News and notes
Wikimania 2010, usability project, link rot, and more
Wikimania 2010 venue announced
Wikimania 2010 will be held in Gdańsk, Poland. The winning city was announced on May 7 after a lengthy committee deliberation process that lasted three weeks past the originally stated deadline. The other two final bidding cities were Amsterdam and Oxford. The Wikimania bid process requires communities interested in hosting Wikimania to outline their potential venue and accommodation options, a tentative budget and fundraising opportunities, and assemble a local bidding team. The bids are then presented on a page on Meta where the teams are open to questions from the bid jury and members of the community. In the announcement, the Gdańsk bid was praised for having an "organized team, roomy venue options, low cost for attendees, creative outing plans, and outreach potential to Eastern Europe."
The Wikimania bid jury committee is assembled every year for the purpose of choosing the Wikimania venue. This year the committee comprised four past organizers of Wikimania, one advisory board member, and the Foundation head of Public Outreach. Sue Gardner, executive director of the Foundation, and Michael Snow, chair of the Foundation Board of Trustees, acted as advisors.
Usability study report posted
The full report from the Wikimedia Foundation's Usability team is now posted. The study, which analyzed how people use Wikipedia through in-person and remote tests, was conducted in March 2009. A preview of the results was posted on the Foundation blog two weeks ago (see earlier story).
International Herald Tribune links go dead
As part of the ongoing merger of the website of the International Herald Tribune (the international edition of the New York Times) into nytimes.com, the Tribune's archives were recently taken offline. This has created several thousand dead links in Wikipedia articles that use Tribune articles as sources. It is unknown whether the original iht.com links will be restored following the integration of the Tribune archives into the main New York Times website.
The dead iht.com links were brought to Wikipedians' attention by journalist Thomas Crampton, who complained in an open letter to New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. that "You Erased My Career". Link rot is not a new problem for Wikipedia, and as one Wikipedian noted at Village Pump, "They're not the first -- or worst -- offender in this regard". Still, many of the thousands of Tribune references have incomplete citation data, making it difficult or impossible to track down the original source without a working URL. In a follow-up post about the situation on Wikipedia, Crampton suggested that "this presents a great opportunity for someone in the WSJ or Washington Post to build up the authority of their publication on Wikipedia: Find and replace the dead links to IHT articles with links to their own publication."
Tribune links currently lead to a page that states:
- Looking for an article from the International Herald Tribune?
- The most recent IHT articles can now be found by searching NYTimes.com. We are in the process of moving IHT articles dating back to 1991 over to NYTimes.com. Thanks for your patience as we complete this transition.
The rationale for the merger was noted in late March, but there was no indication that the archives would be disrupted.
- Last week, the count of Featured Articles passed 2500. Six articles were passed on May 5, bringing the count from 2495 to 2501; the six were Nancy Drew, Arthur Henry Cobby, Bruce Castle, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Fort Ticonderoga, and Franklin Knight Lane.
- The participant satisfaction survey results from last month's Wikimedia Chapters conference are now posted.
- According to statistics from Erik Zachte, the articles about influenza on Wikipedia have been exceedingly popular recently, hitting a peak on April 29th of over 200,000 requests/hour for the articles related to swine flu. According to a report from the Pew Research Center, Wikipedia was the second most popular website for US-American Internet users searching for "swine flu" info, after cdc.gov, the American government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Wikipedia was the top destination for those searching for "H1N1", the flu type associated with the recent outbreak.
- The Arbitration Committee has opened an RFC on the subject of how to resolve content disputes.
- Another community-wide RFC was opened this week on the subject of impeachment of functionaries (such as checkusers).
- User:Jarry1250 has produced a report on the use of disambiguated article titles, which identifies the most common disambiguation terms and describes trends in disambiguation since 2007, when a similar report was issued.
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