Jump to content

Submissions/Iterate your cross-pollinated strategic synergy, just not on my Wikipedia!

From Wikimania 2012 • Washington, D.C., USA

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2012.

Submission no.


Title of the submission
Iterate your cross-pollinatated strategic synergy, just not on my Wikipedia!
Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)
Author of the submission
Tom Morris
E-mail address
Tom Morris
Country of origin
United Kingdom
Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)
According to the Manual of Style on English Wikipedia, good Wikipedia writing has "consistent, clear, and precise language" and it avoids "ambiguity, jargon, and vague or unnecessarily complex wording". Clear writing is an essential part of the shared, universal mission of the Wikimedia projects. How can we go about bringing about a world where every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge if they are unable to understand what we say? And as with articles, how can we say we have a truly participative governance system if it is conducted in a strain of English designed to mislead, hide and misrepresent?
Wikipedia is in 280+ languages: Wikimedians who don't speak English as a primary language are at a disadvantage if they want to participate in governance and chapters. As bureaucratic, jargon-laden language is a huge hurdle even for native English speakers; when the Foundation talks about "on-ramping" and "learnings" and "accountabilities" and aligning, it confuses, alienates and befuddles everyone.
People spend hours every day having to deal with this kind of nonsense at work, when dealing with big businesses and with the government. They don't want to deal with it when they get home too: contributing to a Wikimedia project (or the governance and policy side of that project) shouldn't be like getting a letter from an insurance company but like getting a letter from a friend or loved one. If we want, Wikimedia can be a bulwark against bullshit. We can say what we mean in clear, natural language rather than buzzwords and mumbo-jumbo.
I'll show a few examples of particularly unclear writing from the Foundation not to pick on them but to show how clearer writing can help make the editor community far more excited and interested in the often dry governance and movement work. I'll then suggest a few things that can be done to hunt down unclear language and improve it.
Track (Wikis and the Public Sector; GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums); WikiCulture and Community; Research, Analysis, and Education; Technology and Infrastructure)
WikiCulture and Community
Length of presentation/talk (if other than 25 minutes, specify how long)
25 Minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
Special request as to time of presentations (for example - can not present on Saturday)

Interested attendees

If you are interested in attending this session, please sign with your username below. This will help reviewers to decide which sessions are of high interest. Sign with four tildes. (~~~~).

  1. Ironholds (talk) 02:42, 3 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Yes, please! Fluffernutter (talk) 19:15, 8 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  3. god yes --Guerillero | My Talk 06:34, 11 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Amir E. Aharoni (talk)
  5. the wub "?!"
  6. Steven (WMF) (talk) ...will throw fruit if he's used as an example ;-)
  7. Would be great to include "traslations" in understandable English. Psychology (talk) 19:48, 20 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  8. CT Cooper · talk 19:17, 22 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  9. Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 11:05, 23 March 2012 (UTC) Hoping to see lots of convincing examples! (See also)[reply]
  10. Sounds interesting Rangilo Gujarati (talk) 11:57, 23 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  11. Yes, but "are unable to" could be changed to "can't" in the abstract. :-) Graham87 (talk) 12:51, 31 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  12. IShadowed (talk) 03:45, 7 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]