>>> The people who are loudest in their demands for consensus
>>> do not represent the Wikimedia movement.
>> The voices loudest for the WMF doing something against the
>> Trump administration are not representative of the Wikimedia
>> movement either....
> Is the Community Process Steering Committee currently
> prepared to "engage more 'quiet' members of our community"
> with a statistically robust snap survey to resolve this question?
Anyone can go to Recent Changes and send a SurveyMonkey link to the
most recent few hundred editors with contributions at least a year
old, to get an accurate answer.
Will a respected member of the community please do this? I would like
to know what the actual editing community thinks of the travel ban and
their idea of an appropriate response. I don't want to see community
governance by opt-in participation in obscure RFCs.
I would offer to do this myself, but I value keeping my real name
unassociated with my enwiki userid.
This is a request for your input and possible ideas (if any) regarding my management of the fallout from Jimmy's announcing myself as a 2018 Wikimedian of the Year.
Emails below are a copy of my ongoing consultations with Wikimedia Foundation staff and other Wikimedians I personally know, as well as a report on what's already brewing in my region of Russia after this unexpected outcome.
I would be grateful, if you can advise me on how to properly steer the enthusiasm of behalf of regional government, mass-media, NGOs, etc. which have just discovered about the possibility of participation in Wikimedia movement (think anything from U.S. is not getting much in-depth coverage in Russian by sources that regional public figures, NGOs, teachers or general regional journalists read) & are now placing great hopes on teaching whole of Tatarstan about how to Wiki & also engaging all Tatars globally (3/4 outside of Tatarstan, 1/5 outside of Russia).
* Selet WikiSchool got presented to wider public @ the press-conference for Tatar-speaking journalists (July 31), at the poster session in the framework of the World Congress of Tatars Youth Forum (Aug.3), and later at a Tatar projects fair in the Downtown park of Kazan (Aug.5)
* Contribution of those writing into Wikipedia in Tatar was recognized by choosing myself as one of the current year's "For the great service to Tatar nation" medal recipients. (Aug.3)
* We recorded a 40 min interview in Turkish (Aug.4, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HK3tFBWMWcs )
* We didn't yet meet the President of the Republic (his schedule changed once again), but I got another firm request to meet with the Minister for Youth Affairs (another good acquaintance of mine, ex-member of local Comedy Club type activity), as well as with the Head of World Congress of Tatars' Executive Bureau, and more TV & written press interviews are lining up.
* I am trying to manage these guys' optimism & desire to move quickly, keeping in mind they are not really familiar with the Wiki-way or our communities' policies & practices
* Bashkir (ba) & Sakha (sah) communities have shared advice about how to assure that local Wikimedia community stays clearly independent in a cultural environment where neither Education, nor GLAM programs will attract local partners unless those have a strong support of the regional or federal government entities.
* Looking forward to meet with my Wikimania-2017 roommate from the Philippines in Singapore on Aug.16 to collect some more input from Asia
-------- Пересылаемое сообщение--------
03.08.2018, 19:35, "Фархад Фаткуллин / Farkhad Fatkullin" <frhd(a)yandex.com>:
Thursday, 2 August 2018
Republic of Tatarstan Ministry for Informatization & Communication @ IT-park, Kazan
Meeting with Tatarstan Deputy Prime Minister - Minister for Informatization & Communications Roman Shaykhutdinov
on opportunities Wikimedia projects & popularization thereof among the population of the Republic can bring for Tatarstan
* Almaz A. Valiullin, Director General of Tatarstan Center for Information Technologies http://mic.tatarstan.ru/eng/valiullin.htm
* Tatyana S. Kamaletdinova, CEO of Tatarstan Center for Information Technologies http://mic.tatarstan.ru/eng/kamaletdinova.htm
* Anna V. Yakovleva, Head of Ministry's Press-Service http://mic.tatarstan.ru/rus/about/structure_new?department_id=80576
* Farkhad N. Fatkullin, 2018 Wikimedian of the Year, Wikimedia Russia member https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Frhdkazan
1. Content creation contests
2. Education projects
3. How can these be organized in a systemic way, engaging students throughout all municipal districts of Tatarstan & Tatar diaspora globally, and assessing effectiveness of measures
4. Larger Tatar language internet development, promoting content creation in the language
5. .tatar domain
7. Generating lists for content creation
8. Free licenses
10. Regional educational Wiki-seminar for beginners, introduction & orientation
11. Smartphone oriented educational projects around Tatar & Tatar Wikipedia (beginning with Tatar version of www.kakprav.com & on to WOK Master type )
12. OSM in Tatar
13. The way forward: visiting WMF to discover other opportunities, MoU with WMF?
1. Almaz Valiullin to head the Working Group on behalf of the Ministry
2. Next meeting set for / around 20th of August
3. Minister requested his staff to draft documents regarding moving all Regional & Municipal budget funded websites to CC-BY type free licenses
4. Minister proposed every organization website place a link to a Wikipedia article about it (in Tatar, Russian or English, depending on the language used)
5. Help is requested about developing simple samples or article creation guidelines for various institutions of Tatarstan & diaspora organizations to learn what is considered appropriate by Wiki-community & how should representatives of respective entities
6. Annual Tatar Internet Awards Ceremony to include awards to leading editors of Wikimedia projects in Tatar
7. Help is requested to develop a framework of Wikipedia Article Contests for Secondary School Children of Tatastan, with article quality assessment schemes (prizes & organization to be funded by Tatarstan goverment, promotion in local mass-media, schools & etc.)
8. Help is requested to develop a framework for a sustainable functioning of a Tatarstan & Tatar language oriented Wikimedia thematic organization to be responsible for systemic work around developing & promoting Wikimedia projects in Tatar, as well as Tatarstan-oriented content creation for various Wikis
9. Readiness to consider awarding *.tatar domain names to those, who develop attractive projects in Tatar that can't be hosted on Wikimedia platform or otherwise need a Tatar digital identity
10. Help is requested regarding drafting a program proposal, necessary budget & expected results for a Tatarstan oriented introductory Wiki-seminar, open for a wide public
11. Help is requested to provide links to Wikidata educational materials, Practical Use Cases & expert responses to the Deputy Minister (in English)
12. Help is requested in organizing a learning visit to WMF Headquarters during Tatarstan Delegation annual fall visit to Silicon Valley & other places in U.S. to discover other opportunities
Farkhad Fatkullin - Фархад Фаткуллин http://sikzn.ru/ Тел.+79274158066 / skype:frhdkazan / Wikipedia:frhdkazan
03.08.2018, 11:42, "Фархад Фаткуллин / Farkhad Fatkullin" <frhd(a)yandex.com>:
> Hi Nochole & Kui,
> Thank you for your responses & readiness to help.
> Events on the ground are developing following predictable course - we had a very constructive 3 hour long discussion last night with Tatarstan's Deputy Prime Minister (IT minister) & his team, whilst earlier Thursday I got an invite to meet with another Deputy Prime Minister (President of the National Council of Trustees for the World Congress of Tatars Association).
> More TV & magazine interviews are expected, some in detail articles in Russian promoting Wikimedia projects are in the pipelines (expecting to see the texts for necessary corrections & adding links to respective WMRU, Meta, WMF & related independent media articles (thanks to ComCom).
> I hope to find time to prepare & email both you (in English) & IT ministry's Working Group (in Russian) my summary of yesterday late evening meeting, with attendees, topics discussed, request & proposals, etc. They want to move as fast as possible, because this will help them to meet promoting Tatar language use online task they are charged with by the region's President.
> Just a few to begin with:
> * Ready to move all regional and municipal government websites into CC-BY, add links to respective WP articles from all these
> * Willing to have Tatarstan & Tatar language oriented thematic organization in place to work with secondary schools & Universities, GLAMS, diaspora
> * Ready to sponsor prizes for article writing contests (either through WMRU or this new entity)
> * Requesting guidance from myself & Wikimedia community on what's the best way to make this all successful
> * Interested in supporting WMRU organized general public educational Wiki-Seminar in Tatarstan Academy of Sciences or other respected facility with a large conference hall open to all public (September-October?)
> * Willing to visit WMF headquarters in November to meet, learn more about what's there (I admit I don't read all mailing lists or Meta discussions, don't have time to see all wonderful YouTube videos available, haven't yet have time to visit a single Wikimedia Conference) & possibly sign MoUs or whatever that would help speed up Wikimedia acceptance & popularity growth among the population of the region.
> I am in touch with Wikimedia RU & Wikimedia Languages of Russia Community's regarding ongoing developments, benefiting from collective wisdom of Wikimedians I know.
> Should you be ready to bring any ideas to the table, please shoot them my way.
> Farkhad Fatkullin - Фархад Фаткуллин http://sikzn.ru/ Тел.+79274158066 / skype:frhdkazan / Wikipedia:frhdkazan
> 02.08.2018, 16:35, "Nichole Saad" <nsaad(a)wikimedia.org>:
>> Hi Farhad,
>> First, congratulations on being named "Wikimedian of the Year!" We have received your letter, and are looking forward to engage with your ideas. Realistically, I'll be able to provide a more in depth response early next week.
>> best regards,
>> On Wed, Aug 1, 2018 at 2:45 PM Фархад Фаткуллин / Farkhad Fatkullin <frhd(a)yandex.com> wrote:
>>> Dear Sirs,
>>> This is from Farhad, User:frhdkazan (ComCom member, now a.k.a. 2018 Wikimedian of the Year) with some proposals about how to leverage a fleeting opportunity I got. Please read the text below this letter ASAP & think how you can help seize the moment. I'm looking forward to first ideas within 24 hours from now.
>>> Any support of yours would be greatly appreciated.
>>> Thanks a million.
>>> P.S. More on where I'm coming from can later be discovered @ http://frhd.narod.ru/resume-en.htm (dated, stopped my retainer contract with the Office of Tatarstan President in September 2013) & more up-to-date but in Russian @ http://sikzn.narod.ru/index/0-4 . I have previously translated & provided digital media with the link to Russian text of Wikimedia Blog post about Jess Wade https://ru.wikinews.org/wiki/?curid=176108 , & now contacted Asian colleagues to get similar content about Nahid Sultan & Wikimedia Bangladesh. Also on my agenda is to record a video-interview in Turkish for Wikimedia Turkey's communication campaign - I speak the language & we are in touch with Turkish community. I also need to get back to interpreting into Russian videos of Wikimania-2018 available on YouTube - maybe later this week, before I join my family for a few days off & then a week-long interpretation assignment in Singapore.
>>> Farkhad Fatkullin - Фархад Фаткуллин http://sikzn.ru/ Тел.+79274158066 / skype:frhdkazan / Wikipedia:frhdkazan
>>> Following Jimmy's unexpected pass during Wikimania-2018 Closing Ceremony, I became an instant celebrity of sort - myself alone I've seen over 40 articles with positive PR about Wikipedia & wider body of Wikimedia projects,
>>> * one by RT in Russian collecting over 1.1 million Facebook likes in under 8 hours from publication
>>> * short positive ones from Russian Federation government's Official gazette & Russkiy Mir Foundation
>>> * first ever mention that people can donate to Wikimedia Russia volunteers organization for us to be able to fund local Wiki-seminars, conferences & contests (WMF is not funding Wikimedia Russia & can't allow us to use donate link from Russian Wikipedia or place a link to "Thank you, but we don't accept donations from Russia" page where users from Russia are being routed
>>> * about to get one with links published to various WMF & Wikimedia Russia projects, including promoting free licenses, Education & GLAM programs, etc.
>>> I'm periodically collecting these @ https://tt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Википедия:Безнең_турында_матбугатта#Ел_викиме… when time permits, but there's more in my Facebook Messenger.
>>> This is also generating very positive attention on behalf of the Republic of Tatarstan government, as well as our regional NGO partner, Selet Youth Education Foundation, with whom yet unrecognized Tatar Wikimedians are jointly running Selet WikiSchool project. https://outreach.wikimedia.org/wiki/Education/News/May_2018/Selet_WikiSchool The latter want to introduce this joint initiative, as well as Wikimedia Russia executive director Stanislav Kozlovsky (Ph.D. in Psychology, Researcher & a Senior lecturer at Moscow State University) and myself to the President of Tatarstan during his visit to their Annual International Forum of Tatar-speaking High-School Age Youth on August 6th. Unrelated to that I was yesterday called up by a good acquaintance of mine (Tatarstan Vice Prime-Minister, Minister for IT https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Shaykhutdinov ), who invited me to have a talk with him tomorrow about how promoting Wikimedia projects in wider Tatar-speaking world (only about 25% of Tatars live in Tatarstan) can help him get whatever current President wants him to do to develop Tatar language use online. There are some other Tatarstan Prime-Minister Office level things in the pipeline, & I am also waiting for a call from Russian Federation ex-IT Minister https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolay_Nikiforov , whom I know from his years in Tatarstan government as well (until 2012). FYI: Wikimedia movement is still unknown in Russia, with local mass media outlets are predominantly speaking about Wikipedia in Russian when there is some lapse that can be exploited to show one's Russian patriotism & thus score some points (basically same political circus, as what we are seeing in U.S. with Russia-collusion story in the overdrive, just opposite direction), and here we get something to reverse the situation big time, explaining to the wide public that it's not only Ok, but even desirable they engage with Wikimedia projects.
>>> Keeping in mind that Tatarstan President is the head of both Russia-Islamic World Strategic Vision Group & Association of Innovative Regions of Russia, Jimmy gave me a-hell-of-an-opportunity for an elevator pitch for Wikimedia movement in Russia and some adjacent counties (think Turkey & Central Asia), and I would really hate seeing it go unused. I will do my part here (about CC-BY for regional government controlled websites, Wikipedia Education Program as an extracurricular activity in all secondary school & universities, GLAM, as well as some locally funded carrots for participants), but I also want your help in driving this to a home-run. Every fall Tatarstan President & the delegation is visiting Silicon Valley & other places of interest in U.S. & it would be great if we could set-up a physical visit to Wikimedia Foundation, with a first hand presentation of best international practices the movement if proud of & have some MoU on cooperation signed (as a bureaucratic basis for continuing the conversation) with either some department in Tatarstan government, just like the one you signed with the Mexican Ministry of Culture www.eluniversal.com.mx/cultura/secretaria-de-cultura-y-wikimedia-firman-con…. To set the context, Tatarstan has such formal documents with a number of American companies & institutions, with our private English-speaking IT Univesity @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innopolis having been developed jointly with Carnegie Mellon University (with consultancy fees paid by Tatastan), we have Russia's first publicly funded hospital certified to be meeting https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Commission requirements & plenty of U.S. investors @ our https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabuga_Special_Economic_Zone . On top of this, we could benefit from having Selet Youth Educational movement http://selet.biz/en/ to embrace Wiki even further, so maybe a similar MoU on collaboration between them and Wikiedu.org signed simultaneously would be great (I met LiAnna and Jami in Montreal last year & was really impressed with what these guys are doing).
>>> Please shoot something my way before the same time tomorrow, for me to handle the meeting with Tatarstan Deputy Prime Minister more effectively to progressively open other opportunities I've touched on. On top of what I described above & my last year's ideas @ https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Frhdkazan/Wiki4RegionalDevt (in Russian), I'll be bringing to the table topics of:
>>> * Wikidata
>>> * OSM, as well as a
>>> * WOK-like project for all things in Tatar (I was contacted by a local 9th grader who, on his own initiative with a help of a teacher, did something similar for students who want to train for Russian-language SAT/ACT type exam www.kakprav.com & now offered to develop such or bigger thing for Tatar). For more on WOK, see https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/01/wikipedia-wok-seek-nigerian-content-onl…
>>> * whatever else you or anybody else can help me think of until then & or later opportunities
>> Nichole Saad
>> Wikimedia Foundation | Senior Program Manager, Education
>> user: NSaad (WMF)
-------- Конец пересылаемого сообщения --------
Farkhad Fatkullin - Фархад Фаткуллин http://sikzn.ru/ Тел.+79274158066 / skype:frhdkazan / Wikipedia:frhdkazan
I was asked by a volunteer for help getting stats on the gender gap in
content on a certain Wikipedia, and came up with simple Wikidata Query
Service queries that pulled the total number of articles on a given
Wikipedia about men and about women, to calculate *the proportion of
articles about women out of all articles about humans*.
Then I was curious about how that wiki compared to other wikis, so I ran
the queries on a bunch of languages, and gathered the results into a table,
(please see the *caveat* there.)
I don't have time to fully write-up everything I find interesting in those
results, but I will quickly point out the following:
1. The Nepali statistic is simply astonishing! There must be a story
there. I'm keen on learning more about this, if anyone can shed light.
2. Evidently, ~13%-17% seems like a robust average of the proportion of
articles about women among all biographies.
3. among the top 10 largest wikis, Japanese is the least imbalanced. Good
job, Japanese Wikipedians! I wonder if you have a good sense of what
drives this relatively better balance. (my instinctive guess is pop culture
4. among the top 10 largest wikis, Russian is the most imbalanced.
5. I intend to re-generate these stats every two months or so, to
eventually have some sense of trends and changes.
6. Your efforts, particularly on small-to-medium wikis, can really make a
dent in these numbers! For example, it seems I am personally
responsible for almost 1% of the coverage of women on Hebrew Wikipedia!
7. I encourage you to share these numbers with your communities. Perhaps
you'd like to overtake the wiki just above yours? :)
8. I'm happy to add additional languages to the table, by request. Or you
can do it yourself, too. :)
 Yay #100wikidays :) https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/100wikidays
Wikimedia Foundation <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>
Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the
sum of all knowledge. Help us make it a reality!
Based on comments that I received on Wikimedia-l, I would like to invite
people to a casual online meetup one hour before the monthly WMF Metrics
and Activities Meeting.
There will be no set agenda. You can come with questions or ideas that you
would like to discuss. Please be willing to listen to questions and ideas
from other Wikimedians.
I will host the meeting with the Zoom software. You can join with software
or by using your phone. If you join by phone then your phone number will be
visible to other participants.
The primary language of the meeting will be English, but if people would
like to communicate in diverse languages then that is okay too. We can
facilitate translation by text chat. Many Wikimedians, myself included, are
multilingual in varying degrees, so we might try to have live
Here is information about how to connect:
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/136978210
Or iPhone one-tap :
Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current
Argentina: +54 341 512 2188
Australia: +61 (0) 2 8015 2088 or +61 (0) 8 7150 1149
Canada: +1 647 558 0588
Hong Kong, China: +852 5808 6088
France: +33 (0) 1 8288 0188 or +33 (0) 7 5678 4048
Germany: +49 (0) 30 3080 6188 or +49 (0) 30 5679 5800
Israel: +972 (0) 3 978 6688
Italy: +39 069 480 6488
Japan: +81 (0) 3 4578 1488 or +81 524 564 439
Mexico: +52 229 910 0061 or +52 554 161 4288
Spain: +34 84 368 5025 or +34 91 198 0188
Sweden: +46 (0) 7 6692 0434 or +46 (0) 8 4468 2488
Russia: +7 495 283 9788
United Kingdom: +44 (0) 20 3051 2874 or +44 (0) 20 3695 0088
US: +1 408 638 0986 or +1 646 558 8665
Meeting ID: 136 978 210
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/ekaPibJIy
The first "Wikimedia Café" meetup will be on 30 August 2018, at 17:00 UTC /
Let me emphasize that the environment won't be like this
so please don't feel intimated if you are nervous about public speaking.
(If a conversation feels to me like it is becoming uncivil or intimidating,
then I will ask the debaters to quiet themselves or to move to somewhere
else.) The meeting will generally have an environment that is more like this
I anticipate that few people will come, which is okay. I hope that if you
come then you will enjoy the environment and conversation.
Until next time,
( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees is considering amending the
Wikimedia Foundation Bylaws. Nataliia Tymkiv, Chair of the Board Governance
Committee, is leading this process. She has posted the proposed changes on
Meta for discussion
prior to our vote on them during the Board meeting scheduled for January
23, 2019. We invite you to comment on the proposal's talk page. As usual in
these cases, two weeks are provided for community comment, from December 7
to December 21.
By making the proposed changes to the Bylaws, the Board intends to achieve
*1. Include User Groups in the trustee selection process*
Though User Groups have existed as a model of affiliation within the
Wikimedia movement for a number of years, they have not been included
together with Chapters and Thematic Organizations as participants in
selecting Wikimedia Foundation trustees. There are now over 100 recognized
User Groups, many of which represent emerging communities within the
Wikimedia movement. The Board believes that the perspectives of User Groups
combined with those of Chapters and Thematic Organizations will lead to the
selection of the best trustee candidates.
The Board acknowledges that the ongoing Wikimedia movement strategy process
may result in changes to many aspects of the Wikimedia movement, including
the structure of movement affiliates. As a result, any changes we make now
to the Foundation Bylaws regarding the role of affiliates in the trustee
selection process may need to be modified again in the future, in turn
requiring additional amendments to the Bylaws. However, the Board did not
want to delay providing User Groups with a voice in the upcoming 2019
trustee selection process.
*2. Raise term limits for trustees from two to three consecutive terms*
Term limits for trustees were added to the Bylaws in 2015. At the time,
there was a desire on the Board to bring in new voices and specific
skill-sets needed for the growth and development of Wikimedia projects. The
changes made at that time have resulted in some notable successes in that
regard. The Board remains committed to seeking out new voices, and
providing the community with ample opportunities to promote such voices as
candidates for the Board.
As the Wikimedia movement and the Wikimedia Foundation think forward
further to the future, the Board will need to oversee the Foundation in
setting, following through on, and achieving longer-term goals. The Board
believes it will be better able to fulfill its role if it allows for the
potential of a longer time on the Board for individual trustees who bring
essential expertise and insight to the Board. The possibility of serving
one additional term on the Board also reduces the amount of time the Board
and Foundation staff spend on trustee recruitment and onboarding. Raising
the maximum number of consecutive terms a trustee may serve from two to
three terms achieves these goals, and is also consistent with the practice
of many other boards. Raising the maximum number of terms that can be
served consecutively does not change the fact that the community, including
affiliates, will continue to be able to determine every three years whether
or not to re-elect currently serving trustees or whether to elect new
candidates - just as is the case now.
*3. Reaffirm the Board’s commitment to diversity*
The Wikimedia movement is global, built on a vision of reaching every
single human being and working toward a strategic goal of knowledge equity
for all. The Board believes that it can best serve the Wikimedia Foundation
and the movement by reflecting a wide range of human experiences. We want
to underscore and codify this belief in the Bylaws by adding express
language affirming our commitment to diversity and inclusion of all voices,
throughout our communities - new, older and emerging.
Chair, Wikimedia Foundation Board
In November 2016, I presented the result of a joint research that
helped us understand English Wikipedia readers better. (Presentation
at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIaMuWA84bY ). I talked about how
we used English, Persian, and Spanish Wikipedia readers' inputs to
build a taxonomy of Wikipedia use-cases along several dimensions,
capturing users’ motivations to visit Wikipedia, the depth of
knowledge they are seeking, and their knowledge of the topic of
interest prior to visiting Wikipedia. I also talked about the results
of the study we did to quantify the prevalence of these use-cases via
a large-scale user survey conducted on English Wikipedia. In that
study, we also matched survey responses to the respondents’ digital
traces in Wikipedia’s server logs which enabled us in discovering
behavioral patterns associated with specific use-cases. You can read
the full study at https://arxiv.org/abs/1702.05379 .
==What do we want to do now?==
There are quite a few directions this research can continue on, and
the most immediate one is to understand whether the results that we
observe (in English Wikipeida) is robust across languages/cultures.
For this, we are going to repeat the study, but this time in more
languages. Here are the languages on our list: Arabic, Dutch, English,
Hindi, Japanese, Spanish (thanks to all the volunteers who have been
helping us translating all survey related documents to these
==What about your language?==
If your language is not one of the six languages above and you'd like
to learn about the readers of Wikipedia in it (in the specific ways
described above), please get back to me by Monday, April 24, AoE. I
cannot guarantee that we can run the study in your language, however,
I guarantee that we will give it a good try if you're interested. The
decision to include more languages will depend on: our capacity to do
the analysis, the speed at which your community can help us translate
the material to the language, the traffic to that language, a couple
of sentences on how you'd think the result can help your community,
and your willingness to help us document the results for your language
(Quite some work will need to go to have readable/usable
documentations available and we are too small to be able to guarantee
that on our own for many languages.)
Senior Research Scientist
Mindful of the ongoing discussions about conferences, I think that it
would be helpful to have a big picture understanding of the goals, plans,
and budgets for conferences collectively.
As far as I know, these are the types of recurring conferences:
(1) Wikimania, which seems to be a multi-purpose international conference,
with somewhat open admission if someone can afford to attend, is willing to
attend, and can get the necessary legal permissions;
(2) the Wikimedia Summit (which I hope will get a name change to reflect
its actual scope, because it's not an all-Wikimedia summit) which will
focus on WMF, WMF committees that work with WMF affiliate organizations,
and WMF affiliate organizations;
(3) thematic conferences, such as the Wikisource Conference;
(4) regional conferences, such as WikiConference North America;
(5) organization-specific meetings of various kinds, including affiliate
organizations' annual general meetings and WMF All Hands, and
(6) the Wikimedia Technical Conference.
I believe that WMF intended to do some strategic planning for the
collection of conferences as a part of the larger WMF-led strategic
planning process. Is this type of planning underway for conferences, and if
so can we get an update from someone who is familiar with the situation? If
the person who will respond is a paid staff member, then please feel free
to wait to respond until a convenient workday next week. In the meantime,
other people may wish to comment or ask questions.
( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
I have written a long text today (posted in my FB) which the readers of
this mailing list might find interesting. I copy it below. I understand
that it is very easy to critisize me for side issues, but if you want to
comment/reply I would appreciate if you address the main issue. The target
audience I was thinking about was general (not necessarily
Wikimedia-oriented), and for the readers from this mailing list the first
several paragraphs can sound trivial (or even trivial and wrong). I
apologize in advance.
I currently have a bit of time and can write on the future of Wikipedia.
Similarly to much of what I write it is probably going to be useless, but
someone may find it interesting. For simplicity, I will be explicitly
talking about the English Wikipedia (referring to it as Wikipedia). I am
active in other projects as well, and some of them have similar issues, but
there are typically many other things going on there which make the picture
Let us first look at the current situation. Wikipedia exists since 2001,
and in a couple of weeks will turn 18. Currently, it has 5.77 million
articles. I often hear an opinion that all important articles have already
been created. This is incorrect, and I am often the first person to point
out that this is not correct. For example, today I created an article on an
urban locality in Russia with the population of 15 thousands. Many articles
are indeed too short, badly written, or suffer from other issues, and they
need to be improved. There are new topics which appear on a regular basis:
new music performers, new winners of sports competitions or prizes, and so
on. As any Web 2.0 project, Wikipedia requires a regular cleanup, since
there are many people happy to vandalize the 5th website in the world in
terms of the number of views. However, as a general guideline, it is not so
much incorrect to state that all important things in Wikipedia have been
already written. Indeed, if someone looks for information in Wikipedia -
or, more precisely, uses search engines and gets Wikipedia as the first hit
— they are likely to find what they need with more than 99% chance.
In this sense, Wikipedia now is very different from Wikipedia in 2008 or
Wikipedia in 2004. Ten and especially fifteen years ago, everybody could
contribute something important. For example, the article on the 1951 film
"A Streetcar Named Desire", which won four Academy Awards, was started in
2005, as well as an article on Cy Twombly, at the time probably the most
famous living artist. This is not possible anymore. This is why the number
of active editors is currently dropping - to contribute to the content in a
meaningful way, one now has to be an advanced amateur - to master some
field of knowledge much better than most others do. Or one can be a
professional - but there are very few professionals contributing to
Wikipedia in their fields, and there are very few articles written at a
professional level. Attempts to attract professionals have been made for
many years, and, despite certain local success, generally failed. They have
been going now for long enough to assume they will never succeed on a large
scale. Wikipedia is written by advance amateurs for amateurs. However,
despite the decline in the number of editors, there are enough resources to
maintain and to expand the project. It does not mean there are no problems
- there are in fact many problems. One of the most commonly discussed one
is systemic bias - there is way more information on Wikipedia on subjects
pertaining to North America than to Africa, and if a topic is viewed on
differently in different countries, one can be sure that the American view
dominates. But it is usually thought - and I agree with this - that these
drawbacks are not crucial, and Wikipedia is atill a useful and sustainable
project. Wikipedia clearly has its ecosystem, there are no competitors to
talk about, and all attempts to fork it were unsuccessful. There is a
steady development, and everybody is happy.
Does this mean that everything is fine and we do not need to worry?, just
to wait until missing articles get written, or even to help this by writing
Absolutely not. To understand this, we can look again at the editor base.
There are detailed studies, but, for a starter, it is a nightmare to edit
Wikipedia from a cell phone. It is possible but not much easier to edit it
from a tablet. The mobile version is different from a desktop one, and it
is not really optimized for editing. This is a known problem, but one
aspect of it is clear. Most Wikipedia editors actually own a desktop and a
laptop. This brings them into 18+ category. There are of course exceptions,
but the fact is that the editor base gets older, and this is a problem. The
problem is not so much at this point that we all die and there will be
nobody to edit Wikipedia. The problem is that the next generation (18-) has
very different ways of getting information. And I guess they are not
interested in editing Wikipedia, and they will not get interested when they
grow up - possibly beyond introducing minor corrections, which can be done
from a phone.
Traditionally, students were always among the core of the editors base.
They already have some knowledge and they still have time to edit. When
they graduate, find a job and start a family, they have way less time and
typically stop editing. The next group are retirees. Between students and
retirees, we have a tiny fraction of dedicated enthusiasts who are ready to
take time from work and family, but they are really not numerous. Well, and
very soon we are going to lose students as editors. And we should be happy
if we do not lose them as readers.
I am 51, and I do not know much about the 18- generation, but I know two
important things about them. They have a very short attention span and
difficulties to concentrate. And they get a graphical and visualized
information much more easier than texts. For example, my son is capable of
watching three or four movies per day, but he has difficulties to read 20
pages from a book.
Well, the first question is whether an encyclopedia is an appropriate / the
best format for them to get knowledge (as it is for us). I do not know the
answer. What I write below assumes that the answer is positive, otherwise
the rest of the text does not make sense.
The next question is what should be done. How Wikipedia should look like to
be accessible to this generation? The answer seems to be obvious. Articles
must be short and contain a lot of graphic information. May be they need to
be videoclips. Short clips. Or, at lest, they must contain clips, with more
voice and less letters. If one needs more detailed information or just
further information - one hops to the next article or watches the next clip.
This is a paradigm shift. Currently, the editors generally consider that it
is good to have long Wikipedia articles - because long means more complete.
Sometimes there are even proposals (fortunately isolated and without
followup) to delete all short articles even if they describe notable topics
and contain verified information. Clips are almost not in use. Of course
they still need to be made, but this is not such a big problem - there are
plenty of school students who have their own youtube channel, if they can
make clips, everybody can.
The most difficult question is how this can be realized. I believe it is
not possible to just transform Wikipedia like this - make articles shorter
and simpler and spit them. First, this might be good for the young
generation, but this is still not good for the 18+ generation. Second, such
reforms should be either be approved by Wikipedia community through
consensus, or be imposed by the Wikimedia Foundation who owns the project.
The likelihood of either is zero. Just to give one argument, the community
is, well, the community of editors, of the same 18+ people with laptops who
have no difficulties reading long texts.
I envision it differently. Ideally, we have the Wikipedia as it is now, but
on top of this, every article has a collection of shorter companion
articles, simple and a paragraph or two long, so that each of them can be
read in half a minute, They should not have excessive markup, references,
categories or anything else which can be found in the main article if
needed. References in Wikipedia are required not for the sake of having
references, but as a means to ensure that the information is verifiable -
and if the main article does it the companion articles do not need to. Some
of these companion articles can be in fact clips - there is a difficulty
that clips can not be edited collaboratively, but I am sure this one can be
solved. If anybody wants to solve it.
The status of what I have written above is science fiction. I am sure if I
come with this proposal to a village pump of Wikipedia, it will be dead
within a day. In addition, it requires some modifications of MediaWiki
which can only be done by the Foundation. And I am not really looking
forward for the Foundation implementing this either. I have a lot of
respect for some of the Foundation employees, but it has now grown up into
a big corporation now and behaves as a big corporation, where some people
care less about the product and more about other things, and some look at
Wikipedia editors, aka "unorganized volunteers", as some annoying
phenomenon, which they can tolerate but are not willing to listen to. My
forecast is pretty pessimistic. Unless a miracle happens (and I currently,
at least not from my perspective, do not see any reasons for a miracle to
happen), soon or late will realize this, It might be a startup company, or
a non-commercial. And Wikipedia will stay as it is, and, after the
standards change many times, it will not be readable / accessible to most
of internet users, and will slowly die. And the results of what were were
doing for 20 years will disappear. This is a usual development and happens
to almost every human activity. We know that only a few percents of pieces
of Ancient Greek and Roman literature survived until now.
Yaroslav Blanter, editor and administrator of the English Wikipedia, 125