User: Chuq/Wikimania report

< User:Chuq

This is my summary of notable observations, potential chapter activities, and ideas for the future, that came out of my attendance at Wikimania 2012. It is just in dot-point form. Sorry it has taken so long – a copy was sent to the committee on August 15.

Wikimedia Chapters Association - first meeting

The WCA was established on July 11 and the minutes of this meeting is available.

The details have been discussed in various other forums in great detail so I won’t duplicate that here.

I met two of the reps in NY the previous week (Ziko van Dijk from NL, Richard Knipel from US-NYC)

At this meeting I personally met Ray Saintonge (CA), Manuel Schneider (AT), Florence Devouard (FR), Deryck Chan (HK), Fae (UK), for the first time.

Presentation: Cool chapter projects (by Lodewijk Gelauff and Deror Avi)

This presentation featured some of the activities of Wikimedia chapters around the world. WMAU’s projects with the APC (History of the Paralympic Movement, and Wikimedians to the Games) were included as one of the cool chapter project highlights - well done Laura and all involved!

Wiki Loves Monuments - map of nations participating in WLM 2013 was displayed and Oceania was the only continent missing!

I believe discussion was held up because of the term "Monuments" which has a different meaning in Australia - usually referring to things like statues.

Adam Jenkins wrote up a proposal for a similar competition - - but it would be good to be a part of the international competition.

I also spoke to Jon and Lennart from WMSE about their related Wiki Loves Public Art project: planned for May 2013

There has since been some discussion on the WMAU members mailing list about being involved in WLM2013. It will take a lot of work, most likely shared between a group of people due to our geography.

Presentation: Monmouthpedia (John Cummings)

(If you are not aware of MonmouthpediA, check out I met John Cummings in New York and chatted to him about the project a few times while I was there. He presented a session about the project. The project is an excellent example of how to merge Wikipedia content with the "real world" – the town had even seen a boost in tourism since the launch. Support from local government was excellent.

My intention was to chat to him after the project to see if there was potential for spreading the concept further (such as a location in Australia, of course). However during the session he announced the next site of the locality-wide QR codes as Gibraltar (see One of the drawcards of Gibraltar is that it has six languages in common use, drawing on the multilingual component of QRpedia. I expect that the concept will expand to other sites after this.

There is a QRpedia project currently in development underway in Fremantle – entirely independent of MonmouthpediA I should point out. Obviously the chapter should (and does) strongly support this project.

WMF - LiAnna Davis (education)

I spoke to a couple of WMF staff at the closing event, one of whom was LiAnna Davis, who works in the Education area. She mentioned she is involved with the WMF's social media channels. I discovered that they are able (and willing) to use their Wikipedia Facebook account (currently just over 1 million fans) to promote local activities and meetups (using geo-targetting of course). I have contacted her to find out what the process is and how many people their account identifies in each of the major Australian cities.

Presentation: DavisWiki / LocalWiki (by Philip Neustrom)

One of good things about the conference was attending sessions on topics which you didn't previously have a lot of knowledge or interest... but afterwards you are glad you did! I went to the presentation about LocalWiki. In a nutshell, it is simply a wiki (non-Wikimedia - privately hosted, but open) about a local area. Doesn't sound too exciting, but the specific example discussed was DavisWiki (, based in the city of Davis, California. What surprised me was that over 90% of the population had used it, and over 1 in 7 residents edit it. The software used is LocalWiki ( and has since been developed and used for several others "local community" Wikis - two of which have launched ( about about 30 of which are labelled as "incubating" (in development).

I noticed that two of the incubating ones are based in Australia:

  • Sydney - spearheaded by the "Sydney Wiki Foundation Group" which includes "Angela Clark, Neerav Bhatt, Stuart Thomas, Barbara McKee, Maurits Vandervlugt, Robyn Lui, Tim Dick, David Spence, Ian Gardiner, Paula Masselos, Glen Frost, Ricky Sutton, Annie Le Cavaliar and Cass O'Connor." (I don't recognise any of those names)
  • The Mt Barker wiki info page doesn't list any names but a contact email address of Plans are to merge an existing Hahndorf wiki (not a LocalWiki site - are dated from 2009.

I have been in touch with Philip and have since established the framework for a Tasmanian wiki – – no content yet, so don;t be disappointed!

I'm not sure how WMAU could support these sites - or other Australian ones? They are independent from the WMF projects. At the moment, LocalWiki does not offer web hosting. Perhaps this is something that WMAU could assist with, although I understand our site is hosted by Linux Users of Victoria at the moment.

Presentation: OpenStreetMap

There was an interesting presentation about the OpenStreetMap project. One example of its usage is in Nairobi, where there is a slum area called Kibera which is ignored by the government. Official maps show it virtually nonexistent. Residents have mapped the area and put it on OpenStreetMap - Anyway - I have been a frequent OpenStreetMap editor in the past, so I took the opportunity to take a look at the project again. They have been going through a license migration from CC-BY-SA 2.0 to ODbL over the past couple of years. In the last month, this is resulted in the redacting of edits from contributors who did not agree to the new license terms, decimating parts of the map. I don't know if there is anything that WMAU can do to assist. More generally:

  • I believe supporting OSM falls within our mission ("promote development of Free Cultural Works"). Clearly, OpenStreetMap and Wikipedia have a lot in common -
  • There is an Australian project and a fairly active Australian mailing list, but they don't have national chapters yet.
  • As far as I'm aware we don't yet have a relationship with OSM users in Australia.
  • Their annual conference "State of the Map" is in Tokyo on 6-8 September 2012. A bit close for this year but perhaps we could offer scholarships for next year?

Open Tasmania

My twitter activity caught the eye of someone else on my list, who has been in talks with a few others about an "open government / open law" site - has support of some MPs down here. It is generally about making government data open and accessible to all. I have just been invited to join the newly created mailing list - no further details yet.

In other local news, we are trying to kick start the Tassie community - JJ Harrison, Isaac Manz and myself organised a Hobart Meetup in September, attended by six people, and plan on regular events in Tasmania.

Wikimedia Asia lunch

Deryck Chan (WMHK) organised a Wikimedia Asia lunch. This was attended by Gideon, Liam and myself from Australia, as well as Wikimedians from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Thailand, Philippines, China, Japan and New Zealand - possibly more! This was primarily social - it was good to get to know the others, particularly with HK hosting next year.

Australian visit from Archivist of the US

I posted this to the committee list at the time, since timeframes were tight. The International Council on Archives Congress was in Brisbane, August 20-24. There was a bit of discussion on the commitee list but tickets were quite expensive (obviously the corporate/government sectors are the intended market).

Also related: Gnangarra and I saw a panel presentation, "GLAM professionals" which included one particular speaker - Pamela Wright, Chief Digital Access Strategist, National Archives and Records Administration. We though it may be worthwhile to fund her to do a speaking tour of Australia - invite the major players (state archive offices mainly, and others)

In general, a suggestion about the chapter structure

One thing I observed, particularly with the chapter based projects, is that most of them generally have a "local contact" in each chapter. Of course in Australia, having a single national contact doesn't really work with our size and population density, as someone in. eg. Melbourne is not going to easily co-ordinate events in Perth or Brisbane.

I suggest we follow up on a proposal by John from some time ago - - with a minor change that the state reps are not necessarily committee members (which saves the awkwardness of a 40-50 member organisation having a committee of 10-12 people). Ideally we would want a rep in NSW, Vic, Qld, SA, WA, and optionally in Tas, ACT and NT (optional because there have been occasions where we only have 1-2 financial members in each of these areas). The state representative acts as the local contact for meetups, events and GLAM contacts.

I tried to keep track of all the Australian Wikimedians who attended, at last count ...

  • Graham Pearce
  • Gnangarra
  • Liam Wyatt
  • Steven Zhang
  • Jutta von Dincklage
  • Joe Fox
  • Jessica Coates
  • Andrew Garrett

.. and myself. I also met Gadfium (Charles - not sure of last name) from New Zealand. I asked him whether there was interest in formation of a NZ chapter. He said he wasn't really aware of anyone who was.

Last but not least - thank you to Wikimedia Australia for the opportunity to attend such an event. It was fantastic both personally and professionally, and to meet people whose names I have seen online for years! I hope some of the suggestions above can be of benefit to the chapter and Australian Wikipedian community.

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