Google sponsors a Kiswahili Wikipedia article-writing contest
An international outreach team at Google, in collaboration with the Swahili Wikipedia, is sponsoring a Kiswahili Wikipedia Challenge. This is an article writing contest for university students, especially targeting universities in Kenya and Tanzania who have expressed interest in fielding student teams. Swahili Wikipedians involved include Mohammed George, Ndesanjo Macha, Oliver Stegen, and Samuel Klein.
The contest will run from November 25 until January 15, 2010. Participants receive points for new Swahili articles they created based on their quality. The top individuals and universities can win a laptop or a mobile phone, and participants who create at least 10 good articles will receive a certificate of participation. As of November 15, seven universities had registered to field official teams, and roughly 200 students had signed up to participate. University workshops introducing students and teachers to Wikipedia and the benefits of editing will be run this weekend in Nairobi (by Ndesanjo) and Dar es Salaam (by Ndesanjo and Mohammed). Individual registration will remain open for a while longer.
Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.org, joined the Foundation's advisory board this week. He was invited to be an advisor "because of his work as an innovator and evangelist and his understanding of Web-based communities".
Former Wikimedia Trustee Domas Mituzas, a tech-team member and database engineer at Facebook, also joined the advisory board, bringing the total number of advisors to 17.
Foundation-l shut, re-opened
The mailing list for Wikimedia Foundation issues was closed to general discussion for nearly a week. Brion Vibberplaced the list on emergency moderation after a discussion about the recent departure of a Foundation staffer devolved into an argument over acceptable use of the list, followed by a rapidly growing series of personal attacks.
List administrator Austin Hairannounced his intent to leave the list on moderation, temporarily limiting posts to official announcements only, and renew the discussion on Meta about improving the quality and usability of the list.
Later that week, Austin and fellow administrator Ryan Lomonacoannounced that the list would again be open to general discussion, with the following changes:
Individual moderation will be more readily used to enforce civil, productive discussion on the list. As deemed appropriate by the moderators, individuals will temporarily see their posts held for review before being sent to the list. Two posters, Thomas Dalton and Will Johnson, were put on moderation with the initial announcement.
A "soft" 30 message per month limit will be imposed, with those reaching the limit put on moderation; their posts will be reviewed and passed on at the administrators' discretion.
It is the hope of the list administrators that these changes will improve the signal:noise ratio of Foundation-l, making it a more productive forum than it has been recently.