Submissions/Wikimedia in the Participatory Commons

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom

After careful consideration, the Programme Committee has decided not to accept the below submission at this time. Thank you to the author(s) for participating in the Wikimania 2014 programme submission, we hope to still see you at Wikimania this August.

Submission no. 6044
Title of the submission
Wikimedia in the Participatory Commons
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)
I am happy to turn this into a discussion, if there is interest
Author of the submission
Susanna Ånäs Susannaanas
E-mail address
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Project Manager, Wikimaps, Wikimedia Finland
Project homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)
This is a brief imaginary journey into the idea of the participatory commons. Wikimedia as we know it defines its boundaries with a set of regulations. I will make a few experimental hops over those boundaries to envision what the colour of grass would be on that side.
The most notable of the limitations is the notability guideline, that prevents having all our private cultural heritage to be in the scope of Wikimedia. The notability guideline is also unimaginable in some contexts: imagine a map, where some houses or roads are notable enough to be on the map while others are not. Or a scientific taxonomy, whose properties are voted on, and only the most important species are displayed.
Wikimedia could be a social space for creating and re-interpreting knowledge. Between the amateurs and communities of all sorts, or between the amateurs and the experts. Many retiring experts will not have successors. Many professions are retiring with their holders and so is the expertise. In my mind, Wikimedia is there to preserve culture.
Serving amateur historians is a profitable business that turns archives into vaults. Information on historical personalities is sold and manipulated at high subscription rates. How about open access to our common cultural heritage? Wikimedia must first make space for the non-notable grannies and uncles, before it can stage the collaborative historical enquiry.
The participatory commons should be a playground, where the archives from private shoeboxes meet the repositories of established memory organizations, and produce cultural play. Researching old maps and document to find stories and histories, or to place them in. Linking images from your grandparents album to films, documents, maps and images from the archives. Finding a caption in a book about a memorable pub. Connecting the objects in museums to their original holders. Arranging games and competitions to further interpret and enrich the riches. Creating new tools for unexpected encounters. Using the tools to make apps or wall calendars or Twitter bots.
The presentation will envision some futures and pinpoint where the current practices prevent that from happening. I welcome participants to make this a discussion or a panel.
Thanking Mia Ridge for the concept:
Ridge, Mia. “Creating a Digital History Commons through Crowdsourcing and Participant Digitisation,” December 5, 2013.
GLAM Outreach
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
Not available yet
Special requests

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  1. B25es (talk) 16:03, 25 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Urjanhai (talk) 22:26, 31 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
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