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.
In the last post, I described why communities create lists, and with the next three posts I am going to describe what kinds of lists are common amongst Wikimedia communities so that you can choose which tactic to use to make your own.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Witten by volunteer Joy Agyepong and Strategy Liaison Rupika Sharma
On the 3rd of August, 2019 a strategy salon was organized at held at the Goethe Institute in Accra, Ghanna. This was the first Movement Strategy salon organized by Open Foundation West Africa in Ghana. The Salon sought to address two thematic areas, Capacity Building and Community Health, to exchange ideas and identify strategies to achieve the Strategic direction of Wikimedia by 2030.
This is the first part in an ongoing series on the function and value of lists in the Wikimedia moment by Alex Stinson.
Successful editathons, campaigns, contests and projects within the Wikimedia movement often start with a list: something to engage, focus and build attention for participants in the activity. Almost every topic area benefits from a list: the Gender Gap (Women in Red or Art and Feminism), other underrepresented knowledge projects (Black Lunch Table or Afrocine), complete sets of knowledge identified by experts (i.e missing butterflies) as well as common topics on Wikimedia projects (like WikiProject Military History’s coverage of destroyers in Majestic Titans).
Last July 25th, Wikimedia Venezuela hosted a Strategy Salon in Caracas. The Library of the Venezuelan Central University received about 30 people in two shifts to discuss about Strategy Wikimedia 2030.
The objective of the gathering was to exchange ideas about Wikipedia in Venezuela, focused on two thematic axes in the framework of the strategic direction of the Wikimedia movement: Capacity Building, and Advocacy. It was moderated by Óscar Costero, president of the Civil Association Wikimedia Venezuela. Óscar is a member of Capacity Building Working Group, so he is very interested about the lack of editors living in the country and its effects on Wikipedia.
I am Erica, and I am the manager of the Community Relations Specialists—a team that for years has connected the communities and the Wikimedia Foundation teams to discuss and collaborate on products, features, projects, and more.
Since joining in 2013, among other things, I’ve had the privilege of assisting in hiring several people (some of them with plenty of experience of our communities, like me).
Here are the few things that I wish I had known back in the day as a candidate, and that I’d like everyone to know now about applying for a job at the Foundation.
From January to April 2019, Afek Ben Chahed, Wikimedian from Tunisia, accompanied us in organizing the Wikimedia Summit 2019, a conference where all Wikimedia organizations and groups gathered to discuss the ongoing Wikimedia Movement Strategy Process. Afek joined us as a so-called “Visiting Wikimedian”, which is an annual program where Wikimedia Deutschland invites Wikimedians from other Wikimedia organizations to work and learn with us to be able to apply these learnings later back home.
Cornelius, Program Coordiantor of the Wikimedia Summit, interviewed Afek on her stay in Berlin.