Outreachy Blog #3: Think About Your Audience

This is the third post in my Outreachy Internship series, where I will write about my adventure through the 3-month open-source remote internship.

Every now and then, I am asked what I do at Outreachy, and my response is usually that I work at Wikipedia because only a few know that the Wikimedia Foundation is the parent body housing Wikipedia and other projects. In this article, I will talk about what I do at Wikimedia working on the Capacity Exchange project.

The Wikimedia Foundation is an organization behind a platform that allows everyone to share knowledge freely: Wikimedia. This ecosystem is comprised of a number of initiatives, including the popularly known Wikipedia (an encyclopedia). Other projects focused on open knowledge include Wikibooks (for free textbooks), Wikicommons (for free photos), Wikitionary (free dictionary), Wikidata (free knowledge base) and others.

Apart from the common Wikimedia projects prefixed with a wiki*, there are other initiatives ongoing within the community of volunteers, known as Wikimedians to build and support the growth of the Wikimedia movement.

The Wikimedia community welcomes people from diverse backgrounds and locations all over the world, united by their love for free knowledge and open source. Some of the ways to contribute to Wikimedia include:

  • Writing code

  • Testing the quality of software

  • Improving documentation

  • Editing wiki pages

  • Translating wiki pages from one language to another

  • Improving users' experience with the projects

  • Organizing events

As part of the Wikimedia 2030 movement strategy, there is a focus on Global Approaches to Local Skills Development to improve the way Wikimedians connect, network and mentor each other, which gives rise to the Capacity Exchange project.

Capacity Exchange logo

The Capacity Exchange project is a social web platform that will allow Wikimedians to exchange knowledge, services, and skills. For example, Wikimedian A, a member of Wikimedia User Group Nigeria is looking for help on writing a grant proposal for a proposed project will be matched with Wikimedian B, a member of Wikimedia Ghana User Group with expertise in that area and has gotten several grants for their projects.

On a daily basis, Wikimedians use other social platforms like Telegram, Slack, WhatsApp for their work. Unlike these proprietary and often commercialized software tools that are not part of Wikimedia, the Capacity Exchange initiative aims to offer something that aligns with our movement's principles. Our goal is to establish an open, cost-free, and secure environment tailored for exchanges within Wikimedian communities.

My work at the Capacity Exchange project involves migrating the pilot application from Java to Python, leveraging the larger Wikimedia Python community to ensure its sustainability and deliver an improved user experience. I am excited about working on the project because it allows me to develop my Django development skills and be a part of the larger Wikimedia community via non-code contributions. In the past month, I have learnt how to implement authentication (including password reset) and authorization in Django. The password reset process involved customizing password-related templates and sending emails with an email provider. I have also worked on writing unit tests for the apps in the Django project.

I hope this article gives you an idea about the Wikimedia movement and its projects and initiatives. If you are interested in contributing to Wikimedia in the next Outreachy round, you can start here.

To more open-source contributions🎉,