Submissions/Wikiing in the Land of the Common People

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

This is a rejected submission for Wikimania 2012.

Submission no.


Title of the submission
Wikiing in the Land of the Common People
Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)
Author of the submission
Mina Theofilatou
E-mail address
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)
Argostoli Evening High School, Kefalonia, Greece
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (please use no less than 300 words to describe your proposal)

Rather than merely presenting an account of my outreach activities - links to which can be found on my user page redirect to English-language Wikipedia - with this presentation I intend to introduce some rewarding and also some controversial aspects of my experience as a teacher who uses Wikipedia editing in the classroom, and an editor who lives on a "remote" island on the west coast of Greece.

Inspired by a recent debate on Greek-language Wikipedia regarding the importance (or otherwise) of articles showcasing local places – establishments – occupations – traditions – people – facts etc. of interest, and which some members of the community consider to be “trivial” or even "non-notable", the presentation will be set up as follows, with one section leading into the next to depict the joys and challenges of “Wikiing in the Land of the Common People”...

  • The Common People Wikipedia Quiz. A fun “trivial pursuit session” for the audience, with carefully-picked questions that people from any national or scholar background will be able to comprehend. Participants will be surprised to learn that these questions have been answered on Greek Wikipedia by means of contributions from shepherds, beekeepers, housewives, clergymen, WWII survivors and others from all walks of life, who happened to be students or graduates of the Argostoli Evening High School for adult learners. Intended as a 10-minute interactive slideshow presentation.
  • The Ubiquitous Banner Discussion. Okay, so we’ve written our account of the tradition/game/occupation/what have you, and we’ve registered that it played a significant role in the lives of locals here on the island of Kefalonia, Greece. Problem is, how do we prove it? It’s now obsolete, and has been so for years. Internet citations are nowhere to be found, and written sources are either non-existent as well, or impossible to track down. Do we just let this piece of heritage die in oblivion, when the last surviving “Homer-storytellers” are no longer around to tell the story? Or do we condemn the related Wikipedia article to the permanent mark of the ubiquitous “This article does not cite any references or sources” banner? Actually, such questions have come to the attention of reputable media such as the New York Times in this report. I’m quite convinced that Wikipedians the world over will have a similar “banner-related” story to tell.
On a broader level and from the perspective of a Wikipedia user rather than editor, my opinion is that overuse of the banner discourages new users from trusting Wikipedia. Of course, we want sources and references! But not to the point that a well-written article with just a couple of citations missing need be "stamped". Intended as a 10-minute discussion with participation of the audience.
  • Create your own sources?. When at a “dead-end” as regards citing the sources of a short article I wrote on a local beach, and having scoured the Internet and local press for a suitable citation, I decided to go “backwards”: why not “spur” the generation of sources NOW, i.e. after the article has been written? The outcome was successful on multiple levels: I’ll go into the details in my actual presentation;-) But what about WP policy? I’m interested in the audience’s opinion as to whether I did right or wrong. Intended as a 5-minute “case study” presentation.

Track (Wikis and the Public Sector; GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums); WikiCulture and Community; Research, Analysis, and Education; Technology and Infrastructure)
Primarily WikiCulture and Community, "crosses tracks" with Research, Analysis and Education
Length of presentation/talk (if other then 25 minutes, specify how long)
25 Minutes should do it:)
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
My attending depends solely on whether I will be awarded a scholarship (I live in Greece, can't afford it otherwise)
Slides or further information (optional)
Slideshow, possibly poster as well.
Special request as to time of presentations (for example - can not present on Saturday)

Interested attendees

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  1. SarahStierch 15:31, 1 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  2. WereSpielChequers 00:57, 5 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  3. NaBUru38 15:51, 5 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]
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  5. --Cindamuse 14:45, 13 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  6. CT Cooper · talk 21:14, 14 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]
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