WikiFranca/Report of the French-speakers meeting in Washington
Considering the success of the Wikimedians gathering in Iberocoop, we feel the need to exchange, to coordinate, to share our ideas and projects too. We all have in common to contribute on Wikimedia projects using the French language. The French language is not necessarily our only language for contribution, but it's something that brings us together.
La Francophonie is something both institutional and very real. The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie consists of 75 countries (890 million inhabitants) on all continents that have the French language in common. The french language is daily spoken by 220 millions people around the world.
But in more concrete terms, French is a living language spoken in very diverse countries, in many different ways and accents; but it unites us, for example on Wikimedia projects where all French language variations are present.
Goals of a French-speaking association
Aims of bringing French-speakers together:
- exchange about the different projects led by French-speakers — whether they are operated by chapters or not — to share good practices and set up common projects.
- help contributors to French-language projects to identify more easily and closely with the Wikimedia movement, outside of pure contributions: wherever he lives, every contributor knows he can set up a project or get help; and our activities can be relayed more easily.
- help Wikimedians get organized to create chapters in countries who do not have one already, by bringing support, help, united advice and resources and a possible financial support for structuring.
- be a common voice of the French-speaking Wikimedians able to give an opinion with a francophone point of view inside the Wikimedia movement (Wikimedia Chapters Association, relations with the Wikimedia Foundation) without becoming an institution — the French-speakers gathering must stay a simple structure open to every French-speaker and francophile regardless of their level.
- improve the communication in French around the projects: mutual aid for a better projects presentation, a better understanding of those, for creating pedagogical or communication resources.
Current or planned projects
During the French-speakers Wikimania meeting on July 14, we presented some achieved and current projects and new projects that could be developed with the French-speakers group's support.
Wikimania grants for French-speakers
For several years Wikimédia France has helped French-speakers to attend Wikimania by allocating grants. This year, in addition to French Wikimedians, Wikimédia France supported several French-speaking Wikimedians, from Quebec and Tunisia among others, so that they could attend Wikimania. Wikimedia CH supported a Wikimedian from Quebec too. We consider supporting the French-speaking diversity during Wikimedia meetings to be something relevant and important.
Wikipedia Takes Montreal
Wikimédia France financially supported the organisation of Wikipedia Takes Montreal by Wikimedia Canada in August 2011.
The Forum Mondial de la Langue Française
The FMLF, or World Forum of French Language, took place in Quebec City from July 2 to 6. Since November 2011, Wikimédia France and the Quebec Committee of Wikimedia Canada worked together towards giving a high visibility to Wikimedia projects during this event. This global meeting of the institutional and social Francophonie brought together about 1000 participants from all over the world for one week to rethink the Francophonie.
Our common suggestions led to several lectures about the role of French language within Wikimedia projects, educational projects and French-speaking Africa-oriented projects. We also held an information desk where several dozen people came and discovered the projects and, for some of them, learned how to contribute. Our desk particularly attracted French-speakers from developing countries: it was often their first time contributing with help from Wikimedians. We also got a strong institutional recognition and position as agents of the Francophonie on the Internet from this Forum.
Tunisian Wikimedians projects
A group of Tunisian Wikimedians has been particularly active for the past few months. Habib M'henni, who is very committed in Wikimedia projects and came to Wikimania thanks to a grant, presented futures activities oriented towards Tunisian territory and local heritage development. The Tunisian group is likely to organize itself into a chapter and the other French-speakers are determined to bring them all support needed so that they can be structured and carry on their projects.
The Afripédia project, which was initiated by Wikimédia France, has the dual objective of increasing the offline dissemination of Wikipedia across central and western Africa and of training African Wikipedians to contributing — especially in universities. It is naturally developing in French and it interested the whole French-speaking group, who may support it.
Meeting French-speaking contributors
Organizing an international meeting for French-speaking contributors (and not only Chapters members) to bind various contributors and develop new projects.
In order to inform about ongoing projects (not only Wikipedia) and the movement life a newsletter would be appreciated. It could be something between the English-language Signpost and the RAW from Cantons-de-l'Est (or even taking the latter over). It is considered as a good experience of collaborative working and of enhancing information in French.