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This is the English version of “Quo Vadis, Wikipedia? Eindrücke von der Wikimania 2009 in Buenos Aires”, published at netzpolitik.org.

Logo of Wikimania 2009 in Buenos Aires

Stats.wikimedia.org counted 87.000 active Wikipdians – contributors with at least five Wikipedia edits in the respective month – in August 2008. Only a tiny fraction – about 300 to 400 – of this worldwide community meets once a year at Wikimania in “real life” to discuss all kinds Wikipedia issues.

The first Wikimania was held 2005 in Frankfurt/M., the most recent one last August in the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires. As there are videos of most of the talks available online in the conference program, I can skip detailed summaries of individual presentations and give some personal impressions of the conference. Wikimania in Buenos Aires not only was the first in the southern hemisphere, it also showed an enormous growth in terms of relevance and professionalization of Wikipedia and its sister projects such as Wikibooks or Wiktionary. The increase in relevance is probably best illustrated by an article in the New York Times print edition, which points to over 330 million monthly Wikipedia visitors.

This professionalization, in turn, could be experienced both organizationally and atmospherically in Buenos Aires: Wikimania 2009 had nothing to do with an improvised meet-up of Wikipedians but was instead a perfectly organized conference with finger food buffet and social program (Tango lessons!). Above all, the continuous reference given to the newly started “strategy process” demonstrated a new seriousness of self-reflection among at least the organized part of the Wikipedia community. Moreover, thanks to funding by the Omydar Network (link), the whole process is instructed and moderated by consultants of The Bridgespan Group – a consultancy specialized on NGOs. Read the rest of this entry »

The Book

Governance across borders: transnational fields and transversal themes. Leonhard Dobusch, Philip Mader and Sigrid Quack (eds.), 2013, epubli publishers.
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