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Wikimedia Conference 2011/Documentation/Common Project I: 10 years Wikipedia

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Commons Project I: 10 years Wikipedia[edit]

Introduction: Catrin Schoneville (WMDE)
Presentation: Sebastian Sooth (WMDE)
Description: A presentation of ideas and plans on extending the Wikipedia 10 celebrations.


  • The tenth birthday surely generated good press throughout the world. Catrin Schoneville is responsible for press relations, publications, the WMDE-website.
  • press coverage in January: more than 120 articles in print or online papers, about 30 radio broadcasts, prime time news coverage etc.
  • The interest was not surprising, but the feedback. What we emphasized was author portraits. The press took the chance to interview Wikipedians about how they work and why they take these efforts.
  • "Unfortunately", Wikipedia was founded in January, so how to keep the birthday year running? We have a number of ideas, eg:
    • Wikipedia - the tenth anniversary book: a compilation of author content, critics' and journalists' voices.
      • The book will be published by a big German publisher - under free license. We are in talks about an online version within six months after publication.

But there are more plans:

A campaign to be discussed[edit]

  • Wikipedia applies for UNESCO World Heritage. Wikipedia is a pioneer of the digital era and has taken the age old idea of sharing free knowledge into this new area. We want Wikipedia to be the first digital cultural heritage site.
  • WMDE wants to start a debate on what world heritage means and on the cultural role of Wikipedia for society.
  • The goal is to get as many people as possible to sign a respective petition.
    • Jimmy Wales promised support of the campaign.

Short Overview[edit]

There are many people using Wikipedia. Wikipedia is being taken for granted. What we want is to get people to support a movement, not just be there for a couple of edits.

  • There will be a petition on our website.
  • What we are expecting: We want people to openly voice their support. But we also want criticism to be openly displayed. We want to discuss.
  • We will take a new aproach to the application process for the UNESCO World Heritage. The standard application takes years to be completed. That's why we push the idea of a petition forward.
    • Right now, Wikipedia already fulfils 3+ criteria of the UNESCO catalogue.

The core idea[edit]

  • Wikipedia would be a first on the UNESCO list. This could open the possibility of an unprecedented approach to the UNESCO.
  • Everything on the list, so far, is referencing a community that want their particulary items to be preserved. So does Wikipedia. This is an exceptionally large community.
  • first steps
    • Logo
    • Website
    • Petition
  • second steps
    • acts and events
    • petition to UNESCO


Q: Is there a minimum number of petition signers, that UNESCO just cannot ignore?
A: No, there isn't.

Q (Australia): This is a great idea! Who is in charge of pushing this forward?
A: We would love you to support us in the process. This is just a start. In Germany we are working with an 
international agency (service is for free!), so maybe other chapters could get similar support in other countries. 

Q (Australia): Intangible Cultural Heritage seems to be the category suited best for the purpose. However, the World Cultural 
Heritage is not just a logo you put on a building. Would the label mean that WMF couldn't change the MediaWiki, for example? In 
other words, what about legal obligations?
A: It's not us, that need to meet these obligations. We would be there for support.

Q: Would there be restrictions on what Wikipedia could do?
A (Austria): The worst case is that the status is being taken away-

Q: What about the approach? All chapters should apply for WCH in their countries and together with their government 
organizations should push this forward to the UNESCO?
A: Absolutely.
A (WMDE):   This not something that UNESCO has experience with. But that is not our problem. If UNESCO is not able to recognise 
Wikipedia as what it is, this is not our problem. Secondly, we want to get into a cultural dialogue. Wikipedia is not a website. 
It is more. We want to evoke reactions, whatever direction. We need controversy to get people engaged in a this cultural 
discussion. This idea is perfectly suited to trigger exactly this process. However, lets focus on the debate instead of the process.

Thirdly, Wikipedians tend to underestimate the encyclopedia and how great a contribution it is for people all over the world.
A (Poland): Indeed.

Q: It could be done like this: chapters could apply seperately and then jointly.

* Just a few words about the next steps: We will set up a mailing lists. We are working on a website (''see above''). 
Jimmy Wales is back in May. We are planning events with other communities, a presentation at the re:publica, ...

Q: Are there any particular goals WMDE is having in mind? Or is it exclusively about the debate?
A: Increasing contribution would be great. But no, it is about the general debate. The ten year birthday is a perfect moment to 
pause and reflect and start off in new (bold) directions.

* Maybe increased donations could result, but this not our 
Q: First, how did the idea come up? Secondly, the editor trend is going down. Maybe this campaign could positively impact the trend?
A: Our intention was to keep the jubilee up all year. Hopw to? We had different ideas. like driving buses through towns and meet up with people. We skipped that and went further, creatively.

Q (Poland): This is a lobbying thing. If we take the time, maybe UNESCO will listen to us.
A: Well, it's 2011. Even the UNESCO is facing new times, and they know that themselves.

* We are not afraid that UNESCO denies the request. There is a good chance that they'll like the idea. Let's just hope they don't 
embrace the thing before the public discussion has fully developped.