News and notes
Collaboration with the British Museum and in Serbia, Interaction with researchers, and more
Hoxne hoard challenge
Items from the Hoxne hoard
As part of the collaboration with the British Museum (earlier Signpost coverage: June 7, March 15) there will be an online and in-person challenge to improve the article Hoxne hoard this week, culminating on Friday, June 25. Editors will be meeting at the British Museum to work on the article, and remote online participation is also encouraged; you can sign up on the challenge page.
The underlying purpose of the event is to see whether it is possible to produce quality Wikipedia content in a short period of time, when all relevant authors, curators and subject area experts are in the room to assist (see list of professionals attending). If successful, the Hoxne challenge could be a model for encouraging the creation of quality Wikipedia content.
The article concerns a cache of Roman gold and silver pieces discovered in Britain in 1992; it is the largest and richest hoard ever found and is now held in the British Museum. According to the challenge page, the article was chosen because:
This is a high importance article, with high popular awareness and copious published sources and readily available experts at the BM, but it is of very low quality on Wikipedia (see also WP:GLAM/BM#Qualitative). Nevertheless, the article was one of the highest individual referral articles to the British Museum website last month.
The article was a stub when the challenge was announced and considerable progress has already been achieved, taking it from a 2 Kb to a 19 Kb article (diff). In recognition of the "Hoxne Challenge" the British Museum has updated its highlights page to now feature the most famous Hoxne item - the "Empress" pepper pot..
Other ongoing British Museum collaborations are one-on-one collaborations between editors and museum curators; and the Featured article prize competition, in which prizes are awarded for new featured articles on topics related to the British Museum. In recognition of the high quality of Wikipedia's Featured Articles, the museum has also begun linking out to Featured Articles that are about objects in its collection.
Billboards in Serbia, and new staff
Wikimedia Serbia is collaborating with an artistic group on a billboard campaign with images of cultural and scientific figures from Serbia, as well as figures from Wikimedia, including Jimmy Wales and Richard Stallman. The billboard images are simple, with a photograph of the person displayed, the project website and the Wikipedia logo. Preliminary photos can be seen here. The billboard space is being donated. The first image is of Radoje Domanovic (until this Tuesday); later images will be chosen by Wikimedians. The website for the project is likilink.org.
In other news from Wikimedia Serbia, Juliana Da Costa José has been hired as Chief of Office for Wikimedia Serbia, and will start her job after Wikimania. This will be an unpaid position to begin with, with salary contingent on successful fundraising for Wikimedia Serbia.
Pending changes roll-out continues
The roll-out of the Wikipedia:Pending changes trial (see coverage in the June 7 and June 14 Signpost issues) began as planned last week. As of 22:00 UTC on 21 June, 537 articles were using the feature, all except two (Massoud Barzani and Bosniaks) with Level 1 protection. Articles are being added in four batches per day from a queue. From the second week of the trial, whole categories can be nominated for Pending changes.
The roll-out was accompanied by media coverage and a debate about its significance for the Wikipedia's model of open collaboration. See this week's In the news section.
"Researcher" group added
Some weeks ago, the Foundation added a new user rights group called researcher to the English Wikipedia. Currently, it involves the right to search deleted pages (browsearchive), higher limits in API queries (apihighlimits), and the ability to view deleted history entries without their associated text (deletedhistory) – that is, a small subset of the rights of administrators. In an RfC, the Foundation's deputy director Erik Möller explained the rationale for the new group and suggested that the community should develop a process for deciding about new applications. However, most commenters preferred the Foundation to oversee this process. The user rights group was created following a request by User:DarTar, who is currently the only user listed in it. One other application was put on hold.
Outlook on user-experience improvements beyond the interface
In a blog post titled WikiDashboard revisited, Naoko Komura, the outgoing head of the Wikimedia Foundation's user-experience (UX) programs, wrote about a meeting between some Wikimedia staff members and researcher Ed Chi of the PARC Augmented Social Cognition Group. The Group's research gave rise to concern about the long-time health of the Wikipedia community last year (see Signpost coverage); previously, it had constructed the "WikiDashboard", a tool that can analyze editor contributions (in a manner discouraged on the Wikimedia Toolserver for privacy reasons). The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibilities for making Wikipedia a "more social place", beyond the improvements in the user interface achieved in the now-concluding Stanton usability project. Without describing details, Komura said that "Ed shared his wisdom to focus on optimizing resources rather than focusing on growth, as a growth cannot be expected when the resources is not optimized." In her post – published shortly after her last workday at the Foundation (as announced at the end of last month, see Signpost coverage) – Komura noted that she "had been struggling with competing priorities, because collaborative open source development can be overwhelming just dealing with mounting immediate issues, and often times investing in opportunities for future is postponed due to immediate priorities to fix problems".
- RecentChangesCamp 2010 will be held June 25-27 in Montreal. Recent Changes Camp is an unconference about wikis; Wikimedia editors are welcome to attend.
- The pictures from Britain Loves Wikipedia are now available on Commons, and are in need of categorization and adding to articles. See the WMUK blog post for details.
- An open meeting was held on Meta on June 17; topics included the debate on Commons, a committee for Wikimania, the status of Wikimedia Spain, and internal communication and governance.
- Wikipedia:Size in volumes has been updated with current statistics; Wikipedia is now estimated as being the equivalent of approximately 1,400 standard encyclopedia-sized volumes.
- Wikimedia Deutschland has published its monthly report for May 2010 (the German original includes the links missing from the English version).
- The video of a 1 hour interview with Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, conducted by Oppenheim Associates in April 2010, has been posted to the Foundation's website: part 1, part 2