For me, ‘knowledge equity’ is an idealization, a goal, something that we pursue and that motivates us to propose actions that make possible the participation and contributions of more people to the Wikimedia movement. I think we all have something to contribute, knowledge that has been inherited from our ancestors and that is based on interactions, stay and territorial appropriation. The ways in which we have organized ourselves, our own dynamics and the solutions we have found to the different challenges we encounter in the places in which we find ourselves.
Aziz Kingrani spent 35 years of his career educating students as a professor of Sindhi literature and now spends his time improving Wikipedia articles in multiple languages. He has been writing and publishing since 1974 and has over a dozen books published in Sindhi and English.
After searching the internet for information on historical and archaeological heritage – specifically the literary assets of Sindh, Pakistan – he did not find much information. He felt that this information should be made easily available to people and joined the Wikimedia movement in 2012.
Over the past six months, Wikimedia communities across the globe have been discussing a series of nine topics in order to help shape Wikimedia’s strategy for 2030. Among those topics was Product & Technology, which is of course a major point of interest for our web-based community. Thus, Wikimedians from an incredible variety of backgrounds got to discuss it and share their thoughts, which were gathered by seven Strategy Liaisons, both online and offline.
This Top 5 is an attempt at synthesizing all this feedback into major topic areas and, also, a way to open discussions here for all stakeholders – editors, volunteer developers, staff – to be able to share their views and start a conversation. They reflect the needs of a growing movement, both in terms of broad ideas as well as specific requests for features which all give insight into the overall priorities of the Wikimedia community. Together, these needs are best met by actors from across our movement, including the Wikimedia Foundation, volunteer communities themselves, affiliates, and partners.
I am convinced that people’s ability to access and contribute towards depends on such resources as sustainable cultural infrastructure and purchasing power that allow for free time to invest into non-productive creative endeavors. The Wikidata heat map seems to support this as well – our collective Wikimedia Knowledge Equity is neither complete, nor sustainably diverse and multilingual enough.
This map doesn’t cover the skies and non-material spheres, but it hints towards cultures whose Knowledge we lack most. We can’t force people to become self-less, so the only other way of achieving diverse and sustainable Knowledge Equity is to support and empower the left out communities with knowledge that will help them better utilize own potential and strengthen their economic power to overcome diversity of barriers they face. “Technical, social and political barriers” are clearly not the predominant reasons preventing people from taking part in Wikimedia projects within my home country, and I think the same is true in other darker areas.
All this and more happens thanks to Unknown heroes – the volunteer wiki-contributors we might never meet or even think about, so we are trying our best to praise to at least some. Since 2011, Wikimedia Russia awards annual Wiki-Prizes, and we are now also looking at ways of how to make this recognition more frequent. This past year we teamed up with a like-minded NGO partner interested in growing domestic multilingualism and ended up awarding leading Wikimedians not just with prizes, but also diplomas signed by regional ministers for Education & Culture.
Just like any other country, my homeland is experiencing complex economic, political, social and technical challenges in its domestic and international relations. The fact that Wikimedia Foundation can’t fund Wikimedia Russia puts us into the category of self-sustaining Wikimedia organizations, just like it is recommended by 2030 Strategy process. We have a lot to learn from all the 30+ language communities of Russia that have active Wikipedias, other projects and others in the Wiki-incubator.
Until 2030, I would love to see the Wikidata heat map become much brighter and available in as many languages as possible. But also I think we need a global Russian language Wikimedia Thematic Organization, with local groups in all major cities around the world that have speakers of Russian. Locally, we need a system to start engaging all language communities residing in Russia into editing Wikimedia projects, beginning with the largest ones.
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Farhad’s speech during the closing ceremony of Wikimania 2019 (text, video)
Wiki Derechos Humanos (Wiki Human Rights) is a project by Wikimedia Argentina, which was born in 2018 and has been working in collaboration with other Wikimedia chapters in the region since then. It is an Argentinian-made experience in response to generating quality and updated information on Wikipedia on crimes against humanity perpetrated in our country during the last civil-military dictatorship.
The first articles created and improved were related to the Memoria, Verdad y Justicia process. This is did not come about by chance. Argentina was one of the first countries in bringing to trial armed forces members & co-operation actors of the de facto governments that wielded power under the Operation Condor. Thus, the creation of Wiki Human Rights was kind of a natural path.
When you know that many people in this world lived and died thinking they are “ill” and “not normal” because no one provided them with the correct information, or when the information is available for them but they can’t understand it because of language barriers, you know there is no knowledge equity. Also from another side, when people from the “global north” believe in the stereotypes that the media communicates about “the global south”, you know that knowledge inequality exists worldwide and is not a local issue.
My name is Sherry Antoine, I’m the program director of AfroCROWD. I think among its meanings, Knowledge Equity means equal access and inclusion for all who pursue knowledge and its curation, creation, and presentation. That includes literal access to the technology that makes Wikipedia possible in the most remote areas of the world regardless of background (who you are) or foreground (where you are, what you have).
During my time directing programming of AfroCROWD, which, founded by Alice Backer, has been around since 2015, we have grown from the local New York City area, all over the United States, with organizers in Europe and partners in Africa and the Caribbean. I am also the lead organizer of the new “Wikimedians of the Caribbean User Group”. Forming in late 2018, and becoming a user group in the spring, “Wiki Cari” as we call it, has already presented or held events around the world. In both groups, Wikimedians of the Caribbean as well as AfroCROWD, we are working on making the most of each opportunity to continually expand and connect the Wikimedia community in the world.
For more than 10 years now, cultural institutions around the world have partnered with Wikimedians to make their collections more visible and to encourage re-use via Wikimedia platforms. Collaborations of this kind, GLAM-Wiki projects (with Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums), often use Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons as platforms. Images of cultural collections are uploaded to Wikimedia’s media repository Wikimedia Commons and are re-used as illustrations in Wikipedia articles.
For several years, a growing number of GLAM-Wiki partnerships also work with Wikidata, the free, multilingual knowledge base of the Wikimedia ecosystem. Cultural institutions and Wikimedians upload data about cultural collections to Wikidata: it provides an accessible way to publish collections data as Linked Open Data, and makes the collection data multilingual, re-usable and discoverable across the web. Since 2019, files on Wikimedia Commons can now also be described with multilingual structured data from Wikidata. This will make the (structured) data component of GLAM-Wiki collaborations even more prominent in the future.
My name is Marc Miquel, I work on a project called Wikipedia Cultural Diversity Observatory (WCDO), which is a joint space for researchers and activists to study Wikipedia’s content diversity coverage, discuss the strategic needs and propose solutions to improve it and fight against the knowledge gaps.
The project wants to explain both the causes of the gaps and to provide a picture of the cultural representation of every language in every place in the world and at the same time, stimulate sharing content across languages. To fight the knowledge gaps, we want to raise awareness by providing different types of resources: datasets, visualizations, and statistics, as well as lists of articles and tools that show the most relevant gaps that need to be bridged.
Community conversations, which took place in parallel with the Wikimedia 2030 Working Groups activities, were the occasion for different communities to provide their views, needs and wishes in relation to the future of our movement. Having worked with the Arabic speaking community, these are the most important points and areas that I collected in different discussions in various channels between March and September 2019. In total, over 50 people from different Arabic speaking countries, and even abroad, mostly men, participated in the discussions.