APC Wikipedia Training Session in Perth
One of the things I love Australia is the size, the accessibility of everyone, and the strong sense of national identity, its sport culture. It reminds me of home in the USA but even better at times, because I can see Olympians and Paralympians training as I bike around Canberra, I can call sport organisations on the phone and get a response, and I can see local professional athletes eating at the food court at the local mall. (In one case, I almost ran one over with my bicycle.) I get to meet really cool, sporty people that I might not get the chance to in the USA. That’s also why I love being involved with the APC project.
This past weekend, I attended and help facilitate part of a Wikipedia training session in Perth, Western Australia for the Australian Paralympic Committee. This training session reminded me of why I love Australia: Three Paralympians attended. One was Elizabeth Edmondson and another was Kerrie Engel. All the Paralympians that attended were enthusiastic about the project, eager to help, and happy to be share their stories. According to Tony Narr, the Australian Paralympic Committee had not been in touch with many Paralympians over the years until they started this history project. Thus, it was great to have them in attendance, having them learn about the project, having them contribute to the project we are working on. If this project is going to succeed, they are the ones that need to be involved. They will tell other Paralympians what the APC is doing, show them the content, have them help contribute their own knowledge base and personal collection of scrapbooks to the history the APC is writing. So while only two Paralympians attended the whole day, the event was in my opinion still a success because we made contacts, the two that attended will share what they are doing their fellow Paralympians, with other athletes they still compete with, and with their friends and family. Oh, and both attendees contributed to Wikipedia after the event: Kerrie Engel and Elizabeth Edmondson.
The training session discussed/taught several things including the scope of the APC’s project, how Wikimedia Australia is contributing to the project, how to edit a user page, how to create a new article, discussed copyright issues for images, issues with disabilist language on Wikipedia articles, the importance of sourcing, issues of notability, and showed examples of DYKs. There were several hand outs, including one I developed on Editing Sport Biographies. Graham87 talked about his experiences editing Wikipedia, and showed how article clean up was done. If I was doing this again, I might do a couple of things differently: I’d spend less time on creating a user page and creating a new article using the create a new article form. I’d focus more on editing actual articles: One of the efforts that we’ve made some headway on with APC related content is creating stub content. We should encourage people to start editing these. Research shows Wikipedia editors often start making these small edits from IP addresses. After doing this, they progress to getting an account and making more substantial edits. I’d also spend more time showing people how to use talk pages. If people use talk pages to ask for help and to explain what they are doing, their edits are less likely to be reverted, they are more likely to get the benefit of the doubt and they will help foster a sense of community.
Positive outcomes from this training session? For me, getting a chance to meet the people I am writing about was fantastic. Beyond that, hopefully the article about Elizabeth Edmondson will become a DYK and appear on Wikipedia’s main page. We have a new article about Kerrie Engel. The National Sport Information Centre has a copy of a scrap book about Edmondson’s Paralympic experiences as told through newspapers that others can use and cite. Our Paralympians have made edits to APC related articles and continued to edit the day after the training session. Edmondson released some pictures that will appear on Commons that can be used on WMF related projects. Both Paralympians are likely to tell their friends, family, fellow athletes and other Paralympians about the good work the APC is doing in terms of documenting the history of the Paralympic movement in Australia. Ideas were generated for how to include additional photo, video and audio content into WMF related pages, and other APC related places on the Internet. Attendees improved their network of contacts. While the attendance was low, the long term consequences will be very beneficial to the Paralympic Movement in Australia.