Shalom Life described Wikimania as "the largest wiki conference in history"
As expected, this year's Wikimania conference has attracted a significant amount of media coverage, particularly within the Israeli press who were pleased that Israel had been allotted the event. For example, the pride of the outgoing chairperson of Wikimedia Israel was evident in a quotation selected by YNetNews, the English-language edition of a popular Israeli news site. "In the world of free content," wrote Shay Yakir, "the decision to hold the conference in Haifa of all places is like having Israel host the Olympic Games". The article also included a positive quotation attributed to the mayor of Haifa and thoughts from an American Wikimedian at the event. Similar coverage could be found in the Jerusalem Post (Israel's "most-read English website"), whose article, entitled "Wikipedia: Prophecy fulfilled or info apocalypse?" rounded off with a positive review of Wikipedia, concluding that it was "a happy accident that has surpassed all expectations". Haaretzincluded an article focussed on Wikimedia's effort in outreach (both in terms of GLAM-collaborations and in distributing offline copies of content), whilst the Jewish Chronicle was one of a number of sources to highlight the fact that Wikimedians had flocked to Israel even from countries that do not officially recognise Israel (Venezuela and Indonesia). Shalom Lifedescribed the gathering as "the largest wiki conference in history".
Wikipedia's decline in contributors draws media coverage
Outside Israel itself, the international media tended to focus on specific aspects of the news from Wikimania, including Jimmy Wales' concern that the number of Wikimedians on big-language projects cannot be sustained in the current editorial climate. Following an article by The Associated Press published on Thursday in which Jimmy Wales was quoted as saying "We are not replenishing our ranks, it is not a crisis, but I consider it to be important", there was additional media coverage of the issue in PC Magazine (), The New Republic (), The Atlantic Wire (), Boston Globe (), and PCWorld (). Frederic Lardinois, writing for PaidContent, a site that focusses on methods for monetising the web, described Wales' remarks as "[probably] the first public acknowledgement by Wales and Wikipedia that the number of contributors is indeed declining... [and] that it's an issue". Although this may be true, the rush of press coverage follows months of internal analysis on editor trends (see previous Signpost coverage).
In attributing causes to the decline, the articles cite Wales' concerns over "impenetrable" editing practices in addition to other possible factors, including the diminishing amount of so-called "low hanging fruit": opportunities for ordinary people to write about things they know, rather than more specialist topics. In addition, The Atlantic Wirejokily suggests the problem might be the advent of Google's new social networking site Google+, which has rapidly built up a large number of young male users. According to the news site, Wales described the average contributor to Wikipedia as "'a 26-year-old geeky male' who moves on to other ventures, gets married and leaves the website". By contrast, The Independentquoted Wales as saying that "the current number of contributors is stable and sustainable" and that he only wanted to increase visitor numbers in order "to improve Wikipedia's accuracy and reach".
Gender gap also revisited
An article in British newspaper The Independent this week covered Wikimedia's "gender gap" in an article entitled "Wikipedia seeks women to balance its 'geeky' editors". The article contains the rather dubious assertion that "Mr Wales revealed that he plans to double the number of people actively editing the site's pages within a year", probably a misquote. A leading editorial for the newspaper agreed with the desire to get more women involved in Wikipedia. "Mr Wales is right," said The Independent, "Women of the web: Wikipedia needs you".
British Museum revisited: British newspaper The Guardian ran an article about the British Museum's ongoing relationship with Wikimedia UK ("British Museum makes the Wikipedia connection"). Although collaborations between Wikimedians and the museum have featured in the press before, the Guardian article was described as "well worth a read" by Wikimedia UK's Secretary Michael Peel.
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