

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freakonomics

 

of their study of how professional footballers tend to have their birthdays clustered in a few months of the year and how this phenomenon has its roots in spotting football talent in very young players and then training them. Because junior sport is usually based around age limits with a specific cut-off day, the children who just exceed the age limit by a month or two will usually be less physically developed than those who exceed the age limit by 10 or 11 months. Thus, the older children in the cohort are more likely to be selected for the team and receive coaching. Next year (still with a relative age developmental advantage AND with one year of extra coaching) these older children in the cohort are again appear the most able and again selected for the team (giving them yet another year of coaching benefit over those not selected). This cycle repeats throughout their childhood ensuring the older ones within the “age year” are disproportionate represented in both junior sport and then into college and professional sport, giving rise to the observed clustering of birthdays in professional footballers.

 

This is exactly the same phenomenon as we are seeing with Wikimania scholarships.

 

How can the playing field of Wikimania scholarships be made a little fairer? I don’t think the answer lies in deducting some points from those who have had a scholarship before. I think the solution lies in having two streams of scholarships, one for the first timers who compete among themselves on criteria that assesses their *potential* to “grow” through the Wikimania experience and a second set of scholarships for those who are applying to come for a second/third/… time with criteria more appropriate  to that group, how much did they “grow” and how much did they “share” relative to the number of Wikimania opportunities they have had (note one might also want to include attendance at Wikimedia Conference and other similar movement events in this regard)?

 

Note in both streams it is still possible to include factors like the Global North/South issue, minority groups, etc in the criteria as consistent with the movement’s strategic goals. The key difference is whether you are assessing only potential for growth from attending for the first-timers as opposed to observed growth from past attending and likely potential for further growth from additional attendance for the repeaters.

 

If that approach is taken, then the only question that remains is the relative number of scholarships (or amount of funds) available in each of the two streams. Obviously there’s a range of possibilities, but I would be tempted to operate on a simple pro-rata principle at least in the first year of operation. After the weeding out of the ineligible or people who show poorly against the criteria (however many phases there are to do that), look at the size of the two remaining groups and go pro-rata. That is, if after the preliminary cull(s), there are 200 potential first-timers and 100 potential repeaters, then allocated twice as many scholarship (or twice as much funding) to the first-time group as to the repeater group. If that does not seem to produce a good mix of attendees, then tweak it whichever way seems appropriate the next year.

 

My key point is to stop comparing a basket of mixed apples and oranges and start comparing apples with apples and oranges with oranges. That should give you mix of  the best apples and the best oranges.

 

Kerry

 


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Re: Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

Isaac Olatunde
Greetings,

I want to agree with Gnangara that the OP has no intention to attack the user who was cited as an example. Saying User:XYZ received a scholarship consecutively is not an attack but a statement of fact (if their claim was actually correct). To be honest, interpreting OP's concern as an attack, jealousy etc. is far close to assuming good faith. However, I don't think I'll be interested in a discussion that focus on  "Why was  User:XYZ awarded a scholarship and not me?" but would be interested in a discussion that focus on how to improve the selection process".

Regards,

Isaac (who has never received a scholarship or apply for one this year)



On Mon, May 22, 2017 at 6:12 AM, Peter Southwood <[hidden email]> wrote:

Fair comment, and actionable suggestions.

P

 

From: Wikimania-l [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Kerry Raymond
Sent: Monday, 22 May 2017 4:57 AM
To: 'Wikimania general list (open subscription)'
Subject: Re: [Wikimania-l] Granting Scholarship to same persons every year

 

This observation has been made by a few people (some of them involved in the scholarship decision-making process) is that past recipients often continue to out-perform others in terms of the criteria in subsequent years. What hasn’t been commented on is why this is so?

 

If we believe that an attendee to Wikimania benefits in terms of learning new skills, hearing new ideas, making new contacts, then we should hardly be surprised if an attendee is then in a position to “grow” as a Wikimedian and hence be more able to “out-compete” others who didn’t have the benefit of attending. (And If we don’t believe that attendees benefit or grow from Wikimania attendance, then we should stop running Wikimania). Also the scholarship recipient has an expectation to share with their community what they have learned, even that process of sharing adds to their list of activities that they can use as evidence as subsequent scholarship applications.

 

Aside. If you have read the book Freakonomics or followed their blog, you will be aware

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freakonomics

 

of their study of how professional footballers tend to have their birthdays clustered in a few months of the year and how this phenomenon has its roots in spotting football talent in very young players and then training them. Because junior sport is usually based around age limits with a specific cut-off day, the children who just exceed the age limit by a month or two will usually be less physically developed than those who exceed the age limit by 10 or 11 months. Thus, the older children in the cohort are more likely to be selected for the team and receive coaching. Next year (still with a relative age developmental advantage AND with one year of extra coaching) these older children in the cohort are again appear the most able and again selected for the team (giving them yet another year of coaching benefit over those not selected). This cycle repeats throughout their childhood ensuring the older ones within the “age year” are disproportionate represented in both junior sport and then into college and professional sport, giving rise to the observed clustering of birthdays in professional footballers.

 

This is exactly the same phenomenon as we are seeing with Wikimania scholarships.

 

How can the playing field of Wikimania scholarships be made a little fairer? I don’t think the answer lies in deducting some points from those who have had a scholarship before. I think the solution lies in having two streams of scholarships, one for the first timers who compete among themselves on criteria that assesses their *potential* to “grow” through the Wikimania experience and a second set of scholarships for those who are applying to come for a second/third/… time with criteria more appropriate  to that group, how much did they “grow” and how much did they “share” relative to the number of Wikimania opportunities they have had (note one might also want to include attendance at Wikimedia Conference and other similar movement events in this regard)?

 

Note in both streams it is still possible to include factors like the Global North/South issue, minority groups, etc in the criteria as consistent with the movement’s strategic goals. The key difference is whether you are assessing only potential for growth from attending for the first-timers as opposed to observed growth from past attending and likely potential for further growth from additional attendance for the repeaters.

 

If that approach is taken, then the only question that remains is the relative number of scholarships (or amount of funds) available in each of the two streams. Obviously there’s a range of possibilities, but I would be tempted to operate on a simple pro-rata principle at least in the first year of operation. After the weeding out of the ineligible or people who show poorly against the criteria (however many phases there are to do that), look at the size of the two remaining groups and go pro-rata. That is, if after the preliminary cull(s), there are 200 potential first-timers and 100 potential repeaters, then allocated twice as many scholarship (or twice as much funding) to the first-time group as to the repeater group. If that does not seem to produce a good mix of attendees, then tweak it whichever way seems appropriate the next year.

 

My key point is to stop comparing a basket of mixed apples and oranges and start comparing apples with apples and oranges with oranges. That should give you mix of  the best apples and the best oranges.

 

Kerry

 


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