September 30, 2014

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikipedia - #Category: #Cholmondeley Awards

A poet is proverbially poor. If there are any, it is not really an occupation but more of an aspiration to live off the high art of poetry. To celebrate great authors, great poets, organisations like the Society of Authors, recognise them with awards. Money may be involved, but the prestige, the awareness of the public is what makes the real difference for a poet.

The Cholondeley Award is to "honour distinguished poets" and, yes there is some money to be had; £8000 to be exact. There is still a category for the distinguished ladies and gentlemen who were awarded in the past. It is up for deletion because £8000 is considered chicken feed and also because awards are supposed to be in a list, not a category per WP:OC#AWARD.

It was a revelation for me that there is something like "over categorisation" in the first place. It means that categories are deleted. Wikipedia is a law unto itself and given "consensus", categories will be deleted. It is sad that all the work that went into the categorisation is deleted with those categories. It is even worse when the implied information is not first saved to Wikidata.

Categories distinguish themselves from lists because they can be found on every article that is categorised. Changes to article names are automatically reflected while Wikipedia lists are ... static. In Wikidata, lists can be defined up to a point and funnily enough this is not done for lists but it is done for categories.
The information from the category has been saved with AutoList2. Given that Wikidata often knows about more recipients of awards than any and all Wikipedias individually, the current emphasis on lists is silly. Wikidata will do a better job.

by Anonymous (noreply@blogger.com) at September 30, 2014 06:34 AM

September 29, 2014

Wikimedia Foundation

Round-table with editors from the Catalan Wikipedia

On September 5, 2014, the Language Engineering team hosted an online round-table with editors of the Catalan Wikipedia to discuss the Content Translation tool. Besides the translation editor and tools, the first release of Content Translation supported machine translation from Spanish to Catalan. This helped the editors work efficiently and explore the tool more deeply.

The initial feedback from editors was greatly encouraging. They liked the tool and were pleased by the tool’s ease of use. After a month of extensive use during which 160+ articles had been created and contributed to the Catalan Wikipedia, the team wanted to find out more about how the tool was being used on day-to-day editing workflows by the editors as well as gaps that the tool leaves unaddressed. The conversation resulted in valuable feedback from the editors, some of which has been presented below.

Screenshot of the Content Translation tool that shows the user a warning about a large amount of machine translated content in the translated article.

(Content-Translation-Warning.png, includes text from en:Tree, by Wikipedia contributors, under CC-BY-SA 3.0, and es:Árbol, by Wikipedia contributors, under CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Faster Editing: The editors unequivocally agreed that the tool provided an overall improvement in their workflow. They were able to create new articles faster and the high-quality machine translated drafts often needed very few corrections. Editor Xavi Bosch felt that he could create articles in approximately 30% of the time he originally needed before the tool was available. With the extra time gained, the editors could focus on fine-tuning the article. For instance, by adding more references.

Machine Translation: Content Translation uses Apertium as the machine translation engine. The editors expressed their satisfaction at the overall quality of translation provided by the tool. However, they suggested adding more checks that would identify articles which were largely unchanged. Presently, the user is warned when the tool detects when not much has been changed from the original translation. Pau Giner suggested exploring community best practices from the Catalan Wikipedia to create additional baselines for articles published using Content Translation.

Category Adaptation: After creating an article, the current setup on beta labs requires users to publish the article manually on the Catalan Wikipedia. This allows the editors to review the articles and prepare them for publication. The editors highlighted that categories are a major addition during these reviews and a feature to adapt categories would be a major benefit. Category adaption is a feature planned for development. The editors suggested:

  • inserting the translated equivalents of the categories in the original article, and
  • a feature to add new categories (similar to HotCat)

Article continuity through red links: At present, articles from the source language that are not present in the target language are not marked in the translated text. In wiki pages, these are marked as red links. Editors suggested that a similar indicator should be displayed in the published article. This will be especially helpful when creating closely linked articles like the ones recently created on the Catalan Wikipedia for the Fields Medal awardees.

Complementing the current tools: The Catalan Wikipedia editors also use several tools for typo correction and other aids. It was suggested to explore the possibility of integrating these tools to complement the current services provided through Content Translation. Editor B25es highlighted some long existing minor errors in the Apertium translation service that were being carried into Content Translation as well. The editors recommended extending Content Translation to learn from these known issues and provide corrections that would be beneficial.

Issues while publishing articles : On several occasions the editors had not been able to save a translated article. While some of this was due to the technical instability of the beta labs environment where the tool is currently hosted, the editors found some patterns and content where this error had been recurring. Articles with more visual content or complex templates (like football results) have often been problematic. In a few cases where the article was not saved, it was noticed that the sequence in which the paragraphs had been translated was similar. For instance in articles about Cédric Villani or Stanislav Smirnov. The development team has begun investigating these issues.

To know more, watch the recording of the conversation and read about the features of the upcoming release. If you haven’t tried the tool yet, please do so using these instructions. We would love to hear your feedback.

Runa Bhattacharjee, Outreach and QA coordinator, Language Engineering, Wikimedia Foundation

by carlosmonterrey at September 29, 2014 06:45 PM

Damon Sicore joins WMF as Vice President of Engineering

Damon Sicore
“Damon Sicore Headshot” by Stephanie Hall Sicore (sicore.com), under CC-BY-2.0

We are happy to announce that Damon Sicore officially joins the Wikimedia Foundation today in the newly created role of Vice President of Engineering, reporting to the Executive Director.

Damon’s work in the new VPE role will be crucial to further developing and maintaining the technology that supports the very core of the Wikimedia movement, and ensuring the development, scale, and stability of the MediaWiki architecture.

Damon is well prepared to fill this important new position. He has the skills necessary to drive platform growth and shares our values of community participation, open source and transparency. He brings years of experience as VPE in high tech and open source companies. He spent six years at the Mozilla Corporation, where he grew a small team of 27 people to a team of more than 600 open source software engineers, technical leads, managers, and directors in developing Mozilla Firefox, the Mozilla open source platform, Firefox for Android, and Firefox OS. Most recently Damon served as VP of Engineering at Edmodo, Inc., an educational content network, and was responsible for all web, platform, and mobile engineering, security, IT operations, support, and QA efforts.

Damon joins us as part of planned growth of the Wikimedia Foundation’s product and engineering teams, first announced in November 2012. As we have grown, we have seen a need to split our technical department into separate product and engineering departments, in line with the Foundation’s increased focus on industry best practices like performance engineering, continuous delivery, A/B testing, software re-architecture, UI/UX work, and user research. Erik Moeller, who has filled the role of Vice President of both Product and Engineering since 2011, has led in the creation of this new role and was essential to the search process.

Erik will continue as Deputy Director of the Wikimedia Foundation and take on the role of VP of Product and Strategy.

In the meantime, you’ll be able to meet Damon, and ask him questions, this Thursday at our monthly Metrics Meeting. Please join us!

Lila Tretikov
Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation

by wikimediablog at September 29, 2014 05:34 PM

Wikimedia UK

Researching the Science Museum Lates

The photo shows an interior view of the second floor of the Science Museum, looking down on the ground floor

The interior of the Science Museum, London

This post was written by Roberta Wedge, Gender Gap Project Worker

On Wednesday evening a small team of staff and volunteers left the Wikimedia UK office for the Science Museum, for some focussed research on what makes a great Late. These monthly adults-only events are a popular way for galleries and museums to open themselves out to an under-served audience. The V&A claims to be “the original contemporary late night event”, and since 1999, GLAMs large and small have tried their hand at “drinking and thinking” evenings. After many years of sampling, I still think that the V&A and the Science Museum are the best exemplars.

As you may have heard (through the UK-wiki list and on the Water Cooler page within the WMUK wiki), the Science Museum has offered WMUK the opportunity to showcase our work at the Late in November. In October they’re launching their biggest gallery in many years, The Information Age, and unusually, the Late on Wednesday 26 November will be themed around that. We’re very fortunate in being invited to take part.

Last night was one of the best Lates I’ve been to. Not only was the whole museum packed with about 5000 happy people (all over 18 and most under 35, and crucially for my role, about half of them were women), but the range of events was truly impressive. I counted about 30 things going on, most of them free, from pub quiz and game show to demonstrations and workshops. September’s theme was the science of magic and illusion. Make your own zoetrope! Enjoy safe but satisfying indoor explosions with Punk Science! Watch the salinity of the oceans change, speeded up a million times and modelled on a 2m glowing globe! Debunk the Cottingley Fairies!

So as we were sitting in the IMAX theatre, watching the cheerfully scruffy presenters rouse the crowd to participate, we were thinking, what would this look like with a Wikimedia theme? How could we harness their dynamic but informal style to bring out the fun and wonder of wiki-ness? I would love to see a data whiz take on the challenge of filling that floating globe with the traces of Wikipedia edits, different languages ebbing and flowing like ocean currents as Indonesia goes to sleep and Germany wakes up — and the sun never sets on the anglophone empire. We already have high hopes of big-screen audio-visual manifestations of our activities, like Listen to Wikipedia, but it’s all up for grabs. If there’s something you’d love to show off at the Information Age Late, please let me know as soon as possible. We already have almost a dozen ideas, but want to expand the pool of possibilities before meeting with the Science Museum again, when cold reality may have to come into play.

More research is needed: I can’t wait for the next Science Museum Late, on October 29, with the theme of “Food and Drink”.

by Stevie Benton at September 29, 2014 09:39 AM

Tech News

Tech News issue #40, 2014 (September 29, 2014)

TriangleArrow-Left.svgprevious 2014, week 40 (Monday 29 September 2014) nextTriangleArrow-Right.svg
Остали језици:
বাংলা • ‎čeština • ‎English • ‎español • ‎suomi • ‎français • ‎עברית • ‎ꆇꉙ • ‎日本語 • ‎Nederlands • ‎português • ‎русский • ‎українська • ‎中文

September 29, 2014 12:00 AM

September 28, 2014

Finne Boonen (henna)

Wikimania London

Wikimania in London this year was huge, bigger then any of the previous Wikimania’s I’ve been too. (So, excluding DC & Hong Kong). The amount of people made it easy to get lost but it also meant there was a lot of options in content which is a big plus if you’re not big on GLAM or (gender) diversity.

After two-three years of pretty much anything *wiki* hiatus the WMN scholarship that I got and the geographic proximity tipped the balance towards going to Wikimania once more. As a result of the hiatus Wikimania this Wikimania was about the most non-committed one I’ve been too since Frankfurt. Which made for an interesting contrast. For me this Wikimania compared most to Boston, many non-incrowd people and many people on the fringes of the wider Wiki world but who are interested because it’s Wikipedia (and it’s close by).

Luckily there were several people that I’d met before who introduced me to near-future project that would catch my interest (Next years European hackathon, November Amsterdam hackathon). But in some ways it felt like the first Wikimania I ever attended where I felt lost and very confused on how I could get involved with anything beyond editing articles.

I’m going to hang out in irc://freenode.org/#wikimedia-research and work on some pet projects (editor retention) once I hand in my masters thesis so that’s at least one personal goal for Wikimania achieved.

I managed to miss Lieven Scheire’s act but I hope to catch him at the Dutch wikiconference on nov 1st.





by admin at September 28, 2014 12:56 PM

Benjamin Mako Hill

Community Data Science Workshops Post-Mortem

Earlier this year, I helped plan and run the Community Data Science Workshops: a series of three (and a half) day-long workshops designed to help people learn basic programming and tools for data science tools in order to ask and answer questions about online communities like Wikipedia and Twitter. You can read our initial announcement for more about the vision.

The workshops were organized by myself, Jonathan Morgan from the Wikimedia Foundation, long-time Software Carpentry teacher Tommy Guy, and a group of 15 volunteer “mentors” who taught project-based afternoon sessions and worked one-on-one with more than 50 participants. With overwhelming interest, we were ultimately constrained by the number of mentors who volunteered. Unfortunately, this meant that we had to turn away most of the people who applied. Although it was not emphasized in recruiting or used as a selection criteria, a majority of the participants were women.

The workshops were all free of charge and sponsored by the UW Department of Communication, who provided space, and the eScience Institute, who provided food.

cdsw_combo_images-1The curriculum for all four session session is online:

The workshops were designed for people with no previous programming experience. Although most our participants were from the University of Washington, we had non-UW participants from as far away as Vancouver, BC.

Feedback we collected suggests that the sessions were a huge success, that participants learned enormously, and that the workshops filled a real need in the Seattle community. Between workshops, participants organized meet-ups to practice their programming skills.

Most excitingly, just as we based our curriculum for the first session on the Boston Python Workshop’s, others have been building off our curriculum. Elana Hashman, who was a mentor at the CDSW, is coordinating a set of Python Workshops for Beginners with a group at the University of Waterloo and with sponsorship from the Python Software Foundation using curriculum based on ours. I also know of two university classes that are tentatively being planned around the curriculum.

Because a growing number of groups have been contacting us about running their own events based on the CDSW — and because we are currently making plans to run another round of workshops in Seattle late this fall — I coordinated with a number of other mentors to go over participant feedback and to put together a long write-up of our reflections in the form of a post-mortem. Although our emphasis is on things we might do differently, we provide a broad range of information that might be useful to people running a CDSW (e.g., our budget). Please let me know if you are planning to run an event so we can coordinate going forward.

by Benjamin Mako Hill at September 28, 2014 05:23 AM

September 26, 2014

Sumana Harihareswara

The Continuing Adventures (Transitioning From Intern To Volunteer)

2014 WikiConference USA (Group F) 25 By now dozens of women have stepped into open source via Outreach Program for Women, a paid internship program administered by the GNOME Foundation. I recently asked several of them whether they had been able to transition from intern to volunteer.*

Are you succeeding at continuing to volunteer in your open source project? Or are you running into trouble? I'd love to know how people are doing and whether y'all need help.

When you were an OPW intern, you had a mentor and you had committed to a specific project for three months. Volunteering is freer -- you can change your focus every week if you want -- but the training wheels are gone and you have to steer yourself.

(I bet Google Summer of Code alumni have similar experiences.)

I got several answers, and in them I saw some common problems to which I suggest solutions.

  1. Problem: seems as though there are no more specific tasks to do within your project. Solutions: ask your old mentor what they might like you to do next. If they don't respond within 3 days, repeat your question to the mailing list for your open source project. Or switch to another open source project, maybe one your friends are working on!

  2. OPW mentors and interns at Wiki Conference USA 2014 Problem: finding the time. Solutions: set aside a weekly appointment, just as you might with a therapist or an exercise class. Pair up with someone else from the OPW alum list and set yourself a task to complete during a one-hour online sprint! Or if you know your time is being eaten up by your new job, set yourself a reminder for 3 months from now to check whether you have more free time in December.

  3. Problem: loneliness. Solutions: talk more in the #opw chat channel on GNOME's IRC (irc.gnome.org). Use http://www.pairprogramwith.me/ and http://lanyrd.com/ and https://lwn.net/Calendar/ to find get-togethers in your area, or launch one using http://hackdaymanifesto.com/ and http://meetup.com/.

  4. Karen Sandler, GNOME and OPW advocate. Problem: motivation. Solutions: consider the effects you're having in the world. Or focus on the bits of work you enjoy for their own sake, whatever those are. Or teach others the things you know, and see the light spark in their eyes.

These are tips for the graduating interns themselves; it would be good for someone, maybe me, to also write a list of tips for the organizers and mentors to nurture continued participation.

* OPW also provides a list of paid opportunities for alumni.

September 26, 2014 11:17 PM

Wiki Education Foundation

Happy Native American Day!

Our student editors and readers in California and Washington may observe today as Native American Day, and everyone can read more about influential Native Americans to honor this day. Thank you to Dr. Siobhan Senier’s spring 2013 course about Native American Writers at the University of New Hampshire for closing this important content gap on Wikipedia. See some of their contributions to the following biographies:

Jami Mathewson
Educational Partnerships Manager

by Jami Mathewson at September 26, 2014 05:01 PM

Wikimedia UK

Wikimedia and Metrics: A Poster for the 1:AM Altmetrics

This post was written by Brian Kelly of CETIS

1:AM – time for an altmetrics conference!

Wikimedia and Metrics posterThe 1:AM Altmetrics conference is being held in London today and tomorrow, 25-26th September.

The aims of the conference are summarised on the conference web site. It particular I noted:

We will be taking a closer look at how authors, readers, funders, publishers and institutions are beginning to integrate altmetrics into their scholarly communication processes — and the challenges that they face along the way.

With a quick overview of recent developments and future plans, we will aim to better understand how and why altmetrics can be of use to the community — and draw further inspiration from those outside academia.

The conference programme is packed with interesting talks and workshop sessions running from 9am to 5/5.30 pm on both days. It is not surprising that the conference was fully booked shortly after the conference was announced.

Wikimedia and Metrics

I will be attending the conference and will present a poster designed by myself and Martin Poulter on behalf of Wikimedia UK. The poster (which is shown and is also available on Scribd) summarises metrics which are available for Wikipedia articles, including usage statistics for articles and media, information on both in-bound and outbound links to and from Wikipedia articles, statistics on the contributions made by editors of Wikipedia articles and statistics on the evolution of articles.

If you are familiar with Wikipedia metrics, if you visit a Wikipedia article you will notice a “View history” button near the top of the window, as shown below for the Global warming article.

Wikipedia article on Global Warming

Clicking on this button and then selecting the Revision history statistics you will see a comprehensive set of statistics about the article. At the time of writing (9 September 2014) you can see that:

  • Statistics for Wikipedia article on Global warmingThe first edit was made on 30 October 2001.
  • The latest edit was made 4 days ago.
  • There have been 4,776 minor edits, 3,307 anonymous edits (identified by an IP address) and 200 edits made by bots (automated edits).

In addition to information about edits to the articles indications are provided on the articles potential impact and levels of interest. For example there are:

  • 8,042 links to the article from other Wikipedia articles
  • 527 links in-bound links to the article.
  • 1,712 watchers (who receive notification of changes to the article).
  • Over 406,000 views of the article over the past 60 days.

Next Steps

As the world’s fifth most popular web site, Wikipedia shapes public discussion of every area of theoretical and applied science. Its open data and APIs are used by to develop new evaluative tools to assess the impact of a user, set of content, or contributing organisation.

The Wikimedia community welcomes opportunities to exchange ideas on further developments with the altmetrics community. Feel free to leave any comments, questions or observations on this blog post.



by Stevie Benton at September 26, 2014 10:02 AM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata - Paul Konerko; #Chicago White Sox

Mr Konerko is one of 1,669 humans Wikidata knows about as being or having been a player of the Chicago White Sox. According to the White Sox website, Mr Konerko is very much celebrated; his gear can be bought on a charity auction, the fans are asked to vote for him so that he may win the Roberto Clemente Award. Mr Konerko is about to retire from the game.

With some regularity "members of a sports team" information is added to players past and present. They can be of any team or any sport. When this is done in an automated way, this is done based on information in an "info-box" or in a "category". At this time we do not have the technology to get the information from a "list".

Importing all this information into Wikidata is laborious. That is no problem because it presents all kinds of new opportunities. For instance when a "human" is added to such a category, we can imply that he or she IS a member of that sports team. Another opportunity occurs when a person gains an article in another language; in that case we already know to what category he or she may be added.

As this process of incrementally adding more people from categories continues, Mr Konerko will be recognised not only as a White Sox player but also as a Los Angeles Dodgers and a Cincinnati Reds player among others.

by Anonymous (noreply@blogger.com) at September 26, 2014 06:44 AM

September 25, 2014

Wiki Education Foundation

Happy Rosh Hashanah!

Today is the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Celebrate the beginning of this new year by learning more about the history of Jewish people during the Middle Ages. Student editors expanded the article for Dr. Shira Klein’s 3,000 Years of Jewish History course in the fall 2013 term.

Thank you to student editors Bwarner00, Camar111, Mleshin91, and Earohaly for improving Wikipedia’s coverage of Jewish history!

Jami Mathewson
Educational Partnerships Manager

by Jami Mathewson at September 25, 2014 05:16 PM

Wikimedia Suomi (WMFI - English)

Building an Open Finland

Open Finland 2014. Image: Kimmo Virtanen. CC-BY.

Open Finland 2014. Image: Kimmo Virtanen. CC-BY.

During 15-16 September Finnish open knowledge and open data practitioners gathered in Helsinki at the Open Finland 2014 event. Wikimedia Finland participated with a joint exhibition stand together with the Finnish OpenGLAM network. We presented the various Wikimedia projects from different standpoints. The GLAM activities were also showcased with the Open Cultural data course’s recently published online contents. Wikimedia participated also at the Finnish eLearning Centre’s exhibition stand.

The main purpose of the Open Finland event was to showcase different open data projects and to encourage civil servants to open up their contents. Open knowledge is clearly valued by the Finnish government, demonstrated by the fact that the event was organised by the Prime Minister’s Office. PM Alexander Stubb was also present and gave the opening speech at the event.

What can Wikimedia offer to public sector organisations? Wikimedia does open knowledge on a practical level. Wikimedia projects Wikipedia and the media file repository Commons are already well-known international and multilingual platforms. With these platforms cultural heritage organisations and government offices can open up and link their own data. Wikimedia is non-profit and its pages are ad-free. This autumn Wikimedia Finland organises Wikipedia education together with Finnish cultural heritage institutions.

Wikidata is a new way to open machine-readable structured data for free use. Wikidata is becoming a comprehensive linked database that includes data used by Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. For civil servants and researchers it would be useful to use Wikidata as a reference tool. It will be utilised for example in the British ContentMine project that uses machines to mine and liberate facts from scientific literature. This autumn Wikimedia Finland will organise a Wikidata workshop. If you are interested, please sign up here!

Historical maps are an excellent example how governmental and cultural heritage institutions can partner with non-profit organisations. Wikimaps is an initiative by Wikimedia Finland to gather old maps in Wikimedia Commons, place them in world coordinates with the help of Wikimedia volunteers and start using them in different ways. The project brings together and further develops tools for the discovery of old maps and information about places through history. At the Open Finland event Wikimedia was not the only participating organisation that is dealing with old maps. For example Helsinki Region Infoshare and the National Land Survey of Finland have a wealth of historical maps and other geospatial open data, and some of them have already been published online free of charge.

Wikimedia Finland exhibition stand. Image: Kimmo Virtanen. CC-BY.

Wikimedia Finland exhibition stand. Image: Kimmo Virtanen. CC-BY.

At the event there was a clear desire that digitalisation and opening up government data would lead to new kind of entrepreneurship and thus to economic growth. Indeed there were interesting product launches, such as Nearhood which brings together news and other information related to a specific neighbourhood, or the environmental data project Envibase by the Ministry of the Environment.

Demonstrating the societal value of open data has been somewhat difficult. This is especially common in cultural heritage projects where in many cases there are no tangible financial benefits. Beth Noveck, one of the event’s keynote speakers, emphasised the need to search for evidence about the societal and financial value of open data. So far the arguments supporting open data have been too heavily based on faith, not evidence. Noveck displayed many projects in the UK and in the United States. Perhaps these examples could offer good ideas to circulate in Finland too.

Personal data was one of the key topics during the event. The MyData panelists pondered about the citizens’ possibilities and limitations to use data about themselves. Open Knowledge Finland has also published a report about the topic. Personal data is an interesting topic that raises differing opinions. On the one hand the public opinion is clearly in favour of individuals’ right to control data about themselves. On the other hand for example the Wikimedia Foundation has clearly criticised the recent “right to be forgotten” European Union legislation because it can lead to censorship that distorts online source material.

Wikimedia Finland would like to thank Samsung for lending us IT equipment for exhibition use.

by sampoviiri at September 25, 2014 01:00 PM

Wikimedia Foundation

Quantitative versus Qualitative: More friends than enemies

As Wikimedia program leaders and evaluators work together toward more systematic measurement and evaluation strategies, we face a common challenge to obtain both systematic quantitative data and qualitative information. By doing so, we can establish successful practices in outreach programs and understand the depth and variety of Wikimedia programs across our vast Wikimedia landscape. To meet this challenge, we are working to combine efforts and knowledge for two key purposes:

  • To generalize program knowledge and design patterns of Wikimedia programs and
  • To deepen our understanding of Wikimedia programs and projects and how they impact our communities.


Program leaders should seek a balance between quantitative and qualitative information.

“Schütte & Pöppe Fabrik hauswirtschaftlicher Maschinen Hannover-Linden Rechnung 1909-01-16 Rückseite Detail IIIII” by differents, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Oftentimes, program leaders and evaluators question whether methods and measures that are quantitative are preferred over the qualitative, or whether qualitative outcomes can be given value like quantitative outcomes.

A good evaluation requires numbers and stories – one does not have meaning without the other. How those stories and numbers are collected can – and will – vary greatly, as each program leader seeks to understand their project or program story. Methods and measures for program evaluation should be designed to track how your project or program is doing, what it intends to do and how well the expected outcomes are reached. Whether those methods and measures are qualitative or quantitative will vary depending on your interests, your measurement point and your evaluation resources, but should, no matter what, be useful in telling the story of what you did and whether or not your work was a success. (Read more on the Evaluation portal.)

Most often, through triangulation of quantitative and qualitative measures, today’s social researchers define approximate measures or «proxies» for focusing on and measuring a phenomenon of interest. Through triangulated measures, qualitative and quantitative information can tell a better story of outcomes than either can alone. For instance, consider the phenomenon of volunteer editing behavior:

“edit count” “bytes added/removed”
“page views”
+ =
“article subjects” “categories” “quality” ratings

In a mixed-methods world, quantitative and qualitative tend to be two sides of the same measurement coin: related and nearly inseparable in practice.

How do numbers and qualitative attributes come together?

All quantitative measures are based on qualitative judgments; all qualitative measures can be coded and analyzed quantitatively.

As illustrated in the images below, numbers do not mean anything without assigning a description; anecdotes mean nothing without numbers.

Whether it is a question about physical count data, or about an attitude, we must create the meaning of numbers, and numbers with meaning in measurement. (Read more here on a detailed example of how to ask yourself these questions during an education program with students, leading to a combined quantitative and qualitative approach.)

Defining count data in ordinal response categories that are assigned a response numeral (1) through (7)


Assigning numbers to mean different levels of applicability of a sensed state of being which cannot be otherwise observed.


Converting qualitative to quantitative via count data using the sum of codeable observations.


Next steps for Program Leaders

Trying to choose the best measures for your Wikimedia project or program?

Check out the helpful Measures for Evaluation matrix of common outcomes by program goal. We are working to map measures and tools for it.

Last week, the Program Evaluation and Design team initiated the Foundation’s second round of voluntary programs reporting. We invite all program leaders and evaluators to participate yet again in the most epic data collection and analysis of Wikimedia programs we’ve done so far. This year we will examine more than ten different programs:

  • Editing workshops
  • On-wiki writing contests
  • Editathons
  • Wikipedia Education Program
  • Conferences
  • Wikimedian in Residence
  • GLAM content donations
  • Wiki Loves Monuments
  • Hackathons
  • Wiki Loves Earth, Wiki Takes, Wiki Expeditions, and other photo upload events

Did you lead or evaluate any of these programs during the time from September 2013 through September 2014? If so, we need your data! For the full announcement visit our portal news pages.

Reporting is voluntary, but the more people do it, the better we can represent programs. This voluntary reporting will help us understand the depth and impact of programs across different contexts. It allows us to come together and generate a bird’s eye view of programs so that we can examine further what works best to meet our shared goals for Wikimedia. Together we can grow the AWESOME in Wikimedia programs!

Jaime Anstee, Ph.D, Program Evaluation Specialist, Wikimedia Foundation

by carlosmonterrey at September 25, 2014 12:46 AM

September 24, 2014

Erik Zachte

WikiProject Medicine Translation Task Force

JamesHeilman At Wikimania 2014 James Heilman - Canadian emergency room physician – gave a presentation on Wikipedia and Medicine HeilmanOnHealth.
Logos2He explained how leading non-profit health organizations like the Cochrane Collaboration, Cancer Research UK and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) help to improve Wikipedia’s content, and that of its sister projects. LogosSmallIn particular James talked about the WikiProject Medicine Translation task force where medical content on the English Wikipedia is improved and simplified by non-profit Wiki Project Med Foundation (100 people from 20 countries), then translated into many languages by volunteers from Translators without Borders , co-founded by CEO Lori Thicke.  LoriBanner
ProjectPagePartialIn good open project fashion the ambitions are stellar: bring 100 medical articles to good/featured article status (GA/FA), and translate those, plus 1000 abbreviated articles, into as many languages as there are Wikipedias. The project page shows their very impressive progress in languages as Hindi, Chinese, Persian, Indonesian, Turkish, Swahili. But many more language projects have been started, also for languages where overall Wikipedia coverage is very limited, like Quechua, Yoruba to name just a few. PageViewsTaskForce

After the conference I reached out to the project and made a script to parse the project page, extract the links to the published articles for all languages, look-up the monthly page views  in our monthly aggregated page view dump and regularly present the results in a (I hope) informative status page, with a (I’m certain) boring layout. As page views per article are currently only collected for WMF’s non-mobile site,  the extra mobile page views were by necessity estimated (we do know overall percentage mobile traffic per wiki).

For many languages the stats are clearly encouraging: on the Japanese Wikipedias the 5 articles get on average almost 25K views each per month, on Spanish 23K, Italian 15K. For some languages, particularly those where Wikipedia after many years are still in the start-up phase, numbers seem disappointing: and some may indeed be, but there is a technical artifact that also comes into play (*).

Aedes_aegypti_during_blood_meal Suppose the 23 monthly page views for the article on Dengue Fever on the Farsi Wikipedia (110M speakers) are indeed accurate (it may well be the technical artifact fools us here, but suppose), if someone prints 10 copies of the article and puts these up for display at 10 health posts. Wouldn’t that already make it worthwhile?

* Tech details: one issue with the stats is many of lowest scoring ‘page titles’ are actually redirects. I query the API to find the proper article to which the redirect resolves, but as there is no standard encoding for the page titles in the dump file (titles are counted and written in the encoding in which they are received) not all resolved redirects were actually found in the dump file. A good reason to apply standard encoding to page titles, if not before actual counting takes places (may be too costly for this real-time process), then in aggregation phase (post processing). 

by Erik at September 24, 2014 05:25 PM

Wikimedia UK

“We’re in the same business”: Andrew Gray and the British Library

This post was written by Joe Sutherland

Andrew Gray at the British Library

Andrew Gray at the British Library
Photo: User:Rock drum, CC-BY-SA 4.0

Andrew Gray is a long-time Wikipedian. Having joined in late 2004, while the project was in its infancy, his personal account has racked up almost 50,000 edits.

He is also a librarian by trade, working at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, and holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.

He was then a perfect match for the Wikipedian-in-Residence role at the British Library, a post he held between May 2012 and April 2013.

“The British Library was engaged in a large-scale programme of helping train its curatorial staff to support new ways of working, new audiences, both from a perspective of being open and of being digital,” he explains.

He was involved in a large number of training workshops for British Library staff, as well as having a hand in promoting openness in the organisation, in particular with regards to its content.

“We ran about twenty workshops for eighty library staff,” he recalls. “Outside the library, working with various universities and other institutions, we ran a further forty or so workshops for around 150 attendees. These covered researchers, members of the general public, as well as librarians and library support staff.”

Closing gaps in coverage was a big part of Andrew’s role at the British Library. The first event held under his guidance was an editathon focused around non-Western troops in Europe during World War I.

“We had a number of productive discussions at the event, with Wikipedians and with people actively involved with curating the heritage of the First World War,” he says. “We were able to point out a number of problems in our existing coverage, and discussed ways to try and solve those issues.”

“We were able to focus on non-Western topics as most major topics are already well-covered, and in some cases there is systematically very good coverage across a wide section of that topic.”

He was also involved in events in partnership the International Dunhuang Project (IDP), which aims to digitise materials found in Dunhuang and other archaeological sites near the Chinese end of the Silk Road. It also covers ancient Buddhist sites in the Taklamakan Desert in north-western China and Tibet.

“The project was very keen to do some work with Wikipedia as the multilingual nature of the project fits very closely with what the IDP is trying to do,” he says.

He arranged a editing workshop over several days at the library as part of a broader conference of IDP events in 2012. “We brought in volunteers from Wikipedia, staff from the project itself, and some students and academics from related institutions in London,” he adds. “Over the course of four days we worked on a wide range of articles around the general topic.”

He feels the event helped to improve Wikipedia’s presentation of the topic overall. “Wikipedia’s coverage of central Asian history, as might be expected, is somewhat patchy,” he says. “The work that the IDP did was to help fill in some of the missing gaps.”

“Thanks to the work of one particular volunteer working with some academics, we were able to pull together a list of all the significant archaeological sites in the region, and help identify what we had articles on, what we didn’t, and what we needed to focus on trying to cover.”

The Darwin Correspondence Project was another project he got involved with in his time as Wikipedian in Residence. The undertaking was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and based at the University Library of Cambridge.

“It’s a programme to digitise and make available the letters and correspondence of Charles Darwin. As part of this, the project team have been producing, essentially, a comprehensive biography of everyone Darwin corresponded with.

“Darwin being Darwin, this is essentially a list of everyone who was active in science in Victorian Britain. He was exceptionally prolific — there are letters in the collection from people as unexpected as Karl Marx.”

The project selected several people of historical significance, who weren’t otherwise well-covered by modern literature, and researched them. With several volunteers at the university library, Andrew helped work on Wikipedia biographies based on existing research.

“It was a very productive way of capturing the research that was already being done for the correspondence project,” he adds. “It means this work could reach a broader audience, rather than simply being included in the critical apparatus to a broader project where it might not get so much attention.”

Andrew believes that libraries and Wikipedia are a perfect match for one another, since their goals are one and the same. “We’re in the same business,” he says.

“As a librarian, my job is to try and get knowledge to people who need it, as they need it, when they need it. Wikipedia is in many ways doing the same thing — we are supporting people who are looking for knowledge at their own pace, in their own context… We’re trying to provide that knowledge neutrally, evenly, and without a limit on who we give it to.”

“We don’t want to be the be-all and end-all of knowledge,” he adds. “We want to be able to refer people onwards, to more material, and libraries are the natural place for that.”

by Stevie Benton at September 24, 2014 04:00 PM

Wikimedia Foundation

Greek Wikipedia user wins key hearing in defamation case

We are happy to report that a member of our community, Greek Wikipedia user and administrator Diu, has won a critical hearing in an ongoing defamation suit brought by Greek politician and academic Theodore Katsanevas.

On 29 August 2014, the Court of the First Instance of Athens denied the preliminary injunction requested by Mr. Katsanevas. The preliminary injunction would have required Diu, along with co-defendant Greek Free / Open Source Software Society (“ELLAK”), to provisionally remove statements from the Greek language Wikipedia article about Mr. Katsanevas.[1]

The Wikipedia content in dispute involves what was written in the first will[2] of the late Andreas Papandreou, former father-in-law of Mr. Katsanevas and former Prime Minister of Greece. In the will, as reported by the court, Mr. Papandreou characterized Mr. Katsanevas as a “disgrace to the Papandreou family” with aims to “politically inherit the history of struggle of Georgios Papandreou and Andreas Papandreou.”

The court declared that the content appearing in the Wikipedia article did not differ from the content of the will and that the formulation of the article did not indicate an intent to disparage the reputation or honor of Mr. Katsanevas. Additionally, the court noted that the Wikipedia article provided the full context about the statements to which Mr. Katsanevas objected, that the article did not contain any additional commentary or pejorative expressions, and that the form of words used in the article was not immoderate.

Dismissing the petition against both Diu and ELLAK, the court found that Mr. Katsanevas was “not in need of provisional judicial protection from the [Wikipedia article] in question, which, for the reasons set out above, is not illegal.”

Unfortunately, this ordeal is not yet over for Diu and ELLAK. The trial for the underlying dispute is set to begin on 21 January 2015. As this case progresses, the Wikimedia Foundation will continue to support Diu through our Legal Fees Assistance Program.

In light of this ruling, we encourage Mr. Katsanevas to withdraw this baseless lawsuit and discontinue his attempts to censor Wikipedia and its users.

Michelle Paulson, Legal Counsel*

* We would like to extend our sincere thanks to the Lambadarios law firm, particularly Chara Daouti, for their tireless defense of Diu.

  1. In his petition, Mr. Katsanevas also requested that ELLAK be fined and that Diu be held in custody for each day of refusal to comply with the preliminary injunction (if it were to be issued) as well as reimbursement of his legal costs.
  2. As the court explained, there was a second will, which had been decreed the “main” will and did not refer to Mr. Katsanevas. However, the court clarified that the existence of the second will does not revoke the first to the extent that the two wills do not contradict or cancel the other out. Because the second will did not contradict the statements about Mr. Katsanevas that appeared in the first, the existence of the second will – the court reasoned – did not revoke the statements made about Mr. Katsanevas in the first will.

by carlosmonterrey at September 24, 2014 01:43 AM

September 23, 2014

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikimedia #Leadership and #Community

Sue wrote a wonderful blogpost. The subject is "leadership development", it is a great read; it reads true and at the end, the summation lists very much the kind of issues the Wikimedia Foundation has to content with,

The two things that stand our for me are:
  • How to create a strong, shared work culture without accidentally turning into a monoculture that doesn’t tolerate people who don’t fit
  • How to create an environment that enables the effectiveness of creative, talented people who have depression, ADD/ADHD and/or Asperger’s.
The notion of a "monoculture" is really pervasive; WMF IS Wikipedia it seems and, it takes another organisation to bring Wikidata into the fold. Projects like Wiktionary, Wikisource and even Commons are like Wikidata primarily seen as additional and there to provide the service that does not fit Wikipedia.

It is wonderful that Sue acknowledges how important the people who suffer from one or another mental health issue are. It is a great step forward as it acknowledges the relevance of this group. A next step would be some research into this phenomena. I am convinced that the number of people involved will prove to be surprisingly high for those who are not aware or prefer to ignore this,

I am confident that Lila is as aware about the issues Sue blogged about. My hope is that our community will become more aware about the leadership issues the Wikimedia Foundation and its communities bring.

by Anonymous (noreply@blogger.com) at September 23, 2014 09:40 AM

#Wikimedia #Labs - when is enough enough

Wikimedia Labs is a success. It is used a lot. It is increasingly stable. It grows quite quickly and, it has its own staff who are knowledgeable and happy to work with anyone and help where needed.

It is a great project that increasingly provides important and useful services to Wikimedia projects. Some services stand on their own to the benefit of the wider open source and content world.

It is a happy story where growth is limited by the availability of hardware and support. With more hardware, with support available around the clock, the sky is the limit.

Unbounded success is great but it will on occasion overtake the projects it supports. As the demands on the projects grow, the infrastructure changes. Great best effort prevents most mishaps from happening but occasionally services do become unavailable. That is not a drama, it is the way of things.

Lately there was another snafu; it partially affected the work that I do. I noticed that the issue was actively taken care off. I send a mail to Magnus about it. In the end the issue was resolved and the services I use are back in full swing. It took a few days, there was no drama. That is success.

by Anonymous (noreply@blogger.com) at September 23, 2014 06:22 AM

Wikimedia Foundation

A behind the scenes look at the Wikimedia Foundation’s emergency response system

Emergency “Blue Light” Telephone Used on College Campus: Monroe Community College

“Emergency Telephone Used on College Campus (cropped)” by David Maiolo, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

When my work phone rings in the middle of the night, I don’t ever have to wonder what it is. As one of the team of five who are in charge of addressing emails sent to the Wikimedia Foundation’s emergency address system, I sleep lightly on nights when I’m on call. Fortunately, emergencies don’t happen every night, but when they do I need to be prepared for the threat I’ll face – school bombing? Violence against another user? Threat of suicide? Maybe it’ll just be spam or vandalism and I’ll be back in bed in a few minutes, but I have faced all of the preceding and more. On the emergency team, we all have.

Threats of violence or self-harm are a sad, but luckily relatively uncommon, event on our projects. The English Wikipedia community has developed a process for handling them, as have a number of other projects. The emergency email address serves to help protect the public and users of Wikipedia, and the community advocacy team responds to these as part of our regular duties. We process threats of violence against self and others posted on WMF sites, running them through a protocol developed in consultation with the FBI. When a threat is credible and imminent according to the reporting criteria, we pass it along to federal or local authorities. This has brought us into contact with law enforcement around the world. We don’t always know how these reports resolve, which can leave us feeling very unsettled. Sometimes, though, it’s even more unsettling when we do.

The emergency system was established in 2010 by Philippe Beaudette (now Director, Community Advocacy), who had experience managing and creating processes for “Trust and Safety” issues with other companies and communities. He was joined in managing incoming issues by James Alexander and Christine Moellenberndt. In consultation with other staff and from years of experience, Philippe has worked to create a functional system that is manageable for the global scope of the Wikimedia projects.

What we’re looking for, primarily, is specificity and plausibility. “Block me, and I’ll kill you,” when authored by a vandal to an admin operating anonymously under a pseudonym, is neither. If a user in Philadelphia edits an area school article threatening to kill a teacher, it’s both. If we report on any private data, such as IP addresses behind accounts, we fill out a form that logs such instances. (We report any data that we have that may facilitate the rapid response of officials to these incidents, consistent with our privacy policy.) We follow this up by annotating the outcome to the other members of the team and filing a report, in our case management software, SugarCRM.

Many times during this process, we need to reach out for assistance. Sometimes reports come in from languages where we have no proficiency, and we need to find staff or volunteers to help us translate the threat and understand the context in which it was placed. Sometimes we need local administrators to help address the incidents on the projects, for instance blocking a user or oversighting content as appropriate under local policies.

Sometimes people misunderstand or misuse the system. While we are here to evaluate any threat of harm to self or others, we are sometimes contacted by people who are unhappy with the content of articles or with disputes they are having with other editors. As a matter of strict procedure, we do not assist with off-topic messages sent to this address; we don’t even forward them to other channels. We cannot afford the dilution of the emergency response system, and appropriate avenues for outreach for these kinds of problems are widely publicized on the projects themselves.

Over the years that I have worked for the Wikimedia Foundation, this process has continually improved. We have received training in dealing with emergencies and with decompressing afterwards, and the tools we use to handle them have been refined to make the whole process quick and efficient. But regardless of training, it remains a challenging experience. We seldom get a sense of closure. We are all aware of the possibility that no matter how quickly we respond, we may be too late. Even finding out that we were able to help can be distressing, because there was need for us to do it at all. Never mind the stress; it is a responsibility we shoulder willingly. It’s worth it for even a chance to help protect people and save lives.

Maggie Dennis, Senior Community Advocate

by carlosmonterrey at September 23, 2014 01:06 AM

September 22, 2014

Wikimedia Foundation

Chilean regulator welcomes Wikipedia Zero

Since 2012, Wikipedia Zero has provided access to freely licensed educational information to mobile users in Africa and Asia, free of data charges. Its mission is to empower people in the Global South to access information and participate in the creation of knowledge, by bringing Wikipedia to the hundreds of millions of people who can’t afford mobile data charges. To ensure the program truly serves the public interest by expanding access to knowledge, it follows clear, publicly available operating principles.

Earlier this year, we began work to bring Wikipedia Zero to Latin America. We were concerned by articles that reported that a new government order in Chile would ban Wikipedia Zero in the country.[1] Together with Wikimedia Chile, we contacted the Chilean telecommunications regulator, the Subsecretaria de Telecomunicaciones (SUBTEL), who confirmed to us that the new order was not intended to prevent Wikipedia Zero and similar free knowledge initiatives.

Chile is a leader when it comes to internet policy — in 2010 it was the first country in the world to enact legislation to preserve the open Internet. This law empowered SUBTEL, which enacts policies aimed to reduce the digital divide and promote competition to improve the living conditions for Chileans, to safeguard the openness of the Internet.

On April 14, 2014, SUBTEL ordered mobile carriers to stop selling bundled social media apps with voice and/or data plans in Chile, following concerns raised by a Chilean advocacy group about the practice. The SUBTEL order, titled Circular No. 40, prohibited commercial offers that would waive data charges when using particular social media sites and applications, finding that these offers were inconsistent with the 2010 Telecommunications Act.

To understand whether initiatives like Wikipedia Zero would be affected, we joined efforts with Wikimedia Chile, a local movement organization that shares in the Wikimedia mission. On July 23, we sent a letter to SUBTEL[2], explaining the operating principles behind Wikipedia Zero, and requesting clarification on whether Circular No. 40 would apply.

Undersecretary Huichalaf, the head of SUBTEL, accepted our invitation to discuss the order. In our conversation, the Undersecretary indicated he sees a clear difference between initiatives like Wikipedia Zero and the practices prohibited under Circular No. 40. He said that much of the media coverage had misreported the issues at stake. He also stressed that the order, which is not a law or a regulation, was intended to ban the specific practice of bundling zero-rated social media access with voice and data plans offered at that time (early April 2014) by local operators, and was not meant to be generalized or applied to other cases. Undersecretary Huichalaf emphasized SUBTEL’s commitment to education and making knowledge available to all Chileans, in line with Chilean President Bachelet’s commitment to equal opportunity to public quality education for all Chilean youth.

Accordingly, we hope to bring Wikipedia Zero to Chile as one of the first Latin American countries to deploy the program. The Undersecretary encouraged us to begin by reaching out to mobile carriers in Chile to seek an opinion from SUBTEL on how educational services like Wikipedia Zero could be introduced into Chile, consistent with the Chilean telecommunications law. Only Chilean carriers have the legal standing to request such an opinion.

Wikipedia Zero brings free information to those who cannot afford the cost of mobile data. In many nations, people access the internet primarily through inexpensive, ubiquitous mobile phones rather than costly, uncommon computers. However, mobile data is often more expensive than voice services, creating a significant barrier for the poor to freely access information. Wikipedia Zero works with mobile carriers to waive data charges on mobile devices to allow users free access to all Wikimedia sites. So far, this program has made the knowledge freely accessible to an estimated 375 million mobile phone users in 31 countries.

According to our colleagues at Wikimedia Chile:

“A program like Wikipedia Zero would grant Chile the opportunity to access knowledge through Wikipedia in a way and at a scale that was unthinkable in the past. Mobile phones are very common throughout Chile, and this would open doors where this knowledge will be freely available to everyone instantly, with ease. This would certainly become a powerful educational channel, which would allow us, as Chileans, to increase our understanding of ourselves and our culture, and at the same time give us the chance to learn more about everything that surrounds us and to which we remain connected. A program like this could directly impact our human development and how we conceive our environment.”

We are confident the Wikipedia Zero program fits within Chile’s legal framework and is consistent with the country’s commitment to improving access to education for its citizens. We look forward to working with all Chilean mobile carriers interested in bringing free knowledge to the people of Chile through Wikipedia Zero. Carriers interested in Wikipedia Zero can contact us at wikipediazero@wikimedia.org for more information on how to get started.

Yana Welinder, Legal Counsel

Carolynne Schloeder, Director of Mobile Partnerships

  1. See e.g., Tech President, Quartz, Pando, and La Nación (in Spanish)
  2. A copy of the letter (in Spanish, with an English translation) is available on Wikimedia Commons, and reproduced below.


Carta a SUBTEL ref Wikipedia Zero.pdf

Carta a SUBTEL ref Wikipedia Zero.pdf

Carta a SUBTEL ref Wikipedia Zero.pdf

by carlosmonterrey at September 22, 2014 06:15 PM

Wikimedia UK

Spotlight on the residency – Natural History Museum and Science Museum WIR 2013-14

Photo shows John, wearing a black Wikipedia t-shirt, in front of a cross section of a giant sequoia, one of the largest trees in the world

John Cummings at the Natural History Museum

This post was written by Daria Cybulska, Programme Manager

Recently released annual review of Wikimedia UK made me look back at 2013. One of the important projects we supported that year was the Natural History Museum and Science Museum Wikimedian in Residence, a project delivered by John Cummings. The work continued long after the official end of the residency in January 2014, and luckily shortly before full preparations for Wikimania 2014 kicked in, John was able to finalise the case study report from his project.

Why did the residency take place? What happened during the project? What are we thinking of doing now?

Open doors

Over the course of the project many doors were knocked at, and from that wide range of ideas we got some very encouraging wins. Below are some highlights extracted from the case study report.

  • Partnerships with other organisations. John focused on working with external organisations on open knowledge initiatives, many of which lead to further cooperation with Wikimedia UK. Content improvement. Some examples:
  • A trial release of Natural History Museum archive content which was then added to Wikimedia Commons and Wikisource.
  • The Science Museum has started to open its collection with 50 images of significant objects which around 20,000 people are viewing on Wikipedia each day.
  • 400 photos from the National Media Museum (part of the Science Museum Group) were released to Wikimedia Commons (see here).
  • Three videos from Science Museum’s Pain Exhibition were released under an open license (e.g. No Pain).
  • Advocacy work on changing the attitudes and licensing of content towards openness cannot be understated. Much of the project’s time was spent on producing documentation, pilot evidence, and delivering talks advocating open knowledge.

Key reflections

Long duration of the project allowed for many thoughts on future improvements – dig into the later parts of the report (p. 25 onwards) for the whole picture. Some of the highlights are:

  • Connecting with external organisations has been incredibly powerful throughout the residency. John has worked with a lot of partners thanks to being linked to NHM and SM, and also connected with umbrella organisations such as Collections Trust and DCMS.
  • John has been a successful advocate of open knowledge throughout the sector, not just focusing on his host institutions – it was one of his key tasks, even though it wasn’t planned as such to start with.
  • Skills and knowledge transfer between residents was assessed as patchy and often reliant on residents using their free time to volunteer at each other’s events.
  • It is often difficult to assess how long a project will take to produce positive outcomes.
  • A valuable insight from the project was that many institutions don’t measure web traffic related to their organisation on other websites. This makes it more difficult to convince them to release content (e.g. they wouldn’t count views on Wikimedia Commons images in their stats). John had ideas of how this could be changed, and we will continue working on it.
  • Infrastructure development. Looking into the future, John identified many technical developments that would help with the residents’ work.

Any comments and ideas can be directed to John (mrjohncummings-at-gmail.com) or to our GLAM programme (glam-at-wikimedia.org.uk).

by Stevie Benton at September 22, 2014 05:16 PM

Maria Sefidari

Content Translation Tool for editors

The Content Translation editor displaying a translation of the article for Aeroplane from Spanish to Catalan. The source text copied and the machine translation engine translates the section while copying it. Author:Runabhattacharjee. Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

Wikipedia is about content knowledge sharing, and about doing this in a specific way using commonly accepted practices, namely neutrality, verifiability and recognizing the unique challenges of writing about living people.  These are all content goals that each Wikipedia project should hold in high esteem as we try to build a source of knowledge that can be accessible to everyone in the world, no matter what language they speak.

The problem is that sometimes, knowledge is trapped behind certain linguistic barriers, and these barriers can be an impediment to sharing knowledge and communicating.  At the same time, there are other barriers, namely volunteer time and interests.  As a result, sometimes an article on one language Wikipedia may be better than the article on another.  Spanish language articles about Spanish language subjects may be more nuanced and better than their English or Italian or Japanese language counterparts because the subject specialists are writing about it in that language, people who speak that language are interested in contributing to their language version of Wikipedia, and there is more of an immediate need to write about that topic in that language.

How can Wikipedia and the movement take advantage of this, while minimizing the need for volunteer hours to go into otherwise tedious translation work? Through the use of a translation tool, and this has been worked on for some time.

That topic attracting interests of Spanish speakers using Spanish language sources may not have an immediately obvious need to exist in another language, but it can.  If you’re from Lithuania, Spanish politicians do matter because they serve in the European Parliament.  If you’re from Thailand and can read only Thai, it may be useful to know what Polish speedway looks like as it can be useful in crafting a domestic competition.  These links assist in knowledge formation, which in turn can be utilized by people in decision-making processes.  Helping decision-makers by providing them with the best available content, content not necessarily otherwise available in their native language, is a huge gift in terms of the importance of freely sharing knowledge.
Wikipedia is written by a community of learners, and there are members of the community who are involved with the project also seeking to improve their language learning skills.  By creating a tool that allows easy sharing of knowledge from language to language, close to word for word or concept for concept, Wikipedia can assist in teaching people important language skills.  Doing this from a free knowledge perspective is important.  Already, there are commercial properties doing some form of this and re-using our content for commercial use for this exact purpose.  We were not created for this purpose.  We were not created as a way to teach people languages, but it is arguably one of the many things that we have become.  I know of others who frequently use Wikipedia in this fashion.   Those interlanguage wikilinks have been great, especially when it comes to learning technical jargon in a language.  But translating is hard, long work. It could use some help. As it was very eloquently put:

Creating a new Wikipedia page based on an existing one from a different language normally requires the use of automatic translation services, dictionaries, reformatting text, tweaking links and references, and a lot of tab switching. Content translation will allow you to create an initial version of a Wikipedia page based on an existing version from a different language.

So in this context, it’s exciting to see the work of the Language Engineering team with the new content translation tool. During Wikimania 2014 at London I was able to see how the tool works, and it was very promising in its Beta status. The quality of the translation (so far, Spanish to Catalan) is high, and you can also add images (captions are also translated) and references easily. It has dictionary support. The tool can translate either specific sections or an entire article, you can add, correct or remove content while at it, and instead of putting the finished result on the Mainspace, it moves it to a User subpage, so the user has to check that everything is correct before moving it to the Mainspace (and so take responsibility for it -I like keeping people in the loop, particularily in the cases of, say, wikicontests, where I expect such a tool would be most heavily used). It also takes care of attribution quite nicely at the same time. You can see some examples of published pages here. The tool also includes a Translation Centre, which serves as a Dashboard where the user can keep track of the translations he or she has done so far, which I find very useful.

You can help test the content translation tool. Just follow these instructions, regardless of the language you usually edit in. The tool has some known issues (support of templates, that universal pain…), but if you are a regular translator, you can probably see its immense potential for all language Wikipedias (and maybe one day, for sister projects too?).

by mariasefidari at September 22, 2014 07:16 AM

Sue Gardner

Why leadership development needs a revamp

For the past 15 years I’ve been a client for leadership development work both on my own behalf and on behalf of organizations I’ve led. I’ve used the industry a lot, and gotten tons of value out of it. That said, the world of work has been changing pretty dramatically, and I can’t honestly say I feel like leadership development is keeping pace.

When I first started getting leadership training, way back years ago, here are some of the messages I was given:

The boss should talk less and listen more. Bosses should practice empathy, and learn how to give calm, clear, actionable feedback rather than yelling or being punitive.

Not everything can be reduced to numbers and deliverables and milestones and targets: the human side matters too.

Bosses should practice some degree of self-disclosure and let themselves be vulnerable: that builds trust and healthy working relationships.

People should be encouraged to admit mistakes, to change their minds, and to constantly iterate towards better.

Bosses shouldn’t pretend to have all the answers: they should be receptive and open to the ideas of others regardless of their position in the formal hierarchy.

Transparency is generally good. If people don’t know what you’re thinking, they make up stuff that’s way worse than reality.

Those are good messages. They helped me think in a more explicit way about the practice of leadership, and gave me permission to be the kind of boss I’d like to think I’d have been anyway. But once you poke at them a little, it’s clear they’re built on weird assumptions.

I was a journalist in broadcast media, a totally non-command-and-control industry. I’d never even had a command-and-control boss. Roughly 50% of the people in senior roles in my organization were women, and women bosses are widely understood to be more inclusive and communicative than male ones. My then-organization was 85% unionized and the unions were pretty strong: when management wanted to exert its will, our most useful tools were influence and persuasion.

So why were our coaches and trainers putting so much energy into guiding us away from being autocratic jerks?

Eventually I concluded that the leadership development industry, built as it is on decades of studies and analysis and practice, probably generally has a bias to lag behind reality — meaning, it’s shaped not so much by what’s actually happening now, or might happen tomorrow, but by past experience. And therefore it implicitly, reflexively, assumes an old-school boss: a guy, maybe in his fifties, who’s smoking a cigar and barking out orders.

The trouble is that while that may have been the typical boss 50 years ago, with each passing day it’s less and less our reality. We just don’t work in command-and-control environments as much as we used to. And to the extent that leadership development is designed to fix the problems of autocratic jerks, it is limiting its ability to be useful for everybody else.

I live and work in the Bay Area, in media and tech. Everybody I know is experimenting with organizational design and leadership style, whether they’d say it explicitly or not. People are trying to figure out how flat their orgs can reasonably be, how to devolve power, how to maximize cohesion and buy-in and organizational agility. Gruff Shouty Boss is just not our failure mode.

Here’s the kind of thing people I know talk about.

  • How to, in decision-making, balance inclusivity against efficiency and speed.
  • How to balance an individual contributor’s sense of personal agency against the organization’s need for everyone to row (or bail) the boat together.
  • How to maintain leadership accountability while fostering broad ownership and responsibility throughout the organization.
  • How to have leadership be accessible to all levels of the organization, without drowning the execs or undermining middle management.
  • How to create a strong, shared work culture without accidentally turning into a monoculture that doesn’t tolerate people who don’t fit.
  • How to, in organizations that over-value harmony, ensure disagreements are openly expressed and worked through.
  • How to create an environment that enables the effectiveness of creative, talented people who have depression, ADD/ADHD and/or Asperger’s.
  • How to equip leaders from underrepresented groups to manage their imposter syndrome and to successfully handle subtle biases among their co-workers.
  • How to lead in a period of experimentation, when the boss can’t pretend to have all the answers.

These are the kinds of questions that leaders in the tech sector are facing today and, as software eats the world, they’ll increasingly be faced by leaders in every sector.

There are people working on figuring out this stuff — for example, I like Michael Lopp and Venkatesh Rao and Joel Spolsky, and I think boot camps and foo-type camps are useful too. But I feel like, in focusing on fixing the mistakes of the past, the LD/OD industry itself is erasing, rather than helping shape and define, new and emergent forms of leadership. That’s a huge missed opportunity.

Filed under: Leadership

by Sue Gardner at September 22, 2014 01:21 AM

Tech News

Tech News issue #39, 2014 (September 22, 2014)

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September 22, 2014 12:00 AM

September 21, 2014

Erik Zachte

Setting the standard for a new unit of measurement can be tedious and even hazardous

A small essay for your amusement: I am reading a book about how some of today’s most fundamental units of measurement were defined and calibrated.

The more precision one requires, the harder a measurement becomes (this was an known adagium even before Heisenberg): in 1790 a new length unit was proposed: the meter. It would consist of 1/1000 of 1/10,000 of the distance from the equator to the poles. It only remained to measure that distance as precise as possible.

The French took the lead here, and thus the requirements for which meridian to use as a base line was stated as: “the one with the longest stretch over land, being well charted territory, which ends at both sides at sea level”. By sheer coincidence this happened to be in France.


So what was needed was to measure the total distance between both ends (near Dunkirk and Barcelona) by triangulation, and measure the length of one side of one of those triangles  in terms of a provisional meter (using a platinum bar, compensating for temperature at each position, and for the curvature of the road).

Two expeditions, one headed by Delambre, the other by Méchain, were formed to do the triangulation first, then measure the exact latitude of the end-points. They were to report findings within a year. I would take six years to arrive at acceptable results.

The triangulation itself took several months, as many mountains lay on the path. One of numerous perils encountered was an angry mob in Paris. People discovered the esoteric instruments the team carried in their baggage, and suspicion arose these might be spying tools, to aid reactionary forces opposing the Revolution. An angry mob gathered and demanded an explanation. That explanation would better not meet deaf ears, because at that time a mob, when in doubt, tended to regard the guillotine the safer option. Fortunately the team leader was an experienced teacher, so he knew how to balance between saying too little, and saying too much (and thus lose most of the audience), but the ‘trial’ still lasted for many hours.

After the triangulation was done all that remained was getting the exact positioning of the end points. An new device, called the Borda Circle (with two telescopes) made it possible to determine the angle between two stars with twice as much precision as before. All that remained was to repeat the measurement 10,000 times to reduce the human reading error by averaging the outcomes.

Unfortunately the expedition leader suffered an almost fatal accident and recovery took months, in which the expedition could not travel, so the team settled down in a place just 2 (provisional) kilometers away from the end-point of the meridian: biding their time they took it upon themselves to repeat the initial measurements and do another batch of 10,000. To their dismay the two averages diverged noticeably. They knew of the imperfect curvature of the earth, (Earth radius to the equator is 6400 km, 64 km more than the radius at the poles) [3]. What they didn’t know yet (and which brought them to despair) was that every meridian has a different length, as the earth’s curvature isn’t even uniform for every place at the same latitude. It took years to get this sorted out.

Tien verdwenen dagen

This story came from an excellent book by Michiel van Straten, called “Tien verdwenen dagen” (“Ten lost days”, alas in Dutch only), about humanities’ struggle to define good units of measurement.

There is a story about the difficult transition from Julian to Gregorian calendar (which has still not been completed as this Wikipedia chart shows);


a story about how before the invention of time zones not only every town had their own unique time, but with the emergence of railroads different railroad companies used a different time for the same town (and we think planning a trip with stop-overs today is time consuming), a story about Napoleons new metric calendar, and how the Catholic Church made him retract it after several years (10-day weeks with only one day off didn’t help either), stories about long debates to establish which meridian to make the Prime Meridian, and where to draw the international date line, and many more.


by Erik at September 21, 2014 09:16 PM

September 20, 2014

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata - Hal Newton; #baseball player

Mr Newton died in 2014 and, as his demise was only recently picked up it came up to my attention only now. I added his date of birth and death. I skimmed his article and added two clubs he played for by hand; the Calgary Stampeders and the Toronto Argonauts. For a third club there was a category so I added all of the players of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats using AutoList2.

Then it hit me. Adding all this data to Wikidata is very similar to collecting baseball cards. Sometimes you get one card at a time, sometimes you get a whole collection. All of them have to be fitted in so that they can be displayed most advantageously.

At that Wikidata is very much the box where all the cards live. Reasonator is like a display book; it shows off what there is and it is where you get the best impression of what is still lacking.

by Anonymous (noreply@blogger.com) at September 20, 2014 06:24 AM

Tony Thomas

Testing a custom exim4.conf file for syntactical errors

Often you will come to a scenario when you want to hack the exim configurations and you end up generating a new exim4.conf file. The beauty of exim is that, you can even copy this file from another instance and make it run perfectly in your instance. * To make sure that your exim4.conf file […]

by Tony Thomas at September 20, 2014 03:39 AM

Wikimedia Foundation

OpenGLAM at Wikimania 2014

The is a syndicated post originally published by OpenGLAM. The original version can be found here.

GLAM activities in the last two months have been quite happening! After Open Knowledge Festival in Berlin, OpenGLAM members and other GLAM contributors met again during Wikimania London, the official annual event of the Wikimedia movement focused on what people are making with wikis and open content. There were GLAM talks, workshops, discussions and brown bag talks: in this blog I’ll go into some of the highlights, but you can find an overview of all GLAM & Free culture submissions here.

Promoting OpenGLAM – Exchange of Experiences and Best Practices

OpenGLAM Working Group members Beat Estermann and Joris Pekel conducted a workshop during which they introduced the OpenGLAM working group and the various activities that members from different countries are involved in, such as the Open Cultuur Data masterclasses in the Netherlands and the Coding Da Vinci cultural data hackathon in Germany. For Switzerland, Beat Estermann talked about the OpenGLAM Benchmark Survey that aims to gather more information of open data principles in the heritage sector around the world.

OpenGLAM presentation at Wikimania 2014 in London.

“20140809 OpenGLAM presentation” by Beat Estermann, Joris Pekel, Maarten Brinkerink and Helene Hahnunder CC-BY-SA-3.0

Best practices for the evaluation of GLAM-Wiki cooperation

A GLAM-Wiki evaluation workshop was organized by Beat Estermann, Maarten Brinkerink and Wikimedia Foundation’s Program Evaluation specialist Jaime Anstee to assess the impact of the past GLAM projects and to create a road map by placing evaluation parameters in place for institutional collaboration. From the GLAM wiki residency project at Wikimedia UK, Jonathan Cardy presented the evaluation process needed in place for Wikipedia-in-Residence programs. Wikimedia Deutschland (WMDE)’s Lilli Iliev shared information about the evaluation practices WMDE has put in place in order to implement small to large scale GLAM projects in Germany. While working with various cultural institutions in Germany, they focused on qualitative aspects of the content acquired, on goal oriented programs like “GLAM on Tour,” and on mass outreach by popular media and post campaign impact measuring. Four groups were then formed to work on particular GLAM projects, how they plan to evaluate tangible output and measure return on investments.

GLAM Evaluation Workshop at Wikimania 2014 – introductory presentation.

“20140808 GLAM Evaluation Workshop intro” by EdSaperia, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

In the scope of the Wikipedia Voice Intro Project that he founded, Andy Marbett (http://pigsonthewing.org.uk) spoke about the beauty of having recordings of notable people where they not just pronounce their names in their native languages, but introduce themselves with their dates and places of birth. With BBC’s collaboration, this project has grew to an avenue on Wikipedia to enrich biography-articles. This is indeed a project that has run at absolutely zero cost and aims at making Wikimedians meet their stars and document their voices forever on the Internet. The full video of the talk is available here.

Subhashish Panigrahi, Programme Officer, Access To Knowledge, Centre for Internet and Society

by carlosmonterrey at September 20, 2014 12:09 AM

September 19, 2014

Wiki Education Foundation

Student editors start by making minor edits to their hometowns

If you’re teaching a composition course and need inspiration for article topics to improve, one popular idea is to encourage student editors to add information to Wikipedia about their hometowns. Perhaps the town lacks demographic data from the most recent census or information about the education system. This can also be a useful first step for a longer Wikipedia assignment, and it typically gives student editors the opportunity to add images.

Seal of Vinton County OhioIn Matthew Vetter’s Writing and Rhetoric course, student editor Allyleah817 took such an approach when she expanded the article about Vinton County, Ohio. Check out her work and learn more about the least populous county in Ohio.

Jami Mathewson
Educational Partnerships Manager

by Jami Mathewson at September 19, 2014 05:38 PM

Terry Chay

Fair winds and godspeed, me hearties

Avast ye landlubbers!

It be Talk Like A Pirate Day, an’ in (dis)honor of me fav’rite day o the year, I be givin’ meself the black mark, an’ be walkin’ th’ plank off th’ ship o’ the Wikimedia Foundation a fortnight hence, on the 3rd of October.

Th’ scurvy dog Jared demands a parrrrrrrrlay of a photo of each of me sprogs after I shanghai ‘em onto the Foundation. In keeping with that grand pirate tradition (and because I suspect the scallywag hornswoggl’d me cloak of invisibility), I’ll appease thee with a last glimpse of me visage on the crew page before I visit Davy Jones’ Locker. Now maybe ye won’t be confus’d betwix’t me an’ me powder monkey, Howie.

I’ll leave ye buccaneers t’ fight over me booty1 an’ give no quarter as ye guide the Wikimedia Foundation t’ safe haven. Aye, she be a leaky old hulk, but take the light and liver of any a’ addled bilge-sucking blaggard that try an’ scuttle her!

In the meantime, you c’n read about me plunders on th’ seven seas on me blog. Here be the UarrrrrrrrL: http://terrychay.com/.

So let’s raise the Jolly Roger and drink some grog!


the dread pirate terry

Pirate to English translation: I’m leaving the Wikimedia Foundation. My last day is Friday, October 3. A more official email will follow with background on the logistics surrounding my departure. (I also finally posted a staff photo.) Arrrrrr.

(Dread Pirate) Terry Chay (WMF)


terry chay  최태리
Wikimedia Foundation
“Imagin’ a world in which ev’ry single lad and lass c’n smartly plunder in the sum of all intellectual booty. That’s our commitment.

i: http://terrychay.com/
w: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Tychay

  1. All me vested WMF options. I be addin’ a treasure map to the Wiki, but it be revert’d. 

by tychay at September 19, 2014 05:17 PM

Wikimedia UK

Emmanuel Engelhart, Inventor of Kiwix: the Offline Wikipedia Browser

This user profile by Joe Sutherland is part of a series about Offline Wikipedia on the Wikimedia blog where it was first published. As well as having created Kiwix, Emmanuel is a developer for Wikimedia UK.

Emmanuel Engelhart’s “offline Wikipedia”, Kiwix, is entirely open source. “Emmanuel Engelhart-49″ by VGrigas (WMF), under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Wikipedia’s goal is to be the sum of human knowledge, available to anyone at any time, but when billions of people have no internet access at all, how can that goal be realized? The answer according to software developer Emmanuel Engelhart (User:Kelson) is quite simple – take Wikipedia offline.

Together with Renaud Gaudin, he invented Kiwix, an open source software which allows users to download a copy of Wikipedia in its entirety for offline reading.

Kiwix uses all of Wikipedia’s content through the Parsoid wiki parser to package articles into an open source .zim file that can be read by the special Kiwix browser. Since Kiwix was released in 2007, dozens of languages of Wikipedia have been made available as .zim files, as has other free content, such as Wikisource, Wiktionary and Wikivoyage.

After becoming a Wikipedia editor in 2004, Engelhart became interested in discussions of offline versions of Wikipedia. At the time, Engelhart was in his mid-20s and living in his small village near the town of Vendôme, a few hundred kilometers south of Paris. Learning that a 2003 proposal by Jimmy Wales to create a CD version of Wikipedia, Version 1.0, never made its initial timescale, inspired Engelhart to take action.

He argues that access to information is a basic right that the whole world should be entitled to. “Water is a common good. You understand why you have to care about water. Wikipedia is the same; it’s a common good. We have to care about Wikipedia.”

“Tools are not neutral. They have a big impact on our society and software is [becoming] always more central.” Engelhart says. “We live in an industrial and technical world…so how we make software, what are the rules around software, is really important.”

Kiwix running a copy of Wikipedia in German on an OLPC laptop operated by Engelhart in 2012. “Berlin Hackathon 2012-48″ by Victorgrigas, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Engelhart elaborated his reasons for creating the software in an email: “The contents of Wikipedia should be available for everyone! Even without Internet access. This is why I have launched the Kiwix project. Our users are all over the world: sailors on the oceans, poor students thirsty for knowledge, globetrotters almost living in planes, world’s citizens suffering from censorship or free minded prisoners. For all these people, Kiwix provides a simple and practical solution to ponder about the world.”

Profile by Joe Sutherland, Wikimedia Foundation Communications volunteer

Interview by Victor Grigas, Wikimedia Foundation Storyteller

Do you have a story about your use of Offline Wikipedia that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it! Email: vgrigas(at)wikimedia.org

by Richard Nevell at September 19, 2014 12:11 PM

Wikimedia Tech Blog

New FOSS Outreach Program internships for female technical contributors

"Ghoshal, Sucheta staff photo Sept 2013" by Sucheta Ghoshal, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 "Rachel workathome" by Rachel99, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 "Himeshi De Silva" by Akila Panditha, under PD-author "GorillaWarfare, cropped" by Ktr101, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 "Schottlender, Moriel March 2014" by Myleen Hollero, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 "RtDwd" by Rtdwivedi, under CC-BY-3.0

Former Wikimedia participants in the FOSS OPW and the GSoC

The Free and Open Source Software Outreach Program for Women offers paid internships to developers and other technical contributors working on projects together with free software organizations. The program is run by the GNOME Foundation, joined by a stellar group of free software projects. You can learn about how this program works in this cartoon. Wikimedia is a strong stakeholder of this initiative. It fits into our strategy to prioritize efforts that empower disadvantaged and underrepresented communities by overcoming barriers to participation. There is no technical reason to have women underrepresented in open source projects, yet this is the reality we still have today.

So here we are in another OPW round, ready to keep working toward the goal of breaking even. We welcome candidates! This call is open to Wikimedia volunteers (editors, developers, etc.) and also to people who would contribute for the first time in our projects. We have a list of project ideas and we are also open to hear your own proposals.

In past editions, we have seen that candidates coming through a direct recommendation have good chances of success. It is also known that many good potential candidates will be reluctant to step in, but they will if someone (like you) encourages them to apply, or to contact us with any questions. You can make a difference. If you know women with background / interest in software development or open source and full time availability between December and March, please forward them this invitation.

Success stories

Wikimedia joined the FOSS OPW program in 2012 in its fifth round, the first one open to other organizations beyond GNOME. Sucheta Goshal and Teresa Cho were among the first Wikimedia interns. Later they became contractors for the Wikimedia Foundation in the Language Engineering and the Analytics team, respectively. Rachel Thomas joined the next round in 2013 with an internship on Quality Assurance and some time later she got a job in Boston on the same field.

In the Summer-in-Northern-Hemisphere edition, we synchronize our participation in OPW and Google Summer of Code (GSoC), a successful tactical move that has brought many Wikimedian women to a predominantly masculine program. Moriel Schottlender applied simultaneously to OPW and Google Summer of Code, her internship was devoted to the development of a VisualEditor plugin, and now she is working full time as a member of that team, where her former mentors are now her colleagues. In the same round, Aarti Kumari Dwivedi completed her project Refactoring of ProofreadPage extension and a few months later she was one of the mentors in Wikimedia’s first participation in Google Code-in. Himeshi De Silva worked successfully on a Semantic MediaWiki extension, and since then she has been participating in a series of free software events in Asia, Europe, and (soon) America. Liangent and Molly White (aka GorillaWarfare) already were established community contributors, they submitted proposals about problems they knew well and suffered as volunteers, and they were able to work full time on them during a Summer, getting close to fixing them.

Introduce yourself, ask, apply

The application period starts on September 22nd and ends one month later on October 22nd. Candidates who announce their plans early and get in touch with potential mentors have higher chances of success. The application process is well documented and we are already welcoming the early birds.

The last OPW round just finished a few weeks ago. Check the profiles and the reports of the six interns that took part. Feel free to contact them. Half year ago they were in the same situation as new candidates are now. You or someone you know could be selected for the next round. “OPW, Yes you should ladies.”

Quim Gil, Engineering Community Manager at the Wikimedia Foundation

by carlosmonterrey at September 19, 2014 01:57 AM

September 18, 2014

Wikimedia Foundation

Editors find wide range of uses for source access donated by Newspapers.com

The Wikipedia Library is continuing to build opportunities for Wikimedia editors to access reliable sources, by negotiating with publishers to get Wikipedians free access accounts to their digital databases. We like to see Wikipedians able to access resources that they could only get through academic libraries or costly out of pocket subscriptions. We are very excited by the growing number of interested partners and the strength of our volunteers in helping distribute those accounts and who are also using that momentum to scale the project to include more publishers and more editors in more languages.

Our latest partnerships kicked off in August when we opened up several more access collaborations. New to the program is Newspapers.com which donated 100 full accounts and offers a fine across-the-Atlantic complement to the July British Newspaper Archive donation (see our prior coverage ). Volunteers who gain access to newspapers are very keen to use them to develop a whole range of different historical topics both well-documented in contemporary history texts and those under-represented in scholarship. To get a sense of just how useful and flexible historical newspapers can be for our users, we asked User:We hope to share how his access to Newspapers.com helps him on Wikipedia.

Traveling through history

Since I’ve always been interested in the past and what really happened in it, I’ve tended to draw quite a bit from newspapers. For me, accessing older newspapers is like traveling back in time for facts which may have been lost in later publications.

I’ve done quite a bit of work on Wikipedia around articles, such as US TV personalities Red Skelton and Perry Como, where my main sources were older newspaper stories. These sources allow me to “get closer” to when they were happening and allows us to present somewhat different information on Wikipedia than may be found in books on the given subject. When working on Red Skelton, I found that two book sources listed his son’s birthdate incorrectly. A newspaper article on the boy’s death said he was ten days shy of his tenth birthday; checking California vital records showed that the newspaper story had his birthday correct.

Wikipedia is a wonderful environment for capturing this information and correcting it for public record: almost everyone visits Wikipedia for research and providing both the older sources alongside new sources ensures that future researchers can discover the same information I did.

Exploring an old locomotive

The postcard from the Library of Congress uploaded by We hope and setting him off to develop the William Crooks article.

“William Crooks at station” by National Photo Company, Restoration by Adam Cuerden, under PD-National Photo Company

Recently, I became interested in the locomotive William Crooks when I discovered the engine while uploading public domain railroad photos and postcards to Wikimedia Commons. The old engine has an interesting history: it was built in 1861, almost destroyed by a fire in 1868 and was saved from the scrapyard by the Great Northern Railway’s president, James J. Hill, around the turn of the century.

When researching the Wikipedia article, a copy of an old railroad brochure about the train helped fill in some information, and provided photos of the William Crooks in various places after it was officially retired. The brochure helped document its many tours made under its own power across the country, such as the 1927 Fair of the Iron Horse in Baltimore and the 1939 World’s Fair, but there still was not enough information to expand on the article.

That changed with access to the older newspapers available on Newspapers.com. I have been able to add much more specific information. For example, I found an article with an interview of Albion Smith, who restored the locomotive after the 1868 fire and was one of its early engineers. Mr. Smith was instrumental in saving the old engine from the scrapyard by speaking to James J. Hill about the situation. Another interview in the article was with John J. Maher, who started as a fireman on the William Crooks. Mr. Maher helped highlight the earlier wood-burning days of the locomotive. These interviews allowed me to better document the trains transformation from wood-burner to a coal-burner. I hope to further expand the article wit many of my other Newspapers.com clippings.

More than just research

Having Newspapers.com access has also made it possible to verify the copyright status of comic strip images uploaded by various users over the years. Our community on Wikipedia and sister sites like the free media repository Wikimedia Commons, want to ensure every piece of material is free from non-free copyright claims when we publish it so it can be easily reused by our readership. We carefully screen images uploaded by thousands of contributors to make sure the copyright statements are accurate. Sometimes older images are uploaded to Wikipedia under a public domain claim due to age, but were not in fact public domain, or couldn’t be easily checked for their copyright status because they had been uploaded without contextual information like dates of first publication. Having access to a larger collection of newspapers provides us with the needed information so that I can double-check the original publication status of the comics, and allows me to send those images to Wikimedia Commons to be used and enjoyed by more people.

An example of one of the comics that We hope was able to verify the license of via a clipping.

“Frecklesfriends3598″ by Copyright 1935-NEA Service-Artist-Merrill Blosser, under PD US not renewed

In other contexts, I am using Newspapers.com to explore topics such biographies of public figures like Ruth Etting, the star of the Amos ‘n’ Andy television series Eddie “Rochester” Anderson and the bandleader and composer Paul Weston. Being able to capture all of my research with clippings allows me to share them with collaborators on those articles. For example, I recently worked with fellow Wikipedian User:This is Paul to explore the life and history of murder victim Joan Robinson Hill, who was discussed in the book Blood and Money. We were really successful in expanding the article using Newspapers.com information to compile what happened after the book was published. We were also able to add some previously “lost” information to the Featured Article Jo Stafford. An interview I discovered with Jo Stafford gave her first-hand account of how her hit record “Tim-tay-shun” was recorded with Red Ingle and her use of the name Cinderella G. Stump on the label.

Having access to so many sources means a lot of clippings on any given subject. I find that when I start searching on a subject, I start clipping and clipping and clipping, because there are just so many good sources that need to be added to the Wikipedia article! This partnership has helped make public a great deal of information about many, many different subjects and I hope we will be able to continue making these discoveries through the access to older newspapers.

Alex Stinson (User:Sadads), Project Manager, The Wikipedia Library
Jake Orlowitz (User:Ocaasi), Head of The Wikipedia Library

Editors and Publishers who are interested in contacting The Wikipedia Library can email wikipedialibrary@gmail.com

by carlosmonterrey at September 18, 2014 11:41 PM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikipedia - To bot or not to bot II

In a mail it was announced that the Lsjbot finished adding plants to the Swedish Wikipedia. Several classes of subjects have so far been added and it had quite a surprising effect on the vitality of the Swedish Wikipedia:
"We are also gladdened by the hard numbers. Reader accesses show a healthy increase even from our already high number. And a trend of a slight decrease of editors has now turned into an increase. We can not say for certain why and it could be temporary but we believe the botgenerated articles has a part of this positive development".
These hard numbers referred to fly in the face of all the pundits who claim the opposite. Evidently, Wikipedia works best when it does what it is meant to do; share in the sum of all knowledge. There is no sharing when no information at all is provided for "esthetical" or whatever reasons.

We can argue about the best way of providing additional information and, it is good that a door is kept open for Wikidata to play a role. In the end both for all the Wikipedias and for Wikidata it is about priorities and I agree with Anders that the quality of the data is key in this. In addition the priority of Wikidata should be much more centred on what we do it all for; making information available to people not so much machines.

by Anonymous (noreply@blogger.com) at September 18, 2014 06:29 AM

September 17, 2014

Wikimedia Foundation

Wikipedia Is Built on Transparency

This post is cross-posted from the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s blog. It is part of a Week of Action: A World Without Mass Surveillance held by the EFF and other organizations in September 2014 to bring attention to the Necessary and Proportionate Principles, which support the application of human rights to mass surveillance.

The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower people around the world to develop freely licensed educational content and to globally disseminate that content. We believe that transparency and user notification are essential to the success of that mission. Keeping users fully informed of our activities and our dealings with government authorities gives them the necessary freedom to share openly and safely.

While new technologies have empowered free speech and access to information on the Wikimedia projects and on the Internet as a whole, they have also enabled governments and organizations to monitor speech and activity at an unprecedented scale. In our current digital environment, and especially in light of the global surveillance revelations beginning in 2013, people are understandably wary about privacy and about their personal information being accessed by unwelcome parties.

We believe that transparency is a vital solution to this climate of uncertainty. Wikipedia, the other Wikimedia projects, and the rest of the Internet cannot flourish in an ecosystem where people are hindered from speaking, reading, sharing, and creating freely. We therefore believe that we have an urgent responsibility to inform users about our dealings and about potential threats to their privacy.

In response to these concerns, we recently issued a Transparency Report that sheds light on requests for user data that we receive from governments and private parties. It shows that we only provided information in 14% of all cases over the past two years. We fight back against vague and overbroad requests, and in every case, we carefully evaluate each request and notify users when possible that their information is being asked for. In certain cases, we may fund assistance for users to fight an invalid request under our Legal Fees Assistance Program or Defense of Contributors Program. Often, we will not even have the requested data given that we purposefully collect very little non-public information and retain identifying information for only a short period of time.

Transparency is a core value of the Wikimedia movement: anyone can see how a Wikipedia article has been created, contribute to the software that runs Wikimedia projects, or learn about the Wikimedia Foundation’s activities. Where possible, we aim to do our work in public because we believe in decentralized decision-making and accountability to the people who create the Wikimedia projects, to donors, and to readers. Transparency and public oversight, however, should not end with the Wikimedia Foundation. In the same way that projects like Wikipedia rely on open practices, the public cannot thrive without transparent and publicly accountable institutions.

Generally, companies cannot be transparent with users if they are legally restrained from providing notice, such as by a gag order. The Necessary and Proportionate Principles calls on governments to protect transparency by “not interfering with service providers in their efforts to publish the procedures they apply when assessing and complying with State requests.” Companies must have the freedom to be clear and transparent with their users, so that users can trust both the websites they visit and their government.

The Necessary and Proportionate Principles provide a good framework for pushing governments to stand up for our Internet freedoms. The growing chorus of organizations releasing transparency reports, including the Wikimedia Transparency report, reminds us that organizations have a role to protect users and provide transparency when governments and abusive parties put our freedoms at risk.

Yana Welinder, Legal Counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation

Stephen LaPorte, Legal Counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation

* Many thanks to Joseph Jung, Wikimedia Legal Intern, for his help in preparing this post

by carlosmonterrey at September 17, 2014 06:36 PM

Wiki Education Foundation

Wiki Education Foundation Monthly Report: August 2014

1. Highlights

  • Frank Schulenburg, Sara Crouse, Jami Mathewson, and LiAnna Davis, and board members Diana Strassmann, Karen Twitchell, and Richard Knipel all traveled to London for Wikimania 2014. Wiki Ed played a major role in the Future of Education track at Wikimania. Jami and LiAnna led three Education Pre-Conference workshops and presented in four official program sessions; Diana gave one of the Wikimania keynotes.
  • Te first discipline-specific handout for student editors was released this month, covering how to edit psychology articles. This series of handouts is designed to supplement the Editing Wikipedia brochure for student editors with specific information about sourcing requirements, policies, and structure for articles in disciplines our students edit content in.
  • After vetting a number of excellent proposals, we’ve selected Seattle-based digital creative company WINTR to work with us on our first major technology project. Sage Ross will work with WINTR during September and October to create the Assignment Design Wizard – a tool to help instructors create great Wikipedia assignments without doing everything from scratch.

2. Programs


Frank Schulenburg, Sara Crouse, Jami Mathewson, and LiAnna Davis, and board members Diana Strassmann, Karen Twitchell, and Richard Knipel all traveled to London for Wikimania 2014. Wiki Ed played a major role in the Future of Education track at Wikimania. Jami presented in two Education Pre-Conference sessions, one on training new Wikipedia Ambassadors, and one on structuring new education programs. LiAnna led a half-day workshop for educators from around the world on how to use Wikipedia as a teaching tool. As part of the main conference, Frank, LiAnna, and Jami presented a session called “Ask the Wiki Education Foundation,” while LiAnna co-presented on the Wikipedia Education Collaborative and presented a solo session on “The 7 Biggest Mistakes the Wikipedia Education Program’s Made – and What We’ve Learned From Them.” Jami co-presented in a session called “Wikipedia Education Program By the Numbers” about how we use metrics to measure success. For more information on our Wikimania experiences, see our wrap-up blog post.


The Programs Department wrapped up hiring for two open positions: Helaine Blumenthal will join the team as Classroom Program Manager and Eryk Salvaggio as Communications Associate. Helaine and Eryk will both start their new roles at the end of September. We also opened two half-time roles for Wikipedia Content Experts, one in the Humanities and one in the Sciences. Experienced Wikipedia content writers looking for work are encouraged to check out these opportunities.

2.1. Educational Partnerships

We are starting to focus our attention and resources on the sustainability of the Classroom Program. One strategy for expanding our support is to recruit new instructors and courses through academic associations, making it easier to provide subject-specific course materials and to recruit experts to identify content gaps on Wikipedia.

Dr. Ben Waddell volunteers to workshop his future Wikipedia assignment during the American Sociological Association's Annual Meeting

Dr. Ben Waddell volunteers to workshop his future Wikipedia assignment during the American Sociological Association’s Annual Meeting

The American Sociological Association is one such academic association that has a Wikipedia Initiative, driving their instructor members to help improve the sociology content on Wikipedia, in part through our program. In August, LiAnna and Jami presented at ASA’s Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Anne Kingsley, an instructor in the Classroom Program, also participated to highlight her motivations, experience, and learning outcomes from using Wikipedia as a teaching tool. The presentation focused on designing Wikipedia assignments that meet both instructors’ and Wikipedia’s needs. One instructor, Dr. Ben Waddell of Adams State University, volunteered to workshop a sociology assignment for the coming fall term in front of the group.

2.2. Classroom Program

A discipline-specific handout designed to help student editors was released this month. Editing Wikipedia articles on Psychology is the first in a series of handouts the Wiki Education Foundation will be producing that aim to provide student editors in the Classroom Program more details on how to write articles for specific disciplines. We began with psychology, since additional sourcing requirements have been a challenge for some student editors in the past. We extend a special thank-you to Wikipedia editors and psychology professors who provided valuable feedback on drafts of this brochure during the editing process.

Current status of the Classroom Program (fall term 2014) in numbers, as of August 31st:

  • Status: The fall 2014 term has started at several universities in the United States and Canada.
  • 42 Wiki Ed-supported courses have Course Pages (21 or 50% are led by returning instructors)
  • 300 student editors are enrolled
  • 135 student editors have completed the online training for students

2.3. Digital Infrastructure

The beginning of August marked the due date for proposals for building Wiki Ed’s first major technology project, the Assignment Design Wizard. The idea itself — a way for instructors to design and customize their own Wikipedia classroom assignment, while learning about the best practices we’ve identified over the years, and without dealing with wiki markup or rigid boilerplate text — generated a lot of excitement from developers, as did our broader vision of bringing together the worlds of academia and Wikipedia. We received a very strong set of proposals from development companies small and large, but ultimately one stood out: WINTR. With a history of developing beautiful interactive web experiences for major brands, a strong desire to do work that matters, and a development philosophy that puts user experience at the center, WINTR has everything we were hoping to find in a technical partner. WINTR is based in Seattle, Washington, giving Product Manager Sage Ross the opportunity to collaborate with them in person during the Assignment Design Wizard project. We’re planning to get started with development in mid-September, and to have the first iteration of the Assignment Design Wizard up and running on our website by late October.

3. Financials

  • Expenses for the month is $73,576 versus plan of $110,635, primarily due to later than anticipated signing and start-up of WINTR beginning work on the Assignment Design Wizard.
  • Year-to-date expenses is $363,294 versus plan of $462,861, primarily due to the continued delays in moving into our office space.
  • Cash position is $104,813 as of August 31, 2014. Graph of expenses for August 2014Graph of expenses, year to date through August 2014

4. Board

The board welcomes a new member, Lorraine Hariton. She brings more than 25 years of experience in the technology industry, including serving as the CEO of two companies, Beatnik and Apptera. Hariton received her B.S. in Mathematical Sciences from Stanford and her MBA from Harvard Business School. Her career includes thin-client computing, smart grid and street lighting controls, retail payment systems, Internet audio solutions, and speech applications. She spent five years as the Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs at the US Department of State. In this role, she led initiatives for the global business community, including the Ambassador’s Direct Line Program and the Global Entrepreneurship Program. She is currently Senior Advisor for Global Partnerships at the Transnational Strategy Group.

In other board news, Karen George was elected secretary, following last month’s resignation of former secretary Mike Christie.

5. Office of the ED

  • Current priorities:
    • Moving into new office space
    • Organizational development: expansion of programmatic and administrative capacity
    • Finalizing annual plan & budget
  • In August, we finalized the lease negotiations with the Presidio Trust, which manages the park in partnership with the National Park Service. As we were under a heavy workload this month and needed to coordinate things very closely, we worked half of the month out of a conference room at the Inn at the Presidio, which is only a few minutes up the street from our new office. Beginning in early September, Wiki Education Foundation will be located at 11 Funston Avenue, Suite A, at the heart of San Francisco’s Presidio. We started ordering furniture and office equipment for our new home. Everybody on staff is excited about working out of the Presidio, and some people already started exploring the surroundings (including the somewhat inevitable writing of encyclopedia articles about the fauna, flora, and history of the Presidio).
  • Also in August, Bill Gong started as our new Director of Finance and Administration. In his new role, he will help us build a stable infrastructure for operations and finance in a growing organization and ensure that our resources are being put to the most productive use. Bill comes to us with lots of experience and a career primarily focused on non-profit work, as he really enjoys working in organizations that fulfill mission-related work.
  • Quarterly reviews for Sage’s work in Digital Infrastructure and Jami’s efforts for the Classroom Program took place on August 22 and 29, respectively. Notes and slides from these reviews will be posted soon.

6. Media

News coverage:

Press releases:

by Sage Ross at September 17, 2014 06:26 PM

Erik Zachte

Isotype diagrams are now easier to build on Wikipedia

Did you ever study a table with many large numbers, where the moment you put it away you realized nothing from what you just saw had stuck? I guess most of us suffer from this handicap that large numbers are difficult to absorb or evaluate.

In the 1930′s Gerd Arntz created a coherent set of 4000 pictograms and together with Otto Neurath built from these ‘words’ a ‘language’ called Isotype.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could use a similar method to convert numbers into symbols on Wikipedia? Now we can:

I created a small Lua script (my first) called ‘Repeat_symbols’ to translate numbers into icons. Within 20 minutes the entire script had been replaced by a better version,. Thanks again, Jackmcbarn.




Using fast and slow traffic to symbolize land size was a compromise. I tried many symbols but most didn’t work at this small size. Suggestions welcome.

The following image is a tiny section from a huge table, that compares all European countries (and then some), in terms of population, land area, GDP. You can see at a glance that Russia is much larger in land area than my country: the Netherlands. Who would have thought :-)

What did surprise me was that Russia’s GDP is not even 3 times as much a that of the Netherlands. I told several people and they hardly believed. (click to zoom)

Also, instead of presenting the raw numbers I show all metrics as percentages of the EU total, which makes it much easier to evaluate and even remember some of them, especially when you see the full table with European countries (and a few more).



by Erik at September 17, 2014 06:04 PM

Wikimedia UK

Scholarly collaboration, with coffee

The image shows a mosaic-style painting by Anna Kavan depicting herself against a blue sky background

A self portrait by Anna Kavan

This post was written by Roberta Wedge, Gender Gap Project Officer

Not new: a group of scholars gathering to discuss their chosen subject use the opportunity to expand and update the relevant Wikipedia page.

New: a group of scholars gathering to discuss their chosen subject use the opportunity to make contact with Wikimedia UK. Together we set up an editathon to work on the relevant page, hosted in our central London office, and joined by virtual colleagues.

Last Thursday saw the Anna Kavan Symposium, a day of discussion about this twentieth century novelist, organised by the Institute of English Studies (part of the University of London) in association with Liverpool John Moores University Research Centre for Literature and Cultural History and Peter Owen Publishers.

Last Friday saw the Anna Kavan editathon, a morning of editing the Wikipedia page about her. This collaboration was the brainchild of Catherine Lenoble (User:Cathsign), a French writer whose first edit was a year ago at the Ada Lovelace Day event in Brussels. London is an expensive place to stay, so many of the symposium attendees left immediately afterwards, but remote participation in the editathon was made easier by an etherpad.

Wikimedia UK has that precious resource, meeting space in central London. Our office is near Silicon Roundabout, aka Old Street, on numerous bus routes, and at the junction of two cycle paths. We have coffee and wifi, and laptops to loan and expertise on tap. We extend an invitation to other experts coming to London (and we can even travel to you): give us notice, and let’s see if we can help you improve your subject area on Wikipedia.

by Stevie Benton at September 17, 2014 12:07 PM

Wiki Loves Monuments

One Million Images

One Million images uploaded so far to the world’s largest photo contest – Wiki Loves Monuments.

So far, 100100 images under a free license from thirty-seven countries were uploaded and cumulative of 1,000,000 since the the beginning of the contest, fourth years ago.

Wiki Loves Monuments 2014 is the world’s largest photo contest, aim to collect images under a free license for use on Wikipedia to document historic sites, monuments, and cultural heritage.

For the fourth time, Wikipedians from around the world participating this month in the world’s largest photo contest, Wiki Loves Monuments 2014, which will run till September 30. Thousands of volunteers in 37 countries are uploading photos of historic sites throughout the month, making hundreds of thousands of photos available under a free license on Wikipedia’s image database, Wikimedia Commons (http://commons.wikimedia.org).

In last year’s contest, over 11,000 photographers uploaded more than 365,000 photos. Over the last 4 years, more than 1,000,000 photos of historic sites had been uploaded, making the contest officially recognized as the world’s largest photography competition by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Volunteer Wikipedians organize the contest in each country, with the winning photos from national contests elevated to an international jury in November. The international jury will announce the top ten international photos and the overall best picture winner in December.

“With over one million free images of heritage sites across the world, Wiki Loves Monuments is one of the world’s most important projects dealing with history today”, says Deror Lin, the international coordinator of the competition. “Year after year, volunteers document hundreds of thousands of heritage sites across the world, upload the images to the Internet under a free license, for the benefit of the current generation and the next generations. These people display the splendor of creativity and culture in their countries”.

The photos will be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons under a free license, so they can be used by anybody, for any purpose, as long as the photographer is credited. Many of the photos will appear in Wikipedia, the world’s largest encyclopedia, and all will be available to download at no cost.

The Wiki loves Monuments App

The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that operates Wikipedia, has also developed a free Wiki Loves Monuments mobile application for Android smartphones, available in the Google App Store. With this app, Wikipedians will be able to upload photos to Wikimedia sites through their mobile devices. The app displays nearby historic sites automatically, allows users to upload directly through their Wikimedia accounts, and is available in many different languages. The app is available at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.wikipedia.wlm

More information

International contest: http://www.wikilovesmonuments.org

Media contacts for international contest:

Deror Lin, International coordinator: deror@wikimedia.org.il

Itzik Edri, Spokesperson, +972-54-5878078, itzik@wikimedia.org.il

About Wikipedia

Wikipedia and the related sites operated by the Wikimedia Foundation receive more than 400 million unique visitors per month, making them the 5th most popular web property worldwide. Available in more than 280 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 32 million articles contributed by hundreds of thousands of people around the world.


IMAGE BY: User:Daniel.zolopa Kraków, układ urbanistyczny d.m. Podgórza, XVIII CC-BY-SA

by Deror Lin at September 17, 2014 11:01 AM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata - Ted Belytschko, engineer

Mr Belytschko was an #engineer. He did a really good job; he was awarded with medals and other awards in his lifetime. Several of these awards have been added in Wikidata;
When you check out these awards, you will find that Mr Belytschko who is known to be awarded these medals is the only known recipient. It is quite obvious that in reality this is not the case. As more people are known to be recognised as engineer, more appreciation will exist for this really important occupation.

by Anonymous (noreply@blogger.com) at September 17, 2014 08:22 AM

Wikimedia Foundation

Global Metrics for Grants: one way of doing, reporting and learning better

We want to understand in a better way the work being done by Wikimedia communities all over the world.

“Wikimania2014 GrantmakingLearningDay 11″ by AWang (WMF), under CC-BY-SA-4.0

The Wikimedia movement is known for its diversity, on many levels: individuals, groups and organizations, in different contexts, are invested in achieving the same goal of free knowledge. As community members seeking and executing grants have worked with grant committee members and the WMF Grantmaking team, we have reached a point of shared understanding: we need to do better at learning from each other and doing more to demonstrate our impact.

Starting this month, the Grantmaking team is putting into effect a set of Global Metrics, that will help us all understand, appreciate and be accountable for some of the work being done by Wikimedia communities worldwide. In particular, we are seeking a shared aggregate understanding of how successful we are at expanding participation and improving content on our projects. These will have the form of a table template that will be included in the reporting form, starting on future grants, from Round 1 2014-2015.

These metrics are not meant to replace, but to complement, each grant and grantee’s individual metrics and measures of success, both qualitative and quantitative.

Why Global Metrics and how were they designed?

For the past two years, we have worked with community members to build a funding framework that supports a spectrum of needs, ideas and initiatives from across the movement, led by individuals to established organizations. This framework was also supported by a self-evaluation strategy, that allowed any community member to build their own metrics and report against their own goals.

A look back: the outcomes of the first batch of FDC grants

“Learning and Evaluation. FDC Impact 2012-14″ by Jessie Wild Sneller, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Over the past year, we have begun reviewing grant progress and impact reports[1], and amongst many insights, three stand out: people are still finding it difficult to measure their work in clear ways; the larger the grants, the less proportionate the impact seems to be (and one challenge may be reporting); and we are finding it difficult to assess the collective impact of the considerable work supported by these grants in any systematic fashion. In particular, as a movement, we are not yet skillful in offering both the stories and the numbers, that describe how our offline work positively impacts our online successes.

After two years of observing the goals and measures of various grants projects, a few core metrics came out as indicators that are commonly used by community members in different contexts. These measures, however, were not calculated consistently across projects. As a result, it was difficult to convey outwards what we are accomplishing as a movement. Global Metrics, in this sense, provide a shared set of indicators that can be used across projects, to report on results. In addition, we did our best to design metrics that can, currently, be assessed with the support of tools built and used across the movement.

After research and consultation with some grantees and grants committee members, the new Global Metrics focus on participation, content and learning processes:

  • Number of active editors involved.
  • Number of new registered users.
  • Number of individuals involved.
  • Number of new images added to Wikimedia articles/pages.
  • Number of articles added or improved on Wikimedia projects.
  • Number of bytes added to or deleted from Wikimedia projects.
  • Learning question: Did your work increase the motivation of contributors and how do you know?

The main challenge these Global Metrics are trying to overcome is the limited ability observed in Wikimedia projects and programs to sum up inputs, outputs and outcomes in self-evaluation and thereby to give us all a more cogent sense of the collective impact of our work. We hope that more cohesive reporting will help us celebrate our successes as a global movement, but also point out where we are not making an appreciable difference. We recognize, however, that numbers are not enough.

Numbers do not tell the full story

We are therefore counting on community members to offer both numbers and stories, since numbers only make sense within context. Secondly and critically, global metrics are not the only measures of success we will learn from: each grantee will continue to define and assess themselves against measures of success that are critical to them. We don’t expect that grant reports should or will focus only on these seven measures. In fact, some key insights that would significantly improve the effectiveness of our work may not be easily measurable, but we know and understand their impact: for instance, volunteer motivation.

Presentation from 29 July 2014 on the 2013-14 impact reports of PEG grantees. Covers the outcomes of 36 grants that submitted reports during 2013-14, with key learnings.

“PEG Impact learning series – 2014 July” by Jwild (WMF), under CC-BY-SA-4.0

The Global Metrics are also limited in what they can currently measure. As they stand, they do not directly measure quality, retention, or readership. In addition, they may not offer the right metrics for all types of grants. For instance, an individual engagement grant for research on our wiki projects may not directly produce content or recruit new editors. In this case, the grantee might only be able to report the number of individuals and/or active editors involved.

As we implement these metrics, keeping in mind the potential and the limitations of Global Metrics will help us learn from what is useful and what we may continue to need to improve upon.

Room to grow, work and be successful together

As we pilot this new set of metrics in the movement, the Grantmaking team will be available to provide consultation and support to grantees. We also encourage everyone involved in reporting to reach out to us to learn more what each metric means and how to measure them. We have prepared a set of learning patterns, available on the Evaluation portal on Meta, that go through each of the Global Metrics and explain how to gather data for those. We will work with community members during the next few months to further develop these information resources and to create new ones. Please check Grants:Evaluation/News and follow @WikiEval on Twitter for updates. We also encourage all community members to comment, share concerns and ask any questions related to global metrics. Do join the conversation on the talk page and reach out to the team at eval [at] wikimedia [dot] org: come talk to us, let’s do better together!

Anasuya Sengupta, Senior Director of Grantmaking, Wikimedia Foundation

María Cruz, Community Coordinator of Program Evaluation & Design, Wikimedia Foundation

by carlosmonterrey at September 17, 2014 12:14 AM

September 16, 2014

Wiki Education Foundation

A tool for designing great assignments, coming soon

Today, we kicked off development on Wiki Ed’s first major technology project: the Assignment Design Wizard. This tool, which will be part of wikiedu.org, will provide a way for instructors to design and customize their own Wikipedia classroom assignments, while learning about the best practices we’ve identified over the years. Our goal for the wizard is to give instructors the flexibility they need to adapt our sample syllabus and other assignments to their specific timelines, subject matter, and learning objectives — without dealing with wiki markup or rigid boilerplate text.

This project generated a lot of excitement from developers, as did our broader vision of bringing together the worlds of academia and Wikipedia. As Wiki Ed’s Product Manager, Digital Services, I was very happy with the strong set of proposals from development companies small and large. But ultimately, one stood out: WINTR. With a history of developing beautiful interactive web experiences for major brands, a strong desire to do work that matters, and a development philosophy that puts user experience at the center, WINTR has everything we were hoping to find in a technical partner. WINTR is based in Seattle, Washington, giving me the opportunity to collaborate with them in person during the Assignment Design Wizard project.

If you’re interested in helping to test out this course design tool as it develops, get in touch!

by Sage Ross at September 16, 2014 10:57 PM

Wikimedia UK

Padmini Ray Murray steps down from Wikimedia UK Board

Photo shows Padmini standing in the Wikimedia UK office with a poster behind her

Padmini Ray Murray in the Wikimedia UK office

Wikimedia UK  announces that Padmini Ray Murray is to step down from the charity’s Board of Trustees. She will be taking a new position teaching digital humanities at Shristi School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore.

Padmini joined the board of Wikimedia UK in November 2013 and brought with her an excellent skill set and great enthusiasm and expertise. Her final day as a trustee will be Thursday 18 September. Padmini remains a member of the 2014 EduWiki Conference working group, contributing ideas on themes for this year’s edition of this annual event and actively seeking to bring an appropriate keynote speaker to open the proceedings. Along with Dr Greg Singh, a colleague at the University of Stirling, she is also in the process of ensuring that a number of students from that university are able to attend the conference.

Michael Maggs, Chair of Wikimedia UK, said: “On behalf of the Board I would like to thank Padmini for all of her efforts and support during her time as a trustee of the charity. We all wish her the very best for the future.”

Work is ongoing to appoint a replacement for Padmini which the Board is confident will be completed soon.

by Stevie Benton at September 16, 2014 03:43 PM

September 15, 2014

Wiki Loves Monuments

Update – Two weeks into the competition

It has been two weeks since the launch of the Wiki Loves Monuments 2014 photography competition and it’s time for a short update on where we are right now. So far, more than 90,000 photographs have been uploaded, by more than 3,100 participants in 36 countries.

Many photos have been submitted by users from long-time participating countries in Europe; with the most uploads coming from Poland, followed closely by Germany and France. Frequent contributor Tilman2007 has already uploaded more than 7,700 photos to WLM Germany. That’s more uploads than what most countries have submitted!

On the other hand, in Pakistan, which is taking part in WLM for the first time, more than 350 people took up the challenge and proudly submitted more than 4,000 photographs of Pakistani Cultural Heritage sites. Pakistan has surpassed expectations with the highest number of participating photographers, and is by a leap the current leader, followed at some distance by Germany, France, and Italy.

Want to see more statistics? Take a look at the statistics page.

Written by Saqib

Photo by Muhammad Ashar, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA 3.0.

by Deror Lin at September 15, 2014 05:05 PM

Sumana Harihareswara

The next Tor, role models, and criticism: the future I want

Donate now I'm writing these words while I ride the New York City subway. I love the subway because my fellow riders look like the world. I'm rarely the only woman and I'm never the only nonwhite person in the car. We're young and old, all genders, all nationalities, temporarily able and not (although our stations fail at accessibility a lot), and speaking dozens of languages.

We'll know we've won when open source looks like this.

It doesn't yet. But we need it to. It is because I know how much potential technology has to shape our world that I know it is essential that the people who shape that technology represent that world, represent the best that world has to offer. What will it look like when open source reflects diversity of talent?

New tools we make -- the next git, the next WordPress, the next Tor -- will make inclusive assumptions from the start. They'll allow users to change their names and identify outside the gender binary. They'll help users block harassers from contacting them. Their FAQs will use nongendered examples.

When a junior programmer looks around for a way to make her mark, she'll see people who look like her doing lots of cool stuff in open source -- starting projects, leading them, arguing over architectural decisions, joking about absurdly bad ideas, showing off their accomplishments at conferences, teaching and learning, and generally having a good time. She'll dip her toe into online discussions, and the hackers already in the group will use her preferred pronoun, correctly, or ignore her gender if it isn't relevant to the discussion. She will see so easily how this community could include her that she will only notice in retrospect the moment she fell in.

As a gag, people who have been doing open stuff for decades will send their less senior friends links to the Timeline of Incidents, anticipating their "they did WHAT?!" replies. A new generation of activists will look back at the Ada Initiative and keenly observe what we missed, what we got wrong, where we were too complicit in the intersecting oppressions endemic to our society, too much of our time.

I want this future so much. I may not ever get to see it. But I can see us getting closer. I'm on the board of directors of the Ada Initiative, and I've been an advisor since 2011. In that time I've seen the Ada Initiative's unique work changing the conversation, building the infrastructure of inclusion, and moving us closer to -- well, to a world that doesn't need us any more.

Please help: donate now.

September 15, 2014 12:57 PM

Tech News

Tech News issue #38, 2014 (September 15, 2014)

TriangleArrow-Left.svgprevious 2014, week 38 (Monday 15 September 2014) nextTriangleArrow-Right.svg
Остали језици:
বাংলা • ‎čeština • ‎English • ‎español • ‎suomi • ‎français • ‎עברית • ‎ꆇꉙ • ‎日本語 • ‎português • ‎русский • ‎українська • ‎中文

September 15, 2014 12:00 AM

September 14, 2014

Mark A. Hershberger

2014 Summer of Code

Google Summer of Code has ended and, with it, my first chance to mentor a student with Markus Glaser in the process of implementing a new service for MediaWiki users.

At the beginning of the summer, Markus and I worked with Quim Gil to outline the project and find a student to work on it.

<script async="async" charset="utf-8" src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script>

Aditya Chaturvedi, a student from the Indian Institute of Technology (“India’s MIT”) saw the project, applied for our mentorship, and, soon after, we began working with him.

We all worked to outline a goal of creating a rating system on WikiApiary with the intention of using a bot to copy the ratings over to MediaWiki.org.

I’m very happy to say that Adiyta’s work can now be seen on WikiApiary. We don’t have the ratings showing up on MediaWiki yet (more on that in a bit) but since that wasn’t a part of the deliverables listed as a success factor for this project, this GSOC project is a success.

As a result of his hard work, the ball is now in our court — Markus and I have to evangelize his ratings and, hopefully, get them displayed on MediaWiki.org.

Unlike some other projects, this project’s intent is to help provide feedback for MediaWiki extensions instead of create a change in how MediaWiki itself behaves. To do this, Aditya and I worked with Jamie Thinglestaad to create a way for users to rate the extensions that they used.

We worked with Jamie for a few reasons. First, Jamie has already created an infrastructure on WikiApiary for surveying MediaWiki sites. He is actively maintaining it and improving the site. Pairing user ratings with current his current usage statistics makes a lot of sense.

Another reason we worked with Jamie instead of trying to deploy any code on a Wikimedia site is that the process of deploying code on WikiApiary only requires Jamie’s approval.

The wisdom of this decision really became apparent at the end when Adiyta requested help getting his ratings to show up using the MediaWiki Extension template.

Thank you, Aditya. It was a pleasure working with you. Your hard work this summer will help to invigorate the ecosystem for MediaWiki extensions.  Good luck on your future endevors.  I hope we can work together again on MediaWiki.

by hexmode at September 14, 2014 02:13 PM

September 13, 2014

Wikimedia Foundation

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, August 2014

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Wikimedia Research Newsletter Logo.png

Vol: 4 • Issue: 8 • August 2014 [contribute] [archives] Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed

A Wikipedia-based Pantheon; new Wikipedia analysis tool suite; how AfC hamstrings newbies

With contributions by: Federico Leva, Piotr Konieczny, Maximilian Klein, and Pine

Wikipedia in all languages used to rank global historical figures of all time

A research group at MIT led by Cesar A. Hidalgo published[1] a global “Pantheon” (probably the same project already mentioned in our December 2012 issue), where Wikipedia biographies are used to identify and “score” thousands of global historical figures of all time, together with a previous compilation of persons having written sources about them. The work was also covered in several news outlets. We won’t summarise here all the details, strengths and limits of their method, which can already be found in the well-written document above.

Many if not most of the headaches encountered by the research group lie in the work needed to aggregate said scores by geographical areas. It’s easy to get the city of birth of a person from Wikipedia, but it’s hard to tell to what ancient or modern country that city corresponds, for any definition of “country”. (Compare our recent review of a related project by a different group of researchers that encountered the same difficulties: “Interactions of cultures and top people of Wikipedia from ranking of 24 language editions”.) The MIT research group has to manually curate a local database; in an ideal world, they’d just fetch from Wikidata via an API. Aggregation by geographical area, for this and other reasons, seems of lesser interest than the place-agnostic person rank.

The most interesting point is that a person is considered historically relevant when being the subject of an article on 25 or more editions of Wikipedia. This method of assessing an article’s importance is often used by editors, but only as an unscientific approximation. It’s a useful finding that it proved valuable for research as well, though with acknowledged issues. The study is also one of the rare times researchers bother to investigate Wikipedia in all languages at the same time and we hope there will be follow-ups. For instance, it could be interesting to know which people with an otherwise high “score” were not included due to the 25+ languages filter, which could then be further tweaked based on the findings. As an example of possible distortions, Wikipedia has a dozen subdomains for local languages of Italy, but having an article in 10 italic languages is not an achievement of “global” coverage more than having 1.

The group then proceeded to calculate a “historical cultural production index” for those persons, based on pageviews of the respective biographies (PV). This reviewer would rather call it a “historical figures modern popularity index”. While the recentism bias of the Internet (which Wikipedia acknowledges and tries to fight back) for selection is acknowledged, most of the recentism in this work is in ranking, because of the usage of pageviews. As WikiStats shows, 20% of requests come from a country (the US) with only 5% of the world population, or some 0.3% of the total population in history (assumed as ~108 billion). Therefore there is an error/bias of probably two orders of magnitude in the “score” for “USA” figures; perhaps three, if we add that five years of pageviews are used as sample for the whole current generation. L* is an interesting attempt to correct the “languages count” for a person (L) in the cases where visits are amassed in single languages/countries; but a similar correction would be needed for PV as well.

From the perspective of Wikipedia editors, it’s a pity that Wikipedia is the main source for such a rank, because this means that Wikipedians can’t use it to fill gaps: the distribution of topic coverage across languages is complex and far from perfect; while content translation tools will hopefully help make it more even, prioritisation is needed. It would be wonderful to have a rank of notably missing biographies per language editions of Wikipedia, especially for under-represented groups, which could then be forwarded to the local editors and featured prominently to attract contributions. This is a problem often worked on, from ancient times to recent tools, but we really lack something based on third party sources. We have good tools to identify languages where a given article is missing, but we first need a list (of lists) of persons with any identifier, be it authority record or Wikidata entry or English name or anything else that we can then map ourselves.

The customary complaint about inconsistent inclusion criteria can also be found: «being a player in a second division team in Chile is more likely to pass the notoriety criteria required by Wikipedia Editors than being a faculty at MIT», observe the MIT researchers. However, the fact that nobody has bothered to write an article on a subject doesn’t mean that the project as a whole is not interested in having that article; articles about sports people are just easier to write, the project needs and wants more volunteers for everything. Hidalgo replied that he had some examples of deletions in mind; we have not reviewed them, but it’s also possible that the articles were deleted for their state rather than for the subject itself, a difference to which “victims” of deletion often fail to pay attention to.

WikiBrain: Democratizing computation on Wikipedia

– by Maximilianklein

When analyzing any Wikipedia version, getting the underlying data can be a hard engineering task, beyond the difficulty of the research itself. Being developed by researchers from Macalester College and the University of Minnesota, WikiBrain aims to “run a single program that downloads, parses, and saves Wikipedia data on commodity hardware.” [2] Wikipedia dump-downloaders and parsers have long existed, but WikiBrain is more ambitious in that it tries to be even friendlier by introducing three main primitives: a multilingual concept network, semantic relatedness algorithms, and geospatial data integration. With those elements, the authors are hoping that Wikipedia research will become a mix-and-match affair.

Waldo Tobler’s First Law of Geography – “everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things” – can be shown true for Wikipedia articles in just a few lines of code with WikiBrain.

The first primitive is the multilingual concept network. Since the release of Wikidata, the Universal Concepts that all language versions of Wikipedia represent have mostly come to be defined by the Wikidata item that each language mostly links to. “Mostly” is a key word here, because there are still some edge cases, like the English Wikipedia’s distinguishing between the concepts of “high school” and “secondary school“, while others do not. WikiBrain will give you the Wikidata graph of multilingual concepts by default, and the power to tweak this as you wish.

The next primitive is semantic relatedness (SR), which is the process of quantifying how close two articles are by their meaning. There have been literally hundreds of SR algorithms proposed over the last two decades. Some rely on Wikipedia’s links and categories directly. Others require a text corpus, for which Wikipedia can be used. Most modern SR algorithms can be built one way or another with Wikipedia. WikiBrain supplies the ability to use five state-of-the-art SR algorithms, or their ensemble method – a combination of all 5.

Already at this point an example was given of how to mix our primitives. In just a few lines of code, one could easily find which articles in all languages were closest to the English article on “jazz”, and which were also a tagged as a film in Wikidata.

The last primitive is a suite of tools that are useful for spatial computation. So extracting location data out of Wikipedia and Wikidata can become a standardized process. Incorporated are some classic solutions to the “geoweb scale problem” – that regardless of an entity’s footprint in space, it is represented by a point. That is a problem one shouldn’t have to think about, and indeed, WikiBrain will solve it for you under the covers.

To demonstrate the power of WikiBrain the authors then provide a case study wherein they replicate previous research that took “thousands of lines of code”, and do it in “just a few” using WikiBrain’s high-level syntax. The case study is cherry-picked as is it previous research of one of the listed authors on the paper – of course it’s easy to reconstruct one’s own previous research in a framework you custom-built. The case study is a empirical testing of Tobler’s first law of geography using Wikipedia articles. Essentially one compares the SR of articles versus their geographic closeness – and it’s verified they are positively linked.

Does the world need an easier, simpler, more off-the-shelf Wikipedia research tool? Yes, of course. Is WikiBrain it? Maybe or maybe not, depending on who you are. The software described in the paper is still version 0.3. There are notes explaining the upcoming features of edit history parsing, article quality ranking, and user data parsing. The project and its examples are written in Java, which is a language choice that targets a specific demographic of researchers, and alienates others. That makes WikiBrain a good tool for Java programmers who do not know how to parse off-line dumps, and have an interest in either multilingual concept alignment, semantic relatedness, and spatial relatedness. For everyone else, they will have to make do with one of the other 20+ alternative parsers and write their own glueing code. That’s OK though; frankly the idea to make one research tool to “rule them all” is too audacious and commandeering for the open-source ecosystem. Still that doesn’t mean that WikiBrain can’t find its userbase and supporters.

Newcomer productivity and pre-publication review

It’s time for another interesting paper on newcomer retention[3] from authors with a proven track record of tackling this issue. This time they focus on the Articles for Creation|Wikipedia:Articles for Creation|Articles for Creation mechanism. The authors conclude that instead of improving the success of newcomers, AfC in fact further decreases their productivity. The authors note that once AfC was fully rolled out around mid-2011, it began to be widely used – the percentage of newcomers using it went up from <5% to ~25%. At the same time, the percentage of newbie articles surviving on Wikipedia went down from ~25% to ~15%. The authors hypothesize that the AfC process is unfriendly to newcomers due to the following issues: 1) it’s too slow, and 2) it hides drafts from potential collaborators.

The authors find that the AfC review process is not subject to insurmountable delays; they conclude that “most drafts will be submitted for review quickly and that reviews will happen in a timely manner.”. In fact, two-thirds of reviews take place within a day of submission (a figure that positively surprised this reviewer, though a current AfC status report suggests a situation has worsened since: “Severe backlog: 2599 pending submissions”). In either case, the authors find that about a third or so of newcomers using the AfC system fail to understand the fact that they need to finalize the process by submitting their drafts to the review at all – a likely indication that the AfC instructions need revising, and that the AfC regulars may want to implement a system of identifying stalled drafts, which in some cases may be ready for mainspace despite having never been officially “submitted” (due to their newbie creator not knowing about this step or carrying it out properly).

However, the authors do stand by their second hypothesis: they conclude that the AfC articles suffer from not receiving collaborative help that they would get if they were mainspaced. They discuss a specific AfC, for the article Dwight K. Shellman, Jr/Dwight Shellman. This article has been tagged as potentially rescuable, and has been languishing in that state for years, hidden in the AfC namespace, together with many other similarly backlogged articles, all stuck in low-visibility limbo and prevented from receiving proper Wikipedia-style collaboration-driven improvements (or deletion discussions) as an article in the mainspace would receive.

The researchers identify a number of other factors that reduce the functionality of the AfC process. As in many other aspects of Wikipedia, negative feedback dominates. Reviewers are rarely thanked for anything, but are more likely to be criticized for passing an article deemed problematic by another editor; thus leading to the mentality that “rejecting articles is safest” (as newbies are less likely to complain about their article’s rejection than experienced editors about passing one). AfC also suffers from the same “one reviewer” problem as GA – the reviewer may not always be qualified to carry out the review, yet the newbies have little knowledge how to ask for a second opinion. The authors specifically discuss a case of reviewers not familiar with the specific notability criteria: “[despite being notable] an article about an Emmy-award winning TV show from the 1980’s was twice declined at AfC, before finally being published 15 months after the draft was started”. Presumably if this article was not submitted to a review it would never be deleted from the mainspace.

The authors are critical of the interface of the AfC process, concluding that it is too unfriendly to newbies, instruction wise: “Newcomers do not understand the review process, including how to submit articles for review and the expected timeframe for reviews” and “Newcomers cannot always find the articles they created. They may recreate drafts, so that the same content is created and reviewed multiple times. This is worsened by having multiple article creation spaces(Main, userspace, Wikipedia talk, and the recently-created Draft namespace“.

The researchers conclude that AfC works well as a filtering process for the encyclopedia, however “for helping and training newcomers [it] seems inadequate”. AfC succeeds in protecting content under the (recently established) speedy deletion criterion G13, in theory allowing newbies to keep fixing it – but many do not take this opportunity. Nor can the community deal with this, and thus the authors call for a creation of “a mechanism for editors to find interesting drafts”. That said, this reviewer wants to point out that the G13 backlog, while quite interesting (thousands of articles almost ready for main space …), is not the only backlog Wikipedia has to deal with – something the writers overlook. The G13 backlog is likely partially a result of imperfect AfC design that could be improved, but all such backlogs are also an artifact of the lack of active editors affecting Wikipedia projects on many levels.

In either case, AfC regulars should carefully examine the authors suggestions. This reviewer finds the following ideas in particular worth pursuing. 1) Determine which drafts need collaboration and make them more visible to potential editors. Here the authors suggest use of a recent academic model that should help automatically identify valuable articles, and then feeding those articles to SuggestBot. 2) Support newcomers’ first contributions – almost a dead horse at this point, but we know we are not doing enough to be friendly to newcomers. In particular, the authors note that we need to create better mechanisms for newcomers to get help on their draft, and to improve the article creation advice – especially the Article Wizard. (As a teacher who has introduced hundreds of newcomers to Wikipedia, this reviewer can attest that the current outreach to newbies on those levels is grossly inadequate.)

A final comment to the community in general: was AfC intended to help newcomers, or was it intended from the start to reduce the strain on new page patrollers by sandboxing the drafts in the first place? One of the roles of AfC is to prevent problematic articles from appearing in the mainspace, and it does seem that in this role it is succeeding quite well. English Wikipedia community has rejected the flagged revisions-like tool, but allowed implementation of it on a voluntary basis for newcomers, who in turn may not often realize that by choosing the AfC process, friendly on the surface, they are in fact slow-tracking themselves, and inviting extraordinary scrutiny. This leads to a larger question that is worth considering: we, the Wikipedia community of active editors, have declined to have our edits classified as second-tier and hidden from the public until they are reviewed, but we are fine pushing this on to the newbies. To what degree is this contributing to the general trend of Wikipedia being less and less friendly to newcomers? Is the resulting quality control worth turning away potential newbies? Would we be here if years ago our first experience with Wikipedia was through AfC?


PLOS Biology is an open-access peer-reviewed scientific journal covering all aspects of biology. Publication began on October 13, 2003.
(“PLoS Biology cover April 2009″ by PLoS, under CC-BY-2.5)

15% of PLOS Biology articles are cited on Wikipedia

A conference paper titled “An analysis of Wikipedia references across PLOS publications”[4] asked the following research questions: “1) To what extent are scholarly articles referenced in Wikipedia, and what content is particularly likely to be mentioned?” and “2) How do these Wikipedia references correlate with other article-level metrics such as downloads, social media mentions, and citations?”. To answer this, the authors analyzed which PLOS articles are referenced on Wikipedia. They found that as of March 2014, about 4% of PLOS articles were mentioned on Wikipedia, which they conclude is “similar to mentions in science blogs or the post-publication peer review service, F1000Prime“. About half of articles mentioned on Wikipedia are also mentioned on Facebook, suggesting that being cited on Wikipedia is related to being picked up by other social media. Most of Wikipedia cites come from PLOS Genetics, PLOS Biology and other biology/medicine related PLOS outlets, with PLOS One accounting for only 3% total, though there are indications this is changing over time. 15% of all articles from PLOS Biology have been cited on Wikipedia, the highest ratio among the studied journals. Unfortunately, this is very much a descriptive paper, and the authors stop short of trying to explain or predict anything. The authors also observe that “By far the most referenced PLOS article is a study on the evolution of deep-sea gastropods (Welch, 2010) with 1249 references, including 541 in the Vietnamese Wikipedia.”

“Big data and small: collaborations between ethnographers and data scientists”

Ethnography is often seen as the least quantitative branch of social science, and this[5] essay-like article’s style is a good illustration. This is, essentially, a self-reflective story of a Wikipedia research project. The author, an ethnographer, recounts her collaboration with two big data scholars in a project dealing with a large Wikipedia dataset. The results of their collaboration are presented here and have been briefly covered by our Newsletter in Issue 8/13. This article can be seen as an interesting companion to the prior, Wikipedia-focused piece, explaining how it was created, though it fails to answer questions of interest to the community, such as “why did the authors choose Wikipedia as their research ground” or about their experiences (if any) editing Wikipedia.

“Emotions under discussion: gender, status and communication in online collaboration”

Researchers investigated[6] “how emotion and dialogue differ depending on the status, gender, and the communication network of the ~12,000 editors who have written at least 100 comments on the English Wikipedia’s article talk pages.” Researchers found that male administrators tend to use an impersonal and neutral tone. Non-administrator females used more relational forms of communication. Researchers also found that “editors tend to interact with other editors having similar emotional styles (e.g., editors expressing more anger connect more with one another).” Authors of this paper will present their research at the September Wikimedia Research and Data showcase.


  1. http://pantheon.media.mit.edu/methods
  2. Sen, Shilad. “WikiBrain: Democratizing computation on Wikipedia“. OpenSym ’14 0 (0): 1–19. doi:10.1145/2641580.2641615.  Open access
  3. Jodi Schneider, Bluma S. Gelley Aaron Halfaker: Accept, decline, postpone: How newcomer productivity is reduced in English Wikipedia by pre-publication review http://jodischneider.com/pubs/opensym2014.pdf OpenSym ’14 , August 27–29, 2014, Berlin
  4. Fenner, Martin; Jennifer Lin (June 6, 2014), “An analysis of Wikipedia references across PLOS publications”, altmetrics14 workshop at WebSci, doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.1048991 
  5. Ford, Heather (1 July 2014). “Big data and small: collaborations between ethnographers and data scientists“. Big Data & Society 1 (2): 2053951714544337. doi:10.1177/2053951714544337. ISSN 2053-9517. 
  6. Laniado, David; Carlos Castillo; Mayo Fuster Morell; Andreas Kaltenbrunner (2014-08-20). “Emotions under Discussion: Gender, Status and Communication in Online Collaboration”. PLoS ONE 9 (8): e104880. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0104880. 

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Vol: 4 • Issue: 8 • August 2014
This newletter is brought to you by the Wikimedia Research Committee and The Signpost
Subscribe: Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed Email @WikiResearch on Identi.ca WikiResearch on Twitter[archives] [signpost edition] [contribute] [research index]

by wikimediablog at September 13, 2014 11:50 PM

Emmanuel Engelhart, Inventor of Kiwix: the Offline Wikipedia Browser

This user profile is part of a series about Offline Wikipedia.

Emmanuel Engelhart’s “offline Wikipedia”, Kiwix, is entirely open source.

“Emmanuel Engelhart-49″ by VGrigas (WMF), under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Kiwix running a copy of Wikipedia in German on an OLPC laptop operated by Engelhart in 2012.

“Berlin Hackathon 2012-48″ by Victorgrigas, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Wikipedia’s goal is to be the sum of human knowledge, available to anyone at any time, but when billions of people have no internet access at all, how can that goal be realized? The answer according to software developer Emmanuel Engelhart (User:Kelson) is quite simple – take Wikipedia offline.

Together with Renaud Gaudin, he invented Kiwix, an open source software which allows users to download a copy of Wikipedia in its entirety for offline reading.

Kiwix uses all of Wikipedia’s content through the Parsoid wiki parser to package articles into an open source .zim file that can be read by the special Kiwix browser. Since Kiwix was released in 2007, dozens of languages of Wikipedia have been made available as .zim files, as has other free content, such as Wikisource, Wiktionary and Wikivoyage.

After becoming a Wikipedia editor in 2004, Engelhart became interested in discussions of offline versions of Wikipedia. At the time, Engelhart was in his mid-20s and living in his small village near the town of Vendôme, a few hundred kilometers south of Paris. Learning that a 2003 proposal by Jimmy Wales to create a CD version of Wikipedia, Version 1.0, never made its initial timescale, inspired Engelhart to take action.

He argues that access to information is a basic right that the whole world should be entitled to. “Water is a common good. You understand why you have to care about water. Wikipedia is the same; it’s a common good. We have to care about Wikipedia.”

“Tools are not neutral. They have a big impact on our society and software is [becoming] always more central.” Engelhart says. “We live in an industrial and technical world…so how we make software, what are the rules around software, is really important.”

Engelhart elaborated his reasons for creating the software in an email: “The contents of Wikipedia should be available for everyone! Even without Internet access. This is why I have launched the Kiwix project. Our users are all over the world: sailors on the oceans, poor students thirsty for knowledge, globetrotters almost living in planes, world’s citizens suffering from censorship or free minded prisoners. For all these people, Kiwix provides a simple and practical solution to ponder about the world.”

Profile by Joe Sutherland, Wikimedia Foundation Communications volunteer

Interview by Victor Grigas, Wikimedia Foundation Storyteller

Do you have a story about your use of Offline Wikipedia that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it! Email: vgrigas(at)wikimedia.org


by carlosmonterrey at September 13, 2014 03:29 AM

September 12, 2014

Sumana Harihareswara

I'm Leaving My Job At The Wikimedia Foundation

(Music for this entry: "You Can't Be Too Careful" by Moxy Früvous; "Level Up" by Vienna Teng; "Do It Anyway" by Ben Folds Five; "Teenagers, Kick Our Butts" by Dar Williams.)

I've regretfully decided to leave the Wikimedia Foundation, and my last day will be September 30th.

I've worked at WMF since February 2011, so I've seen the Foundation grow from 70 to 214 people. It's the best job I've ever had and I've grown a lot. And my team and my bosses are tremendously supportive. In April I summarized my work achievements from the past four years and I remain proud of them. Most recently, I'm proud of co-mentoring Frances Hocutt, who's about to turn her energies to Growstuff API development (with help from your donations).

But I want to redefine myself and grow in new directions, as a maker and activist. Wikimedia has 13 years of legacy code and thousands of vocal stakeholders, and WMF has one office, in San Francisco. I'm a junior-level developer (I'm a much better software engineer than I am a coder) but don't want to move to San Francisco, where we (understandably) prefer to have junior devs onsite. And I'd like to try out what it's like to get better at making software, to have more of a blank slate and perhaps less of a public spotlight, to work face-to-face with a team here in New York City, and to exclude destructive communication from my life (yes, there's some amount of burnout on toxic people and entitlement). One of the things I admire about Wikimedia's best institutions is our willingness to reflect and reinvent when things are not working. I need to emulate that.

I remain on the board of directors of the Ada Initiative, which aims to close the gender gap in Wikimedia and other open culture/source projects. (Please donate.) And I don't see any way I could stop being a Wikimedian and pursuing the mission. You'll see me as User:Sumanah out on the wikis.

After I wrap things up at Wikimedia Foundation, I'll be privileged to spend six weeks at Hacker School, concentrating on learning how to crank out websites and fiddling with web security, and then in late November I'll be meeting other South Asian geek feminist women at AdaCamp Bangalore. Aside from that I'm open to new opportunities, especially in empowering marginalized groups via open technology.

"Level Up" by Vienna Teng. ("If you are afraid, come out.") And heck, why not, a Kira Nerys fanvid I love, set to "Shake It Out" by Florence + The Machine. ("So tonight I'm gonna cut out and then restart.")

<iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/U4n_8R5lKnw" width="560"></iframe>

<iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/8QjSsP5H2Vo" width="420"></iframe>

September 12, 2014 03:54 PM

This month in GLAM

This Month in GLAM: August 2014

by Admin at September 12, 2014 01:19 PM

Tony Thomas

Creating Self Hosted puppetmaster in Wikitech labs

While trying to test an exim-puppet patch ( gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/#/c/155753/ ) which adds a new router in one of my labs instance, I came across the need to create a self hosted puppetmaster. For starters ( like I was few days before ), puppet is a provisioning language, as they call it and applies pre-written configuration […]

by Tony Thomas at September 12, 2014 01:15 PM

Wikimedia UK

Wikimedian in Residence at the Royal Society of Chemistry

Photo shows an elevated view of a large library with many people sitting at computers editing Wikipedia

Trainees hard at work at a previous RSC editathon, in Burlington House’s library, at which Andy volunteered as a trainer.

This post was written by Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing) and originally published on his blog here

I’m pleased to announce that I have accepted the position of Wikimedian in Residence with the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), a learned society and professional body whose roots go back to 1841 (see RSC on Wikipedia).

Over the next year, starting 22 September, I will be helping my new RSC colleagues, and the Society’s members, to understand Wikipedia and its sister projects, and to contribute to making knowledge of chemistry, and related subjects, more freely available. The job is titled “WikiMedian”, because as well as WikiPedia, it covers those other projects, which are run by the Wikimedia community.

This follows on from my previous Wikipedia residences with Wildscreen (on their ARKive project), with Staffordshire Archives and Heritage Service, at the New Art Gallery Walsall, and with Lancashire County Council’s Museum Service (at their Queen Street Mill), plus shorter projects with a number of other institutions (including West Midlands Police, The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Black Country Museum, and more). I’ll continue to be Wikipedian in Residence at ORCID. The RSC have already integrated ORCID into their publishing workflow and the two organisations obviously share interests in research and academic publishing.

I’ll be working part time, partly from home, and at the RSC’s Cambridge base one day per week, plus travelling around the UK to various events. I’ll also enjoy spending some days at their palatial London HQ, at Burlington House. My work days will vary to suit the requirements of the post, and my other commitments.

The rest of the time, I’ll still be available, as a freelancer, for other work, not least relating to Wikipedia, and facilitating open space events (for example, I’m MCing GalleryCamp on 23 September). Do drop me a line if you think I can help you with that, or if you have an interest in my RSC work, or if you want to meet socially, after work, in Cambridge.

by Stevie Benton at September 12, 2014 10:26 AM

Wikimedia Foundation

New images released are quickly put to use

The image is a pictorial illustration depicting possible scar lines after surgery for oesophageal cancer

Diagram of possible scar lines after surgery for oesophageal cancer, from Cancer Research UK and now on Commons.
(Image by Cancer Research UK, under CC-BY-SA-4.0 )

This post was written by John Byrne, Wikimedian in Residence at the Royal Society and Cancer Research UK and was first published on the Wikimedia UK blog

I’ve had two recent uploads of images released by organizations where I am Wikimedian in Residence. Neither of them are huge in quantity compared to some uploads, but I’m really pleased that an unusually large percentage of them are already used in articles. Many thanks to all the editors who put them in articles, especially Keilana for CRUK and Duncan.Hull for the Royal Society images.

The first release was by Cancer Research UK (CRUK), of 390 cancer-related diagrams, including many covering anatomy and cell biology. Many medical editors had said they were keen to have these available, and they have been quickly added to many articles, with 190 already being used, some twice, and mostly on high-traffic medical articles like breast cancer, lung cancer and cervical cancer.

Wikipedia cancer articles tend to be mostly illustrated with alarming shots of tumours, or purple-stained pathology slides which convey little to non-professional readers. The new images are from the patient information pages on CRUK’s website and explain in simple terms basic aspects of the main cancers – where they arise, how they grow and spread. Some show surgical procedures that are hard to convey in prose.

The photo is a portrait of Professor Martin Hairer FRS

Professor Martin Hairer FRS, already used in 18 different language versions of Wikipedia
(“Professor Martin Hairer FRS” by Royal Society uploader, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 )

Many files have generous labelling inside the image. All the files are in svg format, allowing for easy translation of these labels into other languages, which should be especially useful over time. All use the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International licence. All the images of this type that CRUK have are now uploaded, but additional ones should be uploaded as they are created, and other types of image, including infographics, are in the pipeline.

We are also working to change the standard model release forms CRUK uses, so that photos and videos featuring people that are made in future will be easier to release. CRUK also has some very attractive short animations, which in some ways are more culturally neutral and so preferable for use around the world. These avoid model release issues and some should be coming soon.

The other release is by the Royal Society, the UK’s National Academy for the Sciences. I’ve now completed my term as Wikipedian in Residence there, but had got their agreement to release the official portrait photos of the new Fellows elected in 2014, with the intention to continue this in future years. Some photos of their building were also released.

By early September, only a month after uploading completed, of the 72 files uploaded 38 (53%) are now used in Wikipedia articles. The portrait of Professor Martin Hairer, who won the Fields Medal this August is used in 18 different language versions of Wikipedia, having fortuitously been uploaded just before it was announced that he had won the Fields Medal, which is often called the mathematician’s equivalent of a Nobel. Most of the biographies were started after this announcement. Other images of Fellows are used in the French, Chinese and Persian Wikipedias, as well as English.

The availability of high-quality portraits is very likely to encourage the writing of articles on those Fellows who still lack Wikipedia biographies. There are 15 of these, which is already a better (lower) figures than for recent years such as 2012, where 29 still lack biographies.

John Byrne, Wikimedian in Residence at the Royal Society and Cancer Research UK

by carlosmonterrey at September 12, 2014 12:05 AM

September 11, 2014

Erik Zachte

Traffic to Wikipedia’s mobile site is growing fast

Since 2008 WMF count monthly page views for the non-mobile site.
Since June 2010 also for the mobile site.

From the respective monthly totals we can calculate which share of the traffic goes to the mobile site. Evidently this share has grown dramatically over recent years.

The first chart shows the trend for the eight most read Wikipedias.


The second chart shows the same trends, now for the nine ‘most mobile’ Wikipedias
(which also are above a threshold popularity of 1 million views a month).




Please don’t confuse traffic to the mobile site with traffic from mobile devices. One can choose to visit the non-mobile site from a phone or tablet. One can choose to visit the mobile site from a desktop computer.

These numbers have been collected with webstatscollector. There are a numbers of issues with that tool. My colleagues Christian Aistleitner and Andrew Otto are working on a new version of the tool, which will be more robust, more precise in which messages to count, and draw data from the new Kafka infrastructure instead of direct messages from each server (via udp2log). Later on with that new infrastructure we will also be able to do a more complete breakdown, by country, and hence by region.

Data files

The following data files are available for offline analysis:

Pageview reports

The Wikipedia pageview reports now also show % mobile for last 24 months. Example: pageviews for Wikipedia, all platforms, normalized.

Breakdown by region (sort of)

Here, for what it’s worth, a breakdown by region, but languages spoken in several regions are listed separately. So please use these regional results with a grain of salt.

region: Africa

languages:aa:Afar, af:Afrikaans, ak:Akan, am:Amharic, arz:Egyptian Arabic, bm:Bambara, ee:Ewe, ff:Fulfulde, ha:Hausa, hz:Herero, ig:Igbo, kab:Kabyle, kg:Kongo, ki:Kikuyu, kj:Kuanyama, kr:Kanuri, lg:Ganda, ln:Lingala, mg:Malagasy, ng:Ndonga, nso:Northern Sotho, ny:Chichewa, om:Oromo, rn:Kirundi, rw:Kinyarwanda, sg:Sangro, sn:Shona, so:Somali, ss:Siswati, st:Sesotho, sw:Swahili, ti:Tigrinya, tn:Setswana, ts:Tsonga, tum:Tumbuka, tw:Twi, ve:Venda, wo:Wolof, xh:Xhosa, yo:Yoruba, zu:Zulu
perc mobile: 22.5%

regions: Africa/Asia
perc mobile: 37.8%

region: Artificial
languages:eo:Esperanto, ia:Interlingua, ie:Interlingue, io:Ido, jbo:Lojban, nov:Novial, vo:Volap&uuml;k
perc mobile: 13.1%

region: Asia
languages:ab:Abkhazian, ace:Acehnese, arc:Aramaic, as:Assamese, az:Azeri, ba:Bashkir, bcl:Central Bicolano, bh:Bihari, bjn:Banjar, bn:Bengali, bo:Tibetan, bpy:Bishnupriya Manipuri, bug:Buginese, bxr:Buryat, cbk-zam:Chavacano, cdo:Min Dong, ceb:Cebuano, ckb:Sorani, cv:Chuvash, diq:Zazaki, dv:Divehi, dz:Dzongkha, fa:Persian, gan:Gan, glk:Gilaki, gu:Gujarati, hak:Hakka, he:Hebrew, hi:Hindi, hy:Armenian, id:Indonesian, ii:Yi, ilo:Ilokano, ja:Japanese, jv:Javanese, kaa:Karakalpak, kbd:Karbadian, kk:Kazakh, km:Khmer, kn:Kannada, ko:Korean, krc:Karachay-Balkar, ks:Kashmiri, ku:Kurdish, ky:Kirghiz, lad:Ladino, lbe:Lak, lo:Laotian, map-bms:Banyumasan, min:Minangkabau, ml:Malayalam, mn:Mongolian, mr:Marathi, mrj:Western Mari, ms:Malay, my:Burmese, myv:Erzya, mzn:Mazandarani, ne:Nepali, new:Nepal Bhasa, or:Oriya, os:Ossetic, pa:Punjabi, pag:Pangasinan, pam:Kapampangan, pi:Pali, pnb:Western Panjabi, ps:Pashto, sa:Sanskrit, sah:Sakha, sd:Sindhi, si:Sinhala, su:Sundanese, ta:Tamil, te:Telugu, tet:Tetum, tg:Tajik, th:Thai, tk:Turkmen, tl:Tagalog, tpi:Tok Pisin, tt:Tatar, tyv:Tuvan, udm:Udmurt, ug:Uyghur, ur:Urdu, uz:Uzbek, vi:Vietnamese, war:Waray-Waray, wuu:Wu, za:Zhuang, zh:Chinese, zh-classical:Classical Chinese, zh-min-nan:Min Nan, zh-yue:Cantonese
perc mobile: 33.0%

region: Europe
languages:als:Alemannic, an:Aragonese, ang:Anglo-Saxon, ast:Asturian, av:Avar, bar:Bavarian, bat-smg:Samogitian, be:Belarusian, be-x-old:Belarusian (Taraškievica), bg:Bulgarian, br:Breton, bs:Bosnian, ca:Catalan, ce:Chechen, co:Corsican, cs:Czech, csb:Cassubian, cu:Old Church Slavonic, cy:Welsh, da:Danish, de:German, dsb:Lower Sorbian, el:Greek, eml:Emilian-Romagnol, et:Estonian, eu:Basque, ext:Extremaduran, fi:Finnish, fiu-vro:Voro, fo:Faroese, frp:Arpitan, frr:North Frisian, fur:Friulian, fy:Frisian, ga:Irish, gd:Scots Gaelic, gl:Galician, got:Gothic, gv:Manx, hr:Croatian, hsb:Upper Sorbian, hu:Hungarian, is:Icelandic, it:Italian, ka:Georgian, koi:Komi-Permyak, ksh:Ripuarian, kv:Komi, kw:Cornish, lb:Luxembourgish, lez:Lezgian, li:Limburgish, lij:Ligurian, lmo:Lombard, lt:Lithuanian, ltg:Latgalian, lv:Latvian, mdf:Moksha, mhr:Eastern Mari, mk:Macedonian, mo:Moldavian, mt:Maltese, mwl:Mirandese, nap:Neapolitan, nds:Low Saxon, nds-nl:Dutch Low Saxon, nn:Nynorsk, no:Norwegian, nrm:Norman, oc:Occitan, pcd:Picard, pl:Polish, pms:Piedmontese, pnt:Pontic, rm:Romansh, rmy:Romani, ro:Romanian, roa-rup:Aromanian, roa-tara:Tarantino, rue:Rusyn, sc:Sardinian, scn:Sicilian, sco:Scots, se:Northern Sami, sh:Serbo-Croatian, sk:Slovak, sl:Slovene, sq:Albanian, sr:Serbian, stq:Saterland Frisian, sv:Swedish, szl:Silesian, uk:Ukrainian, vec:Venetian, vep:Vepsian, vls:West Flemish, wa:Walloon, xal:Kalmyk, zea:Zealandic
perc mobile: 25.9%

regions: Europe/Asia
languages:crh:Crimean Tatar, ru:Russian, tr:Turkish
perc mobile: 20.6%

regions: Europe/North-America/Oceania/Asia/Africa
languages:en:English, simple:Simple English
perc mobile: 31.5%

regions: Europe/North-America/South-America/Asia/Africa
perc mobile: 31.9%

regions: Europe/North-America/South-America/Asia/Africa/Oceania
perc mobile: 28.0%

regions: Europe/South-America
perc mobile: 27.4%

regions: Europe/South-America/Africa/Asia
perc mobile: 25.0%

region: North-America
languages:cho:Choctaw, chr:Cherokee, chy:Cheyenne, cr:Cree, ht:Haitian, ik:Inupiak, iu:Inuktitut, kl:Greenlandic, mus:Muskogee, nah:Nahuatl, nv:Navajo, pdc:Pennsylvania German
perc mobile: 14.6%

region: Oceania
languages:bi:Bislama, ch:Chamorro, fj:Fijian, haw:Hawai’ian, hif:Fiji Hindi, ho:Hiri Motu, mh:Marshallese, mi:Maori, na:Nauruan, pih:Norfolk, sm:Samoan, to:Tongan, ty:Tahitian
perc mobile: 16.6%

region: South-America
languages:ay:Aymara, gn:Guarani, pap:Papiamentu, qu:Quechua, srn:Sranan
perc mobile: 13.8%

region: World
languages:la:Latin, yi:Yiddish
perc mobile: 11.5%

by Erik at September 11, 2014 05:44 PM

Wikimedia Foundation

WikiProject Report: Bats, gloves and baseballs

Photo of Maury Wills, Milton Berle, Jimmy Piersall and Willie Mays in a salute to baseball on the television program The Hollywood Palace.

“Maury Wills Milton Berle Jimmy Piersall Willie Mays Hollywood Palace 1967″ by ABC Television, under public domain

Last month, the Wikipedia Signpost, the English Wikipedia’s community-written newsletter, talked with three members of WikiProject Baseball: users Go Phightins!, Wizardman and isaacl. A WikiProject is a team of contributors who aim to improve Wikipedia articles on a specific topic. Every WikiProject has a special focus area (for example, American history). In this case, the subject is baseball.

Like many Wikipedia editors, WikiProject contributors are often motivated by a great passion for a given topic. Perhaps user Go Phightins! embodies this devotion best. “Baseball is a sport that I really enjoy and is the namesake of my username, as a matter of fact, the Philadelphia Phillies are known colloquially as the Phightin Phils.” For contributors, WikiProject baseball is not just a way to contribute to baseball-related articles, it’s also a place to talk all things baseball with other liked-minded individuals, explains user issacl. “Discussions on the project talk page are generally constructive and embody a cooperative spirit, which keeps editors interested.”

A game on Chicago’s Wrigley Field, April 13, 2005

“Wrigley Field Apr 2005″ by Papushin, under PD

Every WikiProject has its own peculiarities specific to that topic. For example, WikiProject cities has to keep a constant watch for changing factors within a city like population or transportation. WikiProject Baseball is no different in its constant efforts to maintain baseball articles as up-to-date as possible – especially during the active season. “One of the most crucial aspects of the project is stat updates and vandalism watches to articles, especially on current players,” explains Go Phightins. Maintenance gets particularly busy during times of great commotion, like the trade deadline midway through the season. “There is rampant speculation within the media about baseball players and transactions between teams, so upholding the principle of WP:CRYSTAL ["Wikipedia is not a crystal ball"] by refuting speculative edits while at the same time remaining committed to being an encyclopedia anyone can edit is a time-consuming, but ultimately worthwhile task.”

Though this may all seem like a lot of work, rewards come in the form of knowing that you’ve contributed to the collective knowledge on a topic that is important to you – and occasionally your work might earn recognition as a featured article, too. Wizardman and Go Phightins! both have enjoyed having some of their articles featured. Go Phightins! explains, “Jim Thome, my one and only featured article, played Major League Baseball for 20+ years and reached featured status after more than a year of work. I thoroughly enjoyed working on his article, as he was one of my favorite players back when he was a member of the Phillies and really is a ‘good guy.’” Wizardman adds, “I’ve contributed several featured articles and good articles over my time. Greatest is tough to say, but it would be between Bob Feller, which was already a good article that I completely modified to get through to featured article status and Harmon Killebrew, which was a stub I suggested as a collaboration that eventually progressed from good to featured.”

When asked what else they wanted to share, Go Phightins! stressed the good-natured environment of WikiProject Baseball. “The editors at WikiProject Baseball are an awesome group of folks with whom to collaborate on articles, but perhaps more importantly, are dedicated to enforcing Wikipedia policy with tact and excellence in dealing with new and clueless contributors (a group of which I was once a member).” Wizardman jokingly adds, “It’s both a great and easy project to get involved in, even if you like the [rival team] you’re still welcome!” If you find yourself fond of baseball, interested in sports stats and looking for a great community to share a mutual interest, then WikiProject Baseball might be for you. User isaacl puts it simply: “With the state of baseball analysis ever-improving, competition in MLB continues to be fierce, and we are the beneficiaries—enjoy the season!”

For more info on WikiProject Baseball, read the full Signpost interview by user Seattle, or go to the WikiProject’s overview page.

Report by Carlos Monterrey, communications associate for the Wikimedia Foundation

by carlosmonterrey at September 11, 2014 05:22 PM

Wikimedia UK

New images released are quickly put to use

The image is a pictorial illustration depicting possible scar lines after surgery for oesophageal cancer

Diagram of possible scar lines after surgery for oesophageal cancer, from Cancer Research UK and now on Commons

This post was written by John Byrne, Wikimedian in Residence at the Royal Society and Cancer Research UK

I’ve had two recent uploads of images released by organizations where I am Wikimedian in Residence. Neither of them are huge in quantity compared to some uploads, but I’m really pleased that an unusually large percentage of them are already used in articles. Many thanks to all the editors who put them in articles, especially Keilana for CRUK and Duncan.Hull for the Royal Society images.

The first release was by Cancer Research UK (CRUK), of 390 cancer-related diagrams, including many covering anatomy and cell biology. Many medical editors had said they were keen to have these available, and they have been quickly added to many articles, with 190 already being used, some twice, and mostly on high-traffic medical articles like breast cancer, lung cancer and cervical cancer. A BaGLAMa2 report shows page views in August, traditionally a low-traffic month, of 1.1 million

Wikipedia cancer articles tend to be mostly illustrated with alarming shots of tumours, or purple-stained pathology slides which convey little to non-professional readers. The new images are from the patient information pages on CRUK’s website and explain in simple terms basic aspects of the main cancers – where they arise, how they grow and spread. Some show surgical procedures that are hard to convey in prose.

The photo is a portrait of Professor Martin Hairer FRS

Professor Martin Hairer FRS, already used in 18 different language versions of Wikipedia

Many files have generous labelling inside the image. All the files are in svg format, allowing for easy translation of these labels into other languages, which should be especially useful over time. All use the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International licence. All the images of this type that CRUK have are now uploaded, but additional ones should be uploaded as they are created, and other types of image, including infographics, are in the pipeline.

We are also working to change the standard model release forms CRUK uses, so that photos and videos featuring people that are made in future will be easier to release. CRUK also has some very attractive short animations, which in some ways are more culturally neutral and so preferable for use around the world.  These avoid model release issues and some should be coming soon.

The other release is by the Royal Society, the UK’s National Academy for the Sciences. I’ve  now completed my term as Wikipedian in Residence there,  but had got their agreement to release the official portrait photos of the new Fellows elected in 2014, with the intention to continue this in future years. Some photos of their building were also released.

By early September, only a month after uploading completed, of the 72 files uploaded 38 (53%) are now used in Wikipedia articles. The portrait of Professor Martin Hairer, who won the Fields Medal this August is used in 18 different language versions of Wikipedia, having fortuitously been uploaded just before it was announced that he had won the Fields Medal, which is often called the mathematician’s equivalent of a Nobel.  Most of the biographies were started after this announcement.  Other images of Fellows are used in the French, Chinese and Persian Wikipedias, as well as English. There were 96,000 page views in August for these articles.

The availability of high-quality portraits is very likely to encourage the writing of articles on those Fellows who still lack Wikipedia biographies. There are 15 of these, which is already a better (lower) figures than for recent years such as 2012, where 29 still lack biographies.

by Stevie Benton at September 11, 2014 10:27 AM

Gerard Meijssen

#Mortality - You make your choice and, then you die

#Vaccination is a serious subject. It allows you to prevent yourself and your loved ones from deadly deceases like the whooping cough. A report by the Hollywood reporter has it that an outbreak of whooping cough can be expected soon with deadly consequences in the Hollywood area.

When people make their own choices, they have to live with the consequences. I really wonder if the people who leave themselves vulnerable to such deadly deceases understand that they are also responsible for those they infect in turn, When they fall ill, they expect to receive treatment at no extra cost. They expect that their health plan pays for it but, should it?

With whooping cough there is sufficient research about the efficacy of the vaccines and its risks. For ebola experimental vaccines are used. Like whooping cough it is a deadly decease. I wonder if these people will refuse an experimental ebola vaccine when the decease arrives in their backyard.

by Anonymous (noreply@blogger.com) at September 11, 2014 09:06 AM

September 10, 2014

Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing)

Wikimedian in Residence at the Royal Society of Chemistry

I’m pleased to announce that I have accepted the position of Wikimedian in Residence with the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), a learned society and professional body whose roots go back to 1841 (see ).

Over the next year, starting 22 September, I will be helping my new RSC colleagues, and the Society’s members, to understand Wikipedia and its sister projects, and to contribute to making knowledge of chemistry, and related subjects, more freely available. The job is titled “WikiMedian”, because as well as WikiPedia, it covers those other projects, which are run by the Wikimedia community.

a room full of people at computers

Trainees hard at work at a previous RSC editathon, in
Burlington House’s library, at which I volunteered as a trainer.

This follows on from my previous Wikipedia residences with Wildscreen (on their ARKive project), with Staffordshire Archives and Heritage Service, at the New Art Gallery Walsall, and with Lancashire County Council’s Museum Service (at their Queen Street Mill), plus shorter projects with a number of other institutions (including West Midlands Police, The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Black Country Museum, and more). I’ll continue to be Wikipedian in Residence at ORCID. The RSC have already integrated ORCID into their publishing workflow and the two organisations obviously share interests in research and academic publishing.

I’ll be working part time, partly from home, and at the RSC’s Cambridge base one day per week, plus travelling around the UK to various events. I’ll also enjoy spending some days at their palatial London HQ, at Burlington House. My work days will vary to suit the requirements of the post, and my other commitments.

The rest of the time, I’ll still be available, as a freelancer, for other work, not least relating to Wikipedia, and facilitating open space events (for example, I’m MCing GalleryCamp on 23 September). Do drop me a line if you think I can help you with that, or if you have an interest in my RSC work, or if you want to meet socially, after work, in Cambridge.

by Andy Mabbett at September 10, 2014 11:01 AM