Tuesday, November 30, 2010

#Copyright and #GLAMWiki

Pictures on #Commons have two purposes; the use as illustrations on Wikimedia projects and, the use as illustrations elsewhere. Most of these pictures place requirements on the user like attribution. Many people do not bother with such stuffiness. Many Wikipedians can get quite incensed about that particularly when the media is used for a commercial purpose.

Magnus Manske did a great job making it easy to use pictures from Commons. As you can see, nice icons that provide different ways of using the wealth that Commons has to offer.

When you use a picture "on the web" like I did recently in this blog post, you are provided with a neat attribution to the copyright holder and with a nice indication of the applicable license.

This is absolutely fabulous but still, there are a few things that would make it absolutely awesome..
  • Show the license information on the Wikimedia projects as well
  • Having these share options on the wikis of all Wikimedia projects
  • Having the copyright message in the language of the Wiki, or a language that can be selected
  • Including information about the GLAM that has it in its collection
For our GLAM partners the traffic numbers of their collection on our projects is important as is the number of articles their pictures are used in. References to the GLAM who has something in collection is important to us to us and vital to them.

We are adamant that citations are used to assert the validity of facts. It is how we provide a reason why our articles can be trusted. A similar assertion is needed for illustrations; Jimbogoesswimming.jpg is not the 1873 image by William-Adolphe Bouguereau that can be found in the Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) - Nymphs and Satyr (1873)

This picture does not attribute the Clark and neither does the one on the article about nymphs on the Esperanto Wikipedia. It is relatively easy to recognise the GLAM that conserve a work like this. Such recognition makes a massive difference to our GLAM partners who struggle to maintain their collection and who need recognition to justify their partnership with us.

Intrigue: A Wiki Experience in Indonesia

My best friend Pipit once told me that my curiosity does not come cheap, indeed I found myself in many situations wondering "Oh my, how did I end up in here?".

My name is Siska Doviana, I'm an Indonesian in San Fransisco for two weeks, where the Wikimedia Foundation Office (WMF) is located. I was invited to come to tell WMF my story.

There's nothing special about how I began my wiki experience really, naturally I was curious. My first long and multiple edits in the Indonesian language Wikipedia began with an idea that I didn't want my assignment paper for the university to end up as a recycled paper only. My first edit was about Playboy magazine and its impact in Indonesia, the year - 2006. In my search for references, I stumbled upon the English Wikipedia article, among other resources, and I checked the Indonesian language Wikipedia. It was poorly written, and I decided to contribute. Since I'm not a techie, soon enough I ended up inside an argument, partly about the content but mostly it's about the "how to". Although the subject of the article was controversial then, my edit and argument page attracted other (very active) wikipedians, not because of the article content, but because they found out that I'm a woman. It turned out I had ended up inside a "guys only" lair, I guess the situation just changed a bit. Back then (2006) the Indonesian language wikipedia only had 20 thousand articles and 20 very active users.

Wikimedia Indonesia

Looking back, I might not "last" as long if not for the series of meetings happening after ward. The first Indonesian language wiki meet happened after I started to edit heavily the U.S. Presidents in Indonesian Wikipedia (since the office I worked for published a book about U.S. Presidents). The first ever Indonesia wikimeet conflicted with me travelling to Bali for a holiday, I had signalled my  "regret", and thought "Uhm, what happens online, stays online" and I was convinced that there would not be other meetings. Yet life has its own plan and funny turns. I end up attending the meeting since I missed my plane to Bali (misread the departure time of my budget flight - and it left me with six days of nothing to do in Jakarta). So I decided to attend the meeting with "interesting" Wikipedians. One of them, Revo, happened to fly in (visiting Jakarta) from his home in Netherlands. He brought us a story about the German Chapter and suggested that Indonesia should have a chapter of its own. We weren't really excited at first, to me it is an idea located somewhere over the rainbow. However, that first meeting led to an unplanned series of meetings since our meeting picture was discovered by three independent movie makers from San Francisco: The Underdog Pictures, shooting "Truth in Numbers, The Wikipedia Stories". Since Indonesian Wikipedians are mostly male and not really "service oriented" - they forwarded me the email from Nic (the director) to be "taken care of".


After Underdog, the next thing we knew, we started to get invitations to talk in seminars, interview on radio, and then Nic wrote to me about Wikimania 2007 in Taipei. I told him to forget it, why would they wanted me to come? Pfft, nothing to tell here, don't know anyone there. Nic insisted, sending me all the links, and honoring his determination in offering it, I filled it.

In 2007 I found myself wandering around in Taipei with three other Indonesian Wikipedia volunteers and talking to Delphine Menard and the chapter's committee, about the possibility of an Indonesian chapter.

Wikimedia Indonesia was established in 2008, if I knew then what I knew now, I might not been so compelled to have an organization. For one thing, I realize later that the organization couldn't live if we were just doing what we're doing online. An organization needs a life of its own, and it turned out to be a huge responsibility. As part of the community I sense a strong need to step it up. However instead of increases, as life goes by, the volunteer activity decreases, one of the founding members and best friend that used to be single got married, had kids, and decided to establish his own company, with no more time for wikipedia, more over - no more time for offline meetings. The happening in life became a repetitive pattern for any other members too. Behind Wikimedia Indonesia, there are people with little time and an organization that has no money - both the people and the organization still hold a golden promise of what "could be great".

Since I don't rely on promises (life is too short), I decided to live it, golden promise - here we go. As a non-techie volunteer writer, I realize people might have been discouraged to write to Wikipedia since the technical bar is too high (it happened to me). I also noticed that Indonesian language Wikipedia should definitely have more articles, like "Come on, the fourth largest population and no one would write it for free? Seriously?". I would also grade existing volunteer in Indonesian language Wikipedia communication skills as "not so great", since if a problem showed up with a newbie - they, the Wikipedians, would rather focus on the problem (like putting a "warning signs") instead of taking the time to explain the solution. Dragging my "non-wikipedian and know nothing about wikipedia" best friend in college into the project, we designed an outreach project "Free Your Knowledge 2010", a project that my Netherlands Wiki friend, Gerard, referred to as "ambitious". Come to think of it, it was kind of ambitious, aside from all the obvious: cost, resources, goals - even the organization chart in Wikimedia Indonesia adjusted in order to support a project coming from "just a member" like me into a recognizable "on the board" organization-wise project. No money, no time, and no office, the project pressed on. During the project since resources were tight, I personally had to make hard decisions and use whatever I got - i.e. my best friend's personal resources, or an occasion where I saw my own financial resources and academic assignments fly out of the window, my window, not Bill Gates' - as much as I have fun - sacrificing is not easy, and I have to admit that the implementation was hard, unlike when you begin to plan it, no matter how prepared you are when life is about to hit you in the face.

So what's next? My goal is to design a system that allows anyone who is willing and able to contribute to Wikimedia Indonesia as a means to realize their goal and (preferably) to use the Wikimedia projects as their tool. I would also love to see a global competition happening.  What would be awesome is having people from different parts of the worlds, the non native speaker like me, competing to write in the English Wikipedia, while the native speaker could only serve as coach - it's like a world Idols version but for writing! Ha...

Siska Doviana | Pendiri (Co-Founder) | Wikimedia Indonesia
Ph. +62 816 484 5052
Dukung upaya kami membebaskan pengetahuan

Monday, November 29, 2010

The #MantisBT bug tracker

MantisBT is one of the applications that are localised at translatewiki.net. For software like Mantis there is a limited group of people who benefit. It is therefore very much a "scratch your own itch" that makes people localise Mantis.

This week people started to localise in the Turkish and Vietnamese language. They are making a product their own and as it is open source, every other compatriot can benefit from their effort. Some work needs to be done before these languages feature among the 23 languages that have been fully localised.

The MantisBT website informs about in many ways about its progress; there is a blog and there is twitter. When you are considering your need for a bug tracker, consider Mantis and, you may be in luck with a user interface available in your language.

Let's have the best #Wikimedia fundraiser possible VII

The fundraiser is doing well, with over 5,6 million dollar donated we are likely to achieve the goal that exists that was set. There have been several nice spoofs of Jimmy Wales, la Giacondo is well known for all kinds of alterations and, having a beard as well is more then what Marcel Duchamp added.

The localisation of the two MediaWiki extensions, the "Donate Interface" and the "Payflow Pro Gateway" extension, is doing well. There are now 33 languages with great localisations.

There has been an argument if size matters when you should consider localising for a specific language. It is obvious that a Wikipedia with little traffic is unlikely to generate large amounts of money for the Wikimedia Foundation. Then again, it does not cost much either and, in this way a project, a language pays its own way.

Helping make the fundraiser a success in your language is one way of showing commitment to our shared goal. This is also a great signal to the WMF to consider helping with specific needs for your community.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The bits and bytes of our #GLAM partners

Our big GLAM partners do not only provide us with their images, they provide us with annotations, with references to their own resources and consequently each image has an added value. The information includes the date of its creation, the creator, info to the license and often a little story to its background.

Such information is extremely valuable because it is often the difference between just an image and a usable illustration. Maintaining such information is expensive; it takes manpower, technology to manage what is often an overwhelming amount of data.

Not all GLAMs have the facilities to provide the information that we need. Copyright and license for instance are subjects that became relevant only recently and most GLAMs find that many of their collections provides at best ambiguous information. Many of the GLAMs do not have the infrastructure to store uncompressed digitised images or have a system to manage all this data.

It does happen that when you approach a GLAM for cooperation, you will find that this is an issue. This does not necessarily mean that cooperation is impossible, it will be more complicated and possibly more involved.

Card Division of the Library of Congress 3c18631u original

On a meta level our Wikimedia movement could help localise an application like CDS/ISIS, this software as well as its source is available from UNESCO. One sticking point is that it is not available under a license..

On a micro level, a Wikimedian in residence can help a GLAM as a volunteer. What needs doing will differ from GLAM to GLAM. It is however the beauty of a movement that all such activities help to achieve the aim of making high quality information available to a world wide audience.

Thanks to Peter Weis for his contributions writing this blogpost

Let's have the best #Wikimedia fundraiser possible VI

With Thanksgiving celebrations in the USA tomorrow, it is a good time to consider the plight of the turkey. Today is probably the best time to be still alive for a turkey while tomorrow is probably the day when the most turkeys will be eaten.

A whole turkey cost something like $20,- depending on quality and size and stuffing and stuff will certainly be another $10,-. Having such a grand bird well prepared and enjoying it with great company is certainly a feast.

The Wikimedia Foundation has had a great year, many things were accomplished, the usability has improved, GLAM partnerships are becoming more mature. Wikipedia is getting more traffic, there are more Wikipedias then ever with an increasing number of articles that are of interest to an increasing percentage of the world population.

We hope that you have your reasons to be thankful for what we have offered in all the Wikimedia projects. Maybe you can express it by giving us a turkey.

Opportunities, equal for all

When we write our #Wikipedia articles, we are all volunteers. We are given the same opportunity to write in our own language and all our efforts are needed to realise the aim of the Wikimedia Foundation i.e.: "Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment".

The Wikimedia Foundation is responsible for the MediaWiki platform. MediaWiki provides support to many languages; the group statistics at translatewiki have currently 337 entries. Most languages are in the Latin script and these are reasonably well supported. Many other languages have a problem; their script can have debilitating issues that prevent Wikipedians writing their articles with the same ease that is considered normal for the English language.

The native languages of the Indian subcontinent all have a problem. The effect of the script issues can be best appreciated by comparing the Indonesian Wikipedia and the Malayalam Wikipedia. Their number of contributors is roughly the same but the output of new articles in Malayalam is quite different and consequently the traffic it generates is much less.

BBC support for Hindi
for mobiles
When India and with it explicitly the Indic languages are part of a new strategy, the direction is decided. What is not decided is how you get there, the new roads you will have to travel and the companions you will meet on the way. The BBC supports Hindi on mobile telephones by showing texts as images and while this may suffice for readers of Wikipedia for editors this is just not good enough.

When the WMF is serious about an India strategy, it will  take ownership of the issues and tackle them. It can partner with other organisations but it cannot abandon its requirement for a solution. As the WMF is the 500 pound gorilla of the Free Content world it can partner with governments, with standard organisations and the developers of operating systems for mobiles and computers to make the difference that is needed to realise a working strategy for the Indic Wikipedias and for India.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Photoshopping Jimmy Wales

With Jimmy on every #Wikipedia article, it was to be expected that people would poke fun at him. Using Photoshop to make a cuddly wombat was to be expected. Jimmy in all kinds of kinky positions is also rather too obvious.

The ones that I have seen did not have the quality to include them in my blog. So I will not. The best Jimmy fix is still this remarkable work by Durova. My challenge to all those who are photoshopping Jimmy is to do something this good. If it is, I will be happy to share it on my blog.



Ambitions for the #Myanmar #Wikipedia

A Myanmar times article informs us that the Myanmar Wikipedia community has the ambition to grow its number of articles to 15,000. It is ambitious not because there are too few people on the Internet but because of the technical issues they are facing.

This instructional screen shot shows that the localisation has improved a lot lately. It would have been fun to have Jimmy's message shown with all the nice boxy indicators that the Unicode font is missing but getting the core functionality localised is still more important.

When you read the article you will start to understand why achieving 15,000 articles is ambitious. Getting everyone to use Unicode fonts will be hard; some 90% of the Myanmar population use an incompatible writing system and, it will take some convincing that Wikipedia is worthy of the effort needed.

There are several scenarios that will make it possible to fulfil the 15K ambition. With out of the box thinking and some carefully targeted investments, this ambition is in reach.

Monday, November 22, 2010

#DYK, cloggs are safety equipment

Klompen, clogs, wooden shoes are what tourists buy as a souvenir. When they do not buy them as a souvenir, they buy pictures with them.

When it was decreed that safety equipment was to be worn, it was understood that clogs were out. This created a backlash and the Dutch safety institute could only test clogs to provide a compelling argument why this wearing safety equipment was so important.  The result was surprising to them because it turned out that clogs did comply with all their requirements and then some.

The people who actually wear clogs were not surprised. They provide isolation against cold and the wet. When a cow puts his feet down, they prefer clogs and not steel capped boots.

The protest ensured not only that clogs are now accepted safety gear, this ensured that Dutch wearing clogs is not only a myth; it is a reality.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Mozilla foundation is largely responsible for making the Internet what it is. Thanks to their effort Open Standards and honest implementations are now the rule. Firefox captured the hearts of many people and broke the monopoly and the lack of invention that characterised Internet technology.

Now that this key achievement is becoming evident in more and better quality browsers, Mozilla is looking forwards because it must remain competitive in the browser arena and should broaden its scope into mobile and apps and maintain its sustainability.

This graphic presentation shows the importance of the 500 localisers for the Mozilla projects. They are positioned right in between the Mozilla employees and the volunteers who donate code. Their effort to internationalise and localise has been key to stimulate the use of the Internet worldwide.

Localisation for MediaWiki and several other projects is done at translatewiki.net. Over 2,700 people receive the TWN-newsletter. Their contributions make a difference to some of the most relevant projects. With a localised browser and with projects in people's own language, the Internet gains relevance for an increasing number of people.

The Dutch November 2010 mini conference

Yesterday was a small Wiki conference in Utrecht. Sadly the day before a building that controls the train traffic into Utrecht burned out and consequently it was announced that there was no train traffic possible. Now, on Sunday I received a mail that the trains are running again.

Amsterdam - Vijzelstraat 27-35 (halsgevel)
First prize at the "Wiki loves Monuments" competition

Some forty people made it to the conference and they had a really pleasant event. Part of the event was the announcement of the winner of the "Wiki loves Monuments" photo competition. There were presentations and there was the usual after party.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sad news about the #Bundesarchiv

When a partner like the Bundesarchiv announces that they will not make any more material available to us, it is sad news. The Bundesarchiv was the first big GLAM who provided us with a large collection of scanned pictures and, it is good to appreciate the value of what they have given to us.

This has been a true partnership; many of our Wikipedians have used material as an illustration. At this moment, 20.97% of the 82553 pictures on Commons are used on one of the Wikimedia projects. They have been seen 76 490 874 in March, 90 034 115 in September and 90 839 613 in October. Wikimedians in turn have identified many people in the pictures and, many of the annotations have been evaluated and updated.

Georges Pompidou - Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F020538-0006
Does this picture have proper attribution
One picture is used a staggering 210 times but more interesting is the number two picture. Interesting because who would have thought that in order to illustrate a French president we have to turn 135 times to a picture of a German archive. It is equally amazing that the number 3 is used 133 time and is one of a Sovjet president.

The reason why the Bundesarchiv stops making material available to us is because so many people have ignored the provisions of the CC-by-sa license when they use their images outside of the WMF projects.

A big improvement is that on Commons HTML code is available for the embedding of pictures on the web. This makes it easy to use pictures and comply with license requirements.

Abiding by license requirements is important for our GLAM partners and, it is important to us as well. The Bundesarchiv does not want to be a "litigation bastard" but at the same time it is vitally important to them that the license requirements are abided by.

We are happy to continue doing our part of the partnership; we will continue to work on the annotations of the pictures and we hope to identify even more people.

We will be there when the Bundesarchiv reconsiders its moratorium on providing us with new material and we hope that together we can find a way to that will make the German cultural heritage that the Bundesarchiv is the custodian of available to the world wide audience that Wikipedia offers.

Let's have the best #Wikimedia fundraiser possible V

While the Jimmy appeal is almost universal, I am really happy that there is someone else out there as well. Kartika Sari Henry is not just any Wikipedia volunteer, she is the winner of the hard fought Bebaskan Pengetahuan 2010 competition.

It is really pleasing to find one of our unsung heroes appealing to the better nature of our readers. Her appeal is well worth a read:

A message from Wikipedia editor Kartika


Let's have the best #Wikimedia fundraiser possible IV

This years fundraiser is effective. A lot of time and effort has gone into getting it right and it shows. Geolocation is used to identify where people are from so that the appropriate message gets out. This is a good thing; it helps our chapters to get our message out.

Still... there is one obvious thing that can be done to optimise our fundraising operation: When in Rome ask donations in the currency of the Romans. This means that you ask in India for rupees and in Indonesia for rupiahs.

My bet is that asking for donations in the local currency will more then double the number of donations. Getting it right this year will have an effect in the next year as well.

When you use Chrome as your browser, you may want to consider installing this extension.. it is fun, but I doubt that it will gain us more donations

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Let's have the best #Wikimedia fundraiser possible III

The part I enjoy most of the Wikimedia Fundraiser are the ways people poke fun at it. Sometimes, they get it completely wrong; the hammer and sickle for someone who made his fortune in playing the stock market

When you consider the source of the donations, it is ordinary people who help us out of the kindness of their heart. It is not one big business that makes our day, it is not "resistance is futile", it is the common people who earn their daily bread and share from what they have.

The #Wikimedia France #GLAM conference

The organisers of the French GLAM conference asked to promote their conference so that there will be as many people attending as fit in the premises. I have been anxious about being able to understand the proceedings but I need not worry because it will all be translated from French into English and vice versa.

I am also really happy that all the talks will be captured on video so even when you cannot make it to be in Paris, these will help you with your loss.

I hope to meet you in Paris so that we can do some serious networking.

#Wikia this is how you can have even better international support

Now that Wikia has a great new look and feel, it is time for it to become even better, it is time for it to become awesome. Guess what Wikia, as you say in your video, it becomes awesome because of your friends.

Your friends are at translatewiki.net and, we do a good job for you not only by localising MediaWiki but also by localising your software. Our community like yours is growing nicely and with it come people who speak languages new to you. As they know that your software is localised at translatewiki.net, you can imagine their distress when they can not have their own Wikia Wiki.

Aso Mehmûdî speaks Sorani (ckb) and, he wants to start a Wikia wiki. The first step is for you to make it possible for him to select his language and then it would be awesome when you make full use of what we have to offer for you at translatewiki.net.

There is this awesome extension called LocalisationUpdate that allows you to get the latest localisations for your software. It may take a little bit of fiddling to make it work for your software as well. Doing this would be wonderful because it may make the localisation of your software available to those who use your extensions as well.

So be our awesome friend and make Aso and his friends happy members of the Wikia community.

#Statistics for our GLAM partners

At #Wikimedia #Commons we have been building great relations with many GLAMs. Many of them have provided us with awesome material that has found its way in our Wikipedias.

In this era of pressures on the budgets of GLAMs it is important to appreciate what it is that we give in return. A fuzzy feeling that we use their pictures as illustrations in our articles, that we use the cultural heritage that is conserved by these institutions does not really help them. It is like with the Wikimedia Fundraiser they want the facts, the numbers regularly so that they can consider the effectiveness of their partnership with us.

We are good at making use of GLAM material, we are bad at letting GLAMs know how good we are. The best we have is one of Magnus's toys called BaGLAMa. Magnus will be presenting at the conference in London and for this reason he ran an update with his tool so now we have numbers for March and October 2010.

Eruption of the Merapi volcano in 1930 used 6 times
For the Tropenmuseum, BaGLAMa indicates a big growth of the visibility of its material. In March its images were seen 1,871,789 times and this grew in October to 4,133,814.

Another of Magnus's tools, GLAMorous informs us how many images are used on the different Wikipedias. It can drill deeper and inform on what pictures are used where.

In order to maintain a healthy relation with our GLAM partners we need to do better. The traffic statistics have to be updated every month, access to statistics information needs to be in one place. The problem is not that it cannot be done, the problem is who is going to do it. What value do we give to out GLAM relations, will it become a priority or will we muddle on.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Let's have the best #Wikimedia fundraiser possible II

With the fundraiser under way, it is also an important time for the Wikimedia chapters. There are agreements that determine what percentage of the income in a country will go to a chapter. So it must be in the interest of the chapters to get it right, spot on, on the button.

Election night crowd, Wellington, 1931
photo © 1931 National Library NZ on The Commons | more info (via: Wylio)

There are millions of people who still have to part with their hard earned cash so that our projects will do well. The chapters have to localise two extensions; they are the "Donate Interface" and the "Payflow Pro Gateway" extensions.

Many of them can do a lot better but then again, they may not need the money. For India I could not decide what language has to be done.. I would say all of them :) Others have an easy ride because of coders writing texts in coders English.

ar Spanish 96.88% 62.79%
at German 100,00% 100,00%
au English 100,00% 100,00%
ch German 100,00% 100,00%
cz Czech 100,00% 98,26%
de German 100,00% 100,00%
dk Danish 0,00% 0,00%
ee Estonian 90.62% 46.51%
fi Finnish 96.88% 51.74%
fr French 100,00% 62.21%
hk simplified Chinese 96.88% 51.16%
hu Hungarian 96.88% 50.00%
id Indonesian 96.88% 37.21%
il Hebrew 100,00% 98.26%
in India
it Italian 87.50% 45.93%
mk Macedonian 100,00% 100,00%
nl Dutch 100,00% 100,00%
no Norwegian 100.00% 98.26%
ph Tagalog 100.00% 84.30%
pl Polish 100.00% 100.00%
pt Portuguese 100.00% 100.00%
rs Serbian 15.62% 18.02%
ru Russian 100,00% 98.26%
se Swedish 96.88% 48.84%
tw traditional Chinese 100.00% 40.12%
ua Ukranian 100.00% 60.47%
uk English 100.00% 100.00%
us-nyc English 100.00% 100.00%


Let's have the best #Wikimedia fundraiser possible I

The Wikimedia fundraiser is now officially under way. It is the most ambitious fundraiser so far and, it is doing really well. Different criteria can be used to take the measure of its success and the ration of donations in the USA and the rest of the world is an important one. A global organisation needs global funding. One important aspect is that a donation is very much a sign of appreciation.

The best story so far is from Australia; the Paypal account used on the form is the one of the Australian chapter. All of a sudden suspicious large amounts of money find their way into this account. Warning bells went off at Paypal central and access to the money has been withdrawn.

What will it take to convince Paypal that all this money finds its way into the account of the Australian Wikimedia chapter for a good cause. The first line of business is probably to get into contact with them..

Monday, November 15, 2010

Official #Wikimedia announcements

Dear #Wikimedia officials, there are many messages that you need to tell us, that we want to get out of you. Typically it is very hard to get the message out of you; you wait until the last moment and what we get is the "official announcement" type of boring stuff.

Not only the director, Sue, had a great career in journalism. I cannot imagine that you all forgot how much difference a great illustration makes to an essentially boring message. Please, we need to be motivated, what we do should be fun and it is for you to make it so.

Is it that illustrations are considered "unprofessional"? Is it like children with a library card that we should be proud that our books have no pictures? With so many Wikimedia people with a journalistic background, this dullness never seizes to amaze.

#Flickr is not an option anymore for #GLAMs

Presentations on conferences typically speak lyrically about putting content on Flickr. It is quite understandable that those who do are happy, it is a great service to them. It is however no longer an example that can be followed.

There used to be a program where technicians from Flickr helped a GLAM set up a presence. In order to reduce costs, this popular service was discontinued. At Commons, we are quite happy to welcome collaboration with Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums. The service provided is one provided by volunteers. It is improving because of the lessons learned.

The challenge will be to do better then Flickr and be able to welcome new partners even when the current trickle changes into a flood.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

#MediaWiki localisation is not only about the #Wikimedia fundraiser

The fundraiser is really important and its localisations can do with a lot more TLC. It is however not the only thing that needs localisation and Tender Loving Care. I am quite happy that the MediaWiki installer is coming of age. It is for this reason that I happily echo this request by Max Semenik and I hope that it will result in many installations that will benefit from your work.

[Wikitech-l] Call to arms - installer translations

As you all know, the installer was rewritten recently. Step-by-step wizard, JS magic, UI for configuration options that previously had to be manually changed in LocalSettings, in-place upgrades, you name it.

However, there's one thing about it that needs YOUR help: translations. The new installer (at last!) has a localisable interface, and it needs translations to be usable to more people around the world. However, from my experience with installer translations:

  • Most translators are non-techies, they have problems with long messages full of that weird IT lingo.
  • Things are bad when translators avoid translating a message because they don't understand it. Things get much, much worse if they think that they know how to translate them, but in reality they're wrong.
  • While simple users usually can take a look at wiki to have an idea how things work, this is not an option with the installer. Some messages may therefore be translated out of context.

So those of you who are proficient in languages other than English - YOU can make a difference. Go to http://translatewiki.net and start translating. If there are already some translations in your language, double-check them - I assure you, there will be things to fix. Once everything is complete, try running the installer a few times, covering as many execution paths as you can - there will be things to

This way, we can ensure much better localisation. Oh, and forgive me my propagandist style - I couldn't help myself :)

 Max Semenik ([[User:MaxSem]])

Let's get ready for the #Wikimedia fundraiser VIII

Our coders rock - fundraising banner

Officially the Wikimedia Fundraiser will start on Monday. Consequently we are still in "preparation mode". When getting ready means that the real effort still has to come, we surely are doing exceptionally well. Yesterday saw the record amount of donations totalling $ 517,903.57.

The order of the day is to get really and truly everything ready. Our coders are working overtime to get all those pesky details over and done with. When you follow the conversations on IRC, you will learn that there is still plenty to do.

It is interesting to learn how much money is coming in from what project; what is the effect of a Telugu or Tamil localisation. How much of a difference it makes when the Italian, French, Greek or Korean are finally completely localised. Getting such numbers takes developer access so if you are interested in such a question and are able to get such details out, you are certainly part of those rocking coders.

The first Indian WikiMarathon

When a chapter is geographically challenged like India, the challenge is to make a liability into a strength. A WikiMarathon is an event where editors get together and edit articles or perform other tasks on Wikipedia or other Wikimedia projects simultaneously. It provides an opportunity for real-time and location brainstorming and collaboration.

Coming together at the same time and at the same place does not cut it. So the first Indian WikiMarathon is happening at the same time, in multiple locations and on the Internet. In Chennai and Bangalore people come together while many Tamils are getting together without a central location.

This WikiMarathon builds on previous get togethers and will hopefully grow to capture other locations and communities.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Facebook FUD

The latest Facebook FUD is that the mail product that is expected of Facebook will "kill GMAIL and everyone else". In other news it is even said that this new product is tied to an offering by Microsoft.

Guess what, if there is one thing missing in the social networking world, it is not the offerings by companies like Facebook. Their objective is to profit by selling out the privacy of its customers.

What is missing is an open source offering that competes with the likes of Facebook. The least it will do is provide an alternative. When such a social networking environment includes the Wikimedia communities, the Wikia communities or short, the Wikimedia movement it will be an environment that is about something.


Let's get ready for the #Wikimedia fundraiser VII

We are getting ready for the fundraiser and, that is a good thing. The message, the functionality improves and this will helps us realise our objective.

It makes the localisation at translatewiki.net tricky when the goal is to get 100% localisation in many, many languages. Full localisation is however a great motivator and we are again back to four languages in our "shooting on a moving target" challenge.

Ryan Kaldari added two messages in r76614 and only one needs localisation. They are:
  • 'payflowpro_gateway-month' => '$1 ($2)',
  • 'payflowpro_gateway-month' => 'Expiration month for credit card. $1 is the month number, $2 is the month name.', 
I am happy with our improving functionality and, you can help us improve it even more with your localisations.

Let's get ready for the #Wikimedia fundraiser VI

With Jimmy appealing on all WMF wikis, this is the moment to test the quality of the localised messages. My personal goal is that in addition to the amount the WMF is looking for, the percentage of funding originating in the United States will go down.

With more funding originating elsewhere, the chapters will get more funding and this will ensure more activities in the countries they represent. Getting the fundraiser right is in my opinion crucial for any chapter and learning this year's lessons quickly will not only optimise this years fundraiser, it will help prepare next year's fundraiser.

India is a new chapter, it is different because of the many languages that will make a difference. At this moment there are no Indian languages that are ready. The texts in Hindi on Meta have had a complete re-write and the messages all need to be localised.

For Malayalam the system messages have been completed and apparently the Meta texts are being worked on. I am really eager to learn what the strategy is for displaying what language in India; a selection of a single language will be resented by those who favour another language.

For me the breakdown of the fund raising results in India is one of the more interested things to learn.