Wikimedia Clinics/011

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Wikimedia Clinic call #011 - October 20th 2020

(Attendance: 4 staff; ~8 volunteers)

Topic 1: Strategy[edit]

Slides (in Russian) from the scheduled segment on Strategy Prioritization

Kaarel Vaidla (WMF): We are now in the Prioritization phase of the Strategy process. Here are the Strategy Recommendations (as well as in Russian) and a single-page summary. There will now be a series of Prioritization events around the world. Such events have already taken place in Arabic and in French, and can be held in Russian as well.

The results of these events will be reviewed in December and follow-up events may be held to further refine the priorities. The priorities will feed into planning for 2021 and beyond.


a branding proposal from DrBug and Niklitov

Niklitov: What are the news about the Brand project? Two of us have come up with a branding proposal.

Kaarel: The board of the Wikimedia foundation put this project on hold and will resume next year, after changes to the project are made.

Volunteer: We also have some interaction proposals:

  • use wiki banners to draw attention to the strategy events
    • Kaarel: yes. The page Wikimedia 2030 is designed as a landing page for people new to the process, including from banners.
  • bring regional initiatives to the inter-regional level, for example, competitions.
    • Kaarel: We moved in the opposite direction: from global events to regional and local. We decided to do local ones first: for example, CEE Talks, discussions in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) network.
  • We suggest adapting the annual reporting of the Foundation and chapters to the GRI and IR standards in line with the UN Global Strategy for Sustainable Development. Then our reports can participate in competitions and attract new editors, sponsors and partners.

Topic 2: Wikicite[edit]

  • Amir (WMF): The online conference on WikiCite is coming up, October 26-28. It feels as though most of the work is done by people with a very academic approach, but the opinions of people who use citation templates on-wiki, as well as template developers, are not heard enough. Please consider participating in Wikicite.
  • volunteer: What kind of entity is WikiCite? Is it a team in the Foundation, or just a conference that meets?
    • Amir: It is described on Meta. So far, a community of practice and a couple of conferences. But it may become a new project in the foreseeable future. So far there has been a lot of discussion about how to create the database of citations, but practically no discussion of methods integration, i.e. how the database would be used on other wikis. Quite a lot has been modeled on Wikidata, but some editors find it inconvenient. See also the WikiCite telegram group.
    • volunteer: Everyone can just discuss something, but there is no implementation. Sources are the backbone of Wikipedia. The issue is not being resolved by the Foundation.
    • Amir: yes, it is clear why there is such an impression, but most likely in the coming year there would be progress.
  • volunteer: a tool like Ido's MARC-to-Wikidata importer seems relevant.
  • volunteer: Will Wikicite involve Abstract Wikipedia and Reasonator?
    • Amir: yes, it is very likely that both Reasonator and Abstract Wikipedia would make use of any implementation Wikicite eventually develops.
  • volunteer: The Russian Federation created a state online library. Wikimedia Russia discussed with that library two potential projects: 1. Very few people use that online library. Wikipedia has been citing many titles that do appear in that library, but doesn't link to the newly-online resources yet. Is it possible to make some kind of bot that can do this? 2. A catalog of the online library - about 50 million books (worldwide 300 million books).
    • Amir: This is definitely relevant to WikiCite. In English Wikipedia, the template Cite Q encapsulates the reference to the Wikidata item. There are different suggestions for how to do this. It is certainly possible to write a bot to do the markup once the method is decided.
  • volunteer: how does the button work in Visual Editor?
    • Amir: Using Zotero. On the Wikipedia side, this is called the Citoid service.

Topic 3: Events[edit]

  • Volunteer: We recommend holding online events on professional platforms designed for online events, such as [1].
    • Amir Aharoni (WMF): thank you, we will relay this to the WMF Events team for consideration.
  • Volunteer: When we are going to hold Wikimedia events, can we combine them with other events? For example, our awards ceremonies: the Wiki Prize on the All-Science forum, or what we are planning - the World Plowing Championship.
  • Volunteer: Will there be a GLAM conference this year?
    • Asaf Bartov (WMF): Certainly no in-person event is planned. I am not aware of a planned online event, but I recommend contacting the Foundation's GLAM team to see if anything is planned. There are at least office hours scheduled.

Topic 4: Abstract Wikipedia[edit]

  • volunteer: Tell us something about Abstract Wikipedia.
    • Amir: So far the main focus is the wiki of functions, working title "Wikilambda". There is a vote about what to name it going on. Functions will be stored on this site; it is yet to be determined in what progamming language[s] they would be written, but the main task of these functions would be to get data from Wikidata and generate full sentences and paragraphs in natural human languages.
  • volunteer: why can this not be done within the framework of Wikipedia? And how is it different from Reasonator?
    • Asaf: Yes, it will be doing the same kind of thing as Reasonator, but: 1.with the generation logic (not just the strings) customizable per language; 2.** saved to a database**, not just generated on-the-fly; and therefore 3. indexed by search engines, so discoverable by our readers (which Reasonator is not). 4. with some tooling for merging or interweaving machine generated content with human-curated content (for example, a single section to be generated and kept up-to-date by Abstract Wikipedia, in an otherwise human-curated article).
  • volunteer: Would Wikipedia in different languages in fact become unnecessary?
    • Amir: not at all! The need will not disappear. Abstract Wikipedia will be smart, but not that smart. First, the main goal and the main potential impact is smaller languages, where a lot of content that AW could generate is unlikely to be written by humans in the foreseeable future.
    • Asaf: Also, there is a limit to the complexity of knowledge we can model in Wikidata. It is relatively easy to imagine how to generate a stub about a village from its Wikidata item: coordinates, population, history of rulers, famous people born there, etc. But what Wikidata items and properties could ever generate a good narrative account of the rise of the Ming dynasty in China? Or explain the circle of fifths in music? So there are whole kinds of articles that will always require human intelligence to craft and synthesize.
  • Asaf: To everyone interested in Abstract Wikipedia, I recommend read the digest of Wikimedia Clinic #009, where Denny presented an introduction to the project and took a large number of questions. You'll also find there the links to discussion and news channels about AW.

Topic 5: Additional proposals by members of Wikimedia Russia[edit]

  • Commons could support additional file types, to increase the wealth of content we host. For example, the Global Astronomy Base FITS files. There is a Phabricator request about it since 2018.
  • Combine contests into one series with sub-contests and initiatives, for example, join the Wikipedia Asian Month to the the Wiki-Ural 2020 competition and the Uralic language contest 2019
  • Provide statistics for regions and countries, as distinct from languages - readers of a particular country
  • we would like to target specific cities in banners
  • volunteer: can advertising on social media be used?
    • Asaf: overall, paying for exposure on social media is not a good return on investment. But publicizing events and news on groups, channels, and pages on social media is certainly a good idea, and is used effectively by quite a few affiliates and communities around the world. Here are some learning patterns about effective use of social media in a Wikimedia context.

Topic 6: Wikimedia Clinics[edit]

  • volunteer: These Wikimedia Clinics - what's going on in the rest of the world?
    • Asaf: This is the 11th one, and the second one that isn't in English (after #006 which was entirely in Spanish). The Clinics page contains digests of all past calls, including an English version of the Spanish call digest.
  • volunteer: How often would this take place?
    • Asaf - we try to do it every 2 weeks, usually in English. If there is interest, then there may also be (less frequent) regular calls in Russian. But frankly, it does not seem to be of much interest to the Russophone communities: we notified and sent reminders on multiple channels, but relatively few volunteers are attending, and no Russophones from outside the Russian community (e.g. Bashkirs, Tatars, Georgians, etc.), so perhaps it is not as needed as we had thought.
      • volunteer: people were not very clear what it was, next time there would probably be more people.
  • Asaf: Can you offer some feedback on this call and the program format?
    • volunteer: the name is strange. Who invented it?
      • Asaf: I did. :) It is meant to sound like legal clinic, meaning a place where you can bring your legalWikimedia issues, whatever they are, without scheduling in advance, and get some help or at least be pointed in the right direction.
    • volunteer: consider naming it something else in Russian.
    • volunteer: next time, it would be good to identify topics and questions in advance. People didn't know what to expect.