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Author: marianaballa

EU Code Week December 2017

For the very first time this year I had the chance to be part of Code Week Europe. EU Code Week is an initiative that started back in 2013 and its mission is to bring people from different social and age groups together and share knowledge and experience through Computer Science in general.

During December 2017, Anisa, Redon, Andis and myself traveled to Burrel in order to hold a workshop for the kids of three different primary schools there. All four of us come from a FLOSS community based in Tirana, Open Labs Hackerspace. Burrel is a remote and rural area which means that that the impact that our presence had there was huge. We stayed in the city for about tree days.

The total number of students attending our workshop was about to 65,almost 20 kids per day. During all three days we used to start with a general presentation of the Wikimedia projects. We explained to the kids the difference between each project and how to contribute to each of them. After the presentations, we started created accounts.

Before we arrive there we had already prepared a list of articles that needed improvement or articles to create during those days on Wikipedia. All articles were related to the city of Burrel and the natural monuments of the region around Burrel. Along with the articles, the kids learned how to add references and links and realized how important is to have trusted sources for our articles. Also, we took some pictures of the city that were uploaded afterwards on Commons.

The second part of the workshop included a mapathon on the OpenStreetMap platform. Again, the kids were introduced the the OSM project and its community. They created their own accounts and started their first contributions on OSM.

Code Week was a different experience than others that I had been part before. It made me realize that sharing your knowledge and experience with others that don’t have the same access to knowledge as you do, can change some peoples’ lives…. Looking forward to more edit-a-thons like this one.

All pictures on this post are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Wiki Weekend Tirana 2017

During the second weekend of December I had the chance to be part of Wiki Weekend Tirana 2017. It was the second time I was able to join the event. Last year I was just an attendee, while this year I had a talk about all the Wikimedia projects.

Wiki Weekend Tirana is an event which is being organized for four years in a row and brings together old Wikimedians and new contributors. This year, the event was organized by some of the members of the newest Wikimedia User Group in Albania. Venue of Wiki Weekend was Open Labs Hackerspace. Open Labs is a local FLOSS community in the country. Open Labs hosts many Open Source projects, including Wikimedia.

The focus of my talk was not only one particular Wikimedia sub-project, but an overview of all of them. I shared with the participants info about these sub-projects and revealed how to contribute and be part of the communities. To my surprise most of the participants knew only the Wikipedia project.

During the 2-days event more than 200 new articles were created on the SQ Wikipedia. Also, all the pictures that were taken during the event were uploaded later on Commons. Looking forward to more events that newest User Group in Albania will organize. 😄

All pictures on this post are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

My first flock-post

As one of the newest members of the Fedora Community, Flock to Fedora 2017 was a great opportunity for me to get to know better with the Project and other community members from different regions. This year Flock was held in Cape Cod in Massachusetts,USA.  I had the chance to attend the conference as an Ambassador, since I got accepted only one week before the event. To me those four days were a great chance to hang with fellow attendees  with diverse backgrounds, who share the same passion on the Fedora Project and exchange with them ideas on how to work and collaborate with each other. The entire community gave me a warm welcome!


Diversity session

Initially, I got involved at the project at the Diversity Team. I could not miss the workshop held by Justin Flory, Amita Sharma and Jona Azizaj. This session was really clear for all these people who would like to help underrepresented groups get involved in a tech community, such as the Fedora Project. Also, we had the chance to build a 6 months strategy for the events that the Diversity Team is planing to organize. 


At first, the session owners presented a few events that were organized and/or are planned to organize in the next months, such as the LGBT event in May, Fedora Women Day in September and a Disabilities’ event in December. During the session was emphasized the importance of having different kind of audiences during these events and combining forces with other larger groups that share the same principals. It’s important for people to understand that Diversity’s aim is to organize an event “with you” and not only “for you”. First of all, we need to localize all these different underrepresented groups, since there are some many factors that would make that difficult. Some of those factors, for instance, could be physical access to event venues, age or fear of coming out publicly. Also, having a list with local events/conferences among regions would help those who want to organize an event find a proper place to approach these groups of people.This could also help deal with budget issues since it could be divided in a better way.


The speakers announced to their audience how to be part of the Fedora Diversity Team. First of all,they suggested to all those people who would like to be part of the Team to introduce themselves on the mailing list. Joining the meetings on IRC and Telegram is the next step. All the  decisions that have to do with events and budget issues are made on these meetings. Along with the respective tickets on Pagure. 


All agreed that having guidelines is a mile stone, but being flexible on the other hand, could make those events more efficient. Having in mind that every event is unique due to its audience, geographical region or agenda, we need estimations before organizing them. Estimations for instance on the number of people we expect to be present and the impact on them. Setting questions in advance is a good way on trying to predict, as much as possible, some metrics. Also, we need to come up with a guideline for evaluating the success/impact and share them with other parts of the Project.


During the session, we set some goals for the future. One of them was having a Code of Conduct that will help deal with inappropriate/bad behaviors. Geographic diversity aspects was an other issue we need to deal with  in the near future. We need to have the ambassadors as connecting points, since the different levels of speaking english, for example, makes it difficult to follow up global events. Also, we need to extend users’ diversity, not only contributors’. The Contributors’ Survey was something discussed. We agreed that we have to identify the purpose of it and come up with an analysis plan. We need to understand better how are we going to work with the data that we’ll collect and how to make that publicly accessible.


At the end of the session, Marina Zhurakhinskaya, one of the co-organizers of Outreachy introduced this internship to the audience. One more time, Fedora is part of Outreachy.  Earlier this week a blogpost was published on this at the Community Blog. To me Outreachy, is a great opportunity for everyone who comes from a underrepresented social group to be part of this scholarship and work or mentor someone else who needs their help.


Fedora Ambassadors: The future

As I mentioned in the begging, I attended Flock this year as a freshman ambassador. One of the sessions that I didn’t want to miss was the workshop by Nick Debout and Jona Azizaj about the future of the Fedora Ambassadors. I really wanted to understand better how the process works in order to organize events more effectively in the future. I have to admit that both Nick and Jona gave a great talk, describing step by step everything an ambassador should do. 


Nick and Jona started their session by presenting to the audience the steps they have to follow in order to organize an event and ask for budget. They made it clear that you don’t have to be necessarily an ambassador to organize an event and ask for budget, but in some cases it is difficult to claim budget if you’re not. The first step on that, is creating a wiki page that should contain information on the date of the event, the venue, the agenda and the impact you expect to have on the attendees. Opening a new ticket on Pagure is the next step. At the ticket should be included the link of the wiki page, a description and of course the amount of money that is being requested. At the Pagure ticket it should also be included the swag request, if any.


Request tickets get discussed during the regional ambassadors meetings and decided whether they should get accepted or not. An other important element, is the event report after the event. It is really important to understand at the end of an event if the set goals in the begging were accomplished. These kind of events usually contain information on the number of attendees, the activities that took place and attendees’ thoughts on the event. These reports help on creating better and more efficient events on the future. They can also help not repeating the past’s mistakes. These reports usually get posted on wiki pages or personal blogs. Nick’s idea was that if someone doesn’t own a personal blog, they can post post their report on the mailing list so everybody can read it! 


Another topic that was discussed among the session owners and the audience was the process people should follow on becoming a Fedora Ambassador. As someone that had been recently through this, it was a surprise for me to find out that there is not a certain “protocol” that should be followed. Mostly, it depends on the mentor chosen by the candidate and his perspective on “evaluating” if he/she is ready to be an Ambassador. 


Matthew Miller’s blogpost, that was published at the community blog, was another issue that triggered the interest of people that were present in that room. The blogpost was about the new Objectives the Council is proposing for the entire project in a time-frame of 12 to 18 months. It’s not a secret that the Fedora Ambassadors across regions have diverse backgrounds. The need of identifying the proper places to present Fedora by the ambassadors brought up the idea of “dividing” into groups in order to send the proper person to the proper event/conference. That would make it more effective to present the Fedora OS and the Fedora Community to various audiences. Thus, that was just an idea since it is really difficult to divide and evaluate people by their skills and experience.


As a conclusion I have to say that this Flock, my very first Flock, was a great experience for me. I am happy that I met contributors from different parts of the Project and discussed about our views on the Fedora Project. Coming back home now, I feel more motivated from the stories I heard and the talks and workshops I was able to attend.  Looking forward to many more Flocks!  

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