All posts by Cliff Lampe

Wikisym 2012 starts tomorrow, and it looks to be a great program. Later, I’ll thank all of the volunteers who have poured their hearts into this conference, but I want to take a moment to thank the great sponsors we have for this meeting as well.

Ars Electronica Center ( has provided a very welcoming, engaging, and inspiring home for us this week. With the able help of Stefan Pewan and Laura Kepplinger, they have let us hang out on the shores of the Danube on the cusp of the Ars Electronica festival. Watching little kids put together radio controlled paper letter signs (hard to explain) has been fun.

The Wikimedia Foundation ( has been a great supporter, allowing us to bring in some excellent keynote speakers and keep the cost of the conference low for attendees. This enables a group of great young researchers, who are asking the questions important for the future sustainability of open collaboration, to participate and discuss with one another their findings.

The U.S. National Science Foundation ( has provided generous support for many of the doctoral students who attended the Sunday Doctoral Consortium to travel to that meeting, and attend the conference. The DC was a fantastic day of young scholars sharing their work and receiving feedback from professors at different universities. Specifically, this funding was made available by the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) directorate.

Finally, Google has provided generous support to enable us to provide some refreshments, and host the reception. This funding was initiated by their group who supports open source projects of all types, and they are moral supporters of the mission of Wikisym as well as financial supporters.

Thanks to these folks, we’ll be able to put on a fantastic program this year, and leave future Wikisyms in a good state. We appreciate this support, and it goes to show how many people it takes to make an event like this a success.

Wikisym 2012 ready to go in one week!

I can’t believe it’s already on us, but Wikisym 2012 starts in Linz Austria next week. This year, we have an exciting program. On Tuesday, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is speaking to our group as our opening keynote speaker. This is a great opportunity to engage in the project’s most vocal advocate and think about how our research can help the sustainability of open collaboration into the future.

We also have a diverse program of content. Like always, we’ll be doing Open Spaces, which allows people to host incredible discussions and have ad hoc meetings of the mind about topics that interest us all. Dozens of authors and reviewers, and our awesome Technical Chair Dan Cosley, have created a rich and exciting technical program.

I start my travel soon, so I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in beautiful Linz to discuss some exciting research and practice around open collaboration.

Wikisym 2012 Sneak Peeks!

It’s hard to believe we’re just weeks away from Wikisym 2012. In the next few days, I wanted to highlight some content at the conference we’re very excited about. Today, I’m highlighting our closing keynote speaker, Brent Hecht.

Brent is a PhD candidate at Northwestern, and will be starting at the University of Minnesota this coming year. He’s giving a very thoughtful talk on the ways to mine and encourage diversity in user generated content communities. From his abstract:

“It is well known – especially to WikiSym attendees – that Wikipedia articles and other forms of user-generated content (UGC) play a significant role in the everyday lives of average Web users. Outside the public eye, however, UGC has become equally indispensable as a source of world knowledge for vital systems and algorithms in numerous areas of computer science. In this talk, I will demonstrate that UGC reflects the cultural diversity of its contributors to a previously unidentified extent and that this diversity has important implications for millions of Web users and many existing UGC-based technologies. Focusing on Wikipedia, I will show how UGC diversity can be extracted and measured using diversity mining algorithms and techniques from geographic information science. Finally, through two novel applications – Omnipedia and Atlasify – I will highlight the exciting potential for a new class of technologies enabled by the ability to harvest diverse perspectives from UGC.”

Brent’s an engaging speaker, who has wowed crowds at CHI. We’re looking forward to his participation in the coming conference.