2020 reasons to not just stop Wikimedia conferences

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As well pointed out recently by Katherine Maher we are still facing a very difficult time in our history. A nasty disease with heavy side effects on human interaction. Something we cannot just ignore.

This affects our community. Even if it is considered a virtual one.

Anyway it’s more than virtual. We invest so much efforts in sharing free knowledge. We release contents of any kind. We try to cover almost every topic, in every language, for every culture of the world.

1. We do not work well without human interaction

As convivial volunteers, we are a movement evolving much faster if we interact with each other.

We like it! Learning stuff. Teaching stuff. Building stuff. Talking about our interests. Testing our skills. Discuss about our ideas. Leaving feedback on suggested contributions. Being curious. Discover if that new hacky wiki tool can save us 5 minutes. Why not? 😎

We know. This requires interaction. Much interaction.

2. Try to Hack meetups again

In the Wikimedia Movement there are many events happening all around the world every single day. But now they must stay in compliance of the COVID-19 warnings and make a choice:

  • cancel an event
  • re-design it

Right now, lots of standard meetups are trying to evaluate the second option and we want to share one of these stories.

Another small success story? We hope!

3. What about the itWikiCon?

itWikiCon 2020 community post-it survey

Let’s talk about this “itWikiCon“. A Wikimedia conference organized by the italian-speaking community since 2017.

If you need lots of room to talk about Wikiquote, Wikibooks, Wikiversity, Wikidata, Wikinews, Wikipedia, Wikisource, , licensing, content disparities, community engagement, OpenStreetMap, GLAMs and pasta & pizza, you know. This may be that kind of cozy event.

Some awesome venues hosted this live event:

4. Yes but, we don’t have a “standard to online” conversion button

Yes, this may sound completely crazy and insane but, again, doing such conversion is not impossible. You are not alone in this.

For example we said the itWikiCon in these minutes is gathering the ideas to build the new two-day program of the itWikiCon 2020, scheduled for 24 and 25 October.

They are also taking some advantages from difficulties! Allow the participation of very distant volunteers, be more sustainable and introduce some strange cool stuff like virtual tours. Imagine visiting breathtaking cultural places and nature landscapes from your home!

And because unity is strength, why not organizing everything in conjunction with other communities or even other events?

5. Never try to be alone in the party

We have librarians, teachers, students, hackers, …, but if something is missing, don’t be afraid to ask.

There are no more excuses. Today it’s possible to to stay coherent with our vision and organize interesting online events without digital issues or privacy nightmares. It’s simple as long as you do not try to do everything by yourself!

The itWikiCon has found an epic infrastructure contribution from the Italian Academic & Research Network (GARR) and the partnership with the Italian Linux Society’s event: the national Linux Day 2020 online.

Sharing the event between two or more communities allowed the itWikiCon to gain enough bandwidth for every guest and without costs.

Not bad, and even more fun together!

6. Please don’t take away Users’ Freedom

Last rule. You cannot ignore all the simple, powerful, ethical, existing Free Software solutions. Really.

Freedom is important. You have to be active and proactive to preserve your freedom, or people will take it away.

FSFE member interviewed during an interesting campaign in the European Parliament

Here some of the technologies powering the itWikiCon and many other events:

  • BigBlueButton – video conferencing made easy
  • PeerTube – streaming and broadcasting platform
  • Jitsi – even more easy video conferencing
  • OBS – control room (wow!)
  • Icecast – scalable streaming
  • Giggity (from F-Droid) – schedule viewer for conferences

It’s just too lazy to do not even evaluate them!

Look for some help, try them, and find a good service provider—bonus point: from your own country—and have fun.

7. Be bold and share your ideas

What online meetup do you want to attend? What problems are you encountering in 2020? Can you do it with Free Software? Do you need an help? Share your thoughts!

I almost forgot… good luck Italy and have a nice itWikiCon 2020 online! ❤️

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How do you use PeerTube for streaming? That is a missing piece I’d like to learn.