:::: mini report wikimania 2009

6 Sep

Next to strategic discussions abut the 5 year plan (see also the Strategy Wiki), the creation of the Indian chapter was announced and the creation of Brasilian and Catalan chapters hot debated. Many times it was pointed  to the developing potential of language versions such as the Hindi version. The foundation annouced that it has set its focus on the Asian parts of the world. In all talks Wikimedia repeated to be a MOVEMENT of free knowledge, but in particulcar the strategic discussion about the acknowledgement of a Brasilian chapter showed that the there are different approaches on how formal ideas have to be taken in consideration, e.g. the Brazilian chapter is reluctuant to form a legal entity as this could have difficult consequences for the people involved. While talking to the local Argentinan Wikimedians, I felt that more Argentinan Wikimedians see themselves also as political activists in the free/open culture movement.

wikipedians at work

I found in particular the talk about the work of the arbitration commitee and the question of how to deal with disputes on Wikipedia interesting. In this discussion Jimmy Wales and the en arb com people pointed to the “growing pains” of discussion in terms of a new dispute nature: the consensus (to accept the consensus) would have been based on the indvidual while now — as wp grows — the discussion would be rather organized along a “groups against groups principle” which would have been extremly visible in the arb com case on the scientology article. Jimmy Wales underlined also the problems of scale in this talk and discussed pro and cons of voting mechanisms with regard to discussions.

In a talk with user en werdna (contracted by the Wikimedia foundation) I found out that soon new tools that alllow amongst other things highlighting arguments on talk pages will be tested on meta wiki pages as well as on user pages on the de wp.

Next to strategies of how to increase numbers of participation (and looking for the disconnected, young, and grey hairs), the discussion on the panels focussed very much on quality aspects, e.g. there were discussions about how to improve content and user reputation (see in particular the wikitrust project)

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