User:Deryck Chan/2019/WMF scholarship application

From Wikimania
Jump to navigation Jump to search

General information[edit | edit source]

Please indicate which type of Wikimania Foundation scholarship are you applying for.

"I am applying for a full scholarship, but would be able to attend if awarded a partial scholarship."

Please indicate whether or not you would like your information shared with other, independent Wikimedia movement organizations. Yes.

Do you intend to apply to any local Chapter / other movement organization(s) for scholarship funding to Wikimania 2019?

I have also applied for a travel bursary from Cambridge University (not a movement organization). I will withdraw this scholarship application if I receive full funding from Cambridge, or a downgrade to a partial scholarship if I receive partial funding from Cambridge.

Occupation (if professional): Civil engineer

Field of study (if student): Geotechnical engineering (PhD candidate)

Participation in the Wikimedia projects[edit | edit source]

Username on your primary Wikimedia project (Note: Omit the 'User:' prefix before your username, e.g. User:PQR123 should enter PQR123 only. Please do not include anything before or after your username):

Deryck Chan

(If applicable) Other Wikimedia usernames used for editing:


Most active Wikimedia project:


Second most active Wikimedia project (if applicable):


Primary language community on wiki:


Please select all of the following that describe how you have engaged in the Wikimedia movement.

  • Active contributor to a Wikimedia project (e.g. Wikipedia, Commons, Wikisource, Wikidata)
  •  Mediawiki code contributor, gadget or other tool-builder for Wikimedia projects
  •  Involvement in some form of Wikimedia organization (Chapters, Thematic Organizations, User Groups)
  •  Wikimedia CheckUser, Admin, Bureaucrat, Steward, and/or OTRS (current or former)
  • Participant in Wikimedia organized events (e.g. photographer contributing to Wiki Loves Monuments, workshop attendee)
  •  Organizer of Wikimedia events (e.g. WLM, edit-a-thons)

Are you currently a paid or contract staff member of any Wikimedia organization?


Are you currently a board member of any Wikimedia organization?


Tell us about your recent involvement in your home wiki or the broader Wikimedia movement. What have you built or contributed to in order to improve your wiki or community? Have you led or organized any of these activities? Please indicate which of these activities took place in the last 12 months.

Let me define “recent” as “since the last time I attended Wikimania”, which was Montreal 2017. The panel I led that year, “Wikidata and infoboxes”, generated a lot of discussion both at the conference and afterwards. Two themes emerged from that discussion: first, small Wikipedias should learn from each other to build Wikidata-powered infoboxes; second, more attention is required to curate the data on Wikidata to bring about cross-wiki synergy. These two themes, along with administrative contributions to the Cantonese Wikipedia and specialist content contributions in the field of civil engineer, are my main areas of contribution to the Wikimedia movement in the 12 months.

In terms of using Wikidata on the Cantonese Wikipedia, much of my work focused on two widely used templates. In August 2018, I built w:yue:Template:維基數據人物明細, a new Wikidata-powered template for biographical infoboxes, using what I learnt at Wikimania 2017 and subsequent Wikimedia meetups in the UK. There are already 500+ transclusions, most of them by other editors.

I have also continued to maintain w:yue:Template:英格蘭政區明細, originally w:en:Template:Infobox English county, but fully powered by Wikidata. In May 2018, expanded its scope to serve articles about any administrative territorial entity in England. This template is now transcluded in about 100 articles.

At the same time, the wiki-nature of Wikidata means that data curation is an ongoing process which sometimes requires large batch actions to make datasets conform to standard. I built two Wikidata property migration tools using PAWS (first built Nov 2017, latest edition Jan 2019; d:User:Deryck_Chan/Property_migration_tool) which performs mass-migration of properties from one property-qualifier combination to another combination. My multi-cultural background came into play here: the primary driver behind the need for this tool was the fact that a group of East Asian editors campaigned for the deprecation of the Wikidata property “as” because it is a European language logical relation with no equivalent in Asian languages. However, deprecation was stalled for over a year because of the lack of a practicable migration plan. I stepped in, built the property migration tool using both Python and Sparql, and made the migration process possible. Now all the former uses of “as” have been migrated to properties with better-defined logical relationships, such as “subject has role”, “object has role”, and “criterion used”. The same tool then came in handy in January 2019, when there was a plan to consolidate all of Wikidata’s coverage on Pokedex numbers into one property, so I performed the migration using an updated copy of the same tool.

My day job is to do research in civil engineering. As I make progress in my doctoral studies, I have finally become an expert in a field of science so that I can contribute to civil engineering articles on Wikipedia again, as a subject expert. In the past year, I updated the English Wikipedia articles on soil consolidation and oedometer testing; and wrote Cantonese Wikipedia articles on civil engineering and famous scientists. Three of my creations from the past year were featured in the “did you know” section of the Cantonese Wikipedia:

  • Civil engineering
  • Oil rig
  • Jennifer Wiseman (American astronomer)

I also take an active part in the content curation process on the Cantonese Wikipedia. I have continued to take part in featured article reviews. Recently in my administrator capacity, I have also overhauled the article deletion process (October 2017, yue:Wikipedia:刪文討論 ); overhauled the copyright violation and fair use review process (October 2018, yue:Wikipedia:版權問題 ); and created the process and templates for a new “good article” review process (February 2019, yue:Wikipedia:好文 ).

Last but not least, I have recently localised two MediaWiki extensions to Cantonese for use on the Cantonese Wikipedia: WikiLove (Sep 2018); and FileImporter (Jan 2019).

What’s something great that happened as a result of these activities? This could be described either quantitatively or qualitatively, and could impact either online or offline. Here are some examples that might help.

I think the best way to describe “what’s something great that happened as a result” is to look at the network effect that my contributions have generated, particularly how other editors have built on my work.

On Wikidata, my property migration tool has encouraged the community to make bolder curation decisions on Wikidata. Before the “as” property was deprecated, proposals to delete a widely used property were often dismissed as technically or practically unfeasible. Now that several properties have been mass-migrated for deprecation, this stigma no longer exists. I should also credit other contributors, notably Pasleim and his PLTools, for helping to create this newfound technical feasibility. Together we have shown that even if tens of thousands of items use a property, it could still be mass-migrated if the community so desires, which in turn has encouraged bolder content creation and curation practices.

For the Wikidata-powered templates I created on the Cantonese Wikipedia, I’m proud to report that infobox person is now transcluded on 500+ articles, and infobox English place on about 100 articles, most of them not my work. Other editors have even added new fields to the templates, expanding their scopes.

My contribution to content reviews on the Cantonese Wikipedia has made it possible for the featured article rotation schedule to speed up from 3 months an article to 2 months an article. The good article nomination process has been kick-started, with other editors making the first three reviews and the first promotion recently, based on guidelines I drafted.

My Wikimedia contributions have had impact beyond Wikimedia projects. My involvement in the Cantonese Wikipedia has garnered wider attention in the study of the emerging trend on Written Cantonese, leading to an opportunity for me to publish an article on a Cambridge University publication about Hong Kong and China current affairs.

My contributions of free media on civil engineering content have also made an impact in my field of research. Specialist presentations in the field of geotechnical engineering have reused my content contributions, notably my photograph of Prof. Andrew Schofield, and of the oedometers (soil swelling experimental device) at Cambridge University.

What collaborations with other Wikimedians or Wikimedia organizations are you most proud of?

This is a Wikimania scholarship application, so my first shout-out is to the Wikimania community! My journey as a Wikimania organiser (2013) and a semi-regular Wikimania attendee (2010, 11, 12, 14, 16, 17) has given me personal connections that I can call on, whenever I want to try something that’s a bit out of my depth. I have the confidence to localise the extensions and build the infoboxes I discussed above, because I got to know other contributors from Wikimania (notably Jdforrester, Catrope, Theklan, and Auregann, but the list goes on much longer) whom I can call on when I get stuck.

The next organisation I should mention is the Wikimedia UK community. The Cambridge meetups and the annual Wikimedia UK conference give me a local audience comprising frequent contributors, occasional contributors, and people from other parts of the open movement. These opportunities let me present and discuss less refined ideas and get feedback from a supportive community. Charles Matthews, the stalwart of the Cambridge Wikimedia Meetup, has been a great sounding board for everything I have wanted to do at the interface between Wikimedia and academia. I will also talk more about WMUK more in the section below.

Thirdly, the Wikimedia tech ambassadors community is another group within Wikimedia that I am proud to be a member of. I could ask a question on the mailing list and get a prompt answer to a software localisation issue, or for advice about a breaking change in MediaWiki. It has also been my privilege to serve as the link between the Cantonese Wikipedia and the wider Wikimedia community on movement-wide issues, bringing movement news to my language community and the needs of my language community to the wider movement.

How do you usually share your experiences (or things you’ve learned) with your community? Examples of on-wiki summaries/reports, blog posts, meetup talks, etc. are welcome here.

I create a user-page on each wiki where I have contributed substantially and showcase my work there. Here are the links to my userpages:

  • Cantonese Wikipedia
  • English Wikipedia
  • Wikidata
  • Commons

On the Cantonese Wikipedia, I also take part in discussions on the administrator’s noticeboard ( yue:Wikipedia:管理員留言板 ) and the village pump ( Wikipedia:城市論壇 )regularly, bringing movement news to my language community. My administrator status has also made me an informal arbiter of disputes, and my involvement in the wider Wikimedia movement meant that I could refer to common policies from other Wikimedia projects when I make administrative decisions.

Beyond the wiki, I've also shared my Wikimedia work to the wider community, mostly through in-person meetups. I gave a talk at the Wikimedia UK conference 2018, posing the opinion that Wikidata is a language. I also gave a demo of Wikidata Lexemes at the Cambridge Wikidata Workshop 2018, and taught a Wikipedia-editing workshop for economics undergraduates in Cambridge University in June 2018.

Attendance and involvement in Wikimania[edit | edit source]

Have you previously attended any Wikimania on a WMF scholarship?


In 2018, did you receive a WMF Scholarship and attend Wikimania on that scholarship?


Please provide the links to all of your previous WMF Scholarship reports.

Wikimania 2017 WMF scholarship: meta:Grants:TPS/Deryck_Chan/Wikimania/2017/Report

I have also attended a few previous Wikimanias with other sources of funding. Links to my write-ups of those Wikimanias are below:

I am a strong proponent of openness in Wikimania scholarship reviews. I started the trend in 2017 for successful scholarship applicants to publish their application forms after redacting personal details, and would urge the Scholarship Committee to make this disclosure compulsory. If my application is successful, I will be sure to publish my answers in this scholarship application form.