On 25 October 2023, Code for Africa’s Wikipedian-in-Residence (WiR) hosted its 8th WiR bi-weekly webinar series. The session, titled “Mastering Info-boxes & Enhancing Articles with Short Descriptions on Wikipedia,” was led by Daniel Obiokeke and facilitated by Bukola James, the WiR Community Coordinator for CfA. It attracted 23 participants from Cameroun, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda. This webinar provided an in-depth exploration of the complexities and nuances involved in creating Wikipedia infoboxes and short descriptions.
Daniel began the training by shedding light on the evolution of Wikipedia, particularly highlighting the enhancements in its web-based platform. These advancements have improved the user interface, focusing on a more intuitive and user-friendly UI/UX design. He then proceeded to unravel the intricacies of creating infoboxes and short descriptions, which, despite their apparent simplicity, often pose challenges even to experienced Wikipedians.
The Nuances of Infobox Creation
Daniel defined infoboxes as handy, fixed-format tables typically found in the top right-hand corner of Wikipedia articles. These tables summarise key information about an article such as a country’s statistics, a celebrity’s background among others. He explained the importance of understanding the blueprint of infobox creation, pointing to Wikipedia’s “Designing Infoboxes” article as a valuable resource. He also addressed common concerns, such as personal preferences in infobox design, emphasising the need to master basic principles.
- Infobox Structure: Daniel explained the ‘info box’ structure, highlighting its components like ‘caption’, ‘label’, and ‘data’, and stressed the importance of understanding what to edit rather than memorising the structure.
- Sandbox Utilisation: The ‘sandbox‘ was introduced as a practice space for editors to hone their infobox creation skills without impacting live articles.
- Design Aspects: The session also covered the design elements of infoboxes, illustrating how different articles on different subjects could adopt unique colour schemes, thereby enhancing their visual appeal.
Throughout the webinar, Daniel emphasised community interaction, encouraging participants to engage, share progress, and assist one another. He provided resources like a list of existing infoboxes to help editors determine if their intended infobox already exists.
A key point discussed was the typical right-side alignment of infoboxes on a Wikipedia page, with Daniel noting that certain conditions might lead to alignment shifts. This topic, although not fully resolved during the webinar, offered a significant learning opportunity.
Inquiries and Resources
One insightful participant query was about checking the existence of an infobox before creation, to which Daniel directed them to Wikipedia’s “List of Infoboxes.” This list serves as a comprehensive reference for editors.
Creating Short Descriptions and Using Twinkle
- Activation Process: To activate Twinkle, users must go to ‘Preferences’, navigate to ‘Gadgets’, and select ‘Twinkle’.
- Efficiency of Twinkle: Daniel demonstrated that Twinkle expedites editing tasks which has proven particularly useful for frequent editors who aim to increase their edit count.
- Expanding to other Wikis: While the discussion focused on English Wikipedia, there was mention of its applicability in other languages, like French Wikipedia. There, the presenter shared that they have Twinkle activated for reviewing articles, stubs, and other features.
Daniel concluded the session by encouraging participants to explore and contribute creatively within Wikipedia’s framework. He highlighted the platform’s vast learning opportunities and the importance of community engagement in enhancing Wikipedia.
For those interested in revisiting the session or those who might have missed it, the recorded version is available on the community programmes page and do well to test your knowledge on our academy Africa. Ensure you are registered for the upcoming CfA WiR Bi-weekly webinar and immerse in our vibrant community. To stay abreast of our initiatives, complete this form, and let’s shape the future together!
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