On May 4 and 5, volunteers and staff from the Wikimedia Foundation ran a booth about the Wikimedia projects at Maker Faire, a two-day event in San Mateo, California focused on do-it-yourself technology. Over 65,000 people attended the event, which was sponsored by O'Reilly Media and Make Magazine.
The Wikimedia booth featured two large projection screens, one displaying an IRC feed of recent changes from the top-10 language Wikipedias, and the other displaying random articles from a selection of projects. Computers were available for demonstrating the projects and showing visitors how to edit. Volunteers gave away Wikimedia-related materials, including buttons, stickers, and small "reader's guide" versions of the new book Wikipedia: The Missing Manual. Thousands of people visited the booth over the course of the two-day weekend. Several booth volunteers commented that although the majority of visitors said they already were familiar with and used Wikipedia heavily, few visitors said they were active editors.
On May 9, 10 and 11, volunteers from the wiki community hosted the fourth Recent Changes Camp, in Palo Alto at the Socialtext offices. Recent Changes Camp (or RCC) is a free unconference about wikis, in the style of Barcamp. The theme of the weekend was "Assume Good Faith", and the sponsors were AboutUs.org, Atlassian, Socialtext, Solseed, Wikia, and wikiHow.
The first RCC was held in Portland, Oregon in 2006; subsequent conferences have been held in Portland and Montreal. Members of any wiki community or company are welcome at RCC, along with others who may be unfamiliar with wikis but would like to learn more. The conference has usually focussed on issues related to wiki culture and community, as well as wiki software technical development.
Around 60 people were in attendance over the course of the weekend, including several Wikimedians. Some Wikimedia Commons contributors took extensive photos, now collected in a Category at the site. Attendees were from as far away as Boston, Montreal and Chicago; a group of attendees also drove together from Portland on a "wiki bus". The conference used open space methodology to develop the agenda; participants proposed discussion topics of interest and placed them on a "schedule wall", thereby creating the conference schedule. Topics of discussion at the camp included "wiki & fandom", "Community Building", "wiki data" (on structured wikis) and "What Will/Should Wikipedia Look/Feel Like in 20 years?" A session entitled "Who edits Wikipedia?" focussed on research done by Ed Chi at PARC. Along with a research team, Chi has developed a tool called WikiDashboard which can be used for analyzing editor contributions, and has also analyzed Wikipedia data dumps to determine the proportion of Wikipedia edits made by administrators, among other questions.
The next Recent Changes Camp will be held in Portland, Oregon in 2009. Find out more at the Recent Changes Camp website (there should be a wiki for '09 up and running soon).