From Wikimania 2016 • Esino Lario, Italy

The Discussion Room is a space for open and facilitated discussions at Wikimania. Participation of the audience in the session is critical, because there are no speakers, and there is no expert panel!

You can find a full overview of the discussion topics on the Discussion Room main page. Please note: there is limited seating available, and we're not saving any seats! Please be on time, but feel free to join during the midway break between two discussions.

Practical facts

Misconceptions about the Wikimedia movement, and what can we do about them
Date & Time
Saturday 25 June, 14.45 - 15.25 h
Primary School


The Discussion Rooms host discussions with a specific style:

  • Discussions of 40 minutes each;
  • Clearly defined topic for each discussion, related to Wikimedia;
  • Aiming to reach pre-defined goals during the discussion;
  • Discussions take place in English;
  • Discussions are moderated by a facilitator;
  • There is no audience as everybody is expected to participate in discussions, and everybody is audience;
  • Key lessons and points are documented live on etherpad, and may be processed later;
  • Each discussion will come with a single recommendation of maximum 120 characters.

Each discussion targets specifically online Wikimedia projects, it lasts 40 minutes and it starts with a short 2-3 minutes introduction.

To set the tone of our discussions, we have three rules:

  • Focus on YOU. We are interested in discussing and triggering individual action, things people can personally do and change to improve our Wikimedia projects and movement. We trust the discussion can be much more interesting if we do not focus on what others should do ("the others", Wikimedia chapters and Wikimedia Foundation).
  • Be constructive and polite. Disagreements animate discussions and they can allow us to unfold all issues related to a topic. Let's avoid personal attacks, let's consider that we have different backgrounds and let's aim at making everybody comfortable in sharing their legitimate point of view.
  • Be short and on topic. Let's create space for everyone to express his/her opinion.


Now tell me about the big next thing from Wikileaks! Media outlets, the general public and your family often have different confusions about the way the Wikimedia movement and its projects work. From which "Wiki" projects are part of the Wikimedia movement to how articles are edited, how are contents reviewed or who edits them —But how do you earn a living if Wikipedia doesn't pay you?—, some misconceptions repeat everywhere.

Wikipedia and other projects' editors, Wikimedia Foundation staff and people from Wikimedia chapters and affiliate organizations from different countries and cultures are all exposed and surely familiar with them.

The goal of this session is to identify the main patterns, discuss possible approaches and identify working strategies to turn confusion into curiosity for our movement.

Some topics that may be discussed in this session:

  • What does the public misunderstand about your work as a Wikimedia volunteer?
  • What is the leading misconception you hear about in your country or region?
  • Are there noticeable differences in the way different cultures or regions think about Wikimedia?
  • How do misconceptions differ across different publics in your country (social groups, age groups)?
  • What strategies or experiences have been useful for different publics?
  • How did others deal with (or solve!) that confusion that you keep hearing in your country?
  • What kind of resources (blog posts, videos, public messaging) can be useful to ease confusion?
  • How to deal with big media? What kind of press resources are we missing?
  • How can the WMF Communications team help the communities and affiliate organizations?
  • How can your local chapter or user group help you as an individual editor?

Do you want to read up on the topic? Some suggested reading (not required to participate!):

(This discussion topic is based mostly on this proposal: 'Common Confusions about the Wikimedia Movement (and how we can help correct them)')

Interested attendees