Jump to content

2023:Program/ESEAP Region/WMYW9A-Wikipediplomacy: the story of Philippine diplomatic missions on Wikipedia, and how you can write them too!

From Wikimania

Title: Wikipediplomacy: the story of Philippine diplomatic missions on Wikipedia, and how you can write them too!


Josh Lim (User:Sky Harbor)

I am a long-time Wikipedia editor, having edited Wikipedia since 2005. I am also a co-founder of the Wiki Society of the Philippines (formerly Wikimedia Philippines), a former member of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Affiliations Committee, and a community manager in real life. I’ve been writing about embassies and consulates since 2013, when I first wrote about the Philippine Embassy in Warsaw, Poland. Since then I’ve not stopped and so I bring a lot of experience on how to write engaging content about this otherwise-mundane, boring topic.

Pretalx link

Etherpad link

Room: Room 325

Start time: Sat, 19 Aug 2023 15:50:00 +0800

End time: Sat, 19 Aug 2023 16:10:00 +0800

Type: Lecture

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

Submission state: confirmed

Duration: 20 minutes

Do not record: false

Presentation language: en

Abstract & description

[edit source]


[edit source]

Since 2018, several articles have been written about Philippine diplomatic missions. This talk chronicles the story of how those articles came about and why, some best practices on writing articles about diplomatic missions, and how this can be used to engage with government.


[edit source]

Since 2018, I’ve been writing Wikipedia articles about Philippine diplomatic missions. While I started doing this work even earlier, it was only in the last five years that I seriously took to writing about Philippine embassies and consulates, eventually covering many of the countries where extensive records are available.

On Wikipedia, or at least the English Wikipedia, the vast majority of articles about embassies and consulates are short stubs with an infobox and, if possible, a picture. Because this is an area which is often seen as mundane and uninteresting, these articles are often not updated, even if the missions themselves have interesting stories to tell. But, truth be told, diplomacy can be a very fun and interesting place to learn something new, and Wikipedia can help facilitate that exchange of knowledge that is more often than not lost to time or, at least, is only known to diplomats.

In this talk, I intend to cover the following:

  • The story of how these articles came about and why
  • Interesting stories and anecdotes that I’ve encountered while writing these articles (e.g. how Philippine diplomats in Iraq consented to a suicide pact, or how the former Philippine embassy in Argentina was once a house, hotel and retirement home)
  • Some best practices on writing articles about diplomatic missions and how to piece together information to make a narrative
  • How this can be used to engage community members and even government agencies moving forward

While this is an ESEAP-specific talk, this also can belong to the Community Initiatives track.

Further details

[edit source]

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

This proposal relates to the Wikimania 2023 theme in a number of ways.

First, this type of initiative is something that no other community has done, and I think it provides critical lessons that other communities can learn from. This work has been noticed at least on the English Wikipedia, and I do think that this can serve as a template for future collaborations or, at the very least, future efforts by other communities to engage in this type of factual “diplomacy”.

Second, content initiatives in Southeast Asia tend to be overlooked, especially writing initiatives. Writing articles about embassies and consulates isn’t easy, and admittedly it is very boring. However, it does provide critical insight into how we can make Wikipedia more complete, more engaging and more impactful in terms of the content we deliver. Just like how people have come to rely on Wikipedia for information as mundane as your local train station or a random bus line, the same approach can apply to embassies and consulates, where we provide information that is factual but also engaging.

Finally, as Wikipedia runs out of low-hanging fruit to write content about, we need to come up with more impactful ways to engage with our readership, harnessing that relationship with our writing community so that we can continue to provide engaging interaction. Finding a way forward with making something boring interesting, as in the case with the articles I’ve written on Philippine embassies and consulates, is key to our future as a writing community that can continue to cater to the needs of our readers, even as they mature and they seek out new information.

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