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Welcome back from Wikimania 2017!




Contributions to the Programme

Wikimania Montreal 2017 was my 5th Wikimania. And while I may be considered a veteran, I still believe there is a lot I am learning during it, and for one more time I have tried to contribute to the conference with new lessons learnt and ideas.

After being accepted to the Pre-Conference Learning Days, I was asked to contribute to the programme and I opted for both:

  • poster creation (in which I already have certain experience: 1, 2, 3, 4 )
  • and facilitation of one of the sessions, which was a totally new experience with me.
Responses to Dissatisfaction: Exit, Voice, Loyalty, Neglect

My poster this time (File:Wikimania-2017-poster-EVLN.pdf) was dedicated to the EVNL model of people's responses to dissatisfaction. A concept which I had recently read in a book, but also one which I (and I guess all of us) have seen in action in the wiki world. My motivation with this poster was to share something learnt which is usually discussed in corporate organizational contexts, and to explore its applicability in our volunteering context. Not sure how well I managed to do *this* part of the preparatory work, but at least the resource is available as food of thought and shared, so that it can be further elaborated by other Wikimedians, too.

The participation in the session facilitation was, as I said, a totally new experience from me. Initially, I was invited to take part in two sessions "Community Health" and "Group Consensus Building", and I opted for the first one. For it, together with Patrick Earley, Joe Sutherland and Mykola Kozlenko, we had email and hangouts discussions in advance, as well as a coordination meeting during Wikimania.

In general, for these Learning Days, I was specifically interested in the sessions from the Leadership Track, but also spent time in the Strategy discussions, as I have facilitated the offline discussions in Bulgaria and attended the Wikimedia Conference in Berlin exactly in this role. I learnt some particularly interesting and applicable new things in the "Facilitation Skills" and "Patterns and Antipatterns in Volunteer Leaders" sessions, about the types of group decision making and good and bad models of leadership behaviour.

Speaking with Mervat and Satdeep during the 100wikidays Lunch
More pictures from the 100wikidays meetup are available on Commons

The "100wikibirds of a feather" meeting, which I had proposed and got accepted, practically was rescheduled to a wikilunch, in order to allow more people attend other parallel sessions, as well, and to give us the opportunity to meet in a more informal way. I had prepared for all the 100wikidays participants and alumni attending Wikimania (whose number was about 35!) presents in the form of pens (100 wikidays: You don't need to be crazy (But it helps!) ) as well as a spoken tribute to some of the members whose contributions are especially awesome. Several other people also were given the mic to share and inspire others. The conference gave us the opportunity to meet in flesh, after months (and years) of being in contact through the challenge's Meta and Facebook pages. The feeling was exhilarating, hopefully for everyone involved. :)

During the conference itself, I also co-presented together with María Cruz the joint submission "How not to reinvent the wheel: learning from others in the Wikimedia movement", where we discussed existing ways of sharing knowledge, like learning patterns, and introduced the Wikimedia Resource Center. My part was mainly related to the learning patterns, a tool for knowledge and experience sharing which I am specifically passionate about.

Presentation with María Cruz

In order to make [[:File:María Cruz and Vassia Atanassova - How not to reinvent the wheel- learning from others in the Wikimedia movement - Wikimania 2017.pdf|our presentation] more helpful and applicable, I had prepared in advance the text of a small learning pattern, and divided it into chunks as input in the dialog window accessible from the portal page Learning patterns. The LP, titled "How to avoid duplicated items during a museum based photography event" collected a chunk of experience from a problem detected during our ever first museum photothon in the National Polytechnical Museum in Sofia, 11 March 2017, and a super simple, elegant and zero-cost idea of a solution, that next time when we organize such an event we will take into consideration in advance, so that we do not repeat a mistake once made.

During the presentation, María and I had a very good coordination: while I was orally presenting the logic of creating learning patterns (following my poster from Wikimania 2016), and the rationale behind each part of the LP, giving as an example the experience learnt from our first photothon, María was showing how the LP is being completed with the text, prepared in advance, and saving it in the end, we showed the audience how easy it is to share experience in order to avoid others making your own mistakes. :) It is noteworthy that about 2 months after Wikimania, during the Wikimedia CEE in Warsaw, I heard people who had attended our Wikimania presentation "How not to reinvent the wheel..." who said that this in vivo, ad hoc learning pattern creation was one of the most memorable moments for them at Wikimania 2017.

Meeting with AffComm

During Wikimania, there was an appointment scheduled between the Affiliations Committee and the people involved in the establishment of the Wikipedia & Education User Group. As a member of the team that proposed establishment of the group during the Wiki Education Collab meeting in Yerevan in June this year, I also attended the meeting, together with Jami Mathewson, Filip Maljkovic, Vojtěch Dostál, as well as Vahid Masrour as WMF staffer from the Education Team. We answered to some questions of the AffComm, and stated our positions on several important topics and thematic scope, governance, and connections between the user group and the rest affiliates, like geographic user groups and chapters.

Regional collaboration

In addition, Wikimania 2017 was super useful also in the light of the (then) forthcoming Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2017 in Warsaw. We scheduled the regular Wikimania CEE Meetup, in which one of the important topics, where I had to present and report was the programme update of the Warsaw Meeting 2017, being one of the most active members of the Programme Committee. We were looking for additional input (submissions of talks or workshops), as back then (early August) we had a relatively low level of engagement from the local communities while the deadline was approaching, and other, logistic, decisions were to be taken on the basis of who the presenters are. The meeting was useful also because it initiated the serious discussion of the next year's host of the CEE Meeting, as well as gave opportunity to discuss the input of CEE to the strategic discussion.

Option 1: Shared Experience: What is one way you shared something from your experience with your community (either locally or globally), after the event?
Add a link here to a blog post or newsletter you wrote about your participation afterwards, or to a meet-up you organized to share your experience with your local community.
We had a wiki meeting on 23 August, announced at the our local Village Pump and attended by five other people than me. Apart of sharing the impressions from Wikimania, we also discussed some ongoing projects and the participation in the CEE Meeting in Warsaw.
Option 2: Learning Pattern: What is one useful learning pattern you can share with the Wikimedia movement?
Add a link to a learning pattern - either a new pattern you created with insights from your participation, or an existing pattern to which you added your endorsement and some significant new "considerations" or “examples” from your experience.
Actually, yes, a learning pattern titled "How to avoid duplicated items during a museum based photography event" was created during Wikimania, aimed particularly at showing the audience what is the logic and technology of creating learning patterns (see above for details).


I met a lot of old friends, as well as people I knew only online. From the new friends I made (or met live for the first time), I must especially mention (alphabetically ordered) Anasuya Sengupta, Camelia Boban, Christel Steigenberger, Mervat Salman, User:Millars.

I had nice and productive talks with (alphabetically listed) Achim Raschka, Armine Aghayan, Asaf Bartov, Asen Stefanov, Basak Tosun, Claudia Garad, Dimitar Dimitrov, Florence Devouard, User:Helixitta (with her useful and impressive talk "Possible strategies of increasing involvement of scientists and academics in Wikimedia projects"), Isla Haddow-Flood, Kaarel Vaidla, Marek Stelmasik, Mat Grochal, Mohsen Salek, Nicholas Vigneron, Philip Kopetzky, Reem Al-Kashif, Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight, Saskia Ehlers, Vahid Masrour, and many others.

In the session where I co-presented (see above), there were about 40 people.

Anything else: Wozzy's report[edit]

File:Wikimania 2017 by Deryck day 3 - 08 Wikimedia Cuteness Association.jpg
Wozzy with colleagues and friends from the WCA

My plushie master, the pygmy owl Wozzy, mascot of Wiki Loves Earth in Bulgaria (also known as Wozzy The Owlsome Owl), supervised and cutified with his presence multiple sessions from the Wikimania 2017 pre-conference and regular conference programme. In at least one occasion, he was summoned to attend an extra session, in a situation of acute cuteness emergency and lack of enough plushiness in the room.

On the last day of Wikimania, Wozzy started a two-month exchange with the turtle Cancunchyk, proudly assisted by User:Antanana. As of today, this exchange programme has been successfully completed and I am already in his possession.

Wozzy took also part in the Wikimedia Cuteness Association's convention and group photo in the end of the conference.