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Proposal: Hybrid event production for QueeringWikipedia 2023
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Description

Proposal for https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T319310

Profile

Name: André Rodrigues
Email: andrerodriguex@gmail.com
GitHub: https://github.com/andrerodriguex
Location: Brazil
Typical working hours: 9am to 5pm UTC-3

Synopsis

QueeringWikipedia is an annual event organized by the Wikimedia LGBT+ User Group. In 2023, we plan to have a hybrid event with both local and remote meetings. For that, we need to plan the technical platforms that will be used, provide support to event participants and document information about the conference.

Mentors

@Zblace, @OwenBlacker and @frederic_ed

Timeline

PeriodTask
Nov 22 to Dec 6Community bonding period
Dec 26Internship start date
Dec 26 to Jan 2Phase I evaluation
Jan 24 to Jan 31Phase II evaluation
Feb 14 to Feb 21Phase III evaluation
Mar 20 to Mar 27Phase IV evaluation
March 31Internship end date

Deliverables

  • Work on QueeringWikipedia documentation
  • Support the planning and development of the 2023 edition
  • Provide information on hybrid and FLOSS-based events

About me

I'm a psychology graduate student, focused on behavioral and cognitive matters as well as organizational psychology. I'm also a technology enthusiast, with experience developing front-end applications using JavaScript and React. My main target with this program is to contribute to open source and to be involved in a LGBTQIA-related project that provides benefits for the community.

Event Timeline

On December 27th, I had the first meeting with mentors. Here are some topics we talked about:

• Introductions
• Communication channels for the WM LGBT+ User Group
• Do research on FLOSS meeting software programs, document how to integrate and make conferences using FLOSS
• I may contribute with audio and video editing when needed
• Check out ways I can contribute with WM LGBT+ social media profiles
• I should contribute on Wikimedia regularly
• It is important that we work on multilingual content for the group

Great! I made some markup updates with interlinking on Blogpost 1 EN you can integrate in PT and ES versions + adopt for future, and Blogpost 2 should maybe link also to Wikipedia for both FLOSS and Open Source *(as the Meta page seems to be just a 2015-2016 draft that was just once touched in 2022).

Great! I made some markup updates with interlinking on Blogpost 1 EN you can integrate in PT and ES versions + adopt for future,

Looks right! I will update the PT and ES versions right after the translation workshop.

and Blogpost 2 should maybe link also to Wikipedia for both FLOSS and Open Source *(as the Meta page seems to be just a 2015-2016 draft that was just once touched in 2022).

Just updated this and also added a WM link to Outreachy.

I added more info on the End user minimum tech requirements page: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/WikiProject_remote_event_participation/End_user_minimum_tech_requirements

I still have to do more research on the hardware requirements and the pros and cons.

Great! I added few more details and will share it to others for more input.

Check these links next week as Wikimania is the biggest Wikimedia event in 2023!

https://wikimania.wikimedia.org
https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/2023:Tech_Subcommittee
https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/2023:Tech_Subcommittee/Request_for_Proposal

Great! I added few more details and will share it to others for more input.

Check these links next week as Wikimania is the biggest Wikimedia event in 2023!

https://wikimania.wikimedia.org
https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/2023:Tech_Subcommittee
https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/2023:Tech_Subcommittee/Request_for_Proposal

I'll check it out!

Yesterday we had a translation workshop where I learned the basics of translation on Wikimedia. Today I had a brief meeting with mentor @OwenBlacker to comprehend more about it and I posted my first translations for Portuguese and Spanish on blogpost #1 (#2 is coming soon). I also started drafting the next blogpost, "Think About Your Audience".

I updated the matrix table, also adding a few tools that weren't listed before: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/FLOSS-Exchange/Matrix

Yesterday I updated blogpost #2 with PT translation.

I started a page on Wikispore to document information on podcast making, as the WM LGBT+ User Group wants to create one to engage the audience. I did a lot of research but still need to do more, specially in terms of testing softwares: https://wikispore.wmflabs.org/wiki/WM_LGBT%2B_UG_Podcast

I also updated the FLOSS Google Sheet with WM LGBT+ data: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1xBhm1AssiTE3C9erxPC1X1c6D_obs5OANxS9c00HJuI/view

Nice! I renamed it and moved just to be conforming to WikiSPORE model of all Content being in some namespace *(TechR: is good for Tech Reviews and Research for example)

Check out this link and if you need clarifications let me know https://wikispore.wmflabs.org/wiki/Help:FAQ

I uploaded a SVG version of QW 2023 logo on Commons (I made the "2023 Conference" font a little bit thinner, I think the first version was too bold): https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Queering_Wikipedia_2023_logo.svg

I published a draft of blog post #3 (not officially out yet, still needs mentors' reviews before I share with everyone): https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Andrerodriguex/log/Think_About_Your_Audience

Hey, just looking at the new logo — which looks amazing; good job! — you mention the font Linux Libertine for the text "2023 Conference", but I think that is not the case. Do you mean, perhaps, that that text is in Linux Biolinum? Or maybe that the "QW" is on Linux Libertine?

Hey, just looking at the new logo — which looks amazing; good job! — you mention the font Linux Libertine for the text "2023 Conference", but I think that is not the case. Do you mean, perhaps, that that text is in Linux Biolinum? Or maybe that the "QW" is on Linux Libertine?

You're right, I used Linux Biolinum, I changed it now. The Wikipedia page of this font redirects to Linux Libertine so I mixed things up. Thank you!

You're right, I used Linux Biolinum, I changed it now. The Wikipedia page of this font redirects to Linux Libertine so I mixed things up. Thank you!

Thanks. Sorry, I'm a font nerd 😉

Updates on the last two weeks:

• Participated in WikiLovesPRIDE and Let's Connect meetings
• Participated in Queering Wikipedia workshops about Wikidata
• Updated/created Jitsi Meet items on Wikidata (web / app)
• Started preparing improvements for the WikiProject remote event participation page (Overview of Group social interaction proposed alteration)

A big part of my recent work has been revolving research (mainly previous and future hybrid conferences like Plumbers 2022 and WIKIMANIA 2023) and getting involved in Wikimedia groups and projects.

Final internship report

At the start of my internship, I had a limited understanding of open source, knowing only its main concept of free available software code. However, I soon came to understand the philosophical, social, and political aspects of developing public and accessible knowledge for everyone, especially in the context of contemporary late capitalism. Working with Wikimedia taught me the importance and impact of open source and was one of the most significant personal gains from the experience.

During my internship, I contributed to several projects, including Meta-Wiki, Wikidata, Commons, and Wikipedia. At each edit, I learned more and was welcomed into a worldwide community that I was not previously aware of.

As an intern for the Wikimedia LGBT+ User Group, I worked on planning and executing the technical production for the Queering Wikipedia Conference 2023. My goals included testing technical setups of server platforms, documenting both optimal and minimum-base setups, and supporting event participants from different levels of tech know-how, backgrounds/languages/parts of the world/infrastructural limitations and types of hardware/software setup. Additionally, I developed Queering Wikipedia documentation, worked on the conference's pages and provided information on hybrid and FLOSS-based events.

Aside from the main topics listed below, I also engaged in miscellaneous work that helped me to grow various skills, including design work, documenting my journey with blog posts (that covered themes like struggles, taking part in a community and LGBTQ+ representation on Wikimedia, all in English and Portuguese, and ocasionally in Spanish), conducting outreach through email, forums, and social media, and participating in workshops. However, my work primarily revolved around:

  1. FLOSS and Open Source

As an Outreachy intern for Wikimedia, organizations that work with and promote open source initiatives, my main objective during this period was to investigate FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) platforms both for Queering Wikipedia and the community as a whole. I learned about the wide variety of free and open code software, as well as its limitations, and related this to the making of the conference and remote events in general.

I made changes to the WikiProject remote event participation page, making it less COVID-related (considering remote events, especially after the pandemic, are not restricted to this scenario), and made the content more concise. The page had some repeated or non-specific parts that made it harder for the reader to find the more useful and informational pieces.

I started a research project from scratch called Podcasting with FLOSS, which was published on Wikispore, an experimental wiki designed to host experimental content. For that, I reached out to the WIKIMOVE team, responsible for the well-established podcast by Wikimedia Deutschland, analyzed Wiki Update's podcast page, and researched the open-source options for all the steps in podcast making. After running a few tests, I came up with a page compiling the information found. As much as proprietary software is still the most easy-to-use and popular option, I was glad to find that it is possible to record, edit and distribute audio episodes using only FLOSS.

I was also responsible for documenting and updating the Wikimedia LGBT+ open-source usage, which is available on the FLOSS Exchange page. It is useful for consultation, but also to think about new open-source initiatives that could be integrated into the user group activities.

For video conferencing, an important topic for Queering Wikipedia, I investigated some FLOSS video chat alternatives. The main ones are Jitsi and BigBlueButton. First of all, I documented end-user minimum tech requirements, a significant part if we are considering an international event, as not everyone has good hardware and/or stable internet connection. I also updated their Wikidata items. Accessibility issues (having a blind-friendly user interface, for example) were also examined but could be more explored in the future. Jitsi Meet has an easy interface and a relatively stable audio and video connection, but it is more useful for small groups, as it could start to break at 35 participants (but there is great progress being made in that matter). At the conference, it could be used for shorter simultaneous meetings as you can create many rooms easily. BigBlueButton is a more education-focused software, offering whiteboard, polling, shared notes and other tools that could be useful for a conference presentation. Unlike Jitsi, you have to sign up to run a demo, and it does not have a hosted option. Other software video chat options like MiroTalk, Tlk.li, and Nextcloud Talk were tested, but they did not meet some of the requirements to be potentially used in a conference for various reasons, but should be tracked for future usage.

  1. LGBTQ+ Communities in Wikimedia

Wikimedia LGBT+ is the largest user group in Wikimedia dedicated to LGBTQ+ Wikimedians. It provides a platform for users to come together, share experiences, and work on projects related to the community and the Foundation. Although we have members from around the world, the majority of users are concentrated in Western Europe and the United States. Unfortunately, many of the 35 Wikipedia LGBT portals are inactive.

Another well-represented group is the Latin American community, especially the Spanish-speaking portion, which has developed a sub-community focused on issues and content creation in Spanish and Latin American regions. As a Portuguese-speaking and Brazilian, this example made me reflect on the lack of a lusophone LGBTQ+ group in Wikimedia. Like other Wikipedias, Brazil also has an inactive LGBT portal. Therefore, I have started searching for Portuguese-speaking LGBTQ+ users and allies to form a local support group for LGBTQ+ Wikimedians. While the project is still being developed, I hope it will inspire others to also create similar support groups.

At the conference, language inclusion and participant privacy were given high priority. Although English remains the main form of communication, live interpretation services (primarily for Spanish) and content translation will be provided to welcome participants from other parts of the world.

  1. Hybrid event production

Organizing a hybrid event is a challenging task. It involves not only taking care of technical aspects for in-person attendees, but also ensuring that remote participants have a good experience. To begin with, I researched ways to integrate in-person and virtual participants, and came up with some activities and icebreakers that could be used during the conference. These can also be utilized by local nodes for their meetings. I also contributed to planning and executing the QW Office Hours sessions, especially during March where I was the one organizing it.

From a technical perspective, I investigated more experienced hybrid events such as Wikimania and Plumbers conferences. For Wikimania, I analyzed content that the tech subcommittee kindly shared with me, and watched Plumbers’ FOSDEM 2023 presentation. As my previous research indicated, Jitsi and BigBlueButton were used for these events, respectively. Both events agreed that it is necessary to teach participants how to use the software, as they may not be familiar with it. Additionally, special attention should be given to video and audio settings for in-person participants to prevent integration issues. Mobile usage is also important, as many attendees may use their smartphones to watch the event.

In addition to video conferencing, most events today are also live streamed. While YouTube Livestream may be the most obvious choice, I researched other open source options and discovered Open Broadcaster Software (OBS Studio). OBS Studio is a powerful tool used by streamers that is highly customizable and can be transmitted to various platforms. One of these platforms is Telegram, which also has free and open source code and is already used as a communication channel for Wikimedia LGBT+. I ran some tests on its streaming option and listed a few pros (stable streaming, live chat interaction) and cons (no voice option for participants in the call, some delay, and the possibility of getting kicked out if you try to unmute). I also analyzed some paid options, such as Micepad, Pheedloop, and Hopin, but due to limited testing time, price, and learning curve, they were left out for this time.

In conclusion, considering the needs of a large event and accessibility issues, we will primarily use Zoom for the conference. However, we plan to use Jitsi and/or BigBlueButton for shorter sessions on at least one day, where the conference will not be negatively impacted if something goes wrong. While it is a hard reality that the conference will not be entirely FLOSS-based, this does not mean that an open source event is not possible. For those who want to create a full FLOSS event, I recommend using Pretix for registration, Pretalx for program and scheduling, self-hosted Jitsi/BigBlueButton for video conferencing, OBS Studio for streaming (matched with Telegram), Telegram for participants' interaction, Etherpad for notes, and PeerTube to share recorded video content. It is important to run numerous tests before to ensure everything goes smoothly, but it is not impossible, and all of these software options are powerful.

In conclusion, I am glad to say that I have learned a lot during these three months. Initially, I was not sure if I would be able to meet the expectations of those who gave me this opportunity, as well as my own expectations. However, I am now happy to be able to share the knowledge I have acquired with others and I hope it can be useful for those who might need it. I would like to thank my mentors, the Wikimedia LGBT+ community, and everyone who kindly helped me during this process.

Open source video conference software options overview

MiroTalk is an open source real-time video call software. Although it does not require a download or login, offers screen sharing, white board, raise hand feature, file sharing and screen recording, it has some limitations. The interface is old fashioned and slow, it only offers Google Translate for language translation and has very limited user capacity (5-8 people with audio and video streams on).

Tlk.li is another open source option, but with very limited functionality. It only has video and audio streaming, a chat with no management options, and screen sharing. All other functionalities from other main video conference softwares are missing, like administrator features, screen recording, raise hand, password security for the room, and others. It is really easy to use in a simple call that does not require many advanced options, but should not be used in a conference.

Nextcloud Talk is the most promising option among the three. It has all major features from popular video call software (like administrator management options, stable video and audio streaming, screen sharing, and others) and can host hundreds of participants with scalability in the high performance back-end setup. It also goes an extra mile in terms of user security and privacy, with metadata protection integrated with the encrypted calls. Downsides includes no built-in recording option, an interface that could be improved (especially for mobile web users) and no closed captioning. This last problem could be fixed with their BigBlueButton integration.