Two years with Govdirectory

It is now over two years ago Albin Larsson and I started the Govdirectory. Not soon thereafter, we got the honor to present it in a Code for all lightning talk. Today, we were honored again and got to do a follow-up lightning talk.

The growth of Govdirectory: 2 years and 10,000 contact points later

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

On the Between the brackets podcast

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.

If you want to have a listen, find it in your podcast player, or listen directly here:
(or select a service of your choice in Wikidata).

Me in t-shirt, talking to the camera

My Wikimania 2023

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 year, I did not do any special interviews like I did in Stockholm but as per Wikipediapodden tradition, we did record one episode leading up to Wikimania and one episode summarizing it. These two are, alas, only available in Swedish.

My sessions

63% done – 365 climate edits

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.

The talk and slides are available on Wikimedia Commons.

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.

The talk.

Livestreaming editing

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.

The talk.

Wikiproject Govdirectory

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.

Wikimedians for Sustainable Development

While the user group Wikimedians for Sustainable Development didn’t have any particular sessions by themselves, many members were organizing sessions and even more people in the community had sessions related to the sustainable development goals. They were so many that to get an overview for myself, I created a subpage where I roughly categorized them by SDG goal and type of session.


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.

Other sessions

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.

Wikimania Challenge

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.

Wikimania editing challenge 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.

What’s next?

As usual, a Wikimania leaves you with loads of inspiration and ideas. So what will I try to do next?

Oh, and I will, of course, go to Kraków next year, as I can easily reach it by train.

My Sound Of All Human Knowledge submissions

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.

Aha, I did not know that!
Mark that, it seems important!

Now, while it was fun, I don’t think I was even near being a finalist. Those ten were in another league, all excellent.

And now in March, the winner has been presented, and I like it a lot, especially the tones in the end. Which word do you think it resembles?

The winning audio and the new Wikimedia sound logo. Thaddeus Osborne, CC BY-SA 4.0.

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.