Behind the Screen CEE is part of a wider series that celebrates tireless Wikimedians who make free knowledge possible. It brings to the ‘screen’ stories from CEE with the simple aim of sharing, honoring, and celebrating impact. The series also aims to take forward the movement strategy goal of Knowledge Equity.

The CEE region has been known for its longtime local cooperation, lasting for more than a decade and resulting in the creation of a first-ever regional hub in the Wikimedia movement. A big part of that collaboration is the joint regional work around campaigns. 

As Alex Stinson, Lead Strategist in the Wikimedia Foundation notes,  the CEE region has been an important campaign organizer,  a creator of campaigns that have been models for the rest of the world.  

The most important campaign in the region is CEE Spring, happening annually since 2015.  This writing contest, in which communities from the CEE region for 10 weeks write articles about each other, brought more than 77 000 articles about the countries, languages, and communities of Central and Eastern Europe to Wikipedia. 

Kiril Simeonovski, a member of the CEE Hub Steering Committee and the board of Shared Knowledge, has been for many years engaged in organizing CEE Spring on the international level. One of the things he finds special about the project is that it perfectly captures both the community and the diversity of the region.

The CEE region consists of communities that share many commonalities, like similar pasts and similar traits. But at the same time, each community is unique in some way. And we have many differences that have to be pronounced in order to promote our diversity as a region. CEE Spring is exactly the activity that pinpoints this diversity. 

Another campaign uniting this collaborative region is 1lib1ref. This global effort to invite librarians to add citations to Wikipedia was not born in the CEE region but is especially valued here. Serbian Wikipedia, which is a global leader in this campaign gained through it more than 46,000 references. 

Gorana Gomirac, GLAM manager in Wikimedia Serbia and the coordinator of 1lib1ref in the CEE region notes:

This campaign is dedicated to increase the reliability of Wikimedia projects, but also to show librarians how important their role is in the Wikimedia world and how to use it to make Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects more reliable. 

Claudia Serbanuta, a Wikimedian from Romania and Moldova user group, and a librarian herself adds that All librarians are very comfortable working with references (…) and just spending a little bit of time and put that knowledge into better articles for the whole community to access is basically a description of a librarian’s job.

Watch the whole video to learn more about how the CEE region uses campaigns to exchange knowledge and collaborate better, and get to know the amazing people behind some of this work! 

Subtitles for this video are available in Polish, Russian, Serbian, and Ukrainian

Welcome to the “Don’t Blink” series! Every month we share developments from around the world that shape people’s ability to participate in the free knowledge movement. In case you blinked this month, here are the most important public policy advocacy topics that have kept the Wikimedia Foundation busy.

The Global Advocacy team works to advocate laws and policies that protect the volunteer community-led Wikimedia model, Wikimedia’s people, and the Wikimedia movement’s core values. To learn more about us and the work we do with the rest of the Foundation, visit our Meta-Wiki webpage, follow us on Twitter (@WikimediaPolicy), or sign up to our Wikimedia public policy mailing list.

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Protecting Wikimedia’s Values
(Work related to human rights and countering disinformation)

Wikimedians Presenting at RightsCon
[Register for this upcoming event + read our blog post]
RightsCon’23 is a conference hosted by Access Now that brings all kinds of civil society stakeholders together to discuss how to build a shared digital future where human rights can thrive. This year, Wikimedians will host and participate in five sessions, which will be held online and in-person in San José, Costa Rica, from 5–8 June. These sessions illustrate how vital the work of the movement is to enable access and participation in free knowledge as well as achieve sociotechnical goals—from helping a country remember and prevent a violent history, learning about labor issues from the perspectives of Black and Indigenous peoples, or uplifting decentralized technologies as tools to carve out civic spaces online. You can register to watch them online for free until 2 June, and read our blog post on the sessions for more details.

Open-Source Platforms as Repositories of Shared Knowledge and Memory about Conflict
[Read our blog post]
Contemporary digital technologies are having an impact on our collective memory, with open-source platforms increasingly becoming the dominant way to remember past atrocities. On 17 April, Valentina Vera-Quiroz, our Human Rights, Tech, and Policy Fellow, published a blog post that aims to broaden understanding of how online platforms such as Wikipedia can become vehicles for collective memory, ensure that what happened in the past is not forgotten, and that perpetrators of crimes and abuses are held accountable. Read Valentina’s blog post, and if you are interested in RightsCon’23, be sure to watch Valentina discuss the topic in her lightning talk, “Shall We Forget? Open-Source Platforms as Tools for Memory, Truth, and Reconciliation,” in person or online this 6 April, from 17:30–18:30 UTC.

Protecting the Wikimedia model
(Work related to access to knowledge and freedom of expression)

Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum 2023 (DRIF23)
[Read our blog post]
From 12–14 April, Wikimedians and Foundation staff presented in three sessions at the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum 2023: Building a Sustainable Internet Future for All (DRIF23) in Nairobi, Kenya. The event is attended by African digital rights activists, scholars, and policymakers, with whom we share a multi-stakeholder approach and efforts to ensure equitable, affordable, and meaningful internet access. This was our second year supporting the event, which was hosted by Paradigm Initiative, and the first time that Wikimedians from the region participated in the event. Read our blog post, where we spoke with the people who made Foundation support of DRIF possible, and with the six Wikimedians who represented the movement at the forum about their experience, and why they think that supporting this forum matters to advance rights-respecting digital practices as well as the Wikimedia model and work.

Additional Developments
(Other work we want to share with you)

Talk at Yale Information Society Project (ISP)
[
Watch our talk]
Rebecca MacKinnon, our Vice President of Global Advocacy, was invited to give a talk at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project (ISP), a community of interdisciplinary researchers that  explores cutting-edge issues concerning technology, law, and society. Rebecca connected the concerns that she first wrote about in her 2012 book, Consent of the Networked, with today’s’ quickly changing digital and geopolitical landscape. During her talk, she discussed the challenges in holding global internet intermediaries accountable to the public interest, and the progress that has been made—and not made—during this last decade. Watch Rebecca’s talk in March, recently uploaded, to learn more about why corporate accountability, human rights standards, and multi-stakeholder governance are needed to create a global culture of digital citizens and activism.

Submission to Global Digital Compact
[
Read our publication]
The Global Digital Compact is an intergovernmental consultative process open to all stakeholders—i.e., governments, the United Nations system, the private sector (including tech companies), civil society, grass-roots organizations, academia, and individuals, including youth—so they can outline shared principles for “an open, free, and secure digital future for all.” The Foundation contributed to the process because we consider it an opportunity to share our views with the international community, and to help to shape the deliberations on the Global Digital Compact, whose content will be agreed during the Summit of the Future to be held in September 2024. We submitted our responses to a survey as well as released them as a digital publication. We are also participating in the thematic deep-dives that are running from March through June. Read our contribution to better understand the Foundation’s priorities in advocating for a shared digital future that protects and supports free and open knowledge.

________

Follow us on Twitter, visit our Meta-Wiki webpage, or join our Wikipedia policy mailing list for updates. We hope to see you there!

A photograph of Wikimedians at the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum 2023
Wikimedians at the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum 2023 (DRIF23). Image by Paradigm Initiative, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

2023 marked another first for the Wikimedia Foundation’s presence at the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF). An annual forum hosted by Paradigm Initiative, DRIF is where digital policies in Africa are debated and shaped, and participants and attendees forge partnerships for action. This year it was hosted in Nairobi, Kenya, under the theme of “Building a sustainable internet future for all.”

Last year, the Wikimedia Foundation provided financial support to the forum for the first time. The initiative was part of our effort to empower those advocating for free knowledge and digital rights in the region, and enabled over 350 additional attendees to join DRIF with the necessary data packages. This year, Wikimedians participated in the conversation for the first time. Volunteers from across East Africa joined Foundation staff to host three sessions (you can find the descriptions of these at the end of this blog post), and members of Wikimedia Community User Group Kenya ran a booth to engage with attendees and share about Wikimedians’ work across the continent. Wikimedians explained how they are closing the digital divide through projects like Art+Feminism and Wiki for Refugees, as well as how communities across the region deal with the reality of internet disruptions. Foundation staff joined the Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative to share lessons from the 20 years of the Wikimedia movement’s existence that can be applied to help build a sustainable internet future for all.

We spoke with the people who made Foundation support of DRIF possible, and with Wikimedians who represented the movement at DRIF about their experience, and why they think that supporting this forum matters to advance rights-respecting digital practices.

Making it happen: Q and A with Wikimedia Foundation staff 

Here is what Ziski Putz (Senior Movement Advocacy Manager), Winnie Kabintie (Senior Global Movement Communications Specialist), Veronica Thamaini (Manager of Regional Programs), and Ricky Gaines (Senior Human Rights Advocacy Manager) from the Wikimedia Foundation have to share about the importance of Wikimedians joining regional forums like DRIF.

What is the role of Wikimedians at DRIF?

The world is grappling nowadays with online issues such as disinformation, growing surveillance of the information that people access and share, and censorship. Forums like DRIF are an opportunity for Wikimedians to meet and discuss with like-minded people who are also working to address these challenges and how they contribute to the infringement of human rights. The Wikimedia movement is uniquely qualified to highlight to other stakeholders in the free and open knowledge ecosystem the constructive role that communities can play, both through the lessons learned from its collaborative community governance model and the critical value of its collaborative community content moderation efforts. These models have much that they can offer, and should be explained and promoted among other stakeholders in forums such as DRIF. 

Why does the Foundation support Wikimedians’ participation at DRIF?

It is important to have the voices of Wikimedians represented in forums such as DRIF, which provides them with an opportunity to strengthen volunteers’ efforts focusing on digital rights and information rights advocacy. DRIF offers spaces to connect with mission-aligned organizations that can support the realization of knowledge equity in their respective regions and communities. It is also a space for Wikimedians to contribute to ongoing critical conversations on digital rights and inclusion, which further shape their efforts. In addition, such experiences are useful in creating and expanding awareness of national, regional, and global discussions that inform participants about how critical their role can be in addressing and rectifying these challenges, even beyond the open and free knowledge movement. 

During the 2022 Wiki Indaba, African Wikimedians expressed the desire and need to engage in public policy matters with external stakeholders. Their participation at DRIF was, definitely, a step in this direction.

Additionally, Wikimedians who spoke at the workshop were happy and proud to share their work with folks beyond the wikisphere. 

DRIF in retrospective: Q and A with Wikimedians

Here is what our partners in the Wikimedia movement had to say about their time at DRIF, and the role that creating and sharing free and open knowledge plays in digital rights conversations in Africa and beyond.

In the words of one participant, attending DRIF made it clear that, “the work we do as Wikimedians is crucial to promote education and cultural preservation, as well as accurate and reliable information. We contribute immensely towards creating a more informed and educated world. The use of the internet in collaborative editing, accessing information, and global distribution of knowledge has made Wikipedia an indispensable platform for knowledge sharing.”

1. What was your overall experience of DRIF?

Teresia “Terry” Boke (Wikimedia Community User Group Kenya) said she was thrilled by “the challenge of speaking at DRIF. It gave me a chance to make new connections and meet fellow Wikipedians with whom I had only interacted with online. The internet has undoubtedly become an essential tool for communication, learning, and business globally, which is evident in how it is utilized in Wikipedia projects. Unfortunately, Wikimedians in Africa face significant challenges that hinder our access to the internet, limiting our potential in contributing to wiki spaces fully. Therefore, there is a need for concerted efforts among government institutions, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector to promote internet access, digital literacy skills, structures, availability of credible information, and address technical barriers that hinder our access and use of the internet.”

Candy Khohliwe (Wikimedia Community User Group Botswana) explained “it was quite amazing to have people from different sectors in one space, and to learn more about what the public sector, private, and the civil society organizations are doing to bridge the internet gap. I got to learn what’s working in different sectors and countries, and how Wikimedians might trial the same strategies to protect our communities: for example, by detecting malicious practices.”

Romeo Ronald Lomora (Wikimedia Community User South Sudan) said that DRIF was an amazing platform, and echoed that it brought so many different doers from different communities. “I saw how most of the work we do as Wikimedians connects to all of their efforts. The event was worth attending if only because it demonstrated the power of different stakeholders collaborating together.”  

Carol Mwaura (Wikimedia Community User Group Kenya) explained that “attending DRIF brought a whole new meaning to my role as a Wikimedian. It helped me understand the challenges that people face in different countries in Africa when they have limited access to the internet due to challenges like affordability, digital literacy, and internet infrastructure. I gained more insights on policy debates and discussions around digital rights in Africa and how internet shutdowns affect access to information for citizens. Understanding these challenges can help Wikimedians to create more inclusive and accessible information and reach more diverse communities.”

Sandra Aceng (Wikimedia Community User Group Uganda) said it was great to meet other Wikimedians from East Africa in person for the first time, and that “DRIF was different, the majority of speakers were discussing solutions rather than challenges, which is a very strategic way forward for the work that we do in Uganda and across Africa as Wikimedia Uganda. Being part of the digital rights space, I have no doubt that our participation was very meaningful and impactful to the digital rights folks at DRIF.”

2. In what way do you think other DRIF attendees benefited from Wikimedians’ participation? What do you think they learned from you?

Candy
said it was an important opportunity “to address the misconceptions people have about Wikipedia. We are not just editing content without evidence: rather, we have structures that monitor and fact check the articles that editors publish on Wikipedia, so that we make sure to add accurate, reliable, and unbiased content. We were able to build confidence that Wikipedia is a very reliable open-source platform.”

Terry echoed Candy, and explained that Wikimedians “were able to provide a better understanding of how the Wikipedia model works and answer some common questions. There’s still a need for creating more awareness, as well as community sensitization and capacity building that needs to be done. I felt like we did not have enough time to share more on the work that Wikipedians are doing across the world, and hence that there is a need to attend  more forums and provide trainings on the same.”

Romeo said that he was able to “highlight how Wikimedia projects cut across the initiatives that other participants are implementing to solve problems in their communities. I was able to give them useful feedback based on wiki tools and approaches in low-connectivity settings like Kiwix and WikiFundi. Our participation helped them see how we operate—that we do more than just add content—and the underlying solutions we offer to the problems they are also trying to solve, just in different contexts.”

Sandra explained that DRIF attendees learned what Wikimedians are doing across Africa, that anyone can contribute on Wikipedia, and that they can also do so beyond adding content. Attendees saw that we work on diverse issues, many of which align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other policy priorities across the continent. Importantly, they learned that Africans, and not just people from the global north, are Wikimedians.”

Carol Mwaura answered that “DRIF attendees had an opportunity to meet Wikipedians from eastern and southern Africa and learn about the role of Wikipedia and its mission in providing free, reliable, and accessible knowledge. They also had an opportunity to learn how Wikipedia can be used as a tool of promoting digital inclusion and knowledge equity. We had a chance to talk to attendees about how they could join communities in their countries and be contributors of free knowledge.”

Day two of the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum 2023. Video by Paradigm Initiative, standard YouTube license, via YouTube.

3. What key lessons and insights will you be sharing back with your community?

Candy said it is important to “explore, network, be persistent and innovative in the work we do as open-source communities until we see a change to the challenges we face to ensure inclusivity for all. I would also like to invite some of the contacts I made at DRIF to host talks with my community on topics like cybersecurity or best practices to run an open source community.”

Romeo added: “One important lesson is that collaboration is always more powerful than competition: By harnessing the power of working together we are able to create a larger magnitude of impact with the things we do. I will also share with my community how many stakeholders are interested in the work we do, and that we have a far reaching impact than we had imagined as Wikimedians.”

Terry said “Collaboration! Collaboration! Collaboration! I’d also encourage fellow Wikipedians not to let fear hold them back from expanding their knowledge and skills. Embrace the opportunity to join community calls and trainings, as they provide a valuable platform for growth and collaboration, enabling you to become a more confident and knowledgeable contributor to the Wikipedia community.”

Sandra explained that “collaborations between Wikimedians and the digital rights community is key; Wikimedians should prioritize participating in digital rights related conferences, and should also organize local ‘get to know your Wikimedia community’ events to share different Wikimedia-related projects taking place in the region. Most people do not know that Wikipedia is also edited by Black people based in their own communities.” 

Carol said that she wants to “contribute to policy discussions and collaborate with Wikimedians to create articles that reflect the diverse perspectives and needs of African communities. I would like to engage with other Wikimedians in my region and around the world to discuss how we can collectively work towards building a more sustainable and inclusive internet for all. The networks of policymakers, civil society organizations, and technology experts that DRIF exposed me to provide valuable opportunities to collaborate and build partnerships for driving digital inclusion and to support knowledge equity on Wikipedia.”

Alice Kibombo (Wikimedia Community User Group Uganda) explained that “DRIF clearly illustrated how important it is for Wikimedians to participate in the digital rights space. I will keep reminding my community of this!”

4. If you could participate again next year, what would you present?

Candy said that she “would prefer we do a mini edit-a-thon in order to give people the experience and opportunity to learn how to edit, and so that they grasp what we mean by being a Wikimedian.”

Romeo answered that he “would talk about Wikimedians building tools for sustainable knowledge sharing and distribution,” and Terry that she would talk about “strategies for promoting multilingualism in Wikipedia and ensuring language diversity in online content.”

Sandra highlighted the importance of focusing on Wikipedia and the Sustainable Development Goals, to explore “how do Wikimedians across Africa contribute to the SDGs? Who are the excluded? How is inclusion a priority on Wikipedia in this context?”

Carol said that she would present on “the role of Wikipedia in promoting digital inclusion and knowledge equity in Africa, as well as strategies for creating more inclusive and accessible content on Wikipedia.”

Alice answered “a workshop that aims at sensitizing participants on what the Wikimedia projects are, what facets of information they deal with, and the intersection between these projects, digital rights, and inclusion.”

Wikimedia movement sessions at DRIF23

For more details on the three sessions in which Wikimedians and Foundation staff participated during DRIF23, read below.

What Does Digital Inclusion Look Like on Wikipedia? 

Gender inequality is rife across Africa and beyond, especially online, where there is a shortage of fact-based news, information, and knowledge about women and their experiences on Wikipedia. Refugees’ and women’s knowledge and contributions to the world are invisible online due to the continuous digital divide that exists across the continent. This session intends to narrate practical stories of what is being done by East African Wikimedians through Art+Feminism in Botswana and Wikipedia For Refugees in Uganda to advance digital inclusion on Wikipedia and build a sustainable, open, free, safe, and secure environment/space for all. This panel discussion will help the audience understand the work of East African Wikimedians in closing the digital divide on Wikipedia to amplify work in other countries. The session will be captured in the form of a blog post and published on Diff to share future learnings with Wikimedians across the world.

Speakers: Candy Khohliwe (Wikimedia Community User Group Botswana), Sandra Aceng (Wikimedia Community User Group Uganda), Carol Mwaura (Wikimedia Community User Group Kenya), Alice Kibombo (Wikimedia Community User Group Uganda)

Moderator: Romeo Ronald Lomora (Wikimedia Community User South Sudan)

20 Years Later: What the Wikimedia Movement Can Teach Us about the Future of a Sustainable Internet

How can Africa build a sustainable internet that remains open to everyone’s participation? This question is pertinent at a time when online spaces for discussion are shrinking, regulated through centralized platform policies, bought by billionaires, or built around targeted advertising and data-tracking. In this panel conversation, we will explore what insights the Wikimedia movement in Africa can offer. Individual contributors across the continent create and maintain knowledge projects like Wikipedia, Wikidata, and Wikimedia Commons. Their everyday actions and the projects that they launch reflect what they believe the future of the internet in Africa can look like. The decentralized, community-led model of the Wikimedia movement can be one approach to building a sustainable internet for the continent—an internet that serves and includes local communities who can actively shape the future that they want. This panel will feature members from the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia movement in Africa, who will share stories and lessons from 20 years of Wikimedia projects, and how these can help identify solutions to building a sustainable internet future for all.

Speakers: Winnie Kabintie (Wikimedia Foundation), Veronica Thamaini (Wikimedia Foundation), Ricky Gaines (Wikimedia Foundation)

Moderator: ‘Gbenga Sesan (Paradigm Initiative)

Internet Sustainability in Practice: Experiences from Wikimedians in Eastern Africa

This is a panel discussion featuring Wikimedians from South Sudan, Uganda, Botswana, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they share their experiences with network and internet connectivity disruptions. The objective is to help the audience understand the general East African context and how communities in the region try to deal with the reality of internet disruptions. Stories from Wikimedians in various countries around the region—including South Sudan, Rwanda, Uganda, Botswana, Cameroon, and others—will be shared. Wikimedia projects have a huge impact on the availability of content and knowledge around East Africa. There is no internet without content and community, and this panel discussion is an opportunity for the audience to advocate policies that can reform the availability and ease of internet access in East African communities from the perspective of Wikimedians.

Speakers: Terry Boke (Wikimedia Community User Group Kenya), Romeo Ronald Lomora (Wikimedia Community User South Sudan), Candy Khohliwe (Wikimedia Community User Group Botswana)

Moderator: Winnie Kabintie (Wikimedia Foundation)

Pre-conference day (27th April 2023) activity of the ‘WikiConference India 2023’ or WCI2023 by Biswarup Ganguly

With an aim to build connections across India and South Asia, Wikiconference India took place in May 2023 after a gap of many years. This provided a common platform for Wikimedians and stakeholders contributing to Wikimedia projects in this region to meet, connect, and share their success stories, challenges, and future strategies.

Our communities have evolved and changed since the last WCI and more recently faced many challenges due to COVID. The motivation behind deciding on “Strengthening Bonds” as the central theme was to understand all these changes, tighten the previous connections and form new ones.

In this blog, the WCI Conference Organizers aim to share their thinking and strategy behind the program design for this three-day conference which included sessions from Indian community members, South Asian Community members, and staff from the Wikimedia Foundation. (If you haven’t yet, please read our previous blogs on Conference Themes and the Scholarships Program).

OUR CORE THEMES

To give our program a defined structure and scope, 5 sub-themes were chosen after pondering upon the challenges faced by communities which were also the conference themes. While diversity, collaboration, and vibrance are like air, water, and fire for the Wikimedia community, technology is the ground we stand on, and Engagement & Growth is the sky we aim to reach every day. All these together build the strength of our movement.

PARALLEL SESSIONS

The initial idea was to give the same theater-styled experience to the entire audience, which would include community showcases, panel discussions, and learning activities/workshops for each sub-theme and no parallel sessions. But moving closer to the conference, we decided to include cultural performances, unconferences, excursions, etc and made exceptions for intriguing sessions in terms of duration which made parallel sessions inevitable.

In our vision, the showcases were meant to act as an exploratory step, the panel discussions focussed on picking a larger discussion and digging deep into meta-level questions, and the workshops tried to provide tangible outputs and learning opportunities.

PROGRAM DESIGN

The conference had around 30 sessions composed of 6-panel discussions, 10 showcases, 7 activities/ workshops along with a few other miscellaneous sessions.

  • Each panel discussion happened strictly for an hour with 4-5 panelists who are well equipped with the knowledge, good representatives of that domain, and can share justifiable insights and personal experiences in response to the moderator’s questions.
  • Showcases (global and local) had varied timings from a minimum of 60 minutes to a maximum of 90 minutes. They had multiple segments and the presenters kept shifting accordingly. This gave a chance for all the presenters to walk proudly onto the stage and give credit to their tremendous work.
  • Workshops and learning activities were mostly for an hour and had a constant host till the end.
  • Cultural Showcase: In order to make the experience whole, we included a cultural showcase during Day 1 of dance forms native to Telangana, and on Day 3 the attendees were taken to Shilparamam, an arts and crafts village in Hyderabad.

EVALUATION CRITERIA

Coming to the evaluation criteria, the scoring mechanism was based on how well a session resonates with the themes, its relevance to the audience, its scaling feasibility, any potential post-conference engagement plans, contribution to equity/marginalized projects, and the endorsement/support the topic has from wiki communities. With all this in mind, session proposals were meticulously evaluated by the WCI programs sub-committee, and the entire program was designed based on submissions received and dedicated to our communities.

Additionally, to account for any last-moment changes and contingencies, we kept a few backup sessions, and Plan Bs ready. Luckily for us, members of the WCI Core Organizing Team (COT) were experienced and seasoned individuals who also thought on their feet and readily gave solutions to any changes.

All our endeavors were focused on ensuring a great attendee experience that is in line with our ambition and theme of Strengthening Bonds. Thus the conference played a crucial role in fostering discussions around the best practices, learnings, and experiences in communities to drive progress in the movement for collective success.

We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.

– Franklin D. Roosevelt –

Since 2022, OpenStreetMap Indonesia (POI) has been collaborating with Wikimedia Indonesia to increase public awareness of Gallery, Library, Archive, and Museum (GLAM) objects in Indonesia, especially among youth. Several activities have been conducted, including a University Roadshow in several cities across the country and a Flash Mapping Competition at the end of 2022.

In February 2023, POI and Wikimedia Indonesia organized an in-person training called ‘GLAM Training & Editathon’ in Bandung, a city in Indonesia known for its rich cultural and historical assets. The objective was to increase youth awareness of GLAM objects in Bandung and teach them how to add information about these objects to Wikidata and OpenStreetMap. By doing so, we are hoping that GLAM objects in Bandung can be more well-documented and people can access it online.

One of museum located in Bandung, called ‘Museum Kota Bandung’

There are more than 30 participants joining this training session, and most of them are young people with the age under 25 years old. We managed to involve six different communities in Bandung with this activity, coming from different backgrounds such as university students, local communities, and public as well (see the list of the communities below). 

During the two days session of the trainings, the participants learned how to use Wikidata, starting by creating their own account (if they don’t have one), adding the description for each GLAM objects identified, and upload it into the Wikidata. Furthermore, the participants were also taught how to place GLAM objects on a map using OpenStreetMap. By doing this, it was possible to gain a better understanding of the distribution of GLAM objects in Bandung.

More than 30 participants attended the GLAM Training & Edit-a-thon held at 101 Hotel in Bandung

From this activity, we successfully created amazing statistics produced by 30 participants in just two-day of training sessions: 

  • More than 230 items of GLAM objects were added/modified using Wikidata
  • More than 3.500 buildings were mapped using OpenStreetMap
  • 14 GLAM objects were mapped in OpenStreetMap

This activity carried out by POI and Wikimedia Indonesia was intended to encourage and empower young people to take an active role in preserving historical and cultural heritage assets, particularly those located in their communities. By providing training on Wikidata and OpenStreetMap, we hope to increase the capacity of youth to identify and document GLAM objects in their local area.

Three participants entitled as Top Mappers in this activity, hopefully they can share their knowledge with others in Bandung

In addition to enhancing their knowledge and skills, we also hope that the participants will be able to share their newly acquired knowledge with others. By doing so, they can help to raise awareness about the importance of preserving GLAM objects and how to access the relevant data using Wikidata and OpenStreetMap.

Through this activity, we aim to foster a culture of community engagement and participation in preserving cultural heritage assets, and to encourage more young people to get involved in similar initiatives in the future.

21 years ago on 3rd June 2002, Punjabi Wikipedia in the Gurmukhi script was started as a domain but the first articles came in around January 2005. It was only in the beginning of the 2010s that a community started forming around the project. As of June 2012, there were only about 2000 articles on the project but in 2014, it became the fastest-growing Indic-language Wikipedia by adding 8,000 articles in one year.1

“Punjabi language is divided among two scripts and two Wikipedias but we still see a collaboration among the communities. New content created in Gurmukhi is quickly transliterated in Shahmukhi and sometimes vice versa. We need to foster this collaboration further.”

Charan Gill, the highest contributor on the Punjabi Wikipedia, who has written about 23% articles on the project.

After a period of slowdown during the pandemic, the entire community came together for Mission 50,000, a call-for-action to reach 50k articles, in order to celebrate the 21st birthday of Punjabi Wikipedia. The 50,000th article created on the project is about a soap-like powder made from a bush that has been used for cleaning clothes in Punjab, which doesn’t have an equivalent in other languages. This article has been created by 16-year old User:Harry sidhuz, who joined the project a couple years back.

Article creations on Punjabi Wikipedia from January 2005 until May 2023. (Wikistats)

Accomplishments

Pageviews on Punjabi Wikipedia have grown ~32 times from an average of 100k views per month back in 2008 to an average of 3.3M views per month in 2023.2

On the other hand, the Punjabi community organized itself and became the first User Group in India in 2015 and led the local organization of WikiConference India 2016. Many members of the community participated and engaged in the recently organized WikiConference India 2023, for which Punjabi Wikimedian Nitesh Gill was the Conference Lead.

“We are a small community but our contributions and acitivities show that even a small number of committed individuals can make a big difference.”

Nitesh Gill, the only female admin on Punjabi Wikipedia

Due to the efforts of Wikimedians like her, Punjabi Wikipedia is today one of the rarest Wikipedias as out of all the biographies on the project, 52.8% of are about females, compared to the 18.5% of the female biographies on English Wikipedia.3

Challenges

The community faces a lot of technical challenges, especially around templates and tools. We seek help about such questions on the Wikimedia General chat on Telegram. It is lovely to get the support from the larger community and encouragement to continue asking for it.

“I really love how the people from the Punjabi Wikipedia keep asking technical questions here. That’s the right thing to do. I wish more people from more languages did it.”

Amir Aharoni wrote in the Telegram group

Besides the technical challenges, we are still struggling to create on-wiki policies around content and contribution. For example, policies around what would constitute a Good article in our context or a formal policy around non-free content on the site.

Punjabi Wikimedians at WikiConference India 2023. Photo by Sailesh Patnaik

Looking ahead

“We should reflect and create a future plan. If possible, during an offline event. A few things we should discuss are; the quality of the articles, creating a platform for the skill development of newbies, and collaboration among different Wikimedia projects. We should also thing about bringing new volunteers from different cities of Punjab.”

Mulkh Singh, a veteran Wikimedian, wrote in the Punjabi Wiki WhatsApp group

“I think we need some advanced tools and bots to help with clean-up and possible copyright violations.”

Kuldeep Singh, 24-year old, who recently became an admin on Punjabi Wikipedia after having actively contributing to both the content and the technical aspects of the project since September 2022

It is encouraging to see that there is a group of diligent newbies who have joined the project in the recent years. Some of these contributors started contributing to Wikipedia after spending a few years transcribing texts on Punjabi Wikisource. One such contributor, Tamanpreet Kaur, joined Punjabi Wikisource in 2018 when she was just 13-year old. After thousands of edits on the Wikisource, she started actively contributing to Punjabi Wikipedia in March 2022. Now, she is the fourth highest article creator on the project with ~2400 articles.

Finally, as we plan to continue building upon the work so far, I would like to express my gratitude to all the current and the former volunteers who have contributed to this project. The complete list of contributors with further details can be accessed at wikiscan.

Wikimedia Hackathon Athens 2023

Thursday, 1 June 2023 00:00 UTC

I attended my first in-person technical event last month: the 2023 Wikimedia Hackathon in Athens, Greece! After initially getting involved just before certain major world events it was really nice to finally get an opportunity to meet both people I’d consider friends and that I’ve never worked with before.1 I'm the one in the middle here, with a green t-shirt and a hat. Image credit: CC BY 4.0 by Tiago Lubiana.

2023 Wikimedia Hackathon recap

Wednesday, 31 May 2023 23:59 UTC

I had a wonderful time at the 2023 Wikimedia Hackthon in Athens, Greece, earlier this month. The best part was easily seeing old friends that I haven't met in person since probably 2018 and getting to hack and chat together. I also met a ton of new friends for the first time, even though we've been working together for multiple years at this point! I very much enjoy the remote, distributed nature of working in Wikimedia Tech, but it's also really nice to meet people in person.

This post is very scattered because that was my experience at the hackathon itself, just constantly running around, bumping into people.

I wrote that I wanted to work on: "mwbot-rs and Rust things, technical governance (open to nerd sniping)". I definitely did my fair share of Rust evangelism and had good discussions regarding technical governance (more on that another time). And some Mastodon evangelism and a bunch of sticker trading.

But before I got into hacking things, I tabulated and published the results of the 2022 Commons Picture of the Year contest, which I think turned out pretty well this year. Of course, the list of things to improve for next year keeps getting longer and longer (again, more on that in a future post).

At some point during conversation, I/we realized that the GWToolset extension was still deployed on Wikimedia Commons despite being, well, basically dead. It hadn't been used in over a year and last rites were administered back in November (literally, you have to look at the photos).

With a thumbs-up from extension-undeploying expert Zabe (and others), I undeployed it! There was a "fun" moment when the venue WiFi dropped so the scap output froze on my terminal, but I knew it sucessfully went through a few minutes later because of the IRC notification, phew. Anyways, RIP, end of an era.

And then Taavi deployed the RealMe extension, which allows wiki users to verify their Mastodon accounts and vice versa. But we went for dinner immediately after so Taavi wasn't even the first one to announce it, Raymond beat him to it! :-)

I spent a while rebasing a patch to bring EventStreams output to parity with the IRC feed that was first posted in April 2020 and got it merged (you're welcome Faidon ;)).

One of the last things I did before leaving was an interview about MediaWiki in the context of spinning up a new MediaWiki platform team (guess which one I am). At one point the question was "What is the single biggest pain point of working in MediaWiki?" Me: "can I have two?"

Reviewed a bunch of stuff:

Probably the most important patch I wrote at the hackathon was to add MaxSem, Amir (Ladsgroup), TheDJ and Petr Pchelko to the primary MediaWiki authors list on Special:Version. <3

Despite having a bunch of wonderful people being there, it was also very apparent who wasn't there. We need more regional hackathons and after a bit of reassurance from Siebrand and Maarten, it became clear that we have enough Wikimedia Tech folks in New York City already, so uh, stay tuned for details about some future NYC-based hackathon and let me know if you're interested in helping!

Final thanks to the Wikimedia Foundation for giving me a scholarship to attend. I really can't wait until the next time I get to see everyone again.

The Samuel H. Kress Foundation has awarded Wiki Education a $25,000 grant to lead a 10-week Wiki Scholars course in the upcoming year that will train scholars in pre-modern European art and architecture how to add their knowledge to a topic deeply underdeveloped on Wikipedia. The Foundation agrees it’s critical that Wikipedia provides accurate, expert, and comprehensive information on art history and architecture for the benefit of museum professionals and art history students, as well as the interested public.

This extensive course will not only disseminate research about pre-modern European art and architecture to a potential audience of millions, but will also train art historians in fundamental, valuable career skills to take forward into all they do in an increasingly digital world. We’ll collaborate with scholarly partners like the Detroit Institute of Arts and address information gaps on Wikipedia related to pre-modern European art and architecture from antiquity to 1830. The quality of these Wikipedia articles varies and there is a strong bias towards Western European work, while Central and Eastern European art and architecture are poorly covered. We aim to bring more balance and diversity to Wikipedia’s coverage in these areas.

Given Wikipedia’s global reach, art institutions are able to connect with audiences in languages and contexts they never could have imagined. Wikipedia has an unparalleled ability to reach audiences around the globe. Averaging 18 billion page views per month, the website is the 7th most visited in the world. Not only that, Wikipedia content has a measurable effect on whether or not tourists plan a visit. Wikipedia drives enjoyment of art as well as learning. And cultural institutions are taking notice.

Take the Met, for example. After adopting an Open Access licensing policy for their images and data, they began reaching 10 million more people per month through Wikipedia – 7 times the reach of their own website. The Smithsonian, SFMOMA, and the Art Institute of Chicago have followed suit with Wikipedia and Wikidata initiatives of their own. All of these incredible organizations have consulted Wiki Education’s expertise and guidance at some point along their Wikipedia/Wikidata journey. Art historians are seeking the skills they need to do this important open access work, and Wiki Education has a successful track record for facilitating experts’ entry into Wikipedia’s editorial world.

We’re currently looking for additional partners to do this exciting work, so if you or your organization is interested in being involved in this initiative, please reach out to jami@wikiedu.org. We’re excited to work with new organizations in this mission and are extremely grateful to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation for their generous support as we make Wikipedia better together, for all.

Thumbnail image “The School of Athens” by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, public domain.

Notes on the Wikimedia 2023 Athens Hackathon

Wednesday, 31 May 2023 18:28 UTC

Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net)., CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons Earlier this month I had the pleasure and privilege of attending the Wikimedia 2023 Hackathon in Athens, Greece 🇬🇷.

Ghanaian Wikimedians

The Ghanaian Wikimedia Languages Meetup, sponsored by the Wikimedia Foundation in partnership with Gurene Wikimedia Community, Moore Wikimedia Community, Ghanaian Pidgin Wikimedians Community, Dagbani Wikimedians User Group, Ewe Wikimedians User Group, Fante Wikimedians Community, Dagaare Wikimedians Community, Kusaal Wikimedia Community, Wikimedians of Twi Language, Rising Voices, Wikimedia Language Diversity Hub, and Art+Feminism, was held at the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Guest House in Tamale, the Northern Regional Capital, from May 12-14 May 2023. 

This event brought together participants from diverse linguistic backgrounds, each with a shared passion for enriching the world’s knowledge through Wikipedia. Over the course of the meetup, attendees engaged in various activities, including networking, workshops, and open mic discussions aimed at strengthening the Wikimedia ecosystem in Ghana, identifying the major challenges, and suggesting ways to address those issues.

Around 60 Wikimedians from nine Ghanaian language Wikimedian communities, including Kusaal, Ewe, Dagaare, Twi, Dagbani, Ghanaian Pidgin, Gurene, Fante, and Moore Wikimedia communities, helped to bridge the digital divide that keeps people from accessing the internet due to language barriers. A two-day conference gave participants from the various communities in the country the opportunity to brainstorm on how to better distinguish language platforms and learn from others what has worked and what has not worked. 

Day One: A Journey of Introductions and Exploration

The meetup kicked off with an atmosphere of enthusiasm as participants from different Wikipedia communities introduced themselves. It was inspiring to witness the diverse array of linguistic backgrounds and the collective dedication to advancing knowledge in Ghana.

Maxwell Beganim, Co-Founder of the Ghana Pidgin Language Community and core team member of the GWLC, welcomed the participants from all the language groups who attended the maiden edition of the GWLC. He highlighted the importance of unity in diversity, which fundamentally gives essence to the local language.

Mr. Maxwell Beganim, Co-Founder of the Ghana Pidgin Language Community

Opening Remarks by Mr. Shahadu Sadik

To set the stage for the event, Shahadu Sadik, the Executive Director of the Dagbani Wikimedians User Group, delivered an insightful opening address. With his deep understanding of the Wikimedia movement and its potential, Mr. Shahadu emphasized the importance of collaboration and community-building.

Mr. Shahadu Sadik, the Executive Director of the Dagbani Wikimedians User Group

Unveiling the Curationist: Making Art and Artifacts Accessible

A noteworthy highlight of Mr. Sadik’s speech was his introduction of the Curationist, a powerful and free tool designed to enhance access to millions of digital images of artworks and artifacts from around the world. Curationist is a free online resource that brings together arts and culture communities to find, share, collaborate, and reimagine cultural narratives.

As Mr. Sadik explained, the Curationist enables users to explore a vast collection of artworks and artifacts from various cultures and eras, all on one accessible platform. This revolutionary tool empowers Ghanaian Wikimedians to curate engaging content, bring cultural heritage to life, and showcase the rich tapestry of Ghana’s artistic and historical legacy to a global audience.

Community Projects: Showcasing Wikimedia’s Impact in Ghana

The meetup provided a platform for each Wikimedia community to showcase their ongoing projects and initiatives. Representatives highlighted the diverse range of topics they were working on, from creating and expanding Wikipedia articles in local languages to digitizing and preserving cultural heritage.

The Dagbani Wikimedians User Group in perspective

During the Ghanaian Wikimedia Languages Meetup, Mr. Yussif Abdul Rasheed, the Projects Manager for the Dagbani Wikimedians User Group, represented their group and shared an overview of their notable projects and collaborations. Here are the highlights of their initiatives:

  1. Activating Local Language Communities:

In September 2020, the Dagbani Wikimedians User Group embarked on a project to activate local language communities. Their aim was to encourage the use of the Dagbani language in contributing to Wikimedia projects, particularly Wikipedia.

  1. Dagbani Bachinima:

In December 2020, the group successfully organized the Dagbani Bachinima project. This initiative aimed to produce short sentences in the Dagbani language, effectively promoting local language content and cultural preservation.

  1. WikiLoves Campaigns:

The Dagbani Wikimedians actively participated in various WikiLoves campaigns, including Wiki Loves Folklore, Wiki Loves Monuments, and Wiki Loves Earth. These campaigns focused on capturing and sharing images related to folklore, historical monuments, and natural landscapes in Ghana. The photographs taken during these campaigns were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, enriching the visual resources available on Wikimedia projects.

  1. Translating Mediawiki Statements:

The group embarked on a project to translate the most commonly used statements in MediaWiki on TranslateWiki. 

  1. Collaboration with Moleskine Foundation:

The Dagbani Wikimedians partnered with the Moleskine Foundation to translate articles related to the coronavirus pandemic. 

  1. Dagbani Wikipedia Saha:

The group talked about the Dagbani Wikipedia Saha, a tele-education program focused on training individuals interested in contributing to Wikipedia. This initiative aimed to empower community members with the skills and knowledge required to create and improve content on the Dagbani Wikipedia.

  1. Participation in Internet Governance Forum and Celtic Knot Conference:

The Dagbani Wikimedians actively participated in notable events such as the Internet Governance Forum and the Celtic Knot Conference. These engagements provided opportunities to share their experiences, insights, and contributions to the Wikimedia movement with a wider audience.

During his presentation, Mr. Yussif Abdul Rasheed from the Dagbani Wikimedians User Group also highlighted some of the challenges they face in their Wikimedia endeavors. These challenges include:

  1. Internet Connectivity Challenges:

Access to reliable and affordable internet connectivity remains a significant obstacle in their office space. Limited or unstable internet connectivity can hinder participation and collaboration in online Wikimedia projects, making it difficult for contributors to engage consistently.

  1. Retaining Active Editors:

Sustaining active contributors and editors over the long term is a common challenge for many Wikimedia communities. Encouraging individuals to continue their involvement requires ongoing support, motivation, and opportunities for skill development. Efforts to build a strong sense of community, provide mentorship, and recognize the contributions of dedicated editors can help address this challenge.

  1. IT Technical Know-How:

Technical proficiency in using Wikimedia tools and platforms is essential for effective contributions. However, not all community members may possess the necessary IT skills or knowledge. Providing training programs, workshops, and resources to enhance technical capabilities can empower community members to navigate the digital landscape confidently.

  1. Internet Data Accessibility:

The cost and availability of internet data can be barriers to engagement, particularly for individuals who rely on limited or expensive data plans. Accessing and contributing to Wikimedia projects may be challenging if community members face restrictions on their internet data usage. Advocacy for affordable and accessible internet data options can help mitigate this challenge.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Yussif Abdul Rasheed shared some powerful quotations that emphasize the significance of language and its impact on culture and connection. These quotations are as follows:

  1. “Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.” – Rita Mae Brown

This quote by Rita Mae Brown highlights the fundamental role of language in understanding and appreciating a culture. Language serves as a guide, providing insights into the origins, traditions, and aspirations of a community. It acts as a powerful tool for preserving and sharing the unique aspects of a culture, acting as a bridge between the past and the future.

  1. “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela’s quote emphasizes the profound impact of speaking to someone in their native language. When we communicate with others in their mother tongue, we establish a deeper connection that transcends mere comprehension. By engaging with individuals in their own language, we foster a sense of understanding, empathy, and cultural appreciation. It signifies our respect for their heritage and creates a bond that touches the core of their being.

Mr. Yussif Abdul Rasheed, the Projects Manager for the Dagbani Wikimedians User Group

Ewe Wikimedians User Group in perspective

Mr. Christopher represented the Ewe Wikimedians User Group and shared their group’s activities, challenges, and aspirations for the year. Here is a summary of their presentation:

Activities

The Ewe Wikimedians User Group began their initiatives by organizing Wiki Loves Africa, a photography contest focused on capturing images that represent African culture, traditions, and heritage. Through photowalks, participants explored various locations, documenting the rich cultural tapestry of the Ewe people and their surroundings.

Additionally, the group actively engaged in a Wikidata contest, contributing to the expansion of structured data on Wikidata. By participating in this contest, the Ewe Wikimedians aimed to enhance the availability of accurate and relevant information about Ewe culture and history.

Challenges

Mr. Christopher highlighted two main challenges faced by the Ewe Wikimedians User Group. The first challenge is time constraints, as members often have other commitments that limit their availability for Wikimedia activities. The second challenge is the need for support, both in terms of resources and expertise, to further their initiatives effectively.

Goals for the Year

In the coming year, the Ewe Wikimedians User Group aims to strengthen its structure and team. By building a cohesive and collaborative team, they seek to enhance their capacity to contribute to Wikimedia projects and drive sustainable growth within their community.

Additionally, the group aspires to improve the quantity and quality of Ewe-language content across Wikimedia platforms. They aim to expand existing articles, create new ones, and ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information available in the Ewe language.

Fante Wikimedians Community in perspective

Mr. Robert Jamal, representing the Fante Wikimedians Community, shared their journey and challenges faced by the Fante Wikipedia. Here are the key points from his presentation:

Background and Progress

Mr. Jamal highlighted that the Fante Wikipedia was initiated a few years ago, but initially faced difficulties in gaining traction. However, he mentioned that significant progress was made recently when Fante Wikipedia entered the incubator phase. He expressed gratitude to Mr. Sadik and Mr. Dnshitobu from the Dagbani Wikimedians User Group for their guidance and support, which helped the Fante Wikipedia successfully graduate from the incubator within a year.

Challenges

The Fante Wikimedians Community faces several challenges in their Wikimedia efforts. One major challenge is related to internet data problems. Limited access to affordable and reliable internet data hampers the participation and engagement of community members in contributing to the Fante Wikipedia. Another challenge is the lack of active editors, which impacts the growth and development of the Fante Wikipedia.

Future Plans and Collaborations

Mr. Jamal outlined their plans for the future, which include collaborating with various communities. By partnering with other Wikimedia communities, the Fante Wikimedians aim to expand their reach, increase participation, and foster knowledge exchange. Collaborations can help address challenges, share experiences, and collectively work towards enhancing Fante Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects.

The Dagaare Wikimedians Community in perspective

Mr. Zakaria Tunsung represented the Dagaare Wiki Community and shared their achievements, challenges, and future plans. Here are the key points from his presentation:

Projects Carried Out

The Dagaare Wiki Community has achieved significant milestones since the inception of the Dagaare Wikipedia Incubator. They successfully translated vital media messages on translatewiki.net, making important content available in the Dagaare language. The community has also made remarkable progress by creating 371 articles within just three months in the incubator, showcasing the dedication and contributions of their active editors.

The community organized a physical training session in Wa, which resulted in the creation of over 20 new user accounts. This event not only provided technical training but also fostered a sense of community among the participants. The community also actively participated in creating articles for the parliamentarians of the 8th parliament of the 4th Republic, demonstrating their commitment to providing valuable and relevant content.

Challenges Faced

The Dagaare Wiki Community faces challenges in organizing physical meetings due to network connectivity issues. The instability of network connectivity hampers their ability to conduct online meetings effectively. They emphasize the importance of physical gatherings for networking, knowledge sharing, and collaboration.

Dialectical differences within the Dagaare language pose another challenge, leading to variations in descriptions and terminologies used in content creation. To ensure consistency, the community aims to address these differences and encourage standardized terminology usage among their editors.

Increasing female participation is recognized as a crucial goal for the community. They aim to create a supportive and welcoming environment for women, fostering gender parity and tapping into the wealth of untapped potential for a more diverse and comprehensive Dagaare Wikipedia.

Future Projects

The Dagaare Wiki Community has exciting plans for the future. They aim to explore alternative communication channels and technologies to address network limitations and facilitate stronger connections through face-to-face interactions. They plan to organize face-to-face training sessions in various locations to accommodate different dialectical variations.

To ensure consistency in terminology usage, the community plans to establish guidelines and resources, including Dagaare dictionaries and academic works by language experts. They also intend to engage with lecturers and students to help establish standardized terminologies.

Increasing female participation will be actively pursued through mentorship programs, workshops, and recognition of women’s contributions. The community also plans to organize a local contest to incentivize article creation and expand content on the incubator.

Additionally, they aim to start projects on Wikidata and lexicographical data, contributing to the repository of Dagaare language data. 

Mr. Zakaria Tunsung from the Dagaare Wiki Community

The Kusaal Wikimedians Community in perspective

Mr. Michael Awimbilla represented the Kusaal Wiki Community and provided an overview of their activities, achievements, challenges, and future plans. Here is a summary of his presentation:

Historical Background

The Kusaal Wikipedia platform was created by the Kusaal Wikimedia community in November 2022.

Achievements

Since the inception of Kusaal Wikipedia, the community has achieved several milestones:

  1. Active translation of Wikipedia terms started in January 2023, and by the end of the month, they met 100% of the translation requirements.
  1. After meeting the translation requirements, the community began creating and uploading articles on the Kusaal incubator main page. So far, they have created 200 articles covering topics such as culture, religion, and agriculture.
  1. The community is actively participating in a contest focused on the profile of the 275 parliamentarians of the 8th Parliament of the 4th Republic of Ghana. They have created over 70 parliamentarian profiles.
  1. A face-to-face training session was organized in three districts, resulting in the recruitment of more members and increased activities on the Wikipedia platform.

Resources Available

The Kusaal Wiki Community has access to a variety of resources, including over 50 titles of Kusaal literature, including the Kusaal Bible, which consists of 66 books, as well as a 1078-page dictionary. These resources will be distributed among members to facilitate the creation and uploading of articles, thereby accelerating their progress towards becoming a mainstream Wikipedia project.

Challenges

The community faces several challenges:

  1. Membership is not as large as expected, despite the presence of numerous Kusaal graduates.
  1. A significant number of members are inactive on the platform and not actively participating.
  1. Limited technical knowledge and lack of necessary equipment such as computers and smartphones, compounded by inadequate internet data, pose challenges for active participation.
  1. The protracted conflict situation in Bawku and its environs has had an impact on the community’s activities.

Plans/Way Forward

The Kusaal Wiki Community has outlined their plans for the future:

  1. They aim to work diligently to meet the requirements for transitioning to a mainstream Wikipedia project by the end of the year, with the support of their lead person in the name of Musah Fuseini (Musahfm)
  1. The community plans to mobilize resources and appeal to their Executive Director for support in facilitating the lead person’s travel to Ajumako to organize training sessions for both students and lecturers.
Mr. Michael Awimbilla from the Kusaal Wiki Community

The Gurene Wikimedians Community in perspective

The Gurene Wiki community, represented by Madam Felicia Amoramah, delivered her presentation, and here are the key points covered in her presentation:

Translation of MediaWiki Statements:

  1. The Gurene Wiki community actively participated in translating MediaWiki statements. This effort ensures that important content related to the Wikimedia platform is available in the Gurene language, allowing users to engage with Wikipedia in their native language.
  1. Graduation from the Incubator:

This year, the Gurene Wiki successfully graduated from the incubator. After a period of development and growth, Gurene Wikipedia is now recognized as an independent and self-sustaining project within the Wikimedia ecosystem. This achievement is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the Gurene Wiki community.

  1. Participation in Wiki Loves Campaigns:

The Gurene Wiki community has actively participated in various Wiki Loves campaigns. These campaigns, such as Wiki Loves Monuments and Wiki Loves Earth, aim to document and showcase cultural heritage sites and natural landscapes through photography. By contributing to these campaigns, the Gurene Wiki community helps preserve and promote their cultural and natural heritage.

  1. Involvement in Parliament of Ghana Contest:

Currently, the Gurene Wiki community is taking part in the Parliament of Ghana contest. This contest involves creating and translating articles about the parliamentarians of the 8th Parliament of the 4th Republic of Ghana. By participating in this contest, the Gurene Wiki community contributes to making information about Ghana’s parliamentarians more accessible and available in the Gurene language.

The Ghanaian Pidgin Wikimedians Community in perspective

DaSupremo, representing the Ghanaian Pidgin community, gave a presentation, and here are the key points highlighted in his presentation:

Inception and Approval of Ghanaian Pidgin Wikipedia

The Ghanaian Pidgin Wikipedia project began in October 2021 with the goal of creating a platform to document and share knowledge in Ghanaian Pidgin. The hard work and dedication of the community led to the approval of the Ghanaian Pidgin Wikipedia as an independent and recognized project by 2023. This achievement demonstrates the significance and growing importance of Ghanaian Pidgin as a language for communication and cultural expression.

Independence and Autonomy

As an independent Wikipedia, the Ghanaian Pidgin community now has the freedom and autonomy to shape and develop their Wikipedia according to their specific linguistic and cultural needs. This independence allows them to create content that reflects the unique characteristics and expressions of Ghanaian Pidgin, fostering a sense of ownership and pride within the community.

Collaboration with Other Communities

The Ghanaian Pidgin community expressed their eagerness to collaborate with other communities. Collaboration opens up opportunities for sharing knowledge, resources, and experiences. By engaging with other language communities, the Ghanaian Pidgin community can foster connections, learn from one another, and contribute to the broader Wikimedia movement.

The Moore Wikimedians Community in perspective

Majeed Chef Hamidu presented an update on the Moore Wiki project. Here are the key points covered in the presentation:

The Moore Wikimedia community is a thriving community dedicated to promoting knowledge, preserving the cultural heritage of the Mossi people, and fostering linguistic diversity through the collaborative efforts of passionate individuals. Moore’s wikimedia community was incubated early in 2022 as part of the Mabia languages to be incubated by the Dagbani Wikimedia User Group. The group is made up of the Mossi people in Ghana and neighboring countries, especially Burkina Faso, who were brought in through a lot of advocacy on many social media platforms and personal meetings with the Mossi people. 

The team organizes meet-ups  in order to exchange ideas and find ways to support new editors and maintain existing editors so they can continue editing projects in areas where they would need help. This year, they have had four successive team meetings to discuss on projects and the way forward of the community

Team Members

Alhassan Alidu = Co-lead

Abdul Rafiu = Co-lead

Majeed Chef Hamidu = Facilitator 

Abdul Rahman Hamidu = Communication, Social Media and Graphic Design Officer

Issaka Abdul Fatawu = Logistics Officer

Membership

On Whatsapp: they currently have 83 members who cut across Ghana and Burkina Faso

On Facebook: they have over 220 followers and likes.

On Telegram, there are 21 members. The lower number in telegram is attributed to the fact that most people are now familiar with telegram as compared to other social media platforms like whatsapp and facebook.

On linkedin: 70

On Instagram: 200

On twitter: they have about 200 followers

On Wikipedia Meta page, 27 people have signed to our page

Projects

In April 2022 they translated the most used statement on mediawiki  on TranslateWiki.net

In June, they embarked on the Regions in Ghana writing contest, where all 16 regions in Ghana were translated from English to Moore from different sources on the internet.

In May 2022, they carried out Wiki Loves Earth 2022 in Ghana. 

In August 2022, WikiVibrance launched the WikiVibrance International Youth Day (IYD) 2022 project.

On February 2023, they carried out the Wiki Loves Folklore 2023 in Ghana project.

In March, they co-carried the Feminism and Folklore in Ghana project with the Gurene Wikimedia Community.

Aside these projects, they participated in other projects like the World Heritage in Danger project and and currently, they are translating articles of member of parliament of the 4th republic

Recommendation

The uniqueness of the Moore people has been attributed to the orthography of the language due to its background among French-speaking people. Nevertheless, with their editors’ deficiencies, they have been able to create a lot of articles since its inception and are still counting on it.

The community has also created hubs in three public tertiary institutions in the Education Ridge Area of Tamale. These hubs are as follows;

  1. Bagabaga College of Education Hub 
  2. Tamale College of Education Hub
  3. Tamale Technical University Hub

Plans are far advanced to set up another at the University for Development Studies, Tamale Campus, by the end of July this year.

Challenges

  1. Low turn up of editors
  2. Orthographical barrier
  3. Geographical barrier
  4. Language barrier
  5. Cost of internet

What to achieve this year

In Ghana, the community has planned to broaden the scope in Kumasi and Accra and, subsequently, all the regions in Ghana.

Before they highlight the next point, you need to appreciate that the Mossi are a Gur ethnic group native to modern Burkina Faso, primarily the Volta River basin. The Mossi are the largest ethnic group in Burkina Faso, constituting 52% of the population, or about 11.1 million people. The other 48% of Burkina Faso’s population is composed of more than 60 ethnic groups, mainly the Gurunsi, Senufo, Lobi, Bobo and Fulani. The Mossi speak the Mòoré language. Due to the population density and the root of the Moore language, the community’s main aim is to visit Burkina Faso to recruit interested and prolific writers who will be able to add volumes of contributions to the Wikipedia space and to bring to light the cultural practices of Burkina Faso and Ghana for the benefit of readers and researchers researching the culture of the indigenous Moore people.

Beyond the dream to launch Moore Wikimedia Community in Burkina Faso, they envisage going live and becoming a fully-fledged Wikipedia language community by the end of 2023.

Mr. Majeed Chef Hamidu

The Twi Wikimedians Community in perspective

 Madam Jemima Antwi, the lead for Wikimedians of Twi Language, represented the Twi Wiki community and shared an overview of their notable projects and collaborations, Again, she highlighted important issues relevant to the community.

  1. Twi names of Day borns

The Twi community embarked on this project to document the meaning and history behind the Twi names given to dayborns, and this was a success.

Again, they embarked on another project dubbed “Twi Names,” where they created articles on Twi names and the history behind each name.

The Twi community continued to embark on a series of translations where they translated biographies of parliamentarians from Parliament 1 to 4. Madam mentioned that Parliament 5 and 6 are in the pipeline for Twi Translatathon 1, 2, 3, and 4.      

  1.  Growth and Development:

Madam Jemima Antwi discussed the growth and development of the Twi Wiki community. This included the number of active contributors, the expansion of content, and the engagement of users within the Twi-speaking community.

  1.  Content Creation:

She emphasized the importance of creating quality content in the Twi language. This involves the translation and creation of articles, topics, and resources that cater to the needs and interests of Twi speakers. Encouraging contributors to write and share knowledge in Twi is crucial for the growth of the Twi Wiki.

  1. Community Engagement:

Madam Jemima Antwi highlighted the significance of community engagement within the Twi Wiki community. This involves encouraging new contributors to join, organizing events and workshops, and fostering a sense of collaboration and support among community members.

  1.  Challenges and Opportunities:

She discussed the challenges faced by the Twi Wiki community, such as the need for more contributors, technical obstacles, or internet connectivity issues. Additionally, she highlighted the opportunities available for the community, such as partnerships with other language communities, participation in contests, or collaborations with educational institutions

  1. Future Plans:

Madam Jemima Antwi outlined the community’s future plans and goals. These included expanding the Twi Wikipedia’s reach, improving the quality and quantity of content, establishing partnerships, or engaging with the broader Wikimedia movement.

  Madam Jemima Antwi

After presentations from different language communities, participants engaged in various indoor activities. These activities aimed to foster a sense of camaraderie and cultural exchange among the attendees. Some of the activities mentioned include:

  1. Kuraya Kuraya:

Kuraya Kuraya is a traditional Ghanaian game that involves hand clapping and rhythmic movements. Participants likely played this game, enjoying the traditional aspects of Ghanaian culture and promoting interaction among the attendees.

  1. Singing of Local Songs:

Participants engaged in singing local songs, showcasing the rich musical heritage of Ghana. This activity provided an opportunity for cultural expression and unity through music.

These activities created a joyful and inclusive atmosphere, allowing attendees to bond and further connect with each other. After the games and singing, Robert Jamal delivered the closing remarks, signaling the end of day one. He expressed gratitude to the participants, acknowledged the achievements of the day.

Overall, the combination of cultural games and music added a festive touch to the event, reinforcing the spirit of collaboration and celebration of Ghanaian linguistic and cultural diversity within the Wikimedia community.

Day Two

On day two of the Ghanaian Wikimedia Languages Meetup, the activities began with a recap of the events and highlights from day one. This recap served as a way to refresh the participants’ memories and ensure that everyone was on the same page regarding the progress made and discussions held during the previous day. It allowed participants to reflect on the achievements, challenges, and ideas shared, fostering a sense of continuity and building upon the momentum created on day one.

The recap included a summary of the presentations made by representatives from different language communities, highlighting the projects, achievements, challenges, and future plans discussed. This served as a reminder of the diverse efforts and contributions made by each community and helped to reinforce the collaborative and inclusive nature of the Wikimedia movement in Ghana.

Furthermore, the recap provided an opportunity for participants to share their thoughts and insights gained from the previous day’s activities. This allowed for further discussion and exploration of ideas, fostering a deeper understanding and engagement among the attendees.

A learning session was conducted, facilitated by Mr. Fuseini Mohammed Kamaldeen (Dnshitobu) from the Dagbani Wikimedia User Group. The focus of this session was to introduce participants to various tools on Wikidata that enhance the usefulness of content on Wikipedia.

Mr. Fuseini guided the participants through the features and functionalities of several tools, including:

  1. Hay Toolforge:

The Hay Toolforge is a tool that allows users to visualize the edit history of a particular Wikipedia article. It provides insights into the editing patterns, revisions, and contributions made to an article over time. This tool can help participants analyze and understand the evolution of content on Wikipedia.

  1. Catanalysis Toolforge:

The Catanalysis Toolforge is a tool designed to analyze categories on Wikipedia. It provides statistical information about the distribution, hierarchy, and usage of categories within the Wikipedia ecosystem. This tool assists participants in better understanding how categories are structured and utilized, enabling them to improve categorization efforts.

  1. Codelookup Toolforge:

The Codelookup Toolforge is a tool that helps participants decipher and understand various codes used on Wikidata. It provides a reference for code mappings and offers insights into the relationships and connections between different codes. This tool facilitates participants’ ability to navigate and utilize codes effectively within the Wikidata platform.

  1. wdprop Toolforge:

The wdprop Toolforge is a tool that allows participants to explore and query properties on Wikidata. It provides a way to retrieve specific information and attributes associated with items on Wikidata. This tool enables participants to extract relevant data and enhance the quality of content on Wikipedia.

During the learning session, participants had the opportunity to engage in hands-on exercises, applying the knowledge gained from Mr. Fuseini’s facilitation. This practical component allowed them to directly interact with the tools, explore their functionalities, and gain practical experience in utilizing them effectively.

By familiarizing participants with these tools and enabling them to engage in hands-on activities, the learning session aimed to equip attendees with the necessary skills and knowledge to leverage these tools to enhance the quality and usability of content on Wikipedia.

The Secretary of the Dagbani Teachers Association, Mr. Abukari Mohammed Awal, addressed the participants and delivered an inspiring message. He emphasized the importance of valuing and embracing one’s mother tongue, urging participants not to underestimate its significance. Mr. Awal encouraged the attendees to integrate their mother tongue into their lives, regardless of their environment or circumstances.

His message emphasized the following key points:

  1. Embracing Mother Language: Mr. Awal stressed the significance of acknowledging and appreciating one’s mother language. He encouraged participants to value their linguistic heritage and recognize the cultural richness embedded within their language.
  2. Cultural Identity: By embracing their mother language, Mr. Awal highlighted how participants could preserve and strengthen their cultural identity. Language is an integral part of cultural heritage, and nurturing one’s mother language helps maintain a connection to traditions, customs, and values.
  3. Language in Everyday Life: Mr. Awal urged participants to incorporate their mother language into their daily lives. Whether at home, school, or any other environment, he emphasized the importance of using and promoting their language to ensure its continued relevance and vitality.

A special award session was held to recognize the outstanding contributions made by participants in the Feminism and Folklore Articles Creation Contest. This contest specifically focused on the Moore and Gurene Wiki communities, highlighting their efforts to create articles related to feminism and folklore.

The award session aimed to celebrate the participants’ hard work, dedication, and creativity in contributing high-quality content to their respective language Wikipedias. It acknowledged their commitment to expanding knowledge and representation in these important thematic areas.

The award session not only provided recognition and encouragement to the winners but also inspired other participants to continue their efforts in creating valuable and diverse content in their respective languages. It highlighted the significance of feminism and folklore as important subjects that contribute to the cultural and historical knowledge of the Moore and Gurene communities.

Mr. Sadik Shahadu, the West Africa Language Coordinator for Art+Feminism, took the opportunity to discuss the importance and objectives of Art+Feminism. Art+Feminism is a global initiative that aims to address information gaps related to gender, feminism, and the arts, with a particular focus on improving content on platforms like Wikipedia.

Mr. Sadik Shahadu emphasized that Art+Feminism is dedicated to building a community of activists who are passionate about creating a more inclusive and equitable representation of gender and feminist perspectives within the arts. The initiative recognizes that historical and contemporary narratives often overlook or undervalue the contributions of women and non-binary individuals in the art world.

By focusing on Wikipedia, Art+Feminism recognizes the platform’s influence as a widely accessed and frequently referenced source of information. The goal is to expand and improve the coverage of women artists, feminist movements, and gender-related topics on Wikipedia to ensure a more accurate and balanced representation of the arts.

Art+Feminism encourages participants to organize edit-a-thons and other community events where volunteers come together to create and improve Wikipedia articles, particularly those related to underrepresented artists, artworks, and feminist perspectives. These events provide an opportunity for collective learning, skill-building, and knowledge-sharing among participants.

Through the collaborative efforts of volunteers worldwide, Art+Feminism aims to challenge the gender biases that exist within the art world and promote a more comprehensive understanding of the diverse contributions made by women and non-binary artists throughout history.

By introducing Art+Feminism at the Ghanaian Wikimedia Languages Meetup, Mr. Sadik Shahadu highlighted the importance of actively closing information gaps and promoting gender equity in the representation of art and feminism. He invited participants to join the movement, participate in edit-a-thons, and contribute to the collective effort of improving gender-related content on Wikipedia.

By empowering individuals to edit and create content, Art+Feminism aims to ensure that the arts reflect a broader and more inclusive narrative—one that recognizes and celebrates the achievements and perspectives of women and non-binary individuals in the artistic field.

In addition to discussing Art+Feminism, Mr. Sadik Shahadu also introduced the participants to the Wikimedia Language Diversity Hub. The Wikimedia Language Diversity Hub is an initiative that aims to support and promote linguistic diversity on Wikimedia platforms, including Wikipedia.

Mr. Sadik Shahadu highlighted the importance of preserving and promoting languages that are at risk of being marginalized or forgotten. The Language Diversity Hub serves as a central resource hub that provides tools, resources, and support for communities working on language-related projects within the Wikimedia movement.

The hub facilitates collaboration among language communities, encourages the creation and improvement of content in underrepresented languages, and promotes the development of language-specific Wikimedia projects. It provides a platform for sharing best practices, strategies, and success stories, enabling communities to learn from one another and collaborate on common goals.

By supporting language diversity, the Wikimedia Language Diversity Hub contributes to the broader mission of Wikimedia to provide free access to knowledge for everyone. It recognizes the cultural and linguistic richness that exists globally and seeks to ensure that knowledge is accessible and available in multiple languages.

Mr. Sadik Shahadu encouraged participants to explore the resources and opportunities offered by the Language Diversity Hub and to actively engage in language-related initiatives within their respective communities. He emphasized that by promoting linguistic diversity, participants can contribute to a more inclusive and representative knowledge ecosystem that values and respects the diversity of languages and cultures.

The introduction of the Wikimedia Language Diversity Hub provided participants with a broader perspective on the significance of linguistic diversity within the Wikimedia movement and underscored the importance of language-related projects in preserving cultural heritage and promoting knowledge sharing across different communities.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Faisal expressed his gratitude to the Wikimedia Foundation for their valuable support in making the Ghanaian Wikimedia Languages Meetup a success. He acknowledged the Foundation’s commitment to promoting knowledge equity and their continuous efforts to support language-related initiatives.

Mr. Faisal extended his appreciation to the core organizing team for their dedication and hard work in bringing together participants from diverse language communities. He acknowledged their efforts in planning and executing the event, ensuring that all languages were represented and given a platform to share their experiences and challenges.

Furthermore, Mr. Faisal expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all the language communities that participated in the meetup. He commended their enthusiasm, active engagement, and contributions throughout the event. Their presence and active participation were crucial in making the meetup a vibrant and enriching experience for everyone involved.

As the participants bid farewell to the event, Mr. Faisal noted the smiles on their faces, reflecting the positive and fruitful interactions that took place during the meetup. He expressed his hope that the connections made, knowledge shared, and collaborations formed during the event would continue to flourish and contribute to the growth and development of the Wikimedia movement in Ghana.

On February 27, 2023, after a long process of construction, Wikipedia in wayuunaiki was finally born.

In August 2008, a group of activists from Venezuela, led by user Maor Melul, proposed two projects to the Wikimedia Language Committee. These projects were accepted and moved to the Wikimedia Incubator. One project was for Wiktionary and the other for Wikipedia. Afterwards, began the construction and development of the interface and other technical issues related to the operation of these projects. 

The construction of both projects aimed to reclaim and promote Venezuelan indigenous themes, specifically focusing on Wayuu knowledge, to reaffirm identity and prevent the loss of the Wayuunaiki language. At the same time, this process would encourage the use of the language in areas such as education and the digital space.

Year 2011

Some native Wayuunaiki speakers began to participate in the project contributing to the translation of the interface and developing articles. However, it wasn’t until 2018 that Wikimedia Venezuela successfully organized a workshop in Maracaibo, a city with a significant Wayuu population, edit-a-thon that had the support  from leaders and academics from different sectors connected to Wayuu knowledge, including the University of Zulia, Cecilio Acosta University, and Venezuelan linguist José Álvarez.

Year 2019

Wikimedia Colombia organized a set of workshops specifically designed for women leaders in Maicao, a border city in Colombia. These workshops received support from the Internet and Society Center at Universidad del Rosario. In 2021, the Eje’ipajirawaa Tijitaalü Wayuu project was launched in collaboration with ISUR and the KARISMA Foundation. This project aimed to assist the Wayuu community by establishing a local network that offered essential resources and tools like Kiwix and MediaWiki. These resources were made accessible for use in rural and disconnected areas.

Year 2022

Wikimedia Argentina, in collaboration with Wikimedia Venezuela, developed a portal dedicated to compiling materials related to the Wikipedia project in Wayuunaiki and providing easier channels to direct user editors to the editing pages in the Wikimedia Incubator for the projects Wikipeetia and Wikipütchimaajatü.

Finally, all the effort and support received from various institutions led to a group of Wayuu activists organizing themselves and coming together to continue the process started in 2008. This group called itself Wikimedistas Wayuu and was formed with all the editors male and female that resulted from the different events and workshops held in different areas such as Maracaibo (Ven), Maicao (Col), and Riohacha (Col).

Wikipeetia is born

The group of activists grouped in Wikimedistas Wayuu supported by the Wikimedia Foundation and the Fundación KARISMA, began to develop edit-a-thons and activities that complemented the training process, an effort that sought to maintain the monthly count of edits on the Wikimedia Incubator platform and the translation of the most important messages of the Wikipeetia interface through traslatewiki. 

With the workshops held from July to December 2022, there were 6 months of work that evidenced the territorialization process that was sought in principle and the increase of editors male and female committed to the Wikipeetia and Wikipütchimaajatü projects. The editing process managed to transcend and even in months that did not have in-person on-site workshops, such as January and part of February, which for the project meant a real interest in giving continuity to the construction process.

It was not until February 27, 2023, that the missing steps were completed and Wikipeetia süka wayuunaiki was born before the wikimedia community of the region and the Wayuu community itself.

Projects that support the educational process

After the creation of Wikipeetia süka wayuunaiki, several institutions understood the importance of having a repository for Wayuu knowledge and the impact of Wikipedia in Wayuunaiki in promoting the language and culture to the global community but also to the Wayuu community itself that is accessing content.

The teaching community recognizes the importance of exposing their students to content that reflects Wayuu knowledge and language, as it is a way to generate collective interest and a way to motivate students to read and write in their native language.

Many of the teachers that make up the group of Wikimedistas Wayuu are active in their respective educational institutions, some from the Venezuelan Guajira, specifically from areas such as Paraguaipoa, Guarero, Maracaibo and Cojoro, while on the Colombian side there are ethno-educators from institutions such as Masülein, San José Campestre, Talo’uluma’ana and La Paz.

As teachers who are actively involved in their work areas, our objectives are to encourage them to use of Wikipeetia süka wayuunaiki in the planning processes,  that male and female teachers can merge their activities and strategies with the use of Wikipedia and  that digital tools can be used for students to access knowledge in their languages.

Wikipedia in Wayuunaiki is becoming an important place to share the cultural world from the Wayuu community’s point of view. It helps us value the knowledge that has been passed down through generations, in this case making use of several tools such as writing and technological development.

Acknowledgements

To the Wikimedia Foundation, to the chapters and groups in the region that have followed and supported our work. To KARISMA and ISUR for the experience and support.

To the teachers who are part of Wikimedistas Wayuu, who enthusiastically promote Wikipeetia and Wikipütchimaajatü from their spaces.

Learn more about our experience

Twitter @guc_wikipeetia

Facebook Wikimedistas Wayuu

Categoría en Wikimedia Commons – Wikimedistas Wayuu

Instagram @Wikipeetia_wayuu

Canal de youtube: Wikimedistas Wayuu

Africa is a continent filled with incredible people, fascinating culture and enthralling stories. The continent is enriched with all these components that ought to be documented on the internet for the sake of the future generations. However, only about 5% of the content on English Wikipedia is about Africa currently. 

This is why Open Foundation West Africa seeks to bridge the content gap on the web by organizing a content drive campaign (a writing contest)  specifically to achieve this goal. The Africa Wiki Challenge has over the past two years collated over four thousand (4000) articles about Africa, contributed by participants all over the world including countries like Ghana, Nigeria, U.K, Canada, Russia, Rwanda, USA among others. 

The campaign has been recognised by the African Union and the Africa Knowledge Initiative as a great way of projecting the continent on the web. 

In line with the African Union Day theme that seeks to document Africa’s stories to increase the visibility of stories around Africa’s free trade, the African Knowledge Initiative (AKI) seeks to leverage Wikimedia tools and platforms to breed innovative solutions to bridging the content gap on global digital knowledge networks.

This initiative will be implemented through Open Foundation West Africa’s annual writing contest and is themed  ‘The African Continental Free Trade’

On Thursday, 18th May, 2023. The Africa Day Campaign was officially launched globally and we were happy to host over 50 people from various countries across the world. 

The launch event was graced by speakers from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat in the person of Mr. Peter Sewornoo the Senior Advisor to the Secretary General and Ceslause Ogbonnaya, the Wikimedian-In-Residence for the Africa Knowledge Initiative project. Wikimedia Foundation respectively.

How to participate?

We can’t do it alone. We need your help to create and improve content about Africa in relation to the campaign theme on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia platforms. There are two ways to participate in this contest. You either apply as a participant or an organizer 

Participant

Join the one-month intensive continent-wide Africa Day Writing contest from 20th May to 20th June 2023 to create, improve or translate existing articles around the topic.

Register and also sign up for the contest by signing on to the Africa Day Writing Contest Campaign Dashboard. Visit the campaign meta page Learn more about how to participate in the contest. 

Organizer

Are you participating as an affiliate, usergroup, organization, Institution, campaign organizer? Here are a few ways you can participate:

Fill the form for organizers HERE

Visit the campaign Meta Page for more information on how to participate in the contest. 

Follow us on all social media handles, Instagram, Twitter: @ofwafrica and on Facebook and LinkedIn on at Open Foundation West Africa

Angika is a language spoken in the Bihar and Jharkhand states of India, as well as the Terai region of Nepal. According to the 1997 census, it had around 7 million speakers. Currently, efforts are being made to increase the visibility of this language on Wikimedia projects. 

Screenshot of Angika Wikipedia taken on 29th May 2023

The Angika Wikipedia was in the incubator stage since August 2010 and officially became a full-fledged Wikipedia on 22nd March 2023. Kundan Amitabh, who laid the foundation of the Angika Wikipedia and is the creator of Angika.com, shared invaluable insights based on his experiences, lessons learned, and hopes for the Angika Wikipedia.

How did you begin to work on the Angika incubator and what were some of the challenges?

I learned about the incubator through a fellow Wikimedia volunteer. It is challenging to discover information about the Wikimedia incubator due to visibility issues. In 2010, I started by translating an article from English Wikipedia into Angika. I also translated the interface into Angika using translatewiki.net. I took care of other prerequisites for the approval of the incubator to ensure the existence of a platform where people can contribute to the language. A language code was necessary, so I applied for it online and received it within a month or two.

How did you engage other contributors?

Wikimedia outreach activities used to occur frequently in Mumbai, my city of residence. Community members from various language backgrounds would participate in these events. During those occasions, I would actively search for other Angika speakers. However, typing in Angika posed a challenge at that time. To address this issue, I would teach typing to Hindi Wikipedians who hailed from the Angika-speaking region so that they could contribute to the Angika incubator. 

Building a community is a significant undertaking. To encourage community contributions, I reached out to Angika writers, utilized social media for outreach, and raised awareness about the language’s usage and the opportunity to contribute. I reached out to several intellectuals, but they showed little interest. Surprisingly, it was the common people who displayed more enthusiasm to contribute. The lack of individual recognition might be a factor, as online volunteerism is not so popular.

What are your hopes for the future with regards to the newly created Wikipedia?

My main expectation is the creation of a larger community and increased involvement from active participants. This would lead to a more vibrant community overall. It is our responsibility to expand the community and convey to potential volunteers that contributing as speakers of the language is their duty. One can utilize content translation from English to Angika. These translations can be used to create translation models in the future. 

The challenges faced by small Wikipedia communities like Angika differ from larger ones, with translation being particularly crucial for smaller communities. There is also a need to integrate it with Google Translate and utilize other technologies like lexemes. However, all of these initiatives require an active community to drive the movement forward. So, the hope is that more people voluntarily come forward to contribute to the Angika Wikipedia. 

There are 1,625 articles in Angika Wikipedia as of 29th May 2023 and it can be accessed at https://anp.wikipedia.org

Monitoring my indoor air quality

Tuesday, 30 May 2023 00:17 UTC
Fri, 19 May 2023 Denver air quality live cam
Fri, 19 May 2023 Denver air quality live cam

If there’s one thing that feels like it’s gotten worse in my lifetime, it’s air quality.

Colorado’s air quality last week was dismal, filled with smoke from Canadian wildfires, making Denver’s air quality among the worst of any major city.

This is what happened to air quality four miles from my house:

Fine particles (PM2.5), Union Resevior, Longmont, CO
Fine particles (PM2.5), Union Resevior, Longmont, CO

And here’s the air quality index (AQI) in my bedroom:

Bedroom air quality index 2023-05-18–2023-05-19
Bedroom air quality index 2023-05-18–2023-05-19

You can see spikes from cooking. And you can see the moment (2023-05-19T22:25 MDT) I swapped out the aging filter on my little LEVOIT air purifier, holding particulate in check, returning indoor air quality to baseline.

Why care about air quality?

Acute exposure to air pollution makes you acutely dumber.

This was the conclusion of MIT researchers back in 2022 when they looked at the effect of air quality on chess.

They combed through 30,000 chess moves, evaluating them with the Stockfish chess engine, comparing 121 players against themselves under different air quality conditions (which they monitored with foobot sensors).

The researchers concluded that an increase as small as 10 µg/m³ PM2.5 causes a 2.1% increased likelihood of player error.

Measuring air quality

AirGradient DIY alongside my previous cludgy attempts at making something similar.
AirGradient DIY alongside my previous cludgy attempts at making something similar.

Reference particle mass counters cost thousands of dollars. And even so-called low-cost air sensors like the ubiquitous PurpleAir will set you back $200.

But the same sensors used inside the PurpleAir, the PlanTower PMS5003, can be found for as little as $15 on AliExpress.

The Plantower sensor, however, is far from a reference device. But studies suggest it’s directionally correct. And, with after-the-factory calibration, it can match readings from more expensive reference meters1.

The Plantower PMS5003 features in AirGradient’s DIY printed circuit board (PCB), which combines air quality, temperature, and CO2 sensors with a cheap ESP8266 for internet. I ordered ten of these PCBs from PCBWay back in 2021 for about $30.

I’ve since modified AirGradient’s example code to support pushing data to Home Assistant via MQTT. From there, sensor data gets sucked up by Prometheus, so I can monitor it via Grafana.

AirGradient Grafana dashboard
AirGradient Grafana dashboard

This system gives me a full view of my indoor air quality. And it’s a needlessly complicated way of reminding me to change out my air filter 😬.


  1. https://doi.org/10.4236/ojap.2021.101001↩︎

Outreachy report #44: May 2023

Tuesday, 30 May 2023 00:00 UTC

✨ This month's highlights We accepted 63 interns! 🎉 We’re planning eight 1,000 intern celebrations around the world! In a post-mortem about the intern selection phase, we started to discuss possible changes we could test during the next cohort. I submitted two proposals to FOSSY 2023 and started to prepare to travel to Portland in July. We accepted 63 interns this cohort! They started their internship this week and we’ll host our first intern chat with them—about working remotely—today.

Shallow insights into the Wikimedia Community

Monday, 29 May 2023 12:17 UTC

Although getting a pointless degree in Community Governance Studies1 would allow me to preface the shit I spout with “as someone with a degree in..”, half the points I (try to) make about The Wikimedia Community™ really are just common sense — they are rarely “deep insights based off my my 10+ years volunteering”, nor things I’ve figured out in my year-and-a-bit working for the Foundation in a community-facing-ish role.

That’s not to say there aren’t deeper insights to be figured out by long-term volunteers, staff, or those with specific industry experience in community governance, but these probably ain’t it.

The community is fractured

This is something both volunteers and staff struggle with, and it manifests in many ways — for example, how can the WMF “listen to the community” when it’s unclear what the community even is in this specific scenario?

Conversely, how can volunteers effectively tell the Foundation what needs to be prioritised if there’s no single, unified voice (and everyone has opinions)?

There are no real answers to these questions, nor a solution I think would adequately represent the entire community fairly — but perhaps that’s because we’re looking at this backwards…

Instead of begrudgingly attempting to split what we try so hard to define as a single entity, we should embrace the idea that the Wikimedia community is built out of readers, editors, power users, moderators, developers (etc.) — these groups are distinct (yet sometimes overlap heavily) and should be treated and listened to separately.

A fractured community doesn’t mean one which in-fights over priorities, and each group’s priorities would still need to be sorted at a high level.

The community is not all knowing

It comes at no surprise that the Wikimedia community is built up of a large and varied user base, with a range of experiences and proficiencies — this being said, as a whole we often act as though we are all-knowing arbiters of every aspect of building Wikimedia; from the software, to the management, to everything in between.

We are not, and for our own sakes we would do well to listen more. A fine example of this is the unfortunate deployment of the new default Wikipedia skin, Vector 2022 (perma) — in an effort not to relitigate the more controversial aspects of the skin (and through fear of attracting needless debate..!), I’ll focus on some key aspects (which, admittedly, will need to be taken without due context) that speak to the point I’m trying to make here:

  • A lot of experienced editors did not like the skin
  • Some of these editors disputed the validity of the user experience research the WMF did

These are users who, at the very least statistically speaking, are unlikely to all be experts in user experience/research/accessibility/web design etc., acting in an authoritative manner on a subject they know little about — subjective opinions on if a design is “good” or “bad” is one thing (and I dare say, a very useful thing) but to dispute research conducted by data analysts based on an negative opinion of the results is inappropriate.

To assuage any appearance of favoritism in this section, I’ll mention that it’s not just the community who is “guilty” of acting in an all-knowing manner — the Foundation, which is built up of a minority of staff who are both integrated members of the community, and a majority who have little to no interaction with the movement, often behaves as though there is a deep, cross-sectional integration between teams and the community. This may well be a goal, and certainly should be a goal, but as it stands it is not the case.

The community has power

A common gripe I see in the volunteer world is “no one listens to us“, and that “the WMF acts in its own interests” — although this can be true in some specific situations2, and the reason volunteers can sometimes feel like this should be explored in depth, on the whole it could not be further from the truth. The community has significant power, and with it a significant responsibility to utilise that power carefully, infrequently and in unison (though, this is not always possible).

This of course comes with many caveats, and we would be wise to weigh up the “power imbalance” — the Foundation has the resources to affect change on both the software (through its paid developers) and the movement (through its close affiliates), but often looks to the community for guidance in these areas.

This guidance, which likely due to the consequences of the other sections of this post, is often lacking.

The community might not even exist

Even after saying all of this, and mentioning “the Wikimedia community” more times than I can be bothered to count3, what we (both as volunteers, and staff) consider the community to be might not even be a thing we can engage with, or represent, in a meaningful way — saying “it doesn’t exist” might be hyperbole on my part, but the core concept I’m trying to make evident is that attempting to listen to and work with a nameless, faceless, and constantly evolving entity is impossible.


So then, what should we do?

Well, first of all, you’re asking the wrong person — asking any one person or organisation isn’t the way to move forward. A truly representative plan would need to involve a significant percentage of the fractured community, the WMF staff and leadership, the affiliates and at this stage, a lot of goodwill.

Explaining a good course of action would be difficult for me to do (I’m a fairly shoddy writerer), so I’ll leave you with a case study in how to almost get it right:

PageTriage: The open letter format

In July 2022, a group of English Wikipedia editors (primarily New Pages Patrollers) created this open letter to the Wikimedia Foundation and its Board of Trustees — it was co-signed by 444 editors and resulted in a significant amount of attention (and work) being done on the PageTriage MediaWiki extension.

This effort, while laudable, is an example of the power of the community being used ineffectively4 — that’s not to say it wasn’t a good idea, nor that it was poorly executed, but it was a narrow application of pressure. It helped solve the immediate problem the group of editors were experiencing, but set a precedent that large, loud groups (the English Wikipedia being the largest, and loudest) get and hold our attention, further fracturing our collective power not based on how we contribute (reader, writer, developer) but on the privilege we hold by being part of the largest and loudest group.


As a group we should remember that we are in this together, and only together can we build a relationship which lasts, fairly represents our needs, promotes mutual respect and (if you’ll excuse the cliché) contributes to the sum of all human knowledge.


The post Shallow insights into the Wikimedia Community appeared first on TheresNoTime.

Tech News issue #22, 2023 (May 29, 2023)

Monday, 29 May 2023 00:00 UTC
previous 2023, week 22 (Monday 29 May 2023) next

Tech News: 2023-22

weeklyOSM 670

Sunday, 28 May 2023 09:55 UTC

16/05/2023-22/05/2023

lead picture

WikiShootMe: Location of Wikidata items [1] | | © wikimedia.org Toolforge | map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Mapping

  • Wilmer Osario wrote in his diary about re-drawing and improving 90 km of the Caracas-La Guaira Highway, by hand, from scratch, in JOSM. He explained in detail how he did it, adding an impressive number of screenshots to visualise every step. It is like an user manual for mappers who may be planning to do similar things.

Community

  • adreamy has made a Telegram sticker set. offering a more fun and comfortable way for OSM contributors to communicate.
    He noted that sticker images can be exchanged, so if you have a good image or idea, let him know and he’ll take it into consideration.

OpenStreetMap Foundation

  • Grant Slater, the OpenStreetMap Foundation’s Senior Site Reliability Engineer, reflected on the advancements made during his first year of work. Collaboration by Grant with the Operations Working Group has boosted OSM’s infrastructure documentation, reliability, and security. Also, a new Dev server was installed and the old forums migrated to Discourse.

Events

  • Pete Masters (Head of Community at HOT) blogged that the former HOT unSummit has been renamed HOT OpenSummit.

Education

  • Anne Schauß, from HeiGIT, held a training session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). She showcased the Sketch Map Tool (with functionality similar to Field Papers), that helps collect geolocated field data by tracing with pen and paper. Either OpenStreetMap (OSM) or an image is printed as the background.

Maps

  • #geoObserver reviewed Shadowmap, an application that simulates the movement of shadows. The app can predict the direction of shadows at any given time and place using astronomical calculations of the sun’s movements combined with building data from OpenStreetMap.

Open Data

  • Arno Dagnelies highlighted the lack of a high-quality source of address data for the whole world and presented his OpenStreetData project. To achieve global coverage with high-quality, open-licensed data, the author extracts addresses from raw OpenStreetMap data, along with postcodes, street names, and administrative districts. Arno describes in detail the process of address processing and the difficulties he encountered.

Software

  • The GeoVisio team, which includes contributors from OSM-fr, has developed an open-source streetview platform.
  • yuiseki improved the performance of the Trident GeoAI, which is based on a large language model. You can enter your requirements, and then see the results in this futuristic interface map.

Programming

  • gislars, from the Traffic Flow and OpenStreetMap group, tooted a new analysis and map of parking spaces in Braunschweig as part of the project ‘Parking Analysis with OpenStreetMap’.

Did you know …

  • … that the WikiShootMe application can display the location of Wikidata items around you in the form of a map?
  • … how to use exiftool in order to get the GPS coordinates from an image’s Exif header, in a format which is recognised by OpenStreetMap’s search?
  • … how to set up OsmAnd quick actions to have your favourite features on the map for fast access?

Other “geo” things

  • Rémy Crassard and his colleagues have found several plans of desert kites (hunting or herding traps) carved into rocks in Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Thought to have been made in the Neolithic era, these engravings are among the oldest scale plans found so far.
  • Ursula Petula Barzey explained the various indigenous names of some Caribbean Islands that were used prior to European colonisation.

Upcoming Events

Where What Online When Country
Royal Borough of Greenwich Hasiru Aqua 24-Hour Mapathon 2023-05-26 – 2023-05-27
左營區 2023年5月 OpenStreetMap 街景踏查團 2023-05-27 flag
Tiranë Maproulette Challenge at Open Labs Albania 2023-05-27 flag
Singapore OG Training by HOTOSM AP-Hub OSM ON THE GO: OSM MOBILE APPLICATIONS 2023-05-27
MapRoulette Nights 2023-05-28
OSMF Engineering Working Group meeting 2023-05-31
Düsseldorf Düsseldorfer OpenStreetMap-Treffen 2023-05-31 flag
Bologna Alluvione dell’Emilia-Romagna: editathon e mapping party al Salaborsa Lab 2023-06-03 flag
Mosquera Mapea por Mosquera 2023-06-04 flag
Mosquera Resolución de notas en tiempo real – Real-time note resolution 2023-06-04 flag
MapRoulette Nights 2023-06-04
MapRoulette Monthly Community Meeting 2023-06-06
Missing Maps London Mapathon 2023-06-06
San Jose South Bay Map Night 2023-06-07 flag
OSM-Verkehrswende #48 2023-06-06
Stuttgart Stuttgarter Stammtisch 2023-06-07 flag
Richmond State of the Map United States 2023 2023-06-08 – 2023-06-11 flag
Rīga State of the Map Baltics 2023 2023-06-08 – 2023-06-09 flag
Windsor MapRoulette-A-Thon 2023-06-09 flag
München Münchner OSM-Treffen 2023-06-08 flag
Marseille State of the Map France 2023 2023-06-09 – 2023-06-11 flag
Berlin 180. Berlin-Brandenburg OpenStreetMap Stammtisch – 15 Jahre – mit der Wikipedia-Community 2023-06-09 flag
Zürich OSM-Stammtisch 2023-06-10 flag
Hannover OSM-Stammtisch Hannover 2023-06-10 flag

Note:
If you like to see your event here, please put it into the OSM calendar. Only data which is there, will appear in weeklyOSM.

This weeklyOSM was produced by MatthiasMatthias, Nordpfeil, PierZen, Strubbl, TheSwavu, YoViajo, barefootstache, derFred, muramototomoya, rtnf.
We welcome link suggestions for the next issue via this form and look forward to your contributions.

Editing issues

Friday, 26 May 2023 15:41 UTC

May 25, 14:37 UTC
Resolved - This incident has been resolved. A summary will be posted here later.

May 25, 14:25 UTC
Monitoring - A fix has been implemented and we are monitoring the results.

May 25, 14:25 UTC
Update - We are continuing to investigate this issue.

May 25, 14:16 UTC
Investigating - We are aware that users are having trouble editing Wikipedia and other Wikimedia wikis, and we are investigating.

Episode 138: Danielle Batson

Tuesday, 23 May 2023 17:02 UTC

🕑 58 minutes

Danielle Batson is the wiki community manager for the non-profit organization FamilySearch, which is run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Links for some of the topics discussed:

Tech News issue #21, 2023 (May 22, 2023)

Monday, 22 May 2023 00:00 UTC
previous 2023, week 21 (Monday 22 May 2023) next

Tech News: 2023-21

weeklyOSM 669

Sunday, 21 May 2023 12:00 UTC

 

09/05/2023-15/05/2023

lead picture

OSM Pedestrian Density Visualization [1] | © mvexel | map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Breaking news

Mapping

  • [1] Martijn van Exel analysed the density of pedestrian infrastructure in the Boston and Dallas areas using visualisations of OpenStreetMap data.
  • Steffen Voß explained how to use OSM tags (to model real-world attributes of buildings etc.) to set visual effects in streets.gl, a 3D-based map application.
  • Piet Brömmel has integrated website contribution statistics based on the first year of contribution into his OpenStreetMap Statistics. He noted that in 2022, just under 50% of all edits were made using accounts that submitted their first changeset between 2018 and 2022.
  • Wilmer Osario, from Venezuela, wrote a forum post detailing how to add place nodes to farms, based on aerial photography, some local knowledge, and reason.

Community

  • BudgieInWA wrote about how they and like-minded people mapped Hyde Park, in Northbridge, Perth, Australia, in detail and met new friends at the same time.
  • Julien Minet compared the number of mapped addresses in OpenStreetMap with the number of addresses in the ICAR register for Wallonia, one of the three Belgian states.
  • Rupert Allan (who some UK OSMers may remember from a project in South Wales) blogged about his invitation to consult on a new OSM project on mapping ancient wetlands in Jordan with a community of different ethnic groups.

OpenStreetMap Foundation

  • Steve Coast has suggested an alternative to the OSMF’s 2023 strategic plan. You can either discuss via the osmf-talk mailing list, on the community forum, or of course on twitter.
  • At the start of the year, the OSMF Board put together their thoughts on what they saw ahead. Four months later, there is a lot to reflect on and assess – each board member presents their thoughts.

Events

  • The OpenStreetMap Philippines Community will host the MAPAtalks Volume 1 workshop on 27 May 2023.
  • You have less than a week and a half left to submit your application to host #StateoftheMap2024.
  • The State of the Map Europe 2023 organising team is looking for helping hands. At present help with finding sponsors and establishing the programme committee are the most important. But help is welcome for other tasks too. If you haven’t done so already, mark your calendar for 10 to 12 November. Subscribe for updates at stateofthemap.eu.
  • The preliminary agenda for the French SotM 2023 conference is now available .

Maps

Programming

  • Four OpenStreetMap-themed projects have been selected for the 2023 Google Summer of Code.
  • Ash Kyd explained how he used vector map technology to create a map of bike lanes in Brisbane, Australia.
  • Andrii Holovin, a member of the Ukrainian OpenStreetMap community, proposed some exciting ideas for OSM 2.0. His suggestions include utilising Git as a version control system, storing objects in the YAML format, and introducing various additional features to enhance the functionality of the API.

Releases

  • Peter explained the use of the ‘route hint’ and ‘custom model’ features of the GraphHopper application.
  • The May 2023 version of Organic Maps has been released.

OSM in the media

  • The online magazine BASIC thinking tested the bicycle navigation offered by OsmAnd.
  • GadgeteerZA reviewed Magic Earth for car navigation on Android Auto.

Other “geo” things

  • The geoEpi group attended the CGA 2023 ‘From Geospatial Research to Health Solutions’ at Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Along with others Sven Lautenbach, from HeiGIT, and PhD student Steffen Knoblauch, from GIScience, provided a general introduction into the field of GIS health applications.
  • Ireland’s Environmentalists tweeted about EPAIreland’s Pollution Impact Potential (PIP) maps, which show the coverage of phosphorus pollution in Ireland due to high livestock activity and poorly draining soil. Excessive phosphorus pollution can result in excessive plant growth, algal blooms, and a reduction in the amount of oxygen in the water, which is not good for the aquatic species that live there.

Upcoming Events

Where What Online When Country
Washington OSM US Mappy Hour 2023-05-18 flag
UN Mappers – OSM and humanitarian mapping training – session #3 2023-05-18
Toulouse Réunion du groupe local de Toulouse 2023-05-20 flag
Bremen Bremer Mappertreffen (Online) 2023-05-22 flag
San Jose South Bay Map Night 2023-05-24 flag
Bayonne Cartopartie à Bayonne – 25 mai 2023 2023-05-25 flag
UN Mappers – OSM and humanitarian mapping training – session #4 2023-05-25
左營區 2023年5月 OpenStreetMap 街景踏查團 2023-05-27 flag
Singapore OG Training by HOTOSM AP-Hub OSM ON THE GO: OSM MOBILE APPLICATIONS 2023-05-27
OSMF Engineering Working Group meeting 2023-05-31
Düsseldorf Düsseldorfer OpenStreetMap-Treffen 2023-05-31 flag
Bologna Alluvione dell’Emilia-Romagna: editathon e mapping party al Salaborsa Lab 2023-06-03 flag

Note:
If you like to see your event here, please put it into the OSM calendar. Only data which is there, will appear in weeklyOSM.

This weeklyOSM was produced by Elizabete, MatthiasMatthias, PierZen, SomeoneElse, Strubbl, TheSwavu, andygol, darkonus, derFred, rtnf, s8321414, 冰觞沐雨.
We welcome link suggestions for the next issue via this form and look forward to your contributions.

What I've learned about data visualization

Saturday, 20 May 2023 14:22 UTC

For many people the first word that comes to mind when they think about statistical charts is “lie.”

– Edward R. Tufte

William Playfair, 1801, Statistical map showing the extent, population and income of the principal nations of Europe The birth of the pie chart. Playfair’s attempt to show the size of European countries by relating them to planets, saying: “we have a more accurate idea of the sizes of the planets, which are spheres, than of the nations of Europe […] all of which are irregular forms”
The first pie chart ever. William Playfair, 1801, Statistical map of the principal nations of Europe.

When I moved from engineering to management, people expected me to make charts.

After spending some time learning about data visualization, I’ve come to two important conclusions:

  1. Good data visualization is powerful
  2. Powerful data visualization is rare

But creating a compelling chart is an underrated superpower for engineers. Here are some ideas that helped me learn how to do that.

Learning from experts

The best books I’ve read on data visualization are:

Between those two books, you get a balance: the ideal (from Tufte) and the PowerPoint world (from Knaflic).

Tufte

Edward R. Tufte is professor emeritus of statistics, political science, and computer science at Yale.

And he’s a man upset by pie charts.

the only worse design than a pie chart is several of them.

– Edward R. Tufte

Tufte’s rules:

  • 🦑Maximize the data-ink ratio – Most of your chart should be data. Erase the parts that convey nothing.
  • 🍫Avoid chart junk – Avoid needless colors, shading, tickmarks, and gridlines: remove distractions from data.

Knaflic

Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic was the former manager of Google’s People Analytics team. She knows her way around a PowerPoint1.

Knaflic’s rules:

  • 📈Choose an appropriate visual display – Know your context, then pick your chart
  • 🏰Tell a story – Charts ought to communicate something; you should know what that something is.

Tufte’s principles: a case study

Take a look at this chart from the Wikimedia Foundation’s 2023–2024 budget projections:

Wikimedia Foundation 2023–2024 Draft Budget
Wikimedia Foundation 2023–2024 Draft Budget

This is a default Google Sheets chart for this data.

What I’m able to glean from this chart:

  • “Building analytics & ML Services”: the biggest, > 25%
  • “Features and functionality” and “Supporting volunteers”: smaller, ~20% each
  • “Fundraising,” “Protecting access,” and “General & Admin”: smaller still, ~10% each
  • The colors seem meaningless

Now consider what we glean from the table used to generate it:

Program Budget (millions) Percent
Building analytics & ML services $46.4 26.2%
Features and functionality $39.7 22.4%
Supporting volunteers $35.1 19.8%
General & Admin $21.3 12.0%
Fundraising $17.9 10.1%
Protecting access $16.6 9.4%
Total $177.0 100.0%

This table gives us more information than the chart in a similar amount of space.

From the table, we learn:

  • Exact percentages—no need to guess
  • Exact dollar amounts
  • The total budget as a dollar figure

And we get rid of the meaningless colors.

OK—confession time: there were percentages on the original pie chart. I edited them out.

But I did that to prove a point. The pie chart is doing less work than the numbers. The slices of the pie add almost nothing to the numbers.

Tufte would prefer the table above to the pie chart above because the table:

  • Shows the data
  • Maximizes the data-ink ratio
  • Avoids chartjunk (like the meaningless colors)

And in this case, I agree: I like the table.

But choosing data visualizations is difficult.

How to choose a chart: visual perception accuracy ranked

If you intend to communicate, then people must be able to read your chart.

In 1985, Cleveland & McGill conducted what is still the most cited experiment on what charts are easiest to read. Their purpose was simple: rank standard charts by the number of errors people make while reading them.

Here’s their ranking of charts—from easiest to hardest to read:

Icon Name Example
Position along a common scale scatterplots, bar charts, sparklines
Positions along nonaligned scales stacked bar charts
Length, direction, angle pie charts, donut charts
Area bubble charts, treemaps
Volume, curvature 3d charts
Shading, color saturation Heatmaps

But I love heatmaps! You can use heatmaps. Just understand that only a sophisticated audience can interpret heatmaps correctly.

Know your audience, then use something like the data viz catalog to choose your chart.

Tell a story

Charts are communication.

At their worst, as Tufte said, they’re little more than “devices for showing the obvious to the ignorant.”

But at their best, they’re a powerful way to intuitively communicate a lot of data in a small space.


  1. Tufte will not help you with PowerPoint. In his essay, “The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint” (which is included in the book “Beautiful Evidence”), he says: “bulleted outlines make us stupid” before going on to blame PowerPoint for the space shuttle Columbia disaster.↩︎

For Dr @ashadevos there are 14 @Wikipedia articles

Thursday, 18 May 2023 13:04 UTC

 

Hardly a "woman in red", Dr De Vos has many accomplishments chronicled in these Wikipedia articles. She presents herself with her colleagues on Facebook and, the graph of her co-authors should paint a similar picture, initially it did not. At first there were only a few publications to her name, they have been expanded to 26 at present. It introduced many co-authors and there are now some 112 co-authors missing.

Obviously, there is much more that could be done. Adding more papers and co-authors adds complexity to the Scholia of Dr de Vos. More distinctions could be added, talks at conferences and papers that were cited. I typically restrict myself to papers with a DOI and authors with an ORCiD identifier as they have the biggest network effect. 

I was reminded by Greenpeace that some people give themselves nothing for their birthday. So I updated this Wikidata item. Who will notice or care.. Like Greenpeace, Dr De Vos cares about whales; it is her specialty.
Thanks,
     GerardM

These students made Wikipedia’s information about fertility care and family planning more inclusive of the LGBTQ community. Their work continues to be read 1,500 views every day, well beyond the conclusion of their course. What other assignment can say the same?

Dr. Cynthia Gabriel’s course about LGBTQ Reproductive Health invites students at the University of Michigan to explore the biological, social, cultural, and legal experiences of LGBTQ+ family-making. Aurora Rynda and Airy Garcia both found themselves in the course last fall as they pursued degrees in biology with focuses on gender, health, and society.

Aurora and Airy worked in a group with six other students to improve Wikipedia’s article about in vitro fertilization (IVF). The article was already fairly comprehensive, but given the lens of their course, some gaps stood out to the students right away.

Noticing gaps in Wikipedia through a course lens

“The main gaps our group noticed in the IVF article were the overall lack of gender inclusive language and representation of the LGBTQ+ community,” Airy explained.

Airy Garcia

“The way the article only uses infertility as a reason to undergo IVF or other assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) came as a shock to me,” Aurora added.

“We were not too surprised that these gaps existed given the general lack of awareness about LGBTQ+ reproductive health and the fact that the media tends to overrepresent cis and heteronormative individuals as the recipients of IVF,” said Airy.

“While editing this article we wanted to create a more inclusive page where individuals can acquire up to date and informative knowledge,” noted Aurora.

So the students got to work.

Taking initiative to correct self-identified gaps

After learning how to edit through Wiki Education’s resources, the group went about making changes. First, they added gender inclusive language throughout the article to better represent all parents. They showed the different forms that fertility care may take for same-sex couples and transgender parents. And they wrote of the unique challenges facing transgender expectant parents as they navigate insurance coverage. The students also changed the article’s main image (the one that appears on Google search results) to be more inclusive, having found a scientific image in the public domain to replace it with.

Students replaced the image on the left (BruceBlaus, CC BY 3.0) with the image on the right (public domain).

“Given the fact that we were taking a class on LGBTQ+ reproductive health at the time, we wanted to increase awareness of LGBTQ+ individuals accessing assisted reproductive technologies, especially IVF,” Airy continued. “This included changing gendered language to be more inclusive, adding information from emerging research, and dispelling commonly held misconceptions about LGBTQ+ reproductive health.”

“The main point I wanted readers to take away from the article was the future for assisted reproductive technologies and how ART is used not just for infertility, but it’s widely used for same-sex parents and other LGBTQ partners to create a family,” said Aurora. “It is so important to provide information regarding assisted reproductive technologies because we’re in a society where heterosexual reproduction is the large majority and there is a lack of representation for the LGBTQ community. I find it very frustrating when the LGBTQ community in particular gets marginalized and excluded from the reproductive conversation and the technologies aren’t as accessible. I believe that anyone who wants to have children should be able to, regardless of their identity.”

The Dashboard shows which students added what content to the live Wikipedia article. As the image above shows, Dr. Gabriel’s students are responsible for much of the article’s content about LGBTQ expectant parents.

Because of the public-facing nature of the assignment, students feel a responsibility to get it right, no matter the topic. They also tend to feel empowered by the act of correcting information that will be consulted by so many. The IVF article gets 1,500 views every day. Since December when the students stopped editing, 233K readers have viewed their contributions. That’s an incredible impact.

Depending on how the instructor structures the assignment, students often have autonomy over what topic they’ll improve on Wikipedia. This allows them to bring their interests, career aspirations, and identity to their work, as well as connect it to their other studies.

“As a woman of color, I understand what it feels like to feel under and misrepresented, especially in the health field and in research,” Airy shared. “Since I personally do not identify with the LGBTQ+ community, I wanted to ensure that my contributions to the IVF page were as accurate as possible and worked to uplift instead of exclude or misinform.”

Learning research skills along the way

Information on Wikipedia related to health is subject to additional checks and balances when it comes to sourcing. Aurora, Airy, and their group were especially intentional about the research that they cited, making sure it was peer-reviewed and up-to-date.

“Writing for Wikipedia showed me how important it is to be an expert in the topic you are writing about. You have to not only source all your edits, but you also need to comb through the article and find what parts of the article you find incorrect and need to be changed,” Aurora said. “It also taught me the importance of looking at the sources and not believing everything you read. When you question information you read, you enable yourself to learn more about the topic. I’ve learned to question literature and research on my own before agreeing with the opinions of others. I will take this into my field of study by educating others on the inclusivity of ART and the high demand to discover new technologies.”

Plus, it’s rewarding to write for a resource we all use. “This was my first time making significant changes to a Wikipedia page,” said Airy. “It felt nice to be able to expand representation on such an important topic!”

Interested in incorporating a Wikipedia assignment into your course? Visit teach.wikiedu.org to learn more about the free assignment templates and resources that Wiki Education offers to instructors in the United States and Canada.

Tech News issue #20, 2023 (May 15, 2023)

Monday, 15 May 2023 00:00 UTC
previous 2023, week 20 (Monday 15 May 2023) next

Tech News: 2023-20

 A recent Wikipedia Research article aims to prove that the English Wikipedia deletion process is not biased. For some that is a loaded question because it  centers on the question if Wikipedia is equitable.

As so often the article is all about English Wikipedia and it has its own bias. English Wikipedia does not serve half the public of the Wikimedia Foundation and much of the other half does not read English. The gender balance in English Wikipedia is however improving; the percentage of articles about women is slowly but surely increasing.

At issue in the article is whether the English Wikipedia deletion policies effectively harm gender and race biases. Obviously there are more biases; you may be male and white but when you are not from an Anglo-american background chances for Wikipedia recognition are slim. When you care to research this, check out Wikidata, it includes a super set of what Wikipedia includes and it is biased in this way as well.

When a Wikipedia article about a scientist is deleted, it does not follow that its Wikidata item is deleted and given enough identifiers, it is likely that its related subset increases over time tilting the "notability" balance. Even so, many important scientists are "scientists in red", an example is Prof Emily Fairfax her prominence is for instance in her explaining and demonstrating that beavers feature prominently in the fight against forest fires

When English Wikipedia defends its own policies, it follows that they rely on the base assumptions in those policies. When those assumption are questioned, their arguments are lost. Given that English Wikipedia represents a subset of "the sum of all knowledge" that is included in Wikidata, it follows that much of Wikipedia can be understood from such a perspective. 

Wikidata has no "red links"; when a relation exists for an recipient of an award, there must be an item for both the award and the recipient. Wikipedia has one link in black to the "SIRS Lifetime Achievement Award". while Wikidata has a link to all recipients. They are linked to identified publications and other awards and consequently the Scholia for the award is really informative. 

Based on information like this improved information is available that must wait for a Wikipedia volunteer. English Wikipedia is a victim of its success, it cannot fully maintain its information. The same can be said for Wikidata. It is however a superset and it does not necessarily require a mastery of English.

With new technologies becoming more relevant, there is an avenue to improve the quality of any Wikipedia, inform people based on the data in Wikidata and improve on the quality of the information that we provide. 

Thanks,

     GerardM


weeklyOSM 668

Sunday, 14 May 2023 10:16 UTC

02/05/2023-08/05/2023

lead picture

Streets GL, a real-time 3D map renderer [1] | ⓘ Mapbox © powered by Esri | map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Mapping

  • Following a workshop held by UN Mappers, a group of students from the Erasmus Mundus Masters program in Geospatial Technologies at the University of Jaume I, in Castellón de la Plana Spain, analysed campus safety and identified potential vulnerabilities by mapping street lights in OSM.
  • PhysicsArmature has some tips for mapping rivers: staying simple.
  • Valerie Norton has written an article discussing various tags related to hitching posts and resting places for trail riding. She explored the uses and popularity of tags such as amenity=hitching_post, tourism=trail_riding_rest, amenity=animal_hitch, and amenity=horse_parking. The author contemplates the advantages of different tags and their hierarchical nature, highlighting the need for clearer guidelines, and additional tags in order to enhance mapping accuracy.

Mapping campaigns

  • Marjan Van de Kauter, from TomTom’s OSM team, has announced their plans to conduct edits in Luxembourg based on feedback received for their upcoming new TomTom map, ensuring that the edits add value to OpenStreetMap and do not conflict with recent community updates. The team will focus on editing highways, addresses, POIs, land use, buildings, and water initially, expanding to other features in the future. They will use the hashtags #tomtom and #tt_mapfeedback to provide updates on their progress and welcome feedback from the OSM community during this activity.

Community

  • In connection with the survey on communication in the OSM community (we reported earlier), Imre Samu clarifies the cultural differences in communication in different countries. He quotes from his sources and backs up his statements with three links that everyone who enters the international arena should read.
  • mapmeld blogged about the border of Belgium’s Baarle-Hertog and the Dutch Baarle-Nassau, which overlap in one town riddled with border crossings and enclaves. He included pictures of the weirdest places, including borders intersecting buildings.
  • Sango Bishiri Narcisse, based in Chad, is the UN Mapper of the Month for May.

OpenStreetMap Foundation

  • The Board of the OpenStreetMap Foundation has invited its members and the OSM community to participate in revising its Strategic Plan. The plan will be discussed in four phases over the next two months, starting with a focus on ‘Cluster B: Community Development for OSM’.Feedback is requested on missing elements, plan inconsistencies, urgent stratagems, and which ones are important for the success and growth of OpenStreetMap. Comments can be shared on the OSM Community forum or mailing list and private feedback can be sent to the strategy team or individual board members.
  • The OSMF Board has written draft Fundraising Guidelines and is seeking feedback from the community about them. You can provide any feedback on the OSM Community forum, in the blog comments, or directly to the Board.

Education

  • Denrazir Atara, from HOT Open Mapping Hub Asia-Pacific, is hosting an online training session on Sunday 14 May for beginners and experienced mappers on how to use uMap.

OSM research

  • Ulrich et al. have assessed the potential of OSM to quantify land use and land cover change related carbon fluxes to the atmosphere for a regional case study, in the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg, in their new paper.

Maps

  • [1] Streets GL is an impressive real-time 3D map renderer designed to showcase OpenStreetMap data with stunning visual effects. This TypeScript project utilises WebGL2 and a render graph implementation to generate dynamic geometry, allowing for the visualisation of complex building shapes, roads, trees, and more.
  • karlos on Mastodon pointed out that while weeklyOSM provides a comprehensive list of events, it lacks a corresponding map to visualise their locations. He shared a test map featuring pins with some event information. The Calendar Widget from Jonathan Beliën shows how it could look.

Open Data

  • Jeff Underwood tweeted about recent enhancements to building height data in downtown Phoenix, comparing the information available in OpenStreetMap and Overture. He acknowledged the positive development and noted that Overture’s coverage extends beyond downtown, encompassing the entire region.

Software

  • Bellingcat’s latest geolocation tool, based on OpenStreetMap data, simplifies the process of identifying the location of images for investigative purposes. By selecting key features from an image, such as landmarks or structures, users can narrow down their search within a specified region of interest. The tool provides a list of potential matches on a map, enabling users to pinpoint the exact location for further investigation. With this tool, geolocating images has become more accessible for open-source researchers and investigators.
  • Wille Marcel, in a recent presentation during the OpenStreetMap US Mappy Hour, showcased OSMCha, a powerful tool for OpenStreetMap data analysis and quality control. The tutorial dives into the various functionalities starting at the 5:14 mark, providing a valuable resource for OSM enthusiasts.

Releases

  • Magic Lane has unveiled a new Android version of its Magic Earth navigation app, offering users privacy, offline capabilities, and advanced driver assistance features.

Did you know …

  • … about Open Etymology Map? It is a web application for displaying historical information about people whose names have been used as street or place names. This application uses information from the wikidata:* tag in OSM.
  • … using Ctrl+F5 instead of F5 to refresh a webpage? Ziltoidium pointed out that after an edit, if you press F5 the map is reloaded, but the images continue to come from the cache. He recommends Ctrl+F5 instead and says that changes to the map are visible after 1 to 2 minutes.

OSM in the media

  • Researchers from the Simon Fraser University have developed Canada’s first national open-source dataset of cycling infrastructure, aimed at promoting active transportation options, and assisting decisionmakers. The dataset, derived from OpenStreetMap, provides consistent information on bicycle infrastructure, allowing for better planning decisions.
  • In an interview with the Lower Saxony Tourism Network Marie Witte, from Mittelweser-Touristik (MWT), reported on the useful cooperation with OSM mappers to optimise cycling and hiking tours using digital maps. In order to implement this cooperation, the MWT, together with Tof99 and OSM_RogerWilco, have set up a working group in which mappers and tourism experts exchange information. The cooperation has allowed MWT to improve its suggestions and to ensure the data quality of the routes with the help of the OSM mappers.

Upcoming Events

Where What Online When Country
Salt Lake City OSM Utah Monthly Map Night 2023-05-11 flag
Chippewa Township OpenStreetMap Michigan Meetup 2023-05-11 flag
“Open- und OpenStreetMap-Daten in Blaulichtorganisationen” (Schweiz) 2023-05-11
Berlin 179. Berlin-Brandenburg OpenStreetMap Stammtisch 2023-05-11 flag
Zürich OSM-Stammtisch 2023-05-11 flag
Zaragoza esLibre 2023 2023-05-12 – 2023-05-13 flag
Briançon Parlons d’OpenStreetMap 2023-05-12 flag
Verona MERGE-it 2023-05-12 – 2023-05-13 flag
Gap Parlons d’OpenStreetMap 2023-05-12 flag
Sülysáp Mapping around Sülysáp before, after and during breaks of qbParty (demoscene) 2023-05-13 – 2023-05-14 flag
Gap Cartopartie Durance à vélo dans le pays Gapençais ! 2023-05-13 flag
City Of Vincent Social Mapping Saturday: Hyde Park 2023-05-13 flag
Nanterre Paris Hack Weekend 2023-05-13 – 2023-05-14 flag
Puerto López Notas OSM: Discutamos hashtags para incluir en las notas de OpenStreetMap 2023-05-13 flag
Singapore OG Training by HOTOSM Ap-Hub CREATING ONLINE MAPS USING UMAP 2023-05-13
København OSMmapperCPH 2023-05-14 flag
Grenoble Contribuez à OpenStreetMap avec votre smartphone 2023-05-15 flag
臺北市 OpenStreetMap x Wikidata 月聚會 #52 2023-05-15 flag
Lyon Réunion du groupe local de Lyon 2023-05-16 flag
Bonn 163. Treffen des OSM-Stammtisches Bonn 2023-05-16 flag
City of Edinburgh OSM Edinburgh Social 2023-05-16 flag
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By Daria Cybulska, Director of Programmes and Evaluation at Wikimedia UK

Democracies rely on informed citizens to function effectively. Over recent years, new digital technologies have fundamentally altered the creation and consumption of media content, and introduced new challenges to democratic participation. The increased volume of news, the politicisation of social media, misinformation, disinformation, and the distracting of the public through fake news, along with the rise of polarised and radicalised groups whose own ideology is reinforced by ‘filter bubbles’, all combine to create untrustworthiness, bias and misrepresentation. These issues undermine democracy and its reliance on well-informed citizens. 

Information literacy has the power to counter this. At its heart, information literacy empowers citizens to access, create, consume and critically evaluate information. It builds understanding of the ethical and political issues associated with the use of information, including privacy, data protection, freedom of information, open access/open data and intellectual property. 

In my role as the Director of Programmes at Wikimedia UK, I’ve long believed that our workshops and training sessions make a difference in empowering people – by building their information literacy skills, providing an opportunity to collaborate, and capturing their heritage. In 2021, together with Agnes Bruszik, a research colleague, we delivered a project to critically investigate how engaging with Wikimedia projects contributes to the strengthening of civil society and democratic processes in the UK.

Our main inquiry was to understand how improving information literacy skills contributes to Wikimedia UK’s vision of a more tolerant, informed and democratic society. Does our work increase participants’ information literacy, and does this in turn lead to a more engaged civil society? We reviewed the current understanding and frameworks in the intersection of literacies, civic engagement and democratic participation, to see how information literacy has been found to support civic engagement. We then explored how Wikimedia UK’s work contributes to civic disposition skills. 

Our research concludes that Wikimedia’s activities can increase citizen engagement in democratic processes through our work in information literacy by 1) Providing open and free access to accurate information, 2) Improving information literacy skills of individuals, 3) Encouraging volunteering, and 4) Providing accessible collaborative infrastructure. 

“Information literacy is one of the most important skills of the future. Without understanding how, by who and in which ways knowledge and information is created and distributed, one cannot potentially evaluate the value and credibility of that information. The formulation of opinions, values, principles, or academic and historical referencing must be based upon reliable sources and credible interpretation and presentation of facts and data. Without citizens’ awareness of information manipulation, democratic participation is thus flawed. The Wikimedia movement is in a unique position to educate and encourage individuals to become more information literate, while . also promoting democratic practices such as participatory decision-making, provisioning open access to platforms and information for even the most marginalised minority groups. These practices, in turn, create the know-how for more civic engagement in general.” – Agnes Bruszik

Crucially, freedom of expression and access to reliable information through Wikimedia projects increase intercultural dialogue and decrease the social isolation of minority groups. Wikipedia serves as a platform that can assist displaced or minoritised communities to express and maintain cultural identity.Our experience shows that groups organised around a shared interest, value or cause, and equipped with digital, information and collaboration skills, are more likely to engage in civic participation in public matters relevant for them. Moreover, learning about the culture of democratic participation and processes of engagement empowers individuals, equipping them with transferable skills.

“The rise of populism has been linked to a decline in interest in public affairs and we thought that, being less politically and socially active, people may be less capable of interpreting political phenomena and understanding the complexity of the management of public affairs.” – Science Direct

We are faced with a global trend towards a shrinking civil society space. There are fewer spaces where citizens can develop and practise key civic skills such as collaboration, self-representation, and working within a context of diversity and difference of opinion. This is much needed in any context, including the UK. Civic skills are broad in character and can be developed in a variety of contexts – including opportunities online. Wikipedia has the benefit of being a well known online space, meaning it has the recognition within a big audience that could then be engaged in civic activities. We can engage with people where they already are rather than needing to bring them to a new, unknown space. 

Many participants of Wikimedia UK activities (e.g. editing events) started out as individual editors, who then decided to bring wiki projects into their communities. In a recent survey of our community leaders, we asked if individuals’ participation in Wikimedia UK activities, such as running wiki events, encouraged them to take part in other non-wiki activities? (eg. community organising, campaigning, other kinds of volunteering, etc). One volunteer reports:

“Yes. In speaking to a volunteer for our charity, I became aware of the [community heritage project centring on a particular 19th century industrial action]. I created the Wikipedia page for […], a leading figure in the strike whose mentions elsewhere assured her notability, and through this spoke to the originators of [community heritage project]. I am now actively involved with the group, including as part of their education and community engagement sub-group. It’s likely that Wikipedia work will feature in this at some stage, as they were overjoyed with the […] page and very much convinced of the usefulness of more (and more accurate) Wikipedia representation.”- Community Leader response in a 2021-22 Wikimedia UK volunteer survey.

Working on Wikimedia UK projects can facilitate this spirit of working towards a common good (free knowledge for all), cooperation with others, activism, which in the long run encourages an empowered civil society. This we believe can go a long way towards realising Wikimedia UK’s vision of a more informed, democratic and equitable society.

Explore the report

The post From editing articles to civic power – Wikimedia and Democracy appeared first on WMUK.