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.

International Roma Day Edit-a-thon

Flag of the Romani people, PD

From April 7 to April 12, Wikimedia Serbia organized an online global edit-a-thon on the occasion of International Roma Day. The idea was supported by WikiDonne User Group, WikiProject Women in Red, Wikimedia Sverige, Shared Knowledge and Wikimedians of Erzya language User Group. The goal of this event was to fight prejudice and discrimination against Roma people by spreading knowledge about their identity, history and culture on Wikipedia and other Wiki projects. 

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Wikiexpedition Lower Silesia illustrates 550 articles

Wikiexpedition Lower Silesia was a four-day wiki-photographer event in Lower Silesia, Poland to illustrate Wikipedia with photographs and advocate it as a good resource of information. Five photographers from the Czech Republic traveled in July 2019 to the site to support the hard work of local Wikimedians. The event was organized thanks to the financial support of Wikimedia Polska.

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Human rights celebrated on Macedonian Wikipedia

WikiForHumanRights hashtagged on a purple ribbon (Credit: Kiril Simeonovski, CC-BY-SA 4.0)

The period between 15 November 2019 and 31 January 2020 was assigned to WikiForHumanRights, a global initiative in the Wikimedia movement with the goal of filling content gaps on topics related to human rights. The call to action of the initiative consisted of two parts covering broad thematic areas – the first and core part focussed on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its creation whilst the second part had a special focus on the theme “Youth standing for human rights.” About a dozen of the Wikipedia communities joined the initiative with activities aimed at writing content in their languages and additional efforts were put to enrich Wikidata. There were also two lists of proposed topics as a guidance for participants, where the first covered the thematic area of the core part with topics on declarations, institutions and important historical personalities heralding the future human rights activism, and the second covered topics related to the youth theme.

What did the Macedonian Wikipedia community do?

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Youngest wikimedians ever editing Txikipedia

At the end of 2019 the Basque Wikimedians User Group hosted three sessions with the Sakana Development Agency in Navarr for the development of the Digital Commons in Altsasu, Uharte Arakil and Urdiain. In these last two sessions we had the youngest Wikimedians ever, improving the contents of their village in Txikipedia. Urdiain’s students are the youngest who have ever done a Wikimedia exercise at school – in the whole world.

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Young editors learn more about each other’s culture through recent Armenian-Indian collaboration

Young editors of Karvachar’s Wikiclub are editing articles on Armenian Wikipedia. Tamara Karvajar, CC BY-SA 4.0

“I’ve always been interested in the cultures of various countries and nations. Indian themed edit-a-ton gave me a chance to get acquainted with an interesting and amazing culture”

Anahit Sahakyan, Alaverdi Wikiclub.

From the 15 to the 30th of October, 2019 an Indian-themed edit-a-ton was organized for Armenian Wikiclubs’ young editors. Then, from November to December, students of SEABA International School (India) wrote about Armenia cuisine, culture, attire, movies and actors.

The edit-a-tons are part of Armenian-Indian collaboration started during Wikimania 2019, between Manavpreet Kaur and Tamara Grigoryan. Kaur is a representative of Punjabi wiki community and educational programs coordinator. Grigoryan is a representative of the Armenian wiki community and coordinator of Karvachar Wikiclub. Jagseer S Sidhu who is currently working at SEABA International School, Lehragaga also joined the initiative with students of his school club.

The main aim of the collaboration is to give an opportunity to Indian students to learn about Armenia and Armenian students to get more knowledge about India. During the edit-a-thons the students not only gained knowledge but also shared it with their communities.

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Wikimedian John Samuel and his experiences at Wiki Techstorm 2019

In 2019, I had the opportunity to attend Wiki Techstorm. This is the first time that I attended such an event. Held by Wikimedia Nederland, it is smaller compared to Wikimedia Hackathons and had almost around 60 participants. However, what made this event so special was the diversity of participants, with varying knowledge of Wikimedia projects.

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Events for January 2020

Fireworks in Thailand beginning 2020. PEAK99, CC BY 4.0

For some it’s a New Year, for others, just another rotation around the sun. Either way, we’re happy you’re with us.

Here is a compilation of events happening around the world and across the movement in January. Did we miss any? Add your events to the calendar, and leave a comment with suggestions!

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Wikimedia Israel: Knowledge Equity Calendar

Seniors and their knowledge are an important value for society, thus also for Wikipedia – but they face many challenges and barriers editing Wikipedia.
Shai-WMIL for Wikimedia Israel, Wikimedia Israel Senior Citizens editing course, summer 2018 – 1, CC BY-SA 4.0 

December 23

Seniors represent a valuable resource having accumulated a wealth of knowledge throughout their careers. Wikimedia Israel’s Wikipedia Editing Program for Seniors provides them with Wikipedia editing training and opportunities for engagement within the community of Hebrew Wikipedia editors. Their knowledge is of important value for society, but this group is facing some barriers – but a lot of them are insignificant barriers and we give them the tools to be a part of the editing community so they can contribute information that can be useful for their group of age as well as everyone else.  

We are working on trying to get as many seniors to join our course, women and men equally. 

Our challenge lies in getting senior program graduates fitting in the local Hebrew Wikipedia community after they finish the course. A big advantage of this program is that Wikipedia thus will be provided with a lot more diverse knowledge from different point of views of multiple generations. The second advantage is that this program means a lot to the seniors who participate and changes their life. After retiring, some of them feel like they are not active and productive anymore, this program is a great match for those people and gives them a meaningful purpose to use their free time.

A group of seniors from Haifa, jokingly called by WMIL’s staff “The fantastic ten”, as their course added together 740 articles to Hebrew Wikipedia.
Shai-WMIL for WMIL, Senior Citizens editing course – winter 2019, Haifa 2, CC BY-SA 4.0

Nevertheless, Seniors face mostly social barriers, they feel the online world is rather a “young world”. But teaching them in the program, the technical part of editing Wikipedia articles is not the core of the course: Wikipedia as a community and the structures that lie beneath is most often the hardest to learn. 

Getting people to apply to our courses is a long learning process for us. When they apply, they get tested on their technical skills, so we can dedicate our lesson to Wikipedia tech only. Our goal is adding quality content to the Hebrew Wikipedia; our training enables them to make changes and provides help to make them appear in the articles. Our secondary goal is helping seniors to be an important and valued part of society through Wikipedia.  

We see that senior citizens are the group that keeps on adding content after having learnt the editing skills, a third of all graduates keep on editing! The challenge is to make elderly users understand the meaning of open content, and knowing that everything can get edited by another Wikipedian even if he or she is not a professional in that matter. People from that age group are mostly used to the old world knowledge hierarchy. But they have the possibility to contribute to the sum of knowledge by writing about their topics of interest: whether it be virus subjects, fiber art or a retired Geography professor editing dozens of geography related articles.

Yes, this program started small, but we see the great feedback of the participants and a growing number of articles, so the program pays off for both sides. Senior citizens have so much to give back to society, so we opened more and more courses in different parts of Israel and will continue providing help.

Do you want to know more?

Mahuton from Benin: Knowledge Equity Calendar

Mahuton presenting at the Showcase session of the Wikimedia Hackathon 2018 how Amir Aharoni and he developed a keyboard layout for Fon
Michael Holloway, Wikimedia Hackathon 2018 10, CC BY-SA 4.0 

December 22

My name is Mahuton, I’m from Benin, but I live most of the time in France. I started editing Wikipedia in 2015. Back then, I was looking for a way to make knowledge accessible to people who don’t speak French or English in my country and I thought Wikipedia would be, by far, the best place for that. But I realized there was no Wikipedia in any language of Benin. So my question was: What can I do to establish a Wikipedia in Fon? Fon is the most spoken national language in Benin.

In 2018 I attended the Wikimedia Hackathon in Barcelona, as was I invited after the official registration period by Tony Hermoza, a Spanish wikimedian. By coincidence, on the first day of the event, I met Amir Aharoni, software developer for languages at the Wikimedia Foundation, on the corridor. We got to know each other and shared the projects we are working on, so I told him about the lack of Wikipedia editions in any of the Beninise languages – “in my country more than 4 million people speak French, but we no Wikipedia in a local language”. So Amir told me that we could fix that together.

Mahuton Possoupe
ZMcCune (WMF), Mahuton Possoupe WikiIndaba 2018, CC BY-SA 4.0 

Despite the fact that Fon uses the Latin alphabet, there are some special characters that are not common. So for many it is actually challenging to write Fon correctly because of the missing keyboard layouts. So Amir and I, we started to develop a Fon keyboard layout based on an existing library. The first tests went smoothly, so Amir quickly deployed a Fon Wikipedia project in the Wikimedia Incubator. He also asked another Wikimedian who designed a Wikipedia logo in Fon.

Right after, I started writing first articles in Fon. And to be honest, the Fon Wikipedia is the first website entirely written in Fon and I’m really proud of that. I think it’s important to promote the most spoken language of Benin also online. Even if it is a little bit difficult to recruit new contributors for the Fon Wikipedia, we are making progress. First contributors started writing articles, making knowledge accessible for all in our own language is something that really makes me proud.

Soon, I hope to be able to travel to my home country and to visit the Fon-speaking parts of Benin to raise awareness about the Wikipedia in Fon – and I think also to make it aware to Beninese decision makers. I would also love to see some financial support to organize editathons and workshops to teach how to edit in the Fon Wikipedia. I expect to launch the really first Fon contributors community in March next year!

Do you want to know more?