We recieved a letter from Wiki Loves Earth in Andorra & Spain. Here our colleague tells us why he does it, how he justifies his volunteers and himself. So, have a fine ride… or read.
Organizing a photography contest with thousands of participants pursuing thousands of proposed targets is complex. Doing this with volunteers is even more interesting. It is difficult to coordinate schedules with volunteers, but it motivated contributors bring plenty of great surprises. Lots of participants engage in our Wiki Loves initiatives for the first time, unfamiliar with the concept of open knowledge, freely licensing their pictures with enthusiasm. The result is something that still amazed me.
I have been involved in three editions of Wiki Loves Monuments and one of Wiki Loves Public Art. When Wiki Loves Earth was announced last year, my fellow organizers and I hesitated to commit to it. We were a small team covering a linguistic community, and each contest requires lots of energy. Suddenly, someone said “Be bold! I will go ahead; anyone else?” This is the wiki style, and here we are; our small team is excited to start another round.
Organizing Wiki Loves contests is like riding on a roller coaster: unbalanced, unpredictable, but absolutely worthy — not unlike Wikipedia itself. Some activities may reach a featured outcome, while others remain as stubs, and others suddenly appear without any prior plans.
Wiki Loves Earth focuses on pictures of Natural Heritage sites. We found that the legal concept of Natural Heritage is still under development in Andorra. In Spain, its interpretation is left to each of the autonomous regions with inconsistent results. Some regional governments have good information online; others have different inventories from different offices. Sometimes, the same region can have three, four, or more different types of classifications. However, Wikipedians are intellectually promiscuous and motivated to tackle challenges like these. At the end, our research is useful to clarify concepts and to improve related articles in Wikipedia.
Each Wiki Loves edition has concluded with the understanding that promotion requires future improvements. We expect to promote the contest through the organization of local activities involving sponsors and media partners, in order to reach specific audiences beyond Wikimedia.
Now comes the time for managing surprises. Any day, someone could appear with a new sponsor contacted through a friend, or someone else could tell us that they are organizing a photographic expedition with their local library. This is unpredictable; there is no way to plan for it. Perhaps a group of friends may compete among themselves to take more photos of different places, or a teenager could write to us explaining his story biking uphill to achieve a picture just as desired.
I love this, and I am grateful for sharing the ride with my fellow volunteers and colleagues.
Organizing committee of Wiki Loves Earth in Andorra & Spain
Member of Amical Wikimedia