Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2017-11-24/News and notes

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Cons, cons, cons: The first ever Wikidata conference was a con we wanted. Problematic paid editing while in a position of trust: not so much.
WikidataCon 2017-Group photo-IMG 3674.JPG
WikidataCon 2017 group photo

WikidataCon Berlin 28–29 October 2017

Logo 5th Wikidata Birthday.png
Wikidata's fifth birthday was on 29 October 2017

Under the heading rerum causas cognescere, the first ever Wikidata conference got under way in the Tagesspiegel building with two keynotes. One was on YAGO, a knowledge base conceived ten years ago featuring automatic compilation from Wikipedia. The other keynote was from manager Lydia Pintscher, on the "state of the data". Interesting rumours flourished around Magnus Manske's mix'n'match tool and its 600+ datasets, mostly in digital humanities, and its adoption by the WMF. One also heard of an imminent Wikibase incubator site. Announcements came in talks: structured data on Wikimedia Commons is scheduled to make substantive progress by 2019. The lexeme development effort on Wikidata is not expected to make the Wiktionary sites redundant, but may facilitate future automated compilation of dictionaries.

And so it went, with five strands of talks and workshops running until 11 pm on Saturday. Wikidata applies to GLAM work via metadata. It may be used in education, raises issues such as author disambiguation, and lends itself to different types of graphical display and reuse. Many millions of SPARQL queries are run on the site every day. Over the summer a large open science bibliography has come into existence there.

Wikidata's fifth birthday party on the Sunday brought WikidataCon to a close. See a dozen and more reports by other hands. CM

This piece was originally published in issue 6 of Facto Post.

Two incidents recently occurred by individuals with a special position of trust in the English Wikipedia. Both involved paid editing; one resulted in a community ban, and the other is undergoing discussion at Arbcom and noticeboards with at least three administrators asking for revocation or resignation of the sysop bit.

The first case involves KDS4444 who was granted OTRS access as part of the volunteer response team in September 2015. OTRS is the ticketing system across all Wikimedia projects and is used, among other things, by companies and individuals who ask for changes to be made in their articles without violating the conflict of interest guideline. It was alleged at the Administrators' noticeboard (AN) that KDS4444 had used his OTRS access to identify candidates for paid editing work, then email them with offers in the 300 dollar range to make edits on their articles. KDS4444 had his OTRS access revoked on 21 October and was community banned from English Wikipedia on November 17. At the AN discussion some editors wanted to use less drastic remedies on ENWP for an editor who had contributed over 150 articles. Others harshly criticized his actions "actively soliciting for paid work" in a position of trust as "completely unconscionable" and "[in] defiance of community norms".

The second case involves Mister Wiki, a commercial Wikipedia editing firm, and Salvidrim! who has been an administrator on English Wikipedia since January 2013. The Conflict of interest Noticeboard (COIN) case (permlink) was followed by an Arbcom filing (permlink). Salvidrim! and others (who are not administrators) are declared paid editors for Mister Wiki. Salvidrim! had created an alternate account for paid editing, Salvidrim! (paid) and declared that they were working for Mister Wiki. But problematic interactions between the Mister Wiki team members were identified at COIN, including approving one anothers' drafts at Articles for creation (AfC). An administrator (TonyBallioni) reviewing the activity stated that Salvidrim! "as a sysop actively asked an AfC reviewer to move an article you had been paid to edit out of draft space" and that "breach of the trust we place in administrators and is why I think you should resign as a sysop"; another administrator (Doc James) said "These sorts of activities have a significant potential to harm our shared brand" and joined at least one other administrator (JzG) in a request for either de-sysopping or a new Requests for adminship. The request for an Arbcom case was filed on November 21, after Salvidrim! declared he would not voluntarily give up the bit "today, or tomorrow, or this week".

The last well known sysop abuse of position incident was the 2015 Wifione Arbcom case which resulted in de-sysop and ban (see previous Signpost coverage).

A discussion "Should Wikipedians be allowed to use community granted tools in exchange for money?" was begun by Doc James at Village Pump before either of these two incidents was brought to ENWP noticeboards. B

Brief notes

  • New chief product officer: The WMF appointed Toby Negrin as Chief Product Officer on 8 November 2017. Negrin was previously the Interim Vice President of Product.
  • No new administrators: There are no new administrators for The Signpost to welcome; there were no requests for adminship between TonyBallioni's, which concluded on 19 October (reported in our previous issue), and Joe Roe's RFA, which started on 23 November.
  • Milestones: The following Wikipedia projects reached milestones recently: Tajik Wikipedia: 90,000 articles (21 November); Latvian Wikipedia: 80,000 articles (17 November); Albanian Wikipedia: 70,000 articles (10 November); English Wikipedia: 5,500,000 articles (28 October)