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Photo by Zuraj studio, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Photo by Zuraj studio, CC BY-SA 4.0.

The third annual Wiki Loves Africa is running between December 2016 and the end of January 2017. The media sharing contest aims to increase both the quality and quantity of freely-licensed media files about Africa.

The idea started in 2014, mainly as a photography contest with a different theme every year. In 2014, 873 amateur and professional photographers took 6,116 photos of African cuisine as part of the competition, while the 2015 edition saw the participation of 722 people who shared 7,500 photos about African cultural fashion and adornment.

All 13,624 photographs are now stored on Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository that illustrates Wikipedia and other free-knowledge websites.

This year, the contest is changing its direction with a motion theme: music and dance. “Over the last two years, the contest has been very photographically biased,” says Florence Devouard, A French Wikipedian and one of the main organisers of Wiki Loves Africa. She continues:

“Dance and music are not only very visual, but also perfect for video and sound. This year, we are expecting more videos and sound files to be submitted, and we hope to be able to create a Wiki Loves Africa Playlist.”

Though the competition is open for participation from all over the world, local Wikipedian teams in several African countries are running to personally support the participants. Examples of activities include photowalks and editing workshops on how to upload and use the files.

“Over the three years, thirteen communities have taken part as focus countries,” says Isla Haddow-Flood, a Wikipedian from Zimbabwe and one of the main organisers of Wiki Loves Africa. “Of these, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Tunisia and Uganda have taken part in all three. This is a great achievement on their part, to be motivated enough to carry on and support the project locally.”

Haddow-Flood and Devouard had first thought about Wiki Loves Africa in 2013 when they shared the concern about the lack of Africa-related content on Wikipedia and the aspiration to do something about it.

“There are, on average, 100 times more geotagged articles on Wikipedia related to France than to the entirety of Africa,” Devouard notes, to which Haddow-Flood adds:

“This has to change, and with technology, it can. There are lots of examples of systemic knowledge bias on Wikipedia, but essentially it comes down to the fact that nothing will change until people from across Africa contribute to Wikipedia.”

In brief

Wikipedia content is ready to go to the Moon: Wikipedia to the Moon is an effort to compile material from Wikipedia about life on Earth, its cultures and knowledge to be sent to the Moon in the form of a time capsule. Over 31,000 featured articles and lists from Wikipedia in 176 languages have been selected by the Wikipedia community for this mission. Last week, a special ceramic disc carrying this content was delivered to the PT Scientists team in Berlin. The team will launch their spacecraft ALINA taking the Wikipedia content to space by the end of 2017.

Wikimania Scholarship Committee is open for volunteers: The Wikimania scholarship program is a special travel funding program to support the participation in the annual conference of the Wikimedia movement. The scholarship committee is a diverse group of volunteers who help promote the program and review/select applicants. More information about the Committee member duties, eligibility to join, the deadline for application and more on Wikimedia-l.

Prolific Wikipedian Coyau dies at 38: Coyau made over 1.5 million edits to different Wikimedia projects. He joined the movement in 2005 when he started his activity with editing the French Wikipedia. He followed that by great efforts on Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons, Wikisource, and other projects. The Wikimedia community members are expressing their sorrow on Wikimedia-l and on his talk page.

Applications to join the Ombuds Commission are being accepted: The Ombudsman commission works on Wikimedia projects to investigate complaints about violations of the privacy policy, especially in use of CheckUser and Oversight tools, and to mediate between the complaining party and the individual whose work is being investigated. More information about the role and how to apply can be found on Wikimedia-l.

Washington, D.C. hosts two editing workshops: Wikipedians in D.C. held two editathons (editing workshops) last week. The first was at the BBC headquarter on December 8, where the participants there in addition to others in different places around the world improved women profiles on Wikipedia. The second editathon was on December 9 at the US Holocaust Memorial and Museum where experienced Wikipedians and newcomers edited about the holocaust history and relevant material.

Samir Elsharbaty, Digital Content Intern
Wikimedia Foundation

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