WikiCon 2013 in Karlsruhe: rushing from session to session

From 22 to 24 November 2013, the German-speaking Wikimedians were invited to South Germany’s minor metropole Karlsruhe. Under the denominator “WikiCon” people (finally) met offline, exchanged ideas, and left with a lot of tasks for the nearby future. Sue Gardner called Wikimania a place for practitioners, well, that’s exactly what WikiCon is all about. Seeing it, who could ever complain about a lack of cooperation between the Germanophone Wikimedia organizations?

A little more than 200 participants came together at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, with a surprisingly weak wi-fi. My contributions were an “Entzücklopädischer Abend”, a kind of late night show; a lecture about wiki theory (called “Popular myths about Wikipedia”, to attract some listeners); an introduction to the wiki:team session; and I have been asked to lead a discussion about the so-called “Botpedia”, the mass creation of Wikipedia articles with bots (automatic programmes).

Most memorable: the presentation of two KIT collaborators about academic writing for the technical student. Students of the sciences and mathematics don’t like writing or even reading, he KIT writing trainers said, and probably they have chosen those subjects so that they never have to write again. Then, when the final thesis approaches, they see themselves in big trouble. I learned about different writing styles in different disciplines and will try to keep that in mind when I meet a different taste in Wikipedia.

A team of volunteers has taken over the responsibility just a few months before, and we are all very grateful. We do ask to consider putting more time into the timetable of the next WikiCon to get from session to another.

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Germanophone WikiConvention established?

Wikimedia Deutschland presents itself

On September 9-11, 2011, Wikimedians from the three major German speaking countries gathered. More than 170 participants shared their knowledge about Wikipedia, Wikimedia and other wikis at the first ‘WikiConvention‘.

Nurenberg was chosen because it is situated much closer to Austria and Switzerland than Lüneburg in Northern Germany, where in 2010 a similar convention took place (‘Skillshare’). The Bildungszentrum (folk high school) proved to be a perfect place, close to the central station and spacious enough for a huge number of sessions (more than 60).

The WikiConvention was supported by the national Wikimedia organizations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Especially the German organization made use of the occasion to present itself and its staff. A number of journalists were present, and the media coverage in general was quite nice.

Among the presentations and sessions: Become a plagiarism hunter in 60 minutes; the election of featured articles; is Wikipedia an encyclopedia; city wiki; the Support Team (OTRS); Wikimedia and Open Access; OpenStreetMap and OpenSeaMap; are women the better encyclopedists; Wikipedias in regional languages; … and as a special evening contribution: ‘Sexipedia – Reloaded’.