Category Archives: General

WikiSym + OpenSym 2013 Explained

Conference Concept

WikiSym + OpenSym 2013 is the conference for researchers and practitioners of open collaboration processes and technology, as found in wikis, Wikipedia, open source, citizen engineering, open access, open data, etc. (See definition at WikiSym + OpenSym 2013 brings together these different strands of open collaboration research and practice in one unifying event, scheduled for Aug 5-7, 2013, in Hong Kong, China.

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Definition of Open Collaboration

Many years after we started to use the term open collaboration and after some discussion between the WikiSym steering committee members, here is our definition of “open collaboration”. It provides the umbrella motivation for WikiSym + OpenSym.

Open collaboration is collaboration that is

  • egalitarian (everyone can join, no principled or artificial barriers to participation exist),
  • meritocratic (decisions and status are merit-based rather than imposed) and
  • self-organizing (processes adapt to people rather than people adapt to pre-defined processes).

Prime places to find open collaboration are on wikis, on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Foundation projects, in open source, in open data and open government initiatives, open innovation, citizen engineering, peer production, and so on.

WikiSym 2012 Testimonials

From Heather Ford‘s excellent blog on Ethnography (and other matters), comes this quote:

In the closing session last year, I remember saying “I have been to a lot of conferences lately and I don’t feel like I belong. But I feel like I belong here.” People come to WikiSym because it’s the place to be if you’re doing Wikipedia work. In the words of conference chair, Cliff Lampe said, “WikiSym is the place we come where we know we don’t have to explain ourselves. Where people just “get it”.

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ACM’s Copyright Policy

WikiSym archives its proceedings in the ACM Digital Library (as well as on our own servers). The use of the ACM DL is due to our roots in computer science, even though the scope has been extending significantly since the original WikiSym in 2005. The ACM recently published an explanation of its Copyright Policy that explains the extensive set of rights retained by authors who sign the ACM copyright transfer form, which is a precondition for publishing in the ACM Digital Library. These rights include the option to reuse your own work in future papers, to publish your work for non-commercial reasons, and more. A new initiative of the ACM lets authors use the ACM servers for retrieving a paper copy for free. You can read the article’s text online.

CfP Doctoral Symposium WikiSym 2011

The CfP in the Doctoral Symposium of WikiSym 2011 has been published. You can check the details on the WikiSym 2011 website.

The call is open to doctoral students doing work related to open collaboration, regardless of their academic discipline. Relevant disciplines include (but are not limited to) computer science, sociology, psychology, anthropology, information science, cognitive science, rhetoric, communications, and economics. Applicants should have a clear research direction in their ongoing work to get utmost benefit from this session.

In addition, students with accepted submissions to this session will be eligible to receive some support for travel, accommondation and conference registration, thanks to a generous grant from NSF.

Georg Friedrich Kersting - Der elegante Leser

Five Years of Open Space at WikiSym

WikiSym, as you may know, is about collaboration — open collaboration, in which people come together on equal footing (egalitarian), where they are valued for their contributions (meritocratic) and where they come not only to listen but to contribute and help form the conference (self-organizing). A wiki specifically is a technology that enables such collaboration, but of course there are other technologies like micro-blogging, traditional blogs, and forums. WikiSym is home to the research and practice of all of these technologies, their applications, and social implications.

One such “technology” is open space, a meeting facilitation technique. It is officially called open space technology to distinguish it from open space preserves, which are about wildland. Open space helps people like event organizers and participants to run an egalitarian, meritocratic, and self-organizing process. Participants are pulled into creating the event, bringing their problems and their expertise to the table. Open space itself then is about the techniques that help participants form a joint agenda, negotiate and allocate time-slots, and then meet and discuss their issues until it is time to move on to the next topic and/or group.

At WikiSym, we have been using open space since 2006, after we had first learned about it (and its wiki-ness) in 2005 (the first WikiSym). Open Space is strong at WikiSym and with WikiSym 2010 we just passed the 5-year anniversary of open space at WikiSym. The symposium organizers, in the run-up to the event, create the traditional program of invited talks and peer-reviewed research and practice talks, as well as a host of other events. They are placed on to the agenda (schedule) and distributed evenly. When WikiSym starts, however, after Open Space’s opening circle participants enhance and extend the agenda with their own topics. Academics may view Open Space as a well-organized form of BoF (birds-of-a-feather) sessions, but it is much more than that.

The beauty of Open Space is that it gives everyone a voice and the appropriate time and space to have it heard in a conversation. It is supported by well-defined best practices that have been developed in Open Space’s more than 25 years of history. Below, you can find some visual impressions from open space at WikiSym.

Panel at WikiSym 2005 with Ward Cunningham (creator of wikis), Jimmy (co-founder of Wikipedia), Ross Mayfield (co-founder of Socialtext), Sunir Shah, and more — no open space yet! (photo courtesy of Raymond King, taken from Flickr)

The Cybernetic Roadmap at WikiSym 2005 — participants struggeling to create open space where we hadn’t yet planned for it (photo courtesy of Raymond King, taken from Flickr)

Open Space Panorama at WikiSym 2006
(photo courtesy of Peter Thoeny)

Open Space at WikiSym 2006
(photo courtesy of Peter Thoeny)

Open Space session at WikiSym 2010
(photo courtesy of Eugene E. Kim, taken from Flickr)

The three Open Space facilitators who have worked with us in the past are Gerard Muller, Ted Ernst, and Karolina Iwa. We have been very happy with them and the only reason why we are switching facilitators is to accommodate schedules and locations as WikiSym is moving around the world.

The First Five Years of WikiSym, the International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration

In the run-up to WikiSym 2010, our sixth WikiSym, we shortly wanted to look back at our five years of successful prior WikiSym history, 2005-2009. To this end, here are links to papers, proceedings, and the event wikis. All proceedings have been archived in the ACM digital library for permanent availability to scholars and practitioners alike. Every year, we deliberately showcased a different wiki engine to celebrate the diversity and energy of the wiki community!

Please consider subscribing to this blog’s RSS feed, or follow WikiSym on Twitter, or join the low-traffic wikisym-announce mailing list.

And see you at WikiSym 2010, the international symposium on wikis and open collaboration!

Name Change: Wikis and Open Collaboration

Web-based readers of this blog may have noticed a new extended title of the WikiSym site: We are now “the International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration.” This is to better express the breadth of work requested for and displayed on the WikiSym website, at the actual event, and in the proceedings.

WikiSym, the International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration, is broadly about open collaboration as exemplified by wikis, but not only by wikis. At WikiSym you can find the best of research and practice on processes, politics, philosophy, etc. of wiki-style collaboration, be it on blogs, wikis, and other social software. Despite the shorthand “WikiSym” this symposium is not narrowly about wiki technology.

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WikiSym 2008 Program: build your own conference schedule!

WikiSym 2008 @ FEUP

Two weeks before WikiSym 2008 is the right time for you to start “cooking” your own conference program. Following are some of the “ingredients” for you to use on your own “recipe”.

OpenSpace: 21 hours of conference space for you to lead!

All the WikiSym 2008 conference program is wrapped by an OpenSpace track: starting from the conference opening, morning news, four sessions per day (6 hours/day), evening news, and ending with the conference closing. A total of 18 hours for you to organize your own sessions, on your topics of interest and meet others sharing the same interests. The OpenSpace program will always be open until the end of the conference, but you can start thinking on this space to use it for your own needs.

Keynotes and Talks: George P. Landow, Steward Nickolas, and Dan Ingalls

Three inspiring talks from our invited speakers will be strong points of the conference aiming to provide us three different perspectives and insights to challenge our thinking and how we decide, our interests, and our passions.

Tutorials: 4 short tutorials for you to attend them all in a row!

If you are always uncertain about which tutorials to choose to attend, WikiSym 2008 Tutorials will help you. No need to choose! A set of short four tutorials (90 min/each), all scheduled in a row, on the first day, will offer you the chance to learn classic and cutting edge topics, from the most experienced presenters worldwide on the topic!

After the tutorials end, you will be able to go deeper on the topic in the OpenSpace.

Easy, just take the initiative and propose a session with the presenter!

Workshops: 3 different ones to choose from…

Workshops are always very fun and highly interactive events, where
groups of researchers and practitioners meet to bring, discuss, and try to
solve challenging problems.

If you didn’t submitted a position paper or any other contribution, you are welcome anyway. Your opinion is always valuable for the workshop! Each workshop has each its own schedule, but they will happen on Monday, all day.

Research Track: 20 papers organized in 6 different sessions

A rigorous selection of research papers describing substantiated new research or
novel technical results, will help advance the state of the art, or report on
significant experience.


The schedule panel will offer a unique forum to spotlight emerging issues on end-user programming with wikis. It is expected to tackle controversial topics head-on in a relaxed and highly interactive way, where each one has a voice.

Posters and Demos: a very rich set this year!

A rich set of selected posters will provide an excellent forum for authors to present their work in an informal and interactive setting. Demonstrations will complement posters or not and will provide you an opportunity to show your latest work to an experienced audience.

If you didn’t submitted your work, don’t worry, we will try to find a place for you in the rooms!

WikiFest: come learn how to grow a successful wiki!

WikiFest is a new conference session, starting this year’s edition, devoted to helping you start and grow a successful wiki. Come and learn with those that succeeded on the wikis they deployed.

DoctoralSpace: pursuing a PhD on wikis? This is for you!

The DoctoralSpace is an interactive forum for doctoral students to provide guidance on their doctoral work. Students close to their dissertation completion submitted their work and will discuss it in the forum. Students beginning their research are especially invited to attend.

Social and Special Events

Between all the conference sessions, WikiSym 2008 will provide you many opportunities for you to gather with your peers, meet your friends, make new ones, socialize and find common interests in an informal way. The Special Event will provide you an intensive visit to some of the most important points of interest of Porto and its riverfront. Unforgettable!!!

WikiWalk: know more of Porto and be challenged by Wiki practitioners!

If you are still in Porto in the morning of Thursday, September 11, you need to participate in the WikiWalk.

We’ll take the wiki way into the historic streets of Porto, joining with Porto’s vibrant intellectual and Web communities to explore the city and its networked art and media.

At the start of the day, we’ll discuss topics of particular interest — including new topics raised at WikiSym — over cups of strong Portuguese coffee. And then we’ll walk through interesting parts of Porto, perhaps visiting some notable Web studios, bookstores, cafés, notable buildings, and other venues of new and old media.

Inspired by the very successful BlogWalk meetings, WikiWalk extends the international symposium to the community and brings conferees out of the lecture hall for more casual and spontaneous discussion.

What else? Lots…

Yes, you will add lots to WikiSym 2008 program! Get ready!

Or as you will hear many times on Sunday, 7th September, in the riverfront:

“Smoke on!”


Ademar Aguiar

Clarification: Informal posters will continue to be accepted

In answer to a Research Fellow in a Department of Sociology at a UK university:

[I received a letter from Wikisym] re: submitting a paper:

In a number of cases, the most interesting aspects of your paper might be submitted as a poster or demonstration proposal. I would very much like you to consider this as well.

The conference website gives a deadline for poster submissions on June 30.

How should we proceed? Should we still aim for a poster or prepare a more informal presentation to be given during one of the open sessions of WikiSym?

We would love to have as much feedback as possible from the wiki developer/researcher community on this service proposal.

What is in your opinion the best way to present this?

We responded:

The June 30th deadline for posters was for those that wanted to be considered for inclusion in the ACM abstracts.

We are happy to continue to receive and consider posters on an informal basis.

Regards and thanks,

I hope this clears up any confusion.