Grants:TPS/Thehelpfulone/Wikimania/2014/Report

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Welcome back from Wikimania 2014!

Participant[edit]

My username is Thehelpfulone, I'm an admin and bureaucrat here on Meta, and also an admin on the English Wikipedia. I'm also an OTRS agent, a member of the Individual Engagement Grants Committee and manage the administration and creation of Wikimedia's mailing lists.

Outcome[edit]

Option 3: New Creation: What was one useful outcome that was created at the event for the Wikimedia movement?
Add a link to something new that was created as a result of your participation in this event (for example, you might link to a new tool that you and your co-participants worked on at the Hackathon, or to pages created in a workshop you participated in).’’
At the Hackathon I was able to meet a number of developers and Foundation technical staff including those from the Language team and Operations. When I was working on marking the new Travel and Participation Support pages on Meta for translation, I was having some issues with the markup. The opportunity to be able to speak to people in the Language team directly meant that the problem was able to solved significantly quicker. This showed me the value of one-to-one in person interactions, which supplemented what I had learnt from the Wikimedia UK Training the Trainers programme that I participated in on Monday 4th and Tuesday 5th August immediately preceding the Hackathon.
Another example of the usefulness of meeting someone in in-person was that from a brief chat with a member of the Operations team, I was able to make significant progress towards getting the list information pages of our Mailman mailing lists redesigned. This was a project that I had started around two years ago which had stalled even though the new design was mostly complete. Following on from Wikimania I was able to work with Operations staff and John F. Lewis to get the new design set as the default for all 500+ mailing lists in just a few days. The new list design is at <https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l>, an announcement was sent to all list admins and we only managed to break Mailman for a short while! The source code of the new design is at Mailing lists/List info (Gerrit change), and using the new knowledge I’d obtained from chatting with the Language team I was able to set up the page for translation and get the new design translated into 20+ languages in time for the launch.

Connections[edit]

This was my first Wikimania so it was the perfect opportunity to meet so many people (community members, chapter staff and Foundation staff / Board) that I have interacted with online over the past seven years (many of them in the past three years). I thoroughly enjoyed meeting, catching up and spending time with all of them. Speaking to someone in person I found that you could find out considerably more about them, and where your interests match so that you can work together to help each other out (both inside and outside of a Wikimedia context).

The fact that the Thistle City Barbican was able to accommodate most of the attendees was extremely useful in giving you the opportunity to meet people (at breakfast, and during the evenings in the lobby) that you may have not had the opportunity to see given the sheer mass of the conference and the Barbican, which was somewhat of a labyrinth!

There were also some specific meet-ups that I attended throughout the week, including the IdeaLab mixer, OTRS Meetup, Media Viewer discussion, Multimedia Roundtable and Design Roundtable to name but a few. Below I’ve detailed a couple of examples further illustrating the impact of in-person collaboration:

  • The Multimedia team (under the leadership of Fabrice), facilitated a number of discussions throughout the week showcasing the future of Multimedia to users with varying levels of experience giving the attendees the ability to shape the future of the team's work. I found this to be especially useful as we were able to voice concerns at an early stage in a relaxed, informal atmosphere with the intention of working together (rather than writing walls of text or extremely long emails, as often happens online!).
  • Similarly the Design team (including Brandon, Jared, Kaity) held a Roundtable where in just over an hour we were able to map out and discuss the appropriacy of all the different methods of communicating news to users across various projects and languages (due to the international audience we were able to discuss methods used by non-English speaking projects), with the intention of looking for a more suitable, unified method for future communications.

Anything else[edit]

I found volunteering to help with the running of Wikimania itself was also particularly valuable, for example, through helping on the Registration Desk I was able to meet considerably more people from diverse backgrounds than I already knew on-wiki. I was also able to make a number of new connections with other volunteers, many of whom were not yet Wikimedians, but were often convinced to get more involved by the end of the conference!