Grants:TPS/Hfordsa/Middle Eastern Participation and Presence in Wikipedia Workshop

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This had been a submission to the Wikimedia Participation Support process, but was withdrawn or otherwise cancelled (not denied).

User name
User location (country)
USA/South Africa
Event name
"Middle Eastern Participation and Presence in Wikipedia" organised by the Oxford Internet Institute
Event Web site and
Event date(s)
April 11 - 12 October 2012
Event location (city)
Amman Cairo
Amount requested (remember to specify currency!)

Budget breakdown[edit]

  • Travel: USD 1200 (round-trip economy class ticket from SFO to Amman and back)
  • Accommodation: USD 150 per night x 3 nights = USD 450 (as recommended on

Proposed Participation[edit]

I have been conducting an ethnographic research project entitled understanding sources, focusing on the Middle East region, and would like to conduct further interviews for an upcoming paper on the case of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution article and share my initial findings with the Middle East community at this important event. I believe that this will further the goals of the WMF by advancing an understanding of the motivations and mechanics of participation in the Middle East as Wikipedia outreach activities ramp up there.

Goal and Expected Impact[edit]

I am an ethnographer. I see my role as translating the hopes, fears, victories and defeats that Wikipedians around the world experience in order to stimulate empathy and discussion on how to make a better encyclopedia. My goal for participation at this workshop is to conduct interviews with editors about their experiences, as well as to observe discussions about challenges to participation and then write at least two compelling stories about the Middle East Wikipedia experience for various publications. I would like to publish the stories, possibly for a mainstream media publication but definitely on the Wikimedia Foundation blog, on Ethnography Matters and on the PBS Idea Lab blog, (extending from work started here) and all licensed under a Creative Commons license to enable further distribution. I would then like to facilitate a discussion about the kinds of policy/strategy/tool-building required to overcome some of these challenges during a brown bag session at the WMF and possibly at Wikimania 2012.

I know that I would have achieved success in this project if actionable suggestions are made to improve participation in Wikipedia in the Middle East and in editing articles related to the Middle East. The challenges to achieving this kind of success are that participants are not moved or inspired to make suggestions or to act in ways that will improve the situation. The trick will be in telling these stories in compelling ways that provide room for action and self-reflection. I feel that I have had experience in doing this with previous work (for example here) and have learned a great deal in the process about the facilitation of a constructive dialogue that I would like to test out with these stories.