Kenyan man said to have used Wikipedia as principal source to build his own airplane
It was widely reported that a 42-year-old Kenyan man, Gabriel Nderitu, has built a full size aircraft, designed by himself, in his front yard. His claim that his principal source of information was Wikipedia received a lot of media mention - he was quoted as saying "I read up on the mechanics and science of flight on the internet, downloading about 2GB of information. Mostly I used Wikipedia – it gives you all the specs, that's the good thing". Mr Nderitu, an IT engineer, made the plane largely out of old car parts and scrap, including an engine from a Toyota Corolla. While the project has generated a lot of enthusiasm in Kenya, the plane has yet to fly, and the country's Civil Aviation Authority has served Nderitu with a letter ordering him to "refrain from further construction or development". See The Guardian, Time magazine, The Independent.
Foundation's strategic planning process as a model for companies?
An article titled "Can You Open-Source Your Strategy?" that appeared in the October issue of the Harvard Business Review looked back at the Wikimedia Foundation's Strategic Planning process, as a successful "crowdsourcing" experiment that offers "valuable insights for companies looking to revitalize their own strategy formulation processes". It was written by Barry Newstead (who was involved in the process as a consultant from the non-profit Bridgespan Group and is now the Foundation's Chief Global Development Officer) and Laura Lanzerotti. The article presented four lessons learned ("often the hard way"): To present ideas early to the crowd, because "too much polish" leads to simple pro/contra voting instead of insightful feedback; to "share the raw data" because this enables contributors to find new patterns in it; to allow sufficient time for feedback; and to "recognize when a crowd is just a crowd" ("Contributors can help on many strategy issues, but some—such as resource allocation trade-offs—benefit from C-suite engagement").
Wikipedia's notability guidelines criticized as one-sided emphasis of logic over rhetoric
Wikipedia's practice of accepting only established knowledge was criticized in a recent editorial in the scholarly journal AI & Society - Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Communication, published by Springer Verlag (Gill, Karamjit S. (September 2010). "Beyond logic and rhetoric: the argumentative scientist". AI & Society. doi:10.1007/s00146-010-0301-7. ISSN0951-5666.). It was prompted by the outcome of an AfD debate in February which had led to the deletion of the article "naturoid" about a concept that had been propagated by Massimo Negrotti (a professor at the University of Urbino and occasional contributor to the journal) for about two decades, but was found by the closing administrator to be "a neologism which has not (yet) achieved the notability required for an article" on the grounds that it hadn't received enough coverage outside Negrotti's own writings. AI & Society argued that "the argument that knowledge is accepted only if it is attested is a reductive view, and it seems to invalidate any future work that is theoretical, methodological or philosophical [...] If WP is an international depository of knowledge, then surely we could reasonably expect hospitality to new knowledge and understanding of the diversity of views in order to benefit from them." The editorial went further to frame the deletion as based on an over-emphasis of logic over rhetoric of knowledge:
Possibly we can see the conflict between Negrotti and WP to lie in the old division of rhetoric from knowledge or contrariness between logic and rhetoric. It could be said that Negrotti’s argument for inclusion of his article in WP is based on his affirmation of the dialectics of logic and rhetoric; logic of long-term notability of new knowledge, and rhetoric of hospitality to the diversity of knowledges. The argument of WP gatekeepers seems to be constrained by the logic of instrumental reason, with little scope of giving hospitality to rhetoric of the public sphere.
Wales visits India: Jimmy Wales visited India last week and gave a talk at a Mumbai meetup, generating new media coverage about the Wikimedia Foundation's plans to establish its first-ever presence outside of the USA, in India. See BBC, Hindustan Times, AFP, WA Today, and earlier Signpost coverage: September 27 ("India: Media speculation on country's future 'Wiki-capital'"), September 6, and August 30. News website Tech2 published a summary of Wales' talk along with a short interview. The location of the new office still hasn't been announced, and the job opening for its director was recently extended until October 29.
Foreign deletions: In related news, Indian technology news website CIOL recently asked "Are foreigners deleting Wikipedia's India content?", quoting an Indian Wikipedia contributor who complained that non-Indians "edit or modify the submitted Indian content and articles as per their own knowledge and understanding. As they are based outside India they often alter the content or even go to the extremes of deletion", but conceded that "the content or articles doesn’t get deleted if there are references or sources mentioned."
Total edit count (blue) and edits per day
Wikipedia's contribution rates: A blog post titled "Rethinking Wikipedia contributions rates" offered some thoughts related to the Editor Trends Study recently begun by Diederik van Liere (the WMF's research consultant and a former collaborator of the post's author). In related news, ais523 last week posted a chart of the daily and total count on the English Wikipedia over time (similar to the charts provided by the WMF here and here, but obtained via a different method).
Article about non-notability establishes notability: The article about Olga Diaz, a member of the city council of Escondido, California, was recreated last week after local newspaper North County Times had reported on its deletion as non-notable, thereby providing a reference to be cited in the recreated version.