Turkish Wikipedians and Jazz-lovers Unite to celebrate International Jazz Day

International Jazz Day Edit-a-Thon April 30, 2020, Turkey. CC BY-SA 4.0

On April 30th, a group of wikipedians and jazz-lovers in Turkey stopped worrying about the pandemic, their jobs, schools or domestic tasks and celebrated the International Jazz Day.

There were about 50 participants who came together in a video-conference session to unite their forces for editing Wikipedia articles about Turkish jazz musicians. Some of them were long-time Wikipedia editors, but most were those jazz lovers, musicians, music managers, music magazine writers, festival organizers who discovered the “Edit” button for the first time during that session.

What brought this group together was a partnership between Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts – the organizer of Istanbul Jazz Festival – and the Wikimedia Community User Group Turkey. The original plan was to meet at a venue in İstanbul where some jazz history books and documents will be available, with a program including some music, a presentation and an editing workshop. The plan had to change when pandemic have started and forced everyone stay at home. But how this could stop jazzlovers from celebrating the jazz day?! Instead of physical meeting, a video conference was organised and the list of online sources were compiled. The lists of missing articles and the articles needs to be improved were prepeared. And best of all, selected photos from the archive of Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts were uploaded to Commons to be used in the Wikipedia articles.

And finally on the Jazz Day, after half hour presentation about how to edit Wikipedia, the work have begun. When they had difficulty, first time editors were sharing their screens to get help; Wikipedians had opportunity to ask their questions on jazz terminology to experts. It was surprising to see many participants remained in the session from beginning to the end during the four hour event. During those four hours and the following weekend, 904 edits was made by the participants. 36 new articles were created and 74 articles were expanded. This was a good step to fill a content gap in Turkish Wikipedia: Content on Turkish jazz musicians.

But not only that, it was also an attempt to close the gap between the people from music world and the Wikipedians. When someone from the music world edits an article about a musician, many miscommunication problems and misunderstandings come out when pillars of Wikipedia such as notability and neutrality are not known well by the contributor. Sometimes contributions of music professionals made in good faith were considered as self-promotion and the process ends up with deleted articles, missing information.

The jazz day edit-a-thon provided an opportunity to explain the pillars of Wikipedia, better understand different concerns and work together. And this was what Wikipedia is all about, a collaboration built by volunteer contributors to learn and understand.