Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The secret of our success

Sue Gardner analysed factors of our success. The arguments are quite solid and Sue is asking for observations. Observations are about focus and points of view and mine are different. 

This virtuous circle is what is considered how growth happens in our projects. To define what this means: reach is the people using our projects, participation is the people working on our projects and quality is the result of a community working together.

While the arguments are quite solid, the focus of the examples is her own. As its director, Sue is at the centre of the Wikimedia Foundation and her objective of her blogpost is to "document some good patterns of leadership and change-making". All the case studies she picked were centrally organised and she had a hand in all of them.

Each of our projects has its own community and in addition to this, the chapter structure represents yet another set of closely related communities. If you want to look for "leadership and change making" the best practices in the communities and chapters will prove the most strategic for realising our aims. The role of the Wikimedia Foundation should consequently be one of facilitator.

Banner of Malayalam wikipedia academy

The 2010 activities in India have been game changing. A visit by Jimmy Wales attracts 600 Wikimedians. Series of workshops, academies are held and planned... the list of activities goes on. The activities in the south are the envy of those in the north but, understanding and nurturing the processes and its interactions will be essential when we want to maximise our growth not only in India.

Great developments have happened in 2010 in our relations with GLAM. After his stint as a "Wikipedian in residence" at the British Museum Liam Wyatt is now travelling all over the world bringing our message to the GLAM world and as importantly bringing the GLAM message to our world. This is technically supported by people like Multichill and Magnus Manske. The Wikimedia GLAM projects have the potential of building the home for the cultural heritage of the world.

The 2010 competition of Jakarta universities showed the best practice in engaging both students and their teachers. The set-up included many novelties and its success has the potential to be the template for a competition of Indonesian universities and the best practice for university projects elsewhere.

Translatewiki.net proved its worth when it became apparent how little was needed to improve mobile support for Wikipedia. In a very short time the twn community realised the localisation for many languages and a mobile main page for many Wikipedias were created. This resulted in a short lived exponential growth. This fizzled because of a stagnation in mobile development.

The development of MediaWiki is centrally planned and managed. The focus has been exclusively on WMF office projects. This resulted in extremely ambitious and rigidly managed projects that excluded what was not immediately seen to fit. MediaWiki is relevant here because it represents the platform in the virtuous circle.

Things are opening up. It shows in the recent Hack-A-Ton, the search for the desperately needed bugmeister, the announced hire of a developer who is to integrate mobile support in MediaWiki and the integration of mobile traffic statistics. There is still so much that is waiting to happen because of a lack of resources and assigned priorities.

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