Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2018/Programme/Submission/Vulnerability in society: how the Wikimedia Movement can make a difference

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Vulnerability in society: how the Wikimedia Movement can make a difference[edit]

Subtitle: the Wiki-cafe concept[edit]

Name(s) and/or username(s)[edit]

Mina Theofilatou User:Saintfevrier
Wikipedia Community Schools Association Greece


  1. Strategic discussions:
    • Increasing the level of cooperation on the level of communities.
    • New cross-border projects, instead of or in addition to the existing CEE Spring.
    • Attracting new editors and creating comfortable conditions for them.
    • Developments of small communities.
    • Implementation of Wikimedia 2030 strategy in the region.
  2. Capacity development:
    • Encouragement of new editors.
    • Outreach, particularly in education.
    • Conflict resolution.
    • Technical skills, particularly to speed up the editing.
  3. Working groups:
    • Trans-border cooperation (several separate topics of cooperation applicable, particularly, article contests, GLAM and other projects).

(please see summary below to understand the "overlaps", and feel free - for the sake of "compactness" - to delete any that perhaps do not fit)

Type of submission (Please choose one)[edit]

  • Open discussion (many-to-many) (if not feasible, I would be willing to do a presentation format)


While participating in the "Strategy Bar" discussions at Wikimania 2018, I was pleased to observe that social activism overlaps with quite a few items in the Strategy Direction. Moreover, the CEE Region is notorious for tumultuous social circumstances, be they related to financial crisis (e.g. Greece) or political conflict (e.g. Ukraine). This most certainly affects the lives of Wikimedians and brings us to face more day-to-day challenges than in e.g. Western Europe.

Needless to say, the vulnerable members of society have been hit the hardest. Here is my personal experience as a Wikimedian, in a "Q&A" format (to serve as a starter for further discussion)

So how can the Wikimedia Movement get involved?

I have already opened frontiers in this direction with my Wikitherapy program, training mentally ill patients to edit the Wikimedia projects (launched in Kefalonia in 2015-16; replicated by Andrea Patricia Kleiman in Buenos Aires in 2016-17; interest expressed from India, Germany and Spain. See here). Participants were introduced to the world of open knowledge, gained social and ICT skills, and became members of the vibrant, diverse and inclusive Wikimedia community.

Was it easy?

No. There was conflict on multiple levels, but we managed to overcome most obstacles and focus on the value added to these vulnerable individuals' lives, and to the Wikimedia projects.

And then what?

After the end of the program I was involved in enthusiastic discussions with like-minded people on my island to launch a "wiki-cafe", which would be like taking the Wikitherapy concept a step further and securing employment for these vulnerable members who became Wikimedia editors. The discussions stopped when I observed how terribly difficult it would be to find support from the local authorities: I live on an island that is relatively prosperous compared to the rest of Greece, and most people are concerned about making money off of tourism. On the other hand, the Greek financial crisis has compromised social benefits and ventures on a national level.

A Wiki-cafe? That sounds like a good idea! How can we do it?

So in such vulnerable-UNfriendly settings there is a need for political will to explore how to obtain funding (national, EU, charity etc.) for an enterprise that would bring the concept of building open knowledge on Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects to the public at large, while offering employment to the vulnerable members of society. In order to build this political will, we (local Wikimedians) need to convince the local authorities of "what's in it for them". And THIS is the challenge I want to discuss with like-minded CEE people: how do we get inevitable and unwilling authorities to embrace open knowledge... knowledge equity... and social equity? I would love to hear your experiences and ideas!!! I want to learn if there have been similar efforts in CEE (or help initiate them if they don't exist already!), and if we could brainstorm all together and set up a group focused on how the Wikimedia Projects can be used for the Common Good in ways that reach farther than open knowledge.

Expected outcomes[edit]

Anything that would help us promote using the Wikimedia projects for the Common Good: it could be a new action group, or a resolution within the CEE Group, or a campaign to raise awareness. It would depend on the direction of the discussion in the session.

Duration (without Q&A)[edit]

Specific requirements[edit]

Flipcharts, pencils, discussion-friendly arrangement :)

Slides or further information[edit]

See right----->

slide deck.

Related links[edit]

  • Here is a link to the legal framework of social enterprises in Greece. If you are interested in my idea, please add the link to the related legislation in your country!
  • Here is the final report of my Wikitherapy project.
  • Here is the Wiki-cafe idea I recently formulated in IdeaLab.
  • Here is the WikiWish idea I had formulated in 2016, and which can be applied in a Wiki-cafe.

Interested attendees (Please add yourself, and you may indicate your questions to the presenter).[edit]

  1. --Kritzolina (talk) 09:15, 26 August 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Marios Magioladitis