Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2021-09-26/In the media

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The future of Wikipedia: And a bit about the past.

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:

You can find out more about the CEO's background and plans for the Foundation at this issue's News and notes. – B

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.

Also: Boing Boing, "How one woman took on Wikipedia's Nazi fancruft"G

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:

See related coverage at this issue's News and notes. – S


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 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 Abishe, Victuallers and Indy beetle. 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

In brief

Gesture fist with thumb through fingers.jpg
See Boing Boing about this, or ask a parent
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.

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.