How I accidentally wrote a Wikipedia page on a layover in Dublin

One of the most unusual but wonderful experiences happened to me on a return trip from Europe to the United States.

A series of heavy noreasters hit the US east coast over the last couple weeks. This coincided with my travel dates back to Rochester, NY. While we didn’t have flooding, we had a lot of snow. A lot of snow means canceled flights.

As I made my way through border control in Dublin, Ireland on March 7, I discovered my connection to New York City would likely be canceled. A meander from baggage claim to the check-in desk confirmed this. Fortunately, Aer Lingus had no issue putting me up in a hotel overnight with dinner and breakfast to catch the next flight to New York the next day.

While waiting in airport queues, a friend happened to retweet a local event happening in Dublin the next day.

The event was a local Wikimedia meet-up to celebrate International Women’s Day. Participants would create and edit Wikipedia pages for influential women in the history of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. After digging deeper, I found out the event was 30 minutes away from my hotel from 09:30 to 12:30. My flight was at 16:10.

I put in my RSVP.

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Humanitarian open source work: My internship at UNICEF

In December, I received the happy news of an offer for a internship position at UNICEF in the Office of Innovation. The Office of Innovation drives rapid technological innovation by rapid prototyping of new ideas and building full-stack products to make a positive impact in the lives of children. This is a simple answer, but a more detailed description is on our website.

My internship at UNICEF is unique: I support open source community engagement and research as my primary task for the MagicBox project. For years, I’ve done this in open source communities in my free time (namely SpigotMC and Fedora), but never in a professional role. As I navigate my way through this exciting opportunity, I plan to document some of the experience as I go through blogging. My intent is that my observations and notes will be useful to someone else in the humanitarian open source space (or maybe to a future me).

But first, what does “open source community engagement and research” really mean?

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Tell us your Fedora 2017 Year in Review

The past year was a busy for Fedora. The community released Fedora 26 and 27. Different sub-projects of Fedora give their share of time for the overall success of Fedora. But in a project as big as Fedora, it’s hard to keep track of what everyone is doing! If you’re a developer, you likely know more about what’s happening inside the code of Fedora, but you may not know what’s happening with the Fedora Ambassadors. Or maybe you’re involved with Globalization (G11n) and translating and know what’s happening there, but you’re not as familiar with what the Fedora Design team is working on.

Share your 2017 “Year in Review”

To communicate with the rest of the Fedora community what we worked on in 2017, the Fedora Community Operations team (CommOps) encourages every sub-project of Fedora put together their own “Year in Review” article on the Fedora Community Blog. The CommOps team has created an easy to use template to document your top three highlights of 2017 and one goal for 2018.

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Election night hackathon supports civic engagement

This article was originally published on Opensource.com.

On November 7, 2017, members of the RIT community came together for the annual Election Night Hackathon held in the Simone Center for Student Innovation. This year marked the seventh anniversary of a civic tradition with the [email protected] community. As local and state election results come in across nine projectors, students and professors work together on civic-focused projects during the night. Dan Schneiderman, the [email protected] Community Liaison, compiled lists of open APIs that let participants use public sets of data made available by governments at the federal, state, and local level.

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Resigning from Fedora Council for Fedora 27

Since I became a Fedora contributor in August 2015, I’ve spent a lot of time in the community. One of the great things about a big community like Fedora is that there are several different things to try out. I’ve always tried to do the most help in Fedora with my contributions. I prefer to make long-term, in-depth contributions than short-term, “quick fix”-style work. However, like many others, Fedora is a project I contribute to in my free time. Over the last month, I’ve come to a difficult realization.

After deep consideration, I am resigning from the Fedora Council effective at the end of the Fedora 26 release cycle.

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IRC for the 21st century: introducing Riot

This article was originally published on Opensource.com.

Internet Relay Chat, or IRC, is one of the oldest chat protocols around and still popular in many open source communities. IRC’s best strengths are as a decentralized and open communication method, making it easy for anyone to participate by running a network of their own. There’s also a variety of clients and bots available for IRC. But on the reverse side, usability is a concern. Most common user interfaces for IRC clients or platforms aren’t always intuitive. People from parts of the world with unstable Internet connections are challenged with remaining connected to participate in conversation. Many people have tried addressing this problem before, but none have come as far as Riot.

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FAmSCo August 2017 elections: Thoughts on a global community

A new release of Fedora makes headlines this month. With every release, it also means a new round of the Fedora community leadership elections. On 24 July 2017, the call for nominations went out for candidates. The Fedora Engineering Steering Committee (FESCo), Fedora Ambassador Steering Committee (FAmSCo), and the Fedora Council all have seats open. Already, discussions on nominations are happening. The candidate interview templates are being prepared. Even now, the nomination lists are filling up. However, I want to share an opinion on the upcoming FAmSCo election specifically.

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What I discovered in Tirana, Albania

The past few months have brought many changes for me. I traveled throughout Europe to experience some of the open source conferences and communities across the continent. Along the way, I met incredible people with powerful stories about their own communities. However, there is one community that I knew about before I came to Europe. The Open Labs Hackerspace in Tirana, Albania is a special community that I was fortunate enough to discover and meet. Together, they have helped set in motion the open source way in their own city.

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Mission to understand: Fedora Diversity FAD 2017

This article was originally published on the Fedora Community Blog.

Team picture of the Diversity Team members (left to right: Brian Exelbierd, Amita Sharma, Radka Janek, Jona Azizaj, Bhagyashree Padalkar, Justin W. Flory)

Team picture of the Diversity Team members (left to right: Brian Exelbierd, Amita Sharma, Radka Janek, Jona Azizaj, Bhagyashree Padalkar, Justin W. Flory)

The Fedora Diversity FAD (a.k.a. Fedora Activity Day, or a sprint) took place during the weekend of DevConf, 27-29 January. The original planning for this FAD started in August 2016, after the Flock 2016 conference. At Flock, the Diversity Team held a panel with open discussion about diversity and inclusion efforts in Fedora. Based on the feedback received during and after the panel, it was a priority for us to continue working on the objectives we had established before Flock. For the FAD, a majority of the Fedora Diversity Team was present along with a few others.

We made significant progress in accomplishing our larger objectives and to contribute to the Fedora Project mission and goals. The primary objectives we established for our FAD were completing plans for the demographic survey, building a campaign based on those results, and analyzing our Code of Conduct to find ways to better impact the community. This report covers each of these objectives, what we accomplished, and what we plan to do next.

Logic model used for preliminary planning and mapping out the activities and impact of the Fedora Diversity FAD 2017

Logic model used for preliminary planning and mapping out the activities and impact of the Fedora Diversity FAD

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Take the #HappinessPacketChallenge!

One of the most important lessons I was taught growing up is to say “thank you” when someone does something nice for you. Many months ago, someone first introduced me to something called Happiness Packets. The idea is simple but powerfully effective. Happiness Packets are like thank-you cards for open source users or contributors. You can send a packet to anyone for anything. Your message can be as short or as long as you like. You can put your name on your message or you can keep it totally anonymous. The choice is yours. And now, I want to challenge you to the #HappinessPacketChallenge!

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