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Here are highlights from across the Wikimedia movement, as reported on the Wikimedia blog in May 2015.


Meet the Inspire grantees working to increase gender diversity on Wikimedia

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Inspire blog graphic. Logo by Vpseudo, CC BY-SA 4.0.

The Wikimedia Foundation announced a new group of grantees working to increase gender diversity in Wikimedia projects. In early March, we announced the Inspire campaign, an initiative to create new ideas that address Wikimedia’s gender gap. Now we’re following up on our commitment to fund a first set of 16 new projects coming out of the campaign.

Several of these projects will focus on organizing events. These projects will use social and professional communities, institutions and partnerships to increase content about women on Wikipedia. Meanwhile, two research initiatives will work to increase our knowledge about women who aren’t yet contributing, and to understand more about trends in Wikipedia’s gendered biographical content.

This campaign itself began as an experiment in proactive grantmaking. As with all good experiments, we’re learning as we go. We have shared findings and recommendations, based on a participant survey and a study of statistics for the campaign pages. Read more.

A dark side of comedy: the impact of John Oliver’s ‘fowl’ jokes on Wikipedia

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When comedian John Oliver called on the Internet to edit the Wikipedia biographies of United States congressional representatives, the Internet answered. Photo by M. Ventrice, CC-BY-2.0

John Oliver‘s Last Week Tonight is a popular satirical late-night television show in the United States. In an episode aired on May 19, Oliver criticized United States politicians for voting against a whistleblower law that would protect independent chicken farmers from retaliation when they speak up about problems in the poultry industry. He called on his viewers to edit the biographies of these congressional representatives on the English Wikipedia, to include a vulgar statement about their relation to chicken.

This required Wikipedia’s volunteer editors to quickly coordinate on noticeboards, cleaning up vandalism on a wide range of articles. The incident shows the impact a comedian’s tongue-in-cheek message can have on the Wikipedia and its volunteers. Read more.

Fundraising made in Germany: lessons learned by Wikimedia Deutschland

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This chart shows the revenue of Wikimedia Deutschland’s fundraising campaigns from 2010-14, and each increase rate based on the previous year. Graph by Till Mletzko, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Fundraising at Wikimedia Deutschland – and across the entire Wikimedia movement – not only helps us achieve financial goals, but also helps to raise awareness for our mission. In less than five years, Wikimedia Deutschland’s yearly fundraising efforts grew from €700,000 to €8,200,000.

Wikimedia Deutschland’s goal for the future is to persuade donors to become long-term supporters of free knowledge and the Wikimedia movement. This report provides a glimpse into their strategy on how to maintain and consolidate their donor relationships. Looking ahead to future challenges, there are calls to intensify donor relationships, to focus on donors’ needs, and to further diversify fundraising communications. Read more.

Editing the Uzbek Wikipedia: Kamarniso Vrandečić

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Chemistry student Kamarniso Vrandečić started editing the Uzbek Wikipedia with simple tasks, such as translating articles, and is now a major contributor. Photo by K. Sayre, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Kamarniso’s Wikipedia editing adventures began when she discovered the Uzbek Wikipedia in 2007. Realizing the vast potential of what was a small project at the time, she tried her hand at creating and editing articles with no specific interest in mind. She translated articles from Russian Wikipedia to the Uzbek Wikipedia, and soon after, from the English Wikipedia as well, improving her Russian and English language skills in the process. There are now over 127,000 articles on Uzbek Wikipedia, many of which Kamarniso helped to create and improve. Read more

First ever WikiArabia conference gathers Wikipedians in Tunisia to connect and share experiences

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Contributors to the Arabic Wikipedia met for the first ever WikiArabia conference in Monastir, Tunisia. Photo by Habib M’henni, CC BY-SA 3.0.

The Wikimedia movement in Tunisia has grown actively over the past few years. Nearly forty Wikipedians, from around the Arab region and beyond, gathered last April in Monastir for WikiArabia 2015, the first Arabic Wikipedia community conference. The three day conference was a huge success, having included practical sessions prepared by community members, a session on the Wikipedia Education Program, and a Q&A opportunity with Lila Tretikov, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Active community members also shared their personal experiences with Wikipedia, as well as some of the offline projects and case studies they led from around the world. While no consensus was reached on whether to host another WikiArabia conference next year, most spoke of the value of this in-person regional event, and there was an infectious excitement for the potential of this growing segment of the Wikimedia community. Read more

Wikimania and the differences between online and offline cultures

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Wikimedians sometimes interact both online and offline – and these experiences are very different from each other. Photo by Sebastiaan ter Burg, CC-BY-SA 2.0.

Belgian anthropologist Lionel Scheepmans observes the differences between online and offline participation in the Wikimedia movement, based on a visit to the Wikimania 2014 conference in London. In his essay, he identifies some of the disparities between the values, ethics and organizational structures of online Wikipedia projects, and offline conferences and gatherings. Read more.

Andrew Sherman
Digital Communications Intern
Wikimedia Foundation

Photo credits from opening montage: ”Kamarniso Vrandečić.jpg” by Karen Sayre, CC BY-SA 3.0. ”Revenue of donation campaigns since 2010.PNG” by Till Mletzko, CC BY-SA 4.0. ”John Oliver crop.jpg” by Maryanne Ventrice, CC-BY-2.0. ”Blog2-01.svg” by Vpseudo, CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Hackathon 2013 -Flickr – Sebastiaan ter Burg (30).jpg by Sebastiaan ter Burg, CC-BY-SA 2.0.Montage by Andrew Sherman, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Information For versions in other languages, please check the wiki version of this report, or add your own translation there!