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2023:Program/ESEAP Region/BPWEKU-17 years of Cantonese Wikipedia, the Written Cantonese literary movement, and the Wikimedia movement

From Wikimania

Title: 17 years of Cantonese Wikipedia, the Written Cantonese literary movement, and the Wikimedia movement


Deryck Chan

Deryck Chan has been a Wikipedian since 2004 and serves as a bureaucrat of Cantonese Wikipedia and an administration of English Wikipedia. He is a civil engineer in his day job, specialising in reservoirs and water infrastructure, and holds a doctorate in geotechnical engineering. He has wide-ranging interests within the Wikimedia movement, from community health to sustainability and translation. Wikimania 2023 will be his 10th Wikimania in person and 12th Wikimania overall. https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Deryck_Chan

Pretalx link

Etherpad link

Room: Room 325

Start time: Thu, 17 Aug 2023 11:35:00 +0800

End time: Thu, 17 Aug 2023 11:50:00 +0800

Type: No (pretalx) session type id specified

Track: ESEAP (East, South East Asia, and the Pacific) Region

Submission state: confirmed

Duration: 15 minutes

Do not record: false

Presentation language: en

Abstract & description

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Founded in 2006, Cantonese Wikipedia has grown in a way that reflects two influences: wider events in the Written Cantonese literary movement and global Wikimedia movement initiatives. This session will look at Cantonese Wikipedia’s history and invite a discussion on how Wikimedians contributing to languages with emerging literary movements can learn from each other.


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The editorial style and newcomers’ attitudes towards the Cantonese Wikipedia have shifted since its foundation in 2006, mainly in response to events in the wider Written Cantonese literary movement and current affairs in Hong Kong and its diaspora, more so than events on Wikipedia itself.

The initial foundation of Cantonese Wikipedia was met with skepticism, at a time when Cantonese was seen as a tributary spoken language to Modern Standard Written Chinese, represented by the Chinese Wikipedia. The early editor community went to great depths to differentiate Written Cantonese from Standard Chinese. Over the years though, culture change in Hong Kong and the Cantonese diaspora, especially the cultural response to political events of 2014-2020, has put the Written Cantonese literary movement into the mainstream. The Cantonese Wikipedia’s editorial style converged with the wider literary movement and the community gradually found a group identity that relied less on being different from major world languages like Chinese and English, and more on an authentic Cantonese identity around Hong Kong and its diaspora.

Over the years, the Cantonese Wikipedia community navigated these changes by selectively aligning itself with global Wikimedia initiatives, both technological and curatorial, in a way that reflects the uniqueness of Cantonese culture but encompasses as much diversity within the literary movement as possible.

This session will explore the history of the Cantonese Wikipedia and open up a discussion about the iteraction between Wikipedia culture and world events, and how Wikipedians from different language communities can learn from each other, as we seek to maintain diversity and collaboration in the Wikimedia movement.

Further details

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Qn. How does your session relate to the event themes: Diversity, Collaboration Future?

This session examines how the diversity of editors on the Cantonese Wikipedia is shaped by the world. On each Wikimedia project, we collaborate within the constraints of world politics, culture, and the wider Wikimedia movement’s governance structure. By looking at how the past led to where we are today as a movement, the session invites a discussion on how to navigate small to medium sized Wikipedias into the future, particularly in the context of Movement Strategy priorities.

Qn. What is the experience level needed for the audience for your session?

Everyone can participate in this session

Qn. What is the most appropriate format for this session?

  • Tick Onsite in Singapore
  • Empty Remote online participation, livestreamed
  • Empty Remote from a satellite event
  • Empty Hybrid with some participants in Singapore and others dialing in remotely
  • Empty Pre-recorded and available on demand