News and notes
Spanish Wikipedia leaps past one million articles
The Spanish Wikipedia
celebrated the event by adding a modified version of the logo used by the Italian Wikipedia
when it had reached one million articles on January 2013.
On 16 May, the Spanish Wikipedia became the seventh Wikipedia to cross the million article rubicon, a symbolic yet important achievement.
The project was started in May 2001 as one of the first non-English Wikimedia projects, alongside eight other Wikipedias. It was then located at spanish.wikipedia.com, though it was soon changed to es.wikipedia.com, and then to es.wikipedia.org in 2002.
The site was also no stranger to controversy in its earlier days: in 2003, it was successfully forked to Enciclopedia Libre Universal en Español, which for a short time was larger and grew at a faster pace than the Spanish Wikipedia. The fork—unique among all Wikipedias—came about after Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger said "Bomis might well start selling ads on Wikipedia sometime within the next few months", kindling rumors that advertising would be introduced on the Wikipedias—something that in 2002, was not far-fetched. As Wired put it in a 2011 retrospective: "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge, brought to you by Coca-Cola."
In innovations, the Spanish Wikipedia was the first project to promote users to administrators and bureaucrats with a single request under the name of bibliotecarios (librarians), and to forbid the use of non-free images, a trend that would follow on the rest of the Spanish-language projects and on several other Wikimedia sites.
With the one million article mark coming, the es.wp community began planning how to manage this feat in March of this year using what English Wikipedians would call a community-wide request for comment. They decided to change the site's logo to a modified version of what the Italian Wikipedia used to celebrate their millionth article, and to release a public statement, which said in part:
||It is in this spirit of [free] collaboration that, a few days before its twelfth birthday, the Spanish Wikipedia has passed the milestone of one million items. It is not just a million different entries, but the joint work of hundreds of thousands of people throughout the Spanish-speaking world, who with their individual contributions, assist in creating a collective project that is constantly updated. The editors come from various parts of the world, of the most varied professions, ages and cultures. Many of them no longer publish anymore, while others remain as active contributors, but invariably, all leave a little of themselves as a legacy for humanity.
However, this remarkable achievement does have its controversies. Several users dubbed the celebration as inaccurate, given that quantity doesn't necessarily translate into quality. Notwithstanding, most shared the opinion that the achievement went beyond a simple number. Administrator, bureaucrat, and global sysop Igna told the Signpost that reaching one million articles is "a major milestone that demonstrates mutual help and collaboration between users".
A larger problem came from how the Spanish Wikipedia actually leaped past the million article mark. The Spanish Wikipedia hosts their "list" articles in a separate namespace dubbed "Anexo" (annex), but these had not been included in the project's total number of articles. When a bug report to include this additional namespace was addressed on 16 May—nine months after it was originally filed—es.wp's article count jumped from around 990,000 articles to more than 1.017 million. As the site had been originally projected to cross the million article mark in October 2013, the deployment of the bug fix astonished Spanish Wikipedia contributors. Igna said that "I have always considered annexes as content space, [so] they had to be taken into account ... [but] to be honest, they were summed up at an unexpected moment."
The influx of 'new' articles did push the Spanish Wikipedia past its Russian counterpart for the title of sixth-largest Wikipedia; only the Dutch, English, French, German, and Italian Wikipedias have more. The Swedish and Polish Wikipedias are approaching the same benchmark, with over 968,000 articles each.
- Search for WMF Executive director: The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) has announced the beginning of its search for a new executive director, after current director Sue Gardner announced her intention to depart in March of this year. According to the Executive Director Transition Team's timeline, they hope to be able to announce a new director in September, though they acknowledge that this may be "overly optimistic."
- Chapters Dialogue: Wikimedia Germany has began looking for a contractor for its Chapters Dialogue initiative, which will be a process involving chapters, the WMF, and the various Meta committees. The idea itself seems relatively undefined or at least open-ended; Wikimedia Germany envisions that the role of such a dialogue will “enable chapters to develop, organise and collaborate with their stakeholders from within and outside the movement” through "interviewing chapters about their current state of affairs, their feelings, needs and wishes, their goals, daily routine and their self-understanding within the Wikimedia movement as a whole. ... [This will] help facilitate and support the chapters in thinking about what they want to do."
- GLAM: The World Digital Library and its Wikipedian-in-Residence, Sarah Stierch, have launched the crowdsourcing aspects of the partnership.
- New tech newsletter: The tech ambassadors have launched a weekly tech summary/newsletter aimed at reaching non-technical readers. Interested users can subscribe to receive new issues on their talk pages.
- Main page reform: The request for comment on the design of the main page is still ongoing.
- Forward to Libraries: There is a new English Wikipedia request for comment (RfC) on the new Forward to Libraries (see previous Signpost interview). The new tool helps editors and readers locate relevant reference materials in their local libraries. User opinions in the RfC, while limited so far, have been broadly positive. Nyttend commented that "It seems to be good for saying "Since you want to learn more, go to your local public library and borrow Title1 or Title2 on this subject, and that's a wonderful thing for us to be able to provide".
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