Alice from Uganda: Knowledge Equity Calendar

Alice (2nd from the right) with other members of the Wikimedia Community User Group Uganda. Bukulu Steven, CC BY-SA 4.0

December 24

There are several kinds of knowledge gaps, for example the generational gap in knowledge between the old and the young, the technological gap between the Global North and the Global South. The most important one for me though is the “Know-Do” gap.

If we are to carefully consider knowledge as “all the facts that someone knows about a particular subject” and equity as “a fair and reasonable way of behaving towards people, so that everyone is treated in the same way” (cf. Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners) – it only makes sense that if we as a Movement, we deal with free knowledge, we should then work towards it collectively. While some factors are the same across the board, to state a fact we already know, there is “no one size fits all” approach on how this can be achieved.

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Affiliations Committee – Call for candidates 2019

Hi everyone!
The Affiliations Committee (AffCom) – the committee responsible for guiding volunteers in establishing Wikimedia chapters, thematic organizations, and user groups – is looking for new members!

The main role of the Affiliations Committee is to guide groups of volunteers that are interested in forming Wikimedia affiliates. We review applications from new groups, answer questions and provide advice about the different Wikimedia affiliation models and processes, review affiliate bylaws for compliance with requirements and best practices, and update the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees as well as advise them on issues connected to chapters, thematic organizations and Wikimedia user groups.

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Tech News (2019, week 52)

Please find below the latest tech news from the Wikimedia technical community. Please tell other users about these changes. Not all changes will affect you. 

Translations are available: Bahasa Indonesia • ‎Deutsch • ‎English • ‎Nederlands • ‎Tiếng Việt • ‎français • ‎lietuvių • ‎polski • ‎português do Brasil • ‎suomi • ‎svenska • ‎čeština • ‎русский • ‎српски / srpski • ‎українська • ‎עברית • ‎العربية • ‎فارسی • ‎ไทย • ‎中文 • ‎日本語 • ‎한국어

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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?


Bara’a from Palestine: Knowledge Equity Calendar

Bara’a speaking at a Wikipedia Education Program event at the University of Hebron
براء, Education wikipedia program of Hebron20, CC BY-SA 4.0 

December 21

I am Bara’a, an architect, from Hebron in Palestine. I am an editor of the Arabic Wikipedia since 2017. I participated in many editing competitions, conferences and workshops, but I am also the leader of the Wikipedia Education Programs in Palestine and activities and events leader in the cross-country Wikimedia affiliate “Wikimedia Levant”. These activities allow me to get to know new editors by our workshops, events and education programs that I personally supervised  in schools and universities. All these efforts are supporting people to contribute, edit, add and share free knowledge. Our students are quite diverse, male and female, of different ages and specialties, and this is reducing the knowledge gender gap between them.

Bara’a Zamara
Llywelyn2000, Baraa Zamara (Palestine) with the Wikipedia in Education Program in Palestine poster 2019 (cropped), CC BY-SA 4.0

Here in Palestine, we have many difficulties attracting new editors – I think it’s more difficult than in other countries. In certain areas of Palestine, we are not allowed to hold events and workshops because of political conditions and military occupation, such as borders and barriers. Also, because of the movement restrictions we organize online workshops, but the attraction is much lower, than for an offline workshop. In addition to the lack of awareness about the need and possibility to contribute to and support free content, sometimes we suffer from the problem of obtaining a visa to attend conferences or workshops that may be in other foreign countries – especially for us volunteers. I personally have been confronted with this issue and was returned to my home for no reason.

The general problem lies in the small number of female editors that engage in my country, those that create programs, workshops and help to change the idea “that only men can contribute to this work”. We need to support the principle of equality and put forward that freedom of knowledge is a right for every human being, independently of the gender. Many women here lack the motivation to contribute to Wikipedia. On top of that, not all students have devices to enable them to access the internet and obtain free information. While in my city, Hebron, the internet connectivity is rather good, parts of Palestine, like Gaza, have only internet for a few hours per day. How do you want to motivate anyone to contribute to Wikipedia under these conditions?

In the future, we need to focus more on the involvement of feminists in events or editing workshops. By supporting them, technically, but also morally, we provide a safe environment in which they experience freedom of speech and opinion.

Do you want to know more?


Top 5 Community Conversations Topics from Francophone Wikimedians

From June to September 2019, Francophone Wikimedians have been invited to take part in community conversations within the frame of the Wikimedia 2030 Strategy Process. On the village pumps of all Wikimedia projects, as well as on other channels like Twitter or Telegram, not forgetting a dozen in-person Strategy Salons happening in Africa and Europe, a total of about two hundred Francophone Wikimedians have shared numerous ideas, perceptions and suggestions about the present and future of the Wikimedia Movement.

The content from these discussions was captured in a number of detailed monthly reports and Strategy Salon reports, and today this Top 5 draws up a non-exhaustive list of the most recurring ideas. We are all looking forward to seeing the values and concepts behind these topics reflected in the strategic recommendations, so we can all take action as a global community. Until then, this is an occasion to collect dispersed conversations and put them into perspective!

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Rohini and Chinmayi from India: Knowledge Equity Calendar

Chinmayi S K, Community Toolkit Banner 04b(1), CC0 1.0

December 20: Rohini and Chinmayi from India

“Knowledge Equity” essentially means fixing an imbalance via two means: equal access to knowledge for groups traditionally excluded from it, and recognition of the knowledge possessed by different social groups and demographics.  Women, for example, were not allowed opportunities for formal education or even basic literacy in the Indian subcontinent around the 19th century. Women also continue to be denied the freedom of speech and expression in many parts of the world. The stories, academic works, books, folklore, oral histories and everyday practices of less privileged social groups shine a light on the point of view and the lived experiences of people who have been traditionally overshadowed by more dominant social groups. However, oral transmissions are not acknowledged as legitimate sources of knowledge. At best these are considered anecdotal evidence, “memories”, or “unreliable sources” of knowledge.

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Wikimedia Space Blog Is Going on Holiday for the End of 2019

www.Pixel.la, CC 0 Public Domain

The publishing side of the Wikimedia Space Blog is taking a break over the end-of-the-year holiday season. Drafts can still be submitted, and some pre-planned publication will happen, but new drafts will not be reviewed or scheduled until the new year. We’ll be back the week of 6 January and resume our bi-monthly editorial meetings and regular publishing process.

The Discuss side of Space will continue to be active (and moderated!) over the holiday season. For any urgent requests, please reach out to the Wikimedia Space team at wikimedia-space@wikimedia.org.


2019 Affiliates Data Survey, What we learned

Affiliate representatives at the Wikimedia Summit 2019 – Berlin. Jason Krüger for Wikimedia Deutschland e.V. CC BY-SA 4.0

The Wikimedia Summit in Berlin each year is a testament to the beauty of diversity in the Wikimedia movement. The delegates came from far and wide, across cultures and backgrounds, united in a common goal of furthering access to the sum of human knowledge. Most are delegates of Wikimedia Affiliates around the world; working in countries and regions along diverse thematic foci. These organizations represent the best the movement has to offer, where working together is concerned. 

The data in this blog tell the story from our first instance of conducting a survey with all affiliates in 2018. Please use these results as you make decisions about the support that you provide to affiliates, or if you belong to an affiliate, to understand trends among your peers.

In this first survey, we wanted to know:

  • How are affiliates governed? Are affiliates working toward becoming more diverse, especially with regard to gender parity?
  • How do affiliates arrive at shared decisions? How do they manage or prevent conflicts?
  • How does program activity vary by region? What are the program capacity needs of affiliates? 

Here is what we found.

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