The exchange team is a group of regional coordinator with the mission to facilitate exchange by receiving or advertising exchange request in a different language than English. A regional coordinator do not need to be a Council Member, neither coming from a chapter member of the WCA'. In this team we focus on exchange between chapters, without "political" dimension. The first regional coordinators are Benoît Rochon for the French-speaking countries, Santiago Navarro Sanz for the Spanish-speaking countries. and Shabab Mustafa for Bengali-speaking regions.
Program Evaluation & Design team releases evaluation capacity survey, seeks WikiMetrics testers; related updates
Earlier this year, the Wikimedia Foundation formed a new team – Program Evaluation and Design (PE&D). This new team aims to partner with chapters, affiliates and individual community members who are involved in program development and execution, in order to support them in better evaluating the impact of their programs. Programs include edit-a-thons, workshops, the Wikipedia Education Program, Wiki Loves Monuments, Wiki Takes [Your City], on-wiki contests, and GLAM activities. We hope that program evaluation will help to strengthen programs in general, and can support chapters and other movement groups in making the best decisions on what programs to invest time and money in.
One of the most recent tasks of the team has been to launch an evaluation capacity survey. Launched in late August, program leaders and chapter staff developing and executing programs were asked to take a survey which looks at what the evaluation they have been doing and their ability to do evaluation. The data from this survey will be shared as a public report about the state of evaluation in the Wikimedia world and will provide important data on how the PE&D team can actively support program leaders with appropriate tools, design strategies and resources. Thank you to everyone who responded!
PE&D partners with WMF analytics to soft launch WikiMetrics – early users wanted! PE&D has been working closely with the Foundation's analytics team to help soft launch WikiMetrics, a tool that allows users to pull data based on usernames. For example, through the easy to use interface you can upload a file of usernames based on who attended your edit-a-thon. After the edit-a-thon, you can ask WikiMetrics to tell you if those users have edited two weeks after the edit-a-thon, and how many edits they have made. Want to play with WikiMetrics? Watch the online training the team made and gather that data! Share your feedback here. The team will be hosting their next Google Hangout about WikiMetrics on September 5, 16:00.
PE&D is also releasing monthly blogs about evaluation in the Wikimedia movement. A new blog, written by Amical member Barcelona, looks at how Amical has used evaluative processes, like logic models, to develop their strategic plan. Read this blog post here, and contact Sarah if you're interested in sharing your chapter evaluation story.
After an informal community survey, a Facebook group has been created to help build a community of program evaluators. While not every Wikimedian is on Facebook, the group has already over 60 members and is buzzing with activity. And finally, a PE&D announcement list also exists, where you can get occasional updates about the latest news in the Program Evaluation world. You can also ask questions about program evaluation via the team's meta portal.
WCA: Difficult Sleeping Beauty waiting for Prince Courageous
The Wikimedia Chapters Association is no more. The Council did not abolish it, but on the Thursday meeting Markus (the Chair) and I (Ziko, the Deputy Chair) stepped down. A discussion followed that demonstrated: an early revival seems to be highly unlikely.
More than Washington last year, Hong Kong gave me quite a jet lag - maybe because for me from Europe it lies in the "wrong direction" of the globe (by time zones). Late Tuesday / Early Wednesday I wrote down my thoughts on the WCA. Finally, I decided to use the text as a "personal statement" on the upcoming WCA Council meeting on Thursday.
Before, in a skype call in July, Markus and I had a conversation about the future of the WCA (again), and I confronted him with the idea of resigning as Deputy chair. I am already busy as the chair of Wikimedia Nederland, and after giving the WCA one year the chance to be useful I felt that I did not want to go on like this. Markus urged me to stay, and I decided for me to wait until Wikimania and see how things evolve.
Wikimedia Organisations Seminar
The WCA was supposed to organise "something" in the Wikimania preconference, the two days before the actual Wikimania (in August). As hardly anything was prepared, in July I was 'bold' (as we Wikipedians say) and just came up with a seminar programme by myself, with the consent and encouragement of Markus. Thinking of topics and formats, contacting panelists was fun, but also much more work than I originally intended to invest - as usual.
On the first day of our seminar, Wednesday, Markus and I talked at the breakfast about my personal statement which I had sent him. It was my impression that he was even more emotionalized by my thoughts than I have been myself.
Although at the beginning of the first day (Wednesday) of our seminar not many people showed up, the crowd grew until afternoon, and we had great panels with interesting guests. We all learned a lot. Our friend Asaf Bartov from the WMF explained, for example, that he is totally fine with a grant project or an other volunteer activity to fail. Failure is okay, we can learn from it, do not be shy to report about it. Consider a failed activity an experiment. But, of course, it is not the idea to repeat such activities again and again. That is just a waste of resources.
A mirror of the Wikimedia movement
At Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, Markus approached me again with regard to my statement. In a somewhat zigzagged conversation he followed me in the decision to face the failure of the WCA experiment and design in the WCA Council meeting scheduled for afternoon. We resigned, and the following discussion showed that the Council Members have not changed much. A vote failed to receive a two thirds majority to abolish the Association, which is de facto sleeping.
Engaging in the WCA was for me a rich experience in cooperation, noncooperation, communication and failed communication with a larger number of people. We tried it this way, we tried it that way, we tried it another way. Not the structure, not the goals, not the framework was the true problem - the WCA was just too good a mirror of the Wikimedia caleidoscope as it exists now.
A special kind of people
Allow me to finish with a striking example of how the WCA Council looked like, compared by the Dutch political party of which I am a member. Politics are known to be rough and mean, and of course there can be arguments and sometimes certain fights behind the scenes. But in general, I experienced the atmosphere in our party as most decent, respectful and considering. When recently the secretary of our local party affiliation stepped down, she received not only a flower bouquet but also many hugs, kisses, hand shakes and all kinds of compliments and best wishes from the attendees of that meeting, and post cards or e-mails from others. She could not hold her tears. She remains an active member of our group and very supportive to the board.
In April 2013, in Milan, we had the first WCA meeting after Ashley van Haeften (Fae) had resigned as Chair of the Council. As the Deputy Chair, I held a short speech in which I thanked him for his work, for that he acted when others just talked. Most Council Members hardly listened. A luxury edition of Stroopwafels was my modest gift purchased at Amsterdam airport. Few handshakes followed, many people remained just seated, busy with their computers. No hugs or kisses, no line of thankful members eager to wish Ashley good luck for the following challenge in movement or life. Some Council Members, present in Milan, did not attend the meeting at all. Ziko, 2013-08-08
In Germany, the chapter supports flights for Wikipedians to make free pictures of landscapes and buildings. Recently the West German region Sauerland has been the target. But there is also criticism.
Wikipedians with a camera (and some training) enter a small airplane, they are flown zig-zaggy over a specific region, and the result is a lot of free pictures for Wikipedia (and everybody else, of course). There have been concerns about what to do with loads of pictures dumped on Wikimedia Commons without categorization, identification of the objects taken, and without benefit for Wikipedia. Is it worth the money?
As User:Morty reports in the German Wikipedia:Kurier, these concerns cannot be made about the Sauerland flight. All 1350 pictures are identified, with the use of numerous sources, and 172 articles have been enriched already. This happened in less than three weeks. How does that look? Judge yourself. Ziko, 2013-07-30
Hacking Brussels: The Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU
Wikimedians have always been dependent on on legislation in their daily work. This includes legislation on the European Union level. Legislators, on the other hand, don’t even know we exist. So it can come as no surprise, that during our short existence as a movement we have already had to endure a chain of legislative throwbacks that discouraged our efforts and hampered the growth of our projects.
Reason To Be
In 2001, when the Wikipedia bug had bitten but a few, the Copyright in the Information Society Directive missed a historic opportunity to enshrine universal Freedom of Panorama as a right in all EU Member States, thereby depriving us of Belgian Art Nouveau and Bulgarian Neo-Classical architecture alike.
Similarly, Commons lost the chance to host a number of iconic musical performances and re-mixes, when the European Union decided to extend the copyright protection term for sound recordings from 50 to 70 years in 2011.
As of 2012, a half-hearted Orphan Works Directive prohibits us (and effectively hinders most cultural institutions) from saving, digitalising and giving access to cultural works, that will now remain lost to the public.
Currently, a new Directive aiming to reform Collective Rights Management may or may not perpetuate a legal situation, preventing musicians from donating even one single song to be used in their Wikipedia article.
All this in mind, it is hard to conclude that we haven’t been on the losing side of legislation. It would be even harder to conclude that this will change on its own. The first good news is, that we are finally working on being heard. The second, that the European Union indeed wants to listen (and discuss). Whether they will also hear us is a question of organisation and arguments - its up to us!
The Group's tl;dr The Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU wants to spare chapters’ resources as far as possible: the core group will monitor the EU processes closely, raise red flags in case of crucial issues and discuss possible actions if necessary.
This initiative was set up at a Brussels meet-up, where we discussed the rough outline of the group, its tasks and goals. Recently, we decided that’s its time to actively reach out to the community and lead by doing. We are now looking for chapters and chapter members, who are willing to at least designate a contact person that we can get in touch with in case of urgency and needed actions. Remember, we’re trying to save your time and energy, not waste them.
Meet you in Hong Kong!
Imagine how much more knowledge we could free up and deliver globally through our projects with even little legislative changes. Let’s make it happen! We will be in Hong Kong during the Pre-Conference and presenting the project. Dimi_z 2013-07-29
Kicking-off the Chapters Dialogue project
Wikimedia Deutschland is now kicking-off the Chapters Dialogue. The project a structured assessment of chapters needs, goals and stories combined with a stakeholder survey.
The goal is to gain an overview in the universe of Wikimedia chapters and their numerous stakeholders (WMF, FDC, AffCom, WCA, local communities) and to uncover existing stories about how the chapters define themselves and their roles in the international movement and what interests they have and what challenges they might face. It will not only allow us to reflect the status quo of our roles and relationships, but will enable us to actively shape them in the future.
For the next six months, we will collaborate with Design Thinking & User Research expert Kira Krämer who will facilitate the collection of stories and insights. We have listed a first collection of questions and topics we would like to discuss with chapters and stakeholders on the Chapters Dialogue talk page. On top of that, we will start getting in touch with stakeholders and chapters to ask for their input, feedback and ideas directly. Meet us at Wikimania in Hong Kong (Chapters Village), where we will inform about, discuss and further develop the project with all interested parties as well as conduct the first stakeholder and chapter interviews. Find more details and the time-line here, and please reach out to us with any feedback or ideas. Nicole_WMDE, 2013-07-24
Most Wikimanians come from far abroad, so the three days of the actual Wikimania are preceded by two day 'preconference'. While the technical people gather under the abbreviation 'dev', people from Wikimedia organisations meet in the activities organised by the WCA. The WCAWOS wants to give, on day one, activists with different backgrounds the opportunity to share their perspective. For example, in a panel discussion "The role of money" WMF representants will meet representants from FDC chapters; in another panel the topic will be the relations between chapters, themativ organisations and user groups.
From the action teams to the WCA Council meeting
Day two will be the action day. The WCA already has 'action teams', and we will see how new people can become part of them and help each other in the three action fields: Advice (peer review, chapters exachange), Research (e.g., with the Chapters Manual), and Voice (outreach). The second half of day two belongs to the WCA Council, for its public meeting.
At the moment, the organisers are in contact with possible panelists and other activists; it is the goal to make sure panelists are from different continents and organisations. More information will follow. Everybody who comes to Hong Kong is invited to add his or her name to the list of the WCAWOS attendees. Ziko, 2013-07-17
More feminine, less centralistic
Yesterday the three Wikimedia elections came to an end. The outcome is remarkable in two ways. First, the Wikimedia movement turns more feminine, as four of the six Wikimedians elected are women, amongst them two of the three newly elected members to the Board of Trustees. These are the results: Samuel Klein (Sj) and, after a one-year break, also Phoebe Ayers (phoebe) were re-elected, while María Sefidari (Raystorm) is new to the Board.
Thus, the weight of the volunteers in the Board has increased. What's more, the Wikimedia Foundation's centralism has suffered a rebuff. Wikimedia Deutschland's vice-president Delphine Ménard (notafish) and Cristian Consonni (CristianCantoro) were elected to the Funds Dissemination Committee, while Susana Morais (Lusitana) became the FDC's ombudsperson. Congratulations to everyone!
Voting turnout suffered a steep decline with only 1927 going to the polls (compared with more than 3000 Wikimedians at the last turn). For the first time a Board candidate was disqualified, as Francis Kaswahili Kaguna (Francis Kaswahili) was blocked on Commons for uploading non-free images.
Since March 2013, prisoners who request can have an access to Wikipedia offline. The idea is to stimulate or to support the interest for education of prisoners who were, for a large majority, condemned to long-time sentences. After three months of pilot phasis, the project is successful : Among the 36 prisoners of the Gorgier’s prison, 18 possess or rent a computer. All of them requested the upload of Wikipedia offline on their computer.
How did it happen ? Quite simply : in September 2012, Emmanuel Engelhart, Kiwix developer and Wikimedia CH member, discussed with Chantal, Wikimedia CH’s CAO, around a coffee, about the needs for offline in European countries, for example prisoners, who have very limited access to internet.
A few days later, Chantal was told about and contacted a students’ association who are volunteering for giving lessons to prisoners in Gorgier : they put her in contact with the prison’s director and… after 4 months and several requests, a first meeting with all these persons took place : the discussion was about technical issues (how to implement Kiwix in the computers and to train the prison’s staff to do it in the future), security issues (no censure but no access to internet) and the interest of prisoners (who showed a great interest). A few weeks later, Emmanuel went to the prison, implemented Kiwix and trained the prison’s staff.
After 3 months, we asked for a feed-back meeting : the feed-backs were unanimously positive, as well from the prisoners that from the prison’s direction. And we discussed about follow-up and external communication. Chantal prepared a press release, that was submitted and accepted by the prison’s authorities. Then she sent it to all the Swiss media, that showed a great interest (more than 10 articles within 2 days, all the big newspapers of the area wrote an at least online article).
This example shows how staff and volunteers can work together and benefit from each other : of course, the project could not exist without the big involvement and the tremendous work of Emmanuel. But staff was able to help him in taking contacts, preparing and coordinating meetings, making the communication and media-related tasks. And, towards the prison and state authorities, the presence of the CAO was seen as a sign of professionalism. Chantal Ebongue, 2013-06-19
Amical Wikimedia, new Thorg
Amical Wikimedia has finally been recognized as the first Wikimedia thematic organization. We -Amical's members- are very enthusiastic about it, since we have been working towards the recognition since years ago, during which we have debated around various models. Amical Wikimedia ("Amical" for short) is an organization which supports free knowledge in Catalan language (which has around 10 million speakers) and about Catalan culture. During the past years we have developed many projects, mainly around GLAMs and Education (you can find monthly reports in our page).
We are very excited with this new step and the future. We are willing to collaborate with other Wikimedia organizations to achieve our common goals and we expect that the work we put into all this process will hopefully bear its fruits - we will new be able to focus our efforts in what we like, that is, Catalan+Wiki(pm)edia. As a start, Amical will be designing its Strategic Plan for the following couple of years during this summer; in fact, we have already asked the community for feedback. We also look forward to collaborating with the WCA if necessary, and hopefully will ask to join if the requisites allow us to do so. Thanks for your warm congratulations! Arnaugir, Amical's Chair, 2013-06-17
Brockhaus to go
Germany's prestigious Brockhaus Enzyklopädie is doomed to disappear from the market. Bertelsmann, owning the Brockhaus brand since 2009, announced yesterday it will discontinue direct marketing by mid 2014, says Deutsche Presse-Agentur according to the German newspapers Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Frankfurter Rundschau. There will be updates available online for six more years. Bertelsmann considers whether to license the Brockhaus brand which alone is seen as viable. Some 300 employees will probably lose their jobs, along with some more 300 working in marketing.
Recent news on German public radio Deutschlandfunk about developments at Bertelsmann said that Brockhaus was testing a special database system available for subscription by scientific libraries called Brockhaus-Wissensservice.
Back in March 2012, Brockhaus' international competitor Encyclopædia Britannica announced it would go out of print, making its 2010 edition the last one available. The last print edition of Brockhaus Enzyklopädie appeared in 2005/2006. Both encyclopædias are now only available online. Many public libraries in Germany offer the full text of Brockhaus Enzyklopädie (no images) via Munzinger-Archiv along with other proprietary reference works. (A., 12.6.)
A collaborative newswall for Wikimedia organisations
Facilitating collaboration among Wikimedia organisations is the major topic the WCA has committed itself to. The WCA/Journal is one big piece in the mosaic of tools and communication spaces we provide in order to start and grow the exchange of ideas, solutions and projects. Its purpose is to make organisations aware of each other's work, give them some entry points for collaboration, make their success stories visible and share their experiences.
WCA/Journal is written collaboratively. Anyone can contribute. In order to have some rhythm, the page will be archived on a monthly basis. Credits to WP:Kurier, the news page of German Wikipedia, which serves as a role model for this kind of news board. The focus of this page will be on anything related the work of Wikimedia organisations, such as chapters, thematic organisations and user groups. For details, please refer the About page.
Taking up Iberocoop's suggestion to focus WCA's work on meta, we encourage the translation of this page. Note that the technical structure might change to make this easier (Suggestions welcome). We are looking for volunteer translators into Spanish for a start. If you'd like to help, please contact Markus or start translating right away :)
The world of Wikimedia organisations has a lot of facets. I hope WCA/Journal will be a space to make the value of our work visible! Put your news here! The best way we can learn from each other is to share our experiences, issues, knowledge and ideas! Markus, 2013-05-10
Wikimedia Conference in Milan
The Wikimedia Conference is after or even next to Wikimania the most important annual convention of the Wikimedians. This time (Milan, Italy, April 18–21, 2013) did not have one huge subject such as in 2012 (WMF fundraiser and reaction of the chapters) but several subjects that will shape the movement on the long run.
As Council Member of the WCA I have visited both WCA sessions and led the second one (Sunday), after Markus Glaser had to leave early. The progress was slow: the Council Members found the state of the discussions not mature enough to install an Executive Committee (a kind of board), and also the opening for new entities (thematic organizations, Wikimedia user groups) has not become concrete.
About the latter: it is the intention to give soon a signal, especially to the thematic organizations, that they are welcome and can join under the same conditions as the chapters (the national organizations). In fact, for this goal the WCA Charter has to be changed, which knows only chapters so far. But there seem to be hardly any disagreement on this. By the way, at the moment there are no thematic organizations, officially.
Some more progress we saw on the action teams, which have been installed already in London in Februay. One of the tasks is the peer review, that chapters invite other chapters to give them advice e.g. on governance and finances. This is especially important in the difficult FDC process. Another initiative is the WCA Chapters Manual, a kind of handbook or compendium here on Meta Wiki.
A changing movement
The Wikimedia Movement, including the Wikimedia Foundation, changes on all kind of fields. A very interesting and weighty evolution concerns evaluation. In future, the WMF thinks, the FDC requesters must report even more precisely what exactly are the results of a programme activity. Which impact comes from what money spent? Possibly the FDC process will already in 2013 (round 1) be influenced by this evolution.
The value of a Wikimedia convention is not only the programme as scheduled before, but especially the personal contact with the people you usually only know from the Internet. This time, in Milan, it seems that there were quite a number of people new or in a new position. And what will the future bring for the Wikimedia Conference itself? Nowadays, it hosts ca. 120-140 persons, and they will be even more:
more national organizations
the new thematic organizations, and Wikimedia user groups
more WMF staff and contractors
larger delegations from the different countries, not only two volunteers (often board members) but also staff
the WCA Council Members
more volunteers who are invited on a personal title
The structure of the Wikimedia Conference as we know it has advantages, but possibly it will be more streamlined in future, also with regard to the different needs e.g. of emerging prechapters and larger organizations. Ziko, 2013-05-08
"Dear people from the press, this is not an announcement", Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said in his state of the wiki speech at the opening of Wikimania. But he talked about the backsides of modern journalism that sees in the Snowden case especially a human interest story. He would like to discuss with Wikipedians and others how, for example, a cooperation between journalists and a volunteer community may look like. Z., 2013-08-09
Wikikids basic principles
A Wikipedia for children? The proposal for a new WMF wiki shows some action now. For example, the basic principles are discussed. Z., 2013-07-30
My strategy, your strategy
If your WM organisation has a strategy document: have you already added it to the list on this page: Strategy? Z., 2013-07-24
Survey on Wikimedia Chapters
Chapters are invited to describe themselves in a survey. Your responses will help us understand small and large Chapters and plan for future - how Affiliates can be helped. First results will be shown during Wikimania2013!aegis maelstromδ 15:52, 24 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
User group from Greece
On July 20th, Bence Damokos announced the approval of a new Wikimedia user group: Wikimedia Community User Group Greece. Welcome! Z., 2013-07-24
Welcome new Council Members!
Since July, Chris Keating is the new Council Member appointed by WMUK, and Bronislav Jovanović has been appointed by WMRS. Z., 2013-07-18
Fae no longer on British board
As Wikimedia UK has informed on Saturday, 13 July, Fae (Ashley van Haeften) is no longer on the board of the British association. Fae has been the chair of the WCA Council from July 2012 to March 2013. Z., 2013-07-15
Wikipedian in Residence at the Swiss National Archives from the 1st July 2013
The Swiss Federal Archives and Wikimedia CH are joining forces to review source materials from the Federal Archives and publish them online through a Wikipedian in Residence. The first joint project will provide access to a photographic collection on the First World War.
The Wikipedian in Residence at the Swiss Federal Archives started work at the beginning of July. Micha L. Rieser has been an active Wikipedian since 2005 (user page: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benutzer:Micha_L._Rieser). He will assist the Federal Archives in publishing selected documents as part of Wikimedia projects and advise the Federal Archives staff on how to contribute to Wikipedia.
This project was initiated by Wikimedia CH’s volunteers, Rupert Thurner and Beat Estermann. Wikimedia CH’ volunteers and CAO had several meeting with the Federal Archives’ direction and an agreement was signed on April--Chantal.ebongue (talk) 08:46, 4 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Welcome number one!
Amical Wikimedia has been officially recognized as the first thorg. Congratulations, and we hope that it will not be for long the only one in its category. Z., 2013-06-09
If your Wikimedia organization has an office, is it already in the list of Wikimedia offices? Ziko, 2013-05-19
World War I uniting the nations
A Swedish initiative to make people edit Wikipedia: World War I edit-a-thons. WMSE contacted museums and spread the word also to other countries. E-Day (edit day) will be June 29 (a Saturday). Ziko, 2013-05-19
Spanish Wikipedia reaches 1M articles
On May, 17th, ESWP reached their 1 millionth article. Congratulations! Most likely, the number was even reached earlier, as ESWP's content namespace Anexo: was only included in the count that day. This increased the article count by about 20000 .Markus, 2013-05-18
WCA @ Wikimania
WCA council members proposed a number of sessions at Wikimania in Hong Kong. Among those related to Wikimedia organisations are:
We are also planning to have a "Chapters Lounge". This is intended to be a meeting place for chapters, thematic organisations and user groups. We will hopefully have some experts on several issues (like funding), an idea exchange for joint projects and some coffee :) . Markus, 2013-05-10 Update: All the submissions mentioned above have been accepted. Yay! Markus, 2013-05-18
Looking for a Hackathon host
We are looking for a chapter to host the annual European MediaWiki Hackathon in 2014. As you probably know, this year, the Hackathon will be in Amsterdam from 23rd to 26th of May. The idea is to have a rotating location in the future. It would be nice to be able announce next year's Hackathon on the last day. So if you are thinking about having such a conference in your place, please contact Maarten. In case you'll need assistance with the organisation, the WCA is happy to help. Markus, 2013-05-10
Wiki Med has newsletter
The upcoming thematic organization for Wikimedians in the health and medicine environment, Wiki Med, has a newsletter called The Stethoscope. Congratulations and all the best! Ziko, 2013-05-09
Wikimedia Deutschland cooperation disliked
WMDE has recently agreed with ZDF, a major German public TV station, to install a 'Wikipedian in Residence' in a ZDF team that will check the statements of politicians (there are general elections in September). In an internal survey, the German Wikipedians object this cooperation by ca. 70:20 votes. The opponents criticize ZDF in general or doubt about the positive effects promised by WMDE (such as gaining new Wikipedia editors). Ziko, 2013-05-08