Welcome back from Wikimania 2017!
During Wikimania I tried to go on as many sessions as I could on topics I knew very little about, to broaden my understanding instead of just reinforcing my experience. This led to a series of discussions with several people about the mistakes that newcomers make when they first start editing Wikipedia. One of those people were Frank Schulenburg from Wiki Edu Foundation, who said that they kept close tabs on mistakes and he graciously provided me with their report. When I got home, I published a long post on the Swedish Village Pump about how we could better prepare the newcomers so that they wouldn't make as many mistakes. I did this with a little bit of trepidation, because these kinds of posts tend to be either ignored or the intentions belittled, as if to say that the experiences of newcomers are not important or possible to improve. Well, I needn't have worried. Several users supported a better system to be pedagogical. The responses were not only polite, but really focused on suggesting ways to make Swedish Wikipedia a kinder environment for newcomers. So me and a few others have started to work on all the help pages, with updates, less "wall of text" type of help pages and a more supportive tone. These edits also seem to have spilled onto the templates that vandal fighters use on good faith mistakes such as non-relevant new articles and reverts. I have also received plenty of support from very active Wikipedians, who suggest that this change in the nature of Wikipedia is the way to go as we develop the help pages and policy pages and that Wikimedia Sverige support this work as well. I will continue to work on the help pages, with an increasing number of Wikipedians joining in the effort. Some day we may be ready to show other language versions of Wikipedia how to work on this.
Meeting more people who are working on the diversity and gender gap issues have also shown me a series of tools that we can use on our weekly editathons. One of them is the dashboard that makes it easier to count participants and their edits. After Wikimania I created a dashboard and have started experimenting with it. We will probably need some Wikimedia Sverige developer time to tweak the dashboard to suit our particular needs, but it showed several of us how we could use the time on the editathons more effectively, and I predict that we will see more results on that in due time.
As a Wikimedian who's been to four previous Wikimanias, it's hard to list all of the friends and colleagues I met during Wikimania. One group I was inspired by, and will keep a closer look at is the work that the AfroCROWD is doing. They have some very good materials that I will propose that we should use on our editathons. Also, meeting Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight and talking with her about the Women in Red project led to some very interesting thoughts, that I look forward to work on more in our gender gap projects and to develop further at the Wikipedia Diversity Conference, where I will also go.
During the breakfasts and lunches at the hotel, I met with many new Wikipedians, and was happy to become sort of their mentor. Some of them were very curious but bewildered by the use of Wikipedia jargon and our philosophy. I like talking to such newcomers as it reinforces for me how much I must not forget what it was like to be a new user, and how we sometimes treat our new friends.
I am a sucker for data and numbers, and after meeting with James Forrester, I was very happy to learn about some of the data that the Foundation can get about how newcomers act on Wikipedia, that may make it easier to intervene when we know they might have a problem. I very much would like to explore those data further.
As the Swedish chapter is mostly located in Stockholm whereas I am living in Gothenburg (3 hours away by train), it was very productive talking to my fellow Swedish Wikimedians. I met more of the new employees which makes it easier to work with them going forward. I was updated on a few of the projects that they are running, and we started planning more interesting projects going forward, not the least which is the 2019 Wikimania. This means that there need to be more collaborations with other Wikipedians, which I will gladly work more on, for instance with some of the new Wikipedians I met at the airport and on the shuttle.
I attended among others the following sessions:
- Part of the hackathon, sort of in the outskirts, working on my own edits
- Waiting for Real-Time Collaboration
- AfroCROWD: A panel discussion on the work of Afro Free Culture Crowdsourcing Wikimedia and Running Monthly Wikipedia Edit-a-thons
- SPARQL – a gentle introduction to the Wikidata Query Service
- Editing in the year to come – what the Foundation's Annual Plan means for editing tools
- Wikipedia will soon speak to you
- Community Wishlist: What We've Done, What's Coming Up
- How not to reinvent the wheel: learning from others in the Wikimedia movement
- Wikispecies and Wikidata - a match made in heaven, or hell?
- Patrolling with ORES and the New Filters for Edit Review beta
This was certainly one of the best Wikimanias I've been to, and I want to thank everybody for making it happen, including the team who gave me the possibility by awarding me this scholarship.