Exceptional Photographs Celebrate Play across Africa on Wikipedia

Cape Town, South Africa, 29 July 2019 – In the 5th year of hosting the Wiki Loves Africa photographic competition, Wiki In Africa is pleased to announce the final international winners. During the six weeks of the competition held in February and March 2019, 1335 people contributed just shy of 9000 images, sound files and videos files that broadly capture Play! across the continent.

A jury of photographers from across Africa deliberated on the 8,9811 images. The jury selected images that provide a brief glimpse at sheer variety of ways in which people across Africa spend their spare time – some are universal, others particular to their way of life. After an exhaustive jury process that lasted several intense weeks, they decided on the following winners:

Playing_in_the_Nuba_mountains.jpg
Some children playing on the wreck of an Antonov Transport plane. — Playing in the Nuba mountains.jpg () by Marco Gualazzini, CC-BY-SA-4.0.

1st place prize goes to the image Playing in the Nuba Mountains by Marco Gualazzini taken in South Sudan. Download link

Hide_from_each_other.jpg
People at work icon
This is an image with the theme “Play” from:
Egypt
Hide from each other.jpg () by Summering2018, CC-BY-SA-4.0.

2nd Prize goes to Peekaboo by Summer Kamal taken in Egypt. Download link

My_Skills.jpg
English: Children playing street football in Egypt, one of the most famous games in Africa. Boys playing hard and showing their skills and how talented they are .
People at work icon
This is an image with the theme “Play” from:
Egypt
My Skills.jpg () by Mohamed Hozyen Ahmed , CC-BY-SA-4.0.

3rd prize goes to Teenagers in street by Mohamed Hozyen Ahmed (also from Egypt). Download link

File does not exist : Filles_lutteuses____.jpg

The prize for Women in Sport : Girls fighting by Yvonne Youmbi from Cameroon. Download link

ألعاب_الفنتازيا_و_الفروسية_من_الشرق_الجزائري_3.jpg
العربية: الفانتازيا؛ وتسمى أيضا الخيالة والباردية والتّبُوريدَة وصحاب البارود اسم يطلق على عروض فروسية، تحاكي هجمات عسكرية، تمارس في بلدان المغرب العربي، في مختلف مناطقها، العربية والأمازيغية والصحراوية، إضافة إلى بلدان أوروبية كفرنسا وبلجيكا، بين جالياتها المغاربية

تمتد التسمية أيضا يطلق على النوع الرياضي المرتبط بهذا الفن. تكمن رمزيتها في تجسيدها لتعلق شعوب المغرب العربي بالأحصنة والفروسية، التي تمثل رمزاً تاريخياً وتراثياً تتوارث الأجيال العناية به. يتم في مشاهد الفانتازيا استخدام بعض ألعاب الخيل أو البارود من خلال تمثيليات لبعض الهجمات يشنها فرسان على متن خيولهم المزينة، مطلقين لعيارات من البارود. وهي ذات شعبية واسعة لدى الجمهور، وتشكل الفرجة الرئيسية للمهرجانات الثقافية والفنية (المعروفة ب«الموسم» أو «الوعدة»)، التي تنظم في المناطق القروية المغاربية. وتتمتع بجاذبية قوية بسبب قدرتها على إبهار المشاهدين بفضل صبغة الغموض والأساطير التاريخية القديمة التي تجعلها تضفي تأثيرا وسحرا خاصين علي محبي تلك المشاهد

كانت الفانتازيا ثابتا في الاحتفالات والأعياد الكبرى، مثل حفلات الزفاف والولادات والأعياد الدينية والمواسم الثقافية الفنية، ثم انحسرت تدريجيا، في بعض المناطق المغاربية إلى الجانب السياحي الثقافي البحت. مازالت الشعوب والقبائل المغاربية تحافظ قدر المستطاع على هذه العادة رغم المؤثرات الخارجية، أهمها العولمة، وهي تعتبر استحضارا لملاحمها العسكرية التاريخية، ورمزا للقوة والشجاعة والإقدام.
People at work icon
This is an image with the theme “Play” from:
Algeria
ألعاب الفنتازيا و الفروسية من الشرق الجزائري 3.jpg () by Sofiane mohammed amri, CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Special prize for traditional forms of play goes to Horses by Sofiane Mohammed Amri in Algeria. Download link

Just as the prizes represent many different ways of playful and recreational relaxation, so too do the experience levels of the prize winning photographers. Marco Gualazzini is a professional photographer for the last 15 years from Italy who’s award winning career has led him to “focus my work almost exclusively on conflicts and humanitarian crisis in Africa”. 

He explained that “I took this picture in South Kordofan where I developed a story on the aerial bombing campaign conducted by the Sudan’s army. Civilians fled to caves in the Nuba Mountains to avoid the aerial bombardment. Humanitarian aid organizations pulled out their workers and the government of Sudan banned journalists from entering the region. Nowadays there is no reliable data on the number of people who have lost limbs, or been physically affected in other ways, since the war began in the Nuba Mountain region in June of 2011. To this day it remains illegal for NGOs to work in the field and for journalists, both national and international, to report on the rebellion taking place in the Nuba Mountains.

“I shoot this picture in the Yida Refugee Camp. We got in the South Kordofan through the South Sudan. One day I saw the children play on the Antonov’s wreak, and I knew the Sudan’s government was using those Antonovs to drop the bombs that were killing those same children or their parents, or their friends. The contrast was so striking I decide to take this picture. Most of the time I sat down and I waited in order to give to the children the time to get used to me being there. After a while they started to play again, and then along came this shot.”

Second prize winner, Summer Kamal, used to work as a teacher. She recently resigned to practice her favorite hobby, photography. She explained that she took this shot on a trip with  “Adasa” Club for Photography to Nuba City in Upper Egypt: “As I was walking through the streets of Nubia City in Upper Egypt, two children were playing together and I was waiting for the right moment.”

Third prize winner, Mohamed Hozyen Ahmed, started photography since 4 years ago and has joined several contests and exhibitions. Last January he won the 3rd place of contest in Egypt  about Beautiful Egypt, and was honored by the Pope of the Egyptian Church in the Patriarchate in Egypt. He especially loves street and documentary photography which shows in his winning shot that was captured one friday morning. As he recalls, it was “a walk in the historically famous area in Cairo call Moaaz Street. I found these guys having a real football match, which I love and took me back to my old days when I was young and used to play in the streets. The game that is adored in Egypt is football! So I stayed and kept watching them. I found that they are really talented. So I took some shots of them while they were playing. This picture is one of the shots and I was blessed to get the right moment to take the picture before the boy scored an amazing goal as he showed his beautiful skills.” 

Wiki Loves Africa chose Play! as the central theme for the 2019 visual celebration of Africa’s cultural diversity on Wikipedia. The competition ran from the 1st February to 15th March 2019 and entries were welcomed from anywhere on the continent and beyond. View the video below for more details on the competition:

Everyone was encouraged to contribute photos that reflected the theme to the competition. Events were held in 19 countries – Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Guinée, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe – to inspire further contribution and build Wikipedia savvy communities around the competition. These events took on the form of introductory workshops, photographic excursions and upload sessions . The events also encouraged ongoing pride in local heritage and cultural practice, as well as to foster a culture of contribution to the internet to shake up the single story of Africa.

For the last five years, the Wiki Loves Africa contest has encouraged the donation of nearly 50,000 photographs to Wikimedia Commons for potential use on Wikipedia. In the first year, under the theme Cuisine, 873 people contributed 6,116 photographs. Cultural fashion and adornment was the theme for the next year, 2015, which saw 722 people contribute over 7,500 photographs. In 2016, Music and Dance contributed 7917 files from 836 people. In 2017, under the theme “People at Work” 18,294 photographs were entered by 2,473 people.

Wiki Loves Africa is activated by the Wikimedia community that created Wikipedia in support of WikiAfrica movement. The competition was conceptualised and is managed by Florence Devouard and Isla Haddow-Flood of Wiki In Africa as a fun and engaging way to rebalance the lack of visual representations and relevant content that exists about Africa on Wikipedia. The competition is supported by Ynternet.org, is funded by the Wikimedia Foundation and supported in-kind by UNESCO and a host of local partners in individual countries. The images donated are available for use on the internet and beyond, under the Creative Commons license CC BY SA 4.0.

ORGANISATIONS INVOLVED IN THE COMPETITION

About Wiki In Africa

Wiki In Africa empowers and engages the citizens of Africa and its diaspora to collect, develop and contribute open educational and relevant content that relates to the theme of Africa under a free license; and to engage in global knowledge systems by encouraging access to, awareness of, and support for open knowledge, the open movement and the Wikimedia projects, working in collaboration with like-minded organisations.

Wiki In Africa is a non-profit organisation that is based in South Africa. It is the financial and legal structure that operates global initiatives in support of the WikiAfrica movement. The organisation is currently lead by Iolanda Pensa, Florence Devouard and Isla Haddow-Flood. 

During 2019 it is working on WikiFundi and the WikiChallenge African Schools (funded by the Orange Foundation), WikiAfrica Schools, Wiki Loves Africa and Wiki Loves Women.

www.wikiinafrica.org   

About WikiAfrica

WikiAfrica is an international movement that takes place on the African continent and beyond. It encourages individuals, interested groups and organisations to create, expand and enhance online content about Africa. This involves motivating for the representation of the continent’s contemporary realities and history, its peoples and its innovations on the world’s most used encyclopaedia, Wikipedia. WikiAfrica is not owned by one organisation and it belongs to all people and organisations contributing to its scope.

In its various guises and hosted at several institutions (including lettera27, Africa Centre, Ynternet.org, Short Story Day Africa, Wikimedia CH and Wiki In Africa), the WikiAfrica movement has consistently instigated and led multi-faceted innovative projects. These projects have activated communities and driven content onto Wikipedia. Examples include Share Your Knowledge, #OpenAfrica training Courses and Toolkits, Kumusha Bus (in Ethiopia and Ghana), WikiEntrepreneur (in Ethiopia and Malawi), Kumusha Takes Wiki (Cote d’Ivoire and Uganda), Wikipedia Primary (funded by SUPSI), Wikipack Africa, WikiAfrica Schools, WikiFundi, WikiChallenge, WikiAfrica Schools, Wiki Loves Women and Wiki Loves Africa

www.wikiafrica.org

About Ynternet.org

Ynternet.org Foundation was created in 1998 on the invitation of Swiss Confederation to facilitate, identify and promote new learning culture within digital environments. In 2006 it changed its status from association to foundation, as an independent body within civil society. Based in the university campus of Battelle (Geneva, Switzerland), it is serving public interest in multilateral projects and private-public partnership. 60-80 contributors each year, including experts, social entrepreneurs and volunteers, are contributing to Ynternet.org mission of promoting responsible behaviours in digital environment. Ynternet.org has been successfully audited for its activities (2013 – 2015), at European level, both as coordinator and partner on two separate EU projects.

www.ynternet.org 

About the Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is the nonprofit charitable organisation that is dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual, educational content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge. The Wikimedia Foundation operates some of the largest collaboratively edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia, a top-ten internet property.

www.wikimediafoundation.org


Welcome, Learning Days community, to Wikimedia Space

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English: Wikimedia Conference 2018
Wikimedia Conference 2018 – 012.jpg () by Jason Krüger for Wikimedia Deutschland e.V., CC-BY-SA-4.0.

We are thrilled to welcome the Learning Days 2019 participants, along with those interested in Learning Days but not participating this year, to a new discussion category on Wikimedia Space for Learning Days. This category will be an active centerpoint for discussions, collaboration, announcements and updates around Learning Days. 

As Learning Days facilitators, we think Wikimedia Space is a great fit to support the goals of the event. Space contains many of the tools and features that previous Learning Day participants and other movement organizers have been asking for: a safe space with active moderation and a code of conduct, multilingual capabilities, a centralized movement map and calendar, and the ability to collaborate in closed groups. It is also built on forum software that makes interacting simple and keeps conversations organized. We feel that Space will allow participants and other volunteers to explore new terrain, share perspectives, and build off one another’s ideas. 

In addition to leveraging the new Learning Days discussion category, we have decided to support the three Learning Days cohorts using Space’s closed group format. This will provide cohort members a private, comfortable environment to get to know one another and coordinate freely. The products of the coordination within cohorts will be released publicly on the Learning Days discussion category for comment and reflection from other cohorts and those interested in Learning Days material.

We look forward to supporting Learning Days, and everyone involved, in Wikimedia Space.


Distraction-free editing

Editing Wikipedia with VisualEditor on the mobile web

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Illustration of a person editing Wikipedia on a mobile device — Distraction-free editing.png () by Jess Klein /Wikimedia Foundation, CC-BY-SA-3.0.

The Wikimedia Foundation’s goal for VisualEditor this year is to create a frictionless environment for editing on mobile to help editors publish more frequently, with more joy. After brainstorming, the Foundation’s Editing team came up with a set of mobile design principles to apply to a plethora of possible design interventions. This post describes our thinking behind the first round of interventions.

Intervention 1: Manage Performance Expectations

Evaluating the user experience, we noticed that certain areas of the experience felt pretty slow to editors. While performance is something that we will continue to work on (and can really only manage to some degree as the other part of the equation is the user’s environmental bandwidth), we can make this moment feel less painful for the user by managing their expectations around performance.

The key issue here is that users aren’t given any kind of feedback during moments like these. Many folks click their edit button and see this blank white screen with a spinner.

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English: This blank white screen with a spinner provides no feedback to the editor about what is loading or happening.
Blank white screen with a loading spinner.png () by Jess Klein /Wikimedia Foundation, CC-Zero.

We thought of a few different ways to address this, including microcopy telling users what’s happening, skeletons and loading screens. Ultimately, we decided to address this by creating a seamless animation transition. To do this we grey out the read mode and transition it to line up with the edit mode. Then when the editor is ready we seamlessly swap it in. We combined this with a user interface refresh to provide a more reassuring throbber and instructional microcopy. In addition to reassuring contributors, the loading overlay helps editors to maintain their focus on the edit that they initiated the editor with the intention of making.

Editing_Wikipedia_on_mobile.gif
English: In this gif, you can see that a user taps on an edit button and instead of seeing a blank white screen with a loader, they see a series of screens and overlays to indicate progress (and if we did this right, they won’t even realize that this is happening).
Editing Wikipedia on mobile.gif () by Image by Jess Klein CC0 and text from Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nellie_Bly, CC-BY-SA-3.0.

Intervention 2: Improve Wayfinding through Section Editing

We believe that mobile editors can be more productive when they are able to focus on editing only one section at a time.

While the performance expectation intervention is in the realm of meeting fundamental expectations, the second issue we tackled is more unique to Wikipedia: navigating to your edit! One complaint that we repeatedly heard from editors during user testing was that they would find something to edit, click the edit button and then take a really, really, really long time to scroll to the part of the page that they intended to edit. This is acutely painful for users on mobile devices because the amount of information revealed to them at any given time is significantly smaller than on a desktop experience. What was happening in mobile was that you’d click a section editing button and get taken to the editing view but scrolled more or less in the proximity of the section you intended to edit.

Our intervention removed all of the other content so that you can focus on just that one specific part of the content. This directly relates to our mobile design principles — we are removing stimulation and setting the stage so that an editor can do one thing at a time.

Way-finding_improvements_to_mobile_editing.gif
English: As you can see here, the contributor can get to the content faster!
Way-finding improvements to mobile editing.gif () by mage by Jess Klein, CC0 and text from Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nellie_Bly, CC-BY-SA-3.0.

Initial Testing Results

We tested these interventions on-wiki, on usertesting.com and, at in-person editing events. The initial feedback has been quite positive. Users have been able to maintain their location within the edit and are using words like “expected” or “obvious” when describing the behavior of the interactions.

We’ve also learned that many people expected to be able to have the functionality to edit the whole page as well as choosing to dive in and edit within sections. Additionally (while unrelated specifically to this intervention, but useful for the future iteration of the product), we observed several users attempting to switch back and forth between the different edit modes without much success.

Shipping and Next Steps

These first two interventions (the loading overlay and section editing) have already shipped to Wikipedia and, in addition to the qualitative analysis efforts that I described above, we have recently concluded an A/B test thatshowed that “contributors using Section Editing are ~3% more likely to save the edits they start than contributors using full-page editing.”

The loading overlay was deployed to all Wikipedias and the same was done for section editing after we analyzed the test results.

What’s next for VisualEditor on Mobile?

Although 3% seems like such a small increase, we are banking on lots of incremental interventions having a large collective impact. The Editing Team analyst, Neil Patel Quinn said, “Considering the difficulty of making it possible to contribute to an encyclopedia on a four-inch screen, a 3% increase from a single tweak to the interface is a real accomplishment.” The next three interventions that we are tackling are:

1. Make VisualEditor default for new users on mobile. All of our testing suggests that there are just too many steps for an editor to get into VisualEditor, which in theory, is the more new-contributor-friendly experience. Let’s lessen the burden and make VisualEditor more discoverable by openly testing out this hypothesis.

2. Make it easier to edit context items (links, citations, images, infoboxes, templates, etc.) on mobile. Editing these items is an unnecessarily complex activity. We’re creating a new part of the interface that will show additional details about, and actions related to, editable elements within articles. These interventions will help editors to focus on one thing at a time while simultaneously creating more structured workflows around specific editing tasks.

3. Make a single state toolbar. Contributors are confused about what steps to take to publish their changes, how to undo a mistake and go back without losing all of their changes, and how to get back into editing mode after “accepting changes”. That combined with the fact that contributors are confused about why the toolbar behaves in unexpected ways is why we need to refine the toolbar so that it can be used as a guidepost during editing.

A few things that you can do to help

Excited? Great! So are we. We want to collaborate with you to make this a great mobile editing experience. Here are three things that you can do right now.

Edit Wikipedia using your smartphone via the mobile web

The best way to help with this effort is to try editing on your phone. Don’t focus on the new features, just make some great additions to the encyclopedia.

Share feedback

After you’ve made edits or contributed in some other way on mobile, tell us about it by posting on our product page.

Incorporate user testing into an upcoming event

Do you organize events for editing Wikipedia articles? If so, we would love to collaborate with you to learn how Wikimedians are editing directly from you, so drop us a note on the Talk page.

Thanks to Ed Erhart, Peter Pelberg, Sherry Snyder, Bartosz Dziewoński, Carolyn Li-Madeo, and Ed Sanders for proofreading and feedback. Thanks again to all those who have participated as testers.

🤜🏽 David Chan, Bartosz Dziewoński, Ed Sanders, and Peter Pelberg for working on the implementation of the Wikipedia editing features described here.

Originally posted by Jess Klein to Down the Rabbit Hole on 22 July 2019.


Structured Data on Commons, Part Two – Federated Wikibase and Multi-Content Revisions

Structured Data on Commons (SDC) relies on two other pieces of software to make it work: federated Wikibase and Multi-Content Revisions (MCR). Both of these things required a lot of time and resources to make them work, with federated Wikibase developed by Wikimedia Deutschland, and MCR development shared by several teams across the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Deutschland. MCR, as one of the most significant changes to MediaWiki in the past decade, underwent an extensive proposal-and-discussion period before development.

Wikibase is a free, open-source database software extension for MediaWiki developed to as part of the Wikidata project. Federated Wikibase allows a wiki with Wikibase installed (the client) to communicate back to a central Wikibase installation (the repository). In the context of the structured data project, the client, Commons, needs to be able to get and return information from the repository, Wikidata. The information Wikidata holds that Commons needs is the structure and relationship between concepts being described in files Commons. For example, if an image depicts a house cat, the labeling of “house cat” as depicted is stored on Commons, while the concept of “depicts” comes from Wikidata.

Federation means making calls from one wiki’s Wikibase instance to another to retrieve information, and those calls have the potential to end up affecting the performance of the websites. Making sure that structured data didn’t cause such a slow down was one of the challenges with federated Wikibase. Additionally, enabling cross-communication between Wikibase instances required a lot of new code changes that sometimes had surprising side effects on the host wiki. The development teams spent months finding and fixing all of these problems.

Multi-Content Revisions completely changes how pages are assembled and displayed to a user. On a wiki without MCR, a page revision – that is, the version of a page as it exists when edited and saved at a particular state in time – is stored and displayed as a single type of data, such as some form of wikitext mark-up, JSON, or Wikibase entries. Since SDC needs to store and display more than one type of revision at a time, software needed to be written to change how a page revisions work for Commons.

MCR restructures a part of how MediaWiki stores information, by adding a layer of “indirection” as a way to link between revisions with different data components. The additional layer required not only new server-side code and an interface, but a massive change in the data schema and accompanying migration to the new schema.

To the left, the previous method of calling a page revision. To the right, calling a page revision using MCR.

Since the way page revisions and the data contained were stored in the back-end, there was additional work to make this change on the front-end, facing Commons users.

  • Diff views have to work with multiple slots. A diff view details a revision of a page, and engineering had to be done to show diffs from multiple slots of a revision.
  • Multi-slot views were needed. This work parallels the work on diff views, and shows the content of all slots when viewing a revision of a page.
  • An extra slot had to be configured in order to store Wikibase entities on MediaWiki in addition to wiki-text.
  • MediaWiki extensions have to be compatible with MCR, and the tools had to be identified and updated. This ensures, for example, that the tools we use to prevent spam and other malicious behavior work with MCR.
  • MediaWiki’s internal search engine, Cirrus Search, had to be engineered to work with MCR. Cirrus Search can crawl each slot, which will surface the information there to the widest possible audience. The enables semantic search of structured, linked data in files.

All of this engineering for MCR and federated Wikibase had to be completed before the Structured Data team was able to release its features to Commons. The Structured Data team is very grateful to the Core Platform, Wikidata, and Search Platform teams for all their work to make structured data storable, displayable, and searchable on Commons. With the infrastructure they created, the SDC team can create more powerful structured data features for Commons contributors.

Next: Part Three – Multilingual File Captions

Previously: Structured Data on Commons – A Blog Series


Upcoming Wikimedia events for August 2019

Bali_Odalan_celebration_in_Pura_Kehen_Bangli_temple,_dancing_girls.jpg
Balinese Hindu celebrate the birthday of their village temples once every 210 days (= Balinese year of 6 months each of 35 days). This festival is called Odalan. It is major performance arts and community event for the village. — Bali Odalan celebration in Pura Kehen Bangli temple, dancing girls.jpg () by BMR & MAM, CC-BY-SA-2.0.

August is an active month for the Wikimedia movement. From local meetups to Wikimania in Stockholm. 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!

August 1

August 2

August 4

August 8

August 9

August 10

August 11

August 14

August 16

August 23

August 24

August 29

August 31

Recurring Events


Structured Data on Commons – A Blog Series

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It’s a picture of a big analog synthesiser… — One hell of a mess….jpg () by Tom Cronin, CC-BY-SA-2.0.

Wikimedia Commons is the freely-licensed media repository hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation. Started in 2004, Commons contains over 50 million files—all of which are meant to contain educational value and help illustrate other Wikimedia projects such as Wikipedia. As with all Wikimedia projects, the content is created, curated, and edited by volunteers. In addition to the content work on the wikis, the Commons community participates in organizing and running thematic media contribution campaigns around the world such as Wiki Loves Monuments, Wiki Loves Food, and Wiki Loves Africa.

Structured Data on Commons (SDC) is a three-year software development project funded by the Sloan Foundation to provide the infrastructure for Wikimedia Commons volunteers to organize data about media files in a consistent, linked manner. The goals of the project are to make contributing to Commons easier by providing new ways to edit, curate, and write software for Commons, and to make general use of Commons easier by expanding capabilities in search and reuse. These goals will be served by improved support for multilingual content and ways of working on Commons. This is the first in a blog series that will document the different parts of implementing SDC, starting with this introduction to the project and brief outlines of the software involved in making it happen, each to be covered more in-depth later.

Wikidata_for_Commons-logo.svg
Wikidata for Commons-logo.svg ( (upload date)) by , PD ineligible.

Part One – an introduction to the software

Commons is built on MediaWiki, the same software used by the other Wikimedia projects. MediaWiki was primarily developed to host text. Because of this, information about files on Commons is stored in plain-text descriptions (wikitext, templates) and categories. The information includes at least the uploader, author, source, date, and license of a file, with many other optional items. These pieces of data are usually only available in one language—mostly English—and, most importantly, not structured in a way that software developers can consistently write programs to understand the data that is stored in file pages. Data that is structured in a consistent, understandable way is called “machine-readable,” and having machine-readable data is a primary goal for the Structured Data on Commons project.

In order to provide this consistent, machine-readable data, the information needs to be stored in a database instead of plain-text in MediaWiki. Wikibase is the software solution for that need. Wikibase is the software that enables MediaWiki to store structured data or access data that is stored in a structured data repository, developed by Wikimedia Deutschland to support Wikidata. The project needed a way to use Wikibase on other wikis and connect the information back to Wikidata, a feature which had recently been developed. Called Federated Wikibase, this software is crucial to organizing media information on Commons.

The next piece of software needed was Multi-Content Revisions (MCR). MCR is a way of putting a wiki page together that needs to pull information from different places with different ways of storage—in other words, MCR can assemble information from both MediaWiki and Wikibase to be displayed and managed together. More information about Federated Wikibase and MCR will be covered in a future post in this series.

Once Federated Wikibase and MCR were ready for release, the Structured Data on Commons team produced the first user-facing feature to use the new underlying software: multilingual file captions. Captions—stored in Wikibase—have a similar function to the description template used on file pages, which is stored in MediaWiki; they both are supposed to say what is in the file. However, descriptions are not limited in length, they may contain extra detail not necessary to finding the file including wikilinks and external links, and while the template supports adding extra languages, the process is not necessarily easy. Captions support an easier way to add other languages and captions are limited in length and should describe the file only in a short, factual way. This makes files with captions easier to find in search in a structured, multilingual way for both humans and software programs alike.

After releasing Wikibase and MCR to Commons with captions to make sure it all worked, the development team put out support for the first structured statement type, “depicts.” Depicts statements make simple, factual claims about the content of a file and link to their matching concept on Wikidata. To further develop depicts statements, support for qualifiers was released as well. Qualifiers allow depicts statements to have more information about what is being depicted. So for example, a picture of a black house cat can have the structured statement depicts: house cat[color:black]. Depicts statements are on a new tab that was introduced to the file page, “Structured data.” Aside from captions, all structured data is on this tab.

Depicts_with_a_qualifier.png
An example of a depicts statement with a qualifier. — Depicts with a qualifier.png () by User:Keegan (WMF), CC-BY-SA-3.0.

After this short introduction, the SDC blog series will have further information about depicts and qualifiers, as well as support for making other types of statements about files.

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


Welcome, Education community, to Wikimedia Space

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Dear Wikimedia Education community,

We’re so excited to invite you to explore Wikimedia Space with us through a new category just for Education. We’ll be piloting the use of this category to centralize communications about Wikimedia & Education, share active discussions, and announce events on the centralized map and calendar. You’ll still be able to find static information and resources on Outreach Wiki, with more dynamic information living on Wikimedia Space. 

Wikimedia Space is a new platform introduced by the Wikimedia Foundation which aims to become a point of centralization and redistribution of news and conversations. The Space is also a place where anyone can ask any question related to Wikimedia and find answers. Wikimedia Space has a variety of multilingual features that are currently being expanded, and can already host resources and conversations in multiple languages. As the Wikimedia Space is still a prototype, together we can explore different opportunities and collaborations. 

Some of the future possibilities include adding lesson plans, publishing event reports, sharing news, and even fostering mentorship in closed groups. Let’s brainstorm together on what we want for our Education category!

Cheers!


Editing News #1—July 2019

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Welcome to the first Editing newsletter in the Wikimedia Space blog. 

Since the last newsletter, the team has released two new features for the mobile visual editor and has started developing three more. All of this work is part of the team’s goal to make editing on mobile web simpler.

Before talking about the team’s recent releases, we have a question for you: 

Are you willing to try a new way to add and change links?

If you are interested, we would value your input! You can try this new link tool in the mobile visual editor on a separate wiki. 

Follow these instructions and then share your experience:

📲 Try Edit Cards.

Recent releases

The mobile visual editor is a simpler editing tool, for smartphones and tablets using the mobile site. The Editing team has recently launched two new features to improve the mobile visual editor: 

  1. Section editing
    • The purpose is to help contributors focus on their edits.
    • The team studied this with an A/B test.  This test showed that contributors who could use section editing were 1% more likely to publish the edits they started than people with only full-page editing.
  2. Loading overlay
    • The purpose is to smooth the transition between reading and editing.

Section editing and the new loading overlay are now available to everyone using the mobile visual editor.

New and active projects

This is a list of our most active projects. Watch these pages to learn about project updates and to share your input on new designs, prototypes and research findings.

  • Edit cards: This is a clearer way to add and edit links, citations, images, templates, etc. in articles. You can try this feature now.  Go here to see how: 📲Try Edit Cards.
  • Mobile toolbar refresh: This project will learn if contributors are more successful when the editing tools are easier to recognize.
  • Mobile visual editor availability: This A/B test asks:  Are newer contributors more successful if they use the mobile visual editor? We are collaborating with 20 Wikipedias to answer this question.
  • Usability improvements: This project will make the mobile visual editor easier to use.  The goal is to let contributors stay focused on editing and to feel more confident in the editing tools.

Looking ahead

  • Wikimania: Several members of the Editing Team will be attending Wikimania in August 2019. They will lead a session about mobile editing in the Community Growth space. Talk to them about how editing can be improved.
  • Talk Pages: In the coming months, the Editing Team will begin improving talk pages and communication on the wikis.

Learning more

The VisualEditor on mobile project page is a good place to learn more about the projects we are working on. The team wants to talk with you about anything related to editing. If you have something to say or ask, please leave a message at Talk:VisualEditor on mobile.


Restructuring the Education Office Hours

The Education team at the Wikimedia Foundation have been holding Office Hours for the past 11 months, and have engaged with more than 40 Wikimedians during that time. We’ve enjoyed chatting about topics ranging from the usefulness of Wikiversity to how best to support students who edit on mobile phones. Though Office Hours have been reasonably well attended, we’ve noticed that it may be more useful to slightly restructure this time. From July, we’ll be hosting only one open Office Hours event, while experimenting with a way to deep dive with individuals who need more 1:1 consulting. 

Wikipedialari_afrikarrak_(40569170323).jpg
Chatting with African wikimedians at HUHEZI — Wikipedialari afrikarrak (40569170323).jpg () by HUHEZI (Mondragon Unibertsitatea), CC-BY-2.0.

While the monthly Office Hours event will remain the same, we are excited to introduce Office Space. Our goal for Office Space is to provide 1:1 consultation to Wikimedians involved in education activities. As a result of Office Space, we hope individuals and groups interested in Wikimedia in education will have better capacity to make their initiatives strong, results oriented and scalable.

Office Hours will be an open platform for The Wikimedia Foundation Education Team to hear from the community, share what we’re doing and answer questions in an open forum where we can learn from each other. The platform provides an opportunity to share your work with others and learn from them, get updates from activities happening around the movement and look for opportunities to collaborate.

Office Space will be a platform where you can schedule a 1:1 consultation with one or more members of the education team. We’re setting aside 4.5 hours of team time a month for ½ hour or 1 hour consultations. This will help you get answers to specific questions, and tap into the various expertise of the Wikimedia Foundation Education Team. We will start hosting Office Space events from the month of August. We will triage incoming requests based on when they were received, and the nature of the request. We hope that through this mechanism our support to the community is fair and productive. 

From August, the Education Team will host one Office Hours and one Office Space each month for the Wikimedians involved in education activities or are interested in them. We will be announcing Office Hours events on the Wikimedia Space and will update the Office Hours events and the minutes of meeting there. 

You can sign up for a 1:1 Office Space consultation for August by filling out this form.

Do you have queries related to this? Feel free to reach out to me via email (spatnaik [at] wikimedia [dot] org) or start a discussion here on Space. 🙂


Support for our communities across India

Hello everyone,

Wikimedia projects are supported by you—a network of generous individual volunteers, groups, and organizations around the world. Together, you collaboratively enrich, grow, and advance the Wikimedia projects and free knowledge mission.

You may have heard about the Affiliations Committee’s decision to recommend the de-recognition of Wikimedia India. Some community members have asked what this means for the future of WIkimedia communities in India. We want to share more information about the AffCom decision, and reaffirm our commitment to and support for our many communities across India.

The Affiliations Committee is a community-run body of volunteers that represents and supports Wikimedia affiliates. After several years of working with Wikimedia India to bring its activities in line with chapter requirements, the Affiliations Committee recommended in June 2019 that the Wikimedia Foundation not renew the chapter agreement.

Wikimedia India was first recognized as a chapter in 2011. In 2015, it experienced difficulties meeting chapter agreement obligations. Working with the Affiliations Committee and the Foundation, the chapter developed a plan of action and returned to good standing by 2017. However, between 2017 and 2019 the chapter was unable to secure a license to act as a fiduciary organization, and is not currently legally registered as a charity in India to accept funding from the Foundation. The Foundation and Affiliations Committee both hope that this licensing and registration can be secured, and that the chapter will take all the steps needed to be eligible for recognition.

We are grateful for the vibrant, growing community in India who has shown great leadership and created significant impact within our global movement. The Foundation currently supports eight Indic language community user groups, and we expect two more to be announced by AffCom in the coming weeks. We receive more than 700 million pageviews to Wikipedia every month from readers in India, and the growth of the Indic community is a top priority for the future of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects.

The Republic of India is of great importance to the Wikimedia movement. The Wikimedia Foundation remains committed to supporting volunteer editors, contributors, readers, and donors across India. We’re grateful for all of your continued and growing efforts to support Wikimedia projects and our free knowledge mission. We look forward to continuing our work with you together.

On behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation,

Valerie D’Costa
Chief of Community Engagement
Wikimedia Foundation

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