Event name: Libre Graphics Meeting. International meeting of users, designers and developers of free software for design.
Description of your participation:
I participated giving a workshop called "Libre Graphics meets Wikimedia Commons", proposed and accepted through the CFP, and scheduled in the official program for Saturday April 13, from 11 to 13AM. I also participated as an attendant of the previous days of talks and workshops, and also of informal meetings with people also participating of the event.
I also participated of the meeting "Towards a network of free culture aware educators in art and design education" of teachers using free software for art and design classes, which next step is to create an international network, in order to support ourselves inside our institutions, and also give support to the option for teaching with free software, and about free culture. Regarding this network, I think it could be a good first place where to propose similar workshops as the one I did at LGM, specially as simple practices for students.
On next week, I participated as "collaborator" of Interactivos?, and one of the projects selected there was about generating a kind of visual versioning control for svg design. I talked with the project leader, Julien Deswaef, regarding the problem I found contributing with "requests" of the Graphics Lab, specially those related to complex tasks such as tracing bitmaps. More info below.
Program of the workshop and more details on participants are on my userpage at Commons.
What lessons were learned that could help others in similar events?
What did not go well:
- Time was not enough for significative production. Remote participation was impossible since I was introducing the workshop and couldn't pay attention to IRC activity.
- Attendants were less than pre-registered and expected. Possible reasons: many workshops scheduled the same and last morning of LGM. Last morning of a very intensive program, and with a party last night.
Would you do something differently if you did it again: Workshop was too short. It was intended to be a practical and “hands on” time for improving material of Commons, but in two hours (time specified for the LGM organizing team for workshops) was hardly enough for introducing participants to the dynamics of Commons (“the kitchen”, as they called) and they could choose any file with some simple feature to improve, and try to solve it. Most of the participants pointed out this as a strong limitation in the feedback I asked from them, and even some people suggested the workshop should be one complete day long, in order to be productive.
The short time we could devote to improving images (last 40 minutes maybe) we found a kind of bug I didn't know, and we could just solve partially. One of the participants choose to do a simple operation: changing the file format of a gif image for a png, as requested by the category Images with innapropiate GIF format of Media for Clean Up. The problem detected was is not possible to upload a file with the same filename but a different file format, and we found it's not possible using the "upload a new version" feature. We had to use the normal "upload file" process, and change the filename, with the related consequence of not being present in the history of the original file.
What went well: People attending LGM had the right profile for the workshop. Even their skills with graphics software were variable, they didn't need my explanations about "how to" improve images: they choose correctly the file they evaluate they could fix in the time avalaible. Besides, being designers or artists working with free sofware and/or on free culture projects, they could think with us about the problems faced by Commons, and propose some ideas about how to improve workflow.
I think profiles of participants is an important data regarding other editions of a similar workshop, or comparing this experience with those I did with my students. If people attending the workshop are not already trained on libre graphics software, or even graphics software in general, time is absolutely not enough.
During the first hour and a half, I introduced the participants to Wikimedia Commons showing spaces such as the Graphics Lab or Taller gráfico, with its system of requests, and we talk about some organizational issues there, for instance:
- Files are not marked as "done" or "pending" in a simple preview. Marks appeared when you go the specific request. Possible solution: generate a kind of "gallery" of requests, with a clear mark of "Solved" of "Pending" on them, in order to have an idea of the taks not solved yet, at a glance.
- Tasks are not classified by levels of skills needed to deal with them, or time need to solve them, not even in an estimative approach. Wikigraphists have an internal auto-classification of skills, but is not used for those who ask for graphics work, or for somebody else checking new requests.
- For instance: a task requires an estimated of 4 hours. Graphist #1 could work today 1 hour, so state his/her possibility and take the job. When he/she has to do something else, and task is not finished, he/she upload current state and somebody else continue working.
- Only one person could work on a complex file at the same time. So, if the task is very time consuming (such as tracing complex bitmaps is) and the person who took the request just could devote some hours a week, maybe the work is not going to advance, or maybe it will be only taken by people who has enough time for doing the work at a continuos pace. So, maybe we can develop some "wiki-like process" for this kind of tasks, where many people could work in the same file, maybe not at the same time, with the next collaborator resuming from the last state. With this in mind, and just as an idea, next week I have met Julien Deswaef, who had a project called "Design with git", an initiative for adding versioning control for design with Inkscape, in the way Git give it to code projects. We were discussing with him around other possibilities, but we arrive to the conclusion the problem is more related to organizational issues, than technical ones; so it could be solved with a policy or a recommended workflow.
- One previewed difficulty was the account's issue: just auto-confirmed users can upload new versions of existing files, and most of participants didn't read the “requirement” of the workshop about creating an account on Commons when registering for the workshop. As I imagined this could happened, I created a week before a bunch a users called “libregraphics#” and some participants used them during the workshop. We used two of them during the workshop.
Some photos of the workshop are temporary uploaded to (meanwhile the author upload them to Commons):
What impact did your participation have on the Wikimedia Mission goals of Increased Reach, Increased Quality, Increased Credibility, Increased and Diversified Participation?
- People pre-registered in the workshop were 10 people.
- Participants were 6, more one remote participant and María Sefidari as a collaborator. As the workshop took place in an big and open space, some people around were listening and asking questions during the initial moments of the workshop. One of them was the very well known artist Nina Paley, refering some experience of deletion when uploading their own drawings to Commons. Other participants also referred a similar experience when trying to edit Wikipedia.
- Two of this six participants uploaded material in the morning of the workshop, and one of them the day after.
- Five of six participants were women.
- Ages varying from 25 to 45.
Other activities in Madrid
I proposed and realized another workshop in the week I spent in Madrid, related to gender gap at Wikipedia. It was hosted by Medialab Prado also, and I also count on with the collaboration of María Sefidari. The workshop had 5 women participants, with a very high profile, one of them with a huge experience in IT and gender, and some bad experiences editing Wikipedia. During the workshop, we reviewed and improved some articles of Spanish feminists:
Please review the contributions of User:mboix after this workshop. The workshop received press coverage of the "Tele Diario Fin de Semana" of Spanish Television (TVE), thanks to Montserrat Boix. Please visit: http://blog.rtve.es/telediariofds/2013/04/wikipedia-y-mujeres-el-reto-de-una-mirada-plural.html Wikipedia y mujeres: el reto de una mirada plural.
Detail of expenditures:
Amount underspent/left-over (please specify currency):
- Travel expenses: Wikimedia DE has this detail, they bought the air ticket.
- No other expenditures were made, since Madrid has a nice public transportation system from Airport to downtown.