News and notes
Wikipedia articles expert-reviewed by Encyclopedia of Life, and more
Proof-of-concept for expert reviews: Encyclopedia of Life curates Wikipedia articles
"By Wikipedia authors, reviewed by EOL curators": Wikipedia book consisting of the species articles marked as "trusted" so far
Example pages from the book
The idea to have expert-reviewed versions of Wikipedia articles goes back to the very conception of Wikipedia almost ten years ago. On the Wikimedia Foundation's blog, Deputy Director Erik Möller described an ongoing cooperation that is one of the most advanced efforts to realize this vision: The Encyclopedia of Life (a project to document all known species, announced in 2007 and estimated to cost over $100 million) incorporates Wikipedia articles in its entries, and has them classified as "trusted" or "untrusted" by its curators – contributors who are "to have specific expertise in the organisms they wish to curate", to be documented by credentials, either as faculty, staff, or graduate student in relevant institutions, by peer-reviewed publications, or by membership in professional organizations. As explained by Möller, the classification relates only to factual accuracy: "trusted" implies that the revision is "not deemed to contain substantially incorrect information", and "untrusted" that it is "deemed to include incorrect or unverifiable information"; but the Wikipedia article can also be classified as "inappropriate" for inclusion due to other reasons, e.g. being too short.
Unreviewed Wikipedia article versions are displayed with a yellow background (example – click "Wikipedia" in the sidebar); for trusted versions, this changes to white (example: Red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)/trusted version). An example of "untrusted" revision can be found in the version history of the article Eriogonum giganteum.
New assessments by the curators are collected in an Atom feed which currently contains 219 entries, going back to 8 January 2010, with 132 changes to "trusted" status, 31 changes to "untrusted" status and 56 changes to "inappropriate" status.
EOL's curation guidelines for Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons content encourage curators to fix errors they encounter directly on Wikipedia, and then import the fixed version back to EOL.
Longtime Wikipedian and MediaWiki programmer Magnus Manske (who, as a biochemist, recently coauthored an article in PLoS Computational Biology providing Ten simple rules for editing Wikipedia to experts, cf. Signpost coverage) has assembled the trusted revisions into a Wikipedia book. He programmed a tool called Sifter books that automatically generates an updated version of such a book consisting of reviewed versions – apart from the EOL reviews, it can also use the assessments by two other expert groups, Rfam and Pfam (for RNA and protein families). A user script adds a tab to articles, displaying revisions of the article that have been reviewed by either EOL, Rfam or Pfam, if available.
- Sexual content poll on Commons: A poll is currently ongoing on Commons on whether to promote Commons:Sexual content to a policy. Opinions appear to be sharply divided, with 215 users voicing support and 215 users voicing opposition at the time of writing, two days before the closure of the poll on December 15.
- Dreaming of a "Week of Boldly Referencing": On her personal blog, Wikimedia board member, librarian, and former Signpost writer phoebe has imagined a "Week of Boldly Referencing" within which the about 150,000 librarians currently working in the US would be able to clean up Wikipedia's current backlog of unreferenced (or insufficiently referenced) articles, by each taking up just four articles. She followed this hypothetical thought experiment by more down-to-earth reflections on how to engage librarians and publishers to contribute to Wikipedia.
- Essay alphabet: On his personal blog, German Wikipedian Ziko has begun posting a series of little essays on the occasion of Wikipedia's upcoming tenth anniversary, arranged as an alphabet of Wikipedia-related notions. The first installments discuss advertisements, balance, cooperation, deletions, encyclopedia and free.
- Lawsuit threatened to achieve image reattribution: On the Commons Village pump, User:WMF Legal advised that due to "potential litigation with the Wikimedia Foundation", a number of uploaded images should be re-attributed from the uploader's real name to that of a foundation he presides. The uploader, a photographer, did not object to the continuing use of his works, but was concerned of having them showing up in search results for his name – some of them are nude photos. A user of the same name had requested the exclusion of such images in Wikipedia's robots.txt file two days earlier.