sábado, 14 de julio de 2012

Report for Wikimedia Austria

Back in 2008 I inscribed in a Master Program about Sciences and Sustainable Development in the University of Cadiz (Spain). I got introduced in Wikipedia editing just by searching items and finding them in the English edition, and not in the Spanish edition. So I started translating.

2011 was a year of political activism in many locations of the world. Tunisia and Egypt started what was named Arab Spring, and social unrest spread to many other countries including Greece, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Chile, or USA.

I was involved in the international coordination of the global action day of 15 October 2011. Mainly it was carried on through facebook. Several facebook groups put together the coordination efforts of people from different locations. Calendars were lined-up and graphic design was built-up, in parallel with the local processes of gathering assemblies and promoting and organizing that day event in every place.

Three major networks popped up. One based on Spain, under the name of "¡Democracia Real Ya!" ("Real Democracy Now!"). Other one USA-based, under the tag of "Occupy". And a third one I believe based on UK and Spain, named "Take the Square" or "Toma la Plaza".

The diversity of informatic tools and the heterogeneity in locations, languages, and world-views was not hindering in an early moment the self-organization of a global unified event. The only precedent I know of are the demonstrations carried out previously of the Azores Summit that triggered the Second Gulf War back in 2003.

The experience of Wikimedia projects on overcoming the difficulties of multilinguality and on providing a frame for heterogeneous communities made me think on using Mediawiki to empower further the participative social processes. This is already happening to some extension. Anyway, there's a tough challenge on establishing new wiki tools, specially to achieve the community development that make it functional.

The Wikimedia conference provided a good insight to these concerns. One of the speakers was pointing that the average number of contributors after analyzing 8000 wiki based projects is one! I also meet the Canadian person who nourish the Occupy wiki, and had the opportunity of talking face to face with him about the potentiality of the use of Mediawiki on social issues.