Wikimedians in Thailand/Chapter Application

Dear Sir/Madam,


Since the recognition of Wikimedians in Thailand User Group in 2008, we have been working hard to pursue its commitment to encourage the creation and distribution of free knowledge, echoing the mission of the Wikimedia Foundation. We have continuously engaged in a wide range of online activities both online and offline. Our team’s efforts have attracted an increasing number of participants over the years, and have established national level partnerships with eight organisations. Because of our team’s commitments, we gradually began to gain public recognition both at the national level and beyond. Our community is also more solidified than ever. These achievements would not have been possible without the support from the Wikimedia Foundation and our local partners.

Even though expectations and milestones are met, we began to notice the limitations set by our current model of administration. The lack of legal status has made it difficult for us to establish legal relationship with other organisations, making the credibility of our organisation questionable. In addition, recognition of our user group as Wikimedia Chapter will help highlight us as a trusted organisation, make it easier for others to reach out to us, and help to better bridge the gaps between the affiliate, community, and the society.

On behalf of Wikimedians in Thailand User Group, I would like to submit our formal chapter application and documentation in response to the criteria to be recognised as a Wikimedia Chapter


Sincerely,

Athikhun Suwannakhan

On behalf of Wikimedia Thailand founding members

Diversities of activities and capacityEdit

We have continuously engaged in a wide range of activities including Wiki Loves Earth (2015-present), Wiki Loves Monuments (2013-present), Wiki Science Competition (2017) and the Asian Month (2015-present). Our group has also offered several successful offline activities including meet-ups, education program, and Wikipedia Zero. Our activities have attracted almost 1,000 participants (simple summation) over the years.

Attending Wikimedia events has shaped our organisation and the strategic pillars upon which our work is based. We have been continuously inspired by the people we met at these events. We learn the way in which other affiliates organise activities, how they govern themselves and deal with potential conflicts. Founding members of Wikimedia Thailand have represented our organisation in various Wikimedia events in recent years including Wikimanias, Wikimedia Conferences, and the upcoming Wikimedia Summit 2019. User:Athikhun.suw and user:Pilarbini were also part of the organising team of the ESEAP Conference 2018, Bali, Indonesia. The first event of its kind aimed at fostering regional collaboration between affiliates. Over the years we have acquired these skills and are able to execute them effectively in our home community. We look forward to attending these events again in many more years to come, and with enough capacity we also hope to host some of these events ourselves in the future.

Photo contests including WLE and WLM have been our key activities for many years. The idea of these contests was primarily to increase the quantity, quality and coverage of Thailand natural and cultural heritage. From these two activities alone, we were able to attract more 800 participants over the period of four years. More than 21,000 images taken at national parks or monuments have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. We have also been part of WAM, an article contest devoted to the creation of content related to Asia. In addition to these two events, in 2017 we were also part of WSC, which is an international version of the European Science Photo Competition first hosted in 2015. The outcomes of these activities exceedingly surpass our expectations. They are also one of the reasons we gain visibility and recognition from the general public.

Volunteer support programme is aimed at supporting volunteers in different areas including online support, editors recruitment and retention. Mentor programme and “One article, one or more images” project were the first two activities we piloted in 2018. Not only that these projects were organised as part of volunteer support programme, it acted as positive reinforcement for newcomers, who unfortunately are “chased” by administrators or veteran editors. It also enables us to establish a stronger relationship between affiliate and the community, something that has always been a challenge. We hope to strengthen our volunteer support programme with a team whose responsibility is directly devoted to helping volunteers.

We also realise the importance of Wikipedia and its place in education. In 2014 year, we implemented for the first time Wikipedia writing assignment, in which university students contributed to Wikipedia in class. User:Taweetham, also a chemistry professor, was the class instructor. One of our members (user:Athikhun.suw), became campus ambassador for the program. Since its first implementation in 2014, over 100 university students from 13 class sections have participated in the program, resulting in contributions equivalent to 90 written pages (assuming 3,000 bytes per page and 5 photos per page). Over 130 articles have been created or improved. More than 800 high quality and technical images have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. In addition to contributions to free knowledge movement, the program helps to enhance students' information literacy, technology literacy, collaboration, and critical thinking, four essential skills according to the 21st century education. The results of our implementation have been translated into our recent academic publication, poster presentation, and can also be documents on the English Wikipedia.

Due to the collaborative nature of Wikipedia, its content is perceived to be unreliable by most academics. As a result, students especially at university level are often instructed not to use Wikipedia. In response to this issue, our group is doing content evaluation of Wikipedia articles in selected fields of study. Athikhun is currently a PhD candidate in human anatomy. He is collaborating with specialists to evaluate Wikipedia articles related to anatomy in order to address their suitability for education. In the future, we plan to extend the scope of our content evaluation to other fields in science, social science and beyond. As part of this research, we are expecting to partner up with several more academic institutions both nationally and internationally. We wish that our results will reflected by the community. In turn it would help improve the quality of Wikipedia articles, and overall would lead to improved perception of Wikipedia in the academia.

Our first edit-a-thon took place in September 2015 as part of Smithsonian APA edit-a-thon at Dtac headquarters, Bangkok. Since then, more than 13 meetups took place in Thailand. Most of the agenda were devoted to the education program, planning of the activities, chapter discussion, dinner, and general conversations. The original idea of the meetups was to strengthen the community since we strongly believe that a strong organisation is built upon strong interpersonal relationships. Hosting meetups also brought with it the sense of belonging within the group that what we do means something to a larger community. Such realisation resulted in a momentum which has carried on until today.

Another activity that we are proud of is Wikipedia Zero. Wikipedia Zero was first implemented in 2012 in collaboration with Dtac, a local mobile operator. The program was first introduced to the public later that year at the 5th Annual Congress for Teacher Professional Development (EDUCA 2012). Wikipedia Zero was rebranded in 2015 as part of the campaign called “Free basics”, which offered free access to extended websites in addition to Wikipedia such as social media websites, translators, and newspapers. Our agreement with Dtac to host Wikipedia Zero, however, has just ended in mid 2018. At the moment, we are looking into possibilities of our future collaborations.  

Planning and evaluationEdit

Our organisation is effectively capable of setting specific goals and measure the outcomes of our projects. We report our results to the Grants team of the Wikimedia Foundation on an annual basis. Please see the following links for our previous project plannings and evaluations (2014 to present):

After attending the Wikimedia Conference 2018, we developed a clear strategic direction as well as action points for our future Chapter (written in Thai). Our organisational goals, as described in our bylaws, have been crafted to align with the Strategic Direction of the Wikimedia Foundation. We have realised the importance of community capacity map to help identify the needs and opportunities to invest in capacity building activities. Actions points will listed at the beginning of the year, and assessment will be made at the end of the year to see whether or not goals and outcomes are met.

External partnershipEdit

Currently, we have established partnership with four (active) organisations including:

  • DTAC
  • The Siam Society Under Royal Patronage
  • Seub Foundation
  • Pantip.com

DTAC has been our key partners since 2012. We implemented Wikipedia Zero in collaboration with DTAC between 2012-2018. At present, DTAC is supporting us both in WLE and WLM. We are also exploring a number of possibilities for collaboration in the future.

The Siam Society has also been our major collaborator since 2014. They are main sponsors for WLE and WLM. They also help to advertise our activities. A representative from the Siam Society has been a juror member for WLM and WLE since 2014.

Sueb Foundation is the latest addition to our panel of local sponsors. Their mission is to promote the conservation of natural resources, flora and fauna. They were main sponsor of our WLE by providing advertising channel, merchandise and prizes. We are also discussing our future collaboration to host workshops.

Pantip.com is one of the most visited websites Thailand. Its content is read by at least 100,000 people daily. Pantip has helped us advertise our activities free of charge, and provide also merchandises.

In addition to the support from these sponsors, we also collaborated with Mahidol University International College to implement the education programme as mentioned in the early section. We also collaborate with external institutions to perform evaluation of Wikipedia articles.

Aligned missionEdit

Our mission is aligned with that of the Wikimedia Foundation, and is well stated in Section 3 of our bylaws. Copy of which can be found below:

  • To support the creation, development and maintenance of the content in all Wikimedia projects in Thailand
  • To conduct activities that promote the awareness of the Wikimedia movement and its projects in Thailand
  • To promote free and full access to content across Wikimedia projects for purpose of education
  • To conduct humanitarian activities and promote public knowledge without profit-making purposes in Thailand
  • To partner up with governmental and private organisations at national and international levels in organising the aforementioned activities

Geographical focus, legal structure, and open governanceEdit

Please find our bylaws here. Our organisation is geographically based in the Kingdom of Thailand. Please refer to Section 3 of our bylaws. Wikimedia Thailand will be registered as an association according to Thailand’s constitution. At the moment we have secured a Rapid Grant to fund the legal service and incorporation. Members of the Association shall have the right to nominate, to elect, and to be elected as board members. The elected board members shall seek internal consensus on the appointment of the President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. To ensure smooth transition after the incorporation of Wikimedia Thailand, we concurred that individuals whose names are present in the article of incorporation shall take the Board position until the first election of board members is held.  

Active contributor involvementEdit

Forty-eight members have signed in support of the recognition of Wikimedia Thailand as Wikimedia Chapter (as of 3 January 2019). These members have their account registered for more than six months with at least 300 edits attached to their username. In addition to online volunteers, many more people were involved offline including our future Chapter executives, WLE&WLM organizers, education program students, local sponsors and its staff.

ReferencesEdit