Wikimedia Brasil, the Brazilian De facto Chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation presents you its... 2008 Annual Report!
Why a non-Chapter, and what do we mean by that[editar]
As many might know, a request for the creation of a Brazilian Chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation was approved last year.
The volunteers behind that request, after careful - and heated - deliberation, chose not to establish themselves as a formal chapter at this time.
We have, instead, "established" ourselves as a Mutirão for Freedom of Knowledge and will use the name WikiBrasil or, in short form, WB.
Mutirão is the Portuguese language word for any "self-assigned task force of socially motivated volunteers". Yes we have a word for it, how cool is that?
There are four main reasons for this.
- Advocates of informality
- A significative part of our group argues that, regardless of the points below, we can better advance the foundation's vision by acting as a group of autonomous volunteers and devoting ourselves to activities we can take on without funding or legal structure behind us.
- Threats regarding Brazil's legal context
- We cannot yet rely on our legal system to grant a Brazilian Chapter of Wikimedia independence over the content and legal responsibility for the platform.
- It is likely that a Brazilian Chapter would be under constant harassment from defamation lawsuits, and it is unlikely that we could get a court decision waving us of responsibility for content like other chapters did.
- Threats regarding the misuse of NGO's in Brazil
- NGO's in Brazil are widely used for indirect and direct corruption in many and creative ways. This is so that many aren't even aware they're a part of some corruption scheme.
- We don't want to be a part of that, and tough we have a good idea of how to keep ourselves clean, it could cost an amount of energy we might not have at our disposal.
- Lack of process and mutual trust
- Our group has not fully developed the mutual trust and familiarity, nor the coherence and processes, required to establish a legitimate hierarchy. Hierarchy is required by institutionalization, and legitimacy to avoid being hijacked by interest groups in the context of item 2.
- However, since such qualities are desirable no matter the status of our community, we have drafted a Statement of Principles. Adherence to this statement shall be the only requirement to be a volunteer in our Mutirão.
So, given the points above, in this report "we" means the group of volunteers who, after receiving the authorization to begin a Wikimedia Chapter in Brazil, decided to remain in informality, establishing ourselves as a social movement instead of an NGO.
All discussion is available (in portuguese) in our mailing list's archive:
And here's our Statement of Principles (translated to english!):
Our activities in 2008[editar]
Jimbo in Brasil[editar]
Our first activity as a group was organizing Jimbo's visit to Brasil, which was done without any financial resources or the use of trademarks, was a no-logo event, and inspired our decision not to become an NGO.
His visit included a debate with brazilians activists, scholars and entrepeneurs engaged with free knowledge and free culture, held at "Centro Cultural São Paulo", one of São Paulo's main centers for culture. He was also interviewed in "Roda Viva", the most reputable interview program on brazilian television.
All activity was registered (in portuguese) in our page at the MetaWiki and the debate event blog:
We have also compiled an initial list of ideas for mutirões, and contacted people and partners for each of them. Those include people in the university, cultural, political and educational realms.
To that brainstormed list followed another compilation, of those efforts, and some new ones, which developed into actual mutirões.
The first list: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Brasil/Projetos
The new list: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Brasil/Mutirões
One of these mutirões which has already materialized was introducing the wiki software and reinforcing the free collaboration logic during the organization of one of the main meetings of independent artists who work with collaborative processes in Brasil.
For more information (in portuguese):
So far in 2009...[editar]
We took part in an event called Campus Party Brasil, which had over five thousand participants,
There, a group of six volunteers gave talks about the Wikimedia Platform, held workshops on Wikipedia and Wikicommons editing, and collected images for Wikicommons.
They also participated in two debates held by the internet branch of Sao Paulo's public television channel, "IPTV Cultura", and performed live Wikipedia editing during other debates and interviews.
A full report is available at MetaWiki (in portuguese):
Our organization for the event can be seen part in Meta and part in our mailing list archives (both in portuguese):
Adopt a representative[editar]
One of our main objectives is to give conceptual and technical support for other wiki-based mutirões using free content licences, which can benfit from and contribute back to the Wikimedia Projects.
One such initiative started this year within our community is devoted to assist citizens in monitoring their political representatives, and is called "Adote um Vereador".
This mutirão is receiving a lot of media attention because it started as an invitation from a well known radio anchor for people to write blogs about a politician of their choice. The proposal achieved a much larger scale when two of our volunteers started a wiki to organize the blogs and help them share information.
Here's the URL (in portuguese):
Also, here's the wiki request, which has some information in english:
The other mutirão nurtured in our community is a collaborative online encilopedia of legal terms and jurisprudence.
Providing the mutirão's mentor with assistance during the initial stages of building the wiki, as well as a lot thought put into the choice of license (CC-BY-SA), were some of the activities that brought together both communities.
This collaboration has proven rich beyond the production of content, with some insightful messages in our mailing list and Meta wiki ending with the acronym "TNLA" (for those unfamiliar: This is Not Legal Advice) and the later development of the acronym NRLA (Not a Request for Legal Advice). This was most valuable given the nature of some of our discussions, hinted by the beginning of this report.
Here's the URL (in portuguese):
Plans for 2009[editar]
Wikimedia Chapters Meeting in Berlim will be our first chance to meet representatives from all chapters. We plan to present them the highlights of this report and discuss with the broader community some issues raised here, including our understanding that a Chapter need not be an NGO.
Our preparation (being translated to english):
Our organization page (in portuguese):
Yes, we're going to pay our neighbors a visit!
We're connecting with government agents in digital inclusion programs to promote the Wikimedia Projects through workshops on wiki collaboration, freedom of knowledge, and related subjects.
Some of our volunteers are joining "photograpic walks", open groups who regularly get together and walk around town to take pictures and share knowledge of photography. Our intent is to talk about Wikimedia Commons and free licences with these communities.
The future of information[editar]
Those more academic-minded in our group are preparing, for the second semester, a cicle of lecture-debates on commons based peer-production. It will be held simultaneously at two of Sao Paulo's main centers for culture and on the web, allowing for remote participation. The course will follow material to be developed at the Wikiversity.
Here's the link (in portuguese):
Press and big media[editar]
We've been in touch with the brazilian press, building material to help them understand and use the right terms when reporting on the Wikimedia Projects.
In addition, through talks with Sao Paulo's public television, "TV Cultura", we've been invited to cast a Wikimedia Project's contributor on each interview of the program "Roda Viva", to bridge the show and the internet, promoting collaboration on articles related to each interview.
More on that (in portuguese):
Well, I hope this was an interesting read. We wish all the best for our brothers and sisters in 2009. Hugs!
-- Wikibrasil, mutirão de conhecimentos livres