November 21, 2014

Wikimedia UK

The winners of Wiki Loves Monuments 2014 in the UK

Have you seen the UK winners of the 2014 Wiki Loves Monuments competition?

Wiki Loves Monuments is the global photography contest and the objective is to collect high quality photographs of some of the world’s most important historic sites. In the UK, this means listed buildings and scheduled monuments so there are possible subjects all over the country.

More than 500 people took part in the UK competition, contributing over 7,000 photos to Wikimedia Commons, one of the world’s largest repositories of freely licensed media files. From there the images can be used across various Wikimedia sites, and volunteers have started the process of using these images to illustrate and improve Wikipedia.

Organised by Wikimedia UK volunteers and supported by English Heritage and the Royal Photographic Society who were represented on the judging panel, this year marked the second time the UK took part in the competition.

As well as the top ten we have two special prizes for the best images of a building on an ‘At Risk’ register. These are structures considered in need of repair and maintenance, and the photographs are one step in preserving these structures for future generations. The two special awards are UK-specific, and the top ten go forward to the international judges.

Thumbnails of the winning entries are below but you can see them in all of their glory here on Wikimedia Commons.

First prize: St Michaels Mount, Marazion, Cornwall by Fuzzypiggy Second prize: Houses of Parliament and Westminster Bridge, London by Fuzzypiggy Third prize: Tower Bridge at Dawn by Fuzzypiggy Highly commended: The Fyrish Monument in December by Reg Tait Highly commended: Roof of Bell Harry Tower, Canterbury Cathedral by Tobiasvonderhaar Highly commended: Dolwilym Burial Chamber (known as Arthur’s Table or Gwal y Filiast) by Karen Sawyer Highly commended: Neist Point Lighthouse by Lionel Ulmer Highly commended: Victorian valves at Victoria Baths, Manchester by RevDave Highly commended: The Cloisters below Bute Hall, Glasgow University by Michael Harris Highly commended: The National Wallace Monument, Stirling, Scotland by Photofinger Special award: Govanhill Baths, Glasgow by Edwardx Special award: Victoria Baths, Manchester by RevDave

If you have photographs taken by yourself of historic sites in the United Kingdom, please consider uploading them to Wikimedia Commons. The competition is closed, but your efforts can help improve a value resource filled with images which can be freely reused.

by Richard Nevell at November 21, 2014 01:58 PM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikimedia - first #standardisation, then #specialisation

The hardware and software used by the Wikimedia Foundation is increasingly standardised. It uses the same software and the configuration is centrally maintained. Good news; it makes for a stable platform. A stable platform allows us to share in "the sum of all available knowledge".

With this process well under way, special attention can be given to special projects. It has probably escaped your attention that the WMF now has a "Services group". They are the engineers that support the standalone software components that often run on their own machines and have very specific jobs, such as "generate a PDF from this article".

Wonderful news. When it did not escape your attention, did you notice that Stas Malyshev is getting up to speed on the Wikidata Query Service[1], figuring out what we need to do to make it suitable for widespread deployment of WikiGrok[2])?

Effectively it means that Magnus's query tool will be used by an updated version of the Games [3]. Now is that not sweet; Wikidata data being USED to leverage our community to improve Wikidata even more.
  1. https://wdq.wmflabs.org/
  2. http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/<wbr></wbr>Extension:MobileFrontend/<wbr></wbr>WikiGrokhttps://wdq.wmflabs.org/
  3. https://tools.wmflabs.org/wikidata-game/

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at November 21, 2014 07:28 AM

November 20, 2014

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikimedia & Project #Gutenberg - the sum of all knowledge

"To share in the sum of all knowledge" is the vision of the Wikimedia Foundation. The Swiss chapter does understand this really well. It has adopted Kiwix, an off line reader for content that is published in the ZIM format.

Project Gutenberg is a well established organisation dedicated to the digitisation of books. Its catalogue of 50.000 public domain books is now available to everybody, everywhere and offline as well.

Thanks to a hackathon, all books are now available in the ZIM format, you can search in all the books at the same time. The best news is that not only has this work been done for a first time, it is build in such a way that it can be easily repeated.

Future deployments may include all the books of Wikisource, books from other sources and even copyrighted works as well. The point of Kiwix is that it is an enabler, it allows for the dissemination of knowledge and to achieve THAT is what our aim is.

Congratulations to the Swiss Wikimedia chapter for providing the sustained support of this valuable project.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at November 20, 2014 10:01 AM

#Wikidata - C. Rudhraiya; #filmdirector from #India

Mr Rudhraiya studied at the Adyar Film Institute and, he recently passed away. According to some, he brought fame to his alma mater. Mr Rudhraiya also studied at the St. Joseph's College, Tiruchirappalli.

The point is not so much that Mr Rudhraiya was a studied man, it is more that we know this about him. As more information like this is known about "living persons", they get a better representation in Wikidata.

At this time only two movies of Mr Rudghraiya are known to be directed by him. There must be many more. It is possible to know all the people he worked with by connecting him through his movies, With more data this information becomes more complete.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at November 20, 2014 07:26 AM

Wikimedia Foundation

UN, Wikimedia New York deliver open, free world maps on GIS Day

For thousands of years, humans have used maps to define, understand and navigate the world in which we live. From cave drawings to star maps to geospatial navigation, maps have been an ever-improving tool for people everywhere. In today’s increasingly connected world, maps play a critical role in areas like humanitarian response to disasters, understanding the spread of disease, and much more. Like any information resource, however, maps vary in terms of accuracy and accessibility.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) believes that accurate, reliable, and easy-to-understand maps should be available to everyone. That is why they’ve partnered with Wikimedia New York City and ReliefWeb to release a collection of more than 200 freely licensed “country-location” maps that are available on Wikimedia Commons and on the ReliefWeb site. In addition, many maps are also featured on Wikipedia country pages.

We are excited to announce this collaboration on GIS Day, which provides an international forum for users of geographic information systems (GIS) technology to demonstrate real-world applications that are making a difference in our society. The project is intended to give the humanitarian community and the public access to free, accurate, and attractive maps, wherever they may be.

These maps were originally created as part of OCHA’s focus on information management and geographical visualization, in order to support the coordination of humanitarian partners during the response to an emergency or natural disaster anywhere in the world. OCHA location maps were designed to be embedded into a report or a website, offering essential information, such as main cities and neighbouring countries, while using a sleek and effective design.

Gwi-Yeop Son, Director of OCHA’s Corporate Programmes Division, said that OCHA is pleased to share the maps openly and publicly. “OCHA can now offer Wikipedia’s nearly half a billion readers the ability to study and reuse those maps as they see fit,” she said. This is thanks to the community of volunteers who dedicate time and energy to write, edit, and check entries to ensure information is current and relevant.

Access to accurate, free and reliable maps has implications for a variety of efforts, including combating climate change. The Green Growth Knowledge Platform, a partnership of more than 30 leading organizations that generate, manage and share green-growth knowledge, uses OCHA’s maps to gain geographical context important to understanding a country’s efforts to transition to a green economy. According to Amanda McKee, the Communications and Outreach Officer for the Green Growth Knowledge Platform, “the accurate and up-to-date location maps from OCHA enable us to provide this context on the 193 country dashboards offered on the Green Growth Knowledge Platform.”

Since OCHA first created the location maps, it has made a series of improvements including design updates and new territories. The accessibility of these maps allows any user to publish location maps as is, or edit each element of the content. All the maps are freely licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 unported licence.

Richard Knipel
President, Wikimedia New York City

by himam2014 at November 20, 2014 01:48 AM

Three Questions and Three Answers as Food for Thought About the Future of Wikipedia

This is an opinion piece by Amos Meron of Wikimedia Israel. All views are the author’s own; discussion is welcome in the comment section of this blog post.

What should Wikipedia (also) be?

Wikipedia prides itself of being the encyclopedia of the 21st century. Except that in the 21st century there are no encyclopedias. Wikipedia has amazingly removed this category from the face of the earth. Since we already are the biggest, most updated, shared and common encyclopedia in the world – and mostly since we are virtually the only one left – this is the time to understand what our future holds. If we settle for the status quo and only try to preserve what we have, we will soon be left behind. If we really want to fulfill our vision and provide every single human being free access to the sum of all knowledge, we should ask ourselves – where is this knowledge?

The knowledge is in books. We should move towards a future where as many of the world’s books as possible are freely licensed and are accessible in a way that allows easy reading, sharing and referencing. We could build a library of an infinite number of shelves with a community to maintain it and even provide reference desk services to the public.

The knowledge is in museums. Today’s museums contain most of the items of humanity and natural history. However, only a fraction of those items are displayed at any given time, the remainder of them stored behind closed doors for a majority of the time. We could create virtual museums with an infinite number of exhibition halls and provide access to every collection in its entirety in new and varied forms. The search capabilities, indexing and interface of the Wikimedia projects must be improved to allow this.

The knowledge is in the academy. The Open Access movement brought a significant change in the amount of academic materials that are freely accessible online. We should take the idea of free academy a few steps further and create an infrastructure not only for free publishing of papers, but also for sharing and crowdsourcing the process of research and peer review. Researchers could publish their results at various stages and receive real-time feedback from others, the entire process being open and accessible to everyone. The platform would support collaborative research where each contribution is documented and appreciated, just like in Wikipedia.

How to get new editors?

It seems that Wikipedia’s major problem in recent years is the decline in the number of new editors. So far, the discussion is focused on removing barriers and obstacles that may stand in the way of someone trying to edit: socially (closed and inflexible community) and technically (visual editor). I completely agree with this discussion and with most of the proposed and implemented solutions. However, I would like to argue something different: our main problem is not with those who tried to edit and were somehow deterred, but with those who have the potential to be great editors but never chose to try. We put our trust to provide “the sum of all knowledge” solely in the hands of the ones who are content with their satisfaction of writing and contributing, and by doing so we neglect many others. I am not suggesting, of course, to pay for editing – this would ruin the voluntary model of the community and may bring content of varied quality. But I do suggest we rethink the incentives of editing Wikipedia.

I would like to focus on the main incentive which I believe is not given adequate attention. I also believe it is the key to a real solution to the editor decline problem. This incentive is the most classic incentive of any creative – credit. Technically, it can be argued that each editor gets full credit for each and every contribution in a completely transparent way. In practice, however, the credit is “behind the scenes” since most readers are not exposed to it or even aware of its existence completely. For media files it is practical to properly present credit and the Foundation’s development teams are implementing measures which help to increase the visibility of this credit – starting with the new media viewer and later further directions for measuring the use of media files, new possibilities to express appreciation and improved views of the credit. For text, however, there is a practical problem in adequate presentation of credit in a way that does not interfere with the continuous reading of the text. Even with the most sophisticated tools (Google Docs, for example) it is impossible to give clear credit for a variety of corrections and small edits.

A possible solution to the credit problem is shifting the emphasis from recognition of individual edits to recognition of the editing activity in general. As Wikipedia grows and its quality improves, the expertise required from an active editor is expanding. Even today, veteran editors who have proven their proficiency in certain subjects are appreciated by other editors and their opinions on these issues weigh more than others’. What I suggest is to formalize this recognition in a way that would transcend the internal community of Wikipedia and would be used to glorify the resumes of its members. Just as academics define titles and grant them to each other based on academic activity, so can Wikipedians define their own hierarchy of knowledge which will be based entirely on editing activity in the Wikimedia projects. As the credibility of Wikipedia grows, so will the public’s esteem to the Wikipedian titles, and vice versa – people will understand that Wikipedia is written (also) by experts.

What are the roles of the movement entities (the Foundation and the chapters)?

Wikipedia is not only a phenomenal knowledge project, it is also a very successful social experiment that implements so many principles – sharing of knowledge, free content, volunteering, crowdsourcing, democracy, long tail and more. Above all, it is something that works in practice despite our instincts telling us it would probably fail. This is the beating heart of the project, or in one word – community. Despite the community’s obstinacy and exclusivity, we cannot and do not want to see a Wikipedia where the community is not its central and dominant ingredient. Therefore, the Foundation is correct to focus on being, first of all, a technical and legal back for the project’s activity and second, the source of improvements and innovation in software and design. This is the professional added value of the Foundation that a volunteer community often cannot provide.

But the Foundation should not stop there. Just as it is leading Wikipedia’s vital design renovation and the initiatives for more advanced software, so too should it be building strategic foundations that go beyond its comfort zone and challenge the entire movement. Thus, it should be implementing ideas like the ones mentioned above – infrastructure for Wikipedia museums or a program for community hierarchy of knowledge. There is no need for a top-down implementations. It is sufficient for the Foundation to introduce the possibilities, and the tools to implement them to the community – and the necessary changes, in the end, will happen by themselves. When the community is growing more closed and stagnant, it is in the hands of the Foundation to challenge the status quo, or the entire project will be left behind.

While the Foundation operates to fulfill the community’s professional needs, the chapters are the earthly representatives of the movement around the world. When strictly online communication is not enough, a chapter’s role is to provide the bridge. In practice, besides arranging community meetings, advocating for changes in legislation, raise awareness for free content and other necessary activities, the chapters should focus on three types of content projects that aim to expand the scope of knowledge in Wikipedia and/or bring new editors:

First, projects with organizations that own the information or collection – these are, among others, galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM). In recent years there has been major progress in promoting collaborations and projects with these institutions, but sometimes through the flux of activity the long-term goal might be forgotten: to bring all the information or collection to Wikipedia (or: “give us everything you have”) and by doing so, focus in our most important added value – providing access to all of it, freely, to the whole world, in every language and at any time. The means to achieve this vision is a technological solution in the form of the above mentioned virtual museums with the chapters’ role being to direct collaborations with the institutions. Possible tools to gain cooperation with the institutions are: providing them with services or solutions for digitization of their content, acting to release it under free license by giving counsel and guidance on these issues, creating tools for measurement and statistics and teaching their staff how to share their content themselves on Wikimedia projects. All of these should be done on a large scale using apt volunteers recruited not necessarily from the Wikipedians. The fulfillment of this goal would obviously benefit the institutions, increasing their importance in the eyes of the public. Our activities in these projects are in the right direction, but we need to start thinking bigger to achieve real impact.

Second, projects with organizations whose members include experts in their field – Many organizations – such as a football club, the Ministry of Agriculture, or the ornithology department of a university – unite people around a certain field of knowledge, whether formally or recreationally. The chapters should identify these organizations and encourage their members to contribute to Wikipedia, whether by editing directly or in other ways (such as joint content ventures). People engaging in a certain field are usually interested in promoting public knowledge of their field, which is another unique incentive for writing. Therefore, the main effort here (except practical guidance) is advocacy about the importance of free knowledge and Wikipedia’s role in providing access to knowledge (or: “Wikipedia is where the people are”). These projects present a tremendous growth opportunity for the chapters.

And finally, projects that are based on people and communities – The chapters should be creative and innovative in different ways to create communities and activities around free knowledge and contribution to Wikimedia projects. Located at the heart of the people in the various countries, the chapters can appeal to new audiences and communities with common denominators, such as a community of common origin, interest, workplace and so on. Such projects hold the greatest potential for the chapters because the social gathering will form around Wikimedia projects and because with these projects the general population may be approached. Many examples of such projects can be found today in various chapters: from content creation competitions such as editing contest or “Wiki Loves Monuments”, to editathons on different topics, all the way to innovative projects for creation and accessibility of content such as WikiAir or MPs voice recording. These types of projects make the most exciting and discussed initiatives in the movement and in order to engage more people we need more innovation!

Amos Meron

Wikimedia Israel

by wikimediablog at November 20, 2014 12:05 AM

November 19, 2014

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikipedia - Nel Garritsen, a Dutch swimmer

Mrs Garritsen is one of only a few people who are known to have died and has an article in the Dutch Wikipedia. In that article it is currently not known that she died. We know it in Wikidata courtesy of the article in the English Wikipedia.

Every Wikipedia do things their own way. By not having categories for people who died in a given year, there is no way to know about the recent deaths known in the Dutch Wikipedia. It is also not possible to indicate to the Dutch Wikipedians what people are known to be dead in other sources.

Mechanisms like this help to ensure that proper information is available for "living people". Arguably, maintaining categories with the people who died in a given year are a valuable instrument in an implementation of "BLP".

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at November 19, 2014 07:15 AM

Wikimedia Foundation

10th anniversary of Wikipedia in Asturian

"Logotipu 10 años(svg)" by Denis Soria under CC BY SA-3.0

Logo for the event

“Logotipu 10 años(svg)” by Denis Soria under CC BY-SA 3.0

On September 12th and 13th, the tenth anniversary of Uiquipedia, the Asturian language Wikipedia, was celebrated in the Prince Felipe Auditorium Oviedo in Oviedo, Spain. It was a special event because after ten years, this community is in a process of improvement and setting goals to give the final push to the project.

The event began on Friday the 12th with a welcome by Xuacu Saturio, administrator and technical ambassador of Asturian Wikipedia, who provided a brief review of the past decade. It was followed by a talk titled “Wikipedia: what, who, how,” an approach to how the project is run. This was useful to those present in the studio editing during the rest of the afternoon.

The following day, Saturday, had two premises. First, Asturian Wikipedians were convinced that literature in this language, along with its writers, are pieces of heritage to document in this encyclopedia and to disseminate for public consumption. On the other hand, they wanted to provide a broader perspective of the language, attending more to the linguistic domain. In fact, there was a tribute given to Leonese writer Caitano Bardón (Carrizo, 1881-1924), the author of “Stories in Leonese dialect” who pioneered Asturian-Lionese literature in León.

The act began with the music of Fran Allegre, who continued playing with different traditional instruments from León. Alberto Flecha, expert on Caitano and a fellow native of Carrizo, talked about the writer and gave ​​a short summary of the meaning of his work. Then, in collaboration with the Faceira Association and the literary collective Fame Poetika, several poems from Caitano and other authors were read in Asturian.

The second act of the event consisted of a simple presentation on the WikiProject “Sport in Asturias”, by Denis Soria. He emphasized the need to standardize the linguistic register of Wikipedia itself, as well as the importance of WikiProjects organizing the editing of articles. He went on to summarize the challenges and logical errors in the early years. Soria also discussed the need to address common objectives for the community with the intention of standardizing the image of the encyclopedia, arrange interaction strategies with society, and make it grow in the near future.

Much of the roundtable focused on the role that the media – especially on the Internet – and the work of Wikipedia play in energizing and reinforcing the attitudes of speakers from each territory of the linguistic domain.

There were some very special guests, including David Melendi (Professor of Telematics Engineering Area, University of Oviedo), José Ignacio Suarez (Professor of Musicology at the University of Oviedo and member of Faceira), Nicanor Garcia (computerization of Musel Port Authority, also a member of Faceira), Pablo Rodriguez Guardado (Asturies.com editor), Pelayu Valduvieco (student of Romance Philology at the University of Oviedo and developer of various translation projects), Xuacu Saturio (administrator and technician ambassador in Asturian Wikipedia) and Denis Soria (administrator on Wikipedia). Topics that were addressed included the challenges in encoding and linguistic standardization in the media, and recovery policy pertaining to different territories with presence of native speakers. It was a very fruitful discussion, and arguably the participants left a very high standard, holding the attention of the audience throughout the discussion. After the gathering ended, a series of books were distributed among the attendees, donated by the publishers Asturtoons, Ediciones Trabe, Hércules Ediciones, Librería Cervantes and Ediciones Nobel.

We finished the event with a meet-and-greet meal among all participants, courtesy of the city council, who also gave the auditorium space. The Asturian Wikipedia community expressed thanks for the work and organization by members of Wikimedia Spain, from whom the initiative was conceived and made the anniversary celebration possible. Similarly, they moved the commitment to schedule future activities inside and outside of the tenth anniversary.

Rubén Ojeda,miembro de Wikimedia España

Group photo from the tenth anniversary celebration in Oviedo

“Asistentes aniversario Wikipedia en asturiano” by Montgomery, under CC BY-SA 4.0

by wikimediablog at November 19, 2014 01:24 AM

November 18, 2014

Wiki Education Foundation

Monthly report for October 2014

1. Highlights

  • The Assignment Design Wizard, our tool for streamlining and automating curriculum design for instructors, has been deployed for testing and feedback. This tool simplifies the support required for setting up new instructors or courses per term, furthering our goal of bringing more student editors into the program.
  • The fall term is well underway with 95 supported courses, the highest number of participants yet.
  • The Programs team has expanded once more, with the addition of two part-time Wikipedia Content Experts, Ian Ramjohn and Adam Hyland. Their role is to connect directly with students and instructors on Wikipedia, guiding them to best practices, providing direct support, and recognizing excellent work.

2. Programs

The Programs team started the month with a two-day strategy workshop for how to accomplish our goals for 2014–15. Sage Ross (who normally works remotely from Seattle) joined us in-person, and it also served as an additional orientation for Eryk Salvaggio and Helaine Blumenthal. All team members now have a good understanding of the goals for which they are accountable for, and how they will work with each other to achieve our goals.

The Programs team added two new half-time staff, Ian Ramjohn and Adam Hyland, who serve as Wikipedia Content Experts. Adam and Ian have already started reaching out to student editors to provide feedback on their work and providing Wikipedia expertise to instructors participating in the Classroom Program who ask for help.

2.1. Educational Partnerships

Jami Mathewson, our educational partnerships manager, spent the month designing a template for educational partnerships with academic organizations and university teaching and learning centers. Jami also prepared for an early November visit to Louisiana State University, in which she will present at two days of workshops on teaching with Wikipedia. She will facilitate the workshops with LSU’s Communication Across the Curriculum staff, and will determine next steps in our partnership with Louisiana State University.

2.2. Classroom Program

The fall 2014 term is well underway. Our students are hard at work posting to their sandboxes, interacting with the Wikipedia editing community on their talk pages, and moving their contributions into the article namespace. We are supporting 95 courses, exceeding our goal of 85 for the term, and the largest Wiki Ed has supported to date.

Ian Ramjohn and Adam Hyland, our newly hired Wikipedia Content Experts, are providing student editors with valuable feedback on their work and helping them to navigate the Wikipedia editing community. Ian and Adam are also helping us identify exceptional work, encouraging students to nominate their entries for Did You Know and Good Article when appropriate.

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

  • 95 Wiki Ed-supported courses have Course Pages (41 or 43% are led by returning instructors)
  • 2,416 student editors are enrolled
  • 679 students have successfully completed the online training.

Student work highlights:

2.3. Communications

This month has been heavy on revising and improving our resources. We’ve made some changes to our classroom materials, updating and streamlining past brochures to make them more graphically appealing (available here), and adding information we feel students are more likely to use. We’ve started to work toward two more subject-specific handouts offering guidance on specific editing requirements within Medicine and Sociology articles, which will complement our recent handout on editing for Psychology.

Just as our office, staff and resources have been growing, so has our website. We have been developing our social media presence and blog to be more useful to instructors. This includes creating blog posts with practical advice for instructors and highlighting the resources and support we provide. Eryk Salvaggio, our Communications Associate, has been working closely with the Classroom Programs team to identify common problems to tackle in explanatory blog posts, complementing our efforts to promote ideal student work and instructors.

Blog posts:

News coverage:

2.4. Digital Infrastructure

Throughout October, Sage Ross, our Product Manager for Digital Services, has worked intensively with designers and developers to complete the “1.0” version of the Assignment Design Wizard (pictured, left), which is now up and running at wizard.wikiedu.org. This tool is the first of a series of course-focused technical projects, planned with the goals of improving the user experience for our program participants, enhancing their ability to do great work on Wikipedia, and making it easier for us to continue scaling up the number of classes we support. For the Assignment Design Wizard in particular, we want to provide a tool that an instructor can use to learn about best practices for Wikipedia assignments, choose assignment options that make sense for their course, and publish a draft course plan that can form the basis of their own custom Wikipedia assignment. If we can do that well, it should improve the quality of instructors’ assignments, reduce the time Wiki Ed staff and Wikipedia Ambassadors spend giving one-on-one assignment design guidance, and make it easier for instructors to dive into their first Wikipedia course project.

Since late October, Sage has been conducting ongoing user testing on the Assignment Design Wizard, which will continue into November. Any and all feedback is welcome, so if it sounds interesting, please give it a try and send ideas and reflections to sage@wikiedu.org.

3. Finance and Administration

3.1. Finance and Administration

photo 4

Window work underway at the Wiki Education Foundation office.

Our space in the Presidio is beginning its transformation into a proper office, with the addition of desks, chairs, carpets and a couch for the lobby. Though working in a beautiful historical park has many obvious advantages, changes to the building are performed by the Presidio National Trust, which aims to preserve the historical integrity of the grounds and structures. This month, that means temporarily replacing three of our windows with plywood as the Presidio Trust adapts the building according to its rigid standards of historical preservation.

  • Monthly expenses are $151,679 versus the plan of $95,185. The primary cause of the variance for the month is that the plan amount being used is from the original budget that does not include additional funding received later. A revised budget, which includes the additional funding, will be reviewed at the November board meeting.
  • Year to date expenses are $634,640 versus plan of $648,230. As with the monthly variance, the primary cause is due to the use of the original budget that 1) did not include a major secondary funding source (unknown at the time); and 2) projection based on an 18-month period versus a 12-month fiscal year.





4. Office of the ED


Frank Schulenburg at work in the makeshift office space in the kitchen of the Wiki Education Foundation.

Current priorities:

    • Setting up our pilot project with high-achieving students
    • Management of internal and external stakeholders
    • Preparation of first in-person board meeting

In October, we completed the hiring for our upcoming pilot with high-achieving students. Samantha Erickson will join Wiki Education Foundation in mid-November to take the lead on this project. We think of high-achieving students as an attractive target group when it comes to recruiting new content contributors for Wikipedia. We also believe that there are ways of engaging students in the improvement of free knowledge outside of the classroom. That’s why we’ll embark on an experimental pilot project that will explore ways of encouraging high-achieving students to become future Wikipedians through extracurricular activities. As an organization that is devoted to ongoing learning, pilot projects like this offer a unique opportunity to try new and exciting approaches, while staying true to our focus of improving Wikipedia’s content.

Also in October, Wikipedia community members approached us and asked whether Wiki Ed would support the Wiki Conference USA in 2015. As we’ve always seen our organization as part of a wider free knowledge ecosystem, we are open to this idea in general. We also believe that in-person meetings add a lot of value to a community that is geographically dispersed and interacts mostly online. That’s why we’ve started talking to a variety of stakeholders in different parts of the U.S. and listened to their hopes and expectations around next year’s conference. This feedback will help us with deciding to which extent Wiki Ed will be able to serve the community in a supporting role when it comes to organizing Wiki Conference 2015.

5. Visitors and Guests

  • Mary Graham, Harvard Kennedy School
  • David Peters, EXBROOK
  • Sue Gardner
  • Dahlia Stein, DECA Connect
  • Erik Möller, Wikimedia Foundation
  • Damon Sicore, Wikimedia Foundation
  • Katherine Maher, Wikimedia Foundation
  • Garfield Byrd, Wikimedia Foundation
  • Rebecca Handler, Pacific Foundation Services



by Eryk Salvaggio at November 18, 2014 05:39 PM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata - Carl Sanders, is not the 74th "List of Governors of #Georgia".

It is said that the community is always right. It also has a short term memory and its consensus is not necessarily what you hope for.

Take Mr Sanders, he died recently and it was indicated that he was a "List of Governors of Georgia". It is an old argument that is the result of some bad practice at Wikipedia. The Wikipedia article includes mainly a list and consequently it is to be called a list. There is no article about the subject itself and hey "it must be a list in Wikidata as well".

It is simple to fix the situation for the governor of Georgia. All articles are lists, there is no Wikipedia that has both a list article and an article so I had the item identify the subject.

Using the category I added many of the "missing" governors, there were only 15 humans known to be governor of Georgia. I made all of them a politician and an US-American.

The community has every right to rehash old arguments. I just follow the old consensus and wait for the dust to settle yet again.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at November 18, 2014 07:23 AM

Wikimedia Foundation

Photos aside, how else does Wiki Loves Monuments deliver?

The concrete cooperation through Wiki Loves Monuments means a lot! Wikimedia Commons is currently the only open platform where we can work together with dedicated and talented photographers. The work with WLM – and the mere existence of Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia – means a lot for our work with digital infrastructure (K-samsök/SOCH – http://www.ksamsok.se/) where the linchpin is to create an open and networked access to cultural heritage and museum information.

Lars Lundqvist, Head of new media and cultural heritage data at the National Heritage Board.

The partnership has been very valuable to us. We have received many great new photos of the ships, but also gained new networks and friends.

Anders Näsberg, Brand Web Editor at the National Maritime Museums in Sweden.

Icebreaker Bore, working both on and off wiki as an icebreaker.
“Isbrytaren Bore” by Kristianwhedberg, under CC BY-SA 3.0

A train load of prizes arrived thanks to our cooperation with GLAMs.
“Järnvägsmuseet, Kristianstad – 2013-05-03 – 10″ by Haxpett, under CC BY 4.0

Don’t let a wall of hierarchy stop you.
“Visby ringmur östra delen” by En-cas-de-soleil, under CC BY-SA 3.0

For the past four years, Wikimedia Sverige has organized the photo contest Wiki Loves Monumentsin Sweden. Besides getting great photos to showcase Wikipedia and involving many new photographers, we have noticed another benefit from the contest that has received little attention.

What we have come to realize is that the contest is an excellent tool to increase cooperation with GLAM institutions in our country. Inviting GLAMs to be involved in the world’s largest photo contest and include their objects to be photographed is a great icebreaker.

Through the contest, Wikimedia Sverige has deepened its cooperation with a number of central GLAM organizations in several ways. In Sweden, we have mainly worked with three GLAMs: Riksantikvarieämbetet (The National Heritage Board); Statens Maritima Museer (The National Maritime Museums in Sweden); and Arbetslivsmuseernas Samarbetsråd (ArbetSam) (The Council of Working Life Museums). These GLAMs have, amongst other things, the responsibility to collect data and spread awareness about the objects within their respective fields. For example, The National Heritage Board deals with old buildings and ancient monuments, The National Maritime Museums in Sweden with important ships, and ArbetSam with a large number of museums and outdoor collections (such as old trains, mills etc.).

Wikimedia Sverige started working with the National Heritage Board in 2011, and has continued to work closely with them. The Wiki Loves Monuments contest was one of the first major projects we did together, and the National Heritage Board is now one of our most vocal and close supporters in the GLAM sector. This cooperation has been the model from which we built other GLAM relationships.

Before the start of the contest each year, we maintain close contact with the GLAMs, and work on improving the lists and other associated tasks. We strongly believe that having this type of regular interaction has solidified our cooperation.

Each of the GLAMs have provided us with data that we have used to build lists on Wikipedia. This has been the foundation of the cooperation, and has presented the GLAMs with a clear benefit and task. They have all appreciated the fact that their objects are included on Wikipedia and are considered important enough to form the foundation of the worlds largest photo contest. For the Wikimedia movement, it is obviously a great benefit to have complete and updated lists on Wikipedia. The cooperation has also put the spotlight on their work with their databases and licensing their data sets as open data – which is an added value. These are things we will then be able to include on Wikidata in the future.

For most of the contest, the GLAMs have also sponsored the prizes. These are often from their own shops – hence the prizes are very suitable for the photo categories in the contest. Sponsoring prizes is something that their staff has said is a bit easier to find support for in comparison to other tasks. What’s more, GLAM staff have been part of the jury, which is a good way to use their expertise and a task that many experts find rewarding and interesting. Another win-win!

For the last year, the GLAMs have also been actively – and very successfully – involved in the external communication work. Our joint efforts led to more than 30 press mentions about Wiki Loves Monuments in 2014 alone.

Finally, the GLAMs are now involved in Wikimedia Sverige’s applications for external funding as partners or in project reference groups. This involvement has greatly increased our chances of receiving funding for our work, and we have already seen positive outcomes. The fact that we now can pick up the phone, and ask them to join our application on short notice, is possible because of prior cooperation around Wiki Loves Monuments.

So what is needed for this to happen in your country as well?

We have learnt a lot during the last years and here are a few things to remember to form a strong cooperation (of course this list is not comprehensive, and some of it we could do better in practice ourselves):

  • Contact them early. Some of these are big hierarchical organizations that need time to form an opinion. This is especially true the first year you work together.
  • Be clear with them what they can do and what you are hoping for. Communication is the key. Don’t surprise them with new stuff that they haven’t planned for.
  • Report results continuously and at the end. Be sure to let them know that their work matters and that it is visible. E.g. we have great numbers to give them about page/image views and knowing these numbers makes it easy for them to argue internally for why they should work with us. Note: Making sure that the images are being used on Wikipedia will increase these numbers greatly. See if there is volunteer interest or if a contest around writing or adding images to Wikipedia can be organized.

Things we still struggle with

Of course there are still a number of things that we would like to develop further:

  • Reuse of the images. We would love to find ways of helping the GLAMs to use the API to get the WLM photos so that they can reuse them in their own environment. (We have a project focusing on this that is about to take off in 2015.) One example where this is already happening is the website Kringla.nu where cultural heritage images from Wikimedia Commons are embedded (example).
  • Updating the lists. Keeping the lists up to date has proven a bit tricky, as not all GLAMs update the lists themselves or have a RSS feed with the updates in their database.

Have you found Wiki Loves Monuments useful for GLAM cooperations in your country? Have you done something similar? Please share in the comment section below!


John Andersson, Project Manager, Wikimedia Sweden

Axel Pettersson, Project Manager GLAM, Wikimedia Sweden

by yoonahawikimedia at November 18, 2014 03:42 AM

November 17, 2014

Tech News

Tech News issue #47, 2014 (November 17, 2014)

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Other languages:
čeština • ‎English • ‎español • ‎suomi • ‎français • ‎עברית • ‎italiano • ‎日本語 • ‎português • ‎русский • ‎svenska • ‎українська • ‎中文

November 17, 2014 12:00 AM

November 16, 2014

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikimedia NL - my #Wikidata presentation - #WCN2014

<iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="355" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="http://www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/41610199" style="border-width: 1px; border: 1px solid #CCC; margin-bottom: 5px; max-width: 100%;" width="425"> </iframe>

The presentation I gave at the 2014 Dutch conference in Utrecht went well. Sadly, for whatever reason I found that it is not yet on Commons. That can be remedied.

When I present, the slides include the main points so when people doze off, they can always find what it was all about. This presentation is very much my view on Wikidata. I presented in Dutch and the slides are in English so that it can be easily re-used.

The points I made are:
  • Knowing about Wikidata and its development is best understood thanks to the stats
  • Appreciating the information included is best done through the Reasonator
  • Wonderful tools exist that are sadly NOT part of plain vanilla Wikidata
  • Why and how I make so many edits ... the method in my madness
  • The Dutch Wikipedia COULD activate Wikidata search.. to share in the sum of all available knowledge
  • Much knowledge is not known to the Dutch Wikipedia
  • Wikidata already knows about much meta data on Commons thanks to the Creator templates

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at November 16, 2014 08:36 AM

November 15, 2014

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata - Jens Brugge; a judge from Norway

Mr Brugge, a high court judge from Norway died. According to the article about him, his lineage is illustrious. Many generations in the Brugge family were quite notable.  It can be seen in GeneaWiki2 and, it can be shown inline or in a separate window from the Reasonator.

There is an increasing amount of genealogical information available in Wikidata. The value of all this data is not in having it, it is in using it. At this time 29,337 people are known to have a father and 13,336 people are known to have a mother. Obviously, these numbers will only increase and become more complete. Would it not be wonderful to share this information in Wikipedia articles as well?

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at November 15, 2014 07:05 AM

Wikimedia Foundation

Sailing the South Pacific with a copy of Wikipedia on board: The Goodall Family

This profile is part of a series about Offline Wikipedia.

The Goodall family

“The Goodall family” by Simon Goodall, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Goodall girls using Kiwix aboard the family ship, the Kyrimba.

“The Goodall girls using Kiwix aboard the Kyrimba” by Simon Goodall, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Goodall family aboard the Kyrimba viewing dolphins.

“The Goodall family aboard the Kyrimba viewing dolphins” by Simon Goodall, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Goodall Family going up the river in their dinghy to visit the Nanda Blue Hole, in the island of Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu.

“Visiting the Nanda Blue Hole, in the island of Espiritu Santo (or just ‘Santo’)” by Simon Goodall, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Kyrimba approaches Tanna, Vanuatu after 16 days at sea. The family had departed from from Tarawa, Kiribati.

“The Goodall family aboard the Kyrimba viewing dolphins” by Simon Goodall, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Connecting to Wi-Fi is a daunting task when you spend most of your time at sea. It’s more of a challenge when you’re traveling offline to unfamiliar places, without a reliable and readily available source of knowledge. With Kiwix, however; an open source offline content browser, users are able to access the knowledge base that attempts to compile the sum of all human knowledge. It allows offline reading of Wikipedia in its entirety, even in the most remote parts of the world.

The Goodall family is part of a growing number of Wikipedia users that benefit from Kiwix. The family of five hails from the South American island of Tierra del Fuego and has been sailing across the world for the past year.

Simon Goodall and his wife, Carolina Goodall, have been globe-trotting for quite some time. Their list of adventures include backpacking across Russia, Mongolia and China, experiencing farm life in New Zealand and Australia, and traveling across Argentina in a motor-home. They are also experienced with traveling by water, having delivered yachts between ports along South America and the Caribbean, as well as sailing along Cape Horn to Antarctica.

The family originally intended on sailing to the northern or southern coast of Europe by means of the Caribbean Sea, but eventually decided to sail across the Pacific Ocean. Together, the Goodalls have three children: 10 year-old Sarah, eight-year-old Emma, and 6-year-old Clara. The children have been a part of the couple’s journey in their boat named Kyrimba. Simon Goodall writes, “sailing in the Pacific came as part of a continuum, a stage in life when the girls are the right age to absorb what the world has to offer: cultures, places, ways of life and the ability to travel together as a family.”

“We have learned that these cultures are very much in touch with mother earth. That although they can be considered “simple” in today’s modern world they are much more in touch with the world that supports us and have a wealth of information that in many places is slowly being lost,” writes Simon.

They were first introduced to the Kiwix software through a friend who gave them a copy of Navigatrix, an open source suite of boating applications designed for use on boats at sea.

Since using Kiwix, Simon says he has told other travelers about the offline software and how much it has helped them answer questions right away.

“When speaking about Kiwix/Wikipedia it has been mainly on how many times we have had queries that have been answered on the spot because of this availability of information,” writes Simon.

The family has been chronicling their adventures on their website, and say that using Wikipedia has been an integral part of their journey. With the Kiwix software on board, they’ve been able to use Wikipedia as a reference for culture, art and history. In addition, Wikipedia comes in handy for everyday living, whether it is identifying health risks or browsing the movie database for entertainment.

The Goodalls’ three daughters are currently home-schooled. Simon and Carolina find the offline Wikipedia software to be a useful part of their children’s education. As part of their home-school program, Carolina and her daughters use Wikipedia as a reference point to discuss topics ranging from animal classification systems to ancient civilizations.

Sarah uses Wikipedia in conjunction with her school readings to discover more about subjects that fascinate her in the books that she reads and in real life. She enjoys looking up stories from Greek mythology and fueling her interest in natural medicine by reading about herbs.

Emma also uses Kiwix frequently to identify everything from volcanoes to exotic fish species. In fact, whenever the Goodalls eat fish they have made it a part of their routine to identify the fish before prepping it for consumption.

“With Carolina we have used [Kiwix] to look up specific fish like Wahoo [to] see if it was mentioned for eating raw [either as] sushi [or] sashimi, which it is not really mentioned but we ended up eating it anyway! It’s not like you put a label on the hook that says Tuna or Mackerel only, we would like to eat [them] for sashimi,” writes Simon.

Simon tells us that even repair tasks can be helped with Kiwix as a reference, and the family as a whole enjoys learning about the places they have visited or plan on visiting.

“Let’s ask Kiwix the answer!” has become a part of the Goodalls’ vernacular.

Profile by Yoona Ha, Communications Intern

Interview by Victor Grigas, Wikimedia Foundation Storyteller

by yoonahawikimedia at November 15, 2014 01:01 AM

How to get the Wikimedia Foundation to fund your international gathering

AdaCamp 2012 attendees

”Adacamp DC attendees 3″ by Adam Novak, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

After the first Wikimania was organized in Frankfurt, Germany in 2005, it was clear that alongside the virtual channels that we rely on every day, Wikimedia community members are in need of physical meeting spaces. They allow to build stronger networks of trust and friendship, share experiences, and create new ideas with peers from all across the globe.

Our international conferences have become more complex. In 2005, 380 participants were brought together; in 2014, attendance numbers grew more than 5 times, as Wikimania was attended by over 2000 people. These gatherings are inspirational and fun, and held alongside the more specialized meetings focused on particular programs and regions.

Some of the complexity stems from getting the conference off the ground. Important questions to keep in mind are: What kind of Wikimedia grants are funding these meetings? What does a successful proposal look like?

Plan: What do you want to achieve?

Planning an international gathering can be broken into three different phases: goals, program and schedule, and evaluation. In the first phase, organizers establish the goals and main themes of the conference. International conferences are expensive and logistics are complicated, so the first question the WMF would want answered is the rationale: Why have this event at all? Why does it need international participation? Is there a demonstrated need for it?

During the programming phase you brainstorm ideas for the specific sessions and activities in the event program. It’s a good idea to survey the prospective participants to learn what they want from the conference. These actions shape the evaluation plan of the conference. It is important to establish goals, design sessions and formats (will there be a talk? a workshop? a brainstorm?) and work on the metrics you’ll use to measure your success.

Galileo Vidoni, organizer of Iberoconf 2014, the international meeting that brings together Wikimedia organizations from Latin America, Spain and Italy says, “We want to showcase the conference as another link in the chain of work that goes on during the year, rather than as an isolated event.” He describes the efforts that have gone into improving the way the success of conferences are measured, and says, “Unlike last year, in 2014 we submitted a more detailed plan, with the metrics we will use to measure our results, against goals. We also highlighted the continuous discussions and agreements developed at Iberoconf 2013.”

Each conference has a different history and hence, different goals. While Iberoconf is heading towards its fourth edition and is already working on programs across chapters, Wiki Indaba in 2014 was the first event of its kind in the region. One of its goals was very simple: bring together experienced Wikipedians from across Africa, to build best practices around outreach, and to form a wider community.

Since travel expenses usually form the highest cost of international gatherings, it is advised to seek deals with travel agencies or airline national offices to get a discounted rate. This is also why it is important to be selective in inviting participants. You not only want people who can demonstrate their activity (online and offline) in the Wikimedia movement, but also those with ability to both contribute their experiences and share the knowledge gained in their local community (also known as multipliers).

Another common topic raised in recent reviews of international gatherings was the preparation for the event. Participants are expected to be prepared for discussions, having read previously any resources available, and leaving the meeting with a clear idea of the opportunities that lie in the future for working together. If you are organizing the event, how will you ensure this is happening as much as possible? Some possible methods are pre-event surveys and SWOT analyses.

Apply: Secure funds and resources for your conference

"Iberoconf 2013 - Foto grupal" by ProtoplasmaKid, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Iberoconf 2013 group photo
“Iberoconf 2013 – Foto grupal” by ProtoplasmaKid, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

If you need funding for your event, you should apply for a Project and Event Grant (PEG). The PEG program accepts proposals at any time, but be sure to submit your proposal early. We recommend at least 3 months in advance of the meeting to allow time for review by the Grant Advisory Committee, discussion, and revision, as well as purchasing flights at reasonable rates, if necessary. If you have questions about the process, contact the grants team early on. All of the WMF grants programs aim to increase the reach, participation in, and quality of Wikimedia projects, and grow local free knowledge.

This last goal is, in Galileo’s view, why the community supports Iberocoop — the Ibero-American network of Wikimedian groups that has been organizing the Iberoconf events. Iberocoop is not only an association of neighbouring countries, but it is also sustained by sister languages and a shared culture. He adds: “The international community acknowledges that, and appreciates it. This also represents a challenge for us: to execute Wikimedia programs on a regional level.” The participating countries in Wiki Indaba also have regional similarities: Limitations in access to the Internet and the high use of mobile broadband are two common denominators faced by editors across Africa.

Your international conference doesn’t have to rely solely on PEG funds to become reality. A good example of that is Ada Camp 2014, an initiative that originally started as a big international meeting, and broke into smaller camp-like workshops in different countries. In their recently approved PEG proposal, organizers requested USD 11,480, but the total costs of hosting three camps went up to USD 129,453. The rest was funded by Google, Mozilla and Wikimedia Deutschland, among others.

Execute and measure: How did it go? What did you learn?

"Evaluation Survey WM Conference 2014 final" by Nicole Ebber (WMDE), under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Showcase your results! Here, Wikimedia Conference 2014 report
“Evaluation Survey WM Conference 2014 final” by Nicole Ebber (WMDE), under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Once the conference is over, documenting its outcomes and outputs will help you prepare for your final report. Before parting ways, it is also key that participants know how to continue with the project, anywhere they go. Build up strong communication bonds and have a project coordinator to follow up with the outcomes of the conference. Perhaps the greatest service you can do your event participants after the event is to help them following up on ideas and initiatives discussed at the event.

The PEG grant report template has guidelines to help you showcase the conference experience. We recommend collecting feedback during and after the event through surveys to better understand participants’ experiences and discover where improvement is called for. A good example is the Wikimedia Conference 2014 Report, which summarizes participant demographics and impressions from the conference, including favorite sessions.

Good ideas end where they begin: plan how you will evaluate your actions in advance! Find resources and tools on the Evaluation portal to build your indicators of success and write an evaluation plan.

María Cruz, Learning and Evaluation, Wikimedia Foundation

by wikimediablog at November 15, 2014 12:30 AM

November 14, 2014

Wikimedia Tech Blog

Apertium and Wikimedia: A collaboration that powers the Content Translation tool

Many readers of this blog know about the Content Translation initiative. This project, developed by the Language Engineering team of the Wikimedia Foundation, brings together machine translation and rich text editing to provide a quick method to create Wikipedia articles by translating them from another language.

Content Translation uses Apertium as its machine translation back-end. Apertium is a freely licensed open source project and was our first choice for this stage of development. The first version of Content Translation focused on the Spanish-Catalan language pair, and one of the reasons for this choice was the maturity of Apertium’s machine translation for those languages.

However, with growing needs to support more language pairs in the newer versions of Content Translation, it became essential that the machine translation continue to be reliable, and that the back-end be stable and up-to-date. To ensure this stability, we needed to use the latest updates released by the Apertium upstream project maintainers, and we needed to use Apertium as a separate service. Prior to this set-up, the Apertium service was being provided from within the Content Translation server (cxserver).

The Content Translation tool is currently hosted on Wikimedia’s beta servers. To set up the independent Apertium service, it was important to use the latest released stable packages from Apertium, but they were not available for the current versions of Ubuntu and Debian. This became a significant blocker, because use of third party package repositories is not recommended for Wikimedia’s server environments.

After discussion with Wikimedia’s Operations team and Apertium project maintainers, it was decided that the Apertium packages would be built for the Wikimedia repository. In addition to the Apertium base packages, individual packages for supporting the language pairs and other service packages were built, tested and included in the Wikimedia repository. Alexandros Kosiaris (from the Wikimedia Operations team), reviewed and merged these packages and the patches for their inclusion in the repository. The Apertium service was then puppetized for easy configuration and management on the Wikimedia beta cluster.

Meanwhile, to make Apertium more accessible for Ubuntu and Debian users, Kartik Mistry (from the Wikimedia Language Engineering team) also started working closely with the Apertium project maintainers, to make sure that the Debian packages were up-to-date in the main repository. Going forward, once the updated packages are included in Ubuntu’s next Long Term Support (LTS) version, we plan to remove these packages from the internal Wikimedia repository.

The Content Translation tool has since been updated and now supports Catalan, Portuguese and Spanish machine translation, using the updated Apertium service through cxserver. We hope our users will benefit from the faster and more reliable translation experience.

We would like to thank Tino Didriksen, Francis Tyers and Kevin Brubeck Unhammer from the Apertium project, and Alexandros Kosiaris and Antoine Musso from the Wikimedia Operations and Release Engineering teams respectively, for their continued support and guidance.

Runa Bhattacharjee, and Kartik Mistry, Wikimedia Language Engineering team

by Guillaume Paumier at November 14, 2014 06:41 PM

Wikimedia UK

AdaCamp Berlin 2014 – a summary account

The photo shows a group of around 30 people smiling for the camera

A group of Ada Camp Berlin attendees

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

Ada Camp is a weekend-long event bringing together women in open technology and culture for mutual support. It was created by the Ada Initiative, which exists to support women in these fields.

I attended Ada Camp Berlin (of which Wikimedia UK was a sponsor) on October 10-12, along with Daria Cybulska (and Rebecca Kahn, who works alongside WMUK and in our office, on behalf of the Open Coalition). It was held in the offices of Wikimedia Deutschland, which seemed to create a positive impression on all the participants I spoke to. This was the first Ada Camp held outside the United States (aside from the very first one, in Melbourne), and the 57 participants were a very international group, many based in Germany or elsewhere in Europe, and many with ties of upbringing, education, and experience around the globe. Roughly half were “technical” (software designers, coders, analysts, etc.) but the rest were not, having found their ways to careers in open tech through other ways.

WMUK sponsored a welcome reception on Friday evening, which allowed the participants to begin to get to know each other. Some of them were already friends and colleagues; some others had met via the email exchanges and Twitter lists set up in the weeks before the event.

Ada Camp itself is structured as an unconference, which means that the content is partially decided by the participants themselves on Saturday morning. The sessions proposed were a mix of “I have experience with X and want to share” to “I know that X exists and want to learn more”, where X could range from a type of software to an instance of harassment or exclusion.

The whole-group activity on Saturday morning, about Imposter Syndrome (self-doubt in one’s professional role), allowed the organisers time to collate these disparate proposals into a programme.

The power of Ada Camp lies in the conversations it fosters. I attended sessions on the open source economy, being a non-techie in a technical field, Creative Commons, building safe spaces, and activism. I also found myself being asked to lead a Wikimedia session that was part editathon and part discussion of the gender gap. Ten women came to this; some had created accounts and edited years ago, but dropped it, for reasons in some cases eloquent and in others forgotten by the women themselves. Zara Rahman wrote later of why editing Hedy Lamarr’s biography earlier that year had turned her off Wikipedia; Ednah Kiome spoke about returning to editing after years away. One woman, a computational linguist, said that her job would not be possible, in a very literal sense, without Wikipedia. Some expressed surprise at how large the encyclopedia had grown since they last really looked at it, and at the number and scope of the other Wikimedia projects. Others were taken aback at how little had been written about the places they came from or the subjects they are interested in. We discussed systemic bias.

One of the insights I gained is that activism does not have to be about fighting and protesting, but it can also be about championing and evangelising. The developers have to do their behind-the-scenes work, but a project goes nowhere without the enthusiasts to go out and explain its potential and uses. This is as true of Wiki*edia as it is of Ada Camp.

by Stevie Benton at November 14, 2014 03:22 PM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata - Thanks for the Book Award

It is very rewarding to read a good book and, it is great when good books find their way to you. There are many literary awards known in Wikidata and the "Thanks for the Book Award" is one of many.

This award has Wikipedia articles on eight Wikipedias. It is a Finnish award and every year there is a new winner. This year it was Pauliina Rauhala for her book "Taivaslaulu".

Most of the Wikipedia articles have not been maintained for quite some time. They are not aware of Mrs Rauhala for instance.

To improve on the Wikipedia articles, all it takes is a mechanism to highlight when a new award is given in a year, The data can be found in Wikidata and, as you can see, in Reasonator we have the timelines showing the winners in order.

As we have the data, we can query for this years awards. With hidden queries, we can exclude those articles that are known to have a winner. It is not hard, it is motivating to share in the sum of all available knowledge.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at November 14, 2014 07:29 AM

Wikimedia Foundation

India Community Consultation 2014

WMF India Community Consultation 2014 Group Photo
(“India Community Consultation Meet -2014 (Most of the) Participants” by Viswaprabha, under CC-BY-SA-4.0)

A group photo of some of the participants of WMF India Community Consultation 2014
(“WMF India Community Consultation (Bangalore, Oct 4th & 5th, 2014) 48″ by Pranayraj1985, under CC-BY-SA-4.0)

A little over a month ago, a group of Indian Wikimedians from 15 different language communities gathered in Bangalore to attend the India Community Consultation 2014, the first such consultation at this scale, convened by the Wikimedia Foundation. The meeting had representation of volunteers from the Assamese, Bangla, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Konkani, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and Sanskrit language Wikipedia communities. The meeting was attended by six representatives of the Wikimedia India chapter Executive Committee (WMIN EC) as well as three members of the Access to Knowledge Programme of the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS-A2K) and the CIS Executive Director Sunil Abraham. The Wikimedia Foundation was represented by Head of Wikimedia Grants and Global South Partnerships Asaf Bartov, Senior Director of Grantmaking Anasuya Sengupta, Vice-chair of the Board of Trustees Patricio Lorente, Trustee Bishakha Datta and Chief Financial Officer Garfield Byrd.

The aims of this meeting were:

  1. Share views and preferences on the most effective ways to pursue our common vision of creating and sharing free knowledge in India and in the Indian languages (including English) around the world.
  2. Attempt to come to agreement on a roadmap for a future where our resources are better utilized, our volunteers are better served, and progress on our mission is more steadily attained.

This proposed roadmap can become the basis for programmatic activity in India by the different editing communities, the Wikimedia India chapter, CIS-A2K, and the Wikimedia Foundation, and any future Wikimedia User Groups in India, to promote the Wikimedia mission in India.

The Wikimedia Foundation arranged for the travel and stay of all non-local participants, as well as a night stay for all local participants between the first and second day, to ensure that the programme started on time on the second day and to overcome local travel difficulty (morning traffic).

The sessions were facilitated by Mr. Gagan Sethi, an experienced facilitator in the non-profit sector from Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He supported the attendees in visioning and strategizing exercises, and in collecting the ideas budding in the minds of the participants and capturing agreement points during discussions.

This condensed proposed roadmap was compiled by attendee Tito Dutta from the raw minutes on this etherpad. Here are some of the themes discussed:

  • National WikiConferences for geographically disparate communities (e.g. Hindi Wikipedia) (see this presentation by User:Hindustanilanguage).
  • Promoting the sister projects such as Wikisource or Wiktionary in languages where Wikipedia has a vibrant community with good organic growth.
  • Recognition of various movement partners (more plurality and diversity) such as free software groups, Indic language computing organizations, open education groups etc.
  • Easy idea exchange across Indic Wikimedia communities.
  • Cross-border collaborations with neighboring countries for shared languages. (see also current plans for the Bangla Wikipedia anniversary celebrations in India and in Bangladesh)
  • Notability issues and systemic bias as a challenge for English Wikipedia editors from India (especially by non-Indian English Wikipedians who may not understand context)
  • The urgent need to find a new method of measuring contributions other than by edit counts
  • opening up content, digitization, and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) systems. (see also current grant proposal for Tamil OCR, and current grant proposal for Malayalam palm leaf digitization)
  • The special concerns of low-bandwidth readers and editors were brought up, and it was agreed there needs to be more visibility of those issues with WMF Engineering and User Experience teams. Past issues with the deployment of the Universal Language Selector were also mentioned.

There were also discussions on the roles of the Wikimedia India chapter as well as the CIS-A2K programme, the role of communities, individual volunteers, funding via Individual Engagement Grants (IEGs) and Project and Event Grants (PEGs), and the possibilities of institutional partnerships. The sessions benefited from a positive spirit and collegial collaboration, and the participants concluded that the enthusiasm and newfound trust resulting from this community consultation will go a long way in shaping the progress of the Wikimedia movement in India.

Syed Muzammiluddin, Hindi and Urdu Wikipedian (participant)
Asaf Bartov, Head of WMF Grants and Global South Partnerships (convener)

by wikimediablog at November 14, 2014 01:42 AM

November 13, 2014

Wiki Education Foundation

Help us close Wikipedia’s gender gap


Around 9 out of 10 of the editors on Wikipedia are male. What this means is that articles are shaped by one voice, and missing the diversity of content that different perspectives bring.

Wikipedia articles on women are more likely to be missing than Wikipedia articles on men (compared to other encyclopedias). It’s natural: When all content is written by volunteers, and your volunteer base is almost all one gender, the topics they write on will be those they’re interested in. On a large scale, this means things like military history, video games, and pop culture topics are well developed on Wikipedia, while arts, languages, and social science coverage often lags behind, creating content gaps.

We’re trying to change that, by working with university student editors to close content gaps on Wikipedia.

Here’s how it works. Across the U.S. and Canada, instructors are embracing Wikipedia assignments, giving students new tools for writing and learning their course material, often about topics not well covered or not even available on Wikipedia. We support instructors who choose to assign their students to contribute content to Wikipedia, complementing or replacing traditional student essays and encouraging students to contribute their knowledge to new or existing Wikipedia articles. These assignments strengthen student writing and critical thinking just as a traditional essay would, such as researching and evaluating sources and outlining that research into a logical arrangement. But with Wikipedia, students get the extra exhilarating jolt of knowing their scholarship will be read by the public, sharpening a sense of responsibility and critical thinking in their writing. The biggest difference, however, is that their work lives on as a resource for others. They can see that their scholarship is making a difference in the world.

Just as these Wikipedia assignments help students grow, students and instructors are also helping Wikipedia grow by filling those content gaps. These assignments improve the representation of women’s issues on Wikipedia and bring a diversity of perspectives to the editing community. Content gaps — the spaces where articles, topics, and perspectives are just too narrow — are often the best places for students to start editing.

More content from and about women is on Wikipedia now because of student engagement through our program. Some articles on Wikipedia that had been shockingly absent or incomplete for years — such as birth control, gender inequality, maternity leave, feminism, pregnancy risks in developing countries, refugee status of women, sex work, and the women’s role in the Arab Spring — are now thriving thanks to students and instructors in Wiki Ed’s program taking them on.

These pages were viewed more than 350,000 times since students created them, creating more information and more perspectives on Wikipedia, providing a more accurate reflection of the world for everyone who uses it.

More than 60% of our student editors are women, and in areas where we have targeted partnerships, that number is even higher. Surveys from the American Sociological Association Wikipedia Initiative, in which ASA encourages all sociology professors to participate in our program, showed that 70% of student editors participating in that initiative were women. That’s more women with experience editing Wikipedia, and more content contributed by women. In the end, that’s a stronger Wikipedia for everyone.

We’re proud to be attending the National Women’s Studies Association conference this week in Puerto Rico, where we hope to bring more awareness of this problem to the very people who we believe can have the greatest impact on bringing more women’s related content to Wikipedia.

Interested in helping us close the gender gap? If you’re a university instructor, you can make a real difference in how your students learn and how women’s subjects are represented on Wikipedia by participating in our program. Wiki Ed offers free training, guidance, and resources to help design a course that meets your goals while helping Wikipedia grow. To find out more, contact us by email at contactwikiedu.org.

by Eryk Salvaggio at November 13, 2014 07:36 PM

Tony Thomas

[MW]$wgExtensionFunctions : Run a function when an extension is evoked

Working further with making the BounceHandler extension more production friendly – we came up with a scenario in which I wanted some of the extension global variables to take values from a MediaWiki global variable. It would’ve looked like $myExtensionGlobal = $mwGlobal – which looks weird. Thanks to Hoo( WMDE ), I got introduced to […]

by tonythomas01 at November 13, 2014 05:04 PM

November 12, 2014

Wikimedia UK

A review of EduWiki Conference 2014

Image is an illustration, showing a digital image of a person in class raising their hand

Wikipedia belongs in education

This post was written by Lorna Campbell and was originally published here. Re-used under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License 

Last Friday I went along to the EduWiki Conference in the distractingly beautiful St Leonard’s Hall at the University of Edinburgh. I have to confess to being a bit of a Wikimedia fangirl; I’m not a Wikimedian myself, but I’m a huge fan of Wikimedia’s work in the education domain and I believe Wikimedia has an important role to play, not just in disseminating open educational resources, but also in developing open education practice. This was highlighted by the recent Wikimedia Deutschland OERde14 Conference I went to in Berlin, which brought together over 300* participants from all sectors of German education. This is the first time I’ve managed to get to the EduWiki Conference in the UK and it certainly lived up to expectations. I’m not going to attempt to summarise the entire conference, but I do want to pick out a few highlights

The Conference was opened by Peter McColl, Rector of the University of Edinburgh and editor of the progressive blog Bright Green. McColl highlighted the venerable tradition of the Commons, describing Wikipedia as a perfect example of the Commons, a resource that we come together to create and which we can all share and use.

The morning keynote was presented by Floor Koudijs, Senior Manager of the Wikipedia Education Program who introduced just a few of the 70 education projects Wikimedia funds world wide. These include Wikipedia School (Athens), which teaches Wikipedia writing to adults as part of the Greek Ministry of Education’s Education for Lifetime programme. Several countries also include Wikipedia editing skills as part of their initial teacher training programmes.

Floor’s presentation provoked an interesting discussion about the potential importance of Wikipedia in engaging the public with research and demonstrating academic impact. Melissa Highton, Director of Learning, Teaching and Web Services at the University of Edinburgh suggested that citing open access articles in Wikipedia should result in increased evidence of impact while at the same time helping to change attitudes to Wikipedia in in academia. Toni Sant, Wikimedia UK Education Organiser, added that Research Councils UK are starting to show an interest in Wikipedia and that EduWiki was mentioned positively at the 6th international Conference on Integrity and Plagiarism earlier this year.

Marc Haynes, Wikipedian in Residence at Coleg Cymraeg, spoke about Welsh Wicipedia and Porth Esboniadur, a reference resource for Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol. Training in wiki skills is provided as an ongoing part of Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol’s academic staffing programme. Marc noted that colleagues are not keen on using CC BY SA licenced content due to the perceived difficulty of mixing it with CC BY content. This is an issue that Cable Green actually addressed on twitter recently, advising that resources that mix licences should state

“Unless otherwise noted, all content in this (content type) is under a CC BY 4.0 license”

Martin Poulter, Jisc’s former Wikimedia Ambassador gave a highly engaging talk about the benefits of “Wikimedia comprehension exercises” to educate colleagues and overcome misconceptions. He then challenged us to locate various tools and useful information, such as quality ratings and translations, around Wikimedia. Even with such a knowledgeable audience, I could hear lots of people commenting, “Ooh! I didn’t know that was there!”

Greg Singh, Lecturer in Communications, Media & Culture at the University of Stirling, also touched on Wikimedia misconceptions, telling us that his students often ask ‘Why doesn’t Wikimedia act more like Amazon?’ – because it’s not a social media platform and it’s not a bookseller!

Cetis’ Brian Kelly and Filip Maljković of Wikimedia Serbia gave a whistlestop tour of Wikimedia projects in the UK and Serbia which I’m not even going to attempt to summarise, but you can find their slides here.

In the afternoon I went along to the “Wiki*edia Projects in Schools” workshop led by Daria Cybulska and featuring thought provoking contributions from John Johnston, Ian Stuart, Ally Crockford and others. Several themes emerged from the workshop including the use of Wikimedia to enhance digital literacy, the possibility of working with Gaelic medium educators to develop Gaelic wikipedia entries for use by teachers and the pros and cons of integrating wikipedia resources with lesson plans. The discussion also drifted into GLAM territory, with several participants mentioning teachers’ fear that they will be caught using licensed content. At this point John Johnston suggested that what we really need is a “wee weans licence” i.e. a licence that allowed children to use content in the course of their education without fear of copyright infringement. John also advised that we shouldn’t be too ambitious when introducing Wikimedia in schools. Don’t dive straight into editing, start off by demonstrating how to use Wikipedia as a source and how to reuse content with appropriate attribution. Iain also suggested that making Wikipedia available in a closed environment, such as a usb stick or a closed network, might encourage its use in schools. Sadly I had to leave before the workshop ended, but I left participants cheerfully discussing how to harness the power of “love and happiness and guilt-tripping” to promote use of Wikimedia in schools :)

I’ve put together a Storify of my tweets from EduWiki here and Brian Kelly has posted his Storify here

* I’m guessing. I don’t know how many people were actually there but I vaguely remember someone mentioning 300!

by Stevie Benton at November 12, 2014 06:36 PM

Wikimedia Foundation

The Code to Access – the Key to the Treasure

Our efforts to win support for free content for the Wikiverse

International projects and guests at the GLAM conference “Shaping Access”

The GLAM conference “Shaping Access” (German: “Zugang gestalten”) starts on November 13, 2014 at the Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin.
Picture by David Jacob (david-jacob.de), under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Germany’s largest conference on “cultural and heritage institutions on the Internet” will begin in Berlin tomorrow: “Shaping Access – More Responsibility for Cultural Heritage.” The acronym GLAM – which stands for galleries, libraries, archives and museums – is used internationally to describe activities relating to collaborative work between cultural institutions and online actors. For the fourth time, Wikimedia Deutschland (WMDE) is one of the partners of the GLAM conference “Shaping Access.” More than 350 guests have already signed up for the conference; last year we had approximately 250 attendees over the two days.

For WMDE, the conference represents an important opportunity to present itself to a group of cultural and heritage institutions as a prospective cooperation partner. In the first part of the program we will discuss “Cultural Heritage 3.0 – Digital Reuse.” This will include three keynote speeches from business (Google, William Patry), government (National Library of Norway, Roger Jøsevold) and civil society (Europeana/Wikimedia, Liam Wyatt), plus a panel discussion featuring five prominent representatives from cultural institutions and the previously mentioned areas. We will present the achievements made so far and discuss how the conditions for the reuse of digital content could be improved. Representing science on the panel is Prof. Kurt Fendt, Director of MIT’s Center for Digital Humanities; representing business is Max Kaiser, Project Coordinator of EUROPEANA Creatives; representing the world’s largest non-profit project on the reuse of digital content is Alice Wiegand, member of the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, the body responsible for Wikipedia; and, last but not least, representing GLAM institutions are Dr. Michael Hollmann from the German Federal Archives and Prof. Johannes Vogel, Director of the Museum für Naturkunde (museum for natural sciences) in Berlin. Jan Engelmann, Executive Director of WMDE, will moderate the discussion. Covering nine exciting international projects, the large exhibition at the Museum für Naturkunde (Museum of Natural History) sheds light on the many different aspects of the digital reuse of cultural data and on possible applications in the GLAM sector.

Coder’s delight

The coders are delighted.
Coding da Vinci – Der Kultur-Hackathon” by Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland, under CC-BY-2.0

One of the main focal points of the exhibition is the programming competition Coding da Vinci, which we held for the first time this year in cooperation with our partners. We wanted to motivate GLAM institutions to make their digitized collections available to programmers and developers under a free license, so that they can link cultural data together and supplement it with data from Wikipedia or geographical data, and thus develop new ways for using the content in small apps, websites or even hardware devices. The most impressive results will be presented at the conference. The curiosity of GLAM institutions to see how others could reapply “their” data was what prompted them to make it available under a free license. Some 325,000 media files from 16 different cultural institutions give us a great deal of possibilities. Photos, paintings, scanned images of objects such as instruments, devices, insects and plants, plus books, maps and databases – all imaginable kinds of media files are waiting to be reused, for example, as part of Wikipedia projects.

The GLAMour of cultural heritage

About half of the 17 applications presented to the “Coding da Vinci” jury were market-ready by the time the award ceremony was held in July. zzZwitscherwecker (ChirpyClock) is very popular as it takes a playful approach to bringing the calls and pictures of birds to a simple app. Verbrannte-und-verbannte.de, on the other hand, rescues from obscurity the authors who were banned by the Nazis by turning the gloomy Nazi list into an interesting starting point for a journey through knowledge. I personally really like the Alt-Berlin app because it puts museum knowledge at my fingertips. It will become part of my everyday reality, as I can go on a stroll through the city and click on links at my current location to see historical facts about present-day places. As part of the programming competition, the Museum für Naturkunde has decided that all its scanned images of insects (15 million creatures) should be freely accessible for reuse under the CC BY license. The Stadtmuseum Berlin has “released” further material for the Alt-Berlin app. A number of GLAM institutions have already agreed to participate in Coding da Vinci in 2015 with new data sets under a free license. We now need to build upon these successes.

Let’s talk about it

We want to use the opportunity provided by the “Shaping Access” conference to get as many cultural institutions as possible on board for Coding da Vinci. These institutions should also be persuaded to allow content from their collections to be freely reused. Media files under free licenses can then be integrated into Wikipedia articles and within Wikidata. We can also reuse the free digitized historical collections for Wikisource. These are just a few of the possible applications within the Wikiverse. Until now, users can only download the content. We will therefore make it a more pressing matter in the coming year to also closely integrate free content into Wikimedia projects. To do so, we have to build up a technical infrastructure and learn to support developers even more strongly as one of our communities. Developers and programmers should be able to use cultural data as an exciting raw material for their new creative products, in order to enable more people to share in our common cultural heritage and to remain true to the idea of Coding da Vinci – cultural data should not simply be confined to the museum, but also be available on smartphones or tablets in the future.

For us, Coding da Vinci means access to free content and the “Shaping Access” conference is the main platform for communicating that very objective, also known as the Code to Access.

File:Vii C 823 -b X.oggtheora.ogv

One of the music videos by the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin which can now be reused.
Video by Andreas Richter, under CC-BY-3.0

Barbara Fischer, Wikimedia Deutschland

by wikimediablog at November 12, 2014 04:36 PM

55 works of iconic Indian writer released on Wikisource under a free licence

Kannada is a language spoken by 40 million people in Karnataka– one of the four southern states of India.The Kannada Wikimedia community, in collaboration with CIS-A2K, are enthusiastic about having almost all of the works of Niranjana re-licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0 on the occasion of Kannada Rajyotsava. Niranjana was a prolific Indian author and activist, and wrote more than 60 books over the course of his career. These works will be digitized and made available on Kannada Wikisource, allowing Kannada speakers to freely access the diverse set of works. Niranjana’s works give a rich glimpse into social, political, and cultural history of Karnataka from the 1940s to 1990s; they can be used as a potential resource for creating and improving articles on Kannada Wikipedia.

Niranjana (1924-1992) was the pseudonym of Kulkund Shivarao, a prominent Kannada writer of the 20th century and a leading figure in the Progressive Writers’ Movement in Kannada. His prolific output, across nearly five decades, included novels, short stories, plays, biographies, political commentary, and translations. He was a regular columnist in the Kannada newspapers and magazines. Among his achievements as an editor are Jnana Gangotri, a 7-volume encyclopedia for young people, and a 25-volume compilation of the world’s greatest short stories.

“This is the the single largest and most comprehensive individual collection of a writer to be released under CC-BY-SA 4.0 in any of the Indian languages so far,” says Omshivaprakash.

“KannadaWikipediaWorkshop 010″ by Pavanaja, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

A total of 55 Kannada books by Niranjana are re-licensed. “This is the single largest and most comprehensive individual collection of a writer to be released under CC-BY-SA 4.0 in any of the Indian languages so far,” says Kannada Wikimedian Omshivaprakash. Kannada Wikimedians and CIS-A2K have organized a formal event to celebrate Creative Commons efforts to cultivate free and open knowledge online in Kannada; specifically, Kannada Wikisource. It is important to also acknowledge the great initiative shown by Niranjana’s daughter, Dr. Tejaswini Niranjana, in getting these works released under CC-BY-SA 4.0 licensing.

Dr. Tejaswini Niranjana says, “[Kannada] Wikisource is an excellent free and open knowledge platform for books in Indian languages and I am happy that my father’s works can now be accessed by [all] Kannadigas across the world. Let these writings have innumerable readers. What more could any author want?”

She is determined to release more work under CC licensing, and says, “[I] will be more than glad to get as many Indian works as possible under a free license as this will ensure that a lot of knowledge produced over the past many decades in India can easily be made accessible to the next generation of seekers of knowledge, who are digital natives.”

Tejas Jain, another Kannada Wikimedian, was quick to co-write a blog in Kannada about this content donation. Jain says, “this is a bold step…and will act as motivation for other Kannada writers to release more content under CC-BY-SA 4.0.” He hopes to see “Kannda Wikisource grow as the comprehensive single digital resource for free Kannada books” and address “the fear of loosing the rich print heritage of Kannada to time.”

Tejas Jain “This is a bold step[...]and will act as motivation for other Kannada writers to release more content under CC-BY-SA 4.0″

“Tejas Jain” by Visdaviva , under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Omshivaprakash was surprised to realize that there is no article on such a prominent Kannada writer like Niranjana on English Wikipedia.This led to a Facebook discussion, and User Tito Dutta responded swiftly, but needed help with verifiable resources. Omshivaprakash chipped in with resources and a page on Niranjana (needs your Wiki Love) has now been started on English Wikipedia. While this is not a big achievement, it is a simple example of how the (Indian) English Wikipedians could collaborate with Indic Wikimedians in creating India focused content on English Wikipeida and how social media could be used for off-wiki collaboration by Wikimedians. Incidentally Tito and Omshivaprakash became friends on FB during the WMF’s India Community Consultation 2014 which was held recently in Bangalore.

T. Vishnu Vardhan, Program Director, CIS-A2K

by wikimediablog at November 12, 2014 02:20 AM

November 11, 2014

This month in GLAM

This Month in GLAM: October 2014

by Admin at November 11, 2014 11:37 PM

Wikimedia Foundation

Excelling students in Be’er Sheva write articles about their city in the Hebrew Wikipedia

For the first time, Wikimedia Israel (WMIL), the education department of the Municipality of Be’er Sheva (the 7th largest city in Israel), and the Ministry of Education have joined forces to establish the innovative Wikipedia in Education project.

“Meeting with the mayor of Be’er Sheva – September 2014 (5)” by Chenspec-WMIL, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

During the past school year, approximately 350 students from ten 9th grade classes for excelling students learned how to write Wikipedia articles focused on geographical, historical and cultural subjects related to the city of Be’er Sheva, a well as articles on leading public figures in the city’s history. The lectures, editing workshops, and tutoring sessions were conducted in the framework of the student’s Hebrew language studies.

Students were divided into groups where they learned how to collect and research credible sources, and acquired academic writing skills. Students toured significant sites in the city, collected research material, and were guided by the chapter’s volunteers and their teachers, who were also tutored in these subjects. Students received lectures and editing workshops by ten volunteers of the Wikipedia community, who came from across the country to support and assist them in this unique project. Thirty new articles were moved to Wikipedia mainspace!

During the month of September, with the conclusion of the first year of the project, the Mayor of Be’er Sheva invited the WMIL volunteers, as well as representatives of both teachers and students to his office in order to thank them and show his appreciation for the project. The Mayor congratulated both students and volunteers, saying that the project constitutes “a perfect example skills utilized and in-depth learning that comes from fascinating subject matters”. The Mayor added that the city of Be’er Sheva was “proud of this project”.

WMIL sees the Wikipedia in Education project as paramount, as well as the recognition it receives from the educational community. We are happy that the students learned and experienced working with Wikipedia, and witnessed the great contribution it can make to their academic career, as well the contribution they can make to Wikipedia in turn. Added to their acquired experience in writing, both students and teachers got to know and experience an important pedagogical tool, and gained skills in the educated use of knowledge.

Together with Be’er Sheva Municipality, we hope to continue to implement the project in the next school year, and to see it established in other parts of the world. For that end, we are happy to share some of our conclusions and work procedures.

Project overview

The project began with a meeting of a steering committee convened by the Be’er Sheva Municipality to green-light the project, and create lesson plans in accordance with material taught in the 9th grade classes participating in the project.

  1. Teachers of the participating classes received a lecture and an editing workshop. An introductory lecture on Wikipedia was held in each of the participating classes.
  2. A project portal was created in the Hebrew Wikipedia.
  3. A list of missing articles was compiled and approved by the community members leading the project.
  4. 12 editing workshops were held for students, facilitated by additional Wikipedians and chapter volunteers. These articles were written as drafts and the students, divided into groups, worked on them together.
  5. The volunteers leading the projects held follow-up meetings with students, according to need.
  6. The drafts were moved into mainspace by the volunteers leading the project.

Main lessons learned

  1. Adjusting lesson plans to current material was crucial: editing in Wikipedia did not come across as just another school chore, and the concurring syllabus made the work easier and more fruitful for both teachers and students.
  2. The teachers in our projects underwent a four-hour lecture on Wikipedia and a short editing workshop. We believe that prepping teachers prior to their work with the students should be more thorough. They are crucial to the project’s success, and it is important that their knowledge of Wikipedia goes beyond the scope of the average user (talk pages, view history, categories, etc.). In our opinion, it is not necessary that teachers learn to edit or write articles.
  3. It is vital to create a schedule and adhere to it. We have not always been on schedule this last year, and consequently have failed to reach our goal of 40 articles. It is important to create a viable schedule for all parties involved – students, teachers and volunteers.
  4. Students’ enthusiasm is vital! Students must feel that they contribute to the expansion of knowledge by writing articles, and that many people will eventually read the content they have created. It is vital that this sentiment is enhanced during the project.
  5. During the project, we asked the teachers to locate students with the potential and will to continue editing in Wikipedia in the future. Some students were identified, and we maintain contact with them. It is preferable that in future, a volunteer is assigned to follow-up and encourage exceptional students.
  6. WMIL plans to hold a gathering of both the students who continued to edit after the workshop, and community volunteers.
  7. Two volunteers led and managed the project, and this proved to be counterproductive. The amount of work to be done during the project is substantial – coordinating with the different schools, editing articles, facilitating the workshops, participating in school activities, moving articles to mainspace, and more. Before projects of the kind are implemented in the future, it is recommended to consider the number of volunteers or staff members needed to lead and facilitate the project. This is a long, complex project, requiring long-term commitment.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Danny Wax and Nimrod Rapaport, who led the project, assisted and supported the students and teachers in all matters, and of course, all our WMIL dedicated volunteers.

Michal Lester - Executive Director Wikimedia Israel

by wikimediablog at November 11, 2014 06:57 AM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata - Annette Polly Williams

As the longest-serving woman in Wisconsin's Legislature, Mrs Williams deserves to be recognised. In her honour, 1752 members of that legislature will be recognised as such and, they will be known as politicians.

Mrs Williams was an advocate of education for all kids. It is one of the things a Wikipedia articles is good for. It is not obvious how to indicate this in Wikidata.

It is a bit strange to find that many American politicians do not have a picture to illustrate their articles. Given the absurd amounts of money involved, providing a few pictures of politicians would be a cheap gesture that would be appreciated.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at November 11, 2014 06:55 AM

November 10, 2014

Wikimedia Tech Blog

Wikimedia supports the Lyon Declaration and Access to Knowledge

“WikiReaders at Sinenjongo” by Pamrob3, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Wikimedia Foundation is proud to join the Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development which calls for United Nations member states to provide all people the ability to access and share knowledge. After all, this speaks to the ambition of the Wikimedia movement: sharing the sum of all human knowledge to all people around the world.

Wikipedia provides a vast wealth of free knowledge to the world—more than 33 million articles in more than 280 languages—and allows anyone to contribute to or improve this collection. But as a movement that exists largely online, achieving our mission depends on people’s connection to communications infrastructure that is unfortunately not equally available to all.

Our support for the Lyon Declaration is part of our efforts to make Wikipedia available across the digital divide, including several community initiatives to provide offline access to Wikipedia. Starting in 2004, a group of English Wikipedia contributors began curating a collection of the best Wikipedia articles for distribution on CD or DVD, for places where access to the internet is limited or unavailable. Today, the Kiwix project makes it easier to download a compressed version of Wikipedia, enabling distribution through One Laptop Per Child, SOS Children’s Villages, and other programs supporting the use of inexpensive Wikipedia reader devices.

Even when an internet connection is available, it may not be affordable. In many parts of the world mobile phones are more common than desktop computers, but the cost of mobile data can be prohibitively high. To help ensure that those phones can be used to access and participate in knowledge creation we started Wikipedia Zero, offering mobile access to Wikipedia free of charge through commitments from mobile service providers in developing countries. Today, Wikipedia Zero helps extend access to information to more than 400 million users who may otherwise be unable to afford it. It is part of the broader access to knowledge movement to reduce barriers to knowledge, including poverty and limited internet connectivity[1].

We hope that the Lyon Declaration will further advance this movement across the globe. The Declaration urges nations to adopt a development agenda to address the inequality in access to information. This is a monumental challenge, and as the Declaration rightly asserts, it will require cooperation among a community of nations, civil society organizations, and private sector groups. We are happy to be among those groups, along with Wikimedia UK, Wikimedia Italy, and hundreds of other like-minded organizations that share a vision of increased access to knowledge. As part of this community that is working to spread free knowledge, we hope to see a global commitment to provide everyone the opportunity to connect to the internet and share.

Stephen LaPorte, Legal Counsel
Yana Welinder, Legal Counsel

  1. We discussed this work with Yale ISP fellow BJ Ard in a talk at Wikimania 2014 in London.

by maherwiki at November 10, 2014 09:15 PM

Alex Druk

Not all years were created equal

I was wondering how different historical periods are represented in Wikipedia.
Hence, I pulled out Wikipedia pages each dedicated to a certain year from 0 AD to 1800 and counted number of different events that took place during each of the years. Results are shown below.

History events by year

The increasing number of known events was expected. But growth was not linear. You can observe significant relative drop in events (below trendline) from the VIII to the XI or the XV centuries, which correspond to the period that was originally coined as “dark ages”.

To normalize the data I calculated moving averages for each 5-year period and looked at the deviation from theses averages. On next graph you can see the results. To make the graph more readable I included only years with number of events that exceed the corresponding average at least twice or were at least 60% below such average.


Year 1752 stands out because many famous people were born that year. 1118 was full of events around the world: from Japan and China to Scandinavia; and a lot of famous persons died that year. But most of these extremes are difficult to explain.

Please notice amazingly long period of stable event flow from 1246 until 1613.

I speculated that it would be easier to find explanation such irregularities in more recent history and made a graph for the 20th century (below). Surprisingly, I could not find explanation for the irregularities in modern history also. I can explain the 30% pick in 1914, when the WWI began, but certainly cannot justify a drop in notable events next year, in 1915, nor understand why 1974 was so “uneventful”.


From general point of view all years should have equal or at least almost equal number of events. But they are certainly not. Is this just a probability game or are some unknown (to me) factors at play?

by Alex Druk at November 10, 2014 03:51 PM

Tech News

Tech News issue #46, 2014 (November 10, 2014)

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November 10, 2014 12:00 AM

November 08, 2014

Tony Thomas

MediaWiki PHP unit tests : Reading contents from a file ( @dataProvider )

While writing php unit tests for the BounceHandler extension, I came across a scenario in which I had to read contents from a text file and feed that to the test function as a variable. With the dataProvider functions it was solved simple. Problem: * function testProcessTextfile( $foo ) function requires $foo to be read […]

by tonythomas01 at November 08, 2014 06:28 AM

Joseph Reagle

Gratitude as socialization

In Online Communities we recently spent a class focused on designing for gratitude. The task for the day was to "Give at least one Wikipedian who is not associated with our class some Wikilove. (Of course, you can also share as much Wikilove as you wish, in or out of class.)" The students had some interesting feedback about the exercise.

  1. Some wished there was a way to thank all the contributors to an article. I imagine this would be difficult given the often large number of contributors and varied levels of contribution. (I wondered if it was possible to do so for a WikiProject but apparently it is not.)
  2. I was surprised that a couple students expressed hesitancy about the task because they didn't feel Wikipedian enough to be assessing others' contributions and expressing gratitude. Hence, even though they found the kittens less meaningful, they were more comfortable sending kittens because it seemed like a lower bar than sending a barnstar.

Nathan Mattias, our guest speaker, noted that other communities do have norms in which first finding and expressing gratitude was an important part of the socialization process. In his post on the story sharing site Cowbird he wrote:

Jonathan protects the Cowbird aesthetic from early adopters through an invitation-only registration system and an onboarding process. New users are encouraged to view example stories, "love" 20 current stories, and join some sagas before posting their own story.---Can we create Solitude on the Web? Jonathan Harris on Cowbird

Because of this, I'm going to be retaining the exercise and recommend it be considered for the template syllabus of other classes; I imagine it furthers socialization, identification, and commitment---even if seeming presumptuous to the students at first.

by Joseph Reagle at November 08, 2014 05:00 AM

Anti-harassment help

At Northeastern this week we had a GamerGate town hall meeting and I thought it'd be useful to share some resources as a follow-up. (For those that want to read up on the particulars, I recommend the articles at RationalWiki and The Washington Post. If you really want details, Wikipedia is exhaustive.)

First, for those who would like to help in efforts at combating sexism and harassment I recommend the Resources for allies article on the GeekFeminism wiki. At the organizational level, I recommend anti-harassment policies and codes of conduct.

For those facing harassment, I am sorry that there are no simple answers. In Reading the Comments (due April 2015) I argue the old axiom that "don't feed the trolls" is no longer sufficient. In my discussion of haters and Sarkeesian's experiences I write:

Unfortunately, hate and harassment are a part of online comment for which there is no easy solution. Yet her [Sarkeesian's] example does indicate that for those that are brave enough, there is an option between "feeding"and "ignoring" the trolls and haters: supporting their victims. I am not suggesting that the target of abuse should engage with the trolls or become a lone vigilante. Nor would I advocate for a bully-battle. What I am hopeful for is that we all be more willing to declare that such behavior is odious and unwelcome and we support targets of abuse---be it emotionally, financially, or legally.

More practically, Ashe Dryden's post on how to deal with and help those facing online harassment is excellent. Also, at a larger social level---and if one's needs to invoke legal help---I recommend Danielle Keats Citron's recent book "Hate Crimes in Cyberspace." For students at university, I also recommend they reach out to supportive faculty and student organizations.

by Joseph Reagle at November 08, 2014 05:00 AM

November 07, 2014

Wikimedia Foundation

Cleaning up file metadata, for humans and robots

A short while after Wikipedia was created in 2001, contributors started to upload pictures to the site to illustrate articles. Over the years, Wikimedians have accumulated over 22 million files on Wikimedia Commons, the central media repository that all Wikimedia sites can pull from. In addition, nearly 2.5 million other files are spread out across hundreds of individual wikis.

MediaWiki, the software platform used for Wikimedia sites, wasn’t originally designed for multimedia content. We’ve made good progress with better upload tools, for example, but the underlying system still very much focuses on text.

On MediaWiki, each file has a file description page that contains all the information (“metadata”) related to the picture: what it depicts, who the author is, what rights and limitations are associated with it, etc. Many wikis have developed templates (reusable bits of wikicode) to organize such file metadata, but a lot of information is still unstructured in plain wikitext.

The Wikimedia Foundation recently launched an initiative to develop a new underlying system for file metadata using the same technology powering Wikidata. This project is still in the early stages, and even when it becomes available, it will take a long time to migrate the existing metadata to structured data.

The goal of the File metadata cleanup drive is to make the migration process for those 24+ million files less tedious, by making sure that robots can process most of the files automatically.

MrMetadata is a dashboard tracking, for each wiki, the proportion of files whose metadata is readable by robots, and listing those that need fixing.

The goal of the File metadata cleanup drive is to make the migration process for those 24+ million files less tedious, by making sure that robots can process most of the files automatically.

Machine-readable data also makes it easier to reuse Wikimedia content consistently with best practices for attribution. Examples of tools that use existing machine-readable data include the stockphoto gadget on Commons, WikiWand and Media Viewer. The PDF generator and offline readers like Kiwix are other tools that will benefit from this effort.

Evolution of the file description page

The upcoming Structured data project aims to build a system where you edit the metadata using a form, you view it in a nice format, and robots can understand the content and links between items.

With structured data, robots will know exactly what field refers to what kind of information. This will make it easier for humans to search and edit metadata.

With Structured data, robots will know exactly what field refers to what kind of information. This will make it easier for humans to search and edit metadata.

Many files on Wikimedia Commons aren’t actually very far from that model. Many files have an “Information template”, a way to organize the different parts of the metadata on the page. Information templates were originally created to display metadata in a consistent manner across files, but they also make it possible to make the information easier to read for robots.

This is achieved by adding machine-readable markers to the HTML code of the templates. Those markers say things like “this bit of text is the description”, and “this bit of text is the author”, etc. and robots can pick these up to understand what humans have written.

This situation is ideal for the migration, because it tells robots exactly how to handle the bits of metadata and which field they belong to.

Current information and license templates can be read by machines if they contain special markers. Robots will be able to migrate many files to structured data automatically if they use those templates.

Current information and license templates can be read by machines if they contain special markers. Robots will be able to migrate many files to structured data automatically if they use those templates.

If the machine-readable markers aren’t present, the robots need to guess which field corresponds to which type of content. This makes it more difficult to read the metadata, and their parsing of the text is less accurate. The good news is that by just adding a few markers to the templates, all the files that use the template will automatically become readable for robots.

If a file contains information and license templates, but they don't have the special markers, it's difficult for robots to migrate it. Fortunately, it's easy to add the special markers.

If a file contains information and license templates, but they don’t have the special markers, it’s difficult for robots to migrate it. Fortunately, it’s easy to add the special markers.

Things become fuzzier for robots when the information isn’t organized with templates. In this case, robots just see a blob of text and have no idea what the metadata is saying. This means that the migration has to be made entirely by human hands.

If the file's metadata only contains wikitext, we need to organize the content by adding an information and a license template manually. Those templates need to contain the special markers.

If the file’s metadata only contains wikitext, we need to organize the content by adding an information and a license template manually. Those templates need to contain the special markers.

Fixing files and templates

Many files across wikis are in one of the latter states that aren’t readable by robots, and about 700,000 files on Commons are missing an information template as well. In order to fix them so they can be easily migrated in the future requires, we need an inventory of files missing machine-readable metadata.

That’s where MrMetadata comes into play. MrMetadata (a wordplay on Machine-Readable Metadata) is a dashboard tracking, for each wiki, the proportion of files that are readable by robots. It also provides an exhaustive list of the “bad” files, so we know which ones to fix.

Each wiki storing images has a dedicated dashboard showing the proportion of files with machine-readable metadata, and providing a list of the files to fix.

Each wiki storing images has a dedicated dashboard showing the proportion of files with machine-readable metadata, and providing a list of the files to fix.

Once the files have been identified, a multilingual how-to explains how to fix the files and the templates. Fixing template is easy: you just add a few machine-readable markers, and you’re done. For example, the English Wikivoyage went from 9% to 70% in just a few weeks. Fixing individual files requires more manual work, but there are tools that make this less tedious.

Get involved

The multilingual how-to provides a step-by-step guide to fixing files and templates. It's currently available in more than a dozen languages.

The multilingual how-to provides a step-by-step guide to fixing files and templates. It’s currently available in more than a dozen languages.

If you’d like to help with this effort, you can look for your wiki on MrMetadata, bookmark the link, and start going through the list. By looking at the files, you’ll be able to determine if if has a template (where you can add markers) or if you need to add the template as well.

If you add markers to the templates, wait a couple of days for MrMetadata to update, so you can see the remaining files missing machine-readable information. The multilingual how-to provides a step-by-step guide to fixing files and templates.

Adding special markers to the templates can improve metadata readability very quickly. The English Wikivoyage went from 9% to 70% of "good" files in just a few weeks.

Adding special markers to the templates can improve metadata readability very quickly. The English Wikivoyage went from 9% to 70% of “good” files in just a few weeks.

The Wikimedia Foundation is starting this cleanup effort, and you’re encouraged to help on Commons and on your wiki. Ultimately, the decisions in the transition to machine-readable templates will be up to you.

I’m going to be available as a resource for volunteers who need support. If you have questions or encounter odd edge cases, you can contact me on IRC (I’m guillom in the #wikimedia channel on freenode), on the cleanup drive’s talk page, on the tech ambassadors mailing list, or via EmailUser.

Starting next week, I’ll also be holding “Cleanup Wednesdays”, with several IRC support sessions during the day to rotate across time zones. The first sessions (listed at IRC office hours) will be happening on Wednesday, November 12 at 18:00 (UTC), and a few hours later on Thursday, November 13 at 04:00 (UTC).

I’m hoping that you’ll join this effort to organize file metadata and make it more readable for robots, in order to make the future transition to structured data as painless as possible for humans.

Guillaume Paumier, Wikimedia Foundation

by Guillaume Paumier at November 07, 2014 11:49 PM

Wiki Education Foundation

User testing the Assignment Design Wizard

These last couple of months, I’ve been busily working with Seattle design firm WINTR to build the Assignment Design Wizard, a tool to help instructors create great Wikipedia assignments. The beta version of the wizard is now up and running at wizard.wikiedu.org, and my focus has turned to user testing in preparation for the official 1.0 release later this month.

The beta version of the Assignment Design Wizard, as of 2014-11-07.

The beta version of the Assignment Design Wizard, as of 2014-11-07.

What is user testing?

As the product manager for Wiki Education Foundation’s digital services, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how software can help us through our biggest challenges. I’ve talked with many instructors, students, and veteran Wikipedia editors to find out what the pain points are when it comes to Wikipedia assignments. For the Assignment Design Wizard, I’ve spent a lot of time with the talented designers at WINTR coming up with solutions for some of them. But I’ve also been immersed in these problems and the solutions we’ve been building. I know what this wizard is for, and I know how it’s supposed to be used. I can’t see it with the eyes of someone encountering it for the first time. I can’t discard all of my assumptions that got built into the wizard. That’s where user testing comes in.

The essence of user testing is just to let people try the software out and see what happens. It seems simple enough, but it’s an incredibly important part of the development process. When you watch someone try to use a piece of software for the first time, shortcomings and usability problems become painfully obvious. You may get to see them struggle with the basics. Where do I click? What am I supposed to do now? Why did it just do that? What did I do wrong? What is this thing for? Especially the first few times you do live user testing for a new piece of software, you often come away knowing exactly what you need to fix. Things you had never thought of suddenly become obvious and important.

Early results

The first user test, with a Canadian professor preparing for her first Wikipedia classroom assignment, revealed some major work that needed to be done. In particular, it was clear that the wizard wasn’t doing enough to explain what it was for and how it should be used. Now, the entry point to the wizard explains that while this tool is built around Wiki Ed’s best practices, the assignment plan you publish with it is meant as a starting point for further customization, not a rigid template.

That user test also showed that the explanation of “Did You Know” (DYK)– with the opportunity to include DYK as an ungraded option for your class — was pretty confusing. One of the ways we want to support classes is by providing hands-on help and advice with the DYK process, so that the students doing great work don’t miss out on the opportunity to showcase their articles on Wikipedia’s Main Page. Now the wizard’s DYK section explicitly covers the support Wiki Ed can provide to students interested in DYK.

Improvements to the wizard’s output– which I’ve just finished implementing today — also came directly out of my observations from user testing. The assignment plans generated by wizard are intended to be attractive and easy to read, but also easy to edit– even for someone new to wiki markup. But as the early tests showed, it wasn’t quite easy enough. Is the latest version is up to the task? The answer to that will have to await more user feedback.

On the whole, the user tests so far are showing what we hoped: the Assignment Design Wizard will be a beautiful, easy-to-use tool that will help dive right into planning their first Wikipedia assignments.

Want to try it out?

In this beta stage, it’s especially important to hear from as many people as possible. Want to give the wizard a try? Here’s what you can do:

  1. Put yourself into the mindset of a college professor — a reader of Wikipedia but not necessarily an experienced editor– who is interested in running their first Wikipedia classroom assignment. (If that’s really you, all the better!)
  2. Starting from the end of the training for educators, go through the assignment design wizard, and think through each step from the professor’s perspective. Take notes about any interface problems you encounter along the way.
  3. At the end, look through the assignment plan that gets posted to your userspace, and try editing it to customize your assignment plan even further.
  4. Let me know what you thought about the wizard, and any suggestions you have for making it better: sage@wikiedu.org

by Sage Ross at November 07, 2014 11:30 PM

Wikimedia Foundation

Creative writing using Wikipedia: Suzanne Fox

Suzanne Fox
(“Suzanne Fox” by Suzanne Fox, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

After working on Wall Street for more than a decade, Suzanne Fox decided it was time to follow her calling in creative writing. She left behind writing marketing materials to embark on writing fictional novels. Fox set her mind on writing a literary novel set in 1850s Great Britain, but found it challenging to write prolifically about an era she has never known. That’s when she turned to Wikipedia for inspiration, and found that she could relive some of the past she was looking for.

For Fox, who is now 59 years old, the process of writing a novel begins with an abstract idea of a scene she wants to describe. Then the details of the scene are filled in with descriptions from Wikipedia articles she has read. Fox defines this process as “taking ownership of that place and turning it back into an imaginary place.”

“[Wikipedia] is my go-to starting place for the information that I need for that scene,” says Fox, who now lives in Vero Beach, Florida. “I can also make use of the external links, which is a really helpful thing for me.”

Each of Fox’s characters (depending on the era they are set in) are researched carefully on aspects as simple as how they are going from one place to the other. For instance, she looks up details on carriages that could have assisted transportation during the Victorian era.

“As a writer who wants to write something that feels authentic, and to live inside a character’s head, you’re inevitably living inside not only their head, but their corset, their clothing, you know, their hat, their carriage, their house,” says Fox.

In an attempt to be as historically accurate as possible, Fox has researched the dates of events related to her characters on Wikipedia. Once she was writing about the 1850s and had to reconsider introducing the crinoline petticoat because it was invented after when her book took place.

Growing up in New Jersey and later moving to Manhattan, Fox has always found herself in “a place [with] research opportunities galore.” After graduating with an art history degree from Douglass College, Fox started working for a firm as a marketing writer.

“But at a certain point I realized that this was not really, you know, my soul and I started doing my own writing. I started out writing poetry of all things.” says Fox.

She left her position and pursued a masters degree in poetry at Columbia University. There were three compelling reasons she was drawn to poetry:

“The good thing about poetry not having money attached to it for the most part [is] that there’s no real reason not to be authentic… I think poetry is about a delight in language and kind of about the selection of language and the beauty of the English language. So for that reason also, it was deeply nurturing to me.”

But Fox says she surprised herself by working on a memoir rather than poetry after graduation. After completing her masters, she began to work on her first book, “Home Life: A Journey of Rooms and Recollections” which was published in 1997 and had been inspired by the many houses she had been living in.

As a writer, Fox has found herself acquainted with various time periods that prompt her to read about on Wikipedia. For instance, when she was editing and contributing to a novel about 17th century Ireland, she found herself imagining scenes and reading Wikipedia articles to flesh out the details.

“I think it’s the history, I think it’s the fence of uniqueness in each one that the way people live in places and decorate places, the kind of art form of it, it’s formed the core of all of my writing,” says Fox.

Researching artifacts and events that are no longer contemporary seem easier with Wikipedia now, but Fox says she remembers a time when researching the past wasn’t so easy. She cites “the lack of ability to cite quick facts,” as challenging to her research before Wikipedia.

“With Wikipedia I think, you get the best of both worlds,” Fox explains. On one hand, she appreciates the immediacy of being able to find articles that are easy to comprehend. On the other hand she enjoys bookmarking articles that she wants to refer to later. Her latest reads include: looking up bloomers, reading about John Thompson, Augustus Egg and many other historical figures.

Fox has felt inclined to support Wikipedia financially and makes regular donations to Wikimedia.

“I feel more connected to Wikipedia, thinking of myself as somebody who is a contributor to it,” says Fox. “And there’s a value in that, a reminder that I have power to support something.”

“What spoke to me [was] this incredible resource that I’m benefiting from and it takes money to do this even when it’s something that people are contributing to for free,” says Fox. “[Having] Wikipedia is like having the best reference librarian in the world.”

Profile by Yoona Ha, Communications Intern
Interview by Victor Grigas, Wikimedia Foundation Storyteller

2014-11-07: Edited to correct the place of upbringing and the description of “Home Life”

by wikimediablog at November 07, 2014 06:13 PM

Priyanka Nag

Building an army around my blog

I am a blogger...someone who likes to share her views and expressions with others by simply putting them in words. But whats a blogger without his (or her) followers and readers? (Well, here I am not talking about those bloggers who maintain private blogs). Followers, readers, criticisms, appreciations...thats what a blogger's world consists of. 

Posting a blog only gives partial satisfaction. When my posts receive comments (positive or negative), thats where the other half of the satisfaction comes from. 

After posting a blog, I have often received emails or facebook messages from readers, wanting to discuss more on the topic. Its probably then that I realized, how important it is, at times, to have a communication platform right on the blog, where the readers and critics could immediately start a conversation about something they like or dislike about the post.

Adding the Scrollback widget to my blogpost was not out of any obligation or commitment towards my job. It was a very selfish decision from my end to be able to communicate better with my readers.

Photo credit : Rahul Kondi

It was after adding the Scrollback widget that my army around my blog got stronger. People started reaching out to me on my Scrollback room, asking me more about why I wrote something, why I felt a certain way (referring to some writing) and sometimes also talking about how they shared similar feelings. All those readers of mine, who would like to talk to me, but wouldn't want to find me on facebook or write a long email, now found a much better way to reach out to me, instantly. I could also reply to them, almost instantly. 

Ofcourse not everyone likes what I write. I even had messages from the 'anonymous' readers, saying how I am doing it all wrong and how I need to think better. Well, even those messages have been helpful....helping see the other side of the coin. I am not a great writer, but I appreciate the criticisms received, which often help me improve.

P.S - If you go through my Scrollback room's chat log, you won't find much content there. Most of the time, when I have a very intense discussion with someone on any topic, I prefer to remove the logs after the conversations so that others don't need to suffer from the impact of those conversations.

by priyanka nag (noreply@blogger.com) at November 07, 2014 01:13 PM

November 06, 2014

Wikimedia UK

Response to the new IPO orphan works licensing scheme

The photo shows an empty display case in a museum

Orphan works rules result in empty display cases

The UK’s Intellectual Property Office last week announced the launch of a new orphan works licensing scheme.

This allows individuals and institutions wishing to use a work of intellectual property where the rights holder cannot be identified to apply for a licence from the IPO. Licences are awarded where the IPO is satisfied that the applicant conducted a “diligent” search for the rights holder, and they have paid a licensing and administration fee.

This scheme brings forward little that is new. The rule allowing re-use after diligent search has been part of copyright law in the UK for many years. The primary purpose of the new licences seems to be to provide greater certainty to re-users that the searches they have undertaken are sufficiently extensive to guarantee legal protection should the copyright owner come forward.

Searches have to be exceptionally comprehensive before the Intellectual Property Office will certify them as ‘diligent’ and although there are new guidelines which will provide greater clarity for cultural institutions, the imposition of an official fee is concerning.

Even with this new scheme in place orphan works can still not be easily used by the Wikimedia projects and the volunteers who write and curate them.

A real solution to the orphan works problem must await a more radical approach that goes beyond both this and the existing EU Orphan Works Directive.

We believe that this should be addressed as part of a more far-reaching review of copyright as a whole, at a national and European level. For example, a simple reduction in copyright terms would instantly make many works which are currently orphaned available for reuse.

You can see the recent Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU position paper on copyright reform – of which we are a signatory – here.

by Stevie Benton at November 06, 2014 02:55 PM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikipedia - Now in #Maithili

It is a happy occasion when a new Wikipedia is created. Today we may welcome the Maithili Wikipedia. The website has been created and all the content that is currently still in the Incubator needs to be migrated.

I wish the Maithili community well; I hope they will share with us in the sum of all available knowledge.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at November 06, 2014 07:22 AM

Wikimedia Foundation

50 hours of art in Wikipedia: the Museo Soumaya editathon

Wikipedians arriving with luggage to the museum.
”Segundo Editatón Soumaya Abierto 17″ by ProtoplasmaKid under CC-BY-SA-4.0

File:Mensaje de Lila Tretikov sobre el editatón de 50 horas en el Museo Soumaya de la Ciudad de México.webm

Opening message by Lila Tretikov, executive director of the WMF.

Héctor Palhares curator; Laura Huerta, curator an Alfonso Miranda, head of the museum.
”Segundo Editatón Soumaya Abierto 19″ by ProtoplasmaKid, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

The Wikipedians received also guided tours to help their editions.
”Segundo Editatón Soumaya Abierto – Dia dos – 6″ by ProtoplasmaKid, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Museum staff actively supported throughout the event.
”Segundo Editatón Soumaya Abierto – Dia dos – 4″ by ProtoplasmaKid, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Tracking the 50 hours continuous editions.
”Segundo Editatón Soumaya Abierto – Dia tres – 6″ by ProtoplasmaKid, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Liam Wyatt, long time GLAMer, giving a talk about cultural partnering history in Wikimedia movement.
”Segundo Editatón Soumaya Abierto – Dia tres – 5″ by ProtoplasmaKid, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

All the talks in English were translated to Spanish.
”Segundo Editatón Soumaya Abierto – Dia dos – 21″ by ProtoplasmaKid, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Alfonso Miranda, head of the museum, giving a guided tour through the exhibition about Sophia Loren’s 80th birthday.
”Segundo Editatón Soumaya Abierto – Dia tres – 5″ by ProtoplasmaKid, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Talk about Wikimedia and internet in Mexican cultural sector.
”Segundo Editatón Soumaya Abierto – Dia tres – 46″ by ProtoplasmaKid, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

We had the rare chance to visit a museum overnight, as Wikipedians, guided by experts. We definitely never thought we would eat and sleep inside the museum for over two days! This opportunity materialized during the last weekend in September, at Mexico City’s Soumaya Museum in Plaza Carso. The editathon, Soumaya Abierto, 50 horas de arte (“Open Soumaya, 50 hours of Art”), was a 50-hour marathon of continuous Wikipedia editing in several languages, lasting from September 26 -28th. It was longest continuous editathon ever recorded in the movement, with 64 new articles created in several languages, and over 1,100 total edits to the Wikimedia projects were made.

The museum is host to a private collection of over 66,000 pieces, spanning six centuries of art from Mexico and around the world. It’s the only museum in Mexico City open 365 days a year, (from 10am-7pm) and it is free of charge. For this editathon, the museum kept its doors open for Wikipedians and the general public throughout the 50 hours. During the weekend, the museum was attended by 10,342 visitors. Several activities happened during these days, including conferences, guided tours, plays and a special program for us Wikipedians. We also offered intensive workshops for beginners about basic Wikipedia editing. We were honored to share this time with the people working at the museum: the director, curators, researchers and tour guides who stood beside us in the titanic effort of working 50 hours straight, writing and sharing in a unique cultural experience, both in Mexico and the Wikimedia movement.

The editathon required two months of intensive logistical planning between the museum’s staff and the local Wikipedian-in-Residence, Iván Martínez. There were five pre-event workshops and two talks about Wikipedia and its collaborations with cultural institutions. It’s worth noting that these talks were given to staff members who weren’t directly involved with content creation during the event itself.

Friday, September 26th

On Friday afternoon, Wikipedians began arriving at the museum with suitcases, tents, sleeping bags, pillows and blankets. They were ready to start editing! The event started at 6pm with a guided tour of all the halls and permanent collections by Héctor Palhares Meza, curator of the museum.

Shortly before 8pm we had everything ready to go: books, computers, power, internet, coffee, snacks and the excitement we had been storing up since the event was first announced.

The formal inauguration began with a brief speech by Alfonso Miranda Márquez, Director of Museo Soumaya, followed by Iván Martínez, who is also the President of the Wikimedia Mexico (WMMX) chapter. The event unveiled the new design of the museum’s website and we screened a recorded message by Lila Tretikov, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation.

We are so proud to partner with institutions like Museo Soumaya as part of our ongoing relationships with the world’s leading galleries, libraries,archives, and museums [...]. I want to thank the organizers of this event, the incredible team at Wikimedia Mexico. You inspire me with your creativity and commitment. Lila Tretikov, Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation

At exactly 8pm, Alfonso Miranda marked the official start of the editathon among thunderous applause. We had a long stretch of work ahead of us.

The initial list had approximately 50 new articles and a few more marked for improvements. The museum’s staff had active participation with us during the whole event; researchers, curators, restorers, museographers, tour guides and the museum director himself were with us to teach us, assist us with polishing the text, find reputable sources and even showing us the history, details, and influences of several artists and pieces.

We kept a tally of major edits in a whiteboard. Eight expert WMMX editors kept up with whiteboard duty, and also served as Wikipedia consultants/ teachers to the assistants.

We had hot food and drinks provided to us during the 50 hours, including snacks so we could edit without worrying or stopping. The museum went above and beyond, and offered an additional program for the Wikipedians, including a play, dramatized tours and a special visit to a TV studio (UnoTV), while a team stayed editing the whole time.

Saturday, September 27th

Just after midnight, the Wikipedians who signed up to write about impressionist artists and paintings met for a specialized tour about Impressionism, Monet and Degas. In this tour we learned about the artists and their lives, dates and cultural contexts. On our way down, the guides stayed with us to help us with specific questions and recommended several books to get information from, before helping us with the edits themselves.

Around 2am, we started our sleeping rotation so that there would always be a team editing while the rest slept, bathed, and ate. The tally was updated every hour. The museum staff wore badges in which they specified their areas of expertise in particular artists or artistic movements.

We were seated in six tables roughly grouped by theme, but we were constantly moving, not only to help each other in editing, but to interact, to create new friendships and renew old ones.

The first night shift consisted of four Wikipedians, who kept on editing throughout the night until the next shift slept, bathed and had breakfast. At 8am the smell of hot coffee woke us up and signaled the night shift to go and get some rest.

At 10am we started the first of six workshops we would conduct during the event. We paused the workshop briefly to assist with the videoconference, “Collaboration between Wikimedia and Cultural Institutions” by Jonathan Cardy, GLAM Organizer at Wikimedia UK. Unfortunately, there were several connectivity issues that made simultaneous translation impossible.

The next workshop was given by Herminia Din, from the American Alliance of Museums, about museums and online learning. The Anchorage University academic showed us how the Alliance is developing platforms for online learning with museums and education institutions in the United States. Then came Liam Wyatt, coordinator of cultural alliances at Europeana, who spoke about the history of the collaborations within the GLAM movement.

The guided tours, edits and photographs came one after another: Van Gogh, Gauguin, Camille Claudel, Landecio, José María Velasco, Tintoretto, El Greco, Rubens, Mannerism, Expressionism, Baroque — it all went in through our eyes, out through our fingers, on to our keyboards and then to Wikipedia.

Late at night, the Museum Director, Alfonso Miranda Márquez, guided us on a tour to the temporary exhibition “Sophia Loren México. Ayer, hoy y mañana” (“Sophia Loren in Mexico. Yesterday, today and tomorrow”), finishing off our Saturday with a very pleasant experience learning about the life and work of the diva.

Sunday 28th

In the afternoon, there was a talk about the conservation efforts made by the museum, by Sergio Sandoval Arias and Pilar Leñero Llaca. One of the members of WMMX’s board, Alan Lazalde, also gave a talk about Open Culture and Hacker Culture. Then came Agustín Peña, of the radio station Ibero 90.9; Jorge Martínez Micher, Mexico City Secretary of Culture, and Alfonso Miranda sharing their experiences on internet, digital resources and their own activities in the cultural sector of Mexico.

For Alfonso Mirando, the editathon is “…an effort in joint efforts, cross-discipline teams and, above all, vehement work on building open knowledge. (…) knowledge that is shared in a transparent way, without protagonists, without the idea of, I’m the one who creates [knowledge] and I protect it as mine.”

Even though we were all tired, we never faltered and were ready for the final hours. The teams were alternating between brief visits to the museum and editing. The last part of the editathon was held up mostly by the research and curator staff of the museum, who helped us with fact-checking and style corrections. At 10:01pm everyone present began the countdown, New-Year style, marking the end of the challenge. The museum recognized the most prolific editors with a few gifts and we celebrated with a closing cocktail party.

The interest from galleries, archives, libraries, museums and cultural spaces in Wikimedia projects has increased in these last few years, thanks to the work of the volunteers of the Mexican chapter. Museo Soumaya, part of the Carlos Slim Foundation, has decided to work in alliance with Wikimedia Mexico, and to become a museum that embraces Wikipedia as one of its most important projects. We extend a formal invitation to all Mexican cultural institutions to join us in collaborations with the Wikimedia projects.

Elements of success

  • Surpassing 50 hours of continuous editing. This requires precise control of the edits per hour and preplanning content between Wikipedians and the museum staff.
  • Supportive museum staff during each hour of the event for answering questions.
  • The museum was open to the public for 50 continuous hours. This is not common in Mexico City.
  • Dedicated Wikipedian-in-Residence, first in Mexico and second in Spanish-speaking countries.
  • Pre-event trainings attended by all the staff, not only those who edited during the event.
  • Having a list of articles to create in advance, curated by both Wikipedian-in-residence and staff
  • Compiled resources at a temporary library near to the main area of edition.

Salvador Alcántar, Carmen Alcázar, Iván Martínez

Translation by Andrés Cruz y Corro

Wikimedia Mexico

by wikimediablog at November 06, 2014 02:22 AM

November 05, 2014

Gerard Meijssen

#Commons - Adolphe Berty

Mr Berty was a French author, antiquarian and archeologist. There is no Wikimedia article about him, there is no Wikidata item for him. There is material on Commons he created. There are links to several external sources making Mr Berty notable enough for them as well.

Amir ran his bot so all the people with Wikipedia articles are now linked to Wikidata as well. People like Mr Berty just need to be created. Really funny is the realisation that many Wikimedians have or should have their own Creator template. As a consequence they are notable for Wikidata. If not now, certainly when Commons is wikidatified.

It is fun thinking about the implications of the wikidatification.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at November 05, 2014 07:36 PM

Wikimedia UK

A weekend at MozFest

The photo is a view from a balcony at MozFest, giving a top-down view on  a workshop

Workshops at MozFest 2014

This post was written by Stuart Prior, Fundraising Assistant

I recently spent the weekend at Mozfest, the annual Mozilla conference, held in Greenwich.

The aim of going was to find out how Mozilla’s community worked, to make project and fundraising contacts in the open sector and, after my role in organising our own community conference, Wikimania 2014, to see how they did it.
Also, to see and support in any way I could, the Open Coalition work that Bekka Kahn was doing there in the form of running the Community Building track of the conference.

It was both very similar and very different. There were more workshops and discussions than talks, which was refreshing, if a little intimidating.  The content was often very technical and platform based, and not being a Mozillan, unfamiliar to me.

But, what felt exactly the same was the sense of community and optimism. The fact that people were friendly and open to talking to you, and I spent a lot of time explaining Wikimedia projects and how the movement worked, and met some interesting people with some interesting projects.

Moreover, Mozilla’s focus on creating an open web, and on encouraging digital literacy and engaging young people with the Open Source movement is invaluable to a free and open society. With serious concerns about online monopolies and a restricted, highly commodified and profoundly un-free internet, this is increasingly important and something we in the Wikimedia movement should all be supporting.

by Stevie Benton at November 05, 2014 04:15 PM

Wikimedia Foundation

Wikimedia Russia and Tunguska Electronic Music Society release first freely licensed 3plet album

Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons

Recently, Wikimedia RU and the free music society “Tunguska E. M. S.announced the release of their first mutual album, published in the new digital format 3plet and distributed under the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 open licence. The unique album opens with the composition “Paint It Blue Or Say It’s Sad” by EXIT project – the Russian art-stage star.

3plet is a format of digital editing and distributing of musical albums combining the audio recording, visual images (as slideshow) and text. The three components constitute an application that is distributed via App Store and Google Play.

The album itself contains 12 tracks recorded by leading musicians working in the downtempo, chillout, and ambient styles – Oleg Syrenko, Olga Scotland, Aquascape, Argonika, Bigfoot, Electro-Nick, etc. Every track is followed by a picturesque slideshow: the charming depths of space, the images of other worlds, native reserve areas, mysterious natural phenomena, intricate abstract designs. One should especially mention the decoration of Bigfoot’s Tunguska M track, provided by Vitaly Romeyko, a well-known researcher of the Tunguska phenomenon, which was made out of pictures taken during his expeditions to the Tunguska region.

The text component of the album includes some extracts of Wikipedia articles having something in common with the compositions and the “spacelike” mood of the album itself. While listening to the magical music, one can learn about the brightest star in the Universe, the atmosphere of Venus, what vacuum is made of, what the difference is between a solar sail and an ordinary one, whether levitation could be really performed, what makes night so charming to our eyes, as well as the way to reach absolute zero and an euphoric feeling.

In concordance with the name of the album, all its audio, video and textual contents are being distributed under a free license. It is the first release of this kind to happen in Russia. Everybody can view this release – both Android and iOS versions are available. Download it here:

Linar Khalitov, Wikimedia Russia

Notes: Tunguska E.M.S. (Tunguska Electronic Music Society) is a free music community (an independent netlabel) existing in Germany and Russia and distributing its music under Creative Commons Licenses. It includes melodic instrumental and electronic music.

Example tracks

<audio class="wp-audio-shortcode" controls="controls" id="audio-35036-1" preload="none" style="width: 100%; visibility: hidden;"><source src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/41/EXIT_project_-_Paint_It_Blue_Or_Say_It%60s_Sad.ogg?_=1" type="audio/ogg">https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/41/EXIT_project_-_Paint_It_Blue_Or_Say_It%60s_Sad.ogg</audio>

EXIT project – Paint It Blue Or Say It’s Sad

<audio class="wp-audio-shortcode" controls="controls" id="audio-35036-2" preload="none" style="width: 100%; visibility: hidden;"><source src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/90/ARGONIKA_-_Flight_of_the_Spirit_--_Tunguska_E.M.S._for_Creative_Commons_%28track_6%29.ogg?_=2" type="audio/ogg">https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/90/ARGONIKA_-_Flight_of_the_Spirit_--_Tunguska_E.M.S._for_Creative_Commons_%28track_6%29.ogg</audio>

ARGONIKA – Flight of the Spirit — Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 6)


"Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 11, pic.14)" by David Revoy / Blender Foundation, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 "Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 8, pic.9)" by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, under CC-Zero 1.0 "Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 11, pic.8)" by David Revoy / Blender Foundation, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 "Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 3, pic.6)" by tpsdave / David Mark, under CC-Zero 1.0 "Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 11, pic.7)" by David Revoy / Blender Foundation, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 "Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 2, pic.6)" by Public Domain CC0 WikiImages, under CC-Zero 1.0 "Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 11, pic.4)" by David Revoy / Blender Foundation, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 "Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 4, pic.9)" by Public Domain CC0 WikiImages, under CC-Zero 1.0 "Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 11, pic.2)" by David Revoy / Blender Foundation, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 "Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 1, pic.1)" by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

by wikimediablog at November 05, 2014 07:42 AM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata is the #OpenData winner

Wikidata won first place in the category "Publisher" at the OpenData awards..

It is so well deserved to find both Magnus and Lydia share the limelight. I could not be more pleased.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at November 05, 2014 07:10 AM

Wikimedia Foundation

Chapters Dialogue: Imagine a movement striving for Free Knowledge at full potential

In spring 2013, Wikimedia Deutschland initiated a project called “Chapters Dialogue”. The main aim of the project was to discover the roles, relationships and responsibilities of Wikimedia organisations. After 94 interviews with staff and volunteers from Chapters and the Wikimedia Foundation, Nicole Ebber and Kira Krämer concluded the project with six tough questions. To enable the Wikimedia movement to strive for its mission at full potential, these questions now need to be tackled urgently and with coordinated dedication.

Project lead Nicole Ebber (left) and project manager Kira Krämer (right)
(by Dominic Ernst, CC-by-sa-4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Wikimedia is a global movement: the Wikimedia Foundation runs projects like Wikipedia, raises funds and disseminates them among the international communities. Individuals and committees work and fight together to share and create Free Knowledge. Passionate people achieve amazing things. Over the last decade, a huge and complex network of Wikimedians grew, all sharing the same vision: “A world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.” On their way towards changing the world, all these individuals and organisations are exploring new territory.

Wikimedia Chapters are part of the international movement of Free Knowledge enthusiasts. They are crucial stakeholders in our movement, covering a wide range of tasks and responsibilities. They work closely together with the local communities, cover financial and logistical support for projects to further our joint mission, facilitate the exchange of experiences, team up with partners from inside and outside the movement, and lead a whole lot of different programmes in support of the creation, dissemination and curation of Free Knowledge.

Not all is full of wikilove

But besides all that wikilove there is also dispute. Not a single day passes without discussions inside the Wikimedia movement, between the Chapters, the Wikimedia Foundation, the committees, and the communities. These discussions revolve around unclear responsibilities, relationships and roles in the Wikiverse; and they lead to distrust. Plus, there is no common understanding of what is expected from Chapters: What are their tasks, what are their goals, what support do they need and who is in the position to provide this support?

Here at Wikimedia Deutschland, we felt that these are issues that were long overdue and it was time to dig deeper into the meaning of the all-embracing term “the Chapters”. In our view, the movement was lacking a solid foundation of insights of movement structures; an overall groundwork on which to base future plans and decisions. And rather than just setting up another Meta page or mailing list, we went for a structured and coordinated approach, allocated the relevant resources and devoted ourselves to this task from the beginning to the end: In spring 2013, we kicked off a structured assessment of the Chapters’ needs, goals and stories combined with a stakeholder survey, and we called it “Chapters Dialogue”.

A map of Wikimedia

We quickly figured out that what we needed for that project was qualitative research. Instead of crunching numbers we rather needed to uncover, collect and connect all the different stories and experiences. Our goal was to build a “map of Wikimedia”. We hired Kira Krämer who adapted the Design Thinking methodology to the Chapters Dialogue project.

In the course of the project (August 2013-February 2014), Kira interviewed 94 movement representatives – volunteers and staff of the Wikimedia Chapters, the Wikimedia Foundation as well as the Funds Dissemination Committee and the Affiliations Committee. Most interviews were audio recorded and transcribed afterwards; we took photos of the interviewees and documented the journey on our Facebook page.

In the synthesis of the project, we filtered key topics and integrated bits of each interview into this “Wikimedia map”. The art of synthesis lies in paying attention to details and interesting quotes, but keeping the whole picture in mind at the same time. The various stories needed to be condensed into one narrative that could be told to the movement. Our goal was to mirror the movement, to present the whole picture of what it actually is, what people care about and where the trouble spots are.

Insights and questions

Visual Recording of Kira’s presentation at Wikimedia Conference 2014
(by Nicole Ebber, CC-by-sa-4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The synthesis of all the interviews resulted in a distillate of the most pressing issues. The findings and insights cover these main areas which have severely influenced the movement as it is today:

  • Passion for Wikimedia
  • Measuring success when exploring new territory
  • Lack of empathy and the persistence of old narratives
  • Organisational structures
  • The gap in leadership
  • Fundraising and funds dissemination

The insights lead to the following conclusions: The global footprint of the Wikimedia projects is huge; we have the potential to change the world. We can be proud of the things that work. But at the moment, we are not striving for Free Knowledge at full potential. None of the presented conflicts can be viewed in isolation, and no solution can be developed without a thorough understanding and frank conversations about the causes in the first place.

We have often been asked for quick recommendations, but consider it highly irresponsible to suggest isolated solutions to any of the described issues. Instead, we have distilled tough questions from the insights that we think need to be addressed as soon and as diligently as possible:

  1. What do we as a movement want to achieve? Do we run a website or foster free knowledge? Why are we doing the things we do, and what for?
  2. How do we define impact when exploring new territory? And how do we measure success?
  3. What is the role of the Wikimedia Foundation?
  4. How do we want to communicate, learn and build empathy? How can we overcome the old narratives and perceptions?
  5. Where does the money come from and where should it go? Should money be the limiting factor when striving for Free Knowledge?
  6. What movement framework or model is best suited to fulfil the Wikimedia mission?

The lack of mutual empathy ran like a golden thread through the interviews and synthesis. Understanding each others’ perspectives is essential for leaving the old narratives behind, for growing the level of trust and for a critical analysis of the given structures.

What’s next?

File:Wikimedia Chapters Dialogue.webmhd.webm

A 30 minutes film summarises the project, its insights and conclusions (subtitles in English available)
(by Dominic Ernst, CC-by-sa-4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Nicole and Kira presented and discussed the insights at different small-scale meetings and bigger conferences, such as Wikimedia Conference 2014 and Wikimania 2014. We have published an extensive dossier (58 pages PDF, 1,24 MB) with a lot of details and insights. Moreover, a 30-minutes movie summarises the project idea, process, insights and conclusions.

This material can now lay the foundation for further research and exchange. There is a huge variety of topics that can be picked up and further developed by different movement groups or entities. The movement needs to figure out who can take ownership, leadership and responsibility for all these burning movement topics. We already see some efforts being made by different groups, for example the new liaison model of the AffCom, the strategy process within the WMF or the collaborative work on defining organisational development and board governance.

But the overall question remains and needs to be answered in a structured and professional approach, with dedication, commitment and clear responsibilities: In which system, model or framework can the Wikimedia movement work strongly and effectively towards its mission in a professional way, yet stay true to its grass roots and maintain its diversity? Imagine a movement that is built on trust, that stands united, and that is capable of leading an open dialogue. A movement with clarity about its impact and roles as well as stability to strive for changing the world. A Wikimedia that balances independence and committed obligations. There is no point in tinkering with the symptoms and finding single-problem solutions, while not challenging the existing structures. We consider answering these questions urgent and essential for the movement to unfold its full potential in the future.

Nicole Ebber, International Affairs, Wikimedia Deutschland

by wikimediablog at November 05, 2014 03:57 AM

November 04, 2014

Wikimedia Tech Blog

Updates in MediaWiki internationalization reflect changes from CLDR

CLDR, the Common Locale Data Repository project from the Unicode Consortium, provides translated locale-specific information like language names, country names, currency, date/time etc. that can be used in various applications. This library, used across several platforms, is particularly useful in maintaining parity of locale information in internationalized applications. In MediaWiki, the CLDR extension provides localized data and functions that can be used by developers.

The CLDR project constantly updates and maintains this database and publishes it twice a year. The information is periodically reviewed through a submission and vetting process. Individual participants and organisations can contribute during this process to improve and add to the CLDR data. The most recent version of CLDR was released in September 2014.

An important part of the CLDR data are the rules that impact how plurals are handled within the grammar of a language. In CLDR versions 25 and 26, plural rules for several languages were altered. These changes have already been incorporated in MediaWiki, which was still using rules from CLDR version 24.

The affected languages are: Russian (ru), Abkhaz (ab), Avaric (av), Bashkir (ba), Buryat (bxr), Chechen (ce), Crimean Tatar (crh-cyrl), Chuvash (cv), Inguish (inh), Komi-Permyak (koi), Karachay-Balkar (krc), Komi (kv), Lak (lbe), Lezghian (lez), Eastern Mari (mhr), Western Mari (mrj), Yakut (sah), Tatar (tt), Tatar-Cyrillic (tt-cyrl), Tuvinian (tyv), Udmurt (udm), Kalmyk (xal), Prussian (prg), Tagalog (tl), Manx (gv), Mirandese (mwl), Portuguese (pt), Brazilian Portuguese (pt-br), Uyghur (ug), Lower Sorbian (dsb), Upper Sorbian (hsb), Asturian (ast) and Western Frisian (fy).

This change will have very little impact on our users. Translators, however, will have to review the user interface messages that have already been changed to include the updated plural forms. An announcement with the details of the change has also been made. The announcement also includes instructions for updating the translations for the languages mentioned above.

The CLDR MediaWiki extension, which provides convenient abstraction for getting country names, language names etc., has also been upgraded to use CLDR 26. Universal Language Selector and CLDRPluralRuleParser libraries have been upgraded to use latest data as well.

The Wikimedia Foundation is a participating organisation in the CLDR project. Learn more about how you can be part of this effort.

Further reading about CLDR and its use in Wikimedia internationalization projects:

  1. http://laxstrom.name/blag/2014/01/05/mediawiki-i18n-explained-plural/
  2. http://thottingal.in/blog/2014/05/24/parsing-cldr-plural-rules-in-javascript/

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

by Guillaume Paumier at November 04, 2014 05:17 PM

Wikimedia UK

Debating the “Right to be Forgotten”

The photo is a portrait of Alastair McCapra

Alastair McCapra

On 23rd October Wikimedia UK board member Alastair McCapra took part in a debate at the Cambridge Union about the right to be forgotten.

The panel debated a motion that supported the right to be forgotten (RTBF). Alastair spoke against the motion, which was narrowly defeated.

The RTBF is a complicated issue and arguments both in favour and in opposition are numerous. The panel reflected a range of interests and included academics, campaigners and an MP.

Given his position on the Wikimedia UK board, and his role as chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, Alastair is in a unique position to offer an informed view of the RTBF. He has written a comprehensive report on the debate which clearly summarises both sides of the argument which can be read here.

Alastair said: “The Google judgement has taken the existing principle of a right to be forgotten and turned it, in the European Union at least, into a general right to hide behind broken links (RTHBBL). There are problems with the right to hide, and there are even worse problems if we move on from that to a real right to be forgotten.”

by Stevie Benton at November 04, 2014 12:49 PM

Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing)

Using AutoHotKey macros to make typing – and life – easier

What things do you regularly type, over and over again? I’ll bet you’ve answered your name, email address, or your username(s) on sites you use regularly. Maybe also your postal address, phone number, or your job title and organisation.

For years, I’ve used a handy free windows app called AllChars, to type these things — and more — for me. For instance, I’d type /am, and it would magically change that to Andy Mabbett

12 Màquina d'escriure Underwood

You can’t use macros to paste text on one of these

I’d often use it, to type very long and complex template markup in Wikipedia:

<ref name="">{{Cite episode |title= |series= |serieslink= |url= |accessdate= 2014- |network= |station= |date= |season= |seriesno= |number= |transcript= |transcripturl= }}</ref>

which I could then populate with the relevant values.

Unfortunately, AllChars is extremely buggy under Windows 7 and subsequent operating systems; so much so that I found it unusable on both my parents’ laptop, and the shiny new machine I use in my recently-begun role as Wikimedian in Residence at the The Royal Society of Chemistry. (The Society has a very reasonable policy when it comes to allowing technically-literate staff to install software, licences permitting. Others take note!)

I’ve been looking for a replacement, and am absolutely delighted to have found AutoHotKey, which is easily configured to paste macros just like AllChars, and has many more features besides. Better still, it’s not merely free, it’s open source.

Here’s what I learned, in setting it up:

AutoHotKey uses scripts, one of which is loaded by default, and others can be loaded as required (say, just for writing about the taxonomic names of plants).

To make it type my name, I edited the script and added a line:

::am::Andy Mabbett

which is the most basic configuration. The two sets of colons are delimiters, and am is the string to be replaced. The replacement doesn’t occur until the user types a space, tab or return. I prefer to override that, making use of another feature, which is to add an asterisk after the first colon:

:*:am::Andy Mabbett

so that the string is typed without the space, tab or return — again mimicking AllChars’ behaviour.

Using that macro, however, interferes with typing words like “amicable”. Because all my AllChars macros began with \, and I have invested a lot of muscle-memory in them, I’m keeping that:

:*:\am::Andy Mabbett

so now I have a macro which works just like one in AllChars, and lets me type “amicable” without it triggering.

Another thing I learned is that some characters need to be escaped, using curly brackets (or “braces”). For example a hash:


which types #fb

and even curly brackets themselves:

:*:\ac::{{}{{}Authority control{}}{}}

which types {{Authority control}}.

Line breaks are made using:


I found these things by using the official AutoHotKey forum, where the users seem knowledgeable and helpful — my first query was answered promptly and effectively.

Once I’d worked all that out, it only took a few seconds find-and-replacing, and I had converted over 220 (yes, I was surprised, when I counted them!) macros from AllChars to AutoHotKey.

However, AutoHotKey isn’t only for pasting texts. It can be configured to carry out more complex tasks, such as opening and closing applications or windows, copying text from one and pasting it to another, and so on. I’m looking forward to learning more abut how to do that, and investigating the pre-written scripts provided by members of the AutoHotKey community.

by Andy Mabbett at November 04, 2014 12:12 PM

Wikimedia Tech Blog

Announcing the second version of the Content Translation tool

A few months back, the Language Engineering team of the Wikimedia Foundation announced the availability of the first version of the Content Translation tool, with machine translation support from Spanish to Catalan. The response from the Catalan Wikipedia editors was overwhelming and nearly 200 articles have already been created using the tool.

We have now enabled support for translating across Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan using Apertium as the machine translation back-end system. This extends our Spanish-to-Catalan initial launch.

The Content Translation tool is particularly useful for multilingual editors who can create new articles from corresponding articles in another language. The tool features a minimal rich-text editor with translation tools like dictionaries and machine translation support.

The Content Translation tool car be used to translate articles more easily (here from Spanish to Portuguese). It provides features such as link cards, category adaptation (in development), and a warning to the editor when the text is coming exclusively from machine translation.

The Content Translation tool can be used to translate articles more easily (here from Spanish to Portuguese). It provides features such as link cards, category adaptation (in development), and a warning to the editor when the text is coming exclusively from machine translation.

Development for the second version was completed on September 30, 2014. Due to technical difficulties in the deployment environment, availability of the updated version of the tool was delayed. As a result, the current deployment also includes some of the planned features from the next release, which is scheduled to be complete on November 18, 2014.

Highlights from this version

Some of the features included in this version originated from feedback received from the community, either during usability testing sessions, or as comments and suggestions from our initial users. Editors from the Catalan Wikipedia provided constant feedback after the first release of the tool and also during the recent roundtable.


  1. Automatic adaptation of categories.
  2. Text formatting with a simple toolbar in the Chrome browser. In Firefox, this support is limited only to keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl-B for bold, Ctrl-I for italics).
  3. Bi-directional machine translation support for Spanish and Portuguese
  4. Machine translation support from Catalan to Spanish
  5. Paragraph alignment improvements to better match original and translated sentences.
  6. More accurate detection for the use of Machine Translation suggestions without further corrections, with warnings shown to the user
  7. Redesigned top bar and progress bar.
  8. Numerous bug fixes.

How to Use

To use the tool, users can visit http://en.wikipedia.beta.wmflabs.org/wiki/Special:ContentTranslation and make the following selections:

  • source language – the language of the article to translate from. Can be Catalan, Spanish or Portuguese.
  • target language – the language of the article you will be translating into. Can be Catalan, Spanish or Portuguese.
  • article name – the title of the article to translate.

Users can also continue using the tool from the earlier available instance at http://es.wikipedia.beta.wmflabs.org/wiki/Especial:ContentTranslation

After translation, users can publish the translation in their own namespace on the same wiki and can choose to copy the page contents to the real Wikipedia for the target language. Please visit this link for more instructions on how to create and publish a new article.

Feedback and Participation

In the next few weeks, we will be reaching out to the editors from the Catalan, Spanish and Portuguese Wikipedia communities to gather feedback and also work closely to resolve any issues.

Please let us know about your feedback through the project talk page. You can also volunteer for our testing sessions.

Runa Bhattacharjee, Wikimedia Foundation, Language Engineering team

by Guillaume Paumier at November 04, 2014 04:59 AM

November 03, 2014

Wiki Education Foundation

Join us for Wikipedia-palooza in Baton Rouge

We’re very excited to have members of our staff in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this week!

On November 5 and 6, Louisiana State University’s Communication Across the Curriculum (CxC) department and the Wiki Education Foundation are co-hosting “Wikipedia-Palooza,” a series of workshops focused exclusively on Wikipedia and education. Our participation is a part of our partnership initiative to expand the number of classes and student editors on Wikipedia. We’re excited to be working with LSU CxC, who bring their experience and strong support of Wikipedia-based assignments and the Wiki Education Foundation.

Topics at the event include two training sessions (for beginners and more advanced users) on Wikipedia’s editing tools and other practical advice for volunteers, mentors and students. Other sessions address the benefits of using Wikipedia in a classroom, advice for instructors on constructing compelling course assignments, and Wikipedia’s utility and impact on social awareness issues. Attendees will be able to meet with LSU staff using Wikipedia in their work, and members of the Wiki Education Foundation staff.

The program is free, but seating is limited and registration is required. Attendees should bring their own devices to participate.

The schedule is included below.


9:30-10:30a, Why Wikipedia in the University?
Are you intrigued but not quite sure how Wikipedia could work for you as a teacher, student, or general lover of global knowledge sharing? Then this is the session for you! We’ll talk about the many different ways you can leverage Wikipedia in the University setting. (Peabody Hall, Room 225, RSVP here)

11:30a-1:00p, Unpacking Wikipedia: Creative Uses in the Classroom
Editing and contributing text to Wikipedia articles is one way to elevate students’ writing and research skills, but there are many other activities involving Wikipedia that you can integrate into your course design. We’ll talk about how faculty at top-tier universities, including LSU, are using Wikipedia in the classroom. From images and infographics to literature reviews and research analysis, there’s a wealth of active learning opportunities within Wikipedia. (LSU Location TBD; Lunch provided, RSVP here)

2:30-3:30p, Leveraging Wikipedia for Social Issues Awareness
Wikipedia articles are written from a neutral point of view. It is not a place for argumentation or advocacy, but it is a space for accurate, noteworthy information. Some of the most sought out Wikipedia articles are those surrounding social issues and policies, yet these types of articles are some of the most underdeveloped Wikipedia entries. During this session, we’ll talk about how you can support your cause(s) and essentially provide a community service by increasing the accuracy, scope, and depth of Wikipedia articles surrounding social issues and policies. (LSU Location TBD, RSVP here)

4:30-5:30p, Intro to Wikipedia Editing
New to Wikipedia editing? This introductory session will give you the basic tools and skills needed to dive into editing Wikipedia. (Coates Hall, Room 151, RSVP here)

5:30-7:00p, LSU Peer Mentor/Wikipedia Ambassador Training
This is an exciting opportunity for students who (a) are passionate about free knowledge sharing, (b) want to practice and enhance their communication skills, and (c) are hungry for something fun and interesting to do! During this training, you’ll learn more about Wikipedia in the Classroom, how you personally can contribute to Wikipedia, and how you can help faculty and students as a trained ambassador. (Coates Hall, Room 151, Refreshments provided, RSVP here)


12:00-1:30p, Designing Assignments & Planning to Teach with Wikipedia
During this roundtable discussion, you will get to visit with Wikipedia staff, CxC staff, LSU faculty who have experience teaching with Wikipedia, and fellow faculty members who want to teach with Wikipedia. We’ll talk in-depth about your specific learning goals and how you might leverage Wikipedia in your classroom for the upcoming semester. (LSU Location TBD; Lunch provided, RSVP RSVP here)

3:30-4:30p, Intermediate/Advanced Wikipedia Editing
Are you a novice at Wikipedia editing who wants to learn a little more? This session will go beyond the Wikipedia editing basics, but it doesn’t require a computer science degree! (LSU Location TBD, RSVP here.

by Eryk Salvaggio at November 03, 2014 06:00 PM

Royal Society of Chemistry - Wikimedian in Residence (User:Pigsonthewing)

Hello world!

Hello. I'm Andy Mabbett, and I was recently appointed as the The Royal Society of Chemistry's Wikimedian in Residence. A what in residence? A Wikimedian (or Wikipedian) in Residence (WiR) is an experienced editor of Wikipedia, the free onlline encylcopedia that anyone can edit, and its various sister projects (such as Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata) and who is employed by an organisation as a member of staff to share that experience and develop projects with colleagues and the community, much like an artist in residence. I’ve been a WiR a number of times previously, with art galleries and museums, and a wildlife conservation charity, and I have run similar projects with bodies as diverse as the West Midlands Police and The Institution of Civil Engineers. Why Wikipedia? I bet you've used Wikipedia recently. It's one of the top half-dozen websites in the world, and is usually in the first page of results, when you search for a topic on the web. For many people, it's the go-to place to begin learning about a new topic, or to quickly answer a question or settle an argument. As the world’s leading chemistry community, we (by which I mean The Royal Society of Chemistry; but of course this is equally true of the Wikipedia community) want to provide trusted advice and information about the chemical sciences. While scientists seek information in specialist journals, books or databases, many others look for it on Wikipedia. Encouraging the voice of the community To be clear, I'm not here to just edit or write Wikipedia articles. My role is to inform and enable, in order that everyone who chooses to contribute can do so in whatever topic area suits them and their interests. So I’ll be helping my new colleagues, members of the Society, and others interested in chemistry, to understand Wikimedia projects, and to encourage you all to contribute to and improve them, and to contribute to their mission of creating "a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge". It goes without saying that accurately and comprehensively documenting the properties of chemicals that have articles on Wikipedia will be a key part of this, but there’s so much more. Wikipedia covers the history of chemistry, biographies of notable chemists, chemical techniques and equipment, companies that process chemicals, and so on. I’ll be running a number of events, where you can learn about, or how to edit, Wikipedia, so watch out for invitations.  I'll also be encouraging you - and your employers - to donate images and other media under open licences, to illustrate Wikipedia articles. I’ll be explaining how Wikimedia content can be used, free, in your own publications and elsewhere. And I’ll be advising people who are the subject of a Wikipedia article, or are mentioned in one, how to deal with any concerns they have without breaching Wikipedia’s conflict-of-interest guidelines. I’ll even encourage them to record a short sample of their spoken voice for inclusion in their biography so that we know what they sound like and how they pronounce their name. Coming soon Over the coming weeks and months, I'll use this blog to say more about what Wikipedia is and how it works. I'll also take a look at each of the sister projects, and their relevance to chemistry, in turn. Get in touch My role is part-time and I’ll be working from home and various locations where I can deliver training, as well as spending one day a week at at Society's offices in Cambridge, but please do leave a comment below if you’re interested in discussing collaboration with Wikimedia projects, or have any questions or comments. Or, if you prefer, you can dive straight in and start to improve their chemistry-related content, via the project page listed below. Links The Royal Society of Chemistry / GLAM Wikipedia project page. My blog post on being appointed to the role. [A version of this post was originally published on the Society's staff news service, 'Cohesion']

Posted by Andy Mabbett
Nov 3, 2014 3:12 pm

November 03, 2014 02:12 PM

Wikimedia UK

ROH Editathon: Improving Wikipedia’s entries on dance

The photo shows three people sitting at a table in a well lit room, smiling for the camera

Some of the attendees enjoying the event

This post was written by Rachel Beaumont of the Royal Opera House and published here. Used with kind permission. You can also contact Rachel via her Wikipedia user page here.

Our recent event brought together ballet fans with Wikipedia experts to improve the online encyclopedia’s articles on choreographer Kenneth MacMillan.

When was the last time you used Wikipedia? With the online encyclopedia receiving more than 6 billion page views a month in more than 250 languages, ‘very recently’ is likely to be your response. Wikipedia provides a unique way for almost anyone anywhere to find out more about the world. And it is almost entirely the work of volunteers, dubbed ‘Wikipedians’.

But because the content is determined by volunteers’ interests, Wikipedia’s coverage of certain subjects is better than others. Dance is one of those areas that needs improving, which is why the Royal Opera House teamed up with Wikimedia UK to host our second ‘editathon‘ – an event bringing together ballet fans with experienced Wikipedia editors to work together on improving the resource, and so share our passion with a wider audience.

Last year our focus was Frederick Ashton, Founder Choreographer of The Royal Ballet – so this year it only made sense to look at the life and works of Kenneth MacMillan. MacMillan was one of the greatest choreographers of the 20th century, and a key figure in the history of The Royal Ballet.

We were hugely lucky to have with us two key MacMillan experts: Jann Parry, dance critic and author of Different Drummer, the definitive MacMillan biography; and Dame Monica Mason, former Director of The Royal Ballet, who created the first of her many roles for MacMillan aged just 20. With them were ROH archivists Laura Brown and Catriona Cannon, who presented historical items from the ROH Collections.

For Cheryl Agyei, ROH Student Ambassador at UWE, the event was an ideal way to find out more about her favourite choreographer and the workings of Wikipedia: ‘Before I knew it the day was over and I had not only edited my first article on the dancer Tetsuya Kumakawa but had also created one on Michael Coleman, who created a role in Elite Syncopations – the first ballet I ever watched, and which had me hooked from the start.’

The highlights for dance writer Laura Dodge were: ‘Monica Mason and Jann Parry’s personal tales of MacMillan, including about his early rehearsals with Darcey Bussell, the content of his personal diaries and his attitude to creating ballets. It was fascinating to hear from two real MacMillan experts and get an insight into the choreographer’s personality behind the scenes.’

Edward Hands, a leading Wikipedian, was able to bring together Jann’s expert knowledge with Wikipedia’s unique advantages: ‘Creating an article about Margaret Hill, Kenneth MacMillan’s first muse, was challenging as there is very little documented. Fortunately his biographer Jann Parry was on hand. Jann’s account brought her to life, and although she explained that everything she could find is in her 2009 book, one name was inadvertently misspelled. With a book you have to wait for the second edition – with Wikipedia there’s a new edition every second.’

Jonathan Cardy, GLAM (Galleries, Libraries and Museums) Organiser for Wikimedia UK, summarised: ‘Wikipedia is an astonishingly large encyclopedia, and well on the way to achieving the Wikimedia movement’s target of “a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge”. But we have gaps, gaps in our coverage of the pre-internet era, and gaps because most of the volunteers who write Wikipedia are male. One of the lovely things about this event at the Royal Opera House is that it addressed both of those problems.’

Laura and Catriona said: ‘It was great to see the editors using the materials provided and including information from ROH Collections in their Wikipedia pages about MacMillan’s ballets and The Royal Ballet dancers. We can’t wait for the next event and for new people to explore the collections.’

By the end of the day the team had made major improvements to existing articles and created innumerable new articles for dancers and major works. But there’s still so much work to do.

Are you a fan of MacMillan’s work? Would you like to share your passion with people around the world? You don’t have to wait for an editathon – there are lots of resources available for free online, including the ROH website, the ROH Collections website (which includes a performance database) and newspaper archives. Find out more about how to edit Wikipedia.

by Stevie Benton at November 03, 2014 01:13 PM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikipedia - Hey, #College Boy !!

You know the answer for this question: "What can Wikipedia do for you", A more interesting question is: "What can you do for Wikipedia".

So you are on this wonderful college where people who changed the world have been educated right?  Well, never mind what your college says, it is Wikipedia and Wikidata where you find public data about graduates that are considered notable enough.

You may find them in articles, in categories or in none of the above in combination with you college. Wikidata is another place where you find them as well.

Now the questions you might want answer to are:
  • how many graduates are notable enough for one or more Wikipedia articles
  • how many graduates do we know
  • what are those graduates also known for
  • what are the most linked to statements for your graduates
College boy, and girl, you are getting an education. This challenge seems trivial, how will you show what the Wikiverse knows about the people associated with your college..

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at November 03, 2014 06:10 AM

#Wikidata - #Wikipedia categories

Wikidata knows about Wikipedia categories. Currently there are items for 2,406,128 categories. Many of those items refer to categories in multiple Wikipedias. One random example is item Q8884100, it refers to categories in 10 Wikipedias. All of them categorize people who studied at the university of Notre Dame. Many of them know about people only known in that Wikipedia. In addition to this there may be articles that are not categorised or references to articles that are not in one of the 10 categories known at this time.
When multiple categorised are "harvested" in Wikidata, Wikidata knows about more items than any of the individual categories. This enables the use of the data in new ways.
  • suggest categories based on the presence of statements in the Wikidata category
  • suggest statement when an article is included in a category
  • include red links in a category when a Wikipedia does not have articles.
Before such functionality will become available, certain tipping points will need to be reached. For instance enough categories need to be harvested in this way and, these categories have to be identifiable for the information they include.

The category "University of Notre Dame alumni" indicates that it is a list of humans AND, for them the statement "alma mater" "University of Notre Dame" has to be made. For over 1450 categories that are about humans similar information exists. Every day more categories are added.

I really wonder what it takes to reach the tipping points that will bring more application of the Wikidata data to for instance Wikipedia.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at November 03, 2014 06:07 AM

Wikimedia Foundation

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, October 2014

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
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Vol: 4 • Issue: 10 • October 2014 [contribute] [archives] Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed

Informed consent and privacy; newsmaking on Wikipedia; Wikipedia and organizational theories

With contributions by: Maximilian Klein, Piotr Konieczny, Kim Osman, Pine and Tilman Bayer

Tl;dr: Users, informed consent and privacy policies online

Reviewed by Kim Osman

In new research[1] conducted in light of proposed changes to data protection legislation in the European Union (EU), authors Bart Custers, Simone van der Hof, and Bart Schermer conducted a comparative analysis of social media and user-generated content websites’ privacy policies along with a user survey (N=8,621 in 26 countries) and interviews in 13 different EU countries on awareness, values, and attitudes toward privacy online. The authors state consent regarding personal data use is an important concept and observe, “There is mounting evidence that data subjects do not fully contemplate the consequences and risks of personal data processing.”

Custers, van der Hof and Schermer developed a set of criteria for giving informed consent about the use of personal data including: “Is it clear who is processing the data and who is accountable?” and “Is the information provided understandable?” When existing privacy policies were applied to these criteria, Wikipedia was the worst performing of the sites analyzed and recommends that it makes clear how minors are dealt with and to provide additional clarity around security measures. It also notes that IP addresses may be traced, therefore making “anonymous” Wikipedia users identifiable.

The study did acknowledge issues around self-presentation and identity in different online contexts and the actual need for a site like Wikipedia to have an extensive privacy policy as users afford criteria regarding privacy different value in these different contexts. The authors do note however, “Wikipedia does collect opinions that may be attributable to individuals and that may be considered privacy sensitive.”

This paper is a well-researched summary of the privacy policies of online sites (including major international platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube), and although from a European perspective (where data collection practices are arguably more stringent than in other places in the world), it raises important questions about how Wikipedia approaches its privacy policy in terms of informed user consent, and would be useful reading for anyone with an interest in how online practices are shaping approaches to user privacy.

For researchers requiring more information about ethics in online research visit the Association of Internet Researchers’ wiki.


Holocaust articles compared across languages

We tell ourselves that Wikipedia works well for the most part, but that finding consensus might break down on controversial articles. Of all article topics, perhaps none is potentially more fraught than the Holocaust, and that is precisely what Rudolf Den Hartogh has tackled in his Master’s thesis “The future of the Past: A case study on the representation of the Holocaust on Wikipedia”.[2] It is an in-depth compare and contrast analysis of the Holocaust topic in the English, German, and Dutch. Several curious facts come out of this. For instance the average vandalism rate on these articles is 4%, compared with 7% globally – as these articles have been locked at some point, although the Dutch version is no longer protected. Other analyses show edit activity over time, since the articles’ inception. The German version saw the height of its shaping 2 years after it was started in 2004, whereas the English and Dutch articles saw their main spurts 5 and 3 years later respectively. Moreover the author finds “that there does not exist one representation of the Holocaust, but each language version has its own unique account of events and phenomena.” Finally they “found that none of the Holocaust entries under study is rated ‘good quality’,” so we still have not definitively addressed the hardest parts of our encyclopedia.

Semantic role label features for all records, colours are based on event tag in the Lensing Wikipedia dataset.
(“SRL-Full-p40″ by Jasneet.sabharwal, under CC-BY-SA-4.0)

Lensing Wikipedia

A project[3] with this title aims to extract date, location, event and role semantic data from historical English Wikipedia articles. Of course making grand sense of that automatic extraction work requires visualization. Such visualization is difficult on high-dimensional data consisting of e.g. a date, location, multiple events and roles – all at the same time. A short proof of concept “Visualizing Wikipedia using t-SNE” by Jasneet Singh Sabharwal [4] has done just this using a Barnes-Hut simulation variation of the T-distributed stochastic neighbor embedding algorithm. This image shows the closeness of the semantic roles of features found in Wikipedia article text, with colors indicating similar events that articles are describing.

“Infoboxes and cleanup tags: Artifacts of Wikipedia newsmaking”

An article[5] in Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism looks at use and abuse of cleanup tags and infobox elements as conceptual and symbolic tools. Based on ethnographic observations and several interviews, the author provides a lengthy description of the formative first three or so weeks in the 2011 Egyptian Revolution article. It is a valuable study of how articles are developed, and the collaboration and conflicts that are common in high-activity articles. The author provides a valuable observation that “Classification work… is intensely political” and “the editing of Wikipedia articles involves continuous linking and classifying.” The choice of words, categories, article titles, but also specific tags or infoboxes (though a particular example discussed – whether to use Template:Infobox uprising or not – seems to concern a template that does not, in fact, exist) can be quite controversial. The author also puts forth an interesting argument that removal of cleanup tags may give false impressions of stability in articles that are not yet stable; and that infoboxes carry significant, perhaps undue weight, compared to other elements of the article.

Wikipedia’s identity “based on freedom”

This paper[6] looks at Wikipedia through a number of organizational theory lenses, in particular theories of organizational identity. Of particular interest to Wikipedians is one of the aspects analyzed by the editors – identify of the project. The authors state that “the organizational identity at Wikipedia is based on freedom”. Next, they discuss the utopian ideals of freedom (such as “anyone can edit”), as contrasted with the freedom-reducing tendencies of censorship, administrative control, and bureaucratization. The authors argue that the common solution to criticism of Wikipedia, within the community, is concealment and marginalization of said criticism. The authors point to the practical defanging of the Wikipedia:Ignore all rules policy, which has went through a number of meaning shifts, in which it was redefined to be virtually toothless, even though the name remained the same. Another way that freedom is limited is through end-justifies-the-mean utopian vision of “free access [to Wikipedia] for everyone”, replacing the older “anyone can edit” “freedom of editing meaning. Unfortunately, the author’s discussion of “the subjugation of contesting voices” is very short on details and specifics; the authors allude to administrator power abuse, but fail to provide any specific discussion of how it occurs; an example they used of “deleted content” can be interpreted as nothing more sinister then admin ability to delete content that does not meet Wikipedia’s site policies, including uncontroversial content such as spam.

“Copyright or Copyleft? Wikipedia as a Turning Point for Authorship”

This paper[7] touches upon a very interesting yet understudied area: what Wikipedia’s existence means for copyright law. As the authors note, Wikipedia “appears to challenge some of the notions at the heart of copyright law.”

Critique of Wikipedia’s dispute resolution procedures

This paper[8] claims to presents an ethnographic analysis of and a strong critique of Wikipedia’s dispute resolution procedures, and states upfront its goal as “to tease out systemic discrimination or injustice”. The strongly worded abstract is attention-drawing, promising that “A number of flaws will be identified including the ability for vocal minorities to dominate the Wikipedia community consensus”. Unfortunately, while the paper provides a very detailed description of Wikipedia’s dispute resolution scene, it doesn’t seem to present any new data; its critique of “vocal minorities”, for example, is composed of few sentences, and the entire argument is based on, and essentially a repetition of a similar passage in Reagle’s Good Faith Collaboration book. While the paper is well written and presents a number of valid arguments, it does not seem to contribute anything new to our understanding of Wikipedia, being in essence a literature review focused on the topic of dispute resolution on Wikipedia. Which this reviewer finds disappointing, considering that the almost tabloid-style abstract and the introductory section promise ethnographic research, which – like anything else going beyond synthesis of existing, published research – is sadly very much absent from the paper.

Other recent publications

A list of other recent publications that could not be covered in time for this issue – contributions are always welcome for reviewing or summarizing newly published research.

  • “Insights from the Wikipedia Contest (IEEE Contest for Data Mining 2011)”[9] (earlier coverage: “Predicting editor survival: The winners of the Wikipedia Participation Challenge“)
  • “A Piece of My Mind: A Sentiment Analysis Approach for Online Dispute Detection”[10] (constructs a dispute corpus from Wikipedia talk pages)
  • “Extracting Imperatives from Wikipedia Article for Deletion Discussions”[11] (without conclusions or published dataset, apparently)
  • “Use of Wikipedia by Legal Scholars: Implications for Information Literacy”[12]
  • “Guiding Students in Collaborative Writing of Wikipedia Articles – How to Get Beyond the Black Box Practice in Information Literacy Instruction”[13] (received the EdMedia Outstanding Paper Award)
  • “Two Is Bigger (and Better) Than One: the Wikipedia Bitaxonomy Project”[14] (project home page, allowing the live creation of a taxonomy graph for an arbitrary Wikipedia article: http://wibitaxonomy.org )
  • “Analysis of the accuracy and readability of herbal supplement information on Wikipedia”[15]
  • “Maturity Assessment of Wikipedia Medical Articles”[16]
  • “Computer-supported collaborative accounts of major depression: Digital rhetoric on Quora and Wikipedia”[17]


  1. Custers, Bart; Simone van der Hof, Bart Schermer (2014-09-01). “Privacy Expectations of Social Media Users: The Role of Informed Consent in Privacy Policies“. Policy & Internet 6 (3): 268-295. doi:10.1002/1944-2866.POI366. ISSN 1944-2866. 
  2. Den Hartogh, Rudolf (2014). The future of the Past: A case study on the representation of the Holocaust on Wikipedia (Masters). Erasmus University Rotterdam.
  3. Lensing Wikipedia. Simon Fraser University Natural Language Laboratory.
  4. Jasneet Singh Sabharwal: Visualizing Wikipedia using t-SNE
  5. Ford, Heather (2014-08-31). “Infoboxes and cleanup tags: Artifacts of Wikipedia newsmaking“. Journalism: 1464884914545739. doi:10.1177/1464884914545739. ISSN 1741-3001 1464-8849, 1741-3001.  Closed access
  6. Kozica, Arjan M. F.; Christian Gebhardt, Gordon Müller-Seitz, Stephan Kaiser (2014-10-13). “Organizational Identity and Paradox An Analysis of the ‘Stable State of Instability’ of Wikipedia’s Identity“. Journal of Management Inquiry: 1056492614553275. doi:10.1177/1056492614553275. ISSN 1552-6542 1056-4926, 1552-6542.  Closed access
  7. Simone, Daniela (2013-07-01). “Copyright or Copyleft? Wikipedia as a Turning Point for Authorship”. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2330766. 
  8. Ross, Sara (2014-03-01). “Your Day in ‘Wiki-Court': ADR, Fairness, and Justice in Wikipedia’s Global Community”. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2495196. 
  9. Desai, Kalpit V.; Roopesh Ranjan (2014-01-07). “Insights from the Wikipedia Contest (IEEE Contest for Data Mining 2011)“. arXiv:1405.7393 [physics, stat]. 
  10. Lu Wang, Claire Cardie: A Piece of My Mind: A Sentiment Analysis Approach for Online Dispute Detection Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Short Papers), pages 693–699, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, June 23-25 2014
  11. Fiona Mao,Robert E. Mercer, Lu Xiao: Extracting Imperatives from Wikipedia Article for Deletion Discussions Proceedings of the First Workshop on Argumentation Mining, pages 106–107, Baltimore, Maryland USA, June 26, 2014.
  12. Darryl Maher: Use of Wikipedia by Legal Scholars: Implications for Information Literacy. Master’s thesis, School of Information Management, Victoria University of Wellington, submitted June 2014
  13. Sormunen, E. & Alamettälä, T. (2014). Guiding Students in Collaborative Writing of Wikipedia Articles – How to Get Beyond the Black Box Practice in Information Literacy Instruction. In: EdMedia 2014 – World Conference on Educational Media and Technology. Tampere, Finland: June 23-26, 2014
  14. Flati, Tiziano; Daniele Vannella, Tommaso Pasini, Roberto Navigli (2014). “Two Is Bigger (and Better) Than One: the Wikipedia Bitaxonomy Project“. Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers): 945-955. 
  15. Phillips, Jennifer; Connie Lam, Lisa Palmisano (2014-07-01). “Analysis of the accuracy and readability of herbal supplement information on Wikipedia“. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association 54 (4): 406-414. doi:10.1331/JAPhA.2014.13181. ISSN 1544-3191.  Closed access
  16. Conti, Riccardo; Emanuel Marzini, Angelo Spognardi, Ilaria Matteucci, Paolo Mori, Marinella Petrocchi (2014). “Maturity Assessment of Wikipedia Medical Articles”. Proceedings of the 2014 IEEE 27th International Symposium on Computer-Based Medical Systems. CBMS ’14. Washington, DC, USA: IEEE Computer Society. pp. 281–286. DOI:10.1109/CBMS.2014.69. ISBN 978-1-4799-4435-4. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/CBMS.2014.69.  Closed access
  17. Rughinis, Cosima; Bogdana Huma, Stefania Matei, Razvan Rughinis (June 2014). “Computer-supported collaborative accounts of major depression: Digital rhetoric on Quora and Wikipedia”. 2014 9th Iberian Conference on Information Systems and Technologies (CISTI). pp. 1-6. DOI:10.1109/CISTI.2014.6876968.  Closed access

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Vol: 4 • Issue: 10 • October 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 November 03, 2014 02:41 AM

Tech News

Tech News issue #45, 2014 (November 3, 2014)

TriangleArrow-Left.svgprevious 2014, week 45 (Monday 03 November 2014) nextTriangleArrow-Right.svg
Other languages:
čeština • ‎English • ‎suomi • ‎français • ‎עברית • ‎日本語 • ‎português • ‎русский • ‎தமிழ் • ‎українська • ‎中文

November 03, 2014 12:00 AM

November 01, 2014

Wikimedia Foundation

Wikimedia Highlights, July 2014

Highlights from the Wikimedia Foundation Report and the Wikimedia engineering report for July 2014, with a selection of other important events from the Wikimedia movement

Wikimedia Foundation highlights

File:Knowledge for Everyone.webm

Knowledge For Everyone – a short documentary accompanying the petition

Petition for free access to Wikipedia on mobile phones

On July 28, the Wikimedia Foundation launched a petition for free access to Wikipedia on mobile phones, as it is offered in the Wikipedia Zero program. The petition is accompanied by the short documentary film, titled Knowledge for Everyone, about a group of high school students in South Africa who had written an open letter asking the country’s mobile carriers for such access, so that they could use Wikipedia for their schoolwork.

Legal victories in Italy and against paid editing sites

After more than four years, a Rome court dismissed a case against the Wikimedia Foundation, describing Wikipedia as “a service based on the freedom of the users” and setting positive precedent for other claims in Italy. Also in July, the Foundation successfully obtained orders preventing four websites advertising a service of paid editing of articles on Wikipedia from abusing the “Wikipedia” trademark.

Screenshot of new iOS Wikipedia app

New Wikipedia app for iOS mobile devices

In July, the new native iOS Wikipedia app was released, following the successful launch of the Android app in June. The app has the same features as the Android app, including the ability to edit both anonymously and logged in, saved pages for offline reading, and a history of your recently visited pages.

Grants impact analysis

The Wikimedia Foundation’s Grantmaking department published the first set of analyses for an impact review focusing on $4.4M of fully reported grants from the year 2013/14 in its three grants areas: Individual Engagement Grants, Project & Event Grants and Annual Plan Grants.

“Key observations from this first round of impact analyses” (presentation slide)

Data and Trends

Global unique visitors for June:

432 million (-7.9% compared with May; -9.1% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects, not including mobile devices; comScore will release July data later in July)

Page requests for July:

20.583 billion (+1.8% compared with June; +4.4% compared with the previous year)
(Server log data, all Wikimedia Foundation content projects including mobile access, but excluding Wikidata and the Wikipedia main portal page.)

Active Registered Editors for June 2014 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

74,549 (-7.0% compared with May / -2.0% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects.)

Report Card (integrating various statistical data and trends about WMF projects):




Wikimedia Foundation YTD Revenue and Expenses vs Plan as of June 30, 2014

Wikimedia Foundation YTD Expenses by Functions as of June 30, 2014

(Financial information is only available through June 2014 at the time of this report.)

All financial information presented is for the Month-To-Date and Year-To-Date June 30, 2014.

Revenue 51,280,212
 Engineering Group 17,380,695
 Fundraising Group 3,701,090
 Grantmaking Group 1,860,627
 Programs Group 1,766,790
 Grants 5,695,611
 Governance Group 1,254,286
 Legal/Community Advocacy/Communications Group 5,114,480
 Finance/HR/Admin Group 7,025,451
Total Expenses 43,799,030
Total surplus (7,481,182)
in US dollars
  • Revenue for the month of June is $1.31MM versus plan of $1.67MM, approximately $0.36MM or 22% under plan.
  • Year-to-date revenue is $51.28MM versus plan of $50.07MM, approximately $1.21MM or 2% over plan.
  • Expenses for the month of June is $6.58MM versus plan of $4.52MM, approximately $2.06MM or 46% over plan, primarily due to higher legal fees, capital expenditures, grants, outside contract services, personnel expenses, and travel & conference expenses offset by lower internet hosting expenses.
  • Year-to-date expenses is $43.80MM versus plan of $50.07MM, approximately $6.27MM or 13% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, payment processing fees, staff development expenses, overall grants and travel expenses partially offset by higher legal fees, outside contract services, and conference expenses.
  • Cash and Investments – $49.67MM as of June 30, 2014.

Infographic from Wikimedia UK’s report

Other highlights from the Wikimedia movement

Wikimedia UK publishes impact analysis of Wikimedian-in-Residence programs

The UK Wikimedia chapter published the result of an impact analysis of Wikimedian-in-Residence programs at British cultural institutions. Among the recommendations of the report is to increase the duration of residencies (residencies should be longer to ensure impact, e.g. 9-12 months for larger organizations) and to have clearer project goals for each residency to improve assessing impact.

First German “culture hackathon”

Organized by Wikimedia Germany together with the German Digital Library, the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany and the Service Center Digitization Berlin, the first “Coding da Vinci” culture hackathon took place in Berlin on July 6. The five winning software project include a project linking a list of names of authors ostracized by the Nazis with additional information from Wikipedia and other sources, and an app showing historical paintings from the Stadtmuseum Berlin, which hosted a Wikipedian in Residence in 2012, as illustrations on modern OpenStreetMap maps.

by wikimediablog at November 01, 2014 06:59 AM

Wikimedia Foundation Report, July 2014

Information You are more than welcome to edit the wiki version of this report for the purposes of usefulness, presentation, etc., and to add translations of the “Highlights” excerpts.



Data and Trends

Global unique visitors for June:

432 million (-7.9% compared with May; -9.1% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects, not including mobile devices; comScore will release July data later in July)

Page requests for July:

20.583 billion (+1.8% compared with June; +4.4% compared with the previous year)
(Server log data, all Wikimedia Foundation content projects including mobile access, but excluding Wikidata and the Wikipedia main portal page.)

Active Registered Editors for June 2014 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

74,549 (-7.0% compared with May / -2.0% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects.)

Report Card (integrating various statistical data and trends about WMF projects):




Wikimedia Foundation YTD Revenue and Expenses vs Plan as of June 30, 2014

Wikimedia Foundation YTD Expenses by Functions as of June 30, 2014

(Financial information is only available through June 2014 at the time of this report.)

All financial information presented is for the Month-To-Date and Year-To-Date June 30, 2014.

Revenue 51,280,212
 Engineering Group 17,380,695
 Fundraising Group 3,701,090
 Grantmaking Group 1,860,627
 Programs Group 1,766,790
 Grants 5,695,611
 Governance Group 1,254,286
 Legal/Community Advocacy/Communications Group 5,114,480
 Finance/HR/Admin Group 7,025,451
Total Expenses 43,799,030
Total surplus (7,481,182)
in US dollars
  • Revenue for the month of June is $1.31MM versus plan of $1.67MM, approximately $0.36MM or 22% under plan.
  • Year-to-date revenue is $51.28MM versus plan of $50.07MM, approximately $1.21MM or 2% over plan.
  • Expenses for the month of June is $6.58MM versus plan of $4.52MM, approximately $2.06MM or 46% over plan, primarily due to higher legal fees, capital expenditures, grants, outside contract services, personnel expenses, and travel & conference expenses offset by lower internet hosting expenses.
  • Year-to-date expenses is $43.80MM versus plan of $50.07MM, approximately $6.27MM or 13% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, payment processing fees, staff development expenses, overall grants and travel expenses partially offset by higher legal fees, outside contract services, and conference expenses.
  • Cash and Investments – $49.67MM as of June 30, 2014.


Knowledge For Everyone – a short documentary accompanying the petition

Petition for free access to Wikipedia on mobile phones

On July 28, the Wikimedia Foundation launched a petition for free access to Wikipedia on mobile phones, as it is offered in the Wikipedia Zero program. The petition is accompanied by the short documentary film, titled Knowledge for Everyone, about a group of high school students in South Africa who had written an open letter asking the country’s mobile carriers for such access, so that they could use Wikipedia for their schoolwork.

Legal victories in Italy and against paid editing sites

After more than four years, a Rome court dismissed a case against the Wikimedia Foundation, describing Wikipedia as “a service based on the freedom of the users” and setting positive precedent for other claims in Italy. Also in July, the Foundation successfully obtained orders preventing four websites advertising a service of paid editing of articles on Wikipedia from abusing the “Wikipedia” trademark.

Screenshot of new iOS Wikipedia app

New Wikipedia app for iOS mobile devices

In July, the new native iOS Wikipedia app was released, following the successful launch of the Android app in June. The app has the same features as the Android app, including the ability to edit both anonymously and logged in, saved pages for offline reading, and a history of your recently visited pages.

Grants impact analysis

The Wikimedia Foundation’s Grantmaking department published the first set of analyses for an impact review focusing on $4.4M of fully reported grants from the year 2013/14 in its three grants areas: Individual Engagement Grants, Project & Event Grants and Annual Plan Grants.

“Key observations from this first round of impact analyses” (presentation slide)


A detailed report of the Tech Department’s activities for July 2014 can be found at:

Department Highlights

Major news in July include:


HHVM (HipHop Virtual Machine) is aimed to improve the speed of Wikimedia sites. The Beta cluster (the testing environment that best simulates our sites) is now running HHVM. The latest MediaWiki-Vagrant and Labs-vagrant (virtual machine environments that make it easier for developers to apply their code to Wikimedia sites) use HHVM by default.

Presentation slides about the iOS app launch

Mobile Apps

In July, the Mobile Apps team launched the new native iOS Wikipedia app, following the successful launch of the Android app in June. The app has the same features as the Android app, including the ability to edit both anonymously and logged in, saved pages for offline reading, and your recently visited pages. The iOS app also contains an onboarding screen which is displayed the first time the app is launched, asking users to sign up. An update to the Android app was released, containing the Android version of the onboarding screen, as well as a a night mode for reading in dark environments, a font size selector, and a references display that makes browsing references easier. Next month, the team plans to continue improvements to page styling, and begin designing a dialogue that displays the first time a user taps edit to help them make their edit successfully.

Mobile Web

This month, the team continued to focus on wrapping up the collaboration with the Editing team to bring VisualEditor to tablet users on the mobile site. We also began working to design and prototype our first new Wikidata contribution stream, which we will build and test with users on the beta site in the coming month.


In July, the Flow team built the ability for users to subscribe to individual Flow discussions, instead of following an entire page of conversations. Subscribing to an individual thread is automatic for users who create or reply to the thread, and users can choose to subscribe (or unsubscribe) by clicking a star icon in the conversation’s header box. Users who are subscribed to a thread receive notifications about any replies or activity in that thread. To support the new subscription/notification system, the team created a new namespace, Topic, which is the new “permalink” URL for discussion threads; when a user clicks on a notification, the target link will be the Topic page, with the new messages highlighted with a color. The team is currently building a new read/unread state for Flow notifications, to help users keep track of the active discussion topics that they’re subscribed to.


In July, the team working on VisualEditor converged the mobile and desktop designs, made it possible to see and edit HTML comments, improved access to re-using citations, and fixed over 120 bugs and tickets. The team also expanded its scope to cover all MediaWiki editing tools as well, as the new Editing Team.

The new design is possible due to the significant progress made in cross-platform support in the interface code. This now provides responsively-sized windows that can work on desktop, tablet and phone with the same code. HTML comments are occasionally used to alert editors to contentious issues without disrupting articles for readers. Making them prominently visible avoids editors accidentally stepping over expected limits. The simple dialog for re-using citations is now available in the toolbar so that it is easier for users to find.

Other improvements include an array of performance fixes targeted at helping mobile users especially. We fixed several minor instances where VisualEditor would corrupt the page. We also installed better monitoring of corruptions if they occur. The mobile version of VisualEditor, currently available for beta testers, moved towards stable release. We fixed some bugs and editing issues, and improving loading performance. Our work to support languages made some significant gains, nearing the completion of a major task to support IME users. The work to support Internet Explorer uncovered some more issues as well as fixes.

SUL finalization

In July, the SUL (single user login) finalisation team worked on developing features to ease the workload that the finalisation will place on the community, and to minimise the impact on those users that are affected. A feature is being developed that allows users to log in with their pre-finalisation credentials, so that everyone who is affected is still able to access their account; this feature is mostly complete from a back-end engineering standpoint but now needs design and product refinement, and will hopefully be completed by late August. A feature to globally rename users in a manner that does not create clashing accounts was completed and deployed. A feature is being developed to allow accounts to be globally merged, so that clashing local-only accounts that were globalised by the finalisation can be consolidated into a single global account; this feature is in the early stages of implementation and no estimate is possible at this time. A feature is being developed to allow local-only account holders to request rename and globalisation before the finalisation, and also feeds these rename requests to the appropriate community processes in a manner that reduces the workload of community; this feature is in the design phase, and will likely be ready for implementation in early August.

Phabricator migration

Phabricator’s “Legalpad” application (a tool to manage trusted users) was set up on a separate server that provides provides Single-User Login authentication with wiki credentials. We implemented the ability to restrict access to tasks in a certain project and worked on initial migration code to import data from Bugzilla reports into Phabricator tasks. We also set up a data backup system for Phabricator, and upgraded the dedicated Phabricator server to Ubuntu Trusty. A more detailed summary email about the status of the Phabricator migration was sent to Wikitech-l.

MediaWiki core front-end libraries

In July, the Request for comment for refactoring MediaWiki’s skin system (which handles the appearance of wiki sites) was re-written and discussed with members of the community and staff. Work on the proposed system is scheduled to begin in August, alongside creating an Agora theme for, and server-side version of, OOjs UI, a toolkit used to compose complex widgets. In addition to the RfC work, a well-attended meeting was held for teams using or considering using OOjs UI, including Editing, Multimedia and Growth. From that meeting, several issues were identified as blockers to increased acceptance of the toolkit. The most prominent blocker is the lack of an Agora theme for OOjs UI at this time. Creating this theme has thus been prioritized and will be completed as soon as possible. The Design team has committed to delivering necessary assets by mid-August. Discussion about changes to OOjs UI also surfaced the desire to be able to create widgets on the server and then bind to them on the client (a feature proposed as part of the skinning RfC). This functionality is thus now planned to be implemented in OOjs UI before the skin refactoring begins.

Presentation slides on mobile readership and contribution trends at the July 31 metrics meeting

Research and Data

This month we completed the documentation for the Active Editor Model, a set of metrics for observing sub-population trends and setting product team goals. We also engaged in further work on the new page views definition. An interim solution for Limited-duration Unique Client Identifiers (LUCIDs) was also developed and passed to the Analytics Engineering team for review.

We analyzed trends in mobile readership and contributions, with a particular focus on the tablet switchover and the release of the native Android app. We found that in the first half of 2014 mobile surpassed desktop in the rate at which new registered users become first-time editors and first-time active editors in many major projects, including the English Wikipedia. An update on mobile trends was presented at the upcoming Monthly Metrics meeting on July 31.


The brand new Services group started design and prototyping work on the storage service (see code) and REST API (see code). The storage service now has early support for bucket creation and multiple bucket types. We decided to configure the storage service as a back-end for the REST API server. This means that all requests will be sent to the REST API, which will then route them to the appropriate storage service without network overhead. This design lets us keep the storage service buckets very general, by adding entry point specific logic in front-end handlers. The interface is still well-defined in terms of HTTP requests, so it remains straightforward to run the storage service as a separate process. We refined the bucket design to allow us to add features very similar to Amazon DynamoDB in a future iteration. There is also an early design for light-weight HTTP transaction support.


  • Fundraising is off to a strong start in the new fiscal year – raising $4.5 million in July.
  • We welcomed Victoria Shchepakina as a new Fundraiser Program Associate. She will focus her efforts on the Wikimedia Shop.
  • We started accepting Bitcoin. See the blog post for the full announcement.
  • A Petition for Free Access to Wikipedia on Cell phones was published. We will be emailing this petition to our donors in order to increase awareness about Wikipedia Zero.

Major Gifts and Foundations

  • The MGF team raised over $2.4 million in July, including $1.25 million from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
  • Fall fundraising events scheduled for September 22 in NYC and November 6 in San Francisco

Online Fundraising

  • The online fundraising team ran low-level banner tests world-wide, and a full-scale campaign in Japan. Emails were sent to previous donors in the Japan and South Africa. Approximately $2 million USD was raised in July through these campaigns (preliminary numbers as donations are still settling).
  • The team held focus groups with donors in the US, primarly focused on optimizing mobile and email fundraising.
  • The team prepared translations of fundraising messages into multiple languages for upcoming international banner campaigns. If you would like to help with the translation process, please get involved.
  • We are making our mobile banner tests more sophisticated, and ran a very successful one on July 30 which increased donations 3.5 times.



FY 2013-14 first part of grantmaking impact assessment report.

  • Published the first set of analyses for grantmaking impact review (a full assessment will follow)
  • 4 new members are appointed to the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) by the WMF Board of Trustees: Risker (Anne Clin), Matanya (Matanya Moses), B1mbo (Osmar Valdebenito), and Thuvack (Dumisani Ndubane). Welcome, and congratulations!
  • The Travel and Participation Support program launched a revamp. Besides making workflows more user-friendly and fun, some experimental changes in this revamp aimed at supporting more participants to accomplish Wikimedia’s mission include: broadening the eligibility of event types and offering Wikimedia merchandise as an outreach-tool for participants
  • 110 Wikimania scholarship recipients are headed to London next month, and we can’t wait to learn about the outcomes of their participation.
  • A review of Project and Event Grants which were reported on in 2013-14 was completed. 32 different Wikimedia projects were supported (out of 36 grants), resulting in over 340 events, 10K people involved, 190K photos to Commons, and over 8K articles written. See full report.
  • 2014-2015 Round 1 of the FDC process kicks off, with the initial announcement of eligibility status for all 15 organizations that submitted a Letter of Intent (LOI) for the upcoming round.
  • Several members of the grantmaking team participated in the International Human Rights Funders Group (IHRFG) annual conference in New York City, where we talked about the challenges and opportunities in funding human rights work, and importantly, shared our experiences in participatory grantmaking with the larger field of funders (and wrote the Wikipedia article).
  • Launched new Learning Quarterly newsletter. Sign up to subscribe

In other news, from grantee projects:

the Library is serving 1,940 editors with access to 2,924 free journal accounts worth 1.2 million USD. There is still room to grow as the Library has set its sights to move well beyond English.

  • The results from Wiki Loves Earth are coming in. With the support of a PEG grant, the Macedonian community submitted over 12,000 photos, with 200 already in use in Wikipedia articles!
  • Members of Wikimedia Taiwan have translated the Editing Wikipedia brochure into Chinese — filling a huge gap in resources for our global community.
  • Amical Wikimedia supported as many as 792 articles created through the Catalan Culture challenge in 92 languages.

Visits and Events

Annual Plan Grants Program

Aerial photography supported through WMIL’s WikiAir in 2013
(“HaMakhtesh HaGadol Aerial View” by Amos Meron, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Photo upload supported by WMCH in 2013
“Alte Kirche Witikon” by Conz von Gemmingen, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Participants in WMRS’ EduWiki Learning Day, featured in their Q1 report
(“EduWiki Learning Day Belgrade 2014 – DM (45) – group photo” by Dominikmatus, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

  • 20 reports reviewed; 6 grants completed; 11 reports submitted; 15 organizations evaluated for eligibility; 4 new committee members appointed
  • The WMF Board of Trustees announces four new appointments to the FDC. Welcome to new members Risker (Anne Clin), Matanya (Matanya Moses), B1mbo (Osmar Valdebenito), and Thuvack (Dumisani Ndubane)! New members were appointed by the board after a selection process including statements from nominees and a public question and answer phase. The terms of the new members will begin 1 August. We thank the departing members for their invaluable contributions to the work of the inaugural FDC: Mike Peel, Arjuna Rao Chavala, Anders Wennersten, and Yuri Perohanych.
  • Organizations receiving grants in 2013-2014 Round 2 were contacted in order to execute grant agreements and send payments. New grant terms started on 1 July, and the first round of progress reports will be due 30 October.
  • Initial eligibility for 15 organizations submitting Letters of Intent for 2014-2015 Round 1 was announced on 18 July 2014. Organizations in the YES IF category will have until 15 July 2014 to meet eligibility gaps and move to the YES category. Organizations in the YES category will be eligible to submit proposals for 2014-2015 Round 1, which will be due on 1 October. As of 30 July, 10 organizations are already deemed eligible to participate!
  • 11 Quarter 2 progress reports for 2013-2014 grants were submitted by 30 July. Second installments of grant funds will be sent to 2013-2014 Round 1 grantees.
  • 11 Quarter 1 progress reports for 2013-2014 grants and 2 Quarter 3 progress reports for 2012-2013 Round 2 grants were reviewed by FDC staff. Some highlights from the Q1 progress reports include:
    • Amical Wikimedia supports as many as 792 articles through the Catalan Culture challenge in 92 languages.
    • Wikimedia Serbia hosts a successful EduWiki conference.
  • 9 impact reports for 2012-2013 grantees were reviewed by FDC staff and 2012-2013 Round 1 grants have now been completed by 8 organizations (including Wikimédia France and Wikimedia Foundation, that submitted impact reports earlier); 2 organizations will need to return underspent grant funds before grants are complete and 1 organization still needs to submit English translations of audited financial statements before its grant is considered complete. Some highlights from the impact reports include:
    • Images gained through WMIL’s WikiAir program show an impressive 9.1% use rate for a group of 1,441 photos, and one of the photos was featured on the President’s greeting card for Rosh Hashanah.
    • WMCH supports the upload of 11,453 pictures, including 437 quality images in 2013.
    • WMAR shares impressive results from the international Mujeres Iberoamericanas contest, which produced 1,227 improved articles and an outstanding retention rate of contributors.
    • WMAT shares a learning pattern about community engagement in photo contests.

Project and Event Grants Program

Editing Wikipedia in Chinese

Mount Korab, Republic of Macedonia (Wiki Loves Earth 2014)
(“Mount Korab, Republic of Macedonia” by Don macedone)

Photos from Afghanistan in the 1960s digitized by WMCZ
(“Afghanistan 1961 woman and girl” by František Řiháček, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

  • 5 new requests were funded, 1 request was declined, and 11 reports were accepted in July 2014.
  • The Grant Advisory Committee has a new look and Workroom. We are currently testing a new review process over the next few months. Feedback is welcome!

Grants funded in July 2014

  • Printing Editing Wikipedia in Chinese: To fund the printing of “Editing Wikipedia” in Chinese for distribution by Wikimedia Taiwan.
  • Wiki Loves Monuments in Ireland 2014: To support the Irish community to organize the country’s first Wiki Loves Monuments.
  • Acitivites in Egypt: To support activities organized by the new Eygptian User Group, including Wiki Loves Monuments, the Wikimedia Education Program, and edit-a-thons.
  • Wiki Loves Monunents in Thailand 2014: To support the new Thai User Group to organize Wiki Loves Monuments.
  • Script Encoding for Nepal: To support a meeting of stakeholders to discuss two Nepali scripts (Prachalit Nepal and Ranjana) with the goal of creating script proposals that will be submitted for review and eventually published in the Unicode Standard. Once they are in the Unicode Standard, they can be used on Wikimedia projects and elsewhere.

Reports accepted in July 2014

Individual Engagement Grants Program

Grantee updates

  • Round 2 2013 grantees are preparing to finish their final reports as the new crop of round 1 2014 grantees begins to pick up steam on their new projects! For example:
    • Keilana published the finalized version of her kit to help others replicate her successful experiments in hosting workshops aimed at countering Wikipedia’s gender gap and other forms of systemic bias. Thanks to verynice.co, for donating their pro-bono design skills to WMF to make this kit shine!
    • Meanwhile, Amanda published her first blog post charting the course ahead for her own gender gap research.
    • As one year of funding for The Wikipedia Library comes to a close, Ocaasi is measuring and reflecting on what’s been accomplished so far and what lies ahead for this growing global program aimed at expanding access to sources for Wikipedia editors around the world. So far, the Library is serving 1,940 editors with access to 2,924 free journal accounts worth 1.2 million USD. At the same time, this month the Arabic Library pilot team pulled metrics from the book pilot’s first month. 11 books have been successfully purchased for Wikipedians so far, but shipping to several countries in the Middle East remains the largest restriction to growth at present.

Reports accepted in July 2014

  • Wikimaps Atlas – Midpoint: Much of the backend infrastructure for the Wikimaps Atlas is now functional, and a website with a front-end making it easy for new users to generate maps is still in the works.
  • The Wikipedia Library – Final report: As The Wikipedia Library’s first year comes to a close, the program is serving 1,940 editors with access to 2,924 free journal accounts worth 1.2 million USD. There is still room to grow as the Library has set its sights to move well-beyond English!

Travel and Participation Support Program

  • 2 new requests were funded and 3 reports were accepted in July 2014.
  • The Travel and Participation Support Program has a new look. At the end of July, we launched a redesign of the program pages, based on analysis conducted on the program’s first 2 years. Besides making workflows more user-friendly and fun, some experimental changes in this revamp aimed at supporting more participants to achieve Wikimedia’s mission include: broadening the eligibility of event types, offering Wikimedia merchandise as an outreach-tool for participants, and bringing Wikimania scholarships under the umbrella of WMF’s TPS administration processes. We’re also piloting the first usage of the new Add-me gadget in program applications, making it easier than ever to endorse someone else’s request for funding.

Requests awarded in July 2014

Reports accepted in July 2014

Wikimania Scholarships

WMF’s Grantmaking team has partnered with Travel & Finance to send 110 volunteer Wikimedians to London via Wikimania Scholarships. Most arrangements have now been made, and scholars are ready to travel! Some changes to the program this year are aimed at bringing Wikimania scholarships in-line with grantmaking’s existing best-practices and processes for funding travel. As part of our commitment to transparency and to help establish a baseline for iterations in future years, we’ve published a list of scholarship recipients, and will be requiring all scholars to submit a short report about their experiences.

Learning and Evaluation

PEG Overview, 2013-14

Grants programs

  • Individual Engagement Grants:
    • Prepared and launched a survey to collect feedback from users involved in proposing and evaluating Round 1 2014 IEG proposals.
  • Project & Event Grants: Conducted impact analysis of all grants reported an during FY2013-14. Hosted a Google hangout to discuss results, which can be found on Meta. Major takeaways:
    • PEG grantees focused on specific goals were able to report back the most success
    • Online writing contests work great: 3 of 36 grants did them, resulting in 60% of total article contributions
    • Grantees receiving over $10K tended to underspend quite significantly (by ~30%)
    • We need a shift into quality of content (e.g., use of photos vs aggregate # of photos)
  • Travel and Participation Support: Helped launch features for the new space! See other section

Grants operations and tools

  • Made some progress on making grants administration work paperless by getting internal approvals electronically using Fluxx; began using Fluxx for the 2014-15 grantmaking year.
  • Ran two qualitative data analysis experiments using Dedoose on grant reports, and education program leaders survey.
  • More than 40 people tuned in for “Beyond Wikimetrics” (video, blog post, resource page) the first of a series of three Wikiresearch webinars focused on teaching Wikimedians how to use technical tools such as MySQL and the MediaWiki API for research purposes. These webinars are intended to teach leaders of mission-aligned projects (grant funded and otherwise) the skills necessary to perform self-evaluation, as well as to provide other community members with the skills necessary to perform exploratory research that could lead to innovative new initiatives.
  • Helped develop and launch a Lua-based infobox for ultimate use in IdeaLab and across grants pages, but first in the Travel and Participation Support Program revamp (see Travel and Participation Support Program section for more details).

Program Evaluation & Design

Infographic created for WMUK’s evaluation

  • Launched Evaluation Pulse 2014, a first-year’s end feedback survey to reassess program leaders’ capacity, as well as learning and resources needs, for evaluation. Are you a project or program leader and/or evaluator who would like to take the survey? Message eval@wikmedia.org to receive an invitation to participate.
  • Launched new Learning Quarterly newsletter. Sign up to subscribe
  • Worked at various stages of consultation on three survey strategies and tool development: Wikimania Exit Survey, Wikimania Hackathon Survey, and a user group survey.
  • Launched the Survey Question Bank with questions developed in partnership with program leaders piloting survey strategies
  • Code cleaning for evaluation portal redesign and templates to assure translatability of pages and links of the redesign plan and mock-ups.
  • Published two new blog posts: Digging for Data: How to Research Beyond Wikimetrics and Wikimedians in Residence: a journey of discovery
  • Hosted virtual meet-ups on Beyond Wikimetrics: Using Databases and APIs for Research with 20 attendees live (4 from the GLEE team) and 66 views (as of 7/29/2014), and Project and Event Grants: an impact review of 2013-14 with 18 attendees live (5 from the GLEE team) (on 7/29/2014).
  • Developed infographic icon sets and will upload to Commons for upcoming in-person meet-up sessions surrounding Wikimania 2014. Preview icons on this WiR infographic.
  • Developed infographic and

    Summative Poster of the Topline Metrics from Evaluation Report (beta), Year 1 Reporting

    for topline metrics poster presentation of ‘Topline: Evaluation Report (beta)’ for Wikimania.

  • Nearing end of contract (8/6/2014) for Wikimetrics features development (Central Auth Cohorts, Tagging, and Delete User)
  • Portal Space Metrics: In July, 1140 edits were made by 24 non-WMF users to the portal main space (1098 edits, 15 users), portal talk pages (3 edits, 1 user) and to Grants:Learning_patterns (39 edits, 8 users). As for page views, there were 1467 total views of the portal’s main pages Portal landing page (450), /News (375), /Tools (73), Library (158), /Parlor 42, and Grants:Learning_patterns (369).
  • The community dialogue around program evaluation closed July 15th, having been promoted broadly. This request for comment was open online from May 15 to July 15, and had a total of 403 page views between its description (209) and talk page (194), with only 6 users contributing feedback. (Due to low responsiveness in terms of edits to the talk page, and a few points of feedback expressing that people did not feel comfortable disagreeing with some of the ideas which had already been posted there, key questions from the dialogue were integrated into the Evaluation Pulse 2014 survey to encourage broader project and program leader feedback. Survey respondents’ anonymized answers will be integrated into the online documentation space after collection.)
  • Posting to social media: 52 posts to Twitter (19 new followers (117 total followers), 528 views, 19 link visits; 15 retweets); 13 Facebook posts (157 members, 498 views, 31 likes, 9 comments); 2 Google+ events for July (70 followers, 26 new followers, 7,780 profile views, 10 +1’s, 13 comments, 5 shares)


  • Started preparing for a Global South user survey by collecting information about the kind of questions to be asked in the survey.

Wikipedia Education Program

As part of the Wiki Learning Project at Tec de Monterrey, faculty and staff are trained in the basics of editing Wikipedia and brainstormed ideas for projects, including improving mathematical graphs and using MediaWiki to collaborate across campuses. July 2014.
(“GrupoJuly3CCM” by Thelmadatter, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Anasuya Sengupta outlined the team’s plans in an announcement on 27 June 2014: “As the team goes forward to develop a road map for the future with our community members, Floor Koudijs will be the interim Senior Manager for the Education Program. Initially the team has been assigned different parts of the world in order to create a baseline of educational programs and activities, with Floor responsible for North America, Latin America and Western Europe, Tighe Flanagan for the Arab region and Africa, and Anna Koval for Asia and Eastern Europe.”

Poster on the education team’s work, prepared for Wikimania


Wikipedia Education Collaborative

The Wikipedia Education Collaborative (formerly called the Cooperative) met in teleconference on 11 July 2014. One result of this meeting is an information page about the Collaborative and its purpose. This description will serve as the basis for the Collaborative panel session that will take place in London at Wikimania 2014.

Arab world programs

  • Summer editing continued in Egypt during the month of Ramadan with some additional summer cohorts.
  • Program volunteers in Jordan are considering creating a Wikipedia Education Program Advisory Committee to guide the program locally.


  • The Wikipedia Education Program now has a page on Foundation wiki. It was developed in consult with the WMF’s Communications, Community Advocacy, and Wikipedia Zero teams to support interdepartmental collaboration.
  • The July issue of the education newsletter This Month In Education featured articles from education programs in Macedonia, Mexico, Israel, the Czech Republic, Wikimedia Deutschland and Wikimedia UK, as well as updates from Brazil and South Africa.
  • Education portal improvements continue at Outreach:Education. Special attention is being paid to visual contrast — for readability, accessibility and WCAG compliance — as well as to navigation for ease of use. Feedback is welcome at Outreach:Talk:Education.

Human Resources

July was a very busy month for us as we moved through the process of annual reviews, annual compensation increases and cost of living adjustments, and supporting organization-wide discussions on results and implications. We have also decided to move from Jobvite to Greenhouse as our jobs applicant tracking system, so we are planning for that roll-out and implementation. Ongoing work in contract renewals, immigration, and leadership development continued – including continuing the second session, second cohort, of our leadership development program for directors and managers.

July Staff Changes

New Requisitions Filled
  • Victoria Shchepakina – Fundraising
  • Emanuela Neagu – HR
  • Kristen Lans – Engineering
  • Joel Sahleen – Engineering
Conversions (Contractor to Requisition)
  • Arlo Breault – Engineering
  • Keegan Peterzell – Product/Strat
  • Nick Wilson – Product/Strat
  • Erica Litrenta – Product/Strat
  • Jessica Robell – Fundraising
Requisition Departures
  • None
New Interns
  • Josephine Gulingan – F&A
  • Segun Aluko (LCA)
New Contractors
  • None
Contracts Ended
  • None

July Statistics

Total Requisitions Filled
July Actual: 187
July Total Plan: 207
July Filled: 9, Month Attrition: 0
FYTD Filled: 9, FYTD Attrition: 0
FY positions planned: 233

Finance and Administration

  • The Wikimedia Foundation RFP for Investment Advisory Services closed July 31, 2014. Final selection is scheduled for August 31, 2014.
  • Net investment returns for Wikimedia Foundation for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014 were $352,237.
  • Completed site visit for Wikimedia Israel.

Legal and Community Advocacy

LCA Report, July 2014

Contract Metrics

  • Submitted : 30
  • Completed : 25

Trademark Metrics

  • Submitted : 18
  • Pending : 11
  • Approval not needed : 7

Domains Obtained

(none in July)

Coming & Going

  • The team said farewell to Roshni Patel, a Georgetown privacy fellow, who had spent over 8 months with the legal team and was pivotal in the privacy policy consultation and roll-out. We wish her luck at Zwillgen in DC!
  • We also said goodbye to Joe Jung, a rising 2L from Harvard law, who completed his summer internship and assisted us with many exciting intellectual property and advocacy issues during his time here.

The Legal, Technological, and Social Barriers to Free Knowledge panel

Other Activities

  • The summer class of Legal Interns organized a panel discussion at WMF, titled Legal, Technological, and Social Barriers to Free Knowledge, including speakers from the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, Google Project Loon, the Wikimedia Foundation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Asia Foundation.
  • The Wikimedia Foundation supported the Fair Deal coalition in opposition to copyright-related provisions of the Trans Pacific Partnership.
  • With Wikimedia Chile, the Wikimedia Foundation prepared a letter to the Chilean Subsecretaria de Telecomunicationes about Wikipedia Zero.
  • We began discussions with the advocacy advisory group and Commons about taking a stance on non-free “open access” academic publishing licenses.
  • Along with the design team, we participated in an ongoing discussion on refreshing the basic Creative Commons license templates on Commons. We look forward to continuing that discussion at Wikimania.


In July, the media was fascinated by the inner workings of Wikipedia, from bots to bans. An early July report on Sverker Johansson, a Swedish Wikipedian and physicist whose bot “Lsjbot” has created 2.7 million articles, lead to inquiries into whether bots were taking over Wikipedia. The Twitter account @congressedits, tracking anonymous edits from U.S. Congress IPs, spurred a slew of imitations in other nations, including one which found that Russian government IPs were involved in editing the article on the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. This Twitter transparency drew scrutiny to recurring vandalism from the U.S. House of Representatives; a subsequent ban of one particularly vandalous Congressional IP generated significant press tinged with perhaps a little media schadenfreude.

In July, the blog team worked on final preparations for the relaunch of the Wikimedia blog, which took place on July 31. The blog’s new design is responsive, provides better support for multilingual posts, offers blog admins a tool for simple transfering of image licensing information from Wikimedia Commons, and reflects the blog’s evolution over the past years from a venue for WMF staff to share updates about their work to a news platform for the entire movement. The move to third-party hosting enables the WMF Operations team to better focus on their core mission of operating one the world’s most popular websites, and gives the blog team access to dedicated tech support which will also facilitate future updates to the platform.

Major announcements

Wikimania’s 2014 team announces the program for this year’s conference (01 July, 2014)

Major Storylines through July

Anonymous edits by Congress

Twitter bots track articles edited anonymously from Congress IP addresses. Topics include Choco Taco and Horse Head Mask.
The Guardian (18 July, 2014) [1]
Yahoo News (16 July, 2014) [2]
Ars Technica (11 July, 2014) [3]
Engadget (11 July, 2014) [4]
The Washington Post (10 July, 2014) [5]

Ban of Congress IP address

A congress IP address gets banned for 10 days for vandalism.
WIRED UK (28 July, 2014) [6]
TIME (26 July, 2014) [7]
New York Magazine (25 July, 2014) [8]
BBC News Technology (25 July, 2014) [9]
Aljazeera (25 July, 2014) [10]
The Guardian (25 July, 2014) [11]
Newsweek (25 July, 2014) [12]
Ars Technica (24 July, 2014) [13]
Gizmodo (24 July, 2014) [14]

Malaysian flight MH17

Russian state IP edits Wikipedia in an apparent attempt to sway opinion surrounding flight MH17’s crash.
The Telegraph (30 July, 2014) [15]
Tech Times (22 July, 2014) [16]
Global Voices (18 July, 2014) [17]
Slate (18 July, 2014) [18]
The Huffington Post (18 July, 2014) [19]

Sverker Johansson

In Sweden, Sverker Johansson and his bot have created over 2.7 million Wikipedia articles.
Boing Boing (16 July, 2014) [20]
Gizmodo (16 July, 2014) [21]
The Huffington Post (15 July, 2014) [22]
Daily Mail (15 July, 2014) [23]
Popular Science (14 July, 2014) [24]
Wall Street Journal (13 July, 2014) [25]

Other worthwhile reads

”American Canyon man researches, edits Wikipedia”
Times-Herald (07 July, 2014) [26]

See also the July press clippings

WMF Blog posts

Blog.wikimedia.org published 29 posts in July 2014. Two posts were multilingual, with translations in Italian, Spanish and Catalan.

Some highlights from the blog include:

The Wikimedia Foundation successfully obtained orders preventing four websites advertising a service of paid editing of articles on Wikipedia from abusing the “Wikipedia” trademark (July 29, 2014).
Wikimedia launches a petition for free access to Wikipedia on mobile phones (July 28, 2014).
A video recap of Wikimania 2013 (July 22, 2014).
Re-cap of Wiki loves Pride 2014 (July 18, 2014).
The Wikimedia Foundation supports the Fair Deal Coalition in voicing opposition to certain provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) (July 09, 2014).

Media contact

Media contact through July 2014: wmf:Press room/Media Contact#July 2014

Wikipedia Signpost

For detailed coverage and news summaries, see the community-edited newsletter “Wikipedia Signpost” for June 2014:

Communications Design

We helped various Foundation teams create graphics and giveaways to help represent themselves at Wikimania, and to show our thanks to the Wikimedians we don’t usually get to see in person. We also worked with Grantmaking to continue improvement of grant application pages and tools.

by wikimediablog at November 01, 2014 06:59 AM

Wikimedia Highlights, June 2014

Highlights from the Wikimedia Foundation Report and the Wikimedia engineering report for June 2014, with a selection of other important events from the Wikimedia movement

Wikimedia Foundation highlights

Main Page of the English Wikipedia on the new Android app.

Revamped Wikipedia app for Android, and new optimized view for tablet users

The new Android Wikipedia app was released in June and is now available in the Google Play store. Core features of the app include the ability to save pages for offline reading, a record of your reading history, and the ability to edit either as a logged in user or anonymously. The app is the first mobile platform that allows anonymous editing.

Also, since June 17, users on tablets are now redirected to the new tablet-optimized mobile site; they were previously being sent to the desktop version of all Wikimedia projects. Early data suggests that this change had a positive impact on new user signup and new editor activation numbers.

Media viewer released on all wikis

In June, the multimedia team released Media Viewer v0.2 on all Wikimedia wikis, with over 20 million image views per day on those sites that are tracked. Global feedback was generally positive and helped surface a range of issues, many of which were addressed quickly. Based on this feedback, a number of new features were developed by the team: view images in full resolution, view images in different sizes, show more image information, edit image file pages, as well as easy disable tools for anonymous users and editors.

First impact assessment of FDC grants (APG)

The results of the first impact assessment for Annual Plan Grants (FDC grants) to Wikimedia organiations were published. Based on the reports of the 9 organizations funded in Round 1 of 2012-2013, the report found that organizations had strength in content-related projects, which benefitted from full time staff and consistent partnership:

  • Content development results: 12K articles improved, 168K images on Commons, and 86K other media on Commons
  • Participation improvements (new editors; active editors; retained editors) were not recorded by most organizations. But over 9000 people were touched by the programs associated with the activties of the organizations, and Wikidata (a new Wikimedia project developed by Wikimedia Deutschland) saw 3000 new active editors.

Term of Use amended with transparency requirements for paid editing

The Wikimedia Foundation published a new amendment to the Terms of Use to address disclosure of paid editing.

Data and Trends

Global unique visitors for May:

469 million (+0.7% compared with April; -10.2% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects, not including mobile devices; comScore will release June data later in July)

Page requests for June:

20.217 billion (-0.2% compared with May; -4.4% compared with the previous year)
(Server log data, all Wikimedia Foundation content projects including mobile access, but excluding Wikidata and the Wikipedia main portal page.)

Active Registered Editors for May 2014 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

80,131 (+6.5% compared with April / -1.9% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects.)

Report Card (integrating various statistical data and trends about WMF projects):




Wikimedia Foundation YTD Revenue and Expenses vs Plan as of May 31, 2014

Wikimedia Foundation YTD Expenses by Functions as of May 31, 2014

(Financial information is only available through May 2014 at the time of this report.)

All financial information presented is for the Month-To-Date and Year-To-Date May 31, 2014.

Revenue 49,972,461
 Engineering Group 15,308,224
 Fundraising Group 3,392,468
 Grantmaking Group 1,696,721
 Programs Group 1,630,409
 Grants 4,104,348
 Governance Group 909,083
 Legal/Community Advocacy/Communications Group 4,066,924
 Finance/HR/Admin Group 6,109,383
Total Expenses 37,217,560
Total surplus (12,754,901)
in US dollars
  • Revenue for the month of May is $0.78MM versus plan of $1.67MM, approximately $0.89MM or 54% under plan.
  • Year-to-date revenue is $49.97MM versus plan of $48.40MM, approximately $1.57MM or 3% over plan.
  • Expenses for the month of May is $3.71MM versus plan of $4.49MM, approximately $0.78MM or 17% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, and FDC grants partially offset by higher legal fees, outside contract services, and travel expenses related to community convening events.
  • Year-to-date expenses is $37.22MM versus plan of $45.55MM, approximately $8.33MM or 18% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, payment processing fees, staff development expenses, grants and travel expenses partially offset by higher legal fees and outside contract services.
  • Cash and Investments – $53.13MM as of May 31, 2014.

Other highlights from the Wikimedia movement

From left to right: Itzik Edri and Michal Lester of Wikimedia Israel, Jan-Bart de Vreede, Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, Rabbi Shai Piron, Israel’s Education Minister
(“Shai Piron-Jan-Bart-Itzik-Michal” by Sasson Tiram, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Israel’s Ministry of Education and Wikimedia Israel agree on initiative to integrate Wikipedia in schools

The Israeli Wikimedia chapter announced an agreement with the country’s education ministry to support the integration of Wikipedia into the ministry’s school curricula in the coming years. Through the planned cooperation, history, geography and science teachers will receive special professional training to instruct students on how to contribute to new or incomplete Wikipedia articles for which information is lacking or inadequate.

Logo of Wiki Indaba 2014
(“Wiki Indaba 2014″ by Thuvack, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Wiki Indaba: Africa’s first regional conference of Wikimedians

During three days in June, more than 35 Wikimedians came together in Johannesburg for the first ever Wiki Indaba Regional Conference. All four regions of Africa were represented by at least one country, with West Africa having the lion’s share.

US National Archives announces plans to upload all of its holdings to Wikimedia Commons

The US National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) announced plans to upload all of its holdings to Commons. NARA hired a Wikimedian-in-Residence in 2011 and had already uploaded over 100,000 images to Commons since then.

by wikimediablog at November 01, 2014 06:59 AM