The Kazakh Language User Group held the first in-person Wiki conference in Kazakhstan, Astana in September 2023. This was an awaited gathering both for the User Group and the community whose primary mode of collaboration is online. During the conference, the participants were able to discuss the current state of the Kazakh language community as well as the User Group, learning about the Universal Code of Conduct, how to apply for grants, and how to illustrate articles on Wikipedia, among others. The event provided a great occasion to announce the winners of the 2023 Wiki Love Earth Kazakhstan competition.
In the words of some of the participants
KK: Салиха: Конференциядан алған әсерім керемет деуге болады. Ең бастысы жүйедегі әріптестермен бетпе-бет жүздескенім, барлығы білікті де шығармашыл жастар екен. Жұмыстары мен жоспарлары ой саларлықтай, өз істеріне лайықты. Конференция бағдарламасы тиянақты жоспарланған, қарастырылған мәселелер де өзекті болды және қызу талқыланды. Конференцияға қатысқан қатысушылардың Уикипедияға деген қызығушылықтары артты деп ойлаймын. Тілегім осындай конференция жиі өтіп, Уикипедия беттері молығып, мазмұнды әрі маңызды бола түссін демекпін. Конференцияны ұйымдастырған және сол конференцияға қатысуға мүмкіндік берген ұйымдастырушыларға көп рахмет!
EN: Saliha: I can say that I really enjoyed the conference. The most important thing is that I have finally met fellow community members face-to-face. I learned that they are all professional and creative young people. Their effort and plans are thought-provoking and they are all worthy of their work. The program of the conference was thoroughly planned, and the discussed problems were also relevant and discussed intensively. I think that the interest of the participants in the conference increased. I wish that such a conference would be held more often and that Wikipedia pages would become more detailed, informative, and important. Many thanks to the organizers who made this conference possible and gave me the opportunity to participate in it!
Nursultan: I was born in and currently live in Astana. I joined this wonderful community just two years and three months ago, that was when I randomly found out about Kazakh Wikipedia and wanted to contribute to its development. I found out about the conference through Wikipedia itself, its advert appeared and I, almost immediately, signed up to it. Some of what was explained in the conference was already known to me. Since we were also accompanied by some interested students from the Eurasian National University, some of the portion was an introduction to Wikipedia itself, like learning how to edit and etc. Later, after a short coffee break, I found out about the Wikimedia Foundation and all the other «branches» of Wikipedia, like Wikisource and etc. This entire web-world was new and fascinating to me. It was also really pleasant to finally meet some of the users of our Wikipedia in person and chat with them. We shared tips, asked questions, and concluded with future plans. I’d really like the Kazakh-speaking community to be a lot more active and cooperative. I see other Wikipedias having joint projects, and I’d like that in KazWiki, too. Some attempts to do that have recently appeared and I’m more than happy to see and participate in them.
Muzaffar: I was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. I now study at South Kazakhstan Medical Academy. As I am a Kazakh Wikipedia user, I follow the news from time to time. I started editing Wikipedia in the Uzbek language first. The Kazakh language community has been planning to meet since early summer 2023, but there are many errors and incomplete articles. Thanks to Krasny, Batyrbek, and Amangeldi the conference finally took place. At the conference, the main models and other Turkic cooperation were strengthened, as I myself am a Kazakh from Uzbekistan. In addition, we saw some new participants, which is always good.
The organizers have gained valuable insights from their experience in coordinating a conference and plan another community gathering for 2024.
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