Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2021-09-26/In the media
This month we learned a great deal about the near term future of Wikipedia. It's not all scary! Two of the stories here appear in News and notes, Opinion, or Op-Ed with the extensive news coverage links parked here for your convenience.
Maryana Iskander – new WMF CEO
Wikimedia Foundation's selection of a new CEO was noted by several major media, after it was announced mid September:
- Wikipedia’s next leader on preventing misinformation: ‘Neutrality requires understanding.’ The New York Times: An interview with just 5 questions, some of which are longer than the answers, this may still be the best article overall.
- Wikimedia taps leader of South African nonprofit as its next CEO in the Washington Post was one of the earliest reports and gets the facts right - an amazing array of facts. It borrows heavily from the WaPo interview published the next day. It looks like WaPo had a pretty good lead on all the other news outlets.
- Wikipedia still has a moderator diversity problem. Its new chief wants to fix it., the followup interview in The Washington Post is another 5 question interview, this one with short questions and short answers. Iskander obviously did her homework, especially with her answer on Section 230.
- Ex-Planned Parenthood Executive to Lead Wikipedia’s Foundation from Bloomberg News, short and factual.
- Wikimedia Foundation appoints Maryana Iskander as new CEO, in Reuters.
- 'The Hill' just summarizes the WaPo interview.
- South Africa’s top youth jobs guru lands CEO role at Wikimedia Foundation from the The Daily Maverick in South Africa gives additional material on her work in South Africa.
A Wikipedia editor shines in the spotlight
Wired focuses the spotlight on the efforts of Wikipedian-in-good-standing K.e.coffman. The article, called "One Woman's Mission to Rewrite Nazi History on Wikipedia", notes her longstanding efforts as part of Wikiproject Military history, one of the largest and most active projects. Describing her journey down the rabbit hole, we come across a paragraph many editors might relate to: "At first, Coffman stuck to tentative, sporadic suggestions. But then she was making edits nearly every day; there was so much to fix. She liked the site’s intricate bureaucracy—the guidelines on etiquette and reliable sourcing, the policies on dispute resolution and article deletion, the learned essays and discussion pages that editors cite like case law. “Wikipedia is very regimented,” she says. “I am good with instructions.” Coffman is also responsible for an important essay on WikiProject Military History – which we reprinted in a 2018 Signpost Op-ed – about rooting out the Myth of the clean Wehrmacht, one edit at a time.
The future of Wikipedia is the future of the world!
Dive Into A Murder Mystery On This Creepy, Cyberpunk Wikipedia with video here. There are lots of other reviews of this game that seems to be designed to freak out Wikipedians. But Kotaku says "The writers do a great job of simulating a megacorp-sponsored, brand-safe Wikipedia." How frightening can that be? – S
China: Infiltration, physical harm, and bans
International coverage of the WMF's decision to ban seven users on the Chinese Wikipedia and to desysop a dozen others was extensive.
- Selina Cheng (14 September 2021). "Wikipedia bans 7 mainland Chinese power users over 'infiltration and exploitation' in unprecedented clampdown". Hong Kong Free Press. The HKFP took the lead in reporting the conflict between Hong Kong and mainland Chinese editors back in July and were the first and most complete in covering the banning. Details on the WMF statement and on the response of the Wikipedians of Mainland China (WMC) were included.
- Simon Sharwood (15 September 2021). "Wikipedia bans seven Chinese users amid concerns of 'infiltration, physical harm': Removes sysop privileges for another dozen, warns more about doxing, frets about preserving freedom to edit in the face of hostile regimes". The Register. The Reg focused on the WMF statement by Maggie Dennis, as well as statements by users in Taiwan. They did not have reaction from mainlanders.
- Chris Vallance (16 September 2021). "Wikipedia blames pro-China infiltration for bans". BBC. The BBC was quite aggressive reporting "infiltration" of the site and the WMF's "rapid response" to it. They also quoted Maggie Dennis saying "I am not in position to point fingers at the Chinese state."
- Lam, Oiwan (22 September 2021). "Behind Chinese Wikipedia user ban: threats, verbal attacks and election canvassing". Global Voices. Not to be confused with the Chinese Communist Party organ Global Times, Global Voices is a publication of the Berkman Center at Harvard. They interview an anonymous veteran editor from mainland China who gives one of the most neutral analyses of the situation.
Other coverage included:
- Sam Tobin (17 September 2021). "Wikipedia infiltrators banned for pushing China propaganda". The Times of London. (paywalled and not worth it)
- Aurore Gayte (18 September 2021). "Des éditeurs chinois de Wikipedia ont été bannis après une tentative « d'infiltration »". Numerama (in French).
- Jonathan Chin (19 September 2021). "Wikipedia fights 'infiltration' by Chinese group – INFORMANTS? Seven editors were banned, as they might have reported users to the authorities after convincing them to share their identities". Taipei Times.
- Taylor, Emily (21 September 2021). "Wikipedia's Feel-Good Story Has a Darker Side". World Politics Review.
The complete Jimbo? #528: Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia, on Homeschooling, Atheism, Understanding Financial Markets, Ayn Rand, Favorite Books, and More, with transcript. Tim Ferriss interviews Wales for almost one hour and 49 minutes – skip the first 4:45 minutes of adverts – covering almost every question you'd want to hear him answer. Some news coverage of the interview stressed that Jimmy spent a month incognito in Buenos Aires – except that he had to take a trip to Korea during that time. Perhaps the most interesting section is how Bomis, his internet startup, suddenly started working under contract with the NBC television network, then just as suddenly stopped, leading into the founding of Wikipedia, 9/11, and the financial crash of the internet. – S
More women journalists, more African women
- Why we need more biographies of women journalists on Wikipedia at Journalism.co.uk covers a speech by Jareen Imam at a Hacks/Hackers event in London. She stresses the need to increase the visibility of women journalists. "Visibility is necessary to help gender parity in journalism leadership, and it also affects women journalists’ safety, credibility, recognition, inclusion and income." Imam works with the group Women Do News. Though it was not reported in the story, Women Do News has received a $2,000 rapid grant to fund editathons to help write more articles about women journalists.
- Last month Global Citizen posted a list of seven African women that they thought deserved Wikipedia articles. Before we even published the list the red links turned to blue thanks to . We then challenged other publications to send us similar lists and let us know on our suggestion page. Quartz did not mention Wikipedia or leave a message on the suggestion page, but sent a list of 24 notable African women innovators to my inbox. Six of them were already blue links. The full list is:
- Jihan Abass, Miishe Addy, Diarra Boussou, Héla Cheikhrouhou, Amira Cheniour, Farah Emara, Maya Horgan Famodu, Regina Honu, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Neema Iyer, Fara Ashiru Jituboh, Xaviera Kowo, Berita Khumalo, Tomilola Majekodunmi, Moky Makura, Cathye Moukoko, Catherine Nakalembe, Nanjala Nyabola, Marie-Alix De Putter, Mmamontsheng Dulcy Rakumakoe, Jasmine Samantar, Kalista Sy, Mariam Bintou Traoré, Seynabou Dieng Traore, Indira Tsengiwe, Wanjiru Koinange and Angela Wacuka. - S
- The women who appear in Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ are finally getting their due, 700 years later in The Conversation. Scholarship sets the stage for Wikipedia to cover Dante's characters.
- Wikipedia editing is thankless and addictive in The Business Standard; Who knew?
- Stop Source-Shaming, Acknowledge Wikipedia in the research process from the American Libraries Magazine.
- Wikimedia awards grants to tackle racial inequality, barriers to free information (Reuters): See related coverage in News from Diff.
- Superhuman: Slate published an article about Wikifunctions, which it described in a headline as a step towards "Transcending the limits of human language".
- Victory?: Wikipedia 'War in Afghanistan' Article Describes It As a 'Taliban Victory' (Newsweek). The article, largely hypothetical, theorizes that some may be upset by this statement of fact. Newsweek, a publication in decline if there ever was one, states that it "has reached out to Wikipedia for confirmation," raising many questions, starting with - do you really need to "confirm" the contents of a publicly available webpage?
- I've got your nose: Boing Boing noticed an unusual Wikipedia article about a game played with babies. Both Boing Boing and Wikipedia missed the quick homage John Prine paid to this game on his song "Please don't bury me" at about 1:08 in the video.
- It's turtles all the way down: Boing Boing again: see WP:Getting to Philosophy for what they discovered. It's one of our favorite stories, but maybe it's getting a bit old. Media or academic coverage of the effect has been covered in The Signpost in May 2011, August 2011, August 2016, January 2017 and now September 2021.
- Bisexuality and Pansexuality: PinkNews notes backlash from Twitter users accusing Wikipedia of saying that Bisexuality and Pansexuality are the same.
- 20 years and counting: Slate author Stephen Harrison notes that Wikipedia's inception almost exactly matches that of the Global War on Terrorism and "how those shocking events of the early 2000s–including the coverage of 9/11 and Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the media treatment of so-called wikiality–helped make Wikipedia into the so-called last bastion of shared reality that it is today".
- Not to be outdone, Alex Pasternack in Fast Company wrote How 9/11 turned a new site called Wikipedia into history’s crowdsourced front page.
- Firefox more integrated with Wikipedia: Fast Company outlines a new Firefox browser feature, "Suggest", that offers in-Wikipedia results from the address bar without first going through a search engine.
- Content for South Asian languages to expand: Centre ropes in experts from IITs to develop Indian version of Wikipedia, The New Indian Express describes a new machine translation effort leveraging the Indian Institutes of Technology brain pool to translate from English into Hindi and other regional languages.
- Be more like us: Jimmy Wales tells UK Parliament social media giants should use a Wikipedia-style peer-to-peer governance model for content moderation, in his testimony on the Online Safety Bill (The Guardian)