Grants:TPS/Sky Harbor/Oxford Connected Life 2016

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This Wikimedia Participation Support request was not funded. Reasons have been communicated with the request submitter on the Discussion page.

statusnot funded
Oxford Connected Life 2016
summaryI plan to deliver a presentation on how the "sovereigntist" dynamic of the Wikipedia community hinders its potential course of development, as well as a poster on the idea of "cultural memory" in online communities, where the actions and mindset of early community members affect the future development of those communities.
event locationOxford, United Kingdom
event date(s)June 20-21, 2016
amount requestedUSD 1867
home countryPhilippines (traveling from the United States)
creatorSky Harbor
submitted on02:33, 15 May 2016 (UTC)

Proposed participation[edit]

Hi, my name is Josh Lim (Sky Harbor), and I have been an active Wikimedian for the last eleven years. Currently, I am the President of Wikimedia Philippines and was previously a member of the Wikimedia Foundation's Affiliations Committee.

Half of my active life as a Wikipedian has been spent analyzing and studying the social dynamics and power relations between communities, specifically our own. Initially starting off as an academic endeavor I undertook as part of my studies, my research work on the Wikimedia community has since been presented at international conferences, including Wikimania (2013; see below), Open Source Bridge (2013 and 2014) and AlterConf San Francisco (2016; see below). I still conduct research endeavors into our community, its past and its future from time to time, although recently I have expanded this to encompass Internet research in general, and this year, I will be presenting both a presentation and a poster (both of which were already accepted by the organizers) at Connected Life 2016, an academic conference hosted by the Oxford Internet Institute of the University of Oxford which seeks to foster and discuss emerging interdisciplinary, multifaceted Internet research.

The presentation, "If I am Me Offline, Could I Also Be Me Online?: Exploring the Existence of the 'Sovereign' User", is a continuation of my presentation at Wikimania 2013, "The Wikipedian Condition", focusing on the idea of "sovereign" editors. Simply put, Wikipedians are not required for them to participate in the social life of the project, although there is a strong allure for them to do so, and the question will inevitably arise of whether the looming "societal apparatus" of the project will turn off those editors who want to simply work alone. Meanwhile, the poster, "Community, Identity and Culture: The Imprints of Offline Cultural Identities on Online Communities", is a visualization of my upcoming presentation at AlterConf San Francisco, "Outside Looking In: Working to Reshape the Cultural Memory of Tech", which takes a philosophical approach to the idea of how the cultures of online communities are shaped by the demographics and culture of its early users (e.g. Wikipedia is composed of young, white, highly-educated Western males), and how this dominant culture can work for and against those who don't belong to that mold.

Both submissions focus on the state of Wikipedia's editor community, helping provide academics with a uniquely Wikipedian perspective (and in particular from Wikipedians from the Global South, to which this research is largely absent, with research largely coming from Western academics) to how Wikipedians from the Global South are affected by the community's attempts to increase diversity through content initiatives, efforts to engage editors, WMF-led investment in diversity (e.g. the Inspire Campaign) and the like.

Goal and expected impact[edit]

As this is an academic conference, the end goal of my participation here is to contribute to the growing field of Internet research, and in particular Wikipedia-related Internet research, and to help guide academics' and Internet researchers' understanding of our community and how the specific dynamics of Wikipedia as a community play out on the ground. This will help get them more involved with understanding the community on their own accord, rather than relying on the accounts of other researchers or of Wikipedians. More specifically, I look forward to doing the following as a result of my participation at Connected Life 2016:

  • Glean important insights that would help us devise better solutions for bringing forward more diversity into the Wikimedia movement which is anchored on a solid body of research generated by both the OII and the participants at the conference.
  • Promote Wikipedia as a model that can actually work in terms of building other online communities, and that is despite the current problems that we have.
  • Enhance understanding of how Wikipedia's community is constituted with the Internet research community, which in turn would help those in the field identify what we're doing right and what we can improve on.

I am aware that for my last TPS grant request, my report was eight months overdue. To prevent that from happening here, I will be preparing a skeleton of the report in advance of the event, to be filled in after the event is finished.

Budget breakdown[edit]

  • Airfare: $1700
    • This is for a round-trip ticket from Los Angeles to London (departing June 14th) on Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic, and from London to Portland, Oregon (departing June 22nd) on KLM and Delta Air Lines. This itinerary costs $1452 and corresponds to the itinerary linked here. In addition, a separate ticket back to Southern California from Portland is currently estimated at $152. The timing of this particular itinerary allows me to return to the United States at a time conducive for me to attend the remaining three days of Open Source Bridge 2016, where I am also scheduled to deliver another Wikimedia-related presentation. (Should the PSC feel that the stop in Portland warrants a report because it could be considered as WMF-sponsored travel, I will happily prepare a report for this as well.)
  • Train ticket from London to Oxford: $75
    • This is for a round-trip ticket from London to Oxford (departing June 19th) and back (departing June 21st). The actual price is £49.80 (approx. $71); the U.S. dollar estimate accounts for possible currency fluctuations. However, there is a promotional fare available where the cost of the ticket goes down to £20.50 (approx. $30). This fare is not guaranteed and may no longer be available by the time this proposal is approved, if it is approved.
  • Accommodation: $52
    • This is for two nights, from June 19-21, at the male dormitory of YHA Oxford. This is the non-member rate; should I manage to secure an HI membership, this may go down.
  • Registration fee: $40
    • This is for both days of the conference. The actual cost of registration is £25 (approx. $36); the U.S. dollar estimate accounts for possible currency fluctuations. This must be paid for by May 23rd at the latest.

Other instructions[edit]

I would like to request that the Wikimedia Foundation book the flights for me, and to disburse for me in advance the remainder. However, because the registration fee for this event must be paid for by May 23rd, I will consider requesting reimbursement for this instead if required.