We are back - Western Australia speaks
You can learn a lot when you play in a little town in Holland or Western Australia; you learn different things than you would learn playing a big city.
It wouldn't be the WikiProject report if we didn't feature an Australian topic once in a while, so this week we're looking at the left side, with WikiProject Western Australia.
Western Australia is a huge state in the west of the country containing a large amount of desert, with the city of Perth tucked away in its southwestern corner, which holds nearly 80% of the state's population, and a number of other towns mainly along its coast, including Geraldton, Albany and Broome. Its associated WikiProject isn't that large in terms of membership, with around 40 active members. They are keen though, (they have real-life meetups, as you'll read) and were recommended by the larger-reaching WikiProject Australia for interview after I initially intended to look at Sydney.
They've definitely not been short of success either – 37 GAs, 29 featured pieces and 99.9% of its articles assessed for quality and importance at present – a long-term dream for many projects. So, once we were looking for some interviewees they jumped at the chance, so here are Gnangarra, JarrahTree, Casliber, Sam Wilson, Dan arndt, Bahnfrend, Hughesdarren, Evad37 and Graham87 to tell us more.
What was your motivation for joining WikiProject Western Australia? Do you, or have you ever lived in Western Australia?
- Gnangarra: Have been an active participant in the project since day one, currently reside in Perth, Western Australia.
- JarrahTree: Resident of Perth, Western Australia, formerly resident in Indonesia, Sydney (sic), and Tasmania. The motivation for the very first meetup was to make head or tail of who the people with the funny wikipedia user names were in real life. Some have remained good friends ever since.
- Dan arndt: I was asked by one of those people with funny wikipedia user names after they'd helped me out on a Western Australian related article. After that it seemed a logical progression to attending a meetup so I could put faces to the various funny names. I currently live in Western Australia but have lived overseas.
- Bahnfrend: I have lived most of my life in WA, am a member of the Perth meetup group, and contribute to articles about WA-related topics.
- Evad37: I have lived in Perth, Western Australia all my life. I think it is easier to edit articles where you have some local knowledge (or maybe just more interesting, or relevent), so that's how I came to be first reading, and later editing, articles related to Perth and Western Australia. I was first pointed to the WikiProject as a place to discuss the formatting of a set of articles. I guess I linked the place, and the people were friendly, so I stuck around – it was fun having other editors to collaborate with. Having the nerve to go to a real-life meetup (which I'd never done for an internet-based group before) really sealed the deal.
- Hughesdarren: When I started it was mostly just starting articles on things in regional WA that were worthy of mention. I lived in Perth for the first half of my life with the next half spent mostly in regional areas of WA with short stints interstate and overseas. Currently residing in Albany, Western Australia.
- Samwilson: An interest in WA history, primarily, and a wish to learn more. Yes, I grew up here and am now living in Fremantle.
- Casliber: Umm, I edit some WA stuff and have been to a meetup. I don't live in WA but my wife has family there and I know some wildflower folks.
- Graham87: I've lived in Perth all my life and am interested in Western Australia's history and geography. I mostly do maintenance work for the project, especially related to the state's weird and wonderful weather.
Which aspects of Western Australia exactly are covered by the project's scope? Do you have specific notability guidelines for Western Australia-related articles?
- Gnangarra: All aspects from the people that made it what it is to it unique places to flora to fauna to oceans around it the depth and breath of subject are endless. There arent any notability guidelines beyond those of Wikipedia as a whole.
- JarrahTree: Western Australia is the largest in area state of Australia, and has distances and areas that are far in excess of what the average reader might appreciate – some of the distances in the state are like crossing the whole of europe, or as significant as distances in other large land masses. As a result of the size and the distances the status of the WA project, and its potential range of locations, and subjects, add something to the project, a certain big job feeling to simply covering the places and things in the state. Perth as the capital city is considered the most isolated city of its type in the world, and it has an equally displaced feeling in comparison to the rest of Australia, in various ways, similar to how Tasmania, the island state of the south east of Australia is often left off maps and representations of the country. The political reality of this difference was felt in the 1930s – Secessionism in Western Australia. So the scope is not just of a state, but one with specific historic and geographic realities.
- Dan arndt: There are no limits to what a Western Australian-related article might cover, whether it be architecture, history, sportspeople, places, events, music, flora, shipwrecks, politicians, roads, artists, animals... Its actually fairly amazing the breadth of different topics and the various interests of that the users within the project have. Having regular meetups gives you a better understanding of what motivates different people.
- Evad37: All aspects, really – although topics relevant to the whole of Australia are typically only tagged with the national project and not all the individual states. There is substantial overlap in scope with other projects or task forces, such as WikiProject Australian Roads or WikiProject Military history/Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific military history task force.
- Hughesdarren: The range of topics is almost limitless, notability is a constant topic of discussion for all articles on the project, the same guidelines apply for WA articles as for any other.
- Samwilson: WA has some of the highest biodiversity on the planet, and a great deal of that is not yet written up on Wikipedia — but is probably notable enough to be.
Have you contributed to any of the project's 29 Featured or 37 Good articles?
- Gnangarra: Some directly in the text, others just supplying photographs as requested and other just through the fact I have contributed a lot of photos already. There is also a couple indirectly through various workshops and out reach projects I have run.
- Dan arndt: Looking back, whilst I have contributed to a number of GAs and FLs, I have only made really minor edits to the Western Australian ones.
- Bahnfrend: "No" and "I don't recall doing so", respectively. In my editing of Wikipedia, I tend to focus on breadth, not depth, by creating short articles or contributing to existing short articles.
- Evad37: Yes, in fact all of my featured and good articles (articles where I was a substantial contributor and nominator) are within the scope of this project – mostly on roads, but also a bridge, and Fremantle Prison (currently GA and a featured article candidate). In the course of expanding and improving Fremantle Prison, the article got so big that I had to split out several sub-articles – I hope to eventually improve them all to good or featured status and achieve a good or even featured topic.
- Hughesdarren: Same as Bahnfrend above.
- Casliber: I've reviewed alot of others' work plus written a lot of FAs on western Australian flora.
- Graham87: Not directly; I have copyedited some though.
Do you find that having a wikiproject for an individual state of Australia works effectively, as only local people contribute, or would you prefer the field to be narrower than the state?
- Gnangarra: It doesn't matter whether people are local or not everyone can contribute but being local helps to give a person some understanding of the context of topics, and the difficulties faced in collating information.
- Dan arndt: I agree with Gnangarra in that it doesn't matter whether you're a local or not. Sometimes not being a local means that you see something that should have an article because it interests you, whereas as a local you think that it is ordinary and wouldn't interest anyone.
- Bahnfrend: Having a separate WikiProject for each of the six individual states is consistent with the way Australians tend to view themselves. For the most part, Australians are very attached to what they call their "state of origin", particularly if that state is not New South Wales, the most populous state. As was once observed by a WA government committee chaired by the then-future Governor of Western Australia, Malcolm McCusker, Western Australians in particular tend to have a strong sense of dual identity, as both Australians and Western Australians. Organising WikiProjects on a state-by-state basis is also convenient. Australia is a very large country with only a handful of major population centres, and the focus of much of the nation's human activity is on the state capitals rather than on the national capital, or the nation as a whole.
- Evad37: What makes a project work effectively is people, rather than how broad or narrow the scope is – the other Australian state WikiProjects are much less active than WP:WA, yet there's nothing intrinsically different between them (except perhaps WA's secessionist tendencies )
- JarrahTree: In the Australian Project – all the city projects have been subsumed into their respective state projects. Narrower city or regional projects have not worked. It is very heartening that to think in the most isolated city and the largest state, enthusiasm and collaboration among editors is so evidently a strength for a project like this.
- Samwilson: Yes, I think the state-level is about right; certainly in terms of keeping us separate from those dastardly easteners. For other topics there are other Wikiprojects, which overlap with the scope of WPWA, so that's where I go for more fine-grained interest groups.
- Casliber: State level probably the most practical, unless you find a really active group of local people, which I haven't seen yet...
How can a new contributor help today?
- Gnangarra: WP:WA has always been an open welcoming group of editors regardless of who is active at the time, maybe its because we look at life differently due to our isolation. We meet regularly to enjoy a coffee and chat sometimes choosing venues related to a topic thats being focused on like an earlier meetup at Fremantle Prison now going through FAC. WA has two successful WikiTowns projects Freopedia and Toodyaypedia the community came together to ensure there was a broad range of articles, if you're looking for somewhere to help out these are always good topics to work on. Everyone is welcome to join us at our meetups just show we'll help you get settled.
- Dan arndt: The editors at WP:WA are supportive and genuinely try and help guide new editors into ensuring their contributions are relevant and withstand the rigours of time (and the efforts of some editors to delete everything they see). As indicated a good example is the Wikitown projects where new contributors were assisted/encouraged by established editors into making their new articles comply with the numerous guidelines and policies.
- Bahnfrend: I would strongly recommend that any editor interested in WA join the Perth meetup group, which is happy to welcome any editors, including those resident outside Perth, or even WA for that matter. Joining the meetup group is a good way to find out how other editors might be helped out. Also, the WikiProject page has a useful "to do" list for anyone who can't make it to the group meetings.
- Evad37: Have a look at the noticeboard on our talk page for new articles to check, expand, or collaborate on – and list any new WA-related article you create there so we can help you! Also listed on the noticeboard are links to relevant deletion, RfC, and other discussions to participate in.
- Hughesdarren: Working collaboratively with existing editors, expanding existing and creating new articles. Pretty much as for the rest of the project. For WA using the wikiproject page was a good start for me and a great way to meet with other more experienced editors for assistance.
- JarrahTree: The WP:WA project has had help and assistance from other Australian editors from other states, and every now and then editors from overseas have assisted in some areas, the best way for anyone with an interest in helping in the project is to go to the project talk page,it is the best central point to find out what is happening.
- Samwilson: Come to the meetups! It's great to meet people IRL; makes contributing so much easier. For low-hanging fruit (as far as article editing is concerned) I like to use the list of stubs to find something to edit.
Anything else you'd like to add to the interview?
- JarrahTree: WP:WA has many editors who have been and gone, for a variety of reasons – some short edit histories, other to other parts of the wikimedia projects – the project would never have got to where it has without their hard work, and their dedication, however short or long it might have been. There are some who have had to deal with real life, and we hope to see them back sometime. We owe a lot to them. In the early days User:Nachoman-au, User:Gobeirne and User:Orderinchaos were some of the users who were vitally important in the building blocks in creating content to the project, with the pair of User:Moondyne and User:Hesperian adding significant volume and high quality content that makes the project material what it is today. More recently the contributions of User:Mitch Ames, User:IgnorantArmies, User:The-Pope and User:The Drover's Wife and others continue to keep the standards high.
- Dan arndt: A WikiProject such as Western Australia is only as good as the editors who contribute, in that we all need to encourage and support each other.
- Bahnfrend: Although Wikipedia editors are sometimes portrayed in various negative ways, I have always enjoyed being an editor, and, in particular, have enjoyed interacting with other editors who work on WA-related topics. Also, as a resident of one of the world's most isolated large cities, I really appreciate the opportunity Wikipedia presents for me to participate significantly in a truly global charitable enterprise, without even needing to leave home.
- Evad37: The project supports and participates in various outreach activities, such as the WikiTowns mentioned above, which you can read about from the links at WP:WA#Outreach projects.
- Hughesdarren: Wikipedia is an excellent resource and a fantastic example of what a small group of committed people can achieve together. The range and commitment of current and previous editors never fails to impress me and I feel humbled to be a part of the project as a whole.
- Samwilson: It's not just Wikipedia! ;) There's lots of WA content on Wikisource, and a huge scope for adding more.
You did probably notice a bit of a gap between this and the previous WikiProject report, and that is because the regular writer has been busy. However, I am now back and the report will publish regularly. Next week, join us as we hope to speak to WikiProject Disability.