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Waray Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

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The Waray Wikipedia Edit-a-thon was a day-long wiki editing event to improve the Waray Wikipedia and served as a follow-up to the very first Wikimedia event in the Eastern Visayas that was conducted last January 2013. The actual edit-a-thon was held at the Calbayog Convention Center, Calbayog City, Samar on November 22, 2014. The edit-a-thon was part of the 11th Maharlika Sunrise Festival. Wikimedia Philippines (WMPH) volunteers from Manila helped in assisting the participants on wiki editing. This event happened through the cooperation between the Sinirangan Bisaya Wikimedia Community, the Maharlika Artists and Writers Federation, and the Wikimedia Philippines. Funding came from the Wikimedia Philippines. Aside from the edit-a-thon, the project team had meetings with the University of the Philippines Tacloban College (UPVTC) and Global Voices. WMPH President Johnny Alegre who is also a musician performed on stage on the concert night after the edit-a-thon. The concert was part of the said festival.

Activities and lessons learned




Pre-event preparations

In September 2014, after the success of the Pangasinan Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, former Wikimedia Philippines (WMPH) Vice President Butch Bustria contacted the Sinirangan Bisaya Wikimedia community, through its coordinator Michael Glen U. Ong. They explored the possibility of an outreach project in Eastern Visayas. Under Butch’s guidance and encouragement, Michael contacted Johnny Alegre, President of WMPH, and proposed an edit-a-thon in the Eastern Visayas.
Butch facilitated the very first Wikimedia event in the Eastern Visayas last January 2013. The proposed edit-a-thon served as a follow-up on the first event. After series of communications, the date for the event was set on November 22-23, 2014. A project proposal was sent to the WMPH Board for its approval.
As agreed with the Sinirangan Bisaya Wikimedia community, there have been volunteers from Manila including Jojit Ballesteros who is also a veteran Wikipedian that helped in conducting the edit-a-thon since most of the expected participants are newbies. Michael Glen U. Ong became the Project Lead of the whole project. Jojit assisted Michael in preparing for the edit-a-thon. Since Jojit has experience in directing workshops and edit-a-thons, he also became Michael’s adviser for the event. Aside from Jojit, the other volunteers and part of the project team comprised Johnny Alegre and Bel Ballesteros.
The original plan was to have an edit-a-thon at the Northwest Samar State University (NwSSU) and present Wikimedia projects to the faculty, officials, and student leaders of the University of the Philippines Visayas Tacloban College (UPVTC) within the two days set in the proposal. Unfortunately, NwSSU declined the project team’s request to hold an edit-a-thon at their university, although, UPVTC welcomed the request for exploratory talks that was set on November 21, 2014. Michael sought other possible venues for the edit-a-thon. He was able to contact Aimee Villas Adalla, one of the organizers of the 11th Maharlika Sunrise Festival at Calbayog City and they agreed to give Wikimedia a slot at their event on November 22, 2014. The Maharlika Sunrise Festival is a gathering of artists all over the Philippines. Since Johnny Alegre is also a musical artist, he was set to perform at the festival on the night after the scheduled edit-a-thon.
After everything was settled, the final proposal for the project was formally approved by the WMPH Board of Trustees on November 3, 2014.
A few days before the edit-a-thon, Eddie Avila of Global Voices contacted Michael and requested for a teleconference. Global Voices is an international network of bloggers, translators, and citizen journalists and they are very much interested in the online works of Wikimedia. Since the WMPH President and other WMPH members would be together with Michael, the teleconference invitation was accepted and was set for November 23, 2014. Although this online meeting was not part of the project proposal, it became part of the project.

Actual events

UPVTC meeting
On November 21, 2014, Johnny, Jojit and Bel flew to Tacloban City. They were greeted by Michael at the Tacloban Airport and went straight ahead to UPVTC. The team arrived at around 4:30 pm at UPVTC. Prof. Joycie Alegre welcomed and introduced them to UPVTC Dean Dr. Anita Cular, the faculty, and students of the university. Dr. Victor Sugbo, a renowned literary artist, who is also a faculty member of UPVTC, attended the meeting. Bel Ballesteros served as the resource speaker for the presentation while the rest of the team assisted in answering questions from the audience. The setting was informal and the audience asked questions during the presentation.
Here are some of the points raised during the discussions:
  1. Their language should be referred to as "Waray" and it is neither "Waray-Waray" nor "Winaray."
  2. There is still no standard orthography for the Waray language.
  3. Dr. Sugbo raised the issue that some of his copyrighted works were being uploaded to Wikipedia without his permission. The project team assured him that any copyrighted works uploaded to any Wikimedia projects should and will be taken down.
  4. Dr. Sugbo also raised a concern about Wikipedia articles on biographies of some notable people who do not want their life stories to be known. He said that Wikipedia should ask permission from the said notable person before his or her biography can be published. The project team responded by mentioning that any person can have an article as long as the person passed the notability guideline of Wikipedia. In this regard, Wikipedians do not need to ask for permission from the said notable person. Nevertheless, the project team guaranteed that the community of editors exercise caution and include only material relevant to the person’s notability and avoid very personal biographies.
  5. Since Bel presented other Philippine-based languages Wikipedias, a faculty member who is an expert in Philippine languages pointed out that the Chavacano de Zamboanga Wikipedia should be referred to as Chavacano Wikipedia since the other two variants of Chavacano (Ermita and Cavite) were already extinct because there were no longer any speakers of that language in Ermita and Cavite.
After the presentation, Prof. Joycie Alegre was convinced that Wikipedia is a great project since it is a venue for exchanges of ideas as well as distribution of free knowledge. In this regard, Michael proposed to have an edit-a-thon in UPVTC in the future, and Prof. Alegre agreed to it. Michael will do the follow-up for that matter.
As a token of appreciation, WMPH gave UPVTC a Wikipedia Offline DVD that contains more than 40,000 stable articles. Prof. Alegre also received a USB wristband, which contains information about Wikimedia. After the meeting, Michael briefly toured Johnny, Jojit, and Bel around Tacloban City. The Tacloban leg of this project ended after Michael treated the whole project team to dinner in downtown Tacloban.
Wikipedia Edit-a-thon at Calbayog City
At around 8:30pm on November 21, 2014, the project team boarded a chartered passenger van going to Calbayog City, Samar. They arrived at the Almira Garden Hotel in Calbayog close to midnight.
On the morning of November 22, 2014, after eating breakfast, the project team went straight to Calbayog Convention Center, the venue of the Wikipedia Edit-a-thon.
Here are the highlights of the event:
9:30 am – Participants started to arrive
10:00 am – Michael Glen Ong delivered his opening remarks
10:30 am – Jojit Ballesteros gave his lecture about the basics of Wikipedia editing
(Note: Snacks were given while Jojit delivered his talk.)
12:00 pm – Lunch break
1:00 pm – Edit-a-thon started.
Instead of individual effort in editing articles, the edit-a-thon became a group effort because not all participants brought laptops. The participants were divided into groups of five to ensure that a group has a laptop. Since this is the first edit-a-thon for Waray Wikipedia, Michael Ong, one of the administrators for the said Wikipedia edition, was not very much strict in terms of the creation and editing of articles.
3:00 pm – Afternoon break
3:15 pm – Edit-a-thon resumed
4:30 pm – Edit-a-thon ended and Jojit began tallying the contributions of each group.
4:55 pm – Jojit announced the top group of editors
Group #1 who got the most number of characters edited won prizes. A special prize, a USB wristband, was given to Nemesio “Totoy” Baldesco for helping all the groups with their work.
5:00 pm – Johnny Alegre, Phil Harold Mercurio, and Michael Glen Ong gave the closing remarks.
5:15 pm – Event ended
During the talk of Jojit Ballesteros, there were also questions asked by the participants, and here are some of the points raised during the discussions:
  1. Locally, Waray-Waray means "nothing" and it should not refer either to the language or to the people. According to one of the participants, the term was popularized during the 1950s by Sylvia La Torre's song "Waray-Waray." Thus, it is just a recent terminology. Instead, the language should refer to as Sinirangan Bisaya. This conflicts with the stand of UPVTC, referring to the language as “Waray.” In addition, based on the participants, the meanings of words in Sinirangan Bisaya and Waray differ.
  2. Mr. Nemesio “Totoy” Baldesco, a renowned poet, asked if their work will be credited when they add content to Wikipedia. Jojit answered that all contributors in any given article will be attributed but since contributions are licensed free and there are numerous contributors in any given article, it is not practical to attribute (or credit) all contributors. When reusing content in Wikipedia, the link of the article must be indicated instead of listing down all contributors to that article. Jojit also added that the contributors of the Wikipedia article can be found on the “History” page of the article.
List of groups of participants of the Wikipedia Edit-a-thon at Calbayog City
The participants were divided into five groups to ensure that every group has at least a laptop because not all of them brought laptops. The usernames of the group leaders were the ones used for entering their contributions. There were five people in each group.
Group no. Username of group leader Contributions in characters Articles added and improved[1] Projects contributed[2] Notes
1 Kuia Joven 11,392 1 war.wp This group was not able to login when they saved their changes and their contributions were reflected through the IP address and the organizing team accepted their contributions.
2 Joana Lou Gallardo 6,304 1 war.wp
3 Berdine joy 3,286 1 war.wp
4 Nina Pia Boco 2,894 2 war.wp
5 Jeanvin 804 2 en.wp, war.wp

  1. ^ Essentially the total edit count. The project team did not document the articles contributed or improved.
  2. ^ Legend: en.wp = English Wikipedia; war.wp = Waray Wikipedia;

After the edit-a-thon, the project team went back to the hotel for dinner. At around 8:00 pm, Johnny performed at Nijaga Park, which is near the hotel where the project team stayed. The performance was part of the Maharlika Sunrise Festival. His first performance was a jamming session with local musicians and then he sang “The Rain Song,” a song by Absolute Zero, one of his associated acts.
Teleconference with Global Voices
At around 9:00 am on November 23, 2014, the project team contacted Eddie Avila of Global Voices through Skype at the lobby of the Almira Garden Hotel, Calbayog City. Here are some of the highlights of the said teleconference:
  1. Michael Ong discussed the projects of the Sinarangan Bisaya Wikimedia Community. He said that Wikimedia Philippines first visited the community in January 2013. He also said that the recently concluded visit at UPVTC and the Wikipedia Edit-a-thon in Calbayog City were both successful.
  2. Jojit Ballesteros discussed the other Philippine-based languages on Wikipedia. Eddie is very much interested in the Chavacano Wikipedia because he comes from Latin America.
  3. Eddie invited WMPH to the Global Voices Media Summit, which will be held in Cebu City in January 2015. He requested a representative from WMPH to participate in the panel discussion about Filipino Indigenous Languages in Citizen Media. Johnny said that he will discuss his request with the WMPH Board and let Eddie know if WMPH can send a representative.
The teleconference ended around 10:00 am and after the project team had their lunch, Michael went back home to Tacloban. The rest of the team left Calbayog City at 6:50 am the next day, November 24. There is only one Calbayog to Manila flight per day, and it leaves Calbayog Airport before 7:00 am.

Lessons learned

What worked well?
  1. Setting up a dialogue first with an organization or university will help establish future collaborations as in the case of the UPVTC meeting. The meeting also helped in gaining ideas and information from the UPVTC faculty and officials.
  2. During the edit-a-thon, everyone was able to collaborate and became familiar with wiki editing, especially the literary experts such as Totoy Baldesco who helped with grammar and correct usage of Waray words while other more technically inclined participants typed in their work in wiki syntax.
  3. This series of events helped in establishing partnerships with three organizations: UPVTC, Maharlika Sunrise Festival organizers, and Global Voices.
  4. The project team was flexible and able to change the process of the edit-a-thon after they learned that only a few people brought laptops. Instead of individual works, the participants were divided into groups. The project team was also able to find an alternative partner for the edit-a-thon.
What didn't work?
  1. The project team was not able to get Northwest Samar State University as the venue for the edit-a-thon which caused the delay in finalizing the project proposal. This could have been avoided if the project team ensures the final agreement from the partner organization.
  2. Not all participants brought laptops despite the announcement given to bring laptops.
  3. There were 43 people registered for the event but only 27 showed up. There was excess food because the lunch and snack meals were pre-ordered according to the number of registered participants. The excess could have been avoided if the project team counted the number of actual participants and volunteers first before ordering the food. Even with this, the food was not wasted because the participants were encouraged to eat as much as they could and the leftovers were served as dinner for the project team.
What would you do differently if you planned a similar project?
If we are going to plan a similar project, the project team suggests doing the edit-a-thon at a university or any venue that has a computer laboratory with reliable internet connection and multiple IP addresses. Advising the participants to bring laptops is not 100% guaranteed that everyone will bring their laptops and this may limit the participants to only those who can bring their laptops.

Learning patterns

Endorsement of two existing learning patterns
  1. Connectivity issues - During the edit-a-thon, there were connectivity issues because not all telecommunication broadband signals are working. Fortunately, the project team brought broadband devices that connect to all telecommunication companies with broadband services. It is also a good thing that some participants brought their own broadband devices. The connectivity issue was resolved because of the preparedness of the project team.
  2. Bringing your students to edit-a-thons – The project team was not able to get NwSSU as the venue for edit-a-thon but Phil Harold Mercurio, one of the Professors at NwSSU brought his students in the edit-a-thon and helped his students learn the basics of Wikipedia editing.

Outcomes and impact




The main goal of this project is to increase contributions to the Waray Wikipedia, which includes creating and editing articles. Aside from writing articles in the Waray Wikipedia, the participants may also add content to other Wikimedia projects such as, but not limited to, uploading pictures to Wikimedia Commons and enhancing Waray-related articles in other language versions of Wikipedia.

There were twenty-seven (27) persons who attended the event. During the actual edit-a-thon, only twenty-five (25) persons participated after they were grouped into five. This part of the goal was fully achieved. As for the number of characters contributed by the participants, it was not 100% achieved. Only 24,680 characters were contributed by the five groups. The target number of contributions is 30,000 characters and thus only 82% of the target was achieved. Nevertheless, the project team considers this a success because, despite the limited number of resources, the participants were able to contribute a significant number of characters to Wikipedia. As a whole, the project was successful because it did not only focus on the edit-a-thon but also on partnering with organizations that produced positive results.

This is how the project team knew about the number of characters contributed: Jojit Ballesteros, the facilitator of the event, has taken note of the usernames of each leader of the group. After the actual edit-a-thon, he counted all of the characters of each group through the “global edit summary” and the “recent changes” of each project that the participants have been through.

Progress towards targets and goals


Project metrics

Target outcome Achieved outcome Explanation
There should be 30,000 characters or equivalent to approximately 20 pages of printed text added in the Waray Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. There are more than 24,680 characters added in various Wikimedia projects. Only 82% of the target was achieved. This is because not all participants brought laptops, which was why they were grouped into five to ensure that every group has at least one laptop that the members can use. Despite that, the participants were able to contribute a significant number of valuable content to Wikipedia.
There should be at least 15 participants attended the event. Twenty seven (27) participants attended the event excluding the project team. Phil Harold Mercurio and the Maharlika Sunrise Festival organizers helped in bringing in participants for the edit-a-thon.

Global Metrics


For more information, see Global Metrics.

Metric Achieved outcome Explanation
1. # of active editors involved 0 All the participants were newbies.
2. # of new editors 5 Only the group leaders registered their accounts.
3. # of individuals involved 27 This excludes the project team. Including them will increase the numbers of individual involved to 31.
4. # of new images/media added to Wikimedia articles/pages 0 Participants concentrated more on the Waray Wikipedia articles.
5. # of articles added or improved on Wikimedia projects 20 This figure is essentially the total edit count. The project team did not document the articles contributed or improved.
6. Absolute value of bytes added to or deleted from Wikimedia projects approximately 24,860 bytes This was tallied during the event. This does not include deleted content because the organizing team did not tally it during the event.

Aside from the eagerness of participants to continue editing after the edit-a-thon, they are also requesting to have similar activities in the future. In this regard, it can be said that they were motivated.



What impact did this project have on WMF's mission and the strategic priorities?

How did you increase participation in one or more Wikimedia projects?

The mere fact that all the participants are newbies, their edits during the event can be considered as increased participation in Wikimedia projects.

How did you improve quality on one or more Wikimedia projects?

Because they are the native Waray speakers and some of them are literary experts, they are the ones who know how to improve the quality of the Waray Wikipedia. The literary experts have suggested better wordings of the articles.

How did you increase the reach (readership) of one or more Wikimedia projects?

The Waray language is around 3.1 million speakers, which is the 5th most spoken language in the Philippines out of more than 100 languages spoken in the Philippines. The contributions of this edit-a-thon will potentially help distribute free knowledge in the Waray language and increase the reach of the Wikimedia movement to the Waray-speaking people.

See also