Earlier this week, the winners of the Sustainable Development Goals Digital Game Changer Awards were revealed. Govdirectory didn’t win, but we are still honored to have been selected as a finalist in the category Peace – Building peaceful and inclusive societies.
It would have been nice to have listed this on the slide for awards in our recent talk at Code for All, but that one was pre-recorded earlier in the summer when we didn’t know the upcoming good news.
In this talk (slides), we mention some statistics.
One aspect that I love about this project is that it is not static, but is building all the time. So since we recorded the video, we have already grown substantially.
As you can see, the coverage is just over 10% of the countries in the world, and of the countries we have, only one is complete and a handful more have great coverage. If you want to help with the data, head over to the project page on Wikidata. If you have want to help improve the website, head over to the repository on GitHub. And, of course, you are also welcome to just explore what is on the website at govdirectory.org.
I was recently a guest on the podcast Between the brackets. The podcast usually covers MediaWiki related topics, but from time to time, also have Wikimedians as guests. It was a lot of fun, since we talked about almost all the things I am currently involved in. We mostly talked about the Foundation for Public Code, Wikidata, Govdirectory, Wikimedians for Sustainable Development but also a bit about AI and Abstract Wikipedia.
Last week, the yearly Wikimedia conference Wikimania took place, and while I was not there in person, I was very much participating in the hybrid components of it. In general, it went quite smoothly, and I hope that all future Wikimanias will learn from this to enable more remote participation. This has two advantages. First, people who would otherwise not been able to join at all can join and second, people who would otherwise have needed to fly to go to the conference can enjoy it from their home.
Following the learning pattern Documenting your event experience, I continuously documented what I was doing, watching and participating in, along with notes of thoughts those brought me. In total, I partook in 77 sessions and organized another 3 myself during the conference. I have later watched another 12 sessions and have 22 still on my backlog, so the conference will stay in my mind for quite some time. I will delve deeper into the different aspects of my Wikimania experience below.
This session, about making a climate related edit on the Wikimedia projects every day for 365 days in a row, was a prerecorded lightning talk, which made it possible for me to be very active in the chat. However, no complex questions there, but at least a few cheers. Hopefully, more people will join in on the campaign as they come back to normal routines after Wikimania.
Add your country to the Wikidata Govdirectory
Here we presented the workflow of adding a new country on the Wikidata side of Govdirectory. It turned a bit chaotic due to no moderation in the physical room and odd use of Zoom rooms, but I think at least it shows the steps in a helpful way. It was pleasing to see both Bulgaria and Morocco being worked on in the day after the talk.
Perhaps the most fun session of these for me, as it went very smooth, and my panelists were all lovely and professional. We were discussing why we were livestreaming ourselves editing, what we think is the value in it, and gave a few tips. Very meta, and triply so, as this session in itself was livestreamed.
Differently from the other Govdirectory session, this was a poster session. It was based on the one I used at WikiCon NL last fall. I’ll include a version below, but you can also view the full pdf. This one was printed in A2 size and displayed in the expo session in the main hall. So far, I haven’t got any feedback from it yet, which I choose to interpret as the information was clear.
I had hoped to be a bit more productive in the Hackathon, but I mostly got stuck hacking on one function for the new Wikifunctions project. Not that it was that much hacking that I did, but rather since it was a non-trivial, I learned a lot about how the system will work in practice. This feels very valuable, as now I can speak about it with some hands-on experience.
There were far too many sessions for me to get a comprehensive overview of them all. But I did like the high amount. It feels like a very healthy community when there are over 300 sessions of high quality. In hindsight, I also appreciate the many different tracks, as it allowed for many aspects to shine. Of course, I too experienced Fear Of Missing Out, when there were several interesting sessions happening at the same time. It was somewhat mitigated by the knowledge that all the sessions also will be available for eternity, so it boiled down to selecting which sessions I was most likely to interact in. I ordered them for my own overview on my user page. Unfortunately, even though there was a separate chat for each virtual room, there wasn’t always someone available to bridge questions in the chat to the speaker.
New for this year was a concurrent editing challenge during the conference – Wikimania Challenge. It was a bit of a scavenger hunt style competition with different tasks to complete during the days. A fun way to edit with a wide spread of tasks over the different projects. I was one of the few that completed enough tasks in time to get my name on the big screen during the closing ceremony, and I also received this nice certificate.
Eventyay – the conference platform
It was great to see Wikimania being run on a free and open source platform, Eventyay (and also using Pretalx for the submission process). I am also happy that the event is still available there. It was also great to see developers from the Eventyay project hanging around answering questions and documenting bugs as they were discovered. I found one that they also fixed during the event and made another feature request.
While a huge step forward, there were still some serious issues with selected components. In particular, speakers were connected using Zoom. Not only is it proprietary, but their recent changes in Terms of Service make me, and others, hesitant to use it. I understand that it has a feature for using live translators, but this is an issue we should help solve as it is so important for our movement.
As usual, a Wikimania leaves you with loads of inspiration and ideas. So what will I try to do next?
The entire track about the different Wiki Loves campaigns was inspiring, particularly the talk Wiki Loves in Numbers (video), and I will contact Wikimedia Nederland to see how we can get a Wiki Loves Earth going here in 2024.
Idag har jag en debattartikel om klimatet i Expressen. Det var en idé som jag har grunnat på sedan länge, men som med den senaste debatten om koranbränning bubblade upp till ytan igen. Det är en ganska kontroversiell idé i sin enkelhet, att det inte bör vara tillåtet att okontrollerat elda något alls, så det ska bli spännande att se vad responsen blir.
Det finns ju egentligen mycket mer att säga om detta än vad som får plats i 3 500 tecken, som är formatet för en debattartikel så det blir ju en del som blir implicit i den. Men ja, min tanke är verkligen ett generellt eldningsförbud. Vilket bland annat innebär slutet för nöjesgrillning vilket jag tror kanske är det som kommer att uppröra mest. Lite mindre implicit, och här tänker jag på hänvisningen till Naturvårdsverkets rapport, är att även braskaminer eller vedeldning i hemmet i tätorter borde förbjudas. Utöver koldioxiden så blir luftkvaliteten riktigt dålig. Självklart bör en tidsbegränsad dispens ges till de som idag inte har ett alternativt uppvärmningssätt i hemmet.
Att jag just nu läser sommarkursen Retorik och kostomställning blev vad som fick mig att gå från tanke till handling. Det här blir en del av min slutuppgift och nu ska jag skriva ihop en rapport om det till nästa vecka och sen är den klar. Det blir nog minst en uppföljningspost på det här.
This spring, I took an evening course in English at the University of Skövde remotely: “English: Writing Texts about Facts and Opinions” (syllabus in English), 7.5 ECTS. It was refreshing to both delve into the nitty-gritty with grammar for the first in a while, but also to get an insight into the style of argumentative writing in English as compared to Swedish. Plenty of similarities, of course, but some nuances that were good to be reminded about. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and might consider publishing some of the essays I wrote for it here at a later time.
(Obviously, since this is a text about grammar and language, Muphry’s law dictates I will have made some errors in it.)
Due to the rise of voice assistants of different kinds, Wikimedia Foundation decided to get a sound logo, and following a long-standing tradition, this was made as a contest. It was opened in September last year and ran until October. They received 3,235 submissions from 2,094 participants in 135 countries. Then in December, after preselection down to 10 finalists by a committee, there was a community vote.
I thought it was a fun challenge, and I also have some recording capabilities thanks to the podcast I am hosting. So after a bit of tinkering, I managed to make two submissions.
Now, while it was fun, I don’t think I was even near being a finalist. Those ten were in another league, all excellent.
The Big Fat Brussels Meeting is an opportunity for Wikimedians, mainly from Europe, interested in how public policy may affect the Wikimedia movement to get together and collaborate. I have been to these before and, as usual, it was both productive and inspiring. In particular, I led the discussion around what we first, very ambitiously, called PD Gov (as in government material should be public domain), but later crystallized to something much more narrow and easier to work on.
Reuse of material from the European institutions
Since 2011, there is the 2011/833/EU: Commission Decision of 12 December 2011 on the reuse of Commission documents which is already quite good and has led to clarity around of a lot of the content created by the European Commission. During the meeting, we thought it would be a good first step to try to get this decision widened, to apply to all the European institutions. By doing that, we don’t need to come up with new policy language that needs new arguments. Instead, we can simply argue for consistency and to reuse the reuse policy. This would still be a considerable win, as a lot of relevant material is created by the European Parliament and especially their Research Service. Do reach out to me if you want to help work on this.
Wikipediapodden podcast episodes
Besides partaking in the meeting activities, I also managed to record three short interviews that are now available as podcast episodes on Wikipediapodden.