Insights from the Wikimedia Wishathon

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A couple of weeks ago, nearly fifty staff and volunteers passionate about Wikimedia technology joined us virtually from March 15th to 17th for the inaugural Wikimedia Wishathon. It was a special community event, aiming to gather volunteers to collaborate on wishes collected through the Community Wishlist Survey. What made this event unique was its inclusive nature, welcoming both experienced contributors and newcomers to Wikimedia, regardless of their technical background. Despite their varying levels of expertise, everyone was eager to tackle tasks that were well-defined, self-contained, and easy to start.

User:MMunyoki (WMF) introducing the Wishathon at the opening session

During the event, participants had the freedom to choose a project from the Ideas list and work on it independently. They also had the opportunity to collaborate with fellow attendees and seek guidance from seasoned contributors and staff members from the Community Tech team. Questions were addressed promptly during office hours and on various discussion channels like IRC and Telegram. The Wikimedia Hackathon Telegram channel witnessed lively discussions, with over a hundred messages exchanged on the first day alone.


A few new contributors formed hacking groups to delve deeper into specific projects, such as implementing a gadget for logout confirmation on French Wikipedia. Additionally, sessions were organized to introduce attendees to the Community Wishlist Survey and engage them in discussions about its future.

Democratic Republic of Congo User Group at an in-person event in Goma, run in parallel to the Wishathon

The Wishathon had several memorable moments, including an in-person event held in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, alongside the virtual gathering. Furthermore, User:Lucas_Werkmeister_(WMDE) treated participants to a delightful piano concert on Twitch, featuring songs by Tom Lehrer. It was heartening to see complete newcomers eagerly joining the event, contributing to various projects and one of them even having their first patch merged!

User:Lucas Werkmeister hosting a piano concert via Twitch at the Wishathon

“As a participant in the Wishathon, my primary motivation was to learn and understand some of the tools that community tech was working on, and to explore and become familiar with newer areas in the Wikimedia ecosystem. I must say, my Wishathon experience was overwhelmingly positive, and I’m eager to participate in similar events going forward. One aspect that particularly stood out to me was the opportunity to select a semi-difficult task and receive guidance from experienced contributors. This is something that I find lacking in my usual experience, as I’m mostly solo when navigating Wikimedia’s tech ecosystem. The Wishathon provided me with invaluable insight into a specific task and offered guidance on how I could approach it, and I believe that’s the part I liked the most”


Six projects were showcased by 17 participants, with a significant representation from the Democratic Republic of Congo user group. 

Recordings and notes from all sessions including project showcase are available on the event wiki

Here’s the list of wishes and related tasks worked on during the Wishathon. These tasks represent the diverse interests and contributions of the community members during the Wishathon:

1. Adding statement on mobile devices

2. Autosuggest linking Wikidata item after creating an article

3. Add ability to share QR code for a page in any Wikimedia project

4. Logout confirmation

5. DabFix

What’s next?

The Wishathon initiative is just the beginning of a series of changes aimed at the future of the wishlist. It strives to involve more volunteer developers in the wishlist process and strengthen their role within the community. By working closely with volunteer developers, we aim to ensure the sustainability of these wishes and make Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects accessible to generations to come.

One key takeaway from this event is the evident interest from new communities in the Wikimedia ecosystem. 

“As community leaders, we’re always seeking opportunities for our members. Wikimedia DRC has partnered with Kali Academy to introduce MediaWiki to programming students and some user group members with a technical background. With our monthly hackathon requirement, Wishathon was perfect timing. It’s an all-in-one program with mentors and MediaWiki experts. The experience? Amazing! It’s the first international hackathon for many, and they’re thrilled”


It’s clear that events like the Wishathon play a crucial role in familiarizing contributors with our platform and helping them develop new skills. For future events, it could be a possibility to explore engaging local communities and encouraging their participation in smaller, beginner-friendly tasks. We’ll be reaching out to participants for feedback and exploring opportunities for future events.

Stay tuned for updates and announcements on Wikimedia mailing lists!

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