Wikimedia news/numero 29/en

Da Wikimedia Italia.
Wikimedia news1.png
W i K i M e D i A N e W s no. 29 - July 19, 2010

Official bulletin from Wikimedia Italia Association.


After a heated internal debate about the reasons and motives that we have and led to the creation of Wikimedia Italia, we decided - better: on Frieda's suggestion I decided - to ask directly to our members, and generally to those who would care to respond, what role WMI should have in their opinion.

Do you know WMI? Labels read Yes [149], No [6], Other [5]
How do you evaluate Wikimedia Italia? Labels (top to bottom) read: Very useful, Useful, Mostly harmless, Annoying, Very annoying, Dangerous, Other

From the questionnaire it seems evident that Wikimedia Italy has a problem of identity. Most respondents, while claiming to know us, have in fact a wrong idea of the role of WMI: many of them confuse us with WMF or the alleged "maintainers of Wikipedia". Few really know who we are and cite our aim correctly, to spread free culture- even if they often think we simply promote wiki projects, and even among these people our role is not always clear and understood.

Do you participate to a wiki project? Labels read Yes [94], No [63]
WMF is? Labels (top to bottom) read Fundamental, Useful, Indifferent, Dangerous, Other

On the one hand we act as WMF, collecting donations through the sitenotice - by the way someone thinks it is an abuse of power, on the other hand we are not doing the things that the foundation should do but did not always, first of all protection from all legal issues related to Wikipedia, and their clarification.

Proposed changes to our action could be divided into two categories:

  • changes not acceptable, because we don't want or cannot put them into practice. We should make an effort to explain why we cannot nor want to have direct responsibility in Wikipedia, and why we want to emphasize that we are something different and distinct from Wikipedia.
  • changes potentially acceptable, or proposals we already take care of and that maybe nobody knows.

I will present a more detailed version of the result of the survey in September: for the time being, here there is a brief annotated list of some of the proposals that I believe fall under the second category.

  1. Keep media relations. We are already moving in this area, but we could obviously do more to improve our image.
  2. Lobbying. Having more visibility, see above, would allow us to exert some political pressure.
  3. Relations with the "civil society". Establish relationships with cultural institutions, authors, publishers and so on. We are already doing it, or at least we try, but it does not seem this is well known.
  4. Distributed presence. Our new base in Rome seems a step in this direction.
  5. Use resources to free content (digitizing). We are talking about this at this very time: as soon as we'll have something concrete we will publicize it.
  6. Create a DVD of Wikipedia. Apart from the traditional problem of finding a publisher, now we have a further problem: the use of the logo, and the associated economic agreements, must be agreed directly with Wikimedia Foundation.

What happened during last months

Note: all links are in Italian

  • January
    • Aubrey and Laurentius teached Tuscany librarians about Wikipedia and Progetto Comuni. See #GLAM.
    • Massimiliano Navacchia took part in Accessibility e CMS Camp 2010 in Bologna.
  • March
    • LaPizia, supported by Marcok, Cotton and Jaakko, teached two lessons to present Wikipedia at the Faculty of Economics, University Ca 'Foscari, at the kind invitation of Professor Micelli: report of the day. MarcoK reports:
      • On Tuesday, March 2, 2010, we were invited - through "LaPizia" a.k.a. Annalety - to cooperate with the Faculty of Economics Ca' Foscari in Venice for two lectures held by professor Stefano Micelli (Dept. of Economics and Management) and Alessandro De Rossi (researcher). Alessandro follows us since long ago, and he made one of the first studies on the most active Wikipedians (some of us have even met him in person at our events). In addition to the LaPizia there were Marcok, Cotton and Jaakko. After a general introduction about the tools of Web 2.0 by Alessandro, Anna overviewed Wikipedia, then gave way to many students' questions to which everyone of us responded in turn. 60 students participated overall (40 in the first class and 20 in the second), I think all from the M.Sc. courses in Economics. Apart from the interest in the subject (by teacher and students) we however noticed that while everyone knew and used Wikipedia, only one in 60 college students had changed (once and as an anonymous) a Wikipedia article, while at least 30% of them did not even know that the contents could be altered, also without being registered. This unexpected result can be attributed at least in part - according to Professor Micelli - to our "assuming" Wikipedia rules for granted by everyone. Only a small proportion of students reported that they found errors on Wikipedia, mostly spelling-related (and we know that large or small errors there are in all entries of Wikipedia and all other encyclopedias). A student made the interesting observation, interesting that the main page does not give much importance to the fact that the contents of the Encyclopedia are changeable, so that he did not realize it. Overall the day was interesting and useful.
    • Frieda teached in Bocconi University in the course Strategy and governance of cultural organizzations, about Wikipedia business model. Here the slides (in English).
    • Laurentius and IgnLig took part to a meeting organized by Firenze Linux User Group Here the slides.
    • General assembly of Wikimedia Italia in Pistoia (public page): 2009 financial report and 2010 budget were approved.
    • March 26th, Torino: international meeting Extracting Value From Public Sector Information: Legal Framework and Regional Policies at Aula Magna and Aula Allara of the Rectorate of the University, in the framework of EVPSI project. .mau. took part to the afternoon session (Focus on Italy) with a speech "Obstacles to Accessing and Re-using (Italian) Cultural PSI on Wikipedia", listing the problems Wikipedia faces in trying to reuse public data, in coping with Italian copyright laws and in pushing for free licenses. English abstract and slide here.
    • Marcok took part in meeting Didattica aperta - Libero accesso a software e saperi nella Scuola e nell'Università (Open education - free access to software and knowledge at school and university) with a poster.
  • May
    • May 7th: CristianCantoro took part in Internet Ergo Sum, here in depth, talking about Wikipedia in a high school in Leno (Brescia): themes are Wikipedia and freedom in the Net, which most students found interesting. With him Guido Nardo, former Facebook's developer and social network specialist, presenting social networks e talking about the problem with the use of Facebook and privacy on the Internet. In the afternoon the workshop on Wikipedia had a good success among students, even if it was optional; it was structured as a tutorial for the prospective editors.
    • Wikimedia Italia organized Festival delle Libertà Digitali (see next section)
    • Schio (VI): Cotton presented Wikipedia, WMI and the Wikimedia projects in a meeting organized by I Mercoledì della Piazza Telematica, a department of Informagiovani at the communality of Schio. The meeting, attended by an audience of elderly, confirmed that in that demographics there is a lot of room to increase knowledge and participation to Wikimedia projects.
  • June
    • musicamp (Laurentius) (report)
    • CristianCantoro took part to the first IULM BarCamp; unfortunately its speech could not be delivered. He was however conctacted for an interview broadcasted on Radio24 and made by the students of the Master in Radio Communication at IULM.
    • Cotton and La Pizia took part with a small Wikimedia booth to No Skei Day at San Vito di Leguzzano (VI), a yearly meeting based on free exchanges of goods and knowledge. Even if the town is very small, we had some success in giving out information and distributing brochures and Wikimedia cards.

Special on Digital Freedoms Festival

From 10 to 16 May 2010, the association organized the second Digital Freedoms Festival (FDLD, for "Festival delle libertà digitali") in Milan entitled "Milan frees all". Events were numerous and ranged from comics to photo via OpenAccess and free games.

The festival was born as a container for different events with a common goal: bringing people and an entire city to the issues of digital freedom, free licenses and sharing of knowledge.

Certainly the festival was an opportunity for growth for the association, which was able to test his strength on a difficult location like Milan: results, despite a relatively low public participation in general, have been useful to increase our contacts with other associations with whom we share goals and philosophy.

The most successful events will be replicated in the future.


May 10
May 11

Open&Crowd, supplementary gears

May 12

fotoMIgira: look at Milan from behind a lens, communicating with other passionate photographers, to discover that encyclopedias have a photographic soul.

May 13

Open Web - Una serata al collegio di Milano: Wikipedia, la libertà e la rete: quanto è libera la rete? Siamo diventati più responsabili nel nostro approccio alla rete dalla nascita del web 2.0 ad oggi? Wikimedia Italia e Google incontrano i ragazzi del Collegio di Milano.

May 14

GGDMilano#12 - Ignite: How to: GGDs (Geek Girls Dinners) are dinners or meetings aimed at women who are passionate about technology, Internet and new media. Twelfth Milan dinner was an "Ignite", where speakers presented their "How to", that is how to do something particularly "geek".

May 15

GNUfun - Milano frees music: Saturday with free music, in collaboration with GNUFunk: openday @ "Kubi studio" (Via Carlo Botta, 13) from 15:00 and concert +dj-set with fre music @ "Le trottoir alla Darsena" (Piazza XXIV Maggio, 1)

May 16

OpenGamingCamp - Milano frees games: the fun side of freedom: a BarCamp, that is a non-conference where anyone can "get in the chair", propose a topic and talk to others, accompanied by free games tournaments.

Throughout the event, WikiWall - a Wikipedia page at Triennale: an installation at the Triennale similar to a Wikipedia page: people can write, edit or attack photos to tell what the digital freedom is.

What will happen next months

  • in September (tentative location: Bologna) we'll have our annual meeting.

News from our groups

Wikimedia Roma

New premises for Wikimedia Italia!

Wikimedia Italy will soon have a physical location. Offices, large enough to host some workshops and a dozen workstations, are in Rome, via Grotta di Gregna 27 (Google map). The premises are the result of an agreement between the Department of Culture of the Municipality of Rome, the Libraries of the City of Rome and the association Liber Liber. The planned activities consist in setting up three laboratories: video editing, e-book digitizing/layout and audio editing for the creation of audiobooks. We also expect to participate in European calls, for example to promote the Open Alexandria, and others that may be proposed by the most active volunteers of Wikimedia Italy and Liber Liber.

Premises will also be used to host civil service volunteers and interns, to organize courses and cultural events, in collaboration with the adjacent library "Vaccheria Nardi", who has large rooms with multimedia stations, area conferences, and of course reading rooms (the structure as a whole has three buildings).

Opening date is still uncertain. Some details remain to be defined (collection of certificates of conformity of equipment, testing elevators, etc.), and we are looking for sponsors for the setting up of laboratories. We hope to start before the end of August, even with few workstations and without the laboratories. Anyone interested in collaborating is invited to contact Marco Calvo.


The WMI GLAM committee, through Aubrey and Laurentius, organized two workshops in collaboration with Regione Toscana. The workshops (each one during a day) were aimed to teach two different groups of librarians from Tuscany regions how to edit and create article in Wikipedia. The objective of the event s were to illustrate breifly how Wikipedia works and how articles can be created: especially, librarians were interested in municipality and cultural heritage articles, as well as articles dedicated to libraries. The workshops partially touched also Commons and Wikisource, as well as copyright issues.

The feedback from participants has been positive, though several issues were raised by the low level of computer skills of many participants, as well as inexperience from speakers in explaining clearly and linearly Wikipedia basics. At the end of the day, the projects worked as a useful pilot: it is hoped to have the possibility to organize other similar events to build a stable and fruitful relationships with librarians and other GLAM professionals.

News from our projects

News from Biblioteca

We started System Reference Document 3.5 Project, together with 5° clone, group whose purpose is to promote intelligent games (in particular, role games).

The project intends to translate into Italia the correspondent document of Wizards of the Coast, which will be released under a Open Gaming License.

News from Wiki@Home

Many news from Wiki@Home: many interviews were completed, among them the one with Umberto Eco (English version) made by Aubrey and taken up by some bloggers and the famous online magazine Punto Informatico. We also repory the completion of the interview with Patrizio Roversi by Capsicum. Finally, Monday, June 28, 2010 the referent of the project, CristianCantoro, attended a meeting at the School of Journalism "Walter Tobagi" at University of Milan to present Wikimedia Italy, the world of Creative Commons licenses and of course Wiki@Home project.

We need volunteers

Wiki@Home staff needs willing young people of all ages to unwind interviews, make transcripts, fix typos, create new interviews and material for the presentation of the project. For more information please write at the contact for the project, CristianCantoro, at the address: kikkocristian(presso)

News from WMF projects

  • Wikibooks: DynamicPageList extension is now active: now automation of shelves may start.
  • Wikinotizie: Published an intervew to Umberto Eco, see above.
  • Wikiquote: Fazio degli Uberti is our 10,000th article, but it.wikiquote is no more the second local version with respect to number of articles for the first time since November 2007. pl.wikiquote had an acceleration that lead them to overtake us.
  • Wikisource:
  • Wikiversity: WHacko was elected sysop: now we have 3 sysops.
  • Wiktionary: Limonadis was elected sysop: now we have 9 sysops. For the first time in years, Wiktionary has more registered users than Wikiquote (14,300 vs 14,200 on July 14), becoming thus the first Italian Wikimedia project besides Wikipedia. Looking at active users in the last month (roughly 60 and 160 respectively) Wikiquote remains the first among the sister projects.
  • Wikipedia:
    • January: Welcome Project for new users started.
    • April: big controversy about the "social pages" Facebook added, containg the text of the relative voice of Wikipedia if it exists and a link to the modification page. Some users were troubled that the sentence «Conquer new fan of your cause or ideal by creating a social page» could be seen regarding the contribution to Wikipedia (against neutral point of view), and in general that only users not fit to Wikipedia could come from Facebook. Two sysops resigned.
    • May: another controversy (or better, a ForestFire) starts about Facebook groups which defame Wikipedia and urge users to modify it towards a certain direction, and in general about the perceived increase in organized groups of users that alter consensus to impose their own point of view. A new procedure has been adopted to value and if neceassary block such group of users (called "programmatic users", that is irrecoverably altering consensus). The first application of the new procedure blocked some users by mistakes; the users were immediately unblocked by another sysop, but a sysop was not confirmed and left the project, while four other ones quit. The community put up an essay about how to cope with so-called single-purpose users, re-orienting the issue.
    • May-June: five new sysops were elected.
    • June: The group rollbacker was created in too. Bureaucrats assign people to this group at their sole discretion, after a public but non-advertised request and without voting. In the first month 12 users were assigned to the group.

News from the Board

In June, Cristian Consonni succeeded to Nicola Izzo as Board member.

Monthly strip


Featured Wikimedian/Picture of the month

Aubrey at Wikimania

Editorial staff:

  • Frieda Brioschi;
  • Marco Chemello;
  • Nemo (section "News from WMF projects")
  • Aubrey (section "News from Biblioteca" and GLAM)
  • Christian Cantoro (section "News from W@H" )
  • .mau. (English version)

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

  • Frieda Brioschi - ubifrieda(presso)
  • CristianCantoro - kikkocristian(presso)

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