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WikiConference North America/2019

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WikiConference North America 2019
When and Where
Date8-11 November 2019
Main venues
(8 Nov)
Culture Crawl hub
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
(9-11 Nov)
MIT Stata Center
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
MIT Stata Center
Communicate with us
FacebookWikiConference North America
Commons categoryWikiConference North America 2019

WikiConference North America 2019 took place November 8-11, 2019 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with the main venue at the MIT Stata Center.

WikiConference North America is the annual conference of Wikimedia enthusiasts and volunteers from throughout North America, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. It was a gathering of Wikipedia, Wikimedia, Wikidata, Wikicite, Wikisource, Wikimedia Commons and Wikimedia movement enthusiasts for a long weekend of collaboration and discovery.

This year's theme was the reliability of information and was in partnership with the Credibility Coalition and carried the additional moniker of WikiCredCon.

Other focus areas for the conference included relationship building & support; inclusion & diversity; editor recruitment & retention; tech & tools; harassment, civility, & safety; and education.

Activities included the Culture Crawl of local cultural institutions (centered at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston); a hackathon and multiple editathons; a poster session; traditional community-led programming; as well as two evening receptions (Waterworks Museum and the MIT Museum), and the annual Wikidata Birthday Party.

Sponsorships and funding[edit]

No Wikimedia Foundation or movement funding was used in the production of the event.

In July 2018, the WMF limited its next two rounds of conference funding to seven specific conferences, which did not include WikiConference North America. So we pursued other opportunities for partnerships and funding.

Funding for the conference was facilitated by our partner the Credibility Coalition, which brought in Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism as a primary funder. Other conference resources including staff time, conference spaces, and professional video recording were provided by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, specifically the MIT Knowledge Futures Group and MIT Open Learning.

Visit the conference website to learn more >>


  • WCNA offered scholarships for travel and/or lodging for 97 applicants, the highest number ever granted for the conference. Scholarship amounts varied based on geographical location and distance travelled.
  • Scholarship applications were limited to Wikimedians residing in North America, and closed on September 22, 2019.


  • November 9-10 were the main programming days with community presentations, workshops, panels, roundtables, and more.
  • The submission process was an open call, hosted on the WikiConference wiki. General program submissions closed on September 22. Academic peer-review submissions closed September 27.

Video recording[edit]

The live video streaming and recording of the three main rooms was provided by MIT Open Learning, with the support of Sanjay Sarma, Vice President for Open Learning. This resulted in 37 sessions being recorded in very high quality with camera crews and professional audio. Live streaming and recording of the other sessions was provided by the Free Software Foundation with the support of Rubén Rodríguez.

Recordings can be found online at MIT Open Learning and at FSF via this link: https://wikiconference.org/wiki/2019/Streaming.

Eventually, these were uploaded to multiple platforms including Wikimedia Commons and Youtube.

Event team[edit]

The event was a highly collaborative project with the core WikiConference North America team composed of individuals from the Wikimedia movement and from the Credibility Coalition.

Steering committee:

  • Andrew Lih
  • Kevin Payravi
  • Rosie Stephenson-Goodnight

Core planning team:

  • Andrew Lih
  • Jackie Koerner
  • Josh Lim
  • Kevin Payravi
  • Maria Rimmel
  • Phoebe Ayers
  • Richard Knipel
  • Rosie Stephenson-Goodnight
  • Sam Klein
  • Sarah Schwettmann

Credibility Coalition

  • Connie Moon Sehat
  • Jennifer 8. Lee

Culture Crawl

  • Maria Rimmel
  • Andrew Lih
  • Sarah Schwettmann
  • Rob Fernandez
  • Alex Stinson

Local team[edit]

The conference was anchored by an incredibly hard working local Boston/Cambridge team that brought local knowledge and resources to bear: Phoebe Ayers, Sam Klein, and Sarah Schwettmann's connections to MIT were invaluable to the reservation and procurement of in-kind donations from the university, including the main room venues, gathering spaces, MIT Museum reception and video recording. A special thanks goes to Sarah Schwettmann who spent countless hours on the conference planning and extending relationships with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and other organizations, as her involvement was key to the conference's success.

Culture Crawl[edit]

Kicking Things Off With a ‘GLAM’ Culture Crawl[edit]

The conference began with a Culture Crawl day, where Wikipedians engaged with local cultural and heritage institutions in Boston and Cambridge to create Wikimedia content. This year the annual Culture Crawl was hosted by and based at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), with excursions to other ‘GLAM’ institutions in Boston and Cambridge throughout Friday. The day focused on editing and training around Wikidata, the structured database supporting Wikipedia and various Wikimedia projects.

More than one hundred Culture Crawl participants visited multiple GLAM cultural institutions in the region on Friday, including the MFA, the State Library, Massachusetts College of Art and Design and Boston University. These visits were part of a day-long large-scale Wikimedia content improvement drive, where, in one day, Wikipedians added roughly 30,000 words to 190 articles related to local heritage institutions.

Continuing the GLAM theme, the evening reception was held at the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum, which opened in 2011.

Main conference[edit]

On Saturday and Sunday, the conference moved to the Stata Center at MIT. The Stata Center offered diverse spaces for participants to meet in small groups to discuss and initiative collaborative projects. Over the course of two days, the 350 conference attendees could choose from multiple tracks of more than 70 community-led sessions that explored themes such as equitable access to knowledge, information reliability, issues of diversity, inclusion and bias, and community health and safety.

The conference started with a plenary panel around the forthcoming book Wikipedia@20 by MIT Press, for which many members of the community were contributors and editors.

A poster session highlighted the growing prominence of Wikidata, with projects focused on “Changing descriptions in Wikidata” and “Gender Gap Tools.” The Internet Archive, another conference partner, discussed their initiative to provide more free online access to books with their recent acquisition of Better World Books.

The Waterworks Museum and The MIT Museum hosted social events for attendees on Friday and Saturday night, respectively.


This year marked the first time WikiConference North America administered awards for the community. The awards were determined by the conference organizers and recognized a number of initiatives over the course of the year.

  • Notability Award (for contributions to notable topics in greater Boston): Another Believer
  • Credibility Award (for contributions to credibility and misinformation initiatives this year): Cite Unseen
  • Verifiability Award (for contributions to improving verifiability and sourcing): Internet Archive
  • Inclusivity Award (for projects that promote inclusivity and diversity): Wikimedia Canada

Link: https://wikiconference.org/wiki/2019/Awards

Reliability and Credibility Summit[edit]

November 11 was the Reliability and Credibility Summit, which focused on the reliability of information, and included breakout roundtable sessions related to downstream platforms users of Wikimedia content, reliability of news content, and reliability of Wikimedia content. The platforms roundtable was an historic event, with representatives from Google, Facebook and Microsoft present to discuss how Wikimedia content could benefit users in assessing information reliability.