New editors on the English Wikipedia: More warnings and malicious edits, but majority still in good faith
As part of the ongoing discussions about improving participation and newbie friendliness in Wikimedia communities (see previous Signpost coverage), and in preparation for the WMF Summer of Research, the Foundation's Community Department prepared another random sample of several hundred edits made to user talk pages of new registered users on English Wikipedia from 2004 through 2011. These edits were made by other contributors within 30 days of a new person’s first edit. The results show "a marked decrease in praise for contributions (anything from a simple “great job on that article!” to a barnstar), and a simultaneous increase in warnings and criticism delivered via templates (e.g., third- and fourth-level vandalism warnings, copyright violation warnings with aggressive images like stop signs or red X marks, and threats of block or bans) since 2006."
The results prompted Hungarian Wikipedian Bence Damokos to do a similar study on the Hungarian Wikipedia, restricted to the current (April-May 2011) state. Examining a sample of messages from all user talk pages, including those of experienced editors, he found that 48% of them were positive and 41% neutral. For a smaller sample of new editors, 75% of talk page messages were positive (including standard welcome templates). He concluded that "the situation seems to be better on the Hungarian Wikipedia than on the English Wikipedia. Unfortunately, this means that other explanations are needed to find out why is the retention and 'conversion rate' of new editors on the Hungarian Wikipedia very low."
A few days later, the Community Department followed up with another study, extending their above mentioned study from April to a sample containing all years from 2004 to 2011, and this time coding all of the newbies' contributions instead of just their first edit, as either "good faith", "vandalism", "spam" or as coming from accounts later blocked as "sockpuppets". Similar to the April results, the ratio of good faith edits showed mostly a decrease since 2004, with a partial rebound since 2009. The study's authors highlighted the good news: "a clear majority of new editors in the sample participated in good faith" (still 66% at the lowest point in 2009).
Chinese online encyclopedia accused of infringing on Wikipedians' copyright
As summarized in English by the website China Media News ("After literature and MP3: Baidu’s encyclopedia accused of copyright infringement in China"), "Baidu’s open online encyclopedia Baidu Baike ('Baidupedia') was accused of copyright infringement by unofficial members of Chinese Wikipedia recently". Their press release lists examples of Baidu Baike entries which are based on articles from the Chinese and English Wikipedia or were translated from the Japanese Wikipedia, without attribution and with a note "©2011 Baidu". According to one participant of the Chinese Wikipedia, Baidu copied "1636 articles from Chinese Wikipedia, including 74 FA, 44 GA, 126 DYK and 1397 normal articles". Drafts of the press release, including an English version, were circulated last month on the Foundation-l mailing list, where Wikimedia Chair (and Chinese expat) Ting Chen commented on the futility of legal action: "Fact is that Baidu doesn't care. We don't know who backs Baidu in China but with its prominent position it cannot be anyone very small. Maybe some of you remember that a few months ago there were media coverage [ cf. Signpost coverage ] about Hudong is going to sue Baidu because of copyright infringement, but that also just disappeared somewhere in the Chinese jurisdiction system. Rumor say that Hudong did it only to get some publicity. At this moment there is no point to sue Baidu, neither for any Wikipedian nor for WMF."
Coverage of bin Laden's death lauded; article approaches page view record
Wikipedia's coverage of Osama bin Laden's death received positive comments. On the blog of the Department of War Studies, KCL, a researcher wrote on May 2nd: "Who’s got the best coverage? Believe it or not, but Wikipedia is one of the candidates. In less than five hours and in an impressive 400 edits, a dedicated team of self-appointed authors and editors has come up with a pretty good (and protected) article. Of course it is largely a complication [sic] of press articles and official announcements. But the result has more detail and better sourcing that [sic] most news stories." A day later, on American Public Media's "Tech Report Blog", US journalist John Moe stated that "For bin Laden news, it's not Twitter's moment, it's Wikipedia's", dismissing claims that the event had established Twitter as a news medium, and instead recommending Wikipedia:
||I think the real coverage of the event is Wikipedia. I was up early reading New York Times accounts and Washington Post accounts and other papers, often wading through a bunch of back story on bin Laden that I really didn’t need. Afterward, I had 5 minutes before I had to leave to catch my bus and my wife asked me, “So what do we know for sure about what happened?” My knowledge was pieced together and I told her things that I’ve since realized aren’t accurate. Once on the bus, I read the Wikipedia page about the attack and it was comprehensive. Wikipedia gets slammed sometimes for being unreliable and a place where any yahoo can alter reality to anything they like. The page about the attack is extensive, well sourced, and incredibly informative. [...] we’ll all lean on Wikipedia more in the future. In high profile cases like this, these pages are being extensively edited and also extensively policed. Good stuff. You should read it.
Wikipedia's biographical article on Osama bin Laden got 4.8 million page views on 2 May 2011, the day of his death. The new article Death of Osama bin Laden also got almost one million page views that day, the first day of its existence (it was previously a redirect). The main bin Laden article's nearly five million page views in one day made it second in page view records, behind only Michael Jackson, which got 5.9 million page views on the day after his death. A sharp spike in traffic on the day of Jackson's death caused Wikipedia to briefly go offline (see previous Signpost coverage). No technical problems were reported this time.
- Wikimedia Foundation's blogs overhauled: As part of a general overhaul of the Foundation's official blogs, two new blogs have been added to WMF blogs family, namely the Community blog, and the Global blog (corresponding to the Foundation's Community and Global Development departments"). These blogs have been created to categorize the posts posted on the Wikimedia Foundation official blog to increase transparency, understanding and collaboration. Previously, the Tech blog (corresponding to the Tech department) was created in March 2009. Its goal stated then was to be "much more technical than the Wikimedia Blog (which covers Foundation issues and news)" and to cover "software updates, server changes, and other such issues".
- New Volunteer Development Coordinator: The Wikimedia Foundation has hired Sumana Harihareswara as Volunteer Development Coordinator (job description). As reported earlier, she had been hired as a contractor in February, to help out with preparations for the Google Summer of Code 2011 and this week's Berlin Developer meeting.
- Wikimedia chapter report: Wikimedia Sverige (Wikimedia Sweden) announced in their April 2011 report that they appointed Hoger Motzkau as treasurer and reappointed Axel Pettersson as press contact. The chapter got a grant of €1,000 for sponsoring a photohunt.
- Mobile traffic statistics: A report on mobile traffic to Wikipedia servers was published by Erik Zachte, Data Analyst at the Wikimedia Foundation, on his personal blog.
- Milestones: The Basque Wikipedia reached 90,000 articles on May 1.
Logo of the GLAM newsletter
- New edition of GLAM newsletter: The fourth edition of This Month in GLAM, a newsletter produced to help keep track of collaboration between Wikimedia projects and galleries, libraries, archives and museums, has been published on the Wikimedia Foundation's Outreach Wiki. Among various other items covered previously in the Signpost, it contains a more detailed report on collaborations with Derby Museums in the UK.
- Board election candidacies: Candidate submissions opened last week for the 2011 Board Elections, wherein members of the Wikimedia community will elect three of the ten members of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, from May 29th through June 12th.
- Grant Advisory Committee: Volunteers are currently being sought to form the (GAC), which is "to help evaluate grant requests [to the Wikimedia Foundation, cf. m:Grants:Index ] and to benefit from a wider movement perspective"
- New chapter: Wikimedia Macau: The WMF Board of Trustees has provisionally recognized Wikimedia Macau as the newest Wikimedia chapter.
Explore Wikipedia history by browsing The Signpost archives