Education/Newsletter/March 2017/High School and Collegiate Students Enhance Waray Wikipedia during Edit-a-thons

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By Billie bb and JinJian

Waray Wikipedia Edit-a-thons at Philippine Science High School Eastern Visayas Campus and University of the Philippines Visayas Tacloban College on 2017 and 2016 respectively

Twenty collegiate students from the University of the Philippines Visayas Tacloban College (UPVTC) and twenty one high school students from the Philippine Science High School Eastern Visayas Campus (PSHS-EVC) contributed to Waray Wikipedia during edit-a-thons held at their schools on November 18–19, 2016 and March 10, 2017, respectively, which added 22 articles during the UPVTC edit-a-thon and 31 articles during the PSHS-EVC edit-a-thon.

In view of reaching out to the academe to disseminate information regarding how Wikipedia and its related projects work, from the development of the articles through volunteerism and community efforts to the systems involved in maintaining an effective online free encyclopedia, thereby clarifying some misconceptions about Wikipedia with regards to its veracity and inviting members of the academe as well as students to be volunteer contributors in order to enhance Wikipedia and its related projects, two edit-a-thons were held in schools in the Eastern Visayas region in the Philippines during November 2016 and March 2017.

In cooperation with the Leyte-Samar Heritage Center (LSHC) of the University of the Philippines Visayas Tacloban College (UPVTC), an edit-a-thon was held at the UPVTC on November 18-19, 2016 that was participated in by twenty junior and graduating students who majored in Communication Arts and have never edited Wikipedia. The session on the first day which lasted the whole morning was devoted to:

  • Orienting the participants on what Wikipedia is. All about including topics on its history, mission, vision, five pillars, availability in different languages, expansion of articles, and related projects
  • Demonstrating how the participants can contribute to Wikipedia
  • Informing them of the Wikipedia-related activities that have been done in the Philippines

The participants were requested to create their user accounts before the edit-a-thon proper, which was held during the 2nd day for three and a half hours when participants uploaded their articles to Waray Wikipedia. As a reward, the top 10 participants who uploaded good articles according to the following criteria: 40% for being well-referenced or citing reliable and verifiable sources; 30% for being broad in scope or addressing main aspects of the article; 20% for being neutral or presenting all viewpoints fairly and without editorial bias; and 10% for being well–written or written in clear and concise manner, free from grammatical and spelling mistakes; were given offline versions of the English and Waray Wikipedias in thumbdrives and DVDs. This activity produced 22 new and well-referenced articles for Waray Wikipedia.

Likewise, the edit-a-thon at the Philippine Science High School Eastern Visayas Campus was made possible with the assistance of the Campus Director. This was held on March 10, 2017 and participated in by twenty one Grades 10 and 11 students and five teachers who were new to editing Wikipedia. The topics that were discussed during the morning session of this activity were similar to the topics mentioned during the edit-a-thon at UPVTC with the addition of a short lecture on how to correctly spell words in the Waray language given by a language professor. The actual edit-a-thon was held during the afternoon for three hours and forty-five minutes. After creating their user accounts, participants have translated articles from the English Wikipedia, added information and references, corrected grammar and linked Wikidata items to Waray Wikipedia which resulted in 31 newly created articles and improved several existing ones. As an incentive, the twelve student participants who contributed the most number of characters received offline English and Waray Wikipedias in thumbdrives and DVDs.

What went well?

Proper coordination with the partners greatly helped in making these activities fruitful. Before the edit-a-thons, preparatory meetings with the partners were held wherein strategies for the successful conduct of the activities were discussed. Such strategies include orienting the partners on Wikipedia and its related projects for them to appreciate the target outcome and output of the activities, explaining the conduct of an edit-a-thon so that the partners would know what to expect during the activity, requesting for facilities such as computers and internet connections which are conducive to productive edit-a-thons and preparing the participants, through the partners, by making them plan or think of what they would like to contribute in terms of encyclopedic articles with a minimum of three independent, reliable and verifiable sources. In terms of contributions, we suggested to the partners that participants wrote the articles beforehand in either Notepad or MSWord so that it would be easy to upload it to Wikipedia during the edit-a-thon.

What went wrong?

Some things, even if carefully planned, sometimes didn't go as planned. One of the problems encountered was the intermittent and slow internet connection. We mitigated this by making the participants write their articles either in Notepad or MSWord to be uploaded to Wikipedia when internet connection became stable. Another was when edits of a participant were reverted back and he was blocked indefinitely by a Wikipedia Administrator who was not part of the event and thought that the participant was just vandalizing Wikipedia. The Wikipedian facilitator of the edit-a-thon immediately took actions to unblock the said participant.


The full report for the edit-a-thon at the University of the Philippines Visayas Tacloban College can be read here while the full report for the edit-a-thon held in Philippine Science High School Eastern Visayas Campus will be available here the soonest time possible.

Tags:Wikipedia Education Program in the Philippines, Eastern Visayas, Waray