This Month in GLAM – August 2019

This Month in GLAM – Volume IX, Issue VIII, August 2019

Read this edition in full • Single-page

To assist with preparing the newsletter, please visit the newsroom. Past editions may be viewed here.


Légère pause des activités wikimediennes au Cameroun

Editathon at Goethe Institut Cameroon 031.jpg
File:Editathon_at_Goethe_Institut_Cameroon_031.jpg () by Geugeor, CC-BY-SA-4.0.
Français : During editathon of our User Group at Goethe Institut Cameroon

Le mois d’août est considéré comme la période réservée aux congés au Goethe Institut de Yaoundé. Compte tenu du fait que c’est le lieu où se tiennent depuis plus de 2 ans les rencontres mensuelles (2e samedi du mois) des membres du User Group résidant à Yaoundé, nous avons choisi unanimement de prendre une pause ; pause qui nous permet d’évaluer la saison écoulée et de jeter les perspectives pour la future saison.

WMCMUG Strategy Youth Salon 12.jpg
File:WMCMUG_Strategy_Youth_Salon_12.jpg () by Geugeor, CC-BY-SA-4.0.
Français : Wikimedia Cameroon User Group strategy Youth salon organized in Yaounde with TechWomen

La saison s’est achevée avec la tenue de cinq salons stratégiques dans les villes de Yaoundé, Douala et Buea où les membres de la communauté sont pour la plupart installés. Deux Youth salons se sont  tenus  à  Yaoundé en partenariat la TechWomen association.

La saison s’est achevée avec la tenue de cinq salons stratégiques dans les villes de Yaoundé, Douala et Buea où les membres de la communauté sont pour la plupart installés. Deux Youth salons se sont  tenus  à  Yaoundé en partenariat la TechWomen association.

Durant ces différents salons, plusieurs thématiques ont été abordés : Rôles et responsabilités, plaidoirie, renforcement des capacités, santé communautaire, produits et technologies, génération des revenues. Ces salons ont connu la participation de plus de 70 personnes pour un pourcentage de 60% de femmes.

Une citation permet de résumer les différentes contributions : « Avec la strategy2030, les projets Wikimedia s’invitent dans la vie des africains, des camerounais, dans nos cultures et traditions ».

Le User Group reste engagé depuis le début de cette saison écoulée sur plusieurs projets parmi lesquels WikiKwatt qui a pour objectifs la création d’articles avec des illustrations photos des quartiers de la ville de Yaoundé dans Wikipedia.

Neighborhoods in Yaounde Events46.jpg
File:Neighborhoods_in_Yaounde_Events46.jpg () by Gtankam, CC-BY-SA-4.0.
Français : Séance de travail sur les quartiers de Yaoundé au Goethe Institut

Les objectifs premiers de Wikikwatt étaient la formation des membres du User Group résidant à Yaoundé à la contribution à Wikipedia et Wikimedia Commons, la fidélisation des membres de la communauté et le travail à la structuration de la communauté. Plusieurs de ces objectifs ont été atteints même si beaucoup reste encore à faire quant à la création des articles et leurs traductions en anglais et en allemand.

Neighborhoods in Yaounde Events36.jpg
File:Neighborhoods_in_Yaounde_Events36.jpg () by Gtankam, CC-BY-SA-4.0.
Français : Séance de prise de photos dans les quartiers de Yaoundé

Des rencontres mensuelles au Goethe, plusieurs sous-groupes ont été créés et sont déjà à pied d’œuvre pour la reprise dès le mois d’Octobre 2019 ; On peut citer :

  • Le groupe devant coordonner les activités du projet WikiCiné Cameroun, qui travaille à répertorier tous les acteurs du cinéma au Cameroun, rassembler les différentes sources existantes avant la production de contenus selon chaque catégorie.
  • Le groupe Wikikwatt va continuer ses activités avec les sorties photos dans les quartiers de Yaoundé, la collecte des sources (livres, presses, archives,…) et la création des articles.

Editathon at Goethe Institut Cameroon 025.jpg
File:Editathon_at_Goethe_Institut_Cameroon_025.jpg () by Geugeor, CC-BY-SA-4.0.
Français : During editathon of our User Group at Goethe Institut Cameroon

  • Un groupe Wikidata a été mis sur pied et constitué particulièrement des développeurs et des informaticiens de la communauté ; les objectifs de ce groupe visent : l’accompagnement des activités des deux autres groupes par la création d’entrées Wikidata et la formation des membres à la découverte et à la contribution à Wikidata.

D’autres formations ont été organisées dans le cadre du projet Wiki Loves Women à Yaoundé et à Buea donnant la possibilité à plusieurs participants de rejoindre le groupe de Yaoundé et de mettre sur pied un noyau devant constituer la base pour les rencontres à Buea dès la reprise avec la nouvelle saison.

L’impact de notre communauté s’est accru à travers notre pays en juillet dernier au Ministère des postes et télécommunications où nous avons pris part à la journée internationale de la jeune fille et journée mondiale des télécommunications et de la société de l’information ; cela nous a donné de présenter notre communauté ainsi que les différents projets en cours et futurs.

User group at the fair at the Ministry of Posts 02.jpg
File:User_group_at_the_fair_at_the_Ministry_of_Posts_02.jpg () by User:Danielgwd, CC-BY-SA-4.0.
English: Exhibition of User Group activities at the fair at the Ministry of Posts

Même si on peut se féliciter de l’engagement et du dynamisme observés, notre communauté rencontre toutefois des problèmes qui  fragilisent son fonctionnement et sa visibilité à travers les réseaux sociaux et autres médias.

Vivement que la nouvelle saison arrive car de nouveaux défis s’ouvrent à nous avec des activités et projets qui verront le jour dans le nord du Cameroun.


The Odia Wikimedians User Group tool brings open content from Twitter into the commons

Great egret Odisha India.jpg
File:Great_egret_Odisha_India.jpg () by Soumyadeep Chatterjee . from Kolkata, India, CC-BY-SA-2.0. At Mangalajodi, Odisha, India on 29-12-2012
Nature, fauna, birds of Odisha (previously Orissa), India

In 2017 the Odia Wikimedians User Group worked with the local government of Odisha to release its social media under a free license.

This allowed for contributors to reuse and adapt this content within (and beyond) Wikimedia projects. After this accomplishment the community expressed a desire to automate the process instead of having to manually download and upload media from the various Odisha government accounts.

Earlier this year User:Jnanaranjan sahu applied for a rapid grant to build a tool to make the process easier. The tool, Twitter to Commons allows you to select from a pre-determined list of Odisha government Twitter accounts. From there you can select tweets with media you wish to transfer to Commons.

The feature is not only useful for those wanting to make contributions from the local government of of Odisha. Recently Jnanaranjan updated the tool to allow uploads from any Twitter account.

The tool is documented on Wikitech and statistics on its use are being shared. Please try out the tool and if you have any questions please contact Jnanaranjan.

Written in collaboration with Gyan (User:Jnanaranjan sahu) from the Odia Wikimedians User Group.


Upcoming Wikimedia events for September 2019

Four seasons at Kew Gardens.jpg
File:Four_seasons_at_Kew_Gardens.jpg () by James Morley, CC-BY-SA-3.0.
English: Panorama of Kew Gardens and the TEMPERATE HOUSE , taken from the PAGODA . This is a composite image showing the passage of a year, from spring blossom, through Summer greens and autumnal reds, through to winter snow.
This is a photo of listed building number
1262590.

September brings the end of seasons (Winter/Summer) and yet the movement carries on. We’ve collected some upcoming events from across the movement to share. Did we miss any? Add your events to the calendar, and leave a comment with suggestions!

September 1

September 5

September 7

September 8

September 9

September 12

September 13

September 14

September 15

September 19

September 20

September 21

September 24

September 26

September 27

September 28

September 29

Month-long Events

Recurring Events


Wikisource For A Social Justice:Story of Gujarati Wikimedians Helping the Visually Impaired

Gujarati Wikimedians have been working on the Audio Book project on Wikisource to help the visually impaired people. An Interview with the lead contributor Mr Modern Bhatt by Abhinav Srivastava with inputs from Sushant Savla. 

Gujurati Wikisource logo – image by Dsvyas CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported 

Q.1) It is always said Indians love Wikisource, but, Audio Books? That isn’t a routine. How did the idea come up?

I am a regular visitor to a blind school in Bhavnagar which also happens to be my hometown. I help students with English and Mathematics and quite often on request by students, I used to narrate stories to them. It was then that the school director, who is also blind himself, proposed an idea of having pre-recorded books. 

The audio recording then started and there is no looking back. 

Q.2) Is there a specific thematic area where you work upon say a specific Gujarati author? 

If I have to name just one, then it has to be Jhaverchand Meghani. Ever since my childhood till today, have fondness and admire his contribution to the Gujarati literature. He wrote on the history of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat from where I belong. He travelled from one village to another discovering facts and evidences. 

Q.3 ) The Open Knowledge Movement is for a better society, however, its end-merit remain incidental. Your initiative directly helps the visually imparied. What motivates you?

Obviously those students from the blind school however it is also encouraging to know that normal people like you and me busy in daily routine for bread and butter are also the beneficiary. Audio books saves time. 

Q.4) Did peers from your community also join you in the initiative? Tell us how they read this? What kind of conversations happen around Audio Books?

I am humbled with the support I receive from my fellow Gujarati Wikimedians like User:sushant_savla and others. We have an active Whatsapp Group where we regularly debate and discuss Audio books project. To share a more precise and latest update, we are sampling voice for Women authors and also selected few, to name,  Bharti Chavda.

Q5.) Unheard and unfound, there are a lot of challenges, efforts and struggle that go in with passionate Wikimedians? Tell us something in brief.

I was working on a book, ‘Saurashtra ma Rasdar’ which has 28 Chapters and roughly 350 pages. While working on that book, I was a victim of sore throat and had to consult a doctor. The doctor gave me a few medicines and I recovered my voice. 

That’s all. Otherwise, as they say in Gujarati, I have been in, ‘Majama’.

[laughs]……[laughs]

Q6.) Back in your mind, you would have done the maths on number of books which you wish to complete. There would a rational maths to say the number of books that are practically possible but there would also be a dream number. Tell us about that dream number and more. 

I would like to answer this differently. The Audio Books Projects still happens to be very new and we are learning and gaining experience everyday. Not quoting any number but having as many number of books is the aim. I retire from my job this July 2019  and would devote much more time to the project and make the maximum possible.

Q7.) India has Wikisource active in so many languages? Any message for them on Audio books?

Gujarati Wikimedians have the highest regard for each and every Indian language , they show the diverse Indian culture. We all are always there to assist to the best of our potential.  A learning to share would be, struggle in finding volunteers. That’s an important area that needs to be contemplated. 

Q8.) Gujarati language has a very close connection with Kutchi language. Kutchi does not have a Wikimedia project and remain in incubation. Do you believe something like Audio books could provide a stimulus in their growth?

Well, that needs to be seen but Yes there is a possibility. I can say there are a lot of material for Kutchi language to be worked on Wikisource. Necessary we find a group committed volunteers to take it up. Also, I would like to mention, Blind people association have shown support to host activities in the Kutch area of Gujarat.   

Q9.) Tell us something more, do you also edit on other Wikimedia Projects ? Briefly share your experience. 

At the moment, I devote all my time and energy to Wikisource. However, someday maybe definitely. All Wikimedia Projects are public goods for welfare. 

Q10.) Tell us something about your personal life? Where do you belong? What do you do in your personal life etc?

I stay in Bhavnagar, city of Gujarat and I am a banker with The Bank of India. India is a developing world and there are so many unbanked. My professional life deals with developing saving habits and promoting financial inclusion for a better India. 

Originally published by Wikimedia India on 25 June, 2019.


Structured Data on Commons Part Three – Multilingual File Captions

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons holds over fifty million freely-licensed media files. These millions of images, sounds, video, documents, three-dimensional files and more contain a vast amount of information related to the contents of the file and the the context for the world around them. As Commons has collected files over the years, the volunteers who curate and maintain the site have developed a system to contain and present this information to the world, using MediaWiki, wikitext, and templates.

A description template is the first and primary way information about a file is show to users. These templates can be a powerful tool for displaying information about files; descriptions provide meaningful context and information about the work presented. Descriptions can be as long as the user would like, providing wikitext markup and links for others to find out more. Description templates can also hold translations by adding language fields. However, the Structured Data team saw some areas that a feature like captions could improve upon from descriptions templates.

A description template that contains a lot of well-organized information, but might not be serving the purpose that a caption can. Template credit Wikimedia Commons, text may be CC-BY-SA 3.0 where applicable.
A caption for the same file based on facts in the description template.

Multilingual captions help share the burden of descriptions by providing a space to describe a file in a way that is standard across all files, easy to translate, and easy to use. Captions do not support wikitext so there is no knowledge needed of how to links work in this space — links can still be provided in the more expansive file description. Captions are added during the upload process using the UploadWizard, or they can be added directly on any file page on Commons. The translation feature for captions is a simple interface that requires only a few steps to create and share a caption translation.

Adding other languages to a caption.

The “multilingual” in “multilingual captions” highlights a primary focus of Structured Data features: opening up access to Commons to as many languages as possible beyond its present capabilities. This is enormously beneficial to the Wikimedia movement and Wikimedia Foundations’ mission of sharing knowledge with the world. In addition to captions, future features planned provide supporting adding “statements” from Wikidata to files, effectively describing them in an organized way that can be accessed by programs and bots to present media. These statements can be multilingual as Wikidata supports translations, which will make statements searchable in any language that has a translation provided.

Next: Part Four – Depicts Statements

Previously: Part Two – Federated Wikibase and Multi-Content Revisions


By digitizing venerable translations, they’re bringing the world’s literary history to Punjabi speakers

The Municipal Library Patiala.jpg
File:The_Municipal_Library_Patiala.jpg () by Wikilover90, CC-BY-SA-4.0.
English: The Municipal Library Patiala

The Punjabi-language Wikisource is the fastest-growing Wikimedia project in the world. Rupika Sharma, a volunteer Wikimedia editor and community member, writes about one of the initiatives that has helped made this a reality.

Imagine a world where you grew up in a world where the greatest literary works in history never existed.

For many of the world’s language speakers, this can be their functional reality. Titles like these have either never been translated, or were translated decades ago and now hide in ancient paper-bound texts on dusty library shelves.


As an example of this problem, let’s take a look at the Punjabi language. Separated as part of the 1947 partition of British India, the language is today spoken by 120 million people in regions of Pakistan and India. I’m one of them. I grew up in northwest India and can still remember hearing about Chambe Diyan Kaliyan, a short story collection by Leo Tolstoy that was adapted into the Punjabi by Abhai Singh. That particular book is frequently cited in the history of Punjabi literature as one of the first collections of short stories to be published in the language.

You’ll note, though, that I didn’t say I can remember reading it—I’ve never been able to track  down one of the published books to read it for myself, nor have I been able to find anything but a bunch of pop-culture songs with similar titles when I search for it online in Punjabi. All of which is to say that when I was growing up, reading and learning from Tolstoy’s story was functionally impossible for Punjabi speakers.

Thankfully, times are changing. While there are still many barriers to surmount, the advent of the internet has made the fundamental problem of publishing and distributing of translations far easier. The Wikimedia community has an entire project devoted to this sort of thing: Wikisource.

Wikipedia 18, Patiala (15 January 2018) 01.jpg
File:Wikipedia_18,_Patiala_(15_January_2018)_01.jpg () by Satdeep Gill, CC-BY-SA-4.0.
English: Wikipedia 18, Patiala

Bringing the lost literature of long-forgotten times into the modern era for interested users, Wikisource is a free e-library that provides freely licensed or public domain books free of cost, in different formats, and able to be used for any purpose. It is one of thirteen collaborative knowledge projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation, the largest of which is Wikipedia, and Wikisource is available in nearly seventy languages.

The Punjabi-language Wikisource was and is small compared to other language Wikisources, and to grow this resource, I formed a partnership with a government library in the Indian city of Patiala to digitize public domain books. By making rare literature books accessible in languages that have little to no presence online, Wikisource serves the common people, allowing them to freely browse these resources.

As a titled Wikimedian-in-residence at the library, I helped their staff scan a selection of important books. The collaboration brought forty-two public domain Punjabi-language works online—including a reprint of Chambe Diyan Kaliyan, the Tolstoy short story collection. But just making the scanned images available online isn’t enough; they are not easy to read and often rank low in search engines. Wikisource plays a crucial middleman role: they host the images and pair them with searchable text versions, created and vetted by volunteers. They’re helped in this process by Jay Prakash’s IndicOCR, a new tool that helps to easily transcribe any Indic language to Wikisource. (It replaced an older Linux-based tool that could not be used on many devices.) In addition, Wikisource makes everything available in different file formats so that readers can download whatever works best on their device, whether it’s a computer, tablet, phone, or otherwise.

Finally, Wikisource also allows anyone to contribute, and so I helped organize an online contest, held from December 2018 to January 2019. Prize offerings and in-person trainings brought around three dozen new volunteers to the project, including twenty-four who made more than fifty edits. Kuljit Singh Khuddi, a new volunteer who joined Punjabi Wikisource during the contest, says that “I am proud to be able to contribute to my mother tongue on Wikisource. Such contests help make my language known worldwide.”

The results were stark—the contest made the Punjabi Wikisource the fastest-growing Wikimedia project in the entire world in both content and editors. As of October of last year, the Punjabi Wikisource contained a bit over 1,200 pages. By January of this year, it had over 6,770 belonging to 200 different books. Moreover, over 6,000 of these pages had been proofread by volunteers.


The growth of the Punjabi Wikisource through the contest and other volunteer work is just a beginning. There are a number of opportunities for supporting the project with technical contributions and GLAM partnerships with different government organizations and institutions.

Moreover, they’re just one of several expanding Wikisources in the region. The Wikisources for the Indic languages of Marathi, Kannada, and Assamese each more than doubled in size in the last year, and with every edit, they’re bringing the sum of all knowledge into their own mother tongues.

Rupika Sharma, Wikimedia community member

Originally published by Rupika Sharma on Wikimedia News 11 July 2019


“People Who Can Take It”: How Women Wikipedians Negotiate & Navigate Safety

MoMA Art Feminism 2019 93.jpg
File:MoMA_Art_Feminism_2019_93.jpg () by Manuel Molina Martagon, CC-BY-SA-4.0.
English: 2019 Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon at The Museum of Modern Art, New York

The first time Helena* — a scientist and published author — edited Wikipedia, her edit was immediately reverted: “It was not only reverted,” she recalled, “it was reverted with a ‘You don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground’ kind of a note.”

But she persisted. She created a new account, read Wikipedia’s policies, and continued to contribute. When another user blanked Helena’s Wikipedia user page — deleting content she had written and leaving her a death threat — administrators refused to act. At this point, Helena decided it was time for a break: “I took a hiatus. I told everybody to just basically go shove it. ‘I may never come back to Wikipedia’ is what the message says; ‘I’ll think about it.’”

Today, Helena has been editing Wikipedia for more than 14 years. When asked to reflect on her earliest experiences, she replied, “There’s a wonderful phrase. I culled it out the other day. I put it in a little file folder to share with you. ‘We throw brand new potential editors directly into shark-infested waters, then yell at them for splashing at the sharks.’”

In our paper People Who Can Take It: How Women Wikipedians Negotiate and Navigate Safety, we wade into these “shark-infested waters,” asking how women Wikipedians like Helena remain in the community as active participants even when they feel unsafe, or are ignored or admonished when they seek help.

Note: Our paper is a qualitative study and, thus, is not intended to be generalizable. Also, some Wikipedia editors have criticized our study for containing “outdated” data, but qualitative work is time-consuming, and academic research requires a lengthy peer review process that does not allow for immediate publication.

Takeaways

  • Wikipedia is written primarily by men. This unequal division of labor in social systems is known as the gender gap.
  • Women who edit Wikipedia have different perspectives about the gender gap, but many have witnessed or experienced harassment. [1]
  • Experienced women Wikipedians have developed sophisticated tactics to participate in the community even when they feel unsafe.
  • Based on our conversations with experienced women Wikipedians, we share three provocations for designing safer spaces: (1) when aiming for inclusivity, consider safety a design requirement; (2) recognize your own assumptions and biases about safety; (3) provide users with tools for creating their own safe spaces.

Our Research

We interviewed 25 women who are experienced Wikipedia editors.

There’s this one guy who is part of the chapter here that was, for a while, posting date invitations on my talk page, that would say how much he wanted to spend time with me. Then it became a thing at edit‑a‑thons that he would attend too, where I felt like he was harassing me.

Mia, editing for 5 years

Wikipedia is more than a website. It’s a community stretching across the globe and made up of a multiplicity of online and offline spaces, many of which are porous. Each of these spaces — article talk pages, internet relay chat (IRC), edit-a-thons, meetups, conferences — has its own character, which is shaped by design affordances as well as community norms and values. Interactions in these different parts of Wikipedia, as Mia notes, often bleed across these sociotechnical boundaries — often without consent or control.

Schönbrunn Palace (8371660461).jpg
File:Schönbrunn_Palace_(8371660461).jpg () by Steve Collis from Melbourne, Australia, CC-BY-2.0. Maze

I’m not an administrator and don’t want to be. Editors who work in topics which are perennially under assault […] often burn out for periods, sometimes permanently. I have tremendous admiration for those who have taken on the Sisyphean task […] I couldn’t do that work.

Oona, editing for 12 years

Women Wikipedians have developed sophisticated tactics to sustain their participation as community members even when they feel unsafe among their peers. For women like Oona, choosing what work to avoid is one way to protect themselves. For other women, choosing what to edit (for example, avoiding controversial topics) is another way to manage their participation so that they can “avoid drama” and its associated harassment risks.

MoMA Art Feminism 2019 91.jpg
File:MoMA_Art_Feminism_2019_91.jpg () by Manuel Molina Martagon, CC-BY-SA-4.0.
English: 2019 Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon at The Museum of Modern Art, New York

We don’t feel safe on Wiki. Not all of us, but a lot of us don’t, so why keep doing this on Wiki when we can take it another place […] ?

Jenn, editing for 12 years

Because Wikipedia does not allow users to create exclusive online spaces (e.g., women-only), women like Jenn have created or joined private groups on Facebook to cultivate and promote safe peer engagement. These spaces allow participants to share their personal experiences as well as their ideas about editing and other ways of participating bravely in the Wikipedia community. We take from these examples the need for designers to consider safety as a design requirement when aiming for inclusivity. This approach, in turn, means recognizing one’s own assumptions and biases when imagining the design of idealized scenarios, but also sometimes translates into the realization that providing users with tools to create their own safe spaces is the best means to ensure the safety of all.

References

[1] Community Engagement Insights. 2018. Wikimedia Foundation. Wikimedia Meta. Retrieved from https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Community_Engagement_Insights/2018_Report#Experience_of_harassment_has_not_declined_since_2017_and_appears_to_remain_steady

Notes

* We’ve used pseudonyms to protect our participants’ identities.

This article summarizes a paper authored by Amanda Menking, Ingrid Erickson, and Wanda Pratt. This paper was presented at CHI 2019, a conference of Human-Computer Interaction.This post was originally published via Medium.


Sharing and Connecting at the ESEAP Strategy Summit

Since returning from my first Wikimedia event, the ESEAP Region Strategy Summit in Bangkok a few weeks ago, I have been asked many times by family, friends and workmates “so, what was it like?”. And every time I (figuratively) scratch my head, wondering how to describe the unique experience of two days spent with 30 Wikimedians representing a remarkable 14 countries – that is, one or two Wikimedians from each of the ESEAP member communities (ESEAP stands for East, Southeast Asia and the Pacific).

I could tell people about the goal of the weekend: for participants to exchange stories from their Wikimedia communities and provide the movement strategy Working Groups with a response on movement strategy discussions. I could also describe the activities we engaged in: sharing stories and mapping them to thematic areas such as capacity building or roles and responsibilities on Saturday, and generating recommendations for working groups on Sunday. These discussions led us to explore a wide range of innovative ideas related to all aspects of the 2030 strategy.

ESEAP Strategy Summit Day 1 - Discussion 11.jpg
File:ESEAP_Strategy_Summit_Day_1_-_Discussion_11.jpg () by Vanjpadilla, CC-BY-SA-4.0.
English: ESEAP Strategy Summit Day 1 – Discussion 11

At times I must admit I began a session thinking “I have no idea what I could contribute here” but after listening to others and through the facilitators’ encouragement, I was generally able to find a meaningful experience to share or a suggestion to make. I was also impressed with the way people from such diverse backgrounds were able to respond to each other’s problems and experiences with meaningful suggestions. It wasn’t unusual, for example, for someone from one country to describe a need in their editing community which a Wikimedian from somewhere else had already experienced and could provide a possible solution to. For example, while discussing ways of recognising the efforts of Wikipedia editors, participants from Indonesia shared their method of providing a letter of acknowledgement from their chapter President detailing the impact of an editor’s work.

But these answers are not the whole picture. In addition to the organized activities and planned outcomes, there was much more to the event. There were new friendships, for example – I found I had much in common with the women from Taiwan, who have created a strong network of editors writing about women (their meet-ups are called “A Room of WikiWomen’s Own”), and also with the members from Australia, who wonder how to engage offline with editors in rural and remote parts of the country.

In addition, there was a generous sharing of expertise for people working on development projects. This was a particularly exciting aspect of the event for me, as in New Zealand the editing community is small, and largely unconnected, which means that there are great opportunities for community growth. I was able to spend time with Wikimedians from communities such as Indonesia and Thailand which had already been through similar growth patterns, and hear their thoughts and suggestions, and hear their responses to New Zealand’s plans. I also learned a great deal about the workings of these more developed communities and I was able to reflect on whether our New Zealand community would follow a similar development path or something slightly different.

ESEAP Strategy Summit Day 1 - Product and Tech Flipchart, Partnerships flipchart.jpg
File:ESEAP_Strategy_Summit_Day_1_-_Product_and_Tech_Flipchart,_Partnerships_flipchart.jpg () by Vanjpadilla, CC-BY-SA-4.0.
English: ESEAP Strategy Summit Day 1 – Product and Tech Flipchart, Partnerships flipchart

All in all, it was a very worthwhile event which provided much inspiration and insight into the movement as a whole. I definitely feel much more aware of the “big picture” of Wikimedia’s goals and strategies and more connected to communities in the region. This event was so inspiring, that since my return home from the event, the New Zealand editing community has now finalized our plans for a User Group and made an application to the Affiliations Committee for recognition. We look forward to becoming a strong group making solid contributions to the 2030 strategy.

And in terms of answering that omnipresent question of what a Wikimedia event is like, I’ve now settled on a concise New Zealand response – “awesome”!

Text by MurielMary


Tech News – How is it written?

RIAN archive 801943 Printing house of Sovetsky Sport newspaper.jpg
File:RIAN_archive_801943_Printing_house_of_Sovetsky_Sport_newspaper.jpg () by Vladimir Vyatkin / Владимир Вяткин, CC-BY-SA-3.0.
  • English: “Printing house of Sovetsky Sport newspaper”. The printing house of the Sovetsky Sport newspaper.
  • Русский: «Типография газеты “Советский спорт”». Типография газеты “Советский спорт”. Россия, Москва

Tech News is a newsletter for reaching out with technical updates to the general Wikimedia editor communities, to make sure they can keep track of what’s happening.

It is a popular publication, typically distributed in 15–20 languages due to the fantastic help of volunteer translators. It reaches roughly 100 community pages (Village Pumps, etc.) and some 780 individual subscribers (add yourself!) weekly, in addition to those who read it on Meta, see it included in the Signpost or other community publications, or get it in their email inbox.

But do you know how is Tech News written?

Suggest items!

You have built a new universal tool for the Wikimedia community? Or you plan to push a change into production that will change things for everyone? Please add it to the next issue of Tech News! The newsletter relies on additions or suggestions made by the technical community.

What to add to Tech News?

We welcome any kind of information that has a technical impact on the wikis. Typical items are new or upcoming features, or potential breaking changes. However, we have several cases where Tech News is not the right place. We have listed several inclusion criteria. If you have any doubt, please ask us!

But in short, any change that has a significant impact on the wikis should be added on Tech News (and the earlier, the better).

How to add something?

There are several ways to make the communities aware of a technical change.

The most common way is: please add your update yourself! Tech/News/Next will take you to the relevant issue. Remember to link to a relevant Phabricator task, wiki page or email.

To add your item to the next issue, the recipe for a good addition is very simple:

  • a couple of sentence per item, written in a simple English — making it too long puts an unreasonable burden on the translators.
  • a link to a Phabricator task, a wiki page or an email if they need more information.

And that’s all! Don’t worry about polish, we’ll take care of that. But keep an eye on it: we may need some more information from you!

Tech News is for non-technical readers, and for an international audience. It should be easy to translate as well as be written for people who’s native language is not English (en-1 and en-2 readers).

Concerning other options, there’s a “#user-notice” tag in Phabricator. Add it to the task together with a simple 1–3 sentence explanation of what this is and how it affects editors. And you can always write a message on Tech News talk page.

To keep things focused, keep in mind that Tech News is not a general Wikimedia newsletter, or a way to reach the Wikimedia technical community.

Rule of thumb: the earlier you keep Tech News editors aware of a possible changes, the better! This way, communities will have the information in advance.

Translations and distribution

When we have all the news, we assemble the newsletter. Translations are really important. This is why we have a tight calendar concerning inclusions:

  • Most important information for the week is gathered on a first draft on Thursday. This draft is sent to translators for an early translation round.
  • On Friday, the information is checked again. Some last minute items are added, no-relevant anymore ones are removed. Sometimes things are updated. Then, the newsletter is frozen for good: no more additions are allowed.
  • Over the weekend, volunteer translators work on translations.
  • The distribution is done on Monday afternoon/evening UTC.

We are always looking for translators. We post reminders to translators’ mailing-list weekly, and a direct translation link is available when you visit Tech News homepage on Friday or over the weekend. Please consider to help!

How can we make Tech New better?

As we rely on collaboration to create the newsletter weekly, we also rely on your opinion to improve Tech News.

Are there ways we could make Tech News better at spreading information about technical updates that are relevant for Wikimedia contributors? Something we do that’s unnecessary? Things we’re often missing? Things we fail to explain? Anything we’re particularly good at and should keep doing? Tell us – on
Tech News’ talk page, privately, or, of course in the comments below.