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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Macedonian Wikipedia community commemorates International Women’s Day

On 8 March 2020, the Macedonian Wikipedia community celebrated the International Women’s Day with an editing day on “Macedonian women”. The writing initiative was purposely tailored to match gender and content gaps, and encourage the writing of truly new content with no Wikipedia articles on any other language.

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“Wikipedia. Introductory course” book presented in Moscow

Dmitry Zhukov, Vladimir Medeyko, Nikolay Litvinov (scientific and art editor) and Stas Kozlovskiy at 2020 Vsanauka Forum, CC BY-SA 4.0

A new book dedicated to helping beginners create their own Wikipedia articles was presented at the 2020 Vsenauka Forum in Moscow. The book was written by Wikimedia RU as part of the implementation of the “Graduates and Mentors of Russian Universities” grant project.

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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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What did the Spanish community discuss during Strategy Conversations 2019?

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During 2019, Wikimedia volunteer communities have been discussing the future of our movement in the second stage of the Wikimedia 2030 movement strategy process. In the case of the Spanish speaking community, about 80 volunteers joined a Telegram group, one of the many channels available.

Over more than three months, from late-March to June, the community focused on sharing feedback in online conversations about what structural changes they would like to see to support the future of our movement. 

But, what does our community actually want? In this post, I offer a short summary of the most central ideas shared over this period. These ideas are relevant for actors across the movement, including affiliates, online editing communities, the Wikimedia Foundation, and other groups. To be successful in this change, we will all have to work together to bring these ideas to fruition, both within and beyond the strategy process. 

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German culture brought closer to Macedonian readers

The year of 2019 marks the 270th anniversary of the birth of foremost German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. For that reason, Shared Knowledge collaborated with the Goethe-Institut in Skopje on an initiative to translate content from German Wikipedia with the goal of bringing the German culture closer to the Macedonian readers. The collaboration resulted in activities split into two projects that were carried out in two phases – the first one at the National and University Library in Skopje from March to June under the name WikiLiga, and the second one at the city libraries of Strumica, Bitola, Veles and Kumanovo from September to December under the name WikiStadtklub.

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Wikimedians from CEE region gather in Belgrade to broaden capacity and discuss future

Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2019 logo (Credit: Mina Simić, CC-BY-SA 4.0)

This year’s Wikimedia CEE Meeting saw a return to the place where it all began seven years ago. Belgrade has become the first city to host the Wikimedia CEE Meeting for a second time. A crowd of about 90 people from more than 30 communities and affiliates gathered from 10-13 October at Hotel M to share their ideas and learning. Capacity building was identified as focus area after it had been previously assigned highest priority by the majority of communities in a survey earlier this year.

Wikimedia CEE Meeting through years

After several back and forths, the first Wikimedia CEE Meeting finally took place in October 2012, marking the beginning of an annually recurring event for communities from the loosely defined CEE partnership. A modest conference with relatively poor representation of communities and thematic reach, it has eventually grown in size and impact to become a major event within the movement. Over the years, the gap in community representation has been reduced, the programme has gradually expanded to reflect community needs and priorities, and there has been a substantial number of newcomers every year.

Despite the eminent growth and increased community orientation, the event is still struggling with low community responsiveness and irregular participation by some communities. In that light, the organisers of this year’s conference faced the necessity to allow extension of deadlines because of the low initial interest and last-minute changes to the schedule and, at the end, there were still no representatives from the Bulgarian and Croatian communities.

What was new at this year’s event?

An action camera for live streaming (Credit: Miomir Magdevski, CC-BY-SA 4.0)

The creative work done by the organising and programme teams resulted in a couple of novelties being introduced. Firstly, this was the first Wikimedia CEE Meeting whose focus area was promoted under a specific slogan. Having capacity building already known, “Broaden Your Capacity!” was selected out of the pool as a pun that best illustrates the focus area. Secondly, sessions appropriate for newbies were identified and marked in the schedule. This practice was implemented at Wikimania 2019 in Stockholm two months earlier and was deemed a particularly useful guidance. Thirdly, all sessions that took place in two of the three halls were livestreamed so that people unable to attend the conference could follow the talks. Apart from these technical novelties, the event has also seen innovation in its thematic scope and, among other things, surfaced the culture of experimentation as an idea.

A brief recap of the conference

The conference kicked off with a Learning Day on 10 October and followed by the main part from 11-13 October. The programme consisted of sessions covering a number of talks on various themes formatted as lectures, workshops, panels, lightning talks, roundtables and brainstorming discussions, and distributed across three halls – the Atrium, Forum and Belgrade – allowing three different talks to be held at a time. There were also two brainstorming discussions on the future of Wikimedia CEE and the Wikimedia CEE Meeting. On-site documentation for all talks was carried out by volunteers on etherpads. The meeting was enriched with thematic posters displayed in the venue that were handed over to organisers after they had been exhibited during Wikimania 2019. After the end of the daily schedule, people at the conference could organise meetups in the conference halls.

A group discussion on strategic recommendations (Credit: Miomir Magdevski, CC-BY-SA 4.0)

By and large, speakers and facilitators were experienced members from the CEE communities, who mainly shared their good practices while providing attendees with how-to-do guidelines. A substantial number of speakers, however, came outside the region, including people from other Wikimedia affiliates and the Wikimedia Foundation, to present and gain input about ongoing global activities such as the development of a Universal Code of Conduct, the form and substance of the strategic recommendations, and the introduction of Wikimedia Space. The brainstorming discussions on the future were also fruitful,  ending up with the idea of establishing a CEE council as a body for securing regional community health and mediating towards increased decentralisation in the relations with the Wikimedia Foundation, as well as the selection of Ohrid as host city for Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2020.

Yet the conference abounded with variety of topics and session formats, the part with the social events did not disappoint either. There was a guided bus tour throughout the city’s centre in the evening of the penultimate day with a mid-stop at Church of Saint Sava and final stop at the Old Palace followed by a stroll to Terazije Square, Knez MIhailova Street, Republic Square and Skadarlija. After the tour, the group had a dinner in a restaurant on Skadarlija with traditional Serbian food and live music.

A group photo of participants at Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2019 (Credit: Miomir Magdevski, CC-BY-SA 4.0)

What comes next for CEE partnership?

The period after the meeting usually involves articulation of the main insights with the local communities. Of the ideas raised during the conference, community discussions on the proposed introduction of CEE council and bringing the mutual collaboration beyond Wikimedia CEE Spring are expected to take place in the next couple of months. With regards to Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2020, an organising team was assembled and the dates for the conference were set to 18-20 September. The rest of the preparatory work will expectedly intensify from the beginning of the next year.

Wikimedia Central and Eastern Europe Meeting held in Belgrade

Belgrade, October 15, 2019 – Belgrade was the host of this year’s gathering of Wikipedia editors and volunteers from Central and Eastern Europe, organized by Wikimedia Serbia and the Wikimedia Foundation. The conference was opened by Filip Maljković, President of Wikimedia Serbia, Valerie Da Costa, Head of the Community Engagement Team of the Wikimedia Foundation, Irina Reljin, Assistant Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, and Ivana Madžarević, Program and Community Manager of Wikimedia Serbia and the organizer of the event.

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