Edit FOR EQUITY: HOW-TO
Interested in running your own Edit for Equity event? Great!
We put together this guide of key things to think about when running your own event. From choosing a venue to finding experts to help you out, you’ll find all the information below. If you have questions that you can’t find the answer to, get in touch and we’ll see if we can help you out.
You’ll need a venue for your event. Ideally, this will be a space that is free of cost for attendees, easy to access, and has the resources you need to run an event.
If possible, find a venue that is a good fit for your event topic or community. For example, if you’re working to add more women and non-binary authors to Wikipedia, you could hold your event at a public library or bookstore event space. Many libraries, community centers, museums and cultural spaces, or educational institutions make space available for free or low cost for events like Edit for Equity. Just ask! If you’re able to make a donation or koha to the venue, consider doing so.
Think about accessibility: can the space be accessed by people with mobility challenges? Are there steps to climb? Are there bathrooms that can be used by people in wheelchairs? Ask the venue coordinator for details, and make sure to list the accessibility considerations in your event description and on promotion materials. The Office for Disability Issues has a useful list of accessibility considerations for event planners.
We recommend holding your event in a space that has adequate seating for the number of participants, access to strong and reliable wifi that attendees can easily log onto, and enough powerpoints so people can plug in when needed. If needed, you can bring additional extension cords and multiboxes to provide coverage for the room.
+ Find an expert
You’re going to need some help from people well-versed in Wikipedia to help train any Wikipedia newbies and answer any tricky questions. We were very lucky to have Dr Mike Dickison, New Zealand Wikimedian at Large, and Siobhan Leachman, Wikipedian, helping out at our events. If you are running an event in New Zealand, you can contact Mike or reach other New Zealand Wikipedians via the Wikipedia NZ Facebook group. Outside of New Zealand, the GLAM–Wiki initiative ("galleries, libraries, archives, and museums") can help you find Wikipedia expert contacts in your area.
One expert per five event attendees is ideal, but might not be realistic. We encourage you to enlist as many experts as you’re able to. Wikipedians are generally a very friendly and helpful community, excited to help get new editors on board.
+ Promote your event
Once you’ve secured a venue, decided on a date, and found some Wikipedia experts to help out, it’s time to promote your event. Here are some of the key steps to successfully promoting your event:
- Create a place for attendees to RSVP, so you can track how many people you expect to attend. Eventbrite is a good choice, as it’s easy to set up a free event page, set a certain number of “tickets”, and collect the necessary information about attendees. You can also use a Facebook event page instead or in addition. Make sure your event page lists details such as the time, date, location, accessibility information, and whether you’ll be providing food, drink, childcare, etc. Here is the page we created for our events — you are welcome to repurpose any of this content.
- Create a Wikipedia “meetup” page for your event. This is a great way for people in the Wikipedia community to find out about your event, and it also provides a great way to share relevant information about the event and relevant resources. Here is an example of a Wiki meetup page that we made for one of our Edit for Equity events. You are welcome to use this page as a model.
- Sign up for Wikipedia yourself, if you haven’t already! You’ll need to have an account in order to edit Wikipedia. It’s easy to sign up. You can also encourage attendees to sign up before they come to the event. This is useful because Wikipedia sometimes flags mass sign-ups from a single IP address (it looks suspicious). Getting folks to sign up ahead of time prevents any trouble.
- Come up with a code of conduct and share it on your Wiki page and event page. A code of conduct or “friendly space” commitment helps ensure that everyone feels safe, taken care of, and able to attend without fear of discrimination. You could use Wikipedia’s Friendly Space guidelines or Art+Feminism’s Safe Space/Brave Space policy.
- Create collateral to help promote your event. This might include social media postings, posters, postcards, etc. We have created a set of templates and downloadable print materials that you are welcome to adapt and use. You can find the materials here.
- Use your networks! Send your event page and other promo materials to your friends and colleagues, and ask for help getting the word out. You might also want to send a press release to local news outlets, mailing lists, etc. Come up with a hashtag to use if you’re a Twitter person. We’d love if you include #editforequity in your suite of hashtags.
- Press releases can be helpful. Art+Feminism have created a great press release template, which you can find as part of their Organizer’s Kit here.
+ Get everything ready
Now is the time to prepare everything you need for the event. Here are a few things to think about:
- Food and drink: keeping your attendees well fed and watered is important when you’re asking them to volunteer their time — especially if your event goes over a mealtime. We found that having a designated break time is a good idea and gives attendees a chance to have a chat and get to know each other a little better. We were lucky enough to have a food budget for each of our events. We provided savory and sweet finger food throughout the event (think baking, cheese and crackers) as well as a meal-type food, which was either dumplings or sushi. Sushi was a great option as it is easy to eat without utensils, is gluten free and can easily be vegetarian/vegan if needed. If you don’t have a budget, try to at least provide tea, coffee, and water, along with some snacks like granola bars or fruit.
- Childcare: if possible, providing free childcare is a great service, and demonstrates that you’re committed to producing an event that is inclusive of folks with young children or other caregivers. You might have people in your network that are willing to volunteer a few hours to help out with childcare. Alternatively, you might have a budget and be able to pay a caregiver. Check with the venue to find out if there’s an appropriate space for children and caregivers to hang out while the event is taking place.
- Other resources: you’ll need a few other bits and pieces to make sure your event runs smoothly. Here’s a partial list:
- Extension cords and powerstrips to make sure everyone who needs it has access to power for their laptops.
- Access to a video screen or projector and laptop connector if you are lucky enough to have a Wikipedia expert that can present an introduction to editing Wikipedia. It’s useful for attendees to watch someone walking through the process before they get started themselves.
- Most edit-a-thons request that people bring their own laptops, but if you’re able to provide some additional laptops for folks who don’t have their own, that is always appreciated.
- Pens and scrap paper, for people to take notes.
- A large sheet of paper to write the wifi password, URLs of relevant resources, and your hashtags so folks can refer to them throughout the event.
- Other necessary food and drink provisions like napkins, cutlery, etc.
- Nametags and pens.
- Attendee list.
+ Run your event
It’s showtime! Once you have all the pieces in place, it’s time to get editing. Here are a few things to think about, to help you have a successful event:
- Arrive early: we like to get to the venue at least half an hour ahead of time, so we can set up the tables, power cords, snacks, and put out signage. Make sure you have a contact-person at the venue that you can chat with if anything goes wrong.
- Document the event: it’s great to take photos of your event, to upload to your event Wiki page or to share on social media. However, the Wikipedia community is big on privacy and consent, so it’s best to make sure that attendees are happy to be photographed before you whip out the camera. One easy way to check consent and maintain privacy is to provide every attendee with a colour-coded lanyard or sticker to wear. Green lanyards mean “ok to photograph me”, and red means “no photos please”.
- Set expectations: like any new activity, Wikipedia editing has a learning curve. Make sure attendees know that it might take them a while to get started, and they probably shouldn’t plan to create a whole new Wiki page from scratch at their first event. They might want to start by making small edits to an existing page or uploading some images.
- Circulate! Experienced Wikipedia editors are often most helpful when they circulate throughout the room, checking on people and helping attendees out as needed.
+ Share your success
Congratulations! You ran your own edit-a-thon event. Sharing your success and talking about the event outcomes is a way to encourage others to do the same, and go give yourelf the kudos you deserve. If you use social media, you can share photos, outcomes, and other information to let your community know how things went. You might also update your event Wiki page with photos documenting the event, or add statistics about how many pages were edited, created, or otherwise improved.
We'd also love to hear about your event. Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know how things went, or feel free to reach out if you have any questions during the planning phase.