CEE/Newsletter/February 2018/Contents/Austria report

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Austria report: Wikidata outreach[edit]

For 2018 the Austrian chapter has set 3 ambitious goals regarding Wikidata:

  • Educate more people about Wikidata
  • Attract Wikidata editors to meet regularly offline
  • Find and train more people that would like to hold workshops themselves

In order to reach out to potential participants we created a Twitter and Facebook group and started posting interesting facts about Austria (The Twitter account has more than 100 followers after 2 months of activity). We also connected to existing tech communities (programming meetups, data meetups, ...) that might be interested in using the data on Wikidata. Promoting the first event in these groups and our existing contact lists made the first event in 2018 (d:Wikidata:Events/Vienna/2018-02-03) a full success. A lot of people showed up and the atmosphere was warm and the discussions were interesting and a lot of fun.

The workshop focused on the basics of editing and SPARQL queries. Working through some basic examples a few times gave most participants the feeling that they understand Wikidata and would be able to contribute by themselves. After the first workshop some people were also interested in becoming trainers at the next workshop or hold lightning talks. At the moment we are very positive that a lot of people will come to the next workshops and that they will enrich our existing WMAT community in the future.

The discussions and questions focused about data quality on Wikidata and the way Wikidata is trying to positively influence the internet-of-data. Being able to find a source for a claim makes Wikidata more transparent than commercial data enterprises (e.g. a web search that results in a fact-box being displayed, usually without sources, i.e. being presented as a fact). Some people were also interested in using Wikibase themselves for their own data project and were happy to hear that the software that powers Wikidata is open source and easy to set up (http://wikiba.se/).

The lesson for the CEE community is:

  • Dedicated Wikidata outreach is a good idea
  • Dedicated Wikidata events are a good idea

We hope that other CEE communities will use these lessons and set up similar outreach programs.