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Avsnitt 206

Inspelningsdatum: 3 december 2022

Publiceringsdatum: 25 december 2022


Extern länk:


Programledare är Jan Ainali.

Special episode

Interview with Ziski Putz, Movement Advocacy Manager at Wikimedia Foundation, about advocacy in the Wikimedia movement, recorded at the Big Fat Brussels Meeting VIII.


To me at least, it shouldn't just be constantly pointed to as an exception of what good collaboration looks like on the internet.
Instead, it should really be an example.
This is WikipediaPodden at the Big Fat Brussels meeting.
I'm here with >iski Putz from the Wikimedia Foundation.
She is the Movement Advocacy Manager.
Welcome to WikipediaPodden.
Thank you so much for having me.
So, for people who are not in this meeting,
and who are perhaps not in affiliates,
why should we do advocacy at all in the Wikimedia Movement?
It's a great question and honestly one that I,
and we at the Foundation, get asked a lot.
People who edit Wikipedia and are engaged in the different Wikimedia projects
are passionate about doing something
that's going to make more information available to the public.
That alone, in my opinion, means you're taking a political stance
because sharing information is already a pretty radical act.
At least it has been historically and it still is in a lot of countries.
And so, even if you're based in the US
and you know that you can share information on Wikipedia without a problem,
you still face challenges, whether that's infrastructure,
like access to a reliable internet connection,
maybe it's government surveillance,
maybe it's disinformation from other actors.
The ability to access and share information freely, quite simply,
is not guaranteed.
And so, you need to try to make sure
that you are influencing the environment in which you operate
so you can continue to do these things that you care about.
And from that why, how does that come into what you do in your role
at the Wikimedia Foundation?
I'm biased. I think I have the best role
because I get to talk to all the incredible people who make up this movement,
and whether they are part of chapters, affiliates, user groups,
or just passionate individuals,
and to learn what challenges they're facing,
and then to start brainstorming what kind of solutions
or ideas they have to overcome those challenges.
And maybe the answer is, hey, we have no idea, but we need help.
Then I say, okay, and I'm going to go look internally
to see who within the foundation, or maybe other people within the movement,
have the expertise, the skills, the resources to provide support.
And now we're almost at the end of the Big Fat Brussels meeting,
but what were your ambitions going into it?
What were you hoping to get out from your perspective going on forward with advocacy?
This is my first Big Fat Brussels meeting,
so I'm not sure really if I had very specific expectations or hopes.
For me, I'm quite new. I'm one year into my role.
It's very important for me to sometimes shut up,
step back, and just do a good job of listening.
So personally, my individual goals were just to meet more people.
This is the first time that I've had a chance to meet a lot of the European affiliates.
I have, of course, worked with some of them before,
but a few of them are very new to me.
So just building those connections on a one-to-one sort of human level
is really important because then at least they know that I'm a person,
I exist, I have a face, hopefully they think I'm nice,
and if they send me an email, they know who it's coming to.
And I do think that goes a long way, especially now when so much is remote.
The Foundation is not always the most organized institution,
and so if you're facing a problem and you want help
and you're just stuck sending an email into a black hole,
that's not a good feeling.
And at least overcoming that, I hope, can be useful and make us feel more approachable
and like we're really partners in this together, because we are.
We all care about the free knowledge movement.
And from the people you have met now, the persons, and as you said,
a lot of people are passionate.
Are there any of these conversations that gets you excited?
Yes, absolutely.
I'm so stoked about the big picture images.
Getting some kind of status with UNESCO would be absolutely incredible.
There's been some really huge ambitions, like a Netflix documentary,
which I know, of course, we wouldn't do because, you know, we care about open source.
I'm aware of these things and free access, so it's not going to be Netflix.
But just the idea that people in the room really understand
this is something really freaking special.
This Wikimedia being part of this movement is just, it's a huge feat.
And to me at least, it shouldn't just be constantly pointed to as an exception
of what good collaboration looks like on the internet.
Instead, it should really be an example.
And I think a lot of that comes back to sharing the story of what it looks like on the inside,
how all of you people actually work together, the challenges that you do face,
but also how you're able to overcome them together.
And that it's really hard sometimes.
But I love the idea that everybody understands we're very powerful together.
What we've done is very special, what we're continuing to achieve,
and that there's a real appetite to share that with the rest of the world.
You mentioned also that you were almost expecting people to send you email.
What would be in the realms of, like, what could Wikimedia Foundation help people
that are requesting help, what are sort of your capacity or your willingness
or plans for supporting the movement?
That's a great question.
The global advocacy team, in my opinion, and some people may not agree with me here,
can play a convening role.
We are part of a very large, very diverse, geographically and otherwise movement.
And so it's very hard to access information, let's say if I'm sitting in Sweden,
what folks in Spain are working on or what challenges they're facing
or what kind of policy environment they're operating within.
And so being able to connect those dots and make sure that folks can share resources
with each other is very important to me.
And what that ends up looking like is always context-dependent,
but we can host conversation hours, we can connect individuals,
we can start building up an archive of campaign materials that have been successful.
Even if they've been unsuccessful, it's much easier for me to start out,
let's say, emailing somebody in the legislature in my country if I have a template
from Wikimedia Sweden that they say worked really well after six tries.
Then I don't need to do six tries because you've already done it for me.
And, of course, not everybody is a lawyer or has access to legal expertise,
even if my team does not have time.
We have a lot of country-specific networks, so we can at least put you in touch
with somebody, whether they're a policy specialist or a lawyer,
who can get eyes on whatever it is they want you to work together on.
That's great. You already answered my follow-up question there in that answer.
So, finally, do you have any advice for a Wikimedian that becomes passionate
about something that might need advocacy?
Like, what are the next steps, like, if you're becoming aware,
oh, I care about this?
I'd say stay passionate and believe in yourself.
Maybe this is not relevant, but I think it is.
When I was an undergrad, so maybe I was 19 or 20,
I was really engaged in student activism.
But, you know, I'm just some 20-year-old running around.
I don't know anything about the world, and I think the most powerful message
that people shared with me is that your experiences matter.
You have opinions, you have a voice, you have ideas,
and you're part of this world.
And you know what it is that you need and what you're asking for
and why that's something that's worth pushing for.
And so the first thing is to just stay engaged,
because if you recognize there's a need for something,
you're probably right.
And then come to our Meta page, figure out who you need to talk to,
and get in touch.
So, quickly, what's the Meta page?
Global Advocacy.
Great. Thank you, Ziski, for joining us.
Thank you.
This was Jan Ainali interviewing Ziski Putz for WikipediaPodden
in the second of three episodes from the Big Fat Brussels meeting.
You'll find all episodes under the tag Big Fat Brussels meeting
You can also find more episodes in English there under the tag English.
Both are linked in the show notes.