Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Molecular Biology/Computational Biology/ISMB 2016 Editathon

Page contents not supported in other languages.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


I've made a tweet or two, but I think it would help to keep up with that. Will there be notices going up? Maybe an announcements at BOSC? -Kieran (talk) 18:55, 9 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]


If anyone wants to take on adding BioMart as a first class page, please feel free to do so.

Tnabtaf (talk) 03:05, 11 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi Tnabtaf, this looks good, I'd say it was probably ready for the mainspace, though maybe without the lists. This information maybe be summarised with a few examples which have wiki articles, eg Atlas of UTR Regulatory Activity, or maybe split off into a new list article eg List of BioMart Community Members. I will have a closer look later on if you don't mind me making any edits? :) Thanks! Amkilpatrick (talk) 12:12, 11 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Debrief / ideas for next year[edit]

I attended this editathon, and while I think there were some positive points, I also definitely think we could attract more people and try to get more done next year. I'm going to compile some thoughts, but please also comment below and I'll add them in. @Daniel Mietchen: @Vivek Rai: @Amkilpatrick: @Alexbateman: @Alexmar983:

What worked[edit]

  • We got a reasonably large and diverse group attending.
  • Although most of these did not get to edit articles, they were exposed to both WP and Wikidata.
  • We seem to have a decent-sized group of experienced volunteers willing to help.

Where we could improve[edit]

  • The editathon clashed somewhat with the poster session, plus the poster session was late enough that many people still needed to get dinner right after.
  • A lot of attendees didn't bring laptops, and couldn't really contribute much.
  • We didn't have a structure for helping attendees pick articles to work on.
  • Snacks and beverages could help to attract people.
  • WMF provides funds for events like these, which we could have tapped.
  • The venue itself was poorly suited for collaborative editing, being a series of rows of chairs behind tables. Round tables worked much better for the hackathon which took place at ISMB.

Ideas for next year[edit]

  • Run the session throughout the day in drop-in format (potentially over several days); this lets people drop in between talks
  • Always have at least one experienced volunteer on hand to help the newbies (have a sign-up sheet)
  • Gameify the process -- keep a leaderboard of most bytes of text contributed, most citations added, most wikidata contributions, etc
  • Hold a competition with prizes (possibly in conjunction with the main ISCB competition)
  • Provide some basic snacks and water
  • Hold a reception with free snacks/beer; give away drinks tickets (or reception tickets) to contributors at the editathon.
  • Run tutorials at pre-specified time slots (eg the Wikidata/intro to editing talk Alex gave at this year's editathon)
  • Get funding from WMF.


Hi Kieran, great write-up, thanks! I agree that we have a good group of volunteers willing to help and once attendees get that intro to WP/wikidata they can see how easy it is to make a meaningful contribution. I know Alex is a wikipedia evangelist (maybe slight paraphrase!) but there are other ISCB board members that also think we should be doing more to promote the use/improvement of resources over all wikimedia projects so I think early planning would be very helpful for future events.

The timing is a major aspect, I was actually presenting at that poster session and it was starting to wind down a bit by 7, but then people are looking for food/drink at that point... there is also the issue of a session at the end of a full days conferencing. I think a longer daytime session as you suggest might work, maybe as something similar to the tech track? Or expanding the end of day session so it also has dinner to attract people? 10X Genomics did a small (hot) dinner for the HiTSeq conference, something like that might be feasible with WMF funding?

It would be good to get attendees to have something to edit in mind - and to bring a laptop! The incentive of a prize may help this, either as a separate or linked somehow with the main wiki competition. I'm definitely open to opinions, the sooner we start planning the better :) Amkilpatrick (talk) 16:53, 16 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You're welcome! And definitely I think we could get support from ISCB; they already put a few thousand dollars towards the annual article competition. I feel like we might also be able to get some minor support from PLoS as a way of promoting their Topic Pages (eg maybe we could ask them for free T shirts for participants). I've also now been reading about the Wikimedia Foundation Grants, and they can be quite substantial (up to $2,000 for "rapid grants", and much more for "project grants"). Things they can fund include food (if we want to have a reception) and equipment (if we want to rent a computer or two for people who haven't brought a laptop). There are also separate travel grants for participants (eg Vivek was a recipient of one of those). There's even a guide to getting funding for editathons.
I definitely favour the idea of an all-day (maybe multi-day) drop-in session, tech-track style. The only risk would be ensuring we have enough experienced volunteers on hand to cover the day. I definitely think this format would present the lowest barrier to participation.
Anyway, I'm willing to help out with organising this. Let's see how Alex, Alessandro, and any other potential orgs are feeling. -Kieran (talk) 20:25, 19 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]