I attended Wikimania for the first time this year, an annual conference that gathers together participants and of Wikipedia and its sister projects. Wikipedians, developers, scholars, open-source and free knowledge advocates from around the globe get together to hold presentations, discussions, and workshops to tackle the problems they are facing and provide updates from both a technical and non-technical perspective.
I had never been to such an international event before. I have edited Wikipedia for over five years and enjoyed participating in local events organized by Wikimedia Argentina, but I’d never had the opportunity to become exposed to the larger Wikimedia Community. Attending Wikimania 2016 in Esino Lario was an eye-opening experience for me because it helped me gain deeper insight into this great community.
Learning about different cultures is important to understanding the wider global movement. It also gave me an appreciation for the value of cooperation between similar communities, like what we do in Wikimedia Iberocoop, the regional cooperation initiative of Ibero-America. The challenges we meet are usually similar, and the Global South chapters have proven that they can work together.
I was particularly impressed with the Inspire Campaign. Every year, the international Wikimedia Community identifies a common problem and collaborates to find solutions to it. These problems may include gender diversity on Wikimedia projects, online harassment, etc. The Wikimedia Foundation’s resources team provides funding and support for the ideas coming out of this initiative. The yearly campaign is open for everyone to join, and I certainly plan to.
My conversations with people from different countries definitely broadened my perspective of the international Wikimedia community. I think it is important for all of us to work together to face our common challenges. The growth of the movement with its rich pool of editors, developers and scholars working collaboratively on several projects in different languages is truly inspiring to me. Thank you, Wikimania.
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