Wikimania/2018 report

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The reports from WMBE participants of Wikimania 2018 in Cape Town are/will be published on this page. The reports should contain what the participants did, what Wikimedia Belgium should know to stay informed, what kind of interesting things the participant has seen/heard/etc that we can use in WMBE/Belgium and what kind of activities/projects/practices come out of participating in the conference.


I was at Wikimania in Cape Town for 5 days. It was my first international wikimedian event and I was there to learn more about IRL projects and more things about gender issues that I knew before in order to bring back new ideas for the association.

  • I first attended the Learning days during the 2 preconference days. One of the workshops I attended was about communication and how to have a better public communication when you're managing a project, to make people join it. Simple but helpful tips, that I have to share with WMBE members.

$ Then I attended some very interesting lectures during the conferences days mainly on my specific topic (gender issue) but also on other topics of interest. I specially liked the review on the gender gap with many scientific sources about women's contribution and content about women on Wikipedia. Maybe we could adapt and reuse this intervention in French for raising awareness on this issue during eventual public conferences (and why not for the Belgian Wikiconvention).

  • Another one was about what feminism could bring to you as a Wikipedian (What can we learn from the Feminist movement for knowledge equity?) and about NPOV. Is that neutral to stay with a statu quo discriminating women and women issues like we are? is our "neutral point of view" really neutral or perpetuating current inequities? That was a mix with Wikimedian customs and social psychology (how our believes are made and then make our customs). I shared many views with the speaker and I appreciated the right use of concepts from social psychology to explain why things are what they are. I think that this lecture and these considerations should be more widespread among the community to raise awareness about our own behaviors and biases as Wikipedians and about our responsability in the gender gap knowledge too.
  • Another conference that that caught my attention was the lecture about teaching people with mental illness contributing on Wikiquote. I was at this lecture with somebody of WMFR and we said maybe we could start a common project like that with people with autism one day.

These examples were only some of the lectures that caught my attention but there were more topics very interesting there ^^.

  • I also met more French-speaking Wikimedians (specially French, Canadian and Tunisian) by attending the WikiFranca meeting. WikiFranca gathers French-speaking Wikimedians from several chapters, user groups or as independant users to organize international events, and help growing new chapters or user groups. We also talked about the main difficulties in organizing the Wikiconvention considering visa problems and how to improve this process.
  • Wikimania and the presentations I attended made me understood that it may be easier to organize workshops and events than I thought before, that events were made by people like me and that made me more confident about thinking organizing projects. Some of the projects (and people !) were very inspiring. Now I really hope that I will be able to take every opportunity to make our chapter growing and make more people joining the Wikimedia movement.
  • Beyond this strictly wikimedian aspect, I also faced some personal difficulties during this event, considering the organization and accessibility. Many things were not adapted if you have autism and considering that many people of the Wikimedian community have autism as well, I would like to try to fix it for the next wikimedian events. That's why I will do a lecture for the French Wikiconvention (october), using my experiences and other's to suggest tips to organizers to make their event more autistic-friendly (stay tuned :P !).


My role during Wikimania is to take care of a part of the onsite organisation of the conference, especially supporting the registration desk and to help out where ever I can to let the conference run smoothly. In my role I solve issues and I try to help people the best I can, with respect for anyone. Sadly something happened, as I described in this e-mail. This resulted in a lot of protest against this decision and hundreds of people came to me to show their support. I also think it is concerning that even behaviour not in violation of the Friendly Space Policy and with all the best intentions to anyone, can result in this kind of decisions.

Besides organising the conference and helping people I have been active with:

Interesting things I came across (especially during the poster and art reception (posters)):

  • In Poland WMPL has a Wikigrants program: a system of microgrants for financing content-generating activities of editors and contributors.
  • After the party on Sunday an initiative has started to make sure there are facilities for people with autism/sensory overloads, so they can enjoy the conference too, as part of we want to be inclusive as movement.
  • On the Greek Wikipedia there is an Article Nursery Garden system active that let (new) users write articles in their sandbox after what they get easily published thanks to some facilities. (poster / info / info)
  • On Wikimedia Commons there is since recently a mulitlingual infobox for Commons categories based on Wikidata. (poster / infobox template / info)
  • In various European countries there have been organised multiple day edit-a-thons. (poster / info / info) Looking on the map of past events, Belgium, more precise: Eupen, is halfway some of the earlier locations of the event. I think it can be great to organise this next year in Eupen as a multi-country event.
  • In multiple countries a wikipassport is in use for editors that visit cultural institutions. After showing the wikipassport editors have access to the resources of the institution to be used to improve Wikipedia articles about the related topics. (poster / info / info)
  • In Spain they organise the photo contest Wiki Loves Folk and has as goal to provide free images of festivals and festivities. (poster / info / info)
  • There is a project of the Wikipedia Cultural Diversity Observatory. As Wikipedia is not fully reflecting the world's diversity, they have come with a solution as part of this project. (poster / info / info)
  • The gendergap needs to be solved somehow, for that it is needed we understand how it works. (poster)


I travelled to Wikimania together with a German Wikipedian. I attended both the pre-conference and the main conference; it is my sixth Wikimania already.

I attended several meetings and discussions as substitute for the WMBE chairman. On Friday during the chairpersons' meeting we discussed e.g. training for board members and the idea of a specific chairpersons' conference. On Saturday there was a meeting specifically for the movement strategy, where we were informed of the status of the working groups.

I also participated in the hackathon, where I helped others solving bugs. I am unfortunately not as active in development myself anymore, but I can use my knowledge of MediaWiki etc. to help starting volunteer developers.

I also attended several sessions about topics that interest me: languages, Wikidata, copyright, ... However, as this is my sixth Wikimania already, I have the feeling a lot of issues have already been brought up so I am not sure about the value of focusing on presentations.

As a former global sysop and steward, I also met up with fellow "meta" Wikimedians during a functionaries meetup.

I stayed in a hotel one block away from the main venue, which is normally obviously within walking distance. However, I still felt unsafe; it was quite an experience to visit a city as dangerous as Cape Town. On the way back to Belgium, we visited Kigali shortly by night, where it was much safer.