Peer support for administrators

Continuing the discussion from [Announcements] The latest Applications for Movement Strategy Implementation Grants (MSiG):

I wanted to highlight this grant application here as it falls under this recommendation.

The project aims to test peer support groups as a framework to provide more safety in the movement and prevent volunteer burnout.

What do you think of this idea? Essentially - to host regular online meetings, and an in-person conference, with the goal of helping administrators learn strategies to deal with the stress of acting in a peer-dependent moderation system.

While the grant focuses on the Polish language Wikipedia, I can see it being also applied to other communities.


Pinging @Natalia_Szafran-Kozakowska_WMPL i @Grzegorz_Kopaczewski_WMPL :smiley:

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The first day of Wikimania brought an excellent presentation of this project by @Natalia_Szafran-Kozakowska_WMPL, who spoke during the Movement Strategy Implementation: Lightning Talks.
It was an opportunity to learn more about the research into the kinds of problems and challenges that community functionaries face in their Wiki roles.
It highlighted the fact that those who are most engaged in resolving the cases of online harassment and vandalism often face these situations without any prior training; are exposed to stress and burnout; and consequently begin to avoid these types of situations thus putting more load on those who are still willing to moderate.
This project, according to @Natalia_Szafran-Kozakowska_WMPL, uses the peer support framework to help the admins acquire the skills to deal with stress and learn moderation strategies. The project will offer expert training to functionaries of Polish Wikipedia.


It was a great joy to talk about this projet yesterday at Wikimania! (Thank you @YPam_WMF and @CKibelka_WMF for organizing this session! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:) It was also very nice to receive positive feedback about the project. I think it shows that in the movement we understand the need for a culture of support and recognition and are welcoming actions that aim to contribute to that. We are Wikimedians. We care about each other :heartpulse:

I will make sure to be sharing more about the project here while it will be unfolding!


I just wanted to share a quick update on the project! We have summarized surveys filled out by almost a half of Polish Wikipedia administrators (quite a lot!). Some findings that I think are quite interesting:

  • 65% of administrators experience stress in relation to their work (15% of them experience it often)
  • stress seems to be experienced more often by those admins who react to harassment and conduct policy violations - it is experienced by 74% of them (26% responded that they experience it often!)
  • more than half of administrators who responded to the survey declared that they had been a target of harassment themselves (in most cases this was related to their role). Again - those numbers are higher for admins who react to harassment and conduct policies.

This shows that those who directly work on safety in Wikimedia projects are at a higher risk of burnout and would probably need more support to continue this work.

But there is also good news! There are already existing sources of support in the movement!

  • The respondents in their majority (57%) agreed that they can rely on support from the general community and most of all other admins (82%).

Those are just quick findings, we will be working more on them and showing them all in the final project report! :bookmark_tabs: