Wiki geeks are in town

Wiki geeks are in town

Wikimania, the annual conference for Wikipedia enthusiasts and editors, is being held in Hong Kong for the first time this week


Members of the Wikimedia Hong Kong chapter.
Members of the Wikimedia Hong Kong chapter.
Photo: Keira Lu Huang
Tech-heads eager to plot the future of Wikipedia flocked to Hong Kong Polytechnic University as the annual conference about the website officially opened yesterday.

Wikimania takes place in a different part of the world every year. The conference started on Wednesday and will run until tomorrow.

The five-day gathering, organised by the popular information-sharing site, will include talks on the development of Wikipedia. Attendees will discuss how it can be best used by netizens around the globe.

Kick-starting the event yesterday, Japanese editor Makoto Okamoto spoke about how his Wikipedia-like project saveMLAK helped collect information on damage done to local libraries, museums and archives during the Tohoku quake and tsunami in 2011.

The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, also appeared on the first day. Wales, who launched the site with friends in 2001, said he saw a hole in journalism, as coverage was sometimes biased and too tabloid-like. Wikipedia - a collective effort by members of the community - could be a good way to fill the void, he argued. He invited attendees to give their ideas.

This morning, a session will be held on how Wikipedia can facilitate primary and secondary school education. Teacher Gabriel Thullen, of Colombieres Junior High School in Switzerland, said in a wiki-entry that he would address how the website "allows [his students] to see how knowledge can be shared across different cultural divides".

According to Wikimedia Foundation's Asaf Bartov, Wikipedia's Chinese site is now the 11th largest portal in the world, with 510,000 articles mostly edited by users in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

But the site's growth on the mainland is slow because it is strictly limited by the authorities there, Jeromy Yu, president of Wikimedia's Hong Kong chapter, previously told the South China Morning Post.

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