September 19, 2014

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 Gerard Meijssen (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: XXXXXXX

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 Gerard Meijssen (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)

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বাংলা • ‎čeština • ‎English • ‎español • ‎suomi • ‎français • ‎עברית • ‎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
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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 Gerard Meijssen (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

Wikimedia UK

Back in the Wikimedia UK Office

The photo shows a small group of people looking at an unseen exhibit

Fabian (centre) leading a tour of The Barbican Centre

This post was written by Fabian Tompsett, temporary Volunteer Support Organiser

After a short break I am back in the Wikimedia UK office, now in the role of providing cover for Katie Chan as Volunteer Support Organiser for about four months. One of the first things I’ve noticed is that the place has a different feel: the team is no longer approaching a big event with a mixture of apprehension and excitement. Things are “back to normal”, but actually, not really!

Wikimania 2014 has given Wikimedia UK a big boost at various levels:


There’s a sense of “we did it”, we coped with playing a significant role in delivering Wikimania alongside our partners the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimania London team. Many members of staff have taken a bit of a break but are now back at work with renewed enthusiasm. We have been so happy to get back in contact with some Wikimedians who have had little to do with the chapter recently, as well as meeting up with new volunteers, including a number of Wikimedians of long standing who had not previously engaged with Wikimedia UK. So we also have the feeling that Wikimania had the endorsement of the Wikimedia community in the UK in general. Thank you all.


But this self-confidence is not accompanied by complacency. Actually people are focussing on how we can use the experience of Wikimania and some of the new ideas we came across to take Wikimedia UK to a new level. One aspect of this is my new colleague, Roberta Wedge, who is already having an impact on staff by raising issues which affect our engagement with women in various ways. Also as we have attracted a number of volunteers very local to our London Office, we have initiated regular Wiki Wednesdays to help deepen their involvement with the Wikimedia movement. More examples will emerge over time.


In my new role I shall be involved in volunteer support, something dear to my heart. I certainly learnt a lot about volunteer support from being involved in Wikimania, and certainly the Wikimania London team contributed to that learning. As this is a temporary position, part of my work is picking up on the activities Katie has been running. But as I got to know many of the new volunteers who signed up for Wikimania a key part of my work during these four months will be to develop our relationship with them.

We are also asking for input from volunteers to help shape how we make the most of the new opportunities which are arising post Wikimania. To help with this we shall be conducting a survey amongst our volunteers to get a better understanding of their views. However, I would welcome any direct contact from new or long standing volunteers to discuss any ideas you may have.

You can reach Fabian by calling the office on 020 7065 0990 or emailing fabian.tompsett@wikimedia.org.uk


by Stevie Benton at September 10, 2014 10:33 AM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata - great progress on the number of statements

It is obvious; with 15,703,625 items, it takes a lot of effort to improve the quality of Wikidata. Statements are added all the time to specific items and that reflects well on the quality of those items but the underlying health of Wikidata is probably best expressed in its statistics.

The latest statistics show that we can finally say that "50% of our items have none, one or only two statements". Arguably not much can be said about these items and consequently these items are not informative. The trend however is wonderful; it shows in the graph; slowly but surely Wikidata is gaining data and by inference becomes more informative and useful.

The next challenge for us will be to be able to say "50% of our items have none, one, two or only three statements".. That will be a happy day.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at September 10, 2014 06:28 AM

#Wikidata - Eberhard Schlotter

Mr Schlotter died on september 8th. During his life many of his achievements were celebrated with awards. According to Wikidata he received among others the Q2571516 this award was named after Mr Q2573984 a noted German sculptor.

When you look at the information for the award, Reasonator will provide you with sufficient information as can be seen in the screenshot. Mr Loth is named by Reasonator as well.

My hope is that when Wikidata gets its UI make over, a good look will be given at the functionality of Reasonator and its killer features like, showing labels where they are available, will be adopted.  A machine may make sense out of Q2571516 but for me a text like "Wilhelm-Loth-Preis" is much more informative.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at September 10, 2014 06:00 AM

#Wikipedia & #Wikidata - #Authority control

One objective for Wikidata is to include information to be used in articles of Wikipedia. One template in particular provides a great example of this ability; it is the "Authority control" template. The rather technical information that it provides points to external sources where you will find information about the same item.

All these external sources have their own purpose and in essence, you may find additional information and hooks to functionality about all kinds of everything. It is for instance well possible to inform you about the availability of a book in *YOUR* library in several countries like the Netherlands.

Authority control is not restricted to the English Wikipedia, as you can imagine, it is called different in many other languages; Normdaten is for instance the name in German. All these templates face the challenge how they keep up with all the new external sources that are added all the time at Wikidata. The English version only supports some 12 sources while Reasonator knows about more than 200 external sources.

For all these sources statements are added all the time and new sources are added on an almost weekly basis. This makes it obvious why it is best to choose for Wikidata when external sources are to be added in an article. The template makes it easy; it shows everything from Wikidata what it currently supports.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at September 10, 2014 05:33 AM

Wikimedia Foundation

Now available: Charting Diversity – Working together towards diversity in Wikipedia

The Compass of Diversity

(“Compass of diversity” by Wikimedia Deutschland, under CC-BY-SA-4.0)

Within the last couple of years, a discussion arose concerning the ratio of male to female contributors on Wikipedia. Various studies verified a significant gender gap within the group of editors. A number of countries have since started initiatives that specialize in supporting female contributors. These include events run by female Wikipedians like Netha Hussain in India and Emily Temple Wood in the U.S. These projects work towards increasing the number of women actively participating on Wikimedia projects.

In our recently published study, Charting Diversity, we identified additional instruments and field of actions that could have a positive effect on promoting gender diversity in editors. Two approaches are key: Developing an understanding and awareness on the subject of “diversity” within the community as well as nurturing and enhancing an open and a welcoming culture are highly important. As Lila Tretikov, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, and others said at this year’s Wikimania, the promotion of mutual respect and a positive communication culture are essential for Wikipedia. Another field of action is our research on the connection between diversity and quality of knowledge production. There are still many unanswered questions as to how socio-demographic diversity affects the content of Wikipedia articles.

Download as a pdf file (424 KB)

“Charting Diversity” by Ilona Buchem (Beuth Univ.), Antje Ducki (Beuth Univ.), Sarah Khayati (Beuth Univ.), Julia Kloppenburg (WMDE), Nils Weichert (WMDE) , under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Charting Diversity deals with diversity and its importance to Wikipedia, documenting our current knowledge on the matter, setting out fields of action and concluding with a catalogue of measures to serve as motivation for our future work. The study incorporates the opinions and ideas of male and female Wikipedians, gathered at numerous meetings, workshops and at the 2013 Wikimedia Diversity Conference in Berlin.

This year Wikimedia Deutschland implemented two tools as a consequence of the study “Charting Diversity,” in collaboration with male and female Wikipedians. One of these is cMOOCs (connectivist Massive Open Online Course) – these are open online workshop-style meetings. Under the title Wiki Dialogue, all Wikipedians and Wikipedia enthusiasts have the opportunity to address problematic issues on cooperation within the community and discuss them in a structured, time-restricted and solution-oriented way. The second tool is topic-specific female multiplier networks, which we are currently setting up. Under the title Women Edit, female Wikipedians can actively take part in projects that motivate targeted participation, while also exploring the Wikipedian communication culture. The first results are the “Women in Science” edit-a-thon and the WikiWomen meetings, as well as other events.

Charting Diversity was created as part of the Wikipedia Diversity project. The project was developed in collaboration with Prof. Ilona Buchem, guest professor in digital media and diversity at the Gender and Technology Center of Beuth University of Applied Sciences in Berlin. Anyone who wishes to order printed copies in English or German can write to us at bildung@wikimedia.de. The German version can be found here, while the English version is here.

We are looking forward to your questions and comments on Meta!

Happy reading!

Julia Kloppenburg (Wikimedia Deutschland)

by carlosmonterrey at September 10, 2014 01:05 AM

September 09, 2014

Andrew Gray

Laws on Wikidata

So, I had the day off, and decided to fiddle a little with Wikidata. After some experimenting, it now knows about:

  • 1516 Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (1801-present)
  • 194 Acts of the Parliament of Great Britain (1707-1800)
  • 329 Acts of the Parliament of England (to 1707)
  • 20 Acts of the Parliament of Scotland (to 1707)
  • 19 Acts of the Parliament of Ireland (to 1800)

(Acts of the modern devolved parliaments for NI, Scotland, and Wales will follow.)

Each has a specific “instance of” property – Q18009569, for example, is “act of the Parliament of Scotland” – and is set up as a subclass of the general “act of parliament”. At the moment, there’s detailed subclasses for the UK and Canada (which has a seperate class for each province’s legislation) but nowhere else. Yet…

These numbers are slightly fuzzy – it’s mainly based on Wikipedia articles and so there are a small handful of cases where the entry represents a particular clause (eg Q7444697, s.4 and s.10 of the Human Rights Act 1998), or cases hwere multiple statutes are treated in the same article (eg Q1133144, the Corn Laws), but these are relatively rare and, mostly, it’s a good direct correspondence. (I’ve been fairly careful to keep out oddities, but of course, some will creep in…)

So where next? At the moment, these almost all reflect Wikipedia articles. Only 34 have a link to (English) Wikisource, though I’d guess there’s about 200-250 statutes currently on there. Matching those up will definitely be valuable; for legislation currently in force and on the Statute Law Database, it would be good to be able to crosslink to there as well.

by Andrew at September 09, 2014 07:17 PM

Wiki Education Foundation

Read about the Colorado floods of 2013

One year ago, floods were impacting several counties in Colorado. Read more about the flooding in this article, expanded by our student editor Jonathanhoffmann225 in Becky Carmichael’s fall 2013 Natural Disasters and Society course at Louisiana State University. 

Jami Mathewson
Educational Partnerships Manager

by Jami Mathewson at September 09, 2014 05:03 PM

Wikimedia UK

“A significant step towards a sustainable partnership”: Ally Crockford and the National Library of Scotland

This post was written by Joe Sutherland.

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Ally Crockford has spent a great deal of time researching in the National Library of Scotland – eight years, in fact – so when the opportunity to open its content for a wider audience came along she jumped at it. “What drew me to working here is the love that I have for the library,” she explains. “I’ve worked here for the last eight years as a researcher and I think it’s an amazing organisation.”

“When I saw the call for a Wikimedian I thought it was an amazing opportunity, because I know how much material is here in the library and how few people get to access that material regularly. To be able to provide access to the collections was wonderful.”

A room full of books has essentially become her habitat by this point. Though originally from Canada, Ally received her PhD in English literature from Edinburgh University, and throughout the programme was heavily involved with the library. Since July 2013, Ally has served as Wikimedian in Residence there.

During her tenure, Ally has worked on several projects aiming to extend the reach of the library’s content to a wider, global audience. One of the projects of which she is most proud was the Anybody But Burns editathon, a quest to fill Wikipedia with information about Scottish poets who don’t have the recognition that Robert Burns enjoys.

“I was really, really pleased with how that came together. It was probably the first event where we saw Wikimedians from the community working alongside contributors who had never used Wikimedia before, but were very interested in Scottish poetry,” she says. “We were working with the Scottish Poetry Library, and we held it in the National Library’s reading rooms, which really was a very special opportunity.”

In fact, the Telegraph named the event as one of “the best places in the UK to celebrate Burns Night”, a title of which she admits to being particularly proud.

Her role has also allowed her to address other issues with Wikipedia, through events organised with the library and with other organisations in Edinburgh. In December 2013, the library worked with the Medical Research Council, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Wikimedia UK to host an editathon on women in science. Not only was the goal to improve coverage of female scientists on Wikipedia, a topic area quite under-represented on the site, but also to increase female participation.

“We had more than twenty people who came along,” she says, “and we had fifteen new articles created and five more improved, a lot of them about women in science who had connections to the Royal Society of Edinburgh. We had speakers as well, women who currently have a significant position in the scientific community.”

Sally Macintyre, for example, was one of the speakers. It was really quite fascinating because we had a participant who created an article about her in the evening and then later on she was there speaking. That was a fantastic connection to make – to be able to say, ‘you now have a place on Wikipedia’, and to show her her place on Wikipedia.”

Working with Wikimedia UK has helped the library develop a new metadata and digital content licensing policy, which Ally thinks will allow the NLS to open up its resources and release them under less restrictive licenses.

“[It] would put all of our low-resolution content that is in the public domain back into the public domain,” she explains, “which means we can upload it to Wikimedia Commons. At the moment we’ve only uploaded about 250 images, but I’m quite happy with the images we’ve uploaded and I’m really impressed with the way that the library has changed its attitude towards its material.

“They’re still a little bit hesitant, but they are increasingly becoming more open, and they’ve already identified a couple of thousand images to release over the coming months which I’m very excited to see happen.”

“It also means that going forward, as the library digitises more material,” she adds, “that material will also be able to go up. So I think it’s a significant step towards developing a sustainable partnership with Wikimedia UK on the library’s behalf.”

by Stevie Benton at September 09, 2014 04:01 PM

Wikimedia DC

A weekend with Wikidata: The Open Government WikiHack, Part 2

The Open Government WikiHack will take place at the National Archives, September 27–28

Wikimedia DC held its first ever Open Government WikiHack this past April, at the offices of the Sunlight Foundation. We spent the weekend experimenting with open data repositories, including those made available by the Sunlight Foundation, trying to figure out how we can take this data and use it to improve Wikipedia. We imagined a world of Wikipedia articles that update automatically as new information comes to light. This month, we are going to continue imagining.

The link between Wikipedia and structured data is Wikidata, a fairly new project spearheaded by the Wikimedia Deutschland chapter. The basic principle is that while Wikipedia exists in over 200 languages, data exists as data regardless of language. For example, the population of South Africa is 54,002,000, according to a 2014 estimate. You can find this datum in the Wikipedia article on South Africa, alongside the right side of the article. You can also find data on South Africa in its Wikidata entry, Q258. In the long run, data used in Wikipedia articles will be fed out of Wikidata, rather than posted directly on each article, so that the data will be automatically available in the many language editions of Wikipedia.

Wikidata is fairly new to all of us, so we have invited James Forrester to give a presentation on Wikidata and how we can help improve it. Mr. Forrester is a product manager at the Wikimedia Foundation, focused on improving Wikipedia’s editing experience, and has also been a very active participant on Wikidata from the beginning. We are very excited to see him come to the National Archives and help us make Wikidata part of the broader Open Data conversation we’re having in the nation’s capital.

We would love to have you participate in our WikiHack, which will take place on September 27–28, regardless of experience with coding or editing Wikipedia. You can register for free at EventBrite. Hope to see you there!


by James at September 09, 2014 12:49 AM

September 08, 2014

Wikimedia Foundation

A Focused Approach for Maithili Wikipedia

Biplab Anand, a versatile contributor on Maithili and Nepdali Wikipedia and also the admin of the Facebook page on Maithili Wikipedia.

In June of 2014, the Wikimedia blog had an interview with Ram Prasad Joshi, a dedicated Wikipedian contributing in six languages – Nepali, Sanskrit, Hindi, Fiji Hindi, Bhojpuri and Gujarati from his unelectrified remote village in the Western hills of Nepal. A few days back, this linguist Wikipedian posted a message of appreciation on compatriot Biplab Anand’s Incubator talk page: “बिप्लवजी धन्यवाद यो विकिलाई बाहिर निकाल्ने प्रयास गर्नु पर्ने छ।” which translated states, “Biplab ji, thank you for the efforts to bring out this wiki” – referring to Biplab Anand’s dedicated approach in trying to transform Maithili Wikipedia from its current incubator status into a full-fledged Wikipedia. Apart from appreciation from several other Wikipedians, on August 17, 2014, Rajbiraj Today, a daily newspaper from Saptari, Nepal, carried a special feature highlighting the coordinated tasks accomplished by individuals such as Biplab Anand and Ganesh Paudel with a focus on the genesis of Maithili Wikipedia.

One of the strategies adopted in the effort to launch a Maithili Wikipedia has been the use of social media. Biplab Anand has created a Facebook page to spread awareness and educate the people on Maithili Wikipedia. At the time that I wrote this post, the page had garnered 116 likes. The next strategy adopted by Biplab was to post awareness messages for Maithili-knowing Wikipedians on other language Wikipedias where a substantial number of editors could also become aware of the language. As part of this strategy, a message was posted on the Hindi Wikipedia Village Pump. During Wikimania 2014, another Maithili Wikipedian, Ganesh Paudel, managed to meet MF-Warburg, the admin, bureaucrat and importer of Wikimedia Incubator and also the member of the Language Committee, to discuss ways of unleashing the potential of an independent Maithili Wikipedia (see this discussion).

Ganesh Paudel, one of the high profile contributors of the Maithili and Nepali Wikipedias.

As these developments were in progress, I interviewed both Biplab Anand and Ganesh Paudel about the path ahead via a questionnaire. Both expressed their concern over the fact that a separate Maithili Wikipedia does not exist despite the language being native to over 40 million people in both Nepal and India. As to whether a Maithili organization can possibly support the language Wikipedia the way Samskrita Bharati does for Sanskrit Wikipedia (see this blog post), it emerged that currently it is not possible to expect such a strong institutional support for the cause. However, Biplab mentioned the possibility of garnering support from Maithili Sahitya Parishad Saptari Nepal in organizing Maithili Wikipedia Outreach programs in Nepal.

Regarding the quality improvement in the current content and contributions, it was felt that most of the articles are currently stubs and need revision. Similarly, the present articles are generally focused on personalities and places. However, a page on the essential prerequisite articles has been created and it is expected that as more editors join the arena, articles on diverse topics such as medicine, history, engineering, etc will also gain momentum. The vast geographical area where Maithili is spoken has given rise to a number of distinctly identifiable but mutually intelligible dialects. Biplab suggested the use of the Kalyani Maithili Dictionary as a standard for the language. Ganesh has identified several online resources which can be particularly helpful to the editors in accomplishing their tasks such as Bataah Maithili, Vidyapati, Videha, Mithila News, Esamaad and Mithila Lok. He also suggested that the next Maithili project could be the language Wikisource to start the documentation of ancient works.

There is a spirit of achievement among the small but growing community of Maithili Wikipedians, who are currently between 50-60 in number. Biplab Anand confirmed the presence of more than 1000 articles on the Maithili Incubator Project on his Hindi Wikipedia talk page. On the other hand, Ganesh Paudel highlighted that his efforts are not ending by simply getting the Maithili Wikipedia out of the incubator as he is equally concerned about having independent Limbu, Gurung, Tamang and Awadhi Wikipedias. He also spoke about a self-confident approach as a key to success in his statement “if you want Wikipedia in your language come forth, you are the best one to contribute for the growth of your language.” An encouraging development in this context is the assurance by MF-Warburg: “I’ll be glad to approve this project when the activity criteria are met,” referring to the need for sustained editing activity by the dedicated contributors for the next few months to get Maithili Wikipedia as a live and thriving project in the coming months.

Syed Muzammiluddin, Wikipedian

by carlosmonterrey at September 08, 2014 11:15 PM

Wikimedia UK

Remember a Charity in Your Will Week

The photo shows a man and a woman sat at a competer in a library discussing how to edit Wikipedia

A previous Women in Science training event

This post was written by Wikimedia UK’s fundraising team

This week is “Remember a Charity in Your Will Week“.  Wikimedia UK supports this national campaign to encourage this type of giving; Remember a Charity was set up in 2001 to address the fact that while 74% of the UK population support charities, only 6% currently leave a legacy to them when writing a will.

We are very grateful to the people that make our work growing and supporting the Wikimedian movement in the UK possible, and we’d like to offer more options in how you choose to support us by leaving a small amount to us in a will, or letting us know if this is something you have already decided to do.

Donations to Wikimedia UK fund valuable projects such as our Wikimedians in Residence at the Royal Society  and Cancer Research UK, promoting digital literacy through Wikimedia and also running regular events such as our upcoming Women in Classicism  editathon.

If you are interested in making an arrangement, or telling us that you have arranged this particularly special kind of gift to make our shared vision of free and open knowledge live on, please do get in touch with Katherine, our Fundraising Manager, by emailing Katherine.Bavage@wikimedia.org.uk. If you let us know about a gift in your will we can keep you updated on what we are achieving and the type of work your legacy will support.

by Stevie Benton at September 08, 2014 12:32 PM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata - The #Ukrainian - #Russian #War 2014

Soldiers die in the Ukraine. With depressing regularity they appear in the ToolScript I use to find people who died in 2014. I think many of them can be found in this category.. Currently there are 294 entries.

The Ukrainian Russian war is just one of the wars that are happening today. Sadly most other conflicts are not documented with the same quality of detail. Consider the cultures of Iraq and Syria that are being wiped away including their people. All the "little" wars in Africa. These conflicts are huge in their impact on people and cultures.

We hardly know them.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at September 08, 2014 05:26 AM

Tech News

Tech News issue #37, 2014 (September 8, 2014)

TriangleArrow-Left.svgprevious 2014, week 37 (Monday 08 September 2014) nextTriangleArrow-Right.svg
Other languages:
čeština • ‎English • ‎español • ‎suomi • ‎français • ‎עברית • ‎日本語 • ‎русский • ‎Türkçe • ‎українська • ‎ייִדיש • ‎中文

September 08, 2014 12:00 AM

September 06, 2014

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata introduces some media files from #Commons

At Wikidata we use images. They are included as statements and they show up for instance in Reasonator where they prove once again that a picture paints a thousand words. In a round about way this shows one aspect of what "Wikidatification of media files" can do for us.

Magnus did it again.

His new tool, "Wikidata Commons Search" shows what we can do already based on the limited amount of data that is available, Thanks to the labels in Wikidata we CAN search and find "things" in any language. These things can be any kind of mediafile as the example shows so well.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at September 06, 2014 06:02 AM

Wikimedia Foundation

Will you join in celebrating the 10th anniversary of Wikimedia Commons?

Commons logo

Wikimedia Commons is turning 10 years old this Sunday — will you help celebrate? We’re asking everyone to join the Wikimedia community by sharing a freely licensed image with world.

Wikimedia Commons is one of the world’s largest resources of freely licensed educational media. It is the central repository of the majority of illustrations for Wikipedia, and it includes more than 22 million images of everything from the first human flight to the last of the quaggas. Historical treasures, like an 8th century Chinese star map, can be found alongside the most recent stars of the annual Eurovision song contest.

You can find the images on Commons illustrating the articles on Wikipedia, as the photographs in your newspapers, and as diagrams in your school projects. They are always freely licensed, and include the contributions of individual amateur photographers alongside donations from the collections of the world’s leading archives.

All this is possible thanks to the incredible work of the volunteer Wikimedia Commons community. Over ten years, four million registered users have uploaded the images and other media, curated licensing and attribution information, created categories, organized metadata, and removed non-educational content or images that are not freely licensed.[1] In addition to their work on-wiki, these volunteers have inspired partnerships with leading cultural institutions in order to make even more images and media available to the world.

The very first photograph uploaded to Wikimedia Commons ("Quail1.PNG " by Node, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

The very first photograph uploaded to Wikimedia Commons (“Quail1.PNG “ by Node, today under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Wikimedia Commons officially launched on September 7th, 2004, with an informal email to a Wikimedia mailing list. The note, which pointed users to commons.wikimedia.org, expressed a vague hope that someday the project would “get[s] its own domain.” (We’re happy to say that it’s still right there!) That same day, user:Node_ue uploaded the very first photograph, a snapshot of two wild Gambel’s quail, taken while they “happen[ed] to be eating birdseed in my parents’ backyard.”

The creation of Commons had been suggested by then-volunteer Wikimedian Erik Moeller (today the deputy director of the Wikimedia Foundation). His initial March 2004 proposal for a central repository for images, public domain texts, and other freely licensed documents expressed the hope that Commons could “provide the largest such repository of freely licensed material, with a quality control mechanism” — the Wikimedia community itself – “that other projects lack.”

The years since have witnessed creativity, collaborations, and even competitions — all originating from the Commons community — , evidence that its initial vision has become reality.

Over the past decade, the Commons community has greatly expanded the depth, content, and availability of photographs, historical documents, and other materials through partnerships with cultural institutions, known to Wikimedians as GLAMs (for Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums). Donations from organizations such as the French National Library and the German National Archives have added priceless educational and cultural richness to Wikimedia Commons. This past summer, the U.S. National Archives, having already provided more than 100,000 images, announced its intention to upload all of its holdings to Commons.

Wikimedia Commons is also the home of the community-created Wiki Loves Monuments competition, now in its fifth year and currently inviting entries until the end of September. Wiki Loves Monuments, which asks people from around the globe to share images of their cultural heritage, including historic buildings, monuments, and other creations, has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest photo competition in the world.

We’re celebrating these and many more achievements and milestones on this 10th anniversary, and we’re asking you to celebrate with us. How can you get started? There’s a good guide here, but in general Commons is always looking for freely-licensed images that are not yet part of its collection, especially high quality images for Wikipedia articles that don’t yet have illustrations, or images of notable people, places, or historic events. If you don’t have a freely-licensed image of your own to share, you may want to consider starting a conversation with your local cultural institution about how they might contribute their collection to Commons.

By sharing appropriate images under a free license, you’re becoming a member of the Commons community of creators and curators, and ensuring the project’s strength for another decade to come.

Lila Tretikov, Executive Director

  1. In doing so, Wikimedia Commons volunteers have become well acquainted with the intricacies of international copyright law (did you know that users have researched and documented the “freedom of panorama” regulations for 147 countries on Commons?). The Commons’ community’s careful curation of images is evidenced by the extremely low number of copyright takedown requests received by the Foundation each year, as documented in our recently released transparency report.

A selection of images from Wikimedia Commons (you can also browse through the full collection of 6,389 Featured Pictures – images that the community has chosen to be highlighted as some of the finest on Commons):

"The Tetons and the Snake River" by Ansel Adams, under PD "Migrant Mother" by Dorothea Lange, under PD "NTS Barrage Balloon" by US DOE, under PD "A butterfly feeding on the tears of a turtle in Ecuador" by amalavida.tv, under CC BY-SA 2.0 "Pāhoehoe Lava flow" by Brocken Inaglory, under CC BY-SA 3.0 "Figure of the heavenly bodies" by Bartolomeu Velho, under PD "Albert Harris - Coconut shy B" by Andrew Dunn, under CC BY-SA 2.0 "Lower Antelope Canyon 478" by Meckimac,  under CC BY-SA 3.0 "Martian Dust Devil Trails" by NASA, under PD "Biodegradable Plastic Utensils" by Agricultural Research Service, under PD "Milky Way" by Stéphane Guisard, under CC-BY-3.0 "Jakarta old football" by Jonathan McIntosh, under CC BY 2.0 "Ferenc Ilyes (HUN), Artur Siodmiak (POL)" by Steindy, under CC BY-SA 3.0 "Usain Bolt Olympics Celebration" by Richard Giles, under CC BY-SA 2.0 "Inde bondo" by Yves Picq veton.picq.fr, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 "Morgan Pressel" by Keith Allison, under CC BY-SA 2.0

by carlosmonterrey at September 06, 2014 04:38 AM

September 05, 2014

Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing)

Whatever happened to Henry Wheeler of Bath: tailor, naval signalman, and Desert Island Discs castaway?

Lately, I’ve been writing lots of Wikipedia biographies of people who have been “castaways” on the BBC Radio programme, Desert Island Discs.

A desert island. Probably not in the North Sea
Photo by Ronald Saunders, on Flickr, CC-BY

Of all the varied people — priests, writers, musicians and others —  that I’ve written about, one above all has intrigued me. Because I’ve found out less about him than any other, even though I have a full transcript of the programme.

That person is Henry Wheeler.

As I wrote on Wikipedia:

Henry Wheeler (born 1924 or 1925) was a naval signalman during World War II. The eldest in a family of six, he was from from Vernhan Grove in Bath, England, where his civilian role was as a tailor’s assistant.

He joined the Royal Navy in 1943, undertook his naval training at HMS Impregnable, went to France on the day after D-Day, and was later stationed in Rotterdam. While in Rotterdam, he had a romantic relationship with a Dutch woman, named Dine.

Shortly after the war’s end, he appeared as a “castaway” on the BBC Radio programme Desert Island Discs, on 24 November 1945, at the age of 20. He was chosen to appear as he was serving on an unspecified “small island off the European coast” — the nearest thing available to a real castaway.

And that is pretty much all anybody seems to know about him. Was he real, or a propaganda fiction, or perhaps using a pseudonym? Did return home to Bath to resume tailoring? Or did he return to marry Dine, in Rotterdam? Does anyone at Vernham Grove remember his family? Are his descendants still alive in Bath, Rotterdam or elsewhere? Indeed, is he?

Update (5 September 2014): I’m indebted to to my fellow Wikipedia editor, Andrew Davidson, who discovered that the island was Norderney; to Anne Buchanan, Local Studies Librarian at Bath Central Library, for additional material, which has now been incorporated into the article, including the fact that Henry died in 2004; and to my Twitter followers who put me in touch with her. Thank you, all.

by Andy Mabbett at September 05, 2014 08:33 PM

Wikimedia Foundation

Wiki Loves Monuments 2014 has begun!

Calling all photographers! It’s that time of year again: Wiki Loves Monuments 2014 has begun! On Monday, September 1, for the fifth consecutive year, participants from around the world began competing in the world’s largest photography competition, which will last until the end of September. Like before, photos captured will be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, which will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this coming Sunday, September 7th. The competition is driven by volunteers in an effort to document different cultural heritages online, boost participation in Wikimedia projects and – of course – illustrate Wikipedia articles.

Throughout the month, participants will upload their photos to Wikimedia Commons under a free license. These submissions will then be judged within their country to determine the best of that country. Judges of each country have until the end of the month of October to select the top 10 winning photos, where they will be submitted to an international panel for selection as the best overall. Winners are typically announced in early December. Past winning submissions have come from Switzerland (2013), India (2012), Romania (2011) and the Netherlands (2010).

Over the years, WLM has grown significantly. First started in 2010 in the Netherlands, the first competition yielded more than 12,500 pictures of Dutch monuments alone. The following year, a total of 18 countries throughout Europe participated, netting 168,208 photographs – a Guinness World Record for the largest photography competition. Last year, there were over 365,000 submissions to Wikimedia Commons, obliterating the record from the year before.

This year at least 37 countries from 5 continents are participating, with various countries making their WLM debut. Long-time participants include Estonia, France, Germany, Poland, Romania and Switzerland, which will be joined for the first time by Iraq, Ireland, Lebanon, Macedonia and Pakistan.

Map of countries participating in Wiki Loves Monuments 2014.

“Despite having financial and social challenges, the Pakistani people are embracing the Internet and the growth rate of Internet users is on the rise,” says Saqib Qayyum, an active Wikimedian from Pakistan in a recent interview with Creative Commons. Saqib has high hopes for Pakistan’s first time in WLM:

“I believe once people participate in Wiki Loves Monuments Pakistan they will eventually start to contribute to Wikipedia, which is amongst the most successful products of the open and free internet. Thus, they will eventually come to learn about the concept of free culture movement. Wiki Loves Monuments Pakistan is the best, quickest and easiest way to introduce the free culture movement to the country.”

After all, he concludes, it may be challenging at times for many people to create a Wikipedia article, but “it’s pretty simple, fun and easy to take a photograph and upload it.”

The main organizer of Wiki Loves Monuments, (user:Romaine), holds similar hopes and goals as Saqib, particularly when it comes to coverage of countries from the Global South, which are inequitably represented.

“I noticed looking on Commons for photos of some new countries that these had almost no photos. Wiki Loves Monuments is changing that now and we are able to expand our visual knowledge in these countries with this contest. That is amazing.”

“Wiki Loves Monuments helps all the participating countries to have better coverage, but it is also a step in the right direction for helping those specifically lacking in coverage, especially in the Global South. Still many countries are missing in this year’s contest, as last year’s and year before that. Wiki Loves Monuments has just started, but we should already be thinking on how we can reach out to countries which have not participated before and how we can create the opportunity to get them involved,” he concludes. Whether you are participating from the Austria or Azerbaijan, Poland or Palestine, WLM is one way to help bridge the North-South Divide.

“We all need to play our part in ensuring a bright future for the open and free internet. I think the success of the movement globally depends on participation of people from not only the developed countries but also from the Global South”.

So go, get your camera and snap away. Also, stay up-to-date with the latest statistics from the competition here.

For the past winning photographs, see the list below.

Michael Guss, Communications Volunteer

2013 WLM winner. A RhB Ge 4/4 II with a push–pull train crosses the Wiesen Viaduct between Wiesen and Filisur, Switzerland (“RhB Ge 4-4 II Wiesener Viadukt” by Kabelleger, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)



2011 WLM winner. Winter picture of Chiajna Monastery (“Mănăstirea Chiajna – Giulești” by Mihai Petre, under CC-BY-SA-3.0-RO). The monastery is situated on the outskirts of Bucharest.


2010 WLM winner. Vijzelstraat 31 in Amsterdam. (“Amsterdam – Vijzelstraat 27-35 (halsgevel)” by Rudolphous, under CC-BY-SA-3.0-NL)

by carlosmonterrey at September 05, 2014 08:17 PM

September 04, 2014

Wikimedia Foundation

Sixty ways to help new editors

Discussion in the Wikimania Discussion Room

Last August, Iolanda Pensa and I had the honor to facilitate a discussion at the Wikimania Discussion Room on the topic of Welcoming and retaining new users. This discussion was set up as a brainstorm session, and was one of the more rewarding experiences I had during Wikimania. In the session we focused on ideas on how we as a community can help new users become and remain involved. I hope that some of the ideas will be inspiring to you!

The round table discussion took place during Wikimania and was self-selected. Everyone was welcome to join, there was no expert panel and there was little preparation. The goal of the discussion was to come up with 30 ways to help new users on Wikimedia projects become and remain involved. We wanted ideas that did not depend on the Wikimedia Foundation or affiliate organizations, or on developers. I’m very glad to be able to say that 60 ways to help new users were shared – no doubt with some overlap, but still remarkable! At the end of the discussion we asked every participant to make a commitment for the coming month on how they would personally implement some of the 60 different methods to help new users.

Many people showed up

The ideas brought forward were all over the place. You can find the original list in the discussion notes. In this post I would like to share an abridged list, where some points are merged and clarified.

I encourage every experienced user to browse through this list and explore the different ideas. Similarly to the participants in the discussion, please commit to one of them in the coming weeks – if you want, you can do so publicly by posting a comment on this blog post. Your commitment might serve as encouragement for others to do the same!

Lodewijk Gelauff, facilitator of the Wikimania Discussion Room and volunteer at Wikimedia Netherlands

List of approaches (abridged)


  • Form tandems between experienced editors and newcomers.
  • Mentorship space/program. Contributors may be matched to new users based on similarity of interests (enwiki).


  • Send a welcome message, with a direct contact link. For example: “Hello, I’m Trizek, please contact me if you need assistance.”
  • Use Snuggle – A tool for experienced editors to welcome good faith newcomers https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Snuggle
  • Join the “Teahouse” (enwiki; hewiki).
  • Find people who are willing and able to communicate in a friendly way – and new users should be channeled to them (where do I land after I created an account?)
  • It’s better to help five new users in a personalized way than to post 50 welcoming templates.
  • Organize/attend in-person meetups to help address the gap between ideal (“anyone can edit”) and reality (“it is tough”) – meetings that can be attended by new users.
  • Invite the new users to meetups – meet the contributors – put faces behind username.

Do not bite the newcomers:

  • Slow down the medium experienced users (~6 months of experience) that are overly enthusiastic and tend to ‘bite’ new users.
  • Rewrite messages into apologies (“we’re sorry if we didn’t understand what you intended; we had to revert your change”).
  • When interacting with new users, be more friendly.
  • Take “don’t bite the newbies” more seriously. Introduce (or enforce) a punishment for biting new users.
  • French Wikipedia had a message with a shark – “you have bitten a newbie” (no more biting newbies at fr.wp now, template has been deleted…)

Less is more:

  • Write shorter and clearer help and welcome messages with clear links. Help pages with 20 links are too much – a two sentence help message is better.
  • Make less use of templates in communication with new users; take more personalized action.
  • Reduce the number of rules (Ignore all rules at enwiki)

Give assignments:

  • Deliberately seeding small errors that are easy to fix. Or perhaps make them on sandbox/non article space? (Wikipedia adventure does that).
  • Organize a Wikipedia semi-regular scavenger hunt. Ask people to fulfill simple tasks, like “fix a dead link,” “fix a grammatical error” and reward them for that.
  • Provide a list of articles that new users can try to edit. (supposedly there’s an example of this on enwiki).
  • Give new users a list of assignments to do. Work queues that people can pick from, based on their interests.
  • Encourage people to play “The wikipedia adventure” (enwiki), or “the tourist bus” (cawiki).
  • More ways to contribute that are safe and have less drama – not only article creation/editing, like images, geo location, more fact checking, cleanup, checking external dead links.
  • Encourage micro editing thorough games.
  • Invite new users to advance in the stages of micro games.

Better training:

  • Produce and share a video of a new user seeing a mistake, going in and fixing it.
  • Set up some form of online training course on how to be a Wikipedia contributor.
  • Train experienced Wikipedians on how to welcome to new users.
  • Training in social manners/communication for experienced users and admins!

Better communication/documentation:

  • Reinforce that edits are live and seen by the whole world, use that as an intrinsic motivation.
  • Make visible how much training in editing someone has. Positive reinforcement for users investing – a progress bar to show how experienced they are.
  • Create a link page from which there is a an organised link tree to ALL possible instructions that the new user never finds.
  • Explain the basic principles of Wikipedia / Wikimedia projects in a friendly and understandable manner even if it is obvious to you and create instruction pages where these are explained in an understandable way.
  • Re-educate experienced users to use more friendly communication.
  • Give credit for being friendly to newbies, recognition, (gamification here?).
  • Encourage the use of discussion pages.
  • we need a much better manual and shorter summarized rule book (each rule is 8 pages long) – every rule should be a single sentence – and then put all nutshells in one page (“WP:Plain and simple” on enwiki?)
  • New editors want to create articles – and the feedback comes after weeks – speed up the process of checking new articles and giving feedback and improve the quality of the feedback.

Positive reinforcement:

  • Giving new editors recognition or a reward or a badge to show that they have learned something – a barnstar that you get for learning something – and each time you learn something the barnstar gets bigger. (example from enwiki) This may expand to include recognition of experienced users who complete education in nonviolent/civil communication or provide hospitality to new users.
  • Show after a week or month how many people saw the change and were positively affected.
  • Monthly emails showing how many people read the page you edited and used your knowledge, with a message like “the change you have made helped this amount of people.”
  • Give a “thumbs up” even for little things – Use ‘Thank you’ button right next to editor contributions.
  • Give recognition of outstanding edits (example dewiki: three level “barnstar type”).
  • Community post “achievement of the week” (enwiki).
  • Choose “contributor of the month” or “of the year” by the community.
  • More motivating messages – we are used to saying “work not good” but don’t get exercise giving out more positive messages.


  • Consider the expectations and the clash between expectations and reality – find ways to measure why new contributors leave.
  • Be sensitive to the different types of problems in different wiki’s – because every community has a different size and history, they work differently.
  • Recruit new people (events, museums, schools…)
  • Place a banner on Wikipedia with an explicit invitation to edit: if you want to edit follow this link and people are invited to meetup (But this should be displayed as part of the software, not an advertisement).
  • Do better research on why people do not edit even if they want or why they do an initial edit but do not become ongoing contributor.
  • Create a list of good ideas on meta. (Action point: share this list with the list of attendees of the discussion).
  • Introduce a “Panic button”: “here you can get help.”
  • Provide a way for new users to give feedback on how they have been treated.
  • Encourage new users to communicate with each other about their experiences.
  • Improve the (welcome/warning) templates to make them look less impersonal.
  • Provide a safe space for new users, such as a Draft namespace.
  • Make the edit button more inviting: for example, don’t show a blank page when creating a new article. Boost the confidence of new users.
  • Be humble in the front of expertise of new users who happen to be expert – recognize experts when they come around.
  • Specialist groups: specialist gathers users with expertise around a subject.

by carlosmonterrey at September 04, 2014 08:04 PM

Luis Villa

My Wikimania 2014 talks

Primarily what I did during Wikimania was chew on pens.

Discussing Fluid Lobbying at Wikimania 2014, by  Sebastiaan ter Burg, under CC BY 2.0
Discussing Fluid Lobbying at Wikimania 2014, by Sebastiaan ter Burg, under CC BY 2.0

However, I also gave some talks.

The first one was on Creative Commons 4.0, with Kat Walsh. While targeted at Wikimedians, this may be of interest to others who want to learn about CC 4.0 as well.

<iframe height="380px" mozallowfullscreen="true" src="http://lu.is/blog/wp-content/plugins/viewerjs-wordpress-0.5.2/index.html#/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Creative-Commons-4.0-Wikimania-2014-1.pdf" style="border: 1px solid black; border-radius: 5px;" webkitallowfullscreen="true" width="450px"></iframe>

Second one was on Open Source Hygiene, with Stephen LaPorte. This one is again Wikimedia-specific (and I’m afraid less useful without the speaker notes) but may be of interest to open source developers more generally.

<iframe height="380px" mozallowfullscreen="true" src="http://lu.is/blog/wp-content/plugins/viewerjs-wordpress-0.5.2/index.html#/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Open-Source-Hygiene-1.pdf" style="border: 1px solid black; border-radius: 5px;" webkitallowfullscreen="true" width="450px"></iframe>

The final one was on sharing; video is below (and I’ll share the slides once I figure out how best to embed the notes, which are pretty key to understanding the slides):
<iframe frameborder="0" height="270" scrolling="no" src="http://new.livestream.com/accounts/9511962/events/3254470/videos/59353387/player?width=480&amp;height=270&amp;autoPlay=false&amp;mute=false" width="480"></iframe>

by Luis Villa at September 04, 2014 07:06 PM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata & #Commons - It is all about the #presentation

Commons is to be Wikidatified. There was an hour long chat about it. It is quite unstructured and it is all about details. At the start a reference is made to the initial document. The motivation for the whole exercise as stated is utterly disappointing:
"The Structured Data project is a proposal to store and retrieve information for media files in machine-readable format on Wikimedia Commons and other sites, so they are easier to view, search, edit, curate and use."
I could not care less that machines can read the format.. Important is that people, not machines are able to find media files in their own language, When people upload a media file, that media file should be available to the whole of our community so that the file will be actually used.

When the Wikidatification of media files is done to help PEOPLE, not machines, objectives can be formulated that are "must have" to all of us. We can have objectives where 50% achievement is a big thing. Consider an eight year old in Whatever country. They speak Whatever. This eight year old enters "phifflesticks"; this is Whatever for "horse". He or she can choose from 50% of all the media files we have about horses.. now THAT is a big achievement. It is 100% better than we are able to do today.

Presented like this, when it takes Wikidatification to make this happen, there is a clear objective, It is obvious why we should do this.

When Wikidata and the Wikidatification of Commons is to be well presented. It needs appealing objectives. Objectives that provide sufficient reasons to allow for the stress and upheaval that is needed to make this happen. Obvious objectives enable clear goals for instance
  •  all the subjects that children learn about in the first two years of primary school have labels in the language of the child
  • the number of downloaded images is measured and the downloads are to increase by 100% in a year
  • new files are given tags that enable finding and using these files
  • tags are added both manually and automatically
  • tags are gaining more labels in the languages we support
What we do is for humans. This needs to be obvious. When it is, a chat is not about retaining categories and templates. In the end they are not relevant at all. Finding pictures of a kitty, a doggie or a horsie is.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at September 04, 2014 06:38 AM

September 02, 2014

Wikimedia Foundation

Building a Better Wikimedia Together: Open Call for Grants Proposals

Share your idea for Individual Engagement Grants and get advice!

How do Wikimedia programs and projects start? In the beginning, there is an idea. If you want to build a better Wikimedia and want to focus on a specific issue, Individual Engagement Grants (IEG) can help you achieve this. The IEG program is staging a new open call for proposals. You can submit yours this month from September 1st to the 30th!

Your idea doesn’t have to be a massive, game-changing project (although big ideas are welcome!). It could be a new tool or gadget, an experiment in improving a community space, research on an important issue facing Wikimedia projects, or something else aimed at helping build Wikimedia community and content. Whether you need $200 or $30,000, Individual Engagement Grants can cover project development time and expenses for you and your team.

How does it work?

User I JethroBT at IdeaLab mixer in Wikimania London.

The program has a flexible schedule and reporting structure and the Grantmaking staff are there to support you through all stages of the process. We’ll even help you find project mentors!

After you submit your proposal, the grantmaking team will go through it to make sure it meets all eligibility criteria. Proposals should support the achievement of Wikimedia’s mission and strategic priorities. We are looking for experiments with high potential for learning and impact, and lots of community engagement, among other selection criteria.

IEG barnstar

Proposals are commented on and reviewed by the community from October 1 to November 3rd, and grantees are announced on December 5.

Some ideas funded in the past include a pronunciation recording tool for Wiktionary, a Medicine Translation Project, Reimagining Wikipedia Mentorship, and both community organizing initiatives and research on Wikipedia’s gender gap. Check out the list of all projects that received funding in the past IEG round for inspiration.

Test your idea and get advice

IdeaLab Hangout dates:

Do you have have a good idea, but you are worried that it isn’t developed enough for a grant? Put it into the IdeaLab, where volunteers and staff will give you advice and guidance on how to bring it to life.

During the month of September, we’ll be hosting three online Hangout sessions for real-time help on how to make your proposal better. The first one, How to Write an IEG Proposal, will take place on September 16, at 1600 UTC.

By working together we can make an impact on the future of Wikimedia projects. We are excited to see the new ways your project ideas can support the Wikimedia community! Share your proposal in September.

María CruzCommunity Coordinator of Program Evaluation & Design

by carlosmonterrey at September 02, 2014 11:10 PM

Luis Villa

Wikimania 2014 Notes – very miscellaneous

A collection of semi-random notes from Wikimania London, published very late:

Gruppenfoto Wikimania 2014 London, by Ralf Roletschek, under CC BY-SA 3.0 Austria

The conference generally

  • Tone: Overall tone of the conference was very positive. It is possibly just small sample size—any one person can only talk to a small number of the few thousand at the conference—but seemed more upbeat/positive than last year.
  • Tone, 2: The one recurring negative theme was concern about community tone, from many angles, including Jimmy. I’m very curious to see how that plays out. I agree, of course, and will do my part, both at WMF and when I’m editing. But that sort of social/cultural change is very hard.
  • Speaker diversity: Heard a few complaints about gender balance and other diversity issues in the speaker lineup, and saw a lot of the same (wonderful!) faces as last year. I’m wondering if there are procedural changes (like maybe blind submissions, or other things from this list) might bring some new blood and improve diversity.
  • “Outsiders”: The conference seemed to have better representation than last year from “outside” our core community. In particular, it was great for me to see huge swathes of the open content/open access movements represented, as well as other free software projects like Mozilla. We should be a movement that works well with others, and Wikimania can/should be a key part of that, so this was a big plus for me.
  • Types of talks: It would be interesting to see what the balance was of talks (and submissions) between “us learning about the world” (e.g., me talking about CC), “us learning about ourselves” (e.g., the self-research tracks), and “the world learning about us” (e.g., aimed at outsiders). Not sure there is any particular balance we should have between the three of them, but it might be revealing to see what the current balance is.
  • Less speaking, more conversing: Next year I will probably propose mostly (only?) panels and workshops, and I wonder if I can convince others to do the same. I can do a talk+slides and stream it at any time; what I can only do in person is have deeper, higher-bandwidth conversations.
  • Physical space and production values: The hackathon space was amazingly fun for me, though I got the sense not everyone agreed. The production values (and the rest of the space) for the conference were very good. I’m torn on whether or not the high production values are a plus for us, honestly. They raise the bar for participation (bad); make the whole event feel somewhat… un-community-ish(?); but they also make us much more accessible to people who aren’t yet ready for the full-on, super-intense Wikimedian Experience.

The conference for projects I work on

  • LCA: Legal/Community Affairs was pretty awesome on many fronts—our talks, our work behind the scenes, our dealing with both the expected and unexpected, etc. Deeply proud to be part of this dedicated, creative team. Also very appreciative for everyone who thanked us—it means a lot when we hear from people we’ve helped.
  • Maps: Great seeing so much interest in Open Street Map. Had a really enjoyable time at their 10th birthday meetup; was too bad I had to leave early. Now have a better understanding of some of the technical issues after a chat with Kolossos and Katie. Also had just plain fun geeking out about “hard choices” like map boundaries—I find how communities make decisions about problems like that fascinating.
  • Software licensing: My licensing talk with Stephen went well, but probably should have been structured as part of the hackathon rather than for more general audiences. Ultimately this will only work out if engineering (WMF and volunteer) is on board, and will work best if engineering leads. (The question asked by Mako afterwards has already led to patches, which is cool.)
  • Creative Commons: My CC talk with Kat went well, and got some good questions. Ultimately the rubber will meet the road when the translations are out and we start the discussion with the full community. Also great meeting User:Multichill; looking forward to working on license templates with him and May from design.
  • Metadata: The multimedia metadata+licensing work is going to be really challenging, but very interesting and ultimately very empowering for everyone who wants to work with the material on commons. Look forward to working with a large/growing number of people on this project.
  • Advocacy: Advocacy panel was challenging, in a good way. A variety of good, useful suggestions; but more than anything else, I took away that we should probably talk about how we talk when subjects are hard, and consensus may be difficult to reach. Examples would include when there is a short timeline for a letter, or when topics are deeply controversial for good, honest reasons.

The conference for me

  • Lesson (1): Learned a lesson: never schedule a meeting for the day after Wikimania. Odds of being productive are basically zero, though we did get at least some things done.
  • Lesson (2): I badly overbooked myself; it hurt my ability to enjoy the conference and meet everyone I wanted to meet. Next year I’ll try to be more focused in my commitments so I can benefit more from spontaneity, and get to see some slightly less day-job-related (but enjoyable or inspirational) talks/presentations.
  • Research: Love that there is so much good/interesting research going on, and do deeply think that it is important to understand it so that I can apply it to my work. Did not get to see very much of it, though :/
  • Arguing with love: As tweeted about by Phoebe, one of the highlights was a vigorous discussion (violent agreement :) with Mako over dinner about the four freedoms and how they relate to just/empowering software more broadly. Also started a good, vigorous discussion with SJ about communication and product quality, but we sadly never got to finish that.
  • Recharging: Just like GUADEC in my previous life, I find these exhausting but also ultimately exhilarating and recharging. Can’t wait to get to Mexico City!


  • London: I really enjoy London—the mix of history and modernity is amazing. Bonus: I think the beer scene has really improved since the last time I was there.
  • Movies: I hardly ever watch movies anymore, even though I love them. Knocked out 10 movies in the 22 hours in flight. On the way to London:
    • Grand Hotel Budapest (the same movie as every other one of his movies, which is enjoyable)
    • Jodorowsky’s Dune (awesome if you’re into scifi)
    • Anchorman (finally)
    • Stranger than Fiction (enjoyed it, but Adaptation was better)
    • Captain America, Winter Soldier (not bad?)
  • On the way back:
    • All About Eve (finally – completely compelling)
    • Appleseed:Alpha (weird; the awful dialogue and wooden “faces” of computer animated actors clashed particularly badly with the clasically great dialogue and acting of All About Eve)
    • Mary Poppins (having just seen London; may explain my love of magico-realism?)
    • The Philadelphia Story (great cast, didn’t engage me otherwise)
    • Her (very good)

by Luis Villa at September 02, 2014 08:24 PM

Jeroen De Dauw

Wikibase DataModel 1.0

I’m happy to announce the 1.0 release of Wikibase DataModel. Wikibase DataModel is the canonical PHP implementation of the Data Model at the heart of the Wikibase software.

This is a big release which has been some time in the making, even though many additions have been split of and included in previous releases. The highlights are as follows:

Removal of the (de)serialization code

The entities and value objects in Wikibase DataModel used to have toArray and newFromArray methods. This caused several problems, such as having a pile of static code, depending on configuration (which was done via global state) and adding support for an arbitrary array format to the responsibilities of the objects. This has been fully removed, and can now be done via the dedicated serialization components (Public format, internal format) which where released some time back.

In earlier versions of Wikibase DataModel, the Item and Property classes contained the array representation internally rather than fields for the value objects items and properties contain. While this was not visible via the getters and setters, which dealt with those value objects, it was exposed in the constructor. As of DataModel 1.0, the constructors take the value objects rather than the array representation.

Deprecation of Entity

Type hinting against the Entity class has been deprecated. This was announced on the Wikidata tech list some time back. While the class is still there, most methods it defines have been deprecated, and some have been removed. A new EntityDocument interface has been introduced in version 0.8.2, which can be used instead. As part of the cleanup here, Item has been made to only accept statements, rather than all claims, as it wrongly did before.


Many more changes and additions where made. You can view the full list of changes affecting users of the component in the release notes.

by Jeroen at September 02, 2014 04:33 PM

Wikimedia UK

Your pictures on one of the busiest websites in the world?

The image is the logo of Wiki Loves Monuments and features a white jigsaw puzzle piece on a red background

This post was written by Michael Maggs, a volunteer organiser of Wiki Loves Monuments (and Wikimedia UK Chair)

September is your chance to take part in the annual photography competition to improve Wikipedia. The encyclopaedia is visited by 500 million people every month, and is seeking help from RPS members improve its photos.

Wiki Loves Monuments is aimed at improving coverage of the UK’s listed buildings and ancient monuments, and starts on Monday 1st September. The contest is supported by the Royal Photographic Society, English Heritage, and Wikimedia UK (the UK charity that supports Wikipedia and its sister projects).

We’ve got lots of pictures of Tower Bridge and Stonehenge, but there’s so much more of the country’s heritage to celebrate. There are tens of thousands of eligible sites, so check out the UK competition website and see what’s nearby. As well as prizes for the best image, we have a special prize this year for the best image of a listed building on one of the ‘At Risk’ registers.

It doesn’t matter when your photos are taken so long as they are uploaded during September 2014. If you took some stunning pictures back in April, or five years ago, you can still upload them.

In line with the charitable and educational aims of the contest, you’ll need to agree to release your entries under a free licence allowing them to be freely used by anyone for any purpose, including Wikipedia. You retain copyright, and can require anyone using your images to attribute them to you as photographer.

Help us show off your images of your local history!

The competition is open until Tuesday 30 September. You can see full details of how to enter here.

by Stevie Benton at September 02, 2014 01:53 PM

September 01, 2014

Wikimedia DC

Congress edits Wikipedia: Our perspective as Wikipedians in the nation’s capital

A screenshot of the CongressEdits Twitter feed from September 1, 2014.

By Peter Meyer and James Hare

This past July, programmer Ed Summers created CongressEdits, a Twitter feed that posts an update every time an edit to Wikipedia is made anonymously from an IP address belonging to the United States Congress. Wikipedians who edit through a registered account have their edits attributed to their username, while those who edit without being logged in have their edits attributed to their IP address. The range of IP addresses used by Congressional offices is public knowledge, and the Twitter bot reports only those where the person posting wasn’t logged in. In fact, Wikipedia administrators have been watching out for Congressional edits for years.

CongressEdits provided a new level of visibility to these edits. The Twitter account has around 30,000 followers as of writing; by comparison, the English-language Wikipedia has 1,400 administrators. The visibility and resulting press coverage generated a lot of interest in Wikipedia on the Hill—particularly since some of the edits are disruptive (and sometimes downright hateful). That said, they are mostly the kind of juvenile or disruptive edits that Wikipedia deals with every minute of every day without incident, notable only because of where the edits are coming from. Over the years Wikipedia has developed sophisticated technologies, including filters that prevent certain edits from even happening, that ensure that most trivial vandalism gets swiftly undone.

Most press coverage of CongressEdits has focused on acts of vandalism, and one would think we would want to chase Congressional staff away. In fact, Wikimedia DC welcomes edits by Congressional staff and the staffs of federal government agencies. Government staff are experts in areas of public interest, including very new hot topics. They play a promising role in our mission to make a better online reference work, with notable, neutrally phrased, verifiable content. We can overlook minor discretions and work with Capitol Hill and all federal employees to forge a path forward.

Recently we partnered with the Cato Institute for a panel on editing Wikipedia on Capitol Hill. You can read about it inU.S. News and World Report. Cato and Wikimedia DC both agree that Congress does have a part to play in Wikipedia—not political advocacy, but transparently improving the quality of information about legislation and other Congressional activity. This includes not just direct edits to articles, but making data about government more open and machine-readable for reuse in highly visible third-party platforms like Wikipedia. There is a great potential for Wikipedia as a platform to increase awareness of Congress’ activities, a potential we should not overlook.

Best practices for federal employees

Wikimedia DC is interested in developing best practices for employees at all levels of government. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has been working with the Wikipedia community since 2011, pioneering government engagement with Wikipedia and showcasing the potential to serve the public.

If you or your agency are interested in participating as a Wikipedia editor, we recommend these basic best practices:

  • Register individual accounts. By registering an account, it helps you develop goodwill with the Wikipedia community. Fellow editors get the sense that they are working with another person, not a shadowy figure hiding behind an IP address. However, Wikipedia’s policies do not permit the registration of group or company accounts; each account must be used by one person only.
  • Acknowledge your potential conflicts of interest. The community of volunteers that maintains Wikipedia cares very strongly about potential conflict of interest. To this end, avoid editing articles on your boss or your employer. Additionally, being transparent about your affiliation can help build trust. NARA has a standard format for conflict-of-interest disclaimers, a format which can be freely copied and re-used by others in the federal government.
  • Look into other agencies’ best practices. Some agencies have published best practices on Wikipedia participation, including NARAthe Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Institutes of Health. These are best practices you may wish to incorporate, should you have the opportunity to develop best practices for your own agency. We also recommend reading Why CongressEdits Matters for Your Agency on DigitalGov.

Peter Meyer is the Treasurer of Wikimedia DC and the Chair of Wikimedia DC’s Public Policy Committee. James Hare is the President of Wikimedia DC.

by James at September 01, 2014 09:06 PM

Wiki Education Foundation

Happy Labor Day!

In honor of Labor Day in the United States, read about the New Orleans dock workers and unionization. Thanks to student editor SummerStream in Eben Moglen’s fall 2011 American legal history course at Columbia University for starting this article.

Jami Mathewson
Educational Partnerships Manager

by Jami Mathewson at September 01, 2014 05:41 PM

Wikimedia UK

Welcoming our Programme Intern

Photo shows Roberta Wedge in the Wikimedia UK office

Roberta Wedge, Wikimedia UK Programme Intern

This section was written by Daria Cybulska, Programme Manager

One of Wikimedia UK’s key aims as a charity is to teach under-represented groups how to edit Wikipedia (women make up about 10% of editors), and develop under-represented content (e.g. Women in Science). Wikimedia UK has been running ‘Women in Science’ editathons for the last two years – one of the first ones was the much acclaimed Royal Society event to celebrate Ada Lovelace Day in 2012  ) – as a part of the wider Ada Lovelace Day celebrations.

In 2013 our editathons have expanded and received extremely positive responses from the attendees and in general. They were organised with a strong support from the Medical Research Council, which enabled us to deliver events in partnerships with other organisations who hosted them and invited people from their networks to attend. Since then we have been contacted by various organisations interested in collaborating with us further.

Thanks to the popularity of these activities we decided to give more capacity for organising these diversity events (logistics can take a lot of time and effort!), and perhaps even growing the group of people who are interested and keen to be involved in this programme.

This leads me to welcoming Roberta Wedge, our Programme Intern, who is joining us for four months to particularly focus on Ada Lovelace 2014, but also support the gender gap activities in general. (To learn more about the role visit this page.)

This section was written by Roberta Wedge, Programme Intern

Wikipedia is a miracle of human ingenuity and vision and hard work. It can transform lives, and perhaps even save them, as with the recent Ebola initiative. It is also fraught with human difficulties and limitations. One result of that – and one of the worst or most worrying aspects of Wikipedia, from my perspective – is that the vast majority of editors are male, with all the ramifications that that brings. If women’s voices are not heard, and women’s stories are not told, the world as a whole is the poorer. The same goes for every under-represented group.

One of the best and most heartening aspects of Wikimedia UK (and, from what I know of them, other chapters and the Foundation too) is the acknowledgement that this gender gap is a problem, and the commitment to changing the situation. There’s a relevant parallel here. Educators and employers in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) know that they have to work intelligently to build the pipeline (encourage girls in) and stop the leaks (keep women in the workforce). Just as women in STEM are under-represented but present, so are women in Wikimedia projects less likely to join and more likely to leave.

I’ll be working on this with Wikimedia UK until the end of the year. One of the main things I want to do is organise editathons, and possibly other events, to engage more women to edit, and to encourage everyone to edit related subjects. The biographies of women in science are an obvious starting point. I expect I’ll be approaching GLAMs, universities, and learned societies, both existing and new partners, as potential hosts.

Once Ada Lovelace Day is over, there’s Women’s History Month on the horizon. Aside from organising events, and finding ways to persuade those of you reading this to set up your own events, I want to collect ideas that might help structural change. One example: a volunteer (who I won’t name, without his permission) mentioned in passing that for each biography of a man that he creates, he makes a point of creating at least one about a woman. It’s a simple step, but it makes a difference.

If you have any ideas, please get in touch.

by Stevie Benton at September 01, 2014 05:06 PM

Joseph Reagle

Wikipedia's citation mess and how to cope

Wikipedia citations and bibliographies are a confusing mess. This just isn't the case for newbies, but also experienced academics. In "Wikipedia's Citation Mess and How to Cope" I explain some sources of confusion and recommend a better (but uncommon) approach to using citations at Wikipedia.

by Joseph Reagle at September 01, 2014 04:00 AM

Tech News

Tech News issue #36, 2014 (September 1, 2014)

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September 01, 2014 12:00 AM

August 31, 2014

Wiki Loves Monuments

Wiki Loves Monuments 2014 Has Started

Wiki Loves Monuments 2014 Has Started – Good Luck to all participants and all new participating countries.

Wiki Loves Monuments is an annual event which takes place across the globe every September,  for the past five years.

The competition is designed to bring together people who value their local historic environment with amateur and professional photographers alike to capture images of the world’s historic monuments.

These photos are then shared with the world under free licences via Wikimedia Commons, a free media repository which amongst other things provides most of the images for Wikipedia.

by Deror Lin at August 31, 2014 08:02 PM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata - my #workflow enriching Wikidata using tools

As I have other commitments, I do not have the same amount of time to do what I used to do. The workflow I use is now quite stable and dependable so I am happy to publish it. It is fairly easy and obvious. You can do this too.

Important are objectives; mine are:
  • make Wikidata more informative by adding relevant statements
  • Provide the basis for further usage of data
My workflow is based on the people who died in 2014. This is reported in categories. ToolScript informs me about all items that do not have a date of death. Every line represents an item; typically they are human but there are also horses and other critters included. I click the Reasonator icon and, the links to articles provide me with the first lines of that article. Typically the date of birth and death are included. I copy this text when it is not English and use Google translate. From the translated text I copy the dob dod. I click on the Qnumber in the Reasonator and add these dates in Wikidata.

The ToolScript can easily point to 2013 or any other year. Obviously you can make your own script to do whatever.

Once somebody is a registered dead, I look at the article for interesting categories. They can be anything from "Alma mater university x" to "player of Whatever FC". Most interesting are the implied facts NOT reported from the dearly departed. Any category may contain hundreds of other items for whom we are not aware about said fact. The first thing to do is to document said category, this category can be on any wiki. Documenting is done by including a statement with "is a list of" "human" and have a qualifier like "alma mater" "University X". Reasonator will show at most the first 500 entries of the resulting query.

When many entries are still missing, Autolist2 is the tool to use. From the Reasonator page of the category, copy the name of the category, the P and the Q value to the appropriate spot. Do not forget to make sure that the right Wiki has been selected (en in the example). Consider the depth; depth 0 is safest. Make sure that the WDQ mode is on "AND" and press "Run". This will generate the list that is selected for processing. Check the list and copy the P and Q values to the control box. Click "Process commands" when you feel comfortable with the results. Once the process starts, you will find the changes in the Reasonator page for the item you add statements for, in the example of the illustration it is the New Zealand Order of Merit

For best results most entries are often in the "local language" like this example for people who work(ed) at the university of Innsbruck.

With a workflow like this you are more effective. The work is documented and slowly but surely Wikidata becomes truly informative.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at August 31, 2014 07:55 AM

August 29, 2014

Wikimedia Foundation

Evaluation Portal on Meta: A Redesigned Space for Learning

Heading - Evaluation portal.png

Just over one year ago, the Wikimedia Foundation started talking about evaluating programs like Wiki Loves Monuments and the Wikipedia Education Program. The goal was to grow support for program leaders to evaluate activities and outcomes that would lead to learning and improving the effectiveness of their programs.

As we have engaged in this work, the collection of evaluation resources has grown significantly. In order to better support program leaders and the broader community in learning about evaluation, we had to reimagine our pages on meta. We are happy to introduce you to the newly redesigned evaluation portal!

Plan screenshot - Evaluation portal.png
Contact us screenshot - Evaluation portal.png
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Evaluation at Wikimedia screenshot-Evaluation portal.png
Upcoming events screenshot - Evaluation portal.png

Improved organization

The new portal has four main sections with evaluation resources: Study, Plan, Measure and Share. Two other sections, Connect and News & Events, are spaces for networking within the evaluation community through talk pages, online and face-to-face events. We’d like to take a moment to explain these sections and how they may be useful for anyone who wants to evaluate their programs.

Study. Program evaluation is an academic field, with its own language and theory that can be studied. The Study section has resources to guide new evaluators with the vocabulary, theory and strategies related to evaluation in the Wikimedia movement.

The Glossary is one of the most valuable pages that defines some of the key terms that may be used in conversations about program evaluation. Explanations for phrases like program leader or program implementation, are found here. With evaluation, it can often help to read what others have done. You go through examples about how evaluation fits within the movement in Evaluation in the Wikimedia Movement: Case studies. Step-by-step guides called Learning modules walk through resources and tools for evaluating a program. Some of the topics include writing surveys and using Wikimetrics.

Plan. Evaluating a program means to plan in advance. This section of the portal is designed to include the important steps to planning an evaluation: identifying goals, choosing targets for those goals and deciding which metrics to use for measuring those targets.

Choosing Goals and Measures provides guidance for setting outcome targets. Once you identify your goal (or goals), you might review Program Resources as a most basic guide of best practices and associated program goals and metrics. If your program is slightly different, or if you are creating a new program, the Logic Model is a great process to map your program’s or project’s vision. Explore Learning Patterns related to implementation to learn how to collect usernames, how to ask about gender, or how to advertise a program.

Measure. In order to evaluate a program you must know what and how you will measure progress toward your goals. The Measure section can help: it provides strategies for collecting and keeping track of data.

Tracking and monitoring can capture data for telling the story of a program, how the program is working and where improvements might be needed. The Reporting and Tracking Toolkit offers guidance and templates for tracking a program, from the inputs, like hours or money, to the outputs, like t how many participants and the outcomes, like the number of editors retained. Wikimetrics is a useful tool for easily measuring user contributions on Wikimedia projects. Meanwhile, surveys can measure participant’s attributes (e.g. gender, hometown), attitudes (e.g. motivation to edit), or behaviors (e.g. how many times they edit per week). The Survey Question Bank is a repository for questions searchable by program goal or the survey goal and Qualtrics, an online survey platform, is a tool program leaders may access for large-scale online surveys.

Share. A key aspect of learning and evaluation is sharing what you know. This section is the portal space where the entire community can share results of activities and evaluations related to Wikimedia programs.

Writing and sharing reports can be very helpful for learning from one another about evaluation strategies. Evaluation Reports (beta) is an initial collection of program impact reports that provides many details on the process and ways to analyze data. Program leaders can also read or post Case Studies to show the work they have done. In addition to sharing reports, it is great to share tips or solutions to problems you have found along the way. Creating or endorsing Learning Patterns are great ways to reflect and share with your peers.

Better spaces for Communication

Connect is a space for the evaluation community to talk about evaluation, metrics, programs and to meet one another.

If you are involved in planning, implementing, or evaluating Wikimedia projects and programs, add your photo to the Community section and share which programs you have been involved in. If you want to ask a question about evaluation, this is the place to post it on-wiki.

News and Events is for the Learning and Evaluation team to post upcoming events we are hosting, or hear about from community members, related to Wikimedia learning and evaluation.

We frequently host Virtual Meet-ups and training events to build our shared knowledge around programs, measurement and evaluation. Follow this page to keep up with upcoming events and learning opportunities!

Visit the Portal @ meta:Grants:Evaluation

While the sections and resources in the portal will continue to develop, we hope that the new organization will help all of us better navigate the useful content that is held there. Please visit the portal and let us know how it can help you! Also feel free to post us any feedback about the site’s organization or content.

As always, email eval@wikimedia.org if you have any questions!

Edward Galvez, Program Evaluation Associate of Learning & Evaluation

by carlosmonterrey at August 29, 2014 10:19 PM