Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ten days left to apply for Chapcom membership

The Chapters Committee is looking to fill five places and is looking for candidates who are able and willing to help groups of Wikimedians self-organize around the world. See the call here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A year in ChapCom

It was a busy year in the Chapters Committee, the body that is entrusted with guiding groups of enthusiastic Wikimedia volunteers towards greater offline activity. This is usually in the form of forming a local Wikimedia Chapter, but given the technical and bureaucratic difficulties that this may entail, it often takes the form of recommending local activities without a formal legal structure taking advantage of the Wikimedia trademarks policy and grants programme.

Chapters approved in 2011 (dark blue), and those on their way towards chapterhood in 2012 (greenish shade of blue). Germany has become a lake by accident.
Once a group decides to form a chapter, it is the dual duty of the Committee – composed of a group of volunteers with experience in international relations, running chapters and other non-profits and good intercultural skills – to give advice and guide the group through the steps of creating a well-functioning legal association and making sure that the resulting entity conforms to the requirements of official Wikimedia chapterhood.

In 2011 ChapCom finalised 10 chapter applications from 4 continents: from the northern tip of the World in Canada all the way south to Cape Horn (in Chile) and as far east as the 93rd meridian. This makes it the second busiest year for the Committee (after 2008); however, we will not be bored in 2012 either. If the world doesn't end, the Committee will process applications from Brazil, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Slovakia and most likely Croatia (and we are only in January; hopefully, many more communities will approach us over the year).

2012 will also be the year, when anyone can apply to be part of the group that helps new groups around the world in forming chapters (or other affiliated orgs). If you wonder what kind of person we are looking for, see the call from 2010, and please sign up to be notified of the 2012 call!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Wikimedia Chapters Planet

So I have created my first real website, Wikimedia Chapters Planet, a blog aggregator that collects blog posts and reports from the Wikimedia Chapters and the Wikimedia Foundation.

Setting it up was surprisingly easy thanks to the free Planet software (only a small hack was needed to get it to run). The question on how to update it was a bit of a dilemma as it is not trivial to run the Python Planet scripts on the free hosting I had (and I didn't want to spend too much on updated hosting), but I solved it by simply running all the scripts on my PC and having a .bat file do the uploading every hour or so.
The translation part, which is crucial in making the site useful, was sheer luck, as although Google closed its Translation API, it is still available as a free gadget for websites, and it can handle multiple languages in the same page (something, Google Chrome's built in  service can't).

All that was left is to gather the blogs and flip the switch. Currently, I collect blog posts from 19 and reports from eight  chapters(out of 35) plus the Wikimedia Foundation. Hopefully, more chapters will join the list and we can all see the many things that are happening around the world.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

WikiCamp 2011 takes Miskolc

Just as last year, a score and ten Wikipedians gathered for a four-day Wikicamp in the north-eastern town of Miskolc.

The campers got a chance to get to know each other while sightseeing in Eger and Miskolc (the former with a pit stop at a wine cellar), hiking and getting lost in the nearby woods, a visit to an adventure park and some short presentations on how to take quality pictures for Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons and of the planned software changes coming to Wikipedia (among a few others).

The event proved to be a success and is becoming a tradition, so we urge everyone to sign up early for the 2012 camp to be held in Veszprém.

Photo: Texaner, Wikimedia Commons, under CC BY-SA 3.0 and GFDL

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wikimedia Hungary grants

The National Civil Fund (recently renamed after Sándor Wekerle, a former prime minister), the Hungarian grant giving arm of the European Social Fund has granted Wikimedia Hungary 250 000 HUF ($1300) to cover its operating expenses between 1 July and 30 September, in particular, the grant funds the development of an online payment gateway for our bank built on CiviCRM, and for producing printed materials.

This is the third grant in a row that we have won and the justifications of the grants show that we are getting better at it, reflecting both on our grant writing skills and more so on our activities.

($1 = 190 Hungarian Forints)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Featured article word cloud

The three thousand featured articles of the English are made up of roughly 223 thousand different words, out of which 100 thousand are used only once.* As a comparison, Shakespeare used 29 thousand words in his works, out of which 12 thousand occurred only once.

The most frequent words represented as a cloud after the most common function words were removed:
And this is what the above cloud would look like if the function words (including the 1.1 million the's out of the 15 million words in total) were included and weighted according to their frequency:

* Different word forms of the same word are counted separately but uppercase and lowercase forms are counted as one.E.g  "Cat" and "cat" count as one but "cats" is counted separately from "cat". 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Readability of South African Constitutions

South Africa has had five constitutions during its history. The first one, the South Africa Act of 1909 was actually an act of the British Parliament. The 1961 Constitution was adopted during apartheid to transform the country into a Republic and the 1983 tried to reform things a bit with a Tricameral parliament. The 1993 Constitution was an interim one that set out the framework for the process that created the current, democratic Constitution of 1996.

My thesis looked at the readability (and factors affecting easy comprehension) of South African Constitutions at two specific points in time, but it is quite, or even more interesting to look at the whole developmental sequence.