(For the Portuguese version, please see the Wikimedia Brazil site.)
It was during Wikimania 2011, in a small restaurant in Haifa, when the news was announced: the largest popular computer manufacturer in Brazil, Grupo Positivo, is interested in installing an offline Portuguese Wikipedia version in their products. All of us from Wikimedia Brazil who were present got excited because of the tremendous potential of such a distribution in spreading the free encyclopedia and its mission around Brazil. In other words, this meant the Portuguese Wikipedia for approximately 13% of the national market of personal computers and with a greater penetration in the lower-income strata.
Despite the good news, a race against time began. It was necessary to prepare the offline version of the Portuguese Wikipedia, with 5000 articles of good quality, within a very short time: March 2012. The challenge was huge and to overcome it we needed to step on the gas.
The list of 5000 articles which were critical to include in the offline version was created in only three months, with the great assistance of Wikimedia Brazil volunteers. But the volunteers found that the quality of these articles still was not high enough: they were in desperate need of improvement before being taken offline. It was then we had the idea of hosting our own “Grand Prix” – like the famous auto race. No cars and no laps, but with articles to be improved and many awards for the “pilots” who accept this challenge. Thus began the “I GP Wikimedia Brazil,” where each improved article is a completed lap.
The take-off will begin in January 2012, and it is very easy to attend! Just subscribe to one of the existing teams or join a new team. The registration will last until January 7. At the moment of publishing this blog, we have 51 subscribers divided into 15 teams, but the goal is to have at least 100 participants. After all, this is a Grand Prix where everyone wins!
Prizes will be distributed as teams improve the quality of the articles included in the list. There are buttons, stickers, notebooks and t-shirts with the brand of Wikipedia, as well as trophies and medals on the userpages of the participants. The rules of the award will be released soon after the formation of the teams, but we know that the biggest prize is the offline version of Wikipedia in Portuguese!
Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That’s our commitment. Imagine, now, a Brazil where thousands of people – some of them even without access to Internet – will share a little sum of this knowledge. This is what we will do. Join a team and participate of this Grand Prix too!
(Written by the Wikimedia Brasil Community)