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Wikimedians and others gather for Wiki-Conference New York

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By Staff, Sj, staeiou, GChriss, Izno

More than 100 Wikipedians and observers attended the New York City Wiki-Conference 2009, held on July 25 and 26 at the New York University School of Law. This was the first regional wikiconference held in the U.S., and there was general agreement that one should be held every year. The conference followed the unconference format, leaving much of the job of determining discussion topics to the conference participants. Pharos reported that the only expense was for the food, as the rooms were donated thanks to the Information Law Institute and assistance from NYU Free Culture.

Video and audio of sessions were recorded by GChriss, Bobguy89, and Tom Maaswinkel, to be posted to the Internet Archive. The whole event was tweeted in real time using the #nywikiconference hash tag.

John Britten from Open Everything organized the open space, which made up half of the conference schedule. John Broughton and O'Reilly Media provided copies of the Wikipedia Reader's Guide for all attendees, and one lucky attendee walked away with a copy of How Wikipedia Works.


A photo of the open space board at the NYC Wikiconference.

Sessions included keynote speeches by Jimbo Wales and Ira Brad Matetsky, 15 lightning talks, and a few dozen open space sessions, one of which generated this article and other Signpost updates this week. The sessions generated so much enthusiasm that they were extended past the scheduled sessions to add Sunday afternoon sessions.


Two keynotes were presented. Jimbo presented a keynote on Saturday morning, while Ira Brad Matetsky (User:Newyorkbrad) provided the keynote for Sunday morning.

Jimbo Wales at the keynote.
Jimbo (video of Jimmy's keynote)
We are now the 4th largest site in the world. But he expected to soon to be overtaken by Facebook. Jimbo is very much for BLP and against copyfraud. Ann Coulter reminds us that it is ensuring small facts are correct that matters as much as surprising true statements in their bios.
Spoke on "BLPs, Wikipedia, the Internet, and the Future of Privacy", including how Wikipedia's handling of BLP issues relating to privacy issues contrasts with how similar issues have been addressed by other media and by the legal system, with an interesting legal sidelight into the life of William James Sidis.


Stuart Geiger offered statistical analysis of bot edits.

Five panels, half presentation and half roundtable with the audience, broke up the rest of the schedule.

These included discussions on mapping in MediaWiki, quality and governance (4 out of 5 Wikimedians agree: consensus = 80%), chapters and outreach, collaboration and wikiprojects, and neutrality and activism.

Signpost editors work diligently on the day's edition.

Lightning talks

The most energetic lightning talk demonstrated real-time multiple-participant wysiwyg editing of Wikipedia articles using a development version of Google Wave. Risker talked about the staggering 19-case Arbitration Committee workload, including the War and Peace of date delinking and the Colbertization of Scientology.

An unnamed speaker was voted best lightning talk and received a physical barnstar for his efforts. It is likely that s/he will be rewarded with a metaphysical barnstar in the near future as well.

GreenReaper, Invertzoo and ClockworkSoul covered the creation and growth of WikiProjects.

Open Space

The open space presentations were off the wall. They covered translation (offering interlanguage-mediated adding quality stats by interwiki links), how we make decisions (no consensus reached on how), notability(nn), free culture, art and film (Nina Paley and Commons newbie biting 101), and nonprofits for newbies. Others covered OTRS (), contributing featured content (), strategic planning (public priorities v. reports), Semantic MediaWiki (Yaron holding forth), starting your own wiki (just do it), the NPG (a lot of fun), Wikipedia offline in Peru (slow but widely used in 10k classrooms), and reforming Wikipedia (no consensus). Finally, there was the highways wikiproject, not what Wikipedia is not (?), and the Signpost workshop (simultaneous editing and a gossip column).

Sunday, open space talks included user:Mitchazenia's summary of the WP:DRAMAOUT (136 articles created, 43 DYKs, etc - see Wikipedia:The Great Wikipedia Dramaout/Log).

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This is a masterpiece of collaborative journalism. Wikinews could learn a thing or two. —Emufarmers(T/C) 04:10, 28 July 2009 (UTC)[reply]
We know, we're brilliant. --Izno (talk) 05:08, 28 July 2009 (UTC)[reply]


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