[Wikimedia-l] Run a local tech training event - I can help you start

Sumana Harihareswara sumanah at wikimedia.org
Tue Nov 13 23:34:12 UTC 2012

TL;DR: I'm encouraging volunteers and chapters to run local tech events
-- I can help you get started.

On 11/11/2012 12:42 AM, Erik Moeller wrote:
> Hi all,
> a reminder to chapters and volunteers around the world -- if you're
> planning a hackathon, please let us know beforehand by adding it to
> this page:
> https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/MediaWiki_developer_meetings
> Consistent with Sue's recommendations to the Board, Wikimedia
> Foundation will spend less time organizing events on its own, and will
> more frequently send smaller groups to events organized around the
> world by the movement at large. But to do so we need to know what's
> coming up. :)
> Hackathons/DevCamps are a great way to help the movement. They can
> engage the existing volunteer developer commmunity, help expand it,
> bring together engineers with other Wikimedia practitioners, and
> create a focused space. We hope more folks around the world will take
> a role in hosting such developer events. If you would like WMF's
> thoughts and input, please feel free to ping Sumana (sumanah at
> wikimedia.org).
> All the best,
> Erik

Thanks for starting this conversation, Erik.  Yes, if you run a local
tech training event, you can make the site better for your community --
including improving bots, templates and gadgets.  And I can write and
find tutorial resources for you, and likely get experienced developers
to your event to teach.

Noopur wrote:
> I know of two volunteers, Harsh and Sheel from India who have been keen to
> organize hackathons and help with localization. Sumana had offered to help
> us out and we realized that only links or information doesn't really help.
> So, we thought doing a Skype call where someone can walk people through the
> little details or answer specific questions would be great. Another
> thought, webcasting some such developer meets could also be great learning.
> Just thought I'd put this out because I am sure there are more Indian
> editors who would love to join in if there's such a call.
> Hope to see more hackathons and tech events soon :)

I just had that call with Harsh and Sheel yesterday and they're on their
way to planning initial devdays in their areas!  Thanks, Noopur!
Broadcasting these kinds of calls or having them more regularly is
something I'd be interested in doing if volunteers tell me they want
that.  Live-streaming audio from hackathons is pretty difficult and
costly to do well, so I've generally opted to concentrate on videotaping
for later viewing and live notetaking/IRC participation instead.

Here's how we're trying to be more effective at tech outreach and
inreach events:

Outreach: We have a regular engineering meetup night at headquarters
(next one: January 17th), and we're continuing to encourage
technologists to go to other meetups and conferences, like FOSDEM and
JSConf, to learn, teach, and recruit.  WMF staff can often get WMF to
pay for their travel; volunteers can often get subsidies via
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Participation:Support .  And we're
encouraging chapters and volunteers to organize hackdays for new
volunteers, like Yuvi's been doing in south India, and as Harsh and
Sheel are about to do!

"Inreach" (meeting people who already contribute, helping them
improve and hacking with them): WMF will continue to send staffers to
the two big yearly Wikimedia tech meetings, one in the spring in Europe
and one attached to Wikimania.  In some cases we can sponsor volunteers
to travel to those events; we sponsored a lot of volunteers to go to
Berlin this past spring.  We're also sending handfuls of staffers to
smaller events organized by chapters, like the Wikimedia Netherlands
hackathon last weekend, to collaborate with local Wikimedians.  And the
weekly online tech videochat is good for inreach - you can participate
live or watch later. The next one is Thursday:

Quim Gil (the new technical contributor coordinator at WMF) and I are
encouraging chapters to run small regional events or trying to partner
with existing events and groups.  Here are the subjects, demographics,
and geographies I particularly want to encourage via small events:

* Learning to write user scripts and gadgets
* Moving bots to Labs
* Commons curation and display tools, especially on mobile
* Security training
* Testing Echo
* Testing usability on tablets
* Rewriting templates in Lua

* Front-end developers (including gadgets & user scripts)
* Template writers & maintainers
* Women
* Bot authors

* Brazil (catalyst)
* India (catalyst)
* SF Bay Area (easy for staffers to get to)
* Middle East & North Africa (engineering talent, underrepresented in
current tech community)
* Hong Kong (underrepresented in current tech community, pre- and
post-Wikimania opportunities)

But please don't limit yourself to these ideas -- wherever you are and
whatever you want to concentrate on, I'm happy to answer questions about
this or to point you to opportunities and possible sponsorship in your area.

Sumana Harihareswara
Engineering Community Manager
Wikimedia Foundation

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