- Why I joined - opinion by NikosLikomitros
I am Nikos Likomitros. I joined Greek Wikipedia in 2013, and since 2015, I contribute mostly regularly. I was born in Corinth in 2004 and grew up in Argos, making me one of the youngest Wikipedians in Greek and the CEE region. I have wrote more than seven thousand articles in Greek, where I am a sysop. I also edit English Wikipedia and upload files in Commons, while I do some degree of patrolling elsewhere. I study history in Athens University, in real life.
In Greek Wikipedia, I have helped young people to make their steps in the Wikisystem, and partly thanks to my encouragement we managed to build a solid community of three to four underage Wikipedians, writing about politics, history and even animals, when before 2016 such presence was nonexistent, or better intermittent. I have even met one in person. Periodically, I have also tried to immerse local acquaintances in Wikipedia, although it didn’t gave any new (permanent contributor).
I joined the CEE Youth Group and support the Wiki Vibrance project because as a young person, I want to connect more with my peers as well provide them with all the help and information they need, because improving your own Wikipedia language project is good, but international collaboration makes you even more proud. As an university student, my desire to promote Wikipedia as a means of information and volunteering grew more. Now, I plan to begin my first university project in Greece (where we have some experience) together with a professor from the French language faculty, who recently immersed a few of her students in her faculty, in association with a leading community member. In order to further enrich my activities, but also to make new Wikimedian friends, and earn more experience highly useful for more outreach programs, I chose to join the CEE Youth Group.
- Importance of the CEE Youth Group
Young people generally don’t edit Wikipedia. As a student who knows high school realities well, many reasons make it difficult in my country. For example, tedious examination and study programs (mostly in the third grade of high school), importance of school and the use of Wikipedia primarily for information, as well some degree of lack of motivation and the volunteering, rather than paid, nature of Wikipedia, are some reasons why young people don’t edit Wikipedia, based in the very interesting article of Malgorzata Gramatnikowska from Poland, and the observations I’ve done in real life these years.
CEE Youth Group is a historic opportunity for the CEE region to change it. Why it’s an opportunity:
- At first, expertised young Wikipedians, some of them with outreach experience, are ready to help the young people to make their steps. If there is solid support and a standing person, my experience helping young people has proven, we can make young people to feel comfortable to edit.
- Secondly, we have young Wikimedians, with similar features, that provides young people a degree of safety. Thus Wikipedia is becoming more attractive for young people. Uniting our powers from multiple countries of CEE region, we will be able to collaborate more with youth initiatives from around the region, thus increasing the reach of youth in Wikipedia, and teaching how volunteerism is formulating a better personality but also helping the society. We will be also able to get support in order to connect with educational institutions around the world, meaning outreach.
- Members will also get all the needed expertise to become “ambassadors of Wikipedia” and conduct their own outreach programs at educational institutions. The expanding team provides a historical chance to help increase intergenerational equity between the Wiki communities, increase retention rates of young Wikipedians, making Wikipedia a safer space for young people to contribute, and creating the ground for faster expansion of young communities. Better representation will make youth interests and voices more heard.
- Why I joined - opinion by Y. Caner Özyayıkçı
I think the potential of the youth group founded by CEE Hub on May 16, 2023 is quite high. Because, both the energy of the youth and the regional closeness create opportunities for young people to make joint projects with each other and to get to know each other's communities closely. These potentials and opportunities should not be missed.
If I talk about my own experiences; I joined Wikimedia projects in 2014. I met CEE Youth Group for the first time before Wikimania 2023. As I joined this group, I naturally started to be represented in the youth group of Wikimedia Community User Group Turkey. At Wikimania 2023 I met up with Valentyn from Ukraine, Toni from North Macedonia and Jan from the Czech Republic. We talked about how we could create an effective campaign when we got together, and we introduced the CEE Youth Group at the CEE Meeting.
In the introduction, I stated that Wikipedia Student Clubs have started to be established in Türkiye and that we will support the CEE Youth Group together with these clubs. I also informed the participants that we will declare our cooperation with all Wikipedia Student Clubs in the world, especially in the CEE region.
So what are we planning to do? First of all, we created a brand to gather Wikipedia Student Clubs in Türkiye under one umbrella (Wikipedia Student Clubs) Then, we are planning to create a general local Youth Group for support the CEE Youth Group. Because every young person isn’t student or alumni. Thus, all young people up to the age of 26 will be able to become members. Naturally, they will become members of the CEE Youth Group.
So what is my role in this program and why did I join? Because I know the young potential of the CEE region and I want to produce projects with my peers in cooperation with our communities. It will also be very useful to meet other young people in the region, listen to their own Wikimedia projects experiences and exchange ideas. Also, since I am a member of a similar program called WikiVibrance, I can be the bridge between WikiVibrance and the CEE Youth Group. It is also very exciting and positive that our region's youth group cooperates with other regions/international youth communities.
All this is possible with the CEE Youth Group. Thanks to Barbara, Klára, Toni and Lucie for bringing us together!