Wikimedia Foundation's "Contribution Team" calls for backlog drive
The Wikipedia Contribution Team, a group of editors who are part of the Wikimedia Foundation's outreach effort to the English Wikipedia community, calls for participation in a "Great Backlog Drive", to clear out Wikipedia's backlogs during the Foundation's 2010 fundraising period (which officially started on November 15, is envisaged to run until mid-January, and places special emphasis on community involvement this year, see Signpost coverage). Backlog elimination drives held earlier this year by the Guild of Copy Editors and WikiProject Wikify have substantially decreased their backlogs. WikiProject Unreferenced BLPs is always busy hacking away at their backlog. Other backlogs have not seen such a huge focus. Some small backlogs could be easily completed by any interested editors:
Sue Gardner on very young and on very confident Wikipedians
The Wikimedia Foundation's Executive Director Sue Gardner recently traveled to Sweden, attending Wikimedia Sverige's third "Wikipedia Academy" in Stockholm, and on that occasion wrote two posts on her personal blog. In "Wikipedia Pattern: the very young editor", she described meeting a Swedish Wikipedian who had started to contribute at the age of 10, and observed generally: "It used to be that unusually smart kids were typically kind of isolated and lonely, until they met others as smart as them, either in university or later. I think that one of the unsung benefits of the internet, and Wikipedia in particular, is that it makes it possible for smart kids to connect with other people who are equally curious, who share their intellectual interests, and take them seriously, in a way that would’ve been completely unavailable to them 10 years earlier." Earlier this month, German magazine Der Spiegel had portrayed four teenage Wikipedians in an article titled "Wie Jugendliche uns die Welt erklären" ("How youngsters are explaining the world to us"). In another post titled "Länge leve Wikipettrar!", Sue Gardner reported learning from a journalist about the Swedish neologism "wikipetter", a pejorative for Wikipedians which is derived from the Swedish word "viktigpetter" (meaning "know-it-all" or "smart-ass"). On the Swedish Wikipedia, entries about the term have been deleted several times since 2007 (it has a page in the project namespace though, where it is related to the English Wikipedia's concept of wikilawyering). While acknowledging that Swedish Wikipedians might find it insulting, Gardner said "I think it’s charming that the Swedish people have developed a special word for smarty-pants Wikipedians", and also observed that "if I had to pick a single characteristic that’s common to all [Wikipedia] editors, I’d say it’s confidence. All Wikipedia editors share the belief that they know something worth sharing with others."
GLAM-WIKI conference: On November 26/27, the GLAM-WIKI conference organized by Wikimedia UK and convened by Liam Wyatt (User:Witty lama) brought representatives from various galleries, libraries and museums together with Wikimedians, at the British Museum in London. User:HstryQT has collected several quotes from the presentations as reported on Twitter ("Best quotes from #GLAMWIKI"). Audio recordings of the presentations are expected to become available soon, and the next Signpost issue might contain fuller coverage. Another GLAM-WIKI conference is taking place in Paris this week.
Wikipedia's mobile strategy: On the Strategy wiki, Mani Pande (Senior Research Analyst in the Wikimedia Foundation's Global Development department) posted a draft summary of "four trends that are going to define the mobile experience globally", serving "as guideposts for us for Wikipedia's mobile strategy". The four trends are that Internet access by mobile devices is growing faster than "desktop Internet", a "segmentation" of users regarding access speed, with faster connections not available to many Internet users in the Global South, and significant barriers to the adoption of 3G networks there, and the continuing importance of social networking sites, especially Facebook. Recommendations include improvements to reading and editing on the mobile versions of the site, both for high- and low-speed access, and partnering "with network providers in key regions" to provide Wikipedia's "thin client" (mobile.wikipedia.org) at low or no cost, and to "provide integration of mobile versions of Wikipedia sites with Facebook mobile."
Wikidata: On the Foundation-l mailing list, the Foundation's Deputy Director Erik Möller mentioned plans for a "Wikidata Commons", a central repository of structured data for all Wikimedia projects, with similarities to existing projects, such as the Semantic MediaWiki-based "Shortipedia" and Freebase. Back in 2004, Möller had already proposed the Wikidata project. (See also recent Signpost coverage of related proposals: "A centralised 'data wiki'".) Möller said that the Foundation's "Data Summit" that has been planned for a while (bringing together various people involved in such efforts) had to be delayed until next year. Speaking about Wikimedia sites in general, he remarked that "we're continuing to fall behind the rest of the web in terms of usability."
Lobbying for freedom of panorama: The Argentinian Wikimedia chapter has written a letter to legislators petitioning them to amend the nation's copyright law to include freedom of panorama exemptions similar to those of other countries (allowing the distribution of photos of works of art that are permanently on display in public places). It warns that otherwise "many images of national culture will disappear from Wikipedia", citing recent deletion debates on Wikimedia Commons and the article about Floralis Generica (a flower sculpture landmark in Buenos Aires 23 m high) as examples. The Argentine chapter has previously been involved in similar lobbying efforts about other aspects of Argentine copyright law, which is considered very restrictive compared to that of other countries, and two of the chapter's members recently traveled to Europe to present a book about the copyright situation in Argentina at the Frankfurt Book Fair - see Signpost coverage.
Diagram of the relationship between Wikipedia articles, generated by Inforapid
Mindmaps from Wikipedia articles: The website en.inforapid.org offers mindmap-like diagrams of the relation of any Wikipedia article with similar articles. It was announced by German company Inforapid as a non-commercial project to demonstrate their "KnowledgeMap" server. WikiMindMap has been providing similar maps (based on the FreeMind software) for a while, with a simpler structure but with the advantage of being under a free license.
MediaWiki in Japan: On his personal blog, Ryan Lane (Operations Engineer at the Wikimedia Foundation) wrote about giving "Community and architecture talks in Osaka and Tokyo, Japan" earlier this month, including some insights about cultural differences – for example the high ratio of anonymous contribution on the Japanese Wikipedia and, similarly, that the possibility to contribute to MediaWiki development pseudo-anonymously (without giving one's real name) appeared to be important for the audience.
90 days of a Trustee: On her personal blog, Wikimedia Board member Phoebe Ayers (User:phoebe) summarized some of her activities during the last three months, several of them Wikimedia- or Wikipedia-related.