Welcome back from Wikimania 2017!


My user page on the French Wikipedia (
My user page on
Wikimedia CH


Option 1: Shared Experience: What is one way you shared something from your experience with your community (either locally or globally), after the event?
Vikidia_vs._Wikipedia lightning talk
This was my 4th Wikimania experience since 2012. I was especially interested in the pre-conference meetings and the Kiwix related post-conference hackathon at SUNY in Potsdam (New York). One of my proposals for presentations was accepted, and I was delighted to be able to give a lighting talk "Vikidia vs. Wikipedia" comparing the friendliness towards new contributors within the two communities. As you probably surmise, my 7th grade students were a lot more at ease on Vikidia...
Wednesday: Wikimedia Foundation Learning Days and WikiConference North America
This was quite a refreshing experience for me, and I am now trying to adapt what I learned to my local French speaking Swiss environment. I was able to connect again with other fellow Americans in Montréal, and I do not get to do here in Geneva - it was like coming back home after a very long trip... The expat community here in Geneva is quite large, but I have fallen out of touch. I am hoping that what I learned during this learning day will help me create an English-speaking Wikimedia group in the Geneva area.
Thursday: WikiProject Med Conference and Edit-o-thon: First Nations on Wikipedia
My main interest in the Wikiproject Med is in the off-line aspect of the project. While distributing Kiwix in Senegal, I was also in contact with doctors and medical outposts (Poste de Santé), and they were quite interested in the possibilities opened up by the off-line wikipedia. I was not able to do as much as I had planned during the Atikamekw edit-o-thon due to scheduling conflicts. I did try to pass on a flash drive loaded with Kiwix and the Atikamekw Wikipedia, but I have not heard from anybody. I am quite sure that the First Nations could benefit from having off-line access to Wikipedia, and I was trying to reach out to them - I have not given up yet but I do not have any results to show so far.
As during the last three Wikimanias I attended, there were so many interesting subjects to choose from. That drives home the diversity of the Wikimedia mouvement, it really is not possible to be an expert at everything, and as an attendee, it is not possible to watch everything. I will just list the events that marked me the most and how I hope to make use of what I learned.
The highlight of my Wikimania 2017 experience was when I finally met Simon Villeneuve (from Chicoutimi, Québec). He is also a school teacher, and has been contributing to Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons with his students for years. He gave a presentation on Friday titled How to create a good school project on Wikipedia which remains my favorite out of all those I attended. He has also gave me a copy of the book he has written[1] so that I can give him some feedback. I am in the process of reading it right now and should be able to finish it during the fall break. This type of scholarly book is exactly what I need when I talk about Wikipedia to other teachers or school directors.
Second place goes to th ACFAS presentation: Sciences, histoire et projets Wiki, le mariage unique québécois.
The other sessions were all quite interesting and inspiring, but it will take time to share what I learned with my local community.
The best presentation, of course, was the keynote given by Esra'a Al-Shafei in the ballroom. No notes or recordings were supposed to be made, just what we can keep in our own head. I just hope that this request was respected by all attendees.
The presentation I found most useful on Sunday was the Open Street Map Mapathon: Mapathon! Contribute and connect OpenStreetMap and Wikipedia using Wikidata. I will see if I can get my students to contribute some information to this fascinating project. For us wikipedians, it was very easy. I will now try to introduce it to new users.
Monday to Thursday
Content Hackathon, Wikimania 2017 (OFF.NETWORK)
4 great days, but best check the web site for detailed information on what went on.
Option 3: New Creation: What was one useful outcome that was created at the event for the Wikimedia movement?
Spreading Kiwix, the off-line Wikipedia, in West Africa
(filmed by Bluerasberry)
I was quite glad to be able to talk about the project I am running in Senegal and in West Africa. The project enables schools to have offline access to Wikipedia (and Vikidia) by sharing and distributinng the Kiwix program. Hundreds of West African teachers can now enhance their lessons with information from the World's largest encyclopedia even in remote areas with no Internet!
I was also able to meet some people I have been corresponding with over the years. Face-to-face meetings are where you get things rolling. For example, we were able to form a small group of interested wikimedians, and then initiate the creation of a new user group:
WikiVolunteers User Group.
We just needed to meet in real life to get things moving. I hope our proposed user group will have a real impact and reverse the current attrition of new volunteers. Wikipedia was largely written by volunteer editors, and it is becoming a strong-house of human knowledge. We need to do all we can to recruit new volunteers, help them become active and work together to prevent any form of take over by the many "professional writers" and PR companies already active on Wikipedia.


I previously mentioned a few people I met and the projects we are now engaged in. I also met really interesting person who was not a wikimedian, but quite interested in the movement. She runs a film festival and my colleagues here in Geneva are now interested in submitting a short film our students have produced. Totally outside the Wikimedia movement but Wikimania brought us together!

Anything elseEdit