June 30, 2016

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikipedia - Wikipedian of the year Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight

Every year at Wikimania, a "Wikipedian of the year" is selected. This year there were two. Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight is one of them.

From the Wikipedia article it is not so clear why Rosie was selected for this honour. At best it is a stub and it needs a lot of work before it becomes clear why Rosie is notable. The article is a one liner with a lot of "external links".

Rosie was the one person missing as an award winner so it was easy enough to remedy this. It is now just for anyone to do a better job for Rosie both on Wikipedia and Wikidata.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at June 30, 2016 10:03 AM

Weekly OSM

weeklyOSM 310


Logo Map of Brexhill – UK; a fork of Humitos’ upoi.org 1 | © OpenStreetMap Contributors CC-BY-SA 2.0


  • Mapbox joined last weekend’s Rio mapathon to help map the city where this year’s Olympic Games will be held.
  • In the OSM wiki, the voting for the “extended Kneipp water cure” tagging proposal has started.
  • There’s a large discussion on the tagging mailing list about the different restrictions for learner drivers that exist in different countries (another new wiki proposal).
  • Mapbox has developed a JOSM plugin to allow the tagging of turn lanes. It implements the current turn:lanes scheme which was also used during the German Weekly task.
  • Martin Koppenhoefer wonders whether the amenity=nursing_home tagging is really deprecated (as someone has marked the wiki page) or if it still sometimes makes sense to use it.
  • Mapbox Bengaluru conducted a satellite workshop which involved imagery processing using QGIS. The tutorials related to the workshop can be found here.


  • JB has created a board game based on OSM, using French cathedrals (picture). He briefly describes the process and tools (QGIS) on the French mailing list. (Französisch) (automatic translation)
  • Boris Gruschko has produced a video to visualize the creation and aging of nodes in OpenStreetMap. (via talk)


  • On the 13th of July there will be a GraphHopper meetup in Berlin.
  • The schedule of SotM 2016 Japan (August, 06) has been published. (Japanisch) (automatic translation).

Humanitarian OSM

  • On the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team’s blog there is a report about a mapping workshop which was held at the end of April in Uganda.


  • [1] This very detailed map of Bexhill (UK) by Dr-Mx is available on github. It is a fork of the Spanish language upoi.org by Manuel Kaufmann aka humitos.
  • Josh Cohan (Next City) describes a new “AccessMap Seattle” map, currently accessible as a beta version. Parts of Seattle are very hilly, and AccessMapSeattle shows that, and other barriers to accessability. The map is of course using OSM data.
  • A new version of OpenRouteService has been released. Timothy Ellersiek describes it here in the University of Heidelberg’s GIScience News Blog.
  • Caleb Pershan writes in SFist about some special “typographic” maps of American cities that have been created. All municipalities, roads, and water areas are exclusively represented in writing, and all are OSM based.


  • Google tightens the terms of use for their Maps APIs. We naturally think this is a good time to switch to OSM.

Open Data

  • The city of Bonn has made a CC0 dataset available containing the location, type and age of urban trees. The coordinate system does need a little conversion, but that is described here by Josef Schugt.



  • Kepta, who is working on lane tagging support for the iD editor, explains in several blog posts about the progress that he is making.
  • The Routing API of GraphHopper has just received a bunch of new features.
  • Mapzen was able to “prevent a new war” between Sweden and Denmark (due to their geocoder misclassifying Copenhagen as in Sweden).


Software Version Release Date Comment
GraphHopper Routing Engine 0.7 2016-06-15 Java 7 support, new translations and many more
Mapbox GL JS v0.20.1 2016-06-21 Bugfix
OpenStreetMap Carto Style 2.40 2016-06-21 No info
Osmose Backend 1.0-2016-06-23 2016-06-23 No info
OSM Buildings 3.0.0 2016-06-24 4 changes and 2 fixes
OSRM Backend 5.2.6 2016-06-24 Bugfix
Cruiser for Android 1.4.8 2016-06-25 Multilingual vector maps
Cruiser for Desktop 1.2.7 2016-06-25
Locus Map Free 3.18.0 2016-06-27 New function added

provided by the OSM Software Watchlist

Did you know …

  • … the EmojiMap by Merten Peetz?
  • Le Portail IGN, a site for map comparisons? It’s similar to BBBike’s Map Compare, but has some different maps.
  • …about the Mexican project Mapeaton. A Mexican pun on the words “mapathon” and “peaton (pedestrian)”. The project’s aim is to take pictures of problems related to infrastructure for pedestrians.

Other “geo” things

  • GeaCron has published an interactive political world map which allows you to travel through the centuries. It’s a bit Eurocentric (I doubt much of the Americas and Asia were uninhabited 400 years ago) but it’s fun nonetheless.
  • Fastcompany has published a lengthy article about Ed Parsons (chief geographer at Google). OpenStreetMap and some of the companies in OSM’s ecosystem get a mention too…
  • Mapzen is hiring a “tiles engineer” in San Francisco or New York. Experience with OpenStreetmap is apparently a “bonus”!
  • Watch as the world’s cities appear one-by-one over 6,000 years (a visualisation by Metrocosm).
  • Mumbai’s “Mid Day” newspaper contains an article about new cartographers visualising individuality in maps (based on volunteer-led mapping and OpenStreetMap data).
  • Marco Viviani reports (Italian) on Wikimania 2016. The Wikipedia Conference took place from June 22-28 in Esino Lario, Lecco, Italy. (automatic translation)

Upcoming Events

Dónde Qué Fecha País
Nantes Missing Maps Nantes #1 @Médiagraph 30/06/2016 france
Bengaluru OSM Hack Weekend in Mapbox 02/07/2016-03/07/2016 india
Shizuoka OpenStreetMapワークショップ in 日本平 (Nihondaira) 02/07/2016 japan
Roma ”’mAppiaM!”’ Mapping of Appia’s Monuments Appia Antica 09/07/2016-11/07/2016 italy
Taipei Taipei Meetup 11/07/2016 taiwan
Lyon Rencontre mensuelle mappeurs 12/07/2016 france
Trentino Presentation of a hiking map done using OpenStreetMap data, Storo 15/07/2016 italy
Kyoto 京都国宝・浪漫マッピングパーティ:第1回 北野天満宮 16/07/2016 japan
Nottingham Nottingham 19/07/2016 united kingdom
Seattle ”’State of The Map US 2016”’ 23/07/2016-25/07/2016 united states

Note: If you like to see your event here, please put it into the calendar. Only data which is there, will appear in weeklyOSM. Please check your event in our public calendar preview and correct it, where appropiate..

This weekly was produced by Hakuch, Laura Barroso, Nakaner, Peda, Polyglot, Rogehm, SomeoneElse, derFred, escada, jinalfoflia, malenki, mgehling, seumas, widedangel.

by weeklyteam at June 30, 2016 06:47 AM

June 29, 2016

Wiki Education Foundation

Announcing our Annual Plan for 2016-2017

Frank Schulenburg
Frank Schulenburg

Today, we’re sharing the Wiki Education Foundation’s annual plan for Fiscal Year 2016–2017. The plan, and budget, were approved by the Board of Trustees at its June meeting. We’re sharing it here as part of Wiki Ed’s commitment to sharing information about our goals and spending. The Plan is a report on our work last year, and looks forward to what we’ll achieve during the next fiscal year (July 1 through June 30).

I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on what we’ve achieved last year, and what we will do in the year ahead.

  • We saw enormous growth in our flagship Classroom Program. Participation grew from 5,000 students to 8,000 in just a year. This tells us that we’ve developed a strong system of support tools and resources. It also shows us the power of our academic partnerships.
  • We began managing the Visiting Scholars program, and we’ve added nine new Scholar positions. That’s helped us tackle popular but underdeveloped articles on Wikipedia.
  • We co-hosted WikiConference USA, alongside the National Archives and Record Administration, Wikimedia DC and Wikimedia NYC. That event was a success for uniting academics with the Wikipedia community, but also for connecting Wikipedians to one another.
  • And of course, we launched our Year of Science. With major financial support from Google and the Simons Foundation, the Year of Science has already worked with 116 courses. In the first term alone, 2,200 students contributed more than 2 million words to Wikipedia.

So, what’s next for Wiki Ed? Our annual plan lays out our path.

Expanding the Year of Science

Based on the results from the spring term, we’ll continue the work of the Classroom Program to improve science content, developing further partnerships and resources. We’ll engage science faculty and students beyond 2016, and evaluate our learnings to see whether similar campaigns can be as effective moving forward.

Raising awareness of the Wikipedia assignment, and Wiki Ed

We will work to expand awareness of the Wikipedia assignment and the support provided by the Wiki Education Foundation, making ourselves better known to college and university campuses. We will work with more instructors, and more academic associations. We will also work with more institutions to expand our number of Visiting Scholars.

Research and Academic Engagement

Our research and academic engagement work will encourage and empower collaborations between academia and the Wikipedia community to better understand how to effectively teach with Wikipedia. We’ll be supporting research that helps us understand the impact of our programs by developing metrics and communicating results.

To see how we will reach these outcomes, I encourage you to read our Annual Plan for 2016–2017. The document describes our plan to scale our programs to empower academia’s positive contributions to open, public knowledge through Wikipedia. As always, we will continue to share our progress through monthly reports to the Board, which are also shared on our website.

Frank Schulenburg
Executive Director, Wiki Education Foundation

by Frank Schulenburg at June 29, 2016 06:09 PM

Wikipedia Weekly

Wikipedia Weekly #122 – Wikimania 2016 in Esino Lario

Roundtable discussion episode: A roundup of Wikimania 2016 in Esino Lario, Italy. Recorded on a bus after the Wikimania conference, we discuss how Wikimania was run, engagement with locals, new developments and the future of the Wikimania conference. We are joined part way through by an Italian Wikipedian who wanted to stay anonymous, but gave good insights into the local culture.

Participants: Andrew Lih (User:Fuzheado), James Forrester (User:Jdforrester), Deryck Chan (User:Deryck Chan)

Opening music: “At The Count” by Broke For Free, is licensed under CC-BY-3.0; Closing music: “Things Will Settle Down Eventually” by 86 Sandals, is licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0

All original content of this podcast is licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0.

by admin at June 29, 2016 11:54 AM

June 28, 2016

Wikimedia UK

Pride in London – photographer Katy Blackwood on working with Wikimedia UK

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan with Pride organisers (Photo by Katy Blackwood CC BY-SA 4.0)

My name is Katy Blackwood. I’m a music photographer, fledgling photo-journalist and writer that has been published in print, worked as a professional and, on Saturday, donated her time and photographs to Wikimedia UK in the name of knowledge and free content.

The event was Pride in London, an occasion surely close to the heart of anybody that values equality, inclusivity and solidarity, whether they are LGBT or not. In such a divisive week for the United Kingdom, it brought together an estimated one-million people to celebrate humans of all cultures and sexualities, highlighted by a triumphant parade.

Working with Wikimedia UK, I attended as a member of the media in order to create high-quality photography of the parade and its build-up. These photos, including some by John Lubbock, have now been released under a licence that allows them to be used, for free, by anyone.

The idea of giving away photographs for free is an alien, even abhorrent concept for the vast majority of professional photographers. ‘It’ll be great exposure’ is a phrase that embodies everything that is wrong with the media and arts today, that our work is not worth paying for. Credit doesn’t pay the bills, and thousands of pounds of camera equipment doesn’t pay for itself.

Naturally, I had my doubts about shooting for Wikimedia. The idea came up last year, as a possible opportunity for me to contribute to Wikipedia again for the first time since I was a teenage girl. Lapsed editors such as myself are common, but unlike then, I now have a professional skill – and felt I could contribute by using it.

The idea of specifically shooting at Pride in London was a more recent development. The issues that Pride highlights – discrimination, homophobia, xenophobia and exclusion to name a few – are fought mostly by non-profit groups and activist blogs.

We wanted to create photographs that allow such causes and bloggers to illustrate their content with high-quality visuals, for use under CC BY-SA 4.0, requiring attribution to myself but otherwise free for use as desired.

Beyond the philanthropy, I am also hoping that my work with Wikimedia UK will be an opportunity to show what I can do as a photographer in new environments. It’s a chance for me to build relationships and see my work used widely. For my ambitions in the field of photo-journalism, Wikimedia’s influence is invaluable, and we are hoping to open doors that will allow me to further my career while volunteering.

Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as their Ab Fab characters open Pride (Photo by Katy Blackwood CC BY-SA 4.0)

We’re keen to follow-up our success at Pride in London with coverage of other significant events this summer and beyond into 2017. We’re exploring the possibility of working with the UK Parliament to improve Wikipedia’s photographs of politicians and the political process, and we’re hoping to attend more major events as well.

We are hoping that more photographers will come forward to contribute to these exciting projects. Wikimedia UK has expenses available for travel and accommodation, and is keen to support anyone looking to create high-quality images so long as they are happy to release them under a free licence. Please also reach out to us with suggestions of events and topics that we should cover in the future.

I am, fittingly, proud of my work on Saturday – and I hope you like my photographs too. You can check out just my own photos in this category, and I’d love to hear how you use them (you can reach me at katy@katyblackwood.co.uk). You can also view all of our free-to-use photographs from Pride in London 2016 in this category.

by John Lubbock at June 28, 2016 04:00 PM

Wiki Education Foundation

UPitt Visiting Scholar is opening access to women’s health information

The miracle of Wikipedia is that it has been assembling the world’s knowledge for 15 years, all of it contributed from volunteers. It is not only a collection of the world’s knowledge, then, but a reflection of the world’s passions.

This can, however, tie Wikipedia’s content to leisure. For many, contributing to Wikipedia is a relaxing activity. Yet, some of the world’s most important topics are not always the most comfortable. This is especially true when it comes to topics of women’s health. Conservative estimates suggest 80% of Wikipedians are male. With editing patterns following passion and interest so often, women’s health topics can be neglected.

That plays out in the numbers. Women’s health is a crucial content gap on Wikipedia, with only 5 articles categorized as among the best on Wikipedia. Only nine have received the next-highest rating. Meanwhile, a staggering 633 articles are rated as “stubs” or “start-class,” the lowest designations of article quality. Those articles could contain valuable information on important health topics. Articles still marked with the lowest-quality rating on Wikipedia include articles on cervical cancer, radical mastectomy, live birth, and feminine hygiene.

Nonetheless, women searching for information on women’s health are still likely to find it on Wikipedia, because it’s often the first Google result for these topics. Though a handful of volunteers have been working tirelessly to improve these articles through groups such as WikiProject Women’s Health, there’s only so much a small group of volunteers can do to tackle the problem.

If other editors don’t want to write them, the information in the articles can be piecemeal, out of date, or downright inaccurate. Another roadblock to writing these topics is access to the academic sources required to build a reliable, verifiable article. Often, these are locked behind paywalls, accessible only to those who hold a privileged connection to a college or university.

That’s where the Wiki Education Foundation’s Visiting Scholars program can help. Visiting Scholars are active, experienced Wikipedia volunteers who are paired with an institution of higher education. This volunteer is given access to resource materials from libraries, including special collections. The Visiting Scholar then sets out with these resources to build up articles related to those collections or topic areas of mutual interest. It’s a natural complement to the impact of our Classroom Program.

"Bfpafe small selfie.JPG" by Bfpage - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons.
Barbara Page, a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh. “Bfpafe small selfie.JPG” by BfpageOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons.

Barbara Page is a nursing student, a grandmother of four, and one of two Wikipedia Visiting Scholars at the University of Pittsburgh. She’s been focused on women’s health.

“In my mind, I have this image of a woman my age just receiving information from her doctor, telling her that she needs some kind of gynecological procedure that she can hardly pronounce,” Barbara said. “Fortunately, she just bought a cell phone that has the big ‘W’ of Wikipedia listed in her apps, where she might find the information she needs to ask her physician. Younger men are still the most prolific content creators, and I don’t think they like to contemplate the health issues their grandmas might be dealing with.”

Barbara has also tackled some difficult articles that many may not want to write. One of those is the article handling rape. For that article, seen nearly 1,500 times every day, accurate content is vital.

Drawing from resources accessed through the University of Pittsburgh, she’s expanded content in the article regarding emotional and physical effects and, most of all, their respective treatments. She’s updated sourcing, and worked to bring the article up to date in terms of how rape is defined and understood. For example, Barbara added detailed information on emotional and psychiatric treatments, which had been a paragraph on contraception and a list of possible sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The treatment section is now an in-depth description of rape kits, possible injuries, infections and discussion of common emotional responses such as anxiety, PTSD, and eating disorders.

Barbara has developed articles on a variety of topics, such as neonatal infections, breastfeeding, and various infections. She’s tackled more general health topics, too, such as hospital-acquired infections, STIs, infant respiratory distress syndrome, and Crohn’s disease.

“Medical articles on Wikipedia are notoriously difficult to source and keep up-to-date,” she said. “Medical textbooks have been made available to me through the Pitt Library System. It would be next to impossible for me to access these texts on my own — especially since most texts are now ‘virtual’, i.e., I couldn’t even buy them if I wanted to!” She said that electronic editions of the textbooks she references are updated automatically, which keeps her references timely.

Ed Galloway, the head of the ULS Archives Service Center at UPitt, calls Barbara “an absolute gem.” He’s been excited by the contributions she has made, alongside the contributions of Casey Monaghan User:Seattle, a Pitt student who has done great work focused on the history of Pittsburgh and its residents. We featured some of the work Casey has done to improve the article about Pittsburgh architect and musician, Robert Schmertz, which reached the level of Good Article and appeared on Wikipedia’s main page.

At first, Ed said he didn’t know what to expect from Visiting Scholars.

“I was intrigued by the program because it would allow expert editors to leverage the unique resources we have at Pitt to improve Wikipedia, and hopefully drive potential researchers to our own sites to seek information directly from us,” he said. “What I could not have anticipated whatsoever is the work Barb has done. It never occurred to me that, with access to Pitt’s enormous array of licensed resources, she could be so effective at creating and editing articles on women’s health issues.”

One compelling element of Barbara’s work is her translation of medical content on Wikipedia for the Haitian Creole edition of Wikipedia. Haitian Creole, or Kreyol, is spoken by about 12 million people.

“I have traveled to Haiti in the past, and have fallen in love with the people and the country,” she said. “Not only is quality medical information difficult to find and receive, I don’t even know if there is an intact college library in the whole country. People there are dying from cholera. Women have next to no information about their own bodies.”

This is the kind of unexpected reach that extends the benefits of opening up resources to a Wikipedia Visiting Scholar. As an experienced Wikipedia editor, a Visiting Scholar has a deep understanding of policies and procedures on Wikipedia, but also the kind of knowledge gaps that they can fill with those resources.

If you’re interested in hosting a Wikipedia Visiting Scholar at your own institution, let us know! Send us an email: contact@wikiedu.org.

by Eryk Salvaggio at June 28, 2016 04:00 PM

June 27, 2016

Wiki Education Foundation

The Roundup: Dinosaur science

Wikipedia is the perfect medium for communicating a joy for science. Every spark of curiosity leads to a new question, and Wikipedia offers paths for a mind to wander.

When we saw that there was a class about dinosaurs, we got pretty excited. There’s something compelling about giant, “terrible lizards” roaming the planet. We all know a child or two whose encyclopedic knowledge of dinosaur taxonomy borders on eerie.

Students in Dr. Paul Sereno’s Dinosaur Science course at the University of Chicago tackled Wikipedia articles about paleontology. Their writing was paired with a field study in South Dakota and Wyoming.

Students expanded the article on Dicraeosauridae, a family of dinosaurs with short necks and small bodies, and Stegosauride, armored dinosaurs related to the Stegasaurus. They expanded the stub article about Eusauropoda, long-necked, four-legged herbivores that spanned much of the planet.

The class made a staggering number of quality contributions to articles about dinosaurs. Just a few more:

Together, students contributed 41,500 words to 17 articles. Those articles have been seen 22,100 times in just a few weeks. That’s helping more people understand paleontology, and the fascinating history of life on this planet.

Thanks to these student editors, and to Dr. Paul Sereno, for contributing their expertise to be shared with the world through Wikipedia.

If you’re interested in teaching science with Wikipedia, and improving open access to scientific information, we’d love to have a conversation! Reach out to us: contact@wikiedu.org.

Photo: Deinonychosaurier by DellexOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0.

by Eryk Salvaggio at June 27, 2016 04:00 PM

Tech News

Tech News issue #26, 2016 (June 27, 2016)

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Other languages:
العربية • ‎čeština • ‎English • ‎español • ‎suomi • ‎français • ‎עברית • ‎हिन्दी • ‎italiano • ‎日本語 • ‎Ripoarisch • ‎norsk bokmål • ‎polski • ‎português do Brasil • ‎русский • ‎سنڌي • ‎svenska • ‎українська • ‎Tiếng Việt • ‎中文

June 27, 2016 12:00 AM

June 26, 2016

All Things Linguistic

Day 4 of Wikis and Wikipedia for Endangered Languages at...

Day 4 of Wikis and Wikipedia for Endangered Languages at CoLang was about using Wikimedia Incubator to develop a Wikipedia in your own language.

These are a few of our slides - you can view the full set of slides (where all the blue underlined links work) at bit.ly/lingwiki-colang4.

June 26, 2016 10:30 PM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata supports over 300 languages - implications

Wikidata is a single project that supports over 300 languages. The aim is that all data is usable in any and all of them. One important consequence is that for each item 300 translations of the label are needed.

Obviously less items is more. Each item has to have a purpose that is clear, obvious and cannot be expressed in another way.

For this reason I am opposed to the addition of all kinds of subclasses that add no value. There is no point to "APA Award". It is an award that is conferred by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and it can be easily described in two statements.

It makes it extra hard to add translations. It is relevant to know that it is an award. It is important to know who conferred it but there is no point having this expressed in a combined item.  There is no point, it does not fit with the work that is done on awards. It makes Wikidata less usable and consequently such items need to be deleted.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at June 26, 2016 01:51 PM

Wikimedia Foundation

Let European copyright catch up with reality

Photo by High Contrast, CC BY 3.0 DE.

Photo by High Contrast, CC BY 3.0 DE.

This week, the Wikimedia Foundation submitted comments to the European Commission, urging them to recommend a clear and broad freedom of panorama that would allow people to share images of buildings, sculptures, and monuments that are permanently located in a public space. We also voiced our concerns about the new proposed neighboring right for publishers, which—oddly enough—was included in the same consultation.

Freedom of panorama is essential for Wikipedia’s editors to document the world. Editors illustrate articles with images from Wikimedia Commons including many pictures of buildings and art in public spaces. Sharing images of public spaces is valuable both as a contemporary educational resource and as a primary source for future generations of historians and sociologists. These images provide access to knowledge for European citizens and people throughout the world. This includes students studying architecture or art, tourists preparing for their upcoming travel to foreign country, and citizens who want to experience their cultural heritage but lack the money to travel.

Sharing photographs of their environment and everyday activities via the internet has become a part of life and a cultural norm for European citizens. Any changes to copyright law should take their cues from this widely-accepted cultural norm rather than trying to oppose it. The notion that people cannot share images of buildings and art in the streets of their hometowns is appalling. And because copyright frameworks are not harmonized throughout the EU, citizens of some countries are even more restricted than others in their ability to share photographs.

Several European countries currently don’t have a broad copyright exception that allows people to share images of buildings and three-dimensional art in public spaces. A more consistent—and more permissive—exception would promote and foster the sort of international collaboration necessary for the success of projects like Wikipedia. The EU needs broad freedom of panorama, and it must allows for commercial use of images. The line between commercial and non-commercial use is increasingly hard to discern. Most of the websites and apps that function as public spaces on the internet are privately owned or funded through commercial advertisement. In such a context, the question of whether activity is “commercial” or not is at best complex and at worst impossible to answer. A strong panorama exception that allows for all uses, including commercial ones, would provide tremendous benefit to society without causing real harm to copyright holders. The rights that creators retain in countries that do not have the freedom of panorama largely go unused.

European citizens should be able to collaborate online under consistent copyright rules. Our comments also included a response to the proposal (unrelated to freedom of panorama) to create a new neighboring right for publishers that seeks to protect press content from being reproduced online by third parties. The proposed new right for publishers has been criticized by internet users and authors. The introduction of a new neighboring right for publishers has the potential to interfere with hyperlinking and harm the interconnectedness of the open internet. In its effort to modernize copyright, the European Union should not create unnecessary burdens for intermediary platforms that help users create and share knowledge. Doing so would actually harm both publishers as well as intermediaries. Publishers benefit from the services intermediaries provide, as they refer users to the publishers’ articles and other works. We believe that a secondary copyright for publishers would be a step backwards and undermine the Commission’s efforts to update copyright law for the sake of serving a digital single market.

We appreciate the Commission’s intentions to modernize copyright in Europe and encourage it to think of the needs of European citizens first. Wikimedians in Europe and around the world support freedom of panorama and have recently celebrated positive amendments to the law in France and Belgium. We trust that the Commission will notice this great policy work by our community. We’d encourage you to get involved in the discourse beyond the consultation, too, and show European policymakers that freedom of panorama is important for free knowledge and that European citizens care about it. We’d love to hear from you on our public policy list!

Jan Gerlach, Public Policy Manager
Wikimedia Foundation

by Jan Gerlach at June 26, 2016 08:56 AM

June 25, 2016

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata has a CC-0 license. This should not change II

Wikidata is becoming a repository where people may choose to share their data .. or not. When they do not want to share their data with Wikidata, it is their choice and that is fine.

The bottom line of copyrights for databases is that single facts cannot be copyrighted. It is only the whole of a database that can be under a copyright. When you look at the data of Wikidata and its structure, it is in many ways a reflection of all the Wikipedias. Increasingly its data finds its way into Wikidata and as a consequence data that may be found in a specialised database gets included in Wikidata.

Wikidata also has the habit of including identifiers to external sources on an item level. As a consequence people can see what other sources have to say about the same source. It also enables bots to make a comparison. When it writes a report about the differences, it is original research and consequently it does not violate any copyright. When based on such a report people make changes, it takes an effort to find what is correct and consequently it does not violate copyright either. When an agreement is in place, it is possible to add missing data to Wikidata. When done properly there will be an attribution of the original source and, when it is done by a bot, it may be a bot dedicated to that resource.

The objective of the Wikimedia Foundation is to share data. This is why it makes so much sense for Wikidata to have a CC-0 license. As the quality improves, as more and more comparisons are made and the differences are reconciled the data becomes more valuable. Given its scope, not much is out of scope and it is obvious that Wikidata needs to include data from other sources wholesale. It may get information in so many ways. With the CC-0 license it is obvious. Use our data, compare our data, improve our data and this will bring more power to us all.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at June 25, 2016 02:04 PM

June 24, 2016


The many shades of citizen science

Everyone is a citizen but not all have the same kind of grounding in the methods of science. Someone with a training in science should find it especially easy to separate pomp from substance. The phrase "citizen science" is a fairly recent one which has been pompously marketed without enough clarity.

In India, the label of a "scientist" is a status symbol, indeed many actually proceed on paths just to earn status. In many of the key professions (example: medicine, law) authority is gained mainly by guarded membership, initiation rituals, symbolism and hierarchies. At its roots, science differs in being egalitarian but the profession is at odds and its institutions are replete with tribal ritual and power hierarchies.

Long before the creation of the profession of science, "Victorian scientists" (who of course never called themselves that) pursued the quest for knowledge (i.e. science) and were for the most part quite good as citizens. In the field of taxonomy, specimens came to be the reliable carriers of information and they became a key aspect of most of zoology and botany. After all what could you write about or talk about if you did not have a name for the subjects under study. Specimens became currency. Victorian scientists collaborated in various ways that involved sharing information, sharing /exchanging specimens, debating ideas, and tapping a network of friends and relatives for more. Learned societies and their journals helped the participants meet and share knowledge across time and geographic boundaries.  Specimens, the key carriers of unquestionable information, were acquired for a price and there was a niche economy created with wealthy collectors, not-so-wealthy field collectors and various agencies bridging them. That economy also included the publishers of monographs, field guides and catalogues who grew in power along with organizations such as  museums and later universities. Along with political changes, there was also a move of power from private wealthy citizens to state-supported organizations. Power brings disparity and the Victorian brand of science had its share of issues but has there been progress in the way of doing science?

Looking at the natural world can be completely absorbing. The kinds of sights, sounds, textures, smells and maybe tastes can keep one completely occupied. The need to communicate our observations and reactions almost immediately makes one need to look for existing structure and framework and that is where organized knowledge a.k.a. science comes in. While the pursuit of science might seem be seen by individuals as being value neutral and objective, the settings of organized and professional science are decidedly not. There are political and social aspects to science and at least in India the tendency is to view them as undesirable and not be talked about so as to appear "professional".  

Being silent so as to appear diplomatic probably adds to the the problem. Not engaging in conversation or debate with "outsiders" (a.k.a. mere citizens) probably fuels the growing label of "arrogance" applied to scientists. Once the egalitarian ideal of science is tossed out of the window, you can be sure that "citizen science" moves from useful and harmless territory to a region of conflict and potential danger. Many years ago I saw a bit of this  tone in a publication boasting the virtues of Cornell's ebird and commented on it. Ebird was not particularly novel to me (especially as it was not the first either by idea or implementation, lots of us would have tinkered with such ideas, even I did with - BirdSpot - aimed to be federated and peer-to-peer - ideally something like torrent) but Cornell obviously is well-funded. I commented in 2007 that the wording used sounded like "scientists using citizens rather than looking upon citizens as scientists", the latter being in my view the nobler aim to achieve. Over time ebird has gained global coverage, but has remained "closed" not opening its code or discussions on software construction and by not engaging with its stakeholders. It has on the other hand upheld traditional political hierarchies and processes that ensure low-quality in parts of the world where political and cultural systems are particularly based on hierarchies of users. As someone who has watched and appreciated the growth of systems like Wikipedia it is hard not to see the philosophical differences - almost as stark as right-wing versus left-wing politics.

Do projects like ebird see the politics in "citizen-science"?
Arnstein's ladder is a nice guide to judge
the philosophy behind a project.
I write this while noting that criticisms of ebird as it currently works are slowly beginning to come out (despite glowing accounts in the past). There are comments on how it is reviewed by self-appointed police  (it seems that the problem seems to be not just in the appointment - indeed why could not have the software designers allowed anyone to question any record and put in methods to suggest alternative identifications - gather measures of confidence based on community queries and opinions on confidence measures), there are supposedly a class of user who manages something called "filters" (the problem here is not just with the idea of creating user classes but also with the idea of using manually-defined "filters", to an outsider like me who has some insight in software engineering poor-software construction is symptomatic of poor vision, guiding philosophy and probably issues in project governance ), there are issues with taxonomic changes (I heard someone complain about a user being asked to verify identification - because of a taxonomic split - that too a split that allows one to unambiguously relabel older records based on geography - these could have been automatically resolved but the lazy developers obviously prefer to get users to manage it), and there are now dangers to birds themselves. There are also issues and conflicts associated with licensing, intellectual property and so on. Now it is easy to fix all these problems piecemeal but that does not make the system better, fixing the underlying processes and philosophies is the big thing to aim for. So how do you go from a system designed for gathering data to one where you want the stakeholders to be enlightened. Well, a start could be made by first discussing in the open.

I guess many of us who have seen and discussed ebird privately could have just said I told you so, but it is not just a few nor is it new. Many of the problems were and are easily foreseeable. One merely needs to read the history of ornithology to see how conflicts worked out between the center and the periphery (conflicts between museum workers and collectors); the troubles of peer-review and open-ness; the conflicts between the rich and the poor (not just measured by wealth); or perhaps the haves and the have-nots. And then of course there are scientific issues - the conflicts between species concepts not to mention conservation issues - local versus global thinking. Conflicting aims may not be entirely solved but you cannot have an isolated software development team, a bunch of "scientists" and citizens at large expected merely to key in data and be gone. There is perhaps a lot to learn from other open-source projects and I think the lessons in the culture, politics of Wikipedia are especially interesting for citizen science projects like ebird. I am yet to hear of an organization where the head is forced to resign by the long tail that has traditionally been powerless in decision making and allowing for that is where a brighter future lies. Even better would be where the head and tail cannot be told apart.

by Shyamal L. (noreply@blogger.com) at June 24, 2016 01:55 PM

Weekly OSM

weeklyOSM 309



Unmapped places in OpenStreetMap 1 | © OpenStreetMap Contributors CC-BY-SA 2.0

About us

    This issue was not published in time because we do not have enough manpower in our English editing team. Anyone interested in helping with proof-reading please contact us.


  • Simon Poole has created a JOSM background layer based on Open Data from the Canton of Berne to help with mapping addresses.
  • Martin Koppenhoefer opened a long-lasting discussion on the quirks of the current MAPS.ME edition and the consequent influx of new data into OSM.
  • Fredy Rivera visited the “Cerro Machín”, a very dangerous (because of its size and its position) assessed stratovolcano in Columbia with the habitants of the area to capture necessary data in OSM which can be helpful in case of an outbreak. (automatic translation)
  • Martin Koppenhoefer asks if or how detailed 3D information should be in the OpenStreetMap database as he has serious problems giving complex 3D buildings regular tags.
  • Pascal Neis reran his evaluation of “unmapped places” in OpenStreetMap on a current planet dump.
  • The talk mailing list discussed about the tagging proposal process in relation to water, classification issues and tag usage.
  • Amauri discusses how the needs of trekkers and bikers are not met on the Mapnik map at wide zoom levels. He begins discussion on a tagging based solution.
  • Daniel Koć discussed on the tagging list schemes for a laundromats and parcel boxes.
  • Despite the withdrawal of the proposal for highway=social_path, the discussion continues on the Tagging mailing list. Simon Poole considers it to be one of the most bewildering threads he has ever seen on tagging.
  • Want to help mapping for the Rio Olympics? There is a new task on OSM Columbia.


OpenStreetMap Foundation

  • Brogo contrasts (German) (automatic translation) income, donations and budgets of OSM based projects to show how little funding the core OpenStreetMap-Foundation receives.


  • User Ikiya reported on the Shirakawa (Fukushima, Japan) mapping party (Japanese) (automatic translation) and the progress achieved as a result.

Humanitarian OSM

  • Presenters for 30 minute sessions or 5 minute lightning talks are sought for the HOT Summit on September 22 in Brussels. The theme of the Summit is “OpenStreetMap, the Global HOT Community, and Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.” Submission deadline is June 30.
  • A new project for disaster prevention is seeking funding, to create a mobile unit for the communal generation of free geographical information. Fredy Rivera is seeking 21,500,000 Columbian Pesos (about $7500 USD) with a pilot project of the Cerro Machin Volcano. More details.


  • The members of the Latin-American Telegram group show their locations on a map.
  • Gerald Ainomugisha reports in the Australian anthill about Jack Gonzales, the founder of the startup MapJam. Mapjam is priced below Google Maps for application developers wanting vector maps and uses OSM as a data source.
  • The Speichenkarte (Deutsch) (automatic translation) which provides OSM Garmin maps for European cyclists has received a lot of improvements: contours, improved routing, Cobblestone, sac_scale, etc in its June 8 release.
  • Mapquest Open will be turned off on July 11th. It has to been replaced at osm.org where it has been used as a selectable layer up to now. Richard Fairhurst mentions some alternatives on Twitter.
  • User Escada is writing about his use cases of the online thematic map service MapContrib. A summary of new features of MapContrib version 0.8.0 has also been posted by developer Frederic.


  • The new version (1.3) of GPX viewer and recorder for Windows 10 now integrates OSM in three versions, traffic information and new languages.
  • The province of Nord Brabant in the Netherlands is using OpenStreetmap for the base map in its “Natuurpoorten” website (Dutch) (automatic translation). The site gives information about cycling and hiking activities in the province.

Open Data

  • Stefan Kaufmann is building a machine readable map of German public transport authorities on Github and tweets (German) seeking pull requests with GTFS data etc.
  • OpenEventDatabase has published an open API for collecting events with geographic and temporal data (what, where, when).


  • The Belgian Parliament has legislated the introduction of freedom of panorama. (Dutch) (automatic translation) The law will come into force ten days after the publication in the Official Gazette. There are also discussions in English on the talk-be the mailing list.


  • Marble 1.14.1 is now also available for Windows with almost as many features as the Linux version.
  • Martin Over publishes a beta version of his OpenDEM Tracker Android App to collect data for an Open Digital Elevation Model. Test it!
  • William Temperley reports about his progress to import the OSM planet in Hadoop and seeks input from others using “big data” tools on OSM.


  • Algolia Places is a new JavaScript library allowing address autocompletion on a html <input> field using OpenStreetMap.
  • Some Redittors had a discussion about browser bookmarklets to jump from a Google map to the same location on OpenStreetMap.
  • Michael Zangl, who’s in the progress of cleaning up the JOSM core, wrote a summary about the progress of the first half of his GSoC project.
  • Anandthakker experimented with convolutional neural networks to extract details in satellite images using OSM as training data and shows the results. (Via @anandthakker)


Software Version Release Date Comment
Mapillary Android 2.24 2016-06-15 Some extensions and some bug fixes
Cruiser for Android 1.4.7 2016-06-16 Some updates
Cruiser for Desktop 1.2.6 2016-06-16
OSRM Backend 5.2.3 2016-06-17 Bugfix
Komoot iOS 8.1 2016-06-18
Komoot Android var 2016-06-19

provided by the OSM Software Watchlist

Did you know …

  • … the Floating Piers from the artist Christo in OSM at Monte Isola. If you want to visit the installation, hurry up because after the 3rd of July the work will be dismantled and disappear from OSM as well. If you can’t travel, there is a video and a webcam.
  • The German artist and mapper, Max Newport has an installation exploring government censorship on South Korean maps, in particular golf courses.

Other “geo” things

  • La Nacion from Argentina reported (Spanish) (automatic translation) that the now newly opened huge Panama Canal expansion (OSM1) and (OSM2) comes at the worst possible time for the shipping trade.
  • Krithika Vavagur reports in the Huffington Post on the mapping of the slums of Mathare, Nairobi. Google Maps has blank areas but OSM has detail which acts as an enabler for services to be delivered to residents. The Kenyan social enterprise SpatialCollective is mapping slum areas with the help of local young people.
  • What happens when right-hand drive needs to change to left-hand traffic and vice-versa? This 😉 (And yes it’s mapped on OSM)
  • Heise online (German) (automatic translation) reports on the measure of success that retailers are having with Facebook’s “local awareness” advertising. Users with smartphones are displayed advertisements of nearby businesses with sources claiming up to 12% of users visited the nearby business within a week of seeing the advertisement.
  • AccessNow are trying to crowd-source mapping of handicapped accessible bars, restaurants and shops but the functionality seems not as good as Wheelmap.org. For displaying the POIs they use Google Maps.

Upcoming Events

Dónde Qué Fecha País
Nottingham Nottingham 21/06/2016 united kingdom
Barcelona Ajuda a millorar la cartografia de l’Equador – 2a edició 22/06/2016 spain
Rapperswil ”’Swiss PG Day 2016”’ 24/06/2016 switzerland
Sliač Mapping párty Sliač 25/06/2016 slovakia
Colorado Saturday Mapternoon, Evergreen 25/06/2016 united states
California Import Party, Los Angeles 25/06/2016 united states
Rio de Janeiro Rio Olympics Mapping 25/06/2016-26/06/2016 brazil
Kyoto 京都世界遺産マッピングパーティ:最終回 天龍寺 25/06/2016 japan
Montpellier Rencontre mensuelle 29/06/2016 france
Antwerp Missing Maps @ IPIS 29/06/2016 belgium
Valencia Taller HOT UPV 2016 29/06/2016 spain
Bengaluru OSM Hack Weekend in Mapbox 02/07/2016-03/07/2016 india
Shizuoka OpenStreetMapワークショップ in 日本平 (Nihondaira) 02/07/2016 japan
Salzburg OSM-Sonntag 03/07/2016 austria
Salzburg ”’FOSSGIS 2016”’ 04/07/2016-06/07/2016 austria
Salzburg AGIT 2016 06/07/2016-08/07/2016 austria

Note: If you like to see your event here, please put it into the calendar. Only data which is there, will appear in weeklyOSM. Please check your event in our public calendar preview and correct it, where appropiate..

This weekly was produced by Hakuch, Laura Barroso, Nakaner, Peda, Rogehm, Softgrow, derFred, escada, jinalfoflia, malenki, mgehling, wambacher.

by weeklyteam at June 24, 2016 01:37 PM

Content Translation Update

June 24 CX Update: Cleaner wiki syntax, better AbuseFilter support, and more improvements

Welcome back to CX updates!

For some time the development team took a break from developing Content Translation frontend features to focus on some background fixes and on other projects that were on the back-burner. Now we are back to making major updates to our article translation platform.

The areas on which we focus at the moment and for the next couple of months are making the wiki syntax of the published pages cleaner and easier to maintain after the first version of the translated article is created, and making template and reference adaptation more stable. There is much to do there, but here are some changes were already deployed:

If there was no corresponding template in the target language, but there was a template with the same name, it was used for adapting the template to the translation. This was wrong and sometimes completely unrelated templates were adapted, creating confusing content. This will not happen any longer, and only templates that are directly linked using an interlanguage link in Wikidata will be used for adaptation. (bug report)

Some pages were published with HTML tags with ContentTranslation-specific attributes such as “data-cx-draft”, “cx-segment”, “cx-link” and others. They are unnecessary in articles, and had to be removed manually by editors. This was fixed and is not supposed to happen any longer. (bug report)

Adapting references of some kinds was generating errors, and it made it impossible to publish a translation. This was fixed. (code change)

Some other things we worked on recently:

  • All messages generated by AbuseFilter were shown while writing a translation. This included some messages that don’t affect translation publishing, and this was very confusing. Now only warnings that affect page publishing are shown. (bug report)
  • Some users were seeing too many gray interlanguage links that was too long to be useful. Its length is now limited to three items. (bug report)
  • When support for a new machine translation engine is added to a language pair, it will be shown as a tip in the Automatic translation card in the sidebar. (task description)
  • Translation from namespaces other than the article namespace was sometimes failing when the namespace name was translated in the other wiki. In particular, this affected the Medical Translations Projects. This is now fixed. (bug report)
  • A pop-up window that invites users to create an article in Content Translation was shown when creating user pages using the Visual Editor. Content Translation is not intended for user pages, so we no longer show this pop-up on user pages. (bug report)
  • Some language codes, most notably Norwegian, were handled incorrectly because of inconsistencies in the actual language codes and which domain code the Wikipedia uses. We now normalize language codes. (bug report)
  • Using the “Clear paragraph” button could generate errors that prevent publishing. This was fixed. (bug report)
  • Paragraph-level parallel corpora are now fully accessible through an API. We are also preparing to make dumps of parallel corpora available for download. This should be useful to all machine translation developers and researchers.
  • The gray interlanguage links that suggest translation to a different language were not shown in Internet Explorer. This was fixed. (bug report)

by aharoni at June 24, 2016 12:49 PM

Jeroen De Dauw

Maps 3.7 for MediaWiki released

I’m happy to announce the immediate availability of Maps 3.7. This feature release brings some minor enhancements.

  • Added rotate control support for Google Maps (by Peter Grassberger)
  • Changed coordinate display on OpenLayers maps from long-lat to lat-long (by Peter Grassberger)
  • Upgraded Google marker cluster library to its latest version (2.1.2) (by Peter Grassberger)
  • Upgraded Leaflet library to its latest version (0.7.7) (by Peter Grassberger)
  • Added missing system messages (by Karsten Hoffmeyer)
  • Internal code enhancements (by Peter Grassberger)
  • Removed broken custom map layer functionality. You no longer need to run update.php for full installation.
  • Translation updates by TranslateWiki


Since this is a feature release, there are no breaking changes, and you can simply run composer update, or replace the old files with the new ones.

Beware that as of Maps 3.6, you need MediaWiki 1.23 or later, and PHP 5.5 or later. If you choose to remain with an older version of PHP or MediaWiki, use Maps 3.5. Maps works with the latest stable versions of both MediaWiki and PHP, which are the versions I recommend you use.

by Jeroen at June 24, 2016 10:29 AM

Wikimedia Foundation

Foundation Board appoints Katherine Maher as Executive Director

Photo by Victor Grigas, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Photo by Victor Grigas, CC BY-SA 3.0.

It is our great pleasure to share that during the Board meeting at Wikimania 2016 in Esino Lario, we unanimously voted to appoint Katherine Maher as Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. This is effective as of our resolution dated Thursday, 23 June.

Katherine served as interim Executive Director for the past three months, during which time she consistently and repeatedly demonstrated the kind of leadership our organization needs. She is deeply committed to our movement’s values, and brings expertise in civic technology and international development that will be an asset to the Wikimedia Foundation and the movement.

We came to this conclusion after an intensive discovery process led by the ED search committee. Our decision was also informed by direct feedback from staff and community, and our own experience working closely with Katherine.

In March, we assembled an Executive Director search committee consisting of four Board members1 who were chosen to represent different perspectives and capacities.2 Additionally, the Board asked the Foundation’s Chief Advancement Officer Lisa Gruwell to represent the executive team, and Foundation staff member Katie Horn was selected by her peers as someone who could represent staff perspectives. The committee was charged with keeping the process on track and on time, engaging important stakeholders, and facilitating transparency in communications. Their first tasks were to identify a search firm, and define the position description. You can review the committee’s updates on Meta.

The committee recruited Viewcrest Advisors,3 to identify our leadership needs and design a hiring process. Kathleen Yazbak of Viewcrest worked with the committee to conduct interviews with every Foundation department, the executive, the Board, and nearly 20 additional one-on-one interviews with staff. Kathleen attended the Wikimedia Conference in Berlin, collecting feedback from community members and affiliates. The committee launched a community survey in June, receiving more than 1,600 responses about the qualities needed in the next ED; they also asked for feedback on Meta. Taking all of this into account, the transition team developed a profile and requirements for the next Executive Director that reflect our values and our communities.

Throughout this process, the Board and the transition team received very clear and often unsolicited feedback from both staff and community members that Katherine embodies the values of our movement and the traits needed in our next ED. This feedback was only reinforced by the latest Foundation engagement survey results, which showed a strong shift toward renewed trust in leadership. After taking this all into account, and considering what the organization needs at this moment of transition, we moved to appoint Katherine now.

In just three months as interim ED, Katherine worked with the organization and community to make huge strides in management, execution, and transparency. She brought much-needed clarity to our strategic direction, and mobilized the organization to clearly communicate that direction through this year’s annual plan.

After her appointment, she worked with the leadership team to swiftly identify the organization’s priorities during the transition period and execute against them, setting ambitious but reachable targets. Under Katherine’s leadership, the Foundation submitted its annual plan to the Funds Dissemination Committee, leaving ample time for community feedback and discussion.

Katherine is an excellent fit for our movement. She is longtime advocate for global open communities, culture, and technology. She was the Foundation’s Chief Communications Officer from April 2014 until she was appointed interim ED in March. Throughout her career she has focused on freedom of expression, access to information, and digital rights; supporting the efforts of people around the world to deepen participation, advance transparency, and strengthen their communities through her work with UNICEF, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, and the World Bank.  If you don’t already know Katherine, you can learn more about her on Meta.

“Katherine exhibits all of the most important attributes we found will be required for this role,” said Alice Wiegand, board member and Chair of the search committee. “Her inclusive, collaborative leadership style connects people and gives space for many perspectives at the table. She has a track-record of transparent and effective communications, and is passionately committed to our values and community. We are thrilled to welcome her as Executive Director.”

“Our mission is vast, diverse, and inclusive, where everyone can find a home and purpose,” Katherine said. “We grow in strength with each contribution, every volunteer. We stand for freedom, transparency, independence, and openness. We are driven by an insatiable curiosity for the world around us, and a fundamental belief in the power of collaboration and cooperation. I want to thank the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, the staff of the Foundation, and the Wikimedia community. I’m honored by this opportunity to serve this remarkable organization and movement, and I look forward to building our future together.”

With this appointment, we feel strongly that the Foundation has the leadership and clarity to move forward. We wish Katherine the very best in this role, and the Board looks forward to continuing to work with her.

We would also like to thank the many community members and Foundation staff who actively shared thoughtful, highly valuable feedback. Without that, we would not have been able to come to this decision.

Please join us in congratulating Katherine!


  1. Alice Wiegand (Committee Chair), Dariusz Jemielniak, Guy Kawasaki, Kelly Battles.
  2. For example, community and governance experience, appointed and community-selected seats, and US and non-US perspectives.
  3. The committee reviewed seven different firms and unanimously picked Viewcrest.

Patricio Lorente, 
Former Wikimedia Foundation Board Chair
Christophe Henner, Wikimedia Foundation Board Chair

by Patricio Lorente and Christophe Henner at June 24, 2016 09:29 AM

Jimmy Wales names Emily Temple-Wood and Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight as Wikipedians of the Year

Photo by Zachary McCune, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Emily Temple-Wood. Photo by Zachary McCune, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Photo by Zachary McCune, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight. Photo by Zachary McCune, CC BY-SA 4.0.


Jimmy Wales has named Emily Temple-Wood and Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight as his co-Wikipedians of the Year. Temple-Wood and Stephenson-Goodknight were honored thanks to their work with harassment on Wikipedia, along with their collective efforts to expand coverage of notable women on the site.

Temple-Wood, who edits as Keilana (“Kay-lah-nah”), has been an editor on the English Wikipedia since 2007. Her work and direct impact on the site is vast: she has created nearly 400 articles and improved hundreds of others, including on Barbara McClintock—1983 winner of the Nobel Prize.

A first-year medical student, Temple-Wood focuses on female scientists and LBGT+ and women’s health, and runs frequent edit-a-thons near her hometown of Chicago when not editing or working as the Wikipedian in Residence at the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

According to Stephenson-Goodknight, Temple-Wood is the “poster child of the efforts to address Wikipedia’s scientific gender gap,” and she has an ongoing effort to match every harassing email she receives with a new biography on a women scientist.

For her part, Stephenson-Goodknight, who edits as Rosiestep, has significantly contributed to over 3,000 articles, including 1,300 “did you knows” on Wikipedia’s main page. In addition to her content work, she was a core founding member of the Teahouse, a page that helps acclimate new Wikipedians into the site’s culture and basic practices. Stephenson-Goodknight has inspired women editors through co-founding the WikiWomen’s User Group and Wikipedia:WikiProject Women, along with coordinating and co-founding the Women in Red campaign.

Stephenson-Goodknight has said of her Wikipedia editing that:

“Some of you know that I am a cultural anthropologist at heart. I wanted to follow in the footsteps of Margaret Mead and study cultural anthropology at Barnard (my mom’s alma mater), like Margaret did. I wanted to travel to Papua New Guinea and do research on its people, like Margaret did. But my dad said ‘no’ to majoring in anthropology — he wanted something more practical for my university studies. So now, years later, I get to live the life of an armchair cultural anthropologist, writing articles about Goaribari Island and its cannibals. To all the girls out there with impractical dreams, this article is dedicated to you.”

Also named by Wales were two honorable mentions: User:Mardetanha and Vassia Antanasova, from the Farsi- and Bulgarian-language communities, respectively. Mardetanha started the Farsi-language branch of the Wikipedia Library, which helps connect Wikipedia editors to the sources they need to improve the site. Despite several obstacles, he found three publishers to donate research access to Wikipedians; he has committed huge chunks of time and energy into making resources and communications channels.

Antanasova created the #100wikidays competition, which has inspired editors new and old to create at least one Wikipedia article each day for one hundred days. 120 editors from 42 projects (and nearly as many languages) have already completed the challenge.

Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, gave out the award during Wikimania, the annual conference that celebrates the Wikimedia movement.

Wales’ Wikipedian of the Year has been given out every year since 2011. Past honorees have included Rémi Mathis, who was pressured by the French government into deleting an article on a military radio station, and Ihor Kostenko, a Wikipedian who perished in the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine.

Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate
Wikimedia Foundation

Photo by Zachary McCune, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Photo by Zachary McCune, CC BY-SA 4.0.

by Ed Erhart at June 24, 2016 08:57 AM

June 23, 2016

All Things Linguistic

Day 3 of Wikis and Wikipedia for Endangered Languages at...

Day 3 of Wikis and Wikipedia for Endangered Languages at CoLang is about using wikis for your own projects. 

These are a few of our slides - you can view the full set of slides (where all the blue underlined links work) at bit.ly/lingwiki-colang3.

June 23, 2016 10:30 PM

Pete Forsyth, Wiki Strategies

We create Wikipedia editors, not Wikipedia articles

Clients who contact Wiki Strategies for help with Wikipedia have often had one of two experiences: a) they tried to write or edit an article about their organization, and the edits were reverted; or b) they hired a Wikipedia editing firm to write an article, and the edits the consultant made to that article were reverted. They ended up with little to show for their work, and maybe even in a worse position than when they started — especially if you consider the negative and indelible first impression with Wikipedia editors.

Our process involves training someone on the client’s staff to work directly on Wikipedia, rooted in a strong understanding of Wikipedia’s rules and editing norms. When these prospective clients hear that we won’t work directly on Wikipedia for them, they sometimes balk. “That sounds like  a lot of work for someone on our staff,” one potential client told us. “Can’t you just do it for us?”

We could, but guess what? Our work would likely be reverted too. Even if we submitted better content to Wikipedia, by acting as a mercenary on our clients’ behalf, we would not be helping them to put their best foot forward. On another level, though, doing the work directly for a client runs counter to our company’s mission. Our objective is to train more individuals in the ways of Wikipedia editing so that the community of knowledgeable, effective, and courteous Wikipedia editors can grow.

We recently completed a successful project with a large corporate client that wanted to revise their company’s article so that it was more in line with the “ideal” Wikipedia article. The staff person we worked with understood almost immediately why we developed our process the way we did. After our initial training, and after clearly disclosing his connection to the company, he began making good edits, supported with solid references, to the company’s article. He received praise and support for his efforts from a volunteer editor.

The company editor was soon able to suggest revisions, properly format additions to the article, and discuss his work with other editors on the article’s talk page. He never pushed for anything that smacked of advertising or marketing, and he made sure his revisions were not only neutral in tone and well supported by citations, but were also organized for the benefit of the reader.

At the end of the process, our happy camper felt empowered. Not only did his employer appreciate his skillful work, but he added a new skill set to his resume. He was able to educate others in the company about Wikipedia editing, but he was also clear that,  going forward, his colleagues should run any changes to Wikipedia by him, rather than forging ahead themselves, without the training he had undergone.

Because we trained this editor instead of just editing the article ourselves, he now understands that a person who works for a company can, if he is mindful of the site’s policies and standards for citation and neutrality, work effectively on Wikipedia despite the conflict of interest created by being paid to do the work. He has even made edits on other pages completely unrelated to his job, and said he found that to be enjoyable and satisfying as well.

Certainly not all of the people we train embrace the process as this editor did. But each of our clients learns something, and emerges from our process with an increased respect for Wikipedia’s policies and traditions. And many do see the value in  adding “Wikipedia editor” to their resumes. While we at Wiki Strategies feel good about helping our clients successfully edit Wikipedia articles, we take special pride in training new Wikipedia editors to make positive contributions to the world’s most popular encyclopedia.

by Dan Cook at June 23, 2016 03:39 PM

Wikimedia Foundation

Community celebrates birthday of Odia Wikipedia and Odia Wiktionary

Photo by 2sarojkumar, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Photo by 2sarojkumar, CC BY-SA 4.0.

With the Odia Wikipedia and its sister projects, a handful of dedicated volunteer editors are taking the Odia language to the world outside. The editor community that has recently celebrated Odia Wikipedia’s 14th anniversary in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India is collectively growing two more projects; Odia Wikisource, an online library that already has over 300 volumes of text, and Odia Wiktionary, an online dictionary that has over 100,000 entries. With these live projects and more projects in the pipeline, this community is bringing a digital revolution in Odia by sharing valuable content online and creating many language tools inside and outside the Wikimedia projects.

The Odia Wikipedia community had gathered in the city for a two-day long event to celebrate the anniversary. These two days were spent in intensive capacity building activities as the community is quite dispersed in many places in Odisha and outside, and are all volunteers. Odia Wikipedia, the flagship project was started as one of the first four Indian language Wikipedias along with Assamese, Malayalam and Punjabi Wikipedia in 2002, a year after the English Wikipedia was made live. The project was quite dormant for more than nine years and got revived by a group of editors in Bangalore during 2011. Then the project became much of a household name when more Odia speakers living in Odisha and outside joined contributed in writing and editing articles of several different subject areas. Odia Wikipedia is part of the 292 language Wikipedia family and a larger global family of hundreds of other free knowledge projects that are collectively known as Wikimedia projects. “Odia Wikipedia is officially available online at https://or.wikipedia.org and is free for anyone to create articles on notable topics, and edit and enhance those articles”, says Mrutyunjaya Kar, one of the administrators of the project. Aliva Sahoo, one of the active editors, shares, “being a student of Odia-language I was seeking information on musical instruments and could not find much. So I started translating from English and now it is one of the longest articles on Odia Wikipedia.” As part of the WikipediansSpeak project, we have tried to capture the voice of the community of Aliva and a few other contributors.

Subhashish Panigrahi (SP): How did the two-day long capacity building activity go? What was the outcome of the different sessions?
Jnanaranjan Sahu: This event was useful in bringing most of the active contributors under one roof as we are working online. This event helped us learn from each other and impart knowledge so that everyone can go back and use them.

SP: What are the problems you faced before coming to this event and how these sessions are going to help you in future?
Abha Pradhan: I was not sure of the copyright part while uploading images on Wikimedia Commons. A lot many pictures got deleted because of my own ignorance. Similarly, I got to learn a lot about linking multiple language entries using Wikidata. These two are my biggest lessons of all that I learned from the sessions taken by other experienced Wikipedians.

SP: What did you learn from these sessions?
Rajalaxmi Mishra: I got to learn about basics of Wikipedia editing, rules and guidelines, several technical aspects like using templates, uploading and adding images to articles and dealing with copyright issues on Wikipedia.

Subas Chandra Rout, one of the long time active Wikimedians has been the single most contributor to grow the medical science-related articles on Odia Wikipedia. Subas is the only Wikimedian who has translated all the medical science-related article from Wikimedia Medical Project run by the Wiki Project Med.

“We have several subject areas covered on Odia Wikipedia – from the elaborate rituals of Jagannatha temple to medical science. Interestingly, almost all the articles on medical science are written by a retired assistant professor Dr. Subas Chandra Rout and needless to say those articles are of really high quality”, explains Pritiranjan Tripathy, an editor who is based in the Indian city of Kolkata.

It was like a “Catch me if you can” challenge when I started to translate medical topics into the Odia language as part of Wiki Project Med on March 5, 2015 with my first article on African trypanosomiasis. There were more than 150 articles in the project. Gradually the number of topics in the project increased and so did my translated article on Odia Wikipedia. After completion of the 345th article (Marfan syndrome, on May 6, 2016), I looked at the Wikipedia project dashboard, and I saw that I was the only person to complete all the articles in the project among all the world’s contributors.

“The next big goal is to enhance the quality of the existing articles by adding more images, references from external sources and expanding small articles by adding more information”, said long-time contributor Shitikantha Dash. Shitikantha, who is also an administrator of Odia Wiktionary, says, “it is important that more people contribute to the Odia Wiktionary so that words of all times and all genres, especially the technical and loan words make their way to this free multilingual dictionary. A 10 day-long campaign is going to be organised to celebrate the 11th anniversary of Odia Wiktionary so that every Wikipedia editor adds at least one word. And we are also using these words to create a spell check that will be freely available for anyone to use”.

The contributor community that is collaboratively building these projects has been also creating many tools and technical resources like editor manuals. The script encoding converters that the community has built is helping a lot of online users to be able to share their writings on blogs and social media. “Before the onset of these converters, a vast majority of the people working in press and media were stuck with outdated encoding systems like Shreelipi and Akruti. Mrutyunjaya Kar, a long time contributor and administrator of two projects; Odia Wikipedia and Wikisource explains, “Odia Wikipedia is available at https://or.wikipedia.org and we encourage more people to join us in this movement.”

“This is a way to bring digital freedom for everyone and share the world’s knowledge in our own language.”

Chinmayee Mishra, Odia Wikimedian
Subhashish Panigrahi, Odia Wikimedian, and Programme Officer, Access to Knowledge (CIS-A2K), Centre for Internet and Society
Sailesh Patnaik, Odia Wikimedian, and Programme Associate, Access to Knowledge (CIS-A2K), Centre for Internet and Society

by Chinmayee Mishra, Subhashish Panigrahi and Sailesh Patnaik at June 23, 2016 11:32 AM

Wikimedia India

How a Project united the Indian community

India is well known throughout the world for its diversity, and even in the Wiki world, this diversity exists. In India, there are a total of 22 Indian language projects including the latest Konkani Wikipedia which came out of the Incubator just last year. One of the major activities which had taken place at the national level was the Wiki Conference India, way back in 2011  . That Conference indeed gave a major boost to the Indian Wikimedia Community as a whole. But since then, there has been no major Community led event which has had a huge impact.

When you look at the usual “Wiki Loves” type of photo uploading competitions which are organized in India, there have been a few happening every year like Wiki Loves Monuments – 2012 ,2013 & a  very humble Wiki Loves Earth in 2014. All these very limited to a few organizers & volunteers. There was obviously a good Social media outreach for all these competitions which saw a very good turnout amongst the Public. But, never did the Indian Wikimedian Community ever feel that they were part of this.

In February 2015, when we at Wikimedia India decided to launch a “Wiki Loves” type event, we had already zeroed in on the topic of food. India due to its diversity also has a similar diversity in its cuisine. It was also observed that there was a dearth of good images of Indian food & drinks which was the original plan behind running our first Pan-India Photo uploading competition called “Wiki Loves Food”.

We were very clear that this should be a community run competition. This was in fact the situation where there was no major collaboration of volunteers on a National level . As always, next came the difficult task of pitching the idea to the community on the India mailing list. As usual, there were a lot of initial apprehensions and doubts, not forgetting the friction in community engagement, which was quite expected anyways. Most of the volunteers who signed up were just curious about the competition but felt that this project had potential. The real good part of this was that the volunteers were not from one region but were spread across the different language communities and  regions. Without any doubt, we can say that Wiki Loves Food was the first major program from Wikimedia India after a long time that actively involved  the pan-Indian community.

The  first ever edition of Wiki Loves Food started on 15th May 2015 and ended by June 15th. The competition saw 15+ volunteers work day and night to make this possible. By the time the competition was over and results were announced, the team of volunteers were elated that they pulled off such an campaign with 10,000+ images uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. As mentioned by Bodhisattwa Mandal of Bengali Community – “The event helped to bring together active members from all Indic communities discuss, plan and successfully execute the event in a coordinated way. It also deepened the relationship with Wikimedia India and the Indian language communities, which was a great achievement according to us”

The Impact of having such a campaign has had an enormous impact of how the Indian Wikimedian community has worked. This is one of the stepping stones for the planning for the WikiConference India 2016 . Most of the volunteers who were active for Wiki Loves Food are now involved in the planning of the conference.

This level of inter community partnerships amongst the different  Indic language Wikimedia projects is a new chapter in the growth of the Indian Wikimedian Community, I  look forward to the continuation of similar acts. Who says diversity can be an obstacle,  in this case diversity was a huge asset,  which we as Indic Wikimedians celebrate and  will always be amongst our strengths.

Written by Yohann Thomas

Posted by JimCarter

by Jim Carter at June 23, 2016 06:16 AM

June 22, 2016

All Things Linguistic

Day 2 of Wikis and Wikipedia for Endangered Languages at...

Day 2 of Wikis and Wikipedia for Endangered Languages at CoLang

These are a few of our slides - you can view the full set of slides (where all the blue underlined links work) at bit.ly/lingwiki-colang2.

June 22, 2016 10:30 PM

Wiki Education Foundation

Making History, Empowering Students with Wikipedia

Dr. Elizabeth De Wolfe is a Professor of History at the University of New England. Her “Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies” course assigned students to expand women-focused content on Wikipedia.

As historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich has famously stated, “Well-behaved women rarely make history.” And in addition to history, women — the well-behaved and otherwise — are often absent in contemporary society. We see this from an under-representation in Congress, to a dearth of statues of women in Chicago public parks, to phone emojis that reduce women to stereotypes, to a lack of women editors and women-centered content on Wikipedia. In my spring 2016 undergraduate course, Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies, the primary goal was for students to gain an understanding of the origins and ramifications of gendered invisibility, and to seek ways to redress the invisibility of women’s lives and accomplishments.

Reading about the masculine skew of Wikipedia really struck a chord with me. My students, I realized, could connect classroom knowledge to real-world action by writing women-centered Wikipedia entries. What I had not realized was the tremendous personal impact this project would have on my students’ sense of self. In addition to discovering for themselves the gendered nature of information, students came to understand — and use — their voices to enact change. This project empowered.

This assignment grew out of my participation in the University of New England’s Digital Humanities Faculty Seminar, part of a three-year program funded by the Davis Education Foundation. In spring 2015, I was one of four faculty members to participate in the second of three small group seminars introducing liberal arts faculty to digital literacy. We read articles on the origins, goals, and diversity of digital humanities, and experimented with various digital technologies. As we read about, debated, and discussed digital humanities and our own classroom pedagogies, each faculty participant developed a digital humanities project to implement in the 2015-2016 academic year.

The Wiki Education Foundation’s case studies, syllabi templates, and editing guides provided invaluable resources for crafting this project. Online tutorials and handouts introduced the students to the philosophy of, and guidelines for, Wikipedia entries. Students moved through this material independently, then transitioned to the how-to of writing, editing, and posting a Wikipedia entry. Classroom workshop days provided open time for students to identify their entry topics (assisted by UNE’s reference and special collections librarians). In a second workshop, students drafted and edited entries; and in ten-minute Wikipedia check-in moments that were carved out of the end of class sessions, students assisted each other with technology-related problem solving.

Make no mistake: researching and writing a Wikipedia entry was as rigorous as the typical term paper. Students wrote formal topic proposals and submitted bibliographies. They conducted research with scholarly and authoritative sources. Students wrote multiple drafts and received feedback from peers and their professor. While exploring Wikipedia and conducting their research, students recognized key course concepts such as male privilege and gendered language.

Student experiences

Students were surprised to find that on Wikipedia, a husband’s accomplishments often overshadowed his wife’s equally laudatory achievements. Student Emma Steinbach argued of the sexologist Bonnie Bullough: “Her work was as important as her husband’s, and it was time for her to no longer be mentioned only in reference to him, but in her own honor.”

By E.S. Dunshee, photographer, 1330 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_jcgUBwtbX7A/Se5muz0KNTI/AAAAAAAAADY/pPMDWpQuN1M/s1600/jdpiceportrait.jpgAlternate versions:http://heritageinmaine.blogspot.com/2009/04/josephine-peary-in-centennial.htmlhttp://www.pearyeagleisland.org/documents/JosephinebiobyEdStafford.htmhttp://www.joanne16.com/2011/04/wednesday-april-6-2010-pole-at-last.htmlhttp://www.bowdoin.edu/calendar/event.jsp?bid=451376http://timetoeatthedogs.com/2008/09/17/women-explorers/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23445073
Josephine Peary portrait by E.S. Dunshee, photographer, 1330 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA – Public Domain.

Similarly, Abby Lachance, editing the entry on author and Arctic adventurer Josephine Diebitsch Peary, noted: “One thing I noticed about the original article was that a vast majority of the small amount of information pertained to her husband.”

Writing a new entry on attorney Gail Laughlin, Megan Galley concluded: “A woman as accomplished as she was should have been on Wikipedia a long time ago.”

Several students, interested in careers in the health professions, undertook entries on early women physicians. They discovered a paucity of information.

“I had never really thought about how the medical profession historically has been fundamentally hierarchical, with females holding separate and inferior positions to men,” said Kathryn Cawley. “It only makes me want to change that in the future.”

Psychology students, looking into the history of their own future careers, saw a similar lack of attention to women. Jacqueline Parent stated: “We helped bring one woman’s life and contributions into the light, which is part of a bigger project to bring many women to the same level of visibility as men. That is invaluable.”

Students saw how their efforts could grow beyond the classroom.

“I am not going to be upset if another Wikipedia user decides to edit my article,” said Jaymi Foster. “The way I see it, if the edits … provide more information, more sources, or more insight into Sara [Roosevelt’s] life, then it is a beneficial thing.”

The project pushed sometimes hesitant students toward new skills. Meghan Gould wrote: “Prior to this assignment, I envied the people who knew how to edit and publish Wikipedia articles. [Now] I am . . . proud of myself for learning how to use Wikipedia.”

Students were proud that they had contributed meaningfully to the corpus of knowledge about women’s history, and that their efforts had the potential to affect others.

“I feel a great sense of success in knowing that I am now a contributing editor to one of the largest sources of information online,” said Kathryn Cawley. “Maybe next I will be a published writer with my own book on women’s history in medicine. Or better yet, perhaps I will enter the medical profession and make history that future students will write Wikipedia pages about.”

While I have, on occasion, seen students transformed by individual research projects, the collective sense of power and passion in this classroom was like nothing I’ve experienced before. Students came to see the world and themselves in a new way, were moved to share their knowledge publicly, grew to be confident in themselves, and felt empowered to use their voices to raise awareness and affect change.

Briana Goud, who created a new entry on the author and philanthropist Margaret Jane Mussey Sweat, pinpoints the power of this class project:

“As a woman, I felt that I connected with my subject, and wanted to express her life and accomplishments in a page that could be viewed around the world . . . this is strictly one woman to another. We, as women researchers, are connecting our academic knowledge and our freedom of speech to shine light on the importance of historical women.”

The Wiki Education Foundation offers support to higher education courses where students are assigned to write Wikipedia articles. If you’re interested in tapping into the power of this assignment for your women’s studies course, or any topic area, reach out to start a conversation: contact@wikiedu.org. 

Photo: Wikipedia Project Research at the Maine Women Writers Collection, University of New England, Portland, ME By Edw04005Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

by Guest Contributor at June 22, 2016 04:00 PM

Wikimedia UK

Revised three year strategy following consultation

In May, Wikimedia UK ran a community consultation on our draft new strategic framework for 2016 – 19. Thank you to everyone who responded to this, either on wiki, by email or via the mailing list. I really appreciate volunteers and members taking the time to engage with the strategy and we received some very helpful feedback, much of which has been incorporated into the updated framework.

In particular, there were a number of comments about the draft objectives for the third strategic goal for this period, concerning education and learning. This probably reflected the fact that this is the least well developed area for us in terms of delivery and we are still developing our ideas – alongside the community – for how best to work with education and to support learners. Our education meeting in May was very helpful in highlighting past practice and future ideas in this area – the notes from which are here.

Several people raised a concern that by talking about cultural heritage in our outcomes we would be excluding other areas of knowledge, such as science. This was not the intention of myself or the trustees so I have changed the wording of this planned outcome. I have also clarified some of the objectives around advocacy.

There was a hope expressed that WMUK would do more than ‘seek to engage’ volunteers, and that volunteering could be mentioned specifically around developing partnerships and speaking at events. Whilst I feel that the centrality of volunteers does come through in the strategic framework, particularly in our values and operating principles – which remain relatively unchanged from the previous five year organisational strategy – I have updated the strategy to make this implicit intention more explicit.

The new, revised strategic framework was formally approved by the board at their meeting on 10th June. Following this decision, I am now working on the three year business plan, which provides more context for the strategy as well as details of planned priorities and programmes for the three year period, and internal resources including staffing and funding and financial forecasts. The wiki will be updated soon but in the meantime, the revised framework is here.

Thanks again for your interest and your thoughtful responses to the consultation.

Lucy Crompton-Reid

Chief Executive

by John Lubbock at June 22, 2016 11:04 AM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata - Home Children

As I am adding more information to a female psychologist, Mrs Margaret Humphreys, I found that she documented Home Children, a British program of sending destitute children abroad. Sending them away was cheaper than leaving them with their families on welfare.

It became such a scandal that prime ministers of several countries that were involved apologised for the awful way people were treated.

Originally it was considered a solution to the slavery in the British match making industry. From good intentions it became something dreadful.

The problem; what statements to use to identify this program, the people who apologised for it, the original good intentions..

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at June 22, 2016 09:35 AM

Wikimedia Foundation

Wikimedians gather in Italian alpine town Esino Lario for 12th Wikimania

Photo by Luisella Aliprandi, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Photo by Luisella Aliprandi, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Vassia Atanassova is leaving her home in Sofia, Bulgaria this week, bringing a decade of rewarding collaboration with educational and cultural heritage institutions. Satdeep Gill is leaving his home in Punjab, bringing the languages and customs of the state in northern India. Isla Haddow-Flood is leaving Cape Town, South Africa, bringing with her motivation to share her continent’s everyday realities, heritages, and cultures.

They’re coming together in the small, northern Italian town of Esino Lario, bringing the pieces that make up Wikipedia and its sister projects.

Each year, members of the Wikimedia community convene in one location to share experiences, learn from each other, and discuss the most critical issues of the movement. Wikimania 2016 will draw over a thousand attendees from more than 60 nations to Esino Lario, which has a year-round population of less than 800, from June 24-26. This year’s unique location reflects the Wikimedian belief that anyone, anywhere can contribute to the world’s knowledge.

For the first time the conference will be moving away from the metropolis and into the countryside. (Past Wikimanias have been held in Mexico City, Hong Kong, and Washington, D.C.) Overlooking beautiful Lake Como surrounded by the Alpine mountains, attendees will participate in meetings, panels, working sessions, and trainings — all in support of free knowledge. This is not just an opportunity for community members to connect with each other,  but also to get to know the local people from Esino Lario, who have opened their doors for this conference.

“Wikimania reveals the potential of Esino Lario and places like Esino that we imagine to be generally isolated and trapped in the past,” says Iolanda Pensa, lead organizer of Wikimania 2016. “On the contrary, I have a deep conviction that in any place and inside any person, there abides the ability to produce and participate in global knowledge.”

Like past conferences, Wikimania is a community driven event; as they say, it takes a village. This year’s conference is co-organized by a group of international volunteers, including Italian Wikimedians, members of Wikimedia Italia and Wikimedia Switzerland, and many other volunteers and inhabitants of Esino Lario who have come together to prepare for Wikimania.

The program focuses on “Wikipedia as a driver for change.” Speakers from the Wikimedia community, the broader free knowledge movement, and the Wikimedia Foundation will share research, discuss challenges, and share experiences, all with a focus on the impact Wikipedia has on the world. Session topics include:

  • Approaching global barriers to accessing knowledge
  • Wikipedia’s role in preserving cultural heritage
  • Adapting Wikipedia for mobile consumption
  • The impact of Wikipedia in education
  • Promoting healthy community interactions

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales will kick off the conference with an opening speech in the surroundings of Lake Como on June 24. A pre-conference is taking place ahead of the event, including a hackathon where attendees make technological contributions to the open source software MediaWiki, and for other Wikimedia projects. Local organizers are also hosting a pre-conference meeting about the free use of Italian cultural images in relation to current regulations.

With nearly 40 million articles in hundreds of languages languages, Wikipedia is the largest free, shared knowledge resource in human history. Its volunteer-contributed content receives 17 billion page views per month globally. People around the world look to Wikipedia for everything from preserving cultural heritage, to improving cancer detection, to doing homework.

That impressive accomplishment is built one Wikipedian at a time. At Wikimania, they come together, bearing gifts to the open-access movement they love.

 About Wikimania

Wikimania is the annual conference celebrating the Wikimedia projects–Wikipedia and its sister projects–and the Wikimedia community of volunteers. It features presentations on Wikimedia projects, other wikis, free and open source software, free knowledge and free content, and the social and technical aspects that relate to these topics. Wikimania 2016 in Esino Lario, Italy marks the 12th year of the conference.

About Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a collaborative, free knowledge resource for the world. It has been added to and edited by millions of people from around the globe since it was created in 2001: anyone can edit it, at any time. Wikipedia is offered in hundreds of languages and contains nearly 40 million articles, . It is one of the largest collections of free knowledge in human history, and today its content is contributed and edited by nearly 80,000 active editors per month.

Juliet Barbara, Communications Director
Jeff Elder, Digital Communications Manager

Wikimedia Foundation

by Juliet Barbara and Jeff Elder at June 22, 2016 04:00 AM

June 21, 2016

William Beutler

A Note on Wikimania 2016, and a Small Request

View from the road to Esino Lario. (Ed Erhart, CC-BY-SA-4.0)

View from the road to Esino Lario. (Ed Erhart, CC-BY-SA-4.0)

At this very moment, Wikimedians are traveling from all over the world to attend Wikimania, the annual conference for Wikipedia and its sister projects. When the main conference kicks off this weekend, for the first time in five years, I won’t be among them. The controversial selection of Esino Lario, a tiny Italian village in the Alps 40 miles outside of Milan, certainly figured into it, but for me it’s also a very busy summer, and one with plenty of other travel. I regret having to bail on it but, having heard about the touch-and-go logistics from the few I know who are following through, I can’t really say I regret the decision.

The biggest reason why I might is because a presentation I’d submitted was accepted. My absence interrupts what would have been a hat trick of delivering a presentation about the complicated matter of “paid editing”[1]To use just one several inadequate summary phrases for this multifaceted topic. at consecutive Wikimanias. Fortunately, it remains on the schedule, because my co-presenter, Andrew Lih, is committed to making the heroic journey to the Lake Como region of Italy.[2]I understand this is mostly to maintain his perfect Wikimania attendance, but it’s as good a reason as any. It is called “Found in Translation: Comparing paid editing policies in the top Wikipedia language editions” and if you are attending this Wikimania, I think that you should go see it!

You can read more about it at the link above, but the gist is this: the “conflict of interest” guideline on the English Wikipedia has been a matter of controversy and debate for at least a decade. When the self-reference averse Wikipedia actually has a long article on the topic, you know it’s a big deal. However, much less has been said about this issue on Wikipedia’s many other language editions, which are smaller and less prominent, but sometimes still deal with these issues. Since 2015, we have been reaching out to Wikipedians involved in the top 30 language editions of Wikipedia to find out: what official rules does each edition have about paid editing? What are the community norms? Have there been similar controversies?

As it turns out, this qualitative research is much harder to pull off than we’d first hoped. Whereas we had hoped to present our findings at this conference, instead we will be using this Wikimania to draw additional attention to the topic. And that is what this blog post seeks to do as well. If you are interested in helping us understand better how the multivarious Wikipedia communities approach this thorny topic, and you contribute to one of the top 30 language editions,[3]Besides English, of course. To see if yours is one, click here and sort by Active users. then please consider taking the survey here. And if you have any questions about the project overall, hit me up using the contact link above.

That’s all from me! Alas, my non-attendance at Wikimania means I am unlikely to write a summary post like I have in past years. Instead I’ll aim to stay part of the conversation on Twitter via @thewikipedian, and I’ll look forward to seeing you next year in Montreal.

Notes   [ + ]

1. To use just one several inadequate summary phrases for this multifaceted topic.
2. I understand this is mostly to maintain his perfect Wikimania attendance, but it’s as good a reason as any.
3. Besides English, of course. To see if yours is one, click here and sort by Active users.

by William Beutler at June 21, 2016 06:52 PM

Wiki Education Foundation

Wiki Education Foundation Monthly Report for May 2016


  • May essentially marks the completion of the spring 2016 term, and with it, our first term in the Year of Science. The Classroom Program had its best term yet, with 215 courses contributing 3.5 million words. Of those, 116 were Year of Science participants. Those courses contributed 2 million words to Wikipedia. An analysis of student contributions for April 2016 revealed that Wiki Education Foundation students were responsible for 6% of all science contributions to Wikipedia that month.
  • Wiki Ed published a new guidebook for students editing in articles in the environmental sciences. The guidebook explores topics related to writing about conservation efforts, campaigns and environmental organizations. It was written with input from experienced Wikipedians and instructors, and will be sent to environmental science courses starting in the fall 2016 term.
  • We’ve expanded our Dashboard to accommodate a variety of Wikimedia sister projects, including additional language editions of Wikipedia. This is part of an effort, supported financially by the Wikimedia Foundation, to add flexibility to our Dashboard to be adapted to international use.


Educational Partnerships & Outreach

In May, Outreach Manager Samantha Erickson and Educational Partnerships Manager Jami Mathewson visited San Francisco State University. While there, they met with the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability to investigate collaborations that will improve Wikipedia’s coverage and representation of disabilities. Wiki Ed presented to faculty, primarily who teach composition courses, about the Classroom Program and its value to students.

Samantha spent the month helping instructors develop assignment plans for their summer and fall 2016 courses. She also experimented with virtual outreach, joining faculty at Georgetown University and Northern Illinois University for webinars and video calls to introduce them to the benefits of joining the Classroom Program. At Northern Illinois, the women’s studies department is eager to participate in the National Women’s Studies Association initiative to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of women and women’s studies.

The team spent May finalizing and coordinating Wiki Ed’s presence at various conferences this summer. Wiki Ed plans to attend the following meetings to promote the Year of Science ahead of the fall 2016 term:

  • Festival of Learning (June 7, Burnaby, British Columbia)
  • American Astronomical Society (June 12—16, San Diego, California)
  • Wikimedia Diversity Conference (June 17–18, Washington, DC)
  • American Society of Plant Biologists (July 9–13, Austin, Texas)
  • Genetics Society of America (July 13–17, Orlando, Florida)
  • American Statistical Association (July 30–August 4, Chicago, Illinois)
  • Botanical Society of America (July 30–August 3, Savannah, Georgia)
  • Mathematical Association of America (August 3–6, Columbus, Ohio)
  • Ecological Society of America (August 7–12, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale)

Now that the spring 2016 has mostly wrapped up, we’re excited to report that students participating in the Classroom Program through educational partnerships have expanded or created 2,615 articles on Wikipedia.

Classroom Program

Status of the Classroom Program for spring 2016 in numbers, as of May 31:

  • 215 Wiki Ed-supported courses were in progress (93, or 43%, were led by returning instructors)
  • 4,137 student editors were enrolled
  • 46% were up-to-date with the student training
  • Students edited 4,620 articles and created 489 new entries.

The majority of our courses have finished their Wikipedia assignments, and already Spring 2016 term is our most successful to date. This term, we’ve supported our largest number of courses, 215, with our largest number of participating students (4,137). They’ve contributed over 3.5 million words to Wikipedia.

The Classroom Program has scaled significantly, from 162 courses in fall 2015 and 117 in spring 2015 to the current 215. That’s been achieved without expanding our staff or compromising the quality of student contributions. That’s possible because of digital tools such as our the course Dashboard and our online student training, but also through the close coordination between Classroom Program Manager Helaine Blumenthal and Wikipedia Content Experts Adam Hyland and Ian Ramjohn.

For the first time, we’ve distributed an instructor survey through the course Dashboard. Instructors are now invited to complete their survey based on the specific dates of their course. They also answer questions tailored to their course’s subject, size, and other factors. Survey results are still being collected.

The Wikipedia Year of Science is going strong! As of May 31, the 116 Year of Science courses have contributed more than 2 million words to Wikipedia. These courses and students made up over half of our Spring 2016 cohort, and they worked on subjects ranging from the sociology of women and crime to biogeochemistry and from endangered languages to dinosaur science. The Year of Science continues over the summer and through the Fall 2016 term.

As of May 31, we are supporting 16 summer courses and using this quieter time to gear up for fall.

Student work highlights:

Uploaded to Commons and added to the Ornithischia article by a student in the Dinosaur Science class.

Community Engagement

It’s been nearly a year since Wiki Ed took on the Visiting Scholars program. Community Engagement Manager Ryan McGrady spent time this month working on surveys, conducting interviews, and gathering data on the initiative.

Ryan attended a SOWING event (Science Outreach Working to Inspire the Next Generation) at the Simons Foundation office to talk about Visiting Scholars and the Wikipedia Year of Science. He has been busy working with several prospective and existing institutional sponsors and Scholars.

Current Scholars are continuing to produce excellent work. Barbara Page at the University of Pittsburgh improved an impressive 42 articles on biomedical topics this month. Gary Greenbaum at George Mason University brought the high-traffic article on President William Howard Taft to Featured Article status. Meanwhile, Gary’s article on the children’s book The Phantom Tollbooth appeared on Wikipedia’s Main Page on May 28 as “Today’s Featured Content”. Current Scholars have added almost 250,000 words to articles that have been viewed 38,000,000 times.

Program Support


Environmental sciences.jpg

In May, Communications Manager Eryk Salvaggio published a subject-specific student handbook focused on environmental sciences. The guide, “Editing Wikipedia articles on environmental sciences,” offers guidance for student editors creating new articles about groups, organizations, and programs, and environmental concerns. This guide places special emphasis on the careful evaluation of sources. This guide was created with input from Dr. Becky Carmichael, Louisiana State University; Dr. Rosemary J. Redfield, University of British Columbia; Wikipedia User:DASonnenfeld, and our Content Expert in the Sciences, Ian Ramjohn.

Another handbook is underway. Eryk has spent May preparing an update of the Editing guide, this time aimed directly at students in our program. The Wiki Ed edition looks specifically at what students need to know to contribute to Wikipedia during a class assignment. It also integrates our support and online trainings.

A guest post by Dr. Timothy Henningsen, Assistant Professor of English at the College of DuPage, titled, “The Slow, Necessary Death of the Research Paper (And How Wikipedia Can Revive Composition Instruction)” was the most-read post in May. The author suggests that teaching with Wikipedia offers “the same outcomes that a research paper assignment does, with added benefits.”

Blog posts:

External media

Digital Infrastructure

In May, Digital Infrastructure efforts were focused on reinforcing the long-term foundations of the Dashboard.

With funding support from Wikimedia Foundation, Product Manager, Digital Services Sage Ross and our technical partners at WINTR improved the Dashboard’s support for cross-language, cross-wiki courses and programs. The Dashboard now tracks editors’ wiki assignments across any Wikimedia project, from Abkhazian Wikipedia to Zulu Wiktionary — which will improve our ability to support translation assignments. The improvements in internationalization support will also form the basis for Wikimedia Foundation’s “Programs and Events Dashboard”, which is being tested at https://outreachdashboard.wmflabs.org.

After two unexpected service interruptions for our website, wikiedu.org, we accelerated plans to transition our web services from asmallorange.com to the more robust linode.com. All of wikiedu.org is now hosted on standard virtual private servers with automated backups, and we expect downtime to be much rarer.

Sage has implemented automatic email alerts for course-related events Wiki Ed staff need to track. Examples include messages for class activity after a course end date, or alerts for when students’ articles have been nominated for deletion.

Research and Academic Engagement

Data Science Intern Kevin Schiroo had been working part-time during the academic term, but moved to full-time for the summer in May.

He has already determined preliminary results from a research project looking into Wiki Ed’s impact on science content during the Year of Science.

Research Question
What portion of newly created science content is generated by Wiki Ed students?
During the month of April, Wiki Ed students produced 6% of all science content generated on Wikipedia (as measured by bytes added). The maximum daily peak observed over the Spring semester is 13%.

Wiki ed science percent.png

For the purpose of this project, we defined science content to be bytes added to articles tagged as belonging to a science WikiProject. Science WikiProjects were defined as projects listed in the WikiProject Directory under science. A few projects were selected for removal, because they fell significantly beyond our idea of science (for example, “Internet Culture”).
Joining this data set with a data set of WikiProject tags on articles, Kevin selected all articles in the content area of interest. He then used this list of articles, in combination with the most recent database dumps provided by the Wikimedia Foundation, to select all revisions that occurred on the identified science articles. This list of revisions was used to calculate the number of bytes added each day, one number for general contributors and one for contributions by Wiki Ed students. These two data sets were then used to calculate both the daily and monthly proportions of content added by Wiki Ed students. That provided insight into just how much work Wiki Ed has been doing in science topics.
Next steps
The immediate next step is to rerun the analysis once Wikimedia publishes a new database dump detailing the contribution activity in May. These will provide even greater insights into how Wiki Ed performed at the end of the first semester of the Year of Science. Further work will include analyzing spring 2014 science contributions to quantify how much difference the Year of Science initiative has made to the science output of Wiki Ed students.

Also in May, Director of Research and Academic Engagement Tanya Garcia left the organization. We wish Tanya the best in her next opportunity.

Finance & Administration / Fundraising

Finance & Administration

May 2016 expenses
May 2016 expenses

For the month of May expenses were $220,447 versus the plan of $303,407. The variance of $83k is primarily due to our decision to hold off on expanding our office space and staffing.

May 2016 YTD expenses
May 2016 YTD expenses

Our Year-To-Date expenses are $2,673,482 versus the plan of $3,394,241, resulting in a variance of $721k. Approximately 90% of the variance is due to holding back planned expenditures until long-term funding is secured. The remaining variance is a result of the timing of expenses.

Our spending level over the last 3 months has remained steady at 79% of our planned budget.


Victoria Hinshaw and Tom Porter are pictured at the Bank of the West Wealth Management office in San Francisco, California.
Victoria Hinshaw and Tom Porter are pictured at the Bank of the West Wealth Management office in San Francisco, California.

In May, Wiki Ed released a request for proposals for a major donor communication and activation campaign. Proposals are in review, and we anticipate a contract will be awarded in the near future. The campaign seeks to secure new major support for the organization from individuals.

To prepare for the campaign, the development team attended a Major Gifts workshop at the Foundation Center in San Francisco. Through Greg Boustead of the Simons Foundation, Senior Manager of Development Tom Porter secured introductions to foundations that are part of a STEM funders network. We hope that these valuable introductions from the Simons Foundation will help us earn new support for Wiki Ed.

On May 18, the development team held an FY17 tactical planning retreat. Bank of the West Wealth Management generously donated workspace in their downtown San Francisco office for this purpose. Outcomes of this meeting were first drafts of individual work plans, process maps, and timelines. The Development Committee of the Wiki Education Foundation Board met to approve drafts of three new policies for the department: the Gift Acceptance Policy, the Gifts-in-Kind Policy, and the Donor Bill of Rights.

Planning was also underway for a small donor cultivation event in Houston, Texas. Tom Porter was working closely with Wiki Education Foundation board chair Diana Strassmann, alongside board members Karen George and Karen Twitchell. This event was being held to leverage the outstanding Stanton Foundation challenge grant, which aims to activate the Wiki Education Foundation board in the development process. Wiki Ed received a $25,000 installment of our matching grant from the Stanton Foundation in May.

Office of the ED

Current priorities:

  • Finalizing the annual planning and budgeting process for fiscal year 2016–17
  • Supporting the fundraising team in securing funding

In May, Executive Director Frank Schulenburg sent the first version of the annual plan & budget for fiscal year 2016–17 to the board for review. The board provided valuable feedback on the document, which provided the basis for the second, improved version, which was sent to the board at the end of the month. Through an improved and more rigorous planning process, senior leadership was able to give the board more time to review and discuss the plan. The board will vote on the 2016–17 plan and budget during its meeting in Houston. Frank also attended board committee meetings and supported board chair Diana Strassmann in planning the meeting in Houston.

Frank began working with Melissa Ganus (User:DrMel), who has taken the lead on planning and organizing WikiConference USA 2016. This year, WikiCon USA will be hosted at the San Diego Public Library in early October. Frank acted as an advisor to Melissa on topics ranging from conference goals to potential options for raising funds.

Visitors and guests

  • Cecelia Musselman, Northeastern University

by Eryk Salvaggio at June 21, 2016 04:27 PM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata - the Lange-Taylor Prize

Wikidata knows about many awards and it is a challenge to make the information available but it is even harder to keep them up to date. An example is the Lange-Taylor Prize,

Have a look at the English Wikipedia article, strictly speaking it is not  a list. It is a mish mash. To make this a "proper" Wikidata list, it helps when the "point in time" is added to the award winners. It helps when they are completed. Michel Huneault is the 2015 winner, he or she has to be added as an item to Wikidata and, he is not the only award winner who does not have a red link or an item.

Adding the point in time as a qualifier has an additional relevance. It becomes possible to build a query with no award winners for 2015. When it is missing and this happens a lot both in Wikipedia and Wikidata, we can check the website for the award and maybe find a 2016 winner as well.

As it is, the English article is a stub. There are missing links for instance to Mrs Katherine Dunn. Adding all this info to Wikidata makes improves the quality of its data but it makes it also possible to incorporate this list on both the English and the Czech Wikipedia.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at June 21, 2016 10:07 AM

June 20, 2016

Wiki Education Foundation

Making the Dashboard global

Sage Ross
Product Manager, Digital Services, Sage Ross

The dashboard software that fuels Wiki Ed’s programs is now available for use across the whole range of Wikimedia projects and languages, from Arabic Wikibooks to Zulu Wiktionary.

In partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation, I’ve been working to complete an “alpha” version of the Wikimedia Programs & Events Dashboard — an instance of the Wiki Ed dashboard system that is open for anyone to organize editing projects. That means edit-a-thons, Wikipedia translation drives, and anything else that involves coordinated contributions to Wikimedia wikis. The latest version is up and running here.

This general-purpose, pan-wiki version of the Dashboard has been in the works for a while now. After some exploratory work during the Wikimania 2015 hackathon, Wikimedia Foundation engineers Adam Wight, Andrew Russell Green, and Dan Duvall spent February digging into the dashboard codebase and laying the groundwork.

After that, I gradually chipped away at integrating and testing these changes. In May, we signed a contract with the Wikimedia Foundation to complete a final push to a testable version. This gave me a chance to spend some serious time focusing on internationalization, and on improving the way the Dashboard handles different use cases beyond the basic Classroom Program course. I’m really happy with the results so far.

In the long term, we hope to make the Dashboard more of an open source community project, with contributions from both Wikimedia Foundation staff and volunteer developers. I’ll be spending my time at Wikimania 2016 — in Esino Lario, Italy — talking about (and hacking on) this global Dashboard. Many of the features we’d like to build for Wiki Ed’s programs are also going to be useful for the Programs & Events Dashboard, so the more the Wikimedia community uses the dashboard, the stronger the prospects will be for collaborating with the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia chapters, and others to make the dashboard even better.

If you’re interested in getting involved with the dashboard codebase, let me know! Happy hacking!

Photo: 15-07-15-Hackathon-Mexico-D-F-RalfR-WMA 1056 by Ralf RoletschekOwn work, GFDL 1.2.

by Sage Ross at June 20, 2016 04:00 PM

Wikimedia Foundation

Victory in France: Court rules in favor of the Wikimedia Foundation

Image by Parislumiere, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Image by Parislumiere, CC BY-SA 4.0.

We are happy to announce that the Paris Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of the Wikimedia Foundation in Teissier v. Wikimedia Foundation. The Court dismissed all claims and declared the Foundation a hosting provider under French law.

Élizabeth Teissier, a French astrologer, originally filed a lawsuit in July 2015 against the Wikimedia Foundation for hosting a Wikipedia article that included several references to her past fortune-telling predictions being incorrect. Teissier claimed that the article damaged her reputation and that she did not receive a proper right of reply, but she did not dispute the accuracy of the article or its sources. The Wikimedia Foundation initially won the case on procedural grounds when the lower court found Ms. Teissier’s claims to be time-barred, and Ms. Teissier subsequently appealed that decision.

The Paris Court of Appeals found the claims were not time-barred and ruled on the merits, dismissing all of Ms. Teissier’s claims and, for the first time on an appellate level in France, stating that the Wikimedia Foundation is a hosting provider under French law. The Court acknowledged that the Foundation merely hosts user-uploaded content and does not have knowledge or control over the data stored as it merely provides, free of charge, “the infrastructures and the organization framework allowing internet users wishing to do so, to build projects by contributing and editing content themselves” without playing any active role. As a result, the Foundation does not have an obligation to allow Ms. Teissier to make her own posting on Wikipedia in response to the article.

The Court also held that while Ms. Teissier may dislike the content of the page about her, the information there remains within the limits of free criticism of her divinatory art and is not insulting.  Therefore, the Court neither allowed her request for the content to be removed, nor her request for compensation.

As a result of this ruling, the article is allowed to remain as is, and Ms. Teissier is required to compensate the Wikimedia Foundation for some of the legal fees it incurred in its defense. Ms. Teissier has approximately a four-month period to refer this decision to the French Supreme Court. If she does not choose to appeal, the Court of Appeals’ decision will be final.

This ruling is a victory for all Wikipedians and freedom of speech on the internet. It supports the ability of Wikipedians in France and around the world to write accurate, well-sourced articles about a variety of subjects, even when the sources are, at times, critical of the subject. Moreover, the integrity and neutrality of Wikimedia projects, like Wikipedia, depends on its status as a hosting provider. The Court’s decision provides critical immunity from liability that allows the Wikimedia Foundation to host open platforms where people are free to learn and share knowledge. This ruling supports the Foundation and you—the global community—in aiding the dissemination of free knowledge.

Michelle Paulson, Legal Director
Jacob Rogers, Legal Counsel
Wikimedia Foundation

* Special thanks to Christine Gateau, Pauline Faron, and Winston Maxwell of Hogan Lovells for representing the Foundation in this case and their dedication to the Wikimedia movement, along with to Meenu Krishnan, WMF Legal Intern, for her assistance drafting this blog post.

by Michelle Paulson and Jacob Rogers at June 20, 2016 02:29 PM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata - #Pakistan Peoples Party politicians

There has been an announcement that lists may be generated on a Wikipedia using Wikidata data. For the Urdu Wikipedia, a list of politicians of the Pakistan Peoples Party could be interesting. This functionality is not available yet, but Reasonator does show us what would be on such a list.

As you can see many of them do not yet have an article in Urdu or alternatively a label. Once a label has been added, it will show up in the list. This may also help other languages from Pakistan like Sidhi because the label will fall back to Urdu and not English.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at June 20, 2016 10:00 AM

Tech News

Tech News issue #25, 2016 (June 20, 2016)

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June 20, 2016 12:00 AM

June 19, 2016

Wiki Education Foundation

The Roundup: Juneteenth

On June 19, 1865, Texas announced the abolition of slavery. That decision essentially emancipated African-American slaves throughout the Confederate states. Though a day of celebration, Juneteenth is also a day to reflect on the history of slavery.

The public’s understanding of slavery’s impact has been greatly improved by students who are assigned to create or improve Wikipedia articles that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Students in Dr. Daina Ramey Berry’s “Black Women in America” course at the University of Texas, Austin, were asked to contribute articles on that topic to Wikipedia.

One of those students created the article on The Great Slave Auction. The article describes the largest sale of enslaved people that took place before the US Civil War. 436 men, women, and children were sold over the course of two days just outside of Savannah, Georgia. The sale netted $303,850.

Though this event is a historic moral catastrophe, it wasn’t marked for inclusion in Wikipedia until a student took the project on. It’s also one of the only articles on Wikipedia that describes a specific slave auction.

Another student created the article for Sylvia Dubois, a woman born into slavery. She escaped to the North in 1808, and lived to be about 100 years old. Her life story was documented by a physician in the book, “Silvia Dubois (Now 116 Yers Old) A Biografy of the Slav who Whipt Her Mistres and Gand Her Fredom.”

Another woman, Grace Douglass, worked from the other side. An abolitionist born to a prominent free black family, she helped to create the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society after being forbidden to enter the existing, and exclusively male, Anti-Slavery Society.

Students also created articles on Cherry Turner, the wife of Nat Turner. She was beaten and tortured by authorities seeking plans and maps for Nat Turner’s slave revolt. A student created the article about Lear Green, who fled slavery in Baltimore by hiding in a box en route to Philadelphia. A student expanded the article on Jenny Slew, one of the first black Americans to establish their freedom through a juried trial.

Students who contribute to Wikipedia have an opportunity to correct the historical record. Though the site aims to present “the sum of all knowledge,” it often reflects history through a lens that blurs out underrepresented groups. By using academic resources to find historical records that others can’t, under the guidance of an expert in these subjects, students can make meaningful contributions that help Wikipedia reflect the sum of all history.

If you’re an instructor who is interested in exploring the possibilities a Wikipedia writing assignment makes possible, we’d love to start a conversation. You can reach us at contact@wikiedu.org.

Photo: Emancipation Proclamation Engraving by W. Roberts. – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress‘s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID pga.04067Public Domain. 

by Eryk Salvaggio at June 19, 2016 04:00 PM

June 18, 2016

Wikimedia Foundation

Individual Engagement Grants program will fund eight community-led projects

Photo by Stellapark025, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Image by Stellapark025, CC BY-SA 4.0.

We are excited to announce the successful grantees from the final round of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Individual Engagement Grants (IEG) program.

IEGs provide funding to individuals and small teams to take on projects with potential for online impact and that advance the Wikimedia Foundation’s mission and strategic priorities. These projects can take on many forms, from building and improving online tools or social processes, to creating new types of partnerships with organizations or conducting actionable research about Wikimedia content and contributors.

The IEG committee typically scores two rounds of grant proposals a year according to specified selection criteria. This year, however, IEG will be replaced by Project Grants starting July 1, 2016 and will transition to quarterly, rather than biannual, rounds.

Our volunteer committee is made up of 16 Wikimedians who come from over 15 different wikis and collectively speak over 10 languages. Outside of our IEG committee work, members edit, review, and translate content; help govern local chapters; write software; organize off-wiki events; facilitate workshops; work as sysops and bureaucrats; verify copyright and licensing permissions; draft and discuss project policies; and recruit and welcome new users to Wikimedia projects. Many members also serve as advisors to new IEG grantees, helping to answer questions, connect them to relevant resources, and comment on monthly and midpoint reports.

In this latest round, a total of 28 eligible proposals were submitted for the committee’s review. The committee recommended that 8 projects be funded to receive $87,332 overall, divided into two themes:  tools and online community organizing.

Online community organizing: two projects funded

Photo by Hellerhoff/Anka Friedrich, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Medical images, like this one of a normal barium swallowing, can convey as much content as a whole page of text. “Health images for all” aims to solicit and distribute higher quality medical images on Wikipedia. Photo by Hellerhoff/Anka Friedrich, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Tools: six projects funded

Photo by Ramwik, CC BY-SA 3.0

This photo of fire in the Almora District in India was contributed via the “Upload to Commons” Android app. It was immediately used in the Wikipedia article on the 2016 Uttarakhand forest fires. Photo by Ramwik, CC BY-SA 3.0

  • Improve ‘Upload to Commons’ Android App:
    • This project will further enhance ‘Upload to Commons,’ making the Android app more user-friendly by improving categorization tools and providing tutorials to help new users create more useful content for Commons.
  • Enhance the ProveIt gadget:
    • The ProveIt gadget is a reference manager that creates a visual interface for easily adding and editing references to a Wikipedia article.  This project will optimise the gadget by connecting it with Wikidata to allow for autocompletion of references with existing data.
  • Wikiscan Multi-wiki:
    • This project will expand the Wikiscan site, currently focused on French Wikipedia, to include all Wikimedia wikis with more than 100,000 edits.  It will provide many  daily-updated statistics, such as most active pages and users for each day and month since a project was created.
Diagram by Epantaleo, CC BY-SA 4.0.

“A graphical and interactive etymology dictionary based on Wikitionary” will represent extracted etymological relationships using trees. Diagram by Epantaleo, CC BY-SA 4.0.

  • A graphical and interactive etymology dictionary based on Wiktionary:
    • This project will extract etymological relationships from Wiktionary to build a database designed for integration into Wikidata.  A second goal of the project is to build an interactive visualization tool to represent the extracted etymological relationships as well as the associated lexical information using trees (see photo).
  • Alt text tools:
    • Alternative texts provide in-context descriptions of images to increase accessibility for vision-impaired users.  This project would create a collection of tools to allow volunteers to efficiently add and improve text alternatives on English Wikipedia.
  • Lua libs for behavior-driven development:
    • This project will create an extension to support testing of Lua-modules in a behavior-driven development style using spec-like tests.


This round, we see two trends that reflect the recent Inspire Campaign focus on Content Curation and Review.

As in the last round of IEG, improving accessibility continues to be a prominent theme, whether by creating new user interfaces to make interpretation of statistical data more intuitive, offering tools to make it easier for volunteers to support access for vision-impaired users, or organizing existing data into systems that increase its potential applications.

Several projects funded this round will focus on making existing volunteer efforts more effective, by adding tutorials to an existing app to teach new users how to avoid common mistakes, by helping Wikipedians to participate in organizational partnerships that will magnify their efforts, and by designing clearly defined workflows that make strategic use of volunteer expertise.

Two projects will take a multi-phased approach to raising the quality of medical information on Wikipedia.   Both projects are led by seasoned Wikipedians with a demonstrated record of successfully leveraging volunteer efforts and improving health coverage on Wikipedia.  Given that Wikipedia is one of the most frequently referenced sources of medical knowledge in the world, the potential impact of these projects is outstanding.

We received many compelling proposals this year that the committee decided not to fund because of concerns about the feasibility of the scope.  We encourage applicants who were not successful in this round of funding to refine and resubmit their proposals in upcoming rounds.  Return proposals that have been revised in response to community and committee feedback are warmly welcomed.

At the close of this round, IEG and Project & Event Grants (PEG) will be redesigned as Project Grants. Project Grants will support both new experiences and proven ideas across the Wikimedia movement. Open call for the first round of Projects Grants start July 1st, with proposals due by August 2nd.

You can read more about the new grants structure on Meta (main page, IdeaLab).

As we prepare to launch our new program, Project Grants, this summer, we invite feedback about how we can improve our grantmaking process. Our goal is to support the enthusiasm and vision behind every proposal we receive, whether or not we are able to fund them.  We welcome participation at every level.  We’re currently seeking volunteers to serve on the new Project Grants Committee.

We look forward to reviewing your suggestions and future submissions, but for now we say congratulations to the successful grantees and encourage you to follow their progress as they begin work in the coming weeks.

Marti Johnson, IEG Program Officer
Wikimedia Foundation

by Marti Johnson at June 18, 2016 07:44 AM

Seeing great potential in the Sindhi Wikipedia: Mehtab Ahmed

Photo by Mehtab Ahmed, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Photo by Mehtab Ahmed, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Sindhi Wikipedia started in 2004, but it grew only slowly until a few enthusiasts, like Asad JogiMohammad Mujeeb and Mehtab Ahmed, started contributing in 2014. These people rejuvenated and breathed fresh air into the project.

Among the three, Mehtab started contributing as recently as August 2015, and yet he has already contributed close to 9000 edits and more that 2600 articles to the site. As this young contributor works in an overzealous manner to enrich the knowledge on Sindhi Wikipedia every day, we decided to interview him and gain insight from his editor experience.

Mehtab Ahmed comes from an educated middle class family from Sindh, Pakistan; his father is a retired bank officer and mother a teacher. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Education at the Sukkur Institute of Business Administration. Being a native Sindhi, Mehtab is conscious about his language. He has contributed to Google Translate in Sindhi alongside several other online Sindhi platforms. With this background, he got permission from Encyclopedia Sindhiana and other resources to use their works on Sindhi Wikipedia, which resulted in him achieving the distinction of holding one of the highest number of edits on Sindhi Wikipedia.

As a pragmatist, Mehtab cited the example of how the addition of Sindhi language on Google Translate ensured hundreds people of coming forward to contribute. This event has given him a hope that Sindhi language is going to make a significant place in today’s modern world. More recent examples in this area are the number of apps, websites and blogs in Sindhi that are being created with each passing day. Mehtab believes that one of his most important future tasks will be to tell Sindhi people the benefits of Wikimedia projects and convince them to become volunteers. He is trying via Facebook to convince volunteers to edit for Sindhi projects and is is hopeful of building a strong community in the near future. In order to enlist more users, Mehtab answers and guides volunteers on the Sindhi Wikipedia Facebook group.

Speaking on the efforts aimed at Perso-Arabic collaboration with common goals for expanding Urdu, Western Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi and Baluchi Wikipedia, Mehtab specifically appreciated the efforts of Urdu Wikipedians in this direction.

Mehtab’s future Wiki goals are to continuing adding high quality information on Sindhi projects, and to increase the number of volunteers and representation of Sindhi language on every wiki project. He believes that there is great potential in Pakistan but it needs to be refined and properly guided. And this, he hopes, will definitely result in the growth and expansion of Sindhi Wikipedia on par with many other language Wikipedias.

Syed Muzammiluddin
Wikimedia community volunteer

by Syed Muzammiluddin at June 18, 2016 06:56 AM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata has a CC-0 license. This should not change.

The Wikipedia Signpost is a publication of the English Wikipedia. It published a piece about copyright and Wikidata and it suggested that a more restrictive license would be fine. Their problem: others benefit and do not need to acknowledge Wikidata as a source.

For me the most important thing of our work is that it is used. Everything we can do to make our data used more increases the value of our data, This is best achieved by refusing to put any restrictions on our data.

One argument for another license is that "it recognises the labour that goes into maintaining the data". The question is how to recognise this and why.  Every data point has its own history both for the property and for the data and as a consequence it is the database that you refer to for the attribution. For human consumption it is the label that gives Wikidata much of its relevance; giving tribute to the people who add labels is as relevant.

Data is mostly generated in an automated or semi-automated way. I would not have over 2 million edits if all statements I added had to be done by hand. With StrepHit, a tool that retrieves facts from authorised sources, data gathering will become even more sophisticated, reliable and complete. The link to personal glory in attribution becomes very much absent.

Wikidata will become increasingly rich in references and tools like StrepHit will ensure the quality of such references. Wikidata is already very rich in references to other sources of data and it is why Wikidata will evolve into a resource for comparison with the data in these sources. These other sources may opt to adopt or report and the same is our option. Comparisons allow us to research the issues that exist with the data we hold and these comparisons will become highly automated and intelligent.

My point is very much that Wikidata is not a glory project. Our data is incomplete and immature and in several ways more ambitious than what a Wikipedia aims to do. Wikidata can include the ambitions of a Wikipedia up to a point. To realise its own ambitions, becoming a valuable and valued resource in the web of data set, it is important to be as open and available as we can be. A license that does not restrict is one of the underpinnings. Moving towards a more restricted license will only create a morass of uncertainty and doubt. It will bring us no benefit.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at June 18, 2016 06:42 AM

#Wikidata - Member of the Telangana legislative assembly

I finished my project or members of the Kerala legislative assembly. All 140 members that are part of the editathon have an item, are a politician and it is known to what constituency they were elected from.

It only follows that there is more work to do. For instance for the Telangana legislative assembly there are other challenges. Here there are no articles for most of the representatives and, there are not even red links. I have the impression that there is not much in one of the Indian languages either.

It is easy enough to add items for the missing people, add additional statements but the question is then, why do it? Why not leave it to someone from India? It could be different when there is cooperation

The one big thing that prevents me is that there is nothing that makes the work visible. When redlinks expose data from Wikidata, when the information can be found by searching. There is a lot of important work left to do. As there is no mechanism that shows the value of the work done, I move on to another project.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at June 18, 2016 06:41 AM

June 17, 2016

Wikimedia Tech Blog

Providing timely, relevant information on Wikipedia mobile apps

Underlying photo via Dribbble, modified by the Wikimedia Foundation.

A concept rendering of the notification feature, subject to change upon further input and development. Underlying photo via Dribbble, modified by the Wikimedia Foundation.

The mobile apps team at the Wikimedia Foundation helps people everywhere access the world’s largest collection of free knowledge—Wikipedia and its sister projects—on mobile devices. Apps play an important part in this effort. Apps provide a unique, high quality mobile experience for our readers, and enable users to access Wikimedia’s freely licensed content across a plethora of devices.

In 2014, we launched our first native mobile apps for iOS and Android, and we’ve been improving over the last two years. Recently, we updated Wikipedia for iOS with new ways to search and explore Wikipedia: we added the Explore screen, which puts the site’s content and personal recommendations in a mobile friendly feed, made it easy to search in your preferred languages, and added integration with OS-level search (called Spotlight on iOS).

Now we’re looking at notifications as another tool for providing users the most relevant information on Wikipedia and its sister projects. Notifications are a widely used way to surface timely or relevant information. They can be “push” or “pull”: someone might, for example, see an alert pushed to them on their phone’s lock screen, or they might swipe down on their lock screen to pull in the latest updates.

Earlier this year, the Collaboration team enabled editing notifications across wikis. Now the Reading team is interested in how notifications could bring more volunteer-created and curated content to readers.

What if, just by looking down, someone could learn about the history of the place they are walking by? What if readers heard about a major world event, on their tablets over their morning coffee, from a free, neutral, source? Notifications have the potential to highlight the most relevant volunteer-contributed information on Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects at the right place and time.

We actually had a chance to pilot this idea on iOS 10, the operating system from Apple that will be released this fall. At their 2016 Worldwide Developers Conference this week, Apple showed  this early concept to attendees. We’ll be posting our work on notifications to GitHub, under a permissive free license, as we always do. We’re excited to see open source technology being used in new ways to share knowledge with people around the world.

We’re also starting a conversation on wiki about these initial concepts. We hope the prototypes we’ve built so far will provide tangible examples of how notifications can be used to surface the informative content people expect from Wikipedia.

Privacy is an important value of our movement, and apps allow us to explore features like notifications while protecting user privacy. With notifications on apps, we’re able to send notifications directly from the app to the user, without requiring data to travel through Apple’s servers. And any notification features included on Wikipedia mobile apps will be on a user opt-in basis.

Notifications is just one area we’re exploring. We’re also starting a conversation on wiki about the next generation of map-based browsing and finding content near your location. We’re also working on many other improvements, like making random articles easier to get to, ensuring full accessibility for disabled readers, and other user-requested features.

We look forward to talking with editors and readers to continue to improve the app experience. Notifications could offer a new way of reaching people on mobile apps around the world, and highlight the 15 years worth of free knowledge Wikimedians have created for the world.

Josh Minor, Product Manager, Reading Product Management
Wikimedia Foundation

by Josh Minor at June 17, 2016 08:40 PM

Help expand Wikipedia’s coverage of LGBT communities during Wiki Loves Pride

Photo by Raimond Spekking, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Photo by Raimond Spekking, CC BY-SA 4.0.

In recent years, editors have worked hard to address Wikipedia’s gender gap by organizing in-person and online activities to develop inclusive content, and identifying ways to make the movement more welcoming to women. Projects like Art+Feminism, WikiWomen’s History Month, and the Women in Red, among other groups, have made progress creating and improving content, and continue to bring new editors into the Wikimedia community.

But there are other content gaps we need to acknowledge. While women represent roughly half the population, those who identify as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) or other sexual orientations and gender identities represent a much smaller percentage of the population. The LGBT community has a unique history and culture, which vary widely by geography.

If the cumulative sum of all human knowledge is our goal, then LGBT studies are an important piece of the puzzle.

June’s arrival brought with it Wikipedia’s third annual Wiki Loves Pride campaign, which focuses on improving LGBT-related content across all Wikimedia projects, in all languages. This year also marks my third time spearheading the campaign, along with a handful of other core volunteers.

Wiki Loves Pride is more of a concept than a defined project with specific parameters. Participants contribute in a variety of ways, from organizing edit-a-thons, to photographing pride events, to uploading images to the Wikimedia Commons LGBT Free Media Collective. We have collaborated with cultural and scientific institutions, including the Chemical Heritage Foundation, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of American History, and the New York Public Library. We have hosted edit-a-thons at libraries and universities, including George Washington University’s Gelman Library and Portland State University.

Activities have not been limited to the United States, nor to English Wikipedia. Events have been organized in France, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, among other countries, and photo galleries have been created for LGBT events around the world, including Cape Town, Seoul, Tel Aviv, Vienna, and Warsaw. Translated campaign pages exist at French Wikipedia, German Wikipedia, and Italian Wikipedia.

In 2014, Wikimedia Commons hosted an LGBT-themed photo challenge, and WikiProject LGBT was created at Wikidata. We would love to see LGBT WikiProjects at Chinese Wikipedia, Persian Wikipedia, and Spanish Wikipedia, as well as LGBT initiatives at other Wikimedia projects, such as Wikibooks, Wikinews, Wikisource, and Wikivoyage’s LGBT Expedition.

Wiki Loves Pride is supported by the Wikimedia LGBT+ User Group, which has been recognized as an official Wikimedia Foundation affiliate. Among other benefits, this recognition provides representation at movement events like Wikimania, the Wikimedia Conference, and the Wikimedia Diversity Conference, which means more opportunities to share our mission and goals with movement leaders from around the world. I’ve had the pleasure of representing the user group at the Wikimedia Conference twice, and both times, I delivered brief presentations about the status of our group and extended invitations to expand the reach of Wiki Loves Pride, our flagship outreach and content development campaign. When I discuss the user group and its initiatives, I always begin my presentation with two disclaimers:

  1. We are not an LGBT activist group. Project supporters are not advocating for LGBT rights or same-sex marriage; we are simply adding content about LGBT culture and history in the same way one adds content about any other subject. We abide by the same rules, but recognize that we may have an increased chance of bumping into cultural sensitivities, because levels of acceptance vary greatly around the world. As free culture advocates and open content activists, our goal is to add neutral information to Wikipedia, not to inject bias or persuade others to support specific rights for LGBT people.
  2. One is not required to identify as LGBT, or any specific gender or sexuality, to participate. We are simply a group of editors who are trying to address a content gap, just like those focused on tackling Wikipedia’s gender gap. We want Wikipedia to have accurate, reliable information about LGBT culture and history, just as we want the encyclopedia to have high-quality information about baseball, battleships, fungi, and The Simpsons.

So, why do I contribute? I admit, sometimes organizing activities can be exhausting, and I can’t help feeling discouraged when I see some of the negative comments people leave on Facebook when our calls to action are shared by Wikipedia’s account. But the negative comments pale in comparison to the supportive responses. And, sure, every year I get a handful of harassing emails, accusing me of adding immoral content to the encyclopedia and criticizing the Wikimedia Foundation for “taking a stand” on a culturally sensitive issue, but I can brush these off with an eye roll (or two).

The supportive emails that appear in my inbox are what inspire me. Like the one from the man in Iran who wishes he could host a Wiki Loves Pride event, but can’t, because homosexuality is a crime punishable by imprisonment, corporal punishment, or even execution. Or the straight guy from South Africa who was once too embarrassed to document an LGBT event out of fear of being perceived as gay, but now feels empowered to document LGBT culture and history in his country. These are the messages I remember, and the reason I carry the torch.

If you are interested in participating, visit the 2016 project page to see what activities are being organized. Contributing can be as simple as creating or improving LGBT-related Wikipedia articles or taking photos at local pride parades and other LGBT establishments and events. Don’t see your city listed? Create a new entry, or simply add a page with a gallery of your photographs and other contributions once you are done. All contributions are welcome, big or small!

Jason Moore
Wikimedia LGBT+

by Jason Moore at June 17, 2016 06:46 PM

Andre Klapper


Middle East

In late March 2016, I attended some Wikimedia gatherings in the Middle East: The WikiArabia conference in Amman (Jordan), a Technical Meetup in Ramallah (Palestinian territories), and the Wikimedia Hackathon in Jerusalem (Israel).

Your browser cannot play HTML5 video. Download it.

(Video above by Victor Grigas [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

I gave an introduction to the many technical areas in Wikimedia anyone can contribute to. I also gave an introduction how to use Phabricator, the project management suite used (for mostly technical aspects) by the Wikimedia community which allows managing and following progress in projects and collaborating with developers.

Your browser cannot play HTML5 video. Download it.

(Video above by Victor Grigas [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

As I love discussing society and politics I was not sure initially how much I’d have open and blunt conversations. But on the first evening I was already sitting together with folks from Tunesia, Egypt and Saudi-Arabia who were comparing the situations in their home countries. People also allowed me to learn a little bit about how daily life is in Iraq or Saudi-Arabia.



After a short trip to Petra, we spent an entire day to get to and cross the border between Jordan and the West Bank. If you look at the mere distance it feels ridiculous. It definitely makes you appreciate open borders.

At the border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank

At the border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank

Afterwards, we were very lucky that Maysara (one of our hosts) took the time and his car to drive us around in the Westbank to visit a bunch of spots, pass settlements, look at walls, or wonder which streets to take (sometimes a checkpoint with a soldier pointing a machine gun at you helps making decisions).

The old city center of Nablus

The old city center of Nablus

Graffiti on graffiti in Ramallah

Graffiti on graffiti in Ramallah

At some point, Maysara simplified it in a single quoted sentence: For Israelis it’s fear. For Palestinians it’s humiliation.

Street sign in the West Bank

Street sign in the West Bank

Imagery of dead fighters in Nablus

Imagery of dead fighters in Nablus

In Israel, we walked through Jerusalem’s old town, visited Masada and took a bath in the Dead Sea.

Dead Sea: Past war zones

Dead Sea: Past war zones

View from Masada

View from Masada (the squares were siege camps)

On the last day I visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial with some co-workers (thanks to Moriel for organizing it). It’s obviously an activity you cannot “look forward to”. I am still impressed by our guide who explained and summarized history extremely well.
The architecture of Yad Vashem makes you go through several rooms on the left and right of the passageway in a chronological way and our guide mentioned several times that you “cannot yet see what is coming a few rooms (means: a few years) later”, and the question “Why did Jewish citizens not flee” got answered by “Where would you try to escape to if even outside of ghettos and concentration camps everybody is hostile”. Which explained very well the self-understanding why to found a state for Jews.

I am incredibly thankful to those many great people I could meet and who shared their points of views on the social and political situation, always in a pretty reflected and respectful way despite of all the frustration being around.
And whatever my question was to locals, the answer pretty much always was “It’s more complicated than you thought.”


Afterwards I spent some time in India to attend Rootconf, visit GeekSkool to learn a lot about why the concept works, and attend GNOME.Asia (thanks to Shobha and everybody organizing it!).

Hardware recycling via badge lanyards

Hardware recycling via badge lanyards

Breakdance competitions

Breakdance competitions

In a society where the path of welfare could be expressed by “walk → motorbike → car”, I received some grins admitting I had never had a motorbike ride before. In Indian traffic I’d call that an experience, for a tourist like me.

GNOME.Asia 2016 venue

GNOME.Asia 2016 venue

GNOME.Asia 2016 music

GNOME.Asia 2016 music

As usual, it’s wonderful to finally meet folks in person who you’ve only spoken to online beforehand, and to hang out with old friends. (I sound like a broken record here. I am sorry I could not see everybody. I’ll be back.)

by aklapper at June 17, 2016 06:00 PM

Wiki Education Foundation

Five ways the NWSA-Wiki Ed partnership has made an impact

Adam Hyland
Adam Hyland

Wiki Ed staff will present at the Wiki Diversity conference this Friday. The event is hosted by Wikimedia DC at the National Archives. Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight, co-founder of WikiProject Women in Red, and a driving force for writing women into Wikipedia, will speak as keynote. The conference aims to focus on “diversity issues throughout the Wikimedia movement.”

Wiki Ed will join Patti Provance from the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA).

Together, we’ll showcase how Wiki Ed’s partnership with the NWSA is narrowing the gender gap on Wikipedia. For those of you who can’t attend, I wanted to share five ways this partnership has made an impact.

1. We’re bringing more students and instructors to Wikipedia.

Wikipedia’s gender gap is old news. In 2008, a study found that Wikipedia was incredibly skewed toward male editors. In the United States, merely 15% of those who contributed to Wikipedia were women. Our partnership with the NWSA is addressing the resulting gap. NWSA encourages Wikipedia writing assignments for higher ed students. NWSA instructors assign students to write about women’s studies topics on Wikipedia.

Those women’s studies courses make up 12% of the courses in Wiki Ed’s Classroom Program, and they’ve contributed 14% of content. That’s improved thousands of articles on women’s studies topics across Wikipedia, from biographies of film makers and authors to the political status of women across the world.

2. Students are contributing on a massive scale.

We knew NWSA students would improve Wikipedia. But thanks to our data science intern Kevin Schiroo, we can finally see how much. Across our partnership, NWSA students contributed 4.3% of new women’s studies content to Wikipedia. That’s a major portion of a site that happens to be the largest volunteer project on the planet.

Looking at all of Wiki Ed’s courses, more than 1,600 students contributed content related to women’s studies last term alone. They’ve added 1.1 million words to more than 1,700 articles, and they’ve created 237. That’s a powerful impact.

3. Thanks to NWSA, we’re keeping up.

Wiki Ed’s partnership with the NWSA helps us reach more instructors, more students and, ultimately, more content. Together, we’ve boosted the number of Classroom Program participants in Women’s Studies courses.

Students produced 35% more content related to women’s studies after the partnership than before. As excellent community-led gender gap initiatives such as WikiProject Women Scientists and WikiProject Women in Red have soared, our students are keeping pace. That means NWSA is part of the solution.

Case in point: Wikipedian Emily Temple-Wood’s work creating biographies of women scientists has had such an impact on Wikipedia that she became an outlier! We were actually interested to see what Wiki Ed students contributed to the pool of editors who weren’t Emily. When we adjusted for Emily’s contributions, we saw that student contributions increased by 10% to 4.8% of overall created content. We’re saying that mostly to say: Good work, Emily!

We’re proud to see an increase in the volunteer editors tackling Wikipedia’s representation of women’s topics. Wiki Ed’s student editors are working alongside those volunteers, and they’re keeping up.

4. Students are contributing quality content.

Students aren’t just adding volume. The quality of that content matters. Students contributing to Wikipedia in a classroom have advantages. They’re better prepared than almost any other new editor. They have trainings, access to vast university resources, and an instructor to guide them.

So it’s no surprise that they’re not just contributing, but contributing meaningful content. Take Dr. Ariella Rotramel’s course as an example. That course made substantive contributions to 16 articles and created four.

That includes a collaboration on the article for Audre Lord’s essay collection, Sister Outsider. One student created the article, another worked to improve it. Together, they created a substantive article on an important collection of feminist writing.

5. It’s not just quality content. It’s overdue content.

We’re filling gaps in areas that volunteers haven’t tackled in the 15 years since Wikipedia’s been here. For example, the article on sexuality and disability. That article, created in 2008, saw a handful of edits. It’s been tagged as “in need of an expert” since 2009. This term, Wikipedia got one: A student in Dr. Juana Maria Rodriguez’s class at UC-Berkeley.

That student rewrote the lead. They added a history section, drawing on some difficult-to-find resources. They expanded the level of detail across every section, especially the section on self-image. That student added about 7,500 words to the article.

That’s just one example. There is still plenty of work to do for articles on women’s studies topics, and across the field of gender and sexuality.

In conclusion, our NWSA partnership has made an impact on Wikipedia’s coverage of women’s studies topics. We think it speaks to the power of our Classroom Program to improve Wikipedia. It also speaks to the power of collaborations between Wiki Ed and academic associations. Wiki Ed is looking for new instructors and partners to work with us to improve Wikipedia in many other topic areas. You can reach us at contact@wikiedu.org to get involved.

“5” Image derived from 5NumberFiveInCircle by Andre666 at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia

by Adam Hyland at June 17, 2016 04:00 PM

Weekly OSM

weeklyOSM 308


Data-driven styling for live earthquake tracking [1] | the real time earthquake map


  • It looks like the new mapping function of Maps.me creates some false data in OSM (automatic translation from German). Some mappers are collecting questionable edits on a wiki page.
  • User JIDB improved his proposal posted in April about extending the tagging of Kneipp facilities based on users comments. Kneipp facilities (in German) are popular in German speaking countries.
  • An ambitious discussion takes place on the tagging mailing list about turn lanes.
  • Kevin Kohler starts a discussion about bus route 95A  (automatic translation) where the route has two variants, one of which only runs once a day in each direction. The discussion centres around what happens if someone uses OSM and thinks they are on the frequent part of the route when they are not and how can it be tagged or indeed how should it be tagged.
  • User Amacri posted a request for a new tag natural=upland as type way or to enable the use of type “way” for the tag “place”. Currently, the tag place=isolated_dwelling is defined as node or a polygon (area), but not as a way.
  • A call for a tree mapping party in Basaveshwaranagar (India) on ‘The World Environment Day’.
  • A tweet announcing that OSM France is present at the Fujitsu World Tour.
  • A cool project to visualize OSM data in 3D and split vertically by year. The developer of the project used the OSM Postgis Script to load the data into PostGIS. The result is a 3D map which can be navigated.


  • A paper entitled “Guided Classification System for Conceptual Overlapping Classes in OpenStreetMap” has been just published in the International Journal of Geo-Information. The paper aims at contributing to the validation of OSM datasets. A web-based application called Grass&Green was implemented which provides recommendations for crowdsourcing validation. This research encourages the development of customized applications that target a particular geographic feature.


  • Wojciech Myrda documented his import of GDOS data in Poland.

OpenStreetMap Foundation

  • The OSMF License Working Group has submitted the text of the Collective Database Guideline to the OSMF Board for a decision. There is a discussion concerning this matter on the mailing-list Legal-Talk.


  • State of the Map US 2016, will be held at Seattle University on the 23rd to the 25th of July and will focus on the importance of free map data in humanitarian efforts of organizations, ranging from Microsoft and the American Red Cross to the Tacoma Fire Department. More information here.
  • OSM talks resume at RIOSCRAM 2016 – ISCRAM Conference in Rio de Janeiro.

Humanitarian OSM

  • The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team of the University of Vermont reported on its activities in recent months in response to the disasters in Ecuador and Sri Lanka.
  • Nirab Pudasaini reports in opensource.com on the role of OSM and other Open Data/Humanitarian projects after the devastating earthquake in Nepal 2015. In summary he explains: Opensource projects save lives.
  • Dale Kunce provides in Missing Maps blog a compilation of detected road kilometers, depending on the acquisition year. As examples he uses the United States, the Philippines and Guinea. He thinks that this can indicate which areas are still relatively unmapped.
  • On the HOT mailing list some papers on the effective impact of disaster mapping are collected.


  • [1] Peter Liu from Mapbox uses the data from USGS (US Geological Survey) and created a real-time map of all earthquakes, which are measured by the USGS. Please be patient, retrieving more than 9000 quakes of this month takes some time. 😉 Hover over each marker to inspect the quake, and click to zoom in and view satellite imagery of the surrounding area.
  • The center of Berlin is now represented in Minecraft. The map is based on open geodata from the Berliner Datenportal and OpenStreetMap. It was developed by con terra using FME ™ technology. The map can be downloaded and used freely.
  • The piano map is quite new and not yet listed in the map collection.

Open Data

  • A paper published at AGILE (A conceptual model to assess the quality of volunteered geographic information for the purpose of flood management that combines cross-platform data, i.e. OpenStreetMap and social media data, and authoritative data. This model is part of an ongoing research for the development of an approach for quality assessment of VGI in flood situations from citizen observers. (Update – Link to the paper fixed!)
  • Karin Lindström reports (Schweden) in ComputerSweden on the release of official maps in Sweden (automatic translation). Users Skinfaxi opened a discussion in the German forum in which it is recognised that these data are not yet OSM-compatible (automatic translation).


  • Mapbox has set up a support point for attribution issues on Mapbox hosted maps.
  • Sven Geggus asks (Deutsch) (automatic translation) at mailing list Talk-de if there are leading cases about the usage of registered trademark symbols in maps.


  • Users yogesh10446 points to the Android app mymap. It offers offline maps for Nepal and makes it possible to share location with friends and to edit OSM data as well.


  • James Halliday explains with more technical details how osm-p2p works. The project is a decentralized peer-to-peer database for storing and editing OpenStreetMap data.
  • As part of his GSoC project Zabot worked on generating perlin noise to suppress the otherwise visible texture repeats.
  • Meteopool.org who make maps for storm chasing and weather watching, wrote about (German) (automatic translation) their switch to OpenLayers 3 and forthcoming relaunch. They are also looking for a student developer or keen storm chaser to help them in creating three smartphone apps.
  • The planet dump which is usually published on Thursday was delayed by a few days because a very long comment at a changeset discussion made a script crash.
  • Stefan Hahmann reports about an older publication of his about generating incline values for street networks based on GPS traces from OpenStreetMap. Those values might be used for energy-efficient routing or they might be used to reconstruct more detailed elevation data with a method presented in Germany last year.


Software Version Release Date Comment
Overpass-Turbo 2016-06-06 6.6.2016
Maps.me iOS 6.1.9 7.6.2016 Bug fixes, new map data files
iD 1.9.6 8.6.2016
libosmium 2.7.3 8.6.2016 faster output of OSM files in format of XML, OPL or debug format
Maps.me Android var 8.6.2016 Bug fixes, new map dada files
Osmium Tool 1.3.1 8.6.2016 new parameters and command line switches
Route Converter 2.18 8.6.2016 see release information itself
Mapillary Android 2.22 13.6.2016 bug fixes and extended features
OSRM Backend 5.2.1 13.6.2016 bug fix version to 5.2.0

Provided by the OSM Software Watchlist

Did you know …

  • … the Blender tutorial “Creating a Realistic City With OpenStreetMap in Blender”? On Lesterbanks.com you can see the 90 minutes video with impressive results.
  • … the page who shows you an overview of GIS formats?

OSM in the media

  • Chefuturo.it: (Italian) In Lecce, Apulia, 80 volunteers got together along with the disabled people to capture more than 1,100 barriers in town and mapped them. (automatic translation)

Other “geo” things

  • Justin O’Beirne, former head of department at Apple Maps,  did a detail analysis of the differences between Apple and Google Maps. The analysis are divided into 4 parts, the part 1 is about the content and their descriptions. The next parts will be published in the following weeks.
  • The Indian government denies permission to Google Street View over security concerns.
  • Google has developed OpenLocationCode from its Zurich engineering office. With the help of this system a location should be easier to relate to than using Latitude/Longitude. The code is available on Github. The addresses can [be determined] on the map (https://plus.codes/6PVH0000) such as:
    • Olympiastadion, Berlin, Germany 52.51462/13.23952 or 9F4MG67Q+VQ
    • Tatro Carlos Marx, Havanna, Cuba, 23.12933/-82.41934 or 76MV4HHJ+M7
    • Macchu Picchu, Peru, -13.16399/-72.54453 or 57R9RFP4+C4 (Update: codes fixed)
  • An article in Wired about Transitland, which collects and standardizes real-time public data sets for public transport. This service, offered by mapping platform Mapzen, provides developers with public transport data of more than 200 regions.
  • Current geoinformation is economically more valuable. This is the result of a survey of swisstopo and the Swiss organization for geographical information (SOGI).

Upcoming Events

Where What When Country
Esino Lario Mapping party in preparazione di Wikimania 2016 06/18/2016-06/19/2016 italy
Nottingham Nottingham 06/21/2016 united kingdom
Rapperswil Swiss PG Day 2016 06/24/2016 switzerland
Kyoto 京都世界遺産マッピングパーティ:最終回 天龍寺 06/25/2016 japan
Sliač Mapping párty Sliač 06/25/2016 slovakia
Colorado Saturday Mapternoon, Evergreen 06/25/2016 united states
Graz Stammtisch 06/27/2016 austria
Montpellier Rencontre mensuelle 06/29/2016 france
Antwerp Missing Maps @ IPIS 06/29/2016 belgium
Shizuoka OpenStreetMapワークショップ in 日本平 (Nihondaira) 07/02/2016 japan

Note: If you like to see your event here, please put it into the calendar. Only data which is there, will appear in weeklyOSM. Please check your event in our public calendar preview and correct it, where appropiate..

This weekly was produced by Hakuch, Laura Barroso, Nakaner, Peda, Rogehm, Softgrow, derFred, jinalfoflia, mgehling, seumas, stephan75, wambacher, widedangel.

by weeklyteam at June 17, 2016 11:25 AM

Wikimedia Tech Blog

Eight Wikimedia projects in Google Summer of Code 2016

Photo by Tesselate, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Photo by Tesselate, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Wikimedia is happy to welcome eight students to work on their Google Summer of Code 2016 projects. After completing the initial community bonding period, the eight developers and their Wikimedia mentors are working at full speed, approaching their mid term evaluations.

These are the selected students with their projects and mentors:

For the first time we have promoted Community Wishlist projects to candidates for these internships. One of the selected projects (List of Contributors ) ranked #59 out of 107 proposals in the Community Wishlist Survey 2015. Community feedback and support to these projects is very welcomed. We want these developers to feel a home in our community and engaged to continue contributing to Wikimedia after the end of their internship.

Google Summer of Code is an outreach program to encourage university students to get involved in free and open source software development projects guided by community mentors. The selected students get to participate in a three month internship program with their mentoring organization, collaborating by using version control systems, IRC, mailing lists and issue trackers. Google pays a stipend of $5,500 USD to each student upon the successful completion of their project.

Outreachy Round 12

Three of the selected candidates applied also to Outreachy, a biannual program intended at increasing the participation of women and other minorities in free and open source software projects. It is similar to Google Summer of Code in case of stipends and internship structure, but open to women (cis and trans), trans men, genderqueer people. Wikimedia encourages its eligible participants to apply for both programs. Outreachy candidates that are eligible for GSoC obtain the GSoC internship in case of being accepted in both programs. In this round, Wikimedia received 12 Outreachy applications, out of which 6 applicants applied to both the programs.

Tony Thomas, Organization administrator with Sumit

by Tony Thomas at June 17, 2016 12:29 AM

June 16, 2016

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata - Mark Fiore won the 2016 #Herblock prize

The Herblock prize is just one award I added data to. I grabbed the data from the Wikipedia article and used "Linked Items" to import the winners. I checked the website of the award and noticed that there is a winner.

I added Mr Fiore as the 2016 Herblock prize winner.

I have done this before but something is changing. At Wikidata they are investigating how lists with Wikidata data may be used in a Wikipedia. Now that makes all the work that I have done relevant because I have concentrated on such lists and categories.

When this works out well, it takes one edit to include new data in every Wikipedia that has an interest about certain data. As Wikidata is finally evolving in this direction, things like showing a label, hopefully any label will be what is shown when a label in the language of the Wikipedia is missing are now relevant. Another new feature is that changes from Wikidata may be shown in the history.

The next thing to consider is that when Wikidata knows that somebody studied at a university, it automatically shows in an associated category.. Technically it is not hard, selling it to the Wikipedia crowd maybe.

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at June 16, 2016 07:54 AM

June 15, 2016

Wiki Education Foundation

Student editors contributed nearly 6% of Wikipedia’s new science content in April

Kevin Schiroo
Wiki Ed’s Data Science intern, Kevin Schiroo

With the first term of the Wikipedia Year of Science complete, and about six months into its launch date on January 1, the Wiki Education Foundation wanted to look at the impact student editors have had on Wikipedia’s science coverage.

Unfortunately, Wikipedia doesn’t label all of its science content as “Science!”, so we had to find a way to see what people were contributing to the sciences. That way, we’d be able to see which portion of that work came from student editors.

Wikipedia provides two pieces of data that we can use to get a pretty good approximation of which topics people write. First, WikiProjects, groups of editors working together to improve content coverage and quality in a given subject area. WikiProjects often leave tags on articles that help identify articles related to the project. Second, the WikiProject directory sorts these WikiProjects by subject. Fortunately for Wiki Ed, one of these subjects is science. Between these two sets of data, we can actually create a list of nearly all science articles.

Using that list of science articles, we can start answering some questions. Digging through the data for the past six months, we saw that Wiki Ed students had added 4,685,882 characters to science articles. Characters aren’t exactly an intuitive measurement, so let’s put this in the context of textbooks.

I have a couple textbooks sitting on my desk. Grabbing one, I see that it has 360 pages. Flipping to a random page, I count 308 words, about 4 characters each — plus one more for a space, giving us 5. Multiply all that together and we get 554,400 characters per textbook.

So, in six months, Wiki Ed students collectively produced 8 and a half new science textbooks.

Is the Year of Science making a difference?

That’s an achievement, but what does it really mean? And how many of those textbooks can be attributed specifically to the Year of Science? After all, students have contributed to science courses before. How much of this content is Wiki Ed just being Wiki Ed?

To get some perspective, I looked at the spring 2015 science numbers. That’s exactly one year before the Year of Science launched.


The graph above shows students’ contributions to science articles plotted over time. The dashed line represents actual daily totals, while the solid line is a smoothed version of the same data to make it easier to read the chart. We clearly see that throughout the semester, Wiki Ed is outperforming itself. In fact, looking at our year-to-year totals, we see an increase of 61.5%.

Student editors are contributing 61.5% more science content this year than last. That proves that the Year of Science has made an impact on student editing. But what does that mean for Wikipedia?

The impact on Wikipedia


Over the last two years, volunteer editors typically added 1.06 million characters a day to Wikipedia’s science articles.

We can use that figure to determine what proportion of science contributions came from Wiki Ed’s students, leaving aside the sporadic spikes in contributions that the graph above makes clear.

There were 151 days between January 1 and May 31. Let’s estimate 151 x 1,060,000 = 160,060,000 characters. During that time period, Wiki Ed produced 4,685,882 characters. That gives us 2.9% of all science activity, which is a pretty large figure. Remember, we’re comparing ourselves to one of the largest volunteer projects on the planet, with tens of thousands of active editors.

While that’s a big number, it also isn’t quite fair. No one really expects that much to be happening in classes in January. Student editors typically start contributing around the start of April to the middle of May.

That’s about 44 days of student activity. Doing the same math as above, 44 days translates to 46,640,000 characters contributed by volunteers. During that same time period, Wiki Ed students produced 2,644,569. This puts us at 5.7%. That is a surprisingly large number, considering the relative sizes of Wikipedia’s volunteer population and Wiki Ed’s student population!

We’re only halfway through the Year of Science, and the results are already impressive. Our students have produced the equivalent of 8.5 new science textbooks. We’ve increased student science output to Wikipedia by more than 60%. And during the most active time of the year, we’re producing 5.7% of all science content on Wikipedia.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the next semester holds!

The Wikipedia Year of Science 2016 is an unprecedented initiative to improve Wikipedia’s potential for communicating science to the public. If you’d like to get involved, please e-mail contact@wikiedu.org. Major support for the Year of Science is generously provided by Google and the Simons Foundation.

Photo: Livros by Farley Santos. CC-BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr.

by Kevin Schiroo at June 15, 2016 04:00 PM

June 14, 2016

Wikimedia Foundation

Keep it free: public domain for California government works under threat

Drawing"> by Heinrich Berann, public domain/CC0.

Drawing by Heinrich Berann, public domain/CC0.

The California legislature is considering AB 2880, a bill that would allow the state and local government to hold copyright on their works. The bill has been widely—and rightfully, in our view—criticized for its negative impact on the public domain and civil discourse. As such, the Wikimedia Foundation has sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee to join other groups in calling for the California senate to reject this bill.

Currently, most works by the California state government are not restricted by copyright—they are part of the public domain, available to be used freely by everyone with no restrictions. The public domain allows everyone to access, copy, share, and remix works, including adding them to Wikipedia articles.

We believe that works produced by the government belong to the public and should stay in the public domain.

The primary purpose of providing copyright protection is to promote creation by rewarding creators with exclusive rights to their works for a limited period of time. Governments, however, do not need this same incentive. Works created by the government are already funded by taxpayers, so the public should have access to the works that their tax dollars fund. In fact, allowing the government to restrict its information with copyright may discourage valuable political commentary.

Under the U.S. Copyright Act, works produced by the federal government are not restricted by copyright. But some states have opted to set a different standard, creating some inconsistency about the copyright status of works produced by various states.

AB 2880 gives California agencies at the state, county, and local level the power to place copyright restrictions on their work. This includes works like research, reports, maps, and photographs produced by the California government and even videos of public meetings. California has a history of strong commitment to enriching the public domain and has limits on how public entities may restrict access to such materials. In the past, California courts have upheld the rule that public entities cannot assert copyright unless they are affirmatively granted the ability to hold copyright by the state legislature. This bill would change California from being one of the most open state governments to one of the least open, in terms of its copyright regime.

AB 2880 appears to be an attempt to solve a specific case where the federal government had improperly contracted to allow a private party to control trademark rights in public property.  This bill is not narrowly tailored to address that case. In fact, this bill may make the problem even worse by increasing the potential for private control and abuse of public property.

The bill was recently amended by the California Assembly, including an attempt to preserve some of the public’s rights to government information and fair use. These amendments do not adequately resolve the public concern with the proposal. The bill still provides broad latitude for the California departments or agencies to restrict their records with copyright. Since federal copyright is automatic, the assumption in this bill is that the government should not be open by default. Although the bill attempts to minimize interference with the right to access public records, adding copyright restrictions will significantly increase the barrier between the government and the public. The bill puts the burden on each department or agency that wishes to maintain even the status quo’s level of transparency. This can result in the law being applied inconsistently or too broadly by different parts of the government.

The public domain makes it easier for the public to access information. The California government should not have exclusive rights to distribute its information. By keeping California works in the public domain, we can all share California’s beautiful photographs, videos, maps, and other documents on Wikipedia and beyond.

You can contact California legislators through the Electronic Frontier Foundation to stand up for the public domain. To discuss the public domain and other important policy issues for Wikimedia, please join the public policy e-mail list.

Stephen LaPorte, Legal Counsel
Wikimedia Foundation

Thank you to Inayat Chaudhry for research and analysis on AB 2880, along with Wikimedia DC and other members of the Wikimedia community who are monitoring this and similar issues to defend the public domain.

by Stephen LaPorte at June 14, 2016 06:34 PM

Wiki Education Foundation

Emerson performing arts students expand Wikipedia’s coverage of playwrights

Every empty Wikipedia article tells a story. When the public turns to Wikipedia for knowledge and nothing comes back, it tells us something about knowledge, culture, and science. Who tells those stories? Who gets a starring role?

At Emerson College, 50 students in Dr. Magda Romanska’s World Drama class tackled both stories. Looking at the blank or near-blank articles for underrepresented playwrights and authors, they decided to do something about it. The result was an assignment that connected students’ passion for literature and drama to a desire to improve public knowledge.

“We know that Wikipedia is a major knowledge resource for the general public, yet the scope of what it covers is very limited,” Dr. Romanska wrote. “For example, although 14 percent of the world’s population lives in Africa, only 3 percent of Wikipedia entries originate from there.”

She calls the assignment a form of digital activism. Her students have added entries related to writers who are neglected or unknown to Western readers. That includes works by African-American playwright Adrienne Kennedy, contributing articles on her plays The Owl Answers, A Rat’s Mass, and Black Children’s Day. Another student wrote about Alice Dunbar Nelson’s 1918 play, found in the pages of the NAACP’s news magazine, Mine Eyes Have Seen. The “lesbian noir” piece, Dress Suits to Hire was tackled by one student; another wrote about Antigona Furiosa, a Latino take on Antigone.

“In our field, it is increasingly important to engage in global outreach and to research, teach, produce, and know works outside of our own culture,” Dr. Romanska writes. “The Wikipedia project has given students an opportunity to contribute to the global discourse in their field.”

That’s clearly motivated students to contribute above and beyond expectations. Student editors in this course were in the top 15% of contributors in our program this term, writing an average of 2,200 words each.

One of her students, Krystyna Resavy, created the article Theatre and Disability.

“I found myself spending hours of research simply because of my interest for the topic,” Krystyna said. “My goal was to do this topic justice, and to give my audience a well rounded article.”

Many students found that contributing articles on important, but little-known works, gave their writing purpose.

“I realized that I was writing the first comprehensive overview of this incredibly important contemporary work,” said Travis Amiel, who wrote an entry for Branden Jacobs Jenkins’ play, An Octoroon. “People’s first impression of the play could be coming from what I wrote.”

He said he imagined auditioning actors, students, and prospective audiences reading the article.

“So I wanted to make this the article I would want and need to read. Every word I wrote gave me pause. How can I prove this? Where is the fact I am citing?”

Katharine Johnson wrote an entry on Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information. She agreed that having an audience for her writing changed the way she wrote.

“It was a refreshing change from writing papers, and it was really great knowing that we were contributing to a much larger community than Emerson,” she said. “We helped to spread the word about theatre and plays, and added diversity to [Wikipedia’s] theatre knowledge. It was very rewarding working on a project that you know will have a larger impact than just in your college community.”

Kenzy Peach worked on an article for David Drake’s iconic play, The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me.

“Knowing … that research is accessible to millions of people is so rewarding. I also was able to share my work with the playwright himself, with the help of my professor, and he was very pleased with the outcome,” Kenzy said. “Unlike many other projects I’ve done in classes, this one had real-world outcomes and consequences, making its success so much more rewarding.”

Dr. Romanska worked with the Wiki Education Foundation, which offered online trainings for her and her students. Wiki Ed’s content expert, Adam Hyland, also worked with the class as it contributed content to Wikipedia.

“Adam was always available and extremely helpful spearheading glitches and any technical problems that the students encountered,” Dr. Romanska said. “Adam also offered editorial suggestions regarding the content and formatting of the article to make sure they fit Wikipedia standards, and won’t be removed by another Wikipedia editor. Working with Adam was a real pleasure as he was very responsive, diligent and thoughtful in his comments to the students.”

Wiki Ed is focused on our Year of Science in 2016, but courses like this one show the value of the Wikipedia assignment across a variety of fields. Connecting students to Wikipedia’s readers helps expand public knowledge, and gives students a sense that their writing is a real contribution.

“The project was a great success,” said Dr. Romanska, “and the students were thrilled to be able to contribute to the large body of knowledge and to share their love of theatre with the world.”

Interested in sharing these benefits with your students? Browse our resources, or start a conversation with us by emailing contact@wikiedu.org.

Photo: Red Curtain by Tom Woodward, CC-BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr.


by Eryk Salvaggio at June 14, 2016 04:00 PM

June 13, 2016

Wiki Education Foundation

The Roundup: History and Psychology

Eleanor Gibson was a psychologist who contributed to the understanding of childhood perception. Most notably, she designed the “visual cliff” experiment, which gave psychology textbooks the ubiquitous and horrifying image of a baby crawling off the edge of a tabletop. Her experiment showed that newborns of many species have an instinctual understanding of depth. (It’s OK, no babies were harmed: There was a sheet of plexiglass just over the edge of the cliff.)

Gibson’s contribution to psychology is a major one, taught in many introductory childhood development courses. She won the National Medal of Science in 1992. And yet, her Wikipedia biography was quite thin.

That was until a student from North Dakota State University’s PSYC 480 History and Systems of Psychology course, led by Dr. Jim Council, took it on. The article now has seven sections and details many of her major works and contributions to psychology.

It’s only one example of the knowledge those students are sharing with the world by writing material that goes to Wikipedia instead of writing that goes into a filing cabinet.

Another student expanded the biography of Florence Denmark, the former president of the American Psychological Association and a notable psychologist. Her work has contributed to the understanding of gender effects on experimental psychology.

It’s fitting, then, that her article was expanded as part of our Year of Science efforts to encourage more coverage of women scientists on Wikipedia. A student in that course took what had been a nine-sentence biography and fleshed it out into a multi-section history of her career, including her various honors.

Students have expanded biographies of important women psychologists, but also created important information aimed at improving psychology articles on Wikipedia. These articles require a careful consideration of medical sources, and benefit from small courses with careful supervision from an expert in the field.

For example, a student contributed information about Minor depressive disorder, in which at least two depressive symptoms are present for two weeks. The article had only been a few sentences. After that student’s involvement, it is a deep, informative article about symptoms, their treatment, and even the history of diagnosis.

Psychology articles are a tricky subject. When the public wants to find information about these topics, they often go online. It’s in the best interest of trained experts in the field to make sure the information people find is accurate and up to date. While some bemoan Wikipedia’s presence in the field, others, such as Dr. Jim Council and his students, are working to make sure the information they find is useful and accurate.

Wiki Ed is dedicated to improving medical, science, and psychology topics. Small classes with students capable of contextualizing their knowledge make excellent candidates for improving these topics. They get experience in the public communication aspect of their field, and flex the knowledge they’ve learned by comparing it to what’s presented on Wikipedia.

But as we’ve seen, even students new to their field can make an impact by expanding biographies and historical information about psychologists on Wikipedia, especially women. Women scientists are underrepresented on Wikipedia, and when articles are present, they often just aren’t as detailed as articles about men.

We’d love to talk to more instructors who see a role for their students on Wikipedia, and show you how straightforward a Wikipedia portion of your class can be. Send us an email to start the conversation: contact@wikiedu.org.

Photo: I can see my house! by D’Arcy Norman from Calgary, Canada, CC BY 2.0 via Flickr.

by Eryk Salvaggio at June 13, 2016 04:00 PM

Tech News

Tech News issue #24, 2016 (June 13, 2016)

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June 13, 2016 12:00 AM

June 12, 2016


Archiving Web links: Building global layers of caches and mirrors

The Web is highly distributed and in flux; the people using it, even moreso.  Many projects exist to optimize its use, including:

  1. Reducing storage and bandwidth:  compressing parts of the web; deduplicating files that exist in many places, replacing many with pointers to a single copy of the file [Many browsers & servers, *Box]
  2. Reducing latency and long-distance bandwidth:  caching popular parts of the web locally around the world [CDNs, clouds, &c]
  3. Increasing robustness & permanence of links: caching linked pages (with timestamps or snapshots, for dynamic pages) [Memento, Wayback Machine, perma, amber]
  4. Increasing interoperability of naming schemes for describing or pointing to things on the Web, so that it’s easier to cluster similar things and find copies or versions of them [HvdS’s 15-year overview of advancing interop]

This week I was thinking about the 3rd point. What would a comprehensively backed-up Web of links look like?  How resilient can we make references to all of the failure modes we’ve seen and imagined?  Some threads for a map:

  1. Links should include timestamps, important ones should request archival permalinks.
    • When creating a reference, sites should notify each of the major cache-networks, asking them to store a copy.
    • Robust links can embed information about where to find a cache in the a tag that generates the link (and possibly a fuzzy content hash?).
    • Permalinks can use an identifier system that allows searching for the page across any of the nodes of the local network, and across the different cache-networks. (Browsers can know how to attempt to find a copy.)
  2. Sites should have a coat of amber: a local cached snapshot of anything linked from that site, stored on their host or a nearby supernode.  So as long as that site is available, snapshots of what it links to are, too.
    • We can comprehensively track whether sites have signalled they have an amber layer.  If a site isn’t yet caching what they link to, readers can encourage them to do so or connect them to a supernode.
    • Libraries should host amber supernodes: caches for sites that can’t host those snapshots on their host machine.
  3. Snapshots of entire websites should be archived regularly
    • Both public snapshots for search engines and private ones for long-term archives.
  4. A global network of mirrors (a la [C]LOCKSS) should maintain copies of permalink and snapshot databases
    • Consortia of libraries, archives, and publishers should commit to a broad geographic distribution of mirrors.
      • mirrors should be available within any country that has expensive interconnects with the rest of the world;
      • prioritization should lead to a kernel of the cached web that is stored in ‘seed bank‘ style archives, in the most secure vaults and other venues
  5. There should be a clear way to scan for fuzzy matches for a broken link. Especially handy for anyone updating a large archive of broken links.
    • Is the base directory there? Is the base URL known to have moved?
    • Are distant-timestamped versions of the file available?  [some robustlink implementations do this already]
    • Are there exact matches elsewhere in the web for a [rare] filename?  Can you find other documents with the same content hash? [if a hash was included in the link]
    • Are there known ways to contact the original owner of the file/directory/site?

Related questions: What other aspects of robustness need consideration? How are people making progress at each layer?  What more is needed to have a mesh of archived links at every scale? For instance, WordPress supports a chunk of the Web; top CDNs cache more than that. What other players can make this happen?  What is needed for them to support this?

by metasj at June 12, 2016 08:23 PM

Resident Mario

June 11, 2016

This month in GLAM

This Month in GLAM: May 2016

by Admin at June 11, 2016 12:38 PM

June 10, 2016

Wikimedia Foundation

In worldwide vote, Wikimedia users select extraordinary picture of the year

Photo by NASA, public domain/CC0.

First place: NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft captured this high-resolution enhanced color view of Pluto on July 14, 2015. Photo by NASA, public domain/CC0.


Over the last several months, a world of Wikimedia volunteer users selected from the year’s “featured” pictures to determine this year’s picture of the year—the tenth since the competition started in 2006. With the votes tallied and validated, here are the top twelve. You can view the rest over on Commons.


Photo by Ayyoubsabawiki, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Second place: the interior of Nasir ol Molk Mosque, located in Shiraz, Iran. Photo by Ayyoubsabawiki, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Photo by Ian Norman, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Third place, “Heavens Above Her”: the Milky Way, seen from Trona Pinnacles National Landmark, California. Photo by Ian Norman, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Photo by David Iliff, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Fourth place: the Long Room of the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin. Photo by David Iliff, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Photo by Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Fifth place: sunset view from the back of the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Suðurland, Iceland. Photo by Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Photo by NASA, public domain/CC0.

Sixth place: the Pillars of Creation, as seen from the Hubble Telescope in 2014. Photo by NASA, public domain/CC0.

Photo by Maxime Raynal, CC BY 2.0.

Seventh place: a storm hits Port-la-Nouvelle, in southern France. Photo by Maxime Raynal, CC BY 2.0.

Photo by Daisuke Tashiro, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Eighth place: a juvenile Macaca fuscata yawning. Photo by Daisuke Tashiro, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Photo by Heris Luiz Cordeiro Rocha, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Ninth place: sunrise with Paraná pines as seen at the Serra da Bocaina National Park, Brazil. Photo by Heris Luiz Cordeiro Rocha, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Photo by Arild Vågen, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Tenth place: Rådhuset metro station, Stockholm. Photo by Arild Vågen, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Photo by Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Eleventh place: Las Lajas Sanctuary church, Ipiales, Colombia. Photo by Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Photo by SAC Scott Lewis/Ministry of Defence (UK), OGL.

Twelfth place: a Second World War-era Spitfire over RAF Coningsby. Photo by SAC Scott Lewis/Ministry of Defence (UK), OGL.

Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate
Wikimedia Foundation

by Ed Erhart at June 10, 2016 06:41 PM

Wiki Education Foundation

Revised Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

When you use any website, you’re subject to that site’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, and Wiki Education Foundation’s web properties – our main wikiedu.org website, dashboard.wikiedu.org, ask.wikiedu.org, and playlist.wiki – are no different. We’re updating our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy on July 8, 2016. The revised versions are below.

This update to the Terms of Service includes a provision that requires acknowledgement that users are either 18 or older, or are 13 or older and have their parents’ consent to use Wiki Ed’s sites; limitation of liability and indemnification clauses; language regarding prohibited uses; a provision regarding the use of third party applications; provisions regarding Wiki Ed’s DMCA policy and IP infringement; a choice of law provision; an arbitration and waiver of class action provision; and a forum selection clause. Revisions to the Privacy Policy include identifying that various types of information that Wiki Ed may gather; providing information as to how users may opt out of being on Wiki Ed’s mailing list; including a provision addressing the collection and use of children’s information; describing how Wiki Ed secures the information it gathers; and discussing how Wiki Ed responds to Do Not Track signals.

Users are welcome to comment on the proposed changes by sending an email to contact@wikiedu.org.

We’d like to express our gratitude to Aaron Wright and the Cardozo Tech Startup Clinic for their assistance in this matter.

Frank Schulenburg
Executive Director

Terms of Service

The following terms and conditions govern all use of the Wiki Education Foundation (“Wiki Ed”) website and all content, services, and products available at or through the website, including, but not limited to, dashboard.wikiedu.org, ask.wikiedu.org, playlist.wiki, and wikiedu.org (taken together, the “Sites” or the “Services”). Our Services are offered subject to your acceptance without modification of all of the terms and conditions contained herein and all other operating rules, policies (including, without limitation, Wiki Ed’s Privacy Policy) and procedures that may be published from time to time by Wiki Ed (collectively, the “Agreement”). You agree that we may automatically upgrade our Services, and these terms will apply to any upgrades.

1. Acceptance of this Agreement

Please read this Agreement carefully before accessing or using our Services. By accessing or using any part of our Services, you agree to become bound by the terms and conditions of this Agreement. If you do not agree to all the terms and conditions of this Agreement, then you may not access or use any of our Services. If these terms and conditions are considered an offer by Wiki Ed, acceptance is expressly limited to these terms.

2. Eligibility

In order to use our Services you need to (1) be 18 or older, or be 13 or older and have your parent or guardian’s consent to the Agreement, and (2) have the power to enter a binding contract with us and not be barred from doing so under any applicable laws. You also promise that any registration information that you submit to Wiki Ed is true, accurate, and complete, and you agree to keep it that way at all times.

3. Responsibility of Contributors

If you create a Dashboard course page, ask or answer a question on ask.wikiedu.org, create a Playlist on playlist.wiki, or otherwise make (or allow any third party to make) material available (collectively, the “Content”), you are entirely responsible for the substance of, and any harm resulting from, the Content and/or your posting, sharing, or distributing of the Content, regardless of the form of the Content, which includes, but is not limited to, text, photo, video, audio, or code. By using Wiki Ed Sites, you represent and warrant that your Content and conduct do not violate these terms or the Wikimedia Foundation’s Terms of Use. By submitting Content to Wiki Ed, and in consideration of the rights granted to you under this Agreement, you grant Wiki Ed a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, perpetual (or in jurisdiction where this is not permitted, for a term equal to the duration of the Agreement plus twenty (20) years), irrevocable, fully paid, worldwide license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, make available to the public (e.g., perform or display), publish, translate, modify, create derivative works from, and distribute the Content on Wikipedia under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (“CC-By-SA”) License. Aside from the rights specifically granted herein, you retain ownership of all rights, including intellectual property rights, in the Content.

Wiki Ed may, but has no obligation to, monitor, review, or edit Content. In all cases, Wiki Ed reserves the right to remove or disable access to any Content for any or no reason, including but not limited to, Content that, in Wiki Ed’s sole discretion, violates the Agreement. Wiki Ed may take these actions without prior notification to you or any third party (although we’ll do our best to do so). Removal or disabling of access to Content shall be at our sole discretion, and we do not promise to remove or disable access to any specific Content.


If you delete Content, Wiki Ed will use reasonable efforts to remove it from its Sites and Wikipedia, but you acknowledge that caching or references to the Content may not be made immediately unavailable. Without limiting any of these representations or warranties, Wiki Ed has the right (though not the obligation) to, in its sole discretion to: (i) refuse or remove any Content that, in Wiki Ed’s reasonable opinion, violates any Wiki Ed policy or is in any way harmful or objectionable; or (ii) terminate or deny access to and use of the Services to any individual or entity for any reason.

4. Prohibited Uses.

When using Wiki Ed’s Services, you agree not to:

  • Publish material or engage in activity that is illegal under applicable law, such as the U.S. Copyright Act, the Lanham (Trademark) Act, the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”) or the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”);
  • Use the Services to overburden Wiki Ed’s systems, as determined by us in our sole discretion;
  • Disclose the sensitive personal information of others without their permission;
  • Send spam or bulk unsolicited messages;
  • Interfere with, disrupt, or attack the Services or Wiki Ed’s network; or
  • Distribute material that is or enables malware, spyware, adware, or other malicious code.

Please respect Wiki Ed, the owners of the Content, and other users of our Sites. Don’t engage in any activity, post any Content, or register and/or use a username, which is or includes material that:

  • is offensive, abusive, defamatory, pornographic, threatening, or obscene;
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  • links to, references, or otherwise promotes commercial products or services, except as expressly authorized by Wiki Ed;
  • interferes with or in any way disrupts the Sites, tampers with, breaches, or attempts to probe, scan, or test for vulnerabilities in Wiki Ed’s computer systems, network, usage rules, or any of Wiki Ed’s security components, authentication measures or any other protection measures applicable to the Service, the Content or any part thereof; or
  • conflicts with the Agreements, as determined by Wiki Ed.

You acknowledge and agree that posting any such Content may result in immediate termination or suspension of your Wiki Ed account.

5. Responsibility of Visitors

Wiki Ed has not reviewed, and cannot review, all of the Content posted to our Services, and cannot therefore be responsible for the Content, its use or effects. By operating our Services, Wiki Ed does not represent or imply that it endorses the Content posted therein, or that it believes such material to be accurate, useful, or non-harmful. You are responsible for taking precautions as necessary to protect yourself and your computer systems from viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and other harmful or destructive content. Our Services may contain Content that is offensive, indecent, or otherwise objectionable, as well as Content containing technical inaccuracies, typographical mistakes, and other errors. Our Services may also contain material that violates the privacy or publicity rights, or infringes the intellectual property and other proprietary rights, of third parties, or the downloading, copying or use of which is subject to additional terms and conditions, stated or unstated. Wiki Ed disclaims any responsibility for any harm resulting from the use by visitors of our Services, or from any downloading by those visitors of Content posted therein.

6. Content Posted on Other Websites

We have not reviewed, and cannot review, all of the Content, including computer software, made available through the websites and webpages to which Wiki Ed Services links and that link to our Services. Wiki Ed does not have any control over those non-Wiki Ed websites, and is not responsible for their contents or their use. By linking to a non-Wiki Ed website, Wiki Ed does not represent or imply that it endorses such website. You are responsible for taking precautions as necessary to protect yourself and your computer systems from viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and other harmful or destructive content. Wiki Ed disclaims any responsibility for any harm resulting from your use of non-Wiki Ed websites and webpages.

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  • The website URL that contains or is associated with the infringing content;
  • A short explanation of how the content infringes your rights;
  • A statement that you have a good faith belief that the use of the copyrighted work is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or under the law; and
  • A statement that the information included in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that you are authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright.

Please note that we have designated the following agent for such copyright complaints or requests under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”): Sage Ross.

Copyright complaints and requests can be sent directly to this agent at contact@wikiedu.org. To learn more about the policies and requirements of the DMCA, please visit http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/dmca.pdf.

10. Other Intellectual Property Infringement

If you send us a request to take down content that infringes upon any other intellectual property rights (e.g., trademarks, patents, trade secrets, rights of publicity, etc.), your complaint or request should include:

  • The intellectual property you own that is being infringed;
  • A description of the content you believe infringes upon your intellectual property;
  • The website URL that contains or is associated with the infringing content; and
  • A short explanation of how the content infringes your rights.

11. Complaint Processing

Once we receive a complaint, we will make best efforts to review it as soon as possible. If you have provided all of the information above, we will promptly remove or block access to the content and will send a notice to the other users of the Sites indicating that we have done so.

12. Counter Notice

If you receive a notice that we have removed infringing or false content, and you believe that we have acted as a result of misidentification or error, you can lodge a Counter Notice by emailing us at contact@wikiedu.org. Any Counter Notice should include:

  • Your name, address, telephone number, and email address;
  • An identification of the material that we have taken down;
  • A statement under penalty of perjury that you have a good faith belief that the material was removed as a result of mistake or misidentification;
  • A statement that you consent to the jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court for the federal district in which you reside, and that you will accept service of process from the complaining party or its agent in the event that a lawsuit is filed against you relating to such content; and
  • Your physical or electronic signature.

If we receive such a Counter Notice, we will re-upload the content, unless we first receive notice from the complaining party that it has filed a lawsuit or other action seeking a court order to keep you from engaging in the allegedly infringing activity.

13. Intellectual Property

This Agreement does not transfer from Wiki Ed to you any Wiki Ed or third party intellectual property, and all right, title, and interest in and to such property will remain (as between the parties) solely with Wiki Ed. Trademarks, service marks, graphics and logos used in connection with our Services may be the trademarks of other third parties. Your use of our Services grants you no right or license to reproduce or otherwise use any Wiki Ed or third-party trademarks.

14. Changes

We are constantly updating our Services, and that means sometimes we have to change the legal terms under which our Services are offered. If we make changes that are material, we will let you know by posting on our blog before the changes take effect. The notice will designate a reasonable period of time after which the new terms will take effect. If you disagree with our changes, then you should stop using our Services within the designated notice period. Your continued use of our Services will be subject to the new terms. However, any dispute that arose before the changes shall be governed by the Terms (including the binding individual arbitration clause) that were in place when the dispute arose.

15. Termination

Wiki Ed may terminate your access to all or any part of our Services at any time, with or without cause and with or without notice, effective immediately. If you wish to terminate this Agreement, you may simply discontinue using our Services. All provisions of this Agreement which by their nature should survive termination shall survive termination, including, without limitation, ownership provisions, warranty disclaimers, indemnity and limitations of liability.

16. Disclaimer of Warranties

Our Services are provided “as is.” Wiki Ed and its suppliers and licensors hereby disclaim all warranties of any kind, express or implied, including, without limitation, the warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and non-infringement. Neither Wiki Ed nor its suppliers and licensors, makes any warranty that our Services will be error free or that access thereto will be continuous or uninterrupted. You understand that you obtain content or Services through our Services at your own discretion and risk.

17. Limitation of Liability


18. General Representation and Warranty

You represent and warrant that: (i) your use of our Services will be in strict accordance with the Wiki Ed Privacy Policy, with this Agreement, and with all applicable laws and regulations (including, without limitation, any local laws or regulations in your country, state, city, or other governmental area, regarding online conduct and acceptable content, and including all applicable laws regarding the transmission of technical data exported from the United States or the country in which you reside); and (ii) your use of our Services will not infringe or misappropriate the intellectual property rights of any third party.

19. Indemnification

You agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless Wiki Ed, its contractors, and its licensors, and their respective directors, officers, employees, and agents from and against any and all claims and expenses, including attorneys’ fees, arising out of your use of our Services, including, but not limited to, your violation of this Agreement or any portion thereof.

20. Translation

These Terms of Service were originally written in English (US). We may translate these terms into other languages. In the event of a conflict between a translated version of these Terms of Service and the English version, the English version will control.

21. Choice of Law

This Agreement shall be governed by, subject to, and interpreted in accordance with the laws of the State of California, and the federal laws of the United States, without regard to conflict of laws principles. You waive any objection based on lack of personal jurisdiction, place of residence, improper venue, or forum non conveniens in any such action.

22. Arbitration & Waiver of Class Action

The parties agree to arbitrate any dispute arising from this Agreement or your use of the Site on an individual basis. ARBITRATION PREVENTS YOU FROM SUING IN COURT OR FROM HAVING A JURY TRIAL. THE PARTIES HEREBY EXPRESSLY WAIVE TRIAL BY JURY. The parties agree that: (i) any arbitration will occur in San Francisco, California; and (ii) the arbitration will be conducted confidentially by a single arbitrator in accordance with the rules of American Arbitration Association for arbitration of consumer-related disputes, in the English language. At your request, hearings may be conducted in person or by telephone and the arbitrator may provide for submitting and determining motions on briefs, without oral hearings. Other than class procedures and remedies discussed below, the arbitrator has the authority to grant any remedy that would otherwise be available to a court or other tribunal. THE PREVAILING PARTY IN ANY ACTION OR PROCEEDING TO ENFORCE THESE TERMS SHALL BE ENTITLED TO COSTS AND ATTORNEYS’ FEES. THE ARBITRAL DECISION MAY BE ENFORCED IN ANY COURT. WHETHER THE DISPUTE IS HEARD IN ARBITRATION OR IN COURT, THE PARTIES WILL NOT COMMENCE AGAINST THE OTHER PARTY A CLASS ACTION, CLASS ARBITRATION, OR REPRESENTATIVE ACTION OR PROCEEDING.

23. Forum

If for any reason a claim proceeds in court rather than in arbitration, the parties agree that the claim will be brought exclusively in a federal court located in San Francisco, California. The parties expressly consent to the exclusive jurisdiction of, and waive any and all objections to venue or jurisdiction. However, the parties may seek injunctive or other equitable relief to protect its intellectual property rights and any claims regarding infringement or misappropriation of its intellectual property rights in any court of competent jurisdiction.

24. Miscellaneous

This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between Wiki Ed and you concerning the subject matter hereof, and it may only be modified by a written amendment signed by an authorized executive of Wiki Ed, or by the posting by Wiki Ed of a revised version. If it turns out that any part of this Agreement is invalid, void, or for any reason unenforceable, that term will be deemed severable and limited or eliminated to the minimum extent necessary and the remaining portions will remain in full force and effect. The limitation or elimination of the term will not affect any other terms. A waiver by either party of any term or condition of this Agreement or any breach thereof, in any one instance, will not waive such term or condition or any subsequent breach thereof. You may assign your rights under this Agreement to any party that consents to, and agrees to be bound by, its terms and conditions; Wiki Ed may assign its rights under this Agreement without condition. This Agreement will be binding upon and will inure to the benefit of the parties, their successors and permitted assigns.

25. Entire Agreement

This Agreement sets forth the entire understanding and agreement as to the subject matter hereof and supersedes any and all prior discussions, agreements, and understandings of any kind (including without limitation any prior versions of this Agreement) and every nature between us. Except as provided for above, any modification to this Agreement must be in writing and must be signed by both parties.

26. Questions or Comments

We welcome comments, questions, concerns, or suggestions. Please send us a message on our contact page at contact@wikiedu.org.

Effective Date: July 8, 2016

Thanks for reading to the end. We know terms of service can be quite long!

The Wiki Education Foundation’s Terms of Service are derived from Automattic’s Terms of Service, which are released under a CC-BY-SA license. The Wiki Education Foundation re-licenses our modifications under a CC-BY-SA license as well.

Privacy Policy

Your privacy is critically important to us. At the Wiki Education Foundation (“Wiki Ed”) we have a few fundamental principles:

  • We don’t ask you for information that by itself can be used to identify you (for example, your name, email address, postal address, or phone number) (collectively, “Personal Information”) unless we truly need it.
  • We don’t share your Personal Information with anyone except to comply with the law, develop our programs, or protect our rights.
  • We don’t store Personal Information on our servers unless required for the on-going operation of one of our programs.

Below is our Privacy Policy, which incorporates these goals.

Wiki Ed operates several websites including wikiedu.org, dashboard.wikiedu.org, ask.wikiedu.org, and playlist.wiki (collectively, the “Sites” or the “Services”). It is Wiki Ed’s policy to respect your privacy regarding any information we may collect while operating our Sites.

How You Accept this Policy

When you visit Wiki Ed Sites, sign up for an account, or otherwise provide us with any Personal Information, you consent to the terms and conditions of this Privacy Policy.

What Information Wiki Ed Collects

Gathering of Non-Personal Information

Like most website operators, Wiki Ed collects non-personally-identifying information (“Non-Personal Information”) of the sort that web browsers and servers typically make available, such as the browser type, language preference, referring site, and the date and time of each visitor request. Wiki Ed’s purpose in collecting Non-Personal Information is to better understand how Wiki Ed’s visitors use its Services. From time to time, Wiki Ed may release Non-Personal Information in the aggregate, e.g., by publishing a report on trends in the usage of its Services.

Gathering of Personal Information

In order to provide you with a high quality service and verify your identity, we collect various types of information when you visit the Sites. When you create a user account, we will also collect certain Personal Information such as your first and last name, username, email address, password, university with which you are associated, and start and end dates of the courses in which you are enrolled or teaching. Additionally, for users of playlist.wiki, Wiki Ed may collect your Facebook or Twitter username and any articles you have added. Wiki Ed also keeps track of your use of the Sites, edits you make to Wikipedia articles, and anything else that you may post. We use this information for internal purposes to understand or improve Wiki Ed or for external marketing or advertising purposes.

With respect to information collected from donors, Wiki Ed may collect such information as name, amount donated, address, telephone number, donor comments, e-mail address, and any other personal information provided to us (“Donor Data”). For donations by check, Donor Data also includes the data visible on the check. For donations by credit card, Wiki Ed does not store credit card information, bank account numbers, or other financial account data sent directly to third-party payment processing services.

Gathering of Potentially Personal Information

Wiki Ed also collects potentially Personal Information like Internet Protocol (IP) addresses for logged in users and for users leaving comments on the wikiedu.org blog. Wiki Ed only discloses logged in user and commenter IP addresses under the same circumstances that it uses and discloses Personal Information as described below, except that blog commenter IP addresses and email addresses are disclosed to the administrators of the blog where the comment was left.

How Wiki Ed Gathers Information

Interactions with Wiki Ed

Visitors to Wiki Ed’s Sites may interact with Wiki Ed Sites in ways that require Wiki Ed to gather Personal Information. The amount and type of information that Wiki Ed gathers depends on the nature of the interaction. For example, we ask instructors who create a course page on dashboard.wikiedu.org to provide their real names and email addresses. We also collect metadata about edits that were deleted from Wikipedia. Those who engage in transactions with Wiki Ed—by making a donation to Wiki Ed, for example—are asked to provide additional information, including as necessary the personal and financial information required to process those transactions. In each case, Wiki Ed collects such information only insofar as is necessary or appropriate to fulfill the purpose of the visitor’s interaction with Wiki Ed. Wiki Ed does not disclose Personal Information other than as described below. And visitors can always refuse to supply Personal Information, with the caveat that it may prevent them from engaging in certain website-related activities. We also have a mailing list, which you can join by providing us with your email address.

Third-Party Services

To run Wiki Ed, we often utilize various third-party products and services (collectively “Third Party Services”), such as WordPress to provide a platform for blogs, oAuth to access and authorize users’ Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia accounts, and Akismet to police for spam. To provide donors the best possible experience, we work with service providers and may share Donor Data and other information with, or have it transmitted through, them. Such service providers include, for example, collocation facilities and bandwidth providers as well as organizations that help non-profit organizations with fundraising. Payment processors allow donors to give electronically using a payment services account, a credit card, or other payment method. These processors collect certain information from donors, and you should consult their privacy policies to determine their practices.

If you authorize us to connect with these Third Party Services, you grant us permission to collect certain Personal Information, such as your name, email address, and any other information that the Third Party Services make available to us. Further discussion regarding the information collected by WordPress can be found at https://en.support.wordpress.com/stats/. Please note that your use of these Third Party Services is governed by their respective Terms of Service and Privacy Policies. We use and disclose any collected information in accordance with our Privacy Policy.


A cookie is a string of information that a website stores on a visitor’s computer, and that the visitor’s browser provides to the website each time the visitor returns. Wiki Ed uses cookies to help Wiki Ed identify and track visitors, their usage of Wiki Ed Sites, and their Site access preferences. Wiki Ed also uses cookies to track and log emails exchanges with users, including when emails from Wiki Ed are opened and links within those emails are clicked. Wiki Ed visitors who do not wish to have cookies placed on their computers should set their browsers to refuse cookies before using Wiki Ed Sites, with the drawback that certain features of Wiki Ed Sites may not function properly without the aid of cookies.


Comments and other content submitted to our Akismet anti-spam service are not saved on our servers unless they were marked as false positives, in which case we store them long enough to use them to improve the service to avoid future false positives.

Aggregated Statistics

Wiki Ed may collect statistics about the behavior of visitors to its Sites. For instance, Wiki Ed may monitor the most popular blog posts on the wikiedu.org site or use the Akismet service to help identify spam. Wiki Ed may display this information publicly or provide it to others. Third party service providers and other persons may also share with us aggregated Non-Personal Information that they have independently developed or acquired.

Communications You Initiate with Us

If you contact us in person, by phone, email, social media, or by some other means, we may keep a record of your contact information, correspondence, and links you open within messages sent by us for later reference (to help improve our Services).

How We Use the Personal Information We Gather

We will not share your Personal Information with third parties who wish to market other products and services to you, and Wiki Ed will not rent or sell potentially Personal and Personal Information to anyone. We use your Personal Information for a variety of purposes, including to:

  • Distributing receipts and thanking donors for donations;
  • Informing donors about upcoming fundraising and other activities of Wiki Education Foundation;
  • Respond to your comments or questions;
  • Provide you with additional information according to your preferences;
  • Contact you when necessary;
  • Generate aggregated statistics to help us improve the user experience;
  • Make Wiki Ed Sites easier and more convenient for you (such as by prepopulating forms when you have already provided identical information);
  • Send you information and marketing materials about Wiki Ed services and products;
  • Train our team members; or
  • Other internal business purposes.

Wiki Ed discloses potentially Personal and Personal Information only to those of its employees, contractors, and affiliated organizations that: (i) need to know that information in order to process it on Wiki Ed’s behalf or to provide services available at Wiki Ed Sites, or (ii) have agreed not to disclose it to others. Some of those employees, contractors, and affiliated organizations may be located outside of your home country; by using Wiki Ed Sites, you consent to the transfer of such information to them.

Other than to its employees, contractors, and affiliated organizations, as described above, Wiki Ed discloses potentially Personal and Personal Information only in response to a subpoena, court order, or other governmental request, or when Wiki Ed believes in good faith that disclosure is reasonably necessary to protect the property or rights of Wiki Ed, third parties, or the public at large. If you are a registered user of a Wiki Ed Site and have supplied your email address, Wiki Ed may occasionally send you an email to tell you about new features, solicit your feedback, or just keep you up to date with what’s going on with Wiki Ed and our programs. If you send us a request (for example, via a support email), we reserve the right to publish it in order to help us clarify or respond to your request or to help us support other users.

Change of Control

We may choose to buy or sell assets. In these types of transactions, customer information is typically one of the business assets that would be transferred. Also, if we (or our assets) are acquired, or if we go out of business, enter bankruptcy, or go through some other change of control, your Personal Information could be one of the assets transferred to or acquired by a third party. By accepting this Privacy Policy, as outlined above, you consent to any such transfer.

Protection of Us and Others

We reserve the right to access, read, preserve, and disclose any information that we reasonably believe is necessary to comply with law or court order; cooperate with law enforcement; enforce or apply our Terms of Use and other agreements; or protect the rights, property, or safety of Wiki Ed, our employees, our users, or others.

What Personal Information can I access or change?

Because you use our Services by logging in with your Wikipedia, Facebook, or Twitter accounts, we do not require you to create an account or a password. You can review and revise the information we collect from you Wikipedia, Facebook, or Twitter accounts by visiting your profile page for those accounts. If you have any problems, you may also contact us at contact@wikiedu.org. If you decide you don’t want to receive email or other mail from us, you can reply to our communications with a request to be unsubscribed. Unsubscribing will stop you from receiving most types of communication, but it may not apply to emails that respond to your specific request.

Data Retention

Wiki Ed will retain your data for the life of our services. If you delete your account, we may retain some Personal Information that you have provided to us in order to maintain the Site for other members or to comply with relevant laws.


We are especially sensitive about children’s information. We’re not a site targeted towards children and we don’t knowingly collect information from children under the age of 13. If you have questions concerning our information practices with respect to children, or if you learn that a child under the age of 13 has used a Wiki Ed Site, created a member account, or provided us with Personal Information, please email us at contact@wikiedu.org.

How We Secure Your Personal Information

Wiki Ed takes all measures reasonably necessary to protect against the unauthorized access, use, alteration, or destruction of potentially Personal and Personal Information. Wiki Ed employs several physical and electronic safeguards to keep your information safe, including securing all connections with industry standard transport layer security. If you log into your Wikipedia, Facebook, or Twitter account on a shared computer, be sure to sign out of your account when finished. If you believe a third party has access to your account, you must let us know as soon as possible. Even with all these precautions, Wiki Ed cannot fully guarantee against the access, disclosure, alteration, or deletion of data through events such as, but not limited to, hardware or software failure or unauthorized entry or use.

Online Tracking and How We Respond to Do Not Track Signals

Online tracking is the collection of data about an individual’s Internet activity used to deliver targeted advertisements and for other purposes. Some web browsers (including Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome) incorporate a “Do Not Track” (DNT) or similar feature that signals to websites that a visitor does not want to have his/her online activity and behavior tracked. If an online service elects to respond to a particular DNT signal, the service may refrain from collecting certain Personal Information about the browser’s user. Not all browsers offer a DNT option and there is currently no industry consensus as to what constitutes a DNT signal. Wiki Ed does its best to respond to the DNT signals, but it may not universally across all of the Sites. For more information about DNT signals, visit http://allaboutdnt.com.

International Users and Visitors

Wiki Ed is hosted in the United States. Because the Internet is global, you should note that by providing your personal information as an international visitor or user, you are: (i) permitting the transfer of your Personal Information to the United States which may not have the same data protection laws as the country in which you reside; and (ii) permitting the use of your Personal Information in accordance with this Privacy Policy.

Privacy Policy Changes

Wiki Ed may change its Privacy Policy from time to time in Wiki Ed’s sole discretion. Wiki Ed encourages visitors to frequently check this page for any changes to its Privacy Policy. If we do revise this Privacy Policy, we will update the “Effective Date” at the bottom of this page so that you can tell if it has changed since your last visit and do our best to notify you. Your continued use of Wiki Ed Sites after any change in this Privacy Policy will constitute your acceptance of such change.


For any additional questions, email us at contact@wikiedu.org.

Effective Date: July 8, 2016

Thanks for reading our Privacy Policy!

The Wiki Education Foundation’s Privacy Policy is derived from Automattic’s Privacy Policy, which is released under a CC-BY-SA license. The Wiki Education Foundation re-licenses our modifications under a CC-BY-SA license as well.

by Frank Schulenburg at June 10, 2016 05:05 PM

Wikimedia UK

Supporting our community to create open content: we want your ideas!

Spain win the UEFA Euro 2012 championship – photo by Илья Хохлов (via Football.ua) CC BY-SA 3.0

As the summer rolls around, there are so many important cultural events which the Wikimedia community can engage with and create content about. The European Football Championships start this week, and the Olympics aren’t far away either. The festival season is already beginning, and there are hundreds of other cultural events taking place across the UK and the world, from religious ceremonies to elections, the London Comic Con, Pride, or any other kind of commemoration or anniversary events.

Wikimedia UK is hoping to support people who want to cover any notable events to create high quality images available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license. We have grant funding available for photographers who know how to take great photographs which could be used across Wikimedia projects. We would also be interested to support people who would like to add other content besides photographs. If you are going to particular events, we also may be able to liaise with the organisers to get you accreditation.

You can have a look at some of the featured images Wikimedia UK has helped to create in previous years here.

We normally give project grants up to £250 for expenses. You can refer to the grants application process to get an idea of the kind of projects we support. Projects which address diversity gaps would be of particular interest, or activities which link to our current partnerships with other institutions.

We want to reach out to volunteers and the wider wikimedia community, to support your work and help you to do more. We want to know about your talents and see if we can promote your work in support of Wikimedia projects, so if you have ideas for events you would like to go to and CC content you could produce there, please get in touch with us!


See London events list.

Visit England events.

Global events.

Anniversary and events calendar.

English Heritage events.

by John Lubbock at June 10, 2016 02:35 PM

Weekly OSM

weeklyOSM 307


Logo The Map Age Guide from xkcd (CC-BY-NC 2.5) [1]

About us

  • We were interviewed about our Wochennotiz and weeklyOSM and took the chance to report at length. Despite the prophets of doom, the project continues and invites new contributors to help.


  • Carlos Felipe Castillo aka Kaxtillo has released a video in which he demonstrates how to make 360° images, upload these images to Mapillary and then process them in OSM.
  • The FAA warns about potential outages of the GPS system in southern California. This seems to be caused by tests of the military.
  • Mapillary uploaded a tutorial to Youtube about how to use the Mapillary JOSM plugin to edit OpenStreetMap. (via Twitter) Please note: To install the Mapillary JOSM plugin: Edit -> Preferences -> Plugins -> Search: Mapillary -> Select -> OK and re-start JOSM.
  • Jinal Foflia wrote a blog post about the importance and process of interacting with the local mapping community using OpenStreetMap Notes.
  • Bryan Housel reports about three new functions that will make editing in iD much more efficient.
  • The ‘similar image search‘ in the Terrapattern tool can now be tested in an online map of Berlin.
  • On the Bonn (Germany) mailing list, there is a discussion (Deutsch) (automatic translation) about how to tag roads damaged and impassable by recent heavy rainfall.
  • The Flemish GR organisation (a long distance hiking group) have made their extensive collection of GPX data available in order to improve hiking trails on OpenStreetMap. The participants on the talk-be mailing list are excited but then concerned about the maintenance of long distance relations, not just hiking but also public transport data.
  • On the talk-at mailing list a long discussion started (Deutsch) (automatic translation) about what is the correct capitalisation of a chain store name “TEDi” for the name=* tag and the inconsistency that can be seen via Overpass-Turbo.


  • Jorge Luis Batista gave a talk (Spanish) at TEDx Havana about how he is looking forward to “put Cuba on the map” (OpenStreetMap that is) despite limited internet access.
  • Some of the Cuban OpenStreetMappers are trying to activate the Cuban OSM community. More details on the talk-cu mailing list (automatic translation).
  • The question how to create a Garmin Custom Map on OSM help is the most popular currently with 23,000 hits.
  • … and another new feature: HDYC now also mentions your HOTOSM activities.
  • On openstreetmap.cz/sotm colleagues from the Czech Republic and Slovakia have published their presentations (see the links on the agenda).


  • Kevin Kenny reports on the import for the NYC DEP Watershed Recreation Areas. He noticed some misalignment which he is trying to fix.

OpenStreetMap Foundation

  • Frederik Ramm is seeking a volunteer to cross-check the OSMF finances. This may help to recognize early if the treasurer buys a Porsche from foundation money 😉
  • Peter Barth recapped the f2f meeting of the OSMF board.
  • The OSMF board announced some interesting changes regarding the foundation’s transparency.
  • The OSM Foundation is seeking a (paid) administrative assistant and has extended the application deadline by a week to the 10th of June.


  • Until June 10th, one can vote on talks for the State of the Map and thus help decide about the program for this conference.
  • At the GEOSummit in Bern, Switzerland, there’ll be the opportunity to print large OpenStreetMap maps for free.
  • Planning has started for a weekend meeting (in English) at Dresden, Germany for OpenStreetMappers with two days of talks, discussions, networking, mapping and hacking.

Humanitarian OSM

  • DaCor has started the second phase of Lesotho Map with the release of eleven tasks in tasking manager on May 30.
  • HOTOSM informs about the status of the mapping and the damage resulting after the earthquake in Ecuador.
  • The fourth HOT newsletter has been published.


  • The Guardian took maps from Gretchen Peterson’s book “City Maps: A Coloring Book for Adults” and produced a pretty hard Quiz with the title: “can you identify the city from the blank street map”?
  • This site provides a map for all in accordance with the proposal for highway=via_ferrata (A mountain route equipped with fixed cables, stemples, ladders, and bridges). This map also includes navigation functionality.


Open Data

  • German Federal Transport Minister Dobrindt is reported in heise.de (Deutsch) (automatic translation) announcing the availability of 100 Million Euro from the “mFund(German) (automatic translation). These funds will be made available for combining government, public and private data to produce new applications. Examples cited include new navigation, precise weather and sharing platforms.
  • Mapbox enters the autonomous vehicle market by introducing Mapbox Drive, a software development kit for cars. It is based on raw data from OpenStreetMap. It is also mentioned on techcrunch.com.
  • locr, a provider of personalized maps, creates a giant world map on super wide EFI inkjet printer. locr uses OSM as geo data source.


  • Debadityo Sinha writes that the Geospatial Information Bill will deal a body blow to environmental democracy in India. The bill puts severe restrictions on acquiring, using and disseminating of geospatial information.


  • User mmd investigated the creation of areas in the Overpass-API and showed various ways to improve it. Based on this discovery his optimizations brought huge speed-ups in the creation of areas.


  • Joachim explains how EOX calculates the curve for labels for geographic features on a map. The code is published on Github.
  • Zabot, a student of this year’s Google Summer of Code, shows the first results of his work. His further plans can be read on his user diary.


Software Version Release Date Comment
GeoServer 2.9.0 2016-05-30
Mapillary for Android 2.16 2016-05-31 Some extensions and some bug fixes
Mapillary for iOS 4.3.2 2016-05-31 Modified Gui, some fixes
libosmium 2.7.1 2016-06-01
PyOsmium 2.7.1 2016-06-01 Some extensions
JOSM 10327 2016-06-05 Hotfix of version 10301 and last Java 7 version
Overpass Turbo 06-06-2016 06.06.2016 new features and bugfixes

provided by the OSM Software Watchlist

Did you know …

  • A map, The Great British Public Toilet Map, shows public toilets in central Brixton
  • OpenStreetMap viewer for Amiga-Systems. This map can be moved around and zoomed, waypoints can be set and recorded tracks or waypoints can be loaded from GPX, TCX, KML or KMZ files.

Other “geo” things

  • [1] XKCD has published a cartoon for dating world maps. It seems that OpenStreetMap is current but it is still fun to trace through the many decision boxes around geo-political events…
  • DLR (automatic translation) has developed a multifunctional crises management system project PHAROS. It is an open and flexible service platform that builds system for satellite monitoring, sensor technology, simulations and various communication techniques. It also uses OSM. This system demonstrates disaster management in forest fires (see video).
  • Illegal mapping is a “serious” problem in remote areas of western China, according to five annual announcements on typical illegal mapping practices released by the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation (NASG).
  • For a low-lying, densely populated country like the Netherlands, monitoring subsidence is critical. Until recently, tiny displacements in the ground beneath our feet couldn’t be mapped nationally but, thanks to the Sentinel-1 mission, this is now possible.
  • The Verge reports that police prosecuting a suspect in a bank robbery in California, USA sought data from Google, used in the Google’s Location History service on Android phones. The reporter speculates about how many requests might have been made of Google for this service that is mainly for geo-targeted advertising.
  • Gretchen N. Peterson writes about criticism she got on her coloring book citiy maps and also explains on how she produced the maps.

Upcoming Events

Where What When Country
Wien 57. Wiener Stammtisch 06/02/2016 austria
Dresden Stammtisch 06/02/2016 germany
Mantova 2016 Mapping party a Volta mantovana 06/04/2016 italy
Bucharest OSM Bucharest Mapping Party 2016 06/04/2016 romania
Colaboratorio Mapa Comunitario de Activos de Santurce 06/04/2016 puerto rico
Brasília Encontro OSM Brasília 06/05/2016 brazil
Bucharest OSM Bucharest Mapping Party 2016 06/05/2016 romania
Brussels Missing Maps Mapathon @Doctors without borders/Handicap international 06/06/2016 belgium
Tokyo OSM Monthly Mappers “M-eat-ing” – Jun 2016 06/09/2016 japan
Paris Mapathon Missing Maps Paris #5 06/09/2016 france
Dresden Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften 06/10/2016 germany
Besenello Trentino Portobeseno : several talk about OpenStreetMap 06/10/2016-06/12/2016 italy
Zurich Stammtisch/Micromapping-Party Zürich 06/11/2016 switzerland
Passau Mappertreffen Passau 06/13/2016 germany
Landshut Landshut Stammtisch 06/14/2016 germany
Edinburgh Edinburgh 06/14/2016 united kingdom
Lyon Rencontre mensuelle mappeurs 06/14/2016 france

Note: If you like to see your event here, please put it into the calendar. Only data which is there, will appear in weeklyOSM. Please check your event in our public calendar preview and correct it, where appropiate..

Long Term Dates

Where What When Country
Besenello Trentino Portobeseno : several talk about OpenStreetMap 10.06.2016-12.06.2016 italy
Berlin DB Open Data Hackday 17.06.2016-18.06.2016 germany
http://osm.org/go/0CmcQnN Esino Lario “Mapping party a Esino Lario in preparazione di Wikimania 2016” 18.06.2016-19.06.2016 italy
Salzburg OSM-Sonntag 03.07.2016 austria
Salzburg ”’FOSSGIS 2016”’ 04.07.2016-06.07.2016 austria
Salzburg AGIT 2016 06.07.2016-08.07.2016 austria
Seattle ”’State of The Map US 2016”’ 23.07.2016-25.07.2016 united states
Bonn FOSS4G 2016 Code Sprint 20.08.2016-22.08.2016 germany
Bonn Workshops at FOSS4G 2016 22.08.2016-23.08.2016 germany
Bonn ”’FOSS4G 2016”’ 24.08.2016-26.08.2016 germany
Bonn FOSS4G 2016 Code Sprint Part II 27.08.2016-28.08.2016 germany
Brussels ”’State of the Map 2016”’ 23.09.2016-26.09.2016 belgium
Metro Manila ”’State of the Map Asia”’ 01.10.2016-02.10.2016 philippines
Berlin Hack Weekend 15.10.2016-16.10.2016 germany
Karlsruhe Hack Weekend 29.10.2016-30.10.2016 germany

This weekly was produced by Laura Barroso, Nakaner, Peda, Rogehm, Softgrow, derFred, jinalfoflia, malenki, mgehling, seumas, stephan75, wambacher, widedangel.

by weeklyteam at June 10, 2016 01:04 PM

June 09, 2016

Wiki Education Foundation

Wiki Ed coming to American Astronomical Society annual meeting

Educational Partnerships Manager, Jami Mathewson, and Outreach Manager, Samantha Erickson
Educational Partnerships Manager, Jami Mathewson, and Outreach Manager, Samantha Erickson

Next week, Outreach Manager Samantha Erickson and I will attend the American Astronomical Society’s (AAS) annual meeting in San Diego. We’ll have a booth in the exhibit hall to speak to astronomers about how their students can join the Wikipedia Year of Science. If you’re attending the AAS conference, please stop by! We’ll discuss classroom assignments, Wiki Ed’s tools and resources, and how you can help make the Year of Science a success.

The AAS conference is another collaboration with the Simons Foundation, which is promoting the Year of Science through a series of Wikipedia edit-a-thons at scientific conferences. Participants will learn how to contribute to Wikipedia from experienced Wikipedians. We’re particularly interested in celebrating the Year of Science’s mission to diversify Wikipedia by expanding or creating articles about women astronomers and astronomers of color, though we encourage participants to select topics related to their area of research and expertise.

The Year of Science is all about getting students to expand scientific articles on Wikipedia, ensuring the general public can access and learn about important scientific findings and concepts. Attendees at the AAS conference represent courses spanning from astrophysics, to planetary science, to observational astronomy. All of these fields cover topics that deserves good, clear articles on Wikipedia. Students, who already research and write about them, can fill important gaps. Please join us at our events to learn how you can empower your students with this meaningful assignment!

Wiki Education Foundation booth

  • Location: Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Exhibit hall
  • Exhibit hall hours: Monday, June 13 – Wednesday, June 15, 9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Simons Foundation edit-a-thon

  • Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Aqua Salon C
  • Time: Wednesday, June 15th, 12:30–3:30pm
  • Bring your own device; a light lunch will be provided.
  • To register, send an email to gina.brissenden@aas.org.

Photo: The photo of Pluto in this post was named 2015’s Picture of the Year on Wikimedia Commons! Pluto-01 Stern 03 Pluto Color TXT by NASA / Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory / Southwest Research Institute (Converted to JPEG; see also PIA19952), Public Domain. 

by Jami Mathewson at June 09, 2016 04:00 PM

June 08, 2016

Wikimedia UK

Speak up for open knowledge and a free internet: Freedom of Panorama Consultation

“Saltimbanques” in Luxembourg’s Theaterplaatz, by Bénédicte Weis (born 1949), will remain under copyright until 75 years after his death. Photo by Lantus, free use.

You can tell Europe to help protect street photography

After last year’s drama in the European Parliament about “freedom of panorama”, the EU is consulting on how the law should change.

Article by Owen Blacker

Think about the state of digital photography 15 years ago, on 22 May 2001 say. It’s about a week after Mark Zuckerberg’s 17th birthday, a few years before Flickr, Instagram is almost a decade away and most people haven’t even heard of DSLR cameras — the first consumer-targetted DSLR, theFinePix S1 Pro, was only launched just over a year earlier.

Obviously, I didn’t pick that date at random — that’s when the Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC) was made, entering into force one month later. That’s when European copyright laws were last set in aspic.

Clearly, then, it’s well past time to update it to account for the Internet era — a time when we’re all creating content, rather than merely consuming it.

Since being elected as an MEP for the German Pirate Party in May 2014,Julia Reda determined to make copyright reform her focus for the legislative session; that November, the Parliament set up a review of the Copyright Directive, for which she was named rapporteur. Reda’s annotated draft report is online and is a great, approachable read for anyone interested in copyright reform — it walks the line between pragmatic and radical very well.

So what’s this “freedom of panorama” thing about then?

One of the more obvious areas where there are differences across the European Union is in something called “freedom of panorama”. This term refers to an exception in copyright law that says that photographs of works permanently in public spaces — buildings and sculptures, for example — do not need a licence from the copyright-holder. The team at #FixCopyright have put together a video explanation here:

Generally, European Union legislation seeks to “harmonise”, to create a common basis of law across the the common market. One of the things highlighted by the debates in the European Parliament last year was the difference in panorama rights across Europe.

Current freedom of panorama rights across Europe. Greens indicate territories with a right to freedom of panorama, with lighter green countries providing FoP only over images of buildings, not other works. Yellow territories have FoP for non-commercial use only andred countries (Belarus, Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg and Ukraine) have no FoP in their laws. Grey (Andorra, Monaco and San Marino) have unclear FoP rights. Map byKing of Hearts and others, licensed CC BY-SA.

Here in the UK, I can take a photograph from any public street and know that the presence of a building or item of public art cannot pose any copyright claim — I could sell that photo without issue and I can share it with a Free licence.

In France or Belgium, however, those public works of art have a copyright so, for example, images of the Atomium in Brussels are subject to rights held by the litigious heirs of André Waterkeyn until 2076, a full 70 years after his death; SABAM, the Belgian collecting society, zealously pursues those rights. The image at the top of this article is a photo of the dancing figures in Luxembourg’s Theaterplaatz, redacted to protect Bénédicte Weis’s copyright, valid until 70 years after he passes away. Iceland has restricted panorama rights too — there are no pictures of Hallgrímskirkja on Wikimedia Commons, as it is under copyright there until 2021.

Cross-border publishing confuses matters further — I’m a British citizen in the UK writing this on a website hosted in the Cloud by a company registered in California; the header image is a photo of a work in Luxembourg taken by a German domiciled in Switzerland. This is part of why the EU prefers to harmonise rules, rather than just to apply “country of origin” rules to allow different restrictions to apply in different places.

Panorama from Tower Bridge at dawn, modified to censor some of the buildings that require freedom of panorama. Both the original image and the annotated version are byUser:Colin and licensed CC BY-SA.

But why would I care? Do restrictions on panorama make a difference anyway?

The image rights from public art really are “gleanings from the field” — they are marginal to the creators of new buildings and new art but they’re ofimmense value to the ability to publicly depict and discuss these works.

Wiki Loves Monuments logo, by Lusitana, dual-licensed CC BY-SA and GFDL.

Freedom of panorama allows us all to take and publish photographs of buildings and monuments in public places — as celebrated in the Wiki Loves Monuments competition every year, as well as many books with author-supplied photographs, for example. Without that freedom, full permissions, clearances and royalties need to be negotiated for every video, photo, painting and drawing with potential commercial use.

As merely one example of why this is a big deal, Wikipedia does not accept images unless they can be reused for any purpose. The English Wikipedia’s policy on non-free content explicitly only allows images on licences that meet Wikipedia’s definition of “free” use, disallowing images that are only available for non-commercial use; the Catalan and Italian policies are similar. By comparison, the Spanish and Hungarian Wikipedias have a policy of only using Free images. Wikimedia Commons has a category full of deletion requests that relate to FoP, with over 4500 images having been deleted; there have been nearly 100 images deleted of the Louvre Pyramid alone. There are 221 censored images of European works in the appropriate categories on Commons.

“Non-commercial” restrictions seem like they’re only be a problem for companies who want to make money by selling photographs. But in practice, the distinction between commercial and non-commercial is much more complicated. Sure, you probably won’t actually get in trouble for posting holiday snaps to Facebook (§9.1 of their Terms say you give them permission to use your images commercially and §5.1 says you’ve cleared the rights to do so) but, to quote Julia Reda’s blogpost (with her emphasis) from last year:

It is far easier to transgress the limitations of a non-commercial restrictions than commonly understood. … If there is a consensus on this matter, it’s thatthe realm of commercial usage is entered long before a person makes a profit. You can expect your personal website to be considered commercial if you have advertisements or a Flattr button or other micro-payment service in use, even if you make a lot less money than you pay for hosting your website.

This isn’t even something that creators are calling out for, as Reda wrote in her follow-up piece, many creators’ organisations across Europe were quick to condemn the amended plans to restrict FoP, with the Royal Institute of British Architects among the first to denounce the proposals.

Of the 7 EU countries where architects and visual artists earn the highest incomes, 6 have full and unrestricted freedom of panorama (Luxembourg, the exception, is the second-richest country in the world by GDP PPP). And creators aren’t making these works ignorant of their destination — it is not the public space entering the artist’s atelier, but the artist’s work being presented in a public space.

So what happened last year — and what’s happened since?

The European Parliament building — censored because of France’s lack of panorama rights. Photo taken and censored by Ralf Roletschek, licensed GFDL.

Julia Reda’s original draft report proposed extending freedom of panorama across the Union, butan amendment was made in committee that could have threatened our right to take photographs in Europe if they included buildings or street art that’s still in copyright.

After over 500,000 people signed a petition asking MEPs to reject the anti-panorama amendment, it was defeated overwhelmingly and the final report avoided mentioning freedom of panorama altogether, by way of a compromise.

This was an “own initiative” report from the Parliament, so had no legislative weight itself but in December the Commission outlined its proposals “to broaden access to online content and … modernise EU copyright rules”. These proposals contained several changes — some of which have already been watered down, such as content portability, where they were originally proposing that I could watch BBC iPlayer and Netflix UK when on holiday within the EU but have backed down in the face of pressure from rightsholders. Importantly, though, the Commission has included a consultation on freedom of panorama.

Bonde Palace in Stockholm, the location of Högsta domstolen, the Swedish Supreme Court.Photo by Tmarki, dedicated to the public domain under a CC0 licence.

Since then, proposals have also gone to the Belgian and French parliaments to extend freedom of panorama, though the Swedish Supreme Court made a frankly bizarre ruling that, despite their panorama law, a Wikimedia Sverige website was not allowed to collect together photos of public works of art online. There are certainly problems with the French proposals, which are overly restrictive, but that the French Senate approved a pro-panorama amendment at all is a sign that the mood is changing in the more copyright-conservative countries in the EU.

So what do we need to do now?

For once, this isn’t something where you need to write to your elected representatives. That’s one for another time. But there is a consultation being held by the European Commission; the important thing for now is to be heard.

There is a response form on the EU’s consultation website. Alternatively, there’s an online form from the #FixCopyright team to guide you through the questions.

The EU consultation closes on Wednesday 15 June

Tell everyone you know! Orator, by southtyrolean, licensed CC BY.

If you would like some help with how to respond, there is aresponse guide from Wikimedia, with their answers available to see.

Speak up now to tell the European Commission that street photography is important and brings its own benefits — and, as always, tell everyone you know!

This article is dedicated to the public domain under the terms of the Creative Commons Zero licence. Please translate, copy, excerpt, share, disseminate and otherwise spread it far and wide. You don’t need to ask me, you don’t need to tell me. Just do it!

by John Lubbock at June 08, 2016 04:54 PM