Mar 21 2011 Mon
4:09 pm PHT
A month ago on February 19, Wikimedia Philippines held its first Wikipedia Kapihan at Starbucks 32nd and 7th Bonifacio Global City. The Kapihan (Tagalog for “coffee talk”, approximately) is an unstructured meetup to introduce Wikimedia Philippines and the Wikimedia projects (not just Wikipedia) to similar and like-minded organizations. There have been plenty of Wikipedia-related meetups that have happened since 2007, but most of those have been among people who have contributed to Wikipedia. This was the first time that we had a meetup specifically targeted to people outside the editing community.
For the first Kapihan, we were fortunate to be graced by the presence of people from the Philippine IT Organization, which aims to be a pan-Philippine Information Technology organization. Microphone, a new media outlet that aims to cover IT-related events and groups in the Philippines, also attended and provided coverage (and took the photo above).
Over glasses of coffee and sans-caffeine drinks, we answered questions regarding Wikipedia. As expected, there were questions that revolved around Wikipedia’s reliability. My favorite answer to those questions? “How many times have you seen news outlets get things wrong?” Aside from the fact that other media are not always reliable, one big advantage of Wikipedia is that it aims to provide citations in its articles so that readers can check the sources themselves. Furthermore, Wikipedia is open and the editing process is transparent—readers can go to an article’s talk page and the article’s history to see for themselves how the article has evolved over time. It may be messy but you get the real deal.
Another important question was regarding incentives to contributing. Why would people spend time to edit Wikipedia articles? What’s in it for them? My personal answer to that is that it gives me a satisfying feeling that I am sharing what I know to a worldwide audience. The general answer is that you might as well ask why people volunteer for Habitat for Humanity or Gawad Kalinga. It’s all a part of most people’s innate nature to help make a better world.
An aside, I was also interviewed by Microphone and you can see it on their site. This was the second time I participated in a video interview (the first time happened over 3 years ago). I really don’t like how I sound and look on camera.
Hopefully, last month’s Kapihan will just be the first in a series of meetup events to expand the reach of the Wikimedia projects in the Philippines. Hope you get to join the next one! (And if you’re a true-blue Wikipedian, why don’t you join Wikimedia Philippines and attend our next quarterly meeting this April 2?)