With increasing demands on my time in the real world, something that has been reflected in my edit history over the last several months, I have decided to step down from my role as the editor-in-chief of the Signpost after finding a successor. I am looking for two people to replace me, both as a safeguard against similar real life changes and to spread the overall workload.
Why should you apply? First, you will have established contributors who are currently producing consistently stellar work, thus making your initial learning curve far smaller. Second, it is an area far different than Wikipedia itself; writers at the Signpost frequently use and develop a different range of skills such as editorial judgment and journalistic tenacity. Third, the personal reporting you want to do is wide open. With "News and notes" having been on an extended hiatus, you are free to take it in the direction you want, but you will not have to fight to get readers—you will have thousands from the very beginning. Do you want to bring valuable content contributions to light? Do you want to examine arcane financial details of the Wikimedia Foundation and its affiliates? Do you want to investigate sockpuppet armies and their effects? Do you want to be the hub for fostering innovative ideas that will keep Wikipedia relevant for decades to come? The limit, quite literally, is your imagination.
If you are even tentatively interested or have any questions about the role, please email me by 7 January 2015. Tell me why you could be an excellent editor-in-chief, and do not be afraid to pitch new ideas!
Finally, I must thank Pine, who has very nearly been the sole publisher of the Signpost in my stead for the last several months, and the rest of the Signpost team for admirably carrying on. In no particular order: Gamaliel has taken over "In the media" and made it into a weekly feature, something we have not seen in quite some time; Rcsprinter123 has produced consistently interesting interviews with WikiProject members; Adam Cuerden, along with a rotating set of contributors, have brought sardonic wit and commentary to "Featured content"; and Serendipodous and Milowent have continued excellent analysis in the "Traffic report".
With all that said, I should emphasize that I will not be leaving Wikipedia nor am I planning to quit writing for the Signpost. As a departing US late-night talk show host recently said, "I'm not retiring. I'm stopping doing this; I'm not stopping doing it."
Digital Spyreports that "GamerGate is a movement claiming to be fighting for ethical coverage of video games [in the media], but that has been accused of supporting harassment of women within the industry." Editing the GamerGate article on Wikipedia has been a controversial and contentious exercise, culminating in a currently open Arbitration case involving numerous editors on both sides of the issue as well as a number of administrators, including this author. A source of discontent with Wikipedia has been r/KotakuInAction, a Reddit forum populated by those who identify with the GamerGate movement, including a number of editors active on the Wikipedia article. On December 18, a Reddit user posted a complaint he emailed to Wales and Wales' response. Wales verified that the emails were authentic.
In the email, the user told Wales he would refuse to donate to Wikipedia's fundraising efforts because of his displeasure with the current state of the Wikipedia article on GamerGate, a frequent complaint on KotakuInAction and other online GamerGate forums. The user also complained about the December 13 deletion of a page on the Wikia that is devoted to GamerGate. (Like Wikipedia, Wikia was co-founded by Wales.) That Wikia page listed a number of Wikipedia editors and administrators, including this author, as "hostile users".
The user wrote:
Here's the problem: Wikipedia's complete lack of any sort of attempt at neutrality regarding Gamergate is giving me serious ethical qualms about [donating to Wikipedia]. I don't want to financially support an organization that claims to be a neutral, impartial source of information on all things that then goes on to try to push an agenda and spin a narrative of an author's choosing. And then after the deletion of the Wikia page documenting editor abuse and corruption, I CERTAINLY don't feel comfortable giving money when the founder of the site publicly condones such actions.
...Wikipedia is not for sale, not to any donors, so even if donations were dropping, that would not mean to me that we should compromise on our principles of quality and neutrality in response to a pressure group.
My point here is not to say that there is nothing wrong with the article - I actually think it needs a fair amount of work. But I want you and others to understand that threatening people is not helpful.
I've recently seen web pages in which people who are - and I don't know how else to put it - vicious assholes - are gathering data to attack the personal lives of volunteers. It is very difficult for me to buy into the notion that gamergate is "really about ethics in journalism" when every single experience I have personally had with it involved pro-gg people insulting, threatening, doxxing, etc.
Wales continued his responses to complaints about these issues on Twitter, replying to one GamerGate supporter and Wikipedia editor that the deleted Wikia page "was a long hitlist of editors. Much nastiness. Exactly the kind of viciousness that [GamerGate] is famous for."
While Wales was criticized by GamerGate supporters, The Mary Suepraised Wales' response, writing that he was "handling it admirably".
A Kindle Fire
Viva la información: The Guardiandiscusses (December 23) how Cubans are circumventing the widespread lack of Internet access in their country. Those with reliable high-speed access sell and distribute information on hard drives for offline usage. Wikipedia in particular is usually downloaded in packets of 2–5 gigabytes that people keep on their phones for offline usage.
Charity begins on phones: CNBCdiscusses (December 20) the difficulties millennials have donating to charities using popular technological means such as Twitter or mobile devices and talks with one MIT student who found it easier to buy a vacuum on his phone than to donate to Wikipedia.
Amazon art identification: Mashablereports on a December 19 update to the Kindle Fire's Firefly tool. Firefly now uses Wikipedia to identify over 2000 famous works of art.
Hillary Rodham Clinton(nominated by Wasted Time R) It's hard to summarize Hillary Clinton briefly. A native of Chicago, she started in political life in 1960 at age 13, canvassing the South Side for the Republicans. Hillary met Bill when they were both students at Yale Law School in 1971; they married in 1975, but she kept the surname of Rodham so as to keep her separate identity. She became "Mrs. Bill Clinton" in 1982, during her husband's campaign to be re-elected as Governor of Arkansas, "to assuage the concerns of Arkansas voters". During his 1992 Presidential campaign, Bill Clinton claimed that the nation would "get two for the price of one", suggesting that Hillary would assume a prominent role as First Lady. Fulfilling this role from 1993 to 2001, she afterwards promptly became the only First Lady to run for public office - becoming Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009, running for president in 2008, and then becoming Secretary of State in the first term of the Obama administration. Will she become the first female President of the United States? And Bill the First Man in the White House? Only time will tell.
Nativity at Night(created by Geertgen tot Sint Jans, nominated by Hafspajen) The Nativity at Night is a tiny little painting, presumably made for private devotional use, that shows the Nativity of Jesus attended by angels, with an inset scene seen through a window of the shepherds on the hillside behind the stable. The angels all look like small Christmas tree decorations. Geertgen tot Sint Jans (c. 1465 – c. 1495), was an Early Netherlandish painter who died probably still in his twenties. This depiction is influenced by the visions of Saint Bridget of Sweden (1303–1373), who was a very popular mystic, and in her vision of this scene the sources of light are the infant Jesus himself. In accordance with Bridget's vision the sole source of illumination in the Bethlehem stable is the Child himself, with secondary sources - the shepherds' fire and the angel floating above them - serving only to illuminate the other part of the scene. Depictions of the Nativity changed significantly in European art following St Bridget's visions of the event, many depictions reduced all other light sources in the scene to emphasize the glowing of the Christ child, and the Nativity remained very commonly painted using the chiaroscuro technique through to the Baroque. Chiaroscuro means the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition, and also means that you can't really notice the cow and a donkey in the dark, just barely. The painting has a nice pyramidal composition, with the angel on top like a Christmas tree.
Monkey selfie(created by a literal monkey, yes really, nominated by Chris Woodrich) The monkey selfie is, unsurprisingly, a selfie that was made by a monkey – but what is the copyright for photographs created by animals? Equipment owned by nature photographer David Slater was used by a Celebes crested macaque in Tangkoko Nature Reserve in Indonesia to take a series of self-portraits. The owner of the camera claimed copyright over the image, arguing that he had set up the situation. Other individuals and organizations, however, argued that the photographs, as the work of a non-human animal (and thus not the work of a legal person), were public domain. In any case, we have them now, and our article on the photographs informs us: On August 22, 2014, the United States Copyright Office clarified their rules to explicitly state that items created by a non-human cannot be copyrighted, and lists in their examples a "photograph taken by a monkey", which would appear to reference this case.
Roque de Agando(created by Diego Delso, nominated by National Names 2000) The Roque de Agando is a prominent rock formation on the island of La Gomera, near the centre of the island, frequently used as a symbol for the island. La Gomera is part of the Canary Islands. The rock is a volcanic plug and is one of the most photographed parts of the island. It is a volcanic landform created by the magma that hardens. If a plug is preserved, erosion may remove the surrounding rock while the erosion-resistant plug remains, producing a distinctive upstanding landform. Roque de Agando is not accessible by foot, hiking is restricted to established paths in its vicinity, as it forms part of a protected area.
The Crowning with Thorns(created by Caravaggio, nominated by Hafspajen) Jesus, mocked, crowned with thorns in a purple robe as the King of the Jews, is the theme depicted in this painting, The Crowning with Thorns, by Caravaggio. It is all irony; the royal robe and the crown of thorns are statements that actually mean something different from what it was supposed to mean literally. Jesus was not at all the king of the Jews, nor did he ever claim to be. After his condemnation by Pontius Pilate, Jesus was flogged and mocked by Roman soldiers. They clothed him with a scarlet robe symbolizing a royal gown (purple was a royal color), put a crown of thorns on his head symbolizing a royal crown, and put a staff in his hand symbolizing a scepter. They then knelt before him and said, "Hail, king of the Jews!" Maybe Caravaggio felt a certain affinity with the mocked man. Caravaggio was art history's enfant terrible, unorthodox, striking, innovative and rebellious, and also a magnificent painter. He was involved in fights and scandals, and yes he was mocked sometimes - even if he didn't endure it patiently but struck back. Caravaggio had a very special and unmistakable style that was his own, and he influenced generations of painters of the Baroque style like Rubens, Jusepe de Ribera, Bernini, and yes, even Rembrandt.
Phelsuma grandis(created by Holger Krisp, nominated by Tomer T)Phelsuma grandis is a bright green large day gecko (commonly referred to as the Madagascar giant day gecko), and grows to a length of up to 30.5 centimetres (12.0 in). It is also the biggest day gecko in Madagascar. They live in the trees of tropical forests of northern Madagascar and can also be found in Mauritius. They also inhabit human dwellings and can be found in houses, on verandas and other places around houses. The gecko eats various insects, fruit, pollen and nectar. Like most gecko species, the males are quarrelsome and territorial and will chase away other males in their neighbourhood. They get in one little fight, and their mum gets scared, and says, "You're moving with your auntie and uncl-" Er, I mean, the males only allow females to share the territory they own. Generally day geckos move slowly, but when they are frightened they can move very fast. You can keep them as pets in a terrarium, if you keep them moist and under a lamp and fed them with crickets, wax moths, wax worms, fruit flies, mealworms and houseflies dusted with calcium supplement...
Hermia and Lysander(created by John Simmons, nominated by Brandmeister)Hermia and Lysander is a watercolour painting by British illustrator and miniature portrait painter John Simmons from 1870 depicting William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. We left our couples from the previous edition, Hermia and Lysander (pictured) and Helena and Demetrius in the enchanted woods at night, quarrelling and confused. Before both guys loved Hermia. Now they both love Helena... It's a bit complicated. It's all the fairies fault! Lysander and Hermia ran away from home to secretly marry each other. They loved each other and all was fine. Helena, who was Hermia's best friend, was engaged to Demetrius, but Helena's fiancé abandoned her to woo Hermia. Demetrius followed after Hermia into the forest, while Helena, who was still in love with Demetrius, followed him. The fairies try to help, but make a mess of everything. Therefore, the boys, who were both in love with Hermia, now are both in love with Helena all of a sudden, chasing after her, while Hermia runs furiously after them all. Helena is mad and accuses Hermia of being part of a cruel joke, making fun of her and mocking her. Some girls are like that. Hermia feels betrayed by the accusation and retorts that she would never hurt her friend that way. Does this remind you of a soap-opera? Well, maybe... but a classy one. The fairies, unfortunately, do not do the obvious next mistaken step, so we don't get to see Lysander and Demetrius make out on stage, but they do fix everything and all find their loves again: Happy ending! Lysander loves Hermia and Demetrius loves Helena once more.
So, WikiProject Microsoft covers a major company in the technology world, but did that old trick of becoming nearly inactive and then springing back to life. Project coordinator STJMLCC is keen to promote their newfound activity and attract some new members, so we had the pleasure of interviewing himself and fellow WikiProject Microsoft participant Codename Lisa to see what they've been up to.
I understand that WikiProject Microsoft was recently revived and brought back from semi-inactivity. What effect has this had on Microsoft articles, collaboration, and your own editing so far?
STJMLCC: I have always edited Microsoft articles for the better and am a true to the bone "Microsoft patriot". I believe that our project's revival has brought attention to the believed to be perfect, which they are not, Microsoft articles. Any and all articles can be improved.
Codename Lisa: I believe it is too early to ask this question. Organizing a WikiProject takes times. So, it is not unexpected that your answer is "None so far". My greatest concerns, however, is the answer may remain the same even when sufficient amount of time passes.
Xbox One, a Microsoft product
What motivated you to join WikiProject Microsoft?
STJMLCC: My love and passion for Microsoft and its products.
Codename Lisa: I was invited directly. jcc invited me. He said I was arguably one of the most active contributors at the time. In a way, when a Wikipedian contributes a lot to a field, WikiProject membership becomes semi-compulsory. Now, I feel it is extremely important to say that love of Microsoft (or lack of it) were not my motives. I am often accused of being a Microsoft fan in spite of my username being Codename Lisa! (Sadly, the opposite of the accusation would have been wrong too!) Wikipedia work is so serious that fanaticism, in its face, even fails to make its way into the limits of the irrelevant and remains within the boundaries of the unworthy of even instinctive attention.
Bing, another Microsoft venture
The project has 13 pieces of featured material and 16 good articles. Have you contributed to any of these articles? Are you currently working on bringing an article up to FA or GA status?
STJMLCC: I have contributed to certain articles. And I am working on the collaboration articles that are posted.
Codename Lisa: Shortly after signing up to Wikipedia, I undertook the task of promoting Microsoft Security Essentials article to FA status. I succeeded on my second try, although it is unfair that I take all the credit. I had the utmost pleasure of working with Dennis Brown, Malleus Fatuorum, Nikkimaria and Thumperward on the project. Later, Jasper Deng and I collaborated on Windows Server 2012 article to bring it to GA status. The core of my career in 2012 and 2013 was Windows 8 article and several pages (articles, AfD, PUF) directly related to it. Of course, an area well outside the WikiProject that nevertheless directly influences it, is MOS:COMPUTING. It is the brain-child of FleetCommand which started as an essay and eventually became an official guideline. I believe credit is due here.
Excel, a spreadsheet program from Microsoft Office
Which aspects of Microsoft are not covered by your scope? Do you look after the articles on, say, Excel or Windows Mobile?
STJMLCC: All aspects of Microsoft are covered by our scope but not always directly. For instance our subdivisions are Wikiproject Microsoft Windows and .net, these serve more specific purposes.
Codename Lisa: I am a little in doubt as to what is the meaning of "you" here. If "you" refers to WikiProject Microsoft, I must say the honest answer would be "barely the computing aspects" and surely nothing beyond that.
Does the project collaborate with any other projects, be they child, parent or unrelated?
STJMLCC: Yes, we work with WikiProject Computing and our child projects such as WikiProject Microsoft Windows and .Net.
Codename Lisa: The honest answer would be "No". The extent of my knowledge, the amount of collaboration have so far been zero. Individual members certainly do collaborate when they have cross-project membership but that's the extent of it. No collaboration that can be attributed to the whole of the project has ever happened. At least, not to my knowledge.
Windows Phone, now a popular smartphone OS
The front page of the WikiProject lists only 15 Wikipedians as currently active members. Do you think you would benefit from having more participation, and how?
STJMLCC: Oh yes! I have been working to get more users. I have been coordinator a short time and I have been working diligently to get the project better known.
Codename Lisa: I'd say the project would benefit more from an experienced leader and coordinator, preferably an experienced administrator. When that happens, yes, the more the members, the merrier.
Anything else you'd like to add?
STJMLCC: A special thank you to the editor[s] from the Signpost and the loyal WikiProject Microsoft users who make this possible!
Codename Lisa: I really like to know whether there are any Microsoft employees active in Wikipedia who both contribute and collaborate recurrently. But what I'd like to say is: I am afraid I don't think there are.
So, the story goes that this typically absurd American male comedy film starring Seth Rogen (pictured) and James Franco, which lampoons a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, led to the November 2014 Sony Pictures Entertainment hack, and then subsequent internet threats to unleash "September the eleventh" levels of violence if the movie was released, which led movie theater chains to refuse to screen the film, which led Sony to pull the movie's release altogether, a reaction which a cybersecurity expert called "beyond the realm of stupid." North Korea denied the hack, and saw its own flimsy internet connections flame out on 22 December. On 23 December, Sony announced the movie would now get a "limited release" on December 25. The Traffic Report really has no idea what to make of this bizarre chain of events, except that it is nice that no one has been killed by wars of internet trolls. More people are probably going to watch clips of the film's brutal imagined death of Kim Jong-un than ever would have without the controversy. Imagine if a One Direction song raised more social awareness than the entire catalog of Bob Dylan, and that's the basic situation we seem to have here.
This influential Russian painter and art theorist is credited with painting one of the first purely abstract works. Google commemorated Kandinsky's 148th birthday by featuring a Google Doodle based on his work.
The final installment of The Hobbit film series directed by Peter Jackson (pictured) debuted in New Zealand on December 11, and the United States on December 17. As of December 21, the film has already earned over $355 million in worldwide revenue. Up from #18 last week.
This Hindi film starring Aamir Khan debuted on December 19. The Bollywood press seems to have liked it, with Bollywood Hungama calling it "a solid entertainer that will surely entertain the masses and classes alike", and reviewer Subhash K. Jha giving it 4 out of 5 stars, saying "'PK' is a film designed to warm the cockles of the heart." The phrase "warm the cockles of the heart" really is underused these days, isn't it? The plot revolves around the arrival a human-looking alien on earth who needs to recover a stolen piece of his equipment, and includes satire regarding the phenomenon of Indian "godmen". The film grossed about US $25 million in its opening weekend.
This critically and popularly adored movie proved its staying power when its arrival on Blu-ray was greeted with a shot to the top of this list. Up a bit from 555,000 views last week, its popularity continues.
You may not remember it, or believe it, but this author of The Wolf of Wall Streettopped our list for three weeks in January 2014. The article has experienced a new jump in popularity since December 12.