Photo by Véronique Dauge/UNESCO, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO.

The UNESCO Challenge, a writing contest on Wikipedia, was organized for the first time this year from 18 April (the International Day For Monuments and Sites) to 18 May 2017. We are glad to announce the results and share the learned lessons from this project.

96 participants signed up and contributed 6,917,069 bytes of content, equivalent to 1,729 A4-size print pages, about the world heritage sites in 28 languages on Wikipedia. In addition, 326 pictures were uploaded as part of the Connected Open Heritage project were added to the articles.

The contest was organized by Wikimedia Sweden (Sverige), the UNESCO and the Swedish National Heritage Board as part of the Connected Open Heritage project. It focused on improving Wikipedia’s content about the world heritage sites, giving special attention to threatened heritage sites.

103 articles were created about heritage sites in Sweden, and 35 existing articles were improved in 24 different languages. The 40 participants who worked on them were rewarded by the Swedish National Heritage Board with a book about the Swedish World Heritage sites. And we were happy to announce the winners who helped make this success:

Participant feedback

In the responses to the survey we sent out, the feedback was really positive. We are delighted that many of the participants stated that they participated mainly out of their inclination to improve Wikipedia, and that more than two thirds of them plan to keep improving the articles after the contest is over. Many appreciated that the organizers were quick to answer their questions, provide information when needed. Many believe that that the rules were clear and easy to follow, and they liked the reward system. The theme was interesting for many and the new photos released by the UNESCO made it fun. By the contest time, Wikimedia Sweden (Sverige) worked with the UNESCO to release photos of thousands of world heritage sites on Wikimedia Commons.

However, we will take into account criticism of the slightly distorted scoring system for future competitions. Several participants felt that the score for adding pictures was too generous in comparison to the effort that required to write an article. We will also look at how the points can be easily reported by the participants, and if additional topics should be added.

We are looking forward to the next edition of the challenge.

John Andersson, Wikimedia Sverige

In brief

  • Wikimedia Israel publishes an encyclopedic writing guide: The new guide helps contributors understand how to add substantial content to Wikipedia especial academic contributors. “The guide thus teaches how to asses the encyclopedic importance of a topic,” says Michal Lester, executive director of Wikimedia Israel, “how to find independent and reliable sources on that topic, how to structure the information according to Wikipedia’s article format, and how to produce neutral and succinct writing.” More on that on Wikimedia Israel’s website.
  • Bulgarian students are introduced to Wikipedia in I Can – Here and Now: 40 students in the Super Summer Academy I Can – Here and Now attended an introductory workshop to editing Wikipedia by the experienced Bulgarian Wikipedia editors Vassia Atanassova and Justine Toms. The annual Super Summer Academy has been held annually for the past six years. However, this year is the first time to include Wikipedia editing in their program. More details about the event in This Month In Education newsletter.
  • New edition of Wiki Loves Africa kicks off: With the theme of “African people at work,” Wiki Loves Africa, the annual media sharing contest kicks off this week. Through the end of November, participants will be uploading photos, audio and video files that document the lives of people at work in the African continent. Details about the contest and how to participate on Wikimedia Commons.
  • 2017 strategy update: Phase one of the movement’s shared strategic direction for the Wikimedia movement has been wrapped up last week. During the month of October, individuals, and groups are invited to endorse the strategic direction. In the coming weeks participants will be preparing for Phase two, which will involve developing specific plans for how to achieve the direction we have built together. More details on meta.
  • Ombudsman commission call for volunteers: The Ombudsman commission works on all Wikimedia projects to investigate complaints about violations of the privacy policy, especially in use of CheckUser tools, and to mediate between the complaining party and the individual whose work is being investigated. Volunteers serving in this role should be experienced Wikimedians, active on any project, who have previously used the CheckUser tool OR who have the technical ability to understand the CheckUser tool and the willingness to learn it. More details on the requirements and how to apply are on Wikimedia-l.
  • Diversity award goes to the 2017 Wikimedia Hackathon mentoring program: The first Austrian Open Source Award in the “diversity” category went to the 2017 Wikimedia Hackathon mentoring program. The Austrian Open Source Award was established this year in order to raise awareness and visibility for our local Open Source Communities and their projects. More details on Wikimedia-l.

Samir Elsharbaty, Blog Writer
Wikimedia Foundation