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.
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.
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.
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.
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 talk Intensive Wikidata usage in Wikivoyage – problems, experiences, wishes (video) showed of an interesting script that can make it possible for users to easily compare the values in an infobox with the values on Wikidata. I will investigate if this is something we can use on Swedish Wikipedia as we have several infoboxes that are able to get data from Wikidata.
- 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.
- Finally, the talk Motivating volunteers and retaining newcomers – case study of Wikimedia Ukraine’s “wiki condensed milk” program (video) was so heart-warming that I would like to gauge the Swedish community what they would think about this and if Wikimedia Sverige might help administer parts of it.
Oh, and I will, of course, go to Kraków next year, as I can easily reach it by train.