Choice of small village for Wikimania 2016 ruffles feathers
, an Italian community about a hour outside Milan and the jury's choice to host Wikimania 2016.
Esino Lario—a mountainous village of some 750 people in northern Italy—was selected to host Wikimania 2016. However, volunteers and others have since brought up a host of concerns that raise serious questions about the town's suitability for hosting such a large conference.
Wikimania is one of two annual international events held annually by the Wikimedia movement. Each Wikimania site is selected by a jury, a temporary group that assembles each year to review bids and recommend a host to the WMF Board. The jury is composed of six volunteer editors and WMF conference coordinator Ellie Young, who is a voting member. Of the volunteers, four are from Europe, one is from South America, and one is from Australia. Of six original bids for Wikimania 2016, four were disqualified by the jury, leaving just Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, and Esino Lario.
The town hall in Esino Lario, one of the locations for proceedings of the 2016 Wikimania
In January, the jury announced it had selected Esino Lario as conference host. The decision is subject to approval by the WMF Board, although this fact is difficult to discern from the jury's timeline, which has it that "by the end of 2014 ... jury decision made; announcement of host city to bidders and public", and of the statement at the time by Ellie Young that: "On the recommendation of the Wikimania 2016 selection Jury Committee, we have accepted the proposal from the Esino Lario Italy team." No jury decision has ever been overturned by the Board, which Young told the Signpost is due to examine the recommendation in May, after her site visit that month. Nevertheless, she did express some potential concerns with the bid, which will be directly funded by the WMF with some US$350,000—a basic grant comparable to the 2010 and 2012 Wikimanias. Young has refused to issue further comments either to the Signpost or concerned editors, instead requesting patience for the WMF to complete its site visits.
In the past, the conference has not been without controversy, highlighted by the repeated failure of the Hong Kong organisers of the 2013 event to produce a financial statement, raising still-unresolved questions of financial probity. This failure occurred despite an upbeat announcement by the volunteer jury 18 months before that they had selected Hong Kong's bid over four other proposals. Although the 2016 jury's decision initially received accolades in the community and from several WMF staffers, there were glimmers of doubt almost immediately on the Wikimedia mailing list ("sounds just a little bit crazy"; "Northern Italian village of 775 people for a conference of 1,000. ... So where are people gonna sleep?".)
The ensuing discussion, particularly on the Wikimania Facebook group page, raised serious questions about the site. Andrew Lih (Fuzheado) wrote: "If you have not read the proposal, I encourage you to digest the "Accomodation" section, which makes this unlike any Wikimania you've ever seen before", and for his trouble was told to "nut up and be a little adventurous". Stuart Prior (Battleofalma), a jury member, wrote that he had seen a "demand to get 'back to Frankfurt' and have a more low key event after the recent Wikimania dynamic of 'bigger = better'."
Esino Lario's railway station
A strong theme in the commentary related to Esino Lario's deficiencies in accessibility and facilities. Alison Wheeler, who identified herself on Facebook as an individual with a disability that sometimes precludes her from walking, expressed outrage that inaccessibility had not been a dealbreaker: "How would you feel if a location said 'nobody over 30', 'vegans only', 'no gay people', or 'no jews'? Full access should be an automatic given not 'something nice to have'," she wrote. "Anything which prevents full access to the event by all who want to attend is not acceptable in this day and age. There can be no justification for allowing an event which enforces this discrimination." In regards to the accessibility concerns, jury member Richard Symonds (Chase me ladies, I'm the Cavalry) wrote, just before a lengthy examination into the Philippines' mental health care system, "Although Esino Lario poses some problems for those with physical disabilities, the Philippines poses huge problems for those with mental disabilities, and serious problems for those with physical ones".
Members of the jury indicated in an email to the Signpost that Esino Lario had scored 116 to the Philippines' 109, out of a possible 140. The jury mentioned specific strengths of the Esino Lario bid as "personal safety of attendees, attractive meeting spaces, and the overall strength of the bid team." These strengths outweighed any concerns over the fact that most attendees will need to be accommodated in hotels up to 40 minutes away from the town by bus, or that the small, separated hotels would disrupt any plans outside of the conference itself.
Josh Lim (Sky Harbor), a member of the Manila bid team, challenged much of the jury's analysis. While conceding that Manila is not a perfect city for the disabled, he wrote that "to claim that a major convention center in a major city is not accessible is preposterous."
"Esino Lario is not ideal, but it is better than Manila."
– Richard Symonds, Wikimania 2016 jury member
(email to the Signpost)
Additional concerns were raised on Facebook by Christopher Cooper (CT Cooper) concerning the planned use of $55,000 in WMF funds to subsidize internet and electricity development in a first-world town, without which it would be ill-equipped for an event such as Wikimania. Young told the Signpost that "it has been made clear that no WMF funds will be used to upgrade any infrastructure in Esino Lario—only sponsor's money may be used for this purpose."
However, the Signpost viewed a subsequent email from Young to Cooper that states: "Regarding the significant amounts of money to upgrade the communications, the ES team is applying for grants to subsidize and/or cover this. We should know more in the next couple of months. WMF is going to need assurances that we won't be spending more than what is requested, while still providing all the benefits and services that we normally offer at Wikimania." It is possible that organizers may apply for additional Wikimedia donors' funds through the WMF's PEG funding scheme, on top of the $350,000 operating grant, although a later email from Young denied that this would be the case.
We asked davidwilliam97, an English Wikipedian with networking expertise, to comment on the networking issues raised by the bid. He was first concerned about the lack of specifications in the bid, and the absence of details about undertakings by the named contractor Telecom Italia, which he noted has $34 billion in debt and whose Brazilian operation was involved in a 2012 consumer lawsuit (in Portuguese). Dave questioned "their track-record in deploying internet solutions to events", and referring to the schematic of the network topology, he said: "a mesh topology means they’ll probably have wireless access points scattered around. It's very odd that the hackathon is shown as on the end of a point-to-point link, not the wired links to venues 2, 3, 6, and 7." He had a number of other queries: "How much would the university in Milan charge to house the hackathon if the installed network is unsatisfactory for its needs, and would it be possible to arrange this in time? Was the $55K a formal written quote or just what some engineer told them in conversation? The bid says: 'the Telecom site-visit and check will allow to select the most appropriate and efficient solution'—has it been done yet? Would there be connectivity in the distant hotels?"
The Esino Lario bid's schematic of the proposed $55,000 network topology to be installed in the town
Although the bid claims that one advantage of Wikimania would be "The structures improved for the conference are used after the conference”, we asked Dave what could be taken back by the WMF: "the server, the UPS, wireless radio equipment, router, 24-port unmanaged switch, and the cable (but the last is probably not worth taking back) ... that’s it." The jury told the Signpost that "the benefits of delivering a successful conference as well as the impact and legacy for the local community were considered important enough to justify the expenditure. The technical requirements were independently verified by community members with expert knowledge, the bid team also has within it expert knowledge, and the jury has within it former Wikimania organisers who are all too aware of how important these issues are and how potential problems will unfold." On the prospects for recovering some of the hardware, they said: "Our understanding is that the majority of items are recoverable, however, the details of any cost-recovery in terms of equipment, especially at this early stage in planning, are too granular for the jury to consider in more detail."
Christopher Cooper wrote to Ellie Young on 9 February questioning the choice of Esino Lario on a number of grounds, and privately circulated copies of the email, which pushed up the temperature of the Facebook discussion. One jury member, for example, accused him of making "passive aggressive comments about our opinions". Cooper then published the email onwiki, and included a further email he sent to Young on 12 February.
Cooper told the Signpost on the phone that: "I was hoping the issues I raised would be resolved, but the events of the past few days have made me rethink that. ... Some members of the jury seemed to see themselves as the final arbiters, treating the Board like "a rubber stamp". He suggested that the jury was faced with two unsatisfactory bids, and that rather than an Esino Lario vs Manilla competition, it might have been handled differently. The Signpost also spoke with Richard Symonds and Stuart Prior by phone (both are employees of Wikimedia UK). Concerning the notion that they had to decide between two bad bids, they were unwilling to comment without seeking input from the other jury members.
The jury subsequently wrote to us that it "was unanimous in its support for the Esino Lario bid and there were a few deciding factors:"
||The Esino Lario bid had been in development for longer, which meant that the team had had more time to think about problems and propose solutions, relationships had been well established with potential sponsors and partners, and crucially it demonstrated strong commitment to the project that after 2.5 years, and one rejection, they were still dedicated to making it happen. The bid team had established a wide range of support and cooperation across movement organisations and also demonstrated a very strong combined experience and knowledge between them. Additionally, the bid was very focused on legacy and the momentum that Wikimania could generate to deliver lasting impact in the region and for the regional languages. ... We must add that the jury’s decision isn’t the final word, and further due diligence in terms of financial and practical considerations will be conducted by the Foundation, but we feel that we made a fair assessment of the bids and chose the strongest one and a final decision from the Foundation will be made later this Spring.
- Editor's note: As a result of email exchanges, the Signpost is now aware that the organizers are progressing in their connectivity plans (2 May 2015).
Wiki Loves Monuments evaluation sees diminishing returns and increasing cost
The Wikimedia Foundation's first two program evaluations of 2015 have been published on Meta. These examine the annual Wiki Loves Monuments (WLM) and other photo competitions that have been held around the globe, with an eye towards finding what worked and what did not. Although WLM is an international contest, it is organized separately in each country, with separate budgets and contests in each before the winners advance to the global finals. It was first held in the Netherlands in 2010, and the success there encouraged organizers in other countries to join.
The evaluations reveal that in the last three years (2012–14), WLM has possibly fallen victim to its own success and seen diminishing returns: the average total number of uploads has decreased from a high of 6,266 images in 2012 to 2,714 in 2014 even as the average money spent per upload has increased from US37c to 90c. While the total number of images increased from 2012 to 2013, it was less than half that in 2014. The number of images in use on Wikimedia programs has dropped both in total number and percentage, and the cost per used image has gone up from $3.03 in 2012 to $6.31—although this is an improvement on 2013's $6.61. Cost per participant was, on average, about $25. About 1% of the total image uploads were later rated as "quality" or "valued" images.
The users participating skewed heavily towards people who had never edited Wikimedia sites: over the three studied years, about 1,400 current and 14,000 new users participated. The conversion rate into continuing editors, as measured by having at least one edit three months after the competition, is 2.4%. Extending this to twelve months after the competition (for programs that ended before February 2014) shows that the programs netted 16 "active" new editors, or 0.3%—those who made more than five or more edits in the studied period.
The overall data analysis by the WMF suggests that "When planning a photo event, it may be useful to try to balance group size with both new and experienced users to increase use and ensure high quality uploads." For funding, the evaluators recommended that the WMF be "cautious about the investment level" amidst the contest's diminishing returns. E
Foundation staffers modeling Wikipedia Store
t-shirts. The online merchandise portal re-opened this week and is currently giving away free merch to nominated Wikimedians active on the projects.
- Wikipedia store relaunched: The Wikipedia Store completed a relaunch this week and is now again open for online orders. The Wikipedia Store is a small web portal operated by the Wikimedia Foundation through which people may buy merchandise related to Wikipedia and the Wikimedia movement. Proceeds from sales go directly to the Wikimedia Foundation. Summarizing the changes on the Wikimedia blog and the Foundation-l mailing list, fundraising associate (and, alongside other familiar faces from the Foundation, often-time merchandise model) Victoria Shchepakina stated that:
||"We closed doors temporarily for a few months to re-think our structure and visual identity ... We kept all the bestsellers and added new and socially responsible items that will promote our mission and remind our supporters of the great work by all the volunteers who build Wikipedia and its sister projects. ... We have also started to collaborate with new vendors, designers and artists with compatible visions to create meaningful merchandise for our users. Soon you will see more creative representations of Wikipedia and its sister projects from these collaborations. These new designs aim to motivate you and people around you, to help spread knowledge through the Wikimedia projects."
- Purchasable highlights include a free-knowledge t-shirt prominently featuring the Creative Commons CC-0 logo, literally plantable pencils ("who says knowledge can’t grow on trees?"), and your correspondent's personal favorite item, the "rabbit hole" t-shirt, featuring a visual depiction of the WikiWalk. In support of the relaunch, a merchandise giveaway allowing Wikimedians to nominate other users for free merch is currently also underway. R
- Language translations: Ever wonder how many language articles there are within the Wikipedia projects as a whole? In a post to the Foundation-l mailing list, meta-Wikipedian and linguaphile Millosh highlighted the breadth and status of language article across the Wikipedia projects, compiled into the meta-wiki article "Names of Wikimedia languages" as part of an effort to encourage translation work within the Wiktionary projects. Clicking through the page leads to a matrix presenting that Wikipedia language project's other-language coverage. For example, contrast the completed coverage of other languages achieved by the English Wikipedia or French Wikipedia, with the spottier coverage of the Arabic Wikipedia or the Hindi Wikipedia, and with the mostly-absent coverage of Kongo Wikipedia or the Yiddish Wikipedia. With 250 languages expressed in 250 other languages there are 62,500 entries in all amongst the Wikipedias; where a complete list of other-language translations is appropriate, like on Wiktionary, this corresponds with a further 250 translated expressions per article, bringing the total to 15,625,000 entries between all of the projects. Inquiries (including on how to help) are directed at the project's talk page. R
- Material from the Wikimedia Foundation's quarterly reviews made available: Minutes and slides have this week been made available from the quarterly reviews (for the period January–March 2015) conducted by the various Foundation departments. As the Signpost reported in March, a quarterly review structure, originally used mainly by the engineering teams, has been extended more broadly across all departments by executive director Lila Tretikov, to better align reporting periods with the Foundation's generally quarterly planning periods. The four summaries that have been made available are for the Community Engagement and Fundraising teams (the fundraising team is currently being consolidated into the new Advancement Department); the Mobile Web, Mobile Apps, and Wikipedia Zero teams; the Parsoid, Services, MediaWiki Core, Tech Ops, Release Engineering, Multimedia, Labs, and Engineering Community teams; the Editing, Collaboration, and Language Engineering teams; the Legal, Finance, HR, and Communications teams; and the Analytics, User Experience, Team Practices and Product Management teams. Of note is the editing team, who responded to community concerns and delayed an A/B test of the VisualEditor for new users on the English Wikipedia, as they did not believe that a new autofilled citations feature was ready for it. In related news, loading times for the VisualEditor against the standard wikitext edit window are now comparable or faster. R and E
- Board of Trustee election voting rules: As report last week in the Signpost, preparations are currently underway for the 2015 Wikimedia Foundation elections. A discussion of interest occurred this week on the Foundation-l mailing list as to whether or not movement staff and contractors not meeting the current editorial requirements for participation in the elections should be extended suffrage. At this stage such a change, were it to occur, would only go into effect before the 2017 election. R
- Scholarship Committee results for Wikimania 2015 announced: 104 people were awarded a travel scholarship to help defer the costs of attendance of this year's iteration of the annual Wikimania, the movement's biggest conference, to be held in Mexico City on July 15-19. 13 were sponsored by Wikimedia Germany; other chapter-supported scholarships will be announced separately by the various chapters at later times. This year's scholarships "involved a major re-design of the application and selection process". Posted highlights include 28% female, 73% from the global south, and 26% previous recipients from Wikimania 2014. R
- Wikimedia Netherlands annual report: Wikimedia Nederland, the movement's Dutch affiliate chapter, have released their annual report covering the year 2014. R
- Wiki-Edu monthly report: The Wiki Education Foundation have released their monthly report for the month of March 2015. R
- English Wiktionary milestone: The English Wiktionary reached 4,000,000 entries this week. The milestone entry was "cundidos", the Spanish past participle for cundir, claimed by creator Type56op9 to be "a particularly uninteresting one". R
- Female Wikipedian mailing list: A new mailing list called Systers Wikipedia, hosted by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, has been created. According to the list's FAQ page "Systers Wikipedia is for women Wikipedians to discuss topics that relate to being a woman and being a Wikipedia editor. We also allow simple how-to questions because some women feel uncomfortable asking these types of questions on forums dominated by men. Another reason this list was set up is to give women editors a refuge from Wikipedia's often hostile editing environment." This comes a few months after a proposal to create a female-only space on Wikipedia (See previous Signpost coverage). G
Scottish MEP blocked for edit warring; ranking articles by importance
Scottish MEP blocked for edit warring on his own article
British media outlets reported this week that David Coburn, a Member of the European Parliament for the Scotland region for the UK Independence Party, had been blocked from editing Wikipedia on April 6. The indefinite block was imposed on the account David Coburn MEP by JohnCD after edit warring on Coburn's Wikipedia article.
From April 1–6, the account repeatedly removed references to Coburn's comments about opposing candidate Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh of the Scottish Nationalist Party. Coburn had repeatedly mangled her name and referred to her in a way that she characterized as "sexist - and possibly racist". The account also disputed other information, including Coburn's place of residence and high school.
The account made 59 edits to the article, but no edits to the article talk page or the account's user talk page, which includes numerous warning templates and attempts by other editors to discuss the article. The account did post frequent complaints in their edit summaries, including:
- "I am David Coburn MEP – I am aware of where I live – I live in Edinburgh – I am also aware of where I went to school & which University I attended - there are several people changing the facts and they need to stop"
- "There are some people amending my wiki bio who appear to think they know more about my life than I do"
- "why dont those changing this come round for a tunnocks tea cake and earl grey tea so I can prove where Iive?"
- "How can I make a formal complaint to Wiki about the behaviour of some of these people?"
Despite the account's frequent use of the first person, Coburn gave what appear to be conflicting statements to The Guardian about who was using the account. They reported (April 29) that "Coburn said he had started editing the page after spotting mistakes on it, but that he had stopped after getting bored." Coburn also told them "It was done by one of my people. I don’t know how to press the buttons to make it work. I was telling them what to do. If there was garbage on there I told them to take it off."
The Scotsman quoted (April 29) Coburn's chief of staff Arthur Misty Thackeray, who blamed the matter on Coburn's lack of technological expertise. He said "it goes to the heart of the fact that David’s not an IT expert, so things like Wikipedia aren't his strong point." In The Guardian, Coburn himself attributed the conflict to supporters of Scottish independence: "I’m sure its all wee cybernats who've got nothing better to do with their time and they should actually be out getting a job." G
Are these the most important articles on Wikipedia?
Gizmodo and other technology media outlets report (April 28) on a project from the Laboratory for Web Algorithmics at the University of Milan called The Open Wikipedia Ranking. The project's website ranks Wikipedia articles by importance using a variety of metrics. The top ten Wikipedia articles ranked by harmonic centrality are:
- United States
- World War II
- Association football
- United Kingdom
- World War I
The website also presents top ten lists of articles in a variety of broad categories. Some odd results appear in the lists, such as Ronald Reagan topping the list of actors and Lady Gaga at the top of the list of fashion designers. Other strange results arise from limitations in handling the data and the reliability of the data itself. The website's FAQ notes:
The reference to that album was removed from Wikidata on April 30 and Röyksopp's discography does not appear to contain an album by that title. G
Advocacy editing may be afoot on sneaker articles
SoleCollector investigates (April 26) what appears to be advocacy editing on behalf of sneaker companies Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour since 2005. They examined edits from IP addresses and concluded "Nike had more Wikipedia edits relating to its own business than any other sneaker brand." These included edits regarding controversies involving Nike's use of sweatshop labor and the quality of materials. SoleCollector also identified three accounts it contends belong to Nike historian Scott Reames. Edits from those accounts include the addition of material noting the increase in Nike's annual revenue "despite [anti-sweatshop] campaigns", and disputing a claim regarding Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman, changes regarding Nike's corporate sponsorship in the wake of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. G
- Openly GLAM: Wikimedia-related projects won gold, silver and bronze in the 'Open' category of the American Alliance of Museums' MUSE Awards 2015 for Media & Technology, presented on Sunday night (April 26) in Atlanta at the AAM's annual convention.
- The Bronze award went to Europeana's Fashion collaboration for the Fashion editathon series – a dozen editathons so far, co-ordinated with local Wikimedia chapters and community volunteers across nine different European countries. (Blogpost)
- Silver was awarded to Wikimedia UK and the British Library for the "Mapping the Maps" project, which last year found 50,000 maps and plans in a million 19th-century book illustrations the BL had uploaded to Flickr, with now work currently ongoing to georeference them with a view to their upload to Wikimedia Commons with reasonably accurate automatic categorisation. (Slides/video)
- Gold went to Europeana, again, for the GLAM-Wiki Toolset, financed by a consortium of Wikimedia chapters Nederland, UK, France and Switzerland, and developed by Europeana, which has so far been used to upload over 400,000 images from galleries, libraries, archives and museums to Wikimedia Commons. (Blogpost). J
- English horn blues: In an interview (April 26) with The Southern Illinoisan, despite what his Wikipedia article says, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says he did not play the English horn at Dartmouth College; instead, he played the trumpet and the baritone. He said "We changed it. In fact, we had it removed from the website twice and someone puts it back. And I’m like, I’m like, 'You’re kidding me!'" The claim appears to have first been inserted into the article in September 2014 by an IP editor who cited it to a 1977 issue of The Dartmouth, Dartmouth's student newspaper, without specifying an article or page number. (The online archives of The Dartmouth only go back to 1993.) The claim was removed in December 2014 but restored two days later. G
- Unbiased update: A 67 thousand dollar Kickstarter campaign to produce a book purporting to tell "The Truth about the Healing Arts on Wikipedia" (See previous Signpost coverage.) was cancelled by its creator, alternative medicine practicioner Mike Bundrant, on April 24. At the time of its cancellation, the campaign had raised $8000, but Bundrant wrote that he wanted to instead create a website in order to "share all the stories that couldn't fit in the book". The campaign also spawned a video which consists largely of a series of ad hominem attacks on Jimmy Wales. G
- Retrowiki: On April 13, developer Peter Cetinski released TRSWiki, a Wikipedia client for the TRS-80 computer, which was available commercially from 1977 to 1981. TRSWiki displays pictures in the TRS-80's primitive 128×48 graphics. Hyperlinks, limited to 36 per screen, are numbered in brackets. G
Do you want to contribute to "In the media" by writing a story or even just an "in brief" item? Edit next week's edition in the Newsroom or contact the editor.Reader comments
Another day, another dollar
This Signpost "Featured content" report covers material promoted to featured status from 12 through 18 April. Text may be adapted from the respective articles and lists; refer to their page histories for attribution.
Ten featured articles were promoted this week.
In 1872, Susan B. Anthony was arrested for voting in her hometown of Rochester, New York
, and convicted in a widely publicized trial. Although she refused to pay the fine, the authorities declined to take further action. In 1878, Congress was presented with an amendment giving women the right to vote. Popularly known as the Anthony Amendment, it became the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
- Live and Let Die (novel) (nominated by SchroCat) A "lurid meller" in one critic's estimation, Live and Let Die was Ian Fleming's second James Bond novel. Code number 007 is on the trail of Mr. Big, real name Buonaparte Ignace Gallia, who has been financing Soviet spies by selling 17th-century gold coins from pirate Henry Morgan's buried treasure. The coins are smuggled into the US by placing them in aquariums containing "poisonous tropical fish". In a quiet moment of reflection, "Boney" Gallia confesses to Bond that he is prey to "'accidie' – the deadly lethargy that envelops those who are sated". He has a spherical head, "twice the normal size", and his skin is grey-black in colour. Intellectually brilliant, and with superb organisational skills, Mr. Big represents the "banality of evil", and is eventually defeated by Bond, an "anonymous, blunt instrument wielded by a government department" (Fleming's description of his hero). Bond's last glimpse of Mr. Big is of his left arm rising out of the sea as sharks rip his flesh apart.
- Susan B. Anthony dollar (nominated by RHM22) The Susan B. Anthony dollar is a US dollar coin which was produced from 1979 to 1981, with an additional run in 1999. Its predecessor, the Eisenhower dollar, was unpopular due to its size and weight. Various shapes, such as twelve-sided, were designed and rejected before it was decided to retain a round shape to avoid costly modification of vending machines across the nation. The design had an inner border of eleven sides to facilitate identification by feel. Anthony was chosen after a number of organisations recommended her depiction in place of a Liberty Head (which was the original design). Chief Engraver of the Mint Frank Gasparro produced depictions which were rejected as being too pretty or too aged, before he drew her at an imagined age 50 (no photos of Anthony at that age were available). It was in her early fifties that Anthony was at the "peak of her influence as a social reformer".
- Mind Meld (nominated by Neelix) Mind Meld: Secrets Behind the Voyage of a Lifetime is a 2001 documentary film in which two unemployed actors with the unlikely names of Shatner and Nimoy, who have a website to promote, talk about the science fiction soap opera they once appeared in. Among topics raised are; the question of the "legitimacy of consistently portraying an extraterrestrial", alcoholism, sex, typecasting, and fine art photography. According to one reviewer, the film was likely to appeal only to extreme fans or people interested in flatulence; he gave the film an 'F' rating.
- The Negro Motorist Green Book (nominated by Prioryman) The Negro Motorist Green Book is a guidebook which was published in the US annually over thirty years from 1936. In a country where the mass production of automobiles gave many opportunities for recreational travel to the "ordinary person", African Americans were faced with many inconveniences and dangers if they tried to travel across the land by car. The guidebook's publishers sought to alleviate worry by providing information as to where black travellers could find lodging and restaurants that were safe for them to enter.
- Radiocarbon dating (nominated by Mike Christie) When cosmic rays enter the Earth's upper atmosphere, they collide with atoms and molecules of atmospheric gases (mostly oxygen and nitrogen) to produce a shower of particles, particularly neutrons. When these neutrons go on to hit nitrogen atoms, the collision knocks off a proton, converting the nitrogen into radioactive carbon-14. The carbon reacts with oxygen to produce radioactive carbon dioxide. All forms of carbon dioxide gas are heavier than oxygen and nitrogen, so the gas flows down to the ground, where it is taken up into plant material by the process of photosynthesis and then into animal material when the plants are eaten. Because this carbon-14 is radioactive, and radioactivity decays, if the radioactivity of the bone your dog dug up in the garden is measured, and you know that the proportion of each isotope of atmospheric carbon has remained constant, and you know the rate of decay, you can work out when the bone was last inside a living animal. Hmm… August 1485. Rover, drop it! The technique was invented by Willard Libby in the late 1940s and has become a standard tool for archaeologists and food safety inspectors.
- Air Mata Iboe (nominated by Crisco 1492) Air Mata Iboe is an Indonesian film from 1941 – a "musical extravaganza" with a tragic storyline. Married to a merchant, the Indonesian woman Soegiati has three sons and a daughter; three of them marry and move away, leaving only Soemadi, who is his mother's favourite. One night the police come to arrest the merchant, Soebagio, who has been moonlighting as a robber. Soemadi makes a false confession to protect his father, and is exiled for his "crimes". Feelings of guilt drive Soebagio to his death, and his widow Soegiati is left in debt. She is soon homeless and penniless. Turning first to her two remaining sons, who are wealthy, Soegiati is refused help because they are scared of their wives. Her daughter and son-in-law offer to take her in, but Soegiati sees their poverty and chooses instead to live on charity. Time passes, Soemadi returns, and after meeting his mother, he seeks revenge on his brothers. Fifi Young took the rôle of Soegiati; she was to reprise it in 1957 in a remake. The original film is probably lost – the film stock was nitrocellulose which is dangerously flammable, and it's possible that copies were deliberately destroyed.
- Texas Revolution (nominated by Maile and Karanacs) Mexican President Antonio López de Santa Anna's Army of Operations entered the Mexican province of Texas in mid-February 1836 after Texians and volunteers from the US had attacked and defeated a number of Mexican garrisons. General de Urrea and Mexican troops campaigned along the Texas coast, defeating Texian troops and killing many of those who tried to surrender. Santa Anna was captured during a surprise attack by Sam Houston's newly formed Texian army at San Jacinto. In exchange for his life (many of the captured troops were summarily executed), Santa Anna agreed to order the Mexican army to retreat south.
- Mark Oliphant (nominated by Hawkeye7) Mark Oliphant was a "meddling foreigner" whose actions in 1941 helped to start the development of an atomic bomb. He was sent to the USA to find out why the findings of the British Military Application of Uranium Detonation Committee were being ignored. He found that the head of the Uranium Committee had locked them in his safe. Oliphant went to a meeting of the committee and forcefully demanded that the construction of a bomb be the only priority. He managed to convince the American scientists that the atom bomb was feasible, and that they should take the lead, as Britain lacked the resources to carry through development.
Nine featured lists were promoted this week.
- List of awards and nominations received by Laurence Olivier (nominated by SchroCat) Laurence Olivier was a well known English actor who dominated the British stage of the mid-20th century. In 1947, Olivier was appointed a Knight Bachelor, and in 1970, he was given a life peerage; the Order of Merit was conferred on him in 1981. He also received honors from foreign governments. In 1949, he was made Commander of the Order of the Dannebrog by the Danish government; the French appointed him Officer, Legion of Honour, in 1953; the Italian government created him Grande Ufficiale, Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, in 1953; and in 1971, he was granted the Order of Yugoslav Flag with Golden Wreath. From academic and other institutions, Olivier received honorary doctorates from the university of Tufts, Massachusetts (1946), Oxford (1957), and Edinburgh (1964). He also received a few awards for his work on the stage and screen. His list is impressive.
- List of accolades received by Argo (2012 film) (nominated by Captain_Assassin!) Argo is a 2012 political thriller directed by Ben Affleck and produced by Affleck, George Clooney, and Grant Heslov (and did we mention that Ben Affleck is the lead actor as well?). The screenplay, written by Chris Terrio, was adapted from sections of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative Tony Mendez's memoir The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA, and the 2007 Wired article "The Great Escape", by Joshuah Bearman, on the Canadian Caper. Argo recieved awards and nominations in a variety of categories, with particular praise for its direction, screenplay, and Alan Arkin's performance. At the 85th Academy Awards, the film received seven nominations, including Best Picture, and Best Supporting Actor for Arkin, and went on to win three awards: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay for Terrio, and Best Film Editing for William Goldenberg.
- List of works by H. Rider Haggard (nominated by SchroCat) H. Rider Haggard was a prolific and high-profile English writer, probably best known for his Allan Quatermain series of stories set in Africa. He wrote much more besides: his output included 56 novels, 3 short-story collections, and nearly 100 letters published in The Thunderer. He was an expert on land management and agricultural reform and wrote several non-fiction books on the subject, along with works on southern Africa and the Zulus. In 1895, Rider Haggard served on a government commission to examine Salvation Army labor colonies, and from 1906 to 1911, he served on the Royal Commission on Coastal Erosion, travelling widely round the coast of the British Isles. Haggard states in his memoirs that "I wonder if there is a groin ... that I have not seen and thoughtfully considered". No wonder he was haggard – he should've been looking at groynes.
Pancuran Tujuh (Javanese: Pancuran Pitu, both meaning "Seven Springs") is a hot spring that you need to place on your bucket list, as Chris Woodrich proves with this utterly remarkable photo (well, it's really 30 photos). Read about how he "got the shot" below. Pack your bags and book the trip now, we hear it's nice this time of year ....
Twenty-eight featured pictures were promoted this week.
Joseph Wright experimenting on a bird in an air pump; we have not verified this, but this could have been a relative of Dusty, the dusky lory
from last week
A mason bee collecting lunch
The earliest examples of Sudano-Sahelian
style likely come from Jenné-Jeno
around 250 BC, where the first evidence of permanent mud-brick architecture in the region is attested
- Junot Díaz (created by Tsar Fedorsky for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; edited and nominated by Chris Woodrich) Junot Díaz became one of America's most celbrated contemporary authors with his 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. He is a professor of creative writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and fiction editor at Boston Review. He also serves on the board of advisors for Freedom University. His short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker magazine, which listed him as one of the 20 top writers for the 21st century. Díaz has received a Eugene McDermott Award, a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, a Lila Acheson Wallace Readers Digest Award, the 2002 PEN/Malamud Award, the 2003 US-Japan Creative Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. This photo was taken for the 2008 awarding of a MacArthur Fellowship, popularly called the "genius grant".
- The Fighting Temeraire (created by J. M. W. Turner, nominated by Hafspajen) HMS Temeraire was a wooden three-decked ship of the line, armed with 98 cannon. She fought in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, her crew lashing the Temeraire to two French ships and capturing them after a ferocious fight. After being reduced to a training ship in the 1820s, she was sold for scrap in 1838. Turner's painting The Fighting Temeraire depicts her on her last journey to the breaker's yard, being towed by a paddle-wheel steam tug. The silvery wraith of the Temeraire is seen behind a dirty, squat boat belching out red flame and black smoke.
- Pasteur's portrait by Edelfelt (created by Albert Edelfelt, nominated by Hafspajen) This portrait of Louis Pasteur depicts him among laboratory glassware used in his experimental methods. Pasteur is known as the "father of microbiology" for his discoveries in the fields of vaccination, microbial fermentation, and, of course, pasteurization.
- La Schiavona (created by Titian, nominated by SchroCat) La Schiavona (1510–12) by Titian; this is a portrait of an unknown lady, probably from Dalmatia ("La Schiavona" translates as "Dalmatian woman"). The raised relief sculpture was a later addition, and the original drapery he painted is now starting to show through the thinning paint.
- The Elder Sister (created by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, nominated by Chris Woodrich) The Elder Sister is an 1869 painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. It shows a girl ("the elder sister") sitting on a rock and holding a sleeping baby ("the younger brother") on her lap, with a quiet rural landscape behind them; the artist's children served as models. "OK kids, don't move for a couple of hours ...."
- A Winter Scene with Skaters near a Castle (created by Hendrick Avercamp, nominated by SchroCat) Cutting corners the old fashioned way: A Winter Scene with Skaters near a Castle by Hendrick Avercamp. Avercamp – a deaf mute known as "de Stomme van Kampen" (the mute of Kampen) – was the first of the Dutch painters to specialize in snow scenes. The National Gallery acquired it as a square painting in 1891; during cleaning in 1983, it was discovered that the corners were later additions by another painter. Does that count as a upgrade?
- Ancient Rome & Modern Rome (created by Giovanni Paolo Panini, nominated by SchroCat) Modern Rome and Ancient Rome (1757) by Giovanni Paolo Panini; painted as a pair of pendant paintings for the Count de Stainville. Ancient Rome shows many of the most significant architectural sites and sculptures from the time, while Modern Rome shows the arrangement of paintings originally commissioned by de Stainville, who was the ambassador to Rome between 1753 and 1757.
- Pancuran Tujuh (created and nominated by Chris Woodrich) "A panoramic image consisting of 30 or so frames shot using a Canon EOS 60D, a Canon EF-S 18–55mm lens at 55mm (effective length of 88mm after including the crop factor) and a 'Nodal Ninja' panoramic head, then 'stitched' together in PTGui." According to local legend, a man named Syekh Maulana Maghribi discovered the springs after sailing to Gresik, on Java. There he found seven springs, which he named Pancuran Pitu, and bathed in the waters, treating himself. The waters contain sulfur and other minerals; this might be just the place you're looking for to rejuvenate your body and soul. With a population of 143 million, Java is the home of 57 percent of the Indonesian population, and is the most populous island on Earth. This is one remarkable panoramic photo; well done, Chris!
- Japanese yen (created by Continental Bank Note Company (later the American Bank Note Company), for the Constitutional monarchy of Japan. From the National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. nominated by Godot13) One yen (1873) issued by the Japanese constitutional monarchy, the second issue of yen banknotes. Engraved and printed by the Continental Bank Note Company of New York, later part of the American Bank Note Company.
- Anthidium florentinum (created and nominated by Alvesgaspar) Something must be bugging Alvesgaspar this week, or it is just these fine photos of bugs that has us questioning the bugs around us? Anthidium is a genus of bee often called mason or potter bees, who use conifer resin, plant hairs, mud, or a mix of them to build nests. Alvesgaspar's bug collection of featured photos continues to grow, with not one but two featured bugs this week. Get out your featured fly swatter for the next one ....
- Eristalinus taeniops (created and nominated by Alvesgaspar) Eristalinus taeniops is a species of hoverfly, also known as the band-eyed drone fly, that likes to hang out in Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, North Africa, the Canary Islands, the Caucasus, eastern parts of the Afrotropical region down to South Africa, Nepal, Northern Pakistan, Northern India, Iran, and southern California. "Waiter, there seems to be a fly in my soup?" "Don't worry, sir. That spider on your bread will soon get him!"
- Gorakhpur Junction railway station (created and nominated by The Herald) A shot from the foot-over bridge of Gorakhpur Junction railway station located in the city of Gorakhpur in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It serves as the headquarters of the North Eastern Railway. A remodeling of the Gorakhpur railway station was launched in 2009. The remodeling work was completed on war-footing within the scheduled time. With the inauguration of the remodeled yard on 6 October 2013, Gorakhpur has a platform measuring 1,366.33 metres (4,482.7 ft) with ramp, making it the world's longest railway platform."Waiter, do you have frogs' legs?" "No sir, I've always walked."
- An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump (created by Joseph Wright of Derby, nominated by Chris Woodrich) An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump is a 1768 oil painting by Joseph Wright of Derby. It shows a cockatoo in a glass container that is linked to a vacuum pump. Most of the air has already been exhausted from the container, and the bird is gasping and fluttering. The natural philosopher operating the pump looks at the viewer, as if to challenge you to decide whether the bird lives or dies. Onlookers show a variety of emotions, from detached scientific interest in each other to detached scientific interest in the experiment.
- The Adoration of the Kings (created by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, nominated by SchroCat) – The Adoration of the Kings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1564). Many of those surrounding Christ – including the Three Kings – are caricatured slightly or shown as a grotesque, and the Virgin is shown naturally and not idealized. The viewpoint is from a slightly elevated position, which has the effect of focusing attention on the Christ figure in the Virgin's lap, in the exact center of the painting. In this treatment, the painter's first purpose is to record the range and intensity of individual reactions to the sacred event. In the chronological sequence of Bruegel's work, this painting of 1564 marks an important departure as the first to be composed almost exclusively of large figures.
- Larabanga Mosque (created by Sathyan.velumani, nominated by Adam Cuerden) The Larabanga Mosque is a historic mosque, built in the Sudanese architectural style in the village of Larabanga, Ghana. It is the oldest mosque in the country and one of the oldest in West Africa, and has been referred to as the "Mecca of West Africa". The mosque has an old Quran, believed by the locals to have been given as a gift from heaven in 1650 to Yidan Barimah Bramah, the Imam at the time, as a result of his prayers. The mosque, built with mud and reeds, has two tall towers in pyramidal shape, buttressed by twelve bulbous-shaped structures, which are fitted with timber elements.
- Hollister Municipal Airport (created and nominated by WPPilot) Looking for a nice Hundred Dollar Hamburger?. Hollister Municipal Airport is a city-owned public-use airport located three nautical miles (6 km) north of the central business district of Hollister, a city in San Benito County, California, United States, just south of San Jose. It saw its first powered flight departure on April 14, 1912, from what was then a small livestock pasture. In the 1940s, the US Navy took control of the field and commissioned it as a Naval Auxiliary Air Station. Today, Hollister Airport is a popular destination for pilots in search of the famous $100 hamburger. The traditional "$100 hamburger trip" would typically involve: flying a short distance (less than two hours), eating at an airport restaurant, and flying home. That was many years ago; the cost of fuel forced aircraft rental prices to over $150 dollars a hour today, and that same burger is going to run you well over a hundred bucks. It will be the best burger you eat for a while. Hollister Airport does not have a tower. Contact them using UNICOM 123.00, make left traffic on runway 31 (that is the big runway), and have a safe flight.
- Madonna of Loreto (created by Raphael, nominated by Chris Woodrich) The Madonna of Loreto is a painting finished around 1508–1509 by the Italian High Renaissance painter Raphael. It is housed in the Musée Condé of Chantilly, France. It has been widely copied throughout the centuries. It shows the Christ Child playing with the Madonna's veil, while a melancholic St. Joseph looks on. For centuries, the painting kept company with the Portrait of Pope Julius II, first at the Santa Maria del Popolo, then in private collections, and for a time, their location was unknown. Their ownership, or provenance, has been difficult to unravel because of the number of copies of both paintings, the unclear ownership chain, misinformation, and delay of publication of vital information. Saint Joseph seemed to be an afterthought: X-rays of the painting show that Saint Joseph was painted over a window that was previously over the Madonna's shoulder. Further, the change in the position of the Child's right foot was revealed via X-ray. These changes align with Raphael's preliminary drawings for the painting.
- Pampus (created and nominated by Johan Bakker) Our second aerial photo to make the list of featured photos this week: Pampus, an artificial island and late 19th-century sea fort, located in the IJmeer near Amsterdam. It now belongs to the municipality of Muiden and is open to visitors. The fort was commissioned in 1895. It was armed with four Krupp 240mm (9.5") L35 (35 calibers long) guns deployed in two hydraulically operated cupolas of two guns each. Electric lifts brought shells and cartridges up from the magazines on the ground floor. These guns fired a shell of 280kg for a range of up to eight km. Each gun had a crew of an NCO and six gunners, who could get off one shot every six minutes. During World War II, the Nazis used the island as a bombing target, filling bomb chambers with smoke to show the pilot where the bomb hit as a training aid.
- Gabrielle Cot (created byWilliam-Adolphe Bouguereau, nominated by Alborzagros) Gabrielle Cot, the subject of this 1890 painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, was the daughter of Pierre Auguste Cot. This oil on canvas painting was exhibited at the Cercle de L'union Artistique in Paris during 1891. The painting was gifted to one Madame Duret by Bouguereau on the occasion of Gabrielle's marriage. It remained in the Duret family, passing down via inheritance, until it was sold in New York on 25 May 1983.
- Dutch men-o'-war and other shipping in a calm (created by Willem van de Velde the Younger, nominated by Alborzagros) Dutch men-o'-war and other shipping in a calm, c. 1665 by Willem van de Velde the Younger. Most of Van de Velde's finest works represent views off the coast of Holland and include Dutch shipping. His best productions are delicate, spirited, and finished in handling, and correct in the drawing of the vessels and their rigging. The numerous figures are tellingly introduced, and the artist is successful in his renderings of the sea, whether in calm or storm. The ships are portrayed with almost photographic accuracy, and are the most precise guides available to the appearance of 17th-century ships.
- Yacine Brahimi (created by Clément Bucco-Lechat, nominated by Chris Woodrich) Yacine Brahimi (right) attacking against Taron Voskanyan of Armenia. Brahimi Arabic: ياسين إبراهيمي is an Algerian professional footballer who plays for Portuguese club Porto and the Algeria national team. Brahimi started his career with various clubs in the Île-de-France. On 22 July 2014, FC Porto announced the signing of Brahimi from Granada CF for a fee of €6.5 million. Brahimi was voted the 2014 BBC African Footballer of the Year.
- Battle of Scheveningen (created by Jan Abrahamsz Beerstraaten, nominated by Alborzagros ) Slag bij Ter Heijde, by the Dutch artist Jan Abrahamsz Beerstraaten, was painted between 1653 and 1666, and depicts the sea battle of Scheveningen. After their victory at the Battle of the Gabbard in June 1653, the English fleet of 120 ships under General at Sea George Monck blockaded the Dutch coast, capturing many merchant vessels. The Dutch economy began to collapse immediately, with mass unemployment and even starvation. On 24 July (3 August Gregorian calendar), Dutch Lieutenant-Admiral Maarten Tromp put to sea in the Brederode with a fleet of 100 ships to lift the blockade at the island of Texel, where Vice-Admiral Witte de With's 27 ships were trapped by the English. On 8 August, the English sighted Tromp and pursued to the south, sinking two Dutch ships before dark. However, de With managed to slip out and rendezvous the next day with Tromp off Scheveningen, after Tromp had positioned his ships north of the English fleet. In the morning of 31 July, the Dutch gained an advantage from the weather and attacked. The ensuing battle was ferocious, with the fleets moving through each other four times. Tromp was killed early in the fight by a sharpshooter. His death was kept secret to keep up the morale of the Dutch. There was extensive damage on both sides, and some of the Dutch ships retreated to the north; the English ships were too damaged to maintain the blockade. Both sides claimed victory; the Dutch as the blockade was lifted, the English because the Dutch had fled.
- Perseus and Andromeda (created by Lord Frederic Leighton, nominated by Hafspajen) This work depicts a bonkoid scene from Greek mythology where the hero Perseus rescues Andromeda from the clutches of a sea monster ("Release The Kraken!"). Here, Perseus is astride the winged horse Pegasus, the sun forming a halo around the hero. Lord Leighton being Lord Leighton and not Blair Leighton, the naked Andromeda is front and center, because you always want to wear your costume d'anniversaire when you're about to be devoured by a sea monster. Blair would have put several dismembered bodies in the foreground, because reasons.
- Baturraden (created and nominated by Chris Woodrich) An overview of the Baturraden tourist resort, on the slopes of Mount Slamet in Banyumas Regency. Baturraden is located in Central Java, at about 640 metres (2,100 ft) above sea level. The area is some 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from the volcano's crater; this has led to the number of visitors decreasing when the volcano is active. The name Baturraden is derived from the Javanese words Batur ("manservant") and Raden ("nobleman/noblewoman"). According to local legend, the young daughter of a local king fell in love with a young stablehand. The two furtively had a furtive relationship before ultimately eloping (furtively) without getting their parents' blessings. Shortly after their first child was born, the noblewoman's father marched on their home with his army and demanded that she return home. When she refused, the king had the stableman stabbed with a kris. The noblewoman, in despair, took the kris from her husband's body and killed herself.
- Yosemite National Park (created by David Iliff, nominated by Alborzagros) View from Glacier Point looking towards Half Dome. Left to right: Tenaya Canyon, Half Dome, Liberty Cap, Little Yosemite Valley, Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall. Glacier Point is above Yosemite Valley, in California, USA. It is located on the south wall of Yosemite Valley at an elevation of 7,214 feet (2,199 m), 3,200 feet (980 m) above Curry Village. In springtime, this cliff face is covered with dozens of freshets and tiny waterfalls from the snowmelt, the largest being Staircase Falls.
- Papilio demodocus larva (created by William Warby, nominated by Alborzagros) The Citrus swallowtail caterpillar (Papilio demodocus) is a large swallowtail butterfly common to sub-Saharan Africa; this photo was taken at Stratford Butterfly Farm. This species primarily mates via the lek system, in which there are aggregations of males on small mating territories. When the female reaches the lek, she changes her behavior so that she helps the males to detect her by performing a long and obvious circular flight. "Waiter, waiter, there's a caterpillar on my salad!" "Don't worry, sir, there will be no extra charge."
- The Trinity and Mystic Pietà (created by Hans Baldung, nominated by SchroCat) The painting shows God supporting his son, with the Holy Spirit above them, represented by a dove; the holy trinity are joined by the weeping figures of St. John and the Virgin Mary. While God supporting his crucified son was a relatively popular artistic subject in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, it is fairly rare outside that time, and this is a good example of it; the Holy Spirit, in his traditional guise of a dove, completes the holy trinity of the title. The presence of the grieving Virgin Mary (along with St. John) provides the pietà part of the name.
"What's the forecast?" asks Johnny. "Your shipping forecast calls for smooth sailing today", says Willem van de Velde.
...Well, those forecasts are never 100% accurate. Scheveningen happens.
...from where he reaches home by taking the train from the longest railway platform in the world. (Which is strange, given it's on another continent to the airport. But don't question us.)
Apart from these featured contents, thirty-one good articles were promoted this week.
|Click to show
, a high importance article, was promoted to a good article status (pictured is the opening lines of the epic Beowulf
Military history, cricket, and Australia targeted in Wikipedia articles' popularity vs. quality; how copyright damages economy
A monthly overview of recent academic research about Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, edited jointly with the Wikimedia Research Committee
and republished as the Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Popularity does not breed quality (and vice versa)
This paper provides evidence that quality of an article is not a simple function of its popularity, or, in the words of the authors, that there is "extensive misalignment between production and consumption" in peer communities such as Wikipedia. As the author notes, reader demand for some topics (e.g. LGBT topics or pages about countries) is poorly satisfied, whereas there is over-abundance of quality on topics of comparatively little interest, such as military history.
||Popular and underdeveloped topics
||High-quality, not popular topics
Illustration from Wedding
, cited as an example for start-class articles which ought to be featured articles if quality ratings were perfectly aligned with popularity
The authors arrived at this conclusion by comparing data on page views to articles on English, French, Russian, and Portuguese Wikipedias to their respective Wikipedia:Assessment (and like) quality ratings. The authors note that at most 10% of Wikipedia articles are well correlated with regards to their quality and popularity; in turn over 50% of high quality articles concern topics of relatively little demand (as measured by their page views). The authors estimate that about half of the page views on Wikipedia – billions each month – are directed towards articles that should be of better quality, if it was just their popularity that would translate directly into quality. The authors identify 4,135 articles that are of high interest but poor quality, and suggest that the Wikipedia community may want to focus on improving such topics. Among specific examples of extremes are articles with poor quality (start class) and high number of views such as wedding (1k views each day) or cisgender (2.5k views each day). For examples of topics of high quality and little impact, well, one just needs to glance at a random topic in the Wikipedia:Featured articles – the authors use the example of 10 Featured Articles about the members of the Australian cricket team in England in 1948 (itself a Good Article; 30 views per day). Interestingly, based on their study of WikiProjects, popularity and quality, the authors find that contrary to some popular claims, pop culture topics are also among those that are underdeveloped. The authors also note that even within WikiProjects, the labor is not efficiently organized: for example, within the topic of military history, there are numerous featured articles about individual naval ships, but the topics of broader and more popular interests, such as about NATO, are less well attended to. In conclusion, the authors encourage the Wikipedia community to focus on such topics, and to recruit participants for improvement drives using tools such as User:SuggestBot.
Excessive copyright terms proven to be a cost for society, via English Wikipedia images
Within a sample of US bestseller authors, what effect may the addition of this image to the article Michael Gold
have had on its traffic?
Paul J. Heald and his coauthors at the University of Glasgow continued their extremely valuable studies of the public domain, publishing "The Valuation of Unprotected Works". The study finds that "massive social harm was done by the most recent copyright term extension that has prevented millions of works from falling into the public domain since 1998" which "provides strong justification for the enactment of orphan works legislation."
In recent years, authorities have started acknowledging possible errors in copyright legislation of the past, which would have been prevented by an evidence-based approach. Heald mentions the Hargreaves Report (2011), endorsed by the UK's IP office, but other examples can be found in World Intellectual Property Organization reports. This awakening corresponds to the work by researchers and think tanks to prove the importance of public domain and certain damages of copyright.[supp 1]
The importance of evidence-based legislation can't be overstated, especially in the current process of EU copyright revision.
As Heald notes, past copyright policy has relied on a number of incorrect assumptions, in short:
- that private value equates with social welfare; that is, any payment associated to copyright makes society richer;
- that only private value is generated by sales under copyright monopoly;
- that absence of copyright reduces both distribution and associated payments.
Recent studies, some of which are mentioned in this paper (Pollock, Waldfogel, Heald), have instead found strong indicators that:
- consumer surplus (i.e. amounts saved by consumers) can be higher and hence contribute more to social welfare;
- absence of copyright may produce higher private value as well;
- works under traditional copyright, especially given the phenomenon of orphan works, don't manage to cover the entire market, resulting in a loss of knowledge distribution as well as of potential sales.
In short, it seems that "the public is better off when a work becomes freely available", insofar as copyright has been "robust enough to stimulate the creation of the work in the first place" and that a work "must remain available to the public after it falls into the public domain".
However, it is impossible to measure the value of knowledge acquired by society and, even considering the mere monetary value, it is impossible to measure transactions which did not happen. The English Wikipedia is used by the authors as dataset because its history is open to inspection and its content is unencumbered by copyright payments, so every "transaction" is public.
In particular, the study measures what would be the cost of gratis images not being available for use on English Wikipedia articles, as a proxy of (i) the consumer surplus generated by those images, (ii) their private value, and (iii) their contribution to social welfare. If a positive value is found, it is proved that a more restrictive copyright would be harmful, and we can reasonably infer that reducing copyright restrictions would make society richer.
The calculation is done in three passages.
- 362 authors of New York Times bestsellers of 1895–1969 are considered. Their English Wikipedia articles are checked for inclusion of portraits and copyright status thereof; the increase in page views caused by the presence of the image is calculated. To depurate other factors, authors are compared in "matched pairs" of similar popularity as suggested by Amazon review or pageviews in mid 2009. Only the lowest scoring months are considered, the general increase in pageviews is discounted, etc.
- The first proxy considered is how much it would cost to buy the images from traditional image sellers, in the hypothetical (and absurd) case that article authors were allowed to. Such an image typically costs around US$100 even if it is in the public domain or identical to the one used by our articles.
- The second proxy is how much the added pageviews are worth in terms of potential advertising revenue ($0.53 cents/view, according to ).
- The values are then validated on a different dataset, some hundreds composers and lyricists.
- The amounts are then expanded proportionally to all English Wikipedia articles by considering images and pageviews of a sample of 300 articles.
Clearly, the number of inferences is great, but the authors believe the findings to be robust. The pageview increase, depending on the method, was 6%, 17% or 19%, and at any rate positive. Authors with most images were those died before 1880, an outcome which has no possible technological reason nor any welfare justification: it's clearly a distortion produced by copyright.
For those fond of price tags, the English Wikipedia images were esteemed to be worth about $30,000/year for those 362 writers, or about $30m in hypothetical advertising revenue for English Wikipedia, or $200m–230m in hypothetical costs of image purchase.
At any rate, this reviewer thinks that the positive impact of the lack of copyright royalties is proven and confirms the authors' thesis. It is quite challenging to extend the finding to the whole English Wikipedia, all Wikimedia projects, the entire free knowledge landscape and finally the overall cultural works market; and even more fragile to put a price tag on it. However, this kind of one-number communication device is widely used to explain the impact of legislation and numbers traditionally used by legislators are way more fragile than this. Moreover, the study makes it possible to prove a positive impact on important literature authors and their life, i.e. their reputation, which is supposed to be the aim of copyright laws, while financial transactions are only means.
There are several possible observations to be made about details of the study.
- Only few hundreds articles were considered, and only on the English Wikipedia. Measuring pageviews is not explained in detail, but it clearly relied on stats.grok.se, on whose limitations see the stats.grok.se FAQ and m:Research:Page view.
- Special:Random is not able to produce a representative set of the English Wikipedia, let alone of the whole Wikipedia. In fact, it relies on a pseudo-random method which is not very random. (A more random method, based on ElasticSearch, was briefly enabled but then disabled for performance reasons.)
- The author uses an artificial definition of "public domain" to match the cases which the study was able to measure, i.e. gratis images. Only 67% of the images were in the public domain while 13% were in fair use and 19% released in some way by the author. As for the releases by the authors, all cases are confusingly conflated: in particular "a Creative Commons" and "unprotected" are two incorrect terms used, which fail to recognise that CC images are copyrighted works and that not all CC images are free cultural works. This mix makes it hard to extend the results to the public domain proper, i.e. the works without any copyright protection, as well as to Wikimedia projects other than the English Wikipedia where fair use is less common. This may not affect the result on the welfare impact for the English Wikipedia but has a higher impact on the dates: namely, the fact that people who died before 2000 have less images may just mean that the English Wikipedia rules allowed fair use more for them because Wikipedia photographers would not be able to shoot photos themselves.
- Again on terminology, it is disappointing that Wikipedia's article authors are called "page builders", as if they were mechanical workers (with all due respect for mechanical workers). There is no reason to reserve the term "authors" to the professional writers who are the subjects of those articles. An artificial restriction of the pool of people who can assert to be "authors" is one of the main propaganda tools of the "pro-copyright" lobby.
- "Automatic text summarization of Wikipedia articles": The authors built neural networks using different features to pick sentences to summarize (English?) Wikipedia articles. They compared their results to Microsoft Word 2007 and found out results are very different.
- Relationship between Google searches and Wikipedia edits: A student course paper developed a model to find a correlation between the number of searches on Google resulting from an increased public interest in a subject, and the number of edits made to that subject’s corresponding Wikipedia page. Google Trends data from 2012 for “Barack Obama”, “Google“ and “Mathematics” was compared with Wikipedia page revisions of the corresponding articles within the same period. Instead of the actual data, which was unavailable, the paper applied approximation techniques to estimate the number of Google searches and the number of Wikipedia edits during a given period. Except for a few instances of spikes matching up, no clear correlation between Google searches and Wikipedia edits was found. Similar results were observed when more graphs were generated for different topics. The model made no provision for disproving the existence of a correlation. These limitations render the results of the study still inconclusive.
- How much of the Amazon rainforest would it take to print out Wikipedia?: Two students at the University of Leicester have produced a thought-provoking mathematical illustration of the scope of the Internet by calculating how much of the Amazon rainforest would be consumed if the entire Internet were printed on standard A4-size sheets of paper. Their conclusion is about 2% for the entire Internet, and 2.1 × 10−6% for the English Wikipedia, the size of which they used to extrapolate the size of the rest of the Internet. Their calculations are based on a random sample of only ten pages, the average size of which they multiplied by the number of Wikipedia articles, which at the time was 4.7 million. Given the wealth of quantitative data available about Wikipedia, and that Wikipedia articles vastly range in size from a sentence or two up to the 784K byte article List of law clerks of the Supreme Court of the United States, perhaps more accurate estimates could have been made.
- Perceptions of bot services: This study looked at how Wikipedians perceive bots, to enhance our understanding of the relationship between human and bot editors. The authors find that the bots are perceived as either "servants" or "policemen". Overall, the bots are well accepted by the community, a factor the authors attribute to the fact that most bots are clearly labelled as and seen as extensions of human actors (tools used by advanced Wikipedians). The authors nonetheless observe that where bots make large number of minor edits, they are most likely to attract criticism. Still, the necessity for such labor, maintaining categories, templates and such, is, according to actors, a widely recognized and accepted element of Wikipedia's life.
Other recent publications
A list of other recent publications that could not be covered in time for this issue – contributions are always welcome for reviewing or summarizing newly published research.
- "P2Pedia: a peer-to-peer wiki for decentralized collaboration" (screencast demo; see also User:HaeB/Timeline_of_distributed_Wikipedia_proposals)
- '"Distributed wikis: a survey" From the abstract: "We identify three classes of distributed wiki systems, each using a different collaboration model and distribution scheme for its pages: highly available wikis, decentralized social wikis and federated wikis."
- "Detection speculations using active learning" ("Deteccion de Especulaciones utilizando Active Learning")(student thesis in Spanish, about the detection of weasel words on the English Wikipedia)
- ^ Morten Warncke-Wang; Vivek Ranjan; Loren Terveen & Brent Hecht (2015). "Misalignment Between Supply and Demand of Quality Content in Peer Production Communities" (PDF). Pre-print PDF, to appear in the Proceedings of the The 9th International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM).
- ^ Heald, Paul J. and Erickson, Kris and Kretschmer, Martin, "The Valuation of Unprotected Works: A Case Study of Public Domain Photographs on Wikipedia" (February 4, 2015). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2560572 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2560572
- ^ Hingu, Dharmendra; Shah, Deep; Udmale, Sandeep S. (January 2015). "Automatic text summarization of Wikipedia articles". 2015 International Conference on Communication, Information Computing Technology (ICCICT). 2015 International Conference on Communication, Information Computing Technology (ICCICT). doi:10.1109/ICCICT.2015.7045732.
- ^ Claire, Charron (2014). "Analysing Trends Between US Google Searches and English Wikipedia Page Edits" (PDF). Retrieved 26 April 2015.
- ^ Harwood, George; Walker, Evangeline (2015). "How Much of the Amazon Would it Take to Print the Internet?". Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Topics. Centre for Interdisciplinary Science, University of Leicester. 4.
Clément, Maxime; Guitton, Matthieu J. (September 2015). "Interacting with bots online: Users' reactions to actions of automated programs in Wikipedia". Computers in Human Behavior. 50: 66–75. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2015.03.078. ISSN 0747-5632.
- ^ Davoust, Alan; Alexander Craig; Babak Esfandiari; Vincent Kazmierski (2014-10-01). "P2Pedia: a peer-to-peer wiki for decentralized collaboration". Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience. doi:10.1002/cpe.3420. ISSN 1532-0634.
- ^ Davoust, Alan; Hala Skaf-Molli; Pascal Molli; Babak Esfandiari; Khaled Aslan (2014-11-01). "Distributed wikis: a survey". Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience: â€“. doi:10.1002/cpe.3439. ISSN 1532-0634.
- ^ Benjamín Machíın Serna: "Deteccion de Especulaciones utilizando Active Learning". Student thesis, Universidad de la República – Uruguay, 2013 PDF)
- Supplementary references and notes:
Bruce, Nessie, and genocide
Though the continued predominance of movies, TV, and sports noted in last week's report largely continues, three additional topics joined the Top 10 this week. Bruce Jenner's long-awaited personal announcement that he considers himself a trans woman was made in a highly publicized American television interview on April 24, and easily made his article #2 on this week's report. The Loch Ness Monster was the subject of a Google Doodle celebrating the 81st anniversary of the iconic hoaxed photograph of the legendary beast, putting Nessie on this Report for the first time. And much more sobering, but also in the Report for the first time, is the Armenian Genocide (#10), which commenced 100 years ago this week. Farther down the list on the Top 25, it is worth noting that Adolf Hitler (#23), who famously asked who remembered the Armenian Genocide, also appears in the Top 25 for the first time. While World War II related topics often make the charts, for some reason Hitler himself has not since the Top 25's debut in January 2013.
For the full top-25 list, see WP:TOP25. See this section for an explanation of any exclusions. For a list of the most edited articles of the week, see here.
For the week of April 19 to 25, 2015, the 10 most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the report of the most viewed pages, were:
||Avengers: Age of Ultron
||Up from #16 and 541,147 views last week, the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe premiered in Hollywood on April 13. In any other year, the sequel to the billion-grossing Avengers would be the film to beat at the box office, but with the success of Furious 7, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens ahead, no one is taking bets on who will come out on top. The film opens in wide release on May 1.
||The former track and field Olympian and current honorary Kardashian got into the news this week. Jenner previously appeared on the Top 25 for two weeks in February, but his article would not include what the tabloids were reporting until Jenner said it himself, which he did in an April 24 interview on American television with Diane Saywer – that he is a trans woman. His gender transition will be the subject of an eight-part documentary series starting July 2015.
||420 (cannabis culture)
||This curious "holiday", which falls on April 20 (for obvious reasons), refers to the mysterious number 420 and its long link to marijuana usage. While it may not quite be to cannabis what Oktoberfest is to beer, it no doubt aspires to be. And this year it placed at #3 for the week, up from #5 last year. And, for the very obvious joke, we note the article is far too laid back to seek to improve any further from Start Class.
||Down from #2 last week and 1.36 million views, but still going strong. "Fast and furious" pretty much sums up the seventh installment of this long-running series. Its worldwide gross as of April 26 is now $1.322 billion. It has also become the third film in history to earn over $1 billion in "overseas" sales, after Avatar and Titanic.
||Daredevil (TV series)
||The first of four projects started as part of a deal between Marvel Studios and Netflix, this TV series was released in its entirety on the service on April 10. It's impossible to gauge the public response to this ("ratings" don't really have meaning when applied to Netflix shows) but the critical response has been ecstatic (Rotten Tomatoes currently rates it at 97%) and if its Wikipedia position is anything to go by, the public appear to have taken to it too. Down from #1 and 1.49 million views last week.
||Loch Ness Monster
||A Google Doodle on April 21 celebrated the 81st anniversary of the 1934 hoaxed "Surgeon's Photograph" of the legendary Scottish lake monster. Google has also helpfully put Loch Ness on Street View so you can search for her yourself. A review of the past three weeks of the WP:5000 data shows that Nessie is normally submerged below our Top 5000 weekly articles. This is her debut in the Top 25.
||Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao
||This long-anticipated (the article was created in July 2013!) boxing match between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (pictured) and Manny Pacquiao, the latest fight to be dubbed the Fight of the Century, will be held on May 2 in Las Vegas.
||Furious 7 will be the last, and definitely biggest, film of Paul Walker's career, and was completed despite his tragic death midway through production. How much of the film's current record grosses was in memoriam to a fallen star is impossible to say.
||See #7. And Mr. Mayweather is #11.
||The 100th anniversary of the start of the systematic killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman government probably generated more concentrated press coverage of this tragic event than ever seen before. Much of the current political debate focuses on the refusal of Turkey, and others, to recognize the term "genocide" as an accurate description for the event.
VisualEditor and MediaWiki updates
The following content has been republished as-is from the Tech News
- April 27, 2015
All accounts are now unique and work on all wikis.  
You can read a report from experts who tested the security of MediaWiki. 
There was a problem between VisualEditor and an antivirus software. It is now fixed. 
You can help test VisualEditor to see if it works in your language. 
- April 20, 2015
There was sometimes a problem when saving a page in VisualEditor. It is now fixed on all wikis. 
VisualEditor sometimes showed empty warnings for wikis using Flagged Revisions. This is now fixed on all wikis. 
You can get the new version of the Wikipedia app for iOS. With it you can share facts with your friends. 
There was a problem with Labs on Monday. 
Changes this week
The new version of MediaWiki has been on test wikis and MediaWiki.org since April 15. It will be on non-Wikipedia wikis from April 21. It will be on all Wikipedias from April 22 (calendar).
Developers are renaming 1.5 million accounts. After that all accounts will be unique and will work on all wikis.   
If your wiki has the auto-fill tool for citations, you can now use it when you edit a reference. 
You can now give examples for template options in TemplateData. 
You can join the next weekly meeting with the Editing team. During the meeting, you can tell developers which bugs are the most important. The meeting will be on April 22 at 18:00 (UTC). See how to join.
You will soon be able to add and remove tags on edits.  
- April 13, 2015
You can read the latest news about VisualEditor.
You can now use the new translation tool on 22 Wikipedias. You now see the tool the first time you create a new page. 
The list of bad user names on your wiki no longer works. The global list replaces it. You can ask to add rules for bad user names on Meta.  
Some wikis had issues on Wednesday.  
Changes this week
The new version of MediaWiki has been on test wikis and MediaWiki.org since April 8. It will be on non-Wikipedia wikis from April 14. It will be on all Wikipedias from April 15 (calendar).
Developers will start to rename 1.5 million accounts on Wednesday. After that all accounts will be unique and will work on all wikis.  
All users can now test link previews ("Hovercards") on several Wikipedias. 
You can join the next weekly meeting with the Editing team. During the meetings you can tell developers which bugs are the most important. The meeting will be on April 15 at 18:00 (UTC). See how to join.
- April 6, 2015
You can join a new email list for important news about Wikimedia Labs. 
You can read the last monthly report. In the future you can read team reports every three months. You can see current work on the roadmap.  
The number of articles in Special:Statistics is now updated once a month. 
You can use a new version of the Wikipedia app for Android. Using the app, you can now share a fact with your friends. 
The import tool was broken for a few days. Imports didn't add log entries. You can delete and import pages again if necessary. 
Labs was broken several times this week.    
Changes this week
The new version of MediaWiki has been on test wikis and MediaWiki.org since April 1. It will be on non-Wikipedia wikis from April 7. It will be on all Wikipedias from April 8 (calendar).
You can now add the same special characters with VisualEditor as with the wikitext editor. 
Many bugs around copy-paste in VisualEditor are now fixed.  
You can now use basic tools of VisualEditor in the new talk tool. You can add links, bold and italics. You can also mention people. 
You can join the next weekly meeting with the Editing team. During the meetings you can tell developers which bugs are the most important. The meeting will be on April 8 at 18:00 (UTC). See how to join.
You can again comment
on how you want to see Wikidata edits in your watchlist on other wikis. Reader comments
If articles have been updated, you may need to