Strategy Salon in Conakry reflects about the future of the Wikimedia movement

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In Guinea, the Wikimedia community is just starting out. Internet access is uncertain, computer equipment is rare, few people even know that Wikipedia is editable… Despite these challenges, a small community of committed volunteers has developed in the country in order to enrich the encyclopedia’s articles about Guinea-Conakry, until it finally got recognized as “User Group” by the Wikimedia Foundation in november 2018.

Aboubacar Keita, president of Wikimedia Guinea during the National Strategy Salon in Conakry on 23 June 2019. Picture by Aboubacarkhoraa, CC-BY-SA 4.0.

Now officialy affiliated, Wikimedians from Guinea have been invited to join in strategic discussions inside the Wikimedia Movement. The purpose of these discussions? Answering this truly ambitious question: how can we reach our ideal of universal sharing of human knowledge?

Knowledge Equity

“Knowledge equity” has been defined by the Wikimedian community as one of two main goals to reach by 2030. What does it mean exactly? In short, that we want social inequalities to have as little influence as possible on access and contribution to our projects.

This goal takes on its full meaning in the Guinean context. Here, contributing to Wikipedia is a real privilege. Even among the educated population, few people own a computer. “And contributing on a phone is complicated. You really need to be an enthusiast!” says Aboubacar Keita, student in sociology and president of Wikimedia Guinea.

Plus, few people know that Wikimedia projects are collaborative. Aboubacar Keita explains: “I often ask students or university teachers if they know they can modify and improve Wikipedia. They say “No, it that possible??” When I say yes, they are immediately interested in learning.” But Conakry has little resources, which doesn’t allow them to feed this nascent interest. “If we are not able to offer trainings or workshops, these persons will just forget the idea of contributing.”

National Strategy Salon in Conakry

This is the context in which Guinea-Conakry’s National Strategy Salon

C’est dans ce contexte qu’a été organisé le Salon Stratégique National de Guinée-Conakry, le 23 juin dernier à l’Université Kofi Annan de Guinée.

Participants at the National Strategy Salon of Wikimedia Guinea. Picture by Aboubacarkhoraa, CC-BY-SA 4.0.

With financial support from the Wikimedia Foundation, this event gathered fourteen volunteers in order to reflect about two thematic areas: “Roles and responsibilities in the Wikimedia Movement” and “Capacity Building”.

These themes were chosen by the group and are representative of local concerns. Guineans especially underlined the lack of stable organizations in Africa: indeed, there is only one Chapter on the whole continent, only one to benefit from annual funding. They would like to see this imbalance corrected by 2030.

Other claims stand out from their report, such as support for training local trainers, or regular funding in order to be able to have a venue with computer equipment and a decent internet access.

A second salon for youth

“The event was a success”, says Aboubacar Keita. “Everyone could share their thoughts freely, and several of our members had the opportunity to better understand how the Wikimedia Movement works.” Only drawback, “equal gender participation is complicated to obtain” in a country where gender inequalities are deep rooted in society. But two women could anyway join the group, out of fourteen participants.

Group picture at the National Strategy Salon of Guinea-Conakry. Image by Aboubacarkhoraa, CC-BY-SA 4.0.

The leader of the group is otherwise very happy to have shared this moment with other free knowledge lovers. “I liked my role as a guide and I look forward to extending the discussion beyond Conakry. That is why on July 20th we will go 300km away from the capital city, to Kamsar, for another Strategy Salon aimed at Youth.”

This second event will focus on the two same thematic areas and should allow youth’s specific concerns to stand out. More broadly, it will also be an occasion to raise awareness about free knowledge among this generation, whose representatives will be the primary stakeholders of the Wikimedia Movement by 2030.

All members of the Wikimedia community are invited to take part in strategic discussions. Share your perspective and suggestions by answering to the survey conceived by the working groups: answer the survey.

You can also organize your own local or thematic strategy salons. Please contact: kstinerowe[at]wikimedia.org


Editing News #1—July 2019

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Welcome to the first Editing newsletter in the Wikimedia Space blog. 

Since the last newsletter, the team has released two new features for the mobile visual editor and has started developing three more. All of this work is part of the team’s goal to make editing on mobile web simpler.

Before talking about the team’s recent releases, we have a question for you: 

Are you willing to try a new way to add and change links?

If you are interested, we would value your input! You can try this new link tool in the mobile visual editor on a separate wiki. 

Follow these instructions and then share your experience:

📲 Try Edit Cards.

Recent releases

The mobile visual editor is a simpler editing tool, for smartphones and tablets using the mobile site. The Editing team has recently launched two new features to improve the mobile visual editor: 

  1. Section editing
    • The purpose is to help contributors focus on their edits.
    • The team studied this with an A/B test.  This test showed that contributors who could use section editing were 1% more likely to publish the edits they started than people with only full-page editing.
  2. Loading overlay
    • The purpose is to smooth the transition between reading and editing.

Section editing and the new loading overlay are now available to everyone using the mobile visual editor.

New and active projects

This is a list of our most active projects. Watch these pages to learn about project updates and to share your input on new designs, prototypes and research findings.

  • Edit cards: This is a clearer way to add and edit links, citations, images, templates, etc. in articles. You can try this feature now.  Go here to see how: 📲Try Edit Cards.
  • Mobile toolbar refresh: This project will learn if contributors are more successful when the editing tools are easier to recognize.
  • Mobile visual editor availability: This A/B test asks:  Are newer contributors more successful if they use the mobile visual editor? We are collaborating with 20 Wikipedias to answer this question.
  • Usability improvements: This project will make the mobile visual editor easier to use.  The goal is to let contributors stay focused on editing and to feel more confident in the editing tools.

Looking ahead

  • Wikimania: Several members of the Editing Team will be attending Wikimania in August 2019. They will lead a session about mobile editing in the Community Growth space. Talk to them about how editing can be improved.
  • Talk Pages: In the coming months, the Editing Team will begin improving talk pages and communication on the wikis.

Learning more

The VisualEditor on mobile project page is a good place to learn more about the projects we are working on. The team wants to talk with you about anything related to editing. If you have something to say or ask, please leave a message at Talk:VisualEditor on mobile.


Building a multilingual Space, part I

Dodhara_Chadani_Bridge,_Kanchanpur.jpg
Dodhara Chadani Bridge, Kanchanpur.jpg () by Hopingyousuf, CC-BY-SA-4.0.

A critical part of Space’s mission is to offer a welcoming and accessible place for all movement contributors. And how can you be welcoming, accessible and monolingual, you ask? Great question. You can’t. 

Today, we officially embarked on the (long and winding) journey toward making Space a fully-functioning multilingual forum. 

Your language preference can now be set in your interface preferences. Anonymous users will have their language automatically set from their web browser’s language headers.

When using another language you’ll notice that, while Discourse software’s content is translated to varying degrees, all of the content that we have customized in our theme (like the header menu, for example) remains in English. Our next step is to add localizable strings to our theme components to make the UI smoother across languages.

As said, this is just the beginning, and even Discourse translations are far from complete. Notice something missing in your language? You can contribute!

Discourse is being translated by the Discourse community in Transifex. To get started, sign up for an account and join the Discourse project.

To support translators, both in the context of Space and in the Wikimedia projects in general, we are also opening a new category in Space, Translations. Translators have been a cornerstone of our movement, doing the difficult but critical work of making Wikimedia content accessible across the globe. This category will serve as a hub for translators to connect, collaborate and support one another. Have a look around the new category, and change your notifications settings to “Watching” to stay up to date on all conversations within it.

If you’re interested in how multilingual features will continue to be developed into the future, and in providing input on the overall plan, feel free to comment in Discussions in many languages, organized by tags, or open a new topic in Translations.


Restructuring the Education Office Hours

The Education team at the Wikimedia Foundation have been holding Office Hours for the past 11 months, and have engaged with more than 40 Wikimedians during that time. We’ve enjoyed chatting about topics ranging from the usefulness of Wikiversity to how best to support students who edit on mobile phones. Though Office Hours have been reasonably well attended, we’ve noticed that it may be more useful to slightly restructure this time. From July, we’ll be hosting only one open Office Hours event, while experimenting with a way to deep dive with individuals who need more 1:1 consulting. 

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Chatting with African wikimedians at HUHEZI — Wikipedialari afrikarrak (40569170323).jpg ( ) by HUHEZI (Mondragon Unibertsitatea) , CC-BY-2.0.

While the monthly Office Hours event will remain the same, we are excited to introduce Office Space. Our goal for Office Space is to provide 1:1 consultation to Wikimedians involved in education activities. As a result of Office Space, we hope individuals and groups interested in Wikimedia in education will have better capacity to make their initiatives strong, results oriented and scalable.

Office Hours will be an open platform for The Wikimedia Foundation Education Team to hear from the community, share what we’re doing and answer questions in an open forum where we can learn from each other. The platform provides an opportunity to share your work with others and learn from them, get updates from activities happening around the movement and look for opportunities to collaborate.

Office Space will be a platform where you can schedule a 1:1 consultation with one or more members of the education team. We’re setting aside 4.5 hours of team time a month for ½ hour or 1 hour consultations. This will help you get answers to specific questions, and tap into the various expertise of the Wikimedia Foundation Education Team. We will start hosting Office Space events from the month of August. We will triage incoming requests based on when they were received, and the nature of the request. We hope that through this mechanism our support to the community is fair and productive. 

From August, the Education Team will host one Office Hours and one Office Space each month for the Wikimedians involved in education activities or are interested in them. We will be announcing Office Hours events on the Wikimedia Space and will update the Office Hours events and the minutes of meeting there. 

You can sign up for a 1:1 Office Space consultation for August by filling out this form.

Do you have queries related to this? Feel free to reach out to me via email (spatnaik [at] wikimedia [dot] org) or start a discussion here on Space. 🙂


Support for our communities across India

Hello everyone,

Wikimedia projects are supported by you—a network of generous individual volunteers, groups, and organizations around the world. Together, you collaboratively enrich, grow, and advance the Wikimedia projects and free knowledge mission.

You may have heard about the Affiliations Committee’s decision to recommend the de-recognition of Wikimedia India. Some community members have asked what this means for the future of WIkimedia communities in India. We want to share more information about the AffCom decision, and reaffirm our commitment to and support for our many communities across India.

The Affiliations Committee is a community-run body of volunteers that represents and supports Wikimedia affiliates. After several years of working with Wikimedia India to bring its activities in line with chapter requirements, the Affiliations Committee recommended in June 2019 that the Wikimedia Foundation not renew the chapter agreement.

Wikimedia India was first recognized as a chapter in 2011. In 2015, it experienced difficulties meeting chapter agreement obligations. Working with the Affiliations Committee and the Foundation, the chapter developed a plan of action and returned to good standing by 2017. However, between 2017 and 2019 the chapter was unable to secure a license to act as a fiduciary organization, and is not currently legally registered as a charity in India to accept funding from the Foundation. The Foundation and Affiliations Committee both hope that this licensing and registration can be secured, and that the chapter will take all the steps needed to be eligible for recognition.

We are grateful for the vibrant, growing community in India who has shown great leadership and created significant impact within our global movement. The Foundation currently supports eight Indic language community user groups, and we expect two more to be announced by AffCom in the coming weeks. We receive more than 700 million pageviews to Wikipedia every month from readers in India, and the growth of the Indic community is a top priority for the future of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects.

The Republic of India is of great importance to the Wikimedia movement. The Wikimedia Foundation remains committed to supporting volunteer editors, contributors, readers, and donors across India. We’re grateful for all of your continued and growing efforts to support Wikimedia projects and our free knowledge mission. We look forward to continuing our work with you together.

On behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation,

Valerie D’Costa
Chief of Community Engagement
Wikimedia Foundation

You can help translate this message on Meta


Tech News (2019, week 29)

The latest technical newsletter is now available at Meta. Below is the English version.

You can help write the next newsletter: whenever you see information about Wikimedia technology that you think should be distributed more broadly, you can add it to the next newsletter.

More information on how to contribute is available at Tech/News#contribute. You can also contact me directly.

As always, feedback (on- or off-list) is appreciated and encouraged.


Other languages:
Deutsch • ‎English • ‎français • ‎polski • ‎português do Brasil • ‎suomi • ‎svenska • ‎čeština • ‎русский • ‎українська • ‎עברית • ‎العربية • ‎中文 • ‎日本語

Latest tech news from the Wikimedia technical community. Please tell other users about these changes. Not all changes will affect you. Translations are available.

Recent changes

  • The mobile web will get more advanced editing tools. Seven more Wikipedias can use them now. This works for Arabic, Indonesian, Italian, Persian, Japanese, Spanish and Thai Wikipedia. You can try the tools on the mobile web and give feedback. [1]

Changes later this week

  • The abuse filter system user will soon do maintenance edits on broken abuse filters. This user is called Abuse filter and has administrator rights. This is meant to fix technical problems. It will not do any other changes. You can read more.
  • The new version of MediaWiki will be on test wikis and MediaWiki.org from 16 July. It will be on non-Wikipedia wikis and some Wikipedias from 17 July. It will be on all wikis from 18 July (calendar).

Meetings

  •  You can join the technical advice meeting on IRC. During the meeting, volunteer developers can ask for advice. The meeting will be on 17 July at 15:00 (UTC). See how to join.

Future changes

  • The Wikipedia app for Android will invite users to add image captions to images on Commons. It will only invite users who have added a number of edits in the app without being reverted. This is to avoid spam and bad edits. You can read more and leave feedback[2]

Tech news prepared by Tech News writers and posted by bot • Contribute • Translate • Get help • Give feedback • Subscribe or unsubscribe.


Coming to Wikimania Stockholm? Sign up for Learning Days!

How do we make knowledge creation truly participatory for every community on our planet? The Wikimedia movement has been growing steadily, with more volunteers joining, and new affiliate groups created every year. Affiliates represent our movement at the local level and are charged with organizing activities and events to get people and organizations involved in the creation of the sum of all knowledge. In the years between 2014 and 2019, Wikimedia movement affiliates tripled: we went from having 50 affiliates to 151 (and we keep growing!). It grew more in this last five years than it did in its first 11 years of existence.

WmCon2018_LearningDays_26.jpg
English: Wikimedia Conference 2018 Learning Days
WmCon2018 LearningDays 26.jpg () by AWang (WMF), CC-BY-SA-4.0.

How do we ensure that this growth is sustainable? In 2013, we started the Wikimedia Learning and Evaluation initiative to build a culture of accountability and learning within the movement. After 5 years implementing Learning Days, we are now also offering a new, evolved curriculum: Training of Trainers, in-person training that incorporates our communities’ higher levels of experience. The next opportunity to receive this training will be at Wikimania Stockholm, on August 14 and 15. Learn more and sign up!

Piloting structured training: Learning Days

We at the Wikimedia Foundation had observed for several years how communities took on to adapting initiatives that were successful in different parts of the world. A good example of this is the program Wikipedian in Residence. In 2010, Wikipedian Lyam Wyattsuggested this role at the closing speech of GLAM-Wiki congress: a person that would be in charge of training the staff group in a museum, archive, library, or gallery (GLAM) on how to use the Wikimedia projects to promote their collection or archive. The idea of this program was so attractive that several Wikimedia communities replicated the model, and today, there are more than 125 Wikipedians in Residence all over the world.

Wikimedia_Conference_2018_–_017.jpg
English: Wikimedia Conference 2018
Wikimedia Conference 2018 – 017.jpg () by Jason Krüger for Wikimedia Deutschland e.V., CC-BY-SA-4.0.

While replication has always played a big role in our collective learning as a movement, it wasn’t sustainable or necessarily yielding the desired results for local communities. This is why in 2013, we started the program Learning Days, with this foundational question: are your activities and events helping you reach your goals? These two days of professional training included workshops on program design and evaluation, how to create a theory of change and logic models, how to measure success, and how to do storytelling for engagement, among other topics. In the course of 6 years, through 11 implementations of Learning Days, and with other learning resources developed, we have seen affiliates’ proposals and reports improve significantly in terms of setting clear program goals and targets and then executing and measuring the impact of those goals.

Throughout this journey, we identified some Wikimedia communities had more advanced learning than others, and we incorporated this knowledge as part of the curriculum: in the last iteration of Learning Days, half of the sessions were facilitated by community members. These were more experienced Wikimedians that were stepping up to share their skills with their peers.

An evolved curriculum: Training of Trainers

Wikimedia_Conference_2018_–_012.jpg
English: Wikimedia Conference 2018
Wikimedia Conference 2018 – 012.jpg () by Jason Krüger for Wikimedia Deutschland e.V., CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Today,  our movement finds itself at an interesting turning point: we now observe multiple specialized skills within the movement and higher levels of expertise. How can we make room for experienced movement organizers? It is time to evolve our capacity development proposal to support these needs, too. This is why we developed Training of Trainers, an in-person training curriculum to develop Wikimedia movement organizers into skilled trainers within their home communities. This new curriculum seeks to increase capacity for structured, reflective, and effective training of learners, to improve understanding of and confidence in community members’ own role and style as trainers, and to create a global network of trainers who share knowledge and best practices. The goal is to develop community leaders into skilled trainers, that can share their skills with others, in order to scale the movement in a sustainable way.

The first implementation of this new curriculum took place at the Wikimedia Summit, a conference held in Berlin earlier this year. After the training, over 71% of participants increased their confidence in their mastery of all of the training’s core skills.

These outcomes encourage us to explore the possibilities of this new proposal even more, and we have been working to improve this curriculum in several areas. This is what we hope to offer at Wikimania 2019 in Stockholm: a combination of enhanced curriculums that can apply to a variety of  Wikimedians, and find better ways to collaborate. To participate, register to attend Wikimania, including the pre-conference days. Find more information and register by July 31st!

Originally posted on Wikimedia Foundation News by María Cruz on 2 July 2019


How to write a blog post

Matson Collection – PD

So, you’ve got something you want to share with the Wikimedia movement. Great! Where do you go? Wikimedia Space.

How does this all work?

Anyone can submit a blog post to Wikimedia Space. While we are still a prototype, the process is a few steps more than we’d like. You’ll want to join Wikimedia Space. Then login to the blog and create a new article. All new authors start with the “Contributor” role. This allows you to create and edit your own posts, upload media, and review the posts of others.

We’re using WordPress, an open-source publishing platform. It has a text editor that uses the concept of blocks for organizing content as you write. Revisions are kept automatically, and you can see all past revisions of an article. You can add photos, videos, quote blocks and more. Log in and try it out.

Once you have your draft in a reviewable state, you can submit it for review. An editor will review the content and leave notes with any questions or suggestions. If everything meets the editorial guidelines, an editor will reach out to coordinate the scheduling of your post.

Once published, all posts will have a corresponding comment section in the Discuss space.

Why write here?

The scope for the Space blog is news about the Wikimedia movement, for the Wikimedia movement. News and updates from committees and affiliates, links to interesting Wikimedia stories and discussions, interviews with movement organizers and other key players in the free knowledge movement, and announcements and requests for feedback from the Wikimedia Foundation are a few examples.

A post doesn’t have to be a 10,000 word tome. 500–700 words is a good goal. In the spirit of the movement, the first draft doesn’t have to be perfect either. Blog posts do have to have a clear impact on the Wikimedia movement and opinion articles are out of scope.

The primary objective of the Wikimedia Space Blog is to give movement writers a platform to share what is important to them. We want the Blog to reflect the richness and diversity of our movement, with stories and reports from all corners of the globe. If you have heard of something interesting happening within the movement, submit a pitch or draft article. Too much commitment? Then let us know with a new topic in Discuss and tag it with wikimedia-space-blog.

Volunteers covering news about projects that don’t yet have a larger public presence are especially encouraged to write.

Who reviews submissions?

Wikimedia Space has an editorial board that reviews submissions for publication. The editorial board is also responsible for maintaining the blog, its content, design, processes and structure. The board is open to volunteers, meaning contributors like yourself can join and help guide others through the editorial process. This process will be determined with your interest and participation. To start we’re going to try and host a meeting every two weeks on Friday to discuss upcoming posts and the editorial process. Join us.

For a more in-depth explanation of the editorial guidelines, take a look at the project page on Meta.

I have thoughts!

Great, we want to hear what you’re thinking about. Can we improve the process? Can we make something clearer or simpler? We need your voice and participation to adapt and grow this space. Leave a comment below and tell us what’s on your mind.


An updated design for the Wikimedia Foundation website

Today, we are thrilled to share an updated visual design style on the Wikimedia Foundation website (wikimediafoundation.org)!

This updated design was developed by the Wikimedia Foundation’s Product design team. We worked on feedback from Meta-Wiki, emails, Phabricator, and hundreds of conversations paired with user testing with people in the target audiences for the website. We are incredibly appreciative of the great care that team has taken in making strategic, data-led design decisions and really helping us amplify the website’s ability to convey our story to people generally unfamiliar with Wikimedia.

We have also expanded on the information about the website on its Meta-Wiki page, and updated the public mirror of the code base to reflect the technical changes made to the site for this updated design.

Thank you to the now hundreds of people that have been involved in helping us build a website for the Foundation which we can be proud of!

-greg & the Wikimedia Foundation Communication team

A bit more about the site

How is the site doing?

Since the site’s soft launch in July 2018, traffic has continued to increase. There has also been a significant increase in donations collected via this website. Two key audiences, potential staff and partners, have shared positive feedback on the site’s content and organization, enabling them to find jobs and contact key teams respectively. Additionally, user testing has shown a positive response to the content and overall architecture of the site.

What brought us here

The Wikimedia Foundation Communications department has been collecting feedback on the Foundation’s website since late 2016 and beginning in early 2017 has been working on addressing the backlog of issues related to the website. The original Foundation site, launched in 2004, did not have a clear audience, and as a result was not effectively serving any of the hundreds of uses people saw for it. Maintaining the site’s content beyond English had become a growing problem – leaving visitors with different information, depending on which language they were using, on basic details like our address and executive staff. Additionally, the site had over 17,000 pages – a vast majority of which were either out of date or no longer in use.

In 2017-18, the Communications department ran a “Discovery” process to help inform our decision making. This process included reviews of methods used by other organizations, assessment of our current communication channels, collecting feedback at Wikimania, and interviews with dozens of volunteers, donors, contractors, and staff. The resulting report and recommendations helped identify the objectives and audiences of the website, and were utilized throughout the initial design and development of the new website.

Shortly after the soft launch, the department began working with the Product department’s design team to perform user testing, process feedback collected in the weeks following the soft launch, and collect additional feedback to help us make informed decisions. They helped us collect and process feedback from hundreds of individuals within and outside of the movement.

Based on feedback, they conducted user testing and developed the updated design we deployed this morning. We will continue to use a data and feedback informed decision making in managing the site. Given the external audience nature of the site, it has consistently proven important to take the time to collect feedback and data from a wide variety of sources – including volunteers, press, donors, partner organizations, and readers of the projects.

What comes next

More languages! The Communications department will continue to work on content development and expanding translations to additional languages. If you are interested in our plans for translations, please check out the information shared recently about the Organization communications translators group.

Providing feedback

The Communications department will continue to monitor the talk page for the Foundation’s website on Meta-Wiki. Additionally, I will be attending Wikimania in Stockholm and available to chat with folks.

Originally posted by Gregory Varnum to Wikimedia-l on 9 July 2019.


Wikimania 2019 Update

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English: Banner for Wikimania Stockholm 2019
Wikimania2019 meta banner.svg () by BFlores (WMF), CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Hi all,

After a couple of beautiful, sunny weeks of summer, the weather in Stockholm has changed to cold, grey and rainy. Fingers crossed that that means that weather in August during Wikimania will be beautiful and sunny again!

It’s not too many weeks left, and I hope the preparations for those of you who are coming are going well! We look forward to having you in Stockholm!

A couple of updates at this point:
You can still book hotel rooms at the Comfort Hotel Xpress Stockholm Central to a special discounted rate for another couple of days – last day 13 July. If you are interested in this option, don’t wait! On the accommodation page on the Wikimania wiki we have also listed some other possible alternatives, if you wish to find accommodation on your own.

The program is still under development, and you can follow the development on the wiki. We have however already published information on the welcome reception and the closing party. We are excited for these events, and hope you are so too! More information can be found here.

On the Thursday before the main conference starts, Wikimedia Sverige is arranging two culture crawls where you will be able to visit some of the best museums in Stockholm for free. If you wish to participate in those, check out the culture crawl site on the wiki! Don’t wait with signing up if interested: there is a limited amount of places!

There are also a number of other related activities happening during the week. Sign up for photo walks, museum tours and edit-a-thons with partners and friends.

Best,
Eric Luth
Conference Manager, Wikimedia Sverige