Wikimedia Community User Group Turkey/Reports/2020
The 2,5 years of block of access to Wikipedia in Turkey was lifted on January 15th 2020, on the birthday of Wikipedia. The wikipedians in Turkey were so happy to finally have free access to their favourite web site and in 2020 neither pandemic, nor any disaster could stop the user group organizing events and training, building partnerships much more than ever before.
A series of presentations and trainings in universities have started in two weeks right after the lifting of the block. The first edit-a-thon in the year was organized one month after the lifting of the block in Istanbul and was about editing articles on free software movement. It was followed by organising one thematic edit-a-thon organised in partnership with a different organisation every month.
Beginning in June, the activities continued under the "Reintroducing Wikipedia To Turkey" project funded by WMF. The project included the continuation of the training sessions in the universities, organising local-editor meetings and introducing Wikipedia to GLAM institutions. Another important development regarding the user group was the decision to form a registered non-profit to support the user group activities; and this was completed in July with the initiative of 7 members.
The first Wiki Loves contest in Turkey was also organised during the year: Wiki Loves Earth- Turkey. The number of photos uploaded during the contest reached 3649. According to us, this was because Turkish internet users saw this contest as an opportunity to demonstrate how they also are willing to share their knowledge and skills with the world.
Despite many uncertainties and difficulties experienced because the pandemic, achieving to organise so many activities, and building relations with so many contacts was also a sign of a warm welcome to Wikipedia.
Spring term: Presentations at universities
Once the Wikipedia block was lifted on January 15th, our group members started to visit university campuses to make presentations about Wikipedia, other Wikimedia projects and open culture. Before the spring term ends, we visited universities in 4 cities: Ankara, Istanbul, Bursa, Çankırı. Those presentations were the first activities right after the lifting of the block. In the fall term, our activities in the universities continued under "Reintroducing Wikipedia to Turkey" project.
- January 29 - TOBB University, Ankara
- January 30- Başkent University Winter School, Ankara
- March 25- Başkent Unviersity (Gender Studies), Ankara
- April 1- Uludag University (Social Psychology), Bursa
- April 21& 26-Karatekin University, Çankırı
Over the past year, edit-a-thons organised in partnership with other organisations were one of the most important type of activity for the group. In the first one hosted by the Free Software Association' in Istanbul, the participants contributed to Turkish Wikipedia by improving or creating articles about free software and free software movement.
The next one was the Art&Feminism edit-a-thon in March, just as the art&feminism edit-a-thons of the years before the Wikipedia block, we got together at the Women's Library and Information Centre Foundation, Istanbul. This event received very good media coverage and was important at making the user group visible for the general public. Unfortunately, it was the last in-person edit-a-thon before the global pandemic began.
The third edit-a-thon was also planned in Istanbul, but we turned it to an online event and on the International Jazz Day, 43 new contributors came together with the partnership of Istanbul Jazz Festival for improving the articles about Turkish jazz musicians . The event got good coverage on media and brought us another partner: IMECE youth platform. So, next month on the National Youth Day, we met with 25 young volunteers, to write about social entrepreneurship. Our partnership continued during the year with Digital Transformation edit-a-thon and Sustainable Development Goals edit-a-thon where UNDP Turkey representaitve also particpiated.
On the other hand, with the initiative of a group member another series of edit-a-thons began under "Women in Red Online Edit-a-Thons" title. The first one was on women movie directors and members of Filmmor Women's Cooperative were invited. Another one was about Istanbul Convention and participants also contributed to articles on domestic violence, dating violence, psychological abuse.
In October, we were invited to organize another edit-a-thon as a part of international online conference on gender issues hosted by Sabancı University, Istanbul (GEARING Roles Conference). With the support of Wikimedians from CEE region, in addition to Turkish language session, parallel sesions for international participants were also organised. We are so much thankful for their help.
Lastly, we had Women Geographers edit-a-thon in partnership with Open Street Map Turkey volunteers. This gave us an opportunity to celebrate geography awareness week together.
- February 16- Free Software edit-thon, İstanbul
- March 7 - Art&Feminism, İstanbul
- April 30- International Jazz Day edit-a-thon, online
- May 19 - Social Entrepreneurship edit-a-thon, online.
- June 1- Women movie directors, online
- July 13- Istanbul Convention, online
- October 3- Digital Transformation, online
- October 19- Gearing-Roles edit-a-thon, online
- November 15- Sustainable Development Goals, online
- November 19- Women Geographers, online
- Organized the local competition for Vikibahar 2020 Wikimedia CEE Spring between March 23 - May 31.
- Organized the local competition for Turkic Marathon contest between June 1 - 30.
Wiki Loves Earth Turkey
The first Wiki Loves contest ever organized in Turkey was in 2020: Wiki Loves Earth Turkey 2020. The contest received very good coverage in the media. 943 users uploaded 3648 photos. Those numbers were much higher than our modest expectations at the beginning. The organisation team interpreted those numbers as warm welcome to Wikipedia from people of Turkey.
Reintroducing Wikipedia to Turkey
Our group realized several activities for lifting any associations between Wikipedia name and "smear campaign against Turkey" in the minds of the public with the project grant received from WMF for the first time. The project called "Reintroducing Wikipedia to Turkey" and included 4 types of activities:
- Building a non-profit organisation registered by the Ministery of Internal Affairs to support user group activities
- Starting Wikipedia Education Program in universities accros Turkey
- Introducing Wikipedia to major GLAM institutions in Turkey
- Organising local editor community meetings to strenghten them.
Getting Non-profit Status
- During Summer of 2020, the major focus of the project team was on completing the bureaucratic works related to establishment of a non-profit organisation. The pandemic has slowed down the process a lot. Finally, seven members founded a new association called Dijital Bilgi Derneği (Digital Knowledge Association) based in Istanbul. (Web site: Dijital Bilgi Derneği)
Wikipedia Education Program
In the summer the organisation team was also busy with searching new contacts in universities across the country in order to encourage the academicians to integrate the practise of editing the Wikimedia project in their courses. Because of the pandemic there were changes at the academic calendar and the instructors did not know the calendar, as well as the method of the lessons (offline or online, synchronized vs asynchronous). Therefore they were hesitating to add something new into their courses but after universities were open and everybody started to adopt online lessons better; we have visited courses in which students were assigned Wikipedia editing and explained the pillars of Wikipedia.
- October 19- Uludağ University Department of Environmental Engineering Doctorate Program, Bursa
- October 20- Uludağ University Department of Environmental Engineering Graduate Program, Bursa
- October 22- Hacettepe University Librarian Education Department, Ankara (online)
- October 28- Uludağ University Pyschology Department undergraduate Program, Bursa (online)
- November 13- Kadir Has University Core Program Turkish lesson students, İstanbul (online)
- November 17- Uludag University Psychology Department Doctorate Program, Bursa (online)
- November 18- Yeditepe University Public Administration Department, İstanbul (online)
- December 2- İstanbul Ticaret University, Public Relations Departmetn, İstanbul (online)
- December 2- Ege University Psychology Students Club (online)
- December 10- Bilgi University, Communications Faculty, İstanbul (online)
Building GLAM Partnerships
The project involved contacting potential GLAM partners for introducing partnership opportunities and starting building a partnership relation. The wikipedians and the suggestions about ways of collaborating were welcomed warmly almost everywhere. We saw that despite the general positive approach to the idea of collaborating with wikipedians and supporting Wikimedia projects, there was some hesitation in actually starting to implement those suggestions; organisations wanted to have some cases where a similar partnership were made with similar institutions in Turkey.
Some of the GLAM Talks made were the following
- Pera Museum, İstanbul. The museum replaced the Wikipedia QR Codes that were placed by the paintings of Orientalist Paintings Collection after our partnership in 2016 but removed during the Wikipedia block. This had a symbolic value for "reintroducing Wikipedia to Turkey. Museum officials shared the scheduled temporary exhibitions of the next year and we discussed what kind of activities could be made for developing the content in Turkish wikipedia related to the theme of those exhibitions and how to get image donations from the artists with the help of the museum.
- Library of Goethe Institute, İstanbul. The librarians in this library have supported our community during the block by joining our online meetings. After the lifting of the block wikipedians have visited the library and discussed how wikipedins could use the source of the library more effectively and also how we could support the online activities of the library since it was closed to the public because of the pandemic.
- Istanbul Metropolitan Municipalities (IBB): After the increasing visibility of the user group on media particularly with the WLE Turkey contest, the Digital Media Department of IBB reached us. Istanbul municipality and its affiliates have very important libraries, museums and archives under their management; we have discussed how they could guide us in building relations with, organizing events and getting media and data donations from the departments and affiliates of the municipality. Upon their request, we have visited the department in person and gave training to department personnel training on editing wikimedia projects.
- Nilufer, Kuşadası and Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipalities. In addition to Istanbul Municipality, we had introduced GLAM Partnership opportunities to those three municipalities all in different cities (Bursa, Aydın and Kocaeli). Upon the request, we made Wikimedia projects training for the personnel of related departments at Kocaeli like we did in Istanbul. We started to work on making an edit-a-thon at SEKA Documentation Center, Kocaeli; and making a wiki-project "Nilüfer'in Köyleri" (Villages of Nilüfer) by using the documentation made available by Nilüfer Municipality
- Turkish Language Association. Our talk with the officials of Turkish Language Association (TDK), the official regulatory body of the Turkish language, was very positive. We agreed to first work on giving training on editing wikimedia projects to the scholarship trainees of the institution and then organize edit-a-thons on themes related to Turkish literature and language with the help of those trаinees. We also agreed on backing each other in building network for supporting open culture where as TDK has access to contacts in state instutions and our usergroup have contacts with like-minded non-profits.
Local Editor Meetings
During the year, the group wanted to strengthen communication in local editor communities by organising local meetups in different cities. Since the pandemic does not allow such physical meetups, regular online meetings where community members from different places could join were organised. Different formats were tried: informal chat and information-sharing; presentation by a community member for skill development; more structured meeting with invited guests and prize ceremony for wiki contest; meetings with the participation of potential partners. Meeting notes of each meeting is available here (in Turkish). WikiTuesday Meetings