User:Another Believer/Meetups

Initial work edit

During September 2012 – January 2013, I spent a significant amount of time categorizing meetup pages at English Wikipedia by year and geographic location. Category:Wikipedia meetups contained far too many pages and provided no trend indicators (for example, the number of meetups per year or the number of meetups in... Hyderabad, India).

Curious about the historical number of meetups, I created Category:Wikipedia meetups by year, along with subcategories for 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Others have adopted this restructure, as evidenced by User:Filipinayzd's creation of Category:Wikipedia meetups in 2013. Notice anything interesting?

Similarly, I created Category:Wikipedia meetups by country to separate meetup pages based on geographic location. Meetup pages were then sorted into nation subcategories; as of the time of this writing there exist subcategories for Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam. I did not create all of these categories, but I created most of them. I submitted requests for some categories to be renamed for the sake of consistency (see one request here for several previously-created categories that began with the location rather than the "Wikipedia meetups in [X]" format). I also made sure nation categories were associated with corresponding WikiProjects, categorizing Category:Wikipedia meetups in Canada as part of WikiProject Canada, for instance.

Furthermore, I created subcategories within nation categories for cities. For example, see Category:Wikipedia meetups in Australia to access meetup pages for Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Category:Wikipedia meetups in the United States contains subcategories organized by city and by state. (Of course, you can find meetup pages for Seattle through either Category:Wikipedia meetups in the United States by city or Category:Wikipedia meetups in Washington.) You might also notice on the Seattle page that, in addition to being associated with WikiProject Seattle, the page also links to Category:Wikimedia meetups in Seattle at Wikimedia Commons. How convenient!

Accuracy edit

The data quantifies the number of categorized meetup pages at English Wikipedia, not the actual number of meetups. Created pages can be blanked and recycled for subsequent events, may represent multiple events (see examples here and here), have yet to be identified and categorized, etc. Categories may also contain non-event pages, such as templates, quiz questions, minutes and other pages related to meetups. Also, some contributors organize meetups at Meta-Wiki or at Wikimedia chapter wikis, most notably members of Wikimedia UK ( Keep in mind, this data represents only the English Wikipedia community—many meetup pages are created at encyclopedias for other languages (see Vikipediya:Görüş, Wikipedia:Sastanci, or Wikipedia:Treffen der Wikipedianer for just a few examples). So, the information is not perfect, but I think it could spark a larger conversation about metrics, meetup organization, success rates for major campaigns, support for grassroots efforts, etc.

Solutions? edit

Ideally, individual pages would exist for every meetup. Each event in every city. That way, people would have access to those discussions, the number and usernames of participants, the activity leading up to, and the results of the event. Some contributors might see this as overkill, but this is the best way for people to identify a wiki community and its history within a geographic location. I can identify two simple solutions to allow the construction of individual meetup pages. 1.) Improved organization for main pages of major campaigns. 2.) Highly visible and easily accessible templates or wizards. If the Upload Wizard at Wikimedia Commons can offer a visual representation of how to upload files, followed by mechanisms to describe and categorize files, the same concept should be used for meetup pages.

Take the current revision of the Wikipedia Loves Libraries page, for instance. Not too bad, but I see room for improvement. The link to the 2011 campaign towards the bottom is good, and now the 2012 information should be archived on a similar page. Until that happens, you can see that many cities hosted events, but only some have separate pages. What happened at the events without pages? Did they even come to fruition? Some contributors might take the initiative to red link or even create an individual page, but some may not know how to do so, or are apprehensive. Where would people discuss the events on this messy list? This page should contain much less clutter and focus on the upcoming 2013 campaign. Ideally, it would contain a large visual banner encouraging people to "Click here to start planning a Wikipedia Loves Libraries event in your city". Visitors would identify the city in which they want to attend an event. Perhaps they are provided a list of U.S. states and they can determine whether or not an event has already been created for a particular city within their state? This way they have the ability to access the existing page for a city or create a new page. Categories by year and location could be created automatically along with the page; for example, a meet up page created for the 2013 Wiki Loves Libraries campaign in Philadelphia would automatically be placed in Category:Wikipedia Loves Libraries 2013 and Category:Wikipedia meetups in Philadelphia.

Trends edit

I have acknowledged this data is far from perfect, but I still think some interesting trends emerge.

The table below displays the number of identified meetup pages by year. Separated from these are meetup pages that were created in conjunction with Wikipedia Takes America or Wikipedia Loves Libraries, both North American campaigns. Additional breakdown of the meetup pages, yet to be completed, would produce results for other campaigns, such as the Great American Wiknic, Wiki Loves Monuments, Wikipedia Day, WikiWomen's History Month, etc. Numbers in the "Total" row would remain the same; the data would just be further divided based on campaigns. (Click on any number to view the associated category.)

(Please feel free to update these statistics if the numbers change. Perhaps people will discover hidden meetup pages, or even be inspired to go digging though their local meetup page to find and archive past meetups!)

The following provides a visual representation of the total number of meetups by year:

Even if the number of meetup pages roughly correlates to the number of actual meetups, this is a promising trend and speaks highly of mobilization efforts. The data, which shows an increase in the number of meetup pages created for each year, suggests major campaigns are encouraging local Wikipedians to congregate. Or, this at least suggests that event organizers are doing a better job creating unique pages and archiving them appropriately. Further subdivision of the data (identifying and quantifying the number of meetups associated with the Great American Wiknic, for example) would provide additional detail for specific campaigns.

Ideally, we would know the number of Wiknics in 2012, the number of Wiki Loves Libraries events in 2011, the number of Wiki Loves Monuments photo hunts in 2012, etc., creating metrics which show when and where wiki activity is taking place.

Other interesting findings? Well, who knew there was so much activity in India at English Wikipedia? I'm impressed!

Meetup guidelines edit

After completing the initial work above, I was able to step back and gain greater perspective. I still believe meetup metrics could prove to be very useful to the Wikimedia movement. Perhaps it would be beneficial to construct a style guide for meetup pages, much like WikiProject Albums has for album articles. Even if the style guide never reached guideline status, it might be beneficial to offer recommendations.

Wikipedia meetup: X City
When and Where
Time2–5 pm
City/StateCity, State
AddressX Address
Attendance Information
Registered Attendees15
Actual Attendees10
Event Coordinators
If you would like to help out, please contact the chairperson.

Individual meetup pages might have an infobox. I do not believe one exists for Wikipedia meetup pages specifically, but this one to the right works well at English Wikipedia (or one could be constructed). Pages might contain a lead providing a general overview of the event, time and location details, and RSVP information. Other sections or features could include:

  • goals
  • copy of the invitation distributed online
  • instructions or resources
  • participants, regrets
  • report
  • "see also" and/or external links sections
  • interwiki link to Wikimedia Commons and other Foundation projects
  • navbox for meetups within the region (city, state, or nation)

I invite you to see the meetup pages for Wiki Loves Libraries 2012 and Wiki Takes Portland 2012 as examples. These two pages have their differences, but their overall structure is similar. You'll notice both pages have an archive template at the top; this could be another recommendation in the style guide. Archiving pages following events ensures pages are not recycled with details for future events. The navbox at the bottom allows people to access meetup pages for past events. Since notes, meeting minutes, pictures, results, and names of participants are preserved, people can start to gain an understanding of what their local Wikipedia community is like. Meetup pages could become more inviting, more inspirational, more informational. I think in-person collaboration is crucial to the Wikimedia movement, so ways to encourage community activity should be taken seriously.

Of course, all of these Portland meetup pages will eventually lead you back to, or rather branch from, the main Portland meetup page. In addition to recommendations for pages dedicated to individual events, this proposed style guide could also offer recommendations for city pages. City meetup pages could provide a general overview of activity in that community and possibly include:

  • invitation to the next meetup
  • history of past meetups (prose or list)
  • general calendar of events, campaigns, city-specific resources
  • notes or references, if applicable
  • links
  • interwiki link to Wikimedia Commons
  • navbox

Event-specific and city meetup pages would be categorized properly based on year, location and campaign, providing access to relevant pages. The style guide could even offer Wizards for page creation, or at least templates. Removing the barrier to create or find existing pages for events will help the community. Providing access to records for past events is, in my opinion, equally as important.

Discussion edit

Comments? Thoughts? Questions? Discover any interesting findings? Please visit the discussion page. You might benefit from exploring some of the meetup pages and categories. Recent meetup work for Portland will showcase most of my activity. Thank you. --Another Believer (talk) 17:25, 4 January 2013 (UTC)