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Community view

Wikimedia community responds to COVID-19

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By Lane Rasberry and Bri

This report outlines the "who" of Wikipedia's COVID-19 response – both individual editors and groups like Wikipedia:WikiProject COVID-19. We can not recognize every single one of the many, many contributors in this report or in our Wikiproject report interviews prepared for the issue. Everyone involved should take pride in their real-world impact which we have attempted to bring to light in this issue.


Many projects mobilized to encounter the COVID challenge.

A "WikiProject" is a group of people who collaborate in the Wikimedia platform to achieve some common goal in wiki content development or administration. Prior to COVID-19 various WikiProject communities were already in place engaged in their routine activities, but also had social and technical infrastructure in place to respond to a disease outreach or any other disaster.

WikiProject COVID-19 was created on March 15. For a deeper look into the community mobilization, see this issue's Community view.

WikiProject Medicine is visible in Wikipedia's COVID-19 response for coordinating the development of medical content, orienting new editors to contribute to Wikipedia, and mediating quality control. Within the Wikipedia community the project is the mainstay for developing health information on Wikipedia including 10,000+ articles on medical conditions, drugs, therapies, and certain events like outbreaks and humanitarian crises. Besides developing health content this WikiProject has a reputation for protection of Wikipedia content quality, recruiting off-wiki institutional collaboration, and joining discussion on all sorts of Wikipedia policy.

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User:HotArticlesBot report for WikiProject Medicine on 4 March 2020

Illustrated in the accompanying graphic, WikiProject Medicine experienced extraordinary and unprecedented effects starting in early March:

  1. Rarely does the most edited article in medicine get more than 400 edits in a week
  2. This bar has never been all red before, so current editing is beyond the intended scale
  3. This is the first time that all top 10 articles in medicine were about one topic

Other content-focused WikiProjects which contribute to the effort include WikiProject Disaster management, WikiProject Viruses, and WikiProjects for every region in the world with special mention to WikiProjects Italy and China. The newly created WikiProject COVID-19 serves as a central forum for coordinating planning among these various projects. Beyond English Wikipedia and into other Wikimedia projects, Wikidata presents WikiProject Humanitarian Wikidata, which coordinates data collection for disease outbreaks and varied other disasters including climate change effects, violent attacks, and plane crashes. Newly created is Wikidata's own data-oriented WikiProject COVID-19, a WikiProject modeled after the previous comparable disease outbreak which the wiki community documented in WikiProject Zika Corpus in the Wikicite model of academic journal curation.

A cross-wiki administrative WikiProject which suddenly is very useful is WikiProject remote event participation, which gives guidance to wiki contributors on how they can meet each other online to discuss and develop Wikimedia content using shared document editing, voice and video chat, and of course conventional collaborative editing of the wiki.

Extraordinary contributors in extraordinary times

Many, many other editors have contributed and we can not recognize every single one of them. According to research done for The Signpost, the following contributors stood out in their especially prolific contributions to the articles and other organization (such as navigation boxes).

In-person events canceled

COVID-19 has been the cause of many event cancellations. Wiki community organizers have similarly had to cancel their events. In addition, many community events were cancelled due to public health concerns; these are also detailed in this issue's Special report.

Volunteer organizers host wiki community events continually around the world. The most common event type are the local events which a regional Wikimedia community organization presents to nearby wiki editors and the general public. There is a global tradition of organizing events in the Art+Feminism program every March, and this year there were cancellations for most of the 300 scheduled in-person events which in previous years had 4000+ attendees editing Wikipedia articles about female artists and their artwork.

The Wikimedia Summit is an annual gathering of representatives of each Wikimedia community organization around the world; its objective is global coordination to address the most urgent challenges of the Wikimedia Movement's strategic planning. The April 2020 Wikimedia Summit was planned to review the long-term planning discussions of the past 4 years to present governance recommendations through the year 2030 to the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. This event is cancelled.

Wikimedia ally Creative Commons has developed the free and open copyright license which Wikimedia projects use. Their annual summit in May in Portugal is cancelled. The Wikimedia Hackathon 2020 to develop MediaWiki, our shared software platform, is cancelled and will not happen in May 2020 in Tirana, Albania as scheduled. Wikimedia LGBT+ was planning its first international gathering to put LGBT+ wiki editors from as many countries as possible together face to face in Linz, Austria in May 2020, but that conference is cancelled. The WikiData Days 2020 2–4 July, Lisbon, Portugal is cancelled. The largest wiki conference, Wikimania 2020 in August in Bangkok, is pending a decision which the organizers will issue by the beginning of April 2020. 1,500 attendees would be expected at this conference which was planned especially to support contributors from South Asia and Southeast Asia.

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The editors recognized absolutely deserve massive thanks, but there are also some pretty major holes in that list. If The Signpost is going to give individual call-outs, better research might have been warranted. Sdkb (talk) 05:54, 30 March 2020 (UTC)[reply]


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