Reminders to myself: (1) Coverage on Wikipedia is much better than its quality. I should strive to improve the quality of wikipedia, it's a job not enough people are doing. (2) Wikipedia covers lots of articles on unencyclopedic crap. I will accept this and not waste my time fighting it. (3) Focusing too much on deletion is a bad but tempting thing. (4) Do your real work, don't waste all your time here. I mean it.
An extension of this: it's really been bothering me lately that people seem to not understand the boundaries of what we can accomplish during deletion debates. Try to remember that administrators are not slaves.
Some of the articles I have written or significantly contributed to include:
Editor's note: the Blog will be a recurring Signpost section that will highlight a recent post from the Wikimedia blog, run by the Wikimedia Foundation. This week's installment is written by Dorothy Howard, the Wikipedian-in-Residence at the Metropolitan New York Library Council. The views expressed in this piece are those of the author alone; responses and critical commentary are invited in the comments section. (continued→)
Last week, my colleagues on the Signpost produced a news report covering a minor controversy about a report commissioned by the Wikimedia Foundation. Written by the staff of The Lafayette Practice, a French research firm, it proclaimed the WMF as a leader in the practice of participatory grantmaking. In response to an apparently self-promotional WMF blog post heralding the report, an Examiner.com article by Gregory Kohs, longtime Wikipedia critic and founder of MyWikiBiz, alleged that the report, the blog post, and the Wikipedia article on participatory grantmaking—created by WMF staffer Asaf Bartov and since deleted—were a WMF promotional effort that constituted a violation of the conflict of interest guideline. (continued→)
Before being indefinitely blocked, made more than 4600 edits on the English Wikipedia, spread over eight years. In the last two years, he was paid to edit several articles for clients that included the Venezuelan energy company Derwick Associates; Fergus maintains that this was his only step into paid advocacy, rather than paid editing, a distinction that the Signpost has drawn attention to previously. Fergus was banned in December 2014 amid allegations advocating for pay on behalf of e-cigarettes. We spoke with him about his experiences. (continued→)
The Report this week is dominated by the Academy Awards, taking the top 4 spots and 13 of the Top 25 (if you count another big jump in views for Stephen Hawking at #4). In the aggregate this is not too much different than the past two years, where the top American movie award show took 12 slots in 2014 and 14 in 2013. The 87th Academy Awards article led at #1 with an impressive 6.2 million views, though a rather low mobile view count of 12.17% suggests those numbers might be somewhat inflated; Best Picture Birdman had 2.2 million views with 50% mobile views. (continued→)
, former editor-in-chief of the Signpost, 2010–11), is responsible for the publication of the report in its new format. The Wikimedia Foundation released their Quarterly Report last week covering the three months October to December of 2014. The Foundation has been releasing and making publicly available internal operational reports—originally presented directly to the Board of Trustees—since January 2008. What makes the publication of this particular report notable from an organizational perspective is that it is the first report published since the Foundation's decision to move to a quarterly instead of monthly structure late last fall. A key reason for the decision was to better align reporting with the Foundation's generally quarterly planning and goal-setting processes. Due to the larger time spans, the new quarterly reports attempt to highlight key priorities moreso than to present detailed quarterly activities documentation. Highlights from Foundation going-ons continue to be posted as blog-aggregated Wikimedia Highlights; more detailed information is presented in team-separated WMF quarterly reviews. (continued→)
*So why don't you kill me?: Numerous news outlets are reporting that the domain loser.com now redirects to the Wikipedia article for rapper Kanye West. Page views on West's Wikipedia article skyrocketed to almost 250,000 views on March 2, up from less than 19 thousand the previous day. At the 57th Annual Grammy Awards on February 8, West leaped on stage to interrupt Album of the Year winner Beck, but a moment later left the stage without saying anything. Beck first achieved fame with the 1993 single "Loser"; the song's chorus is referenced in our headline. CBC News reports (March 2) that a Twitter user claims responsibility and said that she has owned the domain for 20 years.
I'll be there for Kim Jong-un: Wired published a long article (March 1) about activists who smuggle cultural products, including Western films and television shows like Friends, into North Korea on USB flash drives in an effort to destabilize the totalitarian military regime. It reports that one of the activist groups, the North Korea Strategy Center, "is working with the Wikimedia Foundation to put a North Korean-dialect version of Wikipedia on every flash drive it smuggles over."
Hong Kong government slammed for citing Wikipedia: The South China Morning Post reports (March 1) that Hong Kong's government "has been accused of using standards of sourcing that would shame an undergraduate student after citing information from Wikipedia in Legislative Council papers."
Editors-for-hire on Wikipedia: The print edition of the Financial Times (February 27) featured an article on paid editing, with comments by the WMF's Katherine Maher, Michael Wood of Legalmorning, Dariusz Jemielniak and others. (The online version of the article is only available to FT subscribers.)
Arrested for Wikipedia edit: The Toronto Sun reports (February 26) that a member of the Canadian Armed Forces has been arrested for an inappropriate edit to the article Suicide of Rehtaeh Parsons and other online comments related to the case, according to Parsons' father. The case is also covered by Vice (February 26) and CBC News (February 27), which reports that "No charges have been laid, the man was released on several conditions and the investigation continues".
Building Wikipedia: ArchDaily reports (February 25) on the #wikiD event created by ArchiteXX, an organization of female architects , to coincide with International Women's Day on March 8. Inspired by the 2013 essay "Unforgetting Women Architects: From the Pritzker to Wikipedia" by Professor Despina Stratigakos, it seeks to "write into wikipedia women designers, architects and all those involved in the creation of our built environment."
Online threats: The Irish Times reports (February 25) that an Irish former medical student was given a three-year suspended sentence for sending threatening letters to instructors at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland after he was refused readmission. The letters threatened to reveal confidential medical information about 1,300 patients by posting it on Wikipedia.
Wikipedia as sculpture: In an interview (February 25) with the Charleston City Paper, comedian Kyle Kinane was asked about the accuracy of some information about his family that appeared in his Wikipedia article. He said "Hey, man, what do you want to do, pull the curtain back on Wikipedia? I will say that Wikipedia, I never put that page up there, and I don't know how you access Wikipedia pages, but as long as it's nothing offensive or cruel to me or my family, I look at it like a living art project. I look at it like a literary sculpture that the public can access and augment at any time. So yeah, maybe my dad did sell beer at those events...When people are like, 'So, your grandfather was Lon Chaney Jr.'s stunt man?' I just go, 'Sure was, guy. Sure was.'"
How Wikipedia reminds me: In an interview (Feburary 25) with Music Times, Nickelback guitarist Ryan Peake expressed surprise that he had no Wikipedia article. Peake said " The less I'm on the internet, the better! I truly do appreciate any kind of privacy I can get living in the spotlight. It doesn't bother me. It's kind of nice that nobody's paying attention. I don't feel slighted whatsoever." A Wikipedia article on Peake was created in December 2002 but it was edited to redirect to his band in April 2011. Attempts to recreate the article in December 2013 and May 2014 were reverted. On the day of the interview's publication, another editor turned the redirect into an article. (continued→)
Editor's note: eagle-eyed readers will have spotted that we promised an interview with Newyorkbrad for last week's Signpost. We were unfortunately unable to deliver the interview as planned, and it is instead below. Our apologies to Newyorkbrad and to any readers who may have been disappointed by the interview's absence last week.
In the first of what the author hopes will become a regular feature of the Arbitration report, the Signpost speaks to veteran arbitrator , who recently retired from the committee after almost seven years of arbitrating. The Signpost was keen to hear his thoughts on his time on the committee and on the past, present, and future of ArbCom. (continued→)