Interviews/Teemu Leinonen

From Strategic Planning

Advisory Board interviews conducted at Wikimania: Teemu Leinonen. August 24-28, 2009

Key Themes

  • Sees cultural barriers as significant to extending reach and participation for small languages
  • Does not necessarily think that mission/vision prescribes tie to the “wiki” – could be projects that are not well suited to the wiki but that are important to mission (i.e. citizen journalism)
  • Concerned about community renewal (i.e. where is the next generation of administrators coming from?)


  • Never active in community, only some edits; a professor and dean of school at the Media Lab, University of Art and Design in Helsinki
  • Focus is on internet tools for digital learning
  • Thinks that the mission and vision of Wikimedia are brilliant; fully agrees with the idea; believes there is strong consensus around this

Extending reach and participation

  • Challenge in extending reach and participation for small languages – where the idea of an encyclopedia is not familiar, where there is no history of that. Encyclopedias are not a universal concept
  • Thinks Wikimedia should focus on small languages; as a way of collecting cultural heritage
  • All the Scandinavian and North European Wikipedias have largest number of articles per speaker, but there is a strong fit with the culture
  • Language and cultural preservation and the concept of encyclopedia is embedded in culture
  • Scandinavia and Nordic people are very interested in this project]
  • Agrees with need to create different roles within the community for people to participate (beyond editing)
  • As mobile devices take over as primary mode of accessing content, Wikimedia needs to be accessible in that format
  • Research showing that people participate in open source “to learn” – after that are reasons related to getting formal training and professional advancement
  • Thinks that learning is likely motivation for editors
  • Thinks that formal education and curriculum should not be the focus for Wikipedia; there may be a role for Wikipedia in news – everyone is talking about this notion of “who will do quality journalism in the future?”
  • Wikimedia’s mission/vision does not specify that it has to happen on a wiki. Wikis are good for certain things, but not for others (i.e. news sources). But this doesn't mean that Wikimedia should not pursue
  • Thinks that the challenges with MediaWiki technology could potentially make the community stronger – people have to ask for help to learn how to do things
  • Concern that there are not systems for renewing the community – where is the next generation of administrators coming from?
  • Not concerned that others may repackage content – if there is an interface designed by others that works better, the mission is still being achieved of getting knowledge to more people. Should be more clear attribution to the community


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