Learning patterns/Conference workshop to help kickstart a project on a smaller language Wikipedia

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A learning pattern forconferences
Conference workshop to help kickstart a project on a smaller language Wikipedia
problemHow can you learn from other’s who have experience in doing a project you are about to start (and know almost nothing about)?
solutionOrganize a workshop at a conference you know will attract the crowd you want to learn from. Work closely with the organizer and facilitators to prepare the workshop.
created on14:34, 1 September 2017 (UTC)

What problem does this solve?[edit]

Wikimedia Norge is supporting Wikipedias in three languages: Norwegian Bokmål (460,000 articles), Norwegian Nynorsk (130,000 articles) and Northern Sami (7,000 articles). The two Norwegian varieties are Germanic languages, while Northern Sami is an indigenous language in the Uralic language family. Northern Sami is spoken in Norway, Sweden and Finland, and is by far the biggest of several living Sami languages. In Norway about 25,000 people speak Northern Sami, but far fewer are able to write in the language.

The Northern Sami Wikipedia currently has no active contributors, and Wikimedia Norge is building a project to revitalize the Northern Sami Wikipedia. To do this we knew we needed to learn from other affiliates who have done work on small language Wikipedias over many years.

What is the solution?[edit]

This Celtic Knot conference gave us an unique opportunity to learn from the representatives from different Celtic & Indigenous language Wikipedias and to build a network with Wikimedians working with small language Wikipedias. The main objective for Celtic Knot 2017 was the coming together of people working to support language communities. Attendees learned about and discussed innovative approaches to open education, open knowledge and open data that support and grow language communities. For small chapters hosting a workshop at a conference can be a great way of collecting experience and ideas on your project. As it turns out, this is the first project Wikimedia Norge has undertaken that has gotten significant support and help from outside Norway that will determine how we will develop the project. We answered conference’s call for proposals. After it was accepted, we worked closely with the main organizer, Ewan McAndrew, the Wikimedian in Residence at The University of Edinburgh, to discuss and plan:

  • How could we fit a workshop in the timeframe we had (1 hour)?
  • How to divide the participants in 3 groups before the workshop even started? This was done by marking all name badges with a specific colour (red, blue and green)
  • How could the groups best be facilitated?
  • How could we have a workshop where introverts and extroverts would be equally comfortable participating?

Then we decided on what questions we wanted to ask:

  • Where do we start with no active community?
  • What kinds of institutional partners should we seek?
  • What activities should we prioritize?
  • How can we best support a language with limited resources?
  • What have been the biggest challenges for similar projects supported by Wikimedia UK and other related entities?
  • What are the pitfalls, things to avoid?

Each of the 3 groups focused on two questions.

To engage the conference participants in our workshop we decided on this plan:

  • We started with a 10 minutes introduction to give the participants a minimum of background information
  • The conference participants were divided in 3 groups
  • Each group discussion lasted for 30 minutes and were facilitated by 2 people: one with in depth knowledge on small language Wikipedias and a representative from Wikimedia Norge.
  • We used post-it notes and etherpads to collect input during the group discussions
  • After the group discussions we all gathered for 10 minutes, and a representative from each group summarized the input from their group.

Things to consider[edit]

  • Keep the logistics in mind, otherwise you can loose precious time. Visit the conference venue and make sure the rooms you have available works and that all participants know where to go and when.
  • Assign one person the task of taking notes on etherpad.

When to use[edit]

This pattern applies at conferences


See also[edit]

Related patterns[edit]

External links[edit]