Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2020-04-26/In the media

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Coronavirus, again and again: Plus the importance of language.

Following a February 9 article by Omer Benjakob, a flood of news articles in March praised Wikipedia's coverage of all things related to coronavirus. This month the flood slowed down, but is showing signs of resuming.

More coronavirus news

  • Why Wikipedia Is Immune to Coronavirus in Haaretz by Omer Benjakob following up his February 9 story. With lock-downs around the world and almost everybody with internet access actively browsing, the internet has been stressed with an 'infodemic' of misinformation. Lacking the resources of YouTube, Google, Twitter and Facebook, Wikipedia is nonetheless "having its moment," with 115 million pageviews of coronavirus related articles on the English language encyclopedia this year through April 7. The role "of being the public’s main source of medical and health information" has been thrust upon Wikipedia. The role of WikiProject Medicine and its tough standards is emphasized and how it has been "immunized" by dealing with previous public-health scares like the 2003 SARS and the 2015 Zika outbreaks.
  • Why Wikipedia is winning against the coronavirus 'infodemic' The Telegraph interviews the "chief steward of the greatest collection of knowledge in the entire history of human civilisation", Katherine Maher, aka the ED and CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation. Maher makes the point "the committed, meticulous and sometimes eccentric community of volunteer editors" are the actual bosses of the encyclopedia, not her. Using examples from the current pandemic, she explains how Wikipedia works and how the new traffic records stress the site. "It's a good thing that Wikipedia works in practice, because it would never work in theory," she says. "It works because ... people want it to work?" That may be the best explanation we'll ever get.
She concedes that there is evidence of state-sponsored campaigns on Wikipedia, for example on the Chinese Wikipedia, and that the WMF is watching a few possible cases. A bigger fear, though, is that large areas of the encyclopedia could be captured by ideologically-driven communities.


Wikipedia is a world built by and for men. Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight is changing that in The Lily (Washington Post)). You might think you know about Rosiestep but you will learn much more by reading this article, She was born in Gary, Indiana. While growing up in California, she wanted to be an anthropologist, but bowed to her father's wishes and majored in business administration, then became a healthcare administrator. She first edited Wikipedia in 2007, creating an article on the defunct publisher Book League of America. She's created articles on the Kallawaya, Perry River, Donna, and her grandmother. You likely know about her work at Women in Red, reducing Wikipedia's gender gap, and her writing of the article Maria Elise Turner Lauder, which was recognized as the English-language Wikipedia's sixth millionth article, but the beauty of this Lilly article is in the details.


Jew-Tagging @Wikipedia by Edward Kosner in Commentary. Kosner who describes himself as "a proud if non-observant Jew" thought it was intrusive that the Wikipedia article about him described him as being "born to a Jewish family." Neither he, nor his son, could remove the offending text. But when he responded to a Wikipedia solicitation for a donation commenting that he'd "be much more inclined to contribute had Wikipedia made it possible to deal with my problem" - perhaps coincidentally - he received an answer from Coffee. The story gets complicated from here. There are different reasons why an article subject might want to be, or not want to be, identified by their religion or ethnic group. There are different reasons why an editor might want to identify an article subject by their religion or ethnicity. Several editors said on the Jimbo Wales talkpage that they were offended by the implication that a refusal to donate could result in the changing of article content.

In brief

  • A small town newspaper gives good advice on determining news reliability: The Kokomo Perspective suggests using the SIFT method. The acronym is straightforward "Stop. Investigate the source. Find better coverage. Trace back to origins." Under "Investigate the source" they note that "nearly every English language publication or media website has a Wikipedia site, which will summarize it." For most reliable sources, and some unreliable sources, this is correct.
  • NoFap struggles against Wikipedia, accuses editors of bias in Reclaim the Net: NoFap, a self-help website and community forum aimed at curbing pornography viewing, has taken offense to the way it is described on Wikipedia. NoFap feels that "activist" editors and porn industry personnel have distorted the relevant article to give an inaccurate representation of its purpose.

Do you want to contribute to "In the media" by writing a story or even just an "in brief" item? Edit next month's edition in the Newsroom or leave a tip on the suggestions page.