Submissions/Free Software to Free Culture: Lessons for Wikimedia

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Submission no.
3056
Subject no.
C4
Title of the submission

Free Software to Free Culture: Lessons for Wikimedia

Type of submission

Presentation

Author of the submission

Benjamin Mako Hill

Country of origin

USA

Affiliation

Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University; University of Washington

E-mail address

mako@atdot.cc

Username

User:Benjamin Mako Hill

Personal homepage or blog

http://mako.cc

Abstract

In this talk, I will describe how the free software movement helped lay the foundation for Wikimedia, its projects, and the movement for free culture. I will discuss how this foundation in free software can help us think about why Wikimedia and its work is important. I will also describe how this background provides a perspective to evaluate what Wikimedia is doing well, and what things we could be doing much better. For example, I will use the WMF mission and data from my research to suggest that Wikimedia is much better at promoting access to knowledge than we are at allowing users to transcend their role as consumers.

Detailed proposal

In the first half of this talk, I will introduce a bit of history — not of Wikimedia — but of the broader context that set the stage for Wikipedia as a project and Wikimedia as a movement and set of organizations. In particular, the talk will focus on how the free software movement helped lay the foundation Wikimedia and the movement for free culture. I will discuss how this foundation in free software can help us think about why Wikimedia and its work is important.

In the second half of the talk, I will describe how this background provides a perspective to evaluate what Wikimedia — and the broader free culture movement — is doing well, and what things we could be doing much better. For example, I will use the WMF mission and data from my research to suggest that although Wikimedia is devoted both to promoting access to knowledge and to allowing users to transcend their role as consumers of information, our movement's success in doing the former has not translated into success in the latter.

For people that are newer to Wikimedia and the free culture movement, the talk will hopefully provide some critical context to understand where we came from and why what we're doing is so important. For more established community members, the talk will raise what I think are major achievements and challenges of our movement as well as pointing out a series of things that our movement is doing much less well.

Note: If selected for presentation at the conference, I will adapt this talk from another talk I gave at the Wikimedia Foundation's all staff meeting in September 2012. Since most of the WMF staff (at least as of September) have seen a version of this before, they can probably chime in here with feedback/evaluation.
Track

WikiCulture and Community

Length of presentation/talk
25 minutes

I can give the talk in as little as 25 minutes although 35-45 minutes would definitely be more comfortable.

Language of presentation/talk

English

Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?

Yes.

Slides or further information (optional)
Special requests


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  1. Ocaasi (talk) 16:22, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
  2. DarTar (talk) 18:38, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
  3. Bishdatta (talk) 17:45, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
  4. MarkTraceur (talk) 18:54, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
  5. Man77 (talk) 20:19, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
  6. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:52, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
  7. Lydia Pintscher (WMDE) (talk) 16:04, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
  8. Superbellymonster (talk) 21:21, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
  9. LVilla (WMF) (talk) 05:44, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
  10. Graham87 (talk) 12:18, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
  11. Pundit (talk) 06:15, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
  12. Waldir (talk) 15:07, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
  13. Chuq (talk) 05:59, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
  14. Oop (talk) 18:06, 29 May 2013 (UTC)