News and notes
Wikimedia Foundation Board appoints world expert in women's issues, global south
New WMF Board member ... Ana Toni is set to bring a wealth of experience in global policy research and development.
In apparent acknowledgment of the urgency of two issues facing the Wikimedia movement—the need to engage both women and the global south—the WMF Board has appointed Ana Toni as one of its four expert members. Ana Toni, who lives in Rio de Janeiro, will bring rare expertise to the movement, acquired during two decades of involvement in the politics of the world economy, sustainable development, and community development projects. The Signpost understands that her skills in advocacy and her key roles in international NGOs are likely to be a natural match with the WMF as the hub of disseminating free knowledge around the world.
Since 2011, Ana Toni has been the chair of the Board of Greenpeace. From 2003 to 2011 she was the representative for the Ford Foundation in Brazil, coordinating work in human rights, racial and ethnic discrimination, and reproductive health; in 2011 the Ford Foundation approved nearly half a billion dollars in grants worldwide to reduce poverty and injustice, promote democratic values, and—of particular resonance with the WMF—to advance human knowledge and creativity. Her presentation on behalf of the Ford Foundation to the conference Innovations for Successful Societies: Building Institutions, Escaping Development Traps, displayed expertise in creating linkages between the public and private sectors, civil society, the media, and academic researchers. The address focused on innovations in reducing criminality in the favelas (shanty towns) of Brazilian cities, and how success hinges on "community integration and leadership, a multidisciplinary approach, academic engagement in public security studies, and replacing political positioning with professional expertise" (a full audio interview from the conference is available). She has also been involved in the World Economic Forum, the non-profit that is committed to improving the state of the world by bringing together business, political, and academic leaders to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
Ana Toni's career, however, has encompassed not just policy development, but its local application. After five years as policy advisor to ActionAid UK, she held the role of executive director of ActionAid Brazil from 1998 to 2002. From this time, it has been clear that "macro–micro linkages"—of big-picture policy and on-the-ground work—have been an important part of her approach. In the 2005 ActionAid publication Stories of change, Andrea Cornwall, director of a research program on women's empowerment at the Institute of Development Studies, recounted the search for likely partners after ActionAid opened its Brazil office in 1999. Ana Toni told her: “I saw [Silvia Cordiero, director of the Women's Centre do Cabo] first at a meeting in Brazilia. She impressed me. She was strong and articulate. And she was there from an organisation that worked with women at the grassroots, articulating with national policy debates. It was what their experience of linking macro–micro might offer us that excited me most.”
Ana Toni brings to the Board a strong track-record in research and writing. She serves on the editorial board of the Portuguese-language monthly, Le Monde diplomatique Brazil, which provides analysis and opinion on politics, culture, and current affairs. It is not hard to find a string of scholarly publications that acknowledge her advice. The 2010 book Intellectual property and human development: current trends and future scenarios, to take one of many examples, expressed appreciation for her "wonderful support and insights" towards broadening the scope of the research "to cover important areas of human development". In the light of increasing knowledge of how environmental and market-based policies interact with economic development and the role of women in developing countries, her advice has played an important role in the preparation of papers such as "Trade and environment: conflict or compatibility" for the Proceedings of the Royal Institute of International Affairs.
In announcing the appointment, Kat Walsh, chair of the WMF Board, said: "As we aspire to nearly double the number of people who use Wikipedia over the next few years, and build a larger and more diverse movement of active volunteers, Ana’s leadership experience and insight on the management and growth of non-profit organizations will be invaluable in guiding us." In the WMF's press release, director of communications Jay Walsh pointed out that Toni has coordinated "a regional Latin America Initiative on Economics and Globalization, an IBSA initiative (joint work between Brazil, South Africa and India) and the International Initiative on Intellectual Property Rights."
The challenge for the Board and the movement as a whole may be how to pose the right questions to gain the greatest benefit from this new Board member.
Featured article discussions, requests for comment
- Editor's note: The ed17 and Tony1, the other two authors of this "News and notes" and participants in these discussions, had no part in authoring this article.
This week saw a lively discussion on Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates and in several other forums about the role of director Raul654 and several other issues facing the featured article (FA) process at large. Prolific FA writer Brianboulton began a discussion about the future of the JSTOR account donation process, that quickly devolved into questioning Raul's role in the featured content processes.
Several users expressed views that Raul's title should be changed to "Director Emeritus", while others believed that he should retain his title as Director in honor of his contributions to the process over the years, and another subset of users thought he should be removed from the process entirely due to his inactivity over the past few months. The discussion intensified after David Fuchs removed Raul's name and role from Template:FAC-instructions; he was reverted by SandyGeorgia, a former FAC delegate. An edit war began as several users became involved and reverted one another. After several reverts from both sides, Crisco 1492 fully protected the template to end the conflict.
The 2012 FA RfC, where there was consensus for keeping the status quo of the FA process as it stood, was cited by participants on all sides of the discussion.
Two requests for comment have been started as a result of the discussions: Tony1's proposal to make Raul a director emeritus and rename the delegates "coordinators", and PumpkinSky's proposal to eliminate the directorship and move for direct elections of the delegates.
One year ago, the Russian Wikipedia blacked itself out ... they face similar circumstances now.
- Wikimedia Foundation's 2013/14 plan: The Foundation's financial plan for the 2013/14 fiscal year has been published on the WMF wiki, though not on the Commons. The Foundation has also issued a lengthy Q&A, while discussion and copyediting of the plan is taking place on Meta.
- Russian Wikipedia: As reported in the Signpost almost exactly one year ago, the Russian Wikipedia blacked itself out to protest a proposed bill that was being considered in the Russian parliament. While that effort failed, a recently passed anti-piracy law "allow[s] copyright holders to get a Russian court to block access [and hyperlinks] to allegedly pirated content ... whole websites can be blacklisted under the law", according to RIA Novosti. The head of Wikimedia Russia, the local chapter affiliate, has declared that without the resources to check every hyperlink on the Russian Wikipedia, the entire encyclopedia could be blocked. Russian-language Wikipedians have created a request for comment on the issue, but they have limited time; the law comes into effect on 1 August of this year.
- Quarterly reviews: The mobile contributions team's second quarterly review has been published on Meta. Quarterly reviews are aimed to ensure accountability and allow senior Foundation staff to offer specific guidance to their proliferous and diverse initiatives.
- In the media:
- Wikipedia Fertile Ground for Libel: Lawyers.com posted an article about the possibility of libel occurring due to Wikipedia’s open nature, and the legal implications of libelous vandalism.
- Don’t cite Wikipedia, but contribute: The Stanford Daily published an op-ed encouraging students to satisfy their creative urges by writing Wikipedia articles.
- My Strange Addiction: Novelist Amanda Filipacchi wrote an extended blog post for the Wall Street Journal's website about her experiences reading Wikipediocracy, the fallout of the Qworty scandal (see previous Signpost coverage), and her adventures with a treadmill desk.
- Russian Wikipedia Faces Ban Due to Anti-Piracy Law, Director Says: The Moscow Times reported on the Russian Wikipedia’s ongoing political struggles with censorship, this time regarding allegations of facilitating piracy. This story was also reported on in RAPSI.
- Spooky entry: The Indian Express discussed inaccuracies in the article on West Bengal governor M.K. Narayanan.
- Hebrew Wikipedia Celebrates 10th Anniversary: Israel National News posted an article on the Hebrew Wikipedia’s latest milestone.
- Is This the Most Interesting Opening Paragraph Wikipedia’s Ever Published?: Foreign Policy's Elias Groll blogged about Adrian Carton de Wiart and its action-packed first paragraph, which has received much adulation on Twitter and social media this week.
- Wikimedia Unwraps WYSIWYG Visual Editor for Logged-In Users: TechZone 360 continued the media coverage of the recent Visual Editor release.
- Barking and Dagenham College gets a visit from Wikipedia: The Enquirer covered Jimmy Wales’ visit to Barking and Dagenham College.
- Wiki users: Much ado about ’coup’: Politico published an article on Wikipedia’s coverage of the recent political turmoil in Egypt. Foreign Policy, Geekosystem, The Verge, Vice, and the Houston Chronicle.
- Wimbledon Champion Marion Bartoli Has An, Um, Explicit Wikipedia Page: Sportsgrid covered vandalism to Marion Bartoli in the wake of her Wimbledon win.