Birthday Year Highlight: Wikipedia Action Week

The ten most frequently asked questions about joining Wikipedia, a talk with Fridays for Future, the finale of the salon series “ABC of Free Knowledge”, empowerment for aspiring Wikipedians – all this was part of the great Wikipedia Action Week experience in 2021. Most notably, the diversity of the community and its fantastic commitment became really visible.

Sascha Lobo does not think that it is exaggerated to say that Wikipedia is indeed “an eighth wonder of the world”. And the power behind it, “the energy, the time, the know-how, the incredible number of connections between people, the research of course” – all of that “cannot be praised enough.”

The author, journalist and speaker was a guest in the salon series “The ABC of Free Knowledge”, which started on March 1, 2014 with the issue “A = Allmende (common land).” In 2021, it now comes to a close with the issue “Z = Zwanzig Jahre Wikipedia – Twenty years of Wikipedia – Where is the eighth wonder of the world heading?”. In the years in between, the entire spectrum of topics covered by Wikimedia Deutschland was spelled out following the alphabet. D for data mountain, K for collaboration (Kollaboration in German), or T for technophilia.

Lobo, SPD Chairwoman Saskia Esken, and Wikipedia activists Gereon Kalkuhl, Elke Wetzig, and Achim Raschka focused on taking a look into the future on the occasion of the 20th anniversary: How can Wikipedia remain relevant for the knowledge society and the Internet ecosystem of tomorrow?

Wikimedia meets Fridays for Future

The finale of the Wikimedia Salon was of course just one of many highlights of the big Wikipedia Action Week celebrating the world’s largest knowledge platform in 2021. With a whole series of online discussions, Q&As and background videos, the Wikiverse was illuminated with a significant participation of volunteers, in turn inviting others to take part.

Lukas Mezger, Chair of the Supervisory Board of Wikimedia Deutschland, joined Fridays for Future for a talk on the topic of “Wikipedia and climate protection” and asked about affinities between the two movements.

Carla Reemtsma and Quang Paasch, spokespersons for FFF, emphasized the value of Wikipedia as a source of information for young people who want to get involved politically: based on scientific knowledge and facts. “Especially when it comes to climate, there are a lot of conspiracy theories and fake news circulating on the Internet,” said Reemtsma.

Network, show solidarity, get started!

Under the title “Mind the Gap – more women for Wikipedia”, Wikipedians Sandra, Valentina, Kaethe17 and Ykskwadrat discussed how the participation of women in Wikipedia could be strengthened and how a more respectful interaction could be organized within the community. “It’s important to network with each other, to show solidarity – not just among women, but among all contributors,” said Ykskwadrat.

The four activists reported on projects such as “WomenEdit” in the German Wikipedia, on the mentoring program that can help newcomers find their way around the platform, and on small steps that can reduce inhibitions about editing – for example, by simply correcting a spelling mistake in an article.

The Q&As, some of which were interactive (“What you always wanted to know about Wikipedia”, “The ten most frequently asked questions about participating in Wikipedia”), also provided multifaceted encouragement to take the first step: Just get started!