Wikimedia Deutschland/Plan 2021/Was wir machen/en

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Strategies Goals & Objectives What we do Budget 2021 Semiannual Report 2021

Here we present our work in more detail in order to make the programmatic work of Wikimedia Deutschland more transparent and tangible.


In the spirit of the international strategic direction of our Movement, when we talk about volunteers we are talking about people who have not yet found access to Wikipedia and Co. as well as those in existing communities. Without their work these projects would not exist. In German-speaking countries alone, several thousand volunteers regularly edit Wikipedia. Many, on the other hand, cannot imagine that even after 20 years there is no central editorial office, that everything can be changed by everyone - and that Wikipedia is nevertheless one of the most important and trustworthy sources of information on the Internet today. Especially the start is difficult for many people: How to find things in need for correcting? Can I simply edit it? How can I edit it? Together with the volunteers, we offer help to get started and invite people to participate where we can reach out to them: in social networks, via e-mailings or banners in Wikipedia. Nevertheless, for many people the real challenge begins afterwards: An user account is quickly set up, but with all the possibilities, rules and practices, many newcomers find it difficult to find their way around. We offer practical help, tutorials, support - in cooperation with the many existing volunteers. We call this onboarding.

The engagement in Wikipedia & Co. does not consist in writing encyclopedic articles only. The volunteers plan joint projects, launch online competitions or explain to public institutions how they can make knowledge freely available. We support them with our funding programs and by developing cooperations with museums and archives. In addition, we work in partnership with volunteers at local community spaces in six German cities or at major events such as WikiCon.

Whether online or offline: Everyone should be able to participate. We work together to ensure that everyone feels welcome and secure in the projects and at events. We make groups that have been underrepresented so far aware of funding opportunities.

Cooperation with the communities[edit]


Without the work of the volunteers in Wikipedia & Co. these projects would not exist. They do not only create and maintain content, but also search for new sources, plan joint projects to create and distribute free content, launch competitions and explain to public institutions how they can be part of the Wiki world. We support them by covering travel expenses, room rent, literature procurement, technology loan or insurance, for example. Every year we award hundreds of such fundings and continue to develop them further. In addition, we take the initiative ourselves to inform underrepresented groups about our funding opportunities and to support volunteers in their specific interests even better.

Technical Wishes[edit]

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With the Technical Wishes project we are improving MediaWiki, the software behind Wikipedia and its sister projects, to make the volunteers' work easier. Central to this is the cooperation with the Wikimedia communities. Since 2019 we have been working on topics chosen by the German-speaking community. The main topics chosen in 2019 and 2020, "Working Easier with Templates" and "Better Support for Geoinformation" will continue to occupy us. Additionally, we will evaluate the new working mode and decide how to deal with the remaining projects on the previous wishlist.

Care and online communication culture[edit]

Where things are created together, all participants must feel safe and welcome. Wikimedia communities are no exception. With externally accompanied workshops or communication trainings, we help volunteers who want to create a respectful and inclusive climate, especially in Wikipedia. If we are (co-)organizers, we work to ensure that well-informed volunteers can take responsibility for safe, inclusive and inviting events.

Local community spaces[edit]

Wikipedia and Co. can not only be used on the net, but also experienced live! In Berlin, Fürth, Hamburg, Hannover, Cologne and Munich there are rooms on site. There, volunteers open their doors, work on joint projects and gladly explain the Wiki world to guests. We finance these rooms and advise the local groups on their projects.



Many people who improve Wikipedia or other projects in their spare time also meet beyond the screens. The largest meeting in the German-speaking world is WikiCon. There, hundreds of people come together to discuss their favorite topics, plan joint activities and feel like part of a community. Every year we support the organization, logistics and implementation of WikiCon.

Attracting new volunteers[edit]

Wikipedia Campaigns[edit]

Everyone can join Wikipedia, but does everyone know that? And do they know how? In German-speaking countries, a few thousand volunteers regularly improve Wikipedia. Many, on the other hand, cannot imagine that even after 20 years there is no central editorial office, everything can be changed - and that it works. Especially the beginning is difficult for many curious people: How can I find something to be improved? Can I do that by my own? How can I do that? Because Wikipedia always needs new blood, we invite people to participate with campaigns where we can best reach them: in social networks, via e-mailings or via banners in Wikipedia.

Wikipedia Onboarding[edit]

With many platforms and providers on the net, the advertising for new users ends successfully when an account is created or a newsletter is subscribed. With Wikipedia it is different. Here the challenge for many people begins afterwards: An account is quickly created, but with all the possibilities, rules and practices, many newcomers find it difficult to find their way around. Many people who would like to contribute to Wikipedia lose heart if they can't find an approach for their contributions or if something doesn't work. In cooperation with many volunteers we offer tools, tutorials, support.


For 8 years now we at Wikimedia Germany have successfully developed the Wikidata project. In the beginning there was the idea to better link the different Wikimedia projects and to make it easier for them to exchange content with each other. In the meantime Wikidata has developed into a strong and successful platform for structured data and an important foundation of the movement for Free Knowledge. Since 2019, we have been developing the Wikibase software, part of an ecosystem that allows partners and institutions to make their knowledge and data accessible to all.

Wikidata [edit]



Wikidata is a free, collaboratively created database of structured data. In 2012 we started the project at Wikimedia Germany, in 2020 it celebrated its 8th birthday. During this time, both the amount of data and its subsequent use have increased significantly. We support the Wikidata community to improve data quality in order to provide a trustworthy knowledge base for the Wikimedia projects and the world. We continue to work on stabilizing and scaling the technical basis of Wikidata. In 2021, we are placing a special focus on the expansion of data and the development of the community in terms of linguistic and cultural diversity to better reflect the diversity of the world's knowledge.


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WikidataCon is the biennial conference of the Wikidata community. It is the place where Wikidata editors and users, Wikibase and Wikidata partners and members of the Free Knowledge Ecosystem come together to exchange ideas, present their projects, and expand and strengthen the community. With all physical events cancelled in 2020, it is more important than ever to stay in touch with our community and partners. In 2021 we will again offer a program that will give both new and experienced members of the community space for self-organized discussions and bring together community and partner organizations. The event will be distributed around the world and will be locally organized with our support. The sessions will be accessible online for everyone.

Wikibase ecosystem [edit]

Wikibase ecosystem[edit]

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Wikibase, the software behind our Wikidata project, is used by more and more projects and institutions. The resulting ecosystem gives Wikimedia a strong lever to increase the sum of all freely available knowledge. We have already started to establish closer links between the Wikidata ontology and external Wikibase instances in 2020 to strengthen Wikidata's role as a central hub in the Wikibase ecosystem, and will continue this work in 2021. We support organizations in using Wikibase in their projects so that their data can benefit Wikimedia projects and partners. We want to make it easier to create and maintain Wikibase instances to allow more users to access it.

Innovation engine[edit]

UNLOCK Accelerator[edit]

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Wikipedia, Wikidata and other Wikimedia projects have set in motion a massive movement for Free Knowledge in recent years. The UNLOCK Accelerator is intended to further drive this movement, to set new impulses, to promote new ideas and also to activate new target groups. UNLOCK is a structured three-month innovation program which supports selected teams to validate their ideas and develop a first minimal working version. Project teams from the online and offline worlds are eligible to apply: from technical interfaces to better network knowledge from different sources, to projects that promote a culture of discussion on the Net or build digital literacies, to those that ensure a fair exchange of knowledge apart from the Internet. The program is open to volunteers from existing Wikimedia projects, but also to those who are not yet part of the Wikimedia movement.

Conditions for Free Knowledge

The free exchange of knowledge is ensured not only by contemporary copyright law, but also by freedom of opinion and information, freedom of art and science, and protection from surveillance. This is why we are committed in Germany and internationally to ensuring that freedom rights in the digital world are upheld. Trade agreements also have a strong influence on intellectual property issues, i.e. on creative services and free continued use on the Internet, and increasingly also on further network-related regulation. In initiating and formulating such agreements, we work together with other civil society organizations to help shaping international rules.

We demand: what is financed with public money should also be a public good. This ranges from publicly funded research and public service broadcasting content to the public domain holdings of state-funded museums and much more. We encourage, educate and advise institutions to strengthen this attitude. In addition, we support the practical work of people whose job it is to share knowledge, whether in educational, cultural or scientific institutions. We advocate free teaching and learning materials so that education in Germany becomes more open. In the field of science, our Fellow Program supports scientists who learn to open up various aspects of their work to others and to pass on this knowledge. We work together with cultural and memorial institutions to make underrepresented perspectives freely available.

Political frameworks[edit]

Freedom rights in the digital world[edit]

When Wikimedia speaks about freedom, it ultimately means the freedom of all people to develop themselves. Since knowledge is passed on by means of modern media carriers, we have always been strongly involved in copyright policy. But the free exchange of knowledge is also secured by rights of freedom such as freedom of opinion and information, freedom of art and science, and the protection of individuals from third-party surveillance. This is why we are lobbying politicians in Germany and Brussels to ensure that these freedoms are not disproportionately restricted in the digital world. We do this through position papers, statements, events and advice on, for example, the upcoming EU Digital Services Act.

Trade agreements and international organizations[edit]

Trade agreements at the international level have a strong influence on intellectual property issues, i.e. on creative services and free reuse on the Internet, and increasingly also on further network-related regulation. So far, civil society organizations have often been left out in the initiation and formulation of such agreements. Even Wikimedia alone is not a voice that is heard on trade issues. That is why we work together with other civil society organizations to use our expertise to make our voice heard in the shaping of international rules.

Public money - public good[edit]

What is financed with public money is also public good. Or should be in our opinion. This includes publicly financed research and software as well as content from public broadcasting, state-financed museums, etc. Many such institutions are setting an example and making their collections and other products freely available in digital form. We encourage, educate and advise in order to strengthen this attitude. Our tools range from confidential discussions to public campaigns.

Institutional Practise [edit]

Coding da Vinci[edit]

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Coding da Vinci is a hackathon that demonstrates the creative potential of open cultural data. So far, around 2,000 participants have developed almost 140 digital cultural applications such as websites, apps or VR installations. The nearly 200 cultural institutions involved have been able to gain as much experience as they have in opening up their digital collections and working with volunteers.

Open Science Fellows Program[edit]

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Although scientific research is largely publicly funded, many people do not have access to it. With the Fellow Program we are committed to free knowledge in science. We support a network of scientists and scholars who learn to open up and reuse different aspects of their work for others and to pass on this knowledge to others. One focus of the Fellows in the program is the examination of the justice of knowledge.

Free and open education[edit]

The way we learn has been the central question in education even before Corona times. It is not solved with electronic whiteboards or the number of computers per school. We see ourselves as part of the community around free teaching and learning materials and have, among other things, promoted the development of the "We Learn Online" platform together with partners. In addition, we organize expert circles with practitioners, representatives from politics and education activists, for example in the Forum Open Education or the Alliance for Free Education, so that education in Germany becomes more open.

Marginalized knowledge[edit]

Power also plays a role in open, collaborative projects like Wikipedia. What is depicted is what is accessible and provable, and what appears relevant. Not all knowledge can be found in the available sources of the last centuries. Archives, museums, media and research have always been and still act in the context of their respective cultures. And so, in Wikipedia, too, groups of people, contemporary testimonies, languages and events are only as represented as in the history around them. We work together with professional communities such as teachers, researchers or cultural and memory institutions as well as with existing Wikipedia/-media communities to make underrepresented perspectives on the world more accessible. In doing so, we use events, information materials and personal consultations.