2019:Learning Days/Introduction to Wikimania

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History[edit | edit source]

Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment.

In January 2001, Wikipedia was started as a feeder project for Nupedia, an encyclopedia that was going to be written by experts and put online for free.

After two years, Nupedia was taken offline because Wikipedia was so much better. Before Wikipedia was four years old, there were versions in over 160 languages, and by the time it was seven years old, it was the biggest encyclopedia in human history. Nobody, not even the people who started it, had expected this. As one user said: "Wikipedia only works in practice. In theory, it's a stupid idea."

In 2003, when Wikipedia was two years old, it started getting expensive to run, so the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation was created to raise money and run the project.

Building on the success of Wikipedia, a number of other collaborative projects followed, starting with Wiktionary in December 2002, and with WikiVoyage finally becoming a full Wikimedia project in 2013.

At least as far back as 2003, Wikimedians started meeting in person and organising into user groups, and since 2004 they started creating official national organisations (chapters).

The work required to fulfill the vision of our movement is done by two groups of people:

  • The volunteers who work unpaid to write content, create online tools, and organise their work locally and globally, online and offline.
  • The employees of the Wikimedia Foundation and the various affiliated groups who raise funds, write software, manage organisations, run servers and provide legal defense.

Introduction to Wikimania: Program and resources[edit | edit source]

Wikimania is structured like a scientific symposium. There are posters, booths, workshops, exhibitions and talks. There is so much amazing content that it's sometimes difficult to remember what you want to attend next.

My recommendations:

  • Join the social media groups listed at Delegates Connect. There you can ask questions and get answers quickly. Telegram is particularly useful, but you'll probably have to mute notifications.
  • Check out the talks on the online program beforehand. Look what seems interesting to you, and follow the link to see more detail about the talk.
  • Use the paper copy of the program to mark which talks you want to attend, and make sure you know which room is where.
  • You will probably find that you can't attend all the talks you want to attend. Some of them will be recorded, so you can watch them again later, and if you tell a speaker that you couldn't attend their talk but really want to know more about the topic, they'll almost always be able to make time to talk to you.
  • Talk to people. Tell them you're new. Wikimedians love telling new users all about the things that excite them about the projects. You don't have to know whom to talk to: just go up to anyone who looks as if they know what's going on around them and say "Who can tell me about X?" You're sure to get help.
  • You don't have to sit alone. Ask any group of people "Can I join you?" and ask them about what they've seen, what they're doing, etc.
  • Attend meetups. They're a great way to meet Wikimedians who share your interests.

Major themes of Wikimania[edit | edit source]

The theme of Wikimania 2019 is "Stronger together: Wikimedia, Free Knowledge and the Sustainable Development Goals." That means that we want to think about:

  • How free knowledge could have the potential to radically change peoples’ lives.
  • How we could build a better world through cooperation, innovation and passion

This is connected to the United Nations' agenda on how to reach a sustainable world in the coming decade.

Among the seventeen sustainable development goals, we will be focusing on the following six:

  • The right to quality education (SDG 4)
  • A reduction of gender inequality (SDG 5)
  • Innovation (SDG 9)
  • Empowering people regardless of their background (SDG 10)
  • Achieving sustainable societies (SDG 11-15)
  • Developing global partnerships (SDG 17)

Inclusiveness and Friendly Space Policy[edit | edit source]

Wikimedians as a group care deeply about inclusiveness: we will fail in our quest to make the sum of human knowledge available to everyone if we don't include everyone. That's why Wikimania abides by the Wikimedia Foundation's friendly space policy.

You should read the whole policy (it's not long), but the basics are:

  • Don't make offensive comments related to gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, physical appearance, age, race, ethnicity, political affiliation, national origin, or religion.
  • Don't display sexual images in public spaces
  • Don't intimidate or stalk people.
  • Don't follow, photograph or record people if they don't want you to.
  • Don't disrupt talks
  • Don't touch people inappropriately or give anyone unwelcome sexual attention.

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of conference staff immediately. Conference staff can be identified by special badges, and you can also come to the information desk.

The Wikimedia Foundation[edit | edit source]

Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation exists to keep the Wikimedia projects running. It is led by the Executive Director, currently Katherine Maher.

The staff of the WMF

  • takes and manages donations
  • runs the servers that host the projects
  • provides legal support to make sure that our work stays free when companies and governments try to attack us
  • along with volunteers, writes and improves the software (for example MediaWiki)
  • supports the community, by providing funding and supporting the management of user organisations
  • supports community initiatives like cooperation with cultural institutions
  • helps to organise community meetings like Wikimania
  • administers the WMF (HR, financial reporting, etc.)

Wikimedia Foundation Board[edit | edit source]

The WMF Board of Trustees oversees the foundation and its work. It makes strategic resolutions on what needs to be done, and delegates the implementation of those decisions to the committees.

The board is made up of:

  • Jimmy Wales, as founder
  • two affiliate seats selected by the Wikimedia chapters and thematic organizations
  • three seats nominated by the Wikimedia community
  • four seats appointed by the rest of the Board for specific expertise

The board:

Photo Name Seat Role Term ends Notes Home wiki
Wikimedia Summit 2019 - 26 (cropped version with Tanya Capuano only).jpg Tanya Capuano Appointed Wikimania 2021 Appointed on 19 July 2018
Christophe Henner - June 2016.jpg Christophe Henner (User:Schiste) Affiliates Vice Chair Wikimania 2019 Appointed on 23 June 2016 French Wikipedia
Dr. Dariusz Jemielniak-2.jpg Dr. Dariusz Jemielniak (User:Pundit) Community Wikimania 2020 Appointed on 10 August 2017 Polish Wikipedia
Esra'a Al Shafei avatar.png Esra'a Al Shafei Appointed Wikimania 2020 Appointed on 18 November 2017
Dr. James Heilman.jpg Dr. James Heilman (User:Doc James) Community Wikimania 2020 Appointed on 10 August 2017 English Wikipedia
Jimmy Wales-1.jpg Jimmy Wales (User:Jimbo Wales) Founder Chair Emeritus[Notes 1] December 31, 2021 Reappointed on 7 November 2015 English Wikipedia
Lisa Lewin.jpg Lisa Lewin Appointed Wikimania 2021 Appointed on 30 January 2019
María Sefidari - June 2016.jpg María Sefidari (User:Raystorm) Community Chair Wikimania 2020 Appointed on 10 August 2017 Spanish Wikipedia
Nataliia Tymkiv - June 2016 - 2.jpg Nataliia Tymkiv (User:NTymkiv (WMF)) Affiliates Wikimania 2019 Appointed on 23 June 2016 Ukrainian Wikipedia
Raju Narisetti - International Journalism Festival 2015.JPG Raju Narisetti Appointed Wikimania 2020 Appointed on 5 October 2017
  1. Board of Trustees/Restructure Announcement Q&A, April 2008

Wikimedia Foundation Community Committees[edit | edit source]

The decisions of the Wikimedia Foundation board are carried out by committees made up of volunteers and employees.

Four very important volunteer committees are:

  • Affiliations Committee (AffCom)
    • Supports new movement affiliates (user groups, chapters and thematic organisations) and advises the board on their approval.
  • Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC)
    • Makes decisions on funding users, groups and organisations to support our volunteers and deliver our mission.
  • Language committee (Langcom)
    • Supports and evaluates new language editions of our projects
    • Supports new script and localization development and policy
  • Elections Committee
    • Oversees elections to the board and the FDC

Wikimedia affiliates[edit | edit source]

There are three kinds of organisations that are affiliated to the Wikimedia Foundation, and help volunteers to promote their work. The Affiliations Committee helps Wikimedians from all around the world self-organise into chapters, thematic organisations and user groups, and to gain official recognition from the Wikimedia Foundation.

User Groups[edit | edit source]

User groups are the simplest form of affiliation. All a user group needs is an established contact person and a history of delivering projects. User groups don't have to be incorporated, and they are granted limited use of the Wikimedia marks for publicity related to events and projects. At first, a user group typically gets recognized for a year, and this recognition gets extended if things go well.

Chapters[edit | edit source]

A Wikimedia Chapter is an incorporated independent non-profit organisation that represents the Wikimedia movement, and is focused on supporting the movement work within a geography (e.g. in a country or region). Chapters use a name that clearly links them to Wikimedia (e.g. Wikimedia New York City or Wikimedia Deutschland) and can use Wikimedia trademarks for their work, publicity, and fundraising.

Thematic Organisations[edit | edit source]

Thematic organisations are basically just like chapters, but not geographically based. There is at the moment only one thematic organisation, namely Amical Wikimedia, which focuses on the Catalan language and culture.

Wikimedia projects[edit | edit source]

Content on most Wikimedia Foundation websites is licensed for redistribution under the Attribution and Share-alike Creative Commons licenses. This content is sourced from contributing volunteers and from resources with few or no copyright restrictions, such as copyleft material and works in the public domain.

Content projects[edit | edit source]

In addition to Wikipedia, the foundation operates ten other wikis that follow the free content model with their main goal being the dissemination of knowledge. These include, by launch date:

Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Name: Wikipedia
Description: online encyclopedia
Website: https://www.wikipedia.org
Launched: January 15, 2001
Editions: more than 290 in over 250 languages
Alexa rank: 5
Wiktionary-logo.svg Name: Wiktionary
Description: online dictionary and thesaurus
Website: https://www.wiktionary.org
Launched: December 12, 2002
Editions: more than 270 languages and in Simple English
Alexa rank: 503
Wikibooks-logo.svg Name: Wikibooks
Description: collection of textbooks
Website: https://www.wikibooks.org
Launched: July 10, 2003
Alexa rank: 1,986
Wikiquote-logo.svg Name: Wikiquote
Description: collection of quotations
Website: https://www.wikiquote.org
Launched: July 10, 2003
Alexa rank: 4,060
Wikivoyage-logo.svg Name: Wikivoyage
Description: travel guide
Website: https://www.wikivoyage.org
Launched: July 2003 as Wikitravel
Forked: December 10, 2006 (German language)
Re-launched: January 15, 2013 by WMF in English language
Alexa rank: 24,186
Wikisource-logo.svg Name: Wikisource
Description: digital library
Website: https://www.wikisource.org
Launched: November 24, 2003
Alexa rank: 3,673
Commons-logo.svg Name: Wikimedia Commons
Description: repository of images, sounds, videos, and general media
Website: https://commons.wikimedia.org
Launched: September 7, 2004
Wikispecies-logo.svg Name: Wikispecies
Description: taxonomic catalogue of species
Website: https://species.wikimedia.org
Launched: September 14, 2004
Wikinews-logo.svg Name: Wikinews
Description: online newspaper
Website: https://www.wikinews.org
Launched: November 8, 2004
Alexa rank: 70,278
Wikiversity-logo.svg Name: Wikiversity
Description: collection of tutorials and courses, while also serving as a hosting point to coordinate research
Website: https://www.wikiversity.org
Launched: August 15, 2006
Alexa rank: 11,687
Wikidata-logo.svg Name: Wikidata
Description: knowledge base
Website: https://www.wikidata.org
Launched: October 30, 2012
Alexa rank: 13,467

Infrastructure and coordination projects[edit | edit source]

Several additional projects exist to provide infrastructure or coordination of the free knowledge projects. For instance, Outreach gives guidelines for best practices on encouraging the use of Wikimedia sites. These include:

Wikimedia Community Logo.svg Name: Meta-Wiki
Description: central site for coordinating all projects and the Wikimedia community
Website: https://meta.wikimedia.org
Incubator-logo.svg Name: Wikimedia Incubator
Description: for language editions in development
Website: https://incubator.wikimedia.org
MediaWiki-notext.svg Name: MediaWiki
Description: helps coordinate work on MediaWiki software
Website: https://www.mediawiki.org
Wikitech logo.svg Name: Wikitech
Alias: Wikimedia Cloud Services (WMCS), formerly known as "Wikimedia Labs"
Description: technical projects and infrastructure
Website: https://wikitech.wikimedia.org

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