Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2007-03-20/News and notes

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The Wikipedia Signpost


News and notes

By Ral315, 20 March, 2007

Bad sin

Wikipedia became the subject of news coverage over the past week over a report that actor Sinbad had died. The claim was made in a revision that was quickly reverted; however, links to the revision(s) that mentioned his death spread quickly. Rumors of Sinbad's death had circulated days before they were introduced to Wikipedia; however, they did not become as widespread until after the message was posted on Wikipedia. Commenting on the incident, Sinbad joked, "I wish that people would've called me back like this when I was alive. I gotta die more often. I'm writing a movie about this now... Seriously, my death is gonna be my comeback."

Community manager hired

Cary Bass, or Bastique, was hired this week by the Wikimedia Foundation, to serve in the new role of Volunteer Coordinator. He will work full-time at the Foundation office in St. Petersburg, Florida. In the announcement, board member Erik Möller said, "The entire Board and Staff has met Cary this weekend in St. Petersburg, and I believe it's fair to say that we're all very happy to have him onboard. ... Hiring Cary is part of our long term commitment to making sure that the global volunteer community will be involved not just in project-level work, but also in all aspects of what our organization is doing. Expect some exciting initiatives from him in the near future. :-)"

Policy changes

Jimbo Wales reverted the merger of Verifiability, No original research and Reliable sources into Attribution this week, saying:

Merging "Wikipedia:Verifiability with Wikipedia:No original research, while also streamlining Wikipedia:Reliable sources into a simpler FAQ at WP:ATT/FAQ" was a big mistake, and the result is completely incoherent. This needs to be reverted immdiately [sic] because it is just wrong. It is bad policy all around, and this is not the right way to make policy.

Verifiability and No Original Research are conceptually distinct: they are different things, not the same things. Reliable sources, too, is quite different from the other two, although arguably a subset of Verifiability. The resulting confusion is apparent in many arguments around Wikipedia, as editors are getting confused about two very different concepts.

There is no logical reason for the merge, as the information contained in this unified policy can be more sensibly separated back out into the two separate policies. As a first step, I am removing the claim on [Wikipedia:Attribution] that is supercedes [sic] the other two, and restoring the other two to their rightful place in the pantheon of Wikipedia.

In response to criticism over the change, Wales said, "I think that it probably was a more or less accurate merger of the three separate policies. But merging three separate policies into one, even when that change is not intended to make any actual policy change, is not trivial and in this particular a monumentally bad idea. ... We must not merge these separate concepts, or we have no means of distinguishing them."

In an unrelated change, the semi-protection policy has been merged into the protection policy, which now contains information and policy on all forms of protection, including cascading protection.

'Wiki' enters Oxford English Dictionary

The term wiki entered the Oxford English Dictionary this week. Its definition:

wiki, n. A type of web page designed so that its content can be edited by anyone who accesses it, using a simplified markup language.

Erin McKean, the editor of United States dictionaries for Oxford University Press, is a member of the Wikimedia Foundation advisory board.

300 boosts article ranks

The movie 300, based on the comic book of the same name, boosted the rank of many related articles, including Battle of Thermopylae (the 2nd most popular page, behind only the Main Page), 300 (film) (4th), Sparta (7th), 300 (comic book) (25th), 300 (29th), Xerxes I of Persia (32nd), and Leonidas I (44th). Having boosted 7 articles into the top 50, it is believed to be the most wide-scale jump for a series of related articles since by-article statistics were tracked. The seven articles, according to WikiCharts, are believed to have generated over 5 million page views in the last 20 days.


Briefly

Also this week: WikiWorld

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