Wikimania (Wikipedia) has changed my life

I’ve just spent 3 hectic days at Wikimania (the world gathering of world Wikimedians) and am so overwhelmed I’m spending today getting my thoughts in order.  Wikimedia is the generic organization for Wikipedia , Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons, and lots else. I’ll use Wikimedia as the generic term

Very simply:

Wikimedia is at the centre of the Century of the Digital Enlightenment.

Everything I do will be done under the influence of WM. It will be my gateway to the facts, the ideas, the people, the organizations, the processes of the Digital Enlightenment. It is the modern incarnation of Diderot and the Encyclopediee.

2000 Wikimanians gathered at the Barbican (London) for talks, bazaars, food, and fun. It’s far more than an encyclopedia.

We are building the values of the Digital Enlightenment

If we succeed in that everything follows. So I sat through incredible presentation on digital democracy, the future of scholarship, the liberation of thought, globalization, the fight against injustice, the role of corporations, and of the state. How Wikipedia  is becoming universal in Southern Africa through smart phones (while publishing in the rich west is completely out of touch with the future).

And fracture lines are starting to appear between the conservatism of the C20 and the Digital Enlightenment. We heard how universities still cannot accept the Wikipedia is the future. Students are not allowed to cite WP in their assignments – it’s an elephant in the room. Everyone uses it but you’re not allowed to say so.

If you are not using Wikipedia as a central part of your educational process, then you must change the process.

It’s a tragedy that universities are so conservative.

For me

Wikipedia is the centre of scientific research and publishing in this century.

I’ll expand in a later post.

But among the top values in Wikipedia is the community. The Digital Enligyhtenment is about community. It’s about inclusiveness. It’s about networks. It’s about sharing. C20 academia spends its enegery fighting its neighbours (“we have a higher ranking than you and I have a higher impact factor than you”). In Wikipedia community is honoured. The people who build the bots are welcomed by those who edit and those who curate the tools mutually honour those who build the chapters.

And anyone who thinks Wikipedia is dying has never been to Wikimania.

Wikipedia constantly reinvents itself and it’s doing so now. The number of edits is irrelevant. What matters is community and values.  We’re concerned about how organizations function in the Digital age. How do we resolve conflicts? what is truth?

I was honoured to be asked to give a talk, and here it is:

http://new.livestream.com/wikimania/friday2014 (3h12m-> 3h42m)

I’ll blog more about it later.

My major discovery was

WIKIDATA, which will become a cornerstone of modern science

I’ll write more but huge thanks to:

  • Ed Saperia who spent 2 years organizing Wikimania
  • Wikichemistry (to whom I awarded a Blue Obelisk)
  • Wikidata

I am now so fortunate to be alive in the era of Wikimedia, Mozilla, Open Street Map, Open Knowledge Foundation, and Shuttleworth Fellowships.  These and others are a key part of change=ing and building a new world.

And I and contentmine.org will be part of it (more later).

 

4 thoughts on “Wikimania (Wikipedia) has changed my life

      1. David Gerard

        On the subject of the talk itself, there’s this post I made a few months ago – which I originally wrote in 2011, then found in my “drafts” folder …

        http://davidgerard.co.uk/notes/2014/05/22/weve-won-no-tail-lights-now-what/

        Using Wikidata as a place to put abstracted facts from scientific papers is a good example of “Wikimedia as sum of all university libraries”.

        (The hazard is the problem Commons is currently having, where a few problematic admins have gained power to remove unproblematic contributions and are busy causing serious cross-Wikimedia problems … so always keep a backup.)

        Reply
  1. Gregory Kohs

    If Wikipedia and related projects are truly at the center of digital enlightenment, then we are truly lost. I have documented years of incidents that show how the Wikimedia Foundation is not transparent, is not open to change, and is not operating in a financially ethical manner. Meanwhile, Wikipedia is slowly killing off the very knowledge-generating centers and resources that it depends on to feed its “leaf-cutter ant” strategy of information procurement. Peter Rust, I am concerned about how deeply you’ve fallen for the hype, but at this point it would just be antagonism to try to get you to see any other way.

    Reply

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