Nordic Wikimedia/FSCONS 2012/Project proposal

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Founded in 2001, Wikipedia quickly became the most comprehensive free collection of all kind of human knowledge. Each month, about half a billion visitors access Wikipedia to research information, ranging it among one of the most famous websites in the world.

The success of this project is based on a simple principle: everybody can contribute and share his knowledge with others. Doing so, thousands of volunteers from all over the world contribute with their various skills to improve the content: Besides authors writing articles, for example photographers take portraits and pictures of landscapes and buildings, illustrators create maps and diagrams, graphic artists improve pictures. And an even bigger group assures quality by proofreading articles and fixing typos, adding references, categorizing the content. Most of these collaborators are non-professionals helping each other online by doing small contributions resulting into great projects like Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons or Wiktionary.

Sharing of skills, experiences and resources is the main key to become more effective. This is mainly achieved by feedback and discussions online on Wikipedias talk pages or in chat rooms. Within a city, volunteers often meet up to talk and discuss about their different projects and inspire each other. However, these meet ups are tiny compared with the huge cross-border project, and most contributors don't know each other.

In order to trigger a better exchange, different concepts have been established all over the world. In so-called edit-a-thons, contributors of a certain topic meet up during a weekend and write and improve articles. During training courses writers get coached on how to write good articles. Workshops on photography facilitate the exchange of skills much easier as it is possible online. During Wikipedia Academies professionals are getting in touch with the volunteers and learn how Wikipedia works. Wikimania instead is an annual conference where activists from all over the world share their ideas and best practices in benefit for the whole movement.

In the Nordic countries, the three associations Wikimedia Danmark, Wikimedia Norge and Wikimedia Sverige have the goal to strengthen the collaboration between the volunteers by bringing them together for the first time during a conference. Similar to the very successful concept of the Skillshare [1] and WikiCon [2] conferences in the last years focusing on the German-speaking language area, we want to arrange a mixture of a conference and workshop, facilitating an effective exchange of the volunteer's skills.

In order to minimize the organizational effort and costs, this meeting of Wikipedians will be arranged in November together with the well-established Free Society Conference and Nordic Summit (FSCONS) [3], arranged by the Swedish team of the Free Software Foundation Europe and by Föreningen fri kultur och programvara (Association for Free Culture and Software, FFKP). It takes place in Gothenburg, Sweden, which has a central location and thus is easy to reach from all over Scandinavia. The task of the Wikimedia chapters is therefore reduced to the organization of our part of the program, including the call for participation, schedule, and support for travelling and accommodation etc.

Since the participants spend their free time and vacation to attent the conference, or are students with a low income, we are aiming to provide as much as possible support for accommodation and travelling. Our minimum goal are 40 participants with a need of such a support, i.e. about 10 from Danmark, 15 from Norway and 15 from Sweden. This results in a budget as follows:

  • travelling, 40 participants (40 x 750 SEK on average): 30,000 SEK
  • accommodation, 40 persons, two nights (40 x 2 x 1.000 SEK): 40,000 SEK
  • event organization and program coordination, wage and social security etc costs, intern for one month: 30,000 SEK

The minimum financial need sums up to 100,000 SEK.