Wikimedia chapters/Reports/Wikimedia Australia/2008-10
Wikimedia Australia chapter report
Edition 1, August--October 2008
By Brianna Laugher, interim Secretary (blaugher at wikimedia dot org dot au)
Welcome to the first Wikimedia Australia chapter report, one that will hopefully become a monthly fixture. As this is the first edition I will briefly recap our activities in the earlier part of this year.
Our draft Rules were approved by the Wikimedia Chapters Committee and the Wikimedia Foundation Board in March, and we held our incorporation meeting on April 20th, with around 20 Wikimedians from multiple locations across Australia taking part. We were able to use a conference call to link up Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Hobart. At this meeting we agreed to adopt our draft Rules, and approved Brianna Laugher, Charles Gregory, Daniel Bryant, John Vandenberg, Nathan Carter, Sarah Ewart and Stephen Bain as the interim committee. After this meeting we were able to submit them to Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV), the relevant government body, for approval to incorporate as a not-for-profit association.
Unfortunately at our first attempt CAV refused to accept our Rules because our Statement of Purpose was too brief. This led the committee to reformulate the statement of aims in a more verbose and explicative manner. (This can be found at <http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Australia/SoP>.) By the end of July we had had our new Statement of Purpose accepted by the Chapters Committee, and we re-submitted our Rules to CAV. This time they were accepted and we officially began our incorporated life on August 6th.
Since August we have been working on acquiring a bank account and setting up membership sign-up processes that will minimise bureaucracy for both members and the committee. We also set up web hosting, wikis, email addresses and mailing lists, and documented processes to make the first "real" committee's life easier. We anticipate opening registrations very soon.
On the lists
The wikimediaau-l list <https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediaau-l> has been very active, with discussion on a range of topics. In August discussion about a possible Wikimania 2010 bid dominated. This idea is not much discussed now; as we are yet to organise any of our own events larger than a meetup perhaps discussion about hosting Wikimania is a bit premature.
There has been a great deal of discussion about what kind of activities Wikimedia Australia might do. Most are recorded on meta: <http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Australia/Activities>. It is encouraging to see the breadth of ideas and imagination in our community. Our next challenge is to figure out which ones we can actually achieve, and set about doing that.
There was also (as always) meetup reports, discussion about local events that people might attend to take photographs at, and locally-relevant Wikipedia articles being hit by vandalism spates. Particularly noteworthy was the co-ordination of a number of editors at different Olympic parades. Editors arranged to attend the parades to take photographs of Australian sportspeople. High quality freely licensed photographs make a great improvement to Wikipedia articles as well as a free culture gift to the whole world. Special thanks to: YellowMonkey, Craig Franklin, Sarah Ewart, and Gnangarra. In total 96 photographs were added. <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/2008_Summer_Olympics_Australian_athletes>
Also of note is the efforts by Chris 'Confusing Manifestation' in contacting the NSW Board of Studies to see how we can offer our assistance, since they have put some Wikipedia pages in an HSC English elective called "The Global Village" for 2009--2012. This is believed to be the first time in the world that Wikipedia has appeared on a high school syllabus. (See <http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/syllabus_hsc/english/prescriptions-support-materials.php> for the actual syllabus, and <http://www.smh.com.au/news/web/hsc-to-run-wikipedia-course/2008/05/26/1211653895427.html> for a news report.)
- Melbourne, August (the incorporation meeting)
- Sydney, August
- Celebrating WMAU's birth(day) - <http://files.nickj.org/images/wikimeetup/Sydney%20Wikimeetup%20Aug%202008%20with%20party%20hats.jpg>
- Report by Peter 'PM' <http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaau-l/2008-August/001561.html>
- Sydney, October
- Report by Peter 'PM' <http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaau-l/2008-October/001746.html>
Thanks to the Sydney Wikimedians, especially Peter and Liam, for being so organised and putting the rest of us to shame!
- (Melbourne, 5 November -- actually past now, report next month!)
- Sydney, 12 November "Wiki Wednesday": <http://www.customware.net/repository/display/WikiWednesday/Wiki+Wednesday>
- Perth, 29 November: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/Perth/5>
- Melbourne, 20 September, Software Freedom Day: Brianna attended and distributed some fliers and stickers, and gave a talk called "How Free Software Makes Wikipedia Possible".
- Canberra, 30 September, Australian Computers in Education Conference: Brianna attended and gave a talk called '"Safe wiki": Teaching responsible use of Wikipedia'.
- Slides+audio on Slideshare: <http://www.slideshare.net/pfctdayelise/safe-wiki-teaching-responsible-use-of-wikipedia-presentation?type=powerpoint>
- Other links and information: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Pfctdayelise/Safe_wiki>
Multi-report on these two events: <http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaau-l/2008-October/001692.html>
- Melbourne, 25 October, LinuxChix microconf: Brianna attended and gave a brief talk called "Wikipedia & the education system". Although this was a small event it provided a number of leads to educators who are keen to learn more about wikis and Wiki(m|p)edia.
- (Melbourne, 5 November, LUV meeting: "Hacking MediaWiki (For Users)" talk, by Brianna, report next month!)
- Melbourne, 21 November, VCAL conference: "Wikis in the classroom" talk, by Brianna. (VCAL is a practical-skills-focused VCE/HSC alternative.)
- Melbourne, 24 November, Victoria IT Teachers Association (VITTA) conference: "Wikipedia in schools: An unexplored potential" workshop by Brianna. <http://archive.vitta.org.au/conference/2008/programme.php?day=1>
- Online, 2nd week in December: education.au online workshop for teachers, by Brianna. (Exact details to be determined.)
- Hobart, 20 January 2009: "Free as in Freedom" miniconf as part of linux.conf.au, organised by Brianna. <http://linux.conf.au/schedule/121/view_miniconf> Also, Angela is one of the keynotes at this conference!
WMAU & WMF
In late July the 2008 Wikimania conference was held in Alexandria, Egypt. At least two Australian Wikimedians attended, Liam and Brianna. Brianna took part in a hastily-arranged chapters lunch. (There was a chapters meeting in May in the Netherlands; no Australian representative attended.) It was a good opportunity to meet face-to-face and swap ideas with our brothers and sisters from around the world.
Another chapters meeting is planned for 3-5 April 2009 in Germany. We should be able to work out some financial assistance with other chapters and WMF so that some representatives can attend.
There are a couple of chapters-related topics currently in the air. The first is the chapter-selected Board seats. <http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Board_of_Trustees/Restructure_Announcement> Although this announcement was made in late April discussion between chapters has not been hugely productive. Thanks to a thread by Florence 'Anthere' on foundation-l <http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2008-November/046850.html> this discussion may be kick-started again soon.
The second topic is fundraising agreements between WMF and chapters. Because we are still getting our own house in order we are not really in a position to look at this yet. It will be a topic for the first elected committee to tackle.
Committee meeting minutes
- 2008-10-25 <http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaau-l/2008-October/001766.html>
- 2008-11-02 <http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaau-l/2008-November/001780.html>
Other activities and news
- The Victorian government recently (August-September) held an 'Inquiry into Improving Access to Victorian Public Sector Information and Data'. The background and an excellent discussion paper is available at <http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/edic/inquiries/access_to_PSI/call_for_submissions.html>. 74 submissions were made, of which Wikimedia Australia's was one. It is available on that website, along with all the other submissions, or also at <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Inquiry_into_Improving_Access_to_Victorian_Public_Sector_Information_and_Data-submission-Briannal_Laugher.pdf>. (Because its creation was a rather last-minute effort, it is not as complete as we would have liked, but at least it is better than nothing!) We await the conclusions.
- A local issue that may be of interested to Wikimedians is the government's proposed mandatory internet filtering scheme, also known as "clean feed". For more information about opposition to this scheme, check out <http://nocleanfeed.com/>.
- The National Library of Australia uses Wikipedia data in its "author" pages. Find out more at <http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Help/Work>. Thanks to Rebecca for sharing this news.
- Congratulations to Liam 'Witty lama' on the recent completion of his Honours thesis, discussing Wikipedia & history. It's not an easy journey, and that he has completed it and can still stand to even use Wikipedia is quite a feat!
- We have launched a mailing list for discussion relating to education. Hopefully educators will also join this list to learn more about Wikimedia. It's a public list. To join, please see <http://lists.wikimedia.org.au/mailman/listinfo/education_lists.wikimedia.org.au>.
- A real website!
- An AGM!!! :)