BarCamp is the wiki of events. Organized by the participants themselves, each camp reflects the flavor of local community and gives an equal voice to all those who attend. Indeed, the model demands that all attendees present or help someone else present. In that way, BarCamps represent the best of traditional knowledge-transfer conferences while focusing on the oftentimes more interesting and rewarding social aspect of "hallway conversations".
In this presentation, I would like to discuss how the BarCamp wiki was used to organize the original BarCamp and how it has since then been used to fuel an international movement of camps, traveling from Palo Alto to Ireland to Amsterdam and hitting India, Korea and over 30 other locations in its brief existence. BarCamp represents a radical shift in event organizing models, the power of open and transparent systems for learning and sharing knowledge as well as a tool for galvanizing both on and offline communities.
The free knowledge, access to information, and free culture projects are frequently compared to the free and open source movements. Both groups share a similar critique of intellectual property, a similar goal of more freedom and access to information and a similar set of legal instruments (i.e., licenses) through which they attempt to achieve these goals.
However, through its emphasis on licenses and legal, many in the free knowledge community have neglected the fact that it is not Richard Stallman's famous GNU General Public License that forms, "the constitution of the free software movement," but rather his Free Software Definition (FSD). While the free knowledge movement, and Creative Commons in particular, calls for "some rights reserved," the FSD defined free software as software that respects the four essential and unreservable freedoms to use, modify, share, and collaborate without restrictions.
To date, there exists no similar definition of freedom at the core of any free content or free expression movement. On May 1st, the authors of this paper and others in the free information community (including Lawrence Lessig and Richard Stallman) invited the Wikipedia community and rest of the free knowledge world to collaborate -- through a wiki -- to draft a Free Content and Expression Definition that aims to form the core of a new freedom movement. This presentation will argue for the need and justification of such a document, present and justify a text, and describe the process and future of such a definition.
Do you ever try to search for that one fact that would finish an entry, but don’t know where to go? Do you yearn to know more about a variety of sources? Do you find conflicting information in various sources and wonder what to believe? If you answered, “Yes!” to any of these questions, then this workshop is for you! We will discuss some basics about conducting research by sharing tips about using public records, people, business information, libraries, archives, databases, and the Internet to find information. We will even learn about some sources of images. Since knowing how to approach research can be almost as important as knowing what sources to use, we will learn about some strategies for conducting research. The workshop will also provide some guidelines for evaluating information and strive to inspire discussion among the participants about useful sources.
Is there life beyond NPOV? This talk will be a speculative exploration about using collaborative and community-building techniques inspired by the Wikipedia to social problems such as global warming, America's role in the world, and growing gap between have's and have-not's, not only to discern what is the case (Wikipedia does a good job!), but to help the process of democratic deliberation of choosing a future. In other words, it's not only about facts, but values as well.
The early history of Wikipedia was characterized by much chaos and well-meaning strangeness. Wikipedia Governance was conducted, effectively, by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger on the wiki, with the assistance of mailing list english speaking participants, then later, with the help of a more international community.
For a while, Wikipedia was supported by Bomis, a search portal selling erotic photographs, founded by Jimmy Wales and Tim Shell in 1996. Bomis provided web servers and bandwidth, paid Sanger in his role as project editor-in-chief (until he left the projects in 2002), and owned key items such as the associated domain names. However, as the costs and popularity of Wikipedia rose, a general reluctance to display advertising on the site — together with a desire to reflect the spirit of openness and neutrality central to Wikipedia — suggested an alternative ownership model.
Consequently, on June 20th, 2003 Jimbo announced the creation of the Wikimedia Foundation, a future non-profit organization, to help manage the ever-growing Wikipedia with 600 regular contributors and over 7000 occasionals ,as well as Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikibooks, and future wiki/FDL projects to join the "Wikimedia family".
All related assets (both in terms of intellectual property and computer hardware – two servers) were transferred or donated to the new organisation. A board, mandatory for such an organisation, was not immediately constituted though and was not until the deadline for doing so was reached.
Around Christmas 2003, a major computer crash prompted the launch a fund-raising drive, organised by Erik Moëller. In less than a week more than $30,000 was raised, thanks partly to a healthy dose of publicity on Slashdot. The money allowed nine new computers to be purchased. It however outlined the need to bring into full working order, the non profit organisation, to receive donations, purchase more servers, handle domain names etc…
In January 2004, Jimmy Wales appointed Tim Shell and Michael Davis to the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation. Then, in June 2004, an election was held for two user representative Board members. Following one month of campaigning and two weeks of online voting, Angela Beesley and Florence Nibart-Devouard were elected to join the board. This signed the real beginning of the Foundation.
That much…may be found on the Internet.
But… what has happened since June 2004? And what is planned next?
The old principles for the organization of knowledge turn out to be based on principles for organizing physical objects; in the digital age we're creating new principles free of the old limitations. This is changing the basic shape of knowledge, from (typically) trees to miscellanized piles. This has consequences for the nature of topics, the role of metadata, and, crucially, the authority of knowledge. In short, the change in the shape of knowledge is also changing its place. Despite the hysteria too often heard, knowledge is not being threatened. We are way too good at generating knowledge, and it is way too important to us as a species. But, much of what we're doing together on the Web is about increasing meaning, not knowledge. That re-frames knowledge -- traditional and Wikipedian -- in ways that are hard to predict but important.
In quantum mechanics, you can't observe a phenomenon without affecting it. When Wikipedia makes headline news, inbound waves of new visitors challenge the project. I will describe examples of two different challenges. First, the "Swiftboating" edit war (November/December, 2005) began when political bloggers linked to this article, criticizing its POV from both left and right. Within minutes, many new IP addresses were trying to edit the article, some expressing frustration with acts of vandalism. Second, Wikipedia's increasing use as a media source motivated anonymous edits by Congressional staffers, as investigated by WikiNews in January/February, 2006. The "Swiftboating" war typifies what I would call a "vandal wave," set off by negative coverage of Wikipedia, a pointer to a specific article, and new-user frustration with editing tools in conditions of heavy use. The Congressional edits could be described as a "spin wave," where highly-motivated professional writers attempted to shift the spin of important articles. In both cases, Wikipedia gets hit by what looks like a wave of negative contributors. I'll discuss some tools and metrics for each case, including ways to detect/recruit productive contributors. I hope the audience will also contribute new insights.
Fans and critics of Wikipedia alike have compared its open collaborative process to open source software development. Both communities maintain transparent development processes and both produce publicly available, free content. However, differences remain. Most contributors to open source software projects are identifiable, which is not necessarily true for Wikipedia. Unlike software, a wiki based encyclopedia is less dependent upon architectural decisions. However, both types of communities share a similar challenge: managing ‘the boundary of an open project’. How can open communities devoted to collaborative production manage growth and improve the quality of contributions, while maintaining open boundaries? These three parameters imply seemingly divergent organizing practices. Yet, managing these tensions is essential for innovation to occur in both communities.
The scholars on this panel have all researched how open source communities have wrestled with: socializing new members to project norms and developing governance systems that can support open and democratic processes. This panel draws upon their work to identify how Wikipedia and open source development projects compare. The panel focuses on the lessons from open source software that are relevant to Wikipedia. Our goal is to identify principles that can simultaneously foster growth, quality and openness.
Travel guidebooks are functional reference works
that provide critical information for people on the
road. I will discuss the importance of an Open
Content model for travel guides, and contrast this
genre of work with other references. I’ll review the
history of Open Content travel guides and discuss the
creation of the two main successful projects,
Wikitravel and World66, and the importance of wiki
technique to those projects. I’ll cover the challenges
that the two projects have faced in their 3 years of
development, focusing on the difficulties presented by
applying Open Content wiki methods to travel. I’ll
further cover the partnership between the two sites
announced in April of 2006, the commercial
development of the travel wiki space, and what that
has meant for the communities and the content they
produce. Finally, I’ll discuss what this partnership will
mean for the two sites in the future, and what
technological and community developments can be
expected for Wikitravel and World66 in the coming
4th–6th August 2006