Critical issues presentations/Going local: Creating a Wikipedia community space

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Submission no. 96
Title of the submission

Going local: Creating a Wikipedia community space

Author of the submission
  • Lukas Mezger
  • Martin Rulsch
Country of origin

Germany; Germany


Outreach, Projects

  • Local communities
  • local projects
  • community spaces
  • community meetups
  • movement organizations

Surprisingly enough, Wikipedians, even though they form an online community, love to meet up. Especially the German-language community has always been driven by personal contacts. No other community holds so many regular meetups, excursions and workshops - every week, there are a handful of local events all over Germany, Austria and Switzerland. After all, the first-ever Wikipedian meet-up was held in Munich in 2003.

In 2014, the community from Cologne, Germany went one step further and opened the "Lokal K" - a local space run by the community to meet and try new things the wiki way. In 2015, the Hamburg community followed suit opening the "Wikipedia:Kontor Hamburg". At the same time, Wikimédia France created the "Local Cléry" in Paris. Similar concepts exist in Bremen, Hannover, and Vienna, and there are talks to create even more.

So far, the experience has been very positive - the existing spaces are used extensively and the community has been very creative in trying out new projects that are easier to pursue as a group and with a place that it can call their own. Also, having a physical address gives the community and the projects a face to the outside world where interested members of the public can go and refer to when they want to meet the community.

Looking at the example of the local community spaces in Cologne and Hamburg, this talk will discuss how these community-run projects have deepened collaboration between Wikimedians to create and pursue a vast range of projects: From studio photography over editathons, workshops with other Open community organizations, GLAM collaborations to simply enjoying dinner together, the idea of truly "going local" has created new homes for the community.

The talk will showcase some experiences and results of the existing projects in Germany. It will also discuss the role of the German Wikimedia chapter for these spaces and it will highlight learning patterns for similar projects elsewhere. The talk is aimed at everybody interested in community spaces, including movement organization staff.


Not accepted