Romania & Moldova report: Engines running faster
- By Gikü
Bring the cake
We've had our first ever conference!
It's true: on September 29th, Wikimedians from Romania and Moldova, as well as guests from neighboring countries, gathered in Bucharest to celebrate 15 years of Romanian Wikipedia. During the day, we sat and discussed current issues, reminisced on how it all went, and planned lots of projects for the future. Our guests were representatives of neighboring chapters, as well as Asaf Bartov from WMF and Liam Wyatt from Europeana – all of whom loaded with a ton of experience and ready to share with us. Closer to the end, we also had two Romanian NGOs reporting on their own activities, as well as the copyright shenanigans happening in the European Parliament lately.
Of course we had to have a cake! While socializing during the dinner and the lunch the second day, we managed to lay the path for improvements in the community of Romanian Wikipedia. The atmosphere is not of the most welcoming there, and we seem to have a lower than average ratio of Wikimedians per language speakers. So, doubling down on conflict resolution and new user adoption is what we'll be doing on a priority basis the next months.
Nice to CEE all of you again!
Romanian Wikipedia was represented at the 2018 CEE Meeting in Lviv by 4 users: Macreanu Iulian, CEllen, Gikü, and Zelialex. They were not the only Romanian speaking people at the conference: among the attendees were Camelia.boban, who lives in Italy and runs the WikiDonne User Group, as well as Visem, Marcmiquel and Comp1089, who learned the language as a hobby.
The main thing we had to share was a session called Targeted projects - an effective tool for attracting new editors. WMROMD experience. In the Romanian Wikipedia and its sister projects we are running a concept of edit-a-thons dubbed 'targeted/tailored projects'. The secret is to develop a quite rigid model of work: starting from the schedule ending with the format of an article. The model works well for small communities where the volunteers do not have much time at hand for offline activities, and the rigid model helps to handle relatively large amounts of articles / material. Check out the presentation, we bet you'll appreciate the swimming pool analogy on page 13, and you'll recognize yourself in that image in some role! ;)
Among other things, we confirmed our participation in CEE Spring 2019, and participated with input on how to improve the contest. We met the one and only Farkhad Fatkulin, the 2018 Wikimedian of the Year, who is always open to help small communities with ideas and support and did so with us. We looked into German Wikipedia's studies on new editor retention, and, by participating in the associated brainstorming act, were able to identify factors that could help us on rowiki be better with welcoming new users. Finally, we did an exchange of opinions and experience with our Slovenian colleagues on why sometimes projects do not work, and how to be ready to not get discourajed by it.
More projects, more people
Now, it may all be subjective, but there seems to be a revival in the Romanian Wikipedia community. Take Moldova: thanks to the Romanian conference in September, two retired Wikimedians made a comeback (Tolea93 and Octavix), and a new user (NicolaS961) got really encouraged and started writing more articles more frequently. And he even accepted to take part in organizing Wikipedia Asian Month in Romanian!
By the way, this year we are organizing Wikipedia Asian Month for the first time on Romanian Wikipedia :P
The offline edit-a-thons, the ones we like to call 'tailored projects', are organized more frequently as well. In the first days of November, phase two of our project to "celebrate 100 Years from the formation of Greater Romania" starts. Our first partnership programs are under way. A joint edit-a-thon with the Romanian Institute of Heritage, associated with WLM Romania, was organized in October, with perspectives to enlarge the areas of collaboration. Near the same time, a museum in Northern Romania trolled Romanian Wikipedia on Facebook, stating that our article on Museum is far worse than the English one. The result? A long chain of emails with them agreeing to partner with us in digitalizing parts of their collection!
I guess you could say... engines are running faster and faster in the Romanian Wikimedia community now.