Big Fat Brussels Meeting VIII

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.

Most participants of the meeting, image by Maciej Artur Nadzikiewicz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons (cropped)

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.

The first one is with Dimitar Parvanov Dimitrov and focuses on the meeting itself: Episode 205 – big fat advocacy.

The second is with Franziska (Ziski) Putz and focuses on #advocacy in the Wikimedia movement: Episode 206 – managing advocacy.

The third one is with Gonçalo Themudo and focuses on Wikimedia Europe, the newest entity in the movement: Episode 207 – meet Wikimedia Europe.

WikiConNL 2022

I had the joy to participate in my first ever WikiConNL two weeks ago. It was a really good day and I turned out to be more busy than I initially anticipated. The conference was fairly well attended and had four parallel tracks so it almost felt like a mini Wikimania. Luckily for me, only one track was in English so when I wasn’t part of something myself, I wasn’t paralyzed by Fear Of Missing Out.

Wikipedia and sustainability, how to increase knowledge on climate change?

This was the main reason I attended, a long session that targeted newcomers and external organizations. I based it on a previous session I had made with Alex Stinson, and also borrowed a few slides from one of Daniel Mietchen’s presentations. Besides the introductory presentation to get the participants up to speed, we had a discussion and then an entirely new exercise. This was a novel thing that I recently came up with (inspired by the ever so thought-provoking Michael Peter Edson).

The exercise works like this, everyone pairs up and then in turn tell the other person what issue in sustainability they are most passionate about. When both have had the chance to share, it is up to each to find an article on Wikipedia that best matches that interest. Lastly, both persons add both the found articles to their watch list.

The idea is that this is a low stake, low friction action that can start their journey into the Wikimedia movement. They get something concrete to act on, without the risk of messing up some of the policies, and also makes a mental commitment by putting something on their list.


WikiSpeedRuns is a fun game format where the idea is to, as quickly as possible, navigate between two articles. After a qualification round, I made it to the semi-final, but ended on a shared third place.

At least I enjoyed the game I lost. Photo by: Sebastiaan ter Burg from Utrecht, The Netherlands, CC BY 2.0,

Wikimedia NL signs the Wikimedia Affiliates Environmental Sustainability Covenant‎

With the signing, I was invited on stage to briefly explain what it was about. I think this was my entire speech:

In a nutshell, the Sustainability Covenant is like the Paris Agreement for the Wikimedia movement. With this signing, we agree towards each other to take actions. The actions are in broad strokes; drastically reduce our emissions, improving the coverage of the climate crisis on Wikimedia projects and to share our learnings on this journey with each other.

Me giving my speech, photo by: Sebastiaan ter Burg from Utrecht, The Netherlands, CC BY 2.0,

I am thrilled about Wikimedia Nederland signing this, and I would like that more affiliates signed it too. I am a bit ashamed that Wikimedia Sverige hasn’t done this yet. Perhaps I need to make a motion for the general assembly…

Govdirectory poster

Our first poster session. While I am happy with the design, only when I saw it on the wall I noticed that I forgot the link to Unfortunately, during the day the poster session was placed a bit off the main action, but later it was moved nearer to where the crowd gathered.

Hackathon showcase

As I mentioned earlier I had created my first user script on the mini hackathon and got to show it in the showcase. It seemed to get a good reception, and the nested query got on “Ooh!” from the audience. There were also other great tools in the showcase.

Other sessions

I also had the chance to participate in the audience in some sessions.

How the Ukrainian Wikimedia community is thinking about the future amidst the war

This session was really moving. It was humbling to hear how the Wikimedians in Ukraine continued to edit through all their hardships.

Wikimedia Europe

This was an unscheduled short talk that was taking the place when a remote speaker had problem with the internet. I was a bit surprised they are going for a system with the office in Brussels and the general assemblies in Prague. After working in the European Parliament, I have seen the downsides of having to travel for the voting sessions first hand.

Wikimedia’s role in the climate crisis

This was a great short talk by Lukas Mezger. Lukas has mastered the skill of creating a sense of urgency and have spent a long time finding the facts about our movement. This meant that this was the perfect talk to have just before the signing of the Covenant.

Mini hackathon in Utrecht

Two weeks ago, I participated in the mini hackathon in Utrecht. It turned out to be quite productive and I manage to complete four different tasks. But mostly it was fun to meet wikimedians again (and they also served some tasty vegan pastries).

Wikidata based maps

First, I helped improve the map about accused witches to also have colors based on the gender of the accused person. This was done by binding the gender label to a layer. Then I also made a version for Kartographer using colors on the marker symbols.

Common properties user script for Wikidata

I have several times created a query to help me understand how a topic is modeled, by exploring which properties have a specific item as a value. There is a gadget that does something very similar to what I had in mind, Easy query. So based on that, I managed to create a user script I called common-properties.js. You can see it used in this video.

Mapframe code snippet

Similarly, I have wished for Wikidata Query Service to have Kartographer’s <mapframe> as one of the code examples in the results view. I had even created a Phabricator task for it. With some excellent help from Lucas Werkmeister it resulted in a patch to gerrit. And it has already been merged!

The new mapframe code snippet.

Podcast interview

With so many interesting people in one place, I couldn’t resist recording a special episode in English for Wikipediapodden. I talked to Siebrand Mazeland, one of the organizers, about this hackathon and hackathon organizing in general.

OpenRefine introduction talk

Just over two weeks ago, I got the chance to give my first OpenRefine talk in Wikimedia Portugal’s celebrations of the Wikidata tenth birthday. Although Zoom gave me some technical troubles in the start, I think the actual talk went pretty well. You can judge for yourself because the video is published on their YouTube channel (where my struggles luckily has been taken out). It’s a quick walkthrough of the interface and some of the strategies you might have when using OpenRefine. In it, I am doing some cleaning of a dataset and reconcile it with Wikidata and make upload some of the data.

Govdirectory recognized as Digital Public Goods

I have mentioned Govdirectory before, and even told about the Wikidata community award it received. But today I think I am even a bit prouder, as it was recognized by the Digital Public Goods Alliance by being added to their Digital Public Goods registry. Read our full announcement here.

T-shirtdesign för Wikidatas 10-årsdag

English below.

Planering pågår världen över för Wikidata tioårsdag (29 oktober) och det har annonserats om möjligheter att ansöka om medel för att arrangera lokala evenemang i samband med detta. Det var när ytterligare en sådan påminnelse kom sm jag började fundera om jag skulle dra ihop något här där jag bor, och vad jag i så fall skulle behöva pengar för. En sak som nämndes var att de inte skulle göra någon merchandise centralt och skicka runt i världen, utan istället hade satt ihop grafik så att man skulle kunna göra det själv istället. Eftersom att det fanns fina SVG filer tänkte jag att man skulle kunna göra något snyggt t-shirttryck.

WD10 – landscape background – light.svg, av Lea Lacroix (WMDE), CC BY-SA 4.0

Och då en av bakgrundbilderna hade ett synnerligen grafiskt mönster väcktes idén om en t-shirt med “all over print”. Sagt och gjort, jag laddade också ner loggan, började knåpa och leta leverantörer. Efter en del slit, SVG-filerna var krångligt konstruerade, hade jag i alla fall både print-filer och leverantör. 33 euro och en vecka senare, voilá! Filerna jag använde för att trycka finns på Wikimedia Commons.

T-shirt design for Wikidata’s 10th anniversary

Planning is underway worldwide for Wikidata’s tenth anniversary (October 29) and opportunities to apply for funding to host local events have been announced. It was when another such reminder came that I started thinking about whether I should pull something together here where I live, and if so, what I would need money for. One thing that was mentioned was that they would not make any merchandise centrally and send it around the world, but instead had put together graphics so that you could do it yourself instead. Since there were nice SVG files, I thought it would be possible to make some nice t-shirt printing.

And when one of the background images had a particularly graphic pattern, the idea of a t-shirt with “all over print” sprung to mind. All said and done, I also downloaded the logo, started tinkering and looking for suppliers. After some hard work, the SVG files were complexly constructed, I at least had both print files and supplier. 33 euros and a week later, voilá! The files I used for the print can be found on Wikimedia Commons.

A Wikipedian’s ode

we add letters and words
edit grammar and spelling
you may think we are nerds
that find sharing compelling

add a little fact here
to what started as stubs
builds upon another one there
evolving topical hubs

there are changes in haste
it all goes so quickly
not a minute to waste
that's right, it's a wiki

a citation to add
a statement to check
the laugh that you had
reverted by tech

if you add something wrong
or edit in spite
it won't be for long
undos make it right

you can't add that spice
or the celebrity mock
you have to be nice
or there will be a block

but contribute you can
there's no magic to it
no need to be superman
just press edit and do it

while most people read
only few make an edit
an invisible deed
that rarely gets credit

you come here to know
or just to spend time
we hope that you grow
and you send us a dime

although the knowledge is free
and editors volunteers
tech comes with a fee
and we're not billionaires

we do it with lust
we do it with pleasure
we won't say 'you must'
it's all at your leisure

we try to sum up
what we all understood
we're still just a pup
but we do it for good

Originally published at
License: CC BY-SA 4.0

Abstract image showing something that resembles a bookcase and books and a person sitting in front of them.
Image by Midjourney.

Mest visade artiklar

För andra året i rad blev jag fascinerad av läsa QZ:s sammanställning av den mest lästa artikeln på engelskspråkiga Wikipedia. Det ger en snabb inblick i vad som folk hade i tankarna den dagen. Det ledde mig till att tänka att det vore kul med en liknande sammanställning för svenskspråkiga Wikipedia. Eftersom det är en wiki behöver vi ju inte vänta till slutet av året heller, utan kunde sätta igång på en gång. Jag gjorde en enkel prototyp och pejlade läget med gemenskapen. Då det var positivt satte jag igång och snyggade till det hela. Med hjälp av de (relativt) nya funktionerna med CSS för enskilda sidor gick det att få till något som ser hyfsat ut. Du kan gå in och beskåda detta på Wikipedia:Mest visade artiklar.

Mest visade artiklar i januari 2022.

Vinner Wikimediapriset

English below.

På Wikipediadagen idag hade jag den stora äran att ta emot Wikimediapriset 2021.

Jag är såklart oerhört hedrad över detta och över denna fina motivering:

För hans stora engagemang i Wikimediaprojekten och att han outtröttligt verkar för fri information i allmänhet och fri kunskap i synnerhet.

Mattias Blomgren, ordförande i Wikimedia Sverige

Jag vill tacka till alla som nominerade och röstade på mig och till styrelsen för det här fina priset, som är det finaste priset jag någonsin vunnit.

Till det vill jag dock säga att jag inte alls är outtröttlig eller någon supermänniska och jag vill att alla användare av Wikipedia, ja eller alla som engagerar sig i något över huvud taget, är noga med att sätta gränser för sig själv. Med en sund inställning till vad man än gör kan man hålla på mycket längre, men om man gapar efter mycket, ja ni vet.

Mitt förhållningssätt till detta är en tillämpning av ett Venn-diagram som ofta brukar användas i aktivistkretsar. Det utgår från tre frågor:

  • Vad tycker du är roligt?
  • Vad behöver göras?
  • Vad är du bra på?

De här frågorna använder jag för att finna en balans i det jag gör. Och den andra frågan, skulle kunna tolkas vara “Vad behöver Wikimedia?” men jag tolkar den lite vidare i vad jag tycker behöver göras för att Wikimedia ska bli mer relevant i samhället. Det hjälper mig att finna en större mening.

Frågorna är ordnade efter vilken betydelse de har för mig. Det betyder att ha roligt är det som är viktigast för mig för att arbeta på ett hållbart sätt. Tillsammans hjälper de här frågorna till med att prioritera bort saker.

Med det sagt så vill jag uppmuntra alla att hitta sitt engagemang och sitt tempo så att vi kan fortsätta bygga på och underhålla Wikimediaprojekten för överskådlig framtid.

Slutligen vill jag tacka mina medkreatörer, Magnus Olsson, som jag gör Wikipediapodden med, och Albin Larsson som jag gör Wikidata Live editing och Govdirectory med. Tack för att allt kul vi lyckas hitta på!

Winning the Swedish Wikimedia prize

On the Wikipedia day today I had the great honor of receiving the Swedish Wikimedia prize of 2021.

I am obviously very honored by this and for this beautiful motivation:

For his huge commitment to the Wikimedia projects and that he is indefatigable acting for free information in general and free knowledge in particular.

Mattias Blomgren, chairman of Wikimedia Sverige

I want to thank everyone who nominated and voted for me and the board of Wikimedia Sverige for this prestigious award, it is the highest ranking prize I have ever been awarded.

To that I want to note that I am not really indefatigable or a super human and wants all users of Wikipedia, or even everybody that engage in anything at all, to be clear to make boundaries for yourself. With a healthy attitude to whatever you do you can keep at it for a long time, but if you try to bite off more than you can chew, yeah, you know.

My approach to this is to use a Venn diagram that is common among activists. It starts with three questions:

  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • What is needed?
  • What are you good at?

I use these questions to find a balance in what I do. And the second question, which could be interpreted as “What does Wikimedia need?” but I go a bit further and think about what I believe needs to be done to make Wikimedia more relevant in the society. It helps me find more meaning.

The questions are also ordered in the way I care about them. That means that having fun is most important for keeping my activities sustainable. Together, these questions helps prioritize what not to do.

That being said, I want to encourage everyone to find your own way to be involved and your own tempo so that we can keep on building and maintaining the Wikimedia projects for the foreseeable future.

Finally, I want to thank my co-creators, Magnus Olsson, with whom I do Wikipediapodden, and Albin Larsson with whom I do Wikidata Live editing and Govdirectory. Thanks for all the fun times!

WikidataCon 2021 – community awards

Last weekend, it was time for the WikidataCon 2021. It was three days full of sessions with both short and long sessions and small and large ideas. As always, one of the most interesting sessions is the community awards because this is a time for celebrating the work of each other. And this year it was a bit special for me, because I was part of some of the winners. I’ll talk about them below, the link under the images takes you directly to the YouTube video when the award was revealed.

Using & Querying data

Presentation of the award with motivation

This is the latest project, that Albin Larsson and I started, and that I’ve written about before. Since then, in the short five months it has existed, many more people have joined and helped and also deserves the recognition. It feels particularly good to now win a prize for this, as I have been thinking about it for many years.

Community building (global scale)

Presentation of the award with motivation

On March 29, 2020, Albin Larsson and I got together with this small idea of just editing Wikidata for an hour, but to live stream it. Our plans were not big at the time, but we had fun, so we kept going. After a while we also started to get regulars hanging out with us, so that made it easier to continue. The stream is very casual, and our goal is mostly to show what we have learned and at the same time learn from each other. As I know that community building is very important this made me really happy.

Special sustainability categories

For the first time some special awards were given with a focus on the Sustainable Development Goals. As one of the co-founders of Wikimedians for Sustainable Development, these categories alone felt like a win. And to add to that joy, I was part of some awarded categories.

Sustainable institutions

Presentation of the award with motivation

In the project with the Swedish Riksdag documents, it’s truly a team effort. Users Popperipopp and Belteshassar have been doing most of the edits, whereas I have helped with the data modeling and research, and several other users have also helped out.

Sustainable environment

Presentation of the award with motivation

Finally, I am also happy that WikiProject Biodiversity was awarded in the category Sustainable environment. As I haven’t really been editing much at all in this project, here most of the glory should be given to the other project members. But I am still happy that I have been able to help out with live streaming.

Final thoughts

I am a bit blown away with all this recognition. I am honored and humbled by it. Best of all, even though this has taken many hours, it has mostly been a great deal of fun for me! Editing Wikidata is for me a feeling of being able to contribute knowledge to the world in a way that truly scales and easily can be used by others. There are so many places with knowledge gaps to fill that it’s possible to be entirely lust driven and never run out of stuff to do. I encourage you to go explore the corners of Wikidata of your interests and see if making connections gives you the same joy it does for me.

Image credits

All images by Artur Torres, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Click the image to get to the file information page.