A look back at the 2018 hackathon in Barcelona

Wikimedia Hackathon Barcelona 2018 – group photo – image by Ckoerner CC BY-SA 4.0

Wikimedia UK staff couldn’t be in Barcelona at the end of May for the annual Wikimedia hackathon – we had our own events to organise with Amnesty International in London and Glasgow – but some of our friends did attend the event, and we are happy to have their help to tell you what happened, and what exciting projects developers are working on.

You can see a summary of some of the projects worked on over the weekend on this Etherpad, you can see opening presentations here. At this hackathon, 20% of the participants were women. This is still far from ideal, but the figure is improving. Alex Hinojo of Amical Wikimedia (the Catalan Wikimedia affiliate) who helped organise the hackathon said that they tried hard to improve gender diversity through the travel grants system.

The conference was held at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, a long-term trusted partner of Amical Wikimedia and was done without funding from any major corporations, entirely with the support of local volunteers.

Watch all the presentations from the WMHack showcase here. Lots of projects are ongoing from previous years. Projects such as collaborative editing, updates to translation tools, data visualisation, the Wiki Commons app and more are exciting, but due to a lack of developers working on them, are progressing quite slowly.


See all #wmhack Tweets here.


Participants at the Wikimedia Hackathon 2018, walking to the venue at UAB – image by Tbayer (WMF) CC BY-SA 4.0

WikiChron – a tool to visualise data

WikiChron is ‘a data visualization tool that displays timeseries of metrics about a selected subset of wikis from wikia. You can use these graphs in order to explore the growth of a wiki community and compare it with other wikis along the time.’

The current set of Wikis you can compare here is small, but the developers hope to allow users to visualise the growth of larger Wikis soon.

You can watch the video presentation of this new tool here.

This tool seems pretty self explanatory – hopefully it will make gathering metrics on any Wiki project much simpler.

Creating a new language Wikipedia

The Fon language of Benin has about 4 million speakers. A Wikipedia developer and Fon speaker presented at the hackathon showcase about creating the language Wikipedia, translating buttons and functionalities, and dealing with the special characters involved in the language. The Fon community now hopes to develop a group of Fon Wikipedians to start creating content in the language.



Kartographer – Embedded maps

Embedded maps on Wikipedia are a long overdue additional functionality which could seriously improve many Wikipedia pages by employing some code to embed live OpenStreetMaps. The Collaboration team at the Foundation are in charge of the project and while this was not worked on particularly at #wmhack, it seems that a lot of improvements have been done on Kartographer recently and it may be something we can look forward to seeing on Wikipedia in the coming year.

You can read the documentation from about progress on Kartographer in 2018 here.

Some embedded maps have started to be rolled out on Wikipedia, which was brought to my attention while writing this. You can see a list of pages with maps here.

As an example, here’s the page for Bacton in Suffolk.

Wiki Commons App

A small group of developers have been working on the Wiki Commons Android app for a few years now after it was dropped by the WMF in order to concentrate on the Wikipedia app. Development is progressing slowly with a number of additions:

  • Added gamification to the app with peer-reviewing of Commons images.
  • Showing random images and allowing users to send thanks,
  • Nominating for deletion.

Wikimedia developer Neslihan Turan described the changes to us:

“When it comes to peer review we successfully implemented a gamification feature. Since last year we included notification check via app, added a featured image browsing option, improved the nearby feature and its usability, and added 2 factor authentication. In the hackathon we focused on peer review, and after 3 months users will be able to browse in app, by username, filename or notification. Then we will merge our peer review so that users can browse and then review. Our aim is improving interaction between users and giving them another option (other than upload) to improve Commons image quality.”

Structured Data on Commons session

Sandra Fauconnier from the Wikimedia Foundation has been working on the Structured Data on Commons project and ran a session on the team’s work at #wmhack. She wrote for This Month In GLAM about her work, which you can see here.

Sandra told us: ‘we held a Q&A session about upcoming technical changes in Structured Data on Wikimedia Commons (Etherpad) and a session on the GLAM perspective (Etherpad). We also informally chatted with several active Commons volunteers and tool developers. We spent quite a bit of time brainstorming together how search on Commons should work with structured data, and how the data model for some basic types of files might look.

Goodbye from #wmhack this year. See you next year!