Classroom Program renamed to Wikipedia Student Program

18:40, Thursday, 15 2018 November UTC

Our Classroom Program — where higher education instructors use our support and help resources to teach their students to add course content to relevant Wikipedia articles — has thrived and grown over the past eight years. During that time, we’ve listened to and learned from our participants, adapting our support and tools to better fit their needs.

As we differentiate our programs and continue to grow, we’re making a few changes again. The Classroom Program will now be called the Wikipedia Student Program. The Wikipedia Student Program will continue to operate in the same way as the Classroom Program has for years. Instructors in the United States and Canada may receive free access to Wiki Education’s course management tools (i.e. the Dashboard), our assignment design consulting, and staff support for students as they navigate the Wikipedia universe. The only difference is this new name.

If you have any questions, please direct them to me, the Wikipedia Student Program Manager, at

Delphine Dallison presenting at Mozfest 2018 – image by Jwslubbock, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

Wikimedia UK has been attending Mozilla’s conference in London for a few years now, as we attempt to build deeper connections to other organisations working to promote open knowledge. This year, we presented a discussion entitled ‘Under the hood: how understanding Wikipedia’s internal structure and community can teach media literacy’. This was a relaxed hour and a half presentation with about 20 participants who asked questions throughout the talk.

Programmes coordinator Stuart Prior talked about the processes of decision making, dispute resolution, and guidelines which help editors decide on what facts to summarise within Wikipedia articles. Scottish Libraries Wikimedian in Residence Delphine Dallison discussed the structural problems with Wikipedia content being written by a small number of editors from a limited social and geographical background, and communications coordinator John Lubbock discussed some of the problems with how media discusses Wikipedia, and some of the common myths that prevent a more nuanced understanding of the Wikimedia projects.

Katherine Maher talking at Mozfest 2018 – image by Jwslubbock, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

But Mozfest is an important event for people working in Open communities for the possibilities it offers of engaging with people working on related projects. Wikimedia Foundation ED Katherine Maher was at the event, talking about the Foundation’s work and priorities, and staff from Wikimedia Deutschland and other Wikimedia groups were also there. We talked to people from Communia, fighting the damaging EU copyright directive which could harm access to free knowledge, as well as staff from the Open Data Institute and Open Knowledge International. One idea discussed was to begin hosting Open organisation networking meetings for staff from groups like ODI, OKI, Mozilla, Wikimedia, OpenStreetMap and others to make connections and find possible areas for collaboration.

Communications coordinator John has also been participating in the Mozilla Open Leaders programme, which supports people working on Open projects to develop their ideas. As part of this, John has been writing a communications strategy for promoting Wikidata, primarily in the UK, but which could be used by other Wikimedia organisations or non-Wikimedia groups who use Wikidata. We hosted a Wikidata meetup at the Wikimedia UK office recently and talked to people working for MySociety who are using Wikidata to collate and visualise political data using Wikidata. Although Wikidata is becoming increasingly important, there has not been any coordinated outreach attempt to promote the project to governmental or educational institutions who may benefit from its use.

Educational institutions in particular are increasingly offering Data Science courses to students, and Wikimedia UK believes that Wikidata is an incredibly important tool to learn data literacy. Over the next few months we hope to work with others using and promoting Wikidata to come up with a shared set of ideas, messages and resources that people can use to promote Wikidata. If you have ideas, you’re welcome to comment on the Github repository for the project.

Bringing more #science to @Wikidata

08:50, Thursday, 15 2018 November UTC
Slowly but surely more scientific papers and their authors find their way into Wikidata. Particularly when scientists have staked their claims in ORCiD, adding is easy and obvious.

It is easy because in ORCiD every author, paper, organisation et al have their own unique identifiers. So when you add a paper, all authors who claimed to be author are already linked.

Earlier today, I added papers and co-authors for Jaume Piera. As a consequence Laura Recasens was added today and as you can see in the illustration of her co-authors, several new authors popped up as a consequence.

To do this I use a combination of tools. Reasonator is my preferred tool to display data; for scientists it tells me if he or she is known to be an author. When there are, Scholia presents the scholarly author information. Of particular relevance to me is the co-author presentation. For co-authors shown in white, no gender is given in Wikidata and when the name is an initial and a surname, I will look up the ORCiD information to find a full name. Typically that is how people are known in ORCiD.

I use the SourceMD tool for two purposes; "creating and amending papers for authors" and to "add metadata from ORCiD authors to Wikidata". It is processed in a batch job, I run one job for up to 15 authors at a time and it takes forever to run.

Other people run other jobs, a particular hat tip to Daniel Mietchen who makes sure that recent publications find their way into Wikidata and finds many other reasons to improve on what we have. All this would not be possible without the many tools by Magnus and for Scholia I do thank Finn Årup Nielsen thanks to this evolving presentation, science as a process comes alive.

There is more to do; the Wikipedia citation are in a separate database and much of its data may be found in Wikidata.. Who will merge them. Publications do cite other publications, it is a field I am not really interested in.. They are added so there must be a tool.

When you are interested in a particular scientist, a particular paper.. Just use the tools and slowly but surely we all make Wikidata a great tool to represent science fact.

“I have come to realize that the pursuit of knowledge can be undertaken by an individual, but it can only be advanced in partnership with others,” says Dr. Rebecca Dew, a recent participant in our professional development course. Dr. Dew learned how to edit Wikipedia’s content related to mid-term election topics. The opportunity to collaborate with other scholars, learn valuable technical skills, and directly inform the public was for her a once in a lifetime opportunity.

New courses of Wikipedia Fellows have begun this fall. These groups of interdisciplinary scholars will collaborate across disciplines to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of a variety of topics, ultimately making the site’s information more representative, accurate, and complete. Some are drawn to participate in the course to gain a better understanding of a resource that their students use all the time. Others are interested in Wikipedia as a forum of digital scholarship. Some want to give back to the site after having learned so much from it. All will learn valuable digital literacy skills, gain an intimate knowledge of how knowledge is produced on the site, and get to work with a diverse group of passionate scholars to ultimately improve Wikipedia’s knowledge.

Meet our latest Wikipedia Fellows working on interdisciplinary topics!

American Chemical Society

Robert Oldak is a Principal Scientist at Vesuvius USA.

Association for Psychological Science

Brooke Auxier is a PhD candidate in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is interested in improving public access to academic and peer-reviewed research, and is specifically interested in improving articles on mis- and dis-information, social media platforms, journalism and news consumption, and social science theories, like uses and gratification theory, human-information interaction theory, social cognitive theory, signaling theory, trust, graph theory, and social network analysis.

David Simpson is a Professor of Psychology at Carroll University (Waukesha, WI), about to retire after 4 decades of teaching. His doctorate is in Social Psychology but the last decade he has been an active blogger with research interests in Social Media and Brain Fitness Training. His interest in this course was originally triggered by a calling from the then President of the Association for Psychological Science to improve Wikipedia articles dealing with psychological topics. He is presently incorporating Wikipedia assignments into his Swan Song Social Psychology course with 11 students.

Deep Carbon Observatory

Donato Giovannelli is a microbiologist at the Institute of Marine Biological and Biotechnological Resources of the Italian National Research Council and an affiliated scientist at the Earth-Life Science Institute in Tokyo and Rutgers University, USA. He is interested in how life co-evolved with our planet and he is using model microorganisms from extreme environments in an attempt to reconstruct the emergence and evolution of metabolism and better understand the interplay between the biosphere and the geosphere. As Wikipedia Fellow, he aims to improve Wikipedia articles in his primary field of study and plans to incorporate Wikipedia editing assignments into his future classes.

Linguistic Society of America

Jonathan Howell is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at Montclair State University. In addition to his scholarship within linguistics, he has also published on the topic of scientific literacy instruction. Misconceptions about language persist in our society with negative social consequences, such as the idea that some varieties of English are inferior; Jonathan plans to update articles related to the scientific foundations of linguistics.

National Communication Association

Anna Klyueva is Assistant Professor of Communication and Public Relations at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Her research focus is on international strategic communication, public diplomacy, and media transparency. Participation in the Wikipedia Fellows program is an opportunity to contribute expert knowledge to this critical public resource. Upon completion of the program, equipped with experience and editing expertise, Anna plans to integrate Wikipedia assignments into her classes.

Doug Okuniewicz is a graduate student studying communications at the University of Alabama. He is interested in updating communication-related articles to include recent research that examines the application of communication theory in light of electronically mediated communication practices.

Yusaku Yajima is a dissertation research fellow of Communication Studies with emphases on critical intercultural communication and critical theory/pedagogy at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, a visiting scholar at University of Helsinki, a contributing author at チャリツモ, and a co-founder of Bloomington Japanese/Japanese American Community. His educational goals and professional interests are rooted in social justice care and advocacy as well as in critical reflections as a site and mode of critical labor; his scholarship focuses on challenging various colonial legacies by denaturalizing modernity and decolonizing knowledge—analyzing nuanced ways in which various kinds of institutionalization impose obstructions on our be(com)ing, thinking, and speaking. As a Wikipedia Fellow, he is passionate about improving articles related to critical theory, culture and communication, and marginalized people such as “at-risk” students, people of color, refugees, undocumented immigrants, and LGBTQIA people, to name a few.

National Women’s Studies Association

Cassius Adair is a radio producer and independent scholar at Virginia Humanities, a state humanities council. He works on With Good Reason, a nationally-broadcast program that brings scholarly research to the general public. He is working on improving articles related to transgender cultural production, especially literature. He has a PhD in English from the University of Michigan.

Rebecca Yvonne Bayeck is a dual-Ph.D candidate at the Pennsylvania State University. She looks forward to improving board game related articles, and is excited to connect researchers and the general public in the process.

Lauren Thompson is the 2018-2019 Semmes Foundation Intern in Museum Studies at the McNay Art Museum. She plans to improve content related to self-identified visual artists and performers who explore gender identity as manifest in outward appearance, individual presentation, and societal perception. Lauren sees Wikipedia as an invaluable resource for visitors who are interested in learning more about LGBTQIA+ artists beyond museum walls.

To explore how you can get involved, reach out to

Wikipedia as a tool for public engagement with science

17:07, Wednesday, 14 2018 November UTC
Helen Siaw
ImageFile:HelenSiaw headshot.jpgEAGA2019, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Helen Siaw is a PhD candidate and research assistant at Emory University Department of Chemistry. She is interested in using Wikipedia as a tool for science education and public outreach. She creates and updates Wikipedia articles related to current biophysical chemistry or general chemistry research. Helen recently completed Wiki Education’s professional development course as a member of the American Chemical Society.

Siri and Alexa, they are not my siblings, but virtual voice assistants in Apple devices and Amazon devices. Besides reporting weather conditions and playing music, they can search for information to answer a user’s questions. A frequently cited source by these devices turns out to be Wikipedia. And not only devices, we humans on average view 18 million Wikipedia pages per month globally.¹ It is arguably one of the most read websites (by both humans and machines) and one of the most influential.³

Until the Wikipedia Fellows course, I never thought I would be editing this powerful repository of knowledge.

As a scientist-in-training, I have gained a growing appreciation for open science and public science education. I realized, as many more before me have, that Wikipedia is a promising space for open science and public engagement because it allows scientists to 1) write about latest research for a general audience, 2) review scientific information to ensure accuracy, and 3) disseminate unbiased and inclusive scientific information. Excited about making an impact on the most read website on the internet, I applied to the Wikipedia Fellows course for the communicating science track.

The course is highly collaborative and diverse. Academic backgrounds of Fellows spanned from physical science to social science, and from the United States to Australia. Virtual meetings, messaging tools, and discussion boards helped foster collaborations between Fellows across continents and disciplines.

At the beginning of the course, we learned the do’s and don’ts of editing, the details in copyright and Creative Commons licenses, and navigated the visual and source code editors. Once equipped with all the tools, each Fellow selected two “start class” articles to improve. After a process of peer reviewing and virtual discussions with Wikipedia experts Ian Ramjohn and Will Kent, our course of 17 Fellows edited a total of 95 articles, added 17.4 thousand words, and accumulated 3.16 million articles views over the course of 12 weeks! I am thankful to be part of a group who made such an impact and to work with people who are dedicated to improving article quality.

Wikipedia is a living document. Its content is versatile. By updating and creating Wikipedia articles, scientists can reach the largest audience, communicate the latest research breakthroughs, and examine information accuracy. I am excited to carry on my mission, explaining science to the public, with Wikipedia!


  1. Anderson, M., Hitlin, P., Atkinson, M. (2016, January 14). Wikipedia at 15: Millions of readers in scores of languages. Retrieved from
  2. Fitzpatrick, A., Eadicicco, L., Peckham, M. (2017, October 18). The 15 Most Influential Websites of All Time. Retrieved from

Wikidata is 6

20:24, Tuesday, 13 2018 November UTC

It’s was Wikidata’s 6th birthday on the 30th of October 2018. WMUK celebrated this with a meetup on the 7th of November. They also made this great post event video.

Video from WMUK hosted Wikidata birthday event

Celebrated all over the world

The 6th birthday was celebrated in over 40 different locations around the world according to the Wikidata item for the birthday:


Various Wikidata related presents were made by various volunteers. The presents can be found on Wikidata:Sixth_Birthday on the right hand side and include various scripts, tools, dashboard and lists.

Next year

The 7th birthday will again take the form of a WikidataCon conference.

Watch this space…

The post Wikidata is 6 appeared first on Addshore.

Five ways academics can contribute to Wikipedia

18:46, Tuesday, 13 2018 November UTC

In recent weeks, the world learned about Dr. Donna Strickland, only the third woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. It also learned that Wikipedia lacked an article on Strickland amongst its over five million articles. Wikipedia subsequently received justifiable criticism for its low percentage of female editors, its editing culture, and its replication of the world’s systemic biases.

Unfortunately, this coverage included little about more mundane problems encountered by editors who are trying to document academics and academic fields on Wikipedia.  Wikipedia is the encyclopedia anyone can edit, and of the 130,000+ volunteers who edit the English Wikipedia on any given month, the majority are not academic experts. They lack sources to cite and photos to use for the articles they want to write, and they don’t always know where to find them.

This is where academics can step in to help and ensure there are Wikipedia articles documenting the achievements of the next generation of Donna Stricklands. Contributing to Wikipedia is rewarding, but it can be a significant commitment of time and effort.  It’s important to have Wikipedia events at your institution, but there are plenty of other ways you can help that don’t involve one-off editing events:

1. Write about your field on Wikipedia

Follow the examples of future doctor Emily Temple-Wood and Dr. Jess Wade and take stewardship of the articles in your field. Write or contribute to articles on important people and topics in your area of expertise and encourage your colleagues to do so as well. Members of numerous organizations, from the American Chemical Society to the National Women’s Studies Association, are already engaged with Wikipedia articles in their relevant academic domains.

 2. Have your students write about your field on Wikipedia

Encourage your students to do so as well, perhaps in the form of classroom assignments. The non-profit organization Wiki Education Foundation provides curricular and technical assistance to hundreds of college courses each semester whose students are contributing to Wikipedia as part of their coursework. Students who reluctantly write papers for an audience of one respond positively when presented with the opportunity to contribute to a globally-accessible web of knowledge.

3. Critique an article in your field

Even if you don’t have the time or inclination to contribute to Wikipedia, you can still help Wikipedia by critiquing an article.  For example, Karen Lemmey, a curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, offered a brief critique of the Wikipedia article on the sculpture The Greek Slave.  This critique, recorded by Professor Andrew Lih and made available on Wikipedia, provided direction for his American University students to significantly improve that Wikipedia article.  If you’d like to do this yourself, you don’t have to go to the trouble of making a video—you can simply leave a few quick comments and sources on the “talk” page, a discussion page for each article you can reach by clicking on the “talk” tab, to help Wikipedia editors with your expertise.

4. Document the important people in your field

There are other ways your expertise can help. Write and publish biographies documenting important colleagues and their contributions to your field.  Biographical articles about academics, especially if they are in a peer-reviewed journal, are one of the most important and useful sources a editor can draw on to write a Wikipedia article. The lack of these sources are a major reason why Wikipedia articles on academics like Donna Strickland don’t get written or get deleted. Consider contributing and publishing these kinds of profiles in your field’s journals if they aren’t already.

Even if these articles exist, they might not be accessible to most editors. For example, the journal American Psychologist publishes numerous short biographical articles about award winners and other major contributors to the field, but if you try to read them on the web, you’ll be confronted with a pay-wall charging you $11.95 to read each one. Unless a Wikipedia editor is affiliated with an academic library that subscribes to American Psychologist, they won’t be able to read that profile and a Wikipedia article on that particular academic likely won’t get written. Even if your journal isn’t open access, consider making these types of articles open-access to facilitate the creation of Wikipedia articles on people in your field.

5. Photograph the important people in your field

Writing isn’t the only way you can contribute to Wikipedia. We often hear complaints that many Wikipedia articles lack photographs of their subjects, but we simply can’t grab photos off the web. Like Wikipedia’s written content, almost all photos we use* must be freely licensed and reusable.  Wikipedia editors do their best to find, create, and contribute as many photos as they can. For example, Wikimedia District of Columbia volunteers go to events like the National Book Festival to take photos of people for their Wikipedia articles.

Academics can contribute in the same way. Document your conferences and colleagues and put the photos on Flickr or Wikimedia Commons.  Remember that we can only use freely licensed photos that can be redistributed, and non-commercial licenses prevent their use on Wikipedia. For example, the American Library Association does a fantastic job of providing photos of their conferences and leading contributors to our field. Unfortunately, they post them on Flickr with a non-commercial license, so many Wikipedia articles about important librarians, including about half of the most recent presidents of the ALA, lack photographs.

It’s important to remember that Wikipedia isn’t something created in a factory somewhere by people you’ll never meet. It’s the encyclopedia anyone can edit, and that includes you too. Scholarly communication shouldn’t be limited to conferences, journals, and your students.  Come help Wikipedia volunteers as they assemble the world’s most widely-used and largest information resource.

Robert Fernandez, Wikimedia community member

Professor Robert Fernandez is an academic librarian and a member of the board of directors of Wikimedia DC, an independent Wikimedia outreach organization. The opinions expressed are those of the author alone and may not be reflected by the Wikimedia Foundation or the Wikimedia community.

*Wikipedia image policies vary by what language edition you are on. The English-language Wikipedia, for example, has an extensive policy on when images can qualify for a fair use exemption.

Monthly Report, September 2018

17:08, Tuesday, 13 2018 November UTC


  • This month, Emory University Libraries hosted an all-day Wikipedia workshop to inform faculty and professors about how to improve Wikipedia within higher education. Educational Partnerships Manager Jami Mathewson presented to faculty about Wikipedia, why they should work to improve Wikipedia, and how students and faculty can improve Wikipedia’s quality and equity. She was joined by Emory University Educational Analyst Jenn Sutcliffe, Classroom Program instructor Dr. Irene Browne, and American Chemical Society Wikipedia Fellow Helen Siaw. The event generated excitement about teaching with Wikipedia, and was a testament to the good experience that participants have across our programs.
  • A handful of Wikipedia Fellows courses ended in September. One course, which improved Wikipedia articles based on midterm election related topics, created and expanded articles about several individuals running in primaries, such as Chrissy Houlahan and Fayrouz Saad. Others rewrote articles about complex topics like campaign finance reform in the United States and feminist political theory. Between sources, phrasing, and organization, these articles capture the importance of having strong contributions from subject experts.
  • We featured numerous reflections by Wikipedia Fellows on our blog this month. Amy Dye-Reeves, an American Sociological Association Fellow, shared how the experience fit well within her professional development goals. Midwest Political Science Association Fellow Dr. Rebecca Dew reflected on the value of making knowledge available to all. And Association for Women in Mathematics Fellow Samantha Kao explained what she learned about the gender bias in Wikipedia articles and how she was able to help.
  • Instructors can now click on their students’ Dashboard userpages and see how far along in the assigned trainings they are. This new feature of the Dashboard exists thanks to Amit Joki, a contributor to our open software project. The feature makes it easier for instructors to keep their students on track throughout the assignment and grade student effort at its conclusion.


Educational Partnerships

Jenn Sutcliffe of Emory University speaks to workshop attendees about Wikipedia

This month, Emory University Libraries hosted an all-day Wikipedia workshop to inform faculty and professors about how to improve Wikipedia within higher education. Emory University Educational Analyst Jenn Sutcliffe organized the symposium to teach participants how to incorporate Wikipedia editing into their coursework. According to Sutcliffe, “Wikipedia assignments add value by developing student research, writing, and information and digital literacy skills.” Educational Partnerships Manager Jami Mathewson presented to faculty about Wikipedia, why they should work to improve Wikipedia, and how students and faculty can improve Wikipedia’s quality and equity. Dr. Irene Browne, an Associate Professor of Sociology at Emory who has worked with Wiki Education, shared how she used Wikipedia in a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) course examining the wage gap. American Chemical Society Wikipedia Fellow Helen Siaw, a graduate student at Emory University who completed Wiki Education’s professional development course this summer, joined in the workshop to share her experiences learning how to edit Wikipedia’s chemistry content.

Emory University workshop participants explore Wikipedia.

In September, Outreach Manager Samantha Weald had the opportunity to visit the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, and host a discussion, also attended by remote staff from Middlebury College in Vermont, about the value of using Wikipedia in education. Attendees were brought to the idea of teaching with Wikipedia via the Newspapers on Wikipedia project, while others were simply curious to learn more about Wikipedia broadly, or expanding their use of technology in their teaching. All walked away with a better understanding of how to incorporate Wikipedia assignments into their teaching, and two instructors are already working with us in Fall 2018!

Samantha visits the Middlebury Institute in Monterey.

Classroom Program

Status of the Classroom Program for Fall 2018 in numbers, as of September 30:

  • 300 courses were in progress (181, or 60%, were led by returning instructors).
  • 5,164 student editors were enrolled.
  • 67% of students were up-to-date with their assigned training modules.
  • Students edited 1,130 articles, created 20 new entries, and added more than 160K words.

The fall term has begun, and students are beginning to get their feet wet as they learn how to contribute to Wikipedia and choose the topics they’ll be working on throughout the term. When it comes to learning how to contribute to Wikipedia, slow and steady wins the race. Our students go through a step-by-step process during which they gradually become familiar with the norms and policies of Wikipedia. While student contributions during these first few weeks are small, they’re gaining critical knowledge and skills that will prepare them for more major submissions.

During September, we held our first round of Wiki Education Office Hours. We offer these meetings monthly throughout the term in order to provide instructors with an opportunity to speak directly with members of the team, but also to interact with other instructors running Wikipedia assignments. The sessions are as helpful to us as they are for those who attend. We often gain insights into the program that cannot be captured through the Dashboard. We’re able to take the pulse of the Classroom Program in a much more intimate way, while providing instructors with key help regarding their Wikipedia projects.

We’re excited to have students and instructors try out the new Article Finder tool, now available under the Articles tab of all Dashboard course pages. Finding articles to work on can be one of the most challenging and rewarding parts of the Wikipedia assignment. We hope this new tool makes the process more efficient, and that ultimately allows students to find those articles where they can have the greatest impact.

Student work highlights

Picture yourself in a boat on a river. But instead of the “tangerine trees and marmalade skies” you may see in a certain Beatles song, you’re actually on the Wouri River in Cameroon watching the water flow and the cars go by on the river bridge. One student in Dr. Michel Aaij’s English Comp II class at Auburn University at Montgomery chose to expand this article. The student noticed that the article was missing information about the second bridge, which is in the process of being commissioned to span the Wouri River, the largest in the Republic of Cameroon. This new bridge will help ease the traffic on the congested existing bridge, which stretches between the major, bustling city of Douala to the port city of Bonabéri, which helps assist with international exchanges with landlocked countries like Chad and the Central African Republic.

As Halloween grows nearer, thoughts turn to something a little spooky. That may have been why one of the Shenandoah University students in Kathryn Enders’s Writing for Online Audiences class chose to edit the article on The Lodgers, a 2017 Irish gothic horror film. In the film, a twin brother and sister live a lonely life in a secluded mansion and are forced to follow a set of rules. One of these rules is that they must be in bed by midnight, as this is when the house becomes the possession of strange, watery beings. As long as they follow these rules they are mostly safe, however things go awry when the sister decides to break free of their hold, setting tragic events in motion. The Lodgersscreened at the Toronto International Film Festival and received mixed reviews from general critics and a favorable response from horror genre outlets such as Dread Central. Of note to Harry Potter and Game of Thrones fans is that David Bradley, who respectively played Argus Filch and Walder Frey, has a small but vital role in the movie.

A student in Human Impacts on Global Biogeochemical Cycles created a biography for Amy Townsend-Small, an environmental scientist at the University of Cincinnati.
Image: File:NASA Dr Amy Townsend-Small.jpg, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Students in Rebecca Barnes’ Human Impacts on Global Biogeochemical Cycles have been working to add biographies of women scientists to Wikipedia. Diane E. Pataki is an ecosystem ecologist whose work focusses on biogeochemical cycling in urban environments and is an Associate Dean at the University of Utah. Sharon J. Hall is an ecosystem ecologist at Arizona State University who studies managed ecosystems and protected areas located near cities. Yufang Jin uses remote sensing to study global environmental change. Lisa Welp is a biogeochemist at Purdue University who studies the exchange of water and carbon dioxide between the land and atmosphere. Amy Townsend-Small is at environmental scientist at the University of Cincinnati who studies the global carbon, nitrogen, and water cycles from the perspective of climate change. All of these scientists have biographies thanks to the work of this class.

As the oft cited statement says, a picture can tell a thousand words. Well, students in University of Alabama professor Darrin Griffin’s COM 300 Human Communication Research have pictures that can tell almost a novel’s worth of stories, ranging from a sunny day at the marina in Sorrento, Italy to an evening outside of the humorously named “Big Ass Slices” pizzeria in Philadelphia, United States. If those two examples are not your cup of “tee”, then there’s also a shot of a golf course in the Colorado mountains. Oh, and let’s not forget our four legged canine friends! That’s right — that’s friends in plural, as we have two happy golden retrievers lounging in the sun!

A marina in Sorrento, Italy during May 2017.
Image: File:SorrentoItalia.jpg, Gojazzygo1, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
The humorously titled Big Ass Slices pizzeria in Philadelphia.
Image: File:Big Ass Slices Philadelpjia.jpg, Mppawlowski2, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
A picture of an American flag taken at the Raven Golf Club at Three Peaks in Silverthorn, CO on the 4th of July.
Image: File:Golf in the mountains.jpg, Ndebel, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
File:Fullsizeoutput c236.jpg
Two golden retriever dogs enjoying a nice day while sitting in the grass with their tongues out.
Image: File:Fullsizeoutput c236.jpg, Laneyhoward, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Community Engagement

Visiting Scholars

Our Visiting Scholars have been hard at work adding references, new sections, removing content, retitling, and providing substantial edits to many articles this past month.

Rosiestep has been adding some great images to Commons. She has also been busy creating and significantly expanding numerous articles about women writers. Dora Greenwell, for example, was an English poet in the 1800s. Not many details of her life were made public during her career, and so many assumed her name was a pseudonym for another writer. A volume of her poetry was published in 1861 and another in 1867, both of which featured Christian religious themes. She also wrote essays on women’s education and suffrage, as well as essays against the slave trade.

Mrs. W. A. Johnson. Uploaded by User:Rosiestep.
Image: File:Mrs. W. A. Johnson.png, public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Rosiestep also improved and created articles for Belle Hunt Shortridge, an American poet and novelist, who was also the first person of European descent to be born in Wise County, Texas; Kate Stone, an American diarist and community leader whose diary paints a picture of Southern life during the American Civil War; and Elleanor Eldridge, an African American and Native American entrepreneur and memoirist who wrote her memoir in order to repurchase property that had been legally, but unfairly, taken from her.

Oxford Female College main building, 1902. Uploaded by User:Rosiestep.
Image: File:Oxford Female College main building.png, public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
The Club Woman masthead, 1902. Uploaded by User:Rosiestep.
Image: File:The Club Woman masthead November 1902.png, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

RockMagnetist contributed an insightful post to our blog about his efforts to avoid conflict of interest when editing.

Gen. Quon provided some essential updates to the article about Itzam K’an Ahk, a Mayan ruler who took the throne at just 12 years old and experienced several wars during his reign. Itzam K’an Ahk marked his time as ruler with many monuments devoted to him and his accomplishments. These are useful tools for providing modern historians and archaeologists with historical context.

Bfpage significantly expanded the article about the Wikipedia logo. Did you know that among Latin, Japanese, and Arabic alphabets – Chinese, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Tamil, and many others are also represented? The initial design for the logo was created by a then 17-year-old Wikipedian in a 2001 logo contest.

American Numismatic Association officers, 1937. Uploaded by User:Wehwalt.
Image: File:ANA officers 1937.jpg, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Wikipedia Fellows

Our six courses that started in June and July have concluded! The last four months have flown by and it has been amazing to see all of the new skills that these Fellows have acquired. We have shared some enriching and challenging discussions in our weekly meetings. Fellows have produced some very impressive content. Please read about the achievements of each cohort.

Courses that started in June

  • The Fellows cohort tasked with improving midterm election-related articles has been hard at work defining several common terms in political science related to voting and policy. This cohort contributed to 32 articles in the past four months. They added just under 30,000 words, with a total of 630 edits from 14 active editors. Taking the theme to heart, this group edited articles ranging from the voting gender gap in the United States to the Silent Sentinels, an influential group that supported women’s suffrage in the early 1900s. Our Fellows refined the definition of a minority group and what social and political power means. From time-sensitive additions to the article about Brett Kavanaugh to a complete overhaul of the Religious Liberty Accommodations Act article, these articles have been improved significantly in the hopes of better informing the electorate before the 2018 midterm elections(an article that one of our Fellows also edited).
  • We ran a second, smaller course focusing on midterm-related articles. This group of six ended up editing 12 articles (including two new articles) with 211 edits, amassing just over 7,000 words of new content. This cohort focused on several individuals running in primaries such as Chrissy Houlahan and Fayrouz Saad. Fellows in this group took on rewriting complex topics like campaign finance reform in the United States and feminist political theory. Between sources, phrasing, and organization, these articles capture the importance of having strong contributions from subject experts. Pulling in polling results for particular congressional districts, one of our Fellows expanded the entry for North Carolina’s 4th congressional district.

We also ran a course of subject experts who we encouraged to edit any kind of article they wished. This group of nine contributed to 24 articles, including one new one. Similar to our other courses, this group demonstrated the level of precision subject experts can bring to their contributions. The emergence of a nameless art movement resulted in the creation of the new Motherhood Studies article. Titling was also a central concern for the Yaoi (Boys Love) article. The Fellow who edited this article generated meaningful discussion around challenges with translation, phrasing communities use vs how the public understands a topic, and how to better organize this concept. The article about space was lacking several substantial philosophy perspectives until one our Fellows updated it. This cohort spent time improving the articles of many notable women including the writer and historian Paula Giddings, a prominent professor, Mary Pattillo, and the jazz great Bobbi Humphrey.

Blacks and Blues, Bobbi Humphrey’s album cover image.
Uploaded by user: Rsg1magic, who added it to Humphrey’s biography.

Courses that started in July

These three courses also wrapped up this month. The themes of these courses encouraged participants to improve articles on Communicating Science, writing on a series of general topics, and focusing on improving the representation of women in science.

  • The Communicating Science course had 17 active editors who contributed over 17,000 words to 95 articles with 676 total edits, covering all areas of the sciences, and has been producing some excellent results. Reworking the Risk Factors section on the child development article has brought some additional clarity to that article. Another Fellow has updated the article about Elisabet Engdahl adding details about her dissertation, new references, and background about her life. A Fellow reorganized several sections of the syncretism article, specifically improving formatting and adding several references. Take a look at the sociophonetics article to see how linguists in our course improved it. They saw what was missing from a high profile article that is so central to their discipline and took action to improve it. One of our Fellows edited several sections of the membrane curvature article and added an image to illustrate some of its properties. The same Fellow spent some significant time on the Hemagglutinin (Influenza) article, expanding sections with new citations and clear, descriptive language.
File:Use of DIPEA in amide coupling reaction between acid chloride and an amine.png
Use of DIPEA in amide coupling reaction between acid chloride and an amine. Uploaded by user Mglutamate.
Image: File:Use of DIPEA in amide coupling reaction between acid chloride and an amine.png, Mglutamate, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
  • In our largest course we saw 36 Fellows edit 92 articles, contributing 66,000 words in 1,200 edits. This group also uploaded 16 items to Wikimedia Commons. Take a moment to view the feminist poetry article, which is an excellent example of a fully formed, multi-section, well-referenced article appearing out of thin air. The topic was missing from Wikipedia before this Fellow began editing in our course. And now, this whole movement has a page dedicated to several feminist poets and their work. The feminism article also now contains more references to feminist poetry. Visit Linnea Ehri’s article to see a cleaner article and complete list of books one of our Fellows added. Another Fellow spent time working on 1491s, a Native American sketch group. This article now has more citations and is connected to other Native American-related articles with categories. The article about Judith Fetterley has a new section on the Resistant Reader thanks to a Fellow and the article about Iwona Stroynowskinow exists thanks to a Fellow. The article for affinity labeling should be a little easier to read now thanks to some reorganizing a Fellow did. Jennifer Doudna’s article has several new citations, sections, and some descriptions about her accomplishments.
  • In the Women in Science cohort we are specifically adding content to create or improve biographies of women scientists and their accomplishments. These sixteen Fellows produced some amazing work, adding 27,000 words, contributing to 64 articles with 782 total edits. They continued adding to the list of inventions and discoveries by women. Working to close the content gap in representing women in science on Wikipedia, a Fellow created the article for Sarah Reisman. Another Fellow expanded Susan Lindquist’s article to better capture her professional accomplishments. You can also look at Yu Myeong-Hee’s article to see more accurate information regarding her name, research, and a list of the awards she has won. Georgia Perakis’article has a new set of clearly named sections. Take a look at Lisa Morrissey LaVange’s article for another example of a robust article that one of our Fellows created from scratch.

Program Support


We featured numerous reflections by Wikipedia Fellows on our blog this month. Amy Dye-Reeves, an American Sociological Association Fellow, shared how the experience fit well within her professional development goals. Midwest Political Science Association Fellow Dr. Rebecca Dew reflected on the value of making knowledge available to all. And Association for Women in Mathematics Fellow Samantha Kao explained what she learned about the gender bias in Wikipedia articles and how she was able to help.

We also republished two blog posts by instructors in our Classroom Program. Dr. Rebecca Barnes spoke to the importance of representing women in STEM on Wikipedia. She even invited Wikipedia advocates Dr. Jess Wade and Dr. Maryam Zaringhalam to speak to her class. Dr. Denneal Jamison-McClung also wrote about the importance of recognizing the lives and accomplishments of women in STEM on the world’s most accessible encyclopedia.

Blog posts:

External media:


This month we a made a substantial set of upgrades to the Dashboard, of both the user-facing and behind-the-scenes varieties. In addition to multiple bug fixes, new features include:

  • the Upload Viewer, which lets you zoom in to get more details about any image from the Uploads tab without leaving the Dashboard (thanks to Urvashi Verma);
  • a list of a user’s training module progress — including both assigned and non-assigned training modules — which shows up on each user’s profile page (thanks to Amit Joki);
  • a new, interactive version of the ‘Structural Completeness’ ORES graphs for each course, which now works for all the languages that are supported by an ORES ‘article quality’ model (instead of just English Wikipedia).

Behind the scenes improvements include:

  • upgrading to the latest versions of several key JavaScript tools — Babel and Webpack — which result in more efficient code and less bandwidth usage (thanks again to Amit Joki);
  • replacing the usage of an unmaintained browser tool for our automated tests with an up-to-date alternative; and
  • substantial progress toward upgrading the React framework that drives most of the Dashboard’s user interface.

We’re now preparing for the upcoming December-March round of the Outreachy internship program. This time around, our summer interns Urvashi Verma and Pratyush Singhal are both returning to co-mentor the planned Outreachy project, which will focus on creating a better event setup experience for the diverse needs of Programs & Events Dashboard organizers. Applicants have begun making contributions to the Dashboard codebase as part of the application process.

Directory of Technology Sage Ross also met with a team of students from North Seattle College who will be working for the next two months to develop the first version of an Android app for accessing the Dashboard.

Finance & Administration / Fundraising

Finance & Administration

Overall, the total expenses in September were $147K, $80K less than was budgeted. Fundraising was significantly under budget ($66K). This was due to not hosting a cultivation event ($11K) and a change in plans with regard to outside consulting ($55K). Programs were under by ($9K), mainly due to the drop in payroll due to the Director’s leave. The remaining ($2K) discrepancy can be attributed to occupancy costs.

The Year-to-date expenses are $290K, $166K under budget. Programs are under budget by $81K. ($20K) Payroll Expenses, ($14K) Professional Fees, ($12K) Volunteer Development, ($14K) Travel, ($14K) Printing the strategic plan that got pushed out, ($7K) Indirect Expenses based on occupancy. Technology is under by ($6K)-due to outside services that have been pushed into fall. General and Administration are under by ($17K) mainly due to deliberately pushing non-essential costs forward.


In September, we worked with the University Library System and School of Information Sciences at Wayne State University (WSU) to submit a Letter of Intent for the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Grant Program at the Institute for Museum and Library Services. In the letter, WSU proposed to partner with Wiki Education to create a replicable model for other college libraries to teach students data literacy skills. The proposed work will expand and improve Wikidata content, which has seen increased use by individual researchers, the public, and through personal digital assistants such as Alexa, Google Home, and Siri.

Throughout the month, Director of Development and Strategy TJ Bliss had email and phone conversations with several major funders about our Wiki Scholars & Scientists program, the continuation of our Wikipedia Fellows professional development courses. Some funders expressed interest in learning more about the idea and others indicated that they would be willing to share information within their networks. The general response from funders about Wiki Scholars & Scientists has been highly positive, even among the few funders who have declined to provide support. One of our current funders became so interested in the Wiki Scholars & Scientists idea that they called and asked how they could offer support and help us succeed in the early stages of the project.

TJ worked hard this month to get Wiki Education set up to submit a grant proposal to the National Science Foundation. This work included ensuring Wiki Education was signed up with and verified by all of the appropriate government agencies and contractors (DUNS, DoD,, FASTLane, etc.). TJ also drafted a 2-page concept note and sent the note to two Program Officers at NSF for initial review. The concept note describes a proposed two-day summit on the topic “Science and Wikipedia: The Role of Open Knowledge Efforts in Scientific Research and Communication.” The summit would convene members of the scientific, open knowledge, higher education, and funding communities to discuss the opportunities and challenges Wikipedia and other open knowledge projects represent to scientific research and the communication of scientific knowledge.

Finally, TJ submitted a final report for the 2017–2018 General Operating Support grant from the Hewlett Foundation, officially closing this grant (which was renewed in August 2018). Sage also had a check-in call with Delphine Menard of the Wikimedia Foundation to discuss the mid-year report for our current Annual Plan Grant. Delphine provided very helpful feedback on our work over the first 6 months of 2018.

Office of the ED

  • Current priorities:
    • Change management: recalibration of individual roles and the way different parts of the organization work with each other

After coming back from a vacation in Germany, Executive Director Frank Schulenburg interviewed the final candidates for our new half-time Wikipedia Expert position.

In preparation for an upcoming trip to South Korea, Frank started to prepare his presentations for the Global HR Forum 2018 in Seoul and at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejeon. Also, in advance of this trip, Frank answered questions from the newspaper Korean Economic Daily about the use of Wikipedia in higher education and the future of education in general.

After Director of Programs and Deputy Director LiAnna Davis came back from maternity leave in the second half of September, Frank provided her with updates and orientation in order to support her with taking on her previous role.

Also in September, Frank started preparations for the upcoming audit. He discussed the process with Susan Malone from San Francisco auditors Hood & Strong and with Jordan Daly from SFBayFinancials. Frank started working on a timeline for the upcoming months in order to coordinate the work of the auditors, staff, outside contractors, and the board’s finance and audit committee.


* * *

I've spent a decent amount of time reading Wikipedia articles about Senate, House, and state races this week. And...there were inconsistencies. Specifically in the election box result templates:

Before I updated the article

That's what it looked like before I updated the article to use my template instead. There are a few different issues. First, Mike Thompson isn't marked as the incumbent. And second, the total number of votes is wrong - if you do the math, it adds up to 292,091. There are two more cosmetic issues: 1) the % column should go to one decimal point, and 2) the empty turnout field should be hidden since we don't have that data available.

The fixed version

That's the fixed version, that's using my template. So what's different? The main thing that most editors will notice is the amount of wikitext it took to generate my version: {{election box US auto|California|2016|United States Representative District 5|Mike Thompson link=Mike Thompson (California politician)}}. Compare that to what was needed previously. I think it's a pretty big improvement. Oh, and if you set the year to a comma separated list, like "2012,2014,2016", it'll generate all three boxes at once, so it becomes even easier to use.

This will also reduce the maintenance burden significantly. These boxes are copied to other articles, including Mike Thompson (California politician), which is using the wrong styles and missing the 2016 general election entirely, and on United States House of Representatives elections in California, 2016, which actually looks correct!

This is all being generated by a single Lua module called Module:Election box US auto, and a tabular data spreadsheet that's available on Commons. The Lua code isn't the cleanest, but it proves that we can replace things that were manually maintained with smarter templates that do most of the heavy lifting. To the best of my knowledge, this appears to be the first usage of the new tabular data system in English Wikipedia articles. I've updated the California's 1st congressional district through 8th district articles to use the "auto" template so far.

What's next? I'm going to import the MIT Election Data for the US House dataset to Commons so we can start using this in more articles outside of California soon (waiting on bot approval). The only thing that's missing from that dataset is incumbency data - it doesn't indicate whether the candidate was running as an incumbent (so if you know of incumbency data, please let me know!). And once we get the House in good shape, we can move onto the Senate and then state races. Aaaand I've even had someone ask me about expanding this to other countries, which should totally be doable! Anything is possible with Lua+tabular data.

This survey will help the Release Engineering team measure developer satisfaction and determine where to invest resources. The topics covered will include the following:

  • Local Development Environment
  • Beta Cluster / Staging Environment
  • Testing / CI
  • Code Review
  • Deployments
  • Production Systems
  • Development and Productivity Tools
  • Developer Documentation
  • General Feedback

We are soliciting feedback from all Wikimedia developers, including Staff, 3rd party contributors and volunteer developers. The survey will be open for 2 weeks, closing on November 14th.

This survey will be conducted via a third-party service, which may subject it to additional terms. For more information on privacy and data-handling, see the survey privacy statement.

To participate in this survey, please start here: Developer Satisfaction Survey.

Mukunda Modell

Tech News issue #46, 2018 (November 12, 2018)

00:00, Monday, 12 2018 November UTC
TriangleArrow-Left.svgprevious 2018, week 46 (Monday 12 November 2018) nextTriangleArrow-Right.svg
Other languages:
Deutsch • ‎English • ‎Tiếng Việt • ‎dansk • ‎español • ‎français • ‎polski • ‎suomi • ‎svenska • ‎русский • ‎українська • ‎עברית • ‎العربية • ‎مصرى • ‎हिन्दी • ‎মেইতেই লোন্ • ‎中文 • ‎日本語 • ‎한국어

weeklyOSM 433

08:10, Sunday, 11 2018 November UTC


Tourist map of Pristina, Kosovo Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, has created its new official tourist map with OpenStreetMap and MapOSMatic1. | © OpenStreetMap contributors and Municipality of Pristina


  • According to a tweet, Pascal Neis has updated his Unmapped Places map. It points to settlements away from large traffic routes. However, tagging errors can also be found in well mapped countries.
  • Stefano Maffulli suggests emergency=fire_alarm_box on the tagging mailing list for a “device put on public land used for notifying a fire department of a fire”. The proposal is limited to public alarms on the street as compared with boxes inside buildings, which are mainly to be used by and for alerting people inside.
  • Toni Erdmann shares about the new quality analysis (QA) tool: PTNA (Public Transport Network Analysis) in the talk-de mailing list (automatic translation) and the forum (automatic translation). This tool will help solve problems related to updating tables related to various train, metro, tram and bus lines by automatically creating these tables and doing a performs target/actual analysis.
  • Almost 4 years ago the Bermuda Triangle was mapped with four nodes and one way. Since the OpenStreetMap Inspector has a “long segment” layer, someone added nearly 400 nodes to avoid it to be reported as a potential error. The following changeset discussion gives some more arguments for shortening the segments by adding nodes to the straight ways. The discussion was continued on Slack and apparently the arguments against the additional nodes were stronger as the nodes disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle were removed.
  • The Finding Missing Roads in the Philippines titled blog post from user Gowin explains his workflow and new validation approach for spotting potential missing roads for completing roads in the Philippines.
  • The address quality assurance tool OSMSuspects from user dooley is now available to all users once again. If you log in with your OSM account, you also get to see the metadata.
  • Leif Rasmussen suggests adding transport timetable data in OSM in a Tagging-Proposal. As was to be expected, most people don’t agree with adding timetables in their full and intricately complex detail. It’s an enormous amount of data, that changes frequently. It would most likely be constantly out of date and hence difficult to rely on. A simpler proposal involving the interval tag combined with conditional opening_hours could be worthy of consideration though.
  • Simon Poole disagrees with the current practice of splitting tags like languages=<code>;<code>;<code> into language:<code1>=yes + language:<code2>=yes. He considers that this makes it more difficult for data users and editor template authors.


  • features an interview with Russ Garrett of Russ, who met Steve Coast in a pub back in 2005, leads the project OpenInfraMap, which is an OSM-based visualisation of infrastructure, most prominently power networks but also telecommunications, petroleum, and water infrastructure.
  • Contributor johnarupire from (automatic translation) writes (Spanish version) about organising a course introducing OSM and its social and humanitarian uses in the prevention and management of emergencies. This course will be held in the Social Sciences Faculty, at San Marcos National University in Lima, Peru, and will focus on participation, community and geographical open data.
  • The Data Working Group member mavl reports in his user blog about the first 1000 messages that have been received from the new reporting function on Nearly 60 percent of the reports were about users, followed by OSM notes. Regardless of the object of concern, the main reason for the reports was spam.

OpenStreetMap Foundation

  • Frederik Ramm, currently OSMF board member and OSMF treasurer, reports the rumour of two unnamed companies that are said to “encourage” their employees to join the OSMF, give them election recommendations and reimburse the membership fee.
  • Rory McCann explains on the OSMF mailing list how an employer can tell its employees who they should vote for and how this can be confirmed despite “anonymous” publication of votes.
  • We join Michael Reichert and other people’s calls to become a member of the OSMF. Only a broad member base can ensure that the OSMF board will always act in the interests of mappers. If you want to vote in this year’s election, you should join by November 15. In addition, almost all OSMF Working Groups are looking for help.
  • The OSMF has been working on modifying the OpenStreetMap API (Rails Port and CGIMap) to be compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation and requests tenders by 15 November.


Humanitarian OSM

  • The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Erasmus+ Students announced in a tweet, that they had held a week-long course called teaching the teachers. The programme had broad scope with topics including mapping, Overpass, OSM Wiki, communication channels and others, plus Wikimedia-related education. This program has highlighted OSM’s possibilities for humanitarian response and economic development support and pioneering leaders (who are volunteers) on this front.
  • HOT needs help over the next few weeks with identifying the number of Venezuelan refugees presently on the island of Aruba.
  • The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team has completed mapping lifeline infrastructure, mainly building footprints, road networks, and waterways in Semarang, the fifth largest city in Indonesia.


  • The OSM based navigation app Magic Earth Navigation now supports Apple’s CarPlay after a recent update, according to this report (de) (automatic translation).
  • Nicolas Bétheuil explained his Overpass-based public transport map with vector tiles on the French mailing list. (fr)(automatic translation).
  • The JOSM-Template for the Xmas Map was revised by user Negreheb at short notice (automatic translation) and documented in the wiki (automatic translation).
    The editorial wishes a nice Christmas time.


  • Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, has adopted OpenStreetMap as its official tourist map. User Stereo (Guillaume Rischard) has written a diary post about travelling to Kosovo, meeting the local OSM community, and convincing the Municipality of Pristina to use OpenStreetMap.

Open Data

  • OpenGeoHub announced the first release of LandGIS, a web mapping system similar to OSM, for land-related environmental data with spatial resolution between 250 m and 1 km. The datasets include relief, geology, land cover, land use, vegetation and land degradation indices, soil properties, soil classes and potential natural vegetation and are reviewed in an open process. The project partially overlaps (or in other words competes) with OSM.
  • Statistics Canada discusses the Open Database of Buildings, and is working with the community to make the import happen in different regions of Canada.


  • Simon Poole writes about the discontinuation of Google Play for Android 2.3 and 3.x in his user diary and what this means for Vespucci, which still supports these Android versions. He also describes how to compile Vespucci for devices with very low built-in RAM.


Other “geo” things

  • Justin O’Beirne writes a post about the publication of the new Apple maps and describes how they are different from the old ones by highlighting interesting changes, such as the staggering amount of vegetation detail. Read more about it on his blog.

Upcoming Events


Where What When Country
Kyoto 京都!街歩き!マッピングパーティ:第2回 美山かやぶきの里 2018-11-11 japan
Rennes Réunion mensuelle 2018-11-12 france
Zurich OSM Stammtisch Zurich 2018-11-12 switzerland
Lyon Rencontre mensuelle pour tous 2018-11-13 france
Salzburg Maptime Salzburg 2018-11-13 austria
León Dia del SIG 2018 – Universidad de León 2018-11-14 spain
Munich Münchner Stammtisch 2018-11-14 germany
Mumble Creek OpenStreetMap Foundation public board meeting 2018-11-15 everywhere
Mannheim Mannheimer Mapathons 2018-11-15 germany
Freiberg Stammtisch 2018-11-15 germany
Pamplona Mapatón Pamplona – Médicos sin Fronteras 2018-11-16 spain
Como ItWikiCon 2018 2018-11-16-2018-11-18 italy
Como Mapping Party during ItWikiCon 2018 2018-11-17 italy
Brno State of the Map CZ 2018 2018-11-17 czech republic
Bengaluru State of the Map Asia 2018 2018-11-17-2018-11-18 india
Vantaa OSM GeoWeek 24h HOT Mapathon 2018-11-17-2018-11-18 finland
Wakayama オープンデータソン in 雑賀崎 2018-11-18 japan
Cologne Bonn Airport Bonner Stammtisch 2018-11-20 germany
Lüneburg Lüneburger Mappertreffen 2018-11-20 germany
Derby Pub Meetup 2018-11-20 united kingdom
Reading Reading Missing Maps Mapathon 2018-11-20 united kingdom
Melbourne FOSS4G SotM Oceania 2018 2018-11-20-2018-11-23 australia
Toulouse Rencontre mensuelle 2018-11-21 france
Karlsruhe Stammtisch 2018-11-21 germany
Lübeck Lübecker Mappertreffen 2018-11-22 germany
Alajuela ES:State of the Map Costa Rica 2018-11-23-2018-11-25 costa rica
Manila 【MapaTime!】 2018-11-24 philippines
Dublin Monthly Mapping Party 2018-11-24 ireland
Graz Stammtisch Graz 2018-11-26 austria
Bremen Bremer Mappertreffen 2018-11-26 germany
Arlon Espace public numérique d’Arlon – Formation Contribuer à OpenStreetMap 2018-11-27 belgium
Reutti Stammtisch Ulmer Alb 2018-11-27 germany
Düsseldorf Stammtisch 2018-11-28 germany
online via IRC Foundation Annual General Meeting 2018-12-15 everywhere
Heidelberg State of the Map 2019 (international conference) 2019-09-21-2019-09-23 germany

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 appropriate.

This weeklyOSM was produced by LuxuryCoop, Nakaner, PierZen, Polyglot, Rogehm, Guillaume Rischard, SunCobalt, TheSwavu, YoViajo, derFred, jcoupey, jinalfoflia, keithonearth.

In a study about how students research a new subject it was found that they read the Wikipedia article first. Then they move to its sources and from there it takes off.

In order to have an impact you, as a scientist, wants to be their first getting the attention of your work. There are a few tips.
  • Make sure that you and your work are known. First make your work known at ORCiD. From there it gets into Wikidata
  • PS check out the Scholia presentation of you and your scientific work.. (example)
  • Make sure that your work can be read. Wikipedia actively seeks free reads using the OAbot.
  • Do not think that current practices of your field will benefit new scientists in the future. Many fields are not well represented at ORCiD
For your information. There is a database with the sources used in Wikipedia. The only thing lacking is that this database still needs to be integrated in Wikidata for it to gain a real impact.

Have you ever heard of compulsory heterosexuality? This concept described how heterosexuality is assumed, enforced and viewed as an obligation regardless of one’s own sexual preferences, and it was the subject of one of the articles that members of the LGBT user group wrote about in different languages in Stockholm, Sweden, last August.

The event was organized by a group of Wikimedians coming from Asia, Africa, and Europe, all united by one single cause: promoting LGBT Culture and achievements online. For four days in August, 12 participants took part in EuroPride 2018 in Stockholm. In two days of editing, the participants created, translated, and improved over 80 LGBT-related Wikipedia articles in more than 10 languages, in addition to adding over 300 photos. They also participated in a human rights summit, and the user group walked in a pride parade for the first time. For some participants, it was the first time they had the chance to walk in a pride parade in their life, as they don’t exist in their home countries.

The meeting gave LGBT user group members the opportunity to meet and exchange their personal experiences both inside and outside the Wikimedia movement. They also strategized about how they could support one another through an international network. Next year, two similar events will be organized in Vienna for EuroPride and New York for World Pride.

We talked with two organizers of the Stockholm event: Houssem Abida and Saskia Ehlers. If you’d like to contribute to making the flag more visible on Wikipedia, join the Wiki Loves Pride initiative.


What’s the current state of LGBT content on Wikipedia? Where is it strong, and where is it weak?

Houssem Abida: I think LGBT content needs a lot of work on Wikipedia, especially in some specific languages. For example, you can find articles that cover almost all sexual concepts in English, but it is very hard to find them in Arabic. For example, drag kings are a very basic concept in LGBT culture, but they didn’t exist on the Arabic Wikipedia before the Stockholm edit-a-thon.

Also, many important activists are still not showcased enough through the platform; it is our role to write about them.

That said, I think a strong point of Wikipedia is that it gives a relatively good and updated general overview of the situation LGBT people are living in every country (through the articles “LGBT in X”).


How does the emerging Wikimedia 2030 strategy fit with improving coverage of LGBT topics on Wikipedia?

Houssem Abida: I think the strategy is very supportive to our case and in fighting for it. For example, the way it emphasizes partnerships is very important for us and makes our work stronger and structured (NGOs provide references and documents, help with logistics, help us access difficult communities, etc.). Also, focusing on local communities is something we need, as it provides us with deeper communication channels and allows to reach a bigger and more vulnerable community (when it comes for the sexual education role that Wikipedia plays, for example).


What gave you the idea to combine EuroPride with peace advocacy?

Saskia Ehlers: This is a somewhat longer story. My grandparents met through a peace organization after World War II. They took part in workcamps where they rebuilt churches and houses with teams of young people from different countries that had previously been at war. The intention of those kinds of exchanges and organizations was for the participants to get to know each other’s cultures and become friends, so that it would in the future it would not be possible to blindly hate and slaughter people just because they had another nationality, culture, or spoke another language.

When the time came I became active in such an organization as well. I was a camp leader and organizer in Germany and other countries. Through that I met Thomas Schallhart from Austria, who was like me active within the Wikimedia movement and the same peace organization. We decided to combine both passions in the Wikipedia for Peace project. In this, young people from different countries came together to write about a certain peace related topic on Wikipedia.

I had organized a LGBT-related Wikimedia event in Madrid in 2017 because the World Pride took place there then. It was truly great and very fruitful, so I wanted to repeat this in Stockholm—and as Thomas had lived in Sweden for several years, we had the necessary connections to make that idea a reality.

The reason why we see writing about LGBT issues as a topic suitable for the Wikipedia for Peace format is that aside from nationality, culture, and language barriers, people are also excluded or hated because of their sexual preferences. Both Thomas and I have experienced that personally. This format gives us the chance to spread knowledge in different language versions, and through education create tolerance and awareness. In Madrid, for example, participants wrote the first Kyrgysz Wikipedia article on sexual diversity. On the other hand people can have human exchanges and gain understanding through this. One thing that I can think about here is how one person in Madrid described how and why they had bullied homosexuals in their youth, and how the phenomenon is very present in their culture until today. That same person continued to work on the topic after the event was finished. I think that these events and sharing experiences with very different people can change a person’s mind and life.


How did you decide what topics to cover at the Stockholm edit-a-thon?

Saskia Ehlers: People had different ideas on what to write about, so at the end we covered a wide variety of topics. One person for example promised to their bisexual friend that they would write about biphobia in their language as there is sometimes discrimination within the LGBT community towards bisexuals. Another person who is a doctor in real life wrote about sex change surgery. We had a reflection round each day and talked about what each person wrote about during the day. So people also gave each other ideas and influenced each other on what to write about. We also had input in terms of talks from participants. In one talk different gender concepts from all over the world were mentioned, which led one participant to write about the Southern Mexican concept for the third gender Muxe. We took part in the human rights summit in which important activists and speakers from different countries were present. One of them was Sedef Çakmak who was the first openly gay politician to be elected into office in Turkey. Some people wrote about her in their language versions. We also took a picture of her at the summit, which is now included in her article.


Have you run into any difficulties? If so, what?

It’s somewhat difficult to finance and organize such international exchanges through Wikimedia funds. Conference grants don’t really fit because the projects are designed to be low budget. Travel costs can only be reimbursed from chapters with a lot of money for community support, such as Germany, Switzerland or Austria. All of means that it is a lot harder for people from poorer countries or regions with no user groups or chapters to participate. This made the financing and logistics somewhat difficult and time consuming. A rapid grant alone is not sufficient to cover the flights, accommodation, and food costs during the event. Another kind grant to organize such exchanges like a European fund would be great. We proposed this idea at Wikimania in Cape Town.

Aside from that we’d like to thank the Austrian, German and Swedish chapter for the financial and in kind support of the event.

As told to Ed Erhart, Senior Editorial Associate, Communications
Wikimedia Foundation

This interview has been minimally edited.

Wikipedia, like much of history and historical scholarship, is missing information related to women and marginalized American communities. This weekend, Wiki Education is attending both the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) and the American Studies Association (ASA) annual meetings in Atlanta to empower scholars to help us fill these content gaps. NWSA and ASA share missions to disseminate research to the world, informing the public of their discipline in order to transform our understanding of these important topics. In 2018, there’s no better place to communicate scholarship beyond the academy than through Wikipedia, which gets 500 million readers each month.

Why Wikipedia matters in higher education

Both NWSA and ASA have partnered with Wiki Education to emphasize the importance for scholars and scientists communicating their research to the public. Though English Wikipedia has nearly 6 million articles, academic topics are lacking because the volunteer community that builds the encyclopedia may not have access to research that lives behind paywalls. Students and academics, on the other hand, can access a wealth of research through their university library. They have crucial context to evaluate Wikipedia through interdisciplinary and intersectional lenses in order to identify Wikipedia’s gaps. Wiki Education has the Wikipedia expertise, infrastructure, and staff support to train these contributors how to add high-quality content to Wikipedia.

Assigning students to write Wikipedia articles

Instructors can channel students’ research and writing into a productive, real-world assignment by asking students to expand or create Wikipedia articles related to the course topic. Wikipedia assignments help students tap into university resources, sparking discussions about the limitations of disseminating information when it’s closed to a privileged group of experts. Engaging actively in an open-source community of practice like Wikipedia teaches communication skills and critical media literacy—skills that students apply to their lives well beyond their university education.

Wiki Education provides tools, tutorials, Wikipedia expertise, and instructional design support to ensure students learn all they need to know as they begin improving Wikipedia. For instructors ready to get started with their Wikipedia assignment, visit

Working together to share historical and cultural understandings of women’s suffrage in the United States

In January 2019, Wiki Education, in collaboration with the National Archives, launches a professional development course to facilitate scholars’ improving Wikipedia’s content related to women’s suffrage in the United States. In 2019, the National Archives Museum will open an exhibit to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Other institutions are planning celebrations, too, and visitors will look for more information about the history of women’s suffrage, today’s ongoing voting struggles, and challenges for underrepresented and disenfranchised communities. When they search for more information about these important topics, we want them to find high-quality, reliable information. Join the initiative to educate the public about women’s suffrage!

Meet Wiki Education this weekend to get involved

Dr. Jenn Brandt shares her transformative experience after her immersive Wikipedia training

Come by NWSA’s exhibit hall and ASA’s registration area Friday–Sunday to discuss how your goals align with Wiki Education’s initiatives.

On Friday, November 9th, Director of Partnerships Jami Mathewson will present at the NWSA meeting to share deeper context about Wikipedia, its need for equity, and how scholars can work to improve the world’s leading information source. Dr. Jenn Brandt of California State University, Dominguez Hills will join to share her experiences as a Wiki Scholar who assigned students to write Wikipedia articlesas she learned about its workings. Come to Hilton Atlanta Room 216 at 2:45pm to learn how you can get involved to make Wikipedia a more representative knowledge source for the world.

This Month in GLAM: October 2018

08:21, Friday, 09 2018 November UTC
  • Belgium report: Erbstuecke edit-a-thon; Women in Tech edit-a-thon; Wiki Club Brussels; Wikidata workshop + party
  • Brazil report: “There is no reason not to participate in a GLAM-Wiki initiative”: an interview with the director of the Museum of Veterinary Anatomy
  • Estonia report: Estonian art and geoscience collections finding their way to Commons
  • Finland report: (RE)Photographic autumn
  • France report: GLAMWiki 2018 Tel Aviv; City of Grenoble
  • Germany report: GLAMorous Conferences
  • Netherlands report: ‘More Gelders Heritage available via Wikimedia’ by Erfgoed Gelderland; Writing week Friesland; Wiki Techstorm
  • Norway report: Wiki Loves Monuments and wikinobel
  • Poland report: Heirlooms – locally and internationally
  • Serbia report: The growing GLAM
  • Sweden report: Roundtripping Project, Books Import and Wikidata Imported to SOCH
  • Switzerland report: Built heritage conservation on Commons; les sans pagEs at a Modern art museum
  • UK report: Wikidata in Oxford
  • USA report: Wikiconference North America Culture Crawl
  • WMF GLAM report: Documentation survey, Structured Data on Commons consultations, blog posts and conferences
  • Calendar: November’s GLAM events

Scientists to write Wikipedia biographies of women in STEM

18:52, Thursday, 08 2018 November UTC

Only about 17% of biographies on Wikipedia are about women. That number is slowly changing thanks to WikiProject groups like Women in Red and Women scientists. Now, scholars who take our professional development courses are also helping close that gap.

New courses that train scholars with the skills to make a difference on Wikipedia begin this month. One such course focuses on better representing women in STEM on the world’s most referenced online encyclopedia. The acknowledgement of the lives and accomplishments of women (in science and beyond) is not only deserved, but inspires future generations of women to pursue careers they’re passionate about.

In this course, scholars collaborate with each other across disciplines to enter the world of Wikipedia, while taking trainings and receiving support from our dedicated Wikipedia experts. Over the course of two months, these scientists will gain the skills and confidence to improve at least two articles on the world’s most-accessed reference source.

Meet the new Wikipedia Fellows!

American Chemical Society

  • Nasim Pica is studying at Colorado State University.
  • Mike Tarselli is the Scientific Director at the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening. He hopes to “uncover more ‘hidden figures’ from the physical sciences and reveal their amazing contributions to the unsuspecting public” during this course.
  • Cheryl Trusty is an ACS member who is eager to make Wikipedia articles more accessible to the public.

Association for Women in Mathematics

  • JoAnne Growney is a Professor Emerita at Bloomsburg University. She is excited to learn how to edit Wikipedia to edit articles about women in mathematics.
  • Magdalena Luca is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science. She is looking forward to becoming skilled at editing Wikipedia.
  • Sean Sather-Wagstaff is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Clemson University. He is passionate about the equitable representation of women and sees Wikipedia as an effective way to achieve this.

Deep Carbon Observatory

  • Katrina Chu is at the University of Toronto and wants to engage the systemic underrepresentation of women by raising awareness of the amazing work of female scientists.
  • Lotta Purkamo is a research scientist at the University of St. Andrews whose research focuses on microbiology, biospheres, and climate change. She views Wikipedia as the go-to source for reference information and wants to be an active contributor to this movement.
  • Chelsea Sutcliffe is a post-doctoral research fellow in earth sciences at the University of Toronto. She wants to minimize gender bias on Wikipedia and make sure women are represented.
  • Laura Zinke is working on a post doc at the University of California-Davis in Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography. She is eager to join the Wikipedia community to make an impact on underrepresented topics and individuals.

National Women’s Studies Association

  • Konul Karimova is a student at the University of Northern Iowa who has been a long time Wikipedia reader and wants to contribute to it to ensure that the information in articles is the best it can be.

To read reflections about this course from past participants, see Samantha Kao and Dr. Laura Hoopes’ blog posts. To see how you can get involved, reach out to

Green Men & Gargoyles: The Dumfries Stonecarving Project

09:58, Thursday, 08 2018 November UTC

Scotland Programme Coordinator Sara Thomas is working with tara s Beall, of the Dumfries Historic Buildings Trust, to support their new Stonecarving project. The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Holywood Trust and the People’s Project, and runs from August 2018 to July 2019.

I’ve known tara Beall for a while – our paths first crossed when I was the Wikimedian in Residence at Museums Galleries Scotland, working with Glasgow Museums, and we were organising an editathon to do with the Showpeople of Scotland, with whom tara had worked for some years. (Their lifestyle and culture is once again under threat, due to regeneration plans in Govan, which would affect one of their permanent yards). Months later she came to an editathon which was focussed on improving the article on (Scottish political activist, rent strike organiser and one of Glasgow’s first woman councillors) Mary Barbour, and then we ran an editathon at the Glasgow Women’s Library with tara’s Strong Women of the Clydeside (SWaC) project team, and then another (also for SWaC) at the Mitchell Library when I was Wikimedian at the Scottish Library and Information Council.

Early morning over New Bridge, Grant McIntosh Photography, CC-BY-SA-4.0

It was at that point that we started to talk about her new project, based in Dumfries, which would focus on the stonecarving heritage of the area. Wouldn’t it be great to include a Wiki element to this, she asked? Well yes, I thought.

“Creative heritage projects almost always have websites, but the information they generate is not sustainable – who is looking after the sites five years on? Often, the information generated by publicly funded projects is lost (from the digital realm) after a few years … Wikipedia is a key knowledge platform, and an excellent way for us to deliver an international audience to our local heritage project (and vice versa).” (tara s Beall)

A few months later, we were in Dumfries, and tara is pointing me towards a pub – well, actually, she’s pointing me to the incredible carving on the building that houses the pub. I snap a picture to use later in the workshop as an example. Looking around, I can see that it’s not the only example of this kind of work in the town. In fact, it’s not even the only example on this street.

Crichton Church, by Grant McIntosh Photography, CC-BY-SA 4.0

When it comes to community heritage, it’s all too common to see excellent digital outputs disappear shortly after the project finishes – websites that expire, apps that aren’t maintained, content held on a third-party commercial service that’s bought over and subsequently vanishes… and so it’s been good to work with organisations that see the potential in using open licensing, and engagement with the Wikimedia projects, to ensure more sustainability in the dissemination of their digital outputs. I was grateful to be able to input into Historic Environment Scotland’s Archaeology Programme’s “Sharing Our Stories” document, which offers advice to those groups looking to make the most impact in sharing the results of their project.

The Dumfries Stonecarving Project aims to promote the rich stonecarving heritage of the area, and includes practical taster sessions, summer schools with local young people, an exhibition, and workshops and ‘stonecarving quests’ with photography groups to record some of that heritage. Using Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia, the project seeks to give this heritage a global audience, disseminating it through channels which have longevity, and which can, through tools like Magnus Manske’s GLAMorgan, give them insight into where their content is being used.

“We are also delighted to be offering workshops to local photography clubs (like the Dumfries North West Photography Club) where they can learn about Creative Commons licences, and best practice for uploading their images to Wikimedia. And because the images are shared under an open licence, everyone can enjoy the beauty of our sandstone heritage. Dumfries has an amazing history of stonecarving, and a wealth of local buildings with incredible carvings on them — from ‘green men’ to gargoyles. Working with Wiki will allow us to get a large number of local people engaged with these histories and interacting with Wikipedia – getting local people involved in preserving their heritage.” (tara s Beall)

Greyfriars Church, Brian Madill, CC-BY-SA 4.0

And so it’s later on that evening, in a community centre very close to Lincluden Abbey – voted one of Scotland’s favourite “Hidden Gems” during Dig It!’s 2017 Scotland in Six campaign – that I find myself chatting away to a keen group of photographers, who had the week previous walked around their town, taking some incredible pictures of listed buildings. I tell them a little about Wikimedia Commons, and the other Wikimedia projects, show them how to upload, how to use the Wiki Loves Monuments interactive map, and away they go. That evening we uploaded 80 pictures to Commons, and by a few days later, that number stood at over 170. You can see their pictures here, in a category that includes pictures of Dumfries, but also of other buildings and monuments in Scotland that the group had photographed. There are some great pictures in there, some of which have now been added to pages on English Wikipedia, including that for Dumfries itself. Over 15,000 people have read that article since.

That session was the first of a few that we’ll be running over the next few months, and I’m really excited to see what comes next!

“I am a firm believer that the role of academics is to make their knowledge accessible to the public. I cherish the opportunity to research, write, and share knowledge and information that would benefit as many people as possible.”

So wrote a participant in our Communicating Science course, where scientists, professionals, and other academics learn how to contribute their knowledge to Wikipedia. Now, a new round of Wikipedia Fellows are diving into Wikipedia policies, editing, and more.

Scientists recognize the importance of communicating about science to the general public. When scientific information reaches outside of the academy, more people are equipped to make better informed political and behavioral choices. And, as we’ve written about before, Wikipedia is an effective route for communicating with and educating the public. It turns out that not only does the public rely on Wikipedia for science information, but so do scientists! That’s why engaging scholars with scientific backgrounds in Wikipedia editing is so important.

Meet our latest Wikipedia Fellows who will be communicating science topics!

American Chemical Society

Margery Ashmun is a Science Reference Librarian at Drew University with a background in secondary science education and business experience in the chemical industry. She is interested in exploring how (1) to use Wikipedia and its concepts to build information literacy skills, (2) to encourage faculty to explore incorporating wiki-thons to support their curriculum (in some fashion), and (3) to explore how her campus’ digital humanities group could benefit from interacting with Wikipedia. She is interested in contributing to articles related to education, particularly STEM, secondary education, and higher education — and to articles related to aspects of modern business practices.

Muhammad Faheem is Assistant Professor and Director of Postgraduate Studies at the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Engineering & Technology, Lahore, Pakistan. He wants to contribute to articles in the domains of chemistry and chemical engineering to make them more understandable to a novice reader.

Joan Muellerleile is Senior Consultant with Proximate Technologies, LLC, and a Polymer Scientist with over 25 years of industry experience in polymer and materials science. She is a successful lead investigator and program manager in a variety of governmental contractor, industrial, and consultant settings for projects ranging from fundamental research and development to business-oriented applications development. Joan’s experience includes the design, performance, characterization, selection, and synthesis of polymers, composites, coatings, and adhesives.

Association for Psychological Science

Theresa Trieu is a research assistant at Uniformed Services University who is interested in improving articles related to psychotherapy and suicide prevention.

Deep Carbon Observatory

Tobias Fischer is Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He is interested in deep earth processes, the exchange of material between the earth’s interior and surface, active volcanism, and geothermal energy. He will contribute to articles about volcanoes and their role in earth processes.

Megan Newcombe, a Postdoctoral Scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, studies volcanic processes on the Earth and across the solar system. She is excited to contribute to Wikipedia’s geology articles and looks forward to using Wikipedia as a teaching tool.

Kristen Rahilly is a graduate student studying volcanic gases at the University of New Mexico. She is interested in expanding the articles related to volcanoes, volcanic hazards, and biographies on women geoscientists. She hopes to help make findings from the current scientific literature more accessible through inclusion in Wikipedia articles.

Jonathan Tucker is a postdoctoral associate at the Carnegie Institution for Science. He is interested in the composition, evolution, and formation of the Earth. He is passionate about science outreach, education, and literacy.


Stefany Coxe is an associate professor of Quantitative Psychology at Florida International University. She is interested in improving articles related to applied statistical methods, with the aim of making them more accessible to non-statisticians, including researchers in the behavioral sciences and the broader public.

Questions about how you can get involved? Reach out to

Machine learning: how to undersample the wrong way

10:47, Wednesday, 07 2018 November UTC

For the past couple of months, in collaboration with researchers, I've been applying machine learning to RUM metrics in order to model the microsurvey we've been running since June on some wikis. The goal being to gain some insight into which RUM metrics matter most to real users.

Having never done any machine learning before, I did a few rookie mistakes. In this post I'll explain the biggest one, which led us to believe for some time that we had built a very well-performing model.

Class imbalance

The survey we're collecting user feedback with has a big class imbalance issue when it comes to machine learning. A lot more people are happy about the performance than people who are unhappy (a good problem to have, for sure!). In order to build a machine learning model that works, we used a common strategy to address this: undersampling. The idea is that in a binary classification, if you have too many of one of the two values, you just discard the excess data for that type.

Sounds simple, right? in Python/pandas it looks something like this:

dataset.sort_values(by=[column_prefix + 'response'], inplace=True)
negative_responses_count = dataset[column_prefix + 'response'].value_counts()[-1]
dataset = dataset.head(n=int(negative_responses_count) * 2)

Essentially we sort by value, with the ones we have the least values for at the top, then we used head() to get the first N records, where N is twice the amount of negative survey responses. With this, we should end up with exactly the same amount of rows for each value (negative and positive response). So far so good.

Then we apply our machine learning algorithm to the dataset (for example, for a binary classification of this kind, random forest is a good choice). At first the results were poor, and then we added a basic feature we forgot to include: time. Time of day, day of the week, day of the year, etc. When adding these, things started to work incredibly well! Surely we discovered something groundbreaking about seasonality/time-dependence in this data. Or...

I've made a huge mistake

A critical mistake was made in the above code snippet. The original dataset has chronological records. When we sort by "response" value, this chronological order remains, within the context of each sorted section of the dataset.

We have to perform undersampling because we have too many positive survey responses over the full timespan. We start by keeping all the negative responses, which happen over the full timespan. But we only keep the first N positive responses... which, due to the chronological ordering of records, come from a much shorter timespan. In the same dataset we end up with rows that contain negative responses ranging for example from June 1st to October 1st. And positive responses only ranging from June 1st to June 15th, for instance.

The reason why the model started giving excellent results when we introduced time as a feature, is that it basically detected the date discrepancy in our dataset! It's pretty easy to guess that a response is likely positive if you look at its date. If the date is later than June 15th, everything in our dataset is negative responses... Our machine learning model just started excelling at detecting our mistake :)

A simple solution

The workaround for this issue is simply to pick N positive responses at random over the whole timespan when undersampling, to make sure that the dataset is consistent:

dataset.sort_values(by=[column_prefix + 'response'], inplace=True)
negative_responses = dataset.head(n=int(negative_responses_count))
positive_responses = dataset.tail(n=int(dataset.shape[0] - negative_responses_count))
positive_responses = shuffle(positive_responses).head(n=int(negative_responses_count))
dataset = pandas.concat([negative_responses, positive_responses])

This way we ensure that we're not introducing a time imbalance when working around our class imbalance.

Representing the history of voting rights on the world’s most-accessed source of information is a noble pursuit. And this group of scholars, professionals, and citizen archivists are up to the task. Using source materials from the National Archives, they will improve Wikipedia articles about the history of women’s voting rights in the United States in honor of an upcoming exhibit hosted at the National Archives Museum, Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote.

Wiki Education, in collaboration with the National Archives, is offering this virtual professional development course to train individuals with a research interest in political science, women’s rights, history, and related fields to successfully share their knowledge with the public.

“For scholars with a passion for American history, this presents a chance to improve the content of Wikipedia and make it more representative, accurate, and complete using original source materials,” says Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero. The course aligns well with the National Archives’ mission “to drive openness, cultivate public participation, and strengthen our nation’s democracy through public access to government records.” Wiki Scholars will also take an active role in making the world’s most popular reference source more equitable.

Current Wiki Scholars are drawn to the experience for a variety of reasons. Some want to give back to a resource that they have learned so much from. Others are interested in expanding the ways they communicate research in their discipline to the public. Others have a passion for open source information and for learning the skills they need to contribute themselves.

Meet the NARA Wiki Scholars!

  • Cassandra Berman is a PhD Candidate in History at Brandeis University. As a public historian and an archivist, she feels strongly about providing accessible, well-researched, and thoroughly documented information to researchers of all backgrounds. Women have been less-documented throughout history, which she hopes to address during this course.
  • Rachel Boyle is a postdoctoral Fellow at the Newberry Library. She is seeking more opportunities to write for a public audience. She views this experience as a tangible way to create opportunities to highlight the historical roots of contemporary social issues.
  • Heather Burns is a Citizen Archivist who has dedicated herself to writing articles about powerful and accomplished women who have been ignored, discounted or erased from history on Wikipedia. She has focused on women who have been fierce fighters for social justice and gender equity. She hopes this course will help achieve this goal of representing women and their accomplishments on Wikipedia.
  • Bonnie Burns is the Principal at Bonnie Burns Editorial. She is passionate about exploring different ways of extending access to knowledge. She believes Wikipedia is a critical public resource and is interested in the impact Wikipedia will have on original research.
  • Cara Ann Dellatte is a Reference Archivist at the New York Public Library. Having studied the suffrage movement, she sees Wikipedia as an incredibly useful resource to the public regarding facts and information. She intends to continue to make sure that the information available to the public is accurate and correct through this course.
  • Jennifer Elder is a subject area Librarian at the Woodruff Library at Emory University. She sees Wikipedia as a highly used reference source by almost everyone (including people outside of academia as well as faculty and students). By taking this course she hopes to learn more about Wikipedia and participate more in developing its content particularly regarding the gaps in Wikipedia’s coverage of certain people and topics — particularly of women and their accomplishments.
  • Betsy Eudey is a Professor/Director, Gender Studies; Faculty Director for Advising and Learning Cohorts at California State University, Stanislaus. She has been teaching Gender Studies for several years and has been a longtime Wikipedia reader, but has never contributed. She is looking forward to this program teaching her how to contribute to an important open-source resource.
  • India Ferguson is a Collections Manager at the Black Archives History & Research Foundation of South Florida. She is eager to address the omission of many events, figure heads, and other influential individuals who have little or no representation on Wikipedia. As a Archivist and history scholar, she is committed to using her resources and acquired knowledge to provide as much information on different historical events and figures as she can.
  • Kathie Fleck is an Assistant Professor at Ohio Northern University. She has a research background in Media/new coverage, movement organization/promotion, issues framing/debates, and public perception/opinion. She views Wikipedia as a way to combat the widening gap between knowledge and perception, apathy and activism, civic responsibility and civic understanding and is excited to bring what she learns in this course into her classroom.
  • Joan M Frederici is retired, having spent forty years as a medical technologist. She is an avid reader of Wikipedia and is curious about where the content comes from. Joan is also an avid genealogist, who is active in local and regional genealogy societies. She assists others (especially newer genealogists) with their research, teaching, and lectures. As a believer in reliable information, Joan is eager to learn more about the creation of well-sourced information on Wikipedia.
  • Chelsea Gardner is an instructor in Classics at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. She has a research background in Classical Archaeology and Digital Humanities. She is excited to learn more about using Wikipedia as a pedagogical resource and to cultivate a better understanding of evaluating online sources.
  • Matthew Lawn is docent and volunteer archivist at the Maryland Historical Society. He sees this course as being at the intersection of his commitment to give back and his passion about history – particularly social struggle. He is looking forward to participating to engage with both of these interests.
  • Jenna Lyons is a Ph.D. Candidate in American Studies and a Graduate Instructor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Kansas. She is a daily visitor of Wikipedia who is fascinated by society’s reliance on Wikipedia for information. She hopes to use this experience to learn more about public history and develop skills needed to communicate historical information to a wide audience.
  • Emilie Pichot is a Library Associate at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. She is eager to learn how to edit Wikipedia to teach other librarians how to contribute to this accessible and widely-used resource.
  • Erin Siodmak is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the City University of New York. She is familiar with the uneven nature of Wikipedia entries and is looking forward to learning how to be both an active reader and contributor. She is also looking forward to pass these tools onto her students and encourage them to participate, create, and be active users of Wikipedia.
  • Anthony C. Siracusa is the Engaged Learning Specialist at Colorado College. He is part of an initiative at Colorado College dedicated to improving coverage of women and other underrepresented communities. With a background in modern US History with a focus on African American History, race, religion, politics and gender, he is especially excited to look at the way race impacted the movement for suffrage in the 20th century.
  • RoseAnne Ullrich is a Librarian at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. She is interested in contributing to biographies related to women in government and politics, women’s suffrage, Latina women, African American women and other underrepresented populations through this course.
  • Kimberly Voss is an Associate Professor at the University of Central Florida. She researches women and journalism and views Wikipedia as an influential way to practice public history.
  • Lindsey Wieck is a Assistant Professor, Director of Public History at Saint Mary’s University. She is looking to address issues of systemic bias related to gender and race on Wikipedia through this course.

For more information about the course, see our informational page. Also, see Archivist of the United States David Ferriero’s blog post about the collaboration.

Why Wikipedia is “Communication at Play”

17:40, Tuesday, 06 2018 November UTC

This week, Wiki Education staff will be attending the 104th Annual Convention of the National Communication Association. While we’ve been working with NCA members to improve Wikipedia since our organization was founded in 2014, it wasn’t until 2017 that we finalized our partnership. Through this agreement, NCA encourages its members to participate in Wiki Education’s programs, helping increase the availability of information about communication studies on Wikipedia. We’re excited to be at NCA’s Annual Convention again this year!

This year’s theme is Communication at Play and it couldn’t be a more fitting descriptor for students and scholars’ work on Wikipedia. When you update or create articles on Wikipedia, you become an active contributor in a practice that involves honing one’s digital literacy and communication skills. You’re also making important paywalled academic information available to the public via the world’s largest free information resource. Here at Wiki Education, we support instructors who assign their students to improve Wikipedia, and scholars who want to take it upon themselves to be drivers of change.

Since the launch of our partnership, we’ve supported 36 courses where students have been asked to update course-related content on Wikipedia. Just this year, students worked to improve articles about social presence theory, visual rhetoricmodels of communication, and work family conflict. Students have also created new articles where content might be missing, such as hyperpersonal theory or tie signs.

We are also currently supporting a group of NCA members in our professional development courses. These members are learning how to bring their knowledge to Wikipedia, gaining new digital literacy skills and pedagogical strategies in the process!

Next steps

If you’re interested in learning more about how best to integrate a Wikipedia assignment in your next syllabus, or how you can get involved in our professional development courses, find us in the exhibit hall at booth 402! Hours are:

  • Thursday, November 8, 12:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Friday, November 9, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 10, 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

You can also read about the work of instructors and scholars using our tools in many of our blog posts. A few favorites include:

And if you can’t make it to NCA this year, but would like to learn more about our teaching resources visit to get started.

Winners of Wiki Loves Monuments 2018 in Iran

15:09, Tuesday, 06 2018 November UTC

Between September 5 (۱۵ شهریور)  and October 7 (۱۵ مهر) of 2018,  close to  1300 people participated in Wiki Loves Monuments in Iran. The local contest, now in its fourth year, has been a force to help enrich Wikipedia with photos of more than 26,000 nationally registered monuments of Iran. Today, we share with you some of the statistics of the 2018 contest and, of course, celebrate the nomination of the top 10 photos from Iran to compete at the international level with the rest of national campaigns.


1279 participants joined this year’s contest by uploading at least one photo of one of the 26000 nationally registered monuments in Iran. From this number, 90% of the participants are newcomers, a strong signal of the ability of the contest to engage newcomers and enable them contribute to Wikipedia. These participants uploaded 13,641 (and counting) photos to Wikimedia Commons, the media repository for Wikipedia. 9% of these photos are currently being used in one or more of the Wikimedia projects.

In terms of the number of participants and uploads, Iran’s campaign did amazingly well this year. 🙂 The number of participants increased by a factor of more than 3x compared to last year, and is more than the sum of all past years’ participants combined. The number of photos uploaded increased by a factor of almost 3x as well. (Learn more)

The number of uploads by these participants puts Iran in rank 6 at the international level, after Russia, Italy, Germany, Ukraine, and India. (Learn more about detailed statistics by country.)


The top 10 winners of Iran are announced thanks to Iran’s jury ( Diego Delso, David Gubler, Sam Javanrouh, Mohammad Majidi, Tala Vahabzadeh) and volunteers who reviewed more than 13,000 photos. These photos are now nominated to compete with nominations from up to 55 other campaigns at the Wiki Loves Monuments international level.

As always and before going to the winners: Although Wiki Loves Monuments is a photo competition, the story of the people behind the photos is as beautiful and important as the photos themselves. These are the people who have decided to share their knowledge and documentation of the world’s built cultural heritage with the rest of the world through Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. As a result, when we knew more about the photographer and the moment they captured the photo in, or if the jury had shared their comments about the photo, we have share that with you.

First place. A Safavid-era windmill in Zabol, a city in the province of Sistan and Balouchestan in the south-east part of Iran, known for its strong winds. The jury describes the photo as “simple”, “abstract”, with “great sense of isolation and beautiful light”, and “nice composition and contrast”. (Dolphinphoto5d, CC BY-SA 4.0)


Second place. Another view of the Safavid-era windmill in Zabol. The jury describes the photo as one with “beautiful light and colors”, “perfect sense of location and great light”. (Dolphinphoto5d, CC BY-SA 4.0)


Third place. An early morning winter shot of Takht-e Soleyman (also known as Azar Goshnasb, the fire of the warriors) by Ebrahim, a 28-year old architect who spent days in Takht-e Soleyman to work on his project. One morning, he finds himself mesmerized by this scene, returns to his room and picks up his camera, and … shot! The jury describes the photo as one with “great atmosphere and light” and “good composition and pleasant contrast/depth of field”. (Ebrahim Alipoor, CC BY-SA 4.0)


Fourth place. One of the most popular stops among Wiki Loves Monuments photographers in Iran is Sheikh Lotfollah mosque in Isfahan, part of Meidan Emam, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The photo depicts the ceiling of the mosque in a vibrant and colorful way, combining the blue colors of the ceiling above mihrab with the warmer orange colors of the dome. The jury described the photo as one with “great quality” and “clever framing [which] makes this a different view of a symmetrical design.” (Ara9979, CC BY-SA 4.0)


Fifth place. The Sasanid-era Arg-e Bam is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an adobe located in the city of Bam. Herbert, now in his late thirties and one who makes imagination alive by taking photos, decides to pay a visit to the site on his way from Kerman Province to Sistan and Balouchestan. The sun is setting and he runs up the stairs to capture the last minutes of one more day this historic site has witnessed. He opens this photo with “The burnt Empire/Arg-e Bam”. The jury describes the photo as one with “great light and good overview of the location” and “the landscape reminds us of a scene in Star Wars.” (Herbert karim masihi, CC BY-SA 4.0)


Sixth place. Shah Firooz monument, one of the symbols of the city of Sirjan, is captured by Ebrahim, a professional photographer who has been taking photos of the monument to create a time-lapse of the Moon’s rise in the night’s sky. This photo was shot when he was looking for a perfect angle to capture a partial lunar eclipse the day after. The jury describes it as “an interesting monument” and one which has “a nice composition with a great lighting.”. (Ebi.eftekhari, CC BY-SA 4.0)


Seventh place. A returning photographer and past international winner, Mostafa, shares with us the experience of spending a month in the Kavir of Iran and having full access to Deir-e Gachin Caravansarai, a Sasanid-era monument that was restored during multiple dynasties afterwards. The carvansarai is known as the Mother of Iranian Caravansarais and is located in the center of Kavir National Park. Mostafa shares immense enthusiasm and gratitude when sharing his memories of the time spend in the monument and vicinity. In this scene, he chooses to go with lantern-light, after he and the team tried many different light options in the scene, and of course, only panorama could do justice to the monument. The jury describes the photo as “a unique look at the roof features of this caravansary. very high resolution.” and one with “great use of panorama to create a sense of immersion” and “good sense of environment and nice lighting.” (Mostafameraji, CC BY-SA 4.0)


Eighth place.  The vibrant interior of Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque in Isfahan. The jury described the photo as one with “great light and details” and one which could improve by “technically correct colors and neutral framing”. (Maryamzandiehvakili, CC BY-SA 4.0)


Ninth place. ‌Blue Mosque in Tabriz, a Safavid-era monument that was severely damaged in the earthquake of 1780s, still in need of restoration efforts. The jury describes the photo as one with “great use of light and dark and use of effective composition”. (Parisa71, CC BY-SA 4.0)


Tenth place. A view of bādgir, windcatcher, in the Tabātabāei House, a historic house in Kashan. It was built in the early 1880s for the affluent Tabatabaei family. (Sayyed Mohammad Yasin Mousavi, CC BY-SA 4.0)


Interested to see nominations by other Wiki Loves Monuments 2018 campaigns? Check them out!

Mobile web performance: the importance of the device

23:16, Monday, 05 2018 November UTC

This week at our team offsite in Dublin, I looked at our performance data from an angle we haven't explored before: mobile device type. Most mobile devices expose their make and model in the User Agent string, which allows to look at data for a particular type of device. As per our data retention guidelines, we only keep user agent information for 90 days, but that's already plenty of data to draw conclusions.

I looked at the top 10 mobile devices accessing our mobile sites, per country, for the past week. One country in particular, India, had an interesting set of top 10 devices that included two models from different hardware generations. The Samsung SM-J200G, commercially known as the Samsung Galaxy J2, which was the 5th most common mobile device accessing our mobile sites. And the Samsung SM-G610F, also known as the Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime, which was the 2nd most common. The hardware of the more recent handset is considerably more powerful, with 3 times the RAM, 23% faster CPU clock and twice the amount of CPU cores than the older model.

Being in the top 10 for that country, both devices get a lot of traffic in India, which means a lot of performance Real User Monitoring data collected from real clients to work with.

With the J7 Prime retail price in India currently being double the J2 retail price, one might wonder if users who use the cheaper phone also use a cheaper, slower, internet provider.

Thanks to the Network Information API, which we recently added to the performance data we collect, we are able to tell.

Looking at Chrome Mobile only, for the sake of having a consistent definition of the effectiveType buckets, we get:

effectiveType  J2 J7 Prime
slow-2g 0.5% 1.1%
2g 0.8% 0.7%
3g 27% 28%
4g 71.5% 70.2%

These breakdowns are extremely similar, which strongly suggests that users of these two phone models in India actually experience the same internet connectivity quality. This is very interesting, because it gives us the ability to compare the performance of these two devices from different hardware generations, in the real world, with connectivity quality as a whole that looks almost identical. And similar latency, since they're connecting to our data centers from the same country.

What does firstPaint look like for these users, then?

Device Sample size Median p90 p95 p99
J2 1226 1842 4769 7704 15957
J7 Prime 1798 1082 2811 5076 12136
difference -41.3% -41.1% -34.2% -24%

And what about loadEventEnd?

Device Sample size Median p90 p95 p99
J2 1226 3078 9813 14072 29240
J7 Prime 1798 1821 5635 9847 28949
difference -40.9% -42.6% -30.1% -1.1%

Across the board, the difference is huge, even for metrics like loadEventEnd when one might think that download speed might be an equalizer, particularly since we serve some heavy pages when articles are long. OS version might play a part in addition to hardware, but in practice we see that older Android devices tend to stick to the OS version they were shipped with, which means that those two factors are tied together. For example, worldwide for the past week, 100% of J2 phones run the Android version they were shipped with (5.1).

These results show that device generation has a huge impact on the real performance experienced by users. Across the globe, users are upgrading their devices over time. This phenomenon means that the performance metrics we measure directly on sampled users with RUM should improve over time, by virtue of people getting more powerful devices on average. This is an important factor to keep in mind when measuring the effect of our own performance optimizations. And when the median of the RUM metrics stay stable over a long period of time, it might be that our performance is actually worsening, and that degradation is being masked by device and network improvements across the board.

Given the eye-opening results of this small study, getting a better grasp on the pace of improvement of the environment (device generations, network) looks like a necessity to understand and validate our impact on the evolution of RUM metrics.

Tech News issue #45, 2018 (November 5, 2018)

00:00, Monday, 05 2018 November UTC
TriangleArrow-Left.svgprevious 2018, week 45 (Monday 05 November 2018) nextTriangleArrow-Right.svg
Other languages:
Bikol Central • ‎Deutsch • ‎English • ‎Tiếng Việt • ‎dansk • ‎français • ‎polski • ‎suomi • ‎svenska • ‎русский • ‎українська • ‎עברית • ‎العربية • ‎فارسی • ‎مصرى • ‎हिन्दी • ‎মেইতেই লোন্ • ‎తెలుగు • ‎中文 • ‎日本語 • ‎한국어

Best friends forever

13:38, Sunday, 04 2018 November UTC

We use both synthetic and RUM testing for Wikipedia. These two ways of testing performance are best friends and help us verify regressions. Today, we will look at two regressions where it helped us to get metrics both ways.

In our synthetic lab environment, we update the browser version in a controlled way. When there’s a new browser release, we wait for a new Docker container with the latest version. We stop the current tests, update the Docker container and restart the tests and look at the metrics that we graph in Grafana. That way, we can check whether a new browser version introduced a regression.

Our users’ browsers usually upgrade slowly. The browser vendors usually push the browser to a percentage of users first, and then give the green light to update all of them. When we collect performance metrics, we also collect browser names and versions. That way we can see when users pick up a new browser version and if that version has any impact on our metrics. The adoption of new versions by real users takes time, and when we see a regression in our synthetic testing, it can take a couple of weeks until we see the same effect in our user metrics.

Chrome 67

When we pushed Chrome 67 we noticed a regression in our first visual change synthetic testing (T196242).

Here you can see what it looked like for our test of The blue vertical line is when we pushed the new browser version.

Most of the pages we test were affected, but not all of them. For our tests of the "Barack Obama" English Wikipedia article, it was hard to spot any change at all.

We could only see the change on desktop. And we could verify the regression in both of our synthetic tools (WebPageTest and Browsertime/WebPageReplay). Could it be some content that causes that regression, since it only affected some pages?

Next step

When we see a regression, we always first try to rule out that it has something to do with a change we have done. If the regression happens when we update the browser in our tests, it’s easy: we roll back the browser version and collect new metrics to see if the metrics goes back down. And then we update to the new version again. In this case, we confirmed it was only the browser causing our first visual change metric to jump. (Not a change in our content.)

When we find a browser regression, we try to collect as much data as possible and file an upstream issue. In this case it became Chromium issue 849108.

The next step is to see if we can find the same change in the metrics that we collect directly from users. The firstPaint metric in Chrome is similar to the first visual change metric we use in our synthetic testing. Which means that when we have enough traffic coming from Chrome 67, we should be able to see the change on first paint.

The conversion rate from Chrome 66 to 67 looked like this:

If you look real closely, you can see that around the 15th of June we started getting enough traffic for Chrome 67 to see the effect on our metrics.

To see the change in Chrome, we look at the metrics we collect from all versions of Chrome and check the median and 75th percentile of first paint.

In the following graph, we take the average over one day to try to minimize spikes. If you look at the right side (Chrome 67) of the graphs you can see that it has a slightly higher first paint than to the left (Chrome 66).

To verify the metrics, we also looked at first paint on mobile. There’s no regression there, it rather looks like there could be a small win in first paint.

To be 100% sure that there’s nothing we introduced, we take another look at synthetic testing at that time when the increase in first paint was seen for real users (15th of June).

There’s no increase in the metrics from synthetic tests at that time. This confirms it was a (small) regression in Chrome 67.

Chrome 69

Some time ago, our performance alerts in Grafana fired about first paint in Chrome having increased for our users. We looked at it, and couldn’t find an exact issue that could have caused it. It looked like the metric had slowly increased over time. That type of regression are always the hardest to deal with because it’s hard to see exactly what’s causing the regression.

We could see the regression both on desktop and mobile. It was most obvious when we checked the first paint on mobile. You can see the weekly pattern we have but the highs are getting higher and higher.

But we actually had the answer: When we updated to Chrome 69 in our synthetic testing a couple of weeks ago, we again saw an increase in first visual change. This time, we could see the regression on some wikis but not all of them. We’ve switched back and forth between Chrome 68 and 69 and first visual change for the Japanese wiki looked like this:

This time, it seems like a bigger impact on first visual change. We track this issue in T203543 and filed an upstream bug with Chromium.

Is this the same regression as we see in RUM? Let us look again at when the majority of Chrome users switched from 68 to 69.

And then let’s go back to first paint metric. First, we look at our metric for desktop only. Around September 22nd almost all traffic was from 69, but you can also see that it was introduced in early September.

It looks like when Chrome 69 was introduced, first paint slowly rose and then when all our metrics were collected from 69, both median and 75th percentile were higher than with 68.

What does it look like for mobile?

We see the same pattern here. Let us check our synthetic testing at the same time, to see if we could have introduced a code change that affected first visual change. Our metrics on mobile are even more stable than desktop. We look at Swedish Wikipedia, because we didn’t deploy any change on that test server during this period.

No regression there. It looks like this also could be a performance regression in Chrome.


Working with both synthetic metrics and metrics from real users, helps us to confirm issues. In this case, it helped us to find two browser regressions that impact our users. We hope that we can get help from the Chromium team to resolve these issues.

weeklyOSM 432

16:04, Saturday, 03 2018 November UTC




Modelled 2020 annual pollution levels of NO2 in London [1] | © parallel | OS OpenData | London Datastore | Mapbox | map data © OpenStreetMap contributors


  • Jochen Topf introduced a new QA tool called Osmoscope. He wants to avoid the drawback of current QA tools, which is that the person who operates the tool decides which layers are shown. With Osmoscope running on a web server, a user can add QA layers by entering the configuration i.e. a URL that points to a description of a new layer. In other words you create a GeoJSON with possible OSM issues and add it to Osmoscope which takes then care of visualisation. If your GeoJSON contains thousands of potential issues, you should think about using vector tiles. A proof-of-concept implementation is available at Issues can be reported on GitHub.
  • Joseph Eisenberg wants to render radio telescopes but noticed that what he considers the “possible tagging mistake” man_made=radio_telecope is used over 200 times while the “correct tag combination” man_made=telescope with telescope:type=radio is only used twice as much.
  • Bren Barnes is asking for suggestions for his proposal to introduce amenity=research_station.
  • The new tag telecom=* was accepted and now enables mappers to add last-mile networks and related equipment like DSLAMs.
  • In Belgium the law was changed to add “School streets” (nl) (automatic translation). These are streets adjacent to the entrance of a school that are shut off from all traffic except for pedestrians and bicycles around the times the schoolday starts and ends.


  • User marc marc started a lengthy discussion on the tagging mailing list by pointing to the topic that crossing=zebra, which is assumed to be a shortcut for crossing=uncontrolled + crossing_ref=zebra, prevents mappers from adding crossing=traffic_signals for crossing with zebra and traffic signals.
    However, a much bigger tagging problem became apparent during this discussion: The maintainer of the OSM editor iD adds or removes tagging presets he is “tired of hearing people complain about”. Keeping in mind that one can control the way people edit if one controls the presets in an editor that accounts for roughly 50% of all uploaded changesets, the change of a preset should not be controlled by one or a few developers.
  • Michael Spreng introduced (de) (automatic translation) the new design for the Swiss OSM website. There is still some work to do, such as translations, but it already looks promising.
  • Melanie Eckle announced that HeiGIT/GIScience (de) from the University of Heidelberg and German Red Cross signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen their strategic partnership to conduct joint activities related to research as well as development of GIS technologies, skills, workflows and communities.
  • User cbeddow has started OpenStreetMap Montana, and is seeking mappers from all parts of the state to join and plan local meetup events.
  • The Mapper of the Month October 2018 as chosen by OpenStreetMap Belgium is Aylin Kızılaslan from Turkey.
  • The Wikimedia Foundation has started the call for proposals for the wishlist 2019. WMF is open for ‘feature requests’ from the OSM community.
  • An interesting chart labelled ‘Community OSM’ was drawn by Simon B. Johnson during the GeOnG conference as reported in a tweet by Paul Uithol. Common mappers, who go out surveying rather than tracing aerial images, might have difficulties finding themselves in the chart.


  • Pieter Vander Vennet announces on the imports mailing list that the Belgian community plans to integrate building footprints from multiple Belgian governmental sources into OSM. The plan is to include external IDs in the import, which received loud criticism as well as support. As it’s more of a slow integration effort, rather than a bulk one-time import, which depends on said external IDs to work efficiently, the plan is to still include them.

OpenStreetMap Foundation

  • OpenStreetMap Belgium, the newest local chapter in the OSM family, introduces itself in a blog post.
  • OSM’s local chapter in the UK responded to the Geospatial Commission’s call for evidence. OSM UK supports the efforts to use public and private sector geospatial data more productively. They believe that OSM plays an important role in that area. The whole response is linked to at the end of the blog post.


  • Chetan Gowda announced that the SotM Asia will take place in Bengaluru (a.k.a. Bangalore), India on November 17-18. Don’t forget to register!
  • The community day at the FOSS4G SotM Oceania 2018 will be on Friday, 23rd November. The programme for the day was just announced.
  • Registration for FOSS4G Oceania (20–23 November 2018, Melbourne) is open.
  • Geofabrik usually organises two or three hack-weekends each year in their own offices. Christine Karch tells us in a blog post (de) (automatic translation) that the most recent event had to switch to a larger location at Karlsruhe University, as 9 people joined to plan the next SotM in Heidelberg, plus 7 JOSM developers seized the opportunity to meet face to face and discuss long-standing issues.
  • As part of the non-profit project, the Austrian Open Source Award (de) (automatic translation) will be presented for the second time on November 9. An Open Source Ball will take place afterwards.
  • OSMF’s new Belgian local chapter is planning their first official meeting during the week of November 13th.

Humanitarian OSM

  • The United Nations Population Fund reports how Crowd2Map Tanzania is using OpenStreetMap to fill gaps on maps in rural Tanzania to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
  • A short summing-up shows HOT’s preliminary conclusion after 3 weeks of its Hacktoberfest. HOT thanks everyone who has worked on issues related to usability and experience of the Open Source tools, performance, and general bug fixes.
  • There are several Missing Maps events around the globe during November where you may want to participate.


  • Gastronomy objects will no longer be displayed by small icons in zoom level 17 but by orange dots as they often created a visual clutter.


  • combines campsites and facilities from 12 US federal government bureaus, allowing users to search and make reservations. Until recently, search results were displayed on a Google map, but the new website includes a makeover with OpenStreetMap and Mapbox as the basemap.


  • We have reported before rescues of hikers occasioned by the use of OSM without evaluating the terrain by other means, such as topo maps. Now, according to CBC Canada, a hiker had to be rescued by helicopter from the top of a cliff in British Columbia. Allegedly the hiker was benighted because they relied on for an estimate of how long it would take to walk in the mountainous terrain. An issue was reported in 2017, but it is not entirely clear if the situation still exists with the current version.
  • The world’s most visited cemetery is Père Lachaise in Paris. Super Lachaise, an iOS app, allows you to easily find historical monuments and prominent graves.


  • Rémy Mathieu wrote a blog post titled Rendering a map using Go, Mapbox and OpenStreetMap where he explains how to retrieve and draw map data. He plans to write another article as he aims to finally render fantasy styled maps.


  • JOSM release 14382, version 18.10 is out. The enhancements include a new option to show the object version in lists, an increased default overpass wizard timeout, the cut of overlapping GPX layers when merging, the MapCSS function is_similar and many minor improvements.
  • QGIS 3.4, the first long-term release of version 3, has just been published. New expression functions and code completion for the expression builder have been added to this version.

Did you know …

  • netidee is the largest Open Source Internet promotion in Austria. netidee stands for openness, transparency, and sharing. The results of all funded projects are available to the public for use and further development (“open source principle”).

Other “geo” things

  • [1] Mapping London wrote an article about a map that shows the modelled 2020 annual pollution levels of NO2 based on data from the London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory 2013 (LAEI). The map was created using Mapbox’s 3D WebGL libraries and is client-side rendered.
  • Garmin continues its famous GPSmap series with the Garmin GPSmap 66s. The German biking website has published (de) (automatic translation) a test of the new GPS handset.
  • The map for historical items at is now linking to the US National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).

Upcoming Events

Where What When Country
Toronto Mappy Hour 2018-11-05 canada
Arlon Espace public numérique d’Arlon – Formation Contribuer à OpenStreetMap 2018-11-06 belgium
Stuttgart Stuttgarter Stammtisch 2018-11-07 germany
Berlin 125. Berlin-Brandenburg Stammtisch 2018-11-08 germany
Nantes Réunion mensuelle 2018-11-08 france
Kyoto 京都!街歩き!マッピングパーティ:第2回 美山かやぶきの里 2018-11-11 japan
Rennes Réunion mensuelle 2018-11-12 france
Lyon Rencontre mensuelle pour tous 2018-11-13 france
Salzburg Maptime Salzburg 2018-11-13 austria
Munich Münchner Stammtisch 2018-11-14 germany
Mumble Creek OpenStreetMap Foundation public board meeting 2018-11-15 everywhere
Mannheim Mannheimer Mapathons 2018-11-15 germany
Como ItWikiCon 2018 2018-11-16-2018-11-18 italy
Como Mapping Party during ItWikiCon 2018 2018-11-17 italy
Brno State of the Map CZ 2018 2018-11-17 czech republic
Bengaluru State of the Map Asia 2018 2018-11-17-2018-11-18 india
Wakayama オープンデータソン in 雑賀崎 2018-11-18 japan
Cologne Bonn Airport Bonner Stammtisch 2018-11-20 germany
Lüneburg Lüneburger Mappertreffen 2018-11-20 germany
Derby Pub Meetup 2018-11-20 united kingdom
Reading Reading Missing Maps Mapathon 2018-11-20 united kingdom
Melbourne FOSS4G SotM Oceania 2018 2018-11-20-2018-11-23 australia
Toulouse Rencontre mensuelle 2018-11-21 france
Karlsruhe Stammtisch 2018-11-21 germany
Lübeck Lübecker Mappertreffen 2018-11-22 germany
Alajuela ES:State of the Map Costa Rica 2018-11-23-2018-11-25 costa rica
Manila 【MapaTime!】 2018-11-24 philippines
online via IRC Foundation Annual General Meeting 2018-12-15 everywhere
Heidelberg State of the Map 2019 (international conference) 2019-09-21-2019-09-23 germany

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 appropriate.

This weeklyOSM was produced by Nakaner, PierZen, Polyglot, Rogehm, SunCobalt, TheSwavu, YoViajo, derFred, geologist, jinalfoflia.

Wiki Education now offers consulting services

16:11, Friday, 02 2018 November UTC

Over the last several years, many of my colleagues and I have been approached by individuals asking for our advice and feedback on program plans, grant proposals, and other documents related to Wikipedia and education initiatives led by other organizations or individuals. While we’re generally happy to support these mission-aligned ideas, we are finding they’re redirecting too much of our valuable staff time away from our own programs, without compensation. That’s why we’re launching a new consulting services program, offering our staff’s expertise on Wikipedia programs to organizations and individuals for a fee.

I can understand why so many people reach out to us: The Wiki Education staff are the world’s leading experts in facilitating Wikipedia work with educational institutions. Since 2010, we’ve started programs from scratch, scaled programs, adapted based on challenges, and learned a lot along the way — all while ensuring our efforts support both Wikipedia content development and the learning objectives of our participants. We know how to make Wikipedia initiatives successful, and how to avoid common pitfalls that derail well-intentioned efforts.

But one of those common pitfalls is letting others’ needs distract you from your work! We’ve reached the point where we need to ensure our staff is concentrating time on our own efforts — or that our organization is compensated for our expertise. Our new consulting services offering allows us to protect our staff time resource while still offering organizations and individuals our support if they are able to pay for it.

One caveat to our new fee-for-service model: We’re happy to waive any fees for consulting on grant proposals that include financial support for Wiki Education in a collaborative project. We appreciate collaborating on grant proposals that further both our strategy and the strategy of our partners, and we are happy to waive all consulting fees for proposals that recognize our staff time is valuable and include financial support for our organization in the proposal. Fees will also be waived for any Wikimedia organization, as part of our participation in the global Wikimedia community.

See the page on our website about our new consulting services for more details, and reach out to if you’re interested in working with us. We’ll pair you with the staff person whose expertise best matches your needs to get a conversation started.

What else?

10:59, Friday, 02 2018 November UTC

Structured Data on Commons is approaching. I have done a bit of work on converting Infoboxes into statements, that is, to generate structured data. But what about using it? What could that look like?

Taxon hierarchy for animals (image page)

Inspired by a recent WMF blog post, I wrote a simple demo on what you might call “auto-categorisation”. You can try it out by adding the line

importScript('User:Magnus Manske/whatelse.js') ;

to your common.js script.

It works for files on Commons that are used in a Wikidata item (so, ~2.8M files at the moment), though that could be expanded (e.g. scanning for templates with Qids, “depicts” in Structured data, etc.). The script then investigates the Wikidata item(s), and tries to find ways to get related Wikidata items with images.

The Night Watch (image page)

That could be simple things as “all items that have the same creator (and an image)”, but I also added a few bespoke ones.

If the item is a taxon (e.g. the picture is of an animal), it finds the “taxon tree” by following the “parent taxon” property. It even follows branches, and constructs the longest path possible, to get as many taxon levels as possible (I stole that code from Reasonator).

A similar thing happens for all P31 (“instance of”) values, where it follows the subclass hierarchy; the London Eye is “instance of:Ferris wheel”, so you get “Ferris wheel”, its super-class “amusement ride” etc.

The same, again, for locations, all the way up to country. If the item has a coordinate, there are also a some location-based “nearby” results.

Finally, some date fields (birthdays, creation dates) are harvested for the years.

The London Eye (image page)

Each of these, if applicable, get their own section in a box floating on the right side of the image. They link to a gallery-type SPARQL query result page, showing all items that match a constraint and have an image. So, if you look at The Night Watch on Commons, the associated Wikidata item has “Creator:Rembrandt”. Therefore, you get a “Creator” section, with a “Rembrandt” link, that opens a page showing all Wikidata items with “Creator:Rembrandt” that have an image.

In a similar fashion, there are links to “all items with inception year 1642”. Items with “movement”baroque”. You get the idea.

Now, this is just a demo, and there are several issues with it. First, it uses Wikidata, as there is no Structured Data on Commons yet. That limits it to files used in Wikidata items, and to the property schema and tree structure used on Wikidata. Some links that are offered lead to ridiculously large queries (all items that are an instance of a subclass of “entity”, anyone?), some that just return the same file you came from (because it is the only item with an image created by Painter X), and some that look useful but time out anyway. And, as it is, the way I query the APIs would likely not be sustainable for use by everyone by default.

But then, this is what a single guy can hack in a few hours, using a “foreign” database that was never intended to make browsing files easy. Given these limitations, I think about what the community can do with a bespoke, for-purpose Structured Data, and some well-designed code, and I am very hopeful.

Note: Please feel free to work with the JS code; it also contains my attempt to show the results in a dialog box on the File Page, but I couldn’t get it to look nice, so I keep using external links.

Details of dictionary attack from May 2018

12:29, Thursday, 01 2018 November UTC

What happened?

On May 3rd 2018 a large spike in the number of login attempts was detected on English Wikipedia due to a dictionary attack sourcing primarily from a single internet service provider.

Several hours into the attack the security team and others at the Foundation launched countermeasures mitigating the attacker's efforts. While the countermeasures were successful, end users continued to receive "failed login" notifications emails as usual.

What information was involved?

Users whose accounts were compromised were contacted or blocked. Information disclosed consisted of usernames and passwords derived as part of the dictionary attack. No personal information was disclosed.

What are we doing about it?

Changes to password policies: The security team and others at the Foundation are evaluating our current password policy with the intention of strengthening it to better protect online identities, promote a culture of security, and to align with best practices. More on this in the coming weeks but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

Routine security assessments: Starting at the end of September, the security team will begin a series of penetration tests to assess some of our current controls and capabilities.

As the Security team grows (we’re hiring) we will expand our capabilities to include additional assessments such as routine dictionary attacks to identify poorly credentialed accounts, penetration testing, policy updates, and additional security controls and countermeasures.

Other technical controls and countermeasures: While we can’t disclose our exact countermeasures, we have a series of additional technical controls and countermeasures that will be implemented in the near future.

Security Awareness: There are several changes coming and to support these changes the security team will be launching various security awareness campaigns in the coming months.

John Bennett
Director of Security, Wikimedia Foundation

Older blog entries