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Research:Labs2/Hackathons/November 9th, 2013/Meetups/Evanston, IL

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Hosted by: Aaron Shaw

Location: Evanston, IL

Note that this meetup is happening on November 8!



The inaugural Chicagoland Wiki Research Hackathon will take place on Friday, November 8 from 10am-6pm in the Northwestern Knight Lab (Fisk Hall, 1845 Sheridan Road, Room 111, Evanston, IL). Afterwards, participants are also invited to a reception at the Bat 17, a nearby bar/restaurant.

Useful Information for participants

  • Please add your project information to this etherpad by the end of the day!
Agenda overview
  • 10:15-11:00: welcome, introductions, project brainstorming
  • 11:00-11:30: project pitches
  • 11:30-1:00: project development
  • 1:00-2:00: lunch -- break or keep working
  • 2:00-5:00: more project development
  • 5:00-5:30: project reporting
  • 5:30-6:00: wrap-up
  • afterwards: Bat17 drinks and appetizers
Resources for research



Are you a researcher, developer, designer, or data visualizer interested in wikis, Wikipedia, and open online collaboration in the Chicago area? If so, the inaugural Chicagoland Wiki Research Hackathon is coming up Friday, November 8 at Northwestern and you should be a part of it!

You can signup on this form and read on to learn more.

What is this?


The Wiki Research Hackathon is a free and open to all, and is being coordinated in conjunction with Wikimedia Labs² and the global Wiki Research Hackathon, which is currently scheduled to take place on four different continents over a 24 hour period!

Why Wiki Research?


Wikis and other platforms for open, online collaboration (also known as peer production) are responsible for some of the most innovative and ground-breaking activities on the Internet. In addition to generating valuable public goods (like the world's largest free encyclopedia!), many of these online communities also produce incredibly rich and detailed public datasets that can be used to conduct research of many kinds, visualize social interactions, and also to build new services, tools, and platforms.

Why should I participate?


The goal of the Chicagoland Wiki Research Hackathon is to bring together a local community of people interested in wikis, Wikipedia, and open online communities in order to facilitate collaborations, connections, and new projects. It is an opportunity to meet, brainstorm, and work together. You'll have the chance to create innovative projects and take advantage of the incredible public data resources available from Wikipedia, Wikia, and other open online communities. By participating, you'll also be part of a much larger, global community doing wiki research!

What sorts of projects will happen?


The answer to this is really up to the participants to decide - we'll make time for some structured brainstorming and group-formation so that the everyone in the room can decide what they want to work on for the day. That said, examples can help, so here are a few potential project ideas:

  • Use Wiki Data to add location-specific content to Census Reporter results.
  • Implement a mixed-methods analysis of the effect of different kinds of welcome messages on the retention of new contributors to Wikia, Wikipedia, StackOverflow, or another open online community.
  • Design tools to support the use of open online community data in classroom environments.
  • Craft a visualization of the text of recent edits to any Wikimedia project using queries to the Wikimedia Tool Labs server.

These are all just a few possibilities, and you should bring your skills, ideas, and vision to help develop a project of your own!

Where & when is this happening?


The inaugural Chicagoland Wiki Research Hackathon will take place on the Northwestern University campus in Evanston (specific location pending confirmation) from 10am-5:30pm on Friday, November 8. We'll spend most of the day developing and executing collaborative projects. All attendees are then invited for appetizers and drinks from 6-8pm. You can check out a slightly inaccurate draft agenda for the day if you want more details than that. Note that remote participants are also welcome, but you should get in touch with the organizers ahead of time if you'd like to participate remotely.

What do I need to bring?


Most importantly, you need to bring your ideas, skills, and willingness to meet and work with other people who have diverse interests. The organizers will provide some basic infrastructure (space, food, brainstorming activities, internet connections, lightweight planning and organization). All attendees are encouraged to bring their own laptops (or other personal computing devices) as needed.

Sounds fantastic! How do I get involved?


Just signup here. We'll keep you posted with reminders, additional details about the event, and future announcements Please complete the signup form even if you think you can only come for part of the day or just want to stay informed about future events.

I still have questions, who do I talk to?


Feel free to email Aaron Shaw (Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, Northwestern).

Who's supporting this event?


The inaugural Chicagoland Wiki Research Hackathon is co-sponsored by the Northwestern Program in Technology & Social Behavior, the Northwestern Knight Lab, the Segal Design Institute, and the Wikimedia Foundation. We're also grateful for the support of the Northwestern School of Communication; Department of Communication Studies; and Program in Media, Technology & Society. If you'd like to get involved as a sponsor and/or organizer of this hackathon or future events like this, please email Aaron Shaw.


  • Start Working with Wikimedia Data Resources (Tool Labs and more)
Participant(s): Aaron Shaw, Cindy Weng
We wanted to get up and running working with some Database dumps and queries to the Wikimedia Tool Labs Server. In between helping a few other folks get started working with other datasets and sources, Aaron managed to debug the setup instructions and get connected to the server (right around the end of the day). He successfully completed his first query of the recent changes log from the English language Wikipedia at ~5:15pm and will be continuing to work on this one tomorrow! Cindy managed to import one of the dumpfiles into an Oracle DB and started creating article editor networks with it. She's going to keep working with this for a research project due at the end of the quarter.Worked with existing dumps of wikipedia data for visualation processes. Also, after much debugging finally got access to the Wikimedia tool server (reload SSH keys!)
  • Wiki Onboarding and Retention
Participant(s): Emily Harburg, Mike Greenberg, Noah Liebman
Description: We are interested in how to effectively onboard new Wikipedia members and encourage them to participate (and continue to participate!). We did some research to understand current tools Wikipedia uses to reward and motivate behavior, including welcome messages and WikiLove. We are interested in running a study that would look at the effects of WikiLove on self-efficacy, performance, and retention in Wikipedia and what kinds of feedback tools can be most effective. Questions addressed: how does feedback affect behavior? How does what you throw at users make a difference? (wikilove, badges, etc.)
  • Mapping Census geo identifiers to Wikipedia pages
Description: We wanted to create a cross-reference between Census place identifiers and Wikipedia pages. We have a complete list for counties (including Puerto Rico Municipalities) and states. For other geographies, we will need to develop some trial and error strategies, but we have a start on places.
Found the coplete list of US Counties in Wikipedia, and matched those lists to the US census identifier; there was also a list in Wikipedia of state pages -- also made it work for PR -- then did some diversions... then took a crack at places (cities, towns, villages) -- these are harder because no list and their coded identifiers are less commonly used. But, we develoepd a tool to go through and do possible matching to find towns/villages to find census-designated places. Want to go back and do school districts -- which is in the census data.
  • Administrator Elections Data
Participants: Miriam Boon, Sneha Narayan
Wrote code to query the API and grab all of a user's contributions and their info. Grabbed the source code for the wiki pages where successful and unsuccessful candidates in this and previous years. Started but didn't finish scraper to extract usernames from that, which can be fed back into the code we wrote earlier. The scraper will also grab the page on which each nominee is discussed. Wanted to get a segment around administrator actions -- wanted to find all the unsuccessful/sucessful nominations since 2003. We then wanted to write a program to query their contributions. They have the code written for getting all fo the contributions someone has ever made to Wikipedia, plus general info about the user (when they joined). Saved the source code for the admin nominations page.