Thursday, December 6, 2007

Jimbo no-show but lively wiki Wednesday none the less

London wiki Wednesday, 5th December 2007 at NYK Line / NYK Group Europe

Last night I hosted London Wiki Wednesday, with facilities kindly provided by NYK and refreshments funded by SocialText.

At the top of the bill was Jimmy Wales but although David Terrar delayed start of proceedings significantly, he did not show up. To be fair to Jimbo, apparently his commitment was along the lines of "I will try to be there".

Despite his non-appearance, we were by the presence of Alison Wheeler from Wikimedia UK who spoke eloquently and at some length about the charitable work of Wikimedia.

Well into the evening, I exited the room to look for stragglers (hoping to spy Jimbo emerging from the lift) and found instead Wikimedia's Sue Gardner, (great name for a wiki enthusiast!), who was hopelessly lost and wandering NYK’s 17th floor looking for the venue. To her credit, she immediately took to the lectern to further illustrate their altruistic work.

There were then a couple more speakers that I missed because I was busy organising stuff.

After that, I took the stage to give my brief talk on Enterprise Wiki Tips and our use of Confluence. I gave my typical, low key Lotoczko presentation but this was followed by a lively Q&A.

When I was discussing Person Pages and Skills Discovery one questioner asked if I wasn't worried that the wiki would degenerate into a dating site. I recalled a Euan Semple story that he had recounted during one of our many meetings/coaching sessions. It runs along the lines of: During the early days of Euan’s experiments with forums within the BBC, a body of staff appeared to be using the platform for dating. Undaunted, Euan allowed it to continue, a case of any use is better than no use. A while later a program maker found the material to be an invaluable resource when he was asked to make a documentary on modern dating trends. The story was well received (I think there was one BBC guy in the audience).

An animated and enthusiastic Hong Kong student guy Francis Wan gave an impromptu talk about his involvement with the Chinese language Wikipedia. Although it faces huge problems from Chinese censorship he explained that Hong Kong and Taiwan nationals were keeping it thriving as were the ex-pat Chinese community. I found this to be an enthralling account of social media helping to overcome imperial censorship.

I even received help from Alex Jerreat (wiki gardener extraordinaire) and Sean McClowry with the back-breaking task of re-assembling the boardroom tables, allowing me to catch my last train.

In all, one of the best Wiki Wednesdays of recent months, in my opinion.

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