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Gibraltarpedia: WMUK press release


1. What’s Gibraltarpedia?

Gibraltarpedia is a project by the Government of Gibraltar to improve coverage of Gibraltar-related topics on Wikipedia. It is co-ordinated by two Wikipedians, Roger Bamkin and John Cummings, who are working with Gibraltar residents to train them in how to use Wikipedia and add appropriate photos, etc to Wikimedia Commons; as well as adding QRpedia codes which link places and buildings in Gibraltar with their Wikipedia articles. Roger and John are being paid as consultants by the Government of Gibraltar to help deliver this project. This project was announced at Wikimania in July 2012, and is currently underway. Gibraltarpedia was inspired by the successful Monmouthpedia project (see below).

2. What’s Wikimedia UK’s link to Gibraltarpedia?

Wikimedia UK has not funded this project – our only material involvement has been to supply some “how to edit Wikipedia” leaflets, which is the kind of thing we would do for any institution, and to refer any enquiries received by the office about the project to Roger. However, we do think that mobilizing volunteers to write Wikipedia articles is a good idea – and indeed we do exactly the same thing with the help of galleries, libraries and museums. To this end, we have long intended to give more formal support to this project; before we can do so we would need a clear memorandum of understanding with the Government of Gibraltar setting out shared aims and objectives, and we are working on such a document.

3. What’s Monmouthpedia, and what’s it got to do with Wikimedia UK?

Monmouthpedia is a project by Wikimedia UK and Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) to improve coverage of Monmouth-related topics on Wikipedia. Monmouthpedia took place mainly in the first 6 months of 2012 and, similarly, involved Wikipedians working with local volunteers to help write articles, upload photos, and tag places in Monmouth with QRpedia codes. Wikimedia UK was very much involved with this – we co-funded a Wikipedian in Residence in Monmouth, and a number of QRpedia plaques, as well as various other expenses relating to the project. Again, Roger Bamkin had a consultancy relationship with MCC, though in this case not directly concerned with the delivery of this project.

4. Who owns QRpedia and does anyone benefit from its use in these projects?

Roger Bamkin and Terence Eden have developed QRpedia, which is a system which allows you to generate QR codes which link to Wikipedia articles.  They own the domains qrpedia.org and qrwp.org which are used by this service. They have developed this service as volunteers, there is no advertising, and there is no charge to anyone for its usage. The software is released under an open licence and anyone can re-use it. Wikimedia UK is in the process of finalising an agreement which will transfer qrwp.org to Wikimedia UK’s ownership, with the intention that Wikimedia UK will support existing and future QRpedia codes. No money will change hands as a result of this agreement.

5. What about Roger’s conflict of interest between his role in these project and as a Wikimedia UK trustee?

Roger has always been open with Wikimedia UK about his commercial interests and has declared them in public at appropriate times. He has not voted in any Wikimedia UK decisions about Monmouthpedia since the start of his consultancy relationship with MCC or on any decisions about Gibraltarpedia or QRpedia. All our decisions about this have been taken by the other trustees, with the aims of the charity in mind.  Roger has not received any Wikimedia UK funds for any of these projects, except for out-of-pocket expenses incurred in his role as a volunteer in the early development stages of Monmouthpedia before becoming a consultant, paid in line with our normal expenses policy.

6. If he hasn’t done anything wrong, then why has Roger resigned?

After discussions with the Board, everyone agreed that the best way to avoid any confusion between Roger’s role running projects like Gibraltarpedia and Wikimedia UK projects, was for Roger to step down.

– Chris Keating, Chair of Wikimedia UK on behalf of the Board of trustees.

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