The quarterly report Foundation "scorecard", an integral new part of new self-assessment efforts.
Annual plan expenditure comparisons for 2015–16, set against the 2014–15 figures; figures are in millions of USD. The largest change in relative terms is in the communications department, which doubled its stake from 2% to 4% of the overall budget, following through with prevailing themes at the Foundation regarding the need for closer community integration and making sure "the story" is told correctly.
The Wikimedia Foundation recently switched to a quarterly report structure to better align reporting with the generally quarterly planning and goal-setting processes. This week's publication of a January–March 2015 quarterly report marks the second such report to be released since a switch was made earlier this year from an older monthly to a new quarterly internal reporting structure. The change was made to better align the contents of these reports with the Foundation's generally quarterly goal-setting processes, and in March the Signpostcovered the contents of the first such report, as well as some of the reasoning behind the reformatting. These reports are still reasonably new in structure and remain a work in progress; in an email to the foundation-l mailing list, senior operations analyst Tilman Bayer and chief operating officer Terence Gilbey spoke of some of the changes and new features introduced into this second report.
The principal change has been the creation and organization of a new departmental "scorecard"; this is a new organizational assessment system spearheaded by recently hired chief operating officer Terence Gilbey as a part of an effort to increase the rigor of the metrics the Foundation uses to keep track of its progress—a major theme in last month's publication of the mammoth State of the WMF report. The scorecard is typified by a system of goals drafted at the beginning of a reporting period that are either met (successes) nor "missed" (failures) over the course of quarter. The first quarter saw 130 objectives split across 32 teams, with a roughly even distribution of successes (52%; 67) and misses (48%; 63). At this month's metrics and activities meeting, Gilbey, new leader of the meetings in the stead of now-departed vice president of engineering Erik Möller, somewhat clarified the vision behind the scorecard: the hope is for about 75% of goals to result in successes, while a 100% success means that the team is probably not setting goals aggressively enough. He attempted to mollify concerns from a member of the audience about what use a binary pass/fail departmental assessment system could serve in the organization, stating that many of the teams which missed their objectives "came very close" and that further refinements in the system remain under consideration.
In related news, the Wikimedia Foundation this week also published a draft version of its 2015–2016 annual plan. The first Foundation annual plan appeared in 2008, and the Foundation has been openly publishing its annual plans, with various changes in format, ever since then. Last year's annual plan drew criticism for indigestibility: as the Signpostreported at the time, the plan was published and reviewed via the annual plan grants process, an awkward arrangement given that the process's stated mission is reviewing grant proposals to the Wikimedia Foundation by far smaller affiliated national chapters, not those of the organization itself.
In contrast to last year's 22,000-word proposal, this year's plan—now again released independently of the FDC—clocks in at just 3,600 words. Thus, although the plan does provide current data on WMF projections about its activities and budgets for the coming year, in contrast with last year's report it provides little in the way of explanation of its intent. Indeed, in the "background and context" section, the report outlines its new format. A SWOT-style "Risks" section will be prepared as a separate document, one that, alarmingly, only "may be released" in a public version (our italics). The plan says nothing more about the Foundation's progress against its current year's plan: instead it is meant to serve as "a 12 month high-level overview of organizational priorities as guided by the 2015 Call to Action and a forward-looking spend forecast ... it re-aligns organizational focus around communities and technical deliverables."
What to make of the new format? The WMF is currently in the process of overhauling the way it measures itself (hence the report's secondary focus on "key performance indicators", to be defined), and as part of that it has been attempting to re-align its reporting periods against its assessment periods and to cut procedural waste and duplication. This year's annual plan, then, is a plan only in the fiscal sense: it provides board-approved numbers on how the Foundation plans to spend its money, but little else besides. Organizational intent is to be read elsewhere: in the Foundation's quarterly reports, and in particular, in this year's publication of the enormous State of the Wiki report. Though the plan is up for community review, there is little (though not nothing) for the community to review here, as much of the action takes place elsewhere.
Worthy of particular attention is the last section of the report: an appendix on the Foundation's newly restructured engineering department. Engineering—or things that are to be construed as engineering under the aegis of the "product" department—makes up the bulk of the WMF's expenditure; there is good reason for this, since surveys again and again show that stakeholders believe this should be at the core of the Foundation's purpose. Vice-president of product and strategy and extremely long-time Wikipedian Erik Möller, retired from the Foundation last month—a move that was soon followed by a public email to the mailing lists by executive director Lila Tretikov regarding high-level reorganizations in the WMF, principally a restructuring of the engineering team (and the re-merging of product into the engineering department). R
Historical snapshot: Jimmy Wales speaks on internet censorship in China at the 2012 Wikimania
Bad news from China: At 14:19 UTC on 20 May it was announced in Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, that "the Chinese Wikipedia is temporarily unable to be accessed by mainland China; the reason is unclear; other Wikimedia projects (such as the English Wikipedia) are currently not affected." (Translated; top cell, right side.) Two days later the story was picked up by Forbes, among other mainstream news outlets. Although it's unclear who ordered this action, Wikipedia has been previously blocked by the Chinese government for various periods. The Signpost notes private speculation that it may be related to the 4 June anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. T
Good news from China: NetEase, a major Chinese internet content provider, has announced that as of Wednesday 20 May it is hosting content on its popular 163.com portal from both the English Wikipedia and Baidu Baike, the Chinese-language collaborative online encyclopedia, with the claim that there will be a combined "20 million encyclopedia entries" (google translation of announcement). The new service has come about largely through the efforts of the Wikimedia user group China, in particular one of its coordinators, Addis Wang. He told the Signpost: "for Youdao Dictionary App, they simply mirror ... articles from en.WP in their local server and people have full access to the content. Youdao only [supports] iOS at this time, but is working on [also supporting] Android. I've heard no plans for a desktop version, though I'm going to push for that." T
Sue Gardner on life after Wikimedia: Former long-time Foundation executive director Sue Gardner this week posted on her personal blog about her post-WMF career trajectory. Gardner was hired on as executive director in December 2007, overseeing the organization the WMF's formative years as it expanded from fewer than 10 to more than 160 employees (and millions of dollars of revenue) at the time she announced her retirement from the organization in 2013 (current executive director Lila Tretikov has been serving since mid-2014). In the post, titled "Why I'm working with Tor and First Look", Gardner explains the reasoning behind the two projects on which that she is currently embarking: R
The first is narrowly focused on Tor, where I’ll be developing a strategic plan for and with the Tor Project. I’m doing that because Tor is important — it’s the most secure and widely-used anonymity-supporting software that we’ve got. Tor is controversial because (like phones and cars and banks) its users include criminals. But what matters more to me is its use by people like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. I want the organisation behind Tor be as strong and effective as possible, and so I am going to put some energy towards helping make that happen.
My second project will be to research the broader state of “freedom tech”—all the tools and technologies that enable free speech, free assembly, and freedom of the press. I want to figure out, from a user-centric perspective, what kinds of freedom-enabling technology products and services people have access to today, what impediments they’re running up against in trying to use them, what functionality is needed that’s entirely missing from the current landscape, and what kinds of interventions would need to be made in order to start getting it built. Do we need easier, faster funding, and/or other forms of support, for individuals and tiny teams? Or bigger, better-funded organisations, with expertise the space currently doesn’t have? What would move the needle? That’ll be my focus.
"We" in the Wikipedia Movement: A discussion of interest occurred on the wikimedia-l mailing list this week after Wikimedian Micruauthored a post titled "Building a 'we' in the wikimedia movement". The post is a retrospective on Wikimedia Conference 2015 and on the Wikimedian community process overall. He stated, in part, that: R
Our movement is not only a "knowledge movement" or a "open movement", it is above a "social movement" which depends very much on the strength of our social connections to advance and thrive. The most obvious connection is between contributor and reader, it is the most singular one which differentiates us from other platforms like Facebook, however it is far from being the only one. Contributor-to-contributor is another key one which has been underestimated, and it is the salt and pepper of the community.
[…] In the wikimedia movement there is a serious lack of said expression spaces. For instance, during the WMCON 15, it was the first time that user groups representatives seated down together, also with some WMF employees, to discuss user groups in an open manner. I think it is a big step forward which paves the way in other areas too. Problems of the past like VE deployment schedule, and the upcoming Commons reform could profit of the "sit-and-talk" approach. It is costly, it takes time, however in the end there are more smiles, less drama, and the general feeling that besides of the you and me, there is a we, which is created together.
Das Referenz: Wikipedia for iPad: In a detailed blog post, UI design consultancy Raureifunveiled a new iOS application meant to make Wikipedia more readable on-the-go. It reads, in part:
Let’s get this straight: UI-wise, Wikipedia teleports its audience into the year 2004. Not surprisingly, there has been vibrant discussion recently as to how Wikipedia could be updated to feel contemporary. We’ve seen a few good (and even more mediocre) design ideas, but many feel like eye candy without substance.
On a different note, changing this established platform’s design and selling that to a conservative community is likely to be hard, or even impossible, even if the changes are tiny. Too many stakeholders will always ensure that things never really move forward. Apparently, some people are already fed up with the whole discussion and are begging designers to stop whining. But at Raureif, we don’t think this should be the end of the story.
The good news is that Wikipedia’s license allows anyone to take the great community content and shape it into something completely different. So we figured: instead of joining the crowd of designers who are whining and making sexy Dribbble shots, why not actually build the Wikipedia iOS app we’ve always dreamt of? Why not build a sleek app with Wikipedia’s content, but with a reimagined UI and a typographic treatment that is as thoughtful as the hand-crafted design of 100-year-old encyclopedias? (Digital encyclopedias do not have to look like unstyled HTML from the 90s.)
So build it we did, and we called our app Das Referenz. Yes, we’re based in Germany.
Wikipedia's struggle for relevancy in the increasingly media-saturated market (and the difficulty which the roll-out of Foundation-developed technical initiatives like Media Viewer and VisualEditor, meant to address these shortfalls, have had in the past) are a (even the) principal focus behind the Foundation's currently ongoing efforts to re-invent itself (for more information see last month's letter to the mailing list by Lila Tretikov and the publication of the State of the Wiki report). This is likewise not the first effort to bemoan Wikipedia's visual interface in the hopes of offering a better alternative: as the Signpostreported at the time, another similar effort, called Wikiwand, received strong press late last year. R
Parliament IPs scrub MP articles of embarrassment and scandal
The Daily Telegraphreports (May 26), in a story widely circulated in the British media, on Wikipedia editing to articles of Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom prior to the May 7 United Kingdom general election from IP addresses assigned to Parliament. The editing included the removal of a sex scandal and involvement in the United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal, as well as the addition of "flattering" details. Many of the edits have been restored or removed by other editors. None of the politicians contacted by The Telegraph admitted that they or their staffs were responsible for the edits. A spokesman for one MP, Joan Ryan, denied responsibility, pointing out that she "did not even have access to the Parliamentary Internet network from which these changes were made" as she was not in office until the May 7 election. The Telegraph wrote: "It is impossible to prove the changes were made by the MP in question or their staff. However it is unclear why people unconnected to the politician or party would gloss up the Wikipedia biographies from inside Parliament."
The news outlet provided details on changes made to the articles of twelve MPs, listed in the chart below. G.
The New Statesman writes about gender bias on Wikipedia and asks "does it matter if our biggest source of knowledge is written by men?" (May 26) The Statesman notes the failure of the Wikimedia Foundation to increase the number of female editors from around ten percent and provides more examples of the disparity in article coverage: the well-maintained List of pornographic actresses by decade versus the "sprawling dumping ground" of List of female poets and the single article for six seasons of Sex in the City versus the 43 articles about Top Gear. The Statesman interviewed several women about their experiences on Wikipedia. Zara Rahman spoke about her negative experience editing the article on inventor and actress Hedy Lamarr, where Lamarr's discoveries were de-emphasized in the introduction in favor of information about nude scenes and a male film director's opinions about her appearance. (Rahman has previously blogged about her experience.) Theresa Knott (User:Theresa knott) became a Wikipedia editor in 2001 and was an administrator and member of the Arbitration Committee, but she stopped editing in 2012. She said about Wikipedia "The women who were on there were more likely to be people like me...Very geeky kinds of females who thought in a certain way and kind of fitted in with the men. There weren’t many women who would not traditionally be in a male sphere." Claire Millington, a PhD candidate in classics at King’s College London, began editing at a 2013 editathon. She said "There’s a pattern in what’s written about women and their achievements, and it’s basically that they’re not written about. I don’t want Wikipedia to be a place where women are written out of history again, because if it’s not on Wikipedia, it’s not visible." G.
An Aboriginal Wikipedia?: The Guardiandiscusses (May 26) the challenges faced by Clint Bracknell of the University of Sydney and other academics who want to create a Nyungar language Wikipedia, which would be the first Wikipedia from the Australian Aboriginal languages. Nyungar has only 369 speakers as of 2011 as is primarily a spoken language. Bracknell said "Any language that’s not predominantly written is going to require greater flexibility in terms of uploading audio and video." Bracknell also said such a project would have to prioritize sources differently than other Wikipedias, such as oral history over inaccurate written depictions of Aboriginal life by Western observers. G.
Charitable arguing: Jimmy Wales wrote an article (May 24) for the Radio Times about the subject of charitable giving. He wrote "For me the idea of 'giving' has evolved, and I don’t think doing something good has to be about pity or being compelled by my conscience. I think there is a much more modern spirit of giving. Rather than giving being a totally selfless act I actually think it should be a selfish thing – in a good way. It can be fun and uplifting and just part of our everyday lives." The article seems to have attracted little notice or comment regarding its actual subject, but a clause unrelated to the topic – "When I first launched Wikipedia on 15 January 2001" – resulted in a long user talk page discussion on the oft-debated topic of Wales' precise role in the founding of Wikipedia, prompted by the usual suspects from Wikipediocracy. G.
Exciting local news: The Mid Devon Gazettereports (May 20) on a complaint added to the Wikipedia article for the village of Willand in October 2014: "As of 2011, two unknown vandals have been reported doing various things around the village, they have yet to be identified and the local police force has done nothing to find them." The Gazette noted that "at the time neighbours had complained about youths gathering on motorcycles in the vicinity of Willand Village Hall were becoming a nuisance." G.
Unfrozen caveman tweeters: BuzzFeedreports (May 19) on the Twitter backlash faced by cloud computing company FORTAcloud after it tweeted an advertisement featuring a woman in lingerie. One Twitter user linked to the "Objectification" section of the Wikipedia article sexism. The company responded to complaints with tweets claiming their ads were not sexist and that it was an advertising practice engaged in by other companies. One tweet read: "According to Wikipedia, advertising with images of beautiful girls is sexism." G.
Do you want to contribute to "In the media" by writing a story or even just an "in brief" item? Edit next week's edition in the Newsroom or contact the editor.
Recently when my 83 year old father was undergoing medical treatment, the doctor wanted to change one of his blood pressure drugs, and in order to let us know what the effects would be, she printed out the Wikipedia article on the drug and handed it to us. This accords with the overall impression I have developed: Wikipedia's articles on drugs are pretty good — good enough to impress even doctors. A new research study adds some substance to that impression.
A team of German pharmacologists picked a set of 100 drugs described in pharmacology textbooks, and compared the textbook descriptions with Wikipedia articles about the drugs, for accuracy (meaning that the Wikipedia article matched the information in the textbook) and comprehensiveness. They found that 99.7% of the facts in the Wikipedia articles were accurate, and 83.8% of the facts from the textbooks made it into the Wikipedia articles. These numbers were derived from the German Wikipedia, but the authors state that similar results were obtained for the English language version. They conclude that "our results suggest that Wikipedia is an accurate and informative source of drug information for undergraduate medical students." They also revisited the drug articles examined in 2010 by an earlier study which came to less positive conclusions (see coverage in this newsletter: "Quality of drug information in Wikipedia"), and "found the quality of pharmacological information significantly improved". Upon reviewing several other empirical studies which evaluated the quality of medical information on Wikipedia, the authors observe that "despite different methodologies, the main conclusion of these studies was that Wikipedia articles on health topics contain few errors and are well referenced, while the information provided often lacks depth."
Obviously this is something we should be proud of, but let me note a caveat. Articles about specific drugs are a prime example of the sort of thing Wikipedia is best at: articles about topics that can be handled in a systematic way, without requiring mastery of a large body of literature. As a rule, the more comprehensive a topic, the lower the quality of the Wikpedia article. Thus our article on the drug chlordiazepoxide (commonly known as Librium) is better than our benzodiazepine article, which covers the class of drugs to which Librium belongs. The latter article contains a lot of good information but is poorly organized. Our article pharmaceutical drug shows this flaw to an even greater degree. The general take-home message, supported by the German study, is that our medical articles can be very useful to people who are looking for specific facts, but tend to be less useful to people who are trying to understand broad principles.
Notable women "slightly overrepresented" (not underrepresented) on Wikipedia, but the Smurfette Principle still holds
"It's a Man's Wikipedia? Assessing Gender Inequality in an Online Encyclopedia", presented at the Ninth International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM) this week, is an investigation into the gender of biography articles of six different Wikipedias. Four different biases are investigated are coverage bias (who makes it into the encyclopedia), structural bias (which articles link to which), lexical bias (the type of words used in the articles), and visibility bias (who is featured on the Main Page).
Coverage bias is analysed by seeing who from the reference databases of notable humans of Freebase, MIT's Pantheon, and Human Accomplishment are in Wikipedia. A surprising result here is that women are not proportionally underrepresented as hypothesised, but even "slightly overrepresented". (The researchers acknowledge that the first two of these three are at least partly based on Wikipedia themselves, but try to address this issue by "seeking patterns that exist across all three datasets".)
The structural bias is a graph theoretical measure of how men and women's articles link to each other. Here it is show that across all six languages, articles about women tend to link more to articles about men than vice versa. The Smurfette Principle, that women are less central in the link graph, is also tested. The in-degree of the two gendered article categories is compared, and it is found that men are indeed significantly more central in all language editions, except in the Spanish Wikipedia, where men and women are equally central.
The Lexical bias notion stems from the idea of the Finkbeiner test, that a female scientist will often be noted as a woman as much as a scientist. It is indeed found that articles about women place linguistic emphasis on relationship, gender, and family. Whereas top terms in men's articles focus on their professions. The authors mention that this ties into the concept of male as the null gender. For instance the word "divorced" is 4.4 times more frequent in a woman's article than a man's on English Wikipedia. For German and Russian, that multiplier increases to 4.7 and 4.8 times, respectively.
Lastly visibility bias, the propensity of gendered articles to appear on the English Wikipedia Main Page is tested. Yet no significant difference is found in the propensity of the two genders to appear on the Main Page.
Unfortunately this paper suffers from its Euro-focus. The six languages in question are English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Russian, but the width of the methods used still show wide-scale issues. The authors conclude that Wikipedia does show some signs of addressing systemic bias, like equal visibility on the main page, and coverage bias equality; but still there are stark differences in their portrayal. Whether this is due to biases in the real world, or the way that Wikipedians write about the real world, they say, is still an unknown mixed bag.
Editors who use user talk pages are more involved in high-quality articles
An article in the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST) examines Wikipedia editors' public communication using social network analysis theory. This research suggests that Wikipedia editors who engage in communication with others using user talk pages "are more experienced in editing high quality articles and are more integrated in the community". The author distinguishes quantitative and qualitative contributions, noting that the use of communication tools is more directly related to contributing not just to many articles, but to high quality articles, as well as larger number of namespaces. The use of such tools is centered on "coordinating and mentoring editors who edit lower quality articles", or in other words, the author observes that editors who edit high quality articles and use communication tools a lot seem to be more likely to reach out to less experienced editors than the other way around. The author concludes that online collaboration systems are improved through features that allow creation of what the author calls "personal" communication network. Through the study excluded bots, it does not seem to have investigated the details of communication (ex. templates, warnings, awards, others), and so its conclusions on the nature of communications (rather than who engages in it) are more tentative.
"Wikipedia, collective memory, and the Vietnam war"
Should the article Vietnam War open with this lead image (because "it's one of only two photos of [a member of the US military] winning the Medal of Honor"), or instead with a depiction of the My Lai massacre? One of the many debates from the article's talk page (the current version uses a collage of several images)
This paper, likewise published in the JASIST, looks at the Talk:Vietnam War page (and its archives) and analyses it in the context of theories dealing with the concept of collective memory (cultural memory, memory space, and the "floating gap" concept introduced by Pentzold (2009) in his paper on Wikipedia.[supp 1] As such, this paper is one of several works that argues that Wikipedia is a place where modern world's memories are being recorded and, to some extent, shaped for posterity. The paper finds that the Wikipedia's article is affected by two major debates ("(a) whether the US actually lost the war and (b) whether the voice of the American Vietnam veteran should be privileged.") It reviews major, recurring arguments presented by the talk page participants, and concludes that Wikipedia allows us to study how collective memory is shaped. The author also argues that it is the very fact that such debates can be observed on Wikipedia that may distance some educators, primarily librarians, who are used to works that conceal their knowledge production processes. The author ends with a call for librarians to edit Wikipedia, and help their patrons do the same, in order to participate in the 21st century curation of collective memories.
In a separate paper, published earlier in the Journal of Documentation, the author examined the debate about reliable sources on the same talk page and concluded (according to the abstract) that while much of it "is conducted without acrimony, the level of analysis one finds in the talk pages is rather shallow while the attention of individual contributors is not overly concentrated."
Survey of secondary school use of Wikipedia
Three researchers have conducted a survey of the use and perceptions of Wikipedia among secondary school teachers and librarians in the United States. Twenty-two teachers and librarians responded to the survey. The vast majority (91%) reported that "Wikipedia had some effect on student research". Responses were mixed about how positive or negative that effect was, however. Positive comments included responses that Wikipedia is "easily understood...thorough, up-to-date, and easily edited" and "students use it to get the basic ideas for their research, then go to other websites to verify it." Negative comments largely centered on the fact that many students did not go beyond Wikipedia in their research, such as the responses that "students rely on it too heavily and do not expand their research to prove or disprove their findings" and "Students don’t want to check sources when they can just get their work done in one stop." Most (91%) reported that their schools had no policy regarding the use of Wikipedia, but responses were roughly split regarding the need for one. Teachers and those responding that Wikipedia had a negative effect were more likely to respond there was a need for such a policy, as opposed to librarians and those responding it had a positive effect. Based on the results, the authors concluded that any policy should not restrict Wikipedia use. They write "instead of banning and fighting against the usage, students need to be taught the skills to utilize it an effective way, such as how to use Wikipedia as a jumping off point to other potentially more trustworthy resources and how to evaluate the reliability of articles." Given the very small sample size of the survey, this article is more useful for its excellent literature review.
"User Engagement on Wikipedia, A Review of Studies of Readers and Editors": Another ICWSM conference paper frames itself as a literature review of topics that are of key interest to Wikipedia community: editor motivations, engagement, and retention. Unfortunately, it lacks a proper methodology (how did the author select papers to review?), which makes it difficult to discuss how its comprehensiveness. It nonetheless provides a good summary of many other key work in this field, and creates an interesting framework for recognizing some patterns in this subfield of Wikipedia studies. Unsurprisingly, the authors conclude that the Wikipedia community needs to improve its communication with newbies in order to increase their retention (less templates, stark warnings; more friendly personal outreach). (Review by Piotr Konieczny)
An image of sculptures in Berlin, published under the freedom of panorama provisions in German copyright law
Freedom of panorama in Europe: This paper presents an advocacy towards adopting freedom of panorama laws in the context of the European Union law harmonization. It is enriched with case studies from Wikipedia community's history, and has been supported by the Wikimedia Foundation (through the paper does not make it clear how, nor is it released under a free license itself). While suffering from a few minor issues (such as not clearly recognizing that Wikimedia Commons does not accept non-commercial images, and a law that would grant freedom of panorama to non-commercial uses would be of little value to Wikipedia), and heavily geared towards European legislation framework, it is a valuable addition to the discussion of the freedom of panorama concept. (Review by Piotr Konieczny)
Talking like an admin: linguistic mimicry and network centrality on Wikipedia. A new conference paper in the field of sociolinguistics examines whether Wikipedia editors are more likely to linguistically coordinate with (use the same words as) their interlocutors when those others are more centrally located within the social network of Wikipedia, or when speaking to admins. The study draws on an annotated corpus of talkpage discussions[supp 2] in which the admin status of each participant is known, and uses several measures of network centrality (Betweenness and Eigenvector) to calculate the distance between all editors in terms of the number of times they have directly replied to others in a talkpage thread. The authors determine that while editors align their vocabularies more when speaking to admins than non-admins, highly central editors (those who have engaged in a lot of discussions with a lot of different editors) tend to be aligned with whether or not they are admins. Their results suggest that admin status follows high centrality, not the other way around.
Other recent publications
A list of other recent publications that could not be covered in time for this issue – contributions are always welcome for reviewing or summarizing newly published research.
"Wikipédia, objet scientifique non identifié" ("Wikipedia, unidentified scientific object", book in French)
"Improving disease surveillance: sentinel surveillance network design and novel uses of Wikipedia"
"Disaster Monitoring with Wikipedia and Online Social Networking Sites: Structured Data and Linked Data Fragments to the Rescue?"
"Barriers to the Localness of Volunteered Geographic Information"
"Amateur encyclopedia editors as nonprofessional journalists: Wikipedia as a gateway for breaking news" (German, with extended abstract in English)
"How to Extract Seasonal Features of Sightseeing Spots from Twitter and Wikipedia"
"Analysing the use and perception of Wikipedia in the professional context of translation"
"Cross-language Wikipedia Editing of Okinawa, Japan"
"Property type distribution in Wordnet, corpora and Wikipedia"
"Quality Assessment of Wikipedia Articles Using h-index" From the abstract: "In this paper, we propose a method for assessing quality values of Wikipedia articles from edit history using h-index. One of the major methods for assessing Wikipedia article quality is a peer-review based method. In this method, we assume that if an editor's texts are left by the other editors, the texts are approved by the editors, then the editor is decided as a good editor [ see m:Research:Content persistence ]. However, if an editor edits multiple articles, and the editor is approved at a small number of articles, the quality value of the editor deeply depends on the quality of the texts. In this paper, we apply h-index [... to improve this method. ...] the accuracy of article quality assessment in our method outperforms the existing peer-review based method."
"Social Interactions vs Revisions, What is important for Promotion in Wikipedia?" From the abstract: "[We look] at the process of election for administrator in the English Wikipedia community. We modeled the candidates according to their revisions and/or social attributes. [...] Our model combining knowledge contribution variables and social networking variables successfully explain 78% of the results which is better than the former models. It also helps to refine the criterion for election. If the number of knowledge contributions is the most important element, social interactions come close second to explain the election. But being connected with the future peers (the admins) can make the difference between success and failure, making this epistemic community a very social community too."
^Sen, S. W., Ford, H., Musicant, D. R., Graham, M., Keyes, O. S. B., Hecht, B. 2015 Barriers to the Localness of Volunteered Geographic Information. CHI 2015 PDF
^Thomas Roessing: Enzyklopädie-Amateure als Amateur-Journalisten: Wikipedia als Gateway für aktuelle Ereignisse. / Amateur encyclopedia editors as nonprofessional journalists: Wikipedia as a gateway for breaking news HTML, PDF extended abstract in English: PDF. Studies in Communication | Media, No 2 of 2014.
Numbers are up 35% for this action film starring Tom Hardy in the title role, which debuted on Australia on May 14 and in the United States the next day. Despite topping this list, and receiving rapturous reviews (it currently stands at 98% at Rotten Tomatoes), it has not managed to claim the top spot at the box office, being hobbled by Pitch Perfect 2 and then Tomorrowland. But while box office is a big mover of Wikipedia views, controversy is the Bagger 288, and when a mildly antediluvian men's rights activist from the modestly named website returnofkings.com declared that no one should see "Mad Max: Feminist Road", the media smelled some blood and went into a predictable spin. While he admits he hasn't actually, well, seen the film, the guy's gripes are apparently that Max doesn't speak in the trailers, while Charlize Theron does (remind me, how many lines did Max have in The Road Warrior?) and that Theron "Barks orders at Mad Max. Nobody barks orders at Mad Max". I guess he must have missed Tina Turner's immortal line in Beyond Thunderdome, "You can shovel ****, can't you?". Anyway, the only apparent result of this "controversy" is that more women have gone to see the film, which should give it the legs to recover its $150 million budget.
The American talk show host finally retired this week after 33 years on late night television, first on NBC's Late Night with David Letterman and then CBS's The Late Show with David Letterman. In the decades following his defeat in the brief war of succession for the throne of Johnny Carson, Letterman may not have achieved the ratings of the eventual victor, his onetime friend Jay Leno, but was always seen by opinion makers as the true heir to Carson's legacy, not least by Carson himself. While Leno contented himself with puerile caricatures and flat one-liners, Letterman was prickly, genuine, and fiercely topical, often barely concealing disdain for guests he didn't like. His humour bordered on the surreal; sometimes he would blow up cabs or drop televisions out of windows for no reason, while another time he turned two local souvenir shop owners named Mujibur and Sirajul into overnight celebrities just, well, because. With Leno and Letterman passing into the night, the battle has passed to the next generation, with each handing their respective chairs to Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert.
Numbers have almost doubled for this year's event, probably due to its being the diamond jubilee of this most peculiar of international competitions. Politics threatened to rear its ugly head again after it seemed likely that Russia would win the popular vote, and thus the dubious privilege of hosting next year. Thankfully the prospect of one of the most gay-friendly events in the world being held in a country with stringent anti-gay laws was ultimately undone by eventual winner, Sweden.
Numbers are up this week, which isn't surprising, since the latest episode, "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" featured certified sadist Ramsay Bolton raping virginal Sansa Stark to the rage of a number of viewers, particularly the feminist blog "The Mary Sue", who stated they would no longer review the show.
This spinoff from the hit series Arrow marks DC Comics' second attempt to create a TV universe, after the late and much lamented DC Animated Universe. Numbers are up this week for the season finale, which aired on May 19.
This American musical comedy film, and sequel to 2012's Pitch Perfect which generated the improbable hit song Cups, debuted in North America May 15. Starring Anna Kendrick (pictured), it has grossed $187 million worldwide as of May 27 on a budget of just $29 million, only a fifth that of Mad Max: Fury Road. Interestingly, while that film has suddenly become lauded for its feminism, this one, which is geared specifically towards women and has consistently beat it at the box office so far, has been criticised for fat jokes, racial stereotypes and other easy, regressive forms of humour.
To many, Internet Relay Chat is an old relic, but not to Wikipedia. Wikipedia currently has an IRC help channel designated to help and assist editors with editing Wikipedia, #wikipedia-helpconnect. Most of the time, users go there to seek advice and help regarding a draft submission they have written. From time to time, this channel can become a bit crowded, and it becomes difficult to distinguish the standard designated nicks given by the current software. With one user seeking help named "WPhelp14356" and another "WPhelp16432", it can become both confusing and cluttered. At least, that's what PhantomTech and other users are claiming in a recent request for comments.
Another reason for opposition is that the code will not work for users whose usernames include nonstandard (non-ASCII) characters (characters other than a-z, 0-9, etc.).
The system currently in use assigns a default "WPhelp"-nick, but does not inform users that their IP will be visible to other members in the chat room. Therefore, the proposal also includes that a disclaimer as well as a FAQ be added on a new Wikipedia-namespace page, which is currently located in PhantomTech's userspace pending acceptance of this RfC.
Editor's note: After writing this report, but before publication, the RfC in question was closed by Guerillero with clear consensus for the disclaimer, but with no consensus for the auto-population of irc nicknames.
Misleading readers with funny DYK hooks
After multiple cleverly piped, misleading DYK-hooks appeared on the main page, the user Fgf10 had finally had enough and started a discussion on Did You Know's talk page. Some editors were direct in their counterarguments:
Just because you're unable to appreciate [them] doesn't mean the rest of us, and our readers, must live in your dull world of droning, lifeless facts.
Despite this comedic closing remark by the user, the underlying question remains.
Wikipe-tan wishes you good luck with your discussions. Luck is the universe's magic.
Military dates: Another discussion and request for comments regarding "What does DATETIES mean for articles on US military personnel" has commenced and is currently being held here. It all started again after HandsomeFella noticed that an article about a brigadier general in the United States Air Force, Paul Tibbets, was using MDY dates. This has now been branched off into two subsections.
Discussions and RfCs that just go on and on and on and…: The WikiProject Film's talkpage has been dominated by a way overdrawn and too long discussion regarding if non notable awards should be removed from film articles. Seems like a simple short discussion could be held and consensus can be reached? Think again. With the thread having been created in mid-April, this discussion has now reached three arbitrary breaks.
It doesn't does matter if you're blue or yellow: It has been discussed whether Alabama on the map of same-sex marriage in the United States should be blue (legal) or yellow (stayed indefinitely pending appeal).
Protection level 3: An IP editor suggested a third protection level allowing IPs to create articles here. Only three users participated.
Removal of the rollback link: A user requested at the technical village pump that the "rollback" link be removed, since there is no confirmation page. Although a CSS extension is available, there is discussion as to whether the Twinkle rollback options are preferable.
Merge magic in the making?: During the week, the discussion regarding whether or not the disambiguation page Magician should be merged with the disambiguation page The Magicians began. Thus far, no consensus has been achieved.
Camas pocket gopher(nominated by Gaff)Thomomys bulbivorus, the "camas pocket gopher" or "camas rat", is a rodent endemic to the Willamette Valley region of Oregon, US. The highly defensive critter is characterized by huge incisors, perfect for tunneling through the hard soils of its habitat. The burrowing rodent causes extensive crop damage in areas of heavy agricultural use. Farmers use poisoned bait or traps placed in the burrows to control gophers, while one domestic solution involves the use of blank .22 cartridges, which kill the rodent by blasting its face with hot gas. The manufacturers of the device claim that the smell of decomposing rodent bodies discourages other gophers from setting up home in your lawn.
Florence Nagle(nominated by Sagaciousphil, Eric Corbett, Richerman, Giano, and Dr. Blofeld) Florence Nagle was a breeder of horses, dogs, and other animals, who successfully challenged discriminatory practices in horse racing. She became one of the first two women in the UK licensed to train racehorses, and continued to fight for women's rights until her death in 1988. Nagle was an extremely successful breeder of Irish setters and Irish wolfhounds, winning many prizes at Crufts and other shows. Believing that "dogs should be capable of carrying out the work the breed was developed to do", she promoted the use of the wolfhound in hunting down that most dangerous of predators, the hare.
Jacobus Anthonie Meessen(nominated by Crisco 1492) This 19th-century Dutch photographer worked throughout modern-day Indonesia, imaging both the landscape and the people. On his return to the Netherlands, Meessen presented King William III with an elaborate album of 153 photographs from the Dutch Indies.
Children of Mana(nominated by PresN) The sixth in the Mana series developed for the Nintendo DS, this role-playing video game features a "top-down" perspective; it requires the player to guide her characters through the terrain and fight off hostile creatures. The game enjoyed modest commercial success, and while its graphics and music have been praised, several critics disliked the monotonous gameplay.
Battle of Labuan(nominated by Nick-D) Labuan, a small island off the coast of North Borneo, was occupied by Japanese forces in January 1942. They built two airfields using conscripted labour, and subjected the island's population to harsh treatment. The Australian Army were assigned the task of kicking the Japanese out of Borneo in March 1945. A beachhead was established on Labuan in June, and the Japanese were forced into a small area called the "Pocket" by Allied troops; after an artillery bombardment the area was cleared of IJA troops by 21 June. Allied air bombing and naval bombardment had destroyed all the buildings on the island. The liberating troops were faced with supporting about 3,000 homeless civilians as well as reconstructing the airfields.
2003 Sri Lanka cyclone(nominated by Hurricanehink) Although the center of this slow-moving tropical cyclone stayed hundreds of miles away from Sri Lanka, its expansive circulation fueled torrential rains over the island nation, with one location receiving 100 mm of precipitation in just an hour. The resultant flooding was the worst Sri Lanka had seen in over a half century, killing 260 people and displacing as many as 800,000. According to nominator Hurricanehink, this article was improved as part of an ongoing effort to diversify Wikipedia's coverage of tropical cyclones.
SMS Königsberg (1905)(nominated by Parsecboy) A German light cruiser, the Konigsberg was sent to German East Africa shortly before the outbreak of the First World War. She attempted to raid French and British merchant shipping, but was restricted in her operations by coal shortages- only one ship and the Royal Navy cruiser Pegasus were sunk. When the Konigsberg steamed into the Rufiji River to effect repairs, British cruisers blockaded the river mouth. The German sailors managed to occupy the attentions of a succession of enemy ships for several months before disease and shortages of ammunition, coal, and food took their toll. Eventually two British shallow-draft monitors were sent upriver; they damaged the Konigsberg, which was then scuttled by her crew. The ex-captain of Pegasus bought the salvage rights in 1924 for £200, stripping the wreck of non-ferrous scrap before selling the rights on. Salvage work continued sporadically until 1965, and the Konigsberg collapsed into the riverbed in 1966.
British contribution to the Manhattan Project(nominated by Hawkeye7) The Manhattan Project was the name given to the massive scientific, technical and logistical project to develop the atomic bomb. The British contribution of scientific research undertaken from 1939 onwards, was soon overtaken by the United State's contribution, supported by vastly superior resources in personnel and manufacturing capability. American suspicion of Britain led to the rapid curtailment of cooperation between the Allies after 1945.
Corona Borealis(nominated by Casliber) A minor but ancient Northern Sky constellation, Corona Borealis encompasses several intriguing star systems, as well as a prominent galactic supercluster. One star served as the prototype of a very rare class of stars called R Coronae Borealis variables, while another is a recurrent nova that periodically blossoms to many times its normal brightness. There are several multiple star systems, one of which harbors no less than six individual members. The constellation has symbolized various objects to different peoples throughout history, from a crown in Greek mythology to an Aboriginal boomerang.
1880 Greenback National Convention(nominated by Coemgenus) Coemgenus explains, "This article is about the political convention of a minor political party in 1880. The eventual nominee, James B. Weaver, collected only three percent of the presidential vote that year, but the issues debated in the convention's platform fights— women's suffrage, child labor, immigration, and the eight-hour-day— would become nationwide discussions for later generations." The party was named after the "greenback", a nickname for a form of fiat currency issued by the US government during and after the American Civil War. They were against a return to a monetary system based on gold and silver, believing that an unbacked currency would benefit business and agriculture by raising prices and making debt easier to redeem.
Amy Adams filmography(nominated by Cowlibob) From another prolific film editor, this list chronicles the work of Amy Adams, an American actress whose professional career started with her role in the 1999 black comedyDrop Dead Gorgeous. Known for her performances in films such as Junebug, Enchanted, Doubt, The Master, American Hustle, and Big Eyes, among others, Adams has won two Golden Globes and appeared in numerous television shows.
List of unusual dismissals in international cricket(nominated by Vensatry) There are ten different ways for a batsman to be dismissed in cricket, of which four are regarded as unusual, and are not credited to the bowler. These are: handling the ball, hitting it twice, obstructing the fielding side by word or deed, and taking more than three minutes after the dismissal of the previous batsman to be ready to play. This article lists the eighteen occasions on which an unusual dismissal has occurred in matches between national teams. It includes two instances where the batsman was retired by his team's captain without the umpire's permission, and one dismissal in a women's One Day International, when Dilani Manodara scored runs so slowly that the game was at risk of becoming a two day event.
Black lory(created and nominated by Crisco 1492) The black lory is a bird common to West Papua and the Indonesian island of Misool. It is medium-sized and black, with a red and yellow undertail. First described by a French explorer in 1776, it was given its formal name of Chalcopsitta atra by Giovanni Antonio Scopoli, the "first anational European". Scopoli never did see a black lory, but he was able to derive from the explorer's informal description an accurate determination of the new species. Why was he "anational"? Unfortunately our article on him doesn't explain...
To think that this glorious spiral galaxy was once categorized as an annoying distraction in the night sky.
Government of Ceylon rupee(created and nominated by Godot13) In the 1920s, the "poverty line" in Colombo was defined by colonial administrators as a monthly income of 9 rupees for a man, 7 rupees for a woman, and 6 rupees for a child, so this 5 rupee note from 1929 would support a family of four for about five days in the poorest slums. The complicated patterns on the note are made from engravings produced by a rose engine lathe, although the note itself is printed by the cheaper lithographic process.
Pinwheel Galaxy(created by NASA/ESA; nominated by Pine) This high-resolution image of the Pinwheel Galaxy is a composite of 51 individual exposures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope between 1994 and 2003, along with some material from ground-based telescopes. You may think that a particularly long time to take a photo, but also consider that the photons required for its creation had been traveling for 21 million years before reaching their destination.
Parantica aglea(created by Jkadavoor; nominated by Pine) The Glassy Tiger butterfly is a species native to India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Burma. "Fuliginous" (sooty) black with bluish-white markings, it eats Tylophora tenuis, a plant which is being studied for its reputed anti-ulcer properties.
Rosette Bearing the Names and Titles of Shah Jahan(creator unknown; nominated by The Herald) You may not have heard of Shah Jahan, but you've no doubt seen his transcendent contribution to world architecture, the Taj Mahal, perhaps with a despondent princess in front. This magnificent example of Islamic art contains his names and titles in the centre, surrounded by an intricate floral network resembling a walled garden, and on the outside various birds in gold. Since anything created by man is imperfect, there's a deliberate mistake somewhere in the rosette.
Cassette recorder(created by Evan-Amos; nominated by Crisco 1492) Here's a sentence that won't make any sense to your children: "I bought a cassette recorder at Radio Shack." It played cassettes, small plastic boxes holding thin ribbons of tape coated with ferric oxide (rust) or chromium dioxide (posh rust). The amount of music that could be recorded depended on the thinness of the tape- the thinner the tape the more could be packed into a cassette. The most common cassettes were C60, holding 30 minutes of music a side, C90 holding 45 minutes of music a side, and C120, holding 5 minutes of music followed by 30 seconds of high-pitched squealing as the tape got chewed up. Hey, don't knock it- Kate Bush based a whole musical career on those 30 seconds!
Sega video game consoles(nominated by PresN; contributions by Red Phoenix, Indrian, SexyKick, TheTimesAreAChanging, and PresN) The result of a "multi-year collaboration", this topic encompasses a series of articles on video game consoles developed by the Japan-based company Sega. Sega, which introduced the highly recognizable Sonic the Hedgehog character, turned to gaming consoles after interest in its arcade machines fell during the 1980s. Five articles in this series of eleven have been promoted to featured articles, and one of them—the Sega Genesis—is at the helm of its own subtopic.
...allegedly. In a post to wikitech-l, Steven Walling pointed out that the TV show CSI: Cyber had used a screenshot of MediaWiki's HTML output and claimed it was responsible for blowing up printers.
In other related news:
MediaWiki 1.25 released
2015 Lyon Hackathon logo
MediaWiki 1.25 was released (announcement) during the 2015 Lyon Hackathon. It features numerous changes that have been live on Wikimedia sites for a few months, including bringing live preview out of beta, numerous API format and documentation improvements, and major performance improvements in the backend and frontend.
Deployment cadence is changing
Greg Grossmeierannounced on wikitech-l that the deployment cadence will be changing to make it less confusing for users and faster for developers to get new code to Wikipedias. The new schedule is:
Tuesday: New branch cut, deployed to "group0" wikis (test wikis and mediawiki.org)
Wednesday: deployed to non-Wikipedias
Thursday: deployed to Wikipedias
It will take effect starting with the 1.26wmf9 branch (June 9th).
Developers meet at Lyon hackathon
MediaWiki and Wikimedia developers, users and more met up in Lyon during the 2015 Wikimedia Hackathon. There were various meetings, sprints, and random projects worked on over the weekend. The author is still jetlagged from this event, so you can read more about what different projects were presented at the showcase at phab:T96378.
If you find this page on any site other than Wikipedia, you are viewing a mirror site. Be aware that the page may be outdated, and that the user this page belongs to may have no personal affiliation with any site other than Wikipedia itself. The original page is located at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Alvaro.