User talk:Tbayer (WMF)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


Archives nationales PR3.jpg

Archive 2011-2014

Could you send me[edit]

The following papers - I will try to review them, but I have limited academic net access right now: [1], [2], [3]. CC @Phoebe: --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 09:52, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

I have the first one but not the other two. I can send to you. -- phoebe / (talk to me) 23:37, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
@Piotrus: sent, let me know if you don't receive it. -- phoebe / (talk to me) 23:38, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, Phoebe.

Review of "Effects of Ego Involvement and Social Norms on Individuals’ Uploading Intention on Wikipedia: A Comparative Study between the United States and South Korea"

This study, roughly, asks why people are uploading content to Wikipedia, comparing respondents from two culturally different countries, namely collectivist South Korea and the individualistic United States. Based on the usual convenience sample of college students (reached through an online survey), and the psychological theories such as theory of planned behavior, situational theory of problem solving, and roles of ego involvement (which represents the self-concept of individuals), subjective norm (a person’s perception of the social pressure to perform or not to perform the behavior in question), and descriptive norm (beliefs about what is actually done by the majority of one’s social circles), the authors test whether a number of factors are positively correlated with intent to upload content on Wikipedia. In total, the authors present nine hypothesis. Ego involvement is found to be highly significant, but not differentiating between two cultures, which the author interpret as an an indicator that globalization and the Internet are bridging the cultural gap, and interesting conclusion that deserves further discussion. The norms are found to be mostly irrelevant (only the descriptive norm is significant for the American sample group, and - contrary to the prior studies on Korean Internet users with regard to the subjective norm - neither is for the Korean one), as is the attitude on uploading behavior. Another possible explanation offered by the authors regarding the little difference between the two cultures concerns the individualistic values embedded in, or self-oriented nature of, Web 2.0 applications and social media, and the author repeat their proposition that it is likely due to globalizing factors (suggesting that young Korean generation, despite living in a collectivist culture, is significantly affected by individualistic global media). Overall, the authors conclude that cultural differences play a relatively small role in explaining the differences in American and Korean attitudes towards uploading content to Wikipedia.

The study also reports on an interestingly low popularity of Wikipedia in South Korea: only about 50% of Korean students used Wikipedia, whereas almost 99% of the Americans ones did. The authors did propose some interesting explanations for this finding (such as a hypothesis that uploading content on Wikipedia might be regarded as a challenge to the established authority of traditional encyclopedias), but unfortunately they are not backed up with any significant evidence. Given the South Korea popular image as one of the most advanced countries when it comes to Internet use, the issue of Wikipedia's poor popularity there - as the authors note themselves - is one that is worth investigating in future studies. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 04:52, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

Review of "Wikipedia and Undergraduate Research Trajectories" [4]

It is no surprise that students like to use Wikipedia. The following paper adds to the debate on the perceptions, motivations, and attitudes of students who use this site by asking the following research question: "How do undergraduates actually use Wikipedia and how does this resource influence their subsequent information-gathering?" The study used the usual convinence sample of 30 American undergraduates, who were given a topic (Internet privacy), directed to the correponding page, and asked to draft a paper on that topic, using Wikipedia as their starting point. Of particular interest to us are the author's comments on Wikipedia's references. First, there's the (unfortunately, short and unjustified) comment that "it is common for Wikipedia articles to have two or more “Notes” and “References” sections, which [is] confusing". Second, that "following Wikipedia references were least preferred as next steps in the research process", about as likely as "going to the library catalog", and less so than "going to Google for more information," "accessing the library’s databases", or simply "returning to Wikipedia". When asked which Wikipedia references they would follow if they were to do so, there was a significant preference for the references cited first, regardless of their quality. A number of respondents expressed an opinion that first references are somehow "better", not realizing that Wikipedia footnotes are ordered simply by the order they appear in the article. Regarding their use of Wikipedia itself, "respondents overwhelmingly indicated that they used Wikipedia because it was easy to access" (similar to Google), thus displaying high preference for convenience, visibility and accessibility over authority and quality of the source or their bibliographies. The authors also note that while the students understand that, in theory, scholarly sources are the best (and better than Wikipedia), they are more interested in "reasonably good" than "accurate" information, either because of difficulties in accessing / interpreting the "most credible" sources, or perhaps because of their skepticism towards authority.

The author concludes that one of the best solutions is to involve students in the process of creation and editing of Wikipedia pages, through she sees that as a method to educate students about Wikipedia's imperfections, rather than as a way to improve Wikipedia's quality, a task she seems better suited for faculty and librarians. She also offers some worthwhile suggestions to "Wikipedia developers" regarding the goal of pursuing collaboration with academic libraries, by noting that " it may be worth for Wikipedia to develop a visualized ranking mechanism for its references" - an idea that is certainly worth discussing further. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 05:36, 26 February 2015 (UTC)


[5] was only briefly mentioned in Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2014-10-29/Recent research. Here's a longer take.

This paper reports on on the use of a Wikipedia student assignments in a somewhat different environment than the usual American undergraduates - instead, this one deals with Finish secondary school students. The authors use the guided inquiry framework, one that postulates that "information literacies are best learned by training appropriate information practices in a genuine collaborative process of inquiry", and that asks how collaborative Wikipedia writing assignments fit into this approach. The authors findings tie with the prior research on this subject: students are found to be more motivated than in traditional writing assignments, they develop skills in understanding wikis and Wikipedia (jncluding its reliablity) and in encyclopedic writing. They are however less likely to develop skills such as identifying reliable sources without additional instructions on this. The authors also note that "the limitation of encyclopaedic writing is that it is not intended to generate new knowledge but to synthesize knowledge from existing sources(i.e., a type of literature review)"; hence teachers who aim to develop skills in generating new knowledge have to consider alternative assignments. The author also stress the need to tailor the Wikipedia assignment (or any other) to the specific class. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 03:18, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

I was also reading [6]

This recent study is a valuable contribution to the small body of work on academics attitudes towards Wikipedia, and is the largest-scale survey in that field so far, with nearly a 1000 valid responses from the faculty at two Spanish universities. The authors find that Wikipedia is generally held in a positive regard (nearly half of the respondents think it is useful for teaching, while less than 20% disagree; similar numbers use it for general information gathering, through the numbers are split at about 35% on whether they use it for research within their own discipline). Almost 10% of the respondents say that they use it frequently for some teaching purposes. The numbers of those who discourage students from using it and those who encourage student to consult the site are nearly equal, at approximately quarter of the sample each. Almost a half have no strong feelings on this, and less than 15% strongly disagrees with students' use of Wikipedia - a finding that certainly suggests that the past few years have witnessed a major shift in academia (less than a decade ago, the stories of professors banning Wikipedia were quite common). Unsurprisingly, the faculty is much less likely to cite Wikipedia, with only about 10% admitting they do so. Almost 90% of the academics think Wikipedia is easy to use, but only about 15% think editing is easy - with over 40% disagreeing with that statement. About 2% of respondents describe themselves as very frequent contributors to the side, and 6% as frequent. Over 40% have no thoughts n Wikipedia editing and reviewing system, which leads the authors to suggest that "that most faculty do not actually know Wikipedia‘s specific editing system very well nor the way the [site's] peer-review process works". Asked about Wikipedia's quality, those who think Wikipedia articles are reliable outnumber those who disagree 2:1 (at 40% to 20%), with an even higher ratio (over 3:1) of those who agree that Wikipedia articles are up to date. The respondents are equally divided, however, on whether the articles are comprehensive or not. The authors thus conclude that the impression that most academics are concerned about Wikipedia's quality is not proven by their data. Nonetheless, the artifacts of Wikipedia early poor reception within academia linger: more than half of the respondents think that use of Wikipedia is frowned up by most academics, even through only 14% do so.

The study goes beyond presenting simple descriptive statistics, and gives us a number of interesting findings based on correlations: strongest correlation for teaching use is related to making edits (r=.59), followed by opinions that it improves students learning (r=.47), perception of and use by colleagues (r=.41), Wikipedia's perceived quality (r=.4) and its passive use (r=.3). The authors also find that views of and use of Wikipedia's is higher among the STEM fields than in the "soft", social sciences. This also explains the Wikipedia's higher popularity among male instructors (which disappears when controlled for discipline and the corresponding much lower population of women teaching in the STEM fields). Interestingly, the influence of age was not found to be significant, which the authors concluding that "that faculty’s decision to use Wikipedia in learning processes does not follow the usual pattern of other Web 2.0 tools where young people tend to be more frequent users."

Of immediate practical value to the Wikipedia community are the findings on what would help the respondents design educational activities using Wikipedia: 64% would like to see a "catalog presenting best practices", with similar numbers (about 50%) pointing to "getting greater institutional recognition", "having colleagues explaining their own experiences", and "receiving specific training". --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 06:24, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

This social network analysis looks at the entire corpus of Wikipedia biographies (with data from English, Chinese, Japanese and German Wikipedias). The authors created several thousand networks (unfortunately, this short conference paper does not discuss precisely how) and used the PageRank algorithm to identify key individuals. The authors attempt to answer "Who are the most important people of all times?" Their findings clearly show that different Wikipedias give different prominence to different individuals (the most prominent people, for the four Wikipedias, appear to be George W. B. Bush, Mao Zedong, Ikuhiko Hata and Adolf Hitler, respectively). The Eastern cultures seem to prioritize warriors and politicians; Western ones include more cultural (including religious) figures. Interesting findins concern globalizatin: "While the English Wikipedia includes 80% non-English leaders among the top 50, just two non-Chinese made it into the top 50 of the Chinese Wikipedia... "Japanese Wikipedia is slightly more balanced, with almost 40 percent non-Japanese leaders". Findings for the German Wikipedia are not presented. Through the authors don't make that point, it seems that no women appear in the Top 10 lists presented. Overall, this seems like an interesting paper, through the brief form (two pages) means that many questions about methodology remain unanswered, and the presentation of findings, and analysis, are very curt. On a side note, one can wonder whether this paper is truly related to anthropology; given that the only time this field is referred to in this work is when the authors mention that they are "replacing anthropological fieldwork with statistical analysis of the treatment given by native speakers of a culture to different subjects in Wikipedia." --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 03:12, 24 March 2015 (UTC)

Journal paper review[edit]

Hello, Tbayer. I have prepared a draft in the style of other newsletter reviews. Axl ¤ [Talk] 03:06, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

Reference errors on 25 March[edit]

Hello, I'm ReferenceBot. I have automatically detected that an edit performed by you may have introduced errors in referencing. It is as follows:

Please check this page and fix the errors highlighted. If you think this is a false positive, you can report it to my operator. Thanks, ReferenceBot (talk) 00:23, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

Thanks, ReferenceBot! This is unfortunately an upstream issue in Zotero's Wikipedia export function. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 06:11, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

Piotrus contributions to the end of April WMR[edit]

This study looked at how Wikipedian's perceive bots, to enhance our understanding of the relationship between human and bot editors. The authors find that the both are perceived as either "servants" or "policeman". Overall, the bots are well accepted by the community, a factor the authors attribute to the fact that most bots are clearly labelled as and seen as extensions of human actors (tools used by advanced Wikipedians). The authors nonetheless observe that where bots make large number of minor edits, they are most likely to attract criticism. Still, the necessity for such labor, maintaining categories, templates and such, is, according to actors, a widely recognized and accepted element of Wikipedia's life.

Rank Popular and underdeveloped topics High-quality, not popular topics
1 Countries Cricket
2 Pop music Tropical cyclones
3 Internet Middle Ages
4 Comedy Politics
5 Technology Fungi
6 Religion Birds
7 Science Fiction Military history
8 Rock music Ships
9 Psychology England
10 LGBT studies Australia

This paper provides evidence that quality of an article is not a simple function of its popularity, or, the words of the authors, that there is "extensive misalignment between production and consumption" in peer communities such as Wikipedia. As the author note, reader demand for some topics (e.g. LGBT topics or pages about countries) is poorly satisfied, whereas there is over-abundance of quality on topics of comparatively little interest, such as military history. The authors arrived at this conclusion by comparing data on page views to articles on English, French, Russian, and Portuguese Wikipedias to their respective Wikipedia:Assessment (and like) quality ratings. The authors note that at most 10% of Wikipedia articles are well correlated with regards to their quality and popularity; in turn over 50% of high quality articles concern topics of relatively little demand (as measured by their page views). The authors estimate that about half of the page views on Wikipedia - billions each month - are directed towards articles that should be of better quality, if it was just their popularity that would translate directly into quality. The authors identify 4,135 articles that are of high interest but poor quality, and suggest that the Wikipedia community may want to focus on improving such topics. Among specific examples of extremes are articles with poor quality (start class) and high number of views such as wedding (1k views each day) or cisgender (2.5k views each day). For examples of topics of high quality and little impact, well, one just needs to glance at a random topic in the Wikipedia:Featured articles - the authors use the example of 10 Featured Artcles about the members of the Australian cricket team in England in 1948 (itself a Good Article; 30 views per day). Interestingly, based on their study of WikiProjects, popularity and quality, the authors find that contrary to some popular claims, popculture topics are also among those that are underdeveloped. The authors also note that even within WikiProjects, the labor is not efficiently organized: for example, within the topic of military history, there are numerous featured articles about individual naval ships, but the topics of broader and more popular interests, such as about NATO, are less poorly attended too. In conclusion, the authors encourage the Wikipedia community to focus on such topics, and to recruit participants for improvement drives using tools such as User:SuggestBot. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 07:39, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

Piotrus contributions to the end of May'15 WMR[edit]

Recent research[edit]

It looks odd to just credit one person's section. For the sake of consistency can we do it for everyone or no one? Gamaliel (talk) 20:22, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

Yes, no objection to doing it for everyone. I have added some more, feel free to add your own credit. What we shouldn't do is remove existing attribution just for the sake of optical consistency. For context, see [10] (and the debate in the whole thread), and here. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 20:48, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
No problem, I'm fine with having them all in there. Thanks. Gamaliel (talk) 01:44, 30 May 2015 (UTC)

More on indexing[edit]

Just a note, I wrote an editorial explanation of the article-tagging project a while ago which I subsequently...forgot about. It's a useful whatsit reference and some version of it will be published at some later point. ResMar 02:57, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Piotrus contributions to the end of June'15 WMR[edit]

This paper looks at the topic of Wikipedia governance in the context of online social production, which is contrasted to traditional, contract-bound, hierarchical production models that characterize most organizational settings. Building on the dynamic capabilities theory The authors introduce a new concept, "collective governance capability" which they define as "the capability of a collective arrangement to steer a production process and an associated interaction system." The authors ask the research question "How does a collective governance capability to create and maintain value emerge and evolve in online social production?" The authors note that Wikipedia governance has changed significantly over the years, becoming less open and more codified, through they seem to acknowledge this as a positive outcome. The authors main conclusion center, first, on stressing that governance could itself be a dynamic, evolving process. Second, that new kinds of governance mechanisms make it possible to create significant value by harnessing knowledge resources that would be very difficult to seize through a market or corporate system. Third, that the lack of a contractually sanctioned governance framework means that people have to learn to deal directly with each other through peer-based interaction and informal agreements, which in turn creates opportunities for self-improvement through learning. Fourth, the authors note that the new type of governance models are constantly evolving and changing, meaning they have a very fluid structure that is difficult to describe, and may be better understood instead as changing combinations of different, semi-independent governance mechanisms that complement one another. Finally, they stress the importance of the technology in making those new models of governance possible.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 06:03, 22 June 2015 (UTC)

(comment: paper is CC-BY, so extensive quoting is allowed)

Similar to several other pieces of research, this paper looks at social production of knowledge in the context of a single, controversial Wikipedia topic, this time, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Authors compare the discussons in English and Japanese Wikipedias, noting that (as we would expect) the English one attracts more global audience. Both communities were primarily focus on writing an encyclopedic article, through contrary to the authors expectation, it was the English Wikipedia editors who were more likely to raise topics not directly related to the creation of the article. Overall, the paper is primarily descriptive, and does not provide much discussion to enhance the existing social theories. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 06:12, 22 June 2015 (UTC)

Piotrus contributions to the end of July'15 WMR[edit]

re: Models for Understanding Collective Intelligence on Wikipedia Randall M. Livingstone

This article presents an argument that Wikipedia is an example of collective intelligence. The article is primarily a theoretical piece, but the author is well-informed in Wikipedia's everyday workings, illustrating the theory with his knowledge of Wikipedia. The article heavily relies on Pierre Lévy's notion of humanistic collective intelligence. The author argues that Wikipedia displays some key characteristics of a collective intelligence process, such as software optimized for stigmergy (a mechanism of indirect coordination between agents or actions, such as the existence of edit history, talk pages, etc.); distributed cognition (such as existence of bots, and division of tasks between various tools and individuals, facilitating their actions), and possibly, through it is not possible to prove beyond any doubt, emergence (a process whereby larger entities, patterns, and regularities arise through interactions among smaller or simpler entities that themselves do not exhibit such properties). The author concludes that Wikipedia thus exemplifies a special kind of collective intelligence, the aforementioned humanistic collective intelligence proposed by Lévy.

--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 19:32, 28 July 2015 (UTC)

Piotrus contributions to the end of August'15 WMR[edit]

review of [13]

This paper looks at the benefits of using Wikipedia in the classroom, stressing, in addition to the improvement in writing skills, the importance of acquiring digital literacy skills. In other words, by learning how to edit Wikipedia students acquire skills that are useful, and perhaps essential, in today's world, such as ability to learn about online project's norms and values, how to deal with trolls, how to work with other in collaborative online projects, etc. The authors discuss those concepts through the acculturation theory and develop their views further through the grounded theory methodology. They portray learning as an acculturation process, that occurs when two independent cultural systems (Wikipedia and academia) coming into contact. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:58, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

Own paper summary?[edit]

Hi, I am new to the community, and I don't really know how the Signpost Recent research works. Is it okay to submit a summary of one's own research paper? Srijankedia (talk) 02:51, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

Hi Srijankedia (ccing Dario), while many of the reviewers are researchers themselves, the newsletter is usually featuring independent coverage of other people's work. That said, it seems we don't have any takers for your VEWS paper yet and it does look like a topic that should find considerable interested among our readers, so before it has to be relegated to a mere mention in the "Other recent publications" section, I think we can make an exception as long as we make it clear to readers that one of the authors wrote the summary. In the coverage, we try to summarize methodology and results in a form that's most useful to our audience of Wikimedians and academic researchers, which usually means leaving out some of the general information about Wikipedia that is often part of paper abstracts and introductions, and instead highlighting things specific research techniques and possible implications for Wikipedia. And perhaps you could upload suitable figures from the paper to Commons so we can include them directly in the newsletter? Thanks! Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 04:03, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
Great thanks! I am writing a short summary now. When is the letter supposed to go out?Srijankedia (talk) 06:18, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
@Srijankedia:The nominal publication date was already yesterday (August 26), but if it comes in during the next 10 hours that should still work based on discussion with the Signpost editor in charge of publication. Please ping me here once it's in, so I can give it a second pair of eyes. Thanks! Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 14:31, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
Hi Tbayer (WMF), I am cleaning it up a bit and will upload it in the next 30 mins or so. Thanks! Srijankedia (talk) 19:04, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
@Srijankedia:Thanks, let me know when the text is in too! And we should upload to Wikimedia Commons ( ) instead of locally to Wikipedia, so that the image can also be used on other wikis (like Meta-wiki where the standalone version of the newsletter is published). Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 20:06, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
@Tbayer (WMF): I have added the text and the figure. Please have a look! I would like to add a hyperlink on the image to the project website, but I am unable to do so. Is it possible to do that? Thanks! Srijankedia (talk) 20:21, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
@Srijankedia:Thanks! It looks very informative to me, I edited it a bit to make clearer that you are one of the authors, for transparency reasons. We usually use reviewers' real names in the byline, would you prefer that too (still linking to your user name)? Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 00:33, 28 August 2015 (UTC)
@Tbayer (WMF): Thanks for taking a pass on the summary. I have added my name. My co-authors also contributed to the summary, so I would like to add them as well (they don't have Wikipedia accounts though). Srijankedia (talk) 00:55, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

Piotrus contributions to the end of Sept'15 WMR[edit]

Wikipedia research still is not often seen in the book form. Here's one of the are exceptions: a book chapter on "Teaching Philosophy by Desigining a Wikipedia Page". It is an essay in which the author describes his experiences in teaching a class with a "write a Wikipedia article" assignment; specifically starting the Collective intentionality page. The students worked in teams, each tasked with improving a different part of the artcicle (from separate parts of the literature review to ensuring that the article confirms to different elements of Wikipedia's manual of style). The end result was quite succesful: a well-written new Wikipedia entry (see here revision as of the time the article was last edited by the instructor in January 2013) and the students seemed to have expressed positive assessments, particularly with regards to having an impact on the real world (i.e. creating a publicly visible Wikipedia's page). The author concludes that the students benefit both from contributing to public knowledge, and by learning how public knonwledge is created.

Unfortunately, it appears that (as is still too often the case) the author (Graham Hubbs of the University of Idaho, presumably Phil442 (talk · contribs)) was not aware of the Wikipedia:Education Program, as no wiki entry for the course was created at the Wikipedia:School and university projects. It may therefore be wise for the editors associated with the Wiki Education Foundation (some of whom, I hope, area reading this) to purse this and contact the author - as someone who was quite happy with his first experiment in teaching with Wikipedia, he may be happy to learn we offer extensive support for this (at least, as far the US goes). On a final note, I do observe, sadly, that neither the instructor, nor any of the students kept editing Wikipedia after the course was over (outside a single edit here), which seems to be a too-common case with educational assignments in general.

--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 07:59, 24 September 2015 (UTC)


Hi Tilman,

It appears that on the Signpost, the first item in the "In Brief" section is incomplete. :) -Philippe (talk) 22:41, 3 October 2015 (UTC)

Fixed, thanks! (And nice to see you ;)
Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 23:02, 3 October 2015 (UTC)

Piotrus contributions to the end of Oct'15 WMR[edit]

Here's your monthly newsletter, TB, errr... I mean, my monthly contribution to WMR :)

  • [15]
    • In this (conference?) paper, the authors apply the social network theory to the analysis of relationship between subjects of Wikipedia biographical articles. Using Wikidata and Wikipedia metadata, the authors produce a number of finding. Some of them will not be unexpected to readers of this newsletter, such as that "By far the largest occupational groups are politicians and football players", or "The page with the most mentions of persons is Rosters of the top basketball teams in European club competitions" (with 4, 694 mentions of 1, 761 different persons). The most referenced to persons are Jesus and Napoleon, followed by Barack Obama, Muhammad, Shakespeare, Adolf Hitler and George W. Bush. Over four fifths or the links in Wikipedia are to male persons, which roughly reflects the gender distribution of Wikipedia biographies; a similar distributions confirms that most of the biographies focus on the 19th and 20th centuries. The authors, however, do not dwell on the social science implications of their findings, but merely suggests that their tool can be used to refine Wikipedia categories and disambiguation tools. The findings are interesting from the perspective of alternate approach to categorization, as it may suggest possible new categories that haven't yet been created by human editors, and perhaps provides a mathematical model of how Wikipedia categories can be created. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 07:50, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
  • [16]
    • This paper uses the social network theory, as well as the Hofstede's cultural dimensions theory, Schwartz's Theory of Basic Human Values and McCrae's Five factor model of personality to ask research questions about the concept of online culture; in particular whether it is universal or different for various national cultures. It focused on 72 Featured articles in 12 languages (unfortunately, the authors do not explain any reasons for choosing those particular 12 languages over the others); discounting the bots the authors analyzed more than 150,000 editors and 250,000 edits. The authors find that most of Wikipedia edits are what they call self-loops, or individual editors making edits to the same articles they have edited before, without their editing being interrupted by edits by another editor (through they fail to make any comment on what that really means for the vision of Wikipedia as a collaborative environment). The authors find significant differences in editing patterns between certain Wikipedia projects, through this reviewer finds the description of said differences (focusing on a case study of one Japanese and one Russian article) rather curt. Similarly, their discussion of how the results fit (or not) with the established theories of Hofstede's and others is interesting, but rather short; that unsatisfying brevity may however be due to editorial requirements (the entire paper is only 3.5k words long, instead of the more common average of about 8k). The authors conclude that "new dimensions of online culture can be explored from directly observed online behavior", something that one hopes they'll revisit themselves, together with their dataset, in a longer paper that will do proper justice to it.

Piotrus contributions to the end of Nov'15 WMR[edit]

  • [17]
  • This article discusses the Art and Feminism Wikipedia edit-a-thon, an event the authors describe as the largest of such events ever. Framed in the context of importance of gendered activism and information activism for librarians, it discusses what the authors perceive as a growing collaboration between gender and information activists that also includes Wikipedia GLAM activists. The article presents an interesting overview of this developing movement.

This paper contributes to the discussion of the relation of Wikipedia and academia, in the context of the use of academic publications on Wikipedia. The authors, relying on Scopus database, looked at whether articles and academic books (monographs) indexed in it (302,328 articles and 18,735 books) are cited by Wikipedia, other articles, and books, and found that only about 5% of all academic articles are being cited on Wikipedia, compared to about 33% of books. Arts, humanities and social science books are cited almost twice as often as those from natural and medical sciences. The authors conclude that Wikipedia citations are not strongly related to scientific impact, but more so to the work's educational and cultural one. The authors conclude that Wikipedia citations are likely a good source for understanding the work's non-scholarly impact, particularly for books. On that note, while the authors discus some limitations of their study, they do not address the topic of open access, which could explain the discrepancy between the use of books (many of which are at least partially available through online through Google Books, a database the authors themselves used as well in this study) and articles (most of which are not available to an average reader). Therefore the authors conclusion should be moderated by the fact that while in Wikipedia is not currently citing the majority of academic articles, as said majority is not readily available to the project contributors, further research is needed on whether Wikipedia can be used to understand the impact of scholarly open access sources.

Piotrus contributions to the end of Dec'15 WMR[edit]

I guess this didn't make it to Nov, so I'll start Dec section early.

This dissertation looks at the opportunities for writing pedagogy offered by the Wikipedia:Education program. It provides an interesting, through not comprehensive, overview of the literature in the field, and then proceeds to describe and analyze a number of educational assignments that the author has carried out on Wikipedia through their 2011 course. The author concludes that the "teaching with Wikipedia" approach is generally beneficial to students in a number of ways, from improving their writing and research skills, to an increase in student's rhetorical skills, and understanding of topics relating to knowledge creation. The main limitations of the study, acknowledged by the author, is that it is based on a small sample of students (the course seems to have only about seventeen participants). Nonetheless, it is a useful addition to our still limited understanding of the practice and benefits of the use of Wikipedia in an educational setting. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 08:54, 30 November 2015 (UTC)

This paper, or perhaps an essay or an onion piece (2,500 words, with little original research), entitled Wikipedia, sociology, and the promise and pitfalls of Big Data, is a strange beast. Published in the Big Data & Society, it doesn't really address the topic of big data; instead presenting a sociologically-informed and critical discussion of a number of aspects of Wikipedia that while interesting seems out of place in an academic journal, and reads more like an academic blog entry. The authors display a reasonable familiarity with Wikipedia, through they make a few factual mistakes (such as suggesting that Wikipedia:WikiProject Sociology was formed with the assistance of the American Sociological Association in 2004; in fact ASA has not been aware of WP:SOCIO until late 2000s and its support for it has been limited to linking to the WikiProject from their Wikipedia Initiative Page). Based on their literature review, the authors don't hesitate to make some strong claims about Wikipedia, primarily in vein of Wikipedia becoming less friendly to new editors, through most of those claims are more or less supported by the sources cited. The authors research question is how the discipline of sociology is framed on Wikipedia, with special attention to the concepts of notability of academics (WP:PROF) and the gender imbalance of the Wikipedia biographies of sociologists. Unfortunately, as this is not a proper research piece, the authors findings are rather sparse, and primarily concern the fact that topics covered by the WikiProject Sociology and its related portal are poorly structured, that Wikipedia's biographies of sociologists are mostly about male subjects (the article omits, however, the question of gender bias in academia - aren't most sociologists male anyway...? ), and that WP:PROF guideline may not be enforced too strictly for sociological biographies. It was an enjoyable reading, but overall, as seen in the article's sections which are entitled Abstract, Declaration of conflicting interests, Funding and Notes, there is something important missing - the article proper. As the authors twice make a point of stressing the chaotic and unorganized nature of Wikipedia's coverage of sociological topics, I can't help but feel that the article, whose also fails to drive home any particular and well organized point, neither.


Tilman, apologies, we felt it was undesirable to delay publication further. We look forward to RR in the next edition. Thank you so much. Tony (talk) 16:25, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

A barnstar for you![edit]

Brilliant Idea Barnstar Hires.png The Brilliant Idea Barnstar
Great peice of research here. My thanks to you and your team for publishing it. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 06:43, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Piotrus contributions to the end of Jan'15 WMR[edit]

This paper data mines Wikipedia's biographies, focusing on individuals longevity, profession and cause of death. The authors are not the first to observe that majority of Wikipedia biographies are those of sportspeople (half of them, soccer players), followed by artists and politicians, but they do make some interesting historical observations, such as that the sport rises only in the 20th century (particularly from the 90s), that politics surpassed religion in the 13th century, until it was surpassed by sport, and so on. The authors divide the biographies into public (politicians, businessmen, religion) and private (artists and sportspeople) and note that it was only in the last few decades that the second group started to significantly outnumber the first; they conclude that this represents a major shift in societal values, which they refer to as "hidden revolution in human priorities". It is an interesting argument, through the paper is unfortunately completely missing the discussion of some important topics, such as the possible bias introduced by Wikipedia's notability policies.

--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 17:55, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

This paper looks into gender inequalities in Wikipedia articles, presenting a computational method for assessing gender bias in Wikipedia along several dimensions. It touches on a number of interesting questions, such as whether the same rules are used to determine whether women and men are notable; is there linguistic bias, and whether articles about men and women have similar structural properties (e. g., similar meta-data, and network properties in the hyperlink network). They conclude that notability guidelines seem to be more strictly enforced for women then men, linguistic bias exists (ex. one of the four most strongly associated words with female's biographies is "husband", whereas such family-oriented words are much less likely to be found in biographies of male subjects), and that as majority of biographies are about men and men tend to link more to men than to women, this lowers visibility of female biographies (for example, in search engines like Google). The authors suggest that Wikipedia community should consider lowering notability requirements for women (controversial), and adding gender-neutral language requirements to Manual of Style (much more sensible proposal).

Piotrus contributions to the end of Feb'15 WMR[edit]

This conference papers promises, in the abstract, to more or less analyze and present all aspects of Wikipedia use in education. Unfortunately, it fails to do so. For the first four and half pages, the paper explains what Wikipedia is, with next to no discussion of the extensive literature on the use of Wikipedia in education or its perceptions in academia. There is a single paragraph of original research, based on the intereview of three Swiss Wikipedians; there is little explanation of why those people where intereviewed, nor are there any findigns beyond description of their brief editing history. The paper ends with some general conclusions. Given the semi-formal style of the paper, this reviewer can only conclude that this work is an undergraduate student paper of some kind, and it unfortunately adds nothing substantial to the existing literature on Wikipedia, education and academia.

This paper focuses on the Swedish Wikipeda and its gender gap. It quantifies the data and provides some information about why Swedish women are not contributing to the project. The paper collected data through a questionnaire that was advertised in December 2014 on Swedish Wikipedia in the project-wide banner form, something that an average researcher can only dream about when it comes to English Wikipedia. The paper estimates the Swedish Wikipedian gender gap in the form of percentage of female editors at between 19% to 13%, based on the self-reported data from Wikipedia account profiles, and answers to the questionnaire. More interesting is the analysis of the activity of the accounts: the self-declared male accounts are several times more active then the female accounts, with the authors estimating that only about 5% of the Swedish Wikipedia content is written by women. Contrary to some prior research (most of which focused on English Wikipedia), Swedish Wikipedia editors and readers do not perceive Wikipedia as a place where sexist comments are significant, through about a third agree that general conflicts between editors do take place. Nonetheless, women are less likely than men to think that 1) Wikipedia is welcoming to beginners; 2) that everyone gets treated equally, regardless of gender; 3) to state that editing means taking on conflicts and are more likely than men to acknowledge the existence of sexist comments. In authors own words "women have more concerns about the community being sexist and not welcoming, and do not expect conflict as part of editing to the same degree as men", through the authors also note that statistical tests suggests that "the differences in opinion between gender groups do not differ greatly". The authors also conclude that there is no evidence that Swedish Wikipedia readers have any preconcived negative notions about the Wikipedia community (such as "it is sexist") that should contribute to the gender gap and thus inhibit potential women contributors from editing. Finally, they note that "Significant differences in perceived competence were found. Women report “I’m not competent enough” as a strong contributing factor to them not editing more than twice as often as men.", and suggest that as women often perceive, whether correctly or not, that they have lower computer skills then men, and see Wikipedia as a website which requires above-average computer skills, this (rather than unfriendly, sexist community) may be the most significant factor affecting their lack of contributions.

--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 09:38, 29 February 2016 (UTC)

Piotrus contributions to the end of Mar'15 WMR[edit]

I'll start early this time, since I just read

This is a good example of how to write good articles for the "teaching with Wikipedia" field. In this course, the authors describe their positive experiences with several under and post graduate classes at University of Sydney, developing articles such as pregnancy vegetarianism, Cleo (magazine) or Slave Labour (mural), among others. They describe in relative detail a number of assignments and assessment criteria, and discuss benefits that their Wikipedia assignments have for the community (improving valuable and underrepresented content) and for the students themselves (improving their writing, research and collaborative skills). The paper could benefit from a more comprehensive literature review, however: while it describes a useful set of educational activities, and rather well at that, they are not groundbreaking: practically all activities discussed in this paper have been discussed in peer review literature by others, through unfortunately the authors fail to cite many of related works (I count only about five citations to the other peer reviewed works from the much larger field of teaching with Wikipedia). Further, the authors seem unaware of the Wikipedia:Education Program; it does not appear that any of their courses so far have been registered with Wikipedia; sadly they have no on-wiki homepage allowing identification of all edited articles or participating students; it is also unclear if the instructors themselves have a Wikipedia account. This suggests a failing both on the part of the researchers (they spend years reading about, researching and engaging with the teaching with Wikipedia approach without realizing there is a major support infrastructure in place to assist them), as well as on the part of the Wikipedia community and the Education Program itself, which is clearly still not being visible enough, nor active enough to identify and reach out to educators who have been engaged in several years of ongoing teaching on Wikipedia. Hopefully in the future we can integrate those and other educators into our framework better. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 05:31, 9 March 2016 (UTC)

Piotrus contributions to the end of May'15 WMR[edit]

Review of [26]: the following paper in JASIST from April this year is a short opinion piece summarizing Wikipedia's perceptions of in academia. It provides a short literature review of works that discuss this subjects, summarizes the research on Wikipedia's reliability (still a concern among many scholars), notes the spread of the Wikipedia use as a teaching assignment in colleges, acknowledges the general widespread use of Wikipedia by the public, and in the paper's own words, calls "for a peaceful coexistence". A more detailed take on those very subjects is presented by the very same journal in March [27] (disclaimer: the latter article is written by me). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 05:26, 9 May 2016 (UTC)

  • review of [] This paper addresses the area of scientific knowledge creation online, as well as the notion of controversy, by examining the editing history and discussion about English Wikipedia pages on schizophrenia and its subpage, causes of schizophrenia. The specific controversy authors focused on is that of genetic basis for schizophrenia (a topic which the authors note is still debated by scholars and on which there is no consensus). The authors commend the neutrality of the lead of the Wikipedia article ("The causes of schizophrenia have been the subject of much debate, with various factors proposed and discounted or modified...") and ask "How are such statements constructed, or in other words, what is the work which goes into making these claims?" The authors used a dataset from August 2006 to October 2011 (20,000 words of talk text and 13,000 words of article text) to investigate how this topic is presented and contested in Wikipedia.

The authors make a number of interesting observation. They observe that editors are not equal, and in addition the usual admin>user>anon>bot hierarchy, they noted that "'who you are’ is important when it comes to editing the schizophrenia article...". Many editors self-identified as living with schizophrenia or medical experts. The talk pages are policed to keep the discussion on discussing article's contents, and anecdotes and personal experience stories are discouraged, or even removed from the pages. WP:V and WP:OR are certainly enforced as well, and Wikipedians will be pleased to note their observation that "Priority is always given to the published scientific literature." However, there are also a number of problems. Not all contributors have access to paywalled, quality content, and some seemingly rely only on article's abstracts. Some low quality references split through the net, and standards are not enforced consistently ("Attention to the reference list in the schizophrenia article at the time of our study revealed numerous citations that were not reviews", but original research academic papers about "breakthroughs" - this mentioned in the context of a talkpage argument that such papers should be avoided until their findings are confirmed]", the authors also note that they found at least "one reference to another Wikipedia article and also a schizophrenia forum discussion". The article's structure is a result of years of minor edits with little attention to the big picture, resulting in occasionally illogical and incoherent layout with some contradictions or clearly obsolete but not updated sections, which leads authors to give the summarize the state of the article as "a rather ad hoc assemblage of resources" and "a chronological patchwork of studies that nonetheless does have the effect of synthesising knowledge". Despite those problems, they nonetheless conclude that Wikipedia article, and the creation process behind it, is similar to an academic review article. Also, despite Wikipedia's claims that it is simply describing the state of things, rather then creating new arguments or points of view, the authors do think that Wikipedia article is also an active voice in ongoing discussions, and notes that some editors on the talk page see the purpose of article as education the public as well as some experts.

There are some unfortunate omissions (through to some degree understandable due to academic publish word limit). The authors do not discuss in detail whether some users, such as experts, seem to pull more weight in the discussions, or whether removal of personal stories impacts the friendliness of the discussion. Despite this omissions, the paper is an interesting analysis of knowledge creation on Wikipedia, as well as another contribution to the ongoing discussion of reliability and quality of Wikipedia. On that note, it is worth noting that Schizophrenia is a Featured Article, following a 2003 nomination that by today's FA standards is more like a joke. Given the criticism of the article's 2011 version as voiced by this paper, the community may want to consider a Feature Article Review here. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 07:40, 27 May 2016 (UTC)


I forgot to ping you in my reply in the newsroom. Signpost publication will be later today. We're moving to a fortnightly schedule. Regards, --Andreas JN466 15:02, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

Thanks - replied in the newsroom. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 21:16, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
Tilman, VERY interesting review on the ethics-related paper. Please review my edits throughout. Tony (talk) 04:03, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
I agree! Also, could you check a couple of ISSN / EISSN errors in the references section? -Pete (talk) 04:21, 5 September 2016 (UTC)

Research submission for The Signpost[edit]

Hello. I understand that you compile the monthly research report in The Signpost. Can you queue this for inclusion? Please ping me with any concerns or comments, or if I should change something. Thanks.

@Jayen466 and PeteForsyth: Since you are the editors I wanted to signal that I am sharing something here.

Blue Rasberry (talk) 17:18, 15 September 2016 (UTC)

Piotrus contributions to the end of October'15 WMR[edit]


This study explores a logical premise: given that a number of online predictors have been associated with online events (ex. Google searchers can be used to monitor the spread of infectious diseases), can we use use Wikipedia's metadata for similar insights? Hence the author attempt to test whether Wikipedia content disputes can be used to understand real-life conflicts. The authors analyzed all pages linking to articles about countries that had the "NPOV dispute" tag, through they note that only about a quarter (138 out of 497) entities had sufficient number of conflicts to allow further analysis. (Here, this reviewers wonders why the authors chose the "what links here" tool rather than the more precise category of WikiProject template groups of articles; a cursory look at the 100+ articles linked to Poland, for example, suggests that only ~20% are clearly related to that country). The authors then created a Wikipedia Dispute Index (downloadable image of the index heat map), which measures whether a country has more or less then an average disputes linking to it. The authors note that their Index roughly matches "1996–2008 World Bank Policy Research Aggregate Governance Indicators" and the "Economist Intelligence Unit 2009 Political Instability Index" indexes (downloadable image of the correlation plots between said indexes - not bad, given the underlying problem of using "what links here" as a dataset). With regards to the results, they note that "the most disputed are parts of the middle east followed by other regions such as Kosovo, Bosnia & Herzegovina and North Korea... , countries in North America and Western Europe are the least disputed, with most other countries occupying a middle range." With regards to the type of conflicts, they observe "that "the biggest contributors to the indicator tend to be disputes over current or historical events or individuals that vary according to different political views." Through the authors do not make a convincing arguments about why exactly their index would be more or less useful then the existing ones, they note that it can be seen as a supplementary tool validating other indexes, and conclude that Wikipedia's data and metadata can be used to generate other useful indexes and metrics, something that this reviewer certainly agrees with. Finally, Wikipedians may find the following page created for this project useful (for the next few months or years until it inevitably goes down as it stops being maintained - perhaps somone could contant the authors about moving it to the Toolserver/Labs?: which displays the (gray and white) heatmap and lists Wikipedia articles that are being analyzed - a nice visual gadget for our internal cleanup purposes). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 09:47, 13 October 2016 (UTC)

New study[edit]

Tbayer, when I happen to run across new research referenced in media articles I find in preparing the In the Media section of the Signpost, where should I drop a link to them to make sure you and others are aware of them? E.g., an Oct 19 Washington Post story discusses this study Ideological Segregation among Online Collaborators: Evidence from Wikipedians. Cheers.--Milowenthasspoken 13:27, 24 October 2016 (UTC)

Hi Milowent, that would be great if you help us stay up to date on new research publications. The monthly todo Etherpad is a good place to add them (see e.g. the October edition; this page should always contain a link to the current pad). BTW, you are still listed there as planning to review that Reddit paper - do you think you could provide a writeup for the upcoming Signpost issue? Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 18:40, 24 October 2016 (UTC)

Recent research -- one question[edit]

Hi, I read through Recent Research -- it looks very good overall. Please review the edits and inline comments I made; I don't think there's anything major.

One important piece though, that I can't address -- who wrote which section? There are no attribution notes at the end of each section. -Pete (talk) 23:14, 2 November 2016 (UTC)

@Pete: Thanks! Right now that information is only in the version history; Masssly usually helps us to add the separate bylines to individual reviews example, I'll ping him to see whether he's around to do it this time too. BTW the existing format uses larger bylines at the top of each review (cf. byline: "Bylines are traditionally placed between the headline and the text of the article"), which I think is preferable for this format because (as opposed to most other sections of the Signpost) many reviewers are not regulars, and a review is also closer to a mini op-ed than say a brief item in "News and notes". The small attribution initials at the end recently led to a huge misunderstanding where one reader attributed opinions of one reviewer to the publication as a whole (see comment section here - the blog in that case, but it could equally well happen with the Signpost or our third publication venue on Meta). While I think the reader was ultimately to blame there, it still doesn't hurt to make things easier for people who don't read closely. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 23:32, 2 November 2016 (UTC)
Tbayer (WMF), I generally agree with your points; however, I am hesitant to make a format change on the day of publication, without the ability to fully consider it and consult with the rest of the team. (Also, I think your arguments apply equally well to the entire Signpost -- so I'd rather consider a wholesale change than have different standards for different sections.) We're dealing with a good deal of change right now, and I'd rather add another item into the queue than take immediate action. OK with you if I defer this to a future issue? -Pete (talk) 23:56, 2 November 2016 (UTC)
@Pete: Actually, in the context of "Recent research" the short form (initials) is the new format, and the long form bylies are the established format whose use goes back to mid-2014 (established after a mailing list discussion where people complained about the lack of easily visible attribution; happy to provide you with more context on that later if you're interested). IIRC the rest of the team was around for much of that time too, editing "Recent research" issues without objections to the long form. So I think we should feel comfortable to continue using it for now without a formal consultation. Of course we can always have a wider discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of each solution if other people have concerns. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 00:05, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
Ah, OK -- I understand now, I did not understand the full history properly. (Inviting Montanabw to take a look at this discussion) Yes, let's go with your preferred format for now, and I will check in with the team about the rest of the pub soon. Thanks for taking me through that, I've reviewed some recent RR's and see that I was working off some bad assumptions. -Pete (talk) 00:23, 3 November 2016 (UTC)

PLEASE stop changing the article[edit]

Manual publication is difficult enough as it is, without worrying about edit conflicts, need for additional editing, etc. I am trying to get this thing out, this one in particular has been quite an ordeal to produce. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 01:16, 22 December 2016 (UTC)

Apologies about causing edit conflicts, Pete (I assume you refer to the small fixes I made - as mentioned in the newsroom some time before your comment, I was no longer adding content).
I will hold off on any further such fixes until I'm sure you're done. (In general though these are a common practice and even mentioned as such on our "About" page; others are copyediting other sections as we speak).
Sorry to hear about your ordeal (this RR section was also difficult for several reasons), hope the process will be smoother in the upcoming issues. Thanks as always for your work on getting the Signpost out to our readers!
Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 01:29, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
I want to apologize for snapping at you. There weren't any actual edit conflicts, but the manual edit process is probably the most challenging kind of activity for my ADHD-addled brain...the mere possibility of additional, unexpected complications can be enough to send me over the edge. I appreciate your efforts as well. Please proceed with any minor changes now, it's all in place; I'm sending out announcements next. And thank you for your gracious reply. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 02:37, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
Tilman, sorry, we had an edit-conflict. I've updated with changes too. Tony (talk) 03:09, 22 December 2016 (UTC)

The Signpost barnstar[edit]

Signpost Barnstar icon.png The Signpost Barnstar
For contributing to multiple Signpost "Recent research" reports in 2016. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! --Pine 02:26, 25 December 2016 (UTC)

Piotrus contributions to December's newsletter[edit]

Or whichever is next :)

The authors analyze Wikipedia's citations to academic peer reviewed article, finding that "older papers from before 2008 are increasingly less likely to be cited". The authors attempted to use Wikipedia citations as a proxy for public interest in astronomy, through the analysis is limited as there is no comparison to similar research (about public interest in sciences). The article notes that citations to articles from 2008 are most common, and it represents peak of citations, with fewer and fewer citations for years further from 2008. The analysis is also limited due to cut off date (1996), "because Scopus indexing of journals changes in this year". The author conclude that the observed citation pattern is likely "consistent with a moderate tendency towards obsolescence in public interest in research", as papers become obsolete and newer ones are more likely to be cited; older papers are cited for timeless, uncontroversial facts, and newer for newer findings. They also note that year late 2000s, c. 2008 may represent when most of Wikipedia's content in astronomy was created, through this is not backed up by much besides speculation. Overall, it is an interesting question, through one that does not provide any surprising insights.

  • [30] The topic of this conference paper "Election Prediction Based on Wikipedia Pageviews " is certainly timely. The authors look at which Wikipedia's (US) election-related articles registered high popularity, and then ask if elections can be predicted based "on the number of views the spiking pages have and on the correlation between these pages and the presidential nominees or their political program". The authors limited themselves (reasonably) to English and Spanish Wikiepdias. The authors do a good job of presenting their methods, and outlining problems with gathering data on popularity of articles (something that would be much easier if Wikipedia articles and databases were more friendly when it comes to information about their popularity). Within the limitations described in the paper, the authors cocluded that Wikipedia articles about politicians are used mostly after, not before or during debates or other events such as primaries or elections, which suggests that they are not used for fact checking but instead as an information source after the event. The authors thus conclude that "Wikipedia is not, in fact, a reliable polling source", based on (this could be clarified further) fact that people check Wikipedia after the events, not before them, hence making Wikipedia's pageviews problematic for prediction.
  • [31] In this paper, the researches look at the relation between social movement (Black Lives Matter) and its coverage in Wikipedia, asking the following research questions: 1) "How has Wikipedia editing activity and the coverage of BLM movement events changed over time?" 2) "How have Wikipedians collaborated across articles about events and the BLM movement?" and 3) "How are events on Wikipedia re-appraised following new events?" . They aim to contribute to academic discourse on social movements, and claim to describe "knowledge production and collective memory in a social computing system as the movement and related events are happening". They conclude that Wikipedia is a neutral platform, which does directly support (or hinder) the movement (or its opponenets), through indirectly it serves to support the movement by the virtue of increse visibility (in the same vain as coverage by media would). The quality of docimentation of the movement's history on Wikipedia is also judged to be of higher value, accessibility and quality than snapshots on social media platforms like Twitter. Wikipedia also provided space for interested editors to work on articles related indiretly to BLM, further increasing visibility of related topics, as interested editors moved beyond direct BLM articles to other aspects (ex. historical articles about events preceeding BLM that would likely not be written/expanded on Wikipedia if not for the rise BLM movement and editors who edited BLM topics on Wikipedia). The authors conclude that social movement activists can use Wikipedia to document their activities, without compromising Wikipedia's neutrality or other policies: "Without breaking with community norms like NPOV, Wikipedia became a site of collective memory documenting mourning practices as well as tracing how memories were encoded and re-interpreted". This is a valuable argument drawing interesting connections between Wikipedia and social movements, particularly considering that some (like this reviewer) consider Wikipedia itself to be a social movement.

--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 17:44, 25 December 2016 (UTC)

Piotrus contributions to next newsletter[edit]

I am confused if it is Dec or Jan. Anyway.

The paper starts with a solid literature review on existing scholarship on teaching with Wikipedia, and this reviewer will commend the authors for doing a very solid job with their introduction, which also displays their familiarity with Wikipedia community and programs such as Wiki Edu Foundation and related. The authors then describe a semester-long elective course opened in the 2013 fall semester at the Sackler school of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, registered on Wikipedia as the Wikipedia:WikiProject Medicine/Tel Aviv University project. One of the unique elements here is that the authors designed a course that would not just use the Wikipedia assignment as part of the course, but also had substantial elements discussing topics such as 'what Wikipedia is'. Courses that significantly discuss Wikipedia are still very rare, and this one is to best knowledge the first course of this type that has been described in peer reviewed literature. In terms of content generation, the course resulted in 64 new articles in Hebrew Wikipedia and 64 expanded stubs, all related to medical topics. The article presents an in-depth overview of students responses, which were mostly positive. The are many insights which match my own experiences, including the note that "A new mini-assignment focusing on copyrights violations resulted in a drastic decline in copy-paste issues" - a great idea that should be included in best practices for teaching with Wikipedia, if it is not there already. The authors also found that students perception of Wikipedia reliability has risen. Students did not think that their digital literacy has improved significantly, but instead noted that their academic skills and collaborative work skills were improved. Students were satisfied and proud, and most reported sharing their experiences with family members and friends, and would recommend this course to others. Four students (out of 62) reported editing Wikipedia after the course. The authors describe the course as successful, and note that they are expanding it to be available to more students. The authors express hope that their study and design will allow for further popularization of Wikipedia teaching assignment and Wikipedia-focused elective courses, and this editor sincerely thinks their effort will be very helpful, as in my professional experience related to reading and reviewing literature on teaching wi th Wikipedia for many years, this is one of the best, if not the best, treatment of this subject. Anyone interested in teaching with Wikipedia, particularly from practical perspective, should read this paper. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 20:56, 15 January 2017 (UTC)

For [33]: This short paper describes another teaching activity. It notes students (German undergraduate class) had much confidence in quality of Wikipedia, but did not feel qualified to make their own contributions. The study suggests that students need a hand-on guide to explain how editing Wikipedia works, as well as to direct them to articles that need attention, and confirms that if Wikipedia assignment is offered as an optional activity, relatively few students will attempt it. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 18:43, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

Recent Research / "the author"[edit]

Hi Tilman, just wanted to run this general principle by you. In several of the reviews, I see the term "the author." When reading, I typically stumble on this, because until I think it through, I'm not sure whether this refers to the reviewer or to the author of the paper. As a general rule, I'd prefer to introduce the paper's author by name in the first place we refer to them, and then by last name thereafter. OK with you? -Pete Forsyth (talk) 03:17, 16 January 2017 (UTC)

Hi Pete, this kind of potential confusion hasn't occurred (or been brought up) as a problem to me so far in the last half decade of RR's existence ;) But the format you suggest is fine with me, feel free to adjust it to that. The only caveat I see is that for papers with multiple authors, it may become cumbersome to repeat the names every time. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 19:36, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
There was no factual error (just a grammatical glitch of tense choice, which you fixed). Don't go changing "proved" back to "proven". Tony (talk) 09:42, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

Piotrus contributions to Jan/Feb newsletter[edit]

This paper reports on faculty perception of Wikipedia, following a survey academics at four Californian universities (they attempted to identify all faculty members in those institutions, and asked all of them to participate in the survey, the response ratio was about 13% out of population of 3,000). The authors primary research question was whether attitudes towards Wikipedia are shifting. The authors queried their respondents whether their attitudes have shifted over they past five years, and if so - why. The study opens with an interesting literature review, citing a number of prior works on use of and perceptions of Wikipedia in academia. Following presentation of survey results, the authors conclude that faculty perceptions of Wikipedia have improved over the five-year period surveyed (over a third of the respondents improved their views, while only 6.5% had their attitudes worsen). Interestingly, the number of teachers allowing students to cite Wikipedia nearly doubled from 5% to 8.5%. The biggest reported shift is for teachers recommending use of Wikipedia for initial data gathering (from 40% to 55%), similarly the number of those telling students to never use Wikipedia decreased from 52% to 31%. The authors find that the impact of rank, years of teaching, or discipline on faculty attitudes is minimal. Based on qualitative comments, the authors note that negative comments on Wikipedia focused on the lack of reliability and the instability of entries.As the authors note, follow up studies on what, exactly, is responsible for different attitudes will hopefully cast light on this still unclear topic. At the same time we can reasonably expect that as time goes on, faculty views of Wikipedia will be slowly but steadily improving.

On another note, authors also found out that 13% of the respondents (52 individuals - or ~1.5% of total population, through that would likely be an overestimation) have incorporated Wikipedia into their courses in some fashion - an interesting number regarding the spread and impact of the Wikipedia in Education initiatives.

--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 15:40, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

Piotrus contributions to Feb/March newsletter[edit]

This conference paper touches upon a very interesting yet understudied question: psychological dimensions of why do people contribute to Wikipedia. The topic of motivations of Wikipedia contributors has been tackled before, but not much research has focused on said psychological aspects, which promise to teach us more about differences between individuals who have potential to become volunteer contributors. The study, based on a sample of Polish students (206 University of Gdańsk students in their early 20s, over half from the pedagogics field, over 80% female), looked at the personality traits labelled six personality traits (extraversion, openness to experience, conscientiousness, agreeableness, emotional stability and cynical hostility - the first four are also a part of the Big Five personality traits). One of the authors' motivations was to test whether cynical hostility would be negatively correlated to editing Wikipedia and one's opinion of it. In addition to attitudes to Wikipedia, the study also measured the students' attitude towards traditional encyclopedias, radio, press, and TV. The authors found that conscientiousness was negatively, but weakly, related to editing Wikipedia and positive opinions about Wikipedia. Cynical hostility was not related to any specific attitude to Wikipedia. Extraversion and openness to experience were positively, but weakly, related to positive opinions on Wikipedia. The authors suggest that the lack of relation between cynical hostility (distrust of other people) and Wikipedia may be related to many students not associating Wikipedia with the work of other individuals. They noted their findings are not consistent with prior studies; citing a study which suggested that knowledge sharing is related to openness to experience, conscientiousness, and agreeableness - through noting that this study was based on sharing knowledge inside a company, an environment that is somewhat different from doing so in a public, volunteer setting of Wikipedia. At the same time, this reviewer notes that not a single Wikipedia-related correlation was shown to be statistically significant in the study. Overall, it seems like an interesting study, but with statistically insignificant, inconclusive findings. Whether the studied population was too small, or too biased, it is hard to say, but this reviewer hopes future studies will pursue this question: the psychological dimension of why people contribute, like, or dislike and not contribute to Wikipedia is a very interesting issue to pursue. Even with no conclusive findings, this study shows the potential to investigate this topic. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 06:52, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

In is generally known that while many experts (professors, etc.) use Wikipedia, they rarely contribute to it (which, generally, is not that different from how non-expert use but don't contribute to it). This study presents the results of a randomized field experiment, inspired by the social loafing theory, investigating how different incentives could motivate experts to contribute - in author's own words "We investigate incentives that Wikipedia can provide for scholars to motivate them to contribute". The authors (including User:I.yeckehzaare) are familiar enough with Wikipedia community to be able to create and operate a bot (User:ExpertIdeasBot, Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/ExpertIdeasBot); additional resources about this study are available at Wikipedia:WikiProject Economics/ExpertIdeas. The authors sent a number of invitations to 3,974 researchers (from the field of economics). The bot, operating roughly from August 2014 to December 2016 sample edit can be seen for example here. The paper discusses the design of the experiment, and the result, in detail, and also contains a supporting statistical analysis showing a number of significant results.

The authors conclude that experts are more likely to contribute if they receive a personalized email clearly mentioning their recent studies and areas of expertise. Another helpful aspect is if this invitation comes from an expert in the same field (rather than a random another person, including a random Wikipedia volunteer or WMF staff member). It is also helpful to appeal not only to the self-less argument that "We should contribute to Wikipedia because it is a public good, etc.", but also to more selfish motives, such as that one can add citations to one owns work to Wikipedia which can improve the likelihood of their publications being cited. Experts would also like for contributions to be more easily identifiable and attributable, and it is suggested that Wikipedia should make it easier for experts to receive recognition, for example through listing their contributions and names on a related WikiProject page.

Overall, this is a very interesting study, and it is commendable he authors did it in a way that is highly transparent to the community. The code for the bot is available on GitHub, through I was unable to find any indication it is freely licensed, which sadly suggests that if Wikipedia Community would like to reuse it, it may not be able to do so (we will correct this statement as soon as any clarification/license link is found and available). Hopefully, the Wikipedia community and WMF will be able to capitalize on the findings from this study, developing it into a larger outreach program to academics. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 07:33, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

@I.yeckehzaare: Thanks for the copyedits! But note that the text had already been copied over to the Signpost draft page - you may want to apply them there instead. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 10:39, 17 March 2017 (UTC)


I just read your post on the Signpost newsroom page. Is including your report a simple cut and paste from your document?

Barbara (WVS)   11:27, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
Hi Barbara (WVS), I'm not sure I fully understand the question? It is always prepared as a subpage of Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Next_issue, like the other sections. I think there is an automated process that then takes all these subpages and collects them into the new issue at publication time, but you have to ask other people about the details. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 14:59, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
You are exactly correct in saying that. Except that I am working ahead of schedule while the other signpost editors are finishing up their interviews. When they have completed their project reports then I can submit mine. I will move the final draft of the interview for TWL to the correct page when it is to be submitted. I guess I'm being bold, working ahead of schedule.
Barbara (WVS)   17:54, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

Broom icon (Auto-Correct)[edit]


Hi, Tilman. I have the broom icon (performs Auto-Format) on my wikitext-editor, but Doc James does not. Can you explain why? I have the Vector skin, and many gadgets enabled, plus user scripts. See the red highlights on the attached thumbnail image. Ping me back. Having fun! Cheers! {{u|Checkingfax}} {Talk} 01:39, 1 December 2017 (UTC)

I will do some playing around and see what I can figure out. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:47, 1 December 2017 (UTC)

Signpost 2018 issue 1 date set[edit]

See WP:Signpost/Newsroom#Next issueBri (talk) 06:05, 5 January 2018 (UTC)


I have a study I would like to summarize for the Signpost. Besides going through every issue, is there a way to determine if a particular article has appeared in the Signpost? And, where is the etherpad? I thought I knew but now I can't find it. Best Regards, Barbara (WVS)    21:27, 6 February 2018 (UTC)

Reply here. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 01:26, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
The current draft for the Recent Research article for the Signpost is ready. Since this is my first time in tackling the 'whole' article I believe you need to take a good look. I would think it is rather small but may be adequate this time around. I left notes on the etherpad. Best Regards, Barbara (WVS)    11:58, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
Thank you for following up, adding content, editing and reviewing the research section of the Signpost. I hope I can continue to work on this Signpost section. I don't know if it is obvious to you but I don't have the skills to summarize the very technical types of research. Best Regards, Barbara (WVS)    08:20, 20 February 2018 (UTC)