Wikidata and stories of love

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November 12, 2012. I registered on Wikipedia at the encouragement of my then-fiancé Nataev. Fast forward ten years to October 2022. I landed in Istanbul, Türkiye, to attend my first international wiki conference, and my now-husband Nataev flew in to Istanbul on his way from another international wiki conference held in Ohrid, North Macedonia. We were one of the few lucky applicants to receive scholarships individually from the Wikimedia Community User Group Turkey to attend Wikidata Trainings For Turkic Wikimedians, which took place in Istanbul on October 21–23. During three-day conference, I learned much about Wikidata, the free knowledge database and met dozens of Wikimedians from other Turkic communities.

At the conference, I learned that behind Wikidata lies a story of love. Have you ever wondered why each item on the project is prefixed with the letter Q? Well, it turns out it has to do with another fellow Uzbek Wikimedian, Casual, whose real name is Qamarniso. She is one of the three female users with administrator rights on the Uzbek Wikipedia along with yours truly. The story goes like this: Wikidata was presented at Wikimania 2011, which was held in Haifa, Israel. During the conference, Wikidata co-developer Denny Vrandečić met Qamarniso (sometimes spelled Kamarniso, as in this blog archived on Diff) and fell in love. As you have probably guessed by now, the prefix Q is the first letter of Qamarniso’s name. (“Qamar” is Arabic for “moon”, by the way, and the name of the country Comoros also derives from the same word.) The couple got married in August 2012 and had their first child, Leyla, in 2014. (This 2023 journal article by Vrandečić, Lydia Pintscher, and Markus Krötzsch confirms the story).

At the Wikidata conference, in addition to learning about interesting features of Wikidata and cool tools that have been developed for use on the project, I found out about the state of various wiki projects in other Turkic languages. We also discussed the similarities and differences between the Turkic languages. (I fluently speak two of the Turkic languages, Uzbek and Kyrgyz, and have been learning Turkish, primarily with the help of Duolingo.) Since attending the conference, I have become more active on Wikidata, mostly focusing on fixing interlanguage links.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for organizing such an amazing conference to members of the Wikimedia Community User Group Turkey and the Wikimedians of Turkic Languages User Group. The sessions were informative and inspiring, and the networking opportunities were fantastic. The Bosphorus sightseeing bout tour and the walks we took in the city were memorable events. I thank all the organizers who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make this conference a success, and look forward to attending more wiki conferences in the future.

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