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News from the Wikimedia Foundation and about the Wikimedia movement

Posts Tagged ‘OPW’

FOSS Outreach Program for Women: success and new round

Rachel Thomas at work.

Round 6 of the Free and Open Source Software Outreach Program for Women (OPW) has been successfully completed. Our intern, Rachel Thomas worked remotely from Boston (MA, USA) on Browser Test Automation for VisualEditor in a full-time Summer internship. For more detail on her work, check her wrap-up blog post, her project reports and her code contributions.

In total, 37 women took part in this OPW round, working with 16 open source projects including the Linux Kernel, Mozilla and WordPress.

There was only one Wikimedia intern in this round, but only because seven others were also participating in parallel in Google Summer of Code (GSoC). There were 6 interns in the previous editions and we plan (tentatively) to fund 8 positions in the next round, expected to start at the beginning of 2014.

While GSoC interns are paid by Google, in OPW the funds come mainly from the organizations participating in the program. At the Wikimedia Foundation, we’re starting to work on the next round. We consider that OPW is playing an important role in bridging the gender gap in our technical community. In the previous seven years, only one woman got a GSoC internship at Wikimedia. This year, more than a third of our interns were women (8 out of 21).

To make sure that this becomes a trend and not just an exception, we need your help!

  • Spread the news about the program, and encourage your tech friends to join when applications open. Remember that, in many cases, we have to break well-established social inertia: many more women will do the first step if they receive a personal invitation.
  • Propose a technical project, even if it’s a rough idea. We will help you polish it.
  • Volunteer as a technical mentor. Women are welcome! We want to close the gender gap at the mentorship level as well.
  • Fund an intern. Chapters and other organizations willing to pool resources with the Wikimedia Foundation are welcome.

We also welcome ideas to promote other profiles typically underrepresented or discriminated against in technical projects. We strive for equal opportunities, and we believe that diversity will make our community stronger and our projects better. If you agree, get a head start by exploring how to contribute! It will increase your chances of being selected when you apply.

Quim Gil, Technical Contributor Coordinator, Wikimedia Foundation

Apply for an internship with the Language engineering team

Quim Gil, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Technical Contributor Coordinator, recently wrote about internship programs that the Wikimedia tech community participates in. These programs provide a valuable platform for a diverse group of contributors and nurture deeper collaboration across open source communities. He also shared details about participating in Google Summer of Code (GSoC) and Outreach Program for Women (OPW) for Wikimedia projects.

The Wikimedia Language Engineering team welcomes students to participate in the projects listed for Google Summer of Code and those listed for the Outreach Program for Women. The projects listed aim to resolve shortcomings or enhance various language tools that the team maintains; they include:

  • improving the jQuery.ime input method library;
  • building browser extensions for stand-alone operation of input methods;
  • creating a dashboard for language coverage information;
  • converting legacy wiki content into translatable entries.

Providing support for nearly 300 languages is no easy feat. There is constant demand for enhancements of tools, and this demand is only expected to grow. The team constantly encourages volunteers including students, language community members and others, to work with them on internationalization challenges. This includes various components like Translate UX (TUX) and Project Milkshake, in which participants can:

  • increase coverage of input methods and font library;
  • improve language rules for the internationalization library;
  • test and prepare validation tools;
  • test and enhance the translation tool;
  • write documents.

They can also contribute by building extensions like SpellingApi and LocalisationUpdate, or even creating usable multi-lingual CAPTCHAs.

Open projects are also added to the master list maintained for all mentorship programs. After ascertaining the availability of mentors, participants can collaborate on a project of interest. If no mentors are listed, students can ask the team on  #mediawiki-i18n (Freenode IRC) or write to me (runa at wikimedia dot org) for more information.

We look forward to all the exciting proposals for our projects for Google Summer of Code and Outreach Program for Women. Student applications close on May 3rd and May 1st respectively.  Time is short — apply now!

Runa Bhattacharjee, Outreach and QA coordinator, Language Engineering

FLOSS internship programs as catalysts for richer community collaboration

OPW's robocats happy to work on their first contributions.

OPW’s robocats happy to work on their first contributions.

These days we are welcoming a new wave of candidates for Google Summer of Code and FOSS Outreach Program for Women (OPW) internships. Interested? Stop reading and hurry up! Or keep reading to learn why these free software mentorship programs are doing so much good.

Since 2006, Wikimedia has mentored 32 GSoC students. From those, only one (3.13%) was a woman (accepted in 2011), and she didn’t stick around. This number is even lower than the general percentage of women accepted in GSoC 2012 (8.3%) although perhaps it is in line with the composition of our own tech community (data missing). Can we do better?

We think we can. This is why we joined OPW last November. It was the first round open to organizations other than the GNOME Foundation, founders of the initiative. After 5 rounds of OPW, GNOME women are not an exotic exception anymore. It is too soon to evaluate results in the Wikimedia tech community, but the six interns we got during the 5th round delivered their projects in the areas of software development, internationalization, UX design, quality assurance and product management, and so far they are sticking around. We also learned some lessons that we are applying to the next internship programs. As we speak, several women are applying for Wikimedia in the current GSoC edition. A promising trend!

But there is more positive change. Paid internships are like subcutaneous injections for a free software community: in just one shot you get a full time contributor dedicated to help you within a defined scope and amount of time, with the incentive of a stipend ($5,000). The lives of the injected contributors change in the new environment. They learn and they adapt to new situations. They acquire a valuable experience that will help them becoming experienced volunteers and better professionals. At least this is the goal. But the life of the community receiving the injection also should change for good with the arrival of these full time contributors. This is also the goal. So what has improved so far in our tech community?

Scaling up complex projects

Mentorship programs require a good alignment of project ideas supported by the community and by available mentors. Thanks to the efforts of many, we have now a list of possible projects, including a selection of featured project ideas ready to start. The list includes proposals coming from different Wikimedia projects, Wikimedia Foundation-driven initiatives and MediaWiki features for third parties.

These project ideas link to Bugzilla reports in order to keep track of the technical discussion, involving the candidates, the mentors and whoever else wants to join. Full transparency! We also provide basic guidelines for candidates willing to propose their own projects.

All this has been done for the current GSoC and OPW round, but is potentially also useful in the context of other initiatives like OpenHatch, SocialCoding4Good, or Wikimedia’s Individual Engagement Grants. If you want to propose a technical project that could keep a person or team busy for 3–4 months, now you know where to start.

Improving our Welcome carpet

We are still learning how to attract newcomers.

We are still learning how to attract newcomers.

Each mentorship program brings a wave of newcomers willing to get up to speed as soon as possible. We are betting on the “the medium is the message” approach, giving as much importance to the proposals as to the participation and collaboration of the candidate in our regular community channels. But all this requires better landing surfaces in mediawiki.org.

This pressure and the repetition of similar questions by newcomers have encouraged the creation or promotion of references such as Where to start, How to contribute and Annoying little bugs. We keep working on an easier introduction to our community through the fresh and work-in-progress Starter kit, a team of volunteer Greeters and other initiatives discussed at the new Project:New contributors. And you know what? Several former interns are involved!

Diversity enters our agenda

We believe that “a healthy mix of demographic and cultural characteristics everywhere throughout the movement is key to Wikimedia’s success.” Diversity is good for creativity and sustainability, which are primary goals of any free software community. Yet diversity in these communities tends to be quite limited, and our case is not an exception.

We have mentioned the problem of male predominance, but there are other biases and types of discrimination that we would like to help leveling. What about working on other barriers caused by abilities, age, language, or cultural, ethnic, or economic background? Just like we are doing with OPW, we can start with programs for specific audiences that we can sync with mainstream activities like GSoC, increasing their diversity. Ideas are welcome.

Quim Gil, Technical Contributor Coordinator (IT Communications Manager)

Welcome to FLOSS Outreach Program for Women interns

“Live bird”, an illustration by Kim ‘Isarra’ Schoonover, one of Wikimedia’s interns for the Outreach Program for Women.

I’m glad to announce that Kim Schoonover, Mariya Miteva, Priyanka Nag, Sucheta Ghoshal, Teresa Cho and Valerie Juarez will join the MediaWiki community as full-time interns between January and March 2013. They have been selected as part of the FLOSS Outreach Program for Women, an initiative of the GNOME Foundation, with participation by several other free software projects: Deltacloud, Fedora, JBoss, Mozilla, Open Technology Institute, OpenITP, OpenStack, Subversion, Tor and Wikimedia. A total of 25 women have been selected in this edition.

Each MediaWiki intern will work on a specific project:

Our mentors assisted about 25 women interested in the MediaWiki community during the application process. From those, 10 submitted full applications, including a project proposal and a microtask completed as part of the submission. We were impressed by the quality of many submissions, but we couldn’t take more due to lack of related mentors and funding. We encourage all applicants to stay around in the MediaWiki community, since we have no doubt they can all become top contributors and have future opportunities.

In addition to the availability of specialized mentors and the quality of the proposals, our selection criteria took into account the diversity of profiles, origins and previous involvement in Wikimedia projects. We had a rather open process for submissions and selection of candidates that gave participants a chance to check other proposals, improve their own and receive public endorsements.

We wish a happy landing to our new interns and the best of luck in their projects! You’ll be hearing more from them over the next few months.

Quim GilTechnical Contributor Coordinator