On Sustain Open Source Software Podcast

A few days ago I was guest appearing in the podcast Sustain OSS. It was an energizing conversation with Richard Littauer and Justin Dorfman, and we honestly probably could have continued for several hours. We mostly discussed my work at the Foundation for Public Code and the Standard for Public Code we have developed and that I work on, and with, daily. But we also got into talking about Wikipedia, the movement and some of the bot creation initiatives we have seen.

I really enjoyed the conversation and hope I get the chance to speak with them again sometime. As they are deep in the know of the field of work, they asked just the right questions that we are also thinking about which made this more than just a shallow presentation of who we are. I guess the only thing we really didn’t get into much is how we are funded which is possibly not the most interesting conversation for everyone, but as a non-profit working for the common good is something we are always eager to explore. That being said, I think that the conversation will give anyone who listens to it a better sense of what I do at work and why I am passionate about it.

From a podcast producer point of view, I was also impressed by the process they applied. All the way from getting in contact, having guiding documents, gathering information needed for the shownotes to checklists for the recording, it was a great experience as a guest. I guess the only downside was that very few of the tools they used (that I saw) were open source solutions. Now, for remote multitrack recording, there aren’t many alternatives, that is something I am also sadly aware of, but for simple collaborative document editing there are plenty of options. If some of those services are switched, it will be an even more pleasant experience to be a guest in the future!

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 govdirectory.org. 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.

Mentor on Hack for Earth 2022

Earlier this week, I had the honor to be a mentor in the Hack for Earth hackathon. I had signed up to be a mentor for open source, open data and anything related to Wikimedia. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any questions that were related to this, but I did get the chance to help some of the participants to find their way around the challenges and the formalities of the contest. And I did get to record a tiny “Hello!” video that got a small spot in the closing ceremony of the hackathon.

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.

Två kortkurser på EU Academy

Jag såg häromdagen att EU har en utbildningssajt, EU Academy, och blev nyfiken på vad de erbjöd. Till min glädje fann jag snabbt två kurser som var intressanta. En relevant för jobbet, Digital-ready policymaking och en som tangerar mina hobbys väl, Wikibase and Semantic MediaWiki for data-driven semantics. Jag tänkte att jag skulle testa på dem för att se vad nivån på kurserna.

Digital-ready policymaking

Den här kursen gick igenom ett antal grundläggande aspekter och jag kände igen en del sedan tidigare. Innehållet är bra och inspirerande, men det är en ganska kort kurs, så man får nog kalla det en introduktionskurs. För den som precis ska börja jobba med digitala policies så är det här en utmärkt start. Om alla riksdagsledamöter tog kursen så skulle det nog bli ett stort lyft för samhället i stort då principerna är övergripande och kan appliceras på frågor i de flesta utskott.

Wikibase and Semantic MediaWiki for data-driven semantics

Här blev det istället en hel del djupare ämneskunskap, och det är ju såklart ett smalare fält om specifik mjukvara. Innehållet var rikare, med långa pedagogiska videolektioner av experter i området. För mig som hållit på med Wikidata i snart tio år var det inte mycket nytt, men det var kul att se hur även EU:s institutioner använder sig av Wikibase och hur omfattande arbete de har gjort.


Båda kurserna avslutas med quiz, och sedan kan man ladda ner ett certifikat, det var en fin touch.


Kurserna var pedagogiska och välgjorda så jag kommer nog att kika på fler. Om någon presenterar ett certifikat kan det vara värt att kolla upp kursen, för även om det finns veckolånga kurser och certifikaten ser pampiga ut så kan de representera så lite som några timmars insats.

Det svenska språket

I våras såg jag att en känd Wikimedian, Asaf Bartov, hade översatt en dikt från hebreiska till engelska. Titeln “The Swedish tounge” gjorde mig nyfiken och jag blev inte besviken. Dikten var skriven av Nathan Alterman 1943 och var en hyllning till hur Sverige tog emot judiska flyktingar utan onödig byråkrati. Oerhört fin, men samtidigt skar den bjärt mot samtidens migrationsdebatt. Jag sökte, men fann inga svenska översättningar, och det kändes nästan som att det svenska folket hade missunnats denna skatt. Jag påbörjade en översättning och Asaf gav mig även tips om en äldre engelsk översättning som hjälp. Efter att jag hade en första version kopplade Asaf ihop mig med Galit Hasan-Rokem, professor och översättare av bland annat Tranströmer till hebreiska. Tillsammans lyckades vi åstadkomma en översättning som vi var nöjda med. Och nu har den för första gången blivit publicerad, i Upsala Nya Tidning (med en liten sidoartikel om hur den kom till). Eftersom att den ligger bakom en betalvägg där parallellpublicerar jag den här.

Det svenska språket

Få känner till det svenska språket
Vem talar det? Kanske ingen utom svenskarna.
För landet är litet och långt ifrån stråket,
nationen glömd mellan bergen och fjärdarna.

Och när Sverige sa: “Av oss skydd ska de få,
alla judar som flyr över gränsen den danska”,
alla världens folk kunde se och förstå
hur fattigt det är språket det svenska.

Många stater hade redan gjort deklarationer,
gömda skatter av retoriska stilfigurer,
orden ‘visum’ och ‘kvot’ och ‘infiltrationer’ …
Men i svenska saknas dessa krumelurer.

När en yngling till Sverige blir jagad,
hon hänvisar ej till kartorna enveten.
Hon tar honom in och till hemmet ledsagar
”migrationskollapsen” helt omedveten.

Det finns stater i världen med sjufaldiga bredder
som kan ge skydd och släcka törst.
Men innan de kunde en drunknande rädda
de älskar att slå i sitt lexikon först.

Deras ordförråd – bevingat och färgsprakande  –
med “kapacitetsbrist” och “integrationskvalitet”.
Bara i Sverige råder en barbarisk sed,
man erbjuder sängplats och en varm kopp te.

Definitioner, därför, gör henne ej valhänt,
ej heller byråkrati och formalitet,
hon skriver helt enkelt “Inträde godkänt” …
Må Gud förlåta hennes stilistiska fattighet.

Sverige, Sverige, sa Gud och en tår föll ner, –
två glömda ord skrev ni på er port.
Men de är värda traktat och encyklopedier,
till och med Britannica om än aldrig så stort.

Och änglarna viskade så man knappt kunde höra.
De sa till varann: vilken avgrund det är
om dessa två enkla ord må beröra
Den Högsta till tårar i sin höga sfär.

Nathan Alterman, 1943
Översättning av Jan Ainali och Galit Hasan-Rokem, 2022

Bilden genererad av Midjourney med prompten “jewish refugees welcomed to sweden ww2 in the style of a political cartoon”. CC BY-NC 4.0

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 meta.wikimedia.org.
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.