Wikimania 2005: The First International Wikimedia Conference () is a planned conference for all users of Wikimedia projects (4 August 2005 to 8 August 2005).
The event will include speakers from within Wikipedia and from outside Wikipedia as well. One of the purposes of the conference will be to have people meet and learn about other language projects.
Frankfurt was chosen as location for the first Wikimedia conference in Summer 2005. In mid-November, Jimbo Wales, Arne Klempert, Mathias Schindler and Elian inspected the place for the meetup, the Haus der Jugend, and talked to possible sponsors. The Haus der Jugend turned out to be great, a mixture of ancient and new buildings, set around a beautiful courty yard. We booked nearly the entire building for the time from 4th to 8th August, a big conference hall for 400 people, several smaller halls and about 300 beds. As next steps we will work on setting up the reservation system for participants and issuing a Call for papers.
There are three days of activity and two days of conference planned for the first annual Wikimania event. There will be technical, academic, and business presentations about wikis and the Wikimedia projects.
Both housing for the event and conference space will be provided by the main youth hostel / social center in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, a frequent venue for non-profit organizations. You can register your interest in attending, and find out more about the schedule and location, at the Meta page on the subject ().
Meeting in Bolzano
Italian Wikipedians held a meeting in Bolzano on the same day of the presentation of Wikipedia at the LinuxDay conference (nov 27th). One of the main topics was the formation of the Italian local chapter; some German Wikipedians have also participated, and their experience with their own local chapter formation was valuable. Some important points have been accepted: a draft of the Bylaws for the Association is to be created and discussed by chapter and the Association can be a "onlus" or any other non-profit type. The status of administrators is currently under discussion with various polls on the Italian Wikipedia. In the meantime it has been decided that those who are not active, have to appear separately in the list, in order to avoid that users can contact them and complain about receiving no feedback. In the end, there was a point about usage of categories in substitution of the lists, where the list still presents missing articles, they can be transferred in the editable part of the category.
Meeting in Taipei
The Taipei meetup was held on 4th Dec. There was a very rare winter hurricane raiding Taiwan on that day. In the afternoon, the heavy rain stopped, and the meetup began in Yun-men Café near Taipei Railway Station. Four Wikipedians, their friends and one reporter from the United Daily News joined the meetup.
Traditional/Simplified Chinese automated conversion which is coming with MediaWiki 1.4 was discussed first, and this feature will be very helpful for attracting more Taiwanese to attend our projects. Then Taipei Wikipedians gossiped about different styles of Wikipedians’ personality in ZH Wikipedia, which was an interesting topic. As Yahoo Taiwan introduced a new online community - Yahoo! Kimo Knowledge+, and meanwhile in Mainland China, Sina.com also introduced a very similar project – iAsk. In their communities everyone can ask and answer questions, and their content are also organized by questions. The difference between Kimo Knowledge+ and Wikipedia was discussed, and all the participants thought ZH Wikipedia should introduced some award system just as Kimo Knowledge+ and iAsk are doing -- although there are the WikiMoney and Barnstars System in English Wikipedia that had been known by ZH Wikipedians. Finally the group talked about recruitting newbies. Should there be some special propaganda or just spontaneous growth of the community? It's really a good question to think about.
Meeting in Japan
During the months of October and November, Japanese Wikipedians had three meet-ups in three cities, Osaka, Tokyo and Nagoya. Some Wikipedians in other cities like in Yokohama joined. Participants ranged from a high school boy to a couple in their 40s. French user Aoineko in Yokohama brought a trophy to Tokyo meetup. It had been awarded from Japan Advertisers Association to Japanese Wikipedia in September and would be later sent to Jimbo. Conversation topics included plans to improve the self-governance of Japanese projects, recent significant activities of Wikipedians and their own activities on Wikipedia.
The 21st Chaos Communication Congress (21C3) was held in Berlin at the
end of December, 2004, and provided a chance for many Wikimedians and
MediaWiki developers to meet up. For many of the developers, it was
their first chance to have face to face discussions about the future
direction of the software.
The conference included the themes of hacking, science, community,
society, and culture, and included two Wikimedia related talks and two
workshops. Tim Starling and Brion Vibber made a presentation entitled
"Edit This Page
Scaling the Wiki Beyond 1 million" as well as moderating the
MediaWiki Developer Workshop which discussed both the current software, and
ideas for future features of MediaWiki. Their presentation discussed
both hardware and the software issues, with information on the
implementation of compression algorithms. Jimmy Wales spoke about "Wikipedia Sociographics: What the wikipedia community doesn't know about
itself" where he explained different roles within the community, and
explained how Wikipedia is not created by a million people adding one
line, but by a community of users who trusted each other working
together. Elisabeth Bauer, Angela Beesley, and Jimmy Wales moderated a
Wikimedia Collaboration Workshop. Topics discussed included the role of the
Foundation, International cooperation, and the Wikimania conference.
The Wikipedia area on the ground floor, with sofas and a mattress, was
a meeting point for Wikipedians and gave the opportunity to sell
Wikireaders and Wikipedia CDs and to promote Wikipedia to other
The time in Berlin was also used for a meeting about the Wikimania
event, and plans for speakers and other aspects of the event were able
to be discussed offline.
Thesis on Wikipedia
A thesis on Wikipedia has been written by an Italian Wikipedian, Vala. The thesis may be found on Wikisource, it's in Italian (English version is here).
The work of this thesis focuses on the issue, often debated, of the “collective production” of knowledge, which for more than 40 years has been taking shape in contemporary media, characterized by the centrality of computers as a tool of “knowledge sharing” and as a “relational instrument”.
In particular, the thesis discusses the collective production of knowledge in its online dimension, and specifically, inside the Wikipedia project, as an emblematic work in the treatment of this argument.
Beside in-depth empirical research inside the Wikipedia community (“virtual ethnography” combined with “participative observation” in meetings, and offline interviews combined with interviews directly on the net), we trace a complex route from the first steps in the phase of social construction of the PC, to critical analysis of the production model and social ensemble, which comes closer to that observable within Wikipedia: that is to say, open-source, analyzing in particular the thoughts of its two main theoreticians: Richard Stallman and Eric Raymond.
Then we look at the interventions that best seem to contribute to clarifying the socio-structural form sustaining the cooperative production of knowledge on the net: that is, with the structural theory of networks and emerging systems, as formalized by Albert Làszlò Barabàsi, and with the theories of complexity and emerging systems, at least as revealed in the field of human sciences.
Starting from this theoretical frame, we came to an original result in the research sphere, recognizing in the Italian edition of Wikipedia a hybrid model, on one side recalling the dynamics of emergence and of complex systems, on the other presenting more typically communitarian aspects, such as have been described in the vast literature on virtual communities.
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