Wikimedians of Bulgaria/2015/CEE Spring report

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki


User:Ilikeliljon, second placed, at the WikiCamp in Skopje

Following last year's CEE Conference in the beautiful and sad city of Kyiv, Wikimedians of almost 30 Central and Eastern European countries decided to launch an international article writing contest, which was the first on Bulgarian Wikipedia and went on to be a huge success with 216 new or expanded articles about the region in Bulgarian and many about Bulgaria in other languages.


The countries in the CEE region share culture, values and history, although most of them do not share a language. The mainstream culture in the region is highly influenced by The West. After the contest our readers can read about the history, literature, sporting traditions, national heroes, culture, castles, art, theatre, protests, cinema, religion, education, geography, etc. Knowledge leads to better understanding and leaves no room for propaganda.


We posted a short notice on our Village Pump, in which we gave a resume of the idea of CEE Spring and linked to a short page about the contest.

Preparations for the contest included also compiling a list of topics which would present Bulgaria as complete as possible. In three days a list of 191 topics was completed. We hadn't expected such a positive reaction! To spread information about the contest we mentioned it in our site notice which led to a journalist from a nationwide magazine - Tema - to contact us and ask for an interview. The result was a very lengthy interview given by two of the Bulgarian Wikimedians.

For attracting users to participate in the contest, we offered to send the winner to Estonia for the next CEE Meeting, without knowing that there would be a specially designated WikiCamp in Skopje. Maybe it was a factor for someone, but perhaps the wish to present their own country was a more important reason for some editors. Another thing which was good about the timing of the competition, was that it took place during the early days of 100wikidays, which led to the participants in the challenge to take topics about Eastern European countries when they did not have another idea. The people who met in Kyiv shared their articles on Facebook, which also contributed to the success of the competition - some articles were written in many languages.

There were 14 contributors participating in the contest and among them were very different people: for example the winner was an over-60-year-old woman, the second placed was a student of psychology, the third placed was a computer scientist and there was even one Macedonian user taking part.


Since we are not a chapter and do not have a bank account, we could not apply for a grant at the WMF or anywhere else. Towards the end of the tournament it was clear, that the winner will be invited to participate at the CEE WikiCamp in Skopje. Our winner informed in a beautiful letter, that she wouldn't like to travel, therefore the second placed took part at the event. We gave our winner instead little present - a hoodie from the Wikipedia store for which two Wikipedians paid and a third one brought to her apartment personally. Such a small gesture made her very happy.

We didn't search for sponsors, which we regret a bit because we saw that money can help the creation of high quality free knowledge. For example on Estonian Wikipedia, which has less active users than the Bulgarian one, 13 people took part of the contest and wrote in total almost 50 articles more than did users in our contest (262 vs 216). Having some prizes, although not big, might have motivated people to participate there.

This was the first article writing contest in Bulgarian Wikipedia so we are happy with the results. Next time we will try to make the competition even more public and organise a ceremony.


Bulgaria (orange) can only write articles about the neighbouring green ones
Number of bytes added Number of bytes removed Number of edits Number of articles
+9,1% -56% -61% +57%

The participants with more than one article in the contest wrote 9,1% more bytes (only positive byte changes take into account) during the 102 days of the contest in comparison with the 102 days before the contest. Their amount of removed bytes was reduced by 56%. This means, perhaps, that they patrolled less and reverted less vandalism. This assumption is reinforced by the fact that their number of edits was reduced by 61%. When writing a new article an editor makes one edit with a lot of information, instead of many small "wikignome" changes. The number of newly created articles was 57% higher.

The created and expanded articles were not equal in number about all countries in the region. The average number of articles per coutry was 8, with Poland having the most articles written about - 38, and Turkey the least - 1.

Lessons Learned[edit]

  • The expected outcome of increased number of created articles by the participants was reached. The participants created 57% more articles on average during the contest than the same period of time before the contest.
  • Having experienced participants makes a jury unneeded. We could not find editors, who would be part of a jury, therefore our only ranking criterion was bytes added (quantitative). Nevertheless, since almost all participants were experienced editors the quality of the created and expanded articles was much above average.

Future work[edit]

  • We would like to learn from Estonian and Ukrainian experience and have some smaller prizes for the participants in our next contest. We expect that it would lead to newer editors taking part in it.
  • We will implement thematic weeks (i.e. a week for every country). Data comparison to the Ukrainian contest has shown, that thematic weeks help to distribute the articles about different countries better.

Participants' reports[edit]


От 31 юли до 2 август участвах в уикилагера на уикипедианци от Централна и Източна Европа в Република Македония. В програмата за първия ден беше включено посещение на археологическия музей в Скопие. За съжаление в него не беше разрешено снимането, което възпрепятства обогатяването на статиите със снимки. Полезни бяха Photo-thon и Wiki Loves Words, особено добавянето на информация в уикиречник, защото нямах значителни приноси досега в него. Вечерната разходка из Скопие ми позволи да направя снимки и да заснема няколко видеа от нощно Скопие.

През втория ден успяхме да направим много снимки при посещенията ни в Шарена джамия и Арабати Баба теке в Тетово. А след това и в пролома Матка. Макар и да имаше значителен брой снимки от тези места, все пак и не беше снимано абсолютно всичко, така че имаше резултат. Посетихме и два от манастирите в региона - Успение Богородично и Св. Андрей. Вечерта обменихме опит с Wikipedian in Residence в Държавния архив на Република Македония.

В последния ден на уикилагера по време на Upload-a-thon и Edit-a-thon session успях да кача част от снимките от предния ден. Оказа се, че на български език липсва статия за пролома Матка, което ми даде възможност да я напиша.

Разбира се едно от най-полезните части на уикилагера е запознаването с уикипедианци от различни държави и обмяната на опит и идеи с тях.


Translation by Spiritia:

From 31 July to 2 August, I took part in the Central and Eastern Europe WikiCamp that took place in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia.

In the programme of the first day, a visit of the Skopje Archaeological Museum was included for all participants. Unfortunately, taking pictures in the museum was not allowed, which prevented the enrichment of the relevant articles with photos. For me, the Photo-thon and the Wiki Loves Words sessions were rather beneficial, especially contributing to Wiktionary, as I hadn’t had any substantial edits in this sister project before that. The evening walk in the city allowed me to take some pictures and videos of Skopje by night.

During the second day, there was a bus tour to the town of Tetovo, where we could take many pictures of the en:Šarena Džamija mosque and the en:Arabati Baba Teḱe, as well as in the en:Matka Canyon. Despite the abundance of photos from these places, not everything had been snapped, so it was definitely a productive experience. We also visited two monasteries in the region: “Dormition of the Mother of God” and “Saint Andrew”. During the evening, we exchanged experience with the Wikipedian in Residence in the State Archives of the Republic of Macedonia.

In the last day of the WikiCamp, during the Edit-a-thon session I managed to upload a part of the pictures taken the previous day. I found that we are lacking article about the Matka Canyon in the Bulgarian version of Wikipedia, which gave me the opportunity to write it.

Clearly, one of the most beneficial aspect of the WikiCamp was getting acquainted with Wikipedians from different countries, and exchanging experience and idea with them.


Срещата в Македония мина добре. Бяха организирани редица мероприятия. Присъстваха 13 човека около 20 човека от Албания, Македония, Сърбия, България, Словакия, Чехия, Полша, Украйна, Естония, Азербайджан и Турция. Срещата беше проведена в четиризвездния хотел Томче и Софка. Първият ден беше официално запознаване, настаняване. Втория ден имаше програма, която включваше посещение на Археологическия музей на Македония. Там имаше доста експонати, които биха били ценни за снимане, но не беше позволено да се снимаме. От музея ни направиха обща снимка, имаше осигурен екскурзовод и охрана, която наблюдаваше да не снимаме. След това разбираемо нямаше особено смисъл от Photo-thon, но пък лично аз обогатих няколко статии на Wiki Loves Words със значения от етимологичния речник на българския език, който имам принципно. Освен това представихме накратко всеки уикипедия на своя език. Аз представих уикипедия на български език, като накратко споменах броя на статиите, които тогава наброяваше уикипедия и най-важните проекти, които сме завършили като този с табелите на Зоопарка, сътрудничеството ни с Държавния архив и различните университетски проекти.

На третия ден минахме през Шарената джамия в Тетово и Арабати баба теке. Снимахме джамията отвън и отвътре, а в текето имаше и екскурзовод, който ни разказа историята му. Там също снимахме, но тъй като това са популярни дестинации снимки от двете места имаше много в Комънс. Пролома Матка беше третото място, което посетихме и със Спасимир снимахме в общ план пролома и язовирната стена. Говорихме с уикипедианеца от архива за евентуално сътрудничество. Той поиска документи от османския период, а аз говорих с него за евентуални документи от българската окупация 1941-1944 година. Разведе ни из Скопие да поснимаме някои обекти като олимпийския им басейн, но беше тъмно, а моя телефон не може да прави добри снимки в тъмнината. Вечерта беше националната вечеря. Не съм участвал в повече активности, защото на другия ден сутринта трябваше да пътувам.


Translation by Spiritia:

The meeting in Macedonia was carried out well, with a series of activities being organized. 13 out of 20 people attended, coming from Albania, Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Azerbaijan and Turkey. The meeting was carried out in the 4-star hotel Tomche and Sofka. The first day was devoted to official acquaintance and accommodation. On the second day, there was a programme, including attendance of the Archaeological Museum of Macedonia. It included numerous exhibits, which would have been worthy photographing, but taking pictures was not allowed. The museum workers made a group photo of us, and provided a guide and security guards, who took care that we don't take pictures. Obviously, there was not much sense in having a Photothon, but I personally enriched several articles during the Wiki Loves Words event, with definitions from the Bulgarian etymological dictionary which I had with me. Also, everybody shortly presented their local Wikipedia. I presented the Bulgarian Wikipedia, giving shortly information about the then number of articles, and the most notable projects, as the one with the QR codes in the Sofia Zoo, the collaboration with the Bulgarian State Archives, and the various university wikiprojects.

On the third day, we had a trip to the Šarena Džamija (Decorated Mosque) and Arabati Baba Teḱe. We took pictures of the mosque from inside and outside, and in the Teke there was a guide to tell us its story. We also took pictures there, but since both are popular touristic destinations, there were pictures of both, already uploaded to Commons. The Matka Gorge was the third place we visited, and Spasimir and I took pictures of the gorge and the water dam's wall.

We spoke with the Macedonian Wikimedian-in-Residence in their National Archive, discussing potential collaboration. He was interested in documents from the Ottoman period, while I requested from him to seek documents from the Bulgarian occupation in 1941-1944. He guided us around Skopje, and we took pictures of some sites like their Olympic pool, but it was already late and the pictures were not of highest quality. In the evening, there was a national supper. I haven't taken part in any other activities, as I had to travel back to Sofia early next day.