Inspirations from Wikimania 2015

2015-07 k1 CDMX 2144Now I am back from Mexico City, and the most urgent part of my homework is done:

Thanks for all the ideas and support!


Looking forward to Mexico City

2015 Juni TU Dortmund Klexikon 10Next week starts Wikimania, the annual main conference on Wikipedia, in Ciudad de Mexico. I have the privilege to represent Wikimedia Nederland again. This time, my focus will be on education and the question how does a wiki work – what can we improve in Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Movement.

The Wikimedia Movement has seen quite some friction on last year’s Wikimania, in London. On the one hand, the movement does well, with a uberpopular website and lots of donations. On the other, the number of contributors to Wikipedia is still declining, in spite of all efforts. Also the number of readers is not a fixed given or only growing.

My presentation this year will be about the Klexikon and more generally about wiki encyclopedias for children. We are talking quite different concepts, but I will try to find out how people can cooperate and make the participants curious about our new wiki. Good luck that today the English version of our final report for WMDE got ready!

Follow me on the Facebook channel of Wikimedia Nederland or on Twitter (@UserVanTwit).





WCA in Hong Kong: invitation to the Wikimedia Organisations Seminar

On the two days of the Wikimania preconference, the WCA offers a Wikimedia Organisations Seminar (WCA WOS). We Bildwelcome everyone, whether he or she is already active in a Wikimedia organisation, or wants to become active.

The WCA is the Wikimedia Chapters Association. In spite of its name, the Association is open for all Wikimedia organisations: chapters, thematic organisations and user groups.

What we learn here:

  • who is active in organisations
  • how organisations manage themselves
  • what the WCA is and could be in future
  • how we can help each other

Among the panelists are Jon Davies, director of Wikimedia UK,  Anasuya Sengupta of the Wikimedia Foundation and James Heilman from the Wiki Med Project. The topics: the role of money, the structure of the movement, and: who is the boss in a Wikimedia chapter?

Wikimedia Conferentie Nederland 2012 with ‘father of Wikipedia’

Jimmy Wales (Sebastiaan ter Burg CC-BY)
Jimmy Wales (Sebastiaan ter Burg CC-BY)

On Friday, November 9th 2012, the Wikimedians in the Netherlands held their Wikimedia Conferentie Nederland. Since 2006 we have established a small tradition, with pauses in 2009 and 2010. Imagine a day with keynotes, three tracks with sessions for different target groups, good food and a ‘borrel’ at the end of the day (as the Dutch call it to stand with each other and enjoy some beverages).

Several times we tried it, but this time Jimmy Wales actually could come and impress us with news and inspirations about Wikipedia and the Wikimedia movement. People were really enthusiast. The ‘father of Wikipedia’, as a Dutch newspaper called him, said that he don’t know whether there will be ever again a Wikipedia blackout against legislatation, such as in January with the anti SOPA action. We must be careful, he said, we are no political organization. But we must take action against laws that limit the access to knowledge.

The other keynote was on WikiData, by Lydia Pintscher. WikiData is the next big thing in the movement, and every Wikipedian should learn more about. It is a new website for data, to be stored and administered centrally on one wiki.

Usually on a Saturday, we hoped that Jimmy Wales could attract a lot of people and compensate the Friday, a normal work day. We may have been too optimistic aiming for 150 people, but the actual 110 participants are perfectly in line with the previous years. The organization was eventually more relaxed than before, because WMNL has now a mixture of volunteers and professionals bringing the association forward.

Wikimedia Chapters Association: redefining the ‘we’

In Berlin, now some months ago, representatives of the national Wikimedia chapters decided to establish a new organization: the Wikimedia Chapters Association. A team with Israeli chapter president Tomer Ashur is preparing the organization, and some chapters have already selected its Council Member. In mid June, the board of Wikimedia Nederland nominated me for the following two years.

In general, we all in the Wikimedia movement prefer to see the larger picture, to include rather than to exclude. We are doing great things, and we together try to improve what was to be improved. But in the last few years the different entities in the movement understand more and more that they have different roles with slightly different responsibilities.

When I say ‘we’, it usually responds to the whole movement, but sometimes it can also mean: ‘we, members of Wikimedia Nederland’. Sometimes it is ‘we, the national chapters’, in contrast to volonteers and personnel of the Wikimedia Foundation. This is natural and a good sign for a healthy development and differentiation. It does not necessarily mean that there have to be hostilities between the entities, we can agree to disagree, and if we/we/we don’t succeed with our opinion this time, we may the next time.

The WCA creates a new ‘we’. At least partially, because not all chapters will join it immediately. Or, it even creates several ‘we’s. We, the members of chapters (collected by the WCA); we, those with positions in the chapters; we, the members of the WCA Council…

In Washington, we will try to bring the movement and the WCA forward. Chapters need support, chapters need representation within the movement. This is our commitment.