- Wikimedia Brasil, the Brazilian Chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation presents you its… 2009 Annual Report!
- covering most of our activities between the Chapters' Meetings in 2009 and 2010
Motivated by the Chapter's Committee, we produced a detailed documentation of the reasons why we think it is in the best interest of the Wikimedia Movement for the Brazilian Chapter not to incorporate, but act as a social movement instead, yet be recognized as a Chapter.
Wikimedia Strategic Planning in São Paulo[editar]
Collaborating with one of the main cultural and recreational institutions in Brazil, the Social Service of Commerce (SESC), we organized two unconferences focusing on the Wikimedia Strategic Planning, themed on the issues of education and politics.
These unconferences had two moments. First, at an arena setup, some Wikimedia volunteers would give an introduction about the projects and their relationship to the subject, followed by special guests, from both professional and academic occupations, who would go deeper into the subject. Right after that, people would gather around tables to form interest groups and start a distributed debate. In the end, groups would share their ideas and insights and record them on large sheets of paper that were collected and later transcribed to our wiki.
Overall, there was a good turnout, with about 30 people involved through all the process each day, most of whom had not been active within Wikimedia before. Philippe Beaudette, of the strategic planning WMF staff, was present and participated in an English speaking group. We also managed to involve the staff of SESC in the discussions, sound and light crew included.
The unit of SESC that hosted us was SESC Pompéia, in São Paulo city.
More details and results are available in Portuguese.
Besides meeting on the occasion of events organized and participated, we both spontaneously and strategically organized a few other encounters during this last year.
- One general meeting in São Paulo
- One general meeting in Brasília
- Meeting with Kul Wadhwa, WMF Head of Business Development, in São Paulo
- Meeting with Danese Cooper, WMF Chief Technical Officer, during Campus Party in São Paulo
- Meeting with Ting Chen, a WMF Board of Trustees member, in São Paulo
- Meeting with Philippe Lacour, a member of Wikimedia France, in São Paulo
Volunteers of Wikimedia Brasil mobilized to participate in Wikimania 2009. Everton137, Pietro Roveri, Solstag and TSB were present as volunteers for the chapter. Kieff and Lechatjaune went independently and have since been following chapter activities.
TSB has given a speech during the chapter meeting, and Solstag and Everton137 of the discussions of this panel (see videos on the right).
Open Educational Resources community meeting at FGV[editar]
As some of our volunteers have long been involved with Brazilian OER initiatives, we were invited to participate in a conference on Open Educational Resources organized by Fundação Getúlio Vargas and the Open Society Institute, with the participation of ccLearn. As a result of this meeting we started a fruitful collaboration with the Brazilian OER community, instructing them in the use of wikis to build an OER toolkit in Portuguese.
Wikimedia Usability Meeting[editar]
We were invited to send a chapter volunteer to a Wikimedia Meeting in Paris, with the purpose of discussing the usability initiative. Nevinho was there and reported back to us while gathering our opinions.
Campus Party São Paulo 2010[editar]
The largest new media event in Brazil is the Campus Party, with over 5,000 participants. As we had an accomplished participation last year, we were again offered to have our volunteers as guests in the event. Besides participating in the many related activities promoted by other groups, this time around we organized a discussion session on Wikimedia projects and a series of interviews with campuseiros — an alias used by participants in the event — about their knowledge of and experience with Wikimedia projects. These interviews simultaneously promote and provide us with a more concrete image of the problems people are facing when trying to contribute. We also experimented with t-shirt art, carrying some rudimentary tools with which people could paint their own personalized Wikimedia themed clothing.
At units of the Social Service of Commerce (SESC)[editar]
We tutored six workshops about the philosophy, use and editing of Wikimedia projetcs for users of the Internet Livre room of SESC Pompeia, the same unit of SESC which hosted our strategic planning events. Interestingly, two of those classes were exclusively for elder people, some of whom demonstrated great interest in the projects. Good acceptance of the workshops renewed the mutual interest between SESC and WMBR, and we are currently in negotiations to hold regular Wikimedia workshops in that unit and perhaps other ones.
Press and public relations[editar]
Collaborative open interviews has been our method of dealing with the press. We ask journalists to publish, or send us, a list of questions in the chapter wiki and we provide them with the widest variety of answers, or conclusive answers that have been reviewed by everyone interested.
We gave answers to nine such interviews in this period, coming from a variety of media like high circulation newspapers and nationwide weekly magazines, university radio stations, specialized news websites, etc.
One interesting case is a recent interview that turned out to become a survey, since about 20 active Wikipedians gave long and comprehensive answers to provocative questions about the project. This approach led to a lot of learning in the process, not only of the interviewer, or even the interviewees, but of everyone who shall ever care to look at the publicly registered answers.
Bloggers also approached us on a regular basis, usually wanting to bring up some perceived problem with Wikipedia, or by writing a very critical post that called for an answer.
In one special occasion, when a young blogger died who was very dear to the blogging community in Brazil, his Wikipedia entry was created and subsequently proposed for deletion due to lack of sources regarding his relevance, which caused a massive amount of public bashing. By virtue of one of the bloggers involved having participated in our strategic planning meetings, we could assist the wikipedians getting in touch and organized an IRC session to more patiently explain the issues and make apologies, also helping introduce proper references. As of today, the article stands.
Reform of Brazilian copyright law[editar]
Brazilian society is going through a complex discussion about reforming its copyright law. Wikimedia obviously has high stakes in this, since it may lead to a lot of works coming to the public domain, or at least becoming more accessible — currently Brazilian law lacks any reliable copyright limitation — but also poses risks in terms of how Creative Commons Licenses apply in face, for example, of author's moral rights.
Given that, we have participated in both government and civil society organized debates. Particularly important among those we've been present was the II Congress of Author's Rights and Public Interest and National Forum on Author's Rights.
First National Conference on Communication[editar]
Even more important than author's rights, in the Brazilian context, is the fight for the democratization of communication. Almost the totality of Brazil's radio and television concessions, even though its area is continental, belong to eleven families. And among those, there is one family which controls a disproportionate large share of that power. Last year Brazil saw for the first time ever a public debate on the use of electromagnetic spectrum. It was the National Conference on Communication, an instrument mandated by our 1988 constitution but never put to practice.
Besides the spectrum, the conference also dealt with the production of information, including author's rights issues, and the infrastructure of the Internet, which is particularly interesting for Wikimedia as directions for a National Broadband Plan were discussed, that will have direct impact on access to Wikimedia projects in remote areas and poor populations. Among the other topics were also network neutrality, open standards and digital television.
The conference starts at a city level and progresses towards state and national levels by the selection of deputies among participants. Two of our volunteers participated at the local level in São Paulo city, Everton137 and Solstag, the latter being selected deputy for the state level as a volunteer of Wikimedia Brasil. During the state round of the conference, an alliance was forged between Wikimedia Brasil, Música para Baixar — literally Music for Download, an art-activism collective — and the Brazilian Pirate Party, to successfully get one deputy standing for all three at the national level. The umbrella identity for this coalition became then the Free Software Movement, and a member of the Brazilian Pirate Party, Leandro Chemalle, was chosen by consensus to take the role of deputy.
The national round of the conference resulted in a series of recommendations for public policy very much aligned with the objectives of the Wikimedia Movement. The current step is to pressure public administrators and lawmakers to take measures and vote laws implementing those resolutions.
Adopt an Alderman[editar]
The project encourages Brazilian citizens to blog about the work of their local elected officials in order to hold them accountable. We are also using a wiki platform (see http://vereadores.wikia.com) to organize project information: which cities are participating, who are the aldermen of each city and some info about them, the list of local representative "adopted", the list of blogs and people participating etc..
In São Paulo city, there are regular meetings among the project volunteers, usually divulged on CBN radio by the journalist Milton Jung, a well known and tech savvy radio journalist in São Paulo.
Recently, the project was highlighted by Global Voices in an interview with one of the volunteers. As pointed out in this interview, one of the obstacles to more people joining the project is technological. We have plans to give free classes explaining how to use wikis, blogs, micro-blogs etc. for gather infomation about Brazilian politicians and we are already discussing with people at SESC Pompéia for that.
Sexta Poética is a collaborative poetry wiki based on the free licensing of artistic works, that started as a mutirão within Wikimedia Brazil. Recent progresses in this mutirão include a consistent growth in the number of contributors, launching a printed version of selected poems and the establishment of its first policy page regarding licensing and the use of third party works, kindly translated for this report as Home for you poet and your whole art..
The name Poetic Friday refers to the habit of taking a time off on Fridays to write, share and collaborate on poetry.
Open Educational Resources Brazil[editar]
A community in support of Open Educational Resources (OER) is just starting in Brazil. Carolina Rossini, coordinator of an OER initiative in Brazil for the Open Society Institute, contacted some Wikimedia Brasil volunteers to help create a toolkit about OER similar to the UNESCO toolkit, but in Portuguese language and more aware of the Brazilian context. We are currently organizing content related to the community in the chapter wiki, while also beginning to build the toolkit.
At the end April, Carol and Tom will participate in the international conference The Impact of ICT in Education. One valuable resource to understand the OER situation in Brazil is Carolina's recent green paper on the issue.
Lab Escola Imre Simon[editar]
Lab Escola Imre Simon is a recently born informal group of academics who came together to continue the efforts of Professor Imre Simon, passed away in 2009, to popularize and advance the technical, scientific and social understanding of computing, computer networks, and their implications. It originated as a cross fertilization between the University of São Paulo (USP) and Centro Cultural São Paulo (CCSP), two of Brazil's most well regarded academic and cultural institutions.
The first activity of Lab Escola, which as a result of the involvement of volunteers from Wikimedia Brasil has been using the Portuguese Wikiversity for both its organization and activities, is an ongoing course for the general public on sharing, collaboration and the Internet. The course is called O Futuro da Informação, and was inspired by courses taught by Imre Simon at USP from 1998 to 2008. Wikipedia and its sister projects have, since their creation, always been and remain a central subject in the new course.
Brazilian Knowledge Management Society[editar]
The Sociedade Brasileira de Gestão do Conhecimento (SBGC) has teamed up with a volunteer of Wikimedia Brasil, Nevinho, who was invited to coordinate a wiki initiative with that institution. A joint meeting was recently held with the Applied Economics Research Institute of the Strategic Affairs Secretary of the Presidency of Brazil, to talk about Wikimedia projects, the Brazilian chapter initiatives, and in order to argue in favor of adopting the Mediawiki software as their Kowledge Management platform.
This year we focused on celebrating opportunities and strengthening ties among existing volunteers and the communities and institutions surrounding them, while providing guidance to newcomers and working out the details of being a distributed chapter. One objective accomplished was to experiment and document practices that can be repeated by new volunteers in different places, so we can start to reach more of Brazil with our activities.
Making use of this experience is going to be the main challenge for the next couple of years.
We have achieved recognition within a more progressive slice of the brazilian culture and education scene, with offers to host workshops and co-organize events with several SESC units, the Casa de Cultura Digital, the Centro Cultural São Paulo, the Brazilian Pirate Party, some local Free Software organizations and others.
Working together with them is at the heart of standing up to the challenges ahead of us.