Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-09-08/In the news

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The Wikipedia Signpost

In the news

By Enochlau, September 8, 2008

Wikimedia: maturing and professionalising

Wikimedia pegs future on education, not profit (24 August 2008, San Francisco Chronicle)

Sue Gardner, Wikimedia's executive director, expresses surprise at the misunderstandings that people have about Wikimedia. As a charity, Wikimedia is not seeking to profit from the billions of dollars that some say could be earned from placing advertisements on its projects' websites. Recently, Wikimedia moved its headquarters to San Francisco, and the move, Gardner says, was because of the area's "tech talent"; the organisation's core staff has now increased to 21. Jimmy Wales credits Gardner with professionalising Wikimedia, instituting competent and sound management. Gardner's goals for the future include increasing participation, improving quality and making Wikipedia available in a variety of formats. On the other hand, Ed Chi, the creator of WikiDashboard, says that there has been a decline in interest in editing that does not bode well for the community.

US Vice-Presidential candidates with groomed articles

McCain camp touts Biden praise ahead of speech (27 August 2008,

Bloggers have noticed changes to Joseph Biden's Wikipedia article as news of his Vice-Presidential nomination was leaking out. For instance, bloggers say that the section about his involvement in the 2004 presidential campaign was deleted. Also, details of Biden's undergraduate studies and allegations of plagiarism were said to have disappeared from his Wikipedia biography. The article raises the question of whether Barack Obama's campaign or the Democratic National Committee changed the article, given the timing of the edits.

Don’t Like Palin’s Wikipedia Story? Change It (31 August 2008, The New York Times)

A Wikipedia user called Young Trigg made a number of edits to Sarah Palin's article before the announcement of her nomination as the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate; the username is a reference to her infant son Trig. The edits, which added compelling stories about her upbringing and positive comments about her political career, were in fact rewarded with a Barnstar, and the editor made contact with other Wikipedia editors. In particular, Young Trigg asked an anonymous editor where he or she had heard about Palin being McCain's choice, possibly because, as the article suggests, Young Trigg had an interest in whether the news had leaked already. However, later, another user came along to tone down the additions that seem biased. Ultimately, Young Trigg, who denied relation to the Palin family, retired from Wikipedia.

Other mentions

Other recent mentions in the online press include:

  • An interview with Wikipedia founder (and Crimson Tide fan) Jimmy Wales (ESPN The Magazine)
    Jimmy Wales is quizzed on Wikipedia... and football.
  • Veoh Safe Harbor ruling could help YouTube in Viacom battle (28 August 2008, Ars Technica)
    A judge uses Wikipedia to understand some of the technology in the case decided between Veoh and Io that has importance in relation to the DCMA "safe harbour" provisions.
  • Wikipedia vandals target West Australian politicians (29 August 2008,
    As the Western Australia state election draws closer, politicians' articles are being vandalised, although some of the vandalism was reverted within minutes.
  • Asylum-Seeker Rejected Based On Wikipedia, Appeals Court Reverts (2 September 2008, blogs)
    The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals that had found that a particular Ethiopian travel document was insufficient to prove someone's identity, a finding based on information gleaned from Wikipedia.
  • Just How Powerful Is Wikipedia? (SitePoint Blogs)
    Entries on Wikipedia play a strong role in forming public perception, because Wikipedia articles appear very frequently on the first page of results when using search engines.
  • Arabic content in Wikipedia very weak, users to blame (1 September 2008, Daily News Egypt)
    Users in Egypt gathered for the fourth regional Wikipedia Day, and the event resulted in a substantial increase in the number of Arabic-language articles, despite the Cairo venue reporting low attendance numbers.
  • The pros and cons of Wikipedia (3 September 2008,
    University educators believe that part of their role is to ensure students develop critical thinking skills, and Wikipedia is good as a place to begin understanding a topic.
  • Wikipedia users divided over sexual material (9 September 2008,
    Wikipedia, which contains graphical depictions of sexual acts, is said to have crossed the line; "Does that mean that when you type in 'murder', you should actually see someone murdering someone else?"

Also this week:

Wikimedia UK — WikiWorld — News and notes — In the news — Dispatches 1 — Dispatches 2 — Features and admins — Technology report — Arbitration report

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