August update

>Reposted from the Grants page on Wikipedia<<

This month I started a website and blog about the project! The purpose of the blog is to provide more in-depth commentary and documentation on the gap finding protocol process.

In addition to making the blog, we had five goals for August. We sought to finalize the location and flow of events for the brainstorming session, as well as send out the details to the participants and confirm their participation. We did this, documenting carefully on the blog the pros and cons of the different location options on the blog.

This month I provided participants with a more clearly laid out agreement about their participation in this project. I achieved this by crafting and having us each sign a “Letter of Engagement.” I’ve linked to the template I used for this on the blog, as well as a longer description of the letter. Participants all seemed to appreciate the letter. Having the contours of their participation laid out is helpful for a project that is more than an ad hoc, as you wish, volunteer event. Two have signed it already and sent electronically and the remaining have committed to bringing the letter to our brainstorming session on 9/9. In addition to having these letters as very helpful ways to ensure that all of our expectations about the project are in line, I also plan to provide Wikimedia with the letters as part of the way that I document the expense of compensating the experts.

How will the five hour event go? I write about the flow of events and a few tools we’ll use on the blog. One exciting development is my collaborator Sage has been working on is analyzing which Wikipedia categories and pages related to our theme of “feminism and technology” are underdeveloped but at the same time highly read/accessed. This is an interesting combo metric. The results offer insight on which pages and categories might be worth devoting time too, since they’re obviously of interest and getting page views, but closer to a stub than a featured article.

As one of the two goals for the brainstorming session is to solicit the creative and generative thinking of the participant experts on how to develop a feminist distributed editing protocol (the second is to do gap finding analysis!). The point of the protocol is that it will be useful for executing an editing project from the lists for 1) undergraduates in courses around the country who might access the lists for projects in their courses, and 2) for future organizations, community groups, Wikipedia projects, etc, who would like to do a distributed editing project that either takes places over a period of time or across different geographies (E.g. staggered Art+Feminism events that are disparate groups borrowing and building on each others work), the way that we collect the gaps to be shared with others isn’t decided in advance. However, we would like to ensure that whatever technique we use to collect these gap lists is easily shareable — even in the course of this project, so if it isn’t online right away, it should be at some stage. We’ve considered how we might go from doing individual brainstorming over “what’s missing” on pages, to a shared Google spreadsheet, to collecting the gaps on a Wikipedia page that has it’s own unique identifier (url) and can be shared once it’s updated. To this end, we will present a few possible ideas in advance (such as Google sheets) and be open to developing them further. One site to build the list would be a Wikipedia project page, which Sage has generously created called Gap Finding Project, that will let us just add the gaps one by one. There’s no built in protocol on the form of the list, we can decide on it.

The one milestone for the month that is still not entirely achieved is securing a course that we will work with to transfer over the lists prior to the Brainstorming Session. While there has been interest among the expert participants, no one has committed to doing so yet. There are also a few instructors who are already signed on with WikiEd who may be interested as well, so this is a goal that while it would have been great to have someone in mind right away, it’s okay to have it be open until after the list has been generated, and we are closer to the start of school.

The next steps for this week are to get the refreshments in place for the 9th, and update the blog! 🙂

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