Wikimedia news/numero 26/en

Da Wikimedia Italia.
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W i K i M e D i A N e W s - no. 26 - September 11, 2009

Official monthly bulletin from Wikimedia Italia Association.


Wikimedia Italia stand at Festambiente 2009: a regular rendezvous since several years ago for the association. P.S.: Mauro is not slimmer than usual; he just held his breath...
Wikimedia Italia has entered its 4th year on June 17.

As you may know WMI is a piece of my life: I worked for a year with about thirty people to bring it founded, then for 3 years, as chair, I took care of it, and during the year I spent in WMF I was an advisor of WMI too. I did not become richer, I lost hours of sleep, I had to plan very carefully my work/family/events to participate in, to gain a kind of balance, lawyers emails and telecommunication police phone calls are normal routine; on the other side I met many people, I was lucky enough to tell what we do to many people and in many occasions, humanly I'm a much richer person than 4 years ago.

I do not intend to provide links or lists, but also WMI, thanks to many of its members and the constant engagement of all the boards who have led the association, has come a long way. The 17 founders are now 150 members, still (slowly) growing. None of us was born wikimedian or member of an association. We tested, tried, made errors, restarted, we set ambitious goals.

The year ahead will be very hard:

  • We are awaiting response to our application form to the register of associations of social promotion for the province of Monza and Brianza. If the answer is positive, we must work for 5x1000 (which means: we asked to gain a tax-exempt donation status and we're waiting for the response; besides, we might apply for obtaing a direct donation from income tax return)
  • "bureaucratic" stuffs (as tons of emails) are overloading the board, when they could often be managed by a group of members
  • The legal entity is a major goal, even for protection of next presidents
  • we are pursuing many projects, but we can improve them: wiki@home is languishing since almost a year awaiting fresh vigour, both Musica and Biblioteca need to be more known and visible..
  • The commitment of the members does not increase and old associates are beginning to be tired

Perhaps it is the last point that worries me much. I was able to find just 2 reasons to explain to me why the commitment of the members is not increasing any more: either the people sign up to give us financial support or they do not agree with what WMI makes. That's why this year during the assembly, I'd like to meet more members as possible, and people who do not know or don't like Wikimedia Italia as well; I'd like to talk and discuss, and define together the objectives of this year.

Finally, the hardest part. At the moment there is only one candidate to the board, who applied many months ago. (update: right now while I am writing there are 4 candidates) Now that on the WMI (and thus in some way on the past board, and myself too as legal representative) hangs the sword of a 20 million euro lawsuit (so much we were asked by Mr. Antonio and Giampaolo Angelucci, for wrong contents appeared on Wikipedia), I do not see too much interest in running for the board.

Let me remind you, to the boredom, if necessary, that Wikimedia Italia:

  • Does not own the domain
  • Does not own the servers on which Wikipedia is hosted
  • Does not have access to the servers
  • Is neither the head nor responsible for Wikipedia
  • Has no control over the content of Wikipedia (neither through privileged access nor for statutory purposes)
  • Has an agreement with Wikimedia Foundation (the foundation which operates Wikipedia) that clarifies all these points

I'm almost tired to repeat always the same stuffs to everybody .. but you know, in Italy it is easier to file a lawsuit against the first person you meet (in the hope of involving and accusing him), rather than to inform and embark on an international cause whose jurisdiction is San Francisco. Actually what upset me more in this affair is that there has been no prior contact with the association neither with OTRS nor with Wikimedia Foundation, only and solely the summons. I hope to meet you in Rome on 19 September. There is much to discuss, much to do, and much need of you.


What happened last months

Biografilm Festival: Elliot Tiber edits the article about him on (pity the computer crashed before saving).
Biografilm Festival: Andrea Romeo with a Wikipedia t-shirt.
  • 4 settembre, Vicenza: Frieda attended ECKM 09 with the talk Open Knowledge Management - The wiki way, showing how Wikipedia organizes and manages the knowledge it picks up. The talk took half an hour (there was a short question time too); there were 50-100 people attending, from universities or firms.
  • 3 settembre: we issued a press release: 5 anni, 5 milioni di file multimediali su Wikimedia Commons (5 years, 5 millions multimedia files on Wikimedia Commons).
  • 11 luglio, Florence: Frieda attended Palazzo Vecchio Barcamp, talking about the love-hate relationship between Wikimedia world and Florence
  • 18 luglio, Brussels: Cruccone attends EU lobby meeting.
  • 5-6 giugno, Trento: Wikimedia Italia sponsored OSMit 2009 (official site), the first national conference of Open Street Map. Frieda and Gvf attended the conference, to discuss whether Wikimedia Italia could act as Italian chapter for OSM Foundation. Unluckily it seems that this cannot be possible due to bureaucratic reasons: both parties will try to solve them. In the meantime we noticed that many OSMappers are interested in Wikimedia Italia.
  • 10-14 giugno, Bologna: Biografilm Festival. It's the second year we attend this festival. This time, we made several interview to the personalities present, and someone (among them Elliot Tiber and Paola Barbato) went to check by themselves the articles about them in the encyclopedia. Unfortunately, very few people were interested in how Wikipedia works, even during the weekend when our stand was mainly visited. We hoped for some famous musician to boost our project Wikimedia Musica, but there weren't any... let's hope for a better occasion!
  • 24-28 giugno, Vicenza: our fourth time at Festambiente was really... rainy! Bad weather during all five days drastically cut attendance. Moreover, our stand was near the stage, since we needed a network connection, and this did not help too. However the connection was quite good and a sponsor helped us to offer free wi-fi. Luca Menini talked about the "ecology of the free software", which led several people contact us. We eventually managed to have some good informative posters (built the previous month for the Festival of Digital Rights, and waterproof!); but probably there were few new people attending the festival, so the posters were not looked at too. Maybe we already sowed enough, and it's time to search for different events!

What will happen next months

  • September 12- 13, Mantua: WikiAfrica and Lettera27 will attend Festivaletteratura, hosting three meetings at Seminario Vescovile, namely
    • Africani d'Europa/africani in Europa (Saturday, 11h30)
    • L’ Africa a scuola (Saturday, ore 17h15)
    • Diritti/esclusioni/appartenenze (Sunday, ore 11h30)
  • September 19, Rome: at 14h00, at the CATTID of the University of Roma "Sapienza" (Statistical Sciences faculty) will be held the Assembly of Wikimedia Italia, renewing the offices (more details).
  • October 16, Padova: Centro Altinate will hold the international conference From Diderot to Wikipedia: an Epistemological Revolution?

News from our projects

News from Biblioteca

Some really volcanic users started the first two collaborative translations: "Equitazione" (Equitation), by Henry Louis de Bussigny and "L'arte di ottenere ragione" (The Art of Being Right) by Arthur Schopenhauer. It you want to participate to this effort or want to propose other public domain works, go to

News from WMF projects

  • Wikibooks: Approved proposal: create a specialized wikibook about the small town of Bivona, with information not suitable for the encyclopedic tone of Wikipedia. Since it must be historical/geographically based, and not a touristic guide, we however hit once more the problem of original researches and of the sources in Wikibooks.
  • Wikinews: Created a Facebook page to make publicity to the project.
  • Wikipedia: Last month we elected six new sysops, but because of quitting and forfeiting the global number remains around 95, not much more than the 90 in mid-2007.
  • Wikiquote: Reorganized the lateral bar for ease of use; navigation and modification tools are now separated.
  • Wikisource: Taking advantage of Wikimedia Strategic Planning, we are exploiting our contacts with OpenAlexandria to make better proposals for Wikisource, namely to make a first implementation of a project for integrating all digital libraries (collaborative and not) using OAI-PMH. The proposal requires the implementation in MediaWiki of OAI-PMH.
  • Wikiversity: We noticed a big problem for welcoming and coaching new user, who often do not come from another Wikimedia project and therefore have no clue in wikilore. Lack of references confuses newcomers, which often quit soon. We started a guided tour to help them.
  • Wiktionary: We are going to vote the new definitive logo for the project, among more than 60 proposals made.

Featured Wikimedian/Picture of the month

Petra Seeger editing Wikipedia.jpg
Biografilm Festival 2009: Petra Seeger edits the article about her on (she managed to save it!).

Editorial staff:

  • Luca Sileni;
  • Frieda Brioschi;
  • Marco Chemello;
  • Nemo (section "News from our projects")
  • Aubrey (section "News from Biblioteca")
  • DracoRoboter (section "News from W@H")
  • .mau. (English version)

To contact the staff, write at: or directly to the editor:

  • Luca Sileni - wikisenpai(presso)
  • Frieda Brioschi - ubifrieda(presso)

Notice. This newsletter is exclusively intended for information about Wikimedia Italia, both to the members and to the general public; as per Art. 1, Comma 2, Legge 7 marzo 2001 no. 62, it is not an editorial product