Esperanto kaj Libera Scio/ja
Esperanto kaj Libera Scio (ELiSo, 'Esperanto and Free Knowledge' in English) is a group of Wikimedians who speak Esperanto. The group was recognized as a Wikimedia User Group by the Wikimedia Foundation's Affiliations Committee on 4 April 2013 and formally incorporated in Slovakia on 23 December 2019.
The group's focus is to unite Esperanto-speaking people who edit Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, or want to support free knowledge in other ways.
Wikimedia Chat link: https://chat.wmcloud.org/wikimedia/channels/esperanto-kaj-libera-scio
The group is relevant to:
- organize esperanto-wikimedia meetings;
- improving work coordination;
- create and distribute outreach and teaching aids;
- communicate on Wikipedia, Wikimedia and free knowledge in Esperanto conventions;
- finding someone who can represent the Esperanto-speaking Wikimedians as a group;
- towards the other Wikimedia organizations;
- towards the Esperanto organizations.
For other activities a special convention for Esperanto-speaking Wikimedians makes more sense.
- Although, technically speaking, nobody needs Esperanto to obtain free knowledge, many people do use it for that goal.
The Esperanto Wikipedia has higher readership than Wikipedias in many natural languages used as official in their countries. There are also many Czech pensioners who are veterans of the local Esperanto club but did not get the chance to learn any other foreign language in their life. For them, Esperanto is what English is for many young people in the western world today: a window on the world. They can find more information about such topics as languages or the municipalities of Hungary in the Esperanto Wikipedia, rather than in their native language (cf. 1, 2).
- Esperanto speakers form an agile, international and extraordinarily multilingual community.
Each of them is at least bilingual, speaking their native language and Esperanto, and many are polyglots. In terms of cost-effectiveness, this makes them the first people who should be invited to help advance the Wikimedia Foundation's mission, which includes "support and development of multilingual Wiki projects". The range of values shared by Wikimedia and the Esperanto movement, such as freedom, universality and neutrality, is remarkably large. One should also not forget that most Esperantists are open and idealistic people, early adopters and skilled promoters of innovative ideas: The Esperanto Wikipedia was the 11th in existence (started December 2001), the Czech, Slovak, Ossetian, Swahili and Georgian Wikipedias have all been founded by Esperanto speakers, and the whole of Wikipedia went Unicode because of Esperanto.
- Every Esperantist speaks at least one other language besides Esperanto.
Although they are relatively low in number, (estimates go up to 2,000,000), Esperanto speakers can be found in 115 countries and Esperanto is mostly being used as an international language, akin to English today and unlike most national languages. And because every Esperanto speaker is also a national language speaker, even minor activities conducted in Esperanto are naturally multiplied into numerous language communities and can have a wide outreach. Moreover, many Esperantists tend to be very active and respected members of their communities.
To distinguish itself from a mere online WikiProject, the group performs projects that include offline work, such as: organization of events, public presentations, partnerships with institutions, field work, mail contact. Some of these activities are a follow up of earlier (pre-user group) activities developed either by individuals or within the informal Wikipedia workgroup of the Esperanto-based NGO Education@Internet.
Examples of the group's prospective activities include:
- International outreach: publicity, lectures and training about Wikipedia, other Wikimedia projects and the free knowledge movement, organized during Esperanto conventions (KAEST, UK, IJK, SES) all over the world, and in cooperation with Esperanto clubs and possibly also the respective national Wikimedia chapter – such activities provide the possibility of using Esperanto and the existing structures within the 127-year-old Esperanto movement to reach a very multinational and multilingual educated public, including countries and languages still minor or inexistent in the Wikimedia world.
- Community support: monitoring of current activities and the development status of the Esperanto Wikimedia projects (Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikibooks, Wikinews, Wikiquote, Wikisource, Wikivoyage) and aid with reporting to Wikimedia Foundation and the public; active support to those projects with very little editor engagement.
- Quality article support: recruitment of volunteers from the World Esperanto Association (national organizations in 70 countries, individual members in 121 countries) and use of the translation interface developed by E@I with the goal of raising the "Esperanto" article in as many Wikipedia language versions as possible to Featured article status, through a coordinated effort at translation and localization of a model article already in place and featured in Czech and Slovak Wikipedia – this approach, described in a talk at Wikimania 2013, could result in a new model of a coordinated multilingual cooperation that could be generalized in the future to cover more topics and be used also by other Wikimedia communities.
- Institutional cooperation: organization of Wikimedia workshops within GLAM-like institutions of the Esperanto movement all over the world (such as Department of Planned Languages and Esperanto Museum in Vienna, Esperanto Museum of Svitavy or Intercultural Centre of the Esperanto city of Herzberg) that would involve group members and local volunteers in acquiring digital copies of free-license material (literature, photos, posters, postcards, historical documents etc.) from institutional collections and its publishing on Wikimedia Commons and/or Wikisource.
- Multilingual outreach: aid to the afore-mentioned GLAM institutions by recruiting and coordinating multilingual volunteers within the group and the Esperanto community with the goal of translating Wikipedia articles about topics related to the institution into as many languages as possible, and equipping the institution with QR codes linking to them
- Free knowledge advocacy in a like-minded society: active and targeted promotion of free licenses – overview of Esperanto-related material available in the public domain and particularly material that has been released under a free license by the copyright holder; publicity and infrastructure for free licenses (lectures, articles, aid to OTRS staff with submissions written in Esperanto, creation of license release forms and assistance with their use); coordinated campaign seeking the release of works under a free license by engaging group members and other volunteers in coming in contact with copyright holders (Esperanto authors are often keen but elderly people, so that regular mail and/or personal visits might be necessary) and requesting them to release their works under a free license (as an added value for other communities, this might also include works written by the individual but with no relation to Esperanto.)
- Language technology: cooperation between the developer of the WikiTrans machine translation engine and the Esperanto Wikipedia community with the aim of providing a Wikipedia gadget which might simplify the creation of new articles in Esperanto based on machine translations of articles in the English Wikipedia (with human proof-reading) – this might later be generalized and seek for attention of the whole Wikimedia community, as GramTrans is introducing support for extra languages (such as Danish).
- Worldwide documentation: coordination of an international campaign (with close cooperation with the dedicated person in the World Esperanto Association) and possibly coverage of costs for volunteers travelling to take photographs of Zamenhof-Esperanto objects (monuments related to Esperanto and/or its creator by their purpose or name) – because of their scarcity and spread across the globe, any reimbursements would probably need to be conditioned by the photographer's simultaneous contribution to another existing project of similar kind running in the particularly country (such as photography of nearby cultural monuments, villages, protected trees etc.)
From the very beginning of our existence have been collaborating with the non-profit organisation Education@Internet (E@I). E@I helped during whole time with much of consulting, encouragements, sharing best practices, providing its office for meetings and time during its events for presentations and trainings, media support, own work and much more. We even decided to found Esperanto and Free Knowledge during E@I's event and later subscribed the User Group Agreement in the E@I's office. E@I has long record of Wikimedia work, e.g. publishing 2 books about Wikipedia and organizing the first international (and possible any) Wikipedia training in Slovakia, in 2007 (4 years before the discussion about founding WMSK began).
There are two high representatives of Esperanto: Universal Esperanto Association (UEA) and its youth section World Esperanto Youth Organization (TEJO). With both of them we are collaborating on specific projects, mostly Wikimedia competitions. TEJO is the first Esperanto organisation to have official Wikimedian in Residence (in 2016, see in the annual report).
On September 13 2018 we came into formal partnership with the International Science Esperanto Association (ISAE). ISAE is the longest existing science organisation using Esperanto, and is official expert's association member of Universal Esperanto Association, the highest official representative of Esperanto. With ISAE's goal to "bring more science into Esperanto community" it greatly match with our mission to share knowledge in Esperanto. The main area of our partnership is expert terminology in Esperanto.
- Chair: Michal Matúšov (KuboF Hromoslav)
- Vice-Chair: Ivan Camilo Quintero Santacruz
- Board Member: Juan Sebastian Quintero Santacruz
- Chair of Audit Committee: Ziko van Dijk
- Michel Castelo Branco
- Yves Nevelsteen
Wiki Loves Zamenhof/Esperanto objects 2018 was the first our very own photo competition
- akfoss; June 2014; Iran
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