An edit-a-thon (French: journées contributives) or (Wikipedia) writing session is a workshop in what participants create and edit articles in Wikipedia, Wikidata or other pages in one of the Wikimedia platforms. Edit-a-thons can be organised together with cultural institutions (GLAMs), educational institutions, other organisations, or without any collaboration. Mostly edit-a-thons are organised on Wikipedia and a specific topic is chosen to write about.
Edit-a-thons are often used to make staff of organisations more known with how to edit Wikipedia and to share the knowledge present in your organisation with a wider audience through Wikipedia.
Normally edit-a-thons are (also) open to external public, who are mostly attracted by the announcement of the activity in the network of the organisation. Edit-a-thons that are only accessible for staff of an institution, are practically the same as open edit-a-thons, but is referred to as an (internal) Wikipedia workshop. With both the open to the public edit-a-thons and the internal workshops for staff, Wikimedia Belgium can provide guidance and support, and we can look for experienced Wikipedia editors to explain how Wikipedia works and help with questions and the editing.
Organising an edit-a-thon is a nice start to share knowledge present in an organisation with a wider audience, but often there is more knowledge to be shared. Then can be thought about organising periodically internal sessions or starting a wiki club where a steady group of editors periodically come together.
We recommend the following preparations to be ready before the edit-a-thon starts:
- Have a location, and think about how participants can access offline sources like books and magazines.
- In Wikipedia both online and offline sources can be used.
- Make sure there is wifi with sufficient capacity.
- If unsure: Wikimedia Belgium has a mobile router available.
- Create an activity page on Wikipedia for your activity.
- On this activity page the participants are listed with their user names and all the output of the edit-a-thon is collected.
- Choose a generic topic.
- Have someone from Wikimedia Belgium who can give an introduction in Wikipedia and Wikimedia, send an e-mail to infowikimedia.be.
- Create a project page on the wiki of Wikimedia Belgium (this wiki) to document the organisational aspects of the edit-a-thon.
- To easily create a project page, visit project page and use the box to create one and fill in the page.
- Send out an announcement to the public. (Please contact Wikimedia Belgium before announcing an edit-a-thon.)
In general an edit-a-thon takes multiple hours and a program of an edit-a-thon often follows the following structure:
- Introduction in Wikipedia and Wikimedia
- Have everyone sign up on the project page on Wikipedia with their user name.
- Lunch (optional)
- Tour through collection or archive (optional)
During the day the organiser(s) make sure that all written articles are linked on the activity page on Wikipedia so there is an overview of all the output. This is needed to determine the metrics of the edit-a-thon.
- It is on Wikipedia not allowed to write about your own organisation, your boss, yourself, or your family. You can however write about the collection or knowledge you have or work with as organisation.
Examples of edit-a-thons were:
- Edit-a-thon Vorst December 2017
- GenderGap edit-a-thon March 2018
- Amnesty edit-a-thon May 2018
- Women in Tech edit-a-thon October 2018
- Wikidata workshop 2018
- Public domain day edit-a-thon 2019 in the Royal Library of Belgium
- Hack The Gender Gap edit-a-thon January 2019
Other projects that included writing session:
- Wiki Club Brussels (biweekly writing sessions)
- Wikify het Theaterfestival!
- Mois de la contribution 2018
- Just For The Record
- Wikipedia:How to run an edit-a-thon in the English Wikipedia
- Wikipedia:Edit-a-thon in the Dutch Wikipedia
- Wikipédia:Journées contributives in the French Wikipedia
- How to organise an edit-a-thon on Outreach wiki
- Bringing your students to edit-a-thons on Meta
- The Europeana Fashion Edit-a-thon Handbook for GLAMs (archived)