Wikimedia Clinics/005

This is a digest (a processed, edited summary) of the online conference call Wikimedia Clinic #005, held on July 1st 2020. It sacrifices fidelity to people's exact words in favor of clarity, brevity, and digestibility.

Except for the introduction, the topics are brought up by volunteers participating in the calls.

The call was attended by 13 members of Wikimedia Foundation staff and 5 volunteers.

Topic 1: IntroductionEdit

quick principlesEdit

  • listen with patience and respect
  • share your experience, but remember others' contexts are very diverse, and may not match yours.
  • be of service to other people on the call

These calls are a Friendly Space.

Purpose of Wikimedia ClinicsEdit

  • provide a channel to ask questions and collect feedback on one's own work and context
  • help direct people to appropriate resources across the Foundation and broader Wikimedia movement

If we can't answer your questions during the call, we (WMF) are committed to finding who can, and connecting you (this may happen after the call)

Examples of things the Clinics are not the place for:

  • complaints about interpersonal behavior - there are appropriate channels for this on-wiki, and there is the Trust and Safety team.
  • content or policy disputes on specific wikis. But it is okay to seek advice on how to better present one's positions.

Topic 2: Generating tables on Wikipedia from WikidataEdit

Presentation of topicEdit

volunteer: What might it take to translate fr:Modèle:Tableau qualificateurs from French into English?

I could translate the documentation myself, but I'd need help finding the code that implements that.

I find it useful: it generates a table with data from Wikidata according to item and property IDs passed to the template. Example usage on French Wikipedia: {{Tableau qualificateurs|entity=Q48535681|property=P710 |main:P710 |P1706|P1532|P1352|P1351|P4815|P4826|P4825|P1545 |main:P710=femmes|P1706=hommes|P1532=pays|P1352=rang|P1351=TSS|P4815=TES|P4826=PCS|P4825=déduction|P1545=ordre de passage}}


  • Nobody in the call had a direct response.
  • Asaf (WMF): Nothing prevents anyone from importing this template and the module it relies on into English Wikipedia. Using it in articles may encounter some resistance; there is a higher degree of opposition in English Wikipedia to using data from Wikidata in articles. But it is possible.
    en:Wikipedia:Wikidata/2018_Infobox_RfC#Discussion this page on English Wikipedia summarizes most of those concerns (link added after the call)
    But actually, there is already a tool that seems to me to be equivalent to this French template: Listeria is a template that allows you to define a table in terms of a SPARQL query (which controls which Wikidata items (rows) will be presented) and a set of Wikidata properties, labels, and descriptions (which control what columns the table would include). Once you place the template on a page, a bot will come by and paste a table (and keep it regularly updated).
    You can see an example of it in action in WikiProject Women in Red on English Wikipedia.
    • Mike Peel adds (post call) that Listeria has recently been disabled for articles on English Wikipedia, so is now only usable in other namespaces (like the example above).
  • volunteer: Does Listeria work on Wikiversity?
  • Asaf (WMF): It does not. But you can request it from Magnus, like someone did here for Wikivoyage.
  • SPoore (WMF): I think I remember some type of wikidata feed table being used on English Wikipedia for the COVID-19 article. (added after the call: this is the customized bot-powered process for producing that table from Wikidata)
  • volunteer: okay, but how do I get the SPARQL query to feed into that table?
  • Asaf (WMF): I recorded a SPARQL tutorial for absolute beginners. But also, you can ask others to create a query for you! Wikidata has a Request a query page, where you can literally go and explain what you need, and another volunteer will create a query for you that you can just paste into the {{Wikidata list}} template.

Topic 3: Active in affiliates?Edit

Presentation of topicEdit

(no one had another topic, so Asaf asked everyone a question out of general curiosity) Are you active in an affiliate? Why or why not?

Both cases are interesting. Being active in an affiliate, or choosing not to join one, can both have interesting motivations.

For those less familiar with the term: Affiliates are formal or informal groups of Wikimedians recognized by the Wikimedia Foundation (through the Affiliations Committee). The three types (explained in the link above) are national chapters, thematic organizations, and user groups. They get together to organize Mission-aligned work, especially work having some off-wiki components (like events, partnerships, workshops, etc.)


  • volunteer: I am member of my national chapter since 2006. I had been board member of the chapter for about 7 years. It's fun to be a part of the group. It's a small country. We organize a national conference once a year. People gather to have talks and presentations. That's great! We have had Wiki Saturdays for the past 8 years, where we gather at the chapter's office to meet and chat and work on projects. Our chapter employees work with GLAM partners and educational institutions to get more content for the wikis.
  • another volunteer: I'm not active in an affiliate. I don't really see how it would be helpful to my work, but I don't know that much about them.
  • ArielGlenn (WMF): yes and no; as a WMF employee, if I were to participate as a member in one of the affiliates in Greece could be seen as taking sides in an ongoing conflict between those affiliates. However I do show up to take pictures or give presentations, when asked. [Note: there is now only one recognized affiliate in Greece --AB]
  • Asaf (WMF): yes, sometimes there is friction between affiliates and it can make it hard not just for staff but also for a volunteer, who might not want to be caught in the crossfire.
  • volunteer: I joined my affiliate specifically because I had realised that my language's Wikipedia and its sister projects need new people joining (either editing or uploading files), and I on my own would not be able to support these new people. Also, I am in love with the Wiki Loves Monuments project :)

Topic 4: How to connect with local Wikimedians?Edit

Presentation of topicEdit

Volunteer: How can people connect with other Wikimedians in a region like, e.g., the greater Kansas City metro area? Am I missing something obvious?


  • (no volunteers had thoughts at first)
  • Asaf (WMF): There is no obvious way you're missing. We don't require people to disclose their location, so the platform is relatively ill-equipped to help you with that. People put as much or as little on their user pages as they are comfortable with. Some past strategies nonetheless are:
    Using categories, such as the Wikipedians by location category and its sub-categories on English Wikipedia. People can add their own user page into such categories.
    Another method is through WikiProjects. Almost every country, and most US states, have a WikiProject on English Wikipedia. On the theory that at least a sizeable percentage of the people regularly contributing content about that location are somehow connected with that location, you can look at the project participants roster and check userboxes on individual user pages, and you can use the talk page and ask if anyone wants to connect.
    English Wikipedia also has the Meetup page, which tries to list all the in-person meetings happening around the world. The pandemic has of course slowed this. At these physical meetings you can get together over coffee. If there isn't one where you live, you can start one. Pick a cafe or other venue. Set a date for 2-3 weeks in the future and start announcing it. Hope that people will notice it and show up. There is no super easy way.
  • SPoore (WMF): When I lived in Florida I decided to hold a wiknic (like picnic). I found people by taking initative and tracking down their talk pages. WMF's office used to be in Florida, so there was an active local community. Lots of people were excited by the idea to get together. People would bring their own food. People from the public saw it and wanted to come learn. Take the initative yourself.
  • SGuebo (WMF): From my volunteer's perspective: social networks are a good way to stay in touch with fellow community members. A lot of people who join our events find us on Facebook or Twitter. I see this happening over time. Gradually more and more people hear about events and contact us through social networks.
  • Asaf: You can organize meetups even without an affiliate. For example, in the US there is the WALRUS network, a good place if you are looking for more contact with American Wikimedians; they hold two monthly zoom calls during COVID. Also, universities tend to have Wikimedians among the students. Poke around your local university and see if there is a wiki club or something.
  • SPoore (WMF): WikiConference North America conference decided to form a WMF affiliate user group to aid in year-over-year planning.
  • volunteer: on Ukrainian Wikipedia people just announce wiki-meetups in cities they are in, and post to talk pages of users who have templates saying that they are from this or that area.
  • SPoore (WMF): I think the most important reason people join affiliates is that they want to become more organized in the way they work. If they want to approach a partner organization, there comes a point where groups need more organization. It used to be that the only option was geographic chapters. Now thematic orgs change that. User groups offer a low barrier of entry. An example is: The decision to make Wikiconference North America a user group: We wanted the conference to happen every year. Needed funding. That was easier when we were organized. The US does not have a single, national chapter. And this conference covers all countries in North America. I would encourage affiliation for organizing purposes.
  • MRedi (WMF): to the original question, this might help, specifically WikiProject Kansas City members

Topic 5: Datasets relating to Wikimedia activities by country?Edit

Presentation of topicEdit

volunteer: does anyone know of any datasets relating to Wikimedia activities divided by countries? I've been trying to build some pages like United_States.


  • (no volunteers offered thoughts.)
  • Asaf (WMF): I don't know about a systematic effort like that. Much of the raw data is available, but not readily tabulated. For instance, there is relatively detailed information on activities by country in the form of annual (and sometimes quarterly) activity reports from every affiliate. They are usually a good summary of what took place in that country in that year by that (geography-based) affiliate. It's never a complete picture, but is a representative summary of the organized work. The reports are all linked from this massive table on Meta. These are narative reports so not readily pasted into a spreadsheet. But you can stat your research there.
    A few years ago we had a study by the Foundation's Learning and Evaluation team (as it was then called) evaluating programs by program type (not country). Here are those program evaluation reports.
    Another resource, specific to "education" programs, which is by country, is maintained as a public Google Sheet by the Foundation's Education team: Wikimdia and Education Database.
  • another volunteer: In the Foundation's own Annual Reports page, the report for fiscal year 2018-2019 is missing.
    • (resolved after the call) Indeed! the report is ready, but hasn't been publicly announced yet, so wasn't linked from the page above. The link is now there, and the announcement forthcoming.
  • Miriam (WMF): I have not heard of such an effort in the Research team.
    • (post-call follow-up): I asked Leila, who has been around for 6 years, and she doesn't know of any present or past project of this nature.
    • (post-call loop in via Research sync): Actually, the Global Data and Insights team is working on two relevant projects in this fiscal year's annual plan. We're still finalizing what data we can and should include, but I look forward to being able to communicate out details on that later this year. I imagine it will be useful to any volunteer's looking for this kind of information to know this, and that I am always open to hearing people's wants and needs regarding global landscape data. I will also be sure to update this page as well! JAnstee (WMF) (talk) 19:43, 4 August 2020 (UTC)
      • Following-up on this:
        • Recruiting movement organizers, grantees, and affiliate volunteers to partner in piloting some new movement metrics in February and March 2022
          • The Global Data & Insights team will launch a pilot beginning February 2022 examining data to answer questions about who is in our movement, what voices may be missing across known pathways for engaging with Wikimedia, and where.
          • Read more in our diff blog and meta portal. JAnstee (WMF) (talk) 18:02, 15 December 2021 (UTC)

Topic 6: ReplyToolEdit

Presentation of topicEdit

volunteer: I would like to talk about the discussion tools (ReplyTool) project. Piloted on Dutch, Arabic, Hungarian, and French Wikipedia. It is a way to easily add one reply with correct placement and indentation by clicking right next to the content you want to respond to. Signatures are automated too.

Can someone point me to the roadmap or deployment plan? When will it move out of beta? And to other wikis?


(You need to turn on the Beta features to see this tool on talk pages.)

  • Asaf: is the information page
    • from that page: "Version 2.0 is now available for testing on all wikis by adding the following parameter to any talk page URL: ?dtenable=1"
    • there are usability test findings from a few days ago from the team. Best to be in touch with the team directly via that page. I think it is likely some kind of decision is coming soon on the basis of these findings. You can also watch the Phabricator page which is linked from there.
  • another volunteer: ah, but the real question is, does it work with vertical scripts? :)

Topic 7: Next Clinic in SpanishEdit

Asaf (WMF): We are extending this pilot program for people who are not comfy speaking en. Next time will be in Spanish. It will be moderated by other staff. Asaf will be on the call. Faciliated by native Spanish speakers. I hope we can reach people who have not been attending these calls. If that works we can and will expand it to other languages that are spoken by other members of staff. We are intersted in seeing if this helps.

Topic 8: what made you attend today?Edit

Presentation of topicEdit

Ariel Glenn (WMF): I am curious about why people decided to drop in this clinic hour, if they are comfortable saying. What made you take the time and attend this call? "Just hanging out" is also an OK answer. :)


  • volunteer: there is always so much to discover in the wiki-verse.
  • SGuebo (WMF): First time I attended the Clinic was in person at Wiki Indaba. Was a full time volunteer then. Key moment for me to learn about practices and partnering with GLAM and other institutions. I liked that we were reviving that model. Came and joined and hoped that I could provide assistance.
  • CDanis (WMF): I am a member of the Site Reliability Engineering team at WMF. Most of the stuff I do is not directly connected to the community. Usually working on defense against denial of service attacks. I feel too disconnected from volunteers. If anything comes up from the technical side I am happy to help but otherwise I'm just here to listen.
  • (Asaf reminisces about the days the entire wiki would go offline for whole hours, until Brion Vibber or Rob Halsell would wake up and fix it. Those days are (happily!) long gone. Our site reliability is incomparably better today, while serving orders of magnitude more content to more readers. Perspective is helpful. :))
  • EMedina (WMF): for new things to learn
  • volunteer: I find these calls interesting — new things to learn (every time, actually).
  • Cassie (WMF): I also joined because I wanted to learn more about WMF and see and meet more people in the Foundation :)


This is a pilot project. We welcome any feedback, positive or negative, based on your experience on this call.

  • Question or theme announced in advance, so there would be a good starting point. Does not need to be the theme of the entire session.

No other feedback.

Thanks for coming! Stay tuned for future calls.