This page in a nutshell:There will be a new namespace pair on Meta-wiki, “Event” and "Event talk," to support the CampaignEvents Extension
The Campaigns team at the Wikimedia Foundation has created a namespace pair: Event and Event Talk. These namespaces are designated spaces on the wikis for event pages and their conversations. There are many different types of events, such as workshops, editathons, meetups, salons, and conferences. We welcome organizers of any events to use the Event and Event Talk namespaces. The two namespaces are accessible to any wikis that have the CampaignEvents extension enabled.
The Campaigns team aims to build a Campaign Events platform. This platform will have software features and tools for event organizers and participants, so that they can have more enjoyable and impactful event experiences.
To build the Campaign Events platform, we want to be able to easily identify (from both a technical and social perspective) which pages are “event” pages. Here’s why:
- We can augment event pages with specialized features. For example, we have developed an event registration tool. To use the tool, the event organizer enables its functionality directly on the event page. Below, you can see screenshot examples of: a) a pop-up appearing on an event page to enable registration, and b) a header on the page to enable registration. For these reasons, we need to know which pages are event pages, since it would be inappropriate to have these features on other pages, such as on an article or user page.
- We can more effectively implement other event features, beyond event registration. For example, we hope to develop an event creation tool in the future, so organizers can easily create event pages without using wikitext or templates. But, if we build this tool, where would these event pages live? How can we ensure that they are easily searchable and indexable? If we create these event pages in the Event namespace, we have an answer. As another example, we have talked to many organizers who want an improved event calendar system. If we can identify which pages are event pages, we can have them automatically added to a future events calendar, which can be integrated with the wikis and require no manual submission on the organizer’s part.
- We can more easily generate data on event activity. Right now, it is very difficult to collect Wikimedia-wide data on campaign events (or events in general), such as: the number of events per year, the distribution of event types, etc. This is because there is no commonly understood format for structuring and organizing event pages. If we can easily determine which pages are event pages, we can simplify and strengthen our data collection.
There are also community-oriented reasons why to create the new namespaces, which are:
- It’s an easy user experience for organizers. For someone to create an event page, they simply add “Event:” in the title (see screenshot example below). Then, they can access all potential event page features that our team will be creating for event organizers (such as an event registration solution). We have learned from our research that many organizers, especially those who are newer to the movement, crave greater simplicity in their workflows.
- It’s an improved user experience for participants. In our user research, we have learned that it is hard for some people to identify an event page or know that they can easily join an event. One way to improve this is to explicitly include “Event” in the title.
- At a movement level, we can highlight the fact that organizing or participating in events is a critical form of movement activity, and that someone can be an impactful Wikimedian in more ways than just contributing to the wikis.
There is currently no standard namespace where event pages are created. However, our research has determined that many event pages are currently created in the main namespace (especially if they are on Meta-Wiki) or in the project namespace.
- In February 2022, we shared our proposal to create two new namespaces with the Technical Decision Forum in a public Phabricator ticket (see T302040).
- In March 2022, we continued to share our plans. This included sharing our proposal on the event registration project page. We pinged people for feedback on the talk page, and we engaged in discussions on the topic. We sent an announcement of the plan and an invitation to the office hours to Wikimedia-l and to our own subscription list. This was followed by community office hours, where we discussed the namespace plans along with other team updates. These office hours were conducted in Arabic, English, French, and Swahili.
- In July 2022, we hosted two multilingual office hours that demoed the tool, including the usage of the Event namespace.
- In August 2022, we demoed the tool at Wikimania, including the usage of the Event namespace.
- In October 2022, we posted this formal explanation on Meta-wiki.
- In December 2022, we hosted two multilingual office hours that demoed the tool, including the usage of the Event namespace.
- In August 2023, we demoed the tool at Wikimania, including the usage of the Event namespace.
- In October 2023, we hosted two multilingual office hours that demoed the tool, including the usage of the Event namespace.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I test out using the Event namespace?
We currently have the CampaignEvents extension enabled on Meta-Wiki and in various test environments, including testwiki and the beta cluster. You can test out creating an event page in the event namespace and/or our first feature (event registration) on testwiki or the beta cluster. To learn more, please visit the Help page for the event registration tool on Mediawiki.org.
Why can’t we just have all event pages in the project namespace?
This proposal may sort-of work for Wikipedia, but it’s not very applicable to other projects. For example, many event pages are on Meta-Wiki (for example, see: WikiGap, Wiki for Human Rights, and 1Lib1Ref). This means every event page on Meta-Wiki would start with the word “Meta.” This is confusing and nonsensical for many users, especially wiki newcomers. Also, people may mistakenly assume that “Meta” refers to the large corporation.
We conducted user testing that showed that some people don’t know how to identify an event page on the wikis (since they often look like article pages). If a page simply starts with “Wikipedia” or “Meta,” this does not solve this problem, but rather perpetuates this confusion. There are already many other types of pages in the project namespace, such as administrative and policy pages. How do we know which pages are event pages? We could potentially have them marked by a category, but this is not a great user experience for new users and there are problems with categories (see below).
Why can’t we just use categories for event pages?
Semantically, categories tend to be for content rather than page types. This is why pages in the Events category on English Wikipedia, for example, cover topics like the Olympics or a Carnival parade (rather than an edit-a-thon). Categories are added manually, anyone can edit them, and they vary by wiki (rather than being standardized across wikis). This means that they can be easily manipulated, so it would be challenging to use them as an event page standard. Categories can be difficult to understand for new users. If we rely on them, we could undermine our goal of helping new organizers effectively engage with event participants.
Why can’t we just use templates for event pages?
It may be technically possible, but we think it's semantically wrong. Templates are used to transclude other pages—not to alter the interface. This is similar to using categories, except that we think that templates make even less sense.
Why can’t we just use subpages for event pages?
How can we know that a certain subpage is an event page? Subpages have many applications, many of which have nothing to do with events.
Does the team plan to force all event organizers to use the Event namespace?
No, we have no plans to force all event organizers to use the Event namespace. Our goal is to empower organizers so that they have more options available to them. If organizers want to continue creating event pages in other namespaces, that is fine with us (they just won’t be able to use the event registration feature we created).
What if a wiki wants to use your tools, but they don’t want to have the Event namespace?
There are two options. First, we can potentially create an allowlist of permitted namespaces (such as the project namespace) for event pages. Second, we can make it so that the CampaignEvents extension is enabled on a wiki but the Event namespace is disabled for that wiki. Either solution is technically possible, but it would require extra time and effort (and it’s much less straightforward than the namespace solution). So, we would like to start with the namespace solution first and then, depending on the user feedback, we’ll see what further modifications may be necessary for various wiki communities, if any.
Will these tools be for all events, rather than just campaign events?
As a team, we first began analyzing the needs of campaign events. However, when we began talking to movement organizers, we heard that the tools we planned to build would be useful for many other event types. The organizers we consulted didn’t want to see us create something so narrow that tools (for event creation, event registration, communication with participants, etc) would be confined to campaign events only. We completely agreed. For this reason, we believe our tools are useful for many event types.
Won’t it be confusing if some events are in the Event namespace and some are not?
We already have a confusing system. If we at least start narrowing down the format under which our events are displayed (for example, either in the Event namespace or project namespace), then we can bring greater clarity.
Can event pages in the Event namespace be added manually? Edited and renamed? What does the wikitext of event pages look like?
Yes, event pages in the Event namespace can be added manually, edited, and renamed. Organizers can create an event page in the Event namespace by simply searching for “Event:[page title]” and clicking on the red link. They can create or edit event pages just like any other wiki pages. They can use the wikitext editor or the VisualEditor.
Where will the event data be stored?
Data for the event platform will be stored in the X1 cluster. To learn more about X1, you can visit the MariaDB documentation on Wikitech. The content of the event page itself is stored just like the content of any other wiki page. For the exact definition of our schema, please view this Gerrit link.
Is the CampaignEvents extension and the Event namespace specific to Wikimedia?
The extension is not Wikimedia-specific, so anyone can use it.
How do I get in touch with the team if I have additional questions?
You can reach us on the our team page or the event registration project page. You can join our subscription list, where we share team updates and let people know about upcoming office hours (where we discuss our work via video calls). You can also reach out to our team members, such as our product ambassadors, if you have any questions.