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Submissions/The future of Wikimedia movement

After careful consideration, the Programme Committee has decided not to accept the below submission at this time. Thank you to the author(s) for participating in the Wikimania 2015 programme submission, we hope to still see you at Wikimania this July.

Submission no.
Title of the submission
The future of Wikimedia movement
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)
Author of the submission
Milos Rancic
E-mail address
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Language committee and some others.
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)
Wikimedia movement is unique phenomenon in human history. That's the reason why we have and will have unique challenges. The quality of our responses to those challenges will shape not just our movement, but the humanity itself. By participating into the movement, every Wikimedian has chosen that responsibility and there is no way back. And there is no time anymore to speak about those challenges, it's time to work on them.
Although both Wikimedians and younger generations are taking Wikipedia for granted, the changes which it's already made are colossal. Being able to access instantly to such imposant sum of knowledge was the part of bold futuristic speculations just two decades ago. The impact of Wikipedia to the world is so huge that we are witnessing the fundamental shift from the information scarcity to the information plenty. People are not speculating anymore about millions of topics, they are informing themselves on Wikipedia.
The consequences of Wikipedia could be seen all over the world. It's Wikipedia which inspired younger generations to take for granted ability to participate in matters important to them: If you are doubtful, just remember that Wikipedia is the first globally relevant information outlet which allowed anybody to edit its content.
But the most important impacts of Wikipedia are yet to come. The last that radical encyclopedia -- Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers -- inspired French Revolution just 15 years after its creation. Having that in mind, it won't be surprising at all that future historians will connect deep global social changes of the near future to Wikipedia.
Although our editor base is in decline, during the past approximately ten years we gained something which Diderot didn't have at his time. Instead of enlightening the population and leaving them just with the loose guidelines, we stepped forward and created completely new paradigm. We got the global movement and as the time goes we are increasingly more capable to take the lead in the future social changes. Wikimania, numerous regional and local events and our increasing diversification but harmonization are those small steps which are changing all of our societies.
As a movement, we are very young. There is no need for a lot of research to realize that we are far from being a stable and influential global stakeholder. And our task is far from being a simple one. Most importantly, because no such thing existed before us. That's why we have to be open for different paradigms, creative in solving problems and bold enough to accept the burden of a lot of implicit and explicit historical responsibilities. If we don't tackle them, nobody will do that instead of us.
The challenges which would be described inside of this speech are numerous and of different qualities. Yes, we have to deal with our inner cultures. We have to deal with many organizational issues not yet even clearly expressed. We have to find a way to attract more editors. We are one of the leaders of the free digital society and we have to be its vocal and dedicated proponent. Such questions are inherent to our movement and they are more or less explicit and if not obvious now, they will become obvious very soon.
However, there are many implicit responsibilities, which we've gotten because of our place on the global scene. A language without Wikipedia will become dead in fifty years. Out of natural sciences and closely related fields, it's hard to talk about any kind of objecitivity if our editors are 90% men and 0% minorities; people without internet access are not readers nor contributors of Wikipedia; hungry people have more important problems to think about than about free knowledge even if they have internet access; etc.
The approach how to deal with all of those issues doesn't require any change of our primary focuses. Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia chapters and other Wikimedia organizations and groups have clear missions. It's us, our movement who need to set what are the important causes. And it's not just because of the historical responsibility which we have. Wikimedia movement doesn't have good chances to survive without properly dealing with our implicit responsibilities. Free knowledge movement is not possible inside of unfree and unjust world.
The way how we deal with the challenges will affect not just our movement, but the whole world. We could disappear into irrelevance. In that case, humankind will lose great opportunity to be pushed forward. We could also become much more relevant and do the bad job. But we could also learn about ourselves, solve the challenges and make extraordinary positive impact to the world, including ourselves.
WikiCulture & Community
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
Special requests

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