Thank you to OpenSym 2015

This week, the Wiki Education Foundation hosted an open house and poster session for about 60 OpenSym conference attendees. During the poster session, people mingled, traded ideas, and learned about research and practices from a variety of participants and attendees. Our Summer Fellow, Andrew Lih, and Wikipedia Content Expert Adam Hyland, also attended the conference.

An emergent theme was how to best encourage users with various levels of experience to make meaningful contributions to open projects.

Benjamin Mako Hill, from the University of Washington, presented research on Wikipedia’s page protection data. He examined when Wikipedia pages were “locked” because of controversial edits. Eva Zangerle of the University of Innsbruck looked at the relationship between Wikipedia and Twitter. The work revealed when and how Twitter communities in certain languages linked to own- and other-language Wikipedias. Michelle Purcell, from Drexel University, examined the process of feature requests in open source projects.

We also heard about technology infrastructure projects, which could someday have an impact on recognizing and categorizing types of edits. Combined with assessment tools, this research could help create tools that identify edits from new users, and react with helpful advice or suggestions.

Finally, we also came across some interesting work exploring gender biases across language Wikipedias. Max Klein’s gender gap poster used WikiData to conduct research on biographies of women. He compared the number of biographies to gender inequality indices. The result suggested correlations between gender inequality and biographical coverage of women on Wikipedia. Based on inequality data from English-speaking countries, English Wikipedia should cover more women than it does now, his poster concluded.

These were just some of the inspiring researchers and conversations at OpenSym this year. You can access most papers or abstracts at the OpenSym website,


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