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.
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
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
All images by Artur Torres, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Click the image to get to the file information page.
A week ago, I was interviewed for the podcast The World According to Wikipedia about Wikidata. We talked about what Wikidata is, why it has grown so fast, and what role it might play in the future. And of course I had to mention Wikimedians for Sustainable Development and Govdirectory.
Listen to the episode here: https://headstuffpodcasts.com/episode/s02e09-stanning-wikidata
Thanks to Rebecca O’Neill for a lovely chat!
Which Swedish municipalities have YouTube accounts?
Sometime in 2016 I got the idea of building a website that would display all the social media channels for all Swedish public agencies. The idea popped in my mind as I was learning the flexibility and power of Wikidata. But my confidence in the more advanced tooling to edit it was low, so I put this in the backlog to revisit later since it felt like a huge task.
Unlocking the idea
Five years, almost 50 live streams of editing Wikidata, a won contest, and about 70 Wikidata meetups later, when the announcement of the Unlock accelerator by Wikimedia Deutschland flew into my Twitter feed, not only did I feel more confident, I also had a potential collaborator. So I pitched the idea to Albin Larsson, my co-host of the live streams, but this time on a global scale, not only for Sweden. The idea at this stage was bold and simple:
We now also knew that by using Wikidata, we could show even more information than only social media. The accelerator program is unusual in that it doesn’t aim to create a startup and make a profit, instead it aims to enable a social impact on the world. The theme this year, (Re)building trust in the digital age, felt really fitting. We worked on an application and short thereafter we were accepted and in a sprint. The first sprint was really great, with the help of our coach Fabian Gampp we took our somewhat technical idea into a purpose driven project by forming a vision and a mission that extended way beyond the technology. Even though we had some ideas of what this could be used for when writing the application, it was still somewhat fleeting in our minds. Our ambitions became these:
Our vision is a world where people are empowered to engage with their government to ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.
We will enable a community powered directory where the online presence of every public organization is easily findable, queryable and trustworthy.
We are still in the midst of the accelerator program, and just published the midterm report. If you want to give us feedback on our early version at govdirectory.org it would be valuable to us. If you would like to help us even further, check our contributing file on GitHub for improvements on the website and our project page on Wikidata for improving the data displayed in it.
Last Friday to Tuesday Wikimania 2021 took place and after being totally cancelled last year it was now virtual. I was a bit worried that the experience would not be anything that a real one, but I was positively surprised. Sure, it’s not the same feeling that got me to return to every one since I first tried it, but among virtual four day conferences, it was pretty good.
Despite the heavily critiqued use of proprietary software, where Linux users got a big red warning that their system was unsupported when they joined the conference or “changed buildings” in it, the platforms still provided a surprisingly nice user experience. It would be great if the Wikimedia Foundation would invest in putting the available open source solutions together to mimic that. The pieces exist, Wikimedia Foundation presumably have the resources to do it, but is there a will?
Unlike the last Wikimania in Stockholm, I had no official role in the organization of the conference in general, but instead helped provide some content, which I’ll list below in chronological order.
Getting started on Govdirectory
In the Hackathon, Albin Larsson and I presented our Govdirectory project. There were more people attending than expected and many good questions, although most of them with a viewpoint of the data rather than the tool.
Govdirectory user research
We also did some user research, where we tried to find out how we best can support the Wikidata community who are interested in curating data in our topic. It was enlightening to get the views from more power users of Wikidata.
Community Village – Wikimedians for Sustainable Development
The user group Wikimedians for Sustainable Development had a table in the community village. There we showed some basic information about us and listed related sessions. In the platform it was also a point where we in the group regularly connected, and we also got a few curious visitors to chat with.
Wikimedians for Sustainable Development social meetup
For the first time, we in the user group came together in a pure social meeting. In all our previous meetings since we formed, we have had an agenda. It was nice to just have a chat.
Wikimedians for Sustainable Development User Group: Looking at Sustainability Through Wikimedia Lenses
Shortcutting the Identify topics for impact recommendation by reusing free content
This was a lightning talk by me where I argue that we should use the Sustainable Development Goals as the marker for what topics have impact on the world instead of trying to come up with our own idea of it.
The talk on Wikimedia Commons has subtitles in English in Swedish.
Wikimedia and Sustainability – Selecting topics for impact
This was a workshop organized by Daniel Mietchen and me. Despite the platform making it hard to communicate with the audience, we managed to get quite good engagement and many good ideas. You may need to skip a lot in the video since we’re working in silence in some parts.