[Wikimediaau-l] Wiki Wednesday, Sydney - Report

Liam Wyatt liamwyatt at gmail.com
Wed Nov 12 12:43:06 UTC 2008

The innaugural Wiki-Wednesday in Sydney has now come and gone - and I  
believe that it was quite a success!


As you can see on the above page we had 41 people from a large  
variety of organisations sign up to attend and something along those  
numbers did indeed show up. The lovely space in the basement of the  
Atlassian company's headquarters in the heart of the City was filled  
with a mingly, chatty, diverse group of folk. The generously provided  
drinkies and pizza was very well received.

We had 6 speakers on quite a range of topics - each talking for 5ish  
minutes. As the audience was quite broad - not all of whom were  
Wikimedians (let alone 'wiki folk') - the talks were on a broad range  
of issues with a varying 'degree of difficulty'.

Angela Beesley - user:angela, led off with a discussion of how/what/ 
why of Wikia and WikiaSearch which drew some questions about  
successfully making wikis pay for themselves in the commercial sphere.

Our host for the evening, James Matheson then talked about three  
behaviours that people should expect/plan for when using wikis -  
particluarly corporate, internal wikis. Specifically this included  
the way people no longer send documents but rather send links to the  
document on the wiki, another was the way people don't/shouldn't  
write comments to each other but rather directly on the wiki.

I, Liam Wyatt - user:witty lama, then got up and presented what was  
effectively the 4th chapter of my thesis. I talked about four ways by  
which Wikipedia could be used as a *primary research* tool for the  
historians of the future. For example, I pointed out that the article  
viewing/editing stats can be used (either individually or in  
comparison) to provide a reference for academics arguing that 'x' was  
more well known than 'y' at 'z' point in history. Previously there  
was no way to provide a reference for this claim.

Peter - user:Privatemusings then talked about his recent experiences  
dealing with the Powerhouse Museum's efforts in bringing their  
photographic archive onto the internet. Specifically, the "Tyrrell  
collection" of glass plate photographs are now being placed on Flickr  
and many of those are now appearing on Wikipedia articles. Peter  
talked about how we can help institutions like the PHM provide a  
forum for museum/archive content which can then be used by their  
staff to justify further release of content online. http:// 

John Beckett then discussed his experience migrating "Vim Tips" to  
wiki - specifically to Wikia. Several issues were raised in the  
process which included some cultural (e.g. arguing over having  
advertisments) and some technical (e.g. software code being discussed  
in the article would confuse the wiki engine and break templates etc.)

Finally, Andrew Garrett - user:werdna, recently having completed his  
HSC and now working for the Wikimedia Foundation talked about his  
"abuse filter" for media-wiki. This is effectively a highly  
customisable way of blocking specific edits which will allow for more  
subtle means of dealing with 'bad' edits than the quite arbitrary IP- 
range blocks or article-protections. It can be tuned to 'trip'  
depending on the type of user, the speed or frequency, the action,  
and the namespace (or a combination of these). Significantly, it has  
a low false-positive rate.  This is expected to go live on the  
English Wikipedia in a couple of months.

After the presentations there was some discussion as a large group as  
to why Wikimedia doesn't monetise the project. Specifically, this was  
not in reference to placing advertisments to bring money to the  
Foundation, but rather that the editors should be financially  
rewarded for their efforts. This idea was, unsurprisingly, shot down  
in flames (in a friendly way) from several directions at once.

The night then wore on with pizza, beer and a good ol' natter.

I for one am very much looking forward to the next Wiki-Wednesday and  
we have received several apologies from people who couldn't make  it  
to this one. Hopefully this will take off as a regular event that  
brings in a nice range of techies, academics, journos, chalkies,  
museum folk and the usual hodge-podge wikipedians such as myself!

If there's anything I've forgotten about please add it in - pass this  
on to others who attended (or are thinking of attending the next one)  
if you think that they are not subscribers to this list.

Goodnight all!
-Liam Wyatt
[[user:witty lama]]
Skype: wittylam

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