Wikimedia at FOSDEM 2015

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The Wikimedia Foundation hosted a booth at FOSDEM 2015, the annual Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting. Photo by Romaine, licensed under CC0 1.0.

FOSDEM 2015, the annual Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting, took place in Brussels, Belgium, from January 31 to February 1, 2015. The Wikimedia Foundation hosted a booth throughout that conference, in collaboration with Wikimedia Belgium, the Wikimedia Shop and Wikimedia Deutschland.

We are happy to say that our Wikimedia booth received a lot of attention at FOSDEM. We experienced a remarkable turnout by women editors, despite our gender gap issues. As a result, we learned more about how our female editors like to engage when creating content on Wikipedia: it appears that in-person collaborations and social settings appeal to female contributors and keep them coming back.

Based on these and other conversations, it seems these best practices could increase gender diversity:

  • host more face-to-face workshops or edit-a-thons, where participants are encouraged to interact with each other in person.
  • develop social software that makes it easy for users to form groups, so they are not feeling alone and can work with others in their group.
  • provide groups with a central discussion page, recent changes showing the activity of other group members, as well as a way to create tasks, and host a wish list.

Our FOSDEM booth was originally focused on providing information about Wikimedia and Wikipedia, but we had many questions about Wikidata and MediaWiki. Our software developers were able to answer most of these questions, but next year we plan to have more materials to cover these topics, due to this high level of interest. We also gave free Wikimedia T-shirts, water bottles or hoodies to participants who tweeted about the shop — or who demonstrated that they had edited Wikipedia or Wikimedia projects.

Quim Gil and Andre Klapper made a presentation about our Phabricator collaboration software: “Wikimedia adopts Phabricator, deprecates seven infrastructure tools – First hand experience from big free software project on a complex migration”. Read more about their presentation and check out their slides.

FOSDEM 2015 was a very productive conference, and we hope that next year will be even better. Thanks again to Quim and Andre for presenting. And thanks to everyone who showed up at the booth to ask questions and share their insights. We appreciate all your support and interest in our cause.

Romaine, board member of Wikimedia Belgium

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