Well, this blog is slowly rumbling towards retirement, but I have a nice announcement for any readers in or near China :) In just a couple of weeks I will be speaking at a ‘Sharism’ forum in Shanghai as part of the Get It Louder festival. Pretty cool!! The other speakers look an awesome crowd.
The name “sharism” comes from an essay by Isaac Mao, a venture capitalist and blogger. His conclusion is suitably bold:
Emergent democracy will only happen when Sharism becomes the literacy of the majority. Since Sharism can improve communication, collaboration and mutual understanding, I believe it has a place within the educational system. Sharism can be applied to any cultural discourse, CoP (Community of Practice) or problem-solving context. It is also an antidote to social depression, since sharelessness is just dragging our society down. In present or formerly totalitarian countries, this downward cycle is even more apparent. The future world will be a hybrid of human and machine that will generate better and faster decisions anytime, anywhere. The flow of information between minds will become more flexible and more productive. These vast networks of sharing will create a new social order−A Mind Revolution!
Well, I’m going to be speaking about something much smaller :)
Clash of the Encyclopedias: Is Competition Good for Sharing?
One of the benefits of the open web is that good ideas can flourish easily. In the Chinese speaking web, the idea of an online encyclopedia has been especially fruitful. With the Chinese Wikipedia enjoying its eighth birthday this month, it’s worth examining whether the fragmentation of efforts ultimately leads to a better product and bigger communities, or if the “us vs them” mentality is harmful to sharing.
I don’t know any details yet about how much it will cost, or even where it will be specifically, but I’m sure those details will be surfacing any day now! I believe there will be simultaneous interpreting (a la Wikimania Buenos Aires) which will be great for the attendees.
I think Wikimedia Italia is not in the English Wikimedia ‘planet’ (although they are on identi.ca), so lest anyone miss this, I thought I must post it – it’s a video explaining and showing Wikimedia Commons (it has English subtitles):
This is so well done! Bravo WMIT. I can’t imagine how long it must have taken to plan the text and choose the images. The text is nicely concise, doesn’t belabour any points, and is quite comprehensive – from OTRS to Meet our photographers … I thought it was quite funny at first, seeing the narrator in the menu on the left, but it is a nice way to see him and also see lots of colourful images. :)
There is information about it in Italian on the Wikimedia Italia site.
Ben fatto, Wikimedia Italia!
Well, I am back from two long flights from Europe, home from my fourth Wikimania. It was the first one entirely funded from my own bat, too, if I recall correctly. I remember back in 2007 when I first considered going to Wikimania in Taipei. I only really dared because I had recently spent a stint in Beijing studying Chinese, and it seemed like it was going to be rare for Wikimania to be even remotely in my neck of the woods. (Which has held true.)
And since then, I was kinda hooked. It was that first Wikimania that really made me feel “wow, these are my people!” It was after that that I started this blog, too.
Now considering my recent spinning down within Wikimedia I wondered if I should go to this Wikimania. But the chance to see so many of my wiki friends once again was irresistible. So I decided to take my own “farewell tour”. And I got to see nearly everyone I looked for. One notable exception was Dror, the Israeli “ambassador”. Wikimedia Israel will host the next Wikimania but I don’t think I will be there. Oh well. Another time, Dror! You were missed!
I preceded this Wikimania with a brief trip in Europe, spending 1 day in Germany, 3 in the Netherlands and 4 in Denmark. It helped to reduce the effect of the crazy “ZOMG foreign countries!” overreaction brought on by jet-lag and excitement.
This Wikimania was marked, unlike the others, with some trepidation in the lead-up, caused by late organisation of the registration and accommodation. Well, I’ve made my complaints. At the end I can say the annoying parts will fade away, and what will remain are the warm conversations, interesting presentations and crowded cobblestones of ul. Długa.
I was still lucky to meet some familiar names for the first time: Millosh. Nemo bis. Dvortygirl (well I did not formally meet you, but it was nice to hear your lightning talk!). Philippe. Cbrown1023. (!!) Ragesoss. (!!!) Ariel Glenn. And that is just the ones I remember who conveniently listed themselves as attendees. Oh and Kartika, the Indonesian award winner who friended me on Facebook. :) If I listed all the people I was happy to meet again I would certainly leave off names I did not intend.
It’s funny what people remember of you. A Polish guy (sorry I have forgotten your name) came up to me to thank me for writing about the WMPL wiki-expedition idea.
And when I met my roommate, Beatriz from Argentina, she initially did not know who I was. “I used to be the president of Wikimedia Australia,” I said as background. “Oh… you made a video for us!” she said, remembering a short video I made, at Patricio’s request, for Wikimedia Argentina’s first general meeting as an official chapter (I believe). We were both chapters recognised around the same time. Now I have no idea where that video is but I am sure it was short, cheap and cheerful. It makes me happy to think what an easy thing it was for me to do and that people might still remember me by it two or more years later.
Patricio also gave me a birthday present, a book of short stories by Jorge Luis Borges, including La biblioteca de Babel. (Of course, Spanish Wikipedia administrators are known as librarians, which is endlessly charming.) According to what en.wp says about it, it looks like a story I will enjoy very much.
…Just as soon as I learn Spanish. On my flight from Frankfurt to Bangkok I thought, with renewed enthusiasm: I should learn Spanish. But, I am pretty sure that decisions made on cross-continent flights, as with those made while drunk, can’t be held against one. So, we’ll see. :)
FYI… Last week I resigned as Wikimedia Australia president.
Thanks to those who have given me their support this week and over the past two years. It’s not necessary to beg me to stay or inquire after my health.
See you at Gdansk?
Podcasts from the National Library of Australia’s Innovative Ideas Forum 2010 are now available. There is video for the first two speakers, and audio for everyone. Including me (mp3). Or you can just read it at your leisure. :)
I have also tagged some blog posts from other speakers and attendees.