ESEAP Conference 2022/Report/Chocmilk03
ESEAP Conference 2022 report from Chocmilk03
In the first instance, I would like to thank the scholarship committee very much for the opportunity to attend this conference. It was wonderful to meet so many Wikimedians from the ESEAP region (and beyond!), and to learn from others. I hadn't realised ESEAP was such a new group, and am impressed by what has been achieved so far.
Things I learned at the conference
I gained a new perspective on how lucky I am to be a native English speaker editing English Wikipedia in New Zealand. Other editors in the ESEAP region face huge challenges (language barriers, human rights issues, internet access issues) that we don't have to contend with. It's made me think about whether I can do anything to help at a regional level and I am keen to stay connected with editors outside of New Zealand and Australia.
I learnt a great deal about local and regional Wiki collaborations, projects and events. Some highlights (definitely not a complete list!):
- It was really interesting to hear from Naval Scene and Rachmat about the survey they conducted on long-term (>4 years) users. I was thinking it'd be interesting to carry out something similar in Aotearoa and understand what keeps people engaged and what support is most valuable to them.
- I enjoyed hearing about the Hatch-a-Wiki project from Imelda and the work being done to help different language groups in the Philippines start contributing to Wikipedia; I thought she had an interesting perspective as an educator working with young people. I wondered if this may have applications to the Māori Wikipedia (and generally was interested in the language diversity discussions from this perspective, particularly as someone currently taking te reo Māori classes).
- Learning about what others are doing in the culture & heritage space was fascinating, for example the work by Open GLAM Indonesia spoken about by Hardi and the different forms of outreach used (speaking directly to institutions, running competitions, offering grants and internships). I understand digitisation and open access are ongoing discussions in Aotearoa and it seems there's a lot more we can do here to support access to indigenous culture & heritage (Māori and Polynesian).
- Dimas had some really great tips for running competitions, including keeping it simple (one topic, clear rules & guidelines), the importance of prizes, and the importance of being active and patient when finding partnerships.
I also learnt about other parts of Wikimedia I've previously been not too familiar with, for example the excellent workshops by Beeswaxcandle on WikiSource (I'd never even heard of WikiSource before the conference!), Mike on WikiCommons (I was pleased to learn that it's not just me who finds WikiCommons categories completely impenetrable) and 99of9 and Margaret on WikiData (I now feel I understand its purpose/applications better than I did before).
Things I contributed or participated in the conference
I did not present any sessions myself, but I participated in interactive workshops on WikiSource (during which we proofread Papuan Fairy Tales) and WikiCommons. I also took part in plenary sessions, e.g. what challenges ESEAP communities are facing. And of course I participated in the Aotearoa contribution to the welcome session (a waiata) and was (I hope) forgiven by my fellow Kiwis for any mistakes due to not attending the practice sessions.
I also tried to meet/introduce myself to everyone. It was really great to meet people (including some WIR editors I've admired for a long time like Rosiestep and Oronsay!), and to talk with them about their editing experiences. I feel more like I'm part of a community, rather than just another anonymous editor.
Plans after the conference (from what was learned or contributed in the conference)
- I'm keen to contribute to a New Zealand literature project which Mike and I talked about. I understand he's putting in a grant application, so I would like to support that and be involved with next steps. I feel I'll be more confident doing so having attended the conference and heard what others are doing in this space.
- I am keen to one day (perhaps as part of the above project?) plan a New Zealand literature edit-a-thon. (I have not yet attended an edit-a-thon so should probably do that first!) In this respect, the advice on running edit-a-thons from Trainholic and Twotwo2019 was really helpful, particularly about the benefits/downsides of online edit-a-thons (e.g. benefits: people can attend who might not otherwise be able to attend, can provide prizes instead of spending money on venue; downsides: no snacks). I thought the advice not to over-commit and have too many subjects/too much time was also useful. I was also inspired by the talk from Jimmyjrg on his Australian music edit-a-thon; lots of useful tips, and it made me think I need to get in touch with Read NZ Te Pou Muramura in advance of any edit-a-thon and get their support.
- I've begun proofreading/validating pages on WikiSource and plan to contribute more to this project, particularly to the West Coast Task Force project.
- I've started using some of the new tools I learned about, like Entity Explosion.
- I would like to have the opportunity to try out the OpenRefine tool at some point, having heard from a couple of speakers about it, although perhaps the applications in the New Zealand literature space are not as obvious as to the sciences.
- The conference has given me a lot to reflect on in terms of what groups like our Aotearoa user group can achieve and where the group might want to go in the future. For example, now we're incorporated, getting funding for an executive officer (like Australia); getting Auckland on board; supporting Pasifika editors/content. I am sure we'll be discussing further, and hope to be able to contribute to those discussions.
Comments/suggestions about the conference
- The accommodation, venue and organisation were all excellent. Everything ran very smoothly and I felt very supported. I felt the organisers had endeavoured to make the conference as COVID-safe as possible including through encouraging mask-wearing and having an outdoor sheltered area to socialise/eat. The only thing I would have liked to see additionally would be encouraging participants to take a RAT test daily before attending.
- I enjoyed that there were such a range of topics and speakers. I got something out of every talk.
- One suggestion would be that sometimes more time for questions/discussion would have been beneficial (but I also know from experience presenting that it can be difficult to plan for this, when you don't know whether people will have questions / what kinds of questions will be asked). More interaction is always good and helps keep people engaged.
- I definitely think that us English speakers are (undeservedly) privileged at these kinds of events; perhaps it would be nice to have opportunities for people to speak in their native languages and for us to be the ones trying to follow along on live translation.
- Overall, a fantastic conference. Thank you to the amazing organisers, and I really hope to be able to attend the next ESEAP conference (and maybe even Wikimania 2023!).