YWAMKnowledgeBase:Report for international comms 2010
As you know, in October a group of people involved in YWAM’s international communication initiatives will meet to evaluate how far we have come in ‘healing the nervous system’. In readiness for these meetings I am preparing some research about YWAM’s key communication pieces.
In order to evaluate how well these tools are serving us, please would you answer these few questions regarding the YWAMkb website.
Thank you for taking time for this. It will help us enormously as we agree objectives and plan for the future.
Thanks a lot for your help with this. It would help me enormously to have your response by Wednesday 15 September, so that I can compile and distribute a report well before the October meeting.
- 1 Describe your initiative, site, communiqué, etc.
- 2 Who is the intended audience, user or participant?
- 3 Have you and those working with you agreed goals for this initiative?
- 4 What kind of success is this initiative having?
- 5 In what different ways do people use or interact with this tool?
- 6 To what degree do you feel this communication tool upholds YWAM’s identity and values.
- 7 How well integrated is this platform with others in YWAM?
- 8 What is the cost involved in providing this service and how do you pay for it?
- 9 Do you know of other communication projects started by your users as a result of participating in your initiative?
Describe your initiative, site, communiqué, etc.
The YWAM KnowledgeBase is a resource for YWAMers. It is a library created, maintained and improved by any YWAMer who wishes to help. The goal is to provide all YWAMers everywhere with the knowledge that they need to do their job excellently and thus help drive forward the aims and goals of YWAM.
YWAM has to a large extent an oral culture. We experience a rapid turnover of staff due to the youthful and short-term nature and origin of our organisation. Much knowledge leaves in the heads of the departing staff and is not passed on to new staff. We aim to stem this leak of expertise.
See YWAMKnowledgeBase:About for more.
Currently the core team of contributors are Kevin, Steve, Arnoud and Pitpat. It should be noted that YWAMKB is no-one's full time job or even part time nor has it ever been. This is something we work on as much as we can in between competing pressures.
Who is the intended audience, user or participant?
Simply - all YWAMers. If YWAM had an internal network (an Extranet really) the YWAMKB would exist there. Sadly we don't and it is unlikely to appear. It should be classed as an Internal Communications project.
However the YWAMKB appears as a public website thus making it External Communications and PR. One of our sub-aims is therefore to embrace this aspect of PR and the opportunities it affords such as:
- Transparency: In our opinion a VAST amount of YWAM business would benefit from being available for public scrutiny. Anything which would not benefit the public should not be posted here and will be removed as soon as possible by the core editors.
- Collaboration: by being public we can lower the barriers for collaboration of YWAMers anywhere in the world. We have discovered this is needed when we seek to create a community that creates and edits communal documents like we do.
- Alumni: As the KB is in the public eye, YWAM Alumni and anyone sympathetic can assist with the project. We have a number of authors in this category, one of whom is highly active. The quality of the website has only improved with this input.
- Resourcing the local church: A number of articles are really helpful for the local church. For example the Speaker Evaluation Form is popular.
Have you and those working with you agreed goals for this initiative?
What are they?
To what extent are you realizing those goals?
- YWAMKnowledgeBase:Goals - general goals - growth of contributors, quality, articles - not readership really.
- YWAMKnowledgeBase:Community_Pages#Stats - we like to make these targets and update them but rarely achieve them!
- Website evaluation of ywamkb.net - Currently our most consistent reached goal.
- YWAMKnowledgeBase:Sprint 2010 Report and YWAMKnowledgeBase:Meetings
- One constant goal is to improve and complete the many stubbed, messy or missing articles. This is important challenge. Poor quality articles do not reflect well in a PR sense, but marking them as such may encourage new YWAMers to step in. This challenge is not an easy one given the small pool of contributors and the rather large need, but Rome hasn't been built in a day ...
What kind of success is this initiative having?
Give statistics of use
Include geographical spread and how representative users are of the whole mission.
Statistics from the beginning are kept on this page: YWAMKnowledgeBase:Statistics. We track number of registered users (thus able to edit - though most have not edited yet), number of pages created (in the main part of the wiki - this page would not count!), number of page impressions (a completed page - not just a hit, each page is equivalent to 20 hits or so) and edits made in total (this gives a sense of how much work is happening).
The webserver stats confirm anecdotal evidence that users all over the world (and not just Western Europe - where Steve and Kevin live and have most influence on) are using the knowledge base. For example here is a summary of geographical data from August 2010. (USA is usually dominant - as this includes most of the search engines. indexing the site)
Anecdotal evidence is that we have users in North and South America, Australia, Far East, Africa and Europe. No Antarctica - YET! Quite often our Skype meetings have had participants in Brazil, USA, England, Belgium, Norway or Germany and Australia! Everyone is just about awake!
|Top 30 of 94 Total Locations|
|#||Hits||Files||kB F||kB In||kB Out||Location|
|3||4878||5.50%||3890||5.99%||30613||5.26%||0||0.00%||0||0.00%||Great Britain (UK)|
|26||337||0.38%||319||0.49%||1429||0.25%||0||0.00%||0||0.00%||New Zealand (Aotearoa)|
Include details about different language versions available
Current status is:
Plan for future languages is available here: YWAMKnowledgeBase:Multiple_Languages
Include anecdotes of responses you have received from users/participants.
These leaders (who are all registered users too) explain why they think the KB is great. It is perhaps our best response from our users. There are some emails too (quite a few), but I am not sure they are all recorded. For the future we will start recording and publishing encouragements like this.
In what different ways do people use or interact with this tool?
What patterns do you see?
In general people search for help and end up on the KnowledgeBase! This happens more often if they are aware that the resource exists, although being indexed by Google means we are more "discoverable".
We discovered that different people have different preferences. Some click about at random, some like images, some videos, some ignore videos and read text. We have conducted user Surveys (YWAMKnowledgeBase:User survey) and Usability tests (YWAMKnowledgeBase:Usability Test) (which were a LOT of fun and incredibly useful) to improve our understanding of how people interact with the site.
Some specific uses
- Some DTS leaders have the KnowledgeBase open when they plan their school. It provides many of the resources and information they need for the planning. Some other leaders have specific questions and seek specific answers. Some people value resources such as application forms, evaluation forms etc.
- YWAM England and Wales have been required by the Charity Commissioners to have a Training Policy and Procedures Manual, called the Pink Folder. Rather than have a physical folder in each base the folder is included in KnowledgeBase. The Pink Folder is intended to be a developing 'best practice' manual. The knowledgebase will allow it to be developed rather more directly than were it to be primarily a printed document.
- Steve Sullivan says "Over many years of overseeing school leaders I have happily given much time to answer many of the same questions. Now I can simply direct the questioners to the relevant articles on the knowledgebase. Should I die tomorrow, and I am working strenuously to not achieving that, the things I've learned will remain."
- It is a quick repository for many YWAM documents that are not easily accessed anywhere else. We host as many core YWAM docs as we can get our hands on.
- Kevin and Steve have found a lot of success working with their New Teams Network - those starting new teams have found it a very valuable resource.
- Eurocom have created a Communications Pack that is intended to be a long term communications resource for YWAM centres.
- Brainstorming and quick collaboration is possible using the YWAMKB. The Local Ministry Volunteers page was written as a staff discussion/training time in Brussels for example. We often plan gatherings and meetings using pages. Slow-meetings-at-a-distance can be conducted.
A Negative Pattern?
Kevin writes: I do feel that the KB is currently underused. For example I know of some initiatives that want to promote improvements across the board in YWAM. Just posting a page outlining the concerns and advice on the YWAMKB could be a accessible, simple and low cost way of communicating changes in addition to speaking at conferences etc. that is more commonly used.
To what degree do you feel this communication tool upholds YWAM’s identity and values.
- Clearly identified with YWAM and with links to loads and loads of YWAM sites. (see YWAM Websites List)
- Includes YWAM's identity and values and pretty much every other core document we have produced!!!
- The way it works: De-centralised and team orientated and International. This is not a one-person thing, but a team effort based in Belgium, Germany, England, Brazil, Australia etc. We are attracting YWAMers from all other too
- Servant Leadership: We encourage people to edit and deeply value their contributions. We help a lot with training and encouraging people to join in. We try to find areas which suit them rather than us.
- Hospitality: We warmly welcome people to the KB. We try to write frequently, invite them to online meetings and face to face ones. There is a lot of behind the scenes emailing and discussion that is not visible from the site.
- Be Visionary: we have a lot of ideas of how we should be working together as YWAMers across international boundaries and are embodying it in the Wiki. There are many other ideas and thoughts that we are considering but that is generally amongst the team and not visible on the site.
"Mind The Gap" is not an official value but probably one of the most important values for our collective communication that has emerged. The YWAMKB expresses this value by being:
- available for translation and translation strategy in place. Beginnings of other languages
- Very fast loading site. Tested with less-than-56K-modem and works well compared to almost all other YWAM sites.
- Tested in all browsers and does not depend on anything other than standard internet protocols.
- Well placed for hand-held devices and use
- Multi-platform friendly. I use Linux, some use Macs, a lot use Windows.
How well integrated is this platform with others in YWAM?
List those others initiatives, sites or communiqués integrated with yours (accessible via yours, or vice versa).
None as yet. We would like KB's to appear in multiple languages and would tightly integrate them as possible. We have a Multi-language strategy in place. Further integration with other sites is not obvious. However the choice of the MediaWiki software for the site will benefit integration as their are a huge wealth of plugins and connecting technologies. (For example, we could use OpenID in order to log in into all YWAM websites with one password only.)
YWAMKB provides RSS feeds others can watch various aspects of the KB, such as new Articles. In-fact that is the feed http://www.planetywam.net takes.
We also provide PDF production of pages and have tried to integrate a form of book publishing from wiki articles such as Wikipedia is currently doing. It is not very good though.
What is the cost involved in providing this service and how do you pay for it?
- Domain Registration fee for ywamkb.net = 18 euros
- Server Hosting costs - shared with other YWAM Brussels sites on the same server. Server is hosted in YWAM Brussels building. ISP costs covered by YWAM Brussels generally. But probably a gift in kind = 200 euros
- Hardware costs - Hardware was donated. Standard Dell desktop PC. Zero cost but value of (400 euro over 3 years) = 133 euros
- Software costs. Ubuntu Linux, with Mediawiki, PHP, Apache and MySql database. 0 Euros.
- Travel and conferences - this is the most costly part of the project but is covered by individuals. Estimation = 500 euros ???
- Advertising. Very little done but some flyers and business cards. All gifted. Estimated Value = 75 euros
The only Actual cost is item 1 = 18 euros!
Subsidies and donations cover further costs of = 908 euros
Do you know of other communication projects started by your users as a result of participating in your initiative?
Can't think of any really except Arnaud created a Facebook YWAMKB community. Rodney Blevins has also set up a Wiki in Heidebeek, but I don't know if that project is still running.