Nikos Roussos

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Last week I participated on Wikimania (2-7 August), the annual event of Wikimedia Foundation. This year the event was held in Haifa of Israel. I joined the event from the beginning starting from the Developers Days, two days before the main event.

dev room

So this post is about documenting the personal highlights from this event. Starting from the hackathon that took place on Tuesday and Wednesday. I can totally claim that now I'm feeling more confident of playing with Mediawiki's source code and extensions.

At the end of these two days there was this awesome roof party somewhere at Haifa downtown :)

So some things that got my attention during the whole event, although I'm surely missing something now that I'm writing this post, are:

  • The Wikimedia Ambassadors project. It started as a Campus Ambassadors project, and now they're trying to generalize it. Although it still seems tight to education. dance But it's a good thing that they call it Wikimedia and not Wikipedia, because this movement is a lot more than just a digital Encyclopedia. (Actually the Wikimania itself and the people participating is a living proof of that fact.)

  • Wikilove. It's cool way of showing your appreciation to a Wikipedia editor. Currently implemented on very few Wikipedias (I think only English and German).

  • Google Translate toolkit. It seems that many people, although they're using Google Translate they're not aware of this feature. Go to the Google Translator Toolkit and hit upload and then Wikpedia article from the tabs. It's not that user friendly, but it's a nice way of translating articles from one Wikipedia to another.

  • Sparklez. Well.. Just hold your breath :) attitude

  • Contributors Cheatsheet. That was a nice one. We got it shared during Sue's speech. It's a really nice aggregation of 10 ways you can contribute to Wikipedia or Mediawiki. I think some Open-Source projects should mimic this cheatsheet.

  • Editors issue. Well this is not a secret. Wikipedia is having problem of increasing its editors. Jimmy Wells on the closing speech tried to addressed some reasons why this happens. He even implied that he's getting feedback about Wikipedia being "clubby", and too hard for newbies to join the community. See the chart on the photo aside to see why. But Jimmy focused his speech mostly on usability issues. And of course he's right. We don't want just geeks to write on a free digital encyclopedia. He made some (seemed random) suggestions for improvement, but the truth is that Mediawiki needs some serious changes in order to attract more people.

  • Mozilla. It was my first big event as a Mozilla Representative, and I had the chance meeting with other Mozillians (and have fun). idBut the most interesting part about this this was the feedback we get from Wikimania people about Firefox and how we can help making better their life or web in general. Besides the fight for an open web and free knowledge share common ground.

So Wikimania was an awesome event. The organizers did a great job. I met a lot of interesting people, especially from the Wikimedia Foundation. (I even had a passionate conversation with a Facebook guy about the value of a decentralized Social Networking service :P). And got the chance to take a lot of photos :)

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