Welcome back from Wikimania 2014!





Option 3: New Creation: What was one useful outcome that was created at the event for the Wikimedia movement?
An important part of Wikimania is always meeting people in person, sharing ideas, thoughts, experiences together, which often leads to something new. During Wikimania 2014 I was fortunate to be introduced to Dr. James Heilman. We share a passion to quality medical content in Wikipedia - him, via WikiProject Medicine, and I via a university elective course I have designed and lead at Tel Aviv University called "Wiki-Med".
During one conversation we had in between sessions, Doc James told me about his vision of having an automated copy-and-paste detection tool. When I asked about where things are, James said he is in the last part, but needs programmers, and described an elaborate process of searching for funding to hire something to finish the tool. Needless to say, the implications of having such tool were clear to me, especially since I am leading many workshops and teaching with Wikipedia in both K-12 and higher education. It would also help any volunteer who wants to track new content and has a potential to literally save hours of volunteer work.
At which point I felt I had to do something. It was clear to me this can't wait for funding and then hiring someone. So I suggested to James that we find some "in house" programmers, who might be able to help him finish the tool. I introduced him to 2 great WM-IL volunteers who happened to also be at Wikimania - Eran Roz and Ravid Ziv. If I recall correctly, both attended Wikimania for the first time. We had a joint meeting, at the end of which, they started working.
By the end of Wikimania, a first iteration of the tool was finished. They kept working on it when they got home and it is now up and ready. This is a link to the bot itself and here is a link to the signpost report Doc James wrote on September 3rd, 2014 reporting it all.
I was "just" facilitating here, but it was the greatest feeling to be part of it, and to know that had Asaf not introduced me to Doc James during that break, and had I not personally known the users Eran & Ravid and was able to connect them, things might have progressed much slower and the tool wouldn't have been completed.
This is exactly the sort of collaborations enabled by Wikimanina and why it's so important that we meet face to face and actually get to know the people behind the usernames.


I was involved in a few presentations and panels:
  • Wiki-Med course - about a 100 attended. One of them was a reported from "Times Higher Education", who decided to report about the presentation. Here's a link to his article.
  • A panel about GLAM-Fashion - about 50 attended.
  • The Wiki Education Collaborative panel - about 70 attended.

Besides panels, presentations and workshops, the most important connection Wikimania has enabled was with Dr. James Heilman. Meeting in person allowed us to create a stronger bond, which resulted in a few things --

  • Taking a more active part in WikiProject Medicine's translation efforts - I got my med students to translate articles from his "100 most important medical articles" list
  • Hosting Doc James as a guest lecturer in my academic course at Sackler school of Medicine. We had a remote session that was broadcast live, recorded and uploaded to YouTube in the following iteration of the Wiki-Med course.

Anything elseEdit

This was my 3rd Wikimania (after Haifa and DC) and it was a really great one. It's wonderful to look back and reflect on how my life changed since joining this amazing, diverse (& challenging!) community. I look forward to collaboration next year and see when my wiki-path will take me.