News and notes
Tech news, strategic planning, BLP task force, and more
Brion Vibber announced plans to split his CTO role into two positions, Senior Software Architect and Chief Technical Officer. Plans are in the works to hire another person to fulfill the CTO role, which will include managing staff and budgeting.
Also according to the Wikimedia Technical Blog, "A testing configuration for Flagged Revisions on English Wikipedia will be deployed on a test site soon." The extension is currently being tested on the help and manual pages of the MediaWiki wiki.
In usability news, the Usability Project's Vector skin is being made available to all Wikimedia users by means of the "try Beta" link in the upper-right-hand corner. Clicking on the link switches the user to the new "Vector" skin (whether one is logged in or not); the editing window also features a simplified editing toolbar. After the skin is switched, you can go back to Monobook by clicking a "leave Beta" link that appears in the upper-right hand corner; clicking this link leads to a small survey about the skin that users can fill out.
Strategic planning update
The Call for Proposals on the Strategy Wiki is open. There are 22 proposals so far, and more are being added every day; all community members (as well as interested outside parties) are invited to submit a proposal about areas or projects the Wikimedia Foundation should focus on in the future. The strategic planning team is also continuing to hold IRC office hours; the hours this week are Wednesday from 04:00–05:00 UTC on the Freenode #Wikimedia channel.
BLP taskforce being formed
Cary Bass (User:Bastique), the Volunteer Coordinator of the Wikimedia Foundation, is forming a taskforce to deal with biographies of living persons. He described the motivation for and purpose of the task force in a message to the WikiEN-l mailing list:
Given the recent Board Resolution on BLPs, I'm in the process of
structuring a Biographies of Living Persons task force, to work together to come up with some firm recommendations and guidelines for dealing with the issue, to be made to the Wikipedia community, Foundation board and staff.
In that respect, I'd like to solicit members of the community to take part in this project. If you are interested, please send me a brief email summarizing what your involvement in BLPs in the past has been and your own opinion as to why BLPs are such a problematic area. You can email me direct at cary at wikimedia.org. Initially, this task force should focus on the English Wikipedia, but its recommendations may also be applicable for other projects; so anyone with an interest may be appropriate.
I'm putting this out there now, because my availability over the coming weeks before Wikimania will be somewhat limited, so forgive me if you respond with interest immediately and I don't get back to you right away. I expect development of this task force to go into high gear in September.
The translatewiki.net project to translate the MediaWiki software and extensions is holding a translation rally with prizes. According to the site,
Among all users contributing 500 or more new translations for MediaWiki (or its extensions) and eligible for a cut, we will divide 1,000 Euro (approximately 1,400 US Dollar). The money comes from a 2,000 Euro grant by Wikimedia Nederland, the Dutch Wikimedia Chapter as a part of their spendings on International Projects, to Stichting Open Progress based on a grant proposal to boost MediaWiki localisation through translatewiki.net for which we are very grateful.
The contest runs between 9 August and 18 August 2009.
Editors of the Estonian language version of Wikipedia (Vikipeedia in Estonian) met at the Mihkli Farm Museum, Viki village. The place was chosen because of its name. The meeting was held on 6 and 7 August. Eight Wikipedians attended: Adeliine, Andres, Avjoska, Epp, Iffcool, Jaan513, Mmh, Taivo.
The event also garnered media attention. Iffcool gave interviews for two radio stations on 6 August, and on 8 August there was an article in Saare county newspaper Oma Saar: "Eesti vikipedistid kohtusid Vikil", Raul Vinni, 8 August 2009
- Wikimania is now 2 weeks away; registration is still open.
- Voting in the Wikimedia Board of Trustees Election was open until 23:59, 10 August 2009 (UTC). Results are expected this week.
- Video of a talk about the OTRS system by Cary Bass at Wiki-Conference New York has been posted on the Internet Archive. More videos are expected.
- The Wikimedia Conference Japan has been announced for 22 November at the University of Tokyo. This is planned as a community event, focused on all of the Wikimedia projects in Japanese, with between 150-200 people attending. The conference website contains more information.
- The Wikimedia Foundation now has a profile on Guidestar, an American guide to non-profits. The profile contains information about the Foundation; any user can add a review of the Foundation as well.
- English Wikizine issue #114 came out on 6 August. It includes a number of items that were not covered in either this issue of the Signpost or the previous one.
- Episode 3 of the satirical BBC radio series Bigipedia came out this week; it is available online until 13 August, when the fourth and final episode airs.