This is a digest (a processed, edited summary) of the online conference call Wikimedia Clinic #003, held on June 23rd 2020. It sacrifices fidelity to people's exact words in favor of clarity, brevity, and digestibility.
Except for the introduction, the topics are brought up by volunteers participating in the calls.
Topic 1: Introduction
- listen with patience and respect.
- share your experience, but remember others' contexts are very diverse, and may not match yours.
- be of service to others on the call.
These calls are a Friendly Space.
Purpose of Wikimedia Clinics
- provide a channel to ask questions and collect feedback on one's own work and context
- help direct people to appropriate resources across the Foundation and broader Wikimedia movement
If we can't answer your questions during the call, we (WMF) are committed to finding who can, and connecting you (this may happen after the call)
Examples of things the Clinics are not the place for:
- complaints about interpersonal behavior - there are appropriate channels for this on-wiki, and there is the Trust and Safety team.
- content or policy disputes on specific wikis. But it is okay to seek advice on how to better present one's positions.
Topic 2: the term 'projects' and doing outreach
Presentation of topic
volunteer: we use the term projects confusingly. We refer to the Wikimedia wikis (Wikipedia, Wikisource, etc.), but outsiders are confused by this. Projects are understood to be activities outside the wiki, like affiliate activities. Furthermore, within the Wikimedia projects we have collaboration groups called WikiProjects.
It is normal to have confusion about terms, especially in a grassroots movement.
We also often use insufficiently universal examples. For example, Wikidata is often demonstrated using Q42, the British author Douglas Adams. Many of us know of him, but in absolute terms, he is known to a small minority of people in the world. Whereas the concept of elephant, for example, is known to a majority of people in the world. Or the planet Earth. We should not mindlessly recycle the same examples that happened to motivate us.
- Yes, and communication is often unclear within the movement as well. It is easy to agree the status quo is confusing, but much harder to agree on a concrete solution, i.e. what to change the confusing terms to.
- Typical of our movement. Of grassroots things developed over time. There's a mix of organized parts in varying levels of maturity or formality, with newer contributors and less formal organization. It is an artifact of our openness.
- What is standard in one place might not be in other parts of the world
- We can change consciously our outreach and interactions regarding the Movement and project, with an eye to more effective communication.
Topic 3: Increasing awareness of Wikimedia Commons
(no volunteers had topics to bring up.)
Presentation of topic
Asaf (WMF): On my Facebook feed, I saw an advertisement for a commercial stock photography service. Facebook ads allow comments, so as an experiment, I left a comment about Wikimedia Commons as a free alternative requiring only compliance with the free license. I cannot measure the impact of such an intervention, but Wikimedia Commons is unknown to the vast majority of its potential re-users and it is worth thinking about increasing awareness. Even some of the most savvy Internet users do not know about it.
- Volunteer: One factor is how difficult it is to search Commons, especially in languages other than English.
- Christel (WMF): There are great content disparities on Commons. For instance, Germans are much overrepresented among authors of featured images. Commons should become more representative and equitable in its content and portraying of content.
- Asaf (WMF): Commons is about to become what it should always have been (multilingual and thereby already somewhat more equitable). Technically Commons is already multilingual but there is very low re-use of photos not described in English, and it's a self-perpetuating cycle. We are in the process of bringing structured data to every file on Commons, and this will help in surfacing and discovering images that are specific and precise in description, and we'll be able to query using our own language and script
- Christel (WMF): Uploading images for Commons generally includes data regarding location/place. There are cases where automated data regarding one's location can be uploaded without one's realisation, creating a privacy violation. For instance, taking a photo of a household item in one's own home would reveal, via EXIF data, one's home's location.
- Asaf (WMF): This is an example of improvement of the user experience. An explicit confirmation of including the location info during the upload flow would help protect the privacy of volunteers.
- volunteer: Participants of Wikimedia Ukraine's events suggested to create a media library of free images to be used in education — they have not even considered Commons as an already existing media library — too much content, too difficult to use and find something you need right now.
- another volunteer: Commons also hosts a lot of explicit and NSFW images and hence might not be suited for educational purposes.
- another volunteer: Is Wikimedia Commons actually a wiki as we understand it? There is a uniqueness and collaboration aspect to Wikipedia articles. There is precisely one article on the Elephant in Wikipedia, and it is edited collaboratively, but in Commons there can be many images about the same topic, and they are generally left as they were uploaded.
- Asaf (WMF): Yes, the nature of collaboration on Commons is different. There can be multiple objects about the same subject (hundreds of photos of a certain monument), and unlike on Wikipedia, you don't have to collaborate with someone else to have your contribution included. It that sense, it's a lower bar for particiption. The copyright law bar is the highest one facing new contributors seeking to integrate with the Commons community. But collaboration happens around copyright enforcement, media acquisition campaigns (such as Wiki Loves X contests), etc.
- volunteer: There is a project now called Wikipedia Pages Wanting Photos :)
- another volunteer: If I ask a search engine for 'free images', I get a bunch of sites, none of which is Commons. There is a lot of competition in this space, in contrast to free encyclopedias, where there is really just one entry :-) For example, when doing an image search, Pinterest seems to be given priority in the Google search results. Why do Commons results not feature nearer the top of the image search? Are there some components missing?
- Asaf (WMF): One idea that might help make progress on rethinking the usability of Wikimedia Commons is an international gathering, a Wikimedia CommonsCon :) It could attract a different group than the Commons volunteers who attend Wikimania and other international events, and the full multi-day scope could really accommodate deep discussions. This could for example result in a requirements document actually capturing essential wiki workflows and concerns, that can then be handed over to a UX designer for designing a potential revamping of Commons' user interface that would even have a chance. (Many unsolicited redesigns have been offered to WMF in the past, mostly for Wikipedia, without sufficient understanding for how wikis work, which made them non-starters.)
- CAlmog (WMF): yes, this would be an interesting event to think about funding. Lots of Rapid Grants are being requested and disbursed for improving Wikimedia Commons.
Topic 4: News on Wiki campaign
Presentation of topic
The News On Wiki (NOW) campaign aims to improve the public's access to information about credible news publishers.
Phase One of this campaign (2018) focused on newspapers in the United States.
The goal is to improve the public's general ability to distinguish "real" from "fake" news. People will frequently use a search engine like Google to learn basic information about a news outlet they encounter for the first time. If a Wikipedia article with an infobox (and a Wikidata entry) exists, then the Google results will include a "Knowledge Panel." So, we work to ensure as many news outlets as possible have a Wikipedia entry.
Added hundreds of articles and thousands of Wikidata items on media and news outlets.
Up to now, we have been focused on English content about U.S. newspapers, but we hope the model will be expanded to include all languages and all parts of the world.
We hope to be running "Phase Two" later this year, which will focus on Black-owned newspapers, and newspapers about the Carribean.
Grant proposal for Phase 2 (a good overview of the past and future efforts)
The home for the English Wikipedia effort is WikiProject Newspapers
- another volunteer: Is this English language focused only?
- Pete Forsyth: As of now, it is based in the North American communities
- Antanana: It would be great if the project can be documented well and lessons learned, so that there can be replication of the project across other communities.
- Pete Forsyth: I want to especially thank whoever it was who suggested starting a page on Meta Wiki. This should have been obvious to me, but for some reason none of us had considered it prior to now. It will also help us simplify the structure of the English Wikipedia page, which has become a bit cluttered; it will make more sense to have a set of pages on Meta, and another set on EnWp. Excellent feedback, and I didn't even catch who said it! (it was antanana/Nat.)
- (following the conversation during this Wikimedia Clinic, a page was created on Meta Wiki to begin expanding the project to cover other countries and languages.)
Topic 5: Universal Code of Conduct Drafting committee - call for volunteers
Presentation of topic
Contact Christel (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details. The project is documented on Meta, in the link above.
- Volunteer: How would the difference of opinion regarding sex, gender and race be managed and engagement be made constructive?
- CSteigenberger (WMF): We are looking for a diverse set of volunteers for the committee. Yes, people from North America as well. :) Empathy and an open mindset are important skills/prerequisits we are looking for. We are also thinking about people and methods of disruption that may seek to disrupt the UCoC, and we are working on creating methods to counter such disruptions.
Topic 6: Education Office Hours
User:SPatnaik (WMF) mentioned WMF Education team office hours (June 25th 2020). Their topic: What are the education related projects that the Wikimedia communities are engaged in, and what is their impact. New project updates will also be provided.
Topic 7: Ukrainian education program
Presentation of topic
Antanana: Wikimedia Ukraine held a contest "Wikipedia for School" aimed at teachers on topics related to school curriculum from November 2019-January 2020. It was done as a pilot, so only 7 subjects were chosen. The biggest and most important part of work was to have the lists of articles (for creation and improvement), so we concentrated only on those 7 subjects we found volunteers (teachers) to create.
This contest required participants to register in a Google form (to provide a bit more date, so we can engage them later in our outreach activities in their regions, invite to wikitrainings etc, or provide help on-wiki, if they run into any troubles or are newbies). They also needed to register for an online course at outreach dashboard, for example, here is a course for Foreign Literature.
We had 75 participants registered, 230 articles improved or created.
As we wanted them to not only write articles, we hosted online discussions among them during our first ever online awards ceremony. And we plan to have another such contest this autumn (October-November).
- User:SPatnaik (WMF): Our collaboration with the Wikidata project can provide more insights into the quality and the composition of the articles of this project. Would also love to put this project in the next Education newsletter
Topic 8: Commons App
Presentation of topic
- Volunteer: It may be good to seek possible collaboration with the Wikipedia Pages Wanting Photos project.
- Asaf (WMF): The concern of people accidentally uploading their location in EXIF data sounds like something to consider in the upload flow in the app.
- Volunteer: There are requests that will make the app more useful for the volunteers working with the GLAM sector
- Volunteer: you should consider applying for a Project Grant as this kind of app might interest the foundation.
- app volunteer: Yes, the app development team is already a Project Grant grantee. latest Grant proposal
- Volunteer: the possible collaboration with WPWP might be brought up in the context of a future grant application too.
- The Wikipedia app has a feature that enables the users of the app to do micro contributions. This is the feature's documentation.
Topic 9: Feedback on the Wikimedia Clinic program
- volunteer: Can we request topics before hand?
- Asaf (WMF): We were expecting these calls would be a place to bring up specific problems, questions, and requests for feedback on people's minds. We worried setting topics in advance would make people feel other topics were not welcome. Also, this call does not replace any of the exisiting channels that have set topics, but seeks to be an informal channel to accommodate any and all topics, including those that don't have dedicated channels.
However, we are thinking of maybe making an optional sign-up in advance to a call, so people can choose whether to attend based on expected topics, while still devoting at least part of the call to welcome any spontaneous topics people bring with them.