Meeting:2012 AGM/Candidates/Michael Billington

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Hello all, I'm Michael from Victoria.

I've been on the Wikimedia Australia scene since around the time we incorporated, been an en.wikipedia admin since 5 years ago, and had an early involvement in Wikiversity when it was first launched. More recently, I spent last year on a connectivity hiatus, teaching computer studies in the Pacific on a voluntary basis.

Beyond lurking on the mailing list, I've been involved with a wiki workshop series for a South Sudanese community group in Melbourne, and look forward to working with User:Cuddy Wifter on his initiative to organise an introductory Wikipedia class with a U3A group next year (although this is not set in stone by any means).

Like all of us, I have a strong interest in free content. I would like to see these WM-Au-related things succeed:

Education
Looking into what we can do for our local audience in terms of bringing unencumbered content to schools. There is currently a trend away from paper books, but I am yet to hear of an Australian school taking up a free content solution. Whether this is an issue of quality, promotion, or lack of relevance to Australian students, there is work to be done here on the ground.
Outreach
Many non-technical users are familiar with the English Wikipedia, and plenty of users would take part in it (and probably other wikis) if somebody showed them how to. Australia is also in a unique position because of its linguistic diversity, and I'm keen to see us reach out to potential contributors to some non-English wikis which don't have much activity at the moment. In more concrete terms, we don't offer much to introduce newbies to what we do, and we need to fix that.
Community
We are well-aligned with some other non-profits, and I believe we would benefit from more cooperation. For example, seeing that Wikimedia Australia "has a table" at events like LCA or Software Freedom Day is (IMHO) central to communicating our goals to the wider community which we are a part of.

I'm humbled to be nominated for one of the ordinary member positions on the committee. If elected, I would draw focus to how we can impact non-members, who (if we are doing anything right) vastly outnumber members as free content creators and users. This is something we have never made significant progress on. But based on the strengths of all the candidates, we will have a strong committee regardless.

-- MichaelBillington