Wikimedia Foundation's Board unchanged after elections
The Election Committee has announced the results of the 2011 Board Elections (determining three of the ten Trustees, see also the recent Signpost op-ed). In the Schulze method voting, the three incumbents came out on top of the 19 candidates, meaning that the Board remains unchanged:
- Ting Chen (Wing), currently the Chair of the Board, an electrical engineering graduate and IT specialist located in Germany;
- Samuel Klein (Sj), currently Secretary to the Board, who studied physics at Harvard and whose professional life involves "fostering education and offline access to knowledge"; and
- Kat Walsh (mindspillage), a researcher in copyright, patent, and internet policy, a patent agent, and recently a technology policy analyst for the American Library Association.
These results were certified by the Board of Trustees, and the positions will be effective until the middle of 2013. A total of 3495 votes were cast, of which 71 were struck. A post mortem, including feedback from committee members and others, covers matters such as communication, candidate requirements, suffrage, and the electoral process.
Campus Ambassador Program rolls out in Pune
A team from the Wikimedia Foundation (Frank Schulenburg and Annie Lin), two Foundation Fellows (PJ Tabit & Srikeit Tadepalli), an advisory board member of the US Public Policy Initiative (Professor Bob Cummings), and India National Programs' Hisham Mundol visited Pune, the eighth-largest metropolis in India, for three weeks to roll out the Wikipedia India Education Program. A full two-day workshop was conducted for 14 of the 22 campus ambassadors selected in India. An important aspect of the training (see photographs) was the involvement of the local Wikimedian community in specific sessions, and the inclusion of open-house discussions on Wikimedia and Wikipedia, led by User:AshLin, Mandar Kulkarni and Sudhanwa Jogalekar from Pune, Pradeep Mohandas from Mumbai, and Tinu Cherian from Bangalore.
The first batch of Campus Ambassadors in Pune, India
There was debate on how rapid integration into the community can be catalysed by inviting campus ambassadors to join community meet-ups as well as mailing lists, Facebook pages, and twitter feeds. The importance of the local press was stressed in getting local coverage in Indian languages. Given the media consumption habits of students, ambassadors were invited to think about how to forge links with radio and television stations, and of organising photo opportunities. Several newspapers reported very positively on the program – The Hindu, Sakal, Indian Express Times of India and once more in The Hindu. The new Wikipedia campus ambassadors were invited to attend the 14th Pune Wikimeetup to interact with the Pune Wikipedian community.
Wikimedia UK discusses strategy and professionalization, seeks wildlife ambassador
In a two-day face-to-face weekend meeting on 11 and 12 June (Shaping the future of Wikimedia UK), Wikimedia UK board members made strategic decisions about the future of the chapter. As reported in the chapter's blog, the Board decided to go ahead with plans to recruit full-time staff. Currently, it is looking for a Chapter Manager to lead the organisation and work with the board of directors on strategy, partnerships, and fundraising; and an office manager, who will deal with membership, finance, and other administrative tasks (a part-time Office Manager had already been hired on an interim basis last year, as the chapter's first paid employee, see Signpost coverage: "Wikimedia UK appoints 'Office Manager'"). A professional recruitment agency has been engaged to select from a wide field of qualified candidates (job descriptions and budget).
In related news, Wikimedia UK and ARKive will collaborate on a project to improve Wikipedia's coverage of threatened species. ARKive is an initiative of the charity Wildscreen that aims to promote the protection of threatened species using the emotive power of wildlife films and photographs. The "Wikipedia Outreach Ambassador", yet to be recruited, will involve a fixed-period in-residence role for a volunteer who will use deskspace at ARKive's offices in Bristol, with travel and subsistence supported by the chapter. The ambassador's role will require both onwiki activity and involvement in the wider community through online and offline events.
Malayalam Wikisource CD
As already mentioned in last week's "News and notes", the Malayalam Wikimedia community released a Malayalam Wikisource CD with a selection of books from Malayalam Wikisource and art from Wikimedia Commons. This is the second Wiki offline edition from the Malayalam community after last year's Malayalam Wikipedia CD. At the 4th annual Malayalam Wikimedia Meetup in Kannur, Kerala, Hisham Mundol, India National Programs, released the Wikisource CD by presenting it to the youngest Malayalam Wiki contributor (seven-year-old Shanmugham Sai). The project co-ordinators, Shiju Alex wrote about the overall process and release and Santosh Thottingal shared a detailed description of the technical steps in the making of the CD. The CD can also be downloaded as an .iso image, torrent or even browsed online. The project considered as the largest digital archive in Malayalam language, the iso image download witnessed over 46,000 hits in just over a week of the release.
- Fundraiser summit: Several chapters met with WMF staff in Vienna to plan the Fundraiser 2011. The summit highlighted the different approaches and experiences of the Wikimedia entities as well as the practical problems. Especially younger chapters had faced difficult national campaigns and technical implementations last year. Meeting notes were taken using Etherpad. The event was hosted by Wikimedia Austria, whose chair User:Kulac told the Signpost that it had been the chapter's "meeting debut, hopefully successful for all participants, and also offering something cultural besides the productive activities".
- Further data from editor survey: Following the publication of highlight results from its recent survey of Wikipedia editors (see last week's "news and notes"), the WMF has released a "Top-line survey data summary" contained the percentage of responses for each question, based on 5,073 respondents. For example, the most frequent replies to the question "In which country do you live?" were the US (20%), Germany (12%) and Russia (7%), which appear to align better with other existing data than the 2009 UNU-MERIT study of Wikipedians, where Russia and Russian speakers had shown as the largest language and country groups, raising questions about possible bias.
- Kazakh society supports Wikipedia: On Foundation-l, Wikimedia chair Ting Chen reported from a recent trip to Almaty, Kazakhstan, where Wikimedia volunteers "had started to organize a nationwide movement and had found support in the politics, companies and media. The Kazakh Encyclopedia had decided to put its up-to-date 16-volume encyclopedia under a free licence. [See also meta:The letter from Kazakh Encyclopedia to Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. ] There are initiatives in the parliament to make the copyright law more clear and supportive in respect of free-licenses, and the biggest national welfare fund 'Samruk-Kazyna' had decided to fund activities to build up the Kazakh Wikipedia. Our volunteers there are going to start ambassador programs in the universities in Almaty and had set the very ambitious goal to expand the Kazakh Wikipedia into 200k articles until December 16th, the 20th independance day of the Republic Kazakhstan, not by using bots, but by writing and translating qualified articles. That would mean about ten fold [the current] article amount".
- Five Wikipedias to be studied in "WikiHistories" summer program: The Foundation's Community Department has announced five summer research fellows (graduate students from the US and the UK) who will "study the historical development and community dynamics" of the Hindi, Spanish, Armenian, Tagalog, and Turkish Wikipedias, following last year's pilot project about the history of the Russian Wikipedia (Signpost coverage).
- New Wikimedia chapter: Wikimedia Chile has been recognized by the Wikimedia Board of Trustees to become the newest Wikimedia chapter.
- WikiConference India 2011: The Wikimedia India Chapter and Wikimedian Community in India jointly began planning for the first WikiConference India in Mumbai to be held between 18–20 November 2011. Meanwhile the Indian chapter announced a membership drive and its Annual General Body meeting on 24 September 2011.
- New Wikimedia Hong Kong Board: Wikimedia Hong Kong announced its new board, on which Rover Wong will serve as the inaugural president, Vincent Tsui the secretary, and Tango Chan (who had become director in September, see Signpost coverage) the treasurer, among other office-bearers.
- Simple language Wikipedias: The Foundation's Language Committee has agreed on new rules concerning the creation of Wikimedia projects in simplified languages, such as the existing Simple English Wikipedia. They will be considered if two criteria are met: The main language must be a "'world language' with many L2 users, and there must be a reliable, published specification of the controlled language to be used." It is expected that the only new project likely to become admitted under the new rules will be a Wikipedia in simple French. Last week, a footnote to a Slate article about "the challenges of designing a search engine for children" described the Simple English Wikipedia as "an extremely kid-helpful site".
- New visualization of recent edits: Ed Summers, a coder at the US Library of Congress, has announced Wikistream, "a little toy webapp that displays updates from the major language wikipedias in real time", useful for demonstrating "just how much Wikipedia is actively edited". It received much praise from posters on the Wiki-research mailing list, including Ward Cunningham who said that having coded similar software himself, "I have to tip my hat to Ed for doing a better job than I ever did and doing it in a way that he makes look effortless", and advised coders to "read this code" (available on GitHub). See also earlier Signpost coverage of Ed Summers' lists of the "most linked websites on the English Wikipedia"
- Three new English Wikipedia administrators. TParis (nom) is a staff sergeant in the US Air Force stationed in San Antonio, Texas and a web developer. He will continue to participate in speedy deletion and new-page patrolling. TParis intends to gain experience in articles for deletion and Usernames for attention, and possibly to work backlogs and help out at Wikiquette alerts and requests for page protection. Jimp (nom) intends to edit protected templates and sees himself becoming involved in deletion requests, page protection, and the editing of protected pages. 28bytes (nom) will work in speedy deletion and AIV, closing deletion discussions, cleaning up cut-and-paste moves, and helping to perform history merges when needed. 28bytes has particular interests in video games and rock music. (Information about new admins comes from their RfA or user pages, or from what they tell The Signpost directly.)