LCA Open Day

Setting up for Open Day.
© Paul Fenwick, licensed CC-BY-SA

Well, Saturday was the last part of LCAOpen Day. I had a table on Wiki[mp]edia with Brian who kindly volunteered to help me out.

We gave away:

We gave out around 90 of each of these things, and over 120 of the leaflets.

I looked for promo material on all the projects, but Wikipedia and Wikiversity were the only projects that had anything decent that appeared to be even remotely up-to-date. We communities really need to do some work on this…

We also sold around 80-90 of DVDs containing the 2007 Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year zip, which added up to about 1.2G of data. I should have put the 2006 archive on them too. Too late now… Anyway we sold these for $1.50, as that is what getting the discs made cost me. I will more or less get completely reimbursed for the free stuff.

Brian brought his laptop and had a slideshow of the images on the disc running, which worked very well. I had my laptop open with Wikipedia on it.

Wiki[mp]edia’s Open Day stand.
© Paul Fenwick, licensed CC-BY-SA

Talking to people was interesting. Lots of people said “I love Wikipedia, I use it all the time” to which I would immediately reply, “Have you ever edited it?” Two people said back, “I would, but I’ve never found anything wrong to correct”. That’s really interesting; not long ago, I would never expect that response.

A couple of people had edited Wikipedia and had some anecdote to share. They got to a point where they wanted to do something and weren’t sure what to do or how to find it out, so they left it. So it was nice that Brian and I could answer some questions.

One case was about negative material being removed from an article on a school. The guy had never bothered to pay attention to the tabs at the top of articles and had therefore never realised that each article had a “history” tab. (!!) Clearly we have to do some better PR, because this is one of the most important aspects to Wikipedia…

Another was about missing entries on languages spoken in Indonesia. With that, I said to the guy, “Hey, let’s start the articles right now,” and so we did. :) (Because he doesn’t have an account, this way he can edit them – you need an account to start a new article, but not to edit it.) I hope he does go and improve them now. That will be cool.

Wikipedia lightning talk.
© Paul Fenwick, licensed CC-BY-SA

Paul, who took this photo, talked me into giving a lightning talk on Wikipedia. This is a talk with a three minute time limit. I gave an example of an edit war via slides – color/colour/color/colour/color/colour/color/colour/color. This is nice; Australians understand how this would be a unresolvable conflict. :)At the end I gave a plug for Wikimedia Australia.

Afterwards Brian and I had a cool drink at a cafe and discussed conferences and organisation organisation. LCA is the second example I’ve experienced of a well-run volunteer-coordinated large-scale conference (after Wikimania ’07), so I have a new set of ideas and tips filed away in the back of my mind for when we try it on for Wikimania. :)

My current thinking goes like this:

The workshop idea was influenced by talking to Dutch Wikipedian Ciell, who has been travelling in Australia and with whom I had dinner last Tuesday. However the tyranny of distance may still be too great for it to work here. I am not sure the community is actually large enough yet.

03 February, 2008 •


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