On 10 September, Garfield Byrd announced in an email that he would be stepping down on 30 September. He had served as chief of finance and administration of the Wikimedia Foundation since 2011. He is taking a position at an unnamed foundation focused on public education.
Many people wished him well and thanked him for his time. A few mentioned his presence at Wikimanias, , and several mentioned his dancing.
Did terrorism suspect edit Wikipedia?
On September 9, the FBI arrested Joshua Ryne Goldberg, a 20-year-old Jewish resident of Orange Park, Florida, for allegedly supplying bomb-making information for a plot to attack a Kansas City ceremony commemorating September 11 attacks. A series of reports in the Sydney Morning Herald detailed Goldberg's alleged history of "trolling" using a variety of online personas, including a GamerGater, an ISIS supporter, a white supremacist, a radical free-speech crusader, and a feminist. Given Goldberg's many accounts on various websites, including Twitter and Reddit, it seems possible that he attempted to use Wikipedia accounts as part of his web of online activity. A persona named in media reports and the criminal complaint against Goldberg shares its name with a Wikipedia account that was blocked for sockpuppetry and editwarring by a checkuser in 2013. That persona's Twitter account claimed to have created a particular Wikipedia article in 2015. The account that created that article was blocked for personal attacks and harassment earlier this month. The Arbitration Committee seems to have learned of this matter, as an arbitrator indefinitely blocked the second account following Goldberg's arrest. Neither account appears to have edited articles involving terrorism, but instead focused on film, especially horror films, animation, and video games. G
Is Google taking eyeballs away from Wikipedia?
Oliver Keyes of the Wikimedia Foundation has investigated claims that Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites have been losing "an insane amount of traffic" over recent months, due to Google possibly diverting searches toward its own or other sources of information.
A special study of a sample of pageviews was carried out. The results indicate that search traffic referred directly from Google has in fact increased between January and August this year. However, search traffic with no known referer has dropped. This change may or may not be related to what Google is doing, and the report concludes with a call for direct discussions with Google, as well as for more complete ongoing tracking of how searchers reach Wikimedia sites.N
Notifications (Echo) reversal
On 15 September, the WMF decided to roll back the recent changes to Notifications (Echo). This is due to two bugs introduced in the recent change.
The first bug was a large increase in the size of the CSS being loaded, causing a slowdown. The initial slowdown was reported to be five-fold. They tried to work on it, but even after their efforts there was still a 30% increase in the size of the CSS, and up to a second longer in load-time on uncached views.
The second bug was a rendering error in Firefox 3.5 and Safari. In Firefox text was spread throughout a large portion of the page (see image), while in Safari the text was constrained to the top portion of the page. J
- Milestones: No milestones this week, but the English Wikipedia is rapidly approaching five million articles.
- SSL Certificate Expirations: The SSL certificates for wmfusercontent.org and wmflabs.org (tools.wmflabs.org) expired without being renewed. They will be added to the tracking calendar for the future. J
- The Wikipedia Library launches seven new partnerships: EBSCO (expansive academic and popular databases), IMF eLibrary (international trade and economics publications), Newspaperarchive.com (international historical newspapers), Sabinet (African journals), Numérique Premium (French language books), Al Manhal (Arabic and English multidisciplinary publications), and Jamalon (English and Arabic books). Also expansions of ScienceDirect (science, medicine and social science journals), BMJ and DynaMed Plus (medical content), as well as additional accounts from many other available resources. S